Francis Wayland was a New England Baptist pastor and educator in the mid-1800s. There are many problems with Wayland’s theology, as he can be considered part of the liberal Yankee Christianity of the time. He was far from the worst, as he most probably was a true Christian and definitely did not fall into the category of the Christ-rejecting Unitarians, but it should be stressed that he was not among the traditional conservative Christians of the period, North or South, like Dabney. I go to such lengths to point this out to underline how much cultural Marxism has completely saturated the modern “Church”: even the liberal Christians of centuries past had a better, more Christian understanding of areas like human responsibility and charity than “conservative” Christians do today.
I add in the last place, that our responsibility for the performance of one duty, may be limited by the more urgent claims of another duty of the same character.
This may be easily illustrated by the case of benevolence. We are commanded to promote the physical, intellectual and moral happiness of our fellow men. We are also commanded to do this for all men, and to do it at all times. But we are neither omnipotent nor omnipresent. Though the temper of heart from which acts of charity proceed, should be wide as the universe, and boundless as human misery, yet, the acts, to which this temper of heart tends, must of course be restricted within the limits of that physical power which God has placed in our hands.
This actual charity is all to be performed. But as no one can either do it all, or even do ever so fractional a part of every department of it, it follows, that it is to be performed on the principle of division of labor: that is, that each one is to select his own portion of the duty, and devote his energies to the accomplishment of it. In this manner, each one doing the part allotted to him, it will all be done. If every one attempted to do a part of all, nothing would be effected.
When the claims of simple benevolence conflict with each other, the principles which may properly guide us to a decision, are various. The attempt to enumerate them all, is not necessary to my purpose. It is only necessary for me to show that they exist, and that their existence limits our responsibility. I merely mention a few, by way of example. Some of them I presume to be the following: The greater the exigency the greater the claim. If we were called upon at the same moment to aid two men, of whom the one had only swooned, while the other was bleeding to death, no one could doubt, that our first services were due to the latter. Again, the exigencies being equal, the amount of good to be effected by my exertion, would naturally determine me. If I am called upon to assist ten drowning men, and by one course I can save nine, but in pursuing it I must leave the other to his fate, I am bound to save the greater number. Again, the exigencies being equal, I suppose that my duty would be designated by the relations in which I may stand to the parties. Were several persons in equal danger, I should be under greater obligations to assist my father or my brother than a stranger. On the same principle, those who are near us have stronger claims than those who are afar off.
Whenever conflicting claims like these arise, and but one of them can be satisfied, we must use our reason to decide the question of preference. When this is decided, our duty is determined. This designates what is the will of God respecting this particular action, and discharges us from the claims of any obligation inconsistent with it. Much as it may be desirable that some other good be done, we are not answerable for the doing of it. Whatever ill may happen in consequence of our choice, we are not responsible.
–Francis Wayland in “The Limitations of Human Responsibility”
This a simple application of 1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Kinists often get accused of being uncharitable in our worldview, usually when our opponents are in the process of badly losing a debate. But in reality, our view is the Christian one, where charity and responsibility begin at home and expand outward from there (Acts 1:8). It is the Marxist view of charity which believes that sending billions to Haiti while children starve in Appalachia a couple hours up the road is noble and admirable. When we say that we do not want third-worlders in America or the West and that we want our countries to remain ethnically European, this is seen as “mean.” But if a man would be seen as a villain for taking all the possessions away from his own children, passing them out to strangers, and then inviting those strangers to force his own children out of their rooms, then why would robbing our grandchildren of their birthright to live in a country that speaks the same language, practices the same culture and religion, and has the same face as their great-great-great-grandfathers not be seen in the same light? The modern “Christian” is fine with embracing the Marxist view of charity and responsibility on the macro scale for a pat on the head from the pagan culture and a warm feeling of faux virtue, since they can hypocritically practice the opposite values at home and push the consequences of their macro decisions onto their grandchildren. I am not speaking in the abstract here, either. I have personally had discussions with ordained pastors and church officers in “conservative” denominations who hold that it is basically sinful to leave any inheritance, financial, cultural, or geographical, to their children, believing that to even be concerned about such things is wicked materialism.
[The G]odly man must recognize that he has the obligation to be without pity and without charity in dealing with some, that this attitude, however harsh it may seem in terms of modern sentimentality, constitutes moral strength and spiritual integrity. He must recognize that he cannot rob himself or others in order to feed the undeserving of the world, or the improvident who demand as their right a portion of our wealth. . . . [T]rue stewardship means a humility whereby man avoids a fundamental sin common to false charity, that of trying to be God.
–Rushdoony in The Politics of Guilt and Pity
All this is assuming, too, that foreign aid and other false charity actually work. The myriad problems with the modern Marxist model of charity in giving a fish rather than teaching to fish, propping up tyrants, financing our enemies, sponsoring bloodshed and instability, robbing countries of their best and brightest, and setting the stage for a hundred Yugoslavias can be addressed at a later time.