I picked up this article on the BBC Website, “US ends food stamp benefits as Congress debates more cuts”.
For a “Christian” nation, this ought to evoke outrage and shame. Here, people who are trying to survive-especially in this economy-are finding their lifelines being cut short, if not cut at all. Now we have a Congress which is nothing more than a sham congress not giving a shit about the nation’s neediest. And to think, many-if not most-of these politicians will tell you they’re “good Christians”.
This should be preached from every pulpit and brought to the light of the public square, but something tells me it won’t. We don’t want to acknowledge “the least of these” as Jesus called them in the above scripture reference; we’re too busy caught up in our being entertained. Or if we do care, we have so much on our plates we cannot reach out. Washington will budget money to feed our bloated military, give our politicians salary raises and fat pensions, and carry out the will of their political action groups. But when it comes to taking care of the underserved of We The People, all of sudden the pot is empty.
As I read the above article, Congress Republicans are seeking to reduce the program further, claimed that the program, “should be better targeted at the most needy.” Okay kids, what criteria will denote “most needy”? How will a body that is financially well-off, predominately male and White, who either never saw a day of struggle or forgot what it was like to struggle determine who’s “most needy”? Despite the fact that Americans are losing jobs, losing health care, walking away from mortgages they could no longer afford, there’s going to be some magic “criteria” Congress wants to use.
I write this as the Church celebrates All Saints Day today. It is the day where all the Christian saints that have been martyred throughout history are honored. I wonder what these saints-which some of the above politicians would say they honor-would say about this today? How many of these people-who gave their lives for God and humanity-would feel about this? How many “martyrs” will this reduction-and more like this-create in the current economic crisis?
It’s time that we in the boarding-household of faith take up against this draconian attack on the least of our siblings. We need to preach against it from our pulpits, or blogs, our whatever…while we have time. This would be the best way to remember the saints of old-whether it’s Peter, Julian of Norwich, or Martin Luther King, Jr. These people, who need assistance, are Americans too. We need to let them know they’re not forgotten voiceless victims, but just a much voice and say so as the rest of America. There are many who are rising up for the underserved, ask God for the wisdom to see how we can work.
For if we remember the “least of these”, we will see the Kingdom of God and be a part of it.
On the other hand, if we forget them, then we’re just as bad as the aforementioned politicians and will find ourselves exiles from the Kingdom of God…
…And exile would be a far worse fate than being the “least of these” on Earth.