It’s more than an effort at bipartisanship and consensus building that causes Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren to embrace Hillary Clinton in his efforts to battle AIDS; it is the fact that they share a mistaken and dangerous commitment to expensive, extraconstitutional, globe-trotting, socialist spending policies by the U.S. government in waging that battle.
Days before she appeared at Warren’s "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church," Clinton unveiled a $50-billion spending plan to fight AIDS globally. Her proposal would provide health insurance for all HIV patients in the U.S. and promote "evidence-based" prevention programs, which typically means condoms and needle exchanges rather than emphasizing abstinence from risky sex and drug use.
Asked about his thoughts on Clinton’s plan, Warren said the battle against AIDS would require partnership by government, the private sector and the church. The government’s main role, he suggested, is in picking up the tab.
Explaining that medications used to treat AIDS, such as antiretrovirals, cost between $10,000 and $20,000 a year per person, he said: "The church is never going to have that. Churches are poor around the world. But they have the people."
While it’s true that churches are poor around the world, especially in the areas hit hardest by AIDS, it is also true their governments aren’t wealthy, either. But Warren isn’t expecting those governments to pick up the tab for his program; he’s expecting the U.S. government to do it.
So why turn to the government? Why not turn to affluent churches in the U.S.?
Is the church as a whole really too small and too ineffective at taking on this challenge? Is that the way the Bible instructs us to think and act as believers? Don’t we serve a God bigger even than the federal government in Washington, D.C.?
Do you see my problem with this kind of thinking? I don’t want to discourage people from trying to do good — especially believers. But it is important to follow the biblical prescription for good works. Nowhere in the Bible do I see believers called to force people to join their ministry. Nowhere in the Bible do I see believers called to lobby government to take on their burdens. Nowhere in the Bible do I see believers "partnering" with government because the church is "too poor" to accomplish its objectives. This is worldly thinking.
The church’s job is to minister to people in need in order to demonstrate the glory of the one they serve. How can the church do that when they are yoked to government’s confiscating money by force from people? Let’s face it; that’s why the government has so much money. Some even think of government’s resources as limitless. It’s because government always can take more. It takes whatever it needs or wants.
But in America, we are supposed to be governed by a Constitution that strictly limits the powers of the federal government. Nowhere in that document — and I mean nowhere — does it even remotely suggest Congress or the president has any authority to spend U.S. taxpayers’ funds curing illnesses in foreign countries. Nowhere in that document does it remotely suggest Congress or the president has any authority to transfer the wealth of American citizens abroad. Nowhere, in fact, in that document does it remotely suggest Congress or the president has any authority to transfer the wealth of American citizens within the United States. That is how misguided the plans are of Clinton and Warren and anyone else who insists on spending other people’s money to fund their own pet causes.
The eighth commandment is: "Thou shalt not steal." And theft it is when we take other people’s property by force. It is simply an abomination for the church to partner with government in a plot to confiscate money from taxpayers — money to be spent illegally in a republic governed by the Constitution.
Bible-believing Christians understand we serve a big God — one who has all the resources of the universe at his disposal. So why would his servants turn to George Bush or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to meet the financial needs required to help millions of suffering people? Why would his servants partner with those who are unequally yoked and wedded to immoral worldly ways, such as condom- and needle-distribution programs? Why would his servants want to put on a big show of "compassion" by politicians seeking empowerment and self-glorification?
There is very definitely a role for the church in alleviating suffering: Ask God for his help; ask believers for their assistance; and give all the glory to God.