Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pact With the Devil

Paul A. Rahe has ruffled a few feathers with his article, American Catholicism’s Pact With the Devil, at Ricochet:

...the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States – the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity – and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism – the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.

"Pact with the devil' seems harsh, though I don't think it's hyperbole. It's bugged me for some time that people consider government programs charity. Christian charity isn't making your neighbor feed the poor. It's only Christian charity when it comes from you, and you're under no secular obligation to give it.