Thursday, June 30, 2005

Poverty Is the New Slavery

I was reading my SojoMail today, and I came across this line in Jim Wallis' article on the G8 Summit: "poverty is the new slavery." That's just beautiful. I can't help but wonder if he intended the "pink is the new black" parallel.

It's a delicious double entendre. It is certainly true that poverty, particularly extreme poverty, is a kind of slavery. It's also true that the moral imperative to oppose poverty today is like the moral imperative to oppose slavery in the 19th century (Wallis' actual context). But could it be that the issue of poverty has become trendy? We can only hope.

I would love to see to see white wrist bands join the ranks of red and yellow ribbons. Brad Pitt is with the program. It doesn't get much trendier than that. But I'm concerned. I'm not seeing it on the streets.

The G8 is upon us. Have we generated the necessary political momentum? Among bloggers, the support seems to be strong, but do you hear about it from the people around you? Have you heard any buzz about Live 8? Am I just outside the marketing demographic?

You might hear about debt cancellation on the news, if you listen closely enough, but do you hear about clean water? education? trade justice? agricultural enhancement? electricity?

I still find that when I talk about the issue of global poverty with people at my church, they don't understand the opportunity we have before us. They worry about "just throwing money at the problem". They talk about the corrupt governments in Africa. They complain that we're not even helping our poor here at home. I've even heard the "the poor you will always have with you" line. They want to help the poor, but they're hesitant, skeptical even. I tell them about Jeffrey Sachs and the U.N. plan, but I'm not sure it sinks in.

Jim Wallis says in his SojoMail article, "For the first time the world has the knowledge, information, technology, and resources to end extreme poverty as we know it, but what is still lacking is the moral and political will to do so."

I worry that we lack the political will because people don't realize that we have the knowledge, information, technology and resources.

4 comments:

LutheranChik said...

I fear that this cause just hasn't clicked with the population -- even the Live 8 concertgoers. We as a nation, as well as individually, seem to be suffering from a major case of curvatus in se.

Der Lutheraner said...

Brad Pitt? Surely you can come up with someone trendier than he. BTW...when did Social Justice overtake the Gospel as the fundamental doctrine of the ELCA? It's all these ELCA blogs talk about anymore...never Justification by the Death of Christ through Faith alone, but is almost always about feeling ashamed that you're an American and hoping for the establishment of some kind of Liberation Theology nonsense.

LutheranChik said...

Actually, Paul, over on my weblog (one of "all these ELCA blogs"),I talked about justification just last week...and since I read your comments here, I added another post on that topic.

Kevin said...

This ELCIC blogger recognizes that social justice stuff is central to my proclamation as a Lutheran pastor. I challenge the conscience of my congregation and community (at all levels) with the gospel of freedom from sin, death, and the devil, but also with the good news of the kingdom of God as was lived and preached by Jesus; the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the poor receive the good news.

My American friends who critique their own gov't and country do so out of a real love for the US and the the gospel.

To dismiss this as "Liberation Theology nonsense" denigrades the gospel in its wholistic sense.

Great blog, Melancthon. I think I'll check back here often.

kgp