Rick Warren: What Does Fairness Mean?

By Mo Johnson (Virginia )

Rick Warren, pastor of the megachurch in California Saddleback and author of Purpose Driven Life was recently asked (on ABC News) what he thought about President Obama's increasing focus on God's command to care for those less fortunate than ourselves. His "yes, but" reponse reminded me of Bill Clinton's famous parsing of the word "is." Here, pastor Warren parses the word "fairness." Here's what he said:

Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor....But there's a fundamental question on the meaning of "fairness." Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.

The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth. When you subsidize people, you create the dependency. You — you rob them of dignity.

So, helping the poor robs them of their dignity? Hmmm -- let them eat cake I suppose. WWJD?

Look, I'm all for individual responsibility. And, I believe we need to create jobs and wealth rather than just redistribute it. Yes, equality of opportunity -- not equality of outcome. I'm for all of this. Jesus would be too.

But, the question is how do we provide equality of opportunity? How do we build a society that cultivates opportunity for all? This is where conservatives, Christians and non-Christians alike, have no answer.

We do it by ensuring the basic building blocks are there for all. Everyone should have a quality education, health care and nutritious food. Our society should guarantee that. It's good for everyone.

Furthermore, we should be working together to create conditions for economic prosperity for all. Again, quality education and health care are essential. But, so are investments in infrastructure, efficient transportation, and clean energy. Those are the things needed to create a robust economy that will provide equality of opportunity for all. A strong safety net and a vibrant economy -- that's what we need.

And, we are a rich country. We can afford all of this with just taxation.

I guess I just don't get Christians like Rick Warren. I think they let their politics get in the way of their theology. And, to make matters worse, their politics are wrong.

Comments for Rick Warren: What Does Fairness Mean:

Great Article About Rick Warren and Fairness - by Anny

Here's a great article about Rick Warren and his ideas of "fairness" -- both from a practical and biblical perspective.

Morgan Guyton on Rick Warren.

Whether or not dependency is created is irrelevant to the commands of scripture - by JT

The Biblical commandments to feed the poor do not concern themselves with whether or not they were creating dependency. That's an excuse of satan that's been made up to rationalize greed.

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