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Blogs » Omid Safi - What Would Muhammad Do?

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Feed the poor, they call you a saint.  Ask why are there poor people… .

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.

When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

---Dom Hélder Câmara


It's time for us to demand answers to those questions that matter. 

We live in the richest country in the history of humanity.   

Yet we have tens of millions of Americans without access to healthcare. 

We have 10% of our society who are unemployed.   

We have millions without adequate access to homes, and millions more who owe more on their homes than their homes are worth.    


When we ask why we do not have healthcare,
we are told we can't afford it.

When we ask why we do not have adequate public schools,
we are told that we can't afford to pay our teachers.

When we ask why we can't have living wages,
we are told that we can't afford living wages to put us above the poverty lines.

When we ask why we can't take care of our elderly,
we are told we can't afford it.

When we ask why we can't afford to take care of our wounded veterans,
we are told we can't afford it.


And yet we as a country have enough money to fight war after war.

We have enough money to pay for wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and maybe Iran.

We have enough money to send more than a hundred billion dollars to Israel to support its occupation of Palestinians.

We have enough money to pay for drones to drop bomb on unsuspecting civilians.

We have enough money to put military bases in more than a hundred countries around the world.  
We have enough money to spend on our military than the next twelve largest spenders combined.  
We have enough money to bail out large multinational banks, but not the people whose homes are under water.

We have enough money to bailout car companies, but not the people who work in those factories.

I speak not here of the shortcomings of the Republicans or the Democrats,
it's the whole system that is corrupt and misguided.

We are in dire need of what Martin Luther King called a "Revolution of Values." 
We have to move from a thing-centered society to a person-centered society that recognizes the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human llfe.

We have the resources, it's our collective values and commitments that are misguided.


There is enough food, enough resources, enough love, for all of us.

The poor have no food, the uninsured have no insurance, the homeless have no home,

because we choose to spend the money of the richest country on earth on the military-industrial-corporate complex.

Our lives begin to matter when we figure out the right questions to ask,
and realize that our humanity is not something we possess inside us. Rather, humanity is our very connectedness to one another, to the Divine, to nature.

If we decide to ask the right questions, then we will begin the path towards living with values that affirm the dignity of all of us.



Chart comparing US military with other countries is from here.

Pie chart of Global spending is from here.

Tags: america, materialism, militarism, military spending, poor, poverty, united states, values, war

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