February 2nd, 2012
04:56 PM ET
NEW YORK(CNNMoney) - What Would Jesus ... Deduct?
President Obama offered a new line of reasoning for hiking taxes on the rich on Thursday, saying at the National Prayer Breakfast that his policy proposals are shaped by his religious beliefs.
Obama said that as a person who has been "extraordinarily blessed," he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.
"For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus's teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required," Obama said, quoting the Gospel of Luke.
Obama wants to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for the richest Americans, and he has embraced the idea that wealthy Americans should not be paying a lower effective tax rate than those in the middle or lower classes.
He has argued that those policies offer Americans a "fair shot" and increased equality, while implying that the policies favored by Republicans do not.
But the overt connection between religious beliefs and political policies is new.
"I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years," Obama said. "And I believe in God's command to love thy neighbor as thyself. I know a version of that golden rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs."
An administration official speaking on background told CNN that Obama viewed the speech as chance to explain his personal faith practices and to show "his desire to step in the gap for those who are vulnerable."
So what does the Bible say about taxes?