The Great Society program may have begun with a sincere desire to help, but… One the problems resulting from the governmental programs, putting aside the debate centered on ideological differences between conservatives and liberals, is that the loci of help shifted from individuals, private organizations, and religious institutions to the government. The perception in the American mind is that we turn to the government first for any help we need, and the expectation is increasing that the government is to meet our every need.
My belief is that the Church for Christians is the locus of help not only for our own, but for the greater need in our nation and the world. With the taking on of responsibility for the needy (in what ever form) by the government, Christians and churches in many cases have relinquished this God given responsibility, and I think it is to our own detriment. We become self-centered, stingy, and greedy. Love of neighbor, love of enemy, and an altruism that goes beyond the expectation of personal gain or return has been waning for decades.
Americans are very generous people, yet we turn to government in most instances of need – even slight individual need. There are times when the scale of a tragedy demands a governmental response – like Katrina. Yet, we also see the failing of government in such times and we need to be willing and capable of striving to meet our own needs and to help others with like needs without government. The government will never be able to be meet our expectations.
I think it is a mistake to place our hope in government. For Christians, helping the needy IS our responsibility.