Today is Easter - the most sacred of all Christian holidays; yet I have been sent messages claiming that Jesus would want us to institute government welfare because he said we should support the poor and care for our fellow man. While I certainly don't disagree that one of Jesus' primary teachings was to love our neighbors, the suggestion that neighborly love, benevolence, or generosity should come via our government is neither Biblical nor wise.
Throughout the Bible we are told to give to our neighbor, but never to give to our government so that our government can take care of our responsibility to be generous. Matthew 22:21, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." In this passage Jesus clearly delineates between what is of this World and what is of God. If taxes paid to the government belong to the government and not God, then how would paying taxes be a substitute for doing God's work? Does anyone honestly pay their taxes in the belief that by so doing they fulfill God's intent for us to be generous and caring towards our neighbors? Wouldn't it be handy to just pay taxes and have all your Christian responsibilities to your fellow man taken care of? It's a nice thought (not really) but God knows the true intent of our heart: 1 Chronicles 28:9, "...for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts..."
Although God warns us to respect our government, he never suggests that we are to fulfill his will for our lives through government. The notion that God would want us to enact welfare programs through government is unfounded. Moreover, compulsory giving, a.k.a. taxes, is not genuine giving. Government benevolence is an oxymoron and rampant examples reveal how ineffective it is at meeting genuine needs. Most importantly, though, is the fact that God does not ask us to offload our responsibilities for caring for one another upon someone else, much less the government. It is our sole responsibility to directly help those in need and to, "Love your neighbor as yourself."