(Reprinted from Bread Upon the Waters: Columns From The California Farmer [Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, 1974], 5–6.)
In the name of Christian charity, we are being asked nowadays to subsidize evil. Every time we give in charity to anyone, we are extending a private and personal subsidy to that person. If through our church we help an elderly and needy couple, or if we help a neighboring farmer with his tractor work while he is in the hospital, we are giving them a subsidy because we consider them to be deserving persons. We are helping righteous people to survive, and we are fulfilling our Christian duty of brotherly love and charity.
On the other hand, if we help a burglar buy the tools of his trade, and give him a boost through a neighbor’s window, we are criminal accomplices and are guilty before the law. If we buy a murderer a gun, hand it to him and watch him kill, we are again accessories to the fact and are ourselves murderers also.
Whenever as individuals in our charity, or as a nation in that false charity known as foreign aid and welfare, we give a subsidy to any kind of evil, we are guilty before God of that evil, unless we separate ourselves from the subsidy by our protest.
Our Lord said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). In other words, your loyalties will reveal your nature; you will put your money where your heart is. If a man or a country subsidizes laziness, drunkenness, illegitimacies, socialist states or countries, and revolutionary activities, its action reveals the kind of moral order it prefers and desires. Every act of charity or subsidy is an aid, an encouragement, to someone who is needy and who we believe must survive. To further a criminal in his crime is to say that we believe in crime. It is one thing in mercy to administer emergency help to a wounded criminal; it is another thing to put him on a subsidy. Today, in the name of charity, we are subsidizing evil on all sides and penalizing godly people to do it. Even to condone something by silence, or without protest, is a sin and involves complicity in the act, according to God: “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers” (Ps. 50:18).
We need therefore to call most of what passes for charity today exactly what it is. First, it is a subsidy for evil. Second, it involves a penalizing and taxing of the righteous in order to subsidize evil, and this penalizing of the godly is an important part of this false charity. Third, basic to this kind of action is a love of evil, a preference for it and a demand that a new world be created in which evil will triumph and prevail.
If this is what you want, then most of the churches of our day and our federal government should be very much to your taste.
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.