Electing a President (Part 2)

Helping the Poor

It is estimated that 12% of Americans live in poverty. That means that a single person makes less than $10,400 a year and a family of four makes less than $21,200. That means that if you make minimum wage and work 40 hours a week and work 52 weeks you will make $10,400 and be in poverty.

Now my first job out of college was working a vending route at Pepsi. I made about $425 a week. So that means I could have had a family of 4 and not considered impoverished. That 425 was before taxes and without insurance. I made about the same my next job as a youth minister in Lawrenceburg and I can tell you as a single guy with no room-mates living in an ok apartment (next to the ghetto if lburg has one and a great view of the cemetery)times were tough. Money was tight. So I can’t imagine 12% of people living in poverty being able to survive in America. Of the 12% in poverty seniors make up 1.2% so the other 11% are 65 and younger.

So here is my thought. To live in poverty in the US is horrible. No one should be impoverished in a country that is so blessed. In a country where most of us have so much even if we think we don’t we should never have people this poor. The big question is why are people in poverty? What is our responsibility as a government to help people get out of poverty? What is our responsibility as a church? How do we accomplish this? As Christians are we asking the government to do what God called us to do? Is the government having to do what the church is refusing to do?

I am not a believer in income distribution. It has never worked in any government system over a long period of time. I am also a believer in a benevolent government that helps it citizens to have a better life and a helping hand to have the opportunity to get ahead.

I can’t help to think that the church as advocated its role in helping the poor and so the government is now asked to do what we don’t. In the early years of America the church started and maintained the education system, the hospitals, the welfare department, etc. Today not so much. Many that bear a religious name are no longer associated with the church.

As Christians we have a responsibility to help the poor. It is what Jesus did best. Are we doing it? Why are some Christians the most opposed to the government helping the poor? How does this issue impact how you vote?


2 responses to “Electing a President (Part 2)”

  1. Robbie Mackenzie says :

    I am intrigued by what you write and equally intrigued that there are not many responding. Political issues are such a hot topic in the brotherhood but yet nobody vocalizes it. It is a hush-hush thing. For years I thought that being a member of the church of Christ meant you also had to be a member of the Republican National Party. Such is not the case but politics are very divisive for some strange reason.

    Abortion: I agree that justices in the Supreme Court does not equate to renouncing Roe vs. Wade but juxtapose to that does it mean we quit trying? Does it mean we throw our arms up and say that there can never be a difference in the abortion issue. If we ignore it then what is the next step? I agree that our vote should not be contingent upon this but far too many people vote for things more frivolous than abortion (“FDR got my family out of the depression and so will any other democrat”). If it should be a state issue wouldn’t federal government trump the state anyways? Say Colorado makes it a pro-life state…could one not appeal all the way up to Supreme court? Or maybe if it is a state issue then people could just move from state-to-state to get things done.

    Concerning the poor. I agree that we should not leave it up to the government to handle what the church’s should do but I think part of the problem lies in both state and church. Our congregational monies go all over the world instead of the communuities in which we live in. Then the government enables people to live without requiring a thing (to those who genuinely do not need it). It is all wrong. I do not have answers myself only questions. What does a congregation look like that is truly helping the poor and being incarnational with its approach. Then how do we convince the brethren to move in that direction?

  2. rdpettus3 says :

    Many in the church believe that all good Christians are Republicans and I think that is sad. I used to but then realized that there are so many issues and if sin is sin then why do we make abortion the litmus test for “the party of God”.

    Concerning the abortion issue the supreme court only interprets the law not makes the law. If the federal government made a law saying abortion would be a state issue then it could not be appealed to the federal court (in theory) . Yes you could travel from one state to the next to get one. You can go to Mississippi and get married without parental consent if under 16 while you cannot in Alabama. The same would work with abortion if left up to the state.

    Concerning the poor many churches would rather invest their money in more “high yield” areas like over seas. The sad thing is that we are letting our communities look around and see the state as more compassionate than Jesus or at least his church. This is one reason why many people have a bad taste in their mouth toward organized religion.

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