I heard a preacher on the radio a while back lamenting the fact that many Christians “confuse God with government.” He then went on with a litany of abuses demonstrating that he too confused God with government. It’s a fairly common theme on both the left and right side of the political isle.
The Left sees “injustice” in the world (or inequity) and looks to government to address the issue. They see government as the final arbiter of justice and equality and therefore wish to use it to punish the miscreants (who, are usually people who think differently than they). This is a misuse of the powers of government. When it becomes the government’s responsibility to make sure that every person has a home, food, health insurance, etc… then we’re headed for trouble. (As a quick aside, Peter Drucker was always fond of saying that “responsibility implies authority and vice-versa.” Applied to my previous statement – if government has the responsibility for your home, food, health insurance then they have the authority to control your life, and you’ve given up freedom and self-determination.)
The Right misses the mark on this one too. They see the abuses of government; government programs that punish productive people and enslave others to lives of dependency. However, this often becomes a crutch. There is a tendency to use the massive government taxation and expenditure on social programs as a waver for their own involvement. As if, somehow, the government’s attempts (which don’t work all that well) relieve the Christian of the call to minister to the poor, the widow, and the fatherless. Not so.