But reading this story about what food stamps are doing to real Americans makes me wonder if the sickness isn't broader. Who, outside the people who do nothing other than work on hunger issues, is talking about hunger? Are churches, of any denomination or framework up in arms because of these tremendous and cruel cuts to the neediest? I am not seeing it. Hell, while Republicans seem to cheer it, my own party seems to really not care that much that more and more Americans are falling behind.
If our moral tradition cares little about it, what hope is there? The Wapo ran a story the other day about how many food stamps it would take for one average American thanksgiving meal. Ours will not be decadent by American standards, but is well beyond the hopes of the poor.
I am bothered, of course, at the lack of caring. But story after story highlight the negative impact poverty has on people.
Poor people fall farther and farther behind those who have. And our moral voices are silent. And our political choices are clear. Meanwhile, I heard an ad (on our local public radio no less) for a sale this coming Friday that used the phrase "to celebrate Black Friday." What in the what?Lower-income kids enter kindergarten with poorer language skills than kids from middle- and upper-income homes.
Also, studies show that in some cases, kids living in poverty are more than two years behind their privileged counterparts. They're more likely to have fewer books in the home, have more health problems and miss more school days. Many kids come to school hungry, and then they can't focus and learn.
"They can't concentrate as well, and children who are food insecure don't perform as well on math and language arts tests. They don't do as well in school," says Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University's School of Public Health.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Southern Baptists have become far more conservative than Christian. That is clear in my mind and was crystallized when they supported torture, and now cheer the failure of healthcare. But I have my doubts about any of our faith traditions. I am sure that many churches do what they can to feed poor in their area. I wonder how many have put out a call of urgency because of the pressing need? I hope they are there.
Because if those who claim to follow Jesus can't care about the poor, I hate to break it to them, but their faith isn't Christian.