Why do Christians hate government subsidies to the poor?
This is a topic that separates many Christians so much so that many have left churches and even the faith all together because of how this topic is handled. Jesus said to give to the poor but evangelical Christians don’t want government social programs. This seems to be in direct contradiction of scripture! Is this an instance where the Christian only follows certain teachings but not others?
What The Atlantic and other news organizations fail to do is look into why Christians don’t want government subsidies to the poor. More to the point, Christians do not want the government to control subsidies to the poor.
I have never met a Christian that said that compassion is something that we shouldn’t do. In fact, often times, Christians are judged for not being compassionate enough (probably who other topic, but let’s move on). The thing that makes compassion so powerful is that it’s a choice and it’s voluntary. The two words are strikingly similar and even related, but refer to two different ideas.
In order to be compassionate, one must be first able to provide aide and comfort and second be ready and willing to provide them. When compassion is legislative, it removes the second part, making compassion a job and not a joy. All of the sudden, something that people did out of the kindness of their hearts is now required. Even worse, those who are receiving compassion now expect it instead of being blessed by it.
The irony in compassion by force is if a church required its members to serve the community, to the point that attendance is taken, members are shamed for not doing more, that church would be considered a cult. However, when it’s done by the government, it’s viewed as taking care of the less fortunate.
I have yet to meet a Christian who is not compassionate. Rarely do I meet a Christian who isn’t humbled by the needs of others. A Christian who loves God is a Christian who is called to love others, not because he has to but because he wants to.
Compassion must come from the heart. It allowed a person — Christian or not — to serve another person. What makes compassion powerful is that it is a choice. It was not forced or coerced. It was a genuine outpouring of their heart. Legislating compassion robs it of it’s power. After all, this is the very message of the Gospel. God so loved the world that he gave — not relinquished — his only Son.