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We received an email from a friend recently directing us to a pamphlet issued by the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The pamphlet – which you can view here – gives instructions to individuals who wish to send care packages to prisoners this holiday season.

“This is ridiculous,” our friend wrote.

“Ridiculous?”  Puzzled … we probed her for an explanation as to why a pamphlet about prison ministries was “ridiculous.”  According to our friend it’s a question of prioritization – meaning that she thinks prisoners shouldn’t rank very high on the list of those who deserve our benevolence and good will.

Who should receive this holiday cheer instead?

“Wounded soldiers in Walter Reed, military members overseas, cancer patients in St. Jude who won’t live until high school, etc.,” our friend said, rattling a few examples off the top of her head.

Interesting … and a fair point.

Personally we don’t have a problem with prison ministries.  And while we were always pretty high in Sunday School growing up, we seem to recall some passages in The Bible about doing “unto the least of these” and all of us “having sinned and fallen short of the glory” of God.

Participating in a prison ministry would obviously lend expression to these fundamental Christian principles …

Of course the beauty of our philanthropic economy (a key component of our free market) is that we get to help whoever we want to help – and withhold our charity as we see fit. Well … at least until Barack Obama eliminates charitable deductions as part of his effort to create a full-fledged government monopoly on welfare.