"Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor,though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things* you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’Now I am bringing you to judgement for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ How lightly you gad about, changing your ways!" Jeremiah 2:34-36.
"The people of the land have practised extortion and committed robbery; they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the alien without redress.." Ezekiel 22:29.
"The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another" Zechariah 7:8-10
Many times in my youth I heard the US compared to Sodom and Gomorrah, and how God was getting more and more angry with her. I have come to the conclusion that He in fact is, but not for the reasons most street side preachers think. Let's look at some facts and figures. Here in one of the richest nations in the world:
In the US: 3.5 million people, 39% of them children, currently experience homelessness every year. 60% of all new homeless cases are single mothers with children.
2008 was a record year for harvests worldwide, and yet roughly 6 million children still die from malnutrition worldwide.
In the US: Data from the 1985 survey of family violence suggest that from 1.5 million to 3.3 million children witness domestic violence each year.
Roughly 37 million people living in the US live below the poverty line.
Approximately 47 million people in the US are uninsured and have little to no access to health care.
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was in how they treated one another, according to Ezekiel. In their excesses, they didn't take care of those in need. How does that compare to us today? You've seen the statistics above. You decide.
Just like the former cities, the US has an abundance of wealth. Even in this economic crisis, we are better off than most other nations. And yet we are more concerned about who is winning on American Idol than we are about the man sleeping on the bench across the street.
Ezekiel also compares the sins of the Israelites to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. And he finds them to be even worse. He finds them to be worse because they knew what it was to be the outsider, the marginalized, and yet they looked upon the less fortunate and aliens among them with the same contempt as Sodom and Gomorrah. That was their sin.
And it is ours as well. Christians should be arguing about how to help the poor, how to take care of those in need. We should be falling over ourselves to give to charities that help people. But instead we are locked into fighting about things like who gets to marry who rather than about how to keep marriages that exist together. We worry more about the unborn child in the womb than we do about the child in foster care who has been through three or four homes because they are unwanted and unloved.
Last year Focus on the Family spent $1.25 million on efforts to pass Proposition 8 in California.
Here in Arkansas, the Arkansas Family Council spent $346 thousand campaigning for Act 1.
How much did these non-profits spend on helping foster children or for helping current marriages stay together? How much did they spend to help teach age appropriate sex education, which would drastically reduce the number of abortions in this country? How much did they spend to help those in need in their own back yards? Truthfully, almost nothing.
Yes, we are going the way of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are a prideful, greedy, selfish and self righteous nation, just as they were. That was their sin, and that is our sin.