May 22, 2013 | By Marge Clark, BVM
Today, the Senate agreed by unanimous consent to accept an amendment with racially skewed outcomes. Unanimous consent means NO SENATOR OBJECTED!
Senator Vitter (LA) proposed disallowing anyone ever convicted of any of a specified list of violent crimes – at any time in his/her life to ever again receive SNAP benefits. Further, it specifies that their children or other family members would have their benefit cut. It doesn’t matter how many decades have passed since the crime, and how much time was served. A young teen caught in a violent situation could have his/her family denied sufficient nutrition for the rest of his/her life.
It is common knowledge that minorities frequently have received less fair treatment in the courts than to those of us from European origins. They are less likely to have had good counsel. Low-income African-Americans in the South often faced hostile juries and judges. Police were not always as careful with evidence.
The supposed attempt is to keep the worst of repeat offenders from getting assistance. But, no one thought to tweak the amendment to protect the innocent families. We are reminded again of what is in Scripture: Children are not to be held accountable for the sins of their ancestors.
This amendment can still be rescinded or modified. Senators, consider what you have agreed to, and make necessary changes so as to not punish those who need protection.