In 1753 John Wesley said, “So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, ‘They are poor, only because they are idle’.”
Yet today church-goers and the general public alike are willing to believe that the key factors driving poverty in the UK are the personal failings of the poor – especially ‘idleness’.
The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty
This report from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church lays bare six myths about the poor which enable the majority to live with the comfortable assumption that both poverty and wealth are deserved.
Tell your MP
Let your MP know that you care. We have sent a copy of this report to every MP in the country. Now they need to know that their constituents care about this issue. We want you to write to your MP – ask them to ensure that they read the report and listen to its recommendations. Email your MP now!
Tell your local newspaper editor
Use Church Action on Poverty’s web tool to ask the editor, journalists and readers of your local newspaper to think carefully about the labels they use – and the people behind those labels.
Meet your MP
Set up a meeting with your MP to talk about the issues raised in the report, and to ask them to help stop lies about poverty permeating public debate.
You’re stuck down the pub/cafe/watercooler with people repeating the old chestnuts they’ve read in the [insert name of newspaper]. But now you can pull out this handy pocket guide and refute those myths with facts. Print it out and stick it in your pocket. Or print a few and share them round.
The true facts about poverty told in arresting images. Share them on Facebook, Twitter, or create your own.
Use the Truth and Lies about Poverty Twitter avatar
Right-click the image and save to your computer, then edit your twitter profile and upload the image.
Please use the hashtag #liesaboutpoverty
Resources for churches
Find a short list of helpful resources to help churches respond to poverty here
See Applecart’s short and sweet video Poor People – The Factual Facts based on the Truth and lies report.
Use or adapt this Powerpoint presentation to explain the Truth and lies about poverty report
On 7 June, churches and charities from all four nations of the UK, came together to write to the Prime Minister to ask that government ministers cease to say untrue things about those in poverty.
Read the full letter to David Cameron