As Christmas approaches, I tend to think about world affairs in terms of the Christian values I grew up believing.  I look back over the year, and forward to the next year.  I even make some predictions, not of the wheeooooeee type, but based on my analysis of events and conditions in society and in the world.


I read this morning that Ireland has mailed letters to about 6000 unemployed Irish, asking them to move to other EU nations.  This strikes me as wrong on at least two fronts.  The first is that as a Catholic nation, which prohibits birth control, the nation helped create the long term unemployed and owes them better than asking them to leave their home.  The second is that the other EU nations have their own unemployment problems and might not welcome 6000 unemployed immigrants.


The day before I had read that Google (or amazon) was looking to replace clerks with robots.  Prior to this, I have read pieces saying that we will now permanently have a higher rate of unemployment.  I have also read that those  who have been unemployed longer than six months are now considered unemployable.  My Christian values tell me that if society cannot offer people jobs, it should, at a minimum, leave them their dignity, and provide them with life's necessities.  This has made the Christian right's position of blaming the unemployed for their condition, and blaming it on laziness and unwillingness to work, simply unfathomable and immoral.


Love, and charity, Jesus himself, require us to treat the unemployables with respect, and dignity, not scorn and the cloak of invisibility that descends when we assume people "don't want to work."  Honestly, how many of us can say that we would keep looking for a job after we are told by agencies and employers that we have been unemployed too long to be considered?  With dwindling financial reserves, how much would any of us continue to expend on transportation, clothing expenses (even if just cleaning and pressing), printing up and sending out resumes?   Who do you think an employer would hire -- a 32 year old with children, or someone in their late forties or early fifties with health issues?


Do we just toss people away, like disposable coffee cups and razors?  Do we just say "I'll pray for you?'  When we say it, how often do we actually pray for a solution to the suffering and the stress?  Once? Daily until we hear the person's situation has improved?


Into this walks Pope Francis, who is the first Pope since I became conscious of the existence of a Pope, which was the installation of Pope John XXII, who walks and talks as I imagine Jesus did, or close to it.  What does the Christian Right do?  Attack him as "communist" like "Obama."  I heard someone mention that Pope Francis was not even born in the United States!  Hmm, I'm not Catholic, and I know that NONE of them throughout history were born in the United States.  So how is that a relevant comment?  Is it just a stupid one?
 


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