Posted: July 2016
Are our government, our media and maybe even you and me, guilty of blaming the poor for their predicament? Pathways to poverty are often presented as the fault of the individual, argues Methodist Vice-President Rachel Lampard. "Your relationship broke down; you failed your exams; you don't work; you are addicted; you are in debt. Being in poverty is no longer about being poor. It's about being at fault."
Rachel invites us to listen instead to someone in poverty describe what poverty means to them: "Poverty is not being able to do things that are necessities. Things that are important like gas and electric, showers, bus fares, and having to worry that your daughter has a hole in her shoes. She needs new shoes and I don't have the money. What do I do? Do I get the gas or do I get shoes?"
A challenge for the church and all of us then, is to look beyond who is at fault. We need to look and listen for the underlying causes. "It is then", says Rebecca, "that we see the thousand hidden injustices. Injustices which are deeply rooted in the way we organise our society and our world, from the way we talk about people without material resources, to the desperate future faced by the world's poorest."
So let's beware of faulty fault lines and those who spin them.
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