What Would Jesus Do… About America’s Struggling Economy?

An illustration of Jesus

Would Jesus be in favor of big government? Photo: Getty Images

What’s the role of government in helping people cope with a difficult economy? This election year, conservative and liberal Christians are debating… should Americans, through our government, take care of “the least of these”… or does the Bible suggest we should cut taxes and get government out of the way?

What would Jesus do? What (in short) is government for, in the eyes of Christian voters? NPR’s Barbara Bradley Haggerty explored the question on Morning Edition.

What would Jesus do with the U.S. economy?

That’s a matter of fierce debate among Christians — with conservatives promoting a small-government Jesus and liberals seeing Jesus as an advocate for the poor.

After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus’ command to care for the poor.

Not so, says Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee. He told Christian Broadcasting Network last week that it was his Catholic faith that helped shape the budget plan. In his view, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity suggests the government should have little role in helping the poor.

“Through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities — through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community — that’s how we advance the common good,” Ryan said.

Through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities — through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community — that’s how we advance the common good.
- Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
The best thing that government can do, he said, is get out of the way.

Read and listen to the full story here.