Overheard on CNN.com: Jesus' take on helping poor, Trump's big endorsement
Readers are debating how President Barack Obama's religious beliefs should affect his economic policies.
February 2nd, 2012
07:30 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Jesus' take on helping poor, Trump's big endorsement

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Our readers had varying thoughts on a story about President Barack Obama's comments on how his religious beliefs affect his policy decisions at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Obama: Jesus would back my tax-the-rich policy

Many disagreed with Obama.

RoboKnuckle: "For the first time in your presidency I can say that you are right Mr. Obama. People should be helping their less fortunate neighbors as the Bible says. But here is where you are wrong: I don't remember the Bible stating that we should give it to the government for them to decide who our donations help. I believe that is why there are numerous charities and nonprofit organizations available for people to do this on their own. I have very little faith in the government getting my donations to the deserving parties."

Others said Jesus would lean a bit to the left.

FreeRadicals: "Jesus would be a liberal. I can't imagine how he would react to the GOP pretending to be Christians."

But many readers didn't think the government needs to be the vector for social assistance.

papillon1: "Yes, Jesus taught us to be compassionate and help the poor, but where does Jesus tell us to have Big Government do it for us? We are to do it directly. Get government out of the welfare business, and let us keep our dollars for local people helping local people."

Others said one should not confuse religion and government.

MediaFakery: "Jesus wasn't into governments or killing people in order to feel safer ... sorry ... the USA is about as far from a Christian nation as you can get, despite the rhetoric. We're all just a bunch of hypocrites."

BubbaJ: "Humanity as a whole is about as far away from the good doctrine and practices of any religion as we can get."

cmcle: "That's right, move elsewhere, you complainers. We don't need you here, we're happy here. Don't try to change things, and how dare you criticize a country so great as to afford you the right of freedom of speech and all the other fundamental freedoms. Either accept your lot or go live somewhere else."

Others said there are phrases in the Bible that support liberal policies.

awasis: "Republicans like to claim Jesus as their own, but Jesus explicitly says that it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. And the Republican party is for the rich. It also says in the Bible that you cannot serve both God and money. Yet the Republican party's message is not about helping the poor but helping the rich. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and not the rich."

But then, there are other aspects to the Bible.

CareShare: "The Bible advocates caring for the poor, but it does not say anything about doing that through the government. I would much rather give my contributions to churches, charities, and other nonprofit groups to help the poor rather than to an inefficient, bureaucratic and irresponsible government behemoth."

Some said people should keep the issues addressed separately.

It_could_always_be_worse: "Keep Jesus out of your mess. He has nothing to do with this economic mess. It is all our fault. Also, do not mix religion and state. They live in different worlds. '...give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.' "

This person suggested that Biblical instructions apply only to people, not government.

nomorecommie: "First of all, Jesus was not a socialist. He taught about personal responsibility. Jesus never advocated that government do anything. He did teach that individuals should care for those less fortunate. He also said that we would always have the poor among us. All Biblical instructions were for individual Christians and churches, never government. Many have wrongly used the first Christians in Jerusalem as Marxists because they all shared what they had. Fact is that they were there a short time only as they prepared to take the message worldwide. So the claim they were Marxists is baseless. Finally, the books of Thessalonians were written to teach Christians how to handle the able bodied among them who did not wish to work. The instruction was "A man who doesn't work shouldn't eat." Quite far from Marxism. Thus claims that Jesus was a socialist or Christians were socialists are void of any Biblical support and truth. Funny but most people who spout such untruths aren't believers anyway."

Others said they thought Democrats (and Republicans) are being hypocritical.

JSAllen: "Hypocrisy alert! We aren't supposed to pray in schools. We aren't supposed to bring religion into court or law or any part of government (separation of government and religion after all), yet it's OK for the president to go to a religious gathering and try and use religion to make us obey him and support his programs? I don't think so. Mr. President, you owe us an apology!"

PurdueEE: "I agree, I'm voting Republican. Religion has no place in politics, so I'll go vote for the people who base their entire social argument on the Bible."

bertiem: "I dont know about supposed to when it happens all the time in public schools. Prayers are said as well as given in speeches in public schools."

There's another important question to ask: What would former President Ronald Reagan do?

Sirned: "We have a social contract with each other. Obama is right, caring for those less fotunate is what makes us different than third world countries. These values were championed by Reagon. What happened to the Republican party? It's changed ..."

ahaymon: "Being a true Reagan-'ite' myself, let's not deify the man. Reagan also shut down a large portion of social programs in his time. Thus, there were a lot less taxes needed."

In other news, Donald Trump's endorsement of Mitt Romney got a lot of comments from our readers. Here's a couple:

Trump endorses Romney

Many readers were perplexed at what they were seeing.

