We walk in darkness most of our lives and
fear lifting the veil that shields us from doubt, from fear;
Nowhere is there help that we can see,
When walking the path by the afflicted ; we lose
empathy for those in need;
we turn our blindness to the sun,
saying all will be well,
when in fact, we are stumbling over our hidden -
prejudices and failures,
ignoring the open graves of those we hate.
We turn to our churches and often hear
derision and exclusion; go away we don’t want you here.
To those we look down upon we say,
“good riddance, you are different, we don’t need you infiltrating our church.”
You are too dirty, living on our streets;
you are too brazen flaunting your screaming -
homosexuality in our faces.
Why do you think you belong here?
Go away, return to the camps of the lepers and
to the barrios on the edge of the cities.
This is where you belong; not here!
We learn from history and see that our forebearers -
held the same contempt of those we also persecute.
We know we are correct;
our history tells us so; our white fathers tell us so!
Those not conforming should be shunned;
perhaps as in olden times they should be beaten,
tarred and feathered,
forced to re-conform to society’s norms.
And, who sets these norms?
We do of course, we are the power; we are society.
Go away you leper; be gone you dark-skinned thief.
Crawl back in your hole you Nancy-boy; we don’t want to catch what you have.
You are no longer worthy of our love; you are not worthy of our aid.
You chose your life; we didn’t, so why should we pay for
your sinful living when you choose to go against our rules?
It is not our fault you are gay, it’s not our fault you are black,
or you have the slanted eyes of the foreigner, the snake, lurking, hidden in the grass.
Get away you heathens of the devil; you - are - not -wanted - here.
But wait . . . what, you say?
I read my Bible; I study what God has said to us;
what Jesus has done for us.
What is it He is saying?
Why is it God that has chosen a poor shepherd boy to lead Israel?
What is the meaning of an outcast woman being the first to see,
that the sacred body of our lord is missing?
Why is God choosing people who mean nothing to society?
Why is God always turning to the outcast to lead?
Why does Jesus care for women so much,
heal the lepers and those who are outcasts of society?
Those in power told Jesus “good riddance, we don’t need you infiltrating our Temples, our Churches, you are destroying the church it took centuries to build.”
Why does Jesus tell us whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave;
just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve?
If Jesus walked the earth today, He would love the leper;
He would love the homosexual; He would love the black man;
He march arm-on-arm with the transvestite.
Have we built our society on a premise that is wrong;
are we as wrong as those who hung my Lord on a cross -
to suffer and die because he too was an outcast?
He too chose to go against society and its rigid ungodly rules.
Jesus loves those forgotten and oppressed by society;
if I love Jesus, I must also love the oppressed;
those murdered in the streets by the guns that government has allowed to proliferate.
Jesus loves the little children of color, who are denied a proper education.
Our society is built on a big lie, but we ignore this big lie -
and build more oppression and hate.
What is wrong; how far have we strayed?
We have to find housing for the homeless;
we have to clear the barrios and bring
our brothers and sisters to better homes.
We must turn our guns into plowshares -
and build the earth to feed all people.
And we cannot forget about the greed of our large banks -
and even larger corporations that underpay our slave laborers
to pad the coffers of the fat rich men on the top of society!
We are all different, but we are all one family -
the family of man.
It is not impossible to bring the dream of God’s abundant creation -
to satisfy all - fulfill all people, to love all!
What Jesus did with five loaves and two fishes is truly a miracle;
we can recreate that miracle on our own shores,
by turning our faces toward the oppressed, not away;
we cannot ignore our petty dislikes; we must correct them;
nor can we ignore our innate hating of those who are not us -
those that our society turns from . . . and forgets.
It is time to fulfill the two commandments given to us.
To love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
We must ask God for His forgiveness for accusing –
Ignoring – oppressing – His children – our brothers – our sisters.
The time is now to bring all of the human family –
Together – with joy – with song – with love . . .
God’s eternal love.
© Russell Kendall Carter