Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. - James 1:27
The Obama Administration and both houses of the US Congress are fast-tracking a number of programs designed to increase the size of what's commonly known as the Welfare State.
And while Christian church leaders and members may wag their fingers at this socialist strategy of "forced charity," we must remember that in order to remove the specks from the eyes of liberal-left politicians, we must first remove the boards from our own eyes.
The Church -- the Body of Christ -- continues its laxity in assisting the poor, the homeless, the diseased and the mentally ill in the United States. In the days before Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Baines Johnson's Great Society, it was the Christian church that provided food, clothing and shelter for the poor and destitute members of society.
For example, During The Great Depression and thereafter, the majority of "soup kitchens" and "shelters" were run by local churches. The homeless were provided a warm meal, a place to rest and a chance to hear the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Christians in those days understood that in order to address the needs of the soul, it's best to first address the needs of the body.
But today, it appears that Christian leaders and church members have passed on the role of charity givers to the government – a government that prohibits even the mention of Jesus Christ within the public realm.
To put it succinctly, Christian men and women have changed from a people who literally give the shirts off their backs to cheapskates. And we have more than merely anecdotal evidence to back up that claim.
Two studies were conducted by Ellison Research Institute. One was a representative sample of 811 Protestant church ministers nationwide, and the other was a companion survey of 1,184 people who attend Protestant churches at least once a month.
In the study, 56 percent of all clergy say Christians are under a biblical mandate to tithe 10 percent of their income to the local church, while another 12 percent feel Christians are under this 10 percent mandate, but the gifts do not necessarily have to go to the local church.
Twenty percent believe there is a biblical mandate to give, but not any specific amount or percentage.