Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bill O'Reilly, Baby Jesus, and Jobless Joe

This week Bill O'Reilly took to task Dem. Jim McDermott  for his comment, "We talk about good Samaritans, the poor, the little baby Jesus in the cradle and all this stuff. And then we say to the unemployed we won't give you a check to feed your family. That's simply wrong."  O'Reilly asks, "What does a moral society owe to the have-nots?"  The implication being--not much.  The implication being that you got yourself into your mess; you get yourself out.  The implication being it's your own damn fault; if you weren't a slacker but were industrious like me you'd have a job. 

That sounds just like little baby Jesus, doesn't it?  I don't know about Bill's baby Jesus but the Bible's grownup Jesus is described in this manner:  "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."  (Matt. 9: 36) 

There is an instance recorded in the gospels where a massive group of people--about 5,000-- had assembled to hear Christ teach or experience his healing.  It's been a long day and people are tired and hungry and his apostles approach him and tell him, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and find food and lodging . . . "  Jesus replies, "You give them something."    That definitely does not sound like Bill O'Reilly's Jesus.

He (Bill, not Jesus) goes on to say, "There comes a time when compassion can cause disaster. If you open your home to scores of homeless folks, you will not have a home for long."  Maybe I'm missing something here.  Are we precariously perched on the brink of disaster because compassion is running rampant across America?  I'm going home tonight and tell the scores of homeless people I've taken into our home that I'm fed up and they have to leave.  And I want each of you to do the same.   Really, Bill?   I don't know anyone--myself included-- who currently has taken a  single solitary homeless person into their home, let alone scores of them.  Are we really at risk here? 

Mr. O'Reilly closes his editorial with two comments.  ". . . being a Christian,  I know that while Jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive."   While giving himself up to die on a cross may not exactly be self-destructive by intent, dying on a cross certainly isn't the epitome of self-actualization, accumulation, acquisition and consumption.

He closes by saying, " The Lord helps those who help themselves."  That's not a quote from the Bible, by the way, about God.  However,  here is a quote from the Bible about the Lord whom Mr. O'Reilly references.  "When we were still powerless (helpless) Christ died. . . " for us.  God does not wait for us to initiate; God always makes the first move.  God is the Initiator; I am the Responder.  God doesn't help only those who help themselves; God helps the helpless and the jobless Joe's.


Zach said...

This kind of schtick makes me mad. To use Jesus as a justification for limiting compassion would be funny if it wasn't so destructive and pervasive.

However, I hesitate to throw too many imprecations his way, because I haven't had any homeless people in my home lately, either. And there are plenty of times when I justify not showing compassion because someone might take advantage of my hospitality or begin to expect too much from me. Really, that's not a lot different than what Bill O'Reilly is saying. Maybe he's more of a jerk about it, and maybe he's saying things that I disagree with. But actions speak louder than words, and my actions line up with his words more closely than I want them to.

Steve said...

Well put. Unfortunately, I think you have mirrored a lot of us. I hope my rhetoric translates more frequently and consistently into action.

Anonymous said...

How refreshing! Thank you.