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Jenkings writes: "The ongoing Capitol Hill brawl over health care and budget cuts is getting Biblical."

Paul Ryan. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Paul Ryan. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Strange Origins of the GOP Ideology That Rejects Caring for the Poor

By Jack Jenkings, ThinkProgress

10 June 17

No, that’s not what Jesus says.

he ongoing Capitol Hill brawl over health care and budget cuts is getting Biblical.

In recent months, GOP lawmakers have taken to spouting Christian scripture to defend conservative fiscal policy and their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The first example came from Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS), who argued in early March that Jesus would support his criticism of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, as aspect of health care reform that extended insurance coverage to additional low-income Americans.

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” Marshall told Stat News, quoting the Bible. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” some poor and homeless people “just don’t want health care.”

Marshall’s comments triggered a flurry of criticism from several sources, including more progressive faith writers who chided him for rebuking the traditional Christian instruction to help the poor regardless of their personal choices. The newly elected congressman eventually walked back his remarks a few days later.

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us…There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

But it wasn’t long before another lawmaker spouted a similar argument in a policy debate. Later that month, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) attempted to use scripture to justify increasing work requirements for unemployed adults who use food stamps. When a representative from a Jewish anti-hunger advocacy group cited a passage from Leviticus to argue that poor people who receive benefits should not be judged by constrictive work requirements, Arrington fired back with a line from the New Testament.

“Scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:10…‘for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat,’” Arrington said. “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.”

These statements from Arrington and Marshall are rooted in the same religious idea: that the poor and sick — or at least a subset thereof — supposedly deserve their plight, and healthy and more financially secure Americans shouldn’t be forced to care for them.

This theology has incensed many progressive Christians of late, but it didn’t appear overnight. It’s the result of a decades-long campaign by conservative lawmakers, intellectuals, and theologians to craft a theology that rejects longstanding Christian understandings of society’s needy. As debates over the budget and health care continue to escalate, it’s worth investigating the strange origins of the belief system being preached from GOP podiums.

An ancient scriptural debate

For many Christians, debates about the poor and their choices are as old as scripture itself. The God of the Hebrew Bible — i.e., the Old Testament — often inflicts illness and economic despair on those who reject the Almighty, and prophets such as Moses preach dire warnings against disappointing God.

“The Lord will send upon you disaster, panic, and frustration in everything you attempt to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me,” a passage from Deuteronomy reads. “The Lord will make the pestilence cling to you until it has consumed you off the land that you are entering to possess.”

Yet this concept — that self-righteous immorality begets earthly woes — was either rejected or complicated in the New Testament by none other than Jesus himself. When Christ is asked by his disciples how a blind man was afflicted with his condition, for instance, he dismisses earthly concepts of sin-borne illness.

The passage reads:

As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”

Jesus then proceeds to heal the man, implying that “God’s works” are both his actions and, perhaps, the actions of those who heal the sick.

The tension between these two divergent concepts led to a number of different Christian teachings over the years. While many interpreted scripture to mean that all poor people should be served, others delineated between “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.

The Religious Right and the “undeserving poor”

American views on the morality of the poor have evolved over the years. In the 1800s, poverty was seen as a moral failing, but that attitude changed drastically around the turn of the century as the Industrial Revolution took hold. Bettering the lives of poor — especially factory workers and children — became a rallying cry for Christians who ascribed to the “social gospel” movement popular in the early 1900s, and mass unemployment during the Great Depression complicated tidy definitions of the undeserving poor. Then, sweeping social programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal cemented a national system — and an ideology — that sanctioned relief for those in need (regardless of their personal choices), which President Lyndon B. Johnson built out with 1960s-era anti-poverty initiatives.

But mindsets began to shift as the 20th century wore on, and there’s strong evidence that right-wing Christian figures helped craft a form of “biblical capitalism” to counter the views of religious progressives.

In his 2014 book The Undeserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty (originally published in 1989), author Michael Katz argues concepts of the “undeserving poor” reemerged during the ascendancy of the Religious Right in the 1970s. When conservative Christian leaders began outlining their agenda, he writes, they targeted programs like welfare because they “believed [the system] weakened families by encouraging out-of-wedlock births, sex outside of marriage, and the ability of men to escape the responsibilities of fatherhood.”

