Saturday, September 26, 2015

The War Against the Poor Rages on

The War Against the Poor rages on in conservative circles ... widely supported among evangelical christians ...

What are the roots of this malignant cancer eating away at America’s soul?

Two causes:

1) English landed gentry assumed that the peasant working in the field was less deserving of the things of life - determined by god to fulfill the role of servant for those determined by god to be the ruling, landed, class.

2) This was translated into the American Soul - only the landed gentry could vote, etc.. Then, comes the African Slave - of course, slavery was their god-determined role; they were less than human, anyway, and thus degraded in mind and spirit, but endowed with physical strength, to work the sugar cane and cotton fields.

After the Civil War, it wasn’t much easier for the African, and for the South, to justify its growing Jim Crow legal system, the same ideas were applied: being less than human, they were destined to work, and never enjoy the benefits of their labors. And a hint, as well, as punishment: “You cast your lot with the North, and now you will pay, pay mightily for what the North did to us.”

While lots of poor whites labored in the same system, they were at least accorded a certain dignity of status in society and in church. As long as there were Africans on the bottom of the heap, even the poorest and most wretched white man could look down his nose at the African, with disdain, and then fear and hatred, to further demonize the African and justify the growing patterns of violence against the African.

While prevented ultimately from openly directing all of this hatred toward the African, it was transmuted to a hatred of all things poor ... once again, evangelical christianity joined the chorus of hatred - “if you’re poor, you’re lazy; if you’re poor, it’s god’s judgment; if you’re poor, there’s something wrong with you. And what you need, all you need, is Jesus.”

Poverty of others becomes a means of self-congratulations - “I may be poor, but I’m not poor like THAT! I’m blessed by god, I’m bound for heaven, I work hard, and I’m a whole lot better than the raggedy man in his broken-down car and that disheveled woman on the street corner begging for coins.”

“No free stuff for anyone.”

And so the War Against the Poor rages on!

1 comment:

Bob Dahl said...

Thanks for putting this truth so succinctly -- linking prejudice and economic issues with religion. As always, well written.