In a disgusting display, even by TEApublican standards, Stephen Fincher (R-TN) quoted the “Book of Thessalonians” to justify letting the poor starve. Fincher smugly stated on the House floor:
The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.
Of course, it’s a well-known attribute of conservatives to see things in black and white while often missing more nuanced aspects of real life. In Fincher’s warped mind, people that need help are just lazy moochers who should simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps, even though, as most liberals know, many of these people don’t even have boots–or functioning feet in the context of this analogy–for that matter.
We have three points to make to Mr. Fincher and anyone else who buys into this absurd and disturbing way of thinking.
1. Most people on SNAP are not “unwilling” to work. Food insecurity is a real problem in America, but indolence is not to blame. From a Center on Policy and Budget Priorities (cbpp.org) piece titled, Contrary to “Entitlement Society” Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths of Entitlement Benefits Go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Household:
Some conservative critics of federal social programs, including leading presidential candidates, are sounding an alarm that the United States is rapidly becoming an “entitlement society” in which social programs are undermining the work ethic and creating a large class of Americans who prefer to depend on government benefits rather than work. A new CBPP analysis of budget and Census data, however, shows that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work. This figure has changed little in the past few years.
Conservatives have also proven to be shameless lying hypocrites in many cases. Take Mark Sanford, who just won a congressional seat in South Carolina, for example. After much finger-wagging, Mr. Sanford voted to impeach President Clinton over the Lewinsky sex scandal, yet asked for forgiveness–without any sense of irony–after being caught romping with his mistress in South America on the tax payer’s dime. It would seem Rep. Fincher also fits this mold.
2. Hypocrite Fincher took millions in farm subsidies. From AlterNet:
The reason this is even more egregious than the usual Republican class warfare is that Fincher himself is a poster boy for government dependency. It’s not just that he’s benefited here and there from some government help. That sort of low-level hypocrisy is almost to be expected from these types. But Fincher has received millions – $3.2 million as of June 2010 – in federal crop subsidies. The people who refer to themselves as Tea Partiers threatened to derail his candidacy over this, but then they realized that they have no principles, and supported him anyway. He’s now a member of the “Tea Party Caucus,” which, amazingly, is something that actually exists. Fincher’s brother and father also snatched another $6.7 million in subsidies as Stephen geared up to run for Congress on a platform of eliminating “wasteful government spending.” The “wasteful spending” that he had in mind, of course, was that which serves policy aims with which he disagrees, such as keeping poor people alive.
And, finally, let’s examine the TEApublican’s penchant for cherry-picking documents to suit their agendas. Whether it be the Constitution or the Holy Bible, these folks love to take what fits into their preconceived narrative and leave the rest behind. Fincher is clearly no exception.
3. The Bible also says:
Psa. 82:3 Give fair judgment to the poor man, the afflicted, the fatherless, the destitute.
Prov. 14:31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.
Prov28:27 If you give to the poor, your needs will be supplied! But a curse upon those who close their eyes to poverty.
Prov22:9 Happy is the generous man, the one who feeds the poor.
Isa. 58:7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don’t hide from relatives who need your help. Isa. 58:8 If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Isa. 58:9 Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. All you need to do is to stop oppressing the weak and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! Isa. 58:10 Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day.
Doesn’t exactly sound ambiguous, now does it? False accusations and vicious rumors, Mr. Fincher–THAT is was you’re spreading, as it’s obvious that your assertions quickly dissolve when bathed in the light of facts. It’s not children, elderly, disabled and working poor Americans who get food assistance that should be ashamed of themselves; it’s you and the rest of your factually-bankrupt, judgmental TEApublican ilk who should.
Bible quotes sources: