Archive | Helping the Needy

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Let Your LIGHT SHINE!

Posted on 29 May 2017 by mdepeine

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TRUMPCARE is a GREAT “IDEA” For…

Posted on 06 May 2017 by mdepeine

  • The rich – They receive lots of tax breaks; close to $800 billion in the next 10 years. (http://www.npr.org/2017/05/04/526923181/gop-health-care-bill-would-cut-about-765-billion-in-taxes-over-10-years?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170504&utm_campaign=breakingnews&utm_term=nprnews)
  • Those who prioritize money over people – Most of us want more money in our pockets, but It should not lead to worst health conditions for “faceless” and countless Americans, or even death of those Americans!
  • The avaricious or greedy politician – The plan protects their big business donors and special interest groups who spend a lot of money for election campaign ads, but does nothing to protect the vulnerable members of our society.
  • Big businesses – TRUMPCARE reduces the insurance companies’ burden of dealing with pre-existing conditions like:  cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc..  These companies would now be able to charge more for any pre-existing condition.
  • Americans who don’t like to help other Americans – These Americans believe they fended for themselves and got success without “handouts” and others should do the same, no matter how unfortunate or oppressed they are.
  • Minimally engaged “Christians” – They don’t believe in “lifting a finger” to help the less fortunate members of society, unless it has to do with food and shelter. Instead of intervening on behalf of the less fortunate, they believe that God has to do ALL the direct interventions while they just sit and watch, or just wait for favorable outcomes. Yet, Jesus says, Christians are “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” (see Matthew 5:13-16, see also Isaiah 58).  Christians who are able, should OPENLY SPEAK against destructive and unfair policies and suggest better ones. – shed “light” on issues.
  • Those who overlook the elderly –  A modern society should take care of its weakest members and not raise their insurance premiums by thousands per year when they are living on a fixed income.
  • Anti-Obama Republicans – They couldn’t stand the successes President Obama had, despite their constant obstructionist ways – this-is-their-PAYBACK!
  • White supremacist- The plan hurts a lot of people of color and the poor.  It removes major legislation spearheaded and implemented by The United State’s first black President.
  • Trump – He gets to BOAST that he repealed The ACA – Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

In the end, TRUMPCARE, is short on care and BIG on TRUMP.  We must demand better!

Suggestion: Don’t replace the ACA with a weak and heartless Trumpcare. Instead,make the ACA more efficient and more cost effective.

If you disagree with TrumpCARE, contact your current senators.  Every state has two senators, making a total of 100 senators in the US Senate.  Let your senators know that you will not vote for them and may make every effort to make sure they do not get reelected to the senate if they vote “yes” to TrumpCARE.

Breakdown of the bill: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/04/526887531/heres-whats-in-the-house-approved-health-care-bill?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170504&utm_campaign=politics&utm_term=nprnews

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Help the Young Girls and Women of the World

Posted on 01 October 2015 by mdepeine

I saw this very inspiring and moving video (documentary) called Half the Sky  http://www.halftheskymovement.org/pages/about-half-the-sky-movement .  This is based on a book by the same name, Half the Sky, written by Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn.  They have partnered with various actors and activists to highlight the oppression that hundreds of millios of young girls and women are enduring all over the world.  They look at lack of education, rape, sex trafficking, genital mutilation, murder and other attacks against girls and women.

I couldn’t believe how bad things are all over the world, and also in the US, for girls and women.  Check out the link above and see how you can make a difference.

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The Pervasiveness of White Supremacy Doctrines

Posted on 23 June 2015 by mdepeine

We must admit to reality and not continue to stick our “heads in the sand” on the subject of “white supremacy” and the use of its most effective tool, racism. Here’s a tough question: Are blacks equal to whites? Are whites equal to blacks? How you feel about the answer should give you a lot of insight on whether you support or are against racism. Don’t base your answer on the propoganda (network news’ portrayal of blacks, excessive incarceration of blacks in America, inferior roles in movies, etc.) that you are fed daily from sources that want to perpetuate this idea of “white supremacy” and “black inferiority,” but base your answer on the fact that we were all created by one God. I make this a black and white issue because of America’s continued desire to ignore the traumatic impact of slavery on its history and its refusal to have any meaningful dialogue towards reparation. We need to put everything on the table and admit to the wrong and move toward dismantling everything that serves as an undercurrent that maintains this false ideology of “white supremacy.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-e-price/yes-youre-a-racist—-and-a-traitor_b_7640654.html

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American Racism, Unaddressed, Leads to Murder

Posted on 18 June 2015 by mdepeine

My prayers and thoughts go out to the families whose lives have been shattered by the murder of their loved ones.  I feel very sad and appalled about what has happened in Charleston, South Carolina.  A 21 year old white man decided that he was better than 9 other human beings.  He decided that he could take the lives of 9 other people because of his apparent hatred of their color and what they represented to him.  It is a shame what we see in America today.

