Jesus wouldn’t cut a single program. of course, He didn’t call for them either.

The Good Samaritan: Example of Charity? Or Early Medicare Provider?

In the wake of the much-ballyhooed correspondence between Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Congressional Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a group called “Catholics United” issued a press release titled, “Catholics Ask Archbishop Dolan: What Anti-Poverty Programs Would Jesus Cut?”

The archbishop, if he were to respond in person, would likely start by making a self-deprecating comment concerning his fondness for food and relate it to some sort of food program.

But one potential serious answer would be, “Well, none. Jesus wouldn’t cut a single program.” The rest of that answer is, “but, of course, Jesus didn’t advocate for the government dole in the first place; He advocated for mutual support born of charity.”

Charity isn’t charity if the money used to help the poor is taken against the will of the one who has the money originally. Even for programs that no one has a problem with at all, the money is still taken by the government through statutory taxation, i.e., coercively.

The parable of the Good Samaritan didn’t end with Medicare picking up the tab.

The multiplication of the loaves and fishes wasn’t a call for food stamps.

The healing of the paralytic lowered through the roof wasn’t followed by an impassioned plea for government-run healthcare.

And the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee? Well, there’s a government program I could get behind, I suppose…

But seriously: Jesus didn’t advocate *for* the dole, so I can’t imagine Him decrying a legislator making tough decisions to avoid a fiscal train wreck, even if that means cutting the dole. Irresponsibility with the people’s money is a greater sin for those entrusted with the public trust than is cutting the dole, because the former is an offense against a necessary and unavoidable component of governing, while the latter is reducing a luxury we have gotten used to in a well-developed, insanely wealthy country.

I suggest that rather than ask ridiculous loaded questions, the people at Catholics United seek ways Catholics can unite in true charity to pick up the slack when the dole is cut (as it *must* be) to help those who may need to find alternate ways of financing needed health care.

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39 thoughts on “Jesus wouldn’t cut a single program. of course, He didn’t call for them either.

  1. patrick crowe says:

    I imagine since Jesus is omniscient He would discern that it is the government that is the biggest wrecking ball of wealth creation. Free people create, emulation is the greatest sign of respect.

  2. Kevin Orlin Johnson says:

    Oh, and, of course, one major point that would need correction: Jesus calls for the abolition of all such programs, as they are absolutely wrong and cannot be made right. Again, check Aquinas: depriving a person of his rightful property by force or threat of force is robbery, whether the state does it or a mugger in an alley does it. And the end doesn’t justify the means, whether the state claims to use the money to relieve poverty (which it doesn’t, by the way) or the mugger says that he needs money to buy food for his family. The end never justifies the means. We all know this.

    Leo XIII had a lot to say about it too. As did John Paul II.

    1. Mark John says:

      Kevin, it is obvious you need to do some more reading of the social ecncyclicals of the Church, St. Thomas, etc. At least to nuance this what you’ve said. Private property, in Catholic teaching, is not to be considered an absolute.

  3. Kevin Orlin Johnson says:

    Good to see this. I am constantly dismayed, but not surprised, to hear self-styled Catholics advocating welfare programs. How little can one know about the Faith to advocate laws that take one person’s property to give to another! How little can they know to confuse robbery with charity. Read Isaiah; read Augustine, read Aquinas, read Pius XI–”No one can be, at the same time, a Catholic and a socialist”–Leo XIII–above all read the Decalogue–the part about “Thou shalt not steal.”

    Great start here. But the statement needs to be made a lot stronger. I think I’ll do a book about it.

    Thanks!

  4. Francis says:

    Interesting. Jesus didn’t advocate for a huge military sucking up tax dollars, either. Christians, from the very beginning, advocated for care for the poor in their communities. Even the prophets of the Old Testament linked care for the poor to their relationship with God. OT prophets were often critical of those in power who did not make the poor a priority. In our own time, we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We are the people, and we have a responsibility to create systems in society that do not leave the poor in the dust but rather provide assistance to those who are most vulnerable. This seems very clear when the conversation is about abortion. I don’t know why it is unclear when the topic is poverty. The bishops seem to realize that both are important. In fact, in many cases they go hand in hand.

