god or not

"I prefer to help people of my own accord following God's individual direction rather than forced charity through the government. Those who invoke religious motives when attempting to justify the immoral redsitrabution [sic] of wealth are using the lazyiest [sic] possible argument [sic]"

I found this quote the other day on Leland's Facebook page. It was his response to a liberal friend who was trying to appeal to his religious convictions. One of them was talking, I think, about God's charity; the other about God's government.

I've been debating in my own head these same conflicting and frustrating arguments for a while now. I’ve moved a great deal from where I was, but I'm still not solidly settled on a position. There are reasons that I agree and disagree with Leland.

I can't not admit that I'm a hypocrite when it comes to personal denial. I've enjoyed nice vacations knowing there is a kid somewhere who could make a year's worth of necessities out of my week of extravagance. A mom who works the hard soil with bare feet would wince at my shoe stash. A lot of nice coats hang in my warm closet on cold, cold nights.

I've earned most of what I have. In the morning, when the alarm goes off, I get out of bed, feeling it or not, and get myself to the place that pays me to be productive. I work for my stuff, and I feel I deserve my stuff. But I also feel compelled to give as generously as I can to help meet the needs of others. I think that's the point my friend Leland was making, and it makes great sense.

There seems to be something missing though in Leland’s spirit. I absolutely do not question his commitment or relationship with God. I don’t qualify to even sit on that jury. I want to ask though, in the Scripture, which was more evidently important to Jesus Christ, caring for the poor and making sure that the hungry get to eat even a little, or protecting the wealthy and ensuring that they always have more than enough? Where did Jesus stand on political power? What was his position on keeping the government under control or in the control of the right people? Jesus Christ didn’t seem too interested in patriotic motivation or conditional compassion.

There is also the issue of the long range premise of Leland’s words. There are lots of very conservative Christians in the United States who are working incredibly hard to make sure that their idea of the teachings of the Holy Bible is the law of the land. Lawmakers who promote “family values” admit they are influenced by Judeo-Christian ideas. But if religion is no good reason for a government to be morally compassionate, then is religion a good reason for a government to be morally judicious?

"I prefer to live my life of my own accord, following God's individual direction, rather than forced morality through the government. Those who invoke religious motives when attempting to legislate moral 'family values' are using the laziest possible argument."

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