Comments about ‘Letters: Charity is not freedom’

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Published: Thursday, April 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Far East USA, SC

Ok Fred,

Lets say that you are 100% correct. And that we all agree with you.

Now, lets talk about a separate issue.

People without food or health care.

There will always be some in society that are not making it. Yes, maybe they are lazy, or crazy, or stupid, or sick, or hurt. Surely you understand that "charity" does not cover all these people.

What do we do as a society? I mean that as a completely serious question. I am talking about the people (children included) that dont have access to their church welfare program or friends and family that can help them out. Do we let some starve to death? Or die because they cant afford a routine medical procedure?

Now, many will say that we are too generous with our government help, and I would agree. Government help should be reserved for those who are truly in need. Those that wont make it otherwise.

Until we get out of the ALL or NOTHING mindset, ideas just look crazy.

And to those of you who carp about what the constitution does and does not allow for, you may want to re read. Supreme court perhaps?

Burke, VA

My father diesd in 2010 at the age of 90. He grew up in the midst of the Great Depression. Over the years, we enjoyed many philosophical discussions about the country and our obligations as citizens. I'm sure my father would never have wanted a return to the Depression, but when he talked about those times he almost spoke with fondness about the community he grew up in where nieghbors looked out for each other and, despite those challenging times, no one went hungry. It was a small community which probably had a lot to do with how they lived. Today urbanism has replaced rural life and some hardly know the names of their neighbors just two doors away, let alone whether or not they need help. I think it was probably that communitarian spirit that John Florez was writing about.

A favrite scripturwe says "And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one‍ heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them."

Those are lofty goals. So the question is how to attain that condition in our modern lives?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

So is Christianity a part of the constitution or not? Because when it comes to social issues, repubs love to insert religion into the constitution. Just look at mike levitt's comments at Uvu a few days ago. But when it comes to health care or edu, all of a sudden religion is yanked out. Why?

Make up your minds repubs! Y'all can't have it both ways!

Pleasant Grove, UT

Charity is an essential element in our society, but it must be done freely, in a way which elevates both the giver and the receiver.

If the giver is forced to give, it's not charity. If the receiver feels entitled to take, it's not charity. Our current programs fail in both regards. Federal bureaucracy is a horrible way to provide charity, even laying aside constitutional considerations.

We need to revive the concept of civil society, which includes all of the diverse ways in which citizens freely organize in order to provide charity for those less fortunate. Churches, clubs, fraternities, schools, families, professional organizations, philanthropic foundations, trade unions, and sports groups are all examples of organizations which make up civil society.

I disagree with the headline. I believe charity *is* freedom. We can't have one without the other.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Fred, have you ever read the Sermon on the Mount?

It came from some guy named Jesus. Ever heard of him?

Salt Lake City, UT

I would love to hear Fred parse the phrase from the preamble to the Constitution that one of the functions of our government is to "provide for the general welfare". No religion mentioned or inferred. Straightforward and easy to understand. I am puzzled how he missed this clause as it comes prior to the second amendment in the document.

conservative scientist
Lindon, UT

Excellent letter Fred. Thank you.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

Fred, one purpose of our constitutional government is to "promote the general welfare". Why in your view are public "moneys" excluded as a means to accomplish that constitutional goal?

American Fork, UT

To me, everybody who makes this argument sounds selfish.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

For the billionth time, the Founders DID NOT intend a limited federal government. They already had one, in the Articles of Confederation. They hated the result. The central Constitutional doctrine is NOT limited government, it's separation of powers. In other words, government was intended to be big enough, and powerful enough, that it required decentralization. Get this principle right, people.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

The Government does not provide "Charity", it provides "Welfare".

There's the problem.
Not using proper definitions,
or twisting them to suit an agenda.

BTW - Charity is the pure love of Christ.

So, I can give money to a church [an organization] that helps those in need,
I can give money to a government [an organiation] that helps those in need,

The underlying factor is: Are you helping your neighbor or serving mankind?

