Reactions from religious communities to last week’s jobs speech from President Obama are running the political gamut, as one might expect. Over at Think Christian, my piece has garnered some rather vociferous response.
And at the Faith in Public Life blog, Jessica Barba Brown compiles some responses that focus on “the need for serious job-creation legislation.” The problem here is that while a society with opportunities for employment for all is seen as a moral imperative, the primary agent responsible for creating those jobs is viewed as the government rather than actors in the market.
The faith in government evident here is really just astonishing. Politicians promising jobs is just another example of making grandiose promises that they can’t hope to fulfill. It’s really just telling us what we want to hear (or at least what they think we want to hear), rather than what we need to hear.
It’s true of course that work is an essential part of what it means to be human. But it is a serious confusion of our social life to think that government is the institution primarily responsible for providing work. Rev. Kevin DeYoung addressed the question cogently last week, “Daddy, where do jobs come from?” The answer, as you might suspect, is not the government (at least it shouldn’t be!).
And Cal Thomas’ piece from yesterday is also worth noting: “If we want government to become smaller and perform within its constitutional boundaries, we are going to have to expect less from it and more from ourselves.”
For more on the real moral imperative of work in our lives, I highly recommend Lester DeKoster’s little classic, Work: The Meaning of Your Life–A Christian Perspective.