I grew up in a Christian home.
I still hold onto many of those beliefs.
I support the death penalty. I donít like crime.
I believe the Second Amendment isnít about personal protection or hunting and sporting rights. It is, and always was, about an armed citizenry keeping its government in check. As such, I will hold onto my guns.
I believe in personal responsibility.
But Iíve also lived in the real world. Iíve been in situations most of the people who read this couldnít even imagine.
I was one of 467 good people dumped on their ass by a company that sold out to a competitor in 2003.
I was a security guard at the Holly Ridge bacon plant when Tyson bought it and closed it down in a month. I was the last employee to work there. I locked the gate at midnight on a Sunday.
An entire village of people grew up and lived their whole lives across the highway from the plant in a group of mobile homes. Hard working people who put their kids through college and contributed to their community. People who spent their entire lives working for a company that abandoned them in a day.
Some of those people went on to better jobs. Some of them went back to school to learn new skills. Some of them became criminals. Some of those people ended their existence with a shotgun or a handful of pills and a bottle of grain alcohol.
With no jobs available and the rent piling up, I finally moved. I lived for a time with my wife and children in my brotherís dining room in Shreveport, Louisiana.
I sought employment there in one of the few jobs that paid above minimum wage: casinos.
I worked security where I watched the rich throw more money away on gambling in an hour than I made all week.
I met a lot of hard working people too. They eked out living catering to the Houston oil crowd who treated them less than human sometimes.
Many of those people were making more money than they ever had. They were also stuck in a dead end job they would be doing the rest of their lives.
I wanted more for my kids. I worked all night and went to college all day.
I finally moved home and eventually landed the job I have now.
Without my family Ė my parents and often my siblings Ė I would have never made it through those rough years.
Did I take government assistance? Youíre goddamn right I did.
Did I buy my kids new shoes for school instead of paying a credit card bill? Yes.
The other day someone questioned my self-respect for such things. A man with hungry children and a broke down car and the rent due and no job doesnít have room for self-respect. Shame on anyone who has never been in such a situation and wants to question my self-respect.
I have been employed since I was 14 years old. I served with honor in the U.S. Navy. I have provided for a family of seven since my youngest son was born in 2005.
And I have needed help along the way. Thatís why I think we should help others.
Welfare detractors want to talk about the anecdotal pregnant 19-year-old with three kids already soaking up tax dollars. Is it wrong? Sure it is. But should those kids not eat because their parents are not pulling their weight?
Thatís what people are really saying. They talk about how they earned their way (many of them on their parentsí coattails) and everyone else should too, but what they are really saying is that they donít want to help their fellow human beings.
For every person abusing the system there are many more making their lives better and better for their children. Isnít that better for all of us? Unless you want to abandon entire segments of the population, which many of the smug people who read this would do.
I used to be a preacher. I went to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. I think most so-called Christians today have forgotten what it means to be a Christian. They go to church on Sundays and spend the rest of their week coming up with reasons not to help people. The biggest lie ever told is that ďGod helps those who help themselves.Ē That isnít Bible doctrine. Itís Greek philosophy.
Jesus called for Christians to feed the poor. He didnít say feed the poor except for those who you think have parents that live a questionable lifestyle.
I knew a homeless man, strike that, a 19-year-old kid, who lived in a homeless camp behind the Piney Green Road K-Mart until the Christian owner kicked them out and tore down their tents.
This kid was abused by his father and sexually abused by foster parents and so had been on his own since he was 16. He migrated to Jacksonville like many homeless people in Southeastern North Carolina do. He did not use drugs. He did not drink much (many of you probably drink more than he did).
He cleaned up good too. So much so that he got a job at a local fast food restaurant. He was saving his money to travel out west where he believed his sister lived.
While I was covering the homeless living in the area, I got to know this kid. He was honest and earnest. Had he been born into one of your families he would most likely be on his way to being a doctor or lawyer now.
But that ainít ever going to happen.
When the restaurant found out that he was homeless; he was fired.
So he moved on down the tracks. I havenít seen him since 2010. One homeless friend of his told me recently that the kid died up in Fayetteville. Another told me the kid lives in New Bern and is cooking meth.
Come Judgment Day, Christ said he will make known to those who didnít help the poor that it was really Him they werenít helping.
Jesus didnít talk a lot about supply-side economics, but you know what one of his favorite subjects was?
He spent a lot of time on them. He said the religious leaders of his day – Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago – were nothing but hypocrites.
He said they lived their lives like graves: nice and fancy and clean on the surface, but nothing but dead menís bones beneath.
John the Baptist didnít spend his time all dressed up in fine clothes in the Kingís Court playing politics. He was out in the wilderness preaching Godís word, wearing camel hide.
Hey, you donít want to help the poor? You want to trash people who are down on their luck? Fine. Just admit youíre a greedy, selfish prick and stop acting like youíre doing the Christian thing. Cause you ainít.