Where the real poverty lies

Rev Tim Laundon. Curate at St James' Church, Wetherby with Linton. (S)
Rev Tim Laundon. Curate at St James' Church, Wetherby with Linton. (S)
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You might be surprised to learn that Jesus actually said very little about sexual morality.

In fact, Jesus said more about poverty and money than almost anything else.

You might also be surprised to learn that the ideals at the heart of the welfare state go back to the time of Christ, and before.

We know that in some of the first Christian communities “distribution was made to each person according to his or her need” and so there was not one needy person among them. (Acts 4:32-35)

That’s precisely the sort of society that we want; a society where poverty no longer exists. But then, of course, a benefits system like that is always going to be exploited (or so we’re often told). Not true!

Although one quarter of all press coverage of welfare issues focuses on benefits fraud, not even one per cent of all benefit claims are fraudulent.

By contrast the problem of poverty among the working class (ie among those who do work, but are not well paid) is terribly under-reported and hardly any journalists or politicians have dared to challenge the culture of entitlement that has grown up around government spending on pensions and healthcare; it’s simply easier to stir up resentment against the poor.

But poverty among the working class was one of Jesus Christ’s main concerns, so perhaps Christians should start to say that a bit louder, and more often.

For more “truth and lies about poverty” see http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/truthandliesaboutpoverty/

Rev Tim Laundon

Curate at St James’ Church, Wetherby with Linton.