As with most social issues the Republicans speak about, Rep. Jason Chaffetz' "buy-health-care-not-an-Iphone" suggestion reveals how clueless the GOP is about our world. It suggests that not having health care and even poverty are about making the right decisions.
The fact that these comments came during the same week the very Christian Republican Party rolled out their disastrous healthcare plan - which wipes away health coverage for millions of Americans - makes one thing clear: Republicans don't understand the poverty treadmill in America, or the dynamics behind wealth creation.
Think about it. Conservatives of all stripes revere Donald Trump, a man who inherited his wealth, squandered it, and then needed an army of tax lawyers and the U.S. bankruptcy code to keep his head above water. Yet, Republicans and their conservative supporters think Trump's many bankruptcies (6) and his abuse of our tax code are a sign of a good businessman.
Incompetence, greed, and reality be damned.
Here's the problem I have with the GOP's train of thought, and their blind acceptance of Donald Trump. If you don't understand how wealth is created and maintained, I'm pretty sure you don't have a clue why people are poor.
And so it is with the GOP.
WHAT REALLY CAUSES POVERTY
According to the Bible there are at least four causes for poverty. Laziness, or what conservatives in the United States would refer to as a lack of personal responsibility is just one. This is what Republicans like to focus on.
And why not? It makes the world real simple. It relieves them of having to think seriously about complex issues.
The reality is poverty is a complex issue. If the Christian wing of the GOP would simply pick up their Bible - you know, the one they claim to read - instead of passing judgment they might learn a few things about poverty.
For example, the Bible speaks about people who are wronged and impoverished through fraud and deception. The millions of Americans who lost their jobs and homes after widespread fraud and deceit on Wall Street were left impoverished and demoralized.
Getting caught up in systemic fraud doesn't make you lazy.
The Bible also speaks about people who are wronged and impoverished through stereotypes and falsehoods. Profiling and singling out Muslims and Mexicans for deportation because you want to believe they are terrorists and rapists, but saying nothing about white nationalists and white extremists who gun down and terrorize neighborhoods, is an injustice that impoverishes and sets back millions of innocent people.
Getting profiled doesn't mean you're lazy.
The Bible also speaks about people wronged and impoverished through famine and sickness. Repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a useless and worthless healthcare package - that's really a massive tax cut for Americans, who are already wealthy - condemns millions to suffer through treatable ailments. Bankruptcy filings will surge if Obamacare is repealed. Worse, it's a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of Americans (so much for the sanctity of life).
People who become impoverished because they get sick are hardly lazy.
In real simple terms, you can't speak about poverty and make broad generalizations about "personal responsibility" when people are reduced to modern pauperism because they are ripped off, are wrongly judged/accused, or forced to endure sickness or death because Republicans and their Christian supporters want to give tax breaks to people who don't need them.
When the game is rigged, the causes behind poverty go far beyond dismissive references to laziness and a lack of personal responsibility.
Our conservative and very Christian friends seem to have no sympathy for, nor a clue about, any of these issues. Nor do they seem to care to learn about them.
So, yeah, Jason Chaffetz and the entire "repeal and replace Obamacare" crowd are, in many ways, biblical illiterates.
Ironically, they're this way because of what they claim about the poor: they're lazy. Intellectually lazy, that is.
They simply don't want to take the time to understand or learn about our world, even if the lessons are right there in their Bible. Why? Because it's much easier to feed prejudices, point fingers, and to hate ... you know, just like Jesus did.
So, by all means, let's call it what it is. Christian hate.
If you have a better term for it, I'm all ears.