Christian Charity and the Welfare State
- Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The pro-welfare-state cultists also pose a threat to our liberty and property. The major contemporary threat to our liberty is the desire of President Obama and his allies in Congress to have Washington exert ever-more control over economic activity, ranging from energy to health care. Americans can hardly be said to be free if government regulation dictates energy consumption and health care decisions. The tenuous status of our property rights is evident in the secularists’ goal of having government control an ever-greater share of the country’s wealth, even though government already consumes over a third of our country’s gross domestic product. Such a bloated government is not countenanced by the Word of God. The Bible teaches us that God expects his people to tithe—to pay one-tenth of their income—to serve Him. Should Christians do anything to promote the growth of a secular state that places a greater claim on them than does God Almighty?
Pardon the bluntness, but Paul’s strongly worded admonition is pertinent here: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing…” (II Cor.6:15, 17).
Our founding fathers had it right. They understood that government power poses potentially the greatest threat to human rights. Washington likened government to fire—useful when carefully confined and controlled, but fearsomely destructive when it surges out of control. Jefferson said that Americans should diligently use the chains of the Constitution to prevent government from “mischief” (a euphemism for harm and havoc). Our founders would counsel us not to expect government to do good, but rather to keep it small and limited, lest its power be perverted to evil ends, the primary one being infringements on our God-given rights.
The secular socialists embrace the pernicious philosophy of egalitarianism. They want to use government to make people more equal. In doing so, they are warring against nature and nature’s God, since He has given each of us different abilities (remember the parable of the talents). The Bible, by contrast, establishes the sacred principle of equality before the law—“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor” (Lev. 19:15; see also II Sam 14:14; II Chron. 19:7; Prov. 24:23; Rom. 2:11; Col. 3:25; James 2:9). Secularists and statists believe in unequal treatment before the law—a system of discrimination and privileges that plunders the property of some to give it to others so that everyone may be equal in what they own. We have a clear choice to make. Either we follow God’s guidance and uphold the rule of law, or we reject Him and enthrone a system of privileges which breeds conflict rather than cooperation and peace.
The good news (in addition to the Good News of the gospel) for American Christians is that there are no laws preventing us, either as individuals, churches, or voluntary organizations, from engaging in charitable activities and helping the poor. Each one of us is free to do Christian works without hindrance or persecution from the temporal political powers (although we could do so much more if the state were not appropriating and consuming so much of our wealth). Let us go forth and discharge our Christian duties to help the poor. Let us also commit ourselves to the lofty and worthy goal of preserving our republic and defending its inspired Constitution, without which we would be neither as free nor as prosperous as we are. Let us pull back from the precipice over which Rome and other self-bankrupting democracies have plunged.
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