Are we enabling the poor or feeding the hungry?

"Feeding the Poor" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“Feeding the Poor” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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You’ve seen the news about the 90 year old man arrested for feeding the homeless.

The reasoning behind it, if we can call it that, is that feeling the homeless is enabling.

Shouldn’t the more important questions be:

  • How did they get there in the first place?
  • What was our role in contributing to their poverty?
  • Do we see ourselves as part of the problem or part of the solution?
  • Can we imagine that the poor are our brothers and sisters?
  • Is it possible to further imagine we are all one with one another?
  • Does the criminalization of personal calamity contribute to a humane society?

They say feeding the poor is enabling. They should ask themselves if they have enabled them to be poor in the first place.

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8 Replies to “Are we enabling the poor or feeding the hungry?”

  1. “Enabling.” The underlying assumptions right there are disgusting. It’s a reason given by people who believe that homelessness and poverty are always the direct result of some moral failing on the part of the homeless or poor person. It’s a clear sign that they’ve never stopped to consider and look into the questions you raise, David.

  2. enabling is the last thing people should be concerned about,how about AFFORDABLE housing and a LIVING WAGE!!! Take care of those two and the “homeless” problem will go away

  3. We haven’t got that far yet – we are still at the stage where we need people to keep people just about fed via food banks so the wealthy can look down their noses and call them “scroungers”.

    Is this where we should expect to go next?

  4. People always love to talk about how God condemns pre-marital sex, homosexuals, yadda yadda, but no one talks about how clear the OT and the NT make it that we are supposed to take care of others. Jesus did not put a condition on his actions. I believe we should always be trying to get people back on their feet, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a bite to eat.

  5. As someone that has fed Latinos on the street corners, and homeless in the woods, I can understand both positions.

    The gentleman was ticketed for feeding the homeless in a non-designated area. Many people find the homeless an offense that should be shoved into a small corner, so they can pass on the other side in peace. Tourists come to enjoy a fantasy in Florida, and not the gripping reality of hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, and homeless people in America.

    For every pastor that feeds the poor, there are 10 that walk on the other side and say ‘the homeless are suffering due to their choices, and I will pray for them at a safe distance…. maybe even send some money to World Vision…’

    Therefore, we are not a Christian nation, we are a pluralistic nation. Even if we were a Christian nation, our pragmatic belief systems (especially concerning the poor-homeless and the poor-immigrants in our country) are radically different.

    So, the city may be doing the only compromise possible – designating off-limits areas that prohibit feeding the homeless; while allowing feeding of the poor and panhandling in other large sections. So long as the selected sections are near the homeless shelters, homeless ‘woods’ (for the homeless that camp), and homeless service areas (bathrooms, showers, participating clinics, etc..), then the compromise may work.

    My hope is that the city worked with the Vet to ensure he could continue in multiple sections of the city.

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