My Brother’s Keeper?

According to The Independent churches and other ‘faith-based organisations’ are doing more in providing relief following Hurricane Katrina than the federal government. It seems to be a deliberate policy.

When I read this, my mind went back to an argument I had with an American Christian ten years ago. He was adamant that according to the Bible the only agent for social welfare in a society was the Christian Church. That state social security (let alone a National Health Service) didn’t exist in biblical times was irrelevant. Nor did he think the call to be our brother’s keeper applied to anyone other than believers.

Don’t get me wrong. I applaud the wonderful and remarkable work done by the churches in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I’m hardly arguing for them to be sidelined! It’s a wonderful witness, and it’s fascinating to read the atheist Roy Hattersley’s admission that believers are generally better human beings than atheists. I just want to know what kind of moral sophistry leads a government to abrogate responsibility for its citizens.

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