The church I attend is a wonderful congregation. Each Sunday I and my family gather to worship and hear what we believe to be the Word of God. We are challenged to be ambassadors of grace, to reach out to those in need. Pure religion, we are told, is to care for the widows and orphans. To turn away the hungry, naked and homeless is to deny our own faith in Christ.
I absolutely believe this, and my wife and I focus much of our lives to make our belief in God real in the work we do to reach out to others. We are joined by many of our friends in our church in this important work, to worship God by being His servant to the last and least. We care for our family, we care for our friends and neighbors, we act in concert with our church to support those in need in our city.
This is not offered to point out how wonderful I am. Frankly, if I were a better steward of resources, I imagine the Father would entrust me with more. I say this all to note that I have a body of experience, and in my experience, charity is a task that churches and people do well, and government bureaucrats do poorly.
Consider recidivism. Recently, I served on a jury where we had the unfortunate task to convict a young man of a serious crime. From my days working in prison ministry, I learned that if an inmate will involve themselves in a faith-based program while in prison, their chances of staying out of jail improves dramatically. You cannot replace immorality with nothing – you have to offer a moral code to displace it. Our Government in its attempts at rehabilitation must by its very nature and structure (separation of church and state) choose a set of instructions and procedures that are demonstrably less effective.
I can all but guarantee that any man who is impoverished is far less likely to remain impoverished should he find a church in which his bad habits are confronted and replaced with good habits. We have decades of history in which multiple generations are ensnared in poverty where immoral behavior is not resisted. Government cannot tell a man he is offending a loving God by abandoning his responsibility to his children, but until that mans abandons his wretched behavior, the cycle will continue.
Worse, the more we expect the Government to do, the less we undertake ourselves. The links below demonstrate the gulf between giving the religious and irreligious in charitable work. Consider this from Arthur Brooks:
On average, people of faith give more than 50% more money each year to non-church social welfare organizations than secularists do.
Many of my Christian friends voted Democrat, citing their belief that the Democrats will fashion a more generous government. I think the opposite is likely the outcome. We who believe cannot outsource our hard work to the State.
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