Fandancy: "Poor Donald. He just can't stop himself from trying to stay in the spotlight, even when he has to make a fool of himself to do so. First, he was toying with running for president. Then he wasn't. Then he was. Then he fired the Republican party. Now he's endorsing Romney because he thinks Romney is electable and he wants to be associated with a winner (even though he issued the kiss of death to Romney by endorsing him). The poor guy is so starved for attention he'll do anything to try to keep the spotlight on him. Go comb your combover and leave us alone, Donald. We're so tired of you even if you can't control yourself. Go back to your stupid reality program, which only desperate people like you watch, and fire some dummy. Better yet, have your 'investigators' investigate you to see what is wrong with you that you are so desperate for attention. There must be a medical term for what's wrong with you."

Others suggested Romney and Trump have a few things in common.

longtooth: "Two guys who make their money firing people. One contender, one pretender. Who in their right mind would want an endorsement from someone whose credibility is beyond repair, and whose image, (self-created), is that of a fabulously wealthy billionaire who has never experienced a normal life?"

Some felt sorry for Newt Gingrich.

Panabiker: "To Newt, who kissed Donald's ring on a number of occasions, this must hurt. Trump does not want to endorse someone who will lose the nomination. It would make Trump look bad and that's the bottom line."

Still others wondered about Trump's motivations.

ALP65: "In other words, the Donald has decided Romney will win the nomination and wants to get his endorsement on record so he can claim the credit."

They also wondered about the candidates' motivations.

patw2100: "It is hard to believe that two people running for president will get on their knees and beg someone like Trump to endorse them. What has he ever done other than file for bankruptcy a couple of times, buy the worst hairpiece in American history, and have a terrible show on television?"

Terry Henderson: "Its called fishing for vice presidency ... He couldn't get it with Newt so moved to Romney. It's all deceit and dishonesty in our political system. The worst spend more money to get in peoples faces and the stupid believe what they say even though they change it every month. How much more obvious can it get and still people don't get what's going on? Can't fix stupid is right!"

What do you think about these stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Celebrity • Donald Trump • Elections • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Religion
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    @Mr. Your- Or that.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mr. Your comment is awaiting moderation

    If Jesus walked the earth today, he would speak to the lady of the evening on the street. He would speak to the carpenters and the fishermen who would gather in large crowds to hear his words of truth. Those whom were exposed by his words would then arrest him, convict him in a closed-door session of court, and then electrocute him.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scottish Mama

    @ Your- you are wise. It is when you think you are better than others you loose sight of what is important or needed.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mr. Your comment is awaiting moderation

    ...if he had time, he might even march into one of our Federal Reserve Central Bank's, make whip from some curtain pullchords, and start crackin'. Prolly not, though. Few are the ones who associate God with Wall Street whereas many were the jews who associated God's house, [the Temple in Jerusalem where Jesus made a whip and drove the greedy money men out] with money.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mr. Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Jesus return has already occured, in spirit. Many confuse his second coming with Armageddon. The two are complete and seperate events, with Jesus' second coming preceding Armageddon by enough years for everyone to be warned.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    @Your- He would be in there for a long time, he may have to make two when the one whip was worn out. I can think of a couple of houses that need cleaning. lol

    February 3, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    @Your-We as a people can only live our lives, it will take some miracles to mend spirits. Forgiveness makes it easier.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mr. Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Throughout the earth you will find those speaking the truth based on that book President Obama swore on, the bible. You won't find them speaking to the political leaders on world stages. You will find them speaking to the ladies of the evening. You will find them speaking to the carpenters and the fishermen who gather in large crowds to hear words of truth. And you will find them tarred and feathered in your history books. And you will also find them recorded in nazi concentration camps refusing Hitler. And you will find them fighting all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to speak the truth to you. But you won't find them in bed with rulers of men.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. BOMBO ©

    What is with you people? I, personally, had a fine sleep. Jesus told me to get up from the computer and go to bed. I obeyed. Didn't he tell you all the same thing hours ago?

    February 3, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. john aguilar

    Matthew 22:15-22

    New International Version (NIV)
    Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
    15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

    18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

    21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

    Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

    22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • AntiPalinAlaskan

      Ahhh...but he doesn't say "give to Caesar what Caesar SAYS is Caesar's". In fact, Jesus doesn't technically say what is Caesar's at all. Jesus, contrary to 2,000 years or right-wing misinterpretation, does NOT say that Christians are obligated to support the political and economic status quo in whatever country they happen to dwell.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joshua

    so when OBAMA takes money from the poor to bail out his buddies on Wall Street, he considers them poor. How long will us poor people have to work to pay off his other trillion dollar give away to his union boss buddies.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lilyrosalie

    Perhaps you would have preferred to experience another Great Depression?? If all the banks had failed, we would be in a much worse situation. The fault lies in the lack of regulation of the banking and mortgage industries that caused the economic collapese. It also lies in the fact that here we are, four years later and no one seems to have gone to jail. The fault lies with the American people for electing someone (George W) whose financial policy led to this situation. Really sad.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AntiPalinAlaskan

    The headline on this was confusing: Trump would NEVER endorse Jesus.

    February 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. venetian deep stack

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    May 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
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