Forgive me for being cynical of the “Nuns on the Bus” tour. I have had it with humans stretching the Bible into places it doesn’t go. Recently, a group of Catholic Nuns rode through nine states to protest Representative Paul Ryan’s failed budget offering because it doesn’t help the poor enough. Yes, the budget from two years ago. I am Protestant, so I maybe I just don’t get it, but somehow, I think I do.
Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of the Catholic Network for social justice started the bus tour because the Republican effort to spend in line with our budget “rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality, the choice for the poor and the common good.”
Hmmm….that’s not technically correct, in the theological, Biblical, Godly sense….
Certainly, God instructed Cain that he was responsible for his literal brother whom he had a personal relationship with (Gen. 4). Undoubtedly, James taught us to treat the poor man as-good-as, or better-than the rich man, in the Church and our personal lives (James 2). And the apostle Paul reminded us to treat everyone fairly, as we could be entertaining angels unaware (Hebrews 13). The message of the Bible is simply to do right. Christ’s heart is with the poor and so should ours be as believers in Christ.
As a Catholic, this includes Paul Ryan who should be endeavoring in his personal life and through his church to help those in need. As a Protestant, it includes me and my family and my Church.
That doesn’t mean the American government is ordered by the bible to adhere to Church standards. The government has a different and equally important role. That is why it is so frustrating to hear personal opinions under the guise of Biblical doctrine.
The principles of “solidarity,” “equality,” “choice for the poor” and “the common good” are not Judeo-Christian values found in the Bible, they are western liberal ideas espoused by the progressive movement. I hold nothing against believers that want the government to take over the role of the Church in caring for the poor. Poor people need the greatest help available. But it is not supported by the Bible or the Christian faith. Christian charity is no longer charity when it is underwritten through forced taxation.
When Jesus Christ spoke to his disciples as well as the masses about love, kindness, compassion, etc., it was truly a personal message to each listener. It was a message to the body of the Church. But in no way, did Christ command Caesar or subsequent regimes to provide three squares a day to the leper colonies.
Paul tells us in Romans that the government’s role is to punish evil and uphold righteousness. Everything else is extraneous. As far as I am concerned, Nuns can lobby on a bus for tax reform if they want, it’s not a bad cause; and is desperately needed for some demographics. But they have not a theological leg to stand on.
If the Nuns on the Bus want to do another tour, maybe they could protest our nation’s current policy on unborn human life, which acts as the central tenet of the political party they have aligned themselves with against Christ’s Catholic Church. According to Paul, it is the role of government to stop this type of action from happening. For we should defend the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 82). These well-meaning individuals need to re-consider their priorities and double-check their theological underpinnings before undertaking another bus tour.