by Don Keel, May 30, 2017
I’ve noticed breathtaking naivete displayed through forum letters and articles recently. Some clergy have advocated government as the means to follow Christ’s teaching to help “the least among us.” The very nature and mission of government and Christ are diametrically opposed.
Christian charity is voluntary, rewarding the giver as well as the receiver. Government programs require forced confiscation of earnings through threat of fines or imprisonment. The receiver of Christian charity is humbled by the kindness of neighbors and he often receives his blessing in a way that glorifies Christ. This, in turn, will increase the likelihood that he will strive for self-reliance and inspire him to one day pay it forward. Government programs redistribute mass amounts of earnings with very little scrutiny or accountability.
Because of the “blanket approach,” government programs reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. They punish ambition and reward sloth and dependency. This in turn creates a cyle of dependency that destroys one’s dignity, self-esteem, self-worth, and ambition and a cycle that is almost impossible to break. People grow their families by taking from another person’s family, and have found a way to live ever increasingly in comfort by taking comforts away from another who actually worked for that privilege.
The gospels contain many accounts of spiritually-impelled charity but never does Jesus advocate government-forced charity. American government was to confine itself to protecting individual God-given rights. The word “entitlement” denotes a right or claim. In the modern welfare state, it means a right to someone else’s money. Such a punitive “right” nullifies the legitimate rights of others to their own property. It, in a sense, forces others to work for the benefit of others – a notion rejected in this country many years ago and addressed in the 13th amendment. This is in stark contradiction to the American vision of limited government.
I would submit that no Christian would advocate forcibly taking from one and giving to another. They would rightly regard such taking as theft, prohibited by one of the ten commandments, the cornerstone of God’s law on Earth. Delegating that authority to government does not change the character of what entitlement programs are. Delegating that authority to government does not sanctify taking private property. The eighth commandment does not say “Thou shalt not steal except by majority vote.” Clearly, some clergy have confused what is to be rendered to Caesar with what should be rendered to God.
**** Don Keel is a friend of mine who lives in Greenville, NC. This letter, which he wrote to submit to our local paper, is reprinted here by permission. Don encourages anyone who agrees with him to please share.