    1. Joshua Mercer says:

      Well, and we at CatholicVote have called for budget cuts to the military as well: http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=11969

    2. Tom Crowe says:

      Francis– Nice non sequitur, followed by an army of straw men. I didn’t say a blessed word in this post about military spending, so your opening is irrelevant. A government of, for, by the people does not magically make government programs funded by tax dollars the sort of charity that Christianity actually calls for. It is possible, and even preferable, for Christians to fund these sorts of things by the free choice of their own will. And indeed, you will find that Christians, especially American Christians, are the most generous, freely giving people on earth. No one does more on their own to help those less fortunate than American Christians. Imagine *how much more* such charitable giving they could and would do if the government TOOK less of their money from them! And the added benefit is that the money would go to programs the Christians actually support rather than to pet programs designed by social engineering ideologue professorial eggheads in government who want to re-make society according to their theories using the cudgel of government. That Rousseauian setup is not the Christian ideal of charitable giving and support. Nor is coercive taxation/wealth redistribution. No matter how you slice it, Francis, the model you defend is coercively taking money from those who have it and using it for programs that may or, more likely, may not be in line with Christian values. So then where’s your charity?

      1. Matt B says:

        Francis, if I were you, I would ask Tom the question: “yes, but what religious organization is even remotely equipped to deal with the poverty we find in America, much less worldwide?” Follow that up with: “what religious organization even attempts to do deal with poverety in a comprehensive way?” And then finish with: “who in the world of religion even has a plan for addressing poverty comprehensively, and in a way that makes a difference?” The weakness in Tom’s argument consists in that it is all “against,” like many political arguments. He has very little “for”. My understanding of the business plan of many religious and NFP organizations is: 1-identify a need; 2-ask the government for money. If government is designed to do those things that nobody else wants to do, or can do – perhaps this is a case where the government should be involved?

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Matt B– Or you can drop your passive aggressive tactic and ask me yourself. I’m right here in comment land.

          1. Matt B says:

            That’s great, Tom. I’m no fan of big government. But do you see anybody else picking up the slack? What have our bishops and priests been doing? What have people in your own acquaintance been doing? I tell you what they have been doing: abdicating their responsibility to a government gone out of control. What would happen, Tom, if Uncle Sam were to drop out of sight tomorrow? Would subsidiarity work to keep all those hungry WIC mothers and children from starving? Would Catholic Charities suddenly find itself empowered by the principles of Catholic Action and private contributions, to meet the enormous need? Would market principles snap into action, obviating the need for a client state? The problem with your argument is that it’s long on hypotheticals, many of which have failed in the past. I’m very glad to know so many passionate people see the foolishness of big government (now that it’s about to implode), but what’s the alternate program? What’s the Catholic proposal? And does it get the people fed? “Passive agressive”? That hurt.

          2. Joe says:

            Matt B. A) “But do you see anybody else picking up the slack?” YES! There are thousands of charities, churches and individuals helping people in need. People do help each other without government involvement. Do you really believe this is not occurring? B) “What have people in your own acquaintance been doing? I tell you what they have been doing: abdicating their responsibility to a government gone out of control.” I don’t know who your acquaintances are but the people I know help others all the time in terms of money, time and blood. I would give more if the government took less of the money I earn each year. C) “Would market principles snap into action, obviating the need for a client state?” It would certainly help to create jobs, lower prices and increase salaries. All significant factors regarding poverty levels. D) “The problem with your argument is that it’s long on hypotheticals, many of which have failed in the past.” What is example of one of these failures in the past?

          3. Matt B says:

            Thanks Joe, and thanks to the angels you’ve been flying with. I can only say that these generous souls you mention are not representative, and certainly not decisive in this argument. According to Matt’s First Rule of Psychodynamics, “The complacency and greed of the many is not offset by even the conspicuous virtue of the few.” If this law were not true, abortion would already be illegal in our land; families would average 8 people, not 3.5; divorce would be exceptional if not unknown; and poverty would already be banished to the far distant corners of the globe. Have not Catholics been in prominent positions of authority for decades? But as my theory delineates, your few blessed, for whom I praise and thank the Lord, would not and do not overmeasure the vast majority who need to be coerced.

          4. Tom Crowe says:

            Matt B: Your examples are not decisive either. Coerced beneficence is not charity. There is a place for social, governmental programs, but they cannot be considered sacred cows never to be cut, especially when the government that runs them is a) running them into the ground, and b) on the verge of collapse because of the burden the have become.

