Rep. Gohmert: Jesus Didn't Want Taxes To Help Poor People

November 28, 2011 4:02 pm ET — Kate Conway

Rep. Louie Gohmert

For an interview between two of the most extreme personalities on the national stage, Rep. Louie Gohmert's (R-TX) conversation with Glenn Beck this morning was surprisingly tame — until Beck tried to say goodbye. Cutting off the former television host, Gohmert had one additional point to make: Jesus never authorized the government to "abuse your taxing authority" for the purposes of charity:

GOHMERT: Can I add one other thing real quick? You talk about on your TV show and radio charity begins in the home. We have a lot of people that quote scripture and I love it when people do on the floor, but I've pointed out before Jesus never said, "Go ye therefore, use and abuse your taxing authority, take somebody else's money to help." He said you do it with your own money and the best example is what Zacchaeus did after he met Jesus. He went and cut taxes. So we are supposed to provide for the common defense and create a protected country, according to Romans 13, where people are free to help the poor and needy, but we as a federal government are supposed to provide for the common defense and we haven't been doing it, but I appreciate you educating all of us, and thank you so much Glenn.


It hardly needs to be said that many people make a habit of projecting their own ideologies onto the Bible. And there are plenty of people who would dispute Gohmert's biblical argument against helping people via federal programs.

There's also a problem with Gohmert's reference. Zacchaeus, a tax collector, only appears once in the Bible, in Luke 19 — and he doesn't cut taxes. In fact, as a tax collector (not a ruler), he doesn't have the authority to do so; instead, after meeting Jesus, he pledges to give away half his wealth and to restore money to those he has cheated through abuse of his authority.