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Intro: "President Barack Obama on Thursday tied his proposal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans to his faith, telling leaders gathered for the National Prayer Breakfast that Jesus's teachings have shaped that conclusion."

'The rich paying more in taxes 'coincides with Jesus' teaching,' Obama said. (photo: AP)
'The rich paying more in taxes 'coincides with Jesus' teaching,' Obama said. (photo: AP)

Obama: Jesus Would Tax the Rich

By Jennifer Epstein, Politico

02 February 12


resident Barack Obama on Thursday tied his proposal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans to his faith, telling leaders gathered for the National Prayer Breakfast that Jesus's teachings have shaped that conclusion.

The rich should pay more not only because "I actually think that is going to make economic sense, but for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus's teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,'" Obama said at the Washington Hilton, delivering remarks at an annual event that every president has attended since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to him," Obama said. "Avoiding phony religiosity. … This is especially important right now when we're facing some big challenges as a nation."

Obama infused his remarks on spirituality with a populist message of economic fairness, echoing rhetoric he unveiled in December in Osawatomie, Kan., and returned to in his State of the Union address last week.

"When I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren't discriminating against those who are already sick or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren't taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us," Obama said, "I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody, but I also do it because I know far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years. And I believe in God's command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.'"

He also invoked religious teachings - and the Golden Rule - about aiding the less fortunate.

"I talk about shared responsibility … because I genuinely believe in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time we have enormous deficits, it's hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone," Obama said.

This year's breakfast came as Obama faces backlash from the Catholic Church and other Christian groups. In January, the administration announced that religious employers, including hospitals and universities, would not be exempted from the health care law's requirement that employer health plans eliminate out-of-pocket fees for contraceptives.

Though Obama didn't speak about that decision, he emphasized that his decisions on policy issues are driven by his faith. He said he does not limit his values to "personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends" but instead tries "imperfectly … to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation."

The president paid tribute to Rev. Billy Graham, the 93-year-old evangelical leader who has advised presidents since Harry Truman. Before Obama left a meeting with Graham a few years ago, the preacher prayed for him. When Graham finished, Obama said, "I felt the urge to pray for him. I didn't really know what to say. What do you pray for when it comes to the man who has prayed for so many? But like that verse in Romans, the Holy Spirit interceded when I didn't know quite what to say."

"And so I prayed - briefly, but I prayed from the heart. I don't have the intellectual capacity or the lung capacity of some of my great preacher friends here that have prayed for a long time," he said to laughter. "But I prayed. And we ended with an embrace and a warm goodbye." Since then, Obama added, "I have fallen on my knees with great regularity … asking God for guidance not just in my personal life and my Christian walk, but in the life of this nation and in the values that hold us together and keep us strong."

Obama first attended the breakfast, which is led by members of the House and Senate, when he was serving as Illinois's junior senator. He said Thursday that it "is always an opportunity I've cherished," a chance to step back from being "caught up in the noise and rancor that often passes as politics today."

"It is God who is infallible and not us," Obama said later. "Michelle reminds me of this often." your social media marketing partner


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+124 # fredboy 2012-02-02 11:57
Unfortunately, the tea partiers and other glassy-eyed Republicans could care less. Indeed, their beliefs oppose almost every teaching shared by Jesus. They are in fact anti-Christian, despite their church attendance. Anti-Christ.

Take a peak at the 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Then think about it.
+15 # 2012-02-02 16:40
Church & State need to be kept separate. America has always been a melting pot & a nation which honors religious freedom. Christianity,Ca tholicism Judiasm, Buddhism have no place in goverment or politics. Liberals are upset at the self-righteous, pious, hypocritical Sopistry coming from the Republicans in regard to "What it means to be a true Christian",in their subjective opinion & in the legal sense AKA PRO-LIFE! Tea Party ideation proscribes a neat, sneaky merger of church & state to aid their cause(s). Liberal Democrats will fight tooth & nail to protect constitutional rights which guarantee our religious freedom by separation of church & state

Where is Obama with all this? Last month, he signed a detention detainment without due process bill into law. This month he's using the same "religiosity rhetoric" of the Tea Party candidates.

