The Common Good

In Theory: Could Christians do more?

Date: December 4, 2012

I pity the families under Pastor Meek's spiritual care. His lack of understanding of why people are poor in America today translates into a theology of shame and degradation for the struggling people of his community. How painful must it be to come to church in search of a good word about God's love, or a message that gives you some calm in the storm, only to hear that you are a Dependent Unmotivated Loser.

Interestingly, the editors of the Christian Post (which published Meek's editorial), along with leaders in the National Evangelical Assn., the evangelical interdenominational Sojourners' movement, and a number of mainline and progressive faith leaders just sent an open letter to President Obama, stating: “As we do all we can to help families and individuals living in poverty, we need our elected leaders in Washington to do the same. Our country faces many long-term fiscal challenges and must act now to grow the economy, create jobs, and begin reducing our deficits. These are significant challenges that will require sacrifices from many, but we cannot solve them on the backs of the poor.”

This letter more accurately reflects the conversation (and action) among the Christian community, which sees the fragility of communities whose good jobs have been moved overseas or exited by a foundering economy, and which mourns with communities who have been disproportionately affected by subprime and fraudulent mortgages and subsequent foreclosures. These are the shakedowns that lead to the breakdowns of families — not the other way around.