The thought of Robin Hood swinging through the trees in Sherwood Forest is a noble concept. This hero of the persecuted is an arbiter of justice. He robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. But the story bears closer examination. Did Robin Hood actually “rob” from the rich to give to the poor? Or does this fictitious hero have another lesson tucked away in his quiver?
Social justice v. charity
Today a growing contingent in this nation believes it is right and somehow just for us to take from those who have plenty. After all, they can afford to part with a few extra dollars to help others. They have more than they need.
Social justice may seem logical and good. But how does it square with biblical principles? Doesn’t the Bible tell us to take care of those who are less fortunate? Of course it does. It’s called charity. Charity means giving to others by your own free will. That is distinctively different from taking what is not yours. In fact, the 10th commandment reads (Exodus 20:17):
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
In light of this commandment, does looking at what someone has and believing we are “entitled” to it breach the 10th commandment? If so, then social justice cannot be a biblical principle. The major problem with social justice is that it means taking from someone what they have. That is covetousness, as compared to charity, which means giving what you have by your own free will. Helping others in need is indeed a virtue. But taking what someone has – even to give to someone else – is not virtuous no matter how we twist and contort it.
The real Robin Hood
The real Robin Hood stands on the Castle Green near Nottingham Castle. Photo: Tom Courtney. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
Did the noble Robin Hood believe in social justice? If you recall the story, Robin Hood only took from Prince John and those elitists in his group. They oppressed those under their control through unjust taxation. Robin Hood took back what Prince John and his cronies took from the people undeservedly. Then he gave it back to the people to whom it rightfully belonged.
This made Robin Hood noble. The justice he dispensed was much different from what we have twisted it to mean today. If Robin Hood were real and alive today, his band of merry men and women would most likely be called TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists. Instead of hiding clandestinely in Sherwood Forest, they would be storming the capitals in DC and their home states. They would demand that the elitists who preside there return their hard-earned money and stop stealing their prosperity.
Who are the Prince Johns of today?
Today’s Prince Johns and his cronies don’t live in castles, but they may live in mansions. And they don’t ride horses through Sherwood Forest, but they do ride in luxurious airplanes paid for with our tax dollars to conferences in places like Copenhagen and South Africa – all in the name of serving the public. They might not wear gold crowns, but they might wear $9,000 purses. Richard the Lionhearted will not arrive from some far off land to restore sanity to our government, but we have voting booths that can dethrone our oppressive elitists who are masquerading as our representatives. November is only a few months away and hopefully our modern-day Robin Hoods and all the merry men and women in this country will be merry again as we take our prosperity back into our own hands and restore sanity to government.