Religion

Texas Republican on cutting food stamps: The bible says, ‘if you don’t work, you won’t eat’

During a House hearing on nutrition this week, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) cited the bible to justify the GOP’s crusade to gut SNAP benefits.

“[The bible] says even when we were with you we give you this rule, ‘If a man will not work he shall not eat.’ And he goes on to say ‘We heard that some of you are idle.’ I think that every American, Republican or Democrat wants to help the needy among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility, frankly, to SNAP,” Arrington said.

From the Washington Post:

House Republicans have historically cited the verse — “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” — as justification for cutting some adults’ SNAP benefits. Arrington referenced the verse in a discussion about increasing the work requirements for unemployed adults on the food stamp program. But critics say that advances a pernicious myth about the unemployed who receive SNAP.

The bible verse, Thessalonians 3-10, refers to people who are able to work but choose not to, which according to data, is not the case when it comes to most SNAP (food stamps) recipients. The unemployed (many of whom are veterans) who rely on SNAP are usually unable to work due to mental illness and physical disabilities.

Muddying the complexities of poverty in order to justify certain economic ideologies is an age-old tactic of conservatives, and using manipulated texts from the bible to solidify policy is a handy tool.

Watch the video above, via WaPo’s Wonkblog.

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