"What would Jesus do?", Obama asks the voters with the pseudo-piety of Rick Santorium. Does anyone really care what Jesus would do (metaphorically speaking) about fracking, taxes, global warming, etc.? I don't think so! We want our candidates to tell us what they intend to do & how & when they intend to do it.

I have two questions for the DNC:

Why is Obama "dumbing down" his constituents to the level of
Tea Party members?

What happened to our two party system?
+7 # JudyC 2012-02-02 22:21
They COULDN'T care less........... ...
-42 # BobbyLip 2012-02-02 12:24
And would Jesus authorize drone attacks, too? Just shut up and be President, BO.
-32 # 2012-02-02 12:59
BobbyLip: Using Religiosity as rhetorical spin to counter-attack
hypocritical religiosity being use by Republicans shows how far
Obama will go with his hypocricy.

No, BOBBYLIP, Jesus, the Buddah & Yeshiva would NOT condone "drone
attacks" or the fascist bill BO
signed and not much else that's
going on in Washington.
+59 # Todd Williams 2012-02-02 13:17
Just shut up? Ha, Ha, Ha! That's a good one. If Obama was a no-show at the breakfast he'd be declared a Muslim or worse, an aetheist. If he wasn't pious, he be called a fake Christian. Indeed, he should never talk about praying on his knees because he'll again be labeled a Muslim. As far a drone attacks and other war behgavior, every freaking president has claimed to be a Christian and many have been involved in some type of military action. Not new to Obama's presidency. I suppose he should have prayed with OBL instead of having him killed?
-5 # Ninure 2012-02-02 13:28
John the Baptist would.

And then there is the Jesus from the book of Revalation.

So you shut up.

Just kidding, Bro.
+8 # reiverpacific 2012-02-02 19:47
Quoting Ninure:
John the Baptist would.

And then there is the Jesus from the book of Revalation.

So you shut up.

Just kidding, Bro.

+58 # raporeal 2012-02-02 13:05
I find it disgusting that every politician is forced to pander to religion. How can anyone in this day and age believe that with all the death and destruction perpetrated by governments and zealots, in the name of freedom, God, territory, etc. that we have anything to do with a belief in a diety. Mass delusion, mass escuses, mass hypocrisy, mass opiate. Uggg.
+49 # Todd Williams 2012-02-02 13:35
Can't get an argument from me on that comment. As an aetheist, I am particularly offended by religion and its role in all governments, particularly ours. Furthermore, I am deeply offended by "prayer breakfasts" which apparently require mandatory presidential attendance. It's time to get religion out of our government! I'm sick of the born-again-Chri stians and call them "American Taliban."
+17 # 2012-02-02 16:53
JFK was a Catholic POTUS and he never ever drew upon it speaking to the public to appease, convince, excuse or for any other reason because he made a promise to the American people to honor the constitution by keeping religion out of politics and separate from the nation he presided over. That's a mark of strong character and integrity. Politicians do not have to pander to religion as raporeal states; only those who are willing to compromise.
+18 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-02 19:37
That was in another day and age. Now unless you are practically living in a church, you don't stand too much of a chance of being elected. The whole right wing has gone shatbit crazy over the separation of church and state. They're even criticizing JFK for bringing it up.

Then there is the survey that showed that atheists ranked below rapists in the general public's trust. It sort of tells you what our society is like anymore.
+13 # Majikman 2012-02-02 23:29
Right on! I couldn't agree more. When the American Taliban talk about religious freedom, they mean theirs...noone else's.
+14 # ER444 2012-02-02 16:07
Amen... oh shit... was that pandering to? Why can't we all just practice what we all know to be right? Where is Ghandi when we need him?
+5 # Doubter 2012-02-02 20:26
Holy shit!
(that's what it is)
+21 # reiverpacific 2012-02-02 13:08
Aye, and look what happened to him at the specific demand and betrayal of the Sanhedrin, who's profits from the sales in the temple courtyard were the targets of J's famed outburst.
-And the Kennedys, and MLK-and---!!!!!
For "Sanhedrin", substitute the "Corporate State" bolstered by the Military death machine and the C.I.A.
-And for Chrissake (no pun intended), what's with this "Prayer Breakfast crap anyway? What a bloody ridiculous example of nationalistic self-aggrandize ment and justification for assumed American exceptionalism, much like the old anthem of the former exploitative and failed British Empire "God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!"
Just another buffer from reality beteween us and the powerful!
+51 # giraffee2012 2012-02-02 13:19
President Obama will go down in history (no - not as the first black president) but because he is consistent and has succeeded in areas that other Presidents have failed and succeeded with the bigots on the right smoking as ever as if the KKK never died - I know they are called skin heads, etc now -- but no matter which state a Republican lives in - their "whiteness" shines -- and they can't hide their prejudice.

