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“Rally to Save the American Dream” remarks

I spoke at today’s Rally to Save the American Dream, sponsored by MoveOn. Here are my remarks:

My name is Chuck Warpehoski, I’m an interterfaith organizer. Some people would have us believe that the only religious voices on faith issues are conservative voices. I’m here to tell you that’s not true.

All the faith traditions talk about caring for the poor. Of course, the best way to do that is to give them good-paying jobs, and that’s what unions are for.

The Torah, the Jewish scripture, teaches that every seven years all debts should be forgiven. You don’t have to be Jewish to realize that this teaching might have a lesson for us as we face the foreclosure crisis.

The Torah also teaches, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deut 16:20) You don’t have to be religious to realize that this teaching is a challenge to a budget proposal that raises taxes on poor families while cutting taxes on businesses.

In Christianity, Jesus asked his followers, “Who of you, if a child asked for bread, would give him a stone.” The point is that we should care for our children and give them what they need. And you don’t have to be Christian to realize that this teaching says something about a budget that cuts funding to our schools.

Jesus also told his followers, “those who are not against us are for us.” That sounds to me a bit like solidarity.

Teachers, are you with us?

Students, are you with us?

Labor, are you with us?

Michigan, are you with us?

7 comments ↓

#1 Wally on 02.27.11 at 11:54 am

My Christian religion does not tell me to “…give someone a fish”, It tells me to teach someone to fish.
Most poor people dont pay taxes…
One more… “If you dont work, you wont eat…” paraphrased, of course…

#2 admin on 02.27.11 at 12:11 pm

Where in your Bible does it tell you to “teach someone to fish?” That’s not in my Bible.

The laws of Israel did have the equivalent of a welfare system. Landowners were commanded, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:22) This was a way to ensure that those who were kept out of the economic system would have a way to feed themselves. Care for the poor trumped “private property.”

The standard the Las of Moses set was a high one, “However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you.” (Deuteronomy 15:4). That’s not a standard we live up to.

What did Jesus tell the rich young man? To sell his possessions and to give the profits to the poor. Re-read your Bible, Wally. It does tell you to care for the poor, and condemns those who ignore or oppress the poor.

#3 TeacherPatti on 02.27.11 at 5:57 pm

I love what you had to say Chuck. Another thing that I try to remember is that my religion (Judaism) teaches that it is more important that we do good things here on earth and I would presume that means to take care of our friends, neighbors and strangers.

#4 Wally on 02.27.11 at 7:06 pm

“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, TEACH him to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” What watered down version are you reading?

#5 Wally on 02.27.11 at 7:07 pm

In proverbs it tells you to run from someone, instead of going in debt to them, lest you regret your decision to lend to them…

#6 Wally on 02.27.11 at 7:35 pm

Move on…? What church does George Soros attend? I would love to hear what his “teacher” is telling him every weekend…

#7 admin on 03.01.11 at 9:23 am

Wally, I still think you need to re-read your Bible. The “give a man a fish” proverb isn’t in there. (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_does_the_bible_say_teach_a_man_to_fish).

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