August 8, 2008


God's Welfare State (Mark D. Tooley, 8/07/08,

The Islamic Society of North America recently has joined the National Council of Churches, Jim Wallis’ Sojourners, two Jewish groups, the National Association of Evangelicals and Catholic Charities to urge Obama and McCain to give primetime convention speeches about the “plague” of poverty n America. [...]

Christianity, Judaism and Islam do all commend helping the poor, of course. But the Book of Deuteronomy, a law book for the ancient Hebrews’ theocracy, does not provide detailed policy guidance for modern political parties. How interesting that left-leaning religious groups can quote from the Old Testament and its supposed counsel about welfare programs and environmental regulations. In contrast, conservative religious groups that cite the Scriptures about their moral and political issues are widely derided as aspiring theocrats.

According to this Deuteronomy-quoting appeal from “people of faith,” it is “immoral to ignore our nation’s most vulnerable populations.” And, from a more utilitarian perspective, “enduring poverty undermines our country’s economic strength and prosperity.” They insist that religious charities are not sufficient to address poverty. So there must be a “serious plan from our political leaders to reduce the number of needy.”

Supposedly Republican Senate Leader Everett Dirksen once derided Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” by tongue-in-cheek claiming that it violated the Bible’s promise that “ye have the poor always with you.” A more serious complaint from the Christian and Jewish perspective about the Welfare State is that it is largely materialistic and often utopian. Can poverty be eliminated? First, poverty is a somewhat relative term. Most poor people in today’s America would not be regarded as poor by much of today’s world, nor by most Americans in earlier decades. Secondly, a free society to some extent allows people the possibility of economic failure. Only a police state can fully mandate the economic choices of individuals. [...]

The left-leaning religious officials, guided by 100 years of statist Social Gospel, want to wage a government-led coercive struggle against “poverty” in the abstract. But most of their religious traditions express God’s love for specific poor people, while emphasizing voluntary and relational charity towards the needy. This historic stance of these religions towards the poor understandably has less appeal to the Religious Left, which often is more preoccupied with political power than with concrete compassion.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2008 6:41 AM

This historic stance of these religions towards the poor understandably has less appeal to the Religious Left, which often is more preoccupied with political power than with concrete compassion.

Er, who says "concrete compassion"? The stance is a ploy to gain political power to coerce compassion. Coerce others to do what the left want them to do to alleviate the left's guilt without the left actually sacrficing anything themselves, "do as I say, not as I do".

Posted by: ic at August 8, 2008 10:17 AM

"An interesting fact about white people is that they firmly believe that all of the world’s problems can be solved through 'awareness.' Meaning the process of making other people aware of problems, and then magically someone else like the government will fix it."

Posted by: John at August 8, 2008 10:43 AM

Why is the Islamic Society in on this sham? Just like in their alliances of convenience with the Left elsewhere in the world, it's about bringing down the West as it is so that it may be replaced with their own version.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at August 8, 2008 11:12 AM

How can we eliminate poverty when we keep allowing poor people to come to our country in large numbers without abiding by our laws?

Posted by: George at August 8, 2008 11:53 AM

What a perfect opportunity for making the case that religious NFPs should pay taxes...........

cos they have not paid their fair share and all those contributions made for decades also wasn't taxed.

Posted by: Sandy P at August 8, 2008 12:27 PM

Those people have two jobs each.

Posted by: oj at August 8, 2008 1:13 PM
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