Bush taking GOP toward socialism?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

DEAR EDITOR: President George W. Bush has proposed a new federal initiative which will direct U.S. government dollars to religious charities for use in a variety of social aid programs. Beside the fact that federal aid to churches is unconstitutional (the national government has no delegated power to provide welfare money), I think it is unwise and potentially dangerous. It’s unwise because welfare programs in any form are usually wasteful and lead to dependence. The Republican Party is supposedly anti-welfare, but in practice under Nixon/Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, the party has seen fit to continue the New Deal (socialist) and Great Society (socialist) and even to expand big government. Under no Republican administration has the size of government been reduced. The party talks conservative and walks socialist. The early stages of Bush II make it clear that the trend continues. Mr. Bush (conservative, of course) promotes more federal education spending, more Social Security dollars, more U.S. expenditures for law enforcement (a local matter) and more greenbacks for welfare, but now funneled through private or religious organizations. It really doesn’t matter who the fedgov doles the money out to or how they hand it out. The principle is this: The fedgov shouldn’t be in this business in the first place. So if we deny the principle, we avoid the problem. The answer is basic: Social welfare is a state or local matter. The U.S. government should have absolutely no role in it. Now, going beyond illegal and unwise, how could fedgov funding of welfare through churches be dangerous? First, we must understand that what government funds, it controls. Look at any federal program and you will see strings attached. This is basic stuff. The next question is: “Do we want Uncle Sam to control the churches?” Isn’t there some deal in the Constitution about Congress making no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof? The big-government liberal (leftist, actually) will say, “Well, you see, the Constitution is a living document whose meaning changes with the times. Simple folk can’t really understand it. It’s really written for East Coast, Harvard-Yale, establishment-types. You’d better leave the understanding of it to us wise men.” Listen: The U.S. Constitution is no “living document.” It’s solid as a rock for our protection. If it can be warped to help the children, it can be warped to hurt the children. We don’t need big U.S. funding the churches, and we sure don’t need it regulating the churches (or the schools or the environment or elections or private local business or property, etc.). Well, someone might say, “What a Christian you are, don’t you believe we should help the poor and disadvantaged?” Yep, Jesus Christ said we must do this. However, charity has to be voluntary, not tax-supported. Helping the poor is a Christian duty, but it’s not a government job, especially a U.S. government job. Let’s pay to Caesar what is due to Caesar, and to God what is due to God. Ronald J. Theriot Jr. LaPlace