Who CARES who's name is on it.
I'm obeying God regardless.

It's really a mindset.
It all depends on where your heart is.

Dave D
Pocatello, ID

It appears that the letter writer does not want his tax dollars to go toward these sorts of things. I think we can all point to many things that we do not want our tax dollars to do. But providing, in some small way, for those that our society leaves behind falls dead last on the list of wasteful spending in my mind.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The purpose of government is to do those things for people citizens that they can’t or don’t
want to do for themselves. There are no golden or laws from God that put limits on what those things can do.

In America, under the Capitalistic economic system, people who profit from the needs of people don’t want government to fill those needs. Because the government can always do it better and cheaper than the private businessmen it cheats the businessmen of their profits.

Business is a necessary and proper element in our society, it provide the transfer of wealth and goods through out the society. Private charity is a business that takes wealth from the people and returns a portion thereof but never destroys the need for charity. Only the government has the authority and ability to fix the problems that charity feeds upon. But if it did, it would eliminate the need for the parasitic business.

Pleasant Grove, UT

@Eric Samuelsen "[T]he Founders DID NOT intend a limited federal government."

I'd like to see your explanation of the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

It is clear that the Founders intended to delegate some powers to the federal government, and withhold others. The entire Bill of Rights enumerates individual rights which cannot be infringed by government.

They intended a stronger government than was provided by the Articles of Confederation, but they still created it with limits.

@Ultra Bob "[T]he government can always do it better and cheaper than the private businessmen."

On which planet?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

The distain for having to provide for societies poor, sick, homeless, needy [those not willing or able to contribute to society] -- was the primary driver for Nazi gas chambers.

That, and the continuing distain for non-Christians, homosexuals, liberals, communists, and immigrants.

sounds to close for comfort to me...

Salt Lake City, UT

Fun posts to Fred's letter. I get a kick out of Eric's tirade of the correctness of his opinion, or else. Those who would not have government be "charitable" however it may be defined are vilified, those who would have government do everything but turn down the bed and leave a cookie seem to see themselves as one rung below angels. How about this: Life isn't fair, not charitable nor evil it just is. We as carbon based life forms can make a difference by our actions. If we want charity then we should individually fund it. Agree to increase withholding taxes earmarked for charitable giving by your favorite entity be it government or private. Or, donate to Shriner's hospital, PCMC, Fourth Street Clinic, etc. and allow others the same privilege.

We can all start by taking care of our own back yards, and when that's done we can focus on our neighbor's ills.

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

" I have a plan, it will save every man. I will force them to live righteously. They won't have to choose. Not a one we will lose and give all the glory to me. This is the way, not a thing you will pay. Any problems and pain will not be. No wars and no strife, a wonderful life and give all the glory to me. Follow me this is the way it should be. Nobody needs to be free."


Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

God will not force any man to Heaven.

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

I find it hilarious that some deluded people who shall not be named, actually believe the Government helps people. They take everything for themselves and give the people they are supposedly helping the table scraps leaving them dependant instead of teaching them a trade of any kind.

Most of these other "charity" organizations take all of the money for themselves and give the people they are supposed to be helping the pocket change.

Durham, NC

Fred illutrates the big difference between conservatives and progressives/liberals. Fred believes the government is a foriegn body that needs to be controlled - the enemy. Liberals believe that "we the people" are the government - and that there is no third party called the "government".

Back when the concstition was written, big government was not an over bloated democracy. It was a monachy rulled by birth right. They were not talking about anything like we have today - because what we have today did not exist - anywhere - in society at that time. They couldn't have been talking about it... they didn't know what "it" was.

Now, I do agree, government, and government spending needs to be contained. We the people have been given access to the piggy bank, and it is very hard to control that urge to spend beyond our means. I fully support "limited" government in this context.

But there was no "Big Government" as Fred illudes at that time.... when applied to todays defnitions. It didn't not exist.

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