Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times had articles on the same topic last week: the state of the
These kinds of issues are perpetual paradoxes for Christians concerned about compassion for the poor. The LA program drew on other successful “broken window” programs in which the city prosecutes even low level crimes in a concerted effort to clean up an area. This makes sense from the economic point of view in that social systems can have undesirable equilibria that can not be knocked loose by small changes. In this case, the policy at issue was apparently the crime of pitching tents in the public rights of way on the sidewalk. If a program such as this seems heavy-handed but results in a decrease in crime (and here I mean specifically violent crime inflicted upon the homeless), is it compassionate or not? If, from a Biblical perspective, one could make arguments for or against, is it appropriate for Christians to support using the court system to intervene against the political process?