I’ll admit I don’t really understand why the Independent Record would give 800 words of space for state senator Jennifer Fielder to tell us what a “big heart for charity” she has, but in the course of her self-promotional discussion about taxes, charity, and her own self-righteous moralism, she did reveal the kind of priorities she will bring to the Montana Senate during this session.
Fielder not only believes in charity, but that it’s immoral for the government to fund assistance programs:
I will not vote in favor of requiring you the taxpayer to fund by force of law. It’s just fundamentally wrong to take one person’s property and give it to someone else. When it comes to charity, who you give to, when and why, should be up to you. Just remember, God is watching.
Of more significance that Senator Fielder’s smug self-righteousness is her assertion that it is immoral to “take away one person’s property and give it to someone else,” a claim rooted in the belief that government has no legitimate right to tax and provide services for its citizens. While Fielder and her ilk cite their adherence to the Constitution, it seems they neglected to study the preamble the Constitution, which calls for the government to “promote the general welfare,” a claim rooted in the social contract theory the Constitution rests upon. It’s not immoral for the government to build roads, provide access to education, protect wilderness and battle the crippling effects of poverty; it would be immoral for government not to do that, and the “general welfare” of the people and the nation depend on that.
Fielder’s argument rests on the absurd notion that charity will alleviate social ills and that it’s a violation of the Constitution for the government to do its job. She and her cohort of right wing loonies have hijacked the meaning of the Constitution and role of government into an anarchic free for fall that the Founders certainly didn’t envision and modern society cannot countenance.
And I suspect Senator Fielder won’t even support her own beliefs. When she argues that it’s immoral for the government to take away property, wouldn’t logic dictate that she oppose all government spending, including infrastructure for gas and oil development, funding for private schools, and all the other conservative spending she supported in the last session and will certainly support in the upcoming one? I’m pretty sure the roughly 4,320 bills drafts she has requested for her inane scheme to have Montana take over federal lands, not to mention her bill demanding “federalism training” required the expenditure of my money.
And while Senator Fielder makes a point of reminding us about her charitable heart and giving throughout the piece, might also want to take a quick read of Matthew 6, which reminds Christians that charity is best done in secret:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
Senator Fielder’s personal commitment to charity, while commendable, hardly provides a rationale for defunding programs based on her broken interpretation of the Constitution and her selective interpretation of the Scripture. Perhaps the Independent Record could ask her for an editorial piece wherein she outlines the programs her beliefs would terminate; that would be a charitable gift to us all.