Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keep Your Politics out of My Social Justice

Warning: This post has some religion in it, but don't be skeered. I'm not a judgmental Christian.

The Bible warns Christians about not bragging about their good works. It even goes so far as to tell you not to let your right hand know what your left is doing, so I hesitate to write about this. But it's on my mind so I'm going ahead.

I also hesitate to write about this because it's going to be somewhat political and I usually do not discuss politics unless I'm almost 100% certain that the person I'm talking to has identical or similar views. However, something happened recently that really made my blood boil and I also find that I'm becoming more and more comfortable stating what I believe. If it makes someone else mad, well, then, that's THEIR problem.

My Sunday school class has recently begun a Food to Kids program with the elementary school my son attends. There are some children in his school who do not have food to eat on the weekends, and frankly, that just breaks my heart. I can't imagine what the lives of those children must be like, but there is no reason that children in the United States of America, children in my own community, should go hungry.

Now there are some people out there who would scream that it's not my job to make sure those kids eat. What are their parents doing? Are they working? If not, are they even trying to get a job? You know what? I don't care what their parents are doing. I mean, yes, I hope that they are trying to work, trying to support their families. But ultimately, what matters to me are those children. They can't help it if their parents are in an unfortunate situation. They are the innocents. They have no control over what happens to them.

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck recently made headlines (and isn't that really all he's trying to do?) when he said that if your church preaches social justice that that's really just another a code word for Nazism and communism. Really, Glenn? Really?

Because see, the Bible says that Jesus said:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:35-40)

I didn't see anything in that passage that mentioned communism or Nazism. In fact, I didn't see anything regarding politics at all. All I saw was about showing kindness to those in need.

Hell, even if you're not a Christian, putting some good out in the world can only help, right?

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a parent breakfast with Bubba. As part of the program, we played a game using some practice questions for the upcoming standardized test they're going to have to take. Some of the kids' parents weren't able to attend, so the teachers asked the parents who were there to help out. There was a little girl at our table that I helped who broke my heart. Her hands and her face were dirty. Her hair wasn't combed. Her clothes weren't clean. I can't get that little girl out of my mind. So tell me Glenn Beck, am I a bad person because I want to help her?


AndreAnna said...

No. Glenn Beck is a doucheweasel.

You're a good person. You DO good.

I'm not a Christian but I believe that people need to love each other more, nurture each other more, and hate and judge a little less.

Next week, bring that girl a gift bag. Put in a 10$ dress from target, a box of granola bars, some juice boxes, a brush, some pretty lip gloss.

I'll paypal you some cash. I'm serious.

Tara said...

Glenn Beck is an idiot.

I read this two ways. One, as a minister, you are right on the money (ha,ha). I don't get how anyone can call themselves a Christian and NOT be concerned about this stuff. Seriously, all Jesus ever talked about was helping the poor!

And secondly, you know I was that kid who didn't have enough food. Because of my mom's alcholism, I often only got one meal a day--at school. Whatever the reason, every kid deserves to eat! So I love that your church is doing this. Further proof of how much your church rocks! : )

Katie said...

I am all about helping children. There shouldn't be a child in this country who is hungry or starved for affection or in need of school supplies or LIFE supplies.

Helping grown-ups who don't want to help themselves is a different story. I don't think there's a cut-and-dry solution, and I think the question of dignity comes into play somewhere - it's certainly a complicated situation.

But it should NOT temper our duty to help the children.

Kirsten said...

Umm. All I can say is bravo. That was so well written and right on. I like to think that if my child were the one who needed something, if I couldn't provide for her, I would hope that someone out there would. And I'm totally with AndreAnna, that little girl deserves a little something so she knows someone cares.

Esme said...

I think Glenn Beck is what they call a "false prophet." So many follow him, but what he's preaching, for lack of a better word, is exactly the opposite of what the people who follow him claim is their faith.

I think it's wonderful for your church to be doing this, and my heart goes out to those kids. That little girl you helped that day will remember your kindness for years, and if you can do anything more to help her, you may also inspire her to help others when she is able.

Wonderful post, Madam!

Leslie said...

I'm right there with you. I get angrier by the day at what I hear being said in the name of Christianity. Thank you for this post. It helps to know that there are still some Christians out there who are focused on the right things.