Sometimes, even the most basic of the Christian Principles taught by Jesus Christ seem difficult for those who profess to being members of the Christian Right. The hate and vitriol from the right against certain members of the human race defy many of the beliefs held by Christ.
But even when the positions conservative Christians take are not steeped in hate, their inability to embrace Christ's basic principles can seem difficult or mysterious to them.
When the Stephen Colbert image and quote above was posted on various Facebook pages the outrage from the right was quick and unapologetic. Most of the venom and hate against "helping" the poor and the needy apparently stem from the conservative belief that helping the poor means rewarding lazy liberals, lazy blacks, and illegal brown immigrants for their laziness. Poor lazy white conservatives are generally excluded from this argument or are not deemed to be a problem.
One conservative response to the Colbert quote, however, was absent any directed vitriol. It was a simple statement that had the connotative air of a question: "That depends on what we mean by helping".
Out of context, it may appear to be a curious statement or question from a professed Christian. But in the context of the conservative brain, it was a genuine attempt to ask an honest question.
What she really wants to know is how can we help the poor without letting lazy neer-do-well liberals, blacks, and illegal immigrants steal my hard earned money. I suspect that most liberals have no problem with the question as long as it is applied to both sides of the political spectrum and all sides of the racial and ethnic spectrum.
It might be more beneficial to America if the conservtive right would expend as much vitriol and venom against wealthy CEOs of greedy job killing, union busting, low wage paying, middle class destroying, off shore banking, health care denying, job outsourcing corporations that pay little or no taxes and steal more money from Americans than do the poor.
Of course our system of federal welfare assistance needs to be improved to eliminate waste and to curtail cheating. But it will happen if and only if members of government work on the same issue with the same intent and without the weight of political grandstanding.
Welfare cheaters need to be eliminated and punished. Some may be too lazy to work. Some children who grow up depending on welfare can become adults who see it as an entitlementment and a way of life that they pass on to their children. However, not everyone who receives federal welfare assistance are lazy blacks and illegal brown immigrants. Most are white. Some are lazy white conservatives living in Red states that vote for conservative republicans--states that receives more in federal dollars than they pay in federal taxes.
Jesus acknowledged that the poor will always be with us. But, did Jesus Christ place any conditions on helping the poor and the needy? Would Jesus have any difficulty with any of these definitions of helping? Would christ condone helping the poor by:
1. Rendering aid to anyone or to any family that finds itself in dire straits. Like the parable of the good Samaritan, isn't that the Christian thing to do?
2. Offering service that lifts the spirit and physical well being of the poor and needy.
3. Demonstrating a willingness to provide hope, education, and experiences that help to lift poor children--red, white, yellow, black, and brown out of poverty.
4. Providing financial assistance to any segment of society that without those benefits would remain in dire straits.
Helping does not mean helping poor lazy people get rich or even get along without having to work. It does not mean giving away money to undeserving undesirables on any side of the political spectrum.
But as Stephen Colbert suggests, if we are going to be a Christian nation, we have to acknowledge that Jesus commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition. Or we have to stop calling ourselves a christian nation.