Pitting the haves against the have-nots hurts everyone

A reflection on modern community, homelessness, and Christianity.

Reading “Christ Church Cathedral wants tent city shut down1 left me disappointed in the leadership and community of Christ Church Cathedral.

What exactly is Christian about pitting the needs of children against the needs of adults who bear the weight of society on their backs?

Dean M. Ansley Tucker shared examples of people disrupting the church and school’s every day norm (nudity, delirium, drug paraphernalia, human waste) that are impolite and inconvenient reflections of our painfully broken system, not a reflection of the tent city as a whole.

The religious ethics I was raised with would suggest this is the time for listening and learning more, developing greater compassion and patience, and recognizing that pitting the haves and the have-nots hurts everyone, not just the visibly poor and homeless.

The Dean stated that the church would continue to support tent city residents. How do they propose to do so when, if the tent city is shut down, there is nowhere for a sizeable number of residents to go?

I wonder at how easily my housed neighbours judge our homeless neighbours. How can I decide, for example, that I know what’s best for someone who has the choice between moving among short-term shelter beds, couches, or sleeping rough, and settling, for a while, into a vibrant and autonomous community that values their existence as fully human?

I can’t and I won’t.

But I will support any efforts leading to more genuine choices, more homes, and more dignity for more people.

  1. Christ Church Cathedral wants tent city shut down, May 17, 2016, by Sarah Petrescu: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/christ-church-cathedral-wants-tent-city-shut-down-1.2256110