NYT: You’re employed by a Catholic university, yet in your new book you neglect to mention the enormous role that churches have played over the centuries in helping the poor and promoting compassion.
Trout: The concerns addressed in the book — improved education, health care, existence above the poverty level — are too important to be left to the tender mercies of charity.
This is the essence of secular statism. (1.) Write the church out of Western history (and be entirely irresponsible in so doing; see the recent work by Rod Stark on this); then (2.) presume that the voluntary good works of the church (and other organizations) are irrelevant and untrustworthy. The secular state must be our primary provider. Of course, it extracts money through taxation (non-voluntary) and requires a merely secular approach to all it does. This is not compassion; it is compulsion.