Almost four months ago workers removed a Ten Commandments monument from the Capital grounds in Oklahoma City. Maybe it was premature. What if rather than a testimony to pagans the Judeo-Christian God designed a pattern for people to live together in the world, the monument served as a reminder to the State Legislators that the highest ideal to which they could attain would best be expressed in thinking about those unprotected by those in power?
Repeating the Past is a Farce
The recent decline in oil prices, for some reason unforeseen by those in a State where this has occurred in the past, contributed to recent budget cuts. Education received word of a 3% cut to their State funding. DHS reported that the budget cuts they will absorb will mean an end to paying private practice counselors now serving those in Medicare. One of my counselor friends saw this coming and is deeply concerned about the increase to an already beleaguered government sponsored resources.
Our current situation is worsened when we learn the whole affair could have been avoided. Don’t blame the Democrats.
Those fighting for the retention of the Ten Commandments monument may have well known their weakness. If these commandments are out of sight, they will be out of their minds.
Yes, the Poor Will Always Be with Us
Leveling claims that we face a declining morality, that the encroaching secularism and rampant liberalism will ruin us, it was/is conservative values-claiming leaders that chose the wealthy over the poor. Consider who will be hurt by cuts to mental health for those who cannot afford those services. It should be obvious from that sentence. What is not disclosed in that sentence is that this includes children.
What it will mean to education is yet to be known. It is not uncommon before these cuts that parents are either encouraged to participate in a fundraiser or that they will need to pay for something that extends beyond the ad valorem taxes and bond issues intended to fund support for local schools by patrons in addition to State funding.
Maybe we have learned that installing monuments that remind us of the sort of people we should be with and for each other is meaningless if we still cannot meet the needs of the poor. Remember, they will always be with us. They will be with us for the same reason building monuments does not in fact change our behaviors. Seeing and knowing those who are poor among us does not change us, generally, in the least.
Pastor, This is a Theological Issue
One day we will learn that signs and buildings do not reach people. Embarrassed will we be, or should be, when we discover what could have been done with our money. Outsourcing is not an option. It does no good to ridicule the State, any State, for its welfare system only to encourage a budget that is more about a brand than a body, a human body.
Ryan Abernathy, who works at the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank and is pastor at West Metro Community Church, discussed the misconceptions about poverty in America, the Christian lack, and where the Church might be better positioned to live out the way of Jesus in the world. Our practices reveal our beliefs.
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