Biblical Concept: Compassionate Government

Early quotes:

In 1984 U.S. Representative James Robert Jones (D-OK) told the New York Times (8 November 1984):

“I think we should adopt the slogan of compassionate conservatism...We can be fiscally conservative without losing our commitment to the needy and we must redirect our policy in that direction.”

Earlier the same year, Republican Ray Shamie proclaimed that: "I believe in a visionary and compassionate conservatism" (Christian Science Monitor, 20 September 1984, p. 19).

In 1981, Vernon Jordan of the National Urban League said, of the Reagan administration,

“I do not challenge the conservatism of this Administration. I do challenge its failure to exhibit a compassionate conservatism that adapts itself to the realities of a society ridden by class and race distinction.” – New York Times, 23 July 1981, p. 17

“In his Inaugural Address, the President called on Americans to become citizens, not spectators. Since that time the President has used compassionate conservatism as his governing philosophy as the Administration has moved to tackle some of society's toughest assignments, such as educating our children, fighting poverty at home, and helping poor countries around the globe.” – The (of George Bush).

The Founders:

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -- James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)

"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power not longer susceptible of any definition." -- Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791

"We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute." -- Thomas Paine

God’s design for government?: Promote good behavior and control evil behavior.

Romans 13:3-4; For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.  Compare 13:6-14.  Compare the Biblical Concept: Nations and righteousness.


Conclusion: Individuals should have compassion not governments. 


NAS Leviticus 19:10 'Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.


NAS Philippians 2:1 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.


Compare: NAS 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.