Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

churches and social services: things to remember this Thanksgiving

Churches and places of faith used to offer programs that fed the poor, took care of needy children and the elderly, and healed the sick. But as people have become less religious, these programs have closed their doors one by one, leaving the needy with government programs to rely on.

There is a myth that America became great solely through rugged individualists who never had help from anyone. But I don’t think this is true. Pilgrims like the ones we remember on Thanksgiving cared for each other and shared their common wealth. Religious programs were there for our forefathers and all generations of Americans to pull them through hardships. They provided a way for everyone to share the common bounty, including a way for wealthy Americans to donate their bucks to help those in need.

Now that churchgoers have disappeared one by one, and now that places of faith have stepped out of the center of public life, we especially need to protect the government programs that provide services to people in need. These programs are now in Republican lawmakers’ crosshairs as they seek to cut social programs — while they continue to allow wealthy Americans to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

This Thanksgiving, as Americans everywhere sit down to share a common bounty of turkey, stuffing, and good cheer, I am going to be thankful for social programs offered by places of faith and by our government. These programs were there for us when we needed them, and helped America become the country that it is.

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Filed under: activism

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