So many people spend a lot of energy denying that racism and prejudice in America is alive and very strong.  What kind of upbringing leads a 21 year old to shoot and kill 9 people who are attending a church service, having a time of prayer?  The more we deny the racism and prejudice in America, the more murders will occur as a result of it.  America needs a gut check!  America needs a reeducation about race and race relations.  America needs to confront the truth about its past, its apathy about the present, and strive to redirect its future towards harmony.  America and all of its citizens must lift a hand to dismantle the hatred rooted in racism and prejudice, which is so readily supported by privilege and entitlement.

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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Time to Send a Message to the Dominican Republic About Antihaitianismo (Anti Haitian)

Posted on 18 June 2015 by mdepeine

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.

-Exodus 22:21

I was born in Haiti and I spent some great times there as a child.  When I was 8 years old, my parents arranged for us to migrate to the US.  Every time I meet a Dominican in the US, I speak Spanish to them.  We often say, we are neighbors (somos vecinos).  I love my Dominican “neighbors” but I am very disturbed about what their leaders are doing to the people who have done some of the hardest work in that country.    I hope Dominicans and all kinds of people will rise up and say, “This adverse treatment of people of Haitian descent cannot continue (Caribbean leaders consider sanction against the Dominican Republic – Haiti – MiamiHerald.com).”

I have seen a lot in Haiti.  I lived there in the times of the Duvalier dictatorship.  I was there when bombs were dropped on the capital, as people tried to overthrow that government.  I had the opportunity to return in March 2010 to assist those who had experienced the devastating  7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians.  Haitians have been through a lot.

Currently, it disturbs me to hear and see the atrocities being perpetuated against Haitians and those of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.  More than 200,000 Dominicans of  Haitians descent are being stripped of their right to citizenship (Dominicans of Haitian Descent Cast Into Legal Limbo by Court – NYTimes.com ).  Although they were born on Dominican soil, they are being treated as aliens.  The worst is that most of them were born to parents who were brought over to work on the sugar plantations  and to do other labor intensive tasks.

 At one point, Haiti (Island of Hispaniola) was one.  All the slaves that were brought over were from Africa.  The French and the Spanish occupied the island.  Haitians  were enslaved by the French, while Dominicans were enslaved by the Spaniards.  Both countries have African ancestry, they are genetically linked.  No matter how you put it, there is “black” on both sides of the Island .  Unfortunately, there has been a continued campaign to descriminate against those exhibiting the traits of their darker, African, ancestry.  Those in power have had a  long history of creating and pushing negative propaganda designed to paint their darker relatives as primitive, uncivilized and insignificant (sound familiar?).

The Dominican Republic actually had a campaign where 20,000 – 35,000 Haitians were massacred in October, 1937 by order of the then, dictator, Rafael Trujillo  (Windows on Haiti: The River Massacre ).   Trujillo identified those to be executed by seeing how they pronounced the Spanish word for parsley, perejil.  Whoever did not roll the “r” was executed.  They were identified as “Haitian.”   They had been killed because they were dark-skinned and not “white.”  Trujillo got his inspiration from Adolf Hitler.  He and his followers tried as much as possible to create a nation that was mostly white or light-skinned in appearance by removing any  “black” presence among them (Haiti: Antihaitianismo in Dominican Culture).

State officials of the Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic breaks off Haiti talks over immigration ruling | Reuters) have launched a campaign that served to dehumanize those of Haitian descent.  They have made massive efforts to demonize dark-skinned inhabitants of their country. This is a very dangerous and evil practice.  They have stripped their darker relatives of their citizenship and many have been attacked and killed.  The Dominican government has taken the first steps to “legalizing” the genocide of a people.   So what is the next step?  Currently, any dark-skinned individual is called, “Haitian,” and  is usually mistreated.  This is ironic, considering the fact that most Dominicans are seen as “black” or Afro-Latino by the world at large.

