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It’s Upside Down

I suppose I could continue the charade a bit longer but I’m tiring of it and I suspect that you are to. So, what does corporate negligence have to do with loving people? What’s the big deal about Larry Reynolds and his ticket for stepping into the street? How does all of this impinge on the spread of the Gospel?

I would say that these things cut to the core of the spread of the Gospel and cut to the core of us as potential gospel spreaders.

If you and I don’t know what is really going on in our country and around the world, if we don’t know who we are looking at and who we are talking to in any given situation, then the chances of our succeeding, by that I mean making contact, genuine contact with other human beings is almost nil.

Let me give you an example: a typical scenario for a guy like my friend Larry or one of my other friends living outdoors in almost any American city goes like this: do a petty crime as serious or less serious than stepping one foot into the streets take a dollar bill from the hand of a generous citizen. Get a ticket ($250 fine). Be given a court date, usually by mail. If you don’t have an address or any place to pick up your mail guess what happens? You miss your court date and a bench warrant is issued not for the crime but for failure to show.  The original tickets may not be punishable by a jail sentence but failure to show is. That’s the tactic the court system uses make our fellow citizens who have no address feel unwelcome. Keep in mind that the police are always on the alert to harass and ticket citizens who are visibly homeless (i.e. large backpack, dirty or ragged clothes, dirty hands, etc.).

Add up all these tickets and failures to show and you have a sizable stint in jail staring you in the face. Maybe it’s best just to leave town. That is, in fact, exactly what the cities hope you will do.

Selling an ounce of marijuana is a class C. felony. If you are caught and convicted and sent to prison you will likely carry that felony on your record for the rest of your life. It does not matter the circumstances surrounding the sale you will struggle to find work and it will be nearly impossible to find housing for the rest of your life.

Sell toxic mortgages to millions of people, throwing them into financial chaos and bankruptcy and you will receive a bail out and be able to party with your friends to the tune of $500,000.00 million per party. Instead of jail time you will receive a multi-million-dollar bonus.

Try to get here a mortgage loan modified… Good luck! I’ve got first-hand experience with this one.

I’ve got an opinion here. I know you’re shocked! Here it is: the low-level, street drug dealer and the high-level Wall Street toxic asset dealer are the same person. The consequences of their crime on their victims will be vastly different. The toxic asset dealer will ruin the far more lives than the street dealer. Our legal system will punish the ones selling drugs and bail out and give bonuses to the other.

We have been trained to despise the poor, the petty criminal, those without addresses, women involved in prostitution and so on and so on. We have been trained also to lionize greedy rapaciousness on the part of the uber wealthy calling it “capitalism”.

Oddly enough, we Christians have bought into this upside down system. Tragic but true.

When we head to the streets to help “the poor” and “homeless” we carry this upside down thinking pattern with us. Most all of us who spend our time helping those left out of the plenty of this land actually despise those who we are helping. We would never admit it to ourselves or anyone else. We’re probably not even conscious of it. But we really think of them as idiot children who cannot survive without the greatness of our ministrations. We typically do not see “the least of these” as our equal or better. We are the teachers.

Two beautiful friends

Stepping 1 foot onto the street (impeding traffic) if you are homeless… Fine $250. If you don’t have the money, one day of community service.

Allowing 34 deaths (Toyota) as a result of reduced quality control standards and hiding a known defect while more people died… Fine less than one day’s profit.

Sitting in the wrong place on the sidewalk in downtown Portland, Oregon if you are homeless… Fine $240 if you don’t have the money, one day of community service.

Allowing the deaths of 29 men (West Virginia mine explosion April 2010) due to lax safety standards in violation of the law… Maybe a few hundred thousand dollars, no jail time.

Sleeping outdoors anywhere in Portland Oregon if you are homeless… Fine $250. If you don’t have the money one day of community service.

Fouling the waters and land of several states with oil due to violating safety standards and kill eleven people …Reduce your daily profits to forty-four million…temporarily.

Two legal systems…one for the top, another for the bottom.


  1. Jonny. wrote:

    Yet we do not realize that we gave away are rights to our natural resources to the government to “manage” the royalties due. So it’s no wonder that the Corp report taking 14 barrels of oil for the month from well#12 instead of the actual 12,000 or more. The corrupt MMS takes the Corp word.So less income for us. With less royalties gov must raise taxes…making some mad. If, like real goverments, we collect right amount on all natural resouces and paid to the people, kinda like Alaska, but a larger share, we would get aprx $111,000 a year per person.To bad that the Corp persuaded the sheeple that it would be Socialism/communism/insert boogeyman man of the day.

    Friday, June 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Jonny. wrote:

    Sorry for mispelling OUR’ with are.

    Friday, June 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

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