February 22, 2012
I urge all Oregonians to pray today for the two men experiencing homelessness who were shot early this morning under Portland, Oregon's Morrison Bridge in what police are calling a random attack. Violence against those who are homeless is a national epidemic, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). Having served on the NCH board and worked on issues of homelessness and poverty for twenty-five years, I can tell you there are many levels of complexity to the homelessness crisis. But this is a spiritual crisis as much as a political or economic crisis. When we allow people living on our streets to become invisible we begin the process of dehumanization and thus we see the increase in hate crimes against the most vulnerable in our society - those Jesus would have called the "least of these." Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season of reflection and prayer. Let our prayers this Lent be with those children, women and men living on our streets in the most prosperous nation on earth. The attacks today were nothing short of a terrorist attack. The crisis of homelessness is nothing short of sin.