Charity Without a Welfare State


Emma Green has an essay over at The Atlantic which asks Can Religious Charities Take the Place of the Welfare State?

Dismantling the welfare state as thoroughly as he [Trump] has proposed would be a radical overhaul of the American system. It would shift not just government, but the way organizations that partner with it—including a lot of religious groups—provide services to the poor and vulnerable.

Read the whole thing and then consider this. Perhaps a better question to ask is: Why did we religious folk allow government to usurp our proper role in caring for the poor and the distressed?

10 thoughts on “Charity Without a Welfare State

  1. “Why did we religious folk allow government to usurp our proper role in caring for the poor and the distressed?”

    Yep, that is the question to ask. As to the “why”, an answer is taxes. Gov keeps taking more and more of what you and I earn, leaving less for us to live on, which leaves less we have available to donate. Donating time is valuable, but at some point someone needs to buy the food others cook and hand out.

  2. With all due respect to Mer; I don’t think it has ever been a funding issue. They took it; they lied and made us feel that they were working with us to establish “Safety Nets” for those who “Slipped Through the Cracks”; but the fact is they wanted a cut. They saw a huge flow of capital and they wanted in on the “racket”; it’s the way they think, just like health care. They never were interested in the core function, just getting a percentage. Unfortunately they are incredibly inefficient and greedy; their throughput makes the Clinton Foundation look efficient. Finally they realized they could re-enslave a vast portion of the population; and establish new virtual plantations.

  3. Another answer is that people are messy, especially when you’re trying to help them but not enable bad behavior. It’s easy to get sucked in deeper than you wanted to be, which can be really uncomfortable. So religious people ended up outsourcing the job, perhaps unintentionally at first, or maybe not. After all, “the poor will always be with you” so it’s too big job of a job for one person or group and one that can never be finished. It’s far easier to send money to Caesar and let him take care of the poor on your behalf. That’s the same thing or at least just as good, right? Couple that self-deception with the inevitable mission creep and control-freak nature on the part of bureaucracy and here we are.

  4. Charity has strings. “Behave properly and we’ll help you get back on your feet.” Government comes in and says “Behave however you want and we’ll give you some handouts.” Then Government turns around and says to the charity group, “If you keep telling people how to behave, we’ll tax you out of existence.” And the charity group decides it can’t continue because to obey the government would be to violate its core values. And then the government gets deeper into its fake version of charity as more and more actual charities have to close up shop.

    • And far too often the charity group decides it can violate its values because they’d still be doing more good overall, even taking into account the value violations.

      I was pleasantly surprised the other year when the bishop in Buffalo(?) announced that if the government tried to force the Catholic hospitals to give out Plan B, they’d simply shut their doors and get out of the hospital business completely. I seem to recall they won that round. What they should have said to make it even more obvious was that if they had to close the hospitals, they’d be demolishing them so that they couldn’t be appropriated by the government and sold to someone who’d “do the right thing”. (Think Kelo vs New London Development Corp; I will never, ever trust government to let people keep their own property if the govt thinks they can do something better with it.)

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