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Because South Carolina’s higher education system needs more excuses to spend taxpayer money, a forum is being held on the campus of Clemson University this week that seeks to answer the question “Was Jesus A Socialist?”

Debating this premise will be Robert P. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, and Ron Snider, a professor of theology at the Palmer Theological Seminary.

South Carolina’s social conservatives are ready to stack the crowd in favor of the Godly.

“Let’s pack Clemson out with Palmetto Family folks and cheer on faith and free enterprise!” Palmetto Family Council president Oran Smith wrote in an email to supporters.

So … what’s the answer?

Well, those who claim Jesus was a socialist frequently cite his exhortation to a rich man to “go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

But this was a voluntary divesture – which we know because the rich man declined to follow Jesus’ advice.

In fact the whole thing was a test of the man’s ability to break with what mattered most to him – his wealth. A test he failed.

And while Christianity is rooted in contempt for materialism, that by no means implies that its namesake was a socialist. Just the opposite is true, actually.

Jesus frequently spoke out in favor of paying workers the wages they were due, and in one famous story – the parable of the talents – he spoke of a master chiding his servant for producing no return on an investment.

“You ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest,” the master said.

Yeah … that sounds like a real socialist to us.

Oh well …

The biggest irony of this totally pointless taxpayer-funded debate? It’s being sponsored by a so-called “Institute for the Study of Capitalism.” At a government-run school.

Sheesh …

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