Sodom and Gomorrah – John Martin
Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against the elitists and their government toadies. They cry out against the poor and say that they toil not, neither do they spin. I must go down and see who is Getting Away With Something.”
Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the deserving with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty within the Safety Net who couldn’t meet their medical bills; will you then sweep away the Safety Net from the fifty deserving who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to cut off the deserving with the wicked, so that the deserving fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
And the Lord said, “If I find fifty deserving within the Safety Net, I will leave the whole plutocracy in place for their sake.”
Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty deserving could have paid their medical bills, but now they have lost their jobs? Will you destroy the whole Safety Net for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there who owe on student loans for a degree that the elite value not?” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”
Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there who bore their children rather than abort them?” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”
He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there who are working, but cannot earn a just wage?” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy the Safety Net.”
Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there whose retirement was taken to pay executive bonuses?” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will keep it in place.”
The two angels came to the plutocracy in the evening, and Lot was in a place of honor within the plutocracy. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, “Please, my lords, let me treat you as equals, even though you cannot prove that you are deserving.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in this town square.”
But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
But before they lay down, the men of the plutocracy, both the elite and their toadies, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we bring them into the plutocracy. We wish to make unto them loans instead of Free Stuff, that they may become indentured servants unto us.”
Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not yet entered the plutocracy; let me bring them out to you. The younger will be an unpaid intern unto you; and the elder will hew wood for 30 hours and draw water for another 30 so that even the Safety Net avail her not. Only do nothing to these men, for they have nothing to yield up to you.”
But they replied, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came here from outside, and his charity is given freely to those who cannot prove they deserve it! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and threatened him with foreclosure.
But the men inside Lot’s house reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they smote the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find who actually held the mortgage on Lot’s house. The first waved papers that shew him as the owner of Lot’s house, but another had papers that shew the first had failed to file other papers, and there was great confusion.
Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the plutocracy — bring them out of it. For we are about to destroy this plutocracy, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get divested now; for the Lord is about to destroy this plutocracy.”
But his sons-in-law said, “Are you jesting? It has always been this way. What would take its place? Within six months, all the shekels will be right back in the same purses.”
When the light dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get out, or else you will lose everything in the downturn.” But he lingered; so, the Lord being merciful to him, the men bought him out and left him outside the plutocracy. Likewise, they bought out his wife and daughters from their financials and credit default swaps. When they had bought them all out, they said, “Just forget this whole plutocracy; do not look back or try to save any part of it; flee to the hills, or else your substance will be consumed.”
And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; your servant has found favor with you, and I am glad to get away with something; but I cannot just shut down completely, for fear the downturn will overtake me and I will go broke. Look, that Zoar co-op is easy enough to invest in, and it is a little one. Let me put my investments there — is it not a little one? — and my assets will be saved!” They said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the co-op of which you have spoken. Hurry, invest there, for I can do nothing until you are fully vested there.” Therefore the co-op was called Zoar. The light had fully dawned on the earth when Lot became fully vested in Zoar.
Then the Lord rained on the elitists and their servile government sulfur and fire out of heaven; and he overthrew that plutocracy, and all that elite, and every transaction that they corrupted. But Lot’s wife, behind him, couldn’t resist selling short on the downturn, and she became a pillar of salt.
Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; and he looked down where the elitists and their servile governments had been and toward all the land of the plutocracy and saw the smoke of them going up like the smoke of a furnace.
So it was that, when God destroyed the elitists and their government toadies, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the downturn, when he overthrew the plutocracy in which Lot had invested, because Lot had showed mercy to those who had not proven that they deserved it.
Whenever the safety net is discussed, even among Christians, the conversation always gets around to welfare cheats, if it doesn’t start there. Well, of course there are some, but what of it?
- God doesn’t limit His charity to the deserving, so we can’t, either. As G. K. Chesterton points out, if someone deserves a benefit, that it is a demand on us for justice rather than an opportunity for us to show charity.
- God seems to set great value on preserving even very imperfect things. He doesn’t burn down the city to exterminate some rats; nor plough up the wheat to kill the tares. Helping truly needy people, even if they were in the minority, takes precedence over preventing abusers from Getting Away With Something.
- God does not give money and power to certain people because they possess some superior wisdom or morality. The cost of one rich tax dodger, one unearned government subsidy, or one no-bid defence contract can easily exceed the cost of all welfare programs put together, but the discussion almost never turns to the sins of the wealthy and powerful.