Huffington Post | August 2, 2011 | Fr. Peter-Michael Prebble
During the debate on the debt ceiling a group of very well meaning Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, led by Jim Wallis of Sojourners, lobbied the President and leaders in Congress to pass a law that would protect the welfare state. They posit that there is biblical evidence that the government needs to care for the poor no matter what the consequences. As a classical liberal (and yes, as a Christian), I disagree whole heartedly with the aims of this group and I would submit that they do not speak for the majority of Christians in this country.
Recently, thanks to my friend Fr. Hans Jacobse, I have come to learn of another group of Christians that have come together to counter that argument of these so called “progressive Christians.” The group is called, “Christians for a Sustainable Economy,” and in their letter to President Obama they have this to say:
We believe the poor of this generation and generations to come are best served by policies that promote economic freedom and growth, that encourage productivity and creativity in every able person, and that wisely steward our common resources for generations to come. All Americans — especially the poor — are best served by sustainable economic policies for a free and flourishing society. When creativity and entrepreneurship are rewarded, the yield is an increase of productivity and generosity.
I submit that the present government programs do nothing but enslave the poor of this country to the programs and do nothing to break the cycle of poverty in this country. There is a growing gap between the haves and the have nots, and economic freedom is out of the reach of many, many people. I am not saying that we need to end all social programs. That would be cruel and unfair to those who really do need the social safety net. But we need to plan for the end game. It seems to me that the government is very good at starting things — welfare, unemployment, wars — but is not very good at ending them. Yes, we need a social safety net, but it needs to be just that — a safety net and not a lifestyle.
Read the entire article on the Huffington Post website (new window will open).