As a Christian, I was very interested in Mark Whipple’s Sept. 27 letter, which emphasized that it is the responsibility of individuals, not the government, to help the poor.
At the time and place the human Jesus was living and preaching, his country was under Roman occupation. He would have had no concept that collectively (society, government) could create programs such as Medicare; Medicaid; Social Security; Supplemental Food for Women, Infants and Children; temporary aid to needy families and food stamps that have helped millions of people rise out of poverty! That would have been an alien idea to him, but I can’t imagine if he were to return today that he would object to any of those efforts.
Bill Moyers recently interviewed a man who studies issues like this, and he said if Congress doesn’t produce a budget by Jan. 1 and programs like those I have mentioned take automatic cuts, it would mean that every church, synagogue, mosque and the equivalent in the Hindu and Buddhist faiths would have to raise $50,000 every year for 10 years. Individuals and congregations can and do work to relieve hunger and homelessness in this county and country, but it would be impossible without our collective will expressed through government.