How Will You Respond to Omran?

Photo by MarkRubens/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by MarkRubens/iStock / Getty Images

We are blissfully disconnected, intentionally ignorant, not intending to devalue, degrade, and dismiss the suffering and murder of innocent people but that's precisely what we do each day.  We are upstream from our prejudice and selfishness so we have no idea the impact that our action or inaction against the injustices we commit or don't stop others from doing. That is until a photo like the one of Omran Daqneesh covered in blood and dust or before him, Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach invades our news feeds.

And we are forced to stop - some of us anyway - and contemplate just what the hell are we doing?

When I looked at the photo of that little boy in Syria I wasn't sad, I am angry. I am pissed that the United States of America and the vast majority of its citizens prioritize economic interests over the safety and care of the most vulnerable here and abroad. Selfish ambition and economic interest blinds us to the reality that some of our best and brightest scientists, programmers and businessmen are designing weapons to drop bombs on wedding parties because a "target" was supposedly in attendance and an algorithm that calculates collateral damage deemed this a good hit. Some of our greatest communicators are crafting language about how to spin stories of torture, violence, and extortion to narratives that move us "forward". Newsflash, saying enhanced interrogation tactics was not an accident and neither was the systematic torture of innocent men and women for NO actionable intelligence.  Employees at Boeing, Lockheed Martin, IBM and other corporations compete for lucrative military contracts coming up with creative ways to kill people in the name of protecting our freedom. The freedom to do what I ask?

Seriously, the freedom to do what? The freedom to pretend like Saudi Arabia isn't using US weapons to destroy the lives of women and children in Yemen. The freedom to look away as we fight a proxy war with Russia in Syria. The freedom to go to the mall, eat Thai Food, and Netflix and chill while 22 veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY because of the atrocities they witnessed while protecting "us" from "them".

I am sickened by our sadness because it will last less than 180 seconds because we need to move on to the next segment on CNN or another photo on Instagram.  We have built mighty altars to our selfishness and every day we bow down in worship; and every day we make sure these altars of radical self interest are protected. Our rhetoric is as elaborate as our weapons systems.

"We are not the world's police."
"We have enough problems here at home."
"It's not like we can help...everyone.

No, we are not the world's police but we certainly could serve and protect more than we manipulate and coerce.

Yes, we do have problems at home but the poorest white communities in Appalachia and the most depressed black and brown neighborhoods in our urban centers have abundant resources compared to Aleppo. It would not kill us to share.

And no, we can't help everyone but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to help anyone. Lord have mercy. How easily we give up when it comes to helping others but how resourceful we can be when it comes to helping ourselves!

Where oh God is Your Church in America? We are too busy worshipping like everyone else because instead of crying for justice we cozy up to political power and fall in line to pursue my best life now and Black Friday deals.

In Matthew 25 we see that God holds us responsible not just for what we do but for what we don't do. And just like God sees every missile fired from a flying death machine we call a "drone", hears every order to kill someone whom we deem to be a "terrorist" he sees we who stand by and do nothing except go about life as usual. I am sick to my stomach and bile rises in my throat at the horrific destruction that our country is a part of through the creation of weapons, their subsequent sale, our direct action and inaction that leads to the death and displacement of millions - literally millions of people we will never see or meet because we refuse to admit them as refugees and our media will not put them on our TV's.

If there were tables I could find, like Jesus I would flip them to protect my Father's House but sadly, I've come to realize this house is not His. So I'm left ranting at 230am longing for a people willing to stand on the power of Jesus and stand up to the greedy, "powerful" men and women who profit off of war and in world.

If you are tired too, email me at nycurbanproject@gmail.com. There is work to do and we must be about Our Father's business.