Do we really care about the vulnerable and needy? Who would say no? Yet what practical implications arise from this claim to care? The brother of Jesus and early church leader, James, explained that doing good is not about mere assurances,
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:14-16)
In submissions to the Victorian Charter review scores of welfare agencies have written in support of the Charter. Welfare peak bodies representing thousands of welfare organisations and tens of thousands of welfare workers have stated their support for the Charter. Yet in submissions to Government it turned out that elements of the Church were the most prominent non-political section of society calling for the Charter’s repeal. Given that so much welfare is undertaken by Christians and by Christian-based organisations there appears to be a strange policy disconnect between welfare practitioners and public policy advocates when it comes to human rights. Which policy direction – the Charter or alternative proposals – will help our well-meaning wishes become life-giving actions? In detailed case studies, welfare agencies overwhelmingly found that the Charter was the best available means to protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged.