A faith perspective on North Carolina’s cuts to UI

The following post was written by Stan C. Kimer – Immediate Past President of the NC Council of Churches –  in response to an op-ed claiming that North Carolina’s unemployment insurance cuts have led to more employed Tar Heels.

(It’s also worth reading UNC Economist Patrick Conway’s response to the same op-ed pointing out that the unemployment rate in our state has dropped because of discouraged workers leaving the labor force; a response written by one of the 70,000 unemployed workers who lost benefits due to the General Assembly’s actions; and this post by the NC Budget and Tax Center’s Allan Freyer, setting the record straight.)

Two weeks ago there was an op-ed by Brian Balfour claiming that cutting unemployment  benefits has led to more employed North Carolinians.  This was followed up by an article on the front page of Sunday’s N&O presenting that much of the decline in unemployment may instead be due to discouraged people simply dropping out of the workforce.

As the Immediate Past President of the North Carolina Council of Churches, with membership across 17 denominations and many churches statewide, how should people of faith respond to chronic unemployment?  Christian scripture speaks of uplifting and encouraging others, being our brother’s keeper, helping those in need.

As a person of faith, I believe that cutting off assistance when families need it the most is the proverbial “kicking a person when they are already down on the ground hurting.”  This is opposite of the Good Samaritan who instead found a man hurt and bleeding on the side of the road and offered assistance.

Providing needed assistance is truly a form of encouragement.  By providing fair unemployment benefits, those without a job can have some of the financial pressures relieved, gain a modicum of self-respect and inspiration, and have more energy to find employment.

Stan C. Kimer, Raleigh, NC

Immediate Past President, NC Council of Churches





  1. GOP Rules

    February 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

    The good thing is….with all this progressive screeching and hysteria….the numbers do not match the narrative of the sky falling. John Hood did some good analysis on the more in depth numbers that have come out. Looks like the liberal narrative has more holes than swiss cheese.


    Cue ad hominem attack because link is to Civitas in 3…2…1….

  2. Stan C Kimer

    February 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    As the writer of the above short letter, I need to comment that the commenter above missed my whole point. I was trying to get beyond numbers and analysis which can be interpreted multiple ways by different parties to discuss what a faith-based or Christian response should be to this issue.

  3. Alan

    February 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Cue…..One LARGE yawn….

  4. Alan

    February 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

    It appears the words “hysteria” and “narrative” are this weeks words of wisdom from Team Civitas sock-puppets.

  5. GOP Rules

    February 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Funny how predictable you are playing right in to LSD’s predicion. Maybe we need to call him ESP instead!

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    February 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I certainly did not miss the point. As far as a “Christian” perspective it is ironic that this site that would condemn a Christian as soon as look at them.

    Never the less, I am curious as to why you feel it is up to the government to keep these people on the government dole in perpetuity. That seems to be against the teaching of Jesus who was not a fan of government. In fact, it is more the duty of people as Christians to look out for their brothers while the government perks are more of a stop gap measure to allow people some time to figure out what to do vs. making it a lifestyle of living on a government check long term. I don’t know about you, but I have done things like donate to the food bank when the need has come up in Sunday school as well as other community acts to help people be able to eat.

    Fair unemployment benefits are what we have moved to. We had the highest perks in the Southeast, we are now more in line with most of our peer states.

    As far as numbers, they do tell a story that needs to be interjected. These people taking advantage of our Christian goodwill (UI benefits) seem to have made some new choices when forced to do so. Maybe some of those accepting never ending checks have “decided” to retire, or go back to school to gain new skills, or taken part time jobs, or done any of a multitude things other than make a token job search. It is the numbers that are now bearing out the reality that some have taken advantage of government perks.

  7. Jack

    February 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Again LayintheSmakDown missed the point. Jesus was not against government he was against corrupt governments and hypocritical money changers. Besides your Christian goodwill judgmental attitude is showing. You’re angry at people for needing help. When you donate to the food bank you think it will change the world but it doesn’t and you become more angry. You know the truth! People out of work don’t have the support of the NCGA and find themselves in dire need of help because the safety-net has been taken away. Return to Sunday School and learn about Social Justice as prescribed by Jesus.

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