Politicians like to misquote Jesus to slash programs for the poor. Republican congressman, Roger Marshall of Kansas misused a quote from Jesus to support his program to reduce healthcare benefits for the poor. This is from the article on Stat from March 3rd, 2017:
“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
Did Jesus really say, “The poor will always be with us?” What is the exact quote? What is the context? What did Jesus really mean? How do we respond to politicians who use the Bible and Jesus to cut aid to those most in need?
Liz Theoharis is fighting back. She is the founder and co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and coordinator of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Theoharis has spent the last two decades organizing among the poor in the United States and worldwide. She is the author of Always with us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor.