Burning Christians Illuminate Administration’s Immorality

Donald Trump can end his “Rip Families Apart” policy by calling his Attorney General and ordering him to stop.

There are at least two reasons he will not do this.

First, he likes the results. Dislike, if not hatred, of “other” people, especially those of a different skin color, seem to be embedded deep within his bones.

Second, he finds the children and their parents useful to him in a devilish sort of way. They are living and breathing human bargaining chips he can use both in his ongoing War Against Immigration and his drive to fund the border wall.

Jesus, while taking a child into his arms, once said, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.” (Mark 9:36-37)

Unfortunately, instead of receiving children in any way remotely resembling Jesus’ desire, or in any other humane and moral manner, our nation’s leadership has embarked on another course.

They receive children in the name of a man who would do them harm and leave them at his mercy.

The result is that Trump has chosen to show “zero tolerance” to immigrant families appearing at the border even to present legitimate claims of asylum.

This means that our country rejects valid asylum claims that it has heretofore accepted. It also means that families are separated, with parents being jailed for subsequent prosecution and children being imprisoned for indefinite periods of time.

The latter results in our government taking children into custody and stashing them in an abandoned and now overcrowded Walmart facility located deep in South Texas.

While this facility is now licensed by the state of Texas, it is only approved to hold about 1100 people. Unfortunately, it now houses almost 1500 children ranging in age from 10-17. In addition, at least thirteen citations have been presented against the facility for inadequate conditions or services.

Meanwhile, as they move into federal jails and detention centers, these children and their parents join DACA recipients in an obscenely unjust pocket of Trump-imposed hell– pawns in his unholy, immoral fight against immigration.

Stunningly, Trump repeatedly brays out the lie that his “Rip Families Apart” policy actually is caused by a pre-existing law passed by Democrats, and that he can do nothing about it until the law is changed.

Rubbish. It is Trump’s policy designed to hurt people.

As such, these families not only are they bargaining chips but are also people the Orange One hurts in the hope that their misery will deter others from seeking asylum.

Shockingly, Attorney General Sessions looks on all of this and claims that it is part of God’s plan designed to bring law and order to the United States.

He even cites verses from Romans 13 to support his contention. In those verses, the Apostle Paul exhorts early Christians to submit peacefully to taxes imposed by the Roman Emperor Nero.

It is odd that Sessions uses this verses. However, he is likely unaware that some of the same Christians whom Paul counseled to honor the Roman government were destined to later become human torches illuminating the Roman night. They had been publicly dipped into tar and set ablaze pursuant to governmental policies set by Nero to discourage the practice of Christianity.

So much for that government’s “law and order” and lack of morality.

We are left to fight against those of our own.

Children’s Health Plan and the Axe that Looms

The White House/Administration/Trump continue to be careen on their helter-skelter, immoral course.

Their latest outrage is an attempt to cut the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was renewed for a six-year period earlier this year.

Known more widely as CHIP, this program provides health coverage to nearly 9 million children in low-income families in all 50 states.

It is widely-recognized as successful. It turns out that, just as predicted, children’s health improves with access to medical care.

In addition to its medical and policy successes, CHIP also saves the country money by reducing expenditures on other health care programs, particularly Medicaid. CHIP does this because of the better medical outcomes that result from treating children earlier and in a doctor’s office as opposed to later and in an emergency room.

Nonetheless, it is under threat of the knife.

Indeed, it is on the chopping block to the tune of a $7 billion reduction because of the ballooning budget deficit that the administration is salivating to reduce.

It matters not to the White House that the deficit results primarily from its ill-advised 2017 corporate tax cuts. Those will remain as is, although there are rumors of some wanting additional reductions.

One might wonder why children should go without medical care while the country injects more cash into already-profitable companies, but that is just the way the United States rolls– or, careens– today.

One does hope that our white evangelical brothers and sisters (Where are you Franklin? Jerry, Jr? Rev. Jeffrees? Mr. Perkins?) will use their new-found political muscle to prevent this reduction.

Unfortunately, their political agenda may be too crowded with issues other than the just treatment of children.


