“Americans react to the poor with disgust,” said Susan Fiske, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University and the originator of the neuroimaging tests. She has studied attitudes toward the poor for a dozen years. “It’s the most negative prejudice people report, greater even than racism,“ Fiske stated.
No doubt part of that response is aesthetic. Some of those who are very poor – especially those living on the streets – smell bad and are unkempt and shabbily dressed. But a deeper part of the response is moral. The poor are stripped of value in the eyes of many. They are seen as useless, and not just useless, but an actual drain on the more productive and affluent members of society. Not only do they fail to add anything positive to the world, they actually subtract value, like trash piled on a lawn.
How can we see God while despising the needy among us? Scripture declares that it is impossible. “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20). Spiritual blindness is the inevitable consequence of hating the poor.
SOURCE:  Craig M. Watts: Hating the Poor but Loving Jesus? | Red Letter Christians.
SyriaRight after 9/11, I asked a kid in my neighborhood what we should do in response.  His answer: “Those people did something very wrong…”  He thought pensively and continued, “But two wrongs don’t make a right.”  As Martin Luther King taught us, you cannot fight fire with fire, you only get a bigger fire.  You fight fire with water.  You fight violence with nonviolence.  You fight hatred with love.  As a Christian, a follower of Jesus the Prince of Peace, I am deeply troubled about the possibility of a military response to the violence in Syria.  Jesus consistently teaches us another way to respond to evil, a third way – neither fight nor flight.  He teaches that evil can be opposed without being mirrored, oppressors resisted without being emulated, enemies neutralized without being destroyed.  I am praying that the nonviolent imagination of Jesus and MLK would move the leaders of our country and our world to find another way forward than violence.  When I heard US military leaders calculating the collateral damage of an attack on Syria (“classified” information), something feels terribly wrong.  Christ once scolded his own disciple who tried to use the sword to protect him.  After healing the wounded persecutor, he said to Peter, “If you pick up the sword you will die by the sword. Put your sword back.”  Over and over we have tried to use the sword – in Iraq, in Afghanistan, now possibly in Syria… and the sword has failed.  The cure becomes as bad as the disease.  When we fight fire with fire, we only get a bigger fire, and a bigger mess.   Two wrongs do not make a right.
Photo Credit: ValeStock / Shutterstock.com
SOURCE:  Shane Claiborne's Statement on Syria - Red Letter Christians.