Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Matthew 25:40? Yeah. We Have Some Problems With That

We seem to remember, dimly, back in the foggy past, a catechism class and something about doing for the least of us is the same as lending JC a few bucks to get him to payday. Or something like that.

So we have to admit to a smidge of mystification at finding out that God's posse is not among hundreds of religious activists trying to get arrested to protest cutting programs for the poor.

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, James Dobson's influential, Christian organization. "It's just that, since they're poor, they can't donate much money. Just business. Nothing personal."

Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt said yesterday that the activists' position is not "intellectually right. Morally right, sure. Fair? Just? Proper? Ok. I'll give you that, but what's that got to do with getting me reelected?"

Janice Crouse, a senior fellow at the Christian group Concerned Women for America, said religious conservatives "know that the government is not really capable of love. Of course the government is capable of feeding hungry children and providing shelter for homeless families, but they're not capable of love, that's all I'm saying."

"There is a [biblical] mandate to take care of the poor. There is no dispute of that fact," Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said. "But it does not say government should do it. That's a shifting of responsibility." When reminded that in a democratic society the government represents the will of the people, Perkins responded that the Bible "makes no mention of democracy."

The Family Research Council is involved in efforts to stop the bloodshed in the Darfur region of Sudan as well as sex trafficking and slavery abroad. But Perkins said those issues are far different from the budget cuts now under protest. "The difference there is enforcing laws to keep people from being enslaved, to be sold as sex slaves," he said. "We're talking here about massive welfare programs that will let people escape from economic slavery without turning to prostitution...wait."

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