In which case, we're probably much closer to agreeing on this issue than you may think, for I have argued that if the rich want to give generously and without compulsion, then they should be encouraged to do so. If your system of taxation is based on that sense of free will giving, then that's something to be commended. However, my experience is that people don't like paying taxes and think of it as compulsion. In this culture, distrust of government is virtually written into the Constitution, and taking money from the rich in order to give it to the poor is often thought little more than robbery.
I think you misunderstand my statement, which is largely because I didn't make my statement clear enough. I just don't believe it charitable for the government to take from the rich so she can give to the poor, since such taking for the purpose of giving the money to the poor engenders a spirit of resentment, not a spirit of cheerful generosity.
I can only repeat that my experience in my own country which has a comprehensive social welfare system is that no spirit of resentment is engendered. Different factors at work in the USA may generate resentment?
What I'm arguing against is taxation for the sole purpose of redistributing the money to the poor.
I would argue the opposite - that a Christian country has an obligation to care for the poor and those who are vulnerable whether through sickness or unemployment.
Just to briefly restate what I wrote earlier... This country, and many Commonwealth countries, is orientated towards the common weal. We see the duty of Government as primarily that of managing the country for the common good of the entire populace. In order to achieve this common weal we cheerfully hand over our taxes.
Peter, I can certainly not getting at you but I cannot avoid the feeling that a society which shies away from assisting its poor is not a society based on Christian principles. And that assistance needs to be comprehensive, organised, equitable and nationwide. Entrusting it to the well-meaning but capricious efforts of neighbours and friends, church groups and mosques just won't work effectively in delivering sustained assistance as needed.
I suppose one could question whether your Kiwi culture is based as solidly on Christian principles as you seem to think it is.
Our law and our social institutions still are, but..... like all the Western world we are seeing what was once a pervading Christian culture in the years up until the 1970s eroded by secularism, and also by immigration from non-Christian areas of the world, the Muslim countries, China, and Asia generally. In Auckland, our largest city, 41% do not have English as their first language. This has happened in the last 20 years.
As I wrote earlier.....
"Now as Church and State drift further apart it remains to be seen if that
partnership will continue but I still argue that we in New Zealand (and
perhaps slightly less now in the UK) enjoy a culture where people have
invested into the state the outworking of its Christian principles(getting
more and more diluted of course but still there) as the basis of its law and
care for its citizens."