Haitians have been slaughtered in public (Haitian Man Slaughtered “Live” In The Dominican Republic).   No one with any heart for humanity should close their eyes to what is occurring in the Dominican Republic.    They have also allowed them to be robbed of their hard-earned money and no justice has been given on their behalf.  Dominican officials have allowed mobs to attack dark-skinned Dominicans and have allowed those defenseless people to be murdered by those mobs.   They are being treated as the “undesirables” of the country, just like Hitler did to the Jews during World War II.

I dare say, if the world does not open its eyes to this scheme,  it is possible that we will have another genocide (bigger than the one from 1937).  Remember, Adolf Hitler, he robbed the Jews of their citizenship.  He devised a way to identify and label them among the population (they had to wear a star) and they were called, “rats” and likened to them as well.   Anyone who saw those wearing the star mocked those people and mistreated them, just like Dominicans of Haitian descent are being mistreated.  This is not a coincidence.  Eventually, Hitler had  the “final solution.”  The Jews were removed permanently – they were killed by shootings, hangings and gas chambers .  Will there be a “final solution” in the Dominican Republic like Hitler had one? During World War II, this occurred while the whole world watched.  After that sadistic and state-sanctioned genocide, the Jews and everybody with a conscience said, “Never again!”  If anything like what is Happening to the Dominican-Haitians was occurring to Jews in this day, there would be a huge outcry because more than anyone else, the Jews know the signs of state-sponsored genocide and actions that can hint of such a genocide.

We cannot let this mistreatment of a people in the Dominican Republic continue any further.  We  all need to say, “This will not happen here!”  I will not let it happen.  I hope as you read this, you say, “I will not let it happen under my watch!”  We must let the leaders of the Dominican Republic know that we all see what they are doing and we do not agree!  We must all send a message to them that we will not support their country in this decision.  We must put pressure on the legistlators in the US to confront this racism and oppression (http://ohsaynation.com/#!compose?&campaign=1&t=156).

As we mourn the death of the great leader, Nelson Mandela, we must remember the power that a community standing together has in being able to make a change in the interest of the oppressed.  Right now, the darker skinned Dominicans, those of Haitian descent, are being oppressed and they need us to rally on their behalf.  We must send a MESSAGE to the heads of State in the Dominican Republic and to regular citizens who sit idly by, and tell them, “This is not acceptable!”  We must speak on behalf of those who are losing their voice.  We must send a message to the suffering Dominican-Haitians that we are resolved to speak on their behalf.  They must know that they have friends who will speak for them and fight for them.  We must let them know.  The Dominicans of Haitian descent must know that they have support from the “outside.”  They must understand that their hope for relief and justice is not in vain.

I was at a store and I picked up an avocado.   I found a large one that I wanted to buy.  I looked for the price and noticed that it was from the Dominican Republic.  I quickly put it down.  I could not  support a country which treats its people like garbage.  I can’t say like dogs or pigs, because those animals have received better treatment than what the Dominicans of Haitian descent are receiving.

The tourism industry and exporters of Dominican products must know that we are aware of what their officials are doing and we will not support such acts of cruelty and inhumanity.  We must make this a discussion that is so LOUD that they will seriously reconsider and repeal the constitutional provision (Sentencia TC/0168/13 | Tribunal Constitucional de la República Dominicana) designed to strip away the citizenship of  Dominicans of Haitian descent.   My first act of BOYCOTT and PROTEST ( Dominicans Protest Move to Revoke Haitians of Citizenship | Voices of NY) was to refuse to buy an avocado of Dominican origin.  What will your act BOYCOTT and PROTEST be???

Daily Kos: If you are black, get out: The crisis of statelessness in the Dominican Republic

▶ Haiti and The Dominican Republic – The Roots of Division (Massacre River) – YouTube

   Petition | STOP DOMINICAN REPUBLIC VIOLENCE AGAINST HAITIANS | Change.org

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/17/opinions/walker-inequality-roots/index.html

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court

-Proverbs 22:22

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A Movement of “Justice for All” is Happening Because of Trayvon Martin

Posted on 19 July 2013 by mdepeine

It is very hard to say in a few words what many have experienced as a result of the Zimmerman acquittal that occurred on July 13, 2013.  That day will hopefully go down in history as one of the days that changed America for the better.  Essentially, what the verdict said to “Black America” and other Americans who understood, is that it is now “open season” on black young men; black young men “have no rights.”

