Saturday, January 25, 2014

"for I was hungry and you…"

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

“The King will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;” for I was hungry and you suspected I was a drug user and passed laws requiring me to take a drug test before you’d help, demanding that to feed my children I had to leave them at home and work at jobs with such low wages I could not pay for child care; you reduced the food stamp budget knowing it was already insufficient to feed the hungry children around your nation’s tables.

I was thirsty and you gave me water you knew was poisoned by the fracking energy companies while your politicians took their campaign contributions, telling me you didn’t believe experts who said my water wasn’t safe.

I was a stranger and you wanted me and 12 million others deported though I was brought to this country as an infant, grew up and was educated here, and now live in the only country I have ever known. Still you called me names like “illegal alien” though the Word of God says, “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

When I was naked and homeless you divided God’s people between what you call ‘takers’ and ‘makers’ saying that ‘the least of these our brothers and sisters’ were takers and that you and your friends were ‘makers.’ You cried out that helping me would create an ‘entitlement’ society. You said I should just get a job even as you refused to require employers to pay livable wages.

When the nation’s economy nearly collapsed leaving millions unemployed for long periods of time despite their best efforts to find work, you bailed out the banks that caused the economic hardships and gave tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. Even though there were far fewer jobs than job-seekers, and the long-term unemployed asked for help, you said that providing even minimal unemployment benefits would do us a disservice, make us lazy and shiftless; you ignored the reality of our lives, saying we should ‘just get a job’ or ‘start a business.’

When I was sick you decided it was far more important to make an anti-Obama political statement than to provide me with medical care; you had your health insurance and your family was secure in the knowledge that if they became ill they could afford care but you said that was their privilege, not my right.

I was in prison because you supported senseless drug laws, mandatory sentences, ‘three-strikes-and-you’re-out’ and an unjust criminal justice system allowing private corporations to profit from higher and higher rates of incarceration until your nation imprisoned more of its people than any other on God’s earth…and even then you did not visit me.

“Then they will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

And that is the Gospel, the Sagebrush Gospel. You can look it up. (Matthew 25)

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