By: Charles Hammer, Columnist, Kansas City Star | June 15, 2022

Below is an excerpt from this column:

They told him the woman had been caught in the act of adultery, demanding under biblical law that she be stoned to death.

Quite a political dilemma, since these Pharisees hoped he would breach the law and thus himself suffer the death penalty. Jesus of Nazareth looked up at the crowd and said:

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Everything went quiet. One by one the moral majority mob drifted away. Jesus asked the woman whether the men had condemned her. She said no.

“Neither do I condemn thee,” Jesus said. “Go, and sin no more.”

That is among the coolest episodes in the Holy Bible: Jesus gently navigating the poisonous politics of ancient Palestine. It is one of many biblical episodes that tell me religion — Christianity in particular — is mainly about how we treat each other. Politics is also about how we treat each other. So how are we doing, religiously and politically, in Kansas and Missouri?

Just dreadfully. Morally and religiously — even money-wise in our own interest — we stink. We canceled taxes for limited liability corporations, at the same time killing expanded Medicaid for poor people. We rejected free federal dollars to see a huge business project that you — as a home owner or renter — are not also paying for.

…A single parent makes too much to qualify if he or she earns more than $8,345 per year for a family of three. Understand, with that income she’s too rich to be worthy of help…

….

All four states that surround Kansas — Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado — have expanded Medicaid. In Kansas, we sit in the middle: a tightfisted island of stinginess. We are one of only 12 such miserly states. The other 38 have expanded. While the poor of those 38 received medical care, in the last eight years Kansas sacrificed $5.7 billion in federal dollars just to deprive our own people. Is that supposed to be good for the moral of poor folks? Or ours?

….

Now, 18 months after a violent mob sought to overthrow the American government, let’s navigate our own poisonous politics by again considering the story of a Samaritan, member of a scorned minority in Palestine, who found an injured robbery victim at the roadside.

He “went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”

Did you notice? The Good Samaritan never did ask the injured man whether he had a job.

Read the full column here.