What are your views of the food-stamp program and the proposed cuts to it?
There are two elements of Biblical justice at stake in our country’s current debate over funding entitlements. The first involves God’s consistent concern toward the poor and needy. God is energetically loving toward those who do not have enough to eat. So many places in Scripture describe God’s desire to satisfy the physical hunger of his human creatures. Biblical ethics proscribe compassion toward the hungry, and our country is right to offer entitlements that temporarily assist people in providing for their families, especially children, when there is not enough discretionary household income to purchase nutritious food.
The second aspect of Biblical justice involves the grave moral evil of saddling future generations with financial debt. Our country sins against future generations by forcing them to pay for expenditures that we currently cannot afford. One of the great concepts of justice in the Jewish tradition is the liberation of slaves and forgiveness of debts on a regular cycle of seven years — and especially during the Jubilee year – every fifty years. Debts were forgiven so that financial slavery would not endlessly cause economic chaos in their ancient society. Our modern society’s entitlement programs cannot survive in current form because there will be a day of reckoning when our creditors, who are unwilling to offer us any Jubilee-type freedom, will demand payment. We can choose one of two alternatives: reform entitlement programs like Foodstamps now and cause moderate pain – but justice toward future generations; or cancel them altogether later with immense injustice toward the poor and needy.