Every time the SNAP debate comes up, the GOP Christians In Name Only beat the deadbeat drum.
I don’t know about you but I have had it up to here with so-called Christians citing the Bible to punish people for the terrible sin of being poor and unemployed.
Take, for instance, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas). The Washington Post reports that during a House Agriculture Committee hearing on SNAP benefits, Arrington quoted the Bible to prove his point that “unemployed people do not deserve to eat.”
Arrington’s comment followed a statement from Josh Protas, Vice President of Public Policy MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Protas quoted Leviticus: “In Leviticus, we are commanded to leave the corners of our fields and the gleanings of our harvest and vineyards for the poor and the stranger. This commandment is a clear expression of our collective responsibility for each other.”
Arrington was having none of it, saying “I did hear Mr. Protas, your opening remarks where you quoted Leviticus, I believe. And I think that’s a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart and how we ought to reflect that compassion in our lives. But there’s also, you know, in the Scripture, tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:10 he says, uh, ‘for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ And then he goes on to say ‘we hear that some among you are idle’ … I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements.”
Of course, we expect people to pull their weight. But the SNAP program feeds children, veterans and people who work hard but don’t make enough to make ends meet and put decent food on the table. Many of the unemployed people receiving SNAP benefits are disabled, borderline disabled or mentally ill.
This whole “you have to work or you starve” is the same mantra recited by Republicans every time SNAP benefits come up for renewal. And every time, they take to citing the Bible to add gravitas to their decidedly un-Christian stance. Does it really take someone like me, an agnostic, to remind this “good Christian” of the words of Jesus Christ? “Verily I say to unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
People like Arrington are hell bent on grabbing every last cent from those who need it the most in order to line the pockets of those who don’t need it at all. They can cloak that claptrap any way they want seven days from Sunday, but the fact remains: It is a decidedly un-Christian stance and, as my mother used to say: “There may not be justice, but there will be judgement.” Hopefully, that judgement will come sooner rather than later. We can start it at the ballot box.