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Government is not God’s primary tool

Posted by Chance on January 31, 2007

There is much debate about how much the government should get involved in morals, in the personal arena and the economic arena. No matter where we sit on this two dimensional spectrum of economic freedom vs. control and individual freedom vs. control, I believe that government should never be the primary means for enforcing morality.

For instance, no conservative should look to the government first to enforce Biblical morality. The church and the family should have the larger role in people’s lives. Besides, the government is often going to get it wrong. I see this play out in the public school arena. Conservatives fight for the public schools to teach them what they want their kids to be taught. But conservatives need to realize that they need to work for a system that is easier for them to send children to school that reflects their own values.

Liberals should not look to the government as the primary means for feeding the poor and needy here on earth. I believe that the most effective charity is that done voluntarily. This has nothing to do with the “immorality of income redistribution”, this has to do with what I believe is effective. I believe private charity is more powerful for the gift and the giver. Jesus did ministry for the poor and needy, and he usually accompanied it with spiritual healing as well. I’m not saying all charity has to make people ask Jesus in their heart, but at the same time, I think charity is less effective if it is done primarily by a government that, by the very Constitution, has to remain secular.

I suppose that is one of the many reasons I am not a liberal. As the government takes more control in the area of taking care of the poor, it moves the church out. I am not naive enough to believe previously ungenerous people will be more generous if they are taxed less, but I do believe that generous people can do more with 80% of their money, as opposed to 50% to 60%.

The government tries to take care of our kids and tries to feed the poor and needy. But whatever happened to the church and family? To how much the government should be involved separates the conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and populists, but for all Christians who want to perform Christ’s mission here on earth, I do not believe government should ever be the primary means.

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4 Responses to “Government is not God’s primary tool”

  1. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    “As the government does more, it moves the church out.” Why? Also, you seem to confuse matters of economic justice, public justice, with charity. Two different things.

    If I create a full-employment economy, that will take government action. There will still plenty of room for the church to act.

  2. Chance said

    The idea is that charity is more effective than government entitlements. With less money going to government entitlements, more money goes to charity, which is typically more efficient dollars-wise, and can have a more spiritual and emotional aspect, rather than just being money.

  3. Dan Trabue said

    I can agree with you that generally private efforts are more effective than gov’t ones. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for gov’t rules and money.

    I’m with Michael, though, in thinking gov’t can’t push churches out of the picture unless churches choose to step aside, which they too often have.

    Churches have enough money and resources that they could effectively end the homeless problems in the US this year, if they so chose.

    [A brief math problem: IF there are 160 million Christians in the US – census – and if they make on average $20,000, that means Christians make $320 trillion in the US. IF they gave a tenth of that to their churches – $32 trillion – and if the churches gave even 1/100th of that to homelessness – $300 billion!! – there would be no serious homelessness problem. – and I apologize if my numbers are wrong, math’s not my strong suit…but you get the idea]

    And the gov’t couldn’t stop the church if it wanted to.

    And with the homeless problem resolved, the gov’t may well have to stop spending money on homelessness and return that tax money to the People who voted to spend it in that manner in the first place.

    I know, Chance, that you no doubt agree with me on this, but it’s always my first thought when the topic comes up. If we want to end gov’t’s attempts to help poverty, we hold that power in our hands.

  4. Josh said

    Good post, Chance. I like how you point out what you believe to be the flaws of both sides.

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