I cannot understand how anyone who is not white can be a Republican -- but then in 1933 Jews (even) voted for Hitler.

Unless you are blind, deaf, and dumb - do not vote Republican -

BUT VOTE in 2012 - and make sure we get a Democratic Congress.

By 2016 there should be a third party . . .
+39 # raporeal 2012-02-02 13:26
Sad to note giraffee that many ARE blind, deaf, dumb and let's not forget bigoted and ignorant. They swell the Republican ranks.
+8 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-02 19:38
Emphasis on the Democratic Congress part.
-3 # 2012-02-04 11:47
How abour Herman Cain?
+34 # bobby t. 2012-02-02 13:24
how many people have been killed and tortured all in the name of one god or another? drones have nothing to do with the fact that the republicans have cut revenue in order to regain power. no new taxes puts us into recession. very patriotic. not.
+19 # Gord84 2012-02-02 14:01
Oh No! Jesus would tax the wealthy? Then he is no Christian (by today's defination).
+6 # CandH 2012-02-02 14:59
Yay, the corporate tax loopholes eliminated, the offshoring income tax havens closed, the capital gains tax rates raised! (Gadot-line Phone rings...Um, hello? Wait, no?)

Gadot couldn't make the speech...
+1 # CandH 2012-02-03 14:13
Sorry, was hurried walking out the door. Meant Godot...
-55 # Robt Eagle 2012-02-02 15:21
Obama's arrogance has NO limit. He invokes Jesus as if he knows what he might do? Please....
-9 # Billy Bob 2012-02-02 15:33
I know! He's getting more like a repuglican every day!
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-02-02 15:33
Oh wait! I forgot, it's ok when they do it, right?
+12 # Todd Williams 2012-02-02 19:38
Eagle, are you joking or what? You're constant anti-Obama comments slay me, dude.
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-02-02 20:11
The funniest thing is how "the robbed eagle" will go out of his way to agree with LIBERAL beliefs if it helps to bring down a non-republican.
+6 # reiverpacific 2012-02-02 19:54
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Obama's arrogance has NO limit. He invokes Jesus as if he knows what he might do? Please....

Well, you do that all the time on RSN, with you presumptions that everybody left of Mussolini is a waster and leech on the system -like the military is in spades.
+9 # RLF 2012-02-03 06:48
The ones who are really bad at evokeing JeSSus and putting unethical words in his mouth are the Repubes...they are just sure JeSSus would kill all of the muslims and jews leaving a perfect world with christians having all of the oil and chow...and lots of unaborted children starving to death.
+14 # NormaCE 2012-02-02 16:16
The Prayer Breakfasts may be a remnant of a time when people presumed a "Christian America." This is--and always has been--a wonderfully pluralistic nation. That calls for people of every faith, and of no faith, to speak about the foundations of their beliefs and values in the public arena. In a time when the Christian politically evangelical right assumes they speak for all Christians and that America is God's chosen people on earth, we need reminders that all people in this country, indeed all people in the world, are significant, have meaning and worth. That includes the poor about whom Romney isn't even concerned. So I'm pleased about the words Obama spoke.
+5 # reiverpacific 2012-02-02 19:52
Quoting NormaCE:
The Prayer Breakfasts may be a remnant of a time when people presumed a "Christian America." This is--and always has been--a wonderfully pluralistic nation. That calls for people of every faith, and of no faith, to speak about the foundations of their beliefs and values in the public arena. In a time when the Christian politically evangelical right assumes they speak for all Christians and that America is God's chosen people on earth, we need reminders that all people in this country, indeed all people in the world, are significant, have meaning and worth. That includes the poor about whom Romney isn't even concerned. So I'm pleased about the words Obama spoke.

