Thursday, July 21, 2011

Food Stamp fraud and First Baptist of Prescott

Headline from the Wall Street Journal about food stamp fraudThere's been a lot of local (and national) news about food stamp fraud in Arizona. And that made me remember a similar fraud perpetrated on all the good saints at the First Baptist Church of Prescott, Arizona.

You need to know two things. First, the late Melody Bodine, who had served divorce papers on her husband, went to their church (First Baptist) and told them her husband was starving her and their family. And so, without investigating further, the good saints at the First Baptist Church there in Prescott started giving Mrs. Bodine food.

Now, wouldn't you think the first thing the good saints at the First Baptist Church in Prescott should have done was to gone to Mr. Bodine to see if he was indeed starving his wife? If he was, they should rebuke him. If he wasn't, they should rebuke her. They did not investigate.

As many of you men can probably identify when your wives leave, it turns out that poor Mr. Bodine was going deep into debt paying the mortgage on the family home, his new rental, family insurance, giving his wife money for FOOD, paying for her and his attorneys, etc.

It turns out that the late Mrs. Bodine was a little crazy (her attorney said so in court). She had developed a lie that she had to "protect herself financially" from her husband.

Hmmm... what was it God said about "The love of money"? Actually, at trial it came out that her husband had made the mistake of listening to her in their later financial decisions, going into debt via interest only loans. The former judge hinson called it a "scheme."

In her weird obsession, after thrusting her husband from her, she decided that she needed to be debt free, and tried to pay off all her credit card debt. All at once. And that's what she did. Which left none of the money Mr. Bodine was sending her for food. Even her kids were suffering.

And this despite money she took from him. It appears she forged her husband's signature on their joint Vanguard account and stole their money there. (That the money was gone is not at issue. It stands to reason she forged his signature to get it.) And she allegedly stole his piano (sole and separate property before marriage?) selling it for cash after asking for a few more days to move property from the family domicile she had earlier abandoned. What a piece of work.

But "starving?" Even if true (she didn't look any thinner to me), that was her own doing. I recall her acknowledging in court after she left her husband that one of the major financial decisions at issue that day wasn't reasonable.

So she filed an emergency application for food stamps. I have a copy somewhere. At issue is whether the form was fraudulent. There is some question about whether she truthfully reported the money her husband was giving her and some question as to how many dependents she claimed were in the house at the time. (She had kicked out one of her daughters and one had left sometime during this time.)

The other thing you need to know is that God, in the Bible, is quite specific about burdening the church with supplying food to women who claim to be starving. Specifically, God commands
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list.
First, notice this applies only to widows. Mrs. Bodine was not a widow, but a married who had served papers on her husband. (i.e. was in sin). Second, Mrs. Bodine had a family. Even if her husband was really starving her, her kids could have gotten part time work to buy food for their poor, starving mother. Nor, apparently, did Mrs. Bodine tell the good saints at First Baptist about her sugar daddy. (Literally. Her rich dad. How could she buy a house while on food stamps?) Third, Mrs. Bodine was not over 60. Nor was she faithful to her husband. (Even if she hadn't committed adultery, she left him. That's not being faithful to God or her husband) At one time, I would have said Mrs. Bodine was known for good deeds, bringing up the children right (even spanking them Karen Sullivan !), showing hospitality, etc. But as God said in Ezekiel 18, when you go to the dark side, all your good deeds are forgotten.

Did the good saints at the First Baptist Church of Prescott obey God's command here?


May the Lord judge them and remove their lamp stand.