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Letter to the Editor: Bible instructs individuals, not government, to help the poor

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

As someone who believes in God and Jesus, when I am in search of guidance or the solution to a situation I turn to my Bible. My Bible has always provided me the answer to whatever situation I was concerned about. Within it there is an answer to all situations. We may not like the answer, but the Bible has been written with God’s guidance.

The Bible tells us in many places that the poor and needy will always be with us. Jesus tells us in his own words that the poor and needy will always be with us and you can help them anytime (Mark 14:7).

What many individuals who quote the Bible appear to forget is that the Bible gives instructions to the individual. When you read the Bible you will not find instructions for governments or any other organization outside of religious organizations. Nowhere in the Bible does it instruct governments to care for the needy and the poor, but it does in many places instruct individuals to care for the poor and needy.

The Bible instructs us to work. In fact, it tells us if you don’t work you don’t eat. That instruction is meant for the able bodied and not the sick and infirmed. The sick and infirmed are part of the needy and should be cared for by the individual. For work instructions, read 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Isaiah 65:22, 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12, Ephesians 4:23, Ecclesiastes 5:18, and Psalm 128:2.

Romans 13 is explicit as to what an individual’s responsibility is when it comes to governments. Nowhere in those instructions does it authorize an individual to subrogate their personal responsibilities to the government.

When it comes to government, government really has three responsibilities: national defense and security, law and order and to provide services to the citizens that they cannot provide alone. The services include such things as roads and other infrastructure. Many would say that providing schools is part of the required function of government. But we are seeing today a trend away from government provided schooling with more and more parents opting for home schooling or private schooling. I support government-run schools with options that allow the parent to select the school that their child attends, be it public, private, or home schooling.

There is no place in government for subsidies especially to corporations and business. My belief that the transfer of taxpayer money to companies is a breach of fiduciary responsibility of those who we have elected to public office. Also by adding subsidies to a government you may be transforming our government from a constitutional republic to a socialist or communist country.

There are many that would prefer that the United States become a social democracy like China, Cuba, North Korea or Venezuela. A social democracy got its start in communist countries and its roots are today still rooted in Marxism, which is the basis of communism.

I believe in taking care of the poor and needy. What I disagree with is whose responsibility it is. If you are a believer and reader of the contents of the Bible, then you know that it is your personal responsibility as an individual to take care of the poor and needy. If you really believe what Jesus has told you, then you know it is your personal responsibility. According to the Bible, caring for the poor and needy is a personal responsibility that cannot be transferred. There is no problem with organizing as a group to combine your personal efforts to care for the poor and needy, but you cannot transfer your personal responsibility to the group.

Why are those who support government entitlement programs so intent and anxious to punish their neighbors, acquaintances and friends? Yes, punish. To support those government entitlement programs you must forcibly extract money from them that they have earned using their own talents. Your neighbors, acquaintances and friends have made decisions to better their life decisions that those who wish for government subsidies in the form of entitlements could have made themselves.

Many demanding entitlements will reply that individuals who attained a better living standard used government provided roads and infrastructure to generate their wealth and income. The use of government provided roads and infrastructure is true. Everyone has the same opportunities but many fail to make use of their God given abilities to better themselves. Individuals demanding that the government provide them a living are demanding that they be supported by their neighbors, acquaintances and friends.

I have no problem helping my neighbors, acquaintances, and friends, but as a believer in God and His instructions, it must be my choice. I should never be forced to part with what I have earned to support causes that I do not agree with. I strongly disagree with programs that keep people in poverty as entitlement programs have done for the last 53 years.

RAY SHAMLIN

Rocky Mount

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