So why in a mass prayer setting, like a bloody mega-church? Dennis Kucinich is Bhuddist and I'd like to hear his take on this. I know, I know, MLK did what he did in "God's Name" but he wasn't in the White House.
+5 # 2012-02-02 23:12
MLK was sincere and it was appropriate for his "I Have a Dream" message. There was no Sophistry in MLK, or JFK and Bobby Kennedy. those were the best of times, politically and the worst of times.
The energy and passion was phenomenal.
+26 # leedeegirl 2012-02-02 17:22
yup ... Jesus would tax the rich, and the Republicans would crucify him ALL OVER AGAIN ...
+7 # jon 2012-02-02 18:58
Because Jesus was a LIBERAL!
+8 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-02 19:43
What makes you think that hasn't already happened? For all you know, He already came the second time and was sent to some black site reserved for the worst of the worst terrorists. Or was deported. Or was eliminated by one of the black ops.

Read a short story once about Jesus coming back and living with the dregs of society and when he tried to make things better for them, some nameless government law enforcement agency assassinated him.
+5 # Texas Aggie 2012-02-02 19:44
"Avoiding phony religiosity."

I imagine that this statement will be picked up by the right wing as another attack by Obama and the left wing on the "true guardians of Christianity."
+8 # angelfish 2012-02-02 18:17
If Jesus were to enter the Halls of Congress he would throw the "Money Changers" OUT! It's a scene I would DEARLY love to witness!
+10 # Steve5551 2012-02-02 18:26
Well, Well, Well! Yes, Billy Graham ran up to the White House every time one of the crimminals summoned him to bless a war or to soothe their guilty conscience. He buddied up with LBJ when he more appropriately should have encouraged Johnson to have come clean about the Kennedy coup. He buddied up with Nixon when he could have confronted him about the murder of the Kent State students. Did Graham march with MLK? Did he condemn Vietnam? Has he ever encouraged politicians to fund social programs rather than spending obscene amounts of money on war? My point is Billy Graham, being held-up as an example of righteousness, sainthood, holiness is an absolute contradiction of terms. If anything, Billy Graham represents the undoing of social justice in the USofA by way of his popularizing civil religion-the baptizing the United States a "Christain" nation, understanding the United States to be God's righteous instrument for doing God's will. What's more, Obama is simply playing the deceptive game that his predicessors have played. By dropping Billy Graham's name at a prayer breakfast equals votes from the shallow and unquestioning evangelical crowd. Obama is anything but a source of hope and change. He is yet another president in a long line of presidents who would do anything to get a vote.
+2 # 2012-02-02 20:23
Steve5551: Right on the mark!
+13 # Brielle 2012-02-02 18:30
If the rich knew God, they would know to share their wealth with no need for governments or taxes.
+10 # futhark 2012-02-02 19:56
And the money from the rich might be channeled into socially useful activity, instead of being used to support military aggression.
+8 # bluescat48 2012-02-02 19:55
@ leedeegirl, I fully agree, for one thing they wouldn't recognize him, since, if one follows his teachings, the right-wingers would be in the same position as the Pharisees 2000 years ago. He doesn't fit their perceived notion of what he is.
+11 # JudyC 2012-02-02 22:19
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matthew 19-24
+5 # mhog jones 2012-02-02 23:46
The remnants of my tribe were christian and settled when the u.s. calvary appropriated our farms for white settlers: they killed every man, woman, and child with hammer blows to the head as they kneeled and prayed for mercy (bullets being too good for them); basically all those who were foolish enough to trust in christ and his sociopathic disciples and not flee.
-2 # thymesup 2012-02-03 06:32
great comments seeing through his hypocrisy. at the huge '03 anti war rally in d.c., a t.v. newsman came up to ask me what i'd tell bush if i could. i said, " for a supposed christian, he's not acting much like one."

it boggles my mind (but proves how even npr pushes the status quo and makes people think they're so liberal) how so many still support obama when immediately after election he proved how bad he is for civil liberties-worse than bush even.
and the 'historic health care legislation' he got through is pretty nearly exactly what the insurance companies wanted.
nice so many.most here see the hypocrisy. i was reminded of bush using graham in a similar way,. can understand only how he wants to appear 'un muslim' to the fox news viewers who think he's muslim, socialist, communist and a hater of america.'

