Wednesday, July 8, 2009

War and Poverty

"Why We Fight". Don't you sometimes just want to vent. To let all of your frustrations out. To be bold and say all the things that we want to say but never do for some unknown reason (wink wink...Patriot Act...wink wink...lifetime imprisonment). A documentary just came out entitled "Why We Fight" looking at the results of America's synthesis of the military and industrialization. Unlike a little film called "Fahrenheit 9/11", "Why We Fight" is not a film that attempts to slander any one side of the political realm. Instead, it is a though-provoking film that asks questions about the current war and the administration's ultimate goals for the war.

In his farewell address to the country, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave an almost prophetic speech warning the United States against becoming lustful for power and forsaking the impoverished and oppressed. In 2006, the US spent $419.3 billion on defense related issues, not including
expenditures for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. According to the One Campaign to end poverty, America currently only spends $19 billion on attempting to end poverty. That is less than .75 of the current federal budget.

After watching this movie and researching the facts, I can't help but think that the direction America is going is one that forsakes the entire message of Christ. That is, do not forsake the poor. Most people have the perception that Sodom fell because of the decadence and immorality. Ezekiel 16:49 states "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy". I bring up Christianity for a reason. I know that America is not a truly Christian nation. We do not live in a theocracy. What I am saying is that if the Christians in the country refuse to take action and begin to reach out our hands to those in need, are we any less guilty then the people of Sodom?

The Catholic Church of Zambia has risen up and challenged the government to increase their budget for eliminating poverty. Though we have voice here in America echoing the same ideas, we approach these great social issues with a lack of unity and compassion. Have we lost our saltiness? To often, we view our mission as only preaching the Gospel for the purposes of conversion and nothing else. We have forsaken the idea of living out the Gospel for the purposes of advancing the Kingdom and letting the entire world feel the impact of the Incarnation and the saving grace of Christ in our lives. We cannot afford to let issues like poverty, aids, environmentalism, etc. fall by the wayside because we are ill-informed or afraid of the consequences of speaking out.

However, don't let this blog be your only source of knowledge. Research these facts yourself. If you feel compelled to do so, browse the following websites:

www.calltorenewal.org; www.jubileeresearch.org; www.one.org

In addition, here are two distinct definitions for poverty. In terms of the international community, extreme poverty is defined as living on only $1 per day. The World Bank estimates that 1.1 billion people live on $1 per day and 2.7 billion people live on $2 per day.

Concerning poverty in the United States, a family is considered impoverished if they live below the standard median of income. For example, a family of four is considered living in poverty if they make $20,000 or less for an entire year. Horrifying statistics, if I may say so.

- Originally written July 17, 2006

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