Time for another installation response to a commentator on Biblical Conservatism! Today, we have an anonymous comment from the post Republicans Should Block This Jobs Bill! Block it Immediately!. In keeping with Biblical Conservatism tradition as it pertains to anonymous comments, I will be referring to our nameless friend as Chewbacca for the sake of this post. Now, to the comment:
"There is no such thing as a compassionate conservative. True Christians are liberals." - Anonymous
Wow, Chewbacca, just wow. There's some great liberal civility on display, now isn't there?
But seriously, Chewie, it seems to me that you define compassion as intention, and only applicable when doled out by government. This is where we differ. Conservatives are incredibly compassionate people. For the record, I believe the typical Neighborhood Liberal is also very compassionate. The difference, however, is that conservatives expect results from our compassion, not just good intentions.
Government is notoriously bad at taking care of the needy. The statistic has been prominent for decades now that government spends only about $.35 for every $1 on care for the needy. Private charities like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the like are able to give $.85 of every $1 on care for the needy. Some private charities are able to give as much as $.95 on the $1 to the needy. That's a staggering difference!
The reason for this, Chewbacca, is twofold. One, private charities operate largely with volunteers and that cuts their overhead. Two, and more importantly, private charities can allow themselves to be taken advantage of, because they are giving charity, not welfare. Private charities spend donations, not compulsory taken taxes. Government cannot allow itself to be taken advantage of because they are spending other people's money, thus they have to put up red tape to prevent fraud (they fail miserably at it too). Hence government is quite inefficient at caring for the needy!
Also, and this is even more important for you to understand, Chewie, compassion is not making poverty comfortable. The problem with our system is it makes poverty a comfortable state, one that people are willing to kick back into poverty and just stay there. Charity is about providing needs to those in poverty. Compassion is not keeping people comfortable in poverty but giving them the means to meet their needs until they can lift themselves out of poverty.
As far as "all true Christians" being liberal, I'm afraid you need to go read your Bible again. Liberalism teaches that the government should care for the needy, and calls that compassion. The Bible never says "give your money to the government, let the government care for the needy." Ever. The Bible tells people "you care for the poor." It tells farmers not to glean the edge of their fields so that the needy can just walk up and help themselves to food. It tells people to give alms to the poor as they are able. Directly, Chewbacca, not via government. YOU give to the poor. Then of course there's the part in the Bible that has a progressive tithing system, right? Wait...the tithe is 10% across the board? That sounds like a flat tax to me, doesn't it sound like that to you, Chewie, and isn't that a conservative principle?
I wrote an extensive treatment on this subject which I called Treatise on Biblical Conservatism. I'd ask you to read it, as it contains direct scripture quotes to back my argument.
In short, Chewbacca, I do not doubt your legitimate compassion. However I think your faith in government to care for the government is poorly placed. Your heart is in the right place, my friend, I truly believe that, but your desires do not achieve compassionate results. It only creates compassionate intentions.
Chewie, I would tell you that it is possible to be a liberal or a conservative and be a Christian, because God is not political. However, His government for Israel was a localized, Federalist, conservative government. I stand on the same premise I began this blog: God is a conservative, and if God is a conservative, it's hard to say that Christians cannot be one.
Comments are always welcomed on posts, provided they are in line with the Rules for Comments. Please note any comment may become subject matter for a future post, as my personal interest and news cycles require.