Rich people shouldn’t have to look at at homeless riff raff


Justin Keller, an entrepreneur, developer and founder of a tech startup recently wrote an open letter to Mayor Ed Lee and police chief Greg Suhr of San Francisco to tell them just how tired he is of looking at homeless riff raff. [emphasis added]

The residents of this amazing city no longer feel safe. I know people are frustrated about gentrification happening in the city, but the reality is, we live in a free market society. The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. They went out, got an education, work hard, and earned it. I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted. I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day. I want my parents when they come visit to have a great experience, and enjoy this special place.

Wow. I would love to be able to say I’m surprised by this but I think many people, although they may not be as bold and callous about it, feel exactly the same way about homeless people as Mr. Keller does.

Think about what he wrote for a minute and let it sink in:

I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair

The letter goes on to appeal to the local government to do something about the people Mr. Keller has grown tired of looking at along with a friendly reminder that it can be done because over Super Bowl weekend “almost all of the homeless riff raff seemed to up and vanish.”

Again, wow.

Are there many people in our society that are hard to look at, hard to care about, and even harder to love? Of course.

Have local governments often made the plights of some of its citizens worse with policies that do next to nothing but enable? Of course.

So, is an open letter appealing to those in power to do something completely unjustified? No, not at all.

But to ask that some of God’s people be rounded up and hidden from view so we don’t have to look at them is reprehensible.

In my experience with the homeless and materially poor, I don’t see only pain, struggle, and despair. Instead I often see hope, faith, and love that is often far greater than that of the arrogant, entitled, perpetually inconvenienced and annoyed rest of us.

Last night my family and I were serving Thanksgiving dinner to homeless and materially poor people at an urban outreach ministry when we met Mary.

Mary captured our attention when we saw her dancing, singing, and praising The Lord for no discernable reason.

I spoke to her and learned that she is a homeless former prostitute and drug addict who has recently overcome cancer by, what she claims, is the power of prayer.

“Praise The Lord!” She said.

“I had no idea so many people were praying for me, praise The Lord.”

“Praise The Lord! Praise God! Praise Jesus! I am so blessed.”

Imagine that.

Mary has lived a horrible life of bad choices, pain, suffering, crippling poverty, sexual abuse, and deadly disease, yet she was enthusiastically praising God for blessing her, loving her, and being good to her.

Next time you think there is no reason to have hope, think of Mary.

Next time you think you are a victim of circumstance, think of Mary.

Next time you are down on yourself because you own little or nothing, think of Mary.

Next time you are sick, think of Mary.

Next time you think you are unloved, think of Mary.

And while you are thinking of Mary, think also about a God that loves you just as much as He loves her and show your gratitude in a spirit of true thanksgiving.

From one end of the Bible to the other we are commanded to be thankful in all circumstance. In fact, thankfulness is the natural outflowing of a heart that understands God’s love.

The psalmist declared, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 147:7, NIV).

Mary, who has literally nothing but God’s love, understands this as we all should.


Categories: Christianity

Tags: , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. I think people today insulate themselves from as much painful reality as possible. By insulating themselves from the truth and the suffering around them, they also, lose empathy.


  2. Well that leaves me with no words to say. Literally I am speechless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At a loss for words, I did a quick search of Mr. Keller to see if he identified as a ‘humanist’… but came across The Guardian’s view (which somewhat captures my sentiment):

    “It’s a familiar story. A male entrepreneur (some might even call him a “tech bro”) – flush with the sense of self-worth and self-satisfaction that comes from living and working in a city and industry that treats him and his friends as the most important and intelligent human beings ever to grace a metropolitan area with their presence – takes a moment to think about homelessness. Not content to wrinkle his nose and move on with his day, he types those thoughts out. He publishes them on the internet.

    While Keller is not alone in his frustration that there are nearly 7,000 people living in San Francisco without homes, his letter is distinctive for its total lack of sympathy for the plight of those in difficult circumstances, focusing instead on the discomfort of the “wealthy””

    Interesting Mr. Keller has not shared a solution to the obvious problem.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Justin Keller needs to stop and think just how close he actually is to being one of these people himself. Wall Street collapse might send him out on the streets as well. Then would he appreciate being labelled as one of the “riff raff?” I think not.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My first emotion was anger but then I saw the positive because yes, we shouldn’t have to see the homeless and poor and less fortunate. We shouldn’t have to because they should be taken care of – by us who are more fortunate, by our government, by our charitable organisations. If more people did a little more, then just maybe there would be less people thinking less of the lesser among us. So Dear Mr. Keller, writing a letter is not the positive active way towards resolving your perceived ‘issue’. In the meantime maybe you should do what one of my friends did recently i.e. try being homeless for 24 hours – read about his experience here: … then you write as many letters as you wish. End of rant 🙂


  6. The letter goes on to appeal to the local government to do something about the people – preposition should not be “about” but “for” so they do miss the point. .



  1. Links To Some Uplifting Posts (2-22-2016) – My Daily Musing

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