Boundary marker: drug tests for welfare applicants

There's a new/old chain mail make the rounds of Facebook again:

Thank you Florida, Kentucky, and Missouri, which are the first states that will require drug testing when applying for welfare. Some people are crying and calling this unconstitutional. How is this unconstitutional? It's OK to drug test people who WORK for their money but not those who don't?… Re-post this if you'd like to see this done in all 50 states....and they need to have people take the drug test without a warning.
The sad part is that otherwise-good Christian people are posting this stuff. The rage that some people have about giving a break to the poor or the addicted astounds me. I can't decide whether this reflects their own rage, or is instilled in them by talk radio or their own ministers.

The potential for a greater evil than drug addiction should make most people reject the drug testing option. Say that an addicted mom with several kids applies for welfare. She tests positive on a drug test and is denied aid. Where does she go? How does she eat? Do the haters hope she becomes homeless? Will that teach her a lesson? Will she turn tricks to survive? Will the haters be gratified that she has completely debased herself and put her kids in danger?

Better yet, will they direct her to a church soup kitchen and shelter? These shelters (as well as basic human compassion) are in short supply in this supposedly faith-based world. Will they direct her to agencies that service the drug addicted and homeless? Not likely. Ordinary voters, many religious, can't wait to lower their own taxes and defund these places.

The situation is frustrating, mostly because these people don't see themselves as evil. One woman, who had insisted on drug testing addicts, responded to my posts with "I'm a woman of God and believe in helping people." Really? Is the cognitive dissonance (old term: hypocrisy) too hard for her to see?

Obviously so.

America has a huge problem when its religious faithful stop comparing their actions to the injunctions of their own traditions. A Christian who acts in opposition to Matthew 25 (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.) or the Sermon on the Mount (blessed are the poor) should at least feel ashamed. But the country's current political climate makes these people proud of their dismissal of the poor, glad to increase their suffering and hopelessness, and certain that their vicious stance is in keeping with the mind of Christ.

I am tired of being a PIA, and worried about stressing myself out with my Facebook "friends," but I feel compelled to make these posters face up to their hatred. Nobody is forcing you to like the poor or the addicted or the crazy or the homeless. It takes a special person to enjoy working with people so damaged and damaging. But we Christians need to speak up for them, even in spite of our feelings to the contrary. Feeling shame over our inability to love the poor is the smallest gift we can give them, and the boundary line separating true Christians from those in name only.