Breitbart related a story yesterday perfectly spun as liberal government persecution of conservatives and Christians: “Obama to force faith-based grant recipients to hire LGBTs.” It opens,
The Obama Administration is poised to require faith-based recipients of federal grants to accept applications from LGBT individuals, according to a report published today by the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam).
By executive order last summer, President Obama amended the Johnson-era federal order on non-discrimination in hiring by federal contractors to include non-discrimination based on “sexual orientation and gender identity.” That order has roiled faith-based groups.
A bit further down, it contrasts this tyranny with the good ol’ days:
The Johnson-era order was amended in 2002 by President George Bush to include a religious exemption so that faith-based groups would not be forced to hire those in opposition to their teachings.
In a classic version of “my socialism is OK,” here we have, “my Executive Orders are OK”!
Let’s be clear: this move on Obama’s part is indeed an advance of the leftist agenda, and it is indeed antagonistic to conservatives and faith-based groups. No doubt about it: it is tyranny, it is oppression, it is destructive of freedom, . . . but. . . .
Let’s be really clear: it is just as much tyranny, oppression, and destruction of freedom to be using government funding to begin with. For “faith-based” groups to be involved in such activity is even worse: they have the Bible and should know better.
Any Christian concerned with this story needs to understand the basics of government-funding. Where do governments get their money after all? Only one of two ways: taking it through taxation, or borrowing it. These two really boil down to one: taxation. After all, if the government borrows money, it has to pay it back somehow. It will do this usually by a combination of taxation and inflation of the money supply—which is indirect taxation because it dilutes the value of existing money in people’s hands. In short, government funding means government taxing. And what is taxation? It is the government taking money by means of threats of fines and imprisonment, backed by the police—i.e. threats of coercion and violence.
“Faith-based” in such a case, then, really means faith in the ability of the government to extract money from the citizens under threats of fines or imprisonment, ultimately under threat of gunpoint, in order to fund “faith-based” activities. This means, shockingly, that any faith-based group relying on such means of funding has really declared that their faith is not in God so much as in the U.S. government.
Not only is government funding immoral at its root, it always has strings attached. Thus, it leads from compromise to hypocrisy. Accepting it to begin with compromises your ethics—you are relying on an ethic of violence under the guise of faith. Then when the government tries to pull the strings against you, you’re caught in a trap. You must decide whether to continue taking the violence-backed funds, or stand for your principles. If you wish to continue taking the funds, and yet stand for your principles, you must argue that the government’s new regulations “forcing” you to do something against your principles constitute a tyranny. But you are already leveraging government forcing of others in order to fund your work. You’re saying, in effect, “I have the right to use the government to force others to advance my agenda, but the government should not be used to force me into someone else’s agenda with which I disagree. Your principles are already compromised. So, it’s a bit hypocritical isn’t it?
This matter was discussed, essentially, in chapter 24 (of 76) of How to Argue with a Liberal . . . and Win! This chapter addresses the cliché, “Federal aid is all right if it doesn’t bring Federal control,” and was contributed by W. M. Curtiss. About this myth, in part, he had this to say:
In the early days of “farm programs,” farmers were told that Federal subsidies for this and that didn’t mean they would have to submit to Federal controls. Fortunately, this unsound theory was tested in the United States Supreme Court. In 1942, in the case of Wickard vs. Filburn, the Court opined: “It is hardly lack of due process for the government to regulate that which it subsidizes.” . . .
Illustrations abound of grants-in-aid from larger units of government to smaller, and of the controls that accompany the grants. Federal aid for education comes with the usual arguments that control need not go with the aid. But we have had long experience with aid for education at the state level, and the evidence is conclusive. There is no reason to think that Federal aid would be different. What local school board has not been faced with the rules laid down by the state regarding education and certification of teachers, choice of textbooks, questions of transportation of pupils, tenure of teachers, building programs, curriculums, days of attendance, examination of students, and a host of others? Is there no Federal or state regulation of the school lunch program where “surplus” food is involved? . . .
The principle involved is not unlike that which governs the finances of a family. So long as the father supplies the son with spending money, it is proper for the father to have something to say about the spending, even though the son may be saying or at least thinking: “Boy, will I be glad when I get to earning my own money and can spend it as I wish!”
The solution is so simple and obvious that it hardly needs stating. If we don’t want state or Federal control of certain of our activities, we must not have state or Federal financing of them.
(Read many more great essays like this in the book.)
Curtiss was exactly right: the solution is so simple. Quit relying on government funding. If these “faith-based groups” were really serious about their faith, they would find a quick exit from their partnership with government coercion, and seek privately-funded alternatives instead.
Can you imagine Jesus petitioning Pilate or Herod to fund His ministry? Did He send His apostles to the civil government to extract money from the citizenry for the Great Commission? No. And we should follow His example.
Too many Christians and “faith-based groups” instead adopt the statist’s rewritten version of the Eighth Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal, except through a government agency.” Let’s be clear: As long as this continues, no complaint against the ethics imposed on such groups by the government has any moral authority whatsoever.