There is nothing new under the sun

That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a
pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?

Amos 8:6 King James Bible

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Candlelight Vigil for Trayvon Martin

Candlelight Vigil in Hong Kong for the 18th An...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just returned from a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin, the young man whose life was tragically cut short last month in Florida.

What kind of a world do we live in, that teenagers are not safe walking home after dark? What kind of a world do we live in, that teenagers who dress like their peers, just trying to fit in, are labelled as thugs?

I thought we had moved beyond the world where African-American teenage males must be told to be careful how they act, or they will be arrested or worse. All teenagers annoy their elders, but that African-American males must fear for their lives is just plain wrong.

I want to live in a world where no one dies because of fear, where being black (or brown, or some color other than white) is not a crime, where law-abiding teenagers don’t have to fear the police, or vigilantes, where love and justice prevail.

How long must we wait for Dr. King’s dream to come true?

Sunday Service: Justice

St. Francis of Assisi (circa 1182-1220)

Image via Wikipedia

Before I get started on my Sunday Service topic, I want to share something with you. A friend of mine wrote a meditation, of sorts, on joy and St. Francis of Assisi. I found it very moving and want to share it with you. It is Lord, Make Me Instrument of Thine Peace. I think it’s appropriate for the rest of the post, anyway, considering what St. Francis had to say about wealth and economic justice in his time.

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Today I participated in a discussion about justice, particularly economic justice. I want to share some of my thoughts on economic justice with you.

  1. We live in a capitalist, democratic society.
  2. Wealth that is justly acquired (no ethical, moral, or legal principles were broken in its amassing) is the property of the person who acquired it.
  3. Some people are unable to amass the same amount of wealth as others.
  4. Society has a duty to help those who cannot help themselves. Everyone has basic human rights to food, water and shelter. In modern society, everyone also has a right to education and healthcare. Society must provide these basic rights to those who cannot obtain them on their own.
  5. Individuals and groups of individuals acting independently (charities) are incapable of meeting the needs of everyone.
  6. Government, acting according to numbers 1 and 2, has a duty to provide for the basic needs of those who cannot provide for themselves.
  7. This takes the form of taxes and these taxes pay for food stamps, welfare, healthcare, education, and more. These services are often provided to society as a whole, especially the last two, education and healthcare.
  8. Equality of opportunity is not the same as equality of outcome. Every child deserves the same chance as every other child, but adults are not guaranteed to have the same goods as every other adult.

What are your thoughts on justice? On economic justice? Please share, if you are comfortable, in the comments.

Thieves (expanded)

Before white men roamed these round hills
Before horses came and wheels cut the grass
Before the sod-buster and plow,
This land was meant for another people.

In the old land, east of here,
Food was scarce and beliefs oppressed
My kin came here — a fresh start.
I cannot leave — there’s nowhere else.

The red ones miss me like fish miss water
How can they have joy when dignity is gone?
I didn’t choose to be born here
I own this land — I belong now.

Thief, whispers the land. You do not belong.
I will not leave.

I posted an earlier version of this last week. This version is for Poetry Rally.

They: Poetry Rally Entry

He said it with laughter
His friend laughed and whispered.
They came for him.

They were waiting for him
At his mom’s, his girlfriend’s
He said it with laughter

They didn’t think it funny
And he had to flee
His friend laughed and whispered

He hid in the forest,
Living on the land, when
They came for him.

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For Thursday Poetry Rally at Jingle’s

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