By DarkSyde (Daily Kos staff)
Article originally published here
The headline read: I May Soon be Homeless . and it wasn't a joke, I wrote it and it's about me. (This is not a plea for money; my atheist peers have already taken care of that or I wouldn't have posed this, and offers to help are greatly appreciated, they warm my heart, but in my view it's not appropriate for a front page writer to be asking for money. It's not unethical for a diarist or a politician or an activist, but the FP is a different deal imo).
It's common fare to read at a religious site that atheism is a hot bed of callousness, dog-eat-dog, no morals or ethics to guide them. Conservatives masquerading at Christians on the other hand hold themselves out as the epitome of generosity and selflessness. They and only they hold the keys to decency and love of their fellow man. The rest of us are one step away from sociopathy and Nazism, or so legions of young are taught in conservative Christian Madrasses.
I happen to know, intimately, this is utter bullshit. I suppose if one wanted to be true to the teachings of Jesus Christ social conservatives would indeed care deeply about economic inequity, the millions we lock up on minor offenses, the misery shared by uncounted masses of our fellow Americans thanks to the shortsighted greed and devious shenanigans of men and women who placate their insatiable greed with passages from the Bible and other religious texts. You can see it perverting every facet of their ideology: A single mom is so tempted by a few hundred extra dollars that she'll pump out child after child out of wedlock to get it. But our zillionaire CEOs class would never even think of doing the tiniest untoward thing when the payoff is millions or billions of dollars.
A few years ago I suffered a personal loss. It happened right when the economy sputtered and plunged over a cliff after years of conservative deregulation, the bills and economic fall out were ruinous. Self professed evangelicals like George Bush wasted no time shoveling truckloads of tax payer money to bail out the heretofore free market and preserves the multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses of those who engineered it. His cohorts have spent the ensuing four years dong everything in their power to prevent those of us who cosigned the loan to save the rich from any relief that catastrophe wrought on our lives.
I was one of the millions of those casualties. After losing almost everything I had worked for the better part of half a century to earn, I moved halfway across the country to take a job paying less than half of what I used to make. Within months of taking that job the career ladder the firm had developed and used to recruit me was broken into firewood and burned so that Bill Lumberg's stock would go up a quarter point. Things were grim, I took a second job to make ends meet; the ends that include nothing but a tiny filthy studio apartment. It was brutal, I barely hung on for a year or two, and yet I succeeded at work, quickly becoming the most productive person in my 300 person department and winning an award for it.
Then one day, sitting at my desk, I suffered a massive widow maker heart attack. I was lucky to survive, luckier still to be relatively unscathed. But even though I had bought extra disability insurance, living on less than half my usual really bad pay ($12/hour) was simply impossible. During the time I was on disability I fell behind on everything; trust me, if the choice is between heart surgery and cable TV, the choice isn't difficult.
I managed to barely scrape by, for a month or two. But for complications I'll explain another day, I'm now facing eviction. Late charges and other add ons turned my measly 500/month studio into a $1200 proposition. I live in Texas, there was no financial aid, there were no government programs that would help. By the end of April I would be living on friends' couches for as long as that lasted, then in shelters or under a bridge I guess. I stressed out so bad one night my heart went into an irregular beat and I had to go to the ER, adding another huge copay on my back.
It was then that I shamefully turned my reg readers on an atheist site, FreeThoughtBlogs, and virtually panhandled. They come through, some were so strapped themselves all they could give was five bucks, but it added up. Enough that I won't be homeless this month. I get choked up just thinking about it.
What struck me about this was how the so-called followers of Republican Jesus turned me down at every request, in person and in the State and Federal level, even Congress seems more enamored with austerity and than life and family. Bear in mind, I work two jobs, when most of these happy conservative Christians are asleep, I get up at 4 AM and start working. Then I go to my office job and work from 10 AM to 11 PM, I do this 24/7. I have no vices, no dating life, no hobbies, I don't even smoke or drink. But it's just not possible to support recovery from heart surgery and cover all the drugs and copays on 60% disability or the full pay I resumed, it's a stretch to do it on my regular pay. Which I guess makes me one of those 47% moochers Romney was referring to.
I really have to wonder, who are the ones with morals, and who are the ones who lack them? My experience is the atheists are the ones who cared about me, the progressive Christians are the ones who serve their fellow man and community. I don't know what moral coda the social conservatives follow, but it bears little resemblance to anything Jesus taught, it bears little resemblance to the basic human decency amply demonstrated by my godless amoral peers.