          5. Joe says:

            Matt B. You can say that generosity is not representative or decisive in this argument. However, it’s simply an assertion and doesn’t mean that you are correct. All that you have established is that you are personally skeptical about how generous people are. In other words, even though you accuse Mr. Crowe’s position of being “long on hypotheticals”, so far, your entire argument appears to be based entirely on your own unsubstantiated hypothesis. — The fact is, charitable giving occurs at a very substantial level in economic terms. Lowering taxes allows for lower unemployment, lower prices and higher salaries. All fundamental contributors to poverty rates. Additionally, it enables and encourages more private charity. In other words, less “government charity” results in less of a problem to deal with and more capable/inclined private charities.

          6. Tom Crowe says:

            Matt B — Thanks for addressing me directly. Your “what if Uncle Sam disappeared tomorrow” is another ridiculous, sensationalistic question like the one from Catholics United. First, I did not advocate a complete axing of all social services. “Cut” does not equal “eliminate,” your sensationalist rhetoric notwithstanding. The problem with your argument is that even while the programs you espouse have been in place, poverty has *grown,* and the government is about to collapse due to the burden of the social programs you champion. That’s a pretty damning indictment of your program. How about something that includes the better aspects of both, while not going crazy with the damaging aspects of either? Since my initial post was simply a response to Catholics United and not a comprehensive social justice manifesto I didn’t stipulate *everything* I think. But I hope you’re beginning to get the picture that if I’m Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s Scrooge after the Christmas Eve visits.

          7. Matt B says:

            I never figured you for Scrooge, Tom. Adam Smith, maybe. I have no problem with your logic, which is impeccable. However, with 200,000,000 squealing piglets digging into the Social Security/Medicare sow, I wonder about the timing. It’s like Jerusalem in Judea around 587 b.c. The citizens are explaining to Jeremiah how deleterious it is to pay tribute to the Chaldeans. “It’s blasphemous; and besides, it will bankrupt us.” But by then it’s too late: “A lion has gone up from his thicket; a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone forth from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitants.” (Jer 4,7) I think it says somewhere else, “Why do you sit and complain about the Lord’s silence, like a people that has done righteousness, and heeded His most holy will?” My opinion: it’s going to take some serious mortification to get that bull back in the pen.

        2. Joe says:

          Matt B. A) “what religious organization is even remotely equipped to deal with the poverty we find in America, much less worldwide?” What do you mean by “deal with poverty”? Handing out payments to people? Paypal could handle that task if that is what you think “dealing with poverty” is. The fact is, the causes of poverty are many and complex. They range from lack of job opportunities, drug addiction to disabilities. Many of those causes can be blamed on poor government policies. I believe that local charities and churches have proven much more effective at helping people in need under these various circumstances than government has. Indeed, how do you answer your own question regarding governments? What government has ever demonstrated an ability to “deal with poverty” any better than charities have? B) “what religious organization even attempts to do deal with poverety in a comprehensive way?” The Catholic Church, to name one. There are resources made available by the Catholic church to help people in need AND address the root of the problem. I would argue that the Church provides a much more comprehensive view of a person than the State does. The Church is interested in healing the soul of a person and engaging them in the community. The State is interested in elections. C) If that is your understanding of religious “business plans”, you are mistaken. The Catholic Church, among many other Churches and charities, collect massive amounts of their own money and uses it to help people in need.

      2. Francis says:

        Tom: In the Christian view, does a government have any responsibility to those members of the population who experience difficulty in finding/keeping employment for any number of reasons?

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Francis– Government has no ipso facto responsibility to the destitute members of the population. Government can be empowered by the people to do certain limited social safety net activities, and I have not argued against those (in fact, I support appropriate, limited programs). But when the government is on the verge of fiscal collapse, and the social safety net is far and away the largest reason why, something’s gotta give. And fiscal sanity cannot be what gives.

          1. Francis says:

            Tom: Here are some quotes from some social teaching documents from the Catholic Church. I know that there are many more documents, but these few quotes do seem to suggest that, in the Catholic view, government does have a role to play in the lives of the poor. I’m sure this will look like gobbledy-gook once I hit “submit” – sorry for the lack of paragraphs.

