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?

Why Be Charitable?

William Flax has a piece at Real Clear Religion called Religious Left Paves Poor’s Way to Hell. While he is more or less correct in stating that the welfare state is often an enabler of idleness, he misses an important reason why charity should belong to the church and not be the exclusive province of the state.

Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that His people should live as if it were already here. We are to proclaim God’s rule; hence, our evangelism; and we feed the hungry and work for justice; because when the Kingdom is fully present, there will be no hunger or sickness or tears or injustice. Our lives are to demonstrate God’s Kingdom to the world.

How we see our place in the unfolding of God’s plan for the world will determine how we balance what we see as Caesar’s and what we see as God’s.

It is possible for two honest followers of Jesus to have different understandings of their callings in His work, but no honest reading of the New Testament can justify enabling policies that result in the moral destruction of the poor. Or their oppression.