Wall Street bail outs, but not unemployment benefits?

By Rev. Peg Chemberlin

July 19, 2010

However, there should be no poor among you,

for in the land your God is giving you

to possess as your inheritance,

God will richly bless you,

if only you fully obey God

and are careful to follow

all these commands I am giving you today.

Deut. 15: 4-5

So we have chance to help our neighbors, our hard working - but currently unemployed - neighbors. Anybody know somebody like that?  Most of us in the middle class and lower economic classes, know someone who got laid off and hasn’t yet found anything else. Or maybe they have found little work but not enough to get the mortgage paid or keep the lid on the health care costs.  So why not extend unemployment benefits? This has been done many times in the past. In times that weren’t as tough as this Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike have voted to extend benefits. But right now in the halls of congress, senators and representatives who voted for this in previous times when their party was in office are refusing to vote for such an extension now.  What’s wrong with this picture? They voted for Wall Street bail outs, but not unemployment benefits; benefits which will be spent in the American market place. 

I come from a faith that says, as many of them do, we have to share, so why are they refusing to do so now?  And why are the rest of us putting up with it? And why are some of my fellows Christians, who say they want to follow God’s law, siding with the rich and forgetting those in economic distress?  Remember Luke 4: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor... to set at liberty, the oppressed.”