Citing sociologists, Katz notes that by the early 1990s — around the same time as their cause fused with the institutional conservative movement — right-wing Christian leaders were willing to work against some of their own churchgoers when it comes to anti-poverty initiatives.

Why? Because, Katz says, the “economic fortunes” of prominent pastors relied less on government spending on programs that “poor fundamentalists might desire.”

This eventually sparked something of a cottage theological industry where thinkers concocted faith messages that couple the idea of “undeserving poor” with a passionate support for free-market capitalism. In addition to scores individual theologians writing over the course of decades, issue-specific groups such as the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Values and Capitalism project or the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics (IFWE) sprung up to espouse a conservative and libertarian economic theology primarily geared toward evangelical Christians.

Sociologist Paul Froese at Baylor University — a Baptist school — observed this emerging phenomenon in 2012, describing it as a “new religious-economic idealism,” or the “belief that the free-market works because God is guiding it.” He pointed to survey data reporting that Americans who feel “God has a plan” for them and their nation are far more likely to think that “able-bodied people who are out of work should not receive unemployment checks.”

“Perhaps it is the fervent individualism of American Christianity which makes free market capitalism seem like a Divine mandate,” Froese wrote. “Because evangelicals assert that you alone are responsible for your eternal salvation, it makes sense that the individual is also responsible for his or her economic salvation without government assistance, especially if God is the only assistance you really need.”

The impact of these efforts was on full display during a 2014 panel discussion at AEI, where speakers debated “a Biblical answer to poverty.” All four panelists — two from IFWE — championed the merits of traditional capitalism, and IFWE Vice President of Theological Initiatives Art Lindsley drew upon a book chapter he wrote entitled “Does God require the state to redistribute wealth?” He argued that modern concepts of jubilee — a practice referenced in the Bible and traditionally interpreted to be a period of debt forgiveness in ancient Israel — are inaccurate, and insisted that early Christians did not sell all of their possessions (despite the fact that, according to the Bible, Jesus explicitly asked them to).

“I think we would all agree that there is a place for government, a place for the church, a place for nonprofits — but there’s also a place for markets,” Lindsley said.

Meanwhile, this mindset has been exacerbated by the rise of the so-called “prosperity gospel,” a form of Christianity in which adherents are taught they can achieve physical and financial success through their Christian faith — especially giving money to their pastor. Smaller iterations of this idea have existed for generations, but modern prosperity preachers now boast some of the largest churches in the country, attracting massive congregations to huge churches and even stadiums.

The wealthy pastors who head up these churches, many of whom own large homes and private jets purchased by their congregants, serve as an implicit spiritual exemplars: i.e., they are wealthy because of their faith. These so-called “health and wealth” pastors, in turn, often laud other rich individuals instead of the poor, including the growing number of prosperity preachers who have aligned themselves with Donald Trump.

GOP lawmakers begin preaching a gospel that judges the poor

Slowly but surely, disciples of this theology expanded from think tank conference rooms to the halls of power.

During the 2013 debate over the Farm Bill — which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps — two different Republican lawmakers bolstered calls to cut the program by citing 2 Thessalonians, just as Arrington did this year. Then-congressman Stephen Fincher from Tennessee dismissed Democrats who said government assistance mirrors Christ’s call to care for the “the least of these,” saying instead “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) also repeated the verse to counter a constituent who cited the Bible to criticize his support for cutting SNAP.

“Can we in good conscience make the banker, who in this case is a good hard-working person, pay for the faults of the sleeper with bad credit? Is that the knee-jerk Christian position? Let us just force people to be ethical. Let us force an ethical outcome. Let us force justice.”

The most passionate devotee of this theology, however, is probably Rep. David Brat (R-VA), who soared into office in 2014 as part of the Tea Party wave. Brat, a Presbyterian seminary graduate who listed a visit to AEI on his academic CV, even published theological works on conservative economics. In one 2011 paper on the topic of usury, he challenged the idea that banks should lower their loan rates for impoverish people with poor credit — in other words, the “undeserving poor.”

