Friday, December 9, 2011

Why does the religious right hate the social safety net?

Okay, so here are the arguments I hear most often:
  1. Wealth redistribution is "unjust"
  2. Welfare, unemployment insurance, medicaid and other programs that help the needy introduce "moral hazard"
  3. Charity shouldn't be "forced"
Right, now, I'm a Catholic and I don't have a whole lot of access to protestant theology but I hear they use a Bible that, while not exactly the same, bears a marked resemblance to mine.  Let's look at these arguments by the numbers.

  1. Well, that just seems silly when you consider how often Jesus (who is God, who is perfectly good and just) encourages people to give to the poor.
  2. Come to think of it, #1s argument applies equally to the "moral hazard" stuff... God forgiving people who don't deserve it (everyone) is clearly a moral hazard, and God encouraging giving to the poor is, well, clearly a moral hazard.
This leaves us with #3, Charity shouldn't be forced.  Well... kay.  But I'm not sure you can really say it's being forced if we vote for it.  So let's put it another way, if you were a committed Christian worried that in your human weakness you might fail to give enough to charity on your own, it would be in your best interest (faith wise) to vote for the government to extract charity from you in appropriate amounts, and distribute it to the needy.

Also, Christ very clearly went out of his way to materially assist sinners, which is kind of directly at odds with the whole "why are we giving money to people doing bad things" Conservative dialog.  I mean, the whole thing just doesn't seem very Christian.

Now, if you happened to subscribe to a belief system actively opposed to charity and in direct contradiction to the recorded words of Christ (say Objectivism), then sure, you might be opposed to mandatory wealth redistribution, but these arguments about differing moral codes in society don't seem to show up when the Right starts advocating DOMA &c.

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