This is a part of a series
- A warning on government leadership, accountability and transparency (final post in series)
- Love, politics, leadership and democracy
- Love (first post)
When libertarianism refers to freedom, individual liberty, and voluntary association I am all in favor of it.
But sometimes people seems to go to extremes in their support for libertarianism and they demand…
- “small government” with no regulations to limit people’s choices, Self
- the government social and medical safety net is removed so that people pay less taxes, Self
- the government should no longer provide any support the poor and to cancel programs to help the disadvantaged so that people pay less taxes, Self
- when they try to cut the taxes for the wealthy elite instead of asking them to carry a greater share of the burden in caring for others who were less fortunate than themselves. Self.
Since writing that I read this: Christians Debate: Was Jesus For Small Government? by BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY
After X passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the budget, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus’ command to care for the poor.
Not so, says Y, who chairs the Z Committee. He told Christian Broadcasting Network last week that it was his Catholic faith that helped shape the budget plan. In his view, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity suggests the government should have little role in helping the poor.
“Through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities — through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community — that’s how we advance the common good,” Ryan said.
One way or the other, collectively and individually, a country is required by scripture to look after it’s own poor, orphans, widows (those who cannot work) and elderly.
Who is responsible for doing this?
The church is explicitly tasked with this role as are it’s people. And the government is an expression of it’s own people in a democracy. If the people of that country truly desire to look after their poor, they will authorize their government to look after the poor on their behalf.
But is it possible for the church to care for the poor?
“Medicaid alone in 1997 cost $172.5 billion. If the 325,000 religious congregations in the United States tried to shoulder that load, each local congregation would have to raise an extra $529,000 per year.” – A Bible argument for government aid to the poor
Scripture clearly shows that leaders are put in place by God with a mandate to lead and take care of the people placed under them. Here is what God’s prophet Daniel said to the leadership of Babylon (the unsaved and corrupt leadership) in Daniel 4:27
Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” – Daniel 4:27
In the NT Jesus spends most of His time speaking to individuals explaining that the judgement is about how you practically loved the poor and those in jail etc.
In the NT in Rom 13:1-7 it clearly says that we are to pay taxes and that governmnet authorities have been put in place by God to do good to us. The pressure is on government to “do good” as Paul wrote.
Proverbs 31 says…
4 “It is not for kings, O Lemuel—
not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
A general observation
Life and politics often seems like it is swinging like a pendulum between two extremes. Sometimes the poles are promoted by the media as left and right, but I reject that view.
The two extremes are God’s Kingdom (of selfless love for others) and the enemy’s kingdom (of exaltation of self). Both kingdoms draw us to themselves.
I think the correct paradigm to choose from is not “left and right” but instead the two poles are self exaltation and selfless love.