Thursday, October 7, 2010

Be a Voice for the Poor

I continue to sense a worsening crisis for the poor in our state. At the very time when the most vulnerable in our state are in need, our budget crisis continues to result in budget cuts which ultimately mean fewer services for those with the greatest need. Our current state tax code was adopted in 1931 and has become one of the most regressive in our nation. When will we begin to live out the meaning of our state motto? Missouri's motto is The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.

The prophet Isaiah wrote: "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:6-7, 10

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his speech Strength to Love in 1963 said, The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.

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