To The Daily Sun,
In his Letter to the Editor of last Nov. 18, L.J. Siden's assessment of Jesus' interest in and concern for the poor among us is well founded, but I think he missed a very important point. Nowhere in the ministry of Jesus does he suggest that it is the responsibility of the state — not the Roman State nor the Jewish State — to care for the poor and needy. Quite the contrary. Jesus places the burden of caring for those less fortunate directly upon the shoulders of those who believe in him.
When confronted by the 5,000 hungry people, he did not send them in the company of Peter to Bethsaida, so that the government could feed them. Instead, he told His disciples to feed them. So, too, in the feeding of the 4,000.
Jesus never suggested that the care for the needy was the responsibility of the government. It is the province of those who believe in him. Care for the poor has somehow, incorrectly, become a function of government. The preamble of the U.S. Constitution states that the Constitution is to "promote the general welfare," not provide services to all who seek them.
I believe it is the responsibility of the local church to provide for the needy among us. Tax dollars are not intended for this purpose. However, the government has usurped the ministry of the church by insisting on providing such services, be it fuel, food, clothing or medical care, to the detriment of the general society it is called upon to protect and serve.
If the church were left alone to do its work of ministry some good things would be the result: First, provision for the poor would be done far more efficiently and far less expensively, leading to a reduction in taxes. Second, churches would fill up, as people recognize the good work being done and rise to be of help. Society in general would then recognize the relevance of the church and its mission and there would be far less "Christian-bashing", be it in the press, as some recent over-the-top letters in The Sun suggest, or at Christmastime, when believers have to battle to have "Joy To The World" sung ad the local "Holiday" concert.
So, please look more closely at the ministry of Jesus and do all you can through the ministry of your local church, whatever its denomination, for the betterment of the world around you. And leave the government out of it, just as Jesus did.
Gilmanton Iron Works