Dependency on government is a sure sign of a culture in decline. And dependency has historically always been a ticket to oppression, loss of freedom and liberty, and ultimately, bondage.
The number of Washington State residents receiving food stamps has doubled in the last 5 years.
Washington State had 1.1 million people receiving food stamps from the government last year. That's 1 of every 6 residents.
In a feature article, The Seattle Times is critical of House Republicans for not sustaining or expanding the current levels of food stamp assistance in their passing of the Farm Bill.
While criticizing the Republicans as "not caring," the Times praises the Democrats who want to continue the expansion welfare and food stamps out of "compassion and caring."
The Times says this Congressional fight over food stamps stands out as a "high-relief contrast of values."
Indeed it does, but the "contrast of values" is a very different contrast than what is described in the Times.
Compassion and assistance is a Christian virtue that predates government. Any government. The debate is not about helping people. It's about how we help people.
The Times article begins with a personal story---a story intended to touch any decent person's heart.
This method may or may not be good journalistic reporting, but it is always good for advocacy. The Washington news media used this method successfully in their push to redefine marriage.
The story is that every month taxpayers pay for $526 worth of groceries for Davida Norrell and her 2 teenage daughters.
Davida, we learn, is a single, 46-year old mom with 2 teenage daughters. She is a student at Tacoma Community College. She stretches those $526 food dollars, but they only last about two weeks into the month.
It is, unfortunately, a common but touching story.
The Times frames the narrative of the "conflicting values" with this: "The money 'seems like a lot', but it isn't. My daughters are 16 and 17 and eat a lot,' Norrell,46, said."
The Times message to the people? The progressive Democrats want to help Norrell, while the conservative Republicans do not want to help her. This is why, when the Republican House passed the Farm Bill, they did not approve maintaining the present level or expanding the food stamp program, according to the Times' thinking.
There is a contrast of values---but this isn't the contrast.
The contrast is "How" we help them.
The federal government, last year, paid $74.6 billion for food to more than 47 million people. That was double the amount paid in 2008.
This is a link to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's (SNAP) financial activity from 1969 to 2012.
The debate is not whether those in need should be helped. It's how they should be helped, and who should help them.
The federal government is creating a national dependency under the guise of compassion.
I wrote a blog about SNAP and how state governments are hiring people to promote SNAP and sign up people to the program because of the financial benefit to the state. It's a troubling story.
Welfare expenses this year are $422 billion. For 2008, it was $313.4 billion, 2000 was $171.4 and 1995 was $152.8.
Have we become a more caring nation since 1995? Or has government expanded its reach and helped perpetuate the problem, while marginalizing the solution?
The more government spends on welfare, the more it creates dependency on government. And consequently the more power government has over the people. And the progressives are aware that as they give away more, they not only create dependency, but a voting block of people who are dependent on their expanding progressive programs.
And it gives the government more power to become more invasive in everyone's lives.
This is not compassion, its deception and manipulation---in this case, of the most vulnerable.
The Times article gives point after point in support of helping people, but in every case defaults to the government being the source of the help.
There is a consistent outcome in this kind of secular progressive deception. At some point every free nation has historically fallen after a period of government dependency.
I call it the "Historical Arc of Human Events."
Free societies are born out of bondage by some kind of revolution. Revolution leads to freedom, which leads to prosperity, which leads to apathy, which leads to dependency, which leads to some kind of cultural revolution which leads to bondage.
Our nation has become apathetic and we are vulnerable, not to China or Russia or Iran or whomever, but to the apathy within our own country. And the agenda of those who seek to remake America. And use every opportunity to do so, including the opportunity of "compassion."
There is a place for government to provide a limited welfare safety net, but the operative word is "limited."
As we attempt to replace God in the issues of life and marriage and become God, a secular progressive government seeks to replace God and His church in the arena of helping the needy. Charity.
It's the people's money, regardless of who spends it. Why can we not channel more of our personal donations to Christian based ministries who are actually helping the needy?
Frankly, I would rather see a person attached to a local church or charitable ministry than the government anyway. If dependency is inevitable for some, let them look to the church, not the government.
Faith based ministries and organizations and the people who support them have given us the first 126 colleges in this country, our hospitals, our finest and most effective feeding programs and a reason for hope.
Why create an industry of welfare when faith based charitable organizations are well prepared to feed, cloth and assist those in need? And could do more.
The debate is not whether Norrell Davida should be helped---that's a different conversation, it's how she should be helped. And who should do the helping.
I'll be talking more about this on the radio this morning, live at 9 AM PDT, and rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT.
Join me on the radio through these links.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.