commentary: A Wide Separation
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 18-Sep-10; Sermon #1012c; 11 minutes
John Ritenbaugh reflects that much of the news centers around inequities, such as tax cuts and tax rates. God does not penalize people for being successful by charging a progressive income tax. God favors a flat tax, as exemplified by the one size fits all tithe. The leftist progressive income tax is actually blatant stealing. A veteran who has given his life and limb for our country has been treated more shabbily than an illegal alien woman who has given birth to eight anchor babies, living comfortably on the backs of working people. The liberal Democrat congress has authorized the printing of billboards bragging about how many jobs they created, when in reality the job losses are greater than before the ill-conceived stimulus package.
Well, today is the day that we observe in anticipation of the time when the entire world and all of it's very diverse populations are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. It marks the day when all the injustices and inequities of life will begin to be ironed out and dissolved by reason of righteousness.
For some reason, much of the news that crossed my desk this past week focused on inequities. Inequities like the ones that I'm going to give to you exist because we've lost the ability to judge righteously. It began early this week in the argument over whether to end the Bush tax cuts on those who are earning $250,000 or more per year. I wonder if you realize that doing such a thing is a sin. It is a sin to charge one people or group of people more than it is to charge somebody else. It should be one price for everybody. Listen to this. This comes from Deuteronomy 25, and this is just one place that it's mentioned in the Bible. I believe that God addresses this five times, which means that it is to Him of considerable importance.
Deuteronomy 25:13-15 You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, [listen to this:] that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
That makes it pretty important. Long life is attached to dealing fairly.
I do not know whether you know it or not, but God believes in a flat tax. To do the kind of thing that this nation is doing in charging one group of people more than another group of people—in other words, these graduated tax rates that they have is something that doesn't set well with God.
The tithe is a good example. It's 10% regardless of whether you make $2 million, $1 million, or like must of us, $30,000-$50,000. God charges everybody exactly the same amount. Anything beyond that that they would like to contribute, that's up to them. God has offerings to take care of that, where He doesn't measure it. So, it's inequality to take from one and give to another solely based on the fact that one has been more successful than another in producing wealth. The government is not to be in the position of being a Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and taking from them and giving to the poor. If the person has accumulated the wealth illegally, that's a different thing altogether and it should be happening taken care of in a legal manner. But if the family accumulated the wealth through discipline and careful management, they should not be forced to pay a higher tax rate. What the government is doing is nothing more than legalized stealing of wealth.
A second issue came across my desk that involves of Vietnam vet who is living on Veterans Administration disability because during the Vietnamese war he was shot up and disabled to some extent. His pension amounts to $800 a month. He's not totally disabled and he is willing to work, but he has to find work that is within what his physical handicap is able to take care of. The problem is that he's in one of those financial loops you can't get out of, that goes 'round and 'round, and he cannot escape it. Now, why? Because everything that he earns must be the deducted from his disability pension. For example, if he earns $50, to be honest, he must report it to the Veterans Administration, and then he will receive only $750. In order to receive $800 in earnings, he must earn $1600 in order to clear what it have as income on his disability pension. Now he has been turned down in his requests for food stamps. He was told by the Social Services Department in his state that if they gave it to him, he would have to deduct it from his disability assistance, and he would only then receive what the remainder was.
Here comes the real catcher: The article contrasted him with a 25 year old illegal immigrant mother of eight anchor babies. She's been here long enough that she should have been able to get her citizenship, but instead she had eight babies all told. She lives in Florida, and she receives a stipend of just under $1500 per month per child, plus free medical care and free food stamps. That's $12,000 per month on which she pays no taxes. She receives more money in one month then he does in 15 months.
In addition, the article also pointed out that our federal government will supply any refugee a stipend of $1890 plus $580 in social assistance. That's $30,000 per year, and that money is tax free, too. This amounts to what a man earning $15 per hour what would receive, and that man—that laborer—has to pay taxes.
Another inequity. This is kind of a silly one, but it just shows the way we are going. A recently published book, a biography of the wife of the French President Sarkozy—her name is Carly and apparently a very fine lady. Well, she is quoted in this book as making an interesting comment that concerned Michelle Obama. Carly, during a visit to the United States, asked Michelle what she thinks of being America's First Lady. Michelle replied, "Don't ask. It's hell. I can't stand it."
I do not know what this lady—Michelle—was thinking, but it was a classless, flippant remark for her to say such a thing. This is a lady who goes first class everywhere she goes. This is a lady who, just a couple of months ago, spent $5,000,000 of American tax money on a vacation to Barcelona, Spain, using a five-star hotel, using 60 rooms for her party. What does it take to please her?
One final inequity: It was revealed this week that the Democratic administration is spending almost $192,000,000 plastering American highways with billboard signs bragging about how many jobs they have created with the TARP stimulus money. This, despite the fact that there are now 3,000,000 more unemployed since October 2008, when the stimulus money began flowing into the system. They still haven't spent it all, by the way. The stimulus money did not create jobs. At best, it did keep a smaller number from losing their jobs.
We live in a time very great inequities, and I believe that it's going to worsen. It is going to at least show us that mankind's governments have really, really screwed things up, and we simply do not have the character or the wisdom to do things righteously.