September 30, 2005

Pro-Life: A Different Perspective

I am a pro-life Catholic. But I take great issue with the Pro-Life movement because I think they chose the wrong approach. Let me explain.

In something like the abortion debate, the so-called pro-life side has dealt exclusively with the supply side of abortion. They have attacked doctors who perform abortions, even murdering some as Jesus would have done, and they have condemned women who have sought abortions, even murdering some as Jesus would have done. Their thinking has exclusively been, "If we can put an end to laws that allow abortions and to people who perform them, we will end abortion."

I think that is terribly naive and--dare I say it?--terribly Republican. They have gone after the supply side of the abortion issue without even considering the demand side. I mean, there wouldn't be any abortions if girls didn't demand them. Isn't it time to look at factors on the demand side? Short of a constitutional amendment banning abortion, and no administration, Republican or Democrat, has seriously pursued that. Abortion is a right. It's not based on a law. It's based on the Constitution.

The only thing at our disposal, short of an amendement, is to attack the demand side. We can make some changes there. We can bolster welfare programs so that another child won't cripple a family, even if that family is African American and poor. We can set up day care centers beyond what we already offer so single mothers can work. We can help every family attain adequate housing. We can provide appropriate sex education and contraception education to kids who need it. We can do a host of things to attack the demand side of abortion, but we don't.

The right-to-life crowd is totally wrong-headed. Why? Because the demand side costs money, and the right-to-life crowd wants less tax, not more.

Who Owns Catholic Parishes?

I'm sorry I haven't had anything to say for awhile. I'm a native of New Orleans, and we had six evacuees living with us this past month. They're gone now, but I still spend a lot of my time in front of CNN. I also have to deal with their mail, which they had forwarded to my house. My sister and brother-in-law (and their two dogs, whom I count as two evacuees) are safe and at home in St. Rose, Louisiana. My first cousin and her husband are with their daughter near Baton Rouge. Their daughter, and one of my daughters, is ready to pop out a baby any day, and I think the girls are in a kind of race to see which one will have hers first. No, I don't think it. I know they are.

Last weekend, my daughter and son-in-law spent time driving around the upper elevations of the Rockies in the hope that the old wives tale about higher elevations make babies come quicker. Ostentibly, they went to look at the fall folliage, but they confessed the real reason. Alas, that didn't work.

Anyway, here's the post I had planned for tonight.

Who Owns Catholic Parishes?

Today the Wall Street Journal had an editorial about the bankruptcy of the Diocese of Spokane in Washington state. The ruling by the judge in the case was that the Spokane diocese parishes should help pay off the victims of child sex abuse, even if it means selling off property. The arguments go this way, as best I understand them.


The diocese owns the property of the parishes and other Catholic institutions.

The bishop, as a "corporation sole," really owns all that stuff personally.

Therefore, sell that stuff off, and give us the money.

Defendant (the diocese)

The parish owns the parish, not the diocese.

That's what it says in canon law, and we can't disobey canon law. To force us to disobey canon law would be a violation of the separation of church and state.

Therefore, we're not selling our property, and y'all ain't getting no money.

There are some real problems here, as I see it. I'm not a lawyer, but I've been told by several lawyer friends that I think like one. Allow me this riff, and take from it what you will.


For all of my 58 years, I've believed the bishop was the "corporation sole" because the bishops have told me they were. Now Bishop William Skylstad, of Spokane (he's also president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, by the way) is saying "NO!" He doesn't own Catholic parishes. The parishes own Catholic parishes, so their property can't be confiscated in a bankruptcy settlement against the diocese. Oh, yeah? Who in my parish owns my parish's assets? We're not a corporation as far as I know. We're a parish. Bottom line, who owns the millions of dollars worth of land and buildings that make up my parish's center? If all members of the parish are sort of like stockholders, shouldn't there be stockholder votes? There aren't.


The Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, who could well be the first American pope, is locked in furious battle with the parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish over much the same thing. The people at St. Stan say they own the parish, not the Archbishop. They've got documentation that's over a hundred years old to prove their point, but the Archbishop says "no." He owns it, not them. Burke wants to sell off the property to help pay off the sex abuse claims against the St. Louis Archdiocese. Does canon law apply differently in Spokane and St. Louis? Which is it, guys? Here's the link: click here.

I'm no canon lawyer, but I actually think Skylstag of Spokane is right and Burke of St. Louis is wrong. Either way, it's a total mess, and Skylstag and Burke need to reconcile before more scandal is perpetrated upon the land. If more scandal is possible.