Texas Foster Care System Held Unconstitutional

A Texas federal court judge ruled that the state has violated the constitutional rights of foster children by exposing them to a flawed system where children “often age out of care more damaged than when they entered.” Like many other states, Texas phased out the old orphanage system around World War II, opting instead to follow the widely-held opinion that placement of children in group or foster care homes would improve their treatment and living conditions. Perhaps the present system is an improvement, but the Texas court judge wrote that, “Years of abuse, neglect and shuttling between inappropriate placements across the state has created a population that cannot contribute to society, and proves a continued strain on the government through welfare, incarceration or otherwise.” That is a fairly damning accusation.

Judging from some of the testimony, some children were treated horribly. For example, one 16-year-old girl entered foster care at age 6 and changed placements 28 times within four years. Similarly, a 14-year-old girl entered foster care at age 5 and has had 12 different caseworkers and 24 different placements in her 9 years in the system. For now, the court has appointed a court master to study the system and report back in 6 months with recommendations consistent with the court order.

What I have not read in the news accounts are the bitter comments I’ve heard over the years from people concerned with the system. Among them are that there is inadequate screening of foster parents and, as a consequence, a number of kids have been placed with neglectful or abusive foster parents and some have even been placed with sexual predators. In addition, many foster children are moved out of their home county—and away from any friends or support system—to homes hundreds of miles away. There also are continuing complaints about homes that are dirty or ill-kept.

The Bible, of course, is filled with verses concerning compassionate and caring treatment of orphans and children. For example, James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” More ominously, Exodus 22:21-24 says, “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.” Yikes! And then there is the Jesus “millstone” verse in Matthew 18:6, “If anyone causes one of these little ones . . . it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

It is easy to blame this on the Texas legislature as they certainly are  certainly are a motley and hard-hearted crew more concerned with taxes than with helping the poor or marginalized. But, just as God put all of Israel under judgment in their lack of concern for the widow and orphan, so we are under that same demand and judgement. After all, the legislators are elected by “we the people,” so any shortcoming lies in all of our hard hearts.

HEROS, Bathrooms and Bigots

I’ve never admitted this ugly truth publicly, but I’ve sometimes used the women’s restroom in a place of business. Understand please, that I’ve never done it because of some compulsion to pee in a stall instead of standing up or to satisfy my urges in a place that is almost assuredly cleaner and more pleasingly aromatic than are men’s rooms. No, no, no, nothing of the sort. Instead, I’ve done it because of a medical condition which often plagues men of my advanced age. This “problem” sometimes makes it seem as if our sphincter will explode and let loose the Niagara Falls of all urinations if we don’t pee as soon as possible, which means we NEED to go in the first place available. Sometimes, that is a women’s room. It is important to note that I do require that it be unoccupied and have a lock on the door.

This week, voters in Houston overwhelmingly rejected an ordinance referred to as HERO, which is an acronym for the Houston Equal Rights Amendment. The Houston City Council adopted HERO last year to ban discrimination in public places on the basis of race, age, religion, military status, and 11 other categories, including sexual orientation and gender identification. The major reason for such initiatives is to give people who fall within those categories a quickly available local administrative remedy, as opposed to a lengthy law suit, if they feel discriminated against in such things as employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Similar initiatives are in effect in other localities. However, they have been defeated in still others not because of disagreement with the basic goal of the ordinance, but because of opposition over the use of public restrooms. It seems to be generally agreed that in localities where HERO initiatives have lost, opponents have been able to successfully label the law as a “bathroom ordinance” and play up fears that passage will invite male sexual predators to dress up as women and enter women’s restrooms.

Four thoughts on this. First, unfortunately, sexual predators can already do such things: criminals commit criminal acts and predators prey. Second, there are also laws on the book against such activities. For example, sexual assault is a felony. Third, in playing on people’s fears and prejudices, opponents to such laws prove the discrimination that exists against our transgendered brothers and sisters. Fourth, like me, the transgendered probably just want to use the bathroom in peace and then quietly exit.

Here is a link to a story from the public radio program “Fresh Air” that is about a family coping with their transgendered child. Here is a link to “On Point,” an NPR program that presents both sides of the argument. Here is a link to an article in the Texas Tribune discussing the aftermath of the vote.