God & Money

Many of our viewers emailed us with their outraged comments after Congressman Charlie Rangel asked "what would Jesus do?" when it comes to the current debt debate in Washington.

He struck a nerve.

The implications from Mr. Rangel were clear. He believes God is on the side of the Democrats and all those who believe cutting many welfare or other spending programs is immoral.

Based on what you might see on other networks or in the newspapers, you might be inclined to agree.

Sadly, the average journalist holed up here in New York, or in Washington, D.C. is not very well-schooled in what the Bible and other sacred texts teach us about anything, especially when it comes to charity, morality, and meritocracy.

Varney & Company, with regular guests that include theologians like Fr. Jonathan Morris, Judge Andrew Napolitano and a prominent Rabbi or two is NOT guilty of that particular trend.

Throw in a yeshiva boy like me, and you have more than enough religious education to refute the not-so-subtle anti-Republican, anti-Tea Party inclinations from Mr. Rangel.

Starting with Jewish teachings, the Talmud tells us that any money that someone gives to another under duress, (like taxes), cannot be consider an act of kindness or a good deed like charity. It's nice if that money is used to help the poor or for some other good purpose, but the great Judeo-Christian belief in Free Will trumps the "end justifies the means" argument when it comes to what happens to your money.

And this argument is much more than just academic in places like Europe, where high taxes and a long-held belief that the government is ultimately responsible for everyone's well being has yielded a society that gives almost no charity and pales in comparison to the generosity and volunteerism, (most often organized by churches or synagogues), we see here in America.

It is that result that spurs many conservatives and religious Americans to conclude that higher taxes and runaway government spending are the true immoral behaviors, even when they are supposedly carried out to help the less fortunate.

So I actually agree with Congressman Rangel. Let's indeed ask what Jesus or Moses would do right now... just don't ask the question if you're not ready to hear a more learned answer!