Religion News Service: In-depth. Impartial. Engaged.

Blogs » Omid Safi - What Would Muhammad Do?

What Would Muhammad Do? has moved: Click here to read the latest posts

Paul Ryan, and using the poor as photo-op

What's worse than not caring about the poorest of God's children?  

Pretending to care about the poorest of God's children, the "least of these."   
Paul Ryan and Co. work their way into a soup kitchen for a staged photo op. 

Mind you, there were no poor when Ryan arrived. 
No food being served.   
it was all a staged made for camera show.

All show,
No charity.

The President of the soup kitchen was not amused

“The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”

What would Jesus say?

"Woe onto you...Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." 
Gospel, according to St. Matthew.  

What would the Qur'an say?

O you who have faith,
do not nullify your charity by giving to oblige and flaunting (your favours) like a man who spends of his wealth only to show off..."
The Qur'an 2:264.

If you want to care about God's children and the poor, care.   
But don't go around cutting every social service, and then use the poor for a social service.

If you want to care about the poor, take care of housing, take care of public education, take care of healthcare, take care of all families, take care of the environment.

These people are God's children, not your political photo-op.

Tags: hypocrite, jesus, paul ryan, photo-op, poor, soup kitchen


  1. When I was in college, many years ago, I took a class in “economics of poverty”. That class was enlightening. I learned in how many different ways the poor has been used in “our civilized industrial society” to make the life better for the rest of us, such as being used as cheap labor for the kinds of jobs that most of us would not even consider to and becoming Guinea pigs for pharmaceutical companies during their “drug trials”, and the list can go on and on.
    This one is an other example of what has considerable historical precedent. I hope someday we wake up to the realty that what we do to others are doing to ourselves since we are all connected trough an intricate web that is called LIFE. 

  2. I personally like Paul Ryan but I have to agree with the author.  If this truly was a staged photo opportunity then Ryan was wrong for doing it and it was completely unnecessary, especially when the message you propose is a good one.  I do completely disagree with the author when he suggests that Paul Ryan, if elected would better serve the poor by directing more funding to social programs.  The best thing we as concerned, sympathetic citizens can do for the poor is get government out of their lives.  The government, especially our strong central government has mastered keeping people poor, but the track record for getting them out of poverty is abysmal.  The reason for this is government, as an institution can’t get people out of poverty, only people can get themselves out of poverty.  The meaning of this will become evident as you read on.  Studying human nature will certainly help to understanding why this is fact.  The citizens placed in charge of these programs have no incentive to come up with programs that actually work and thereby force themselves and their staffs out of careers with perpetual income power and control.  Another factor for the growing poverty numbers; humans are creatures of habit and they don’t like change, and the government knows this.  Once people are addicted to receiving payouts, free or low cost housing, food stamps, just to name a few, the major majority are then hooked.  I challenge anyone to show me one social program funded by the Federal Government that has achieved the objective intended by its original founders and has spent our tax dollars efficiently.  I am not unsympathetic to the plight of the impoverished however, I will never believe that a huge bureaucracy is the answer.  Instead I believe people’s needs when they are experiencing hard times should be satisfied locally, these programs should at least be pushed down to the state levels but optimally they should go even further than that.  To those who read this thank you, I look forward to any and all replies.

  3. I really appreciate what you post. You have a new subscriber now.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

You also can sign in with Facebook or Twitter if you've connected your account to them.

Sign In Using Facebook

Sign In Using Twitter