NZ Prime Minister Michael Savage described the introduction of the social security system in NZ as "applied Christianity". It was about helping people, a Christian duty to help people.
For Christians, maybe we should view the welfare system in Australia as applied Christianity.
We are called to help the poor and the sick, the old and the widowed. Yet, if that help is provided in the form of government welfare, some pull back.
Denouncing this help, arguing against it, arguing that it should be cut or abolished - and never mind increasing it. Yet, the welfare state is about helping the same people Christians are called to help.
Would support have been higher if the welfare state had always been referred to as applied Christianity?
There seems to be great power in a term. It can conjure up bad images and Government provided welfare certainty does this - images of the undeserving poor, big government, and expensive programs.
There is a chance that calling it applied Christianity would not have changed much but it may have at least reduced the negative images.
What if we viewed the pension as helping people, including the widows mentioned in the Bible?
If unemployment benefits were viewed as helping the poor, the poor so frequently mentioned in the Bible, not the ones so often demonized now in public discourse.
The same applies to the universal health care that was included as part of NZ social security bill.
One could view it not as welfare and social security but as applied Christianity, a way to ensure that Christian duty is done: the one that calls us to visit and care for the sick.
Now, a rebranding exercise is not going to change everything. Yet, it is interesting to note how perceptions of something matter.
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