It seemed that with each passing year after the landmark Civil Rights legistlation of the 1960s there were attempts to get things to go back to “the way they were.”  There seems to be a movement in America that keeps trying to inch back to a time when you could kill a black man or any person of color and you just didn’t have to answer to anyone!  You had the all white jury.  You had the klansman as the judge and you had the laws that backed you up.  If any black person ever dared to take a case to court against a white person, the court procedings were a matter of “formality.”  The white defendant knew with certainty that he or she would not be “betrayed” by the system already put in place and he would not be betrayed by his “peers.”

There are people in America who are nostalgic about such an attrocity.  They long for the days when they could “take matters into their own hands.”  When they did in the past, they were held in high regard by the white majority.  These days, these same people are doing their best to “cloak” their motives in ways that are being communicated in somewhat “politically correct” language even though they have the same goals and motives on their hearts as the people of the past did.  So you will here things like “victim’s rights.”  You will here the emphasis on “the right to bear arms.”  You will hear about “the urban problem.”  You will hear about the “crime” and the “drug problem.” You will hear words like “thugs,”  “felons,”  and “welfare recipients.”  All those terms have have been carefully and strategically “placed” on the black  the community and other people of color.  They have become “code words” that say “We don’t like blacks but we have to deal with them  in a ‘smart’ way.”

As a black man who is a man of God, I know that God made us all.  He made us all so very interesting.  He has allowed us to have all kinds of skin, hair and eye color.   God loves diversity.  If He didn’t, He would have made all of us into one color (you pick one); eyes and hair the same color as well.  God would have made it so that we all have the same hair texture, the same length capacity and so on.  But, because we are so caught up in our pride of wanting to be better than the other, we would have found another way to discriminate.  He made us all human and we found a way to discriminate about color.  If we couldn’t discrimiate about color, we would probably discriminate about ear size and shape, or maybe tone of voice, feet length, height, torso height; you get the point.

This whole racism issue in America is “silly” but it is also hurtful and deadly at the same time.  Many American laws were crafted to oppress and control blacks and other people of color.  There was never a decision by the majority in the United States of America to voluntarily give equal rights to blacks or anyone similar.  Remember, blacks came from being treated as animals and property to demanding that they be treated as EQUAL!  To many whites of those days it was a preposterous demand.  “How dare they think that they could now be considered equal to us?”  That was the ringing and repeated question and the recurring protest, even in the present day.  Yes, many whites are still thinking, “How dare they ask to be equal, after all, we don’t lynch them anymore.  We don’t enslave them.  We even let them use the same facilities (for the most part) with us.  We have let our kids go to school with them.  In some cases, we have not killed them for mixing their blood with our blood (eventhough that has happened since the days of slavery when white men raped female slaves), something that certainly required death in the past.”  So I kind of get it.  Most white Americans never wanted the EQUALITY, they just went along with the laws that were put in place by “force.”  Then, they just had to live with it until they could find a way to undo those laws.

You see, America as a nation has never embraced the idea of EQUALITY.  It never said “You know, we were wrong for enslaving these people and treating them like animals and our property.  They are our equals and we need to do right by them.”  America has not said that and until America says that and learns to have a change of heart, there will always be Trayvon Martins, Amadou Diallos, Sean Bells, Jordan Davis, and many others who will get killed because their lives are “not equal” in the eyes of White America.  Until we do campaigns, laws and other activities that address racism, we will have Superior America versus Inferior America.  You will always have “two Americas.”

After the Trayvon Martin verdict, as a Christian, I know what God wants.  I know His standard.  I also know that this body that I have, that has the outer covering of color, the color brown; this body is really just a tent (2 Peter 1:12-14) that houses the Spirit of God.  We impose various characteristics to the “tent” that we have and others have.  We attribute “like” to some tents, “hate” to others and to some tents we say “stay away from those tents because…”  The fact is, however, we all are just spiritual beings living in a “tent.”  We have made the “tent” more important then what God intended it to be.  As a Christian, I know that when I die, like everybody else, I will put this tent away and God will give me an eternal body.

