I see and know that several churches in my community are doing charity work of feeding people at a soup kitchen, clothing people, helping with housing for a short period of time—good basic reaching out to our neighbors in short term charitable ways. Lately there are more and more poor people. The deep structure of how to aid the persons to sustain themselves in dignified ways other than pure charity seems to be too often ignored. The kind of social justice that is sustainable and life giving and that helps people earn a living wage, not be preyed on by a PayDay loan place with 900% interest rates, get addiction counseling, get mental health counseling and or medical help through Medicaid policies, get immigration help, get bail, get legal help, or to be allowed the dignity of a seat at the general community table is in short supply in 2019.
For some people the term “justice” is about locking people up for breaking societal rules, unless you are rich and white (few rich white dudes or dudettes are prosecuted nowadays even with the most blatant white collar crimes). And most people believe a certain segment of the population probably needs to be locked up because they are violent and have killed their neighbor, or their family member, or their employer, or in the case of school shootings, lots of school children. But our prison-industrial-corporate complex needs to be reformed. Too many private contractors are making money off of human misery and have no goal to rehabilitate or heal any of the incarcerated who are mainly black and brown poor people.
Also for quite a while now our justice system is about locking up people who cannot pay a fine or smoke some marijuana in a state that does not allow that (many more states are decriminalizing marijuana in 2019), or lock up poor people of color for a traffic violation they cannot pay, or a rent they cannot pay.
Social justice observes the underlying stench of a cruel society filled with Payday loans (used to be called loan sharks and not allowed), unlivable wages (used to have 30% unions who brought us living wages and a decent work week). Now the low wage bosses who can easily pay a living wage but choose not to be ethical-moral or even biblical for that matter are in the majority and there is no shame in being such cheapskates. And I have heard the terror of Black folks worried about even being pulled over for a traffic ticket that they may be blown away by a cop. Violence against black and brown folks is on the rise in 2019. It must stop.
Doesn’t Leviticus in the Hebrew Bible have a lot about fair wages?
And doesn’t Jesus talk a lot about economic issues and in his parables and teaching stories? Aren’t there many “Christians,” in our USA? Some suppose that the feeding the 5,000 with fishes and loaves, is really about all those who came to hear Jesus speak with their picnic baskets ready. They who were organized into small groups (groups of fifty) and then they shared what extra food they had in their baskets or napsacks with those they sat with face-to-face in groups of ten within the fifty. Leave it to Jesus to bring a bunch of people together to teach them about caring about their neighbors through face to face experiences of each other. The miracle was most likely that people shared a common meal together with those who were not in their original family or tribe—a miracle! We need these kind of miracles today!
But has anyone asked why there are so many people who are in need of foods, clothing, housing in the richest country in the world? Why are we having so much trouble caring about so many of the poor arriving at the southern border? Why are we giving so much money to the prison-industrial-private-corporate system to lock these people up in cages and separate their children from families at the southern border? What has gotten into Americans that they are so cruel and allow this government to do such atrocities?
Hélder Câmara –
What is the problem with the term socialism in the USA? FDR’s programs like Social Security and then later Medicare are socialist and saved lives, give back human dignity. Medicaid that has expanded in half the state in the USA has saved thousands of lives to aid in health care access for the very poor.
Why is there so much economic inequity? Why don’t all people know about the Poor People’s Campaign and Reverend Doctor William Barber? Why don’t all people in my community know about MORE2–Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity?
Will a true justice, hope, and love church stand up and get to work please? I am trying by being involved in MORE2 and could do more. I give to those organizations that are paying for bail so that people at the border can get out of those hell holes that our government is throwing them into?
Here are some ways to give in action and money: