A Personal Reflection by Melville Trust President Susan Thomas

by Susan Thomas November 2, 2020

There is something fundamentally wrong with this country’s priorities. In addition to the gravity of losing thousands of lives a day, millions of Americans have been waiting since May for Congress to provide the adequate financial relief needed to blunt the crushing economic impact of the pandemic.

Yet, amid this crisis, lawmakers have identified, “vetted” and confirmed a Supreme Court Justice in a matter of weeks in order to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and achieve their long-held dream of overturning Roe vs. Wade.

We know the rabid interest in disemboweling the Affordable Care Act centers on the fact that it was a signature achievement of a Black man, and despite public polling in support of it, many elected officials in this country would rather eliminate healthcare for millions of people during a pandemic than let the ACA stand.

At the same time those who are so desperate to defend life in the name of their faith cannot see past their self-righteousness long enough to defend the lives of all human beings, regardless of immigration status, wealth or race.

To them I ask, what happened to the mandate to care for “the least of these”? I ask this because I, too, am a woman of faith, and in fact I am obligated to hold my brothers and sisters in Christ accountable to what’s been asked of us.

In their defense of life, I wish those same brothers and sisters would get just as angry about the 170,000 families with children who don’t have a home in which to “shelter in place” and the 1 out of 5 Black households that do not have enough to eat. I wish they would be just as incredulous about the 6 million households who make less than $15,000 a year and pay half of that income on rent alone. I want to see some outrage over the estimated 30-40 million who, as a result of the pandemic, are behind on their rent and may be evicted while lawmakers squabble over what constitutes adequate relief. And I would love to see the same level of righteous indignation over the well-known fact that Black and brown people are disproportionately impacted by systems and structures created to limit home ownership, economic stability, quality healthcare and education and much, much more.

The mandate of our faith should unite us all in serving those who need it most. Yet when faced with glaring evidence of injustices in our society along the lines of race and class, too many of my fellow Christians look away. When faced with blatant racism, hate, and our democracy in the balance, too many of my fellow Christians look away.

Although my beliefs are personal and do not represent the Trust, they do clearly align with the foundation’s values. Our focus on preventing and ending homelessness stems from our founders’ moral outrage at the persistence of homelessness in the wealthiest democracy in the world. We work to end homelessness for all people – targeting disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ Youth and Young Adults – because that is what is needed and what is the right thing to do.

Faith without works is dead. My fervent hope is that my brothers and sisters will do more than send thoughts and prayers and seek more than hollow victories that do nothing for the “least of these.”

Tags:

News & Views

There are no comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *