In the first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at personal sacrifice. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans used to say about the Christians “See how they love each other.” In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed, sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. And because the poor are no longer fed, clothed and sheltered the pagans say about the Christians “See how they pass the buck.”
2 thoughts on “See How They Pass The Buck”
I might concur generally, but would add that America’s growing secular society and government have more accurately TAKEN over the Christian church’s role of charity through the expansive welfare state. This is likely the secular government’s way of keeping people from being dependent on religion and free of “religious proselytization.” Because the faithful and pagans are taxed alike, I’m not so sure churches have passed the buck ($) as much as the government has taken the buck ($) in the first place.
I think Maurin would argue that we as Christians have a good bit to do ourselves with the transition of charity from personal sacrifice to the organs of the State, though Christians can hardly be blamed exclusively. We can be blamed though for being tricked into thinking that things like charity (which is itself a bad word; Christian charity involves far more than what one usually connotates with ‘charity’) are the domain of the government.
You have to also keep in mind that Maurin is writing from the perspective of the New Deal and its massive shift of social power to the State- something greeted with general agreement, and still by and large supported by most Americans- including Christians who should know where the responsibility for social action lies.