“That borrower may not like work and may sleep all day and eat snacks while watching television,” Brat, who serves on the House Budget Committee, wrote. “Can we in good conscience make the banker, who in this case is a good hard-working person, pay for the faults of the sleeper with bad credit? Is that the knee-jerk Christian position? Let us just force people to be ethical. Let us force an ethical outcome. Let us force justice.”

Meanwhile, conservative Catholics — another key component of the Religious Right coalition—have spent years crafting similar theology for their own tradition. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), for instance, defended his 2012 budget, which slashed many public programs, by championing a version of a Catholic concept known as “subsidiarity.”

“To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principal of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities…that’s how we advance the common good by not having big government crowd out civic society…and take care of people who are down and out in our communities,” Ryan said at the time.

He went on to repeat the axiom that government assistance programs keep people poor by making them dependent: “The preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence.”

Ryan’s understanding of subsidiarity was widely panned in Catholic circles, but other right-wing Catholics embraced his implicit message: government programs somehow create “undeserving poor” who do not work, and only through smaller government approaches can the lowly be spurred into action.

Progressive religious pushback

Raising the specter of the “undeserving” poor may be a popular trend among GOP politicians these days, but they’re rehashing it at time when poor-focused theologies are in a state of revival.

Many have pushed back on Marshall’s “the poor will always be with us” quip as well as the GOP’s misuse of 2 Thessalonians, for instance, saying lawmakers are using the lines out of context. Hundreds of faith leaders have also convened marches to decry Trump’s budget proposal as “immoral,” and spoken out against the Obamacare repeal. And one Tennessee woman even became a minor sensation after thousands shared a video of her defending the merits of the ACA — all while championing the need to care for the needy — at a recent town hall event.

“The ACA mandate requires everyone to have insurance because the healthy people pull up the sick people, right?” she said in February. “As a Christian, my whole philosophy in life is to pull up the unfortunate.”

Yet the most ardent (albeit indirect) opponent of the GOP’s theology may be one of the world’s most prominent faith leaders — Pope Francis. When he ascended to the papacy of the Catholic Church in 2013, it took him less than a year to publish Evangelii gaudium, a landmark apostolic exhortation that lifted up the issues of the needy and attacked any distinction between the “deserving” and “undeserving poor.”

“God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself ‘became poor,’” Francis writes, referencing the often impoverished life of the biblical Jesus Christ. “The entire history of our redemption is marked by the presence of the poor.”

Francis’ theology, in turn, has inspired him to de facto endorse policies that aid the poor. In May 2014, he called for “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits,” saying scripture demands an economic system that cares for the “poorest and those most excluded.” This belief also extends to health care: in May of 2016, he referred to employers who don’t offer health insurance to employees as “true leeches.”

Will this be enough to change the hearts and minds of conservative lawmakers? Probably not: GOP lawmakers have yet to abandon their biblical capitalism, even when conservatives and progressive Christians both criticize things like the prosperity gospel. Nor has Paul Ryan, a Catholic who says he is inspired by the pontiff but has not altered his hardline views of the poor.

Regardless, don’t be surprised if the coming legislative battles become increasingly spiritual. The GOP is counting on it. your social media marketing partner


