Recently here in Washington State we had a very preventable tragedy strike. Four Police Officers were shot and killed in a brutal manner. Like many my heart goes out to the families and the fellow Police Officers affected by this travesty.
A lot of attention has been paid to the fact that the shooter had been granted clemency in Arkansas by the then Governor Mike Huckabee several years previous. While I believe the responsibility for this horrible event rests with the perpetrator, I do think the situation is indicative of a political philosophy, and the damage this kind of thinking can do. What possible philosophy could I be talking about? Well, if you've ever even glanced at this blog you probably already know the answer: Progressivism. Have you heard of it?
Progressivism has infected the general political mindset into thinking that Government is supposed to be compassionate. This infection has affected both sides of the aisle. Governor Huckabee demonstrates the Republican version of Progressivism also known as compassionate conservatism. I have pointed this out before, and will likely continue to do so: The Governments’ job is not mercy and compassion. Their job is justice and law.
Governor Huckabee strikes me as a compassionate person. But, he inappropriately used his Government position to mete out his personal feelings of compassion. Justice dictated that the man in question answer the ends of the law, to serve his time and debt to society.
I personally have experience within the prison system here in Washington. I teach Sunday School (I know you may have been expecting a juicier tidbit). It has been a wonderful opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated. There are quite a few religious organizations that provide services for them. Prisoners who actively participate in a religious program while incarcerated have significantly lower rates of recidivism. The Washington State Government has started to more closely look at these religious programs to perhaps start similar state programs. Now, on the surface that might seem like a good idea. But, I'll tell you my reaction to it, "BACK OFF!!" The Churches are doing a good job. Perhaps the best thing the Government could do would be to allow the Churches even more access to the prisoners. The Government should not be in the business of being compassionate. They instead should ensure that prisoners pay their debts while also providing for other, appropriate organizations to provide the means for prisoners to receive compassion and mercy.
That's the same way I feel about welfare. The Churches do such a markedly better job than the Government at providing welfare services. People say, well maybe the Government should design their programs to more closely match the Churches. I say "BACK OFF!!" and "GET OUT OF THE WAY!!". The Churches do a better job. Government bureaucracies have become about examining behavior and results. While Churches are about the individual welfare of people. Thus the Government is directed only by what they can observe, and it takes a ridiculously long time to examine. Churches are directed by principles of mercy, compassion and individual redemption. Their work helps people change from the inside out, thus giving the individual the power, not the Government in changing individual situations and society in general.
The Government does not do a good job with mercy. These are just a few examples of that fact. It is unfortunate that we sometimes need tragedies to remind us of that. Please Government get back to your job of justice and law. Let us take back the responsibility for mercy and compassion.