One would think any person of faith would recoil at the 40 billion dollar cut to food stamp programs in a time of high unemployment, but one would be wrong. According to an article in the Christian Post, Ken Blackwell, who is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group.
“I think through empowering others and creating self-sufficiency…there within lies the path to sense of worthiness,” Blackwell told CP. “When I was growing up, there was fundamental belief, that there were times in people’s life when they needed a hand up…there were temporariness to those programs, where they were structured so that they didn’t breed, so that they didn’t breed dependency.”
Blackwell also suggested that there was “nothing more Christian” than “not locking people into a permanent dependency on government handouts, but making sure they are participants in their own upliftment and empowerment so that they in fact through the dignity of work and can break from the plantation of big government.”
Yes, there’s nothing more Christian than not feeding the hungry or clothing the naked. Thank you Family Research Council for setting the record straight. You just wonder how Jesus got Christianity so wrong?
I think finding the best way to help people is a difficult problem, and our welfare system often gets it wrong. Recent studies of rules in some of our government welfare programs, such as SSDI, indicate that they literally do disincentivize people from climbing out of the need for the program. The result is that such programs become traps for those in them. I think that this is a valid concern that should be addressed, if possible. Simply cutting or dismantling the programs with no reasonable replacements, however, cannot be acceptable. We will never get it right, but we can always do better if we will listen to each other and recognize valid concerns. 9/24/13, 08:04 CDT
Bob, Thanks for your comment. It is an important question. I’ll respond to you here, and then a more general post on my Facebook page.
I agree that building something better is a good idea, but what the Republicans are doing is taking the safety net down first which I find reprehensible. If they want the poor have incentives why do they fight against living wages and worker protections? Texas is the deadliest state for construction workers and Republicans here seem to fight any efforts to improve those conditions. Some workers are lazy, but I believe most unemployed people are simply discouraged. The way to get them working is to give them decent and safe working conditions and to stop employers from screwing them at every corner. So I think we agree that welfare is not as good as people working, but I think we should focus on improving working conditions first.
Hey Jim, Isn’t this the same Ken Blackwell who was sec of state in Ohio in 2004, and cheated the election for Bush, then defied a fed court order to preserve the ballots for inspection, then destroyed them, and somehow did not go to jail?
Good memory Alan.
I was just commenting on Blackwell’s remarks as you posted them. I think they make a good point. They don’t justify totally dismantling and defunding any welfare programs, however, as you have noted. They do suggest strongly to me that improvements can and should be made. I should have pulled up the article you linked to see the context of his comments. Having now done that, I see that the article indicates that Blackwell opposes long-term, comprehensive government welfare programs in general, though it, also, didn’t quote him directly as going that far.
It seems to me that many people have fallen through the cracks of government welfare programs, If others actually would pick up that responsibility if the government doesn’t, as many suggest, then I have to wonder how well they are doing at picking up those who fall through and whether that might be an indication of what would happen if government welfare were removed. Would the alternatives suggested by some in the article actually work better? I am not convinced, from what I’ve seen, that they would.
What better measure of the hearts and minds of a democratically governed nation than how its government responds to the needs of its people? When we are thinking about the best way to reach the most people with our collective expression of concern and tangible help, why would that not be through our government programs?
I’m not on FB, so I can’t see your comments there. Thanks for posting here. 9/25/13, 10:25 CDT