As I have written about previously (here and here), the Pope has decided to jump into the world of redistributive economics via government force. Presumably he basis his exhortations on Biblical principles. I have decided to try and find the passages in Scripture from which he draws his inspiration.
I checked the King James Version; no luck. New International Version? Nope. The Living Bible? Nada. New Life Version; Revised Standard Version; Orthodox Jewish Bible (hey, I know it’s a stretch for a Catholic, but I was getting desperate). Nein, hayir, nie.
Nowhere could I find a single instance where God commanded the Hebrews to give their wealth over to Nebuchadnezzar for the poor. Not a single mention of Christ commanding his disciples to work through Rome for the good of mankind.
I almost gave up. Then I struck gold (don’t tell the Pope, he will want to force me to give some away). I found the source in a new translation – barely 100 years old, although its roots certainly extend to Cain and Abel under many other names – the New Progressive Bible. The Ten Commandments, as translated in this version clearly support the Pope’s views on economics, as well as the supporting views of the state as the source for good. Let’s examine this, shall we?
I have highlighted in italics the sections that deviate from the version that might be more familiar to you.
Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words:
A clear reminder that god is the one doing the commanding.
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Don’t get so excited about this “out of slavery” stuff; there is a catch.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
This seems fair enough – he created the universe and all that is in it in six days; he brought the Hebrews out of bondage. It seems reasonable that he has certain expectations in return.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below, unless it is an image of dead politicians carved on the side of a large mountain or sitting in a throne of immense proportion.
5 “You shall not bow down to them or worship them unless they promise you salvation from hunger, clothing for your nakedness, shelter from the elements, and the gift of controlling the climate.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God or your president, congressmen, prime minister, and any other appointed or elected government official, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name or the names of those in office.
This is why I write my comments in this post only with a lower case “god” and “he/him.” I guess I’m not fully sold on this translation.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. For the Hebrews, this means watching college football. For the Christians, the NFL…well, except for the Seventh-day Adventists…it’s back to college… Wow, how could you guys mess this up so badly?
12 “Honor your father and your mother by abandoning them into the care of the state, so that you may live long without any responsibility in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder unless sent to a far off land on orders of your president.
14 “You shall not commit adultery unless you convince an intern that it will result in her promotion.
15 “You shall not steal except by majority vote.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor, unless you wear a badge and are ensuring a higher conviction rate for the DA.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. However, if you channel your coveting through a third-party, then covet away.
There you have it. From now on, when you see someone calling for your Christian love to be demonstrated through the state, you will have a better foundation for understanding.
Perhaps next I will tackle the Beatitudes.