Acton Institute Powerblog

Why Not Give Yourself?

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A question over at the ONE Campaign blog:

Why don’t these celebrities cough up their own money and stop asking for mine?

Answer: First off, they are. Most of the celebs involved in the campaign give hundreds of thousands, if not millions to charity. They just choose not make it public. But this campaign is not about asking you for YOUR money either, we want your voice. We are also talking about BILLIONS of dollars here. Not millions. If all the celebs in Hollywood banded together it still wouldn’t touch the amount that the G8 countries could give.

Well, as you read on, it is actually about “YOUR money.”

If the USA agreed to commit an additional ONE percent of its budget, or 25 billion dollars per year, it would cost every American 23 cents a day. I’m ready to do that if it saves lives…are you?

Why use the US government as a middleman, and a bureaucratic and inefficient one at that? Why not ask for 23 cents directly from the individual person?

Perhaps because then the answer might be no, but if you use the coercive power of government, no one can say no. And of course, the question is really if the same old types of aid and patterns of giving to African governments really will save lives. If corrupt governments haven’t been trustworthy with a little, why should they be trusted with a lot? (See Matthew 25:23)

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

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