Costly, Faithful Witness
In the Baptist Peace Fellowship (and similar groups) I always meet the most incredible people of faith who are willing to suffer to follow the leading of God in their lives. Here is Linda Mashburn who was arrested and sentenced to several months in federal prison for nonviolent civil disobedience. She “crossed the line” (criminal trespass) with many others at Ft. Benning, GA as part of the movement to close the notorious “School of the Americas” (renamed WHINSEC in a vain attempt to keep critics from calling it the “School of Assassins”) where U.S. tax dollars are used to train most of the leaders of human rights abuses in Latin America.
Wearing prison gray in solidarity with her former fellow inmates, Linda shared with us the plight of the growing population of women in prison–many innocent through a misapplication of conspiracy laws, and all but a tiny fraction of whom were convicted of nonviolent offenses that would have drawn probation or fines for wealthy white males accused of the same crimes. Prisons are the new slave labor as more and more industries, especially clothing, use prison labor for new sweatshops. Despite Matt. 25’s parable of Sheep and Goats, very few U.S. Christians know anyone in prison, nor have we made much of an effort to investigate and challenge the injustices of the prison system–now the fasted growing industry in the U.S. When we are involved in prison ministries, these tend to be restricted to evangelistic efforts. Those are noble and should be continued–but our ministry should also include investigation and addressing of the injustices of the prison system. Jesus is in prison waiting for us.
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