Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus -- Updated

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in fine Italian suits and custom-made shirts, and fared sumptuously every day at the finest restaurants in the city and also at home for verily he employed a cordon bleu chef.

And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at the door of the rich man’s Fifth Avenue coop, full of sores, although not for long because the door man drove him off,

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table, or with the garbage from the finest restaurants in the city, or even from the worst ones; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried.

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, it doesn’t have to be Evian, even tap water will do, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou are tormented.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, very much like the door man of your Fifth Avenue coop; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Then he said, but Father Abraham, although I didn’t feed Lazarus the crumbs from my table, all my life I paid very high taxes, you wouldn’t believe how high my taxes were, which supported homeless shelters and soup kitchens and other good things for people like Lazarus. You ought to give me some credit for that.

But Abraham said, Son, you were required to pay your taxes. If you had not done so, the soldiers would have come and thrown you in prison. This shows no love, no charity, for Lazarus.

Then the rich man said, but Father Abraham, that’s not all I did. I voted, and I always voted for the Party of Compassion, and gave the candidates of that Party many silver talents of political contributions through several different PACs, and the candidates of the Party of Compassion promised to raise the taxes on all the rich men in the land, to pay for more homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and many other good things; so if you give me no credit for paying my own taxes, you should give me credit for making other rich men pay more taxes.

But Abraham said, Son, I have said that paying taxes that you are required to pay shows no love or charity for Lazarus. How then can you imagine that making other men pay taxes shows love or charity for Lazarus?

Then the rich man said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldnst send Lazarus to my father’s house;

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, and tell them they can stop supporting the Party of Compassion, because it won’t keep them from coming into this place of torment; let them support the Party of Frugality, which will lower their taxes and they can eat and drink even more sumptuously before they die.

And Abraham saith unto him, Thou still getteth not the point.

By Eric Von Salzen

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