Jesse Curtis: “A lot of Christians don’t care about poor people“
What I hear from evangelicals a lot is that it is the church’s job, not the government’s, to care for the poor. I would dispute the either/or proposition contained in that argument (after all, the laws God gave Israel included government mandated redistribution of wealth) but for our purposes, let’s accept the premise. It is the church’s job, period.
But here’s the thing … many of our evangelical churches don’t like poor people. We look down on them. We assume irresponsible behavior is the cause of their condition. We stand in judgment over them, determining who is and who is not “deserving” of help. We get excited about political candidates who scapegoat poor people (especially dark skinned poor people) as the cause of many of our problems. Worthy poor people live in places like Bangladesh and Mozambique. Here in America we just have lazy people.
We say it is the church’s job to care for the poor, yet attend churches that don’t help people pay their rent or buy groceries. It is the church’s job and yet the pastoral leadership has not told the business owners in our congregation that the hiring of ex-felons should prioritized. It is the church’s job and yet we don’t offer affordable child care during the week so single moms can go earn a living. It is the church’s job but the kids at the poorly performing public school will have to go somewhere else to find tutoring and mentoring. It is the church’s job but you can’t expect us to take care of all the medical bills you can’t afford. It is the church’s job but if you have an addiction you’re on your own, especially since you might be dangerous and steal from us. …
The signs never worked. Instead, they just annoyed and angered people. Some people even threw more paper towels on the floor because they didn’t like the condescending way they were being instructed.
There was no chance the signs would ever work. The people who threw paper towels on the floor knew that it was “wrong”. Maybe their desire to avoid touching the doorknob was stronger than their desire to do the “right” thing every time. Or maybe they just didn’t give a damn about making the bathroom slightly worse for someone else to make it slightly better for themselves. Either way, a sign’s not going to solve the problem, because the problem isn’t that they didn’t know the right thing to do. They knew what they were doing, and for whatever reason, they didn’t care.
This problem wasn’t solved by the time I left that office. It probably still isn’t.
The pragmatic way to solve the problem would have been to adapt to what these people were going to do anyway: just put another trash can by the door.
Bryce Covert: “Reducing Abortions: It’s the Economy, Stupid“
If conservatives are so hell-bent on preventing abortions, one of the best things they can do is support family planning services and access to contraception. Yet the last time we saw an openly pro-family planning Republican was the ’80s, when George H.W. Bush was in office. Meanwhile, all Republican 2012 candidates have signed personhood pledges that endanger many forms of contraception, Santorum himself has said birth control is bad, and I’ve lost track of how many times Republicans have tried to defund Planned Parenthood, which supplies contraception to low-income women.
… There’s another clue that this isn’t about saving the babies. It’s the blind eye conservatives have turned to the economic factors that are leading more women to turn to abortion.
… If Republicans are concerned about reversing the rise in abortion rates, they need to focus on putting people back to work making decent pay. Putting women to work in large part means spending money at the state level to keep them on public payrolls.
… Women choose to terminate pregnancies for all sorts of reasons and should be able to access abortion care when they do. Tight budgets aren’t the only reason to choose not to have a child. But economic factors that prevent families from having children should be high on conservatives’ list. If we ease those families’ financial situations, they may not have to turn to terminating a pregnancy. But instead conservatives are fighting access to contraceptives, cutting off funding for services that would make life easier for women living in poverty, and blocking job creation policies.
Sarah Fister Gale: “Why Rick Santorum would have killed my daughter“
Rather than turning to my local politician for prenatal advice, I followed the guidance of my obstetrician, who sent me to a perinatologist, who recommended I have an amniocentesis. Because he had a medical degree and years of experience treating pregnant women, I followed his recommendation.
… If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that test, and [my daughter] most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong. Though he has no medical training, and no business commenting on the medical decisions that women and their doctors make, he argues that such tests shouldn’t be provided, or that employers at least should be allowed to opt out of paying for them on “moral grounds.”
Eleven years ago, my husband and I had two kids and a mortgage, and like most young families we didn’t have $2,000 to pay for a test that my husband’s employer might object to on moral grounds.
So, while Mr. Santorum may think that his blowhard opinions about when and where women should be allowed to have medical tests is righteous, I say it’s ignorance.