“If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
That was Ebenezer Scrooge’s response to gentlemen soliciting a sliver of silver to help those whose meager fates were at the bitter mercy of the Gilded Age.
Say what one might about Scrooge. He was no hypocrite. He didn’t even pretend to model Christian values.
Not like, say, the man glowering this holiday season from behind White House shutters. To himself, he is God’s gift to Christianity, though all his life he’s not even not had a window-washer’s relationship with it.
To the editors of Christianity Today, he is the great pretender – “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
In what might be called the commentary of the year, the magazine cites Trump’s philandering, his shady business doings, and lies, lies, lies in calling him unfit for office. What it doesn’t mention is policies harming those whom Jesus called the “least of these.”
Trump will take away health coverage from as many as he can. He will do the same with food and housing assistance.
He will shred refugee families. He’ll grin and shrug when a redhat shouts, “Shoot ’em.”
He’ll dangle the futures of DACA designees and other immigrants like baubles on the White House tree.
The greatest gift to our nation would be for him to be visited this week by a specter that imparted charity in his soul where spite now resides.
Speaking of charity:
Does anyone remember the tremendous stink Republicans made about the Clinton Foundation? Yes, an actual charity that actually helps people.
Not a peep from Republicans, though — total silence — when a judge ordered $2 million from the Trump Foundation to go to actual charities, not to his political devices and his own aggrandizement, like $60,000 for a portrait of himself. The Bible calls that idolatry.
Faith, hope and charity. Anyone who assumes the title “evangelical” should know which of these outweighs the other. Yet too-large numbers of self-described Christians have pledged their troth to a man who embodies privilege and avarice.
The “moral deficiencies” Christianity Today blasts are qualities one doesn’t need laser eye surgery to see.
But let’s shift our focus back from carnal sins to sinful public policy.
The Trump administration recently trotted out rules projected to kick 700,000 Americans off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP – also known as food stamps.
Shorthand coverage says the directive is about work requirements for this aid. But work requirements have been in place for decades. Actually, what this does is limit states’ ability to ride economic down cycles by obtaining waivers when jobs are hard to find.
Yes, most food-stamp recipients work. Sometimes the issue is finding sufficient hours at sufficient pay.
Their harvest? A whopping $145 a month on average.
Trump supporters will say: Well, sacrifices are necessary to get the budget in order. Sacrifices by whom? Not by the wealthiest Americans.
And when does a sacrifice become a must-have? Some would think it’s when you have to decide whether to purchase medicine or buy Ramen noodles for dinner.
To do the bidding, tax-wise, of the wealthiest people in the history of humankind, the self-proclaimed “king of debt” has piled on $4.1 trillion to the national debt in three short years. A wonderful legacy.
Meanwhile, Trump’s spite offensive aimed at anything touched by Barack Obama continues. Job 1: to obliterate the Affordable Care Act. This without any alternative except a return to the Dickensian days when 44 million lacked health coverage.
“Oh, but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! A squeezing, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!”
Faith? Hope? Charity? Bah.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.