So, as a Christian, I also know I serve a God who is just.  I would not have known what justice is if it was not for what God has shown me in His word, the Bible.  I know He hates injustice (2 Chronicles 19:7) and oppression (Isaiah 58:6).  It bothers me that some who are “Chritians” can “miss” the injustice that occurred in the Trayvon Martin case.  The young man was profiled by an average citizen, not a law officer (still illegal to do so).  The citizen, George Zimmerman, pursued Trayvon and eventually shot him in the heart and killed him with that one shot.  All the “code words” that I mentioned above were applied to Trayvon to criminalize him because he, after all, belonged to the “inferior America.”  By the time the case was done, those who just looked at the so-called “facts” seemed to feel justified in acquitting George Zimmerman while dishonoring and devaluing the life of Trayvon Martin.

The American criminal justice system is set up to look at the “facts” for the most part.  There are a lot of biases that are inherint in the system.  Here are some:  Most judges are white, most jurors are white, most laws were written by whites,  most police officers are white and the list goes on.  The bias in this system is simple; a white judge, police officer, or juror is readily “connected” with a a white  defendant or plaintiff.   They can relate because they could say, “Wow, he could be my father, my brother or my son.”  When both the defendant and plaintiff are white, perhaps a greater emphasis is on the facts of the case, however other biases (economic status, nationality, etc.) can be at play. When faced with a black defendant or plaintiff, the connectivity (translated here as bias) is nonexistent.  The white judge, police officer, or juror can’t picture this black defendant or plaintiff (black youth, in the case of Trayvon) as a possible father, brother, or son.  That is too much to ask.  The only thing these people tend to do in the case of a black defendant or plaintiff is “apply the law of the land.”  Just the “facts” and only the “facts” are looked at.  The idea of a human life being taken, the hurting parent, wife, husband, the future, the pains, none of that comes into play because there is no connection and there is no relatability.  It is hard to understand motive and the implications of the crime in question when there is no connection or  empathy.  If a case is not made to “humanize” the black defendant or plaintiff,  then, the so-called “facts” and statutes will inevitably “do him in.”  I am almost certain that the mostly white jury that acquitted Zimmerman did not say to themselves:   “Wow, this could happen to my son if I don’t convict Zimmerman.”  They could not say such a thing because this does not happen to white young men.  The empathy was so far removed from this case but that’s “normal” in America.  This issue must be addressed if we are to have somewhat of a fair justice system.

Regardless of the “laws of the land,” we are all human beings.  It is unfair to have a sytem designed to empathize with whites while it serves to alienate and disenfranchise blacks and other people of color.  That is simply unjust by any real sense of the word.  Anyone who does not understand what I have said so far should approach (preferrably during the day in an open environment – they may thing you are behaving like Zimmerman?) any black person and ask them:  “What has it been like for you living in America as a black person?”  The older the person, the more they can tell you.  If you feel brave enough and you really want to understand, then ask them this question:  “What did the acquittal of George Zimmerman mean to you?”  Don’t try to tell them how to think or look at the facts, just use this to get a glimpse of the “world” that a black person lives in.

As a Christian, I don’t think it is enough to say to other Christians, “Hey the world is evil and that’s just how it is.”  That is a very true statement and I absolutely agree with it and believe it.  But, as the light of the world (Mathew 5:14-16) Christians have to try to empathize with those who are hurting like God empathizes.   Christians must validate people’s pain and see how they can relieve those pains.  There were many “Christians” in the time of slavery, lynchings and state-sponsored terrorism against blacks.  Some of those “Christians” made it worst for the oppressed when they should have stood up and said “This is wrong!”  God’s standards are not limited to a church gathering.  He wants the whole world to know His standards.  If I could say a few things to shed some “light” on how the world is treating innocent people then I see it as my duty to shed light.

We feel so great when a popular and well-liked celebrity takes on a good cause and speaks up on behalf of an oppressed group.  It means something to us.  If God parted the heavens and said, “This injustice has to stop and everyone must do their part to stop it!” We would be impressed.  He essentially did that when He sent Moses to free the Jews (Exodus 3:1-10) from the Egyptians.  If all of us look hard enough, we will all see that our American system, as it is, is very flawed, biased and deadly.  It is time for all of us to do our part to redo this system and remove the “perks” for some but serve as a death trap for others.  Americans have not decided to be EQUAL.  We must effectively tackle this issue and help as many  Americans as possible to see that EQUALITY is the reality…anything else is a myth.  God did create all men equal in His sight.  Our diversity is there to experience the various qualities of God, that is all.

