Madison County Opinion...

 July 18, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
July 18, 2001

Frankly Speaking

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 about this.
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 are helped.
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 His email address is

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By Loren Metts
The Madison County Journal
July 18, 2001

Farewell, Madison County
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 County.
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 County Journal.
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.
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