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Is It the Government's Job to Feed the Poor?
This is such a loaded question, I just know that as soon as more than five people read this website, it's going to stir some people up.
Over the past week, I've seen two quote memes - one from former President Jimmy Carter, and one from Stephen Colbert - on the subject of Christian government and caring for the poor. Both essentially chided Christians who disapprove of government programs helping the poor.
While I don't speak for every Christian, I do have a take on this. We'll start with basic statements and move on into the explanations...
Forced to Give
Citizens should not be forced to give money they don't want to give to people they do not know. What if I have a burden or a moral imperative to support boys with absentee fathers? Will the government focus my tax dollars on that? No, my money will be put into a huge leaky pot through which MAYBE 30% actually reached people in need.
In other words, 70% of our tax dollars required by law to aid the poor might never actually reach the poor. I call that tragic waste.
A much more efficient means of support can be raised by volunteers rather than taken by force from unwilling participants. And since these methods would involve far less waste, the same number of people can be helped, or more, from the contributions of fewer people than are currently forced to contribute.
Where is the Church?
As I Christian, I see myself and my Church as the responsible parties when it comes to caring for the poor. But the Church at large isn't helping enough. I mean, if we were taking proper care of the poor, who would the government be helping?
Every church should have orphans and widows and single moms and the disabled homeless as our #1 financial priority. There is no greater mission than to care for those Jesus referred to as "the least of these."
If all our ministry time were spent caring for the disenfranchised, we would essentially raise the floor of the nation's economy. Imagine a world where you have to go to in tact families to find the worst off people to serve!