There is a lot of talk in the news lately about President Obama and Congress trimming a few billion or trillion off of the Federal deficit. Ultimately there are only two ways to reduce the deficit: you either make more money (i.e. taxes) or you reduce spending. You can get all technical and what not about restructuring this or that, but ultimately it comes down to either make more, or spend less. For now, the prevailing thought is to spend less.
Naturally, everyone is worried that their pet program will receive less money, and is on television every day and every night arguing that their program is essential to the future of human life and therefore should not be cut.
One of the more amusing reasons for not cutting the funding to a government program or the government subsidy to an independent program is that these particular programs are doing what Jesus has commanded us to do; and that cutting even one cent from this particular program would bring the wrath of God upon the cutter who would dare forsake those in need.
But before we look for signs of the coming apocalypse as the government cuts are announced, let’s review whether or not Jesus would actually fund or defund some of these programs.
Caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, etc.: This is the first and foremost program that people bring up that should always be funded by the government, no matter what else must go unfunded. Jesus specifically says that we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the poor. St. Matthew 25:34-40 is proof that we should care for those around us who are in need. And this argument is most certainly true, there is nothing wrong with
Except that we have confused this argument. Jesus’ command is for the Christian to feed
the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the poor; not the government. The government has absolutely no roll whatsoever in these tasks; they are given to the Church. The reason the government has stepped in and taken up these rolls is because the Church has not done them. So would Jesus cut the funding for soup kitchens and homeless shelters from the government budget? Absolutely; because it is the work of the Church, not the government.
Social Security: This program comprises a large amount of the Federal Budget and is deemed to be approved, even commanded by Jesus. The argument again goes to our neighbor and how Jesus tells us to love our neighbors and care for them; and what better way than by providing for them in times of need and in times of old age?
Again it is the work of the Church and her members to care for those in need. An
interesting note on Social Security is that nowhere in Scripture do we see anybody retire. Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters began to rise; Samuel prophesied the Word of the Lord until the day he died; Saul, David and Solomon all reigned on the throne of
Israel until the day they died. The apostles all died on the job. Nowhere do we find the command to retire, instead we find that God uses His people until their dying breath. Social Security is a benefit that the state offers to its people; nowhere is it commanded in
Planned Parenthood, et. al.: Planned Parenthood and other independent social agencies receive a great deal of their funding out of the Federal Budget, but that funding is a mere pittance when compared to things like Defense and Foreign Aid. The argument raised is that these agencies are providing valuable services to help their neighbors, and besides the funding is so small anyway it would hardly make a difference? And besides: what would Jesus do? Continue government funding or force people to get back-alley abortions?
This one is more difficult, because the Church (or at least those that actually believe God’s
Word) does not in any way fund or provide for abortions; so surely Jesus would allow the government to provide what the Church does not? Wrong. Jesus would not fund abortions or birth control and promote the killing of children in any way. Jesus would fund adoption agencies and other means to care for the mother and newborn child;
which by the way is what the Church does.
So what would Jesus cut? As it turns out, Jesus would cut an awful lot of those things that people claim He would fund into eternity. The reality is that the Church has fallen
down in its role in society and the government has stepped into provide for these necessities. How do you cut the Federal deficit? Well, first and foremost, the Church needs to increase its budget in works of mercy and charity. How can many churches which
struggle financially do such a thing? The Lord has a way of providing.