Bob Seymour, minister emeritus of Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, recently provided a powerful commentary in the News & Observer on how society views some of the most vulnerable among us. Binkley is a member congregation of the Council.
He wrote in part:
Whatever the case, in our free society there is a tendency for many of us to harbor a continuing suspicion that poor people are somehow undeserving. Behind much of our legislation, there is the prejudicial judgment that if a man is poor, something must be wrong with him. We look for ways to confirm our suspicion in order to blame him, to see the poor as being at fault, to accuse that somehow they have brought their situation upon themselves.
Yet we seldom assume that there is something wrong with the economic system. We like to believe that in this land of opportunity everyone can make his or her own way, if they are willing to be responsible. We hesitate to raise the question about the system because to do so would threaten our own sense of security. We like to believe that our hard work has put us where we are rather than contemplate the good fortune of our birth and the helpful breaks that have come to us along the way.
May his words be a reminder to all of us and a cause for reflection as so many do without in the richest country in the world.