It's About Class by Bob Wickizer

It's About Class
Bob Wickizer
Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
September 4, 2005

Verna Dozier, an Episcopal layperson who has published fabulous books on theology and scripture once wrote that we should pray the daily newspaper. I have made a regular habit of daily prayer as part of my newspaper reading ever since. This week my daily newspaper prayers have left me in tears more than once.

Part of me wants to pack a truck full of tools and supplies and head south. Another part of me keeps rolling the numbers around in my head with the righteous anger of a prophet growing by the hour. 435,000 – That's the number that I have in mind. What we are witnessing through the media is not the literary joke of the very popular but theologically vapid "Left Behind" series. No what we are witnessing this week is the real thing. This tragedy is not so much about the hurricane, it is about the real "left behind event."

435,000 – That's the number of people with enough financial means and resources to travel out of harms way. That's the number of people who fled with their backs turned towards the 50,000 left behind.

435,000 people called their friends and families on Tuesday. "We're safe" they said. The hurricane missed New Orleans. Our nation breathed a short sigh of relief as we collectively forgot about the 50,000 left behind.

That's the thing about the poor. They are invisible mostly. There were African-Americans, persons of color, Hispanics and Asians not just in New Orleans but scattered across coastal counties including rural poor we have not even found so far. There were also the elderly, the single mothers and those on oxygen or needing dialysis or needing medication. White, black or brown, illness and disability can be a quick introduction into the ranks of the invisible poor.

So as the world watched their televisions with disbelief, I found my own reactions to the reports of looting and violence rising up in ...

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