Rev. William Barber, a prominent supporter of the Democratic party, has suggested that the Bible is supportive of socialist ideology.
Speaking at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) event this weekend, the Protestant minister declared that “when we embrace moral language, we must ask ‘does our policy care for the least of these? Does it establish justice?”
“If someone calls it socialism, then we must compel them to acknowledge that the Bible must then promote socialism,” Barber continued, “because Jesus offered free healthcare to everyone and he never charged a leper a co-pay.”
The minister didn’t stop there, even suggesting that the Constitution itself is a “socialist document.”
“The nation will be judged for how it treats the poor and the sick,” Barber bellowed. “If you want to call caring for folks socialism, then the Constitution is a socialist document — because it calls us to promote the general welfare and to establish justice.”
Socialist thinking has made a resurgence in the Democratic party, with the election of self-avowed “democratic socialist,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The rookie congresswoman has openly stated that she wishes to see capitalism, the very bedrock of American economic society, torn down and replaced with a radical system of socialist economic redistribution.
“Capitalism, to me, is an ideology of capital. The most important thing is the concentration of capital, and it means that we seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else, and we seek it at any human and environmental cost…” she said at this year’s South by Southwest festival, according to Quartz. “But when we talk about ideas for example like democratic socialism, it means putting democracy and society first, instead of capital first.”
In our divisive and overtly-politicized times, politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to invoke the Bible to support their view of the world. Indeed, in an attempt to gain support for her bill which seeks to cap interest rates on personal loans, AOC herself tweeted that high interest “happens to be explicitly denounced in the Bible (& in many other religions),” before quipping that she was “looking forward to having the religious right uphold their principles + sign onto my bill.”
This sort of religious baiting has become a common play among politicians on both sides.
“Socialists finesse Scripture to justify redistributing wealth to “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), while capitalists overplay the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30),” wrote Bill Flax at Forbes. “Both tout Christ’s teachings as a crucial trump card.”
And yet, arguably, the Word of God does not function as a one-size-fits-all guide to every policy area of our modern world. Indeed, weaponizing it for political gain, on any issue, is to reduce it to a mere manual on political decisionmaking. Of course, the Bible is so much more than that — it is the very living and breathing Word of God.
Beyond bestowing wisdom, the Bible addresses the fundamental issue of the human soul — that we are all sinners with a pressing need for redemption. Far beyond a vehicle to advance political agenda, the Bible contains the Gospel of Christ — a compelling message of grace and love that must tower above all political squabbles.
So, let’s endeavor to remember the true meaning of this unique book and quash all attempts to morph scripture into some sort of ideological weapon.