Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What's the Government's Role?

One of the positive things going now in the current presidential primary race is the opportunity for good discussions about the role of the church and the role of government -- particularly the federal government.

The practice of the federal government to be so involved in education, caring for the poor, and healthcare does not go back to 1787, when the US Constitution was ratified. But these three have always been in the calling of the Church. I strongly suspect that this is one of the key reasons why religious institutions in the US are not taxed.

Economically, socially, and politically, I cannot see how continuing the current expectations of the federal government and state governments for education, healthcare, and "protecting" the poor is sustainable. It's not constitutional, for starters. By experiment we have seen that it rarely works well (and throwing more money at them via government agencies is not effective). A government approach cannot serve others in love. Please let me know if you're aware of cases where government efforts were less expensive and more effective than private efforts.

Would it be possible to shift back to a pre-WWII mode where nearly all the hospitals and colleges were started and run via churches? Difficult to imagine, with the current legal structures and public expectations. But God is able to do more than we ask or imagine, isn't He?

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