Matthew 25:39 (NRSV) And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’
This is a question that I hope to be able to ask Jesus. I pray to be on the right side of the throne. I often say, my biggest fear is that my Lord will return and find me with my work undone. Christians ought to see issues such as these as fundamental to our faith. I have a deep spiritual kindred with the prison advocacy community. There is sacredness and sacrifice in this work. We are despised and the powerful don’t reward critics. But we are called to continue to “see,” people on the inside; to “visit,” them and advocate for them, because if we don’t, who will?
We continue to see inaction by the state to rectify the deep inequities and torture taking place in its prisons. New Jersey has the worst racial disparities in the nation in both the criminal and youth justice systems. It now has the worst prison death rate in the country because of the coronavirus. Yet our political figures have prioritized beaches and martinis over lives. There are literally thousands of people in prison who could be released due to age, illness, and offense. When political calculations trump (all pun intended) our ethics we remove ourselves from the right side of the throne.
So many of our leaders claim the Christian faith. Prove it.