Friday, February 24, 2012

Calling Evil for What It Is: Refusing to Help

Yesterday's Lenten reading was in Mark 3, where Jesus finds himself in the awkward position of defending his healing and feeding habits during the Holy Day. And in this, Jesus asks a simple question:

What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?
(The Message)

What kind of action is truly holy? What kind of action is actually religious?

This brings us to austerity. Austerity is sanctions against the poor and assistance to the rich. Maybe that sounds disengenuous to some readers. But it is what it is: Leaving the poor, the elderly, the sick, and those with the least amount of help with little-to-no help. Under austerity, workers, seniors, and the working poor lose assistance, benefits, or sometimes even wages under the guise of state poverty. The state cannot afford to continue to sustain such lavish payouts, austerity advocates proclaim.

Yet on the other hand... Austerity gives humongous tax breaks to those who can most afford to pay their taxes. These corporations and extraordinarily wealthy people make their riches through the infrastructure afforded them by a free state. Yet the Austerians defend them and decry the leeching poor.

Yes, it's backwards. This that benefit the most are "heroes" and those exploited for the profits of the heroes are lazy parasites. Ayn Randism all over again.

Austerians claim that the way to help the poor is to hurt them into self-reliance. "Give a man a fish," begins their favorite proverb, "and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

This is agreeable on the surface. Those of us who have had to or presently rely on some form of government aid would love to be able to make it by our own means. We do not want to rely on someone else's assistance and often feel worse for it. So getting help to provide for our own selves by our own means is something we tend to desire.

But that's not happening. Certainly not within Austeria.

Fish cleaning at Klädesholmen, Tjörn, Sweden- In Austeria, educational funding for the poor - already tremendously deficient - has been drastically reduced for profit. And despite what the Austerians are declaring, they themselves are not teaching the poor.

- In Austeria, the poor do not have access to the good water with the good, healthy fish. Those lakes and streams have been closed off - with high and wide electric fences, pinching dobermans, security guards with bees coming out of their mouths, moats filled with living fire.. Austerians claim that this is necessary. Their argument is that only the rich know how to properly care for the best resources. Somehow, we believe this nonsense.

- In Austeria, the waters that are available to the poor are tremendously polluted, dangerous, and filthy. The fish are limping along, gasping, gills cluttered with waste, scales covered with oil residue, vision impaired despite the new third eye. Yet it is the rich who have poisoned our waters and then charged the rest of us for their crimes.


All of this is not to say that the poor are helpless, wailing away in incompetence. They have done stunningly well for generations with what little they are given. But that's a relative "stunningly well". As in, the poor may live meaningful and productive lives, but we constantly worry about our next meals, about our children's health, about our parents' care.

To allow the poor even less assistance while continuing to deny them access to the means to live securely is, simply put, evil.

Have mercy on our souls for allowing this evil to flourish, Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much. Little is so foul as Iain Duncan Smith claiming to speak for Christianity in Britain while viciously attacking the disadvantaged. The Bible has a word for people who twist the gospel into its opposite: it calls them antichrists.


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