            “The function of the rulers of the State, moreover, is to watch over the community and its parts; but in protecting private individuals in their rights, chief consideration ought to be given to the weak and the poor.”

            The Fortieth Year, #25

            “The teachings of the Church insist that government has a moral function: protecting human rights and securing basic justice for all members of the commonwealth. Society as a whole and in all its diversity is responsible for building up the common good. But it is the government’s role to guarantee the minimum conditions that make this rich social activity possible, namely, human rights and justice. This obligation also falls on individual citizens as they choose their representatives and participate in shaping public opinion.”

            Economic Justice for All, #122

            “Considerations of justice and equity can at times demand that those involved in civil government give more attention to the less fortunate members of the community, since they are less able to defend their rights and to assert their legitimate claims.”

            Peace on Earth, #56

            “The superfluous wealth of rich countries should be placed at the service of poor nations. The rule which up to now held good for the benefit of those nearest to us, must today be applied to all the needy of this world. Besides, the rich will be the first to benefit as a result. Otherwise their continued greed will certainly call down upon them the judgement of God and the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell.” Populorum Progressio(#49)

            Also, you claim that “the social safety net” is far and away the largest reason that our government is on the verge of collapse – can you substantiate that? It is really the WIC program and food stamps that are causing such a strain? Thanks.

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Cherry picking follows on the non sequiturs and straw man army, eh Francis? WIC? Food stamps? Why don’t you ask me if Medicare and Social Security are causing such a strain? But on the WIC question, a friend of mine reported being in line in WalMart behind a person who bought all sorts of food stuffs on WIC and then a massive plasma screen TV with cash. Isolated incident? I hardly think so. And it is not just. ——— To tell the truth, the only of the quotes you offer that challenges my position is the very last one, but it must be squared with the positions of the Church that have to do with the dignity of private property and rights of individuals to the fruits of their own labor and the legitimacy of competition, etc. Competition alone doesn’t solve everything—it must be entered into by moral individuals. And you misinterpret what I mean when I say government has no ipso facto responsibility. Government has no ipso facto responsibility to guarantee anyone a certain standard of living through the dole; government *does* have the obligation to protect everyone’s legitimate rights to the fruit of their own labor (which ought to include protection from government taking too much of those fruits) and to help make sure no one is taken advantage of. That is not the same thing as the public dole as we have come to know it. If the government just protects everyone’s right to their own things and sets the standards in place to protect people from predatory lending, abusive labor practices, and other such activities by immoral economic actors, the economy would flourish, raising more people out of poverty than any government dole.

          3. Francis says:

            Tom: You provide one second-hand, anecdotal example of someone who – in your opinion – is abusing the system, and you accuse me of cherry picking? Nice. You brought up that example on another thread, and my question to you was, how do you know that they had not received money as a gift with the specific understanding that they were going to purchase a t.v.? And the answer is, you do not know that. There could be any number of circumstances that would justify behavior that simply looked bad to the person who witnessed it. The reality is that in any society there will always be a certain percentage of the population who is unable to work. So no matter how well the economy is working, we still have to have systems in place to care for those who are poor and vulnerable.

          4. Tom Crowe says:

            Francis: 1) My anecdote was just that: an anecdote to illustrate a point I had made in other ways. IOW, it was ancillary to my point, which you did not address. Your cherry picking was the very substance of your argument. Do you see the difference? 2) You crafted a scenario in which a person is given cash to purchase a plasma TV, but needs WIC to put food on the table? I still contend that such is an abuse of the system. If a person needs public money for food staples, lavish gifts like a plasma TV are an abuse, no matter how they came into the money. Something much more modest is justified, not something like that. Also, it was hardly an isolated incident, just the one example I chose to use. I and others have witnessed similar activity elsewhere. 4) Plenty of the people on social assistance programs *are* able to work, but either cannot hold down a job (through their own or someone else’s fault) or legitimately cannot find work. The best way to have more jobs is to make the cost of doing business drop, so companies an hire more people, in conjunction with lowering the tax burden each person bears so each person has more money to buy things or invest, thus greasing the wheels of the economy. 5) I never said all social assistance systems need to be ended; I’m not sure where you got the idea that I did say that. I said cuts are necessary to keep the government from crashing, a point you have yet to address I might add. I also said that the question posed by Catholics United is loaded and ridiculous. And I said that failure to make cuts to social service programs would be a greater injustice to the entire society than keeping them all exactly as they are presently constituted because no cuts at all will result in the government collapsing fiscally.

