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Pete Vere on America’s Kitchen Calvinism

Pete Vere on America’s Kitchen Calvinism May 15, 2015

He writes over on his FB page concern the latest GOP move in Wisconsin to humiliate the poor:

There are four sins that cry out to God for vengeance: 1) Shedding of innocent blood; 2) Sodomy; 3) Denying the worker his just wage; and 4) ignoring the cry of the widow and the orphan.

The widow and the orphan are used interchangeably with the poor throughout the Old Testament, as God calls Israel to social justice and punishes Israel accordingly when it lacks charity toward the poor and the oppressed. Thus the idea that poverty is a sign of Divine disfavour has never been Catholic doctrine. Rather it is Calvinist.

Yet what bothers me most about these proposed shopping cart gestapos is that they not only ignore the cry of the widow and orphan, the laws actually add to the humiliation of the latter. As Mark Shea puts it, the poor are targeted because they are poor. Somehow, being poor makes them less than human, which is why we must take away even their most basic choices and sources or personal pleasure. It’s the mentality behind factory farming but extended to humans, as Miki might say. How long before Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s concentration camp diet in Maricopa County becomes the national welfare standard?

This is the only explanation I can think of given that (as Kevin M. Tierney points out) the cost of enforcing these laws is multiple that which will be saved by trimming Cheetos from the shopping cart. Nor has anyone, I imagine, calculated the true human costs of removing basic choices from the poor and making them further dependent upon government. The poor have very few choices in life. Yet it is the ability to reason and make choices that separates humans from the mere instinct of animals. This is not about justice and fiscal accountability. This is about manufacturing sheeple by stripping the poor of their humanity.

But at what price?

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