From the Federalist, on Christian charity and what it has become thanks to postmodernism.
The Christian creed of caring for the poor often morphs into a call for government to take the reins from industry and private individuals to ensure proper care for the poor. In reality, this is an abdication of responsibility toward that very creed. In effect, it says, “Someone else should do this.”
Obviously, the Catholic Church and various Christian charities have done wonderful work in helping the poor, weak, and downtrodden, as they should. However, the communist and socialist tendency puts the administration of that care into the hands of an all-powerful state bureaucracy, which is not beholden to any higher set of principles or to God. It replaces the priest or the nun with a wage earner at a cubicle desk who is just trying to get through a 40-hour week so he or she can catch the game on Sunday morning rather than crying into a confessional.
Giving into this temptation marks a confusion in Christian heritage between society and the state. The two are not synonymous. Society exists wherever an aggregate of humanity interacts in commerce, culture, shared values, and social interaction. Society is created out of human want and need, and is where individuals pursue those ends in a common arena.
It is easy to see why [state-mandated charity] is so tempting for Christians and do-gooders in general. Individuals often become frustrated in the limitations of individual or small-group action, and they see the state as having the power to affect the entire population of a country rather than just the few in their immediate area. And, of course, everyone believes he has the best intentions when embarking on his will to power.
In doing so, however, such people fail to grasp the realities and complexities of human life; namely, that not everyone may agree with you. To use the apparatus of the state to trample dissenting viewpoints cannot be seen as anything but immoral.
My favorite part of this phenomenon is when non-Christians try to shame Christians who are against government-mandate charity using a Bible they don’t read as the shame-cudgel.
And I don’t ascribe such altruistic motives for government-mandated charity. Its proponents’ true purpose is simply to multiply plain-old graft opportunities.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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