by Christina Forrester
The firestorm Mitt Romney’s “caught-on-camera” comments have created online have brought out into the forefront some basic attitudes towards humanity that had not been so blatantly spewed until now. It has been acceptable for some time in many GOP circles, and even “Christian” circles, to say belittling things about the poor, to criticize, stereotype and blame food stamp, Medicaid and welfare recipients for their circumstances. Not acceptable, however, is to belittle HALF of Americans, including our military, veterans who are on a pension, sick, elderly…Americans.
Well today I declare that NONE of it is acceptable! It is not OK to blame the poor. It is not OK to stereotype food stamp and welfare recipients. It is not OK to make a judgement about another person’s circumstances when you have not walked in their shoes. “There, but for the grace of God, go I!” And it is certainly not OK with me, as an American, that half of our citizens be stereotyped – we are the hardest working, most giving people in the world.
Does Romney and so many of his followers truly believe it is FUN to stand in line at a food bank? That people want to live off of $600 or less a month? People are suffering, right here in America, without options. What the government provides is not enough to sustain a quality life for a family and especially not enough to work their way up out of poverty! I have known people who have looked for work for years, wanted so badly to work…but would have to actually turn down jobs because they would lose their healthcare, food stamps, low cost housing, etc., if they made even $20 more than the limits. They would not be able to survive if they took that job. They would literally be on the streets if they took that job. If we really want to provide a path off of welfare, we need to fix a path that is realistic for struggling families, that they can work their way up and out. And yes, as Christians and Democrats we want to see them working. We want to see them with good jobs. But you see, it is the SYSTEM that is broken…but maybe even more broken is our attitudes towards our brothers, sisters…towards humanity.
I’ve said enough and it’s time to let my songwriting speak for itself now, with “My Brother’s Keeper” which I wrote for such a time as this. And better yet, let us simply allow Jesus speak for himself. But one last thing…
Are there some people who game the system, who take advantage, who “double-dip”? Of course. There always are. So let me ask then, as a Christian…do you stop loving people because they might not love you back? Do we stop providing a humane society for abandoned animals because one of those dogs might bite? Cut off a child from a school lunch program and let him go hungry because he isn’t grateful or didn’t earn his lunch? Or, what was it Jesus said…”if someone takes advantage of you, cut everyone off who may also take advantage of you and make sure you protect your own treasures?”
Luke 6: 27-37 “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” (emphasis added)
James 1:26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Isaiah 58: 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
ALSO SEE THESE RESOURCES: www.networklobby.org, www.faithfulbudget.org, www.commongood2012.org, www.sojourners.com
Christina Forrester is the Executive Director for Christian Democrats of America. She is CEO of KISS Social Media Marketing and an independent singer, songwriter and musician (http://facebook.com/christinaforrestermusic) who expresses her passion for social justice through music.