The Founders’ Welfare Program
Bob Pritts is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
I believe we could all agree that the founding documents were primarily based on the individualism of the people and the freedom and liberty to pursue their personal dreams without government interference. The Preamble of the Constitution spelled out the only duties to be taken on by the federal government on behalf of all the people in the various colonies. “... establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity ...”. They made the Preamble perfectly clear in Amendment 10 ... “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
The Constitution was their will for the people to follow ... a roadmap, so to speak, leading us in this new ‘grand experiment’ called the United States of America. They also released the individual citizens to pursue their lives with their own will to follow the rules and use Judeo-Christian principles as their guideline. The Bible, both old and new testaments, was their recognition that the Creator was in charge and that He had the same set of rules for our lives. There is God’s will for individual people and He gave us our own will to either follow him or pursue our lives in a different fashion. It’s not complicated.
Getting back to the subject, ‘promote the general welfare’ was not intended to insinuate the meaning of welfare as we know it today. The document was written in the ‘old’ English and many words had totally different meanings than we have today. Promoting the general welfare, as understood by our founders, simply meant that they (the federal government) were to be vigilant in seeing that nothing that happened in any of the portion of the nation, unconstitutionally, would be allowed to alter the tranquility or internal security feelings of the people as they went about their individual, daily lives.
The founders also expected us to not only produce and take care of ourselves in our pursuit of happiness, but to also not burden other citizens with their failures. That included taking care of our elder family members in old age, helping other family members when going through hard times, and other citizens (strangers perhaps) that they saw in need of a hand up. Not one of the hundreds of welfare programs, as we know them today, is mentioned in the Constitution as a federal government responsibility to the general population. No Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC), no Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC), no food stamp program, no federal housing program, and on and on.
Just where did the founders get their ideas in forming the greatest nation on the face of the earth? Their belief in a Creator of all things ... where else?
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”. Mathew 25: 35-36.
“Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth”. Ephesians 6: 2-3
“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents”. ! Timothy 5:4.
“ ... and love your neighbor as yourself”. Mathew 19: 19
“... If a man will not work, he shall not eat”. 2 Thessalonians 3: 10.
Can you now see what the secular Constitution and the Christian Bible have in common? They both speak to people as individuals, not as a collective group. In the Constitution, you are personally responsible for the success or failure of your own lives on earth. Collectively, you are the owners of this nation. In the Bible, you are personally responsible for whether or not you choose to follow God’s laws to the best of your ability or go off on your own. Collectively, you are all loved by God as individuals, no matter what direction you have chosen for your lives. Another likeness in these documents is that neither one of them has any mention of government responsibility for any of the items or programs talked about above.
Until we decide that we will stop destroying the Constitution word by word, page by page, we will never return to the country our founders envisioned. Likewise, until we stop spitting in the face of our Creator, we won’t continue to receive His blessings that we’ve enjoyed for over 200 years. Putting it simply, we will see our secular lives on this planet end in a country we no longer recognize and, worse yet, we will not have a leg to stand on the day we die ... eternity could look awfully bleak.
I’m sometimes as guilty as everyone else, so don’t take this as a rebuke to others or a self-righteous blog. It’s simply food for thought and discussion.