A plaque on the wall of a small but well-known Alabama restaurant never received much attention until it caught the eye of a state senator who snapped a photo. Praising the quote the plaque displayed, he posted the image on social media. But, not everyone was a fan. Some even called the words a “steaming fresh pile of rich white entitlement.” Are they right? You decide.
Pruett’s Bar-B-Q, a well-known landmark in northeast Alabama, has been serving up some of the state’s finest barbecue since 1976, according to Yellowhammer News. But, good food isn’t the only thing you can get a helping of at the cozy eatery on Rainbow Drive in Gadsden.
In addition to their renowned “pork sandwich,” “southern barbecue chicken,” and “Brunswick stew” that are often praised on the restaurant’s Facebook page, you might receive some timeless wisdom too. One life lesson is found on an often overlooked plaque that’s easy to miss since it hangs with many other photos on Pruett’s wall. But, it stood out to at least one man.
On a Wednesday night, Republican State Senator Phil Williams of Rainbow City noticed a plaque that’s hung on the restaurant’s wall for years, serving up a dose of reality to anyone who takes the time to read it. Moved by the brutally honest words, Williams snapped a photo and tweeted it out to his Twitter followers, giving the plaque the attention he thought it deserves.
“I found this small but powerful plaque on the wall tonight at one of my favorite BBQ spots,” Williams wrote along with the picture of the plaque. The image quickly went viral as others read the words. However, not everyone was as impressed with the message as the senator.
“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else,” read the bold words, etched in wood.
“When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation,” the plaque concludes, quoting Adrian Rogers.
Adrian Rogers, a world-renowned pastor from Memphis, Tennessee, wrote eighteen books and was featured on a radio and television broadcast called Love Worth Finding, which aired around the world and was translated into multiple languages. Although he passed away from complications of colon cancer in 2005, his profound words and wisdom live on today.
Advocating for Christians to get more involved in politics, Rogers urged pastors to lead their congregations to “prayerfully and correctly use the standard of God’s Word to select the right candidate” in each election. Being so outspoken about politics and religion, it’s no surprise that not everyone is a fan of his words. In fact, many Twitter users quickly criticized the plaque quoting the late pastor after it was posted on social media.
“That sounds like a steaming fresh pile of rich white entitlement,” one social media user declared as another added that Rogers “sounds like someone with a true heart for the well off.” Yet another attacked the GOP, replying, “I love how GOP’ers think poor = not working or poor = wanting a handout. Delusional hypocrites.”
The late pastor was also lambasted in the replies with one man criticizing Rogers over a comment he allegedly made about slavery. In a private conversation, one of Rogers’ detractors accused him of saying, “Slavery is a much-maligned institution; if we had slavery today, we wouldn’t have this welfare mess.” While only Cecil Sherman, the man who accused Rogers of the private remark, and Adrian Rogers know whether Rogers ever actually said such a thing, it is proven that Rogers signed a declaration stating all races are equal before the Lord. But, I digress.
For every criticism, there were multiple comments heaping praise on the quote and thanking the senator for posting it. “Great stuff Senator @SenPhilWilliams, thank you for your service,” “I wholeheartedly agree with what Dr. Rogers said. Praying for our gov’t,” “Could not be said any better. I’m afraid the Democrats don’t see it that way though,” and, “seems so simple & logical, but #Progressive argue in favor of equality, regardless if earned or simply distributed,” those agreeing with the sentiments said.
You decide. Is this just “white entitlement” and the uncaring words of the “well off” or does it ring true today? Considering the way our world and our country has been headed, perhaps Adrian Rogers’ quote bears a bit of truth — even if it hurts. History has proven, after all, that a hand up does much more good than a handout. The challenge is differentiating between the two.