Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

The Unwilling
AJ Robinson

Two Thessalonians Chapter 3:10: “Even then he gave a command that if any refused to work for their food, they should be refused support by others. He who is able to work, and unwilling, should not be fed.”

I was unfamiliar with this particular passage of the Bible, until Rep. Stephen Fincher mentioned it. The truly bizarre thing is this: he used it as a justification for cutting the Food Stamps Program. I found that interesting. Mind you, I did not find it strange or surprising. No, I am so used to conservative politicians; many of whom claim to be Christians, using all manner of biblical passages to justify, well, almost anything.

Rep. Fincher is of the opinion that government should not help the needy. No, individuals should give money to charities that help the poor or, perhaps, give direct aide. Of course, that begs the question: Rep. Fincher, how much have you given. I’ve learned a very important lesson about politicians: If they quote the Bible to justify something, nine times out of ten, what they’re trying to justify is probably bad. A good act, a good vote requires no justification.

In the case of the debate over Food Stamps, I really found the selection of this passage interesting. It all came down to that one word: unwilling. Unable is not the line, it’s much more specific, as in unwilling. I even went online and did a search, and found several different translations of the section.

They were all similar, and most mention the “able” aspect. It often reads, “able to work and unwilling,” and that, to me, is most important. How do we treat those women and men that are unable to work for health reasons, say?

My wife is willing to work, but she unable, as she’s handicapped. Our foster daughter is pregnant, has two small children and lives in a very rural area. She’d like to work, but she can’t find a job. Is she worthy of help? What about her daughter, they now attend school, what about after school; should they get a job? I imagine they’re more than willing, but is that really appropriate?

Then there are many people who do actually work, but make so little money that they still qualify for assistance. I know many people, some even work two jobs, and yet their income remains very low. As a result, they can’t begin to feed their families, not without help. So, as they are both willing and able, are they deserving of aid?

It does seem to me that this particular quote applies quite well to one particular group of people: the GOP in Congress. After all, think about it, they’re certainly able to work, but they are definitely not willing to. The last Congress was the least productive in U.S. history. No other Congress has ever done less, worked fewer days and done more damage to the nation.

It seems to me, they are the ones not to feed, but it’s just a thought.

In conclusion, I would like to give the Republican lawmakers one Bible passage to think about; it’s Matthew Chapter 25:41-43 and 45:

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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