Welfare Moms & Homeless Fraudsters

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I was riding in a taxi in south Chicago the other day and I overheard the strangest conversation between my fellow passenger and the driver. They were discussing the poor, the homeless, and the addicted that we passed as we drove through a struggling neighborhood. What was strange was the anger that held a through-line in the discussion.
Apparently the homeless and ill are just leeching off of society and deserve nothing but to be written off and discarded.
“One day all the handouts will end and these people will have to survive on their own. Right now, they just go from soup kitchen to soup kitchen and live off of the government”, stated my fellow passenger flatly. “They get food stamps for their kids and then just sell the food to buy drugs”.
I sat in the back seat and held my tongue. What the hell was this guy talking about? The people he was pointing out were obviously mentally broken or sick. I really doubt they had the ability to travel to whatever “soup kitchens” he was referring to let alone concoct a plan to participate in the vast underground black market food for drugs syndicate. I also doubt the lady who “keeps having kids so that she can get more welfare” knew she was so nefarious.
I cannot believe that people actually subscribe to this nonsense. The discussion I heard was well spoken. It was not the first time these two had spouted these ideals. They really believed them and had thought them through. The poor, according to these guys, are happy to be poor and have no desire to live any other way.
Here is an article with links to studies that proves everything that they said is wrong, but even without the studies, doesn’t common sense dictate that they are idiots? Are there groups of homeless people traveling willy-nilly around Chicago specifically to take advantage of free food? Is there a cabal of women so determined to not work that they instead choose to continually produce offspring in order to stay on government assistance?
Jesus said that there will always be the poor among us (Mark 14:7) and the whole message of the Gospel is receiving what we do not deserve, namely forgiveness. The Bible is filled with examples, and outright commands, to be kind and generous to the less fortunate and the sick. I believe, even without scripture, basic human kindness should never allow us to right off the suffering of others.
I’ve been poor, and I spend a lot of time with the poor, and the idea that there are huge groups of people out there who strive to maintain their position on the government teat is preposterous. People are the same everywhere, they want a better way of life. Other than some extremely rare cases of fraud, government assistance (and church assistance for that matter), is just a way to help people get that life. The well rehearsed conversation that I overheard was just a way for idiots to feel superior to someone else.
What I heard made me angry, it also made me feel guilty. I was angry because I don’t like to see people abused or looked down upon and I felt guilty because I know that when I brush off someone asking for help that I am no better than the guy I heard talking. Sometimes I am busy or in a hurry or just don’t want to be bothered when someone hits me up for some change or a helping hand. In those moments I am a jerk and an idiot too.
More people than I can count have helped me throughout my life. I’ll never be able to repay that kindness. My Savior gave his very life on my behalf and set the bar infinitely higher by his example. I pray that my heart would be ever-evolving and growing in generosity.
Yes, there are people, who are going to take advantage of the system and of generous people. Never let that dissuade us from helping any time we can. We all take advantage of the gift given to us on the cross every time we sin, and yet the gift remains. Let Jesus be our example and let also our gifts remain.

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