But you're gonna have to serve somebody
--Gotta Serve Somebody,
Mavis Staples and Johnny Lang
Take a look at the faces of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and wife in the audience of the above performance. Uneasy, no? The ex-Presidential Bushes try to jive, Mr. Harlem office Bill Clinton doesn't even. Mrs. Bush's face does not move. (Amusing for a Floridian is to note JEB! Bush ensconced behind them, his pasty face unmistakable, trying to do something with his hands that looks like a bad take on Saturday Night Fever.)
The video ties in to this brief excerpt below which landed in my Inbox this a.m. If you're seeking a scriptural retort to your friendly holier-than-thou compassionate conservative, you'll find it below:
Today's selection -- from No! by Paul McGlasson. We don't often feature selections on religion, and have no real expertise in this area, but we recently came across a beautifully expressed sentiment regarding helping the poor. It comes from the debate within contemporary Christianity on this very subject, where the "religious right" tends to take the position that it is not government's place to use state funds to help the poor. Today's selection is a rebuttal to this position from a prominent Christian scholar -- and it includes a heartfelt reminder of our collective responsibility to help the unfortunate. This reminder is imbedded in a powerful and terrifying portrait of "Judgment Day" so prominent in the Christian New Testament. It underscores the central role of charity in almost all religions -- such as the Rigveda's "Bounteous is he who gives unto the beggar who comes to him in want of food and feeble" and the Quran's "The righteous are those who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: 'We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks'":
"Our first answer is simply to point out that the Bible does in fact assign care of the poor to the state, without any ambiguity. Psalm 72, perhaps written by David for Solomon to describe the duties of the ideal king, stresses obligation to the poor: 'May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy and crush the oppressor ... For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight'. This is not describing a family, or the church; this is a clear mandate to state obligation for the poor in a description of the ideal government. Again, the book of Proverbs likewise describes the duties of the ideal king in very similar terms: 'Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy'. It is precisely the role of the king to give voice to the voiceless in society.