February 2, 2012; Source: Wall Street Journal | At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, President Obama promoted his economic policies, in particular the “Buffett Rule,” which would ensure that millionaires pay a 30 percent tax rate, by calling on his religious beliefs.
“In a time when many folks are struggling and at a time when we have enormous deficits,” said the president, “it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.”
“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,” Obama said.
Sign up for our free newsletters
Subscribe to NPQ's newsletters to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
“When I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us,” Obama said, “I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody, but I also do it because I know far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years. And I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’”
He added that the principle also “mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others; or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.”
This comes as Newt Gingrich has accused Obama of having “declared war on the Catholic Church” because the president refused to exempt religious employers from a federal requirement that health care plans cover contraception. –Ruth McCambridge