Here are two things you can bet money on: There will always be an interpretation of a Bible verse to justify just about anything, and that interpretation will most times be found by a white, male Republican. The latest biblical verse being used to justify cuts to SNAP, aka food stamps, is Thessalonians 3-10.
“[T]he Scripture tells us ... ‘for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat,’” Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said during a House of Representatives hearing on nutrition, according to the Washington Post’s Wonkblog. Arrington continued: “And then he goes on to say, ‘We hear that some among you are idle.’ I think that every American, Republican or Democrat, wants to help the neediest among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think ... that gives more credibility, quite frankly, to SNAP.”
Arrington isn’t even original, as Wonkblog points out. He’s the third Republican to use the hot biblical verse to justify gutting the public assistance program. Of course, many Republicans believe the myth that the majority of people on public assistance are merely freeloaders just trying to take the system for a ride. The Post points out that many people on SNAP can’t work, either because they don’t have job skills, they’re mentally ill or disabled, or they’re children who have recently aged out of foster care. But when have Republicans ever let facts stop them?
“No one is suggesting that people who don’t want to work should get benefits,”Josh Protas, the vice president of public policy at MAZON, told Wonkblog. “There are stereotypes about SNAP recipients and myths about the program … that are very harmful to people in need who could take advantage of it.”
The Post also notes that the unemployed make up a small percentage of those who actually use SNAP: “According to the Department of Agriculture [pdf], nearly two-thirds of SNAP recipients are children, seniors and people with disabilities. Of the remaining third, the vast majority are employed. According to the USDA, only 14 percent of all SNAP participants work less than 30 hours per week.”
And as USA Today reports, recipients get between a lousy $1.40 and $1.90 per meal.
But yes, let’s all band together and take that from them because the Bible—which also promotes kindness, generosity, love; you know, all the basic tenets of being a nondeplorable—supposedly says so.