President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative has reached the Supreme Court. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor:

President Bush’s faith-based initiative is a signature program of his administration. But not all Americans share the president’s belief that the government should work in close partnership with religious organizations willing to perform nonreligious public services, like running homeless shelters or drug counseling programs.

Wednesday, the US Supreme Court takes up a case that examines to what extent those opponents have legal standing to file federal lawsuits alleging that the White House’s faith-based initiative amounts to unconstitutional entanglement of church and state.

The case stems from a 2002 lawsuit filed by a Wisconsin-based group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Members of the group filed the suit as taxpayers who objected to having their tax money used to support religion.

Although the lawsuit brings up important issues of government involvement in religious organizations, it’s still missing the most important point. What’s avoided is the essential issue; the constitutionality of the American welfare state. And, no matter what the Supreme Court rules, the growth of government power will continue unchallenged.

Let it be clearly stated: Whether or not government funding gives rise to federal support of religion is an important, but secondary issue. The primary concern is the force used to support the funding in the first place.

Just like Bill Clinton, George Bush advocates new governmental intrusions into charity, education, health care, and other welfare programs with appeals for “compassion.” The faith-based initiative is openly a Bush-Republican project, yet it only repackages and grows the socialist concept of welfare. It’s called “charity” but it’s simply welfare under a different name. The politicians and pundits who promoted these initiatives were “conservatives,” but there’s nothing conservative about expanding the federal government’s role in any form of welfare or charity.

Forcing people to be generous isn’t compassionate or moral, and nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the power to levy taxes on one group of citizens for the benefit of another group of citizens.

As the welfare system has grown and grown in the past four decades, we’ve been exposed to countless problems and massive financial waste associated with it. Repeatedly, politicians have claimed that they know just how to make the welfare system better. We’ve seen new names and countless “reforms.” And, over and over, we’ve been told of great individual successes – always highlighting how the government is supposedly making people’s lives better.

But, despite all the highly-touted programs, the number of welfare recipients doesn’t really decline; the cost doesn’t seem to do anything but grow — and the epidemic of homelessness, drug use, teen pregnancies, family breakups, and crime — continues unabated.

The only reform deserving any real attention is that which will get the federal government out of welfare completely, as mandated by the Constitution.

Taxing, spending, borrowing, and printing of money does not lead to a prosperous society. It didn’t work in places like Russia, Japan and Germany, and it isn’t working in America either. At first, these actions seem to revive the economy, but they eventually become the source of the problem.

This is not a Republican Party issue, and it’s not a Democratic Party issue. It’s a problem of government power; the power to intrude into your life and force you to donate money to other people, whether you believe in their cause or not.

The notion that the federal government can best solve the problems of drug use, poverty, and homelessness by putting every private church and charity under the umbrella of government funding is completely delusional and economically ruinous.

Therefore, instead of continuing the expansion of the unconstitutional welfare state, Congress should immediately return the responsibility and control over charitable giving to the American people. How can this be done? It’s simple — by quickly reducing our tax burden to an absolute minimum.

If we want to improve the job we’re doing of helping the needy — the poor, the hungry, the homeless — the federal government should promptly stop taxing the American people so much. Then you’ll be able to give your own money to groups you support, and groups that know how to use your money wisely.

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