The Madison County Journal
July 18, 2001
Gov't should get out of welfare business
The political correctness people have now jumped into the "Faith
and Community Based Charity" debate. They are making a list
of organizations that must not receive federal money because
they discriminate against gays. Tops on the list are The Salvation
Army and the Boy Scouts of America. I have a few things to say
First, let me repeat once again that the federal government has
no money of its own. Every cent that the federal government spends
comes out of the taxpayers' pockets. When the government hands
out money to any kind of charity, they are deciding for you where
to spend your money. You have very little choice in this process.
Secondly, when our founders decided that Congress was not to
establish any religion, they were making sure that all religions
would be treated the same. If the government plans to offer money
to faith-based charities, they must offer it to all such organizations.
Opposition to the gay lifestyle by the scouts and Salvation Army
is based on religious concepts. If government gives money to
any religious groups but denies it to others because of religious
principles, the constitutional prohibition against establishment
of religion is clearly violated.
I think that government ought to get out of the charity business
completely. That includes all forms of welfare. Why? Government
is the most inefficient way ever invented for delivery of services,
especially charity. Congress votes billions of dollars each year
for welfare. No more than 20 percent of those billions ever reach
welfare recipients. Eight dollars out of every $10 is wasted
on the bureaucracy, massive buildings, carpets, computers and
plain old graft. If a private charity had these kinds of numbers
they would be subjected to severe criticism and penalties.
Of the 20 percent that reaches the intended recipients, a large
portion is misspent. Charity, or welfare, was never intended
to give recipients a lifestyle equal or superior to that of the
working people who pay the bill. Charity's purpose is to provide
essential food, clothing and housing for a limited time when
people are having difficulty providing for themselves.
Every day I see welfare recipients who drive better cars than
many working people. Many of them eat more expensive food. In
many cases they wear better clothes and live in better homes
than the lower class worker. This is just not right!
We Americans have shown time after time that we are a generous
people. If someone needs help, the community will see that they
That is what faith- and community-based charity is all about.
If government will get completely out of the charity business
and return this duty to the faith-based and community organizations,
we Americans will see that those who truly need our assistance
will receive it. And if government will eliminate all welfare
spending and reduce our taxes by that amount, we will be able
to decide for ourselves which of these charitable organizations
deserve our support.
There is an old saying that "Charity begins at home."
I think it ought to stay there.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address
The Madison County Journal
July 18, 2001
Change is good, but it's not always easy, at least for me. Combine
my somewhat intense personality with the first-trimester hormonal
waves of my third pregnancy and you can just imagine how emotionally
challenged I have been during our family's recent move from Madison
My husband, Carey, and I first moved to Madison County from Asheville,
N.C., in June of 1994. After one year of marriage, we were thrilled
by the opportunity to move to Georgia where Carey could get back
into teaching and coaching and I could live much closer to my
family. Although leaving his family and the beautiful mountain
scenery were not something we wanted to do, generally speaking
we had very little to lose and a lot to gain by moving to Georgia.
From the very beginning, it was evident that our move was divinely
ordered. I don't have enough time or space to share all of the
wonderful blessings that came directly our way just within the
first few weeks of our move, not to mention those to follow in
the months and years to come. Our seven years in Madison County
have been so much of what we wanted and needed - from the friends
and neighbors we have had, to the jobs and churches we have been
a part of. I still smile when I remember my years at the recreation
department - the fun summer day camps, chaotic opening days and
late-nights under the lights. It was truly the perfect job for
me! I will always cherish the memories I have with the many special
friends we made through the recreation department, Harvest Church,
Red Raider Athletics, Pleasant Grove Baptist and the Madison
As a married couple and family, Madison County has been the only
home we have really known and leaving it has been somewhat difficult
for me. Unlike years ago, we have potentially had a lot to lose
by moving away from the comfort and security of our life there.
Two months have passed now since the rather sad day that our
U-haul truck drove away from our home on Payne Drive. I am happy
to report that our family has survived the mood swings of my
first trimester and the many changes accompanying our move to
Gwinnett County. Yes, you read it right, Gwinnett County. Carey
was offered a teaching and coaching position at Dacula High School
earlier this spring, so here we are now, residing in one of the
fastest-growing counties in the country. Although I grew up in
Gwinnett County, it has been a long time since I have lived in
the faster pace of urban life, USA.
There are pros and cons to anything, of course, and moving is
no exception. Neighborhood living was initially quite a challenge,
especially adjusting to our exchange of nearly five secluded
acres of beautiful hardwoods in Comer for nearly one acre in
Dacula with a privacy fence and a few prized shade trees. We
now have more neighbors, more noise, more taxes and more traffic.
But on the pro side, we also traded in our dirt road for pavement
(with sidewalks!) and our private lake for a swim/tennis community.
Our new home is much bigger, giving us lots of room for our growing
family. Our boys love having so many different children to play
with and we are surrounded by several kind and friendly neighbors.
Living closer to my family and high school friends again is wonderful
and the convenience of being 15 minutes away from unlimited stores
is quite fun as well. We definitely have a lot to be thankful
for now, just as we did before moving.
Now that most of our boxes are unpacked and the pictures and
paint are finding their places on the walls, our house is beginning
to feel like home. We have begun to make new friends and new
memories and are eager to feel as a part of this community as
we have in Madison County. So what will I miss most about living
there? Walking, running and splashing on Payne Drive, the small
town novelties of county fairs and holiday parades, the beautiful
farm lands and sunsets of Hwy. 98, and, most of all, the daily
relationships we have had with many good and dear people. Never
again could we be a part of a community that has been warmer
and more accepting of us than the people of Madison County. Although
much has obviously changed for us over these past few months,
the most important things have remained the same. The friendships,
memories and life experiences we have gained during our years
in Madison County will continue to be a part of who we are, regardless
of where we live.
And for that, I will forever be thankful.
Loren Metts is a guest columnist for The Madison County Journal.