What Jesus really meant

Posted Saturday, Oct. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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I must take exception to Jim Denton’s Sept. 28 letter (“Would Jesus agree?”).

He and others like him confuse federal welfare and giveaway programs with Christian charity. They are anything but that. They are loaded down with abuse, fraud and unbelievable Washington administrative waste.

The worst thing they do, however, is to create a personally destructive dependence on government.

Jesus didn’t tell us to have our government take care of the poor and needy. He told us to do it. The most effective way to do it is in our local communities by donating to and volunteering for church programs, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food distribution pantries, senior centers, Meals-on-Wheels, Habitat for Humanity and so on.

If we all do these things, the need for wasteful and destructive federal programs goes away.

— John Finneran, Granbury

Denton compared government programs with Jesus’ commandment to help the poor and needy.

Although Jesus did say to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, that statement had nothing to do with his commandment for us to be charitable to those who are less fortunate. Jesus was acutely aware that Rome wasn’t in the charity business.

Instead, Jesus was saying that we should first give back to God, pay taxes to the government, and then willingly share our excess with those in need.

Only true charity has any spiritual benefits. Only that which is given because of our love for God and for our neighbors answers Jesus’ commandment. Even Jesus recognized separation of church and state.

Regardless of how many handouts, whether deserved or not, that our taxes fund, that cannot be considered charitable giving for a Christian.

— Mark Stewart, Crowley

Denton asked if Jesus would agree with what politicians in Congress are doing.

When Jesus said we are to “feed the poor, cure the sick and help and respect the elderly” — in Denton’s words — he was talking about Christians, not governments, doing those things.

According to the Bible, the only things a government is supposed to do is to protect the people (police, firefighters, military, etc.) and dispense justice. Government is not supposed to feed the poor and care for widows and orphans. That is our job as Christians!

Our current government makes this very difficult because of the excessively high tax rate and convoluted tax system. If government would get out of the welfare business, lower taxes and let private enterprise take over, it would be more efficient.

Jesus wants us to care for each other, not the government to care for everyone.

— Ellen Chapman, Arlington

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