Our brother’s keeper

Through the ages the church has lovingly responded to the call of God to be our brother’s keeper. The scripture says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble. . .”James 1:27.

President Obama is seeking to usurp the role of the church and have the federal government, “Big Brother,” provide for the nation’s poor and needy. In fact, as part of his 2010 budget proposal, he has declared war on charity by proposing to cap the charitable deduction at the 28% tax rate while simultaneously increasing the tax burden on Americans in the top tax brackets. These same taxpayers are also major donors.

A study conducted by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy predicted that Obama’s budget would cause a $10 to $20 billion decline in charitable donations per year. This blow to charity could not come at a worse time since donations to charity are already down because of the economic downturn while the need for the services provided by these charities is increasing.

President Obama speaks about community and hope, but these aspirations are mutually exclusive when “Big Brother” is the provider. Instead, we need more God and less government.

While serving as chairman of a Texas state agency, I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who serve our state well, but the motivation for service is not the same as a person who has a passion to serve and who will sacrifice beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of others.

The heartbeat of charity is the passion of the volunteers. Charity is a calling and not a job. It works nights and weekends. It is a human face and not a government bureaucrat who tells you to come back tomorrow after you fill out the paperwork.

Charity empowers the receiver to believe that there is a power higher than themselves. It demonstrates the love of God through the helping hands of volunteers. It not only changes the receiver, but it blesses the giver.

As children we are taught it is better to give than receive. The wonderful feeling of giving makes us better people and builds character. It teaches us to be selfless while compassionately reaching out a helping hand to others and being a shoulder to cry on. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves.”

Government is detached, cold and faceless. It may provide someone in need a check and other “benefits,” but it is not there to love them and help them build a better life for themselves.

We grow when others touch our lives. However, government enslaves those who become addicted to its benefits. Eventually, government steals a person’s dignity, identity, destiny, and ultimately leaves them hopeless.

True community development comes when brothers help brothers and when neighbors help neighbors.

The beauty of charity is that it destroys walls of division. The story of the Good Samaritan is a wonderful example of this. The man who had been robbed would probably not have had anything to do with a Samaritan under normal circumstances. However, the Good Samaritan reached out to the injured man and broke down the walls of division.

What America needs now are more heroes. When brothers help brothers, role models and mentors are born and the weak are empowered to say I am strong. Then they too become a helping hand.

Let’s not grow government, but as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Let’s keep hope alive.”

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