Skip to comments.The Flawed Theology of Government Aid
Posted on 12/28/2005 12:39:46 PM PST by Constitutionalist Conservative
Advocates of the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP) make increasingly strained arguments that the state has a moral obligation to provide health insurance for underprivileged children. That moral obligation rests on social justice theories which posit that access to publicly funded health insurance is fundamental to human dignity and therefore an imperative.
Former Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff has entered the fray on the side of CHIP, arguing in a recent speech (reprinted by The Austin American Statesman) that support for CHIP, a government-run program, rests on certain biblical teachings, and accuses those legislators who oppose increased funding and revenue to pay for CHIP of failing to live up to the highest imperatives of Christianity.
Ratliff, who supported changes to the CHIP program in the 78th Legislature, states: When considering how many poor children in Texas will be removed from the Children's Health Insurance Program in order to hold down costs to the state, they [referring to certain legislators] choose not to consider Christ's admonishment to suffer the little children to come unto me."
One may ask Mr. Ratliff: what end of social justice is served by continuing to fund a government program that has not met its objective of reducing the number of children who are without health insurance? The fact that certain families decline to sign up for the program is not a failure on the part of any public official to suffer the little children. Parents must make a myriad of decisions based on what is best for them and no amount of cajoling by the government will determine the best interests of every family.
More importantly, taking someone elses money in the name of charity is not charity at all. It goes by the name of hypocrisy. There is not one command in the Bible not one reference to shift the duty of care for the poor to the government. It is a shame when Christians call for the government to relieve them of that responsibility.
Mother Teresa labored intensely, patiently and lovingly in the slums of India. She devoted her life to the service of the poor, embracing the AIDS patient, the leper and the cripple in a real, meaningful way just as Christ did. Despite her example, too many advocates confuse taxation with charity, and see government programs as the chief means of achieving social justice on earth. Mr. Ratliff says, We even have the teaching of Christ's parable, where he tells the rich man that if he wishes to enter the kingdom of heaven, he must go, sell everything you have, give the money to the poor, and follow me. Talk about a high tax rate!
Government programs are nothing more than an involuntary transfer of wealth, no matter how noble one might want to make a program appear. Whether childrens health insurance is really a matter of social justice is debatable. Access to the health care may be closer to the mark, but that is not a justification for government doing what we should do for ourselves and each other.
However, Christ did not instruct his apostles to petition the Roman authorities to help the lame and the poor. He did it himself, and demanded they do likewise. Christ filled the multitudes with loaves and fish, and gave us the bread of eternal life in the form of His self-sacrifice. But government advocates, wrapped in their own self-sewn Shroud, can, at best, salve their own moral conscience by insisting that others do the work of tending to the poor. Is that really living the word of God and emulating Jesus Christ?
The first obligation of all those who believe in the message of Christ is to follow His word. If the advocates of CHIP really believe so passionately in the justness of their cause, then they will adhere to the Biblical admonition to sell everything and give it to the poor as Christ commanded rather than demanding that the rest of us render more unto Caesar. Giving of your own resources directly to the poor is called Christian charity. Redistributing the wealth of others in the name of the poor is called socialism. Mr. Ratliff needs to learn the difference.
Colyandro is Executive Director of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute; Connett is a policy analyst at TCCRI.
The main strategery for countering such an argument is twofold: (1) Our leftist friend is not interpreting the Bible correctly; and (2) Our friend is not himself obeying what he thinks the Bible is commanding us to do.
And when they pull out the Robin Hood claim point out that Robin robbed TAX COLLECTORS.
So, this guy is trying to ram some kind of Christian Theocracy down our throats?
Oh, but Texas' state employees aren't allowed to get CHIPs even if they meet the guidlines.
The one character in that parable who doesn't get much attention is probably the one whose role is most important in presenting the Christian view of charity -- the innkeeper. He is the one character who goes about his business without any positive or negative judgement rendered against him. He's simply earning a living. When the Good Samaritan comes across the injured traveler on the side of the road, he doesn't pick up a cell phone and call 911, or wave down another passing traveler, or bring him to the trauma unit at the Caesar Augustus Medical Center or the emergency room at the Beth Israel Hospital . . . he helps the injured traveler himself. He brings the injured man to the inn, and instead of dropping him off on the doorstep and using the force of law to order the innkeeper to absorb the cost of caring for the man, he pays the innkeeper himself.
Another important message can be found in the Samaritan's parting actions. He clearly has his own commitments and obligations, so it is not possible for him to put his entire life on hold and tend to the injured man. So he does the best he can by leaving the injured man at the inn, paying the innkeeper to care for him, and offering to pay any additional costs when he returns from whatever business he was conducting.
There is nothing flawed about liberal programs. It's called theft. The trick is to be a takor instead of the takee.
I once visited a liberal Protestant church where the young female minister told the congregation they should vote for politicians who would spend more on the poor. That's not Christianity, but Marxism. Christians know that there can be no virtue in an act not undertaken out of free will. That's also why Jesus stands at the door and knocks; it's up to you whether you let him in. He knows that love cannot be coerced. Muhammad batters down the door, drags you off, and forces you to stay in his cult on pain of death. That's why Christianity is not just "another religion" and is not remotely comparable to Islam.
Stealing is stealing no matter what the lefties try to say. It is wrong every single time. Now a person giving freely of their own wealth is all together a different thing. And it happens to be the one that Christ himself ordered people to do if they wish to follow Him.