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

Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Social Concerns
The Rev. Jason Stubblefield. Photo courtesy of the author.

United Methodism's crisis of authority

United Methodists need the stability of established doctrine and the means to uphold it. Emulating the Catholic Church’s magisterium could serve that purpose.
General Agencies
With giving to denomination-wide ministries varying widely, collections seem to indicate conferences are paying at the rates in the proposed general church budget heading to General Conference next year. However, with General Conference delayed, that proposed budget is not in effect. Image by Steve Buissinne, courtesy of Pixabay.

Finance board gets update on giving, reserves

U.S. giving to United Methodist ministries was lower in early 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. However, collection rates varied widely among church funds.
Bishops
The Holston Conference’s Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor embraces the Rev. David Graves following his election as United Methodist bishop at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2016. On April 30, the Council of Bishops affirmed its decision to delay electing any new leaders until after the postponed General Conference. File photo by Annette Spence, Holston Conference.

Bishops’ election plans draw mixed reaction

Many General Conference delegates praised the bishops for retracting an earlier recommendation of four-year hold on United Methodist elections. But some still have misgivings about a delay until 2022.