Coerced “giving” is not giving at all

I’ve known from childhood that I am a conservative, both economically and socially.  I wasn’t raised in a political family by any means, but I was raised in church.  My dad is still in our quiet suburb’s Catholic church every Sunday and many times outside of traditional Sunday Mass.  My family and I are Presbyterian but I have a tremendous respect for my dad’s faith and love him more for raising me in church than anything else he ever did for me.

All this said, it doesn’t sit very well with me when I’m labeled as being some sort of “bad Christian” for opposing governmental redistribution of wealth.  “Put your Bible where your mouth is”, a woman told me the other day.  Uh, okay!

Forced, or coerced giving is not charitable in the least.  On the contrary, it is the opposite of the “cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. -2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:7

So if we’re strictly speaking of Christian ethics, it is specifically commanded by Paul in 2 Corinthians we we should not be forced to give but rather do so freely and cheerfully.

Combine that with the fact that statistically speaking, evangelical Christians (who are often very conservative on economic matters) give the highest percentage of their income to charity compared to the rest of society.  Astonishingly, the very things described above that prevent people from giving to charity (material things such as cigarettes, alcohol, electronics, automobiles and other big luxury purchases) also prevent them from buying health insurance or investing for their retirement.

In other words: materialism, not a specific economic philosophy, makes people less likely to give freely. Evangelical Christians do put their money where their mouths are, at least compared to everyone else in society.

And, I might add: The United States has the most “progressive” tax code in the Western world. More on that subject here.

We can disagree on whether Christians should use government as a method of economic giving, but it isn’t civil or nice to insinuate that those of us who believe that is not the function of government are less charitable, less caring, less compassionate or less Christian.

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