MARCH 31, 2017 BY MICHAEL STONE
A Biblical justification for cruelty: U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington of Texas argues that the poor and unemployed should not receive benefits.
In yet another example of Christian cruelty, Rep. Jodey Arrington uses the Bible to justify cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits for the poor and unemployed.
In a hearing held earlier this week on the future of SNAP, Rep. Arrington used the Bible to justify his position that those receiving benefits must be required to work. Citing the New Testament, the Texas lawmaker declared:
the scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: ‘For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ And then it goes on to say, ‘We hear that some among you are idle.’
Rep. Arrington added:
I think that every American, Republican or Democrat, wants to help the needy among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility, frankly, to SNAP…
Commenting on the congressman’s remarks, The Washington Post notes:
House Republicans have historically cited the verse — “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” — as justification for cutting some adults’ SNAP benefits. Arrington referenced the verse in a discussion about increasing the work requirements for unemployed adults on the food stamp program. But critics say that advances a pernicious myth about the unemployed who receive SNAP.
Noting that the Bible verse “is a convenient tool for those who want to justify ignoring the poor,” Think Progress observes that the “lukewarm Biblical argument doesn’t hold up” because the verse is “actually referring to ancient Christians who had stopped working in anticipation of Jesus’ Second Coming,” and is not meant to be some judgement on the poor, as Republicans like Arrington try to imply.
The fact is, many unemployed adults on SNAP simply cannot work, because of mental illness, disability, or other legitimate reasons.
Bottom line: For some conservative Christians, the Bible justifies cruelty towards the poor and unemployed.
Watch Rep. Arrington’s remarks below –