Every man and woman with a conscience should do something to keep this discussion going and expect significant change.  Everyone who believes in EQUALITY must step up and lend a hand to create a movement in America that will not be stopped.  Pressure must be applied to this dysfunctional system that is full of bias.  Federal standards need to be put in place to protect all citizens in every State of the United States of America.  It should not be left up to individual states to decide the value of the life of American citizens or that of the aliens who live among us.  Let Trayvon’s tragic death serve as the catalyst that gets us, in America, to discuss and tackle this issue of race openly, from the White House to the alleyways of Bronx, NY.  Every corner of this country needs to be free for every American and denial or dismassal of this issue cannot be accepted anymore.

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Not Guilty Verdict for George Zimmerman? Trayvon’s Murderer is Free to go…

Posted on 13 July 2013 by mdepeine

Many in America feel helpless and know in their hearts that a great injustice has been done. An innocent black young man was killed as he walked in what is considered the most “free nation” in the world. Trayvon’s life was cut short because someone (George Zimmerman) was convinced that he was a “criminal.” Trayvon was clearly profiled. Zimmerman did not follow the direction of the police when he was told to stop pursuing the teen. Trayvon’s parents have lost their son and now they have also lost the case to get justice in the American (via Florida) court system. As The Florida State Attorney (Angela Corey) spoke she had a smile on her face in many instances. It didn’t seem to register to her that the people she represented were experiencing another very painful moment in reference to their son’s death and murder? Angela answered the questions with a sense of detachment and she was almost glib. To me it seemed that this was “just another” procedure, nothing more. The prosecutor and especially, the assistant prosecutor clearly identified with the victims. That may be a big problem with our “justice” system; in some cases (like this one) the law is the law! In other cases those who represent the victims genuinely identify with the pain of the crime inflicted and they also transfer that sense of human emotion and value of life to the jury. Without that connection and transfer, the “law and the process” wins, but the victims are almost always the losers. The attorney General’s press conference was more about applauding the “Florida” system than it was about the anguish and lost the victims experienced. It bothers me when people glory in their system when that system favors only a portion of the population. We must do more and we must expect more.

 

Isaiah 58:6

 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

 

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Who Should Step up and Take Care of the Oppressed, the Naked, those Unjustly Treated?

Posted on 02 September 2012 by mdepeine

The passage below is from the Old Testament, Isaiah 58:3-12.  God, Almighty is addressing his people.  The people had fasted and sacrificed in a way and they expected God to come through and answer their prayers.  They probably gave up certain foods or all food for a certain period of time.  They probably dressed in clothing that was not attractive or comfortable.  They probably did not do things they considered “luxuries” of those days.  In any case, they “sacrificed” and they expected some results from God.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

God pointed out to the people that even though you fasted, “You do as you please.”  He said that they exploited their workers – cheated them and took advantage of them.  He said that “Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.”  See below.  God is saying that fasting involves doing what he wants from us, not just what we please.  He also is saying that “true fasting” involves a heart of doing right by those you may have “charge” over and it also means that you are not quarreling but practicing love.

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

Below we see what God’s preferred fasting really entails.  When you look at what God lists below, it takes a great deal of selflessness and sacrifice to actually accomplish these things.  It takes self-denial and a decision that “you” want to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate than you.  This kind of “fast” is a decision to put your comfort at risk, so that you could help others who may not have what you have.  Remember Moses:  “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (see Hebrews 11:25).  Consider the great men and women of history who stood up for justice and fought oppression.  Many of them were threatened, attached and eventually killed for taking action in the areas that God calls “true fasting.”

God said that a true fast involves loosening the “chains of injustice.”  He said it involves untying the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke (physical and spiritual)!  These are areas that I believe that many  Christians shy away from, yet they are so important to our God!  God is a just God and he wants people who follow him to stop injustice, oppression, and slavery of every kind.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

True fasting also involves sharing our food with the hungry.  Providing shelter for the wanderer.  Cloth the naked.  See below.

