EDITORIAL: An uncharitable president

Obama wants to replace volunteerism with bigger government

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Candidate Barack Obama once promised he would fundamentally transform the United States. The words he delivered on the Capitol steps Monday as a second-term president confirmed his intention to reshape society. In his new America, there will be no room for the traditional value of neighbors looking out for neighbors.

That’s the role for government, according to this White House. “We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm,” said Mr. Obama. Uncle Sam responds to each of these problems with unemployment payments, Obamacare and flood insurance — plus innumerable related and overlapping programs. These initiatives may help those who have fallen on hard times, but such assistance has never been the only solution. It will be, in Mr. Obama’s transformed America.

In the president’s view, without federal handouts, the needy would be left out in the cold, starving. As he put it Monday, “We remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.” Of course, this is nonsense. In 1869, the Little Sisters of the Poor opened their doors to the aged poor in Baltimore. In Washington, the Missionaries of Charity take in those afflicted with the most horrible diseases and disabilities. The administration’s response to these generous efforts has been to use his Department of Health and Human Services to put them out of business. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, warned Obamacare’s contraception and abortion mandate were a direct strike on religious charities. “Our beliefs are not welcome,” he explained in an open letter last spring. “Those who have the temerity to hold onto their convictions will be fined.”

The reality is, Americans are dedicated to helping one another. According to a report last month from the Corporation for National and Community Service, 64.3 million Americans volunteered their time with charitable organizations providing food, shelter, education and transportation for those who needed it. Two out of three Americans lent a helping hand to their neighbors. That’s a force of 143 million, and the numbers continue to grow because Americans can see that charity works.

Mr. Obama, on the other hand, only trusts the 2.1 million federal bureaucrats under his direct command. That’s unfortunate, considering poverty and dependence they are supposedly alleviating has only grown worse, despite $3.8 trillion in federal spending last year. America shouldn’t discard its rich heritage of faith-based and secular charities working to help those in need in favor of Big Government programs that don’t work. That’s a transformation we simply can’t afford.

The Washington Times

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