By Erick Erickson / The Resurgent
The political left wants us all to know that Christians have a duty to take care of the poor. Consequently, if you do not oppose President Trump’s budget plan to cut funding for Meals on Wheels, you are going to hell. Leave it to liberals to tie your salvation to support of a government program. You must both bake the cake and fund the welfare program, bigot.
The argument is absurd. The Bible does tell Christians they must aid the widows, orphans, poor, and refugees. But the Bible says nothing about funding a government program to do so. It is the responsibility of the individual and church to do so. As the New York Times has noted, conservatives take that obligation seriously and are more charitable than the left.
[H]ouseholds headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.
Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.
When liberals say the charitable giving data are premised on myths, what they claim is that Christians are giving to churches, which are not necessarily helping the poor. That is the premise of their rebuttal.
But the truth is that many church ministries are far more effective and efficient with charitable dollars than the government is with tax dollars in helping the poor. The Southern Baptists are usually the first into disaster areas providing relief. After Katrina, the Southern Baptists beat Walmart, the Red Cross and FEMA into southern Mississippi and Louisiana.I support cutting the funding of Meals on Wheels. I think it should be each individual’s obligation to help their family and those in need in their community. The fall back should be churches, local civic organizations, and the local government. Administering a one size fits all federal government program actually breaks down communities and shrivels up the capacity of local charitable organizations, particular of the religious variety. Liberals clear their conscience by making everyone fork over tax dollars and then absolving themselves of their personal responsibility. Meanwhile, conservatives still contribute to churches and charities to help the poor. I firmly believe assistance to the poor would be more effective if left to local communities and local charities instead of through a government program. If liberals object, they can make a tax deductible contribution to Meals on Wheels. Conservatives already are. But liberals would rather claim Donald Trump’s budget is against Christianity than actually get their hands dirty or their wallets lighter by helping the poor themselves.
Again quoting from the New York Times:
Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in non-financial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often.
Stop telling me that support for government spending cuts is un-Christian or that it means I hate the poor. What it really means is that you would rather abdicate personal responsibility to the government rather that put your own money into the problem. I, like many more conservatives than liberals, both pay my taxes and donate to charities to help the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the refugees.