“[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters . . . I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? . . . We have been assured . . . in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that built it.’ I firmly believe this . . .” – Benjamin Franklin
We often talk these days about the public sector (government) and the private sector and what role each should have. But we really should be including religious institutions as the third sector of any free society. As Benjamin Franklin noted, freedom thrives most in a society when individuals are driven by personal virtue to voluntarily cooperate with each other. And it is the proper role of our religious institutions to persuade men to live virtuous lives, putting their neighbor above themselves, to voluntarily feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for widows and orphans.