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America's Forgotten War

I wrote an article January, 2010 "America's Forgotten War" please read below... I would like to know your thoughts, ideas, and/or comments about poverty and the poor! Thanks for your comments...Dr. J


America’s Forgotten War

“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:8).

Jesus used these words to cut the tension in the air at the home of his friend Lazarus in Bethany. Six days before Passover while Jesus sat at the table Mary (Lazarus’ sister) took a pound of spikenard and anointed the Master’s feet. When the full aroma of this expensive perfume filled the house Judas Iscariot (the treasurer) became disgruntled. He attacked Mary’s display of humility as wasteful and untimely. He complained “Why was this perfume not sold and the money given to the poor?” Jesus defended the woman’s actions as being prerequisite for his pending burial. Then he added in a “matter of fact” way, “The poor you will always have, but you will not always have me.”

His imminent demise would seem to be the focal point of this conversation but we must not blink at his social commentary. He said, “The poor you shall have with you always.” Was this prophecy, revelation or condemnation of man’s agreed and indiscriminate inhumanity to his fellowmen?

Two thousand years ago he who witnessed all that ever was and knew all that will ever be declared that poverty is a foregone conclusion. That announcement troubles my soul and I know it troubled Martin Luther King Jr. who realized that equal rights without financial stability is shallow and deficient. What shall we do about the poor in the richest democracy in the world? They won’t go away. We can’t seem to hide them under the cloak of anonymity or sweep them under the rug of indifference. They always seem to pop up at the most inappropriate times like when someone is preaching one of those “prosperity” or “name it and claim it” messages.

When President Lyndon Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty in America on January 8, 1964 I’m sure he had no idea we would yet be at battle with this insurgent 46 years later. After countless social programs, wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq we still cannot find the silver bullet to kill poverty.

Dr. King died on the battlefield fighting poverty with sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. He was scheduled to leave Memphis and travel to Washington DC, to lead a mass march for radical redistribution of economic power. If we really want to honor this great American we must lift up the banner that fell from his hands on April 4, 1968 and continue to fight the forgotten war on poverty.

God in His infinite wisdom knew that the homeless, hungry, and less fortunate would need special consideration and protection. So Moses told Israel, “Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor, in your land “(Deut. 15:11).

If we fight with all of our domestic resources to triumph in the war on poverty many of the other national skirmishes (drug abuse, crime, health care, and education) will be won decisively. America has the weapons to defeat poverty. The question is, do we have the will?

Dr. George B. Jackson

Chairman, MLK-SAC

January 13, 2010

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