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Stop stereotyping people who are poor

Stop stereotyping people who are poor

Archbishop Barry Morgan of the Church in Wales says people need to stand with those who poor and stop the use of stereotypes:

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, is calling on people to ‘stand up for what is right’ when people in poverty are accused of being shirkers and skivers, and to offer practical support.

Truth and Lies About Poverty nails six common myths about people living in poverty with facts and figures, including that ‘they’ are lazy and don’t want to work, and ‘they’ are on the fiddle. The report was originally published by an alliance of churches called the Joint Public Issues Team. The new document has been translated in Welsh for the first time and there is a bilingual summary available. The full report can be downloaded from the websites of Oxfam Cymru and the Church in Wales.

Dr Morgan said, “This report brings together concern for the poor and concern for truth-telling, and reminds us that it is our duty as Christians and as members of society not just to offer practical help, but to stand up for what is right. Only when we have a true understanding of the realities of poverty can we even begin to tackle it and build a more just and successful society for all.”

Pastor Dan comments on the report at his blog:

The e-newsletter carrying this story is a monthly publication, hence the delay. In any case, the report mentioned above lists “six common myths about people living in poverty”:

‘They’ are lazy and don’t want to work;

‘They’ are addicted to drink and drugs;

‘They’ are not really poor – they just don’t manage their money properly;

‘They’ are on the fiddle

‘They’ have an easy life;

‘They’ caused the deficit

This is great stuff and more church leaders should do it. Oh, wait. They are!

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Rod Gillis

Messages like this one from +Morgan are important and prophetic. Hopefully the leadership of Anglican Communion bishops, no doubt encouraged and inspired by Pope Francis and his personal preferential option for the poor, but, taping into a distinctively Anglican social justice tradition, will help local rectors bring the message to their pulpits.

Many people who must cope with poverty are among the working poor, have jobs and go to them everyday, and are not part of the "middle class" that politicians cater to.

Anglicanism has largely lost the poor, they are not often among those who gather on Sundays.But they have an important ministry in that they are the voice of Christ calling the community to be more grounded in the gospel. Their difficult vocation reminds the rest of us of the point of the sword in the parable of the sheep and the goats, we the the gathered community, so often in danger of being numbered among the goats.

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