perhaps all here should also visit conservative websites to counterract that party line/share realistic views-truth with others not so astute!!
+2 # thymesup 2012-02-03 06:40
How Christian is 'our' drone program? Stand with the ACLU Tell President Obama: We need transparency about the government's targeted killing program.
The Obama administration has released very little information about its targeted killing program. Its official position is that the program is a state secret — and some of the information it has released has been misleading. However, some officials, including President Obama, have spoken about the program. They have publicly claimed responsibility for killing al-Awlaki, and they have more generally defended the government's right to kill citizens after a secret non-judicial process.

Soon after the fall 2011 drone strikes, the ACLU submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice.2 Three months later,they have yet to receive a single document in response.

-3 # RLF 2012-02-03 06:53
Once again, Obama is on the campaign trail and hard at telling everyone exactly what they want to hear...and when reelected will do the banker's bidding...same as this term.
+4 # castaway5555 2012-02-03 07:44
Important words spoken at a Prayer Breakfast. I quite agree with some of the comments - I wish we were at a point when faith-talk wasn't a political necessity, but it is these days. I find Obama's faith-talk measured and reasonable, and accurate. I don't like Prayer Breakfasts - I think they're mostly an empty show of religiosity. Oh well ...
+8 # Linda 2012-02-03 08:33
Can you imagine the field day the christian right would have if Obama had refused to attend the prayer breakfast ?

I think he just may have used the opportunity to point out to the right that they are hypocrits when it comes to following their religious beliefs .

I too wish there never were any Prayer Breakfast and that all religions be practiced in the privacy of our homes and churches not in our government .
Yes we could use someone with empathy and good moral values to lead us but they shouldn't have to prove a belief in christianity to become president . Good moral values don't come from religions they come from our conscience to do what is fair and right !

As far as Billy Graham goes he is just another rich televangeles who made millions if not billions off believers.
I don't consider him any more righteous than the rest of us believers and non believers . In fact because he made a pretty hefty living out of preaching to me makes him sleazy not righteous ! He is just one of many who made religion a profitable business !
-6 # 2012-02-03 12:34
I am not religious but most of the comments I see here show a deep ignorance of what Christians (other than those subscribing to "liberation theology") actually believe.

Most Christians believe that Christ urged rich people to give to the poor so that the souls of the rich could be saved -- Christ did not go to Rome to lobby the Emperor to raise taxes to provide a safety net for the poor. The point Christ made was not to provide for the poor (who "are always with us" as Christ reminded us) but to save the souls of wealthy people. And only voluntary charity could save the souls of wealthy people -- coerced taxation would not be useful.

Worse, when Obama used that particular parable, he essentially compared himself to God, a blasphemy in any Christian sect.

I expect that Obama does subscribe to "liberation theology" as promulgated in Jeremiah Wright's church, but someone ought to clue him in that this is not the only (or even dominant) Christian vision so that, perhaps, he will stop trying to manipulate religion for secular purposes and, perhaps, even avoid blaspheming.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+3 # Steve5551 2012-02-03 13:10
I could only wish, hope and pray that Obama was a subscriber of Liberation Theology and that Jeremiah Wright was his spiritual advisor. I think Jeremiah Wright is of the stripe and spiritual persuation of Martin Luther King and Jesus. Billy Graham on the other hand and the typical Mega Church pastor now are totally secular, anti separation of Church and State and contributors to this dilution of spiritual discipline in the USofA.
+3 # David Starr 2012-02-05 14:58
This may have been said in previous posts but here goes: Didn't Jesus Christ once say that a camel has as much chance of going through the eye of a needle as a rich man has to get to heaven? The Dems & especially the Repubs are not exactly emulating their savior. I suppose they think that Christ was a "capitalist"? More blatant contradictions.
+2 # bsmith 2012-02-09 22:16
Unfortunately its true that atheists are seen in a worse light than rapist and the reason for that is ignorance. When someone says the word atheist, all they hear/think is devil worshiper...

Which is just so laughable and tragic at the same time.

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