Saturday, January 8


Women and Children First:

For many hard-working parents, Social Security's life and disability insurance is the only source of coverage for calamities outside their control. Only about half of private-sector workers have life insurance through their employers; for low-wage workers, private life insurance is a rarity and disability insurance is still rarer. If the government changes the way it calculates Social Security benefits, then millions of children would suffer when a parent dies without leaving them generous savings or life insurance.

It was only a decade ago that Congress enacted legislation to "end welfare as we know it." It would be a disaster if Congress were to reform Social Security in a way that would slowly swell the ranks of the poor and welfare-dependent with an army of "widows and orphans."

Boy, the wingers better check with their Christian right supporters. Or maybe not. Some of the latter hardly seem to be aware of the Scriptures, much less in touch with the Father (God, I mean, not George H.W. Bush). The Bible is teeming with references to widows and orphans. The context is always some kind of definition of pure religion, the priorities of God the Father, a sort of test of righteousness in His eyes.

For instance, "When thou hast made an end of tithing [voluntary taxation] all the tithes of thine increase [profits, income]...and hast given it to the Levite [interpreted as the priest, church or government], the stranger [foreigners in the land], the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled, Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them" (Deuteronomy 26:12-13); [interesting take on taxes, no? puts charity way up on the priority list]

"Learn to do well; seek judgment [shun evil], relieve the oppressed, judge [seek justice for] the fatherless, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:17);

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27); "And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2:16) [i.e., "visit" means to provide sustenance]

Bible-thumpers who are eager to destroy the "social safety net" in order to promote "individual responsibility" should take a second look at The Word. When it comes to personal accountability, God is all for it -- we're all told we'll be held accountable for our actions and inactions. But while the wingers of Christianity are fixated on sexual sin, they're forgetting that the very definition of "sin" is disobedience to God. God's commandments to us regarding the needy are plain and simple: feed them, take care of them. We'll be judged by our obedience to that command. He really doesn't have anything to say about judging people who aren't great with finances, haven't the ability to earn big incomes or who just don't have the opportunities afforded to some lucky individuals.

Read Matthew 25: 31-46. It says it all. This is MY God, MY Christ. I don't recognize the Grover Norquist/James Dobson/George W. Bush version.

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory;
And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal."

For the sake of clarity, I'm not suggesting anything other than that members of the Christian right who support Bush's economic policies and Social Security and income tax "reform" proposals should re-think their positions and principles in light of their purported God's own will as expressed in their avowedly holy text.


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