It’s been said that the last bastion of Communism is found on the campuses of American universities. Alan Wolfe is the poster child for soft-core Communism. He is currently on the faculty of Boston College and serves as director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life. He rejects the conclusion of a “new study produced by the Chronicle of Philanthropy [that] shows that 14 out of the top 20 states in charitable giving are red, or Republican states, while 12 of the bottom 15 are blue, or Democrat states.”
Dr. Wolfe “said it’s wrong to link a state’s religious makeup with its generosity. People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits, Wolfe said. . . .
“Wolfe said people in less religious states ‘view the tax money they’re paying not as something that’s forced upon them, but as a recognition that they belong with everyone else, that they’re citizens in the common good. . . . I think people here believe that when they pay their taxes, they’re being altruistic.’”
Forced altruism is a contradiction. A person is not being altruistic if he votes for people who take money from property owners in the form of taxes to pay for programs that a voting majority wants. Spending other people’s money is not being charitable.
A number of religious leaders follow Dr. Wolfe’s soft Communism worldview by an appeal to the Bible. The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) uses his own money to care for the robbery victim left for dead. This story cannot be used as a directive for social spending by governments. Jesus never calls on the State to act in an altruistic way. The State can’t be altruistic since it has nothing of its own to give. The eighth commandment applies to civil governors in the same way that it applies to self-governors. Neither is permitted to steal to help others.
Religious liberals take verses from the Bible that are directed at and turn them on their head by giving them a political twist. To base government programs like welfare, food stamps, and social security on Matthew 25:31–46 is without foundation. The division in Matthew 25 is between sheep and goats, that is, individuals. Nations don’t visit people in prison. Private citizens do. Governments put people in prison. Private citizens do not.
Civil governments are the biggest hindrance in helping the poor, and it’s not because they don’t tax enough and redistribute wealth. High taxes and manipulation of the money supply (inflation/deflation) enable civil governments to control people and their property. A ten percent tax is a sign of tyranny (1 Sam. 8:15), and yet these so-called social justice Christians believe in higher taxes on the rich to help the poor.
It was a taxing policy by Rome that forced Mary and Joseph to leave their stable home environment, Joseph’s job, and spend money they probably did not have in order to register for a government taxing program (Luke 2:1–7). Wealth redistribution policies, with all their good intentions, hurt the poor and make them wards of the State.
Dr. Wolfe’s comment that people in less religious states ‘view the tax money they’re paying not as something that’s forced upon them, but as a recognition that they belong with everyone else, that they’re citizens in the common good.” This is nonsense. If 100% voted for the tax, then he might have a point. But if everybody votes for the tax, then why bother with the taxing power of the State? Why not set up a charitable foundation to distribute the money? The answer to these questions is easy to come by: Not everybody agrees that their property should be taken from them to pay for programs that are best left to charities.
Walter Williams writes:
“In 1796, Rep. William Giles of Virginia condemned a relief measure for fire victims, saying that Congress didn’t have a right to ‘attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require.’ A couple of years earlier, James Madison, the father of our constitution, irate over a $15,000 congressional appropriation to assist some French refugees, said, ‘I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.’”
By the way, Dr. Wolfe’s PH.D. is in political science. It’s time that Dr. Wolfe dust off a copy of the Constitution and read some original source documents by our founders.