Some Conservative Christians are very concerned because Liberal and Progressive Christians would like to help the poor and the needy, individually, through charity, as well as through government programs when the need is beyond what any one individual or charity can do. But some Conservatives don’t believe in this and find Progressives anti-God, anti-Biblical, and believe they should be severely reprimanded. It makes me wonder what would happen if the Good Samaritan had to check out a few things before helping. Here’s my take on that story.
A woman walking down a road had fallen among thieves. She was battered and bruised, and barely conscious. A Conservative Republican Christian Male came along, noticed her, and tried to think of whether the Bible commanded him to help, or not to help. It was a terrible dilemma, but summoning all the wisdom he gained from the Bible, he realized he had to check out a few things first. He remembered that the Bible said Christians must help widows and orphans, but he wasn’t sure whether this woman was a widow or an orphan. According to I Timothy 5:3-16, a widow had to be over the age of 60 to qualify and could only have had one husband. After some questioning, the battered woman managed to say that she was only 59, one of her parents was dead, and she had had two husbands, both killed in wars.
Still eager to help, if at all possible, the Conservative Republican Christian Male asked if she had a family to care for her, quoting Deuteronomy and Numbers, since his preacher had told him that families were to take care of their own. With another slow breath, the battered woman managed to say, “Yes, I have a father, but he’s in a nursing home with dementia. My son was killed by a drunk driver and my daughter is mentally ill.” Never one to give up, the Conservative Republican Christian wasn’t sure if this qualified for not helping, or for helping.
He tried again. “Do you work? Remember that Proverbs 10:4 says that the hands of the diligent bring wealth and Proverbs 14:23 says that hard work always yields its profit.” He wondered if her situation was her own doing. He figured that if she were poor and battered, it must mean that she didn’t work. Taking a deep breath, she managed to murmur, “Yes, I work two low-paying jobs, but none have health insurance. Truly, I have had diligent hands. I promise you!”
He remembered that the Church and private charities were supposed to help her. He asked if she belonged to a Church. “Yes,” she said. “It’s a little church three miles away from where I live. It’s very poor.” He thought that maybe she belonged to the wrong church, and suggested a mega-church but she said she knew about that church – it was out in the country about fifteen miles from where she lived, could only be reached if someone had a car, and besides, she liked the community of her small church. But they didn’t have the money to pay the rent, provide food, take care of the children, provide job training, educational opportunities, and medical insurance for all its members. She was quite sure the mega-church didn’t do that either.
Still not sure about the proper course of action, the Conservative Christian Republican Male mentioned that they were only required to help the poor and needy every third year according to Deuteronomy 14:28. He consulted his calendar to see if this was the proper year, but it seemed that there were still a few months to go.
The Conservative Republican Christian then looked across the street, and noticed that a few people were watching him. He remembered Matthew 6:1-4, which said he was to only give alms in secret or he would lose his reward in heaven (which he certainly didn’t want to do). He realized that there was no way to give money to help this woman without people noticing. The Conservative Christian Republican Male then decided it was time to leave.
A Christian Progressive Female who tended to vote Democrat but who was currently registered as an Independent then came along. She knew the Bible verses, but had learned and experienced that God was Love, and that she was asked to love her neighbor as herself. She knew that she would want help if she needed it, and she also knew that she didn’t have the heart to pass this woman by. She asked no questions, and stooped down to carry the battered woman to a medical center that had been funded by the government for those who were poor or needy, and for all poor widows and poor orphans, regardless of their age, national origin, religion, cultural background, educational level, or gender-orientation, although there was great controversy about this. The doctor mentioned that this was the tenth woman brought in that week who had fallen among thieves along that stretch of road.
The Christian Progressive Female sometimes-Independent-sometimes-Democrat-and–once-voted-Republican wondered why so many women were hurt along that road. She soon learned that the government had cut off funding for buses along that road since it just didn’t seem necessary. After all, people with diligent hands had lots of money and didn’t have to walk, so she was told.
She went to the hospital to see how the woman was doing. The woman mentioned she was getting better, but had a relapse over worry about her future. She said that the benefits for the widows of veterans had been cut off, and although she worked two jobs, since she would take a month to get better, she would lose both jobs. Neither paid benefits. Her rent was soon due, her home had recently flooded because the government hadn’t fixed the levees near her home. She had little food left since the Food Stamps that made it possible for her to eat had been cut, since the President decided that Food Stamps and health insurance was creating a welfare state, which she was told was un-Biblical.
The nice Progressive Christian Female with an inconsistent voting record said that she was going to check into some of these social problems to see if she could help. She said she might even consider running for the Legislature. The battered woman asked if she might burn in Hell for helping to create a Socialist Welfare State that helped the poor, the needy, the widows and orphans.
The Nice Progressive Christian Female said, “I don’t think so.!”
Dr. Linda Seger is the author of Jesus Rode a Donkey: Why the Republicans Don’t have a Corner on Christ. She is a Quaker, and holds a ThD and two M.A. degrees in Theology.