And, since Jesus himself identified with his society's outcasts, we might ask who and why some groups find themselves "scapegoated" in our political rhetoric. Why is anger directed at Mexicans who cross our borders illegally because they are economically desperate instead of being directed at employers who hire undocumented workers? Why is anger directed toward recipients of food stamps, many of whom work full time in low wage jobs while little anger is directed toward the wealthy beneficiaries of tax-payer funded corporate subsidies? Why are so many African-Americans and Hispanics in prison for non-violent drug offenses when rates of drug use and low-level drug dealing are equivalent across racial and socio-economic groups?
Perhaps the current political rhetoric can be compared to a skilled magician who performs magic tricks before our eyes by directing our attention to what she or he wants us to see. As Christians, do we, like the biblical prophets, have the responsibility to call attention to what the magician is doing with his or her other hand?