A basic tenet of most religions decrees our moral responsibility to the needy. Throughout Scripture, God emphasizes His great love for the poor, e.g., “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). Given this unvarying principle of Jesus’ teaching — revisited recently and vociferously by Pope Francis — why do congressional Republican Christians, and those like Paul Ryan, self-proclaimed Catholics, strive, instead, to undercut the well-being of the needy?
After voting for policies that obliterated the $123 billion surplus President Bill Clinton left the country, why do Republicans think that slashing food stamps and unemployment insurance, which support the working poor, their children, veterans and the elderly, is the answer to their self-made deficit problem?
Don’t they realize, if they strip such meager support from already struggling people, those people lose their ability to work? And why do these Republicans think they should be paid six-figure incomes for “working” only 35 weeks a year, only 25 hours a week, while those they target to “control spending” labor 40-plus hours, 52 weeks a year?
Before scurrying off to their cozy dens and Christmas gifts, these Republicans need to revisit Jesus’ admonishment: “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker.” (Proverbs 17:5) and “He that oppresseth the poor, and giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want” (Proverbs 22:16). Then they need to step outside their walls of plenty and explain their deficit of compassion — not repeating the nonsense that helping people makes them more dependent, a baseless pretext and affront to Jesus, to the pope and to us, who pay their luxurious salaries.