December 19, 2011

The Poor, The Downtrodden & The Disenfranchised

Originally Printed in The Pottstown Mercury:
CLEAN SWEEP: Police Clear Debris From Homeless Camps
By Brandie Kessler
POTTSTOWN — A month after the area’s homeless who live in tent cities got notice a new borough ordinance renders their campsites illegal, Pottstown police coordinated an effort to enforce the ordinance and cleanup the woods.
Read remainder of article here.
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Jesus cared about the poor, the downtrodden, the sick, orphans, widows and the lost of the world.

So do I.

This past year in all its trials, sufferings, deprivations have made me acutely aware of those that are "without". I seem to have goggles for the broken of the world now and so does my wife. Strange.

As such I cannot stand injustices allowed or caused by godless or mindless actions or moral bankruptcy. I cannot stand injustice and the subjugation of the poor and downtrodden that do not have a voice. I had to comment on an article in the local paper near my home, The Pottstown Mercury.

I will give these people a voice. This article is littered with half truths by the Borough or outright deceptions.

The Borough will do nothing to help these people only offer "advice", solicit help from others for them and then drive them out of the borough with little or no options. Otherwise they sit on their hands and claim that there is no homeless "problem" in Pottstown. Pottstown officials cares nothing for these people. They claim they do care about these people but actions speak louder than words. They view them as an eyesore and a scourge that needs to be removed. I personally believe these are people created in the image of a divine God. It is local ministries that are trying to help many get back on their feet. These people could easily be your family members, loved ones, friends...or it could be you. In such a horrid economic environment in the country, you should be thankful it isn't you.

The borough claims that they are helping these people and what they are doing is good for them but the truth is that the Borough provides no shelter for the homeless as noted in this article also from the Pottstown Mercury: Advocates: Pottstown Needs Permanent Homeless Shelter

Chased out of a meager existence. A week before Christmas no less. How charitable. I'd hate to see them in a bad mood. How hardhearted and cold-blooded can civic "leaders" be? Leaders fix problems, not pan them off on other people. These actions are not the product of a Christian mind or heart. No true Christian or even a "good" person would do this to another human being a week before Christmas. Come to think of it, I know atheists and agnostics that wouldn't even do this to pagans a week before Christmas...and they don't even believe in the holiday!!! Logical deduction tells me this is the product of a godless leadership with a godless agenda that are more concerned with their "image" and "saving face" than helping the community and "saving" taxpayers money. If they were really trying to do the correct thing they would spend money on a true community shelter instead of shuffling homeless off to private ministries to get them off radar and out of a line of sight. They would invest money in community programs that will either help these people get back on their feet or help the acquire jobs they are capable of doing. What are they doing with the money they're saving the taxpayers anyway?

Pottstown over the last few years has build a sprinkler/spray set in Memorial Park for the summer which was subsequently vandalized. The borough also has a dog park for walking dogs that has been integrated into Memorial Park also (they have a link here: Pottstown Park & Recreation Bark Park). Treating dogs like people and treating people like dogs. I am not the smartest guy in the world here but I'm sensing a dichotomy. I suppose the irony of this all is that we just went through months of protests in metropolitan areas nationwide with Occupy Wall Street (OWS) that saw people setting up "campsites" and "tent towns" and living in them and they were allowed by the authorities. Yet, we have some people that have little choice because of an atrocious economy and have fallen on hard times. They are being drummed out of existence at least in Pottstown under the guise of "health concerns" and abiding by "legalities" yet the borough does nothing to help them. Nice. What was even more reprehensible is some of the negative commentary from readers like: “ticked_off” who wrote this absurd and rather disturbing unedited comment: “round up the homeless, ship them to the dump where they belong.Plenty to eat there too” that comment can be found here...lovely.

...and we wonder why our country is struggling and we appear to be under judgment? Pottstown is like a miniature cross-section of the moral failure of our microcosm.

Like my wife said, the so-called "debris" and "garbage" like the tents you see in these pictures are people's homes. These indentured community servants (inmates) for the borough are being "used" by the community to throw lives away based on the command of callous local leaders. We should be ashamed. My guess is they used prison inmates to scare the remaining homeless that were still in the area. One needs only look at the jackets of the people in this article to see "PRISON INMATE" emblazoned in their jackets. Frankly, it looks awful suspicious if this was not the desired intent of the borough. Especially when you consider women are in these areas too. Looks suspiciously like intimidation wrapped in community service.

Officials from the borough acknowledge that these habitations, "... are not suitable for human habitation, especially with the winter months approaching” (The Mercury). So why isn't the borough offering them a viable alternative instead of offering them lip service, platitudes and a foot in the rear. It is clearly the people of God are stepping up to help these people. The civic authorities seem to be trying to whitewash this issue and sweep the homeless "non-problem" under the carpet. 

The article also claims that the borough is, "not trying to persecute them or make their lives harder. We don’t want it to seem that we’re out there tyring to kick them out of their home (but) there’s an ordinance and we’re trying to enforce it and trying to get (the homeless) in the shelter and back on the right track."

What they are doing in reality is nothing like this article claims they are. How is kicking them out of what little they have and not providing viable living provisions not considered railroading already destitute people? Why hasn't the motivator of the evictions provided viable alternatives? How is pushing the problem on someone else like the local ministries solving the problem and getting people on the right track. It appears people's thinking processes are not very clear here.

No one wants to see these people live in tents but running them off with nowhere to go during the week of Christmas in the dead of winter is heartless and inhumane. The article claims that these tent "towns" and "campsites" are illegal but robbing them of their remaining dignity as human beings is nearly criminal and ethically bankrupt. They say that these people who are merely trying to exist are breaking the law but what the authorities are doing is vastly more blameworthy, culpable and unrighteous.

The Pottstown Borough officials should be ashamed for their hard-heartedness and cold-blooded attitude.

As for The Pottstown Mockery's Mercury's original heading for this news article, it was "CLEAN SWEEP: Police Clear Debris from Homeless Camps". As if these people are garbage...The Pottstown Mockery Mercury should be ashamed for their poor choice of wordage and characterization. Tsk-tsk.

Psalm 82:3-Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed

Psalm 140:12. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.

Isaiah 25:4. For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress.
Help these people they need it. I am only one man, I can only do so much. Our missions are in our own backyards 3 miles away not always on other continents 3000 miles away. They need our help everyday and now, not once in a while and tomorrow somewhere else.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:40-46

My apologies to my regular readers that usually expect some type of witty, humorous or clever post. I apologize for the biting sarcasm and frustration in this post. I am still a victim of my own flesh and I still become quite angry with peoples stupidity and lack of compassion. Things like this make my wife and I indignant. Hopefully it is in righteousness...
To help the homeless and less fortunate in Pottstown donate to these ministries.
Ministries At Main Street
Pottstown Bible Church & Mission
Northpointe Community Church

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