Distrust of Anything Public

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan defunded a large portion of the governmental social services provided to poor and marginalized persons in the United States. His philosophy was that the government should not be offering social services, but that private nonprofits could, indeed, do a much better job at developing persons out of unemployment, drug abuse, etc. Specifically, he looked toward religious communities to provide these services. (Thus organizations like HOTEL INC were created.)

Then, in the 2000s, President George W. Bush, during his tenure, increased funding for faith-based nonprofits in the social services industry. This funding relieved some of the restrictions which forbade faith-based organizations to proselytize or push their own faith agendas. This has led to many conservative Christian groups being activated with government funding, even to the extent that there are increasing numbers of faith-based prison systems (mainly in Florida – Jeb Bush, and Texas – George W. Bush).

Since desegregation in the 1960s, Christians (namely white and conservative) have increasingly left the public school systems to attend privately funded religious school or homeschooling ventures. And now there are arguments that these private schools should receive funding from the government.

Additionally, many conservative Christians are calling for a defunding of anything government related to economics. This call ranges from defunding more social services to unemployment benefits to lower taxes on the richest in our country. (Defund everything except support for the military or faith-based organizations.)

Three large sectors – social services, education, and economics – are under attack by conservative Christians. Why? What is the great mistrust of our government? And why now? While many older conservative Christians have gained from being employed by government agencies (educational and military), enjoyed the interstate systems and public parks, and made money from government initiated opportunities, why are they rallying around a common cause to trust the private sector over the public? Thoughts?


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