Paul Bayes, a senior Church of England Bishop of Liverpool, denounced evangelicals in the United States for supporting Donald Trump and his economic policies as they relate to the poor. Bayes told the Guardian: “Some of the things that have been said by religious leaders seem to collude with a system that marginalises the poor, a system which builds walls instead of bridges, a system which says people on the margins of society should be excluded, a system which says we’re not welcoming people any more into our country.”
Bayes, who has been bishop of Liverpool since 2014, said: “If people want to support rightwing populism anywhere in the world, they are free to do so. The question is, how are they going to relate that to their Christian faith?”
Let’s get something straight. Contrary to Bishop Bayes, Christians do not support all of Pres. Trump’s policies. When it came to voting in November 2016, the choice was easy given the fact that Hillary was the other choice. Almost no one can say that Hillary would have been the better choice except for people like Bishop Bayes who knows almost nothing about economics or much else about the Bible.
“And if what I believe are the clear teachings of the gospel about love for all, the desire for justice and for making sure marginalised and defenceless people are protected, if it looks as though those teachings are being contradicted, then I think there is a need to say so.”
What does Bishop Bayes offer as a remedy? Not anything that will actually help the poor. Governments can’t and don’t love. The things that will help the poor is to get them to believe and act on that belief that wealth redistribution is not in their best interest and money manipulation is generational theft. The poor need jobs, not government welfare checks and government housing. Government redistribution of other people’s money is neither charity nor morality.
When I was in seminary, there was almost no application of the Bible to issues like economics and politics, so it’s not surprising that someone like Bishop Bayes is ignorant on the subject.
My first introduction to the Bible and economics was a message that Dr. Gary North gave in the late 1970s at Reformed Theological Seminary. His message centered around Isaiah 1:
How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water.
Your rulers are rebels
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves a bribe
And chases after rewards.
They do not defend the orphan,
Nor does the widow’s plea come before them (vv. 21-23).
The economic portion of the message was based on “your silver has become dross” and “your drink diluted with water.”