Sunday, January 19, 2014

Major pastor mentions MLK's plan for income floors for the poor, and the need for a "recommendation from the poor"

On Sunday, January 19, 2014, at the Riverside Church near Columbia University in New York City, Rev. Dr. James A. Fowler, Jr. spoke (“The Courage to Hear a Prophetic Word”)  about the real legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, which was economic justice.  His last speech before Memphis in 1968 had proposed a guaranteed income floor for every American, based on $20 billion in spending.  Galbraith would later write about that. He also wanted to end the war in Vietnam, and did speak of rampant racism (which was not present in the Army – I was in Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, SC at the time). 

Fowler criticized the hoarding of personal and inherited wealth, and the use to buffer one’s own security and ends, to avoid what others experience.  He said that to get to Heaven, you would need a Letter of Recommendation from the poor!  Call it a “recommend.” Fowler mentioned it in conjunction with the story about Nicodemus.  

The pastor, who is African-American, offered the odd comment that he had one little hair on the back of his hand that stands up whenever he listens to MLK's speech.
Another pastor reminded the congregation that Congress still hasn’t renewed extended unemployment benefits. But Fowler seemed to think this was about distribution of wealth itself, not just jobs and even wages. 

I think it is hard to help others personally if one doesn’t have one’s own life in order and hasn’t finished one’s “homework” first.  

Note: photography inside the main nave was not allowed during the service, so here is the Wikipedia picture, which is what I saw. 

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