I was reading an interesting article in the NY Times about how food stamp use is soaring. Like Amazon.com, half the interest for me is the comment section. Wow, some of them are unbelievable. One of my long standing rants is that there are plenty of conservatives who are so against abortion, but once a baby is born, they couldn’t care less. Then that child is somebody’s else problem. That kind of philosophy is hypocritical. And the fact that a bunch of people could be against food stamps is just crazy to me.
My parents are conservative Christians in that they are against abortion, homosexuality, sex before marriage, and they believe people of other faiths (and some other Christian denominations) are going to hell. Yet they are not Republican either and brought up my brother and I more as liberal than anything else. I remember that when I went to college, I was shocked to see how much people were categorically against welfare at my conservative Christian college. It was mind-boggling that you could be Christian and against helping the poor. Their belief was that people who were poor were lazy and milking the system, and hard-working honest people were supporting a bunch of drunken drug addicts.
Life is rarely that simple, and one hope I have is that if a lot of new people are on food stamps, they will realize how many hard-working honest people need them. I find it so ironic that people like to throw around Jesus as the end-all for the right thing to do–well, his teachings were very simple, but not very easy. For example, as a country we have made a choice that when a person is on trial they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Why is that, when some guilty people may go free? Because a civilized society will err on the side of compassion–some of the guilty may get away with their crime, but less of the innocent will be unnecessarily punished.
And so many people are willing to judge “motives” of poverty–there are jobs, but they must not want them, they’re lazy, how come they’re overweight and need food stamps, they’re going to use money for alcohol/cigarettes/drugs, why do people breed them if they can’t feed them? How sad that in our country, which has so much, people can have so little empathy. A civilized and a moral society that cares about doing the right thing will err on the side of compassion, not judgment.