Thursday, October 30, 2008

To Help You Decide V (Part II)

The Role of Government and Personal Responsibility

The question from an earlier post:

“Why is it the government's job to take care of people? I guess where I'm coming from is didn't Christ command the church to take care of those less fortunate? At what point did it become the taxpayer's responsibility?”

Obama resonates with the question to a large degree. In Kissimmee, Florida, on October 29, Obama explained his views: "Lately they've been calling me a socialist. They've found evidence that when I was in kindergarten I used to share my toys . . . They said 'look he's a redistributionist'… My Bible tells me there is nothing wrong with helping other people, that we want to treat others like we want to be treated. That I am my brother's keeper, and I am my sister's keeper. I believe that."

But if it is exclusively the church’s duty to care for people, I know of a church that agrees with my friend who asked the questions, except that they don’t exactly “take care” of people. What they do is to serve people who need jobs, homes, motivation, skills, health care, and Jesus.

They encourage their members to serve the community--to strengthen it in practical and godly ways. They hammer into their members the value of working to strengthen families and to not settle for the mediocre. They call people to self –sacrifice for the good of the kingdom of God.

And they remind people that government can’t solve their problems. In fact in a now famous sermon entitled “God and Government,” their pastor made these points about trusting in government:

Governments fail. God never fails!
Governments lie. God never lies!
Governments change. God never changes!

That church on the south side of Chicago is Trinity United Church of Christ. The preacher is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. And the sermon is the infamous G-D-America sermon. God never fails. God never lies. God never changes.

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