Nicholas Kristof on the bizarre funhouse parody of the gospel that Ryan and the rest of the Party of Trump have embraced. It’s pretty funny. And dead on.
“Oh, but nobody objects to private charity for the poor and sick. But Jesus never said the state should do it. When the state takes my money from me and forces me to give it to support the poor and sick, it robs me of the ability to give freely and charitably,” says the libertarianized Christian Right.
Yeah. Here’s the thing: Food for the hungry and health care for the sick are not “charity”. That’s the fundamental lie of libertarianism. St. Gregory the Great gives the real picture:
Vainly, then, do those suppose themselves innocent, who claim to their own private use the common gift of God; those who, in not imparting what they have received, walk in the midst of the slaughter of their neighbours; since they almost daily slay so many persons as there are dying poor whose subsidies they keep close in their own possession. For, when we administer necessaries of any kind to the indigent, we do not bestow our own, but render them what is theirs; we rather pay a debt of justice than accomplish works of mercy.
What sustains life and health is owed in justice, not charity, to the poor. You are not doing the poor a favor when you find him sick and take him to the doctor. You are doing what is owed him and if you pass him by like the priest and the Levite passed the man on the road, you are sinning against him and Almighty God.
So it become imperative, given that, that we do everything possible to make sure the hungry do not starve and the sick do not suffer or die, for that is justice, not charity.
And the task of the state is precisely to ensure justice. Therefore it is perfectly within the duties of the state to ensure universal health care.
And it is also, by the way, a complete lie that if the state ensures health care, it is “robbing you” of the ability to be charitable.