Today’s Truely Oppressed

In my last blog, I argued that some people, including some churches and Christians, don’t get it that today blacks and other so-called minorities now have equal rights. I reference my first-hand experience, using as an example from my Navy days in the early 70s, the fruit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s labor. 

Some entities, mostly backed by the government, are on a witch hunt to quixotically go after those who threaten life and liberty of minorities. They continue to attack windmills.  

Over time, different groups were discriminated against – the Irish, Italians, Germans…  Today it is the homeless. From personal experience over the past four and a half years hanging out with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA, I witnessed first-hand and through reliable sources the prejudice perpetrated against the homeless. It’s similar to Jim Crow and the black population, although, to my knowledge, no homeless people have been lynched. The liberal establishment’s modus operandi is a way to constructively destroy and keep out of sight and mind the homeless in Bucks. 

I haven’t visited the Levittown public library as much as I have in years past. It seems that, as was the case with the civil rights movement, we have overcome the past gross discrimination against the homeless in the library. Just as the song urges us not to be afraid of the reaper, the establishment no longer needs to be afraid of the blog.  https://youtu.be/lceVpWkhJ9w 

A reliable source told me recently what I suspected in the past. Because the Friends of The Library help the library, they thought they own the public library and can, by fiat, turn it into their private country club where they can exclude the homeless. When I volunteered in the food pantry at the local Salvation Army, an official there overheard me talking to another volunteer, challenging the harassment of the homeless in the library as a constructive way to get rid of them. The official chimed in that there are people who visit the library who don’t like the homeless there and she was OK with the library discriminating against the homeless in order to cater to the elites. When I challenged the official, she spouted the stereotypes about the homeless being dirty, eating in the library, etc.  The Salvation Army traditionally helps the downtrodden.  

When I asked the Salvation Army representative if she ever went to the library to see the homeless for herself, she got dismissive and that was the end of the conversation. But that wasn’t the end of it. When I had to go through her after being offered an opportunity by someone from the Salvation Army regional office to write for the SA, like a Sandinista, she used her position to punish me by blocking my opportunity. The second time I approached her after a few months delay, she snapped “I don’t have time for that!” 

Many people, including myself before I got to know the local homeless, don’t really understand them. The name “Skid Row”, unfortunately gives some people an image of the homeless – raggedy looking drunks rummaging through trash cans, lying drunk on the street, etc. In my experience hanging with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA, I found that this is not the case here. You’re not going to show people who the homeless really are by making a video, using actors while the homeless stood by and were treated like mannequins, as AHTN did. The video did not tell it like it is! 

The homeless group Picture The Homeless has a slogan “Don’t Talk About Us; Talk With Us.”  Spot on!

In my book “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless” I focus on my experience hanging with the homeless in lower Bucks County PA to tell it like it is! 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/172865209X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_.iX9BbZXM6842?fbclid=IwAR0gPVr_CAM7L0hyxu92hll8KTsLWTUmr1nIEamgTnuc_Hi4yDafBYGcMqs 

A City Set On A Hill?

In his letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr beseeched the “moderate”, lukewarm white southern churches to join him in his campaign to secure equality for blacks. Dr. King’s argument was that discrimination against blacks is contrary to what America and the Bible is about.

Except for groups such as Black Lives Matter, racial prejudice today is on the ash heap of history. The homeless have become the new group to be discriminated against.  Over nearly three years I’ve witnessed discrimination against the homeless in Bucks County, PA. Recently, I saw discrimination in Burlington Township, New Jersey when I attended a meeting to address the concerns of neighbors of the proposed homeless housing site.

The neighbors weren’t there for a dialog but expressed anger about bringing people who need a place to stay, who will be screened and will live in a managed complex, into their community. In essence, they want to zone out homeless people, segregating them, as was the case during the Jim Crow south.

Begging the question, one opponent of the homeless housing plan asked what the Citizens Serving the Homeless, who orchestrated the plan,  is going to do when most of the people use drugs and some of them will either revert to drugs or go back out on the street. There is no evidence that the people slated for the housing are druggies.

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you known that our country has a drug epidemic. A short while ago, President Trump mentioned this, saying that people are taking drugs “like candy.” In fact, Levittownnow.com just reported on a panel addressing this: http://levittownnow.com/2017/02/16/local-experts-hold-panel-drug-addiction-lower-bucks-county/

The opponents of the homeless housing plan in New Jersey accused the architects of cherry picking the people they showed on the video – the kind who will be moving into their neighborhood. One of the three people who shot the footage messaged me on Facebook: “I can personally attest to the fact that the neighbors shown in the CSH video were not cherry picked. As a matter of fact, Andrew, Pastor Tom & I drove to several motels & the woods where we knew there were some homeless people living & simply interviewed everyone willing to speak with us. The video shows every single person we interviewed in two days, no one was left out.”

http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/theirstories.html

One opponent of the plan said that the people portrayed in the video – decent neighbors who need a place to stay, will not use the housing. Really?

