What do Congress and the French Revolution have in common? To paraphrase Victor Hugo, there is always more misery among the poor than there is humanity among the rich (Les Miserables).
This week Congress ignored pleas from Catholic bishops and Evangelical leaders and passed legislation that will deprive 3.8 million poor people from assistance in buying food next year. Our representatives have ranked among the undeserving poor millions of families and individuals barely hanging on, undoubtedly assuming they were working the system and deserved to be punished. And that is what this legislation is designed to do, hurt and punish the poor and lazy who deserve their fate.
Money spent on the poor, whether for food or to increase the minimum wage is a “job killer” they claim, because it results in higher taxes for corporations and the wealthy who are the “job makers.” This is an ideological poison afoot in the land.
These are the victims of the “global indifference” Pope Francis has spoken of, caused by those who are “complacent and closed amid comforts which have deadened their hearts” to the suffering of the marginalized.
What does this say about America? President John F. Kennedy had an answer “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” Inaugural Address 1961.