The Common Good
March-April 1996

The Cry of the Poor

by Joe Roos | March-April 1996

THE OLD TESTAMENT prophets claimed, and the New Testament witnesses
affirmed, that a society will be judged (by God) most fundamentally
by the way it has treated the poorest and ...

THE OLD TESTAMENT prophets claimed, and the New Testament witnesses affirmed, that a society will be judged (by God) most fundamentally by the way it has treated the poorest and most marginalized in its midst. In these budget debates, "the cry of the poor" is barely being heard at all by either side. Because I deeply believe that this is biblically wrong, I felt I must voice my disapproval in some visible way.

The law we broke is not an unjust law, but in the way we nonviolently disobeyed it we were trying to witness to another and higher moral law that I believe was being violated. By standing in the Rotunda and quoting scripture verses relating to rulers and the poor, by singing hymns (including one titled "The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor"), and by offering prayers for both our rulers and the poor, we were trying to bear witness peacefully to that higher law.

Joe Roos is managing director of Sojourners.

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