Separation of Church and State? Not when it comes to Christian Charity!

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Those who would like the government to stay out of church affairs, beware invoking Christ’s teachings to justify government charity. If it is good enough to use the Bible to dictate that we should care for the poor and sick, then a similar line of reasoning can be used to do far more disagreeable things. Beware!

My stance is that charity is a church, a religious, affair. It is up to the individual to contribute, out of the goodness of their heart, to help their neighbors, whether that be to a church or to some organization. The government exists merely to use force to protect our rights to live, to serve one another, not to make life fair or to undo the injustices caused by Satan’s influence on the world. When we replace our churches with government institutions, and give our government leaders the job that we used to give our church leaders, we are setting ourselves up for the same pitfall that plagued Europe during the Dark Ages.

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4 Responses to “Separation of Church and State? Not when it comes to Christian Charity!”

  1. Tensor Says:

    The government exists merely to use force to protect our rights to live, to serve one another, not to make life fair or to undo the injustices caused by Satan’s influence on the world.

    Yeah, if the purpose of our federal government was to “promote the general welfare,” it would say so, right in the opening paragraph, wouldn’t it?

    … the same pitfall that plagued Europe during the Dark Ages.

    The biggest problem back then was the Catholic Church not having enough wealth or power.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’m confused by your second point. I guess you missed my point that joining church and state together leads to bad religion and bad government.

      The first point, the word “promote” is not the word “provide”. The Federal Government can only provide the common defense. It can only promote general welfare, by enacting laws that are designed to allow people to maximize their own happiness.

  2. tensor Says:

    I’m confused by your second point. I guess you missed my point that joining church and state together leads to bad religion and bad government.

    Any commingling of church and state is bad, I agree. But that’s not what you wrote:

    When we replace our churches with government institutions, and give our government leaders the job that we used to give our church leaders, we are setting ourselves up for the same pitfall that plagued Europe during the Dark Ages.

    During the European Dark Ages, the Catholic Church controlled almost all charity. Moving away from that model moves us away from the Dark Ages, not toward it.

    It can only promote general welfare, by enacting laws that are designed to allow people to maximize their own happiness.

    That second clause does not follow from the first. Protecting the many weak and poor from the few strong and rich also “promotes the general welfare,” such as when the government prevents predatory capital from gutting the livelihoods of skilled workers. Nothing in our Constitution claims or implies that profits on Wall Street matter more than the wages earned on Main Street.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      The Catholic Church also controlled civil governments, deciding who deserved the title of king or emperor, and which kings and lords should be declared heretic. There was a lot of commingling of church and state before Queen Elizabeth and especially Rhode Island.

      The second part was about the specific phrase in the constitution: “promote the general welfare”, not “provide the general welfare.” The federal government is powerless to provide welfare. One can only provide welfare for oneself, and perhaps for one’s neighbors through individual acts of charity. The US Constitution never, ever grants the power to create happiness or welfare, only the job of promoting it by protecting the rights of the people.

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