Christian Charity and the Welfare State
- Tuesday, April 19, 2011
At present, there is no realistic possibility of abolishing the welfare state. I hope, though, that pro-welfare-state Christians will “repent” (literally, “rethink”) their support of government welfare programs in light of biblical teachings and out of love for their country and their fellow Americans.
For those of you who have read this far and think that I am some sort of grinch with a vendetta against the poor, let me hasten to correct that erroneous notion by stating that a prior political objective for Christians would be to abolish the myriad federal programs that redistribute money to the rich and powerful. Using government force to redistribute wealth is never justifiable on biblical grounds, but the greater moral outrage is the obscene widespread practice of using the power of government to channel wealth to the well-to-do. By all means, let us cut off the flow of money from the federal treasury to the prosperous—bailouts and handouts to corporations, subsidies to wealthy agribusinesses, grants to the politically correct and connected universities and not-for-profit organizations—before we halt transfer payments to the poor.
Many Christians who have thrown their support to the welfare state don’t realize that they are unwitting accomplices in a political agenda that goes far beyond sending aid to the poor. Many of the secular social democrats and socialists with whom they make common cause in seeking to expand welfare programs desire to expand the power of government in every sphere of society. Their ideal is an omnipotent state, not the omnipotent God. Their overall goals are secular, materialist, and fundamentally antichristian.
Naturally, the secularists welcome support from Christians on the issue of redistributing wealth. They find this support to be fortuitous and expedient, but they do not regard such collaboration as a permanent alliance. In fact, they turn against Christians as soon as it suits them. If pro-redistribution Christians wish to test this assertion, let them try to gain the secular socialists’ support for any policy that is traditionally Christian, even something as innocuous as prayer in schools, and they will quickly see that their erstwhile comrades exalt the state above God.
Whereas Christians acknowledge—as our founding fathers did—that each individual has an inalienable, God-given right to enjoy his life, liberty, and property, secularists and statists seek to abridge those rights. The right to life is abridged when Big Government uses tax dollars to help fund the ongoing abortion holocaust. Making the sacrifice of the young an official policy of the state is a characteristic of a pagan society (e.g., the Aztecs), not of a Christian civilization. Even Christians who believe that abortion is a private choice should balk when government mandates taxpayer funding of this act.
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?
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