There go the rascals again, the Religious Right mixing religion and government! According to Laurence Houlgate (letters, Sept. 9), evangelical Christians have formed an unholy alliance with “old guard” Republicans. Mr. Houlgate contends that in order to advance their antigay and anti-abortion legislative agenda, the evangelicals have accepted Republican terms of further enriching the wealthy through tax reductions (at the expense of social welfare programs) and, in so doing, abandoned Christianity’s main ethical imperative of helping the poor, the elderly and the sick.
According to Christian teachings, helping those in need is a personal moral obligation. Jesus certainly didn’t teach that we could avoid this obligation by creating public assistance programs and funding them by taxing the rich. The onus is on the individual, not the collective.
However, if Mr. Houlgate is correct in his implication that the ethical imperative of Christianity is being fulfilled by our social welfare programs, isn’t this a case of the religious left mixing religion and government? The irony is astounding.
Furthermore, which enumerated power in the Constitution gives the federal government authority to establish such redistributive programs? If we must assist the downtrodden through the aegis of government, shouldn’t it be done locally?