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

God says that when we fast as he prescribes, then we will shine.  We will be transformed and we will be healed.  Somehow, taking care of people transforms us and heals us and draws us closer to God.  I’m  not talking about just the traditional (still very important), feed and cloth people, I’m also talking about those who are being unjustly treated by anyone or a government.  It applies to those being oppressed at home and abroad.  It applies to those being oppressed by a job, sitution or  a government regualtion.  God says take care of these issues; that is true fasting!

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

God’s people; anyone who professes to follow God should heed these passages and put them into practice and “own them.”  Christians should, more than anybody, be the first people to have compassion on those who are oppressed.  They should not just have compassion but also look for ways to remove the oppression.  Christians should also be looking for ways to remove injustice wherever it may exist.  It is a big task, but God expects his people to do it.

Isaiah 58 started out in verse one with this line:  “Declare to my people their rebellion…”  God was talking to his people.  Anyone who claims to follow God should seek ways to put these verses into practice.  It may be through prayer, awareness campaigns, changing laws, voting, being a leader or anything that God has designed the individual to do.  But know this, God does expect his people to “fast” this way.

What do you think?

 

See also Psalm 82

 

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The Innocence of Trayvon Martin

Posted on 24 March 2012 by mdepeine

I am very proud of Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.  What they are going through must be excruciating pain.  They are   probably most able to go forward because they want JUSTICE for their murdered son.  They know that they saw him in the morning and may have talked to him in the afternoon and by evening, he was dead and gone.

Trayvon was innocent, yet they did a drug test on him to see if they could sully his image.  Perhaps the police would have felt a little better about the events if Trayvon had been a drug user.  But, to their disappointment, he was not.  Perhaps the police would have felt better about the death if Trayvon had some police record, but to their disappointment, he did not have a record.  The only thing that Trayvon had “against” him was that he was  a “young black man” wearing a “hoodie” in Florida.  He was deemed suspicious!  If Trayvon was white, would he have been considered suspicious?

Trayvon was pursued like a criminal.  He was hunted like he was an animal.  His death was dismissed like it was just the “normal oder” of things.  Thankfully, the need for JUSTICE grew louder and louder and I hope that it grows even louder still.  I am so thankful for all the people who expressed outrage on  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all the other social networks.  I am so thankful that people have “taken to the streets” about this.  I am thankful that the parents are saying “NO” and that they want their son’s life vindicated.

No child in America, black, white, spanish, or whatever, should have to be confronted the way Trayvon was. No child in America should ever be shot down the way Trayvon was.  No child in America should ever be subject to the horror and terror that Travon faced on his final day on Earth.  Trayvon was pursued by an armed citizen and he himself was a citizen.  He was forced to prove that he was worthy of living, that he was worthy of “normal” citizenship.  Trayvon had to prove in a matter of seconds that his youth and his “blackness” was not a crime.  Before he could prove any of that, his life was taken away.  Now his parents, the spectators, his supporters and the rest of America and everyone else  who cares will have to PROVE his “worth” and his “innocence” where he could not in the short life that he lived.

The story of Trayvon Martin is not a “black story.”  It is not a “minority issue.”  It is not an “urban issue.”  Trayvon Martin’s story is an American issue.  America and all Americans need to be outraged about the current “status quo.”  Racism and all that it carries must be addressed so that young and older black men will not be gunned down, abused, mistreated because they “raise suspicion” in the people that they randomly encounter.  We must confront the “demons” that we have allowed to exist in our race relations and address the true issues of the death, murder, and yes, the incarceration of black men in America!

In 1999, Amadou Diallo (22 years old), a black man, was shot 19 times (41 bullets fired) by the New York Police while he attempted to retrieve his wallet and show his ID to the police, he was innocent!  in 2006, Sean Bell (23 years old), another black man, was gunned down with 11 bullets (50 shots fired) by the police the night before his wedding day and he was innocent!  Have we heard of such things happening to young “white men?”  No!  We have to look at all the facts and admit that this is a PROBLEM!

Trayvon Martin, a black young man, 17 years old, was shot dead and he was INNOCENT!

Commentary on Senseless and Heartless Shooting of Young Trayvon Martin – YouTube

Amadou Diallo News – The New York Times

Sean Bell – The New York Times

Trayvon Martin – Parents Recall Son’s Last Night : People.com

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