“They grind the penniless into the dirt”

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A guest blogger’s strong words on our treatment of the poor.

Prophet_amosWith infinite appreciation to Bob Mann for advancing the values of citizenship in a state that appears to have lost direction.

I’m amused by how easily some people are offended or shocked by my posts. Admittedly, Louisiana higher education isn’t awash in professors who blog, much less who regularly assail the governor or the LSU Board of Supervisors.But still, it strikes me as more than strange that dissent – even my rather mild variety – seems so noteworthy, and even dangerous, to some people. Recent posts on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s and the Louisiana Legislature’s treatment of the poor seemed particularly strong – and offensive — to a few readers.

Why do you have to be so negative about the governor? Aren’t you setting a bad example for your students? Why can’t you be more civil? What you say will not hurt you, but rather your school. You’re personally attacking good people, etc., etc.

So, today I have turned this space over to a guest blogger. His name is Amos Profeta. Perhaps he’ll approach the issue of poverty in a more civil and respectful manner.

(Warning: As you’ll see, my friend Amos is a little strange. For example, he thinks he receives messages from God.)
What God has told me about how our society and its leaders are treating the poor. They buy and sell upstanding people. People for them are only things—ways of making money. They’d sell a poor man for a pair of shoes. They’d sell their own grandmother!

They grind the penniless into the dirt, shove the luckless into the ditch. Everyone and his brother sleeps with the ‘sacred whore’—a sacrilege against my Holy Name. Stuff they’ve extorted from the poor is piled up at the shrine of their god, while they sit around drinking wine they’ve conned from their victims.

Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar and stomp righteousness into the mud. Do you realize where you are? You’re in a cosmos star-flung with constellations by God, a world God wakes up each morning and puts to bed each night. God dips water from the ocean and gives the land a drink.

God, God-revealed, does all this. And he can destroy it as easily as make it. He can turn this vast wonder into total waste. People hate this kind of talk. Raw truth is never popular.
But here it is, bluntly spoken: Because you run roughshod over the poor and take the bread right out of their mouths, you’re never going to move into the luxury homes you have built. You’re never going to drink wine from the expensive vineyards you’ve planted.

I know precisely the extent of your violations, the enormity of your sins.
Appalling!
Stop_the_bullyYou bully right-living people, taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they’re down.
Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic. Decent people throw up their hands. Protest and rebuke are useless, a waste of breath.
Seek good and not evil—and live!
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, being your best friend.
Well, live like it, and maybe it will happen.
Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square.
I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
money-and-justice-scalesI want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want.
That’s all I wanted.
Adapted from The Message, Amos 2:6-8; 5:7-15, 18-24)

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