When talking about religious organizations, this cuts both ways. Yes, religious groups exchange community services for the opportunity to recruit and yes, they use these services as advertising copy to solicit donations. Still, if secular opinion (what I think of as “reality”) ever replaces god belief and afterlife mythology, what infrastructure (if any) should be put in place to fill the social mission of organized religion? Anarchists and Libertarian types might argue that these social programs are undesirable, and should not be institutionalized, especially as part of the government. They have a point. Such programs often resemble a lottery system at best, and a path to power and influence peddling for a petit bureaucrat at worst. Here’s the “but”. There are many children of poor circumstance. These circumstances are usually beyond the control of these children. Not all of these children are going to be top athletic or academic performers, so they will have to find a more difficult “way out” of poverty. Sometimes a little thing can make a big difference. Sometimes it is just knowing that you are not ignored by society or a cultural group, that somebody cares what happens to you. All these children grow up. Not all will be good citizens. If the socialization and nurturing factors are missing in the family, and the neighborhood is full of negative influences, how should society at large handle the situation?
Picture from here