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+34 # suzyskier 2017-06-10 10:21
It seems that Conservatives always choose the Old Testament to justify their treatment of the ill, poor and unemployed, yet they call themselves Christians. It's seems a bit hypocritical when they use Christianity to defend their stances, after all the New Testament is actually the Christian portion of the Bible, the part where Jesus comes into the picture. Frankly with these so called Conservative "Christian's it's really all about how much wealth they can accumulate. They've taken the Christian faith and twisted it until it's unrecognizable. The preachers are a whole other issue.
+33 # vt143 2017-06-10 10:27
Blah, blah, blah. The conservatives are so adept at "framing." That is, taking something that's pretty unambiguous and twisting it to their own uses, which often means saving money at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged. Remember the stories Welfare Cadillac, people buying shrimp and lobster tails with food stamps, etc. etc?? One can acknowledge there is fraud in any system (let's not forget Wall Street!) without using a broad brush to condemn everyone. But conservatives do because it fits their mindset of cutting expenses. The fact, to anyone with a heart, is that the vast number of people on assistance or unable to afford health care are in that position because of circumstances, not their choice. Ascribing all this to moral failings is WAY too easy and maybe lets those without hearts sleep better at night. It's a Rohrschach Test: some look at a blot and see a bird, others see the same blot and see the nun that beat them up in 1st grade. Someone with a heart sees a homeless person and thinks of ways to help; a conservative sees the same person and sees a person who is gaming the system and stealing money from them. Like any projective psychological test, it speaks volumes about the observer.
+25 # PeacefulGarden 2017-06-10 10:36
Ah, yep. This really is nothing new. Most of our Reps are white Christian supreme-being-m ilitia. The key here is the militia part. It isn't just Christian, it must include the brute force part... the guns and bombs. The militia part is the thing that removes them from taking care of the poor and needful.

The Christian thing is just a flag to wave. And, Christianity has become big business, especially in the red states. So, bringing up Jesus is just argumentative, cause it is the guns, guns, guns... and more guns... and the complete and utter lack of serotonin in their brains...
+26 # desertprogressive 2017-06-10 10:38
Sadistic, greedy sociopaths will always try to justify their evil sickness and actions! These creatures are not spiritual or Christian.
-12 # Saberoff 2017-06-10 10:40
ON and on we go in USA, fighting over trivialities, while our true salvation remains unspoken. Let us debate for many more years the shitty ICA (Insurance Care Act) as though it is, was, or is not, god's gift to his people by way of Barack Obama.

God save the lawmakers!
+21 # Wise woman 2017-06-10 10:46
Both the Old and New Testaments are riddled with contradictions. Why? Because the Bible was written by many different people in longhand and recopied over and over for hundreds of years by scribes subject to human error. However, supposedly Jesus did say, "whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me." Christianitys` biggest, most celebrated holiday, is all about giving. Then there's the story about the rich man getting into heaven and the eye of the needle. Quoting the Bible puts one on a slippery slope because of the contradictions. Better to rely on common sense. Keeping people poor does not make for a healthy society. And it's not morally justified. Both of these concepts are foreign to sociopaths.
+14 # Moxa 2017-06-10 10:54
Let's assume, for the moment, that all of this Republican theology stuff isn't just pure greed in disguise. Let us assume that they really mean it. Then all it can be is a sort of desperate projection, an effort to farm out their own sense of sinfulness and inadequacy onto others; an attempt to gain a kind of moral rectitude by seeing failure in the "undeserving" other. Every one of us has (recognized or denied) this seemingly innate sense of not being good enough. Owning it and refusing to displace it onto others is a sign of psychological and spiritual health, and the beginning of a true morality.
+23 # Charles3000 2017-06-10 11:17
They need to recognize and acknowledge that our economic system requires and demands a pool of individuals who want work to not be able to find work. It is a part of the Fed's dual mandate; to keep inflation in check at a nominal rate of 2% per year and maintain unemployment at or near 5.5%. That, in our work force, is near eight million souls. That eight million is out of work because of actions taken by the congress in establishing our economic system. Calling the effects of their action the "undeserving poor" is duplicity at its worse.
-40 # 2017-06-10 11:17
There are a couple of problems with this presentation.

First, some people do "deserve" their plight. Who should be responsible for the lung cancer of a lifetime smoker? Who should be responsible for the gambler betting his family's home and losing?

That aside, even those who have brought on their own problems by making bad decisions merit Christian compassion and charity -- my church feeding program never once turned turned away a drunkard or a gambler or a drug addict or even a Muslim man with four wives who couldn't support his wives and kids!

What is un-Christian is the notion that anyone should be "forced" to care for the sick and poor. God calls on us to do this work voluntarily -- forcing people to "behave properly" violates their free will and obviates all the benefits of giving and receiving sincere heart-felt charity.

