Over the 4th of July, a friend sincerely posted a grim statistic that 20% of Americans live below the poverty line. This concerned this person because, if I could can add some subconscious underpinnings,it was the GREEDY RICH WHITE AMERICA that was spending loads of money on objects that explode. Frankly, I was more concerned that we buy our fireworks from China where they have a horrid record of human rights violations and they are not burdened with Cap and Trade so the fireworks factories can figuratively (Though probably literally) burn oil and pro-democracy dissidents to power their factories. Boy, white guilt really is expensive or, worse yet, Earth unfriendly. But if my friend had tuned an ear towards the American news, he/she would have seen that many American cities had canceled their annual fireworks displays. This is of course absurd because the Stimulus Package has saved us from the brink of financial ruin!!! But there is an underlying psychological neurosis to this school of thought that has crept into Christianity and that is Social Justice. We have heard from the Religious Right about gay marriage, abortion and school prayer, now it is the Religious Left’s turn to implement “new” strategies in the War on Poverty. But the nobility of “helping” the poor has been morphed into idolatry where anything that remotely resembles material possession is hysterically denounced like an Islamofacist reacting to a political cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Luckily, most of the Religious Left are pacifists, which means they suppress the natural inclination toward violence even in the face of pure evil. It is this same reasoning and philosophy that continues to cut away at Darfur’s population down each day. But where does one draw the line between helping the poor? Do we define helping the poor in terms of passing out sandwiches for years on end or getting the poor off the streets and into programs that will aid them in bettering their lives?
The majority of the Religious Left seem to treat the poverty like they are in a SPCA/Sarah McLachlan commercial. They seem to prefer the most shallow attempts at aid and give lip service to anyone who can stand to listen (Or is suffering from insomnia and needs a good Facebook posting about how Greedy Rich White Christians are in order to lull themselves into a comatose-like slumber). Oddly enough, these dramatic types tend to use the “digital soap box” to prove their point (Apple laptops, the latest cellphones, SUV’s and token overpriced coffee house coffee are all essential to the contemporary self-righteous process). Boy nothing moves the masses into action like hurling guilt grenades from the type of comfort that the Religious Left enjoys; which is considered to be a monarch’s lifestyle in some countries.
What makes the Religious Left’s movement so hollow is that their solution to poverty is no different than recycled Marxist activism: Demonize the productive and semi-productive and raise taxes. The only difference here is that they have Photoshopped God onto a Godless movement. You have heard it said that Jesus was a Marxist but I think Jesus predates Karl Marx thus that would make Marx a Christian… which is ironic because Marx was an atheist. But one does not need the power of the Divine to know that getting government involved will only give a problem like poverty life support and not a clean bill of health. The Religious Left is apparently impressed with the way the U.S government has handled Social Security, Medicaid and the War of Poverty that they welcome the chance for more government intervention. I just love the verse in the Bible where Jesus petitioned the surrounding communities to vote in the Roman politicians who were more empathetic and social justice oriented. On the contrary, if Jesus DID do that, he would have died for our sins a lot sooner than he would have wanted. I will not demean you with scriptures about helping the poor because we all know them, but I will emphasize that there are a lot of commands saying that YOU help the poor. Believe me, no where in the Bible does it say, “I then urge you, brethren, to assuage your guilt… make your petitions known to the governing bodies to take from the workers of the fields and give to the poor in amongst you… ALLU ACKBAR!!!!” Sorry, I added the to the last bit of that sentence. If anything, God commands us to live in modesty (Which CAN be relative; Bill Gate’s modesty is different from my own) and help our surrounding communities. It is even better if families help out their own and their communities. I ask the Religious Left this, “What has been the War on Poverty’s impact on the families in the United States?”
The Religious Left and Hollywood tend to overlap in logic when it comes to helping the poor. For example, click HERE for a demonstration in what is called intellectual political thought of the limousine left. You will notice the guilt over being a man of wealth at 4:55. Limousine Liberals always state that they do not need more money… they do not need tax breaks. Here is how you dissect this lunacy in a manner of seconds; sneak a video camera into a meeting with Seth MacFarlane and his agent discussing, with the FOX Network, his contract renewal after a successful season of Family Guy and see how Seth and company try to pry out a couple of more millions. This is how vapid and bereft the Limousine Left is in Hollywood. It never occurs that a tax break means they, Or their Jewish Accountants have absolute control over where this money goes. Want to help the poor Seth? Cut a check to your local YMCA, Boys and Girls Club or soup kitchen. This will mean that the proceeds will go to those in need and not towards paying for an Argentinian junket to play pelvic-pea-knuckle with a local reporter. No, the Limousine Left would prefer to have an enormous bureaucracy take their money and distribute it. This is, by the way, a diet version of sending foreign aid to corrupt African regimes so tin hopes that they will help their own impoverished citizens. Surely they will not use it for drugs, prostitutes and weapons.
And this leads us to the poor themselves. While I believe God’s heart moves for the poor, I do not think he loves them any differently. Having said that, the poor are not Fabergé Eggs and they will not shatter if we require something from the poor in return. And before you anticipate a “Go get a job” speech, let me take joy in disappointing you and by going down a different path in this line of thought. I have worked a little bit with the poor in my past line of work and I have observed a couple of things about the poor. One example is that I notice that some of these individuals have dirty clothes and are malnourished but their guardians find it necessary to supply their children, not with adequate nutrition and clean clothes, but with the latest video game console and the latest video games. I was amazed at the fact that so many poor children knew so much about Halo 3. I did find it heartening that there many poor families living within their means and doing what they could with what they had but unfortunately they are outnumbered. The definition of poverty I possess seems to differ from the mainstream in that when I think about poverty, I think about the movie Slumdog Millionaire where you see an impoverished people fighting tooth and nail just to survive. And I mention this not demean the poor in America but to put into proper context the next time someone preaches to me about the plight of the American poor in order to bring down the mood and appear intellectual.
I think God possesses the ability to differentiate between the helpless/poor in spirit and the clueless. This is why I applaud ministries like the Dream Center in Los Angles or the Sparrow’s Nest in Athens Georgia. Not only do they feed and clothe but they also educate, train and nurture the soul. I think what God had in mind when he said help the poor was to give a portion of your life and the eternal life so that the poor can speak of their poverty using the past tense…while playing Halo 3 in a 68 degree/atmosphere controlled environment of course.