This past Monday, a woman named Cassandra McWade called a tow truck. McWade had been involved in an accident, and was stranded on the side of the road. She needed help. Tow truck driver Ken Shupe responded to the call, but when he arrived, he noticed something about Cassandra McWade’s car: a sign supporting Bernie Sanders. And Shupe decided he would not perform the task for which he was called; he would not help her.
Shupe told a Fox affiliate, “Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave.” Ken Shupe identifies as a conservative Christian, who supports Donald Drumpf. A Christian who, when he saw a person stranded on the side of the road, believes the Lord told him to abandon her. According to Cassandra’s mother, Cassandra is disabled, and has a handicap placard in her car. Shupe claims he never saw that placard.
One of the most basic tenets of Christianity is doing for others. Jesus tells his followers “What you do for the least of these you do for me.” Christians are called to give assistance, to help those who are troubled, hungry, struggling, and even stranded on the side of the road.
In the book of Luke, an “expert in the law” asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (source)
A man, robbed, beaten, and naked, was left on the side of the road. A priest ignores him, a Levite ignores him, simply walking by, refusing to help. But the Samaritan stops, tends to the man’s wounds, takes him to an inn, and cared for him. He even paid the innkeeper to look after the man. Jesus tells the law expert the Samaritan was a “neighbor” to the man who was beaten, and to “go and do likewise.”
Was Ken Shupe being the neighbor Jesus calls Christians to be, or was he the priest, or the Levite? Did Ken Shupe really hear “the Lord” tell him to leave Cassandra McWade on the side of the road, just like the man who was beaten and robbed? A woman who simply supports a different political view than Shupe? A woman who, according to her own mother, is disabled?
What Ken Shupe did is the precise opposite of the Good Samaritan. Ken Shupe is a man who is convinced it is good and right to abandon a woman on the side of the road, because his twisted version of Jesus tells him to. Ken Shupe is a man who supports a candidate who hates Muslims, who denigrates and insults women, who makes fun of the disabled, and who wants to slaughter the families of suspected terrorists.
Helping Cassandra McWade is Ken Shupe’s job as a tow truck driver. It is also his duty as a Christian. He failed in both regards.