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‘Jobless People Don’t Deserve To Eat’, GOP Lawmaker Says Citing The Bible

BOOYAH

‘Jobless People Don’t Deserve To Eat’, GOP Lawmaker Says Citing The Bible

For years now, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been talking in his earnest Wisconsin way about how much Republicans care about poverty. Republicans care about the poor, he insists, they just don’t want to trap them in dependency — thus their proposals for dismantling every federal program designed to help them.

With Donald Trump as president with a Republican-controlled Congress, we’re getting a vision of what that actually looks like in practice: An all-out war on poor people’s programs, without even a whisper of countervailing effort to help them get jobs or anything else.

And it gets worst: Republicans are now quoting the bible to justify their disdain for the most vulnerable segment of our society.

According to The Washington Post, Texas Republican congressman Jodey Arrington just said that according to the Bible, “unemployed people do not deserve to eat.”

Arrington’s comments came during a House Agriculture Committee hearing on SNAP benefits, after one of the hearing’s expert witnesses quoted the book of 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,” said Josh Protas, Vice President of Public Policy MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “This commandment is a clear expression of our collective responsibility for each other.”

Arrington responded with a favorite Bible verse among conservatives who are against welfare programs: 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

“I did hear Mr. Protas, your opening remarks, where you quoted Leviticus, I believe,” Arrington said. “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.”

Putting aside the irony of talking about the importance of compassion in one sentence and then going on to say jobless people deserve to starve in the next, that Bible verse is actually not even addressed to the poor.

2 Thessalonians is one of many letters that St. Paul wrote to early members of the Christian church. The verse is referring to early Christians who were neglecting the Lord’s work because they believed the apocalypse was coming soon.

“The sin is sloth, indolence, inactivity,” said Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This is not an issue of inability. I don’t think it has been, in the history of the church.”

The issue of “inability” isn’t discussed much on the conservative side of the food stamp debate. Arrington and many other Republicans often make it a point to shame those on the program as leeches of society who are too lazy to work.

Out of all who participate in SNAP, 64% are unable to work because they are elderly, disabled, or children. 22% do work full time. Only 14% of beneficiaries work less than 30/hrs a week, are unemployed, or are registered for work. But, according to Republicans, these people should just starve.

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