When people think of working amongst the poor, generally they add a critical and: the poor and the marginalized. Yet, problems emerge when broadening the discourse as now we have to ask “marginalized relative to what?” Generally, the academic solution is to look towards people excluded from structures of government for whatever reason, which winds up drawing the conclusion that anyone other than white heterosexual able-bodied males are marginalized.
I struggle with this idea of marginalization because it generally goes after the mainstream. These publications might as well be an advertisement for progressive groups of all kinds. Recently I read a publication that referenced “Catholics For Choice” because of their general openness to condom use. But is a pro-condom group really a marginalized group? Or is the pro-condom group the dominant voice of the contemporary left?
Do we have alternative ways of identifying the poor who we are to spend particular focus on? Looking through the Scriptures, I see the following ands associated with the poor:
- the sojourner
- the needy
- him who has no helper
- the brokenhearted
- the crippled, the blind, the lame
Maybe we have alternatives here to the option of lack of political representation.