Those who advocate such "forced" government charity are behaving in a very un-Christian way and they should stop calling themselves Christians. Christ never went to Rome to get the Emperor to establish welfare programs -- he went to the wealthy to persuade them that they should do so in order to save their souls. Let us all follow His good example instead of making up fake theology.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+9 # Charles3000 2017-06-10 15:06
Changing policy from maintaining a 94.5% employment rate to maintaining a 100% employment rate is not forcing anyone to do anything. It is only a policy change, making the Federal Government an employer of last resort so that anyone who wishes to work can have a legal job and earn a living which will be a better option than having to resort to crime in order to sustain one's self. A 100% employment policy would be very beneficial to our society and our economy.
+9 # universlman 2017-06-10 21:16
What is un-Christian is the notion that anyone should be "forced" to care for the sick and poor.

Well Lee, with half of your taxes going to fatten up the military, you might consider that this too violates your free will and obviates the benefits of giving and receiving sincere heart-felt support. I don't expect you to advocate reducing or dropping that responsibility.

Oh, and by the way, the precious words of Christ are the furthest things in the universe from what you label fake theology
+10 # vt143 2017-06-11 07:24
It is not only drunkards, gamblers, drug addicts and a "Muslim man with four wives who can't support his kids[???] who are in need. That is just the conservative narrative. Take the extremes and try to pass them off as the norm. There are scores and scores of hard working people who can't afford health care (or insurance!) and can't make ends meet. Lee, they are not all drunkards and drug addicts for God'sake! You are just trying to pass the buck and blame the victim.
+19 # revhen 2017-06-10 12:11
As a life-long Christian, a nearly 60 year clergy person, I am outraged by these negative uses of Scripture. If one reads Jesus' final parable, Mathew 25:31-46, he urges care for the thirsty, hungry, unclothed, imprisoned, strangers, and sick --or else! In Luke 6 he says "Blessed are you poor for yours is the Kingdom of God," and later says, "But woe unto you rich, you've got [all you're going to get]." The statement "The poor will always be with us" was a specific response to Judas (you know what he did!) who wanted control of the money that would come his way if the spice used to wash Jesus' feet in sympathy for his impending death was sold and used to help the poor (meaning Judas himself!) It's not a universal statement to be applied everywhere. As one who is pretty conservative theologically, I say, "Evangelical Christians are neither."
+7 # Stephanie TC 2017-06-10 13:55
As revhen says above, the criticism of the woman anointing Jesus with the precious ointment was, in at least one Gospel account, Judas' corrupt ploy to get the money into the disciples' common fund so he could steal from it. Further, Jesus' statement, "For ye have the poor with ye always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always" (KJV, Mark 14:7) is perhaps the most misconstrued verse in his teachings. The disciples, all religious Jews, would have understood that he meant they should follow their ancient obligation under Jewish law to care for the poor, by tithing and also by other specified provisions, like not reaping the corners of their fields so that the poor would have something to glean as a means of survival. These were not just suggestions: they were the LAW. He meant, "You are supposed to take care of the poor at all times. What this woman is doing is a special, one-time event in history" - in fact, he says in v. 9, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her". Moreover, for the record, there is not one place where Jesus speaks of the "deserving" or "undeserving poor". We're supposed to help the poor - that's it. Inason above has the right idea, as described in his church's program of helping the poor.
+6 # universlman 2017-06-10 21:34
Quoting Stephanie TC:
Inason above has the right idea, as described in his church's program of helping the poor.

Inason's comment was crafted to justify cutting the government out of helping the poor. I suspect that the government will never earn any respect from him, because any news of success (say about Obama) is automatically turned into fake news - poof.

I think he has the WRONG idea.
+16 # CDMR 2017-06-10 14:52
I think conservatives are more influenced by social darwinism as it was presented by Ayn Rand. I don't think they understand Christianity at all. Most people don't.
+3 # Conan-the-Younger 2017-06-12 02:31
Finally, someone has said it; Social Darwinism". For those of you who are into Game Theory here is a puzzle for you. Lets use a pie to describe the complete social system we live in. Now, lets take a rich person who controls a significant portion of that pie and the pie is slowly growing. A normal rich person is satisfied if his portion is either growing as fast as the pie is growing or a bit faster. But if the pie is not growing but is stable in growth. The rich person knows for his portion to grow, he has to take some from other people living on the pie. This will cause some conflict and death if the number of people living on the pie is growing while the pie is not.

