Bryan Fischer
Welfare: unconstitutional and unbiblical
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By Bryan Fischer
July 19, 2012

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point"

Our lawless president imitated Chief Justice John Roberts last week by unconstitutionally rewriting a law passed by by our elected representatives in Congress.

Claiming dictatorial and thuggish powers as the head of the executive branch, President Obama eviscerated the welfare reform law passed in 1996 by gutting its work requirement. The work requirement was enormously successful in getting Americans off the dole and back to productive lives in which they supported themselves and their families through the work of their own hands rather than sponging off the work of the hands of others.

Obama's motive is, of course, transparently political. He is adding more slavishly-dependent serfs to his plantation, serfs who will see him as Barack the Benevolent (it's easy to be benevolent when you're giving away other people's money), and as the sum of all good. He is counting on their votes on November 6 simply because he promised them more lollipops than the other guy.

There are multiple problems with what the president did, not the least of which is his arrogant contempt for both the Constitution and the law. He took a solemn and sacred oath to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," which he apparently read to mean, "ignore or rewrite any laws I don't like." This egregious contempt for the rule of law is an impeachable offense all by itself.

But even more fundamentally, the problem is that government-run welfare is flatly unconstitutional. There are something like 70 welfare programs run by the federal government — only one of which was reformed in 1996 — and not a single one has any constitutional legitimacy whatsoever. None of them should even exist to be disemboweled by a lawless president in the first place.

Article I, Section 8 lists all the powers of action that we the people granted to the central government in our founding document. Whether you read the Constitution left to right, right to left, upside down, backwards or in Sanskrit, you will look in vain for any authorization to rob productive Peter to pay lazy and shiftless Paul. It's just not there.

According to the Constitution, the central government can make bankruptcy laws, coin money, punish pirates and counterfeiters, build post offices, issue patents, declare war, make rules for the military, and run the District of Columbia.

What it cannot do is commit legalized plunder by ripping off hardworking Americans and giving their hard-earned resources to people who don't work a lick.

James Madison, whom history knows as "the Father of the Constitution" and therefore may be presumed to know something about what it means, rejected government-sponsored welfare in 1794 with these words: "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted to Congress of expending on objects of benevolence the money of their constituents."

The reason he couldn't lay his finger on such an article in the Constitution is that such an article does not exist. There is nothing there upon which a finger can be laid.

Not only is government-run welfare unconstitutional, it is unbiblical. The Scriptures (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12) are clear that those who "walk in idleness" are not to be rewarded by being given money taken from those who "work night and day...to earn their own living."

"If anyone is not willing to work," says the Good Book, "let him not eat."

The Scriptures have always distinguished between the worthy poor, those who are poor through no fault of their own, and the unworthy poor, those who are poor because they will not work even though they can. The first are to be the objects of compassion and voluntary charity (not government programs) while the second are to be the objects of rebuke and censure.

In fact, this scriptural principle saved the nascent settlement of Jamestown in 1608 when John Smith made "He who will not work shall not eat" official public policy and compelled even the nobles from England who thought manual labor was beneath them to work with their hands no less than six hours a day.

It's time for relief efforts to be guided by our founding document and the Judeo-Christian tradition, and return charity to the private sector where it belongs. It worked in 1608 and it will work again. In fact, following the Constitution and the Bible works every time it's tried.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

© Bryan Fischer

 

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