Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Good Samaritan

Okay, I'm going to get political for a moment here. Back out now if you want to.

Still here?


Here's a problem I have with *some* in the Libertarian leaning wing of the conservative political movement...

The Good Samaritan.

They like to trot out this parable/analogy about why the government should not be involved in things like health care or Social Security payments and such. They argue that people, communities, churches, organizations, etc. should be responsible for helping others out -- just as the Good Samaritan acted out of the goodness of his heart. That, if left up to others, communities will pick up the slack and take care of those in their communities... somehow.

But here's the thing all those people seem to forget....

In the story Jesus told *two* people walk past the beaten and robbed man. Those two people could have helped but they didn't do so. Why didn't they? Well, we're really not given reasons why but I can imagine a few... "He probably deserved it." "It was his own fault for traveling alone." "I'm in a hurry." "I don't have the time or the money to help out right now." "I don't want to get involved." "Surely someone else will come along and help; I don't have to." Etc.

It is implied that the beaten and robbed man was Jewish. Those who didn't stop were Jewish -- i.e. they were part of his "community". They didn't help. The one who stopped, the Samaritan? Yeah, he *wasn't* a part of the "community".

And sure, it's one thing for a community to chip in and help out to pay for heart surgery for some little baby born with a potentially fatal heart defect. Or to hold fundraisers for the beloved, retired school teacher who needs help paying for treatments for her breast cancer. But what happens when it's the town drunk whose liver is failing? Will they be so eager to help out when he needs money for treatments? Or is there a temptation to simply say "He brought it on himself." Or "He gets what he deserves." Or even to attach riders to the help? "Well, we're going to help you out here BUT you have to get sober and go to AA meetings otherwise we're not going to help you and you can just die."

So tell me again how the "community" will pick up the slack. Tell me again how so very many people will band together to take care of those around them out of the goodness of their hearts.

Two people had a chance to help and they walked on by on the other side of the road....

1 comment:

  1. We need reminding of this parable - too soon forgotten!