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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Government intervention destroys community and religious faith when meddling in the portfolio of these groups....

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

-Matthew 25:40, NIV -
I think that this biblical passage is important to contemplate even for those that are not Christians. It implies and argues for assistance to the suffering, promoting the underprivileged, including all in our lives, seeking justice and understanding and meeting the needs of others.

This is one of the bedrock fundamentals of Christianity for the individual through which 'good works' is one of the pillars that one finds salvation. But the 'good works' comes from faith in Christ and it is part of that faith in which the Christian devotes their resources to these 'good works'. 'Good works' is only one aspect of larger way-of-life within the Christian faith.

This faith is where I break from the modern liberal's faith. I think that what we need to focus on is what we do, what our family does, what our community does as to how WE participate with this community and what our community of the faithful do within the faith of following Christ. And I take a large step here since I am limiting myself to writing a readable short piece, forcing 3rd parties to do 'good works' through the coercion of government compulsion is not what was intended.

Firstly, government cannot and should not be a replacement for the individual, family, community or community of faith that are actually devoting resources coming from themselves but effectively does by forcing the larger community to take on this burden. Compulsion and coercion to do these 'good works' does not come from the heart of the individual but forces that person to believe even if they don't and there is no connection to the faith in Christ when it passes through the pipeline of government. Government crowds out the Christian and those that believe in doing 'good works' do not achieve this by voting for or asking government to replace them in this obligation.

Secondly, and I think that this is the most insidious part of those that have faith in government is that we usurp the true intent of the Matthew passage and Christ's grace. Those that force 'good works' through government fiat will naturally cause some to believe that they have done their part and meet some if not all of the obligations of 'good works'. Therefore, some will think that there is no need for further participation in the obligations of community and in the faith community. I do not think that by voting for or supporting government policies seeming being 'good works' is even marginally what the Matthew passage has in mind here. And what we are doing is transferring faith in Christ to faith in government. I am not suggesting that this is a binary equation where one completely crowds out the other but one, on the margin, that actually weakens our community. Why tackle the big issues ourselves when we can compel or hope that government will do it for us. Government's ability to meddle and it success of doing so in the past, is an opiate of hope and not hope that we can only find in our spiritual life.

I think that asking government to do our 'good works' shows little faith in Christ. And I once asked a Christian if healthcare delivery in the United States is such a huge problem, then why don't the churches tackle this problem? He said to me that it was due to lack of money. I think that it is due to lack of faith. Matthew's passage does not compel us to devise a large overarching solution with lots of money but compels us to inject ourselves in making even small improvements on the individual level. We can do that. We do not need to save the world but we can save ourselves by following Christ that compels us to share Christ's grace with others. He he he he. I like this thought, that we can save ourselves!

I have anecdotally observed that as 'good works' through government fiat have increased in the US in recent decades, that the ranks of the faithful in Christ have remarkably declined, particularly in the Northeast USA, the heart of modern American Liberalism. This is in strong contrast with China, where faith in the government have remarkably declined but that faith in Christ has risen dramatically. Do you see the link too?

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