The next step is what actually happened in Dec 1970. The pie started to shrink, very slowly but it was shrinking because the US hit national Peak Oil. If you doubt that, check the crude oil field production numbers published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Energy Dept. The early birds on this tidbit of information was a limited number of government officials and the executives of the oil industry, such as the Koch brothers.

If you are an extreme right wing billionaire and you knew the life blood of modern civilization is oil, what would you do. Would you begin the political process to reduce the number of people (like 47%) who are using a shrinking resource? Would you create a political empire to make it happen. Read "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer and then tell me what you think.
+8 # Farafalla 2017-06-10 15:10
There are some real Christian fascists in the Trump administration. Steve Bannon went to Rome to address right wing prelates at the Vatican on the "church militant". Sebastian Gorka is also one of these. Read Chris Hedges "American Fascists" to get more detail on this story.
+11 # Citizen Mike 2017-06-10 16:22
The religion in question is MONEY WORSHIP, the actor here is neither "God" nor "Jesus" but MAMMON!
+10 # Femihumanist 2017-06-10 17:43
As a non-Christian, I have had enough Christian friends tell me what they think Christianity is all about to have experience with the whole spectrum.

Some think that all that matters is worshipping some Supreme being and going through all kinds of rituals to prove it.

At the other end, and the ones I believe, are those that think that it's important to act like Jesus acted: caring for everyone who needed care because of their own problems or those made needy by society.

I know it's a cliché by now, but I always ask the first group, "What would Jesus Do?" -- If he were a voter, a legislator, a President, an activist, or an everyday Christian. They always agree with me and then go back to making their stupid statements.
+14 # Canada23 2017-06-10 20:26
What is un-Christian is the notion that anyone should be "forced" to care for the sick and poor. God calls on us to do this work voluntarily -- forcing people to "behave properly" violates their free will and obviates all the benefits of giving and receiving sincere heart-felt charity.

Those who advocate such "forced" government charity are behaving in a very un-Christian way and they should stop calling themselves Christians. Christ never went to Rome to get the Emperor to establish welfare programs -- he went to the wealthy to persuade them that they should do so in order to save their souls. Let us all follow His good example instead of making up fake theology.

Ah Lee, but you see, we live in a world where we ask government to act on behalf of the whole as we provide $ through taxes. It takes both government and the various charities to provide care for the needy.
But most of all that is erroneous in the arguments above is that the capitalist system is not providing any sort of equity of opportunity -- the rich and the well off have such an opportunity advantage that it is useless to even think we should talk about the "undeserving poor". We should really talk about the "undeserving rich" who refuse to pay a fair share of the costs of infrastructure, education and every other part of care for the whole.
+4 # lfeuille 2017-06-11 13:42
It's not that hard to understand. Most people use their religion, what ever it is, to justify their prejudices and opinions. They don't really try to understand the main philosophy that motivated the founders or original adherents of said religion. They comb through the scripture to find snippets that bolster their pre-held point of view, even when it contradicts the main thrust of the religions moral teachings.
+2 # librarian1984 2017-06-11 14:50
The Christian god is a mutating thing -- once upon a time high maintenance, demanding and inconvenient -- but increasingly accommodating, even malleable -- oozing to a remarkable conformity with conservative expedience.
+1 # Femihumanist 2017-06-12 12:51
But not for all Christians. Just many.
0 # oakes721 2017-06-13 15:07
Children in school and in camp are taught to SHARE as equally as possible. There are always a few who never want to share. When they've hoarded others shares, they must always watch their backs ~ and convince themselves that others are less deserving. They create obstacles and roadblocks for them, ignoring the fact that their wealth is derived from the shortcuts and benefits they've enjoyed much of their lives.
The poor must be de-humanized and deserving of punishment ~ and most importantly, kept apart, preventing communications which might reveal just whose pockets their share is lining.

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