While religious organizations, family and neighbors can and should all care for others in need, they are in no position to take on the significant role that our tax supported government plays in assuring the care for the most vulnerable of society. Places of worship and nonprofits have helped with food shelfs and emergency shelters, etc, however this level of support is minuscule in comparison to the government's role in providing aid. Even many of the "faith based" charities providing support to those in need, such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and the Salvation Army receive significant government funding.
Given the current economic crisis it appears likely that severe cuts will be occurring, and will most likely be impacting the most vulnerable within our society, who don't have well paid lobbyist in Washington advocating for their bottom lines. In order for the government's role supporting the safety net to continue during this economic downturn is more important than ever that citizens remind their political leaders of this responsibility. Heading up our churches stewardship drive this year I know with great confidence that we are in no way prepared to take over the government's role in providing social services to those in our community. Now if we could just levy taxes on our members..... ;-)