          5. Francis says:

            Tom: About that t.v. – just so you know, I worked for many years in a grocery store, so I dealt with many families on WIC and foodstamps. Were there people who pushed it? Yes – there was one guy who would bring in his dollar-valued food coupons and buy a pack of gum at a time until he had enough change to purchase a pack of cigarettes. But you know, that is the ONLY guy who I personally experienced abusing the system in the many years I worked in the grocery store. Are there others – I’m sure there are. That needs to be addressed, and I’m pretty sure that under the current system it is impossible to use food stamps or their equivalent for cigarettes. It would be good if they could restrict the qualifying items to very nutritious food – not soda or candy, for example. Regarding the t.v., suppose the grandparents gave the parents the money for the t.v. for their grandchildren for Christmas? You might not like that, personally, but I don’t think it is absolutely morally wrong. My in-laws gave our kids a video console one Christmas – I thought it was ridiculously extravagant, especially when the kids really needed clothes. But the grandparents knew that all of my kids’ peers had the latest gaming technology and they wanted our kids to have this treat. Suppose several families in the same apartment complex pooled their resources for a really great t.v. to share? I know of families in our area that do that with vehicles. That seems resourceful to me, rather than scandalous. Suppose they were just picking it up for a relative who could not get to the store, and the money was not even theirs.

          6. Tom Crowe says:

            Francis– Could you please provide a defense of the social service system as presently constituted and explain why it is not legitimate to try to rein it in considerably in light of the fact that certain aspects of it are the primary reason our government is on the verge of fiscal collapse? Because that appears to be the only difference in our positions. We both believe the government has *some* role to play in helping make sure the poor have an opportunity to have a better life, the difference between us is *how* the government goes about doing that, and the degree to which it is a system of handouts versus encouragement of private sector generosity and economic growth through favorable taxation and regulation. The difference is my position recognizes the unsustainability of the status quo while you seem to ignore that. This, at root, was the point of my original post. All rhetoric aside, how do you defend doing nothing to avoid the fiscal train wreck we are speeding toward with “Medicare & Social Security R.R.” emblazoned on our side?

          7. Francis says:

            Tom: I appreciate it so much when your tone reflects the fact that we actually do have common ground. I also find it extremely disturbing when there are tax cuts for the wealthy while schools such as Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit (a high school for pregnant and parenting teens) are getting cut. There must be other programs to cut. Those in power court those who have the $$ to keep them in power. Pregnant/parenting teens from Detroit are not in that category, so they get the shaft.

          8. Joe says:

            Francis. Thank you for the citations. However, they do not appear to support the position you’ve expressed here. Nothing in them suggests that minimizing the financial burden of government on a people isn’t a valid way of considering and looking out for the poor.

          9. Francis says:

            Here’s another comment from Populorum Progressio:

            “Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development. One must avoid the risk of increasing still more the wealth of the rich and the dominion of the strong, whilst leaving the poor in their misery and adding to the servitude of the oppressed.” (#33)

          10. Joe says:

            Francis. You leave off the second part of that paragraph that essentially undermines the position you have expressed here: “It pertains to the public authorities to choose, even to lay down the objectives to be pursued, the ends to be achieved, and the means for attaining these, and it is for them to stimulate all the forces engaged in this common activity. But let them take care to associate private initiative and intermediary bodies with this work. They will thus avoid the danger of complete collectivization or of arbitrary planning, which, by denying liberty, would prevent the exercise of the fundamental rights of the human person.”

            The paragraph you quote establishes that public leaders are given the authority to choose the plan that best addresses the Common Good and to establish what those objectives should be. It also warns against excessive planning that denies liberty. I believe that this excessive planning is exactly where we have arrived in this country today and the actions of John Boehner are in accordance with this paragraph and other Catholic Social Teaching on this subject to create a balance that better serves the Common Good.

