I'm assuming here that most of you have by now seen the leaked Mitt Romney speech in which he says that the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes are going to vote for Obama. He's not going to worry about them because he can't convince them to take responsibility for their own lives. They believe they're entitled to food, housing, health care, and whatnot.
I just do not understand where Americans get this idea that people choose to be poor. No, just under one half of Americans aren't not paying income taxes because they stubbornly refuse to work. Many of these people are elderly and not paying income tax on their Social Security checks. Several thousand of them are wealthy and don't pay income taxes thanks to loopholes and clever accountants. Many are teenagers who don't earn enough to have to pay or students whose tuition deductions cancel out what they'd owe in income tax. And then we have the working poor.
Which is a group of people that we've apparently forgotten exists in this country. As if every person who wants to work can, without exception, get a job that pays a living wage. It blows my mind the number of Facebook statuses I see posted about people not wanting to pay taxes to support lazy people. As if A) every dollar you give the government is handed directly to some guy sitting on his couch all day and B) the only explanation for poverty is laziness.
What makes it exponentially worse for me is that I have only ever seen these sorts of statuses written by professing Christians. Because my reading of the Bible tells me that the callous indifference and outright contempt these people demonstrate toward the poor would break the heart of the Savior they claim to worship. Jesus had a lot to say about how we're to treat the poor and it appears to be falling on deaf ears. To look at today's politics, you'd think every word he spoke was instead a scathing condemnation of gay marriage.
I used to not think Mitt Romney was such a bad guy. He's fairly moderate on a lot of things (or at least he used to be). But if he can look at the problem of poverty in America and dismiss it as people not being willing to take responsibility for their own lives, if he can look at "these least of these" and sneer that they feel entitled to food, and if people can hear that and still think the Christian thing to do is to support him, then I can only wonder what we've become.