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I have mixed feelings about immigrants. As a Christian minister and gospel worker, I love it that the mission field is arriving on our doorstep. They represent an opportunity to share Christ and display love.

On the other hand, if we allow unfettered access (no borders or requirements), then we have set the stage for our American culture to become different than what we have enjoyed and valued.

When Immigrants first started to come to America, the U.S. welfare system, as we know it, did not exist. The only welfare was a person's extended family. Three families or four generations would live in one house, pooling resources, giving new arrivals a landing place. They learned the English language, got educated, married, took care of their families, went to church, ran for office, started small businesses, and added cultural riches to our nation in many ways. Is it still like that? No. It needs to be fixed.

Most immigrants of former days came in legally. They arrived with very little money. They went to work. They assimilated into our culture. They enriched our nation. They did not depend on welfare.

I remember when LBJ was in office. He was a rude, crude Texan. He came to power as President after Kennedy was shot in Dallas. President Johnson was known for manhandling congressmen to get legislation passed. He would intimidate, threaten, bully and keep at it on the phone late at night until he won the contest of wills. Profanity was a weapon he used like most other presidents before him.

President Johnson failed to get America out of the Viet Nam war. In fact, he made it worse. Later, Nixon ended that war. But LBJ did do something that shaped our nation, for better or worse. He started "The War on Poverty." He launched grand social programs hoping to eradicate poverty. He was primarily aiming to benefit Black Americans. But his noble idea was filled with terrible miscalculations.

Good intentions, done without wisdom, often cause unintended consequences. This usually happens because the ruling elite make decisions using other people's money (i.e.- our tax dollars) based on emotions that make them feel good, rather than solid evidence based on proven outcomes.

What is the evidence about freely distributing social benefits or government welfare?

If you pay people not to work, guess what... they won't work! It becomes easier to get government money than to be responsible and hold down a job. With the system as it is, the more children you have out of wedlock, the bigger your paycheck. America has multiple generations living on welfare. We've created a culture of dependency. This goes hand in hand with devaluing fatherhood and marriage.

On the other hand, the Bible has wise words about giving out food or money. It says, if a person won't work, don't give them charity. On the other hand, if you see someone in need and harden your heart, how does the love of God dwell in you? Charity and mercy is individual. It is when we fail as friends or family or church, that the government steps in. There needs to be a balance.

There should be a safety net for the desperately disabled, the mentally challenged, or the aged and infirm. But welfare ought not be easy for healthy adults who can stand on their own feet. The state is totally unable to replace what a responsible human adult ought to do, that is, take care of themselves and provide for their children.

Next week: Valentine's Day Romance!

-- Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Contact him at wood.stone.ron@gmail.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/07/2018

Print Headline: Immigrants and welfare

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