War Against the Poor must end now

This article is directed to those who call themselves Christians and anyone else who is interested.

In Matthew 25:31-46 [New International Version (NIV)] Jesus said to his disciples what has come to be known as the parable of the sheep and the goats.

Note that Jesus is not referring to himself when he mentions the ‘Son of Man.’ Instead, he is referring to someone else whom God would send to preside over the coming Kingdom of God on Earth. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who believed the apocalypse was at hand. In this parable he is explaining what a person must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 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.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

This parable almost certainly goes back to the historical Jesus because he is telling his disciples that salvation comes to those who perform good acts. He does not mention religion, belief or faith. Indeed, they did not matter to Jesus.

Paul and the early Christians, however, believed acts had nothing to do with salvation. They believed salvation will come to those who believe Jesus died for their sins and was resurrected to eternal life. Therefore, they are unlikely to have made up the parable of the sheep and the goats.

Present day Christians, and others who despise and shun the poor, who believe their acts do not matter because they are saved by their belief in Jesus as their lord and savior who died for their sins are in for a rude awakening. Their reward will be eternal damnation.

And no amount of wishing it were otherwise matters a whit.

If they want a shot at the eternal life they so dearly hope for, they need to stop hating and demonizing the poor and start following the Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (positive version) or do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.

In Mark 12: 30-31 [New International Version (NIV)], the historical Jesus also said in response to a question about which of the commandments was most important,

30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Additional Reading: Ehrman, Bart D. The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (2013)

14 Responses to War Against the Poor must end now

  1. Here’s Bernie Sanders at the debate last night addressing terrorism and poverty. He hit the ball out of the park and took down Donald Trump in the process. Slate has the transcript.

    I want to talk about something else because Secretary Clinton, I think, made some interesting and good points. What you have now is a very dangerous moment in American history. The Secretary is right. Our people are fearful. They are anxious on a number of levels. They are anxious about international terrorism. And the possibility of another attack on America. We all understand that. But you know what else they’re anxious about? They’re anxious about the fact that they are working incredibly long hours, they’re worried about their kids and they’re seeing the income and wealth going to the top 1 percent. And they’re looking at Washington and saying, ‘the rich are getting much richer, I’m getting poorer, what are you going to do for my kids?’ And somebody like a Trump comes along and says, ‘I know the answers. The answer is that all of the Mexicans, they’re criminals and rapists, we’ve got to hate the Mexicans. Those are your enemies. We hate all the Muslims because all of the Muslims are terrorists. We’ve got to hate the Muslims.’ Meanwhile, the rich get richer. So what I say to those people who go to Donald Trump’s rallies, understand, he thinks a low minimum wage in America is a good idea. He thinks low wages are a good idea. I believe we stand together to address the real issues facing this country, not allow them to divide us by race or where we come from. Let’s create an America that works for all of us, not the handful on top.

    • The answer to our economic problems is to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. That would put money where it’s needed the most.

      In people’s wallets.

      Remember that every dollar spent by the government gets respent an average of 7 times.

      That would dramatically stimulate the economy by increasing demand for products and services. It would also dramatically increase tax revenues without increasing taxes.

      The government should lead the way with a massive infrastructure repair program and pay for it by borrowing the money. Interest rates are low and our ratio of debt to GDP is not a problem, according to economists who know what they are talking about (e.g., Nobel Prize winners Paul Krugman & Joseph Steiglitz).

      We the People really need to wise up because we are being taken to the cleaners.

  2. bettykath says:

    A number of years ago I was involved in a game. There were several teams of 5-6 people. The goal of the game was for one individual to accumulate more tokens than anyone else. Iirc, there were three denominations, e.g. 5, 10, 50. There were very few 50s. Each individual was given a few tokens by the “bank” (organizers). Then we reported our “income”. After a few rounds the team I was on began acting as a team in that we came back on a new round with our hands open to share what we had and then give it to one person who was in the best position to “win”. We also noticed that the individuals (not the team!) of those who were getting the 50s, peeked at the tokens in their fists and they did not share even their presence with their teammates! After a few more rounds it became apparent to some of us (those who got lots of 5s and an occasional 10), that the game was rigged. Even with all tokens going to one person, that person still was not doing well. It also became apparent that some were lying about their “income”. Chaos ensued. Revolution would have happened but those who started the game stopped it.

    In the discussion afterward, those who were on “poor” teams saw that the game was rigged in that only a few got gold tokens and they repeatedly got the gold tokens; their closed fists protecting their tokens was a trait of each individual, also their uniform opinion that the game was not rigged, that they advanced in standing because they were more clever/intelligent/whatever. The one or two other “poor” teams also used teamwork to no avail and saw the game was rigged. Those who had some standing but were neither rich nor poor, honestly didn’t have a clue. They couldn’t believe the game was rigged, that they stood a chance of getting the gold tokens. They were more open in looking at each new income, letting their teammates see what they had, but they didn’t share the way the poor teams did.

    Of course, the game was rigged. The organizers decided who would get the 50 tokens and made sure that those same people continued to get them, kind of like the banks and legislatures in real life.

    I think the reduction of the middle class to working poor will result in revolution as more and more people begin to understand that the game is rigged and teamwork with others similarly situated is the only way to produce equity.

    I like Erhman’s books. I find the history of the Bible fascinating.

    • The institution of slavery is being recreated and legitimized by the use of debt and low wages, but without the inconvenience and cost of purchasing, housing and feeding the human resources.

      • bettykath says:

        It’s looking more and more like a feudal system with everyone working to survive and the man in the manor making the most from their labor in the form of rent and work product.

        We already have slaves. Those people who are perceived to the be ones who might organize and do violence due the injustice. They are institutionalized in a prison where they are housed, fed, and paid extremely low wages to do the work of one corporation or another while the corporation that runs the prison makes a bundle.

  3. bronxlady1 says:

    The shunning of the “have-nots” by the “haves” is so against what Jesus taught. I heard a higher-up official say that when we help a poor street person, we are part of the problem. “ignore them (the poor) and they will go away.” Bet he even went to church that weekend.

    • Yeah, I bet he slept Sunday night in an alcohol induced fog secure in his delusion that he earned everything his family gave him all the while dreaming of the people he would screw over during the coming week.

      I have lost patience for people who so imperiously remind everyone that the poor deserve to be poor.

      • Malisha says:

        Apparently a substantial part of the “rich class” actually believes the poor don’t even deserve to be poor; they deserve to die, but if they will work hard, and not complain, they can stay alive long enough to serve more righteous people (the rich). This class doesn’t believe the poor should vote because they haven’t “contributed” to the country. This class doesn’t believe the poor should ever be angry if they are disadvantaged because their desire for a decent way of life is “the greed of the worthless.” It’s amazing how skewed their thinking is, and it appears that education doesn’t disturb these insane ideas, by in large.

    • Malisha says:

      He’s stupid. “Ignore them and they will go away” only works if they CAN go away. Where can they go? What he doesn’t understand is “ignore them long enough and they will rise up and YOU will be the one who goes away.” And it won’t be pretty. And he will be going to church to try to find refuge and mercy.

  4. Paul Krugman, who is one of my favorite economists, recommends a movie we should see about the financial crisis and who caused it. Hint: It wasn’t the poor who took out loans they could not afford to repay.

    Which brings me to a new movie the enemies of financial regulation really, really don’t want you to see.

    “The Big Short” is based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, one of the few real best-sellers to emerge from the financial crisis. I saw an early screening, and I think it does a terrific job of making Wall Street skulduggery entertaining, of exploiting the inherent black humor of how it went down.

    Those bastards really are evil.

    .

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