The Criminalization of Christ: Love Wins & the Nationwide Targeting of the Homeless

I’ve got a new post up at The God Article today, a reflection on the nationwide targeting of people who are homeless. The impetus, of course, is the recent Love Wins incident, but that incident speaks more broadly to a disturbing trend in our cities nationwide.

The Love Wins incident was not an anomaly. It is the norm.

Here’s an excerpt, but read the rest here:

“It’s ironic, really.

Conservatives love to tell folks that the best way to end poverty, homelessness, and need in our country is through the work and generosity of private individuals and private donations, not through government programs.

The answer, they say, is charity.

Yet in a stroke of cruel hypocrisy, when charities actually address these issues in real life, they aren’t commended for their work.

Rather, they are threatened with arrest.

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  • Y. A. Warren

    “A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States around 1890.[1] Unlike “tramps”, who work only when they are forced to, and “bums”, who do not work at all, “hobos” are workers who wander.” – Wikipedia

    Many of the hobos during the depression were fed by good people who responded when asked for food at their doors. The hobos had to at least ask, and many of them were given work to do and lodging. This took some initiative on the part of the wandering worker.

    We have created societies that don’t feel the need to ask for help and don’t feel any need to reciprocate in any way. This is not relationship. This is encouraging eternal dependence. I have worked with the poor for many years; The hand-outs have created a nation of eternal teen-agers. “Give me the car keys; fill it with fuel, but it’s none of your business where I go or what I do.”

    I beg to differ. I feel called to be a good steward of the gifts that have been given to me. I share my resources (time, money, etc) as an investment in another human being who wants to be a contributing member of society in any way they can be. There are streets to be swept, litter to be picked up, leaves and sand beaches to be raked, peaches to be picked, all across America. It beats laying on a bench, with or without, a bottle.

    It seems to me that we are admonished to leave 10% on the vine for the poor to pick. This would require some initiative on the parts of the poor. We kill initiative when we simply continue giving without responsible compassion on both sides of the relationships.

    When did religions stop having boundaries on behaviors they would promote and those they would not? For many years, I helped overburdened families with their children. The provision was that they have no more children, as they could not support themselves and their existing dependents. That was my contract to continue the partnership with the parents.

    I believe a primary reason for many of the problems facing our country and the world, hunger and homelessness included, is the unwillingness to separate religion and politics and the unwillingness to hold heads of corporations personally accountable for their actions. And the masquerading of capitalism as Christianity. Every employer, including homeowners, patients, and parents, who is not paying a living wage to a worker (including childcare workers, housekeepers, cooks, nurse’s aids) should be struck with the troubles of Job.

    We have crumbling infrastructures in our own country and are allowing employers (including many of our wealthy “Christians”) to import laborers that create families of newly poor people at taxpayer expense. Our country has taken these opportunities of desperation in the economy to teach people the dignity of an honest days work. The CCC camps and WPA are exceptional examples of these programs that did succeed.

    Teaching people to feed themselves and their families is a great gift, promoting dignity. Corporations and politicians do not want these programs because they empower the poor. Even our wars are waged to make corporate executives more wealthy than they already are.

    I think the churches would be more true to the mission of promoting human dignity if they insisted on our nation putting our existing poor to work with wages that can actually feed, shelter and clothes the workers. They can start with admonishing their own members to pay fair wages and contribute to our countries social security net for the workers to one day be able to retire.