Thursday, January 22, 2009

The least of these.

I always did like this passage. It's pretty unambiguous, which is not usual for this book.

"For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me."

Then they also will answer, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?"

Then he will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." - Matthew 25:42-45

I suppose this is one of the big differences between Jesus and Jeezus, the American folk hero. For some others, see here.

Funny how people are so often willing to "vote their consciences" when it's about denying women access to reproductive control, but they're not willing to do the same when it comes to poverty. Even if they say they believe it's virtuous to help the poor, they vote against such efforts at every turn because they don't want charity to be mandated.

Guess what, guys! If we vote for it, no one's shoving it on us. It is not a measure of your faith and virtue to vote against social services in the hopes that private charities will do the job instead. It's a measure of your unwillingness to do what works to accomplish a goal you claim is important to you.

But if that's cool by you, fine. You're the one who'll be answering for all those times you denied Jesus disability pay, or all those times that you voted to deny food stamps to his family, or all those times you scoffed at the needs of Jesus' children for affordable single-payer health care.

You may not have to answer for the unborn babies that you forced their mothers to bear, but you'd better start figuring out how you're going to talk your way around what happens to those children after they're born, at how little you did to ensure that resources were available for their wellbeing and education. Because "the least of me" doesn't just mean the unborn. There are people around now who need you, and what exactly do you think Jesus would do about it?


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