Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is the Christian Obligated to Promote the Welfare State?

People often talk about what our "nation" could or should do, when they are actually talking about having the federal government do it. Even Stephen Colbert has a schtick about how "we" cannot be a Christian nation unless the federal government "helps" the poor.

Thus: accusations that people who think the federal government has no authority to help the poor (and it doesn't--read the Constitution) cannot be real Christians because Jesus commanded "us" to help the poor. Since when is the federal government "the nation" or "us"? It is nothing of the kind. It is one particular institution, established by the American People for particular purposes. The American People existed prior to the federal government, as did the States, as did the Christian religion, as did Jesus.

The "General Welfare" clause is most often cited as though it were a warrant for Congress to do "whatever seems like a good idea." It is the opposite. It is a reiteration of one of the limits on the power of Congress. I.e., the "General Welfare" clause means that Congress's powers are limited to enacting laws and appropriations that benefit everyone. "General Welfare" OUTLAWS -- rather than authorizes -- Individual Welfare and Corporate Welfare.

"Nothing above the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State" is sentiment not to be found in the Constitution or in the heart of any true American. But it is found in the hearts of those who seek to destroy private charity, private education, and private enterprise, and make the central government omnipotent.

(Excellent insights from Fr. Vince Fitzpatrick, a pro-life colleague and old friend)