Via Sense of Events comes this gem from Matt Hamilton on the “Moral Budget” myth:
A defining flaw for the Religious Left when it comes to welfare is that they believe welfare is synonymous with charity. But welfare can never be charity because anything that the government does is backed with coercion and force. Charity, by definition, is voluntary. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:7: ‘Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’
The government cannot run welfare programs without compulsion. Paying taxes does not make the Religious Left charitable because they are required to pay money to the government under threat of penalty. The only way to be charitable is to give from your own pocket or from your own time to help the poor. Sending a check to the IRS to go through the maze of government bureaucracies is not following Jesus’ commands to be charitable. But, how much easier it is to simply pay your taxes and feel pride in believing yourself a charitable Christian rather than actually tithing to the church and working to provide for the poor and needy yourself!
I hate to just post quotes and more quotes, but he’s said it more eloquently than I could have: “Jesus gave the church the responsibility to take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphan, not the government. To prioritize the government’s coercive role in welfare is ultimately to support the government’s usurpation of a God-given responsibility to the church.”
And indeed, doing such work at a personal level means far greater accountability than you would ever get from a government program, and an equivalently smaller government would give us more resources to do so. Just as government involvement in law enforcement does not absolve me of the responsibility to protect myself and those around me from the lawless, neither does government involvement in welfare absolve me of the responsibility to help those around me in need. Continue reading