Evidently, opponents of the plan to help the homeless start with a foregone conclusion and create a false narrative to win the argument and to camouflage their prejudice against the homeless.

Fortunately, the Church of the Nazarene, who, as the church’s head pastor explained at the meeting, has a “covenant” with Citizens Serving the Homeless to fulfill her Biblical mandate to serve others in need. The pastor said he expected flak from neighbors, but is adamant on doing God’s will, pressing on full steam with the plan to help the homeless.

Churches in Bucks County have also been ministering to the homeless, offering them food and clothing as well as spiritual guidance. At last night’s community meal, the pastor preached a mini-sermon, saying that God can help anybody, no matter your situation or what you have done. The hosts at the church made their guests feel welcome, greeting them and seeing them off, shaking hands. This is what the church should do.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  -Matthew 5:14-16

The Sky is Raining Homeless

Monday night,  I found out first hand that Bucks County, PA is not the only place that reeks with prejudice against the homeless. I left a meeting of the Citizens Serving the Homeless, held at the Church of The Nazarene in Burlington Township, NJ early after hearing a flood of judgmental, callous and bogus remarks about the homeless from neighbors near the site where the organization plans to house 60 homeless people.

The pastor of the Church of the Nazarene opened (after a prayer) with an explanation of the relationship between the church and the non-profit. He explained it as a “covenant” between two separate entities with the plan to help the homeless. In addition to helping the homeless with physical needs, the church will offer spiritual guidance, the pastor said.

The pastor explained that the property designated for the non-profit was vacant for more than 1 ½ years. After much prayer, fasting, and consulting with people inside and outside the church, the church decided it was God’s will and their Christian mission to help the homeless as the opportunity arose.

The goal of the plan is to help the homeless become self-sufficient.

The Citizens for the Homeless put on a presentation to show the kind of people who will be living in the housing, with testimonies from homeless people about why they became homeless. Some had had a major illness, suffered job loss, death of spouse, and other things that don’t make them career criminals, drunks or druggies. The opponents of the plan to help the homeless accused the homeless helpers of cherry picking the kind of people they showed they will be helping.

In their infinite wisdom – and they must be clairvoyant – the opponents assumed the people who would use the homeless housing were druggies. One presumptive twit said that the innocuous people who are out on the street only because they had nowhere else to go will not use the housing.

The consensus of the cacophonous crowd was that the people coming to the housing will endanger the community. One opponent asked what the CSH is going to do when most of the people use drugs and some of them will either revert to drugs or go back out on the street, as if this is a fact. So, like magic, the homeless shelter is now a drug rehab place. The underlying assumption is that the homeless are druggies, at least. These hobophobic (the irrational fear of the homeless) Chicken Little opponents were tone deaf to the statement that people will be screened before moving in and that there will be a manager on site 24/7.

The sky is falling! Raining homeless!

The homeless housing plan opponents arguments were specious. For those of you in Doylestown, “specious” means “superficially plausible, but actually wrong:

‘a specious argument’

 

It was evident that the opponents of the plan weren’t there to have an honest conversation but to just push their will on those who plan to help the homeless.  Many of the opponents were loud, interrupting the hosts, not even allowing them to fully answer questions they asked. Early on, when the pastor spoke, one particularly rude individual constantly tried to shout down the pastor.  The pastor explained that the meeting needs to have order and that the loud mouth (my words)  needed to be respectful, and told him to shut up and that he’ll have his turn to address the issue. At one point, the guy sitting next to me stood up and dressed the loud mouth down, telling him, in so many words, that he was out of order and that we needed to have a civil meeting.  When he sat down, the guy remarked to his wife “this isn’t a Republican meeting.” I quietly said “yes” and nodded in agreement.

It was typical Democrat debate. It was like watching the hearings for the folks that President Trump picked to serve us.

What was ironic is that the barbaric opponents of the plan labeled the homeless as miscreants, as they showed almost zero civility, respect for others. They didn’t see the homeless as human beings, after you cut through the smoke screen, but as a pestilence that they don’t want invading their back yard. Figuratively, they were carrying torches and pitch forks! They were rabid!

Tonight’s meeting reminded me of the contrast between a Christian world view and the wicked ways of the world. The church in this case sees the homeless as having intrinsic value, made in the image of God. The worldly views that they are not was abundantly evident tonight!

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. “

-Isaiah 58:6-8

For more information about The Citizens Serving the Homeless: http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/