          11. Vincent says:

            According to Catholic social teaching, the government does have responsibility to the poor and destitute in society. Ensuring that everyone in society has access to certain fundamentals (opportunity to work, basic health care, shelter, food, basic freedoms, etc.) are part of distributive justice. Your basic line of argument is flawed because you fail to distinguish between the demands of charity and the demands of justice. Christians are obligated to provide charity, and liberals who think that government funded services should and can do all of this work for the poor are wrong and out of line with Church teaching. But at the same time, the Church insists that caring for the poor is not simply a matter of charity. Much of the work is a matter of justice, and there is not only a legitimate role for government to play, but an obligatory role. Conservatives who suggest that the Christian obligation to the poor is best and rightfully fulfilled only through voluntary private charity are also wrong and out of line with Church teaching. It is not enough for private individuals and organizations to set up soup kitchens and medical clinics to serve those who can’t afford basic necessities. We also must legally regulate our economy so that their are fewer people who lack basic necessities. In his encyclicals Pope Benedict has been very clear on this distinction between justice and charity, and also on the need for government regulation and action.

          12. Tom Crowe says:

            Excellent, thank you Vincent. You did bring up something that needs to be included in the discussion (but was not part of the original post). The role government has to play vis-a-vis helping those in poverty is of doing everything it can to make getting a job and making it on one’s own easier. Which means taxation policies and regulatory regimes that encourage economic risk-taking and business development. When the economy is not hindered by onerous taxation and regulatory regimes, business flourishes, more people are hired, more people have money to spend, and therefore there is less poverty. —— Since the original post was about the dole I did not include this discussion in my post, but since you raise it I think it germane. Lower taxation rates for businesses and private individuals, with less onerous regulatory regimes, will indeed raise more people out of poverty than any governmental dole.

          13. Vincent says:

            I’ll agree with you about 75%, but there are some important qualifiers that you are missing. Government regulation of the economy plays a vital role in establishing justice and promoting the common good because a purely free market promotes only those interests that are marketable. As JPII talked about in Centesimus Annus, government regulation of the economy is vital because there are important human needs which are not marketable and will never be served or protected by the free market. (e.g. health care for the poor, environmental protection, living wages, etc.) The Church does not endorse socialism, but neither does the Church endorse a laissez faire approach to economics. The free market approach advocated by Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, and many political conservatives today is based on the notion competition between people acting in a self-interested way. As Pope Benedict discussed in Caritas in Veritate, a truly virtuous economy (and the kind which Christians should advocate) cannot simply be based on people pursuing their own self-interest, but their must be an eye to the common good.

        2. Joe says:

          Francis. Does a government have a responsibility to not pursue programs that create more poverty, even if they are intended to assist the poor?

    3. Joe says:

      Francis. Christians advocating for caring about the poor says nothing about what the most effective way to care for the poor is. Communists also claim that their policies protect the poor. Their governments are designed to make 100% of the countries resources available to “solving” problems like poverty. What a charitable group! Like other progressives, they believe that the State is better at helping the poor than the Church or other charities. This is one of the reasons why anti-Christian sentiments are historically tied to Communist movements. The problem is, history shows us that there are folds more poor people in these countries than there are in countries with less government involvement. Backing government programs that create more poverty than they remove is nothing to be proud of. It’s true that we have a responsibility to care for the poor. However, the liberties we have in the US already provides us the ability to do that without involving the government.

  5. debr says:

    Thanks for that very clear and easy to understand definition of subsidiarity and the Holy Catholic Church’s teaching of it. The Church’s true teachings of “social justice” have been hijacked and twisted. We need, as adult Catholics, to be catechised so we can have properly formed consciences. Then we can act with charity and be the good Samaritan to our neighbors, as Jesus call us to be.

    1. Kevin says:

      Uh, the author doesn’t even address subsidiarity, not to mention provide an “easy to understand definition,” and his comments are at best marginal to what subsidiarity is all about…. in other words, not sure where your comment is coming from.

      1. Tom Crowe says:

        The most local portion of society (governmental or otherwise) that is able to handle a given issue ought to be the one to do so. This principle, writ large, is that the local community, or the parish community, or the next level above that, or the next level above that, ought to be the one to handle it. I didn’t stipulate word for word the textbook definition of subsidiarity, but it is present in what I’m discussing. The disagreement is whether there ought to be a program the size and scope and structure of Medicare, Social Security, etc., and that these programs are somehow sacred cows for Christians. I argue they are not, and have become pariahs from the Christian perspective because of the millstone they have become around the neck of the body politic.

  6. erica says:

    Great post!

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