DACA: Blinding the Eyes of Religious Leaders– “The DACA program was unilaterally and unconstitutionally announced by President Obama in the summer of 2012…“
by Bill Lockwood
President Trump’s efforts to end Obama’s lawless DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a perfect illustration how the unconstitutional concept of welfare blinds the eyes of the people. In this case it is the religious leaders of America that are blinded, rendering them incapable of understanding real compassion. As Isaiah of old put it, “His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark [in warning]; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep” (56:10).
According to The Washington Post “Christian leaders” react to Trump’s decision to end DACA calling it “reprehensible” and “unconscionable.” This includes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Methodist Church, as well as many evangelical leaders, who have written both Congress and the White House insisting that the program remain.
The DACA program was unilaterally and unconstitutionally announced by President Obama in the summer of 2012 as his “response” to the “long failure” [read, “refusal”] of Congress to pass the “Dream Act” (Empire Justice Center). The “Dream Act” “would have provided a path to permanent resident status for non-citizens who are not lawfully here and came to the country as children.” These are the so-called “dreamers.”
Per the Empire Justice Center, which concerns the state of New York, central to DACA are public welfare benefits, including Medicaid, Family Health Plus, the Family Planning Program and overt cash assistance through the Safety Net program. Just here—at public welfare—lies the blinding agent.
Exhibit A is The United Methodist Church which rebuked Trump’s efforts in these words: “…to rescind these protections, [is] not only unconscionable, but contrary to moral work and witness.” Exhibit B is the Evangelical Lutheran Church which prayed that DACA immigrants will not “suffer undue repercussions due to the end of this program.” Moral Work? Let us see.
What is government welfare? Generally speaking, welfare is any government program that provides financial support or benefits for citizens or residents. Included in this is public education, health care, housing, food, farm subsidies, transportation, etc. The idea behind it is that government has a moral obligation to support those in need. This concept began in earnest during FDR’s New Deal Era. It was unknown during the Founding Era.
But government has no money or wealth of its own. The only “public benefits” which the government can distribute to any individual or group are those confiscated from other citizens. This is true whether it is direct taxation or inflation via the Federal Reserve. By any biblical definition or moral standard this is actually theft and redistribution of someone else’s earnings–not charity or compassion. To call this a “moral” work, as did the United Methodist Church, turns the basic biblical premise “thou shalt not steal” on its head.
The modern welfare-state philosophy, which is the cornerstone of liberal thinking, has not benefitted America. In fact, it promises to destroy it. Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), a socialist civil rights leader who later turned neo-conservative, stated it this way: The welfare-state philosophy inherent in the war on poverty is “an immoral bag of tricks” which amount to a new form of slavery. He had a clearer vision of the nature of welfare programs than do modern church leaders.
This brings us to our legislators. How charitable are they? Democrats tend to be less so, if the Obama’s and Biden’s of the world are any indicator. Their charitable giving was less than 5%. “Compassionate conservatives” like George Bush perhaps move that percentage up a few points. However—give them my checkbook and allow them to draft money out of my account—and their “charity” skyrockets. I, too, could be very magnanimous in my giving if I had access to your funds. For the Methodist Church to confuse this with “moral” work is the real tragedy.
If religious leaders wish to assist the poverty-stricken or immigrant, let them do so. But give of your own money and time; that is real charity. Travel to foreign nations and distribute what you will. Stand in your pulpits before your congregations and ask for donations of time, money, and talents.
If, as Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, stated, churches are concerned “about the fear and insecurity” that might be created by a reversal of DACA–by all means, pour your efforts into Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the other countries of “dreamers” origin. But quit confusing confiscation and redistribution of others’ money as your charity.