June 27, 2012

The least of these?

Old news, but the attack on the poor and the needy continues.  In Pennsylvania, the Republican governor is looking to reduce assistance to the needy, "including cutting support for the mentally ill." The mentally ill aren't the only ones, of course.  Anyone at the bottom is under attack to take care of themselves.  Or not. 

In Kansas, Brownback just signed a tax law that removes income tax for businesses, professional income, or anything that can be sheltered in a trust or partnership.  The elderly, the working class, and anyone who doesn't make enough money to shelter their money will still pay income taxes.  For reduced services that they need more, of course. 

All this, while my Christian conservative friends pray for the ACA to be overturned and for Obama to lose his reelection bid.  Obviously, for many of you here, that doesn't surprise or shock you, because as Leighton just said so eloquently, "lies for Jesus are just simply lies."  I still, stupidly want to believe that my conservative Christian friends--the ones who speak glowingly of their personal relationship with someone who healed the sick and hung out with whores and lepers--would actually want policies that look after the "least of these." 

But for many of them, Obama's race undoubtedly taps something they can't openly address.  For others, deep down, they just don't like poor people, and assume that many of those who are homeless or ill or poor are just lazy and immoral.  I wish I could say I understood that, but there is a cruelty there that is just scary.  But I absolutely don't understand their sycophantic kneeling at the altar of the wealthy and powerful. 

Read this from the late departed Elizabeth Edwards.  In this 2008 essay, she describes meeting a single mother (apparently), seemingly employed, grabbing Edwards at a talk and telling her that she was terrified by the lump in her breast, but could not get it checked because she had no insurance.
In the landscape of the health-care debate, two very different paths lie in front of us. Which one we choose will speak volumes about who we are as a nation and what values we hold dear. Our choice will determine what we say to women like Sheila—whether we say, “We are with you. Your challenge is our challenge too, and we will help you face it,” or simply shrug and say, “Sorry, you’re on your own.” That’s the moral choice we face today and which path we walk down is up to us.
My Christian friends don't want to admit it, but the people who pray to a man who healed women and lepers, are saying to people like Sheila, "you are on your own." 

There is nothing Christian about that response. 

1 comment:

Monk-in-Training said...

There is hope. Many of these Evangelicals in the area sent their children to Christian Schools where they actually read the Bible, and discovered that it isn't just a 'personal' decision to help the poor but a societal or national one as well.

As you know, I work with a lot of Tulsa's poorest, and I am rejoicing that the ACA was upheld, and for the personal reason that my two youngest kids in college will still have insurance!

I believe that the Lord, Himself wants His people taken care of, and has consistently shown that imagery in the Scriptures.

There is a man at the gate, his name is Lazarus, we would be well warned not to ignore him.

Isaiah 3:14-15

14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: It is you who have

devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by

crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.