Faith-based charities: See? I told you so!

I really wish conservatives would understand why getting entangled with government is bad. Now that President Obama is proposing that faith-based charities that get grants from the government be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, I want to point out that I warned about this back in 2001. With government money comes government strings. (Thanks Monica Boyer for the tip.)

See? I told you so!

Yes, I am gloating about being right. Republican after Republican told me I was being an alarmist, but the test of time has proven I was right all along. But it is much more important that conservatives understand that we cannot trust the government to simply give you “free stuff” without expecting anything in return.

This conflict is exactly why government needs to be smaller and less powerful. It is inevitable that things like the faith-based charities program will be abused, like a drug dealer expecting more from the people hooked on his product. Once you get faith-based charities addicted to the narcotic of federal money, you can use that as leverage to force them to compromise their beliefs. Every single time you create a government program – like the “faith based charities foolishness” – you can count on it being abused.

And here is the frustrating thing about this controversy. I am not a prophet. I am not a genius who sees things people of lesser intellect cannot. The only thing I used to predict this is an understanding of human motivations, a knowledge of history and current events, and an understanding of human motivations. This requirement was easy to predict and everyone – including the Bush Administration – should have seen this coming.

This does not mean I believe all government is bad. I am not an anarchist. We see in Romans 13 that government was given to us by God for our benefit. It is righteous and good when government punishes the wicked and protects the innocent. But because human beings are sinners, government needs to be strictly limited. When you extend government’s reach beyond its core duties, you have to know that sinful men will – not may, will – abuse that power. When you take the government’s money, you accept the government’s strings, and you better believe those strings will pull you in a direction you will not like.

By the way, this is exactly why vouchers for private schools are a terrible idea and a threat to liberty.

One thought on “Faith-based charities: See? I told you so!

  1. Mr. Tibbs,

    It is a rare occasion that I get to agree with you in such a full-throated manner as I do today.

    Personally, I have no problem with government attempting to use funding to entice people to do things they would not otherwise do, so long as those things are proper for a government to do. As an example, I would have a big problem with government enticements that forbid an organization from, for example, hiring any member of an interracial marriage. Conversely, I fully support government using its grants and funding to ensure that those who are funded by the public don't use that funding to discriminate based on race.

    With respect to the LGBT issue, we can agree to disagree whether forcing organizations that accept federal dollars to refrain from discriminating based on sexual preference is an abuse of government power.

    However, I believe that you and I are in full agreement that when you accept money from someone, whether that someone is your father, your boss, or your government, there will generally be strings tied thereto. You are absolutely correct that there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” This is one of the reasons why I, like you, believe that vouchers for private schools are a terrible idea. How long before those vouchers come with strings mandating, for example, the teaching of evolution or the exclusion of biblical teaching?

    I believe in the separation of church and state for two chief reasons:
    1. I don't want the government telling my church what to do.
    2. I don't want someone else's church telling my government what to do.

    I am pretty sure that you, a principled conservative, can find common ground with me, an unabashed progressive, on this.

    Have a nice day, sir.


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