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Senior Contributor

Rich man, poor man

There's just two kind of people, the sinner and the saint;
There's one that gets and always got while the other poor one ain't.
Oh, the rich man drives his Lincoln past the red light with a grin,
And the poor man follows right behind in his little hunk of tin.
There's a motorcycle copper following upon their trail;
Oh, the rich man tears his ticket, but the poor man goes to jail.

Oh, the rich man takes the high road anywhere that he may go,
But when the poor man's travelin' he must always take the low.
So if you're rich you'll travel snug as peas are in the pod;
Oh, the rich man rides a cushion and the poor man rides the rods.

Oh, the rich man when he's ailing stays at home and calls the doc,
But the poor man has to go to work, be in time to punch a clock.
The rich man takes his medicine, has his doctors and his nurse;
So the rich man he gets better but the poor man he gets worse!

Oh, the rich man steals a million from the bank that he controls,
While the poor man steals a loaf of bread or a penny's worth of rolls.
They take them to the courthouse, one is laughing, one's in tears;
Oh, the rich man gets an apology while the poor man gets ten years!

Oh, the rich man gets a lawyer and the lawyer pleads his case,
While the poor man asks for sympathy but of that there is now trace.
So if you're rich don't worry but the poor must give up hope;
Oh, the rich man gets acquitted while the poor man gets the rope!

Oh, the rich man when he kicks off has a casket made of gold,
While the poor man has a wooden box and his grave looks mighty cold.
The rich man gets a sermon but here's one thing that's sure,
When the rich man takes that last long ride he's as much dead as the poor!


RONALD D. COHEN & DAVE SAMUELSON, Songs For Political Action (accompanying book), Bear Family Records, 1996, p. 59


James 2:1-8 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

 1My brothers, you believe in our Lord, the wonderful Jesus Christ. So you must not think one man is better than another.

 2A man comes in to your church meeting. He has a gold ring and wears fine clothes. A poor man also comes in. He wears old clothes.

 3You look at the man who wears fine clothes. And you say to him, `Sit here on this good chair.' But you say to the poor man, `Stand over there,' or you say, `Sit on the floor by my feet.'

 4If you do these things, you think some people are better than others. You are wrong when you judge people this way.

 5Listen, my dear brothers. God has chosen people who are poor in this world. They believe very much. They will have a place in the kingdom which he has promised to give to those who love him.

 6But you made the poor man ashamed. Is it not the rich people who trouble you? Are not they the ones who take you to court?

 7Are not they the ones who say wrong things about the good name you have?

 8The holy writings say, `Love your neighbour as you love yourself.' If you obey this law of your King you do well.


Luke 16:19-31 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

 19`There was a rich man who dressed and lived like a king every day.

 20A poor man named Lazarus was put at his door. He had many sores on his body.

 21He wanted to eat the pieces of food that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs came and licked his sores.

 22The poor man died. Angels carried him to be with Abraham. `The rich man also died and was buried.

 23He was in great pain in the world of dead people. He looked up and saw Abraham far away. With him was Lazarus.

 24He called out, "Father Abraham, help me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and cool my tongue. This fire is very hot for me."

 25`But Abraham said to him, "Son, remember this. You had a good time when you were living. Lazarus had a bad time when he was living. But now he is happy here and you are in pain.

 26But that is not all. A wide hole is between you and us. No one can go from here to you if he wanted to. And no one can come from where you are to us."

 27`The rich man said, "Then, father, I beg you, send Lazarus to my father's house.

 28I have five brothers there. Tell him to talk to them so that they will not come to this place where there is pain."

 29`But Abraham said, "They have Moses and the Prophets. They can listen to them."

 30`He answered, "No, father Abraham! But if a man who had died went to them, they would stop their wrong ways."

 31`Abraham said, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, then they will not believe, even if a man were raised from death"