The House of Representatives did the undoable the other day; it failed to pass an agriculture bill. Now these bills include pork for everybody, so they tend to pass unnoticed, but . . . wouldn’t you know . . . the Republicans couldn’t leave well enough alone, they had to take the opportunity to cut the food stamps program in the process. Hypocrisy is all well and good as a part of politics but one of the congressmen voting on this bill has received almost $3.5 million in federal agricultural subsidies since 1999 under this program . . . and he was allowed to vote on this bill! (I don’t know about you, but in 40 years of work I haven’t made that much money and I worked for every dollar.)
Tennessee Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher took everything just a step farther. In an attempt to justify the Republican cuts to the food stamp (STEP) program, he quoted the Bible “The poor will always be with us,” and egregiously 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” Another Republican asshole cherry-picking Christian scripture. The scriptural quote was from a letter to a congregation that had decided to sit down and wait for the second coming. It was imminent, no? The few who were still working were struggling to provide enough food for the community, hence the proscription from, presumably, the author of the letter, Paul. (I needn’t remind you that Paul never met Jesus, do I?)
The asshole congressman making these quotes is apparently unaware that the STEP program helps mostly the working poor, but he also is ignoring scripture like Deuteronomy 15: 7-11:
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
And get this, this was a government program! The government at the time decreed that the tithe for the poor would be collected, so the Republican argument that charity shouldn’t come in the form of a government program is bogus according to scripture, also.
Obviously it was not Jesus who first noted that the poor will always be among us, in fact he might have been quoting Deuteronomy (“There will always be poor people in the land.”).
And do you know what they call people who deliberately misuse scripture, boys and girls? That’s right! Blasphemers! Right now all of the evangelicals who support Congressman Fincher should be looking for stones—not pebbles, nor rocks, but stones—to correct the congressman for his transgressions.