The least of these…

The weather is getting bad again and I am again reminded of those poor souls left on the streets to get through this without a roof over their head.  I was looking for a quote about the measure of a society is not how we treat the rich, but how we treat the poor.  That precise quote does not exist, but there are others that are very close. 
Mathew 25:35-40 is a goo example:
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’
I also found one attributed to Mahatma Gandhi:
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
In either case, you get the point that it is important for the haves to help the have-nots.  In looking for the quote though I found some ignorant thinking.  One person pointed out the the poor here would be considered rich in other countries.  Fair enough, but a burn victim with burns over 50% of their body is better off than one with 90% burns.  It does not make the 50% any less painful.  So to say to our poor “at least you have good garbage to eat” does not reflex well on us as a society.  In fact, it should shame us that we have stores devoted to useless plastic crap and so much food we throw away about 35-50% of it. 
“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” ~ Confucius
The other ignorant statement I hear is that the poor will game the system and just live off the kindness of others.  They will be users and leeches.  First of all, this already happens, not just with the poor, but from every level of society.  The rich are especially adept at getting stuff for little or nothing.  The last few years has shown the very wealthy can commit terrible crimes that ruin the lives of thousands and still get a handout from the government (Thank you Pres. Bush and Obama).  They have taken so much in comparison to the pittance that might be taken by those few who just want to live off handouts instead of being productive. 
It is much like our ideal justice system.  It was created to put bad people away and keep innocent people out.  There are controls put into place to help make sure that happens.  It is unfortunate, but a consequence of trying to keep innocents out also allows guilty to go free.  I’m sure if you found yourself wrongly accused, you would be hoping we made some good decisions as a society to make sure you are set free.  The same can be said of social programs.  The rich and wanna be rich bitch about how the “others” are taking their “stuff” but if the time every came, I am quite sure they would be grateful for programs to help get them back on their feet or a house of worship opening its doors to give them a place to sleep.  
Think I’m a socialist?  That’s fine, but carefully consider why you think that is a bad thing.  Unfettered capitalism is bad for democracy and it is bad for society as a whole.  Think of those less fortunate.

3 Replies to “The least of these…”

  1. One thing I am thankful for up her in Denton is that we always make sure that one of the public organization is open for the homeless.

    So lately, the rec centers have been staying open until five when the homeless shelters open for the evening.

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