Monday, June 10, 2013

Charity with a price

“We have to listen to this imbecile’s sermon just to get something to eat,”

- Felip Gomez, homeless migrant worker in Tijuana

I heard this quote today on my drive to work. A homeless man, and many of his compatriots,  must listen to a bible-thumping evangelical preacher before they are allowed to eat donated food. My first thought was, would Jesus do this? Would Jesus hold a hungry man hostage to a sermon? I don't think so. I don't think that is his message. Charity with a price is not charity. 

I remember being so poor that I did not eat. I was so poor that every penny went to buying food for my newborns son, with none left over for me or my wife. I was so hungry that I would eat scraps. It has tempered my thinking on hunger and homelessness, plus it reinforced the moral principle that we should care for those less fortunate than us. I always feed people. 

It never occurred to me those who are deported to Mexico after an illicit border crossing suffer hardship. The truth is, I had never given the issue serious thought. It raises a question of ethics. Is this right? What about you Christians out there? Why do conservative Christians push so hard to deport hard-working Latinos? Do you consider their plight on the other side of the border?

The article that got me thinking is linked in below.

After Deportation to Tijuana, Many Lives Quickly Slide Into Despair

by Adrian Florido

Last year the Obama administration deported 400,000 people from the United States, many sent to border cities like Tijuana. They’re often dropped off with little money, few belongings and no ties to the city. Once there, many lives quickly slide into desperation. 

Juan Manuel Alvarez is 25. On a recent afternoon he was walking through Tijuana’s red light district, where he tries to make a living shining shoes. Other than his tattered clothes, his one possession is his shoe shiner’s kit, which he carries everywhere. His fingernails are perpetually stained with black polish.

Read more here