Is this what a 'strong Christian' looks like? 10-15/16-16
The hypocrisy of the response to Syria's crisis: 10-18-16

Why the campaign silence about poverty? 10-17-16

You may find this hard to believe, but there is a subject about which neither of the two major party presidential candidates has said nearly enough, despite the cornucopia of words tumbling from their mouths daily.

PovertyErin Wathen, senior pastor of a Kansas City area church, St. Andrew Christian in Olathe, has written this blog entry identifying what that subject is: poverty. And she's absolutely right.

"This," she writes of her blog post, "is a non-partisan critique. Neither candidate has given proper attention to the issue of poverty in this election. And that’s because we, the voting population, have not been asking enough hard questions about their plans to address it. Candidates are always going to spend the majority of their mic time covering the issues that they think will get them elected. So if we aren’t good and loud about what we care about, we aren’t going to hear about it."

What subject simply dominates the Bible in so many of its books? Economic justice and the call to care for the poor and needy. From the Torah through to the last book of the New Testament, the subject of poverty comes up again and again as prophets, channeling God, call people to be mindful of and to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.

In some sad ways, Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" soured many in the electorate on keeping this subject near the top of the political agenda. Those War on Poverty efforts certainly made a difference in many lives, but they also came with examples of waste, corruption and over-regulation that led people to think that when Jesus said, "You will always have the poor among you," he meant that trying to eliminate poverty is just a waste of time.

That was not his point at all, though to get into his point requires a lot more space than I'm going to devote to this blog posting today.

Let it be enough for now to note that poverty causes God's heart to break, and what breaks God's heart must surely break ours. In fact, the divine concern about this subject has a widely used special name -- "God's preferential option for the poor."

But neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has raised up poverty to be a central concern of the campaign. It's past time that we asked them to do so.

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Even if our presidential candidates aren't talking much about eradicating poverty, Pope Francis is. Indeed, that was the focus of his remarks yesterday. “Let us," he said, "join our moral and economic forces to fight together against poverty that degrades, offends and kills so many of our brothers and sisters, by giving life to serious policies in support of families and employment.” Preach it, brother.


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