Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s—Matthew 22:21
Last month, the National Council of Churches, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the National Association of Evangelicals, along with a few other religious organizations, sponsored a “Faithful Filibuster” to encourage Congress to protect programs “that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad”. As evidenced by the comments of various leaders of the constituent groups, this would include “adequate funding” of anti-poverty programs, including raising revenues (taxes) and the elimination of “unnecessary” military spending.
Likewise, in Houston, local clergy including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and other denominational leaders were prominent in publicly joining with activists for immigration reform in rallying support for comprehensive immigration reform and encouraging Congress to reject the SAFE Act, which would allow the states to enact more stringent border control by local authorities.
I will always be one to support the role of religion in the public square, which informs and enriches American civic life, but this engagement should be limited to the championship of liberty, religious freedom, and the dignity of each human being and should not include direct engagement in politics or specific government policy, both of which are outside the competency or purview of the church.
In the case of the needs of the poor and otherwise disadvantaged, these activist religious leaders seem to have no hesitation about lobbying for government intrusion into what should be the subject of private philanthropy (think the Good Samaritan) and which, as they should be well aware, otherwise breeds and sustains crippling government dependency. This is a very disturbing trend.