Bernie Sanders’ socialist views has some Christians asking WWJD, or “what would Jesus do”? To some, Sanders’ brand of Democratic Socialism is only a step away from the socialism of the former USSR and the Cold War, but others say that Jesus would support socialism.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, actor James Woods called Bernie Sanders an “utter moron” for favorably comparing China’s human rights policies against the United States, which does not have a mandated paid maternity leave.
To a certain extent, Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism platform is being widely accepted by progressives and liberals. It is also possible that the average American may also being willing to vote for someone who openly runs for president as a type of socialist. Based upon a Gallup poll taken in June of 2015, 47 percent of Americans now claim they would vote for a socialist, which is quite a bit of change in itself.
When Bill Maher spoke with Sanders recently, the talk show host even claimed, “I don’t think most Americans realize they are already socialists.”
Still, there are many doubters, so Bernie Sanders’ socialist views have become the focus of the 2016 presidential candidate’s campaign stops as of late.
“I think there are a lot of people who, when they hear the word ‘socialist,’ get very, very nervous,” Sanders said. “To me, democratic socialism means democracy. It means creating a government that represents all of us, not just the wealthiest people in the country.”
Admittedly, that is a little vague. Standard socialism is an economic system where the government establishes social ownership at the expense of private or personal ownership. The military and state control is used to coerce and control the means of production for an entire nation. The problem is that the abuse of the coercion factor can lead to nations like Soviet USSR, which was known for mass killings of its own citizens.
Based upon this history, the website for the Democratic Socialists of America is trying to distance itself from the past. They claim that Democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders “have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned.” At the same time, they do advocate that a large chunk of the American economy should be socialized.
“We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them. Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives…. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.”
Needless to say, people who have invested so much time and money into building up the current American oil production system may have something to say about that idea. U.S. oil production began beating Saudi Arabia back in 2013, and now the IMF is claiming the Arab country could be bankrupt within five years based upon the oil market.
But what has made Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign so successful is not the Democratic socialists focus on forcing control of large companies into the public’s hands. Instead, Sanders claims the American government should offer “free” education, an expanded Social Security program, and other benefits. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that Sanders’ “free” stuff will cost $18 trillion over a decade, but to many Christians the real issue is not a matter of the cost, but whether there is a moral imperative provided by the Bible.
Socialism And Jesus
On social media, Christians seemed to be divided on whether or not Jesus would support Democratic socialism, or even the standard definition socialism.
— nick poulos (@ngpoulos) October 23, 2015
Pastor John Piper has tackled the issue of Bernie Sanders’ socialist views and whether or not Christians should view socialism favorably, or not.
“I think the first thing I should say is that in the church no one should go hungry. No one should be without a place to stay. No one should fail to get the healthcare they need. No one should go without a job if it is possible for believers to help them find one. And so on. All of this should happen through the free and uncoerced help of other believers,” Piper wrote.
In making this opinion, Piper puts an emphasis on the issue of socialist coercion in relation to the book of Acts, which describes a scenario where the early Christian believers were practicing what may be called a limited form of socialism.
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” – Acts 2:44-45
The pastor believes the Bible assumes the “legitimacy” and “necessity” of personal ownership, and when these believers sold their belongings they were doing it out of their free will, not because a Democratic socialist president and Congress forced the citizens into action. Piper believes that Christian should give “without compulsion, cheerfully, and freely,” which strikes to the heart of Democratic socialism.
“In other words, Socialism borrows the compassionate aims of Christianity in meeting people’s needs while rejecting the Christian expectation that this compassion not be coerced or forced. Socialism, therefore, gets its attractiveness at certain points in history where people are drawn to the entitlements that Socialism brings, and where people are ignorant or forgetful of the coercion and the force required to implement it — and whether or not that coercion might, in fact, backfire and result in greater poverty or drab uniformity or, worse, the abuse of the coercion as we saw in the murderous states like USSR and Cambodia.”
The pastor believes that commending the socialism of European countries like Denmark is “shortsighted” since “these systems are under pressure” and some believe they are a “ticking time bomb.” At the same time, Pastor Piper believes Bernie Sanders is indeed highlighting “real injustices” within America, and he believes Christians should be showcasing “compassion for the disadvantaged,” “justice under law without respect to status,” and several other attribute in their actions.
What do you think?
[Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images]