Cleaver: Social, economic problems hurt poor most

We are walloping the poor" and blaming them for their problems, said U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II during a luncheon sponsored by the social action agency of The United Methodist Church.
 

src=

The Rev. Grace Cajiuat leads singing.

"Poor people are being blamed for being poor people," said Cleaver, a United Methodist pastor, who was the keynote speaker at the United Methodist Board of Church and Society event. The April 28 luncheon was held at the start of the second week of the 2008 General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking assembly.

Citing an estimated 700,000 people impacted by Hurricane Katrina, Cleaver said New Orleans's Ninth Ward is still in ruins three years later.

"If you think Beverly Hills would still be in ruins, you must be on crack," he said. Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest poverty rates in the United States, but the rich would not be treated that way, he said.

Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat elected to Congress in 2004, said soaring gasoline prices, the home mortgage debacle and the staggering cost of the Iraq war are hurting the nation's poorest the most.
 

src=

Jim Winkler welcomes delegates and guests.

"Christians can't separate themselves from their faith," he said. "When something is wrong, people of faith must set it straight."

Introducing the speaker as a "pastor in Congress," Jim Winkler, the board's top executive, said Cleaver has dedicated his public service career to economic development and social concerns.

Cleaver was born in Waxahacie, Texas, and lived in a slave shack for eight years before his family moved into public housing. His father worked three jobs to earn enough for the family to get out of the projects and buy a home.

"Having your own home used to mean you were a real citizen," he said. Today, 20,000 people are losing their homes every week in the troubled mortgage market-and are being blamed for making "stupid decisions," he said.

Meanwhile, the Iraq war is costing $341 million a day and has killed more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers and many more thousands of Iraqi people.

"Take a guess at how many of those killed have families belonging to country clubs or Congress," Cleaver said.

"The United States claims to be a Christian nation," he said. "But God is not showing through."

*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, e-mail: [email protected].

Phone calls can be made to the General Conference Newsroom in Fort Worth, Texas, at (817) 698-4405 until May 3. Afterward, call United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn., at (615) 742-5470.

Related Articles

General Conference headlines

Meeting aims to move churches from mercy to justice

Resources

General Conference 2008

Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver

St. James United Methodist Church

 

 

You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
General Church
The Rev. William B. Lawrence.  Photo by H. Jackson/Southern Methodist University.

Possible steps after General Conference delay

A global pandemic has postponed General Conference, but the former Judicial Council president argues there is still work that cannot wait a year.
General Conference
Clergy members bless the elements of Holy Communion during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. The Commission on the General Conference met March 21 to discuss next steps after coronavirus concerns forced the postponement of this year’s legislative assembly. File photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News.

Updated: Looking at new General Conference dates

General Conference organizers met in closed session to explore when they could reschedule the lawmaking assembly after the coronavirus-compelled delay.
Global Health
The Minneapolis Convention Center — scheduled to host the 2020 General Conference — announced it is now canceling gatherings of 50 or more people through May 10. The decision comes as General Conference organizers already were considering postponement. Photo by Dan Anderson, courtesy of Meet Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Church leaders postpone 2020 General Conference

With the venue that was scheduled to host is canceling large events through May 10, General Conference organizers decided they have no choice but to find new dates.