I have a friend named Pastor Dan who does progressive things, he’s sorta the unofficial pastor of the Netroots. Or he was back when there were a dozen of us. Dan once started off a sermon reading something I wrote as an atheist about the wonder and pageantry of the universe. Which was a little weird for me, made more confusing because I liked it.
The religious right helped turn me off to religion before I got into high school. One of the things that distracted me then and still does is how utterly, blatantly, happily, they use the unambiguous words and adventures of socialist hippy Jesus to justify, at one time or another, virtually every species of greed and corruption. The religious left doesn’t get the kinda big bucks righties do, but they’re there and he’s one of them. A lot of pastors are, it’s part of their job:
Digby — I do think Christians have a particular reason to be angry about this story, though, and by the larger movement to cut SNAP. The church I attend houses the local food pantry and a feeding ministry, each of which serves dozens of people a week in a town of about 40,000.
If you’ve ever spent time around soup kitchens or food pantries, you learn very quickly that many of their clients rely on Social Security or some form of assistance: SNAP or WIC or disability payments. They tend to come in for supplemental food when the government checks run out, in the last weeks of the month, and they’re always grateful for things like toilet paper that you can’t buy with food stamps. Many of them are elderly, mentally or physically handicapped, or families with too many mouths to feed. I’ve literally had those families tell me they used to be middle-class just like us, until someone got sick or lost a job or a house. The line between taxpayer and charity case is very, very thin these days, and getting thinner all the time.
Though churches aren’t the only groups that feed vulnerable people, they do the vast majority of that work in the US, by virtue of sheer numbers if nothing else. When right-wing ideologues bloviate about “trimming the fat” out of SNAP, they’re essentially hawking a big loogie and spitting in the face of the churches that pick up the slack for the government. Digby points out how counterproductive that approach is. As much as I believe in the ministry of the church, government support is simply more efficient and more effective. You can literally see the difference written in flesh and blood.