Christianity, Socialism, and President Obama

Roy Hilbinger

During the 2008 presidential campaign and now during the first month of President Obama's residence in the White House, the Christian Right has been warning that the president and his appointees (and, of course, a Congress dominated by the Democratic Party) are going to condemn America to God's judgement by converting the country to a "socialist" state. The implication here is that this country is supposed to be a "Christian" nation, and Christianity and socialism are incompatible enemies. But is that really true? Are Christianity and socialism so incompatible? In fact, aren't there a lot of sayings in the Bible which seem to support the socialist ideal? Let's look at this.

From the Wikipedia article on socialism:

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equal opportunities for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.

{josquote}Those Christians who claim that socialism is evil and the enemy of Christianity really need to go back and read their own scriptures.{/josquote}

The first part of that description, state ownership of production and markets, isn't approached by the Bible. It couldn't be; the way society was organized in the first century was radically different from how society is organized now, and concepts such as capitalism and socialism would have been incomprehensible then. In fact, the social and cultural structure and philosophy of the time was so different that you couldn't apply either capitalist or socialist principles to it. So naturally the Bible doesn't speak to that particular subject. However...

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