Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Last Monday a school bus driver in New York state named George Daw was fired for recklessly endangering his passengers. Well, good, you might think. Actually Daw was driving in a rain and hail storm and picked up a distress call from a police cruiser on his route. Three officers in the car were stranded at the side of the road on his route, so he stopped to pick them up. He went off route to deliver them to their precinct then dropped off his two passengers. When he returned to the school bus depot he was fired for his actions.
Our world seems to be getting weirder by the day. The article I saw described George as a Good Samaritan, a reference to the parable found only in Luke's gospel about an outsider who helps someone in distress when the "real" religious folk pass him by. That term, Good Samaritan, has become almost universal even though many people may not know its origins.
The same week some Bad Samaritans in London feigned helping a young man who had already been beaten up by the mob rampaging through the streets. As they helped him to his feet they calmly robbed him and left. The poor guy ended up being hospitalized. Some of the reports actually used the term Bad Samaritans.
Perhaps we need some remedial reading of this story Jesus used to teach about true compassion and the deeper meaning of religion.