Poverty and the Doctrine of Shame (part 1)

This is what I mean when I talk about being ashamed. When you can’t make ends meet, when you have to get some kind of assistance, when you have to ask for help you are indoctrinated to feel ashamed even if you are doing everything you are “supposed” to do. If you don’t make enough to live on you should be ashamed of yourself.


I’ve been mulling on this topic for a few days. It’s so complex that it could easily turn into a book, but I’m going to try to be semi-brief (well, in two parts, with this as part 1). Plenty of others have written about the complex factors that contribute to long-term poverty, so I’m not going to rehash those discussions. What I want to focus on is how our society shames and judges people who are poor.

A lot of the shaming comes in the form of puritanical super-virtuousness. The comment section of a recent blog post by emergent Christian author Rachel Held Evans was quickly filled with armchair poverty “experts” whose remarks were far removed from Jesus’ teachings that I wondered if we read from the same Bible.

Here is an example from the blog comment section: “The poor fall into two categories – those without knowledge and the…

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About pynomrah

I like stuff, and things.
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One Response to Poverty and the Doctrine of Shame (part 1)

  1. Pingback: 3 reasons why crowdfunding usually doesn’t work | Somewhere in the Middle of Everything

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