Joy of the Gospels

Date: 4 October 2014
Publisher: National Review
Byline: Editorial Staff
Headline: Joy of the Gospels

Roman Catholics celebrate the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi today, a man known for peace and humility.  Also, Saint Francis is the namesake for Pope Francis.

Pope Francis received President Obama in a papal audience in March of this year.  In an exchange of gifts, the Pope a copy of his book Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospels) to the President.  We believe the President was sincere in his promise to read it.

In the book, the Pope says that it is the responsibility of both individuals and governments to follow the exhortations of the Corporal Works of Mercy: house the homeless, clothe the naked, feed the hungry.  Democrats loudly proclaimed that the Pope supported their social welfare platforms.

Democrats should read this great book carefully.  The Pope says that this responsibility extends worldwide; implicitly he says that the responsibility does not end at the US borders.

If Democrats believe that we have a moral responsibility to help the poor, then they must revamp their platforms to extend beyond their constituents.  This presents a conundrum: no matter how much we spend on poverty programs, spreading the relief internationally would make Democrats’ constituents poorer.  If Democrats don’t believe we have a moral responsibility to help the poor, the social welfare programs are just one more case of pragmatic politics.

Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism all exhort their followers to help the poor and unfortunate.  We know many conservatives from all these religious traditions.  To a person, each of them believe and follow these exhortations.  The difference between these conservatives and Democrats is that conservatives believe that this a personal responsibility, not a responsibility of government.  Conservatives believe that religious organizations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals are better and more efficient at helping the poor than governments ever can be.