News events have reopened the unfortunate discussion in our nation of the 47 percent versus the 53 percent. The argument is that 53 percent of Americans are being forced to carry the 47 percent who do not pay income taxes.
Im not all that interested in partisan politics. But I wanted some information, and I thought it best to go to someone who isnt in this race. So I went to Ron Pauls website and found out that the bottom 40 percent of Americans hold .02 percent of our nations wealth. Raise that to the bottom half of Americans, and its 2.5 percent of our nations wealth. Not a lot there to tax.
Same website, : Ten percent of U.S. citizens own 70.9 percent of all U.S. assets. The same page goes on to say, I believe in free markets, but this distribution of wealth is not a normal distribution in any way.
You might wonder why I bothered to go out and get that information. Its not to make a political point. Politics and elections and political parties will take care of themselves without my help. And, really, Im not part of all that in any official way. I am part of the church.
Some might say that as the pastor of two Indiana United Methodist churches that I am even a leader of sorts within the church. And if that is the case, then what I am writing is not political commentary but a call to action to the church.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Luke 18:22
Regardless of our politics, if we are authentic Christians, we are always on the side of the poor, the marginalized, the least, the last and the lost. It is in our DNA as Christians. How can I say that? Because it is all over our Bible. It is at the essence of what our savior came to teach us.
In Lukes 14th chapter Jesus tells a story of a man who gave a party and then invited his guests. The guests all had excuses why they could not come. So the man told his servants to, Go quickly to the citys streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind and lame. Luke 14:21b This is who we are as the church, champions for and of those who cannot help themselves.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18
If anyone is offended because they think I used this space for political purposes, I can only repeat that my point was to reaffirm that our task as Christians is to be on the side of the poor. This is the churchs agenda, and when politics gets into the churchs agenda, Christians should always put the teaching of Christ first.
Pastor, Mt. Zion United Methodist Church/Barkers Chapel United Methodist Church