September 20, 2005

Update on Rick Grucza

I wanted to let all of our readers know that I heard from Rick Grucza (Faith-Based Politics), one of our contributors. He's fine, and apologizes for the abrupt disappearance from blogging; he says that it's been due to family matters and other things which have kept him overwhelmingly busy. He also says that he's not ready to return to blogging quite yet, so his hiatus continues, but I wanted to let any concerned readers know that he is indeed fine. Thanks everyone!

September 19, 2005

cutting the poor

The Washington Post has an editorial on The Other America, 2005. As you'd probably guess, it's a statement about poverty in America as highlighted so vividly for us all by Hurricane Katrina. I am somewhat heartened that poverty has moved from the back burner. As Catholics, our faith is grounded in a preferential option for the poor. Jesus was pretty clear about that. But as a Country, the last remain last and the first first. At least now we've been confronted with that sad reality.

The editorial states that "the creation and expansion of government programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies and the earned-income tax credit have made the America of 2005 a far less harsh place for the poor than the America of 1964." This is true, but it is not enough if we still have the horrible face of very real poverty. But what concerns me even more is the constant effort to dismantle even these inadequate programs for the poor. When I hear on the news that the debate in Washington on how to pay for hurricane recovery is centering not even on raising new taxes but on delaying tax cuts (Democrats) or making even MORE cuts (Republicans) I lose heart.

Do they not realize that the existing tax cuts are already hurting the poor. More tax cuts will hurt them even more. Government spending (other than military) for the most part equals the safety net. Medicaid has already been severely cut. Other social programs too. If the real problem highlighted by the hurricane, as I believe it to be, is not disaster preparedness but American poverty, the best solution in my mind would be to restore these programs at the very least if not find the strength within us to expand them.

Instead we talk about further cuts. The cuts will not hurt the rich. The cuts will not be to our ever expanding military offensive stance across the globe. The cuts will cut even deeper into the lives of the poor. Not just in the gulf coast, but across this great nation of ours.

And what problem does that solve?

September 16, 2005


I'm sorry I haven't blogged here for a long time, but we've had six evacuees from Katrina in our home for the last two weeks. They are my sister (Melanie), brother-in-law (Ray), cousin (Janice), and cousin-in-law (Eddie). There are also two dogs: Bianca, a miniature dachsund, and Nicholas, a miniature poodle. Melanie and Ray had about 2 inches of water in their home, and they've been back there. They pulled up carpets and empied refrigerators and freezers, and they have power at their house. They live in St. Charles [civil] Parish in Louisiana, and their daughters and grandson live all over the place. They're all safe, but they really don't know when they will be able to go home.

My cousins are a very different story. They've lived in up-scale Lake View for 43 years, and their house is gone.

We don't know for sure when our guests will leave, and they don't either. This should have never happened in the United States, but we've been having a very good time. That's pretty much what family is about.

September 13, 2005

feeling homeless on abortion

I've been preoccupied with other things (understandably) an not paying close attention to the Roberts nomination hearings. Other than being a tad annoyed that NPR's morning edition was preempted!

It has got me thinking about something I've been thinking about for a long time. The unintended consequences of the narrow focus of both the pro-life and pro-choice movements.

Over my 33 years I've spent time in both camps, and currently find myself homeless. Most of my friends are in the pro-choice camp, but I really do believe in my heart that a life is a life (whether it is a death row inmate or a human being growing in a mother's womb). My church (big C here for the Catholic Church) is part of the pro-life camp, but I've been uncomfortable with the dogmatic narrow minded approach for a number of years. Ever since I was a teenager in fact.

Being familiar with both camps, I know that deep down they actually share a similar vision. Not that you'd get folks entrenched on either side to see it, but they do. It's about life, but a quality life where all people are able to thrive, to have not only their material and physical needs met but their spiritual and emotional needs as well.

I've started wondering though if by focusing on one issue, or even one court case (Roe v. Wade) if both camps have inadvertently pushed that vision ever further away.

By focusing on saving Roe v. Wade, the pro-choice camp has been forced to compromise and spend less energy pushing for living wages, family jobs, health care, and quality education. Things that would all increase the quality of life and I believe greatly decrease the perceived need for abortions in the first place.
By focusing on repealing Roe v. Wade, the pro-life camp has likewise been forced to compromise. It is my belief, and I know this from experience having grown up in a democratic Catholic neighborhood where people voted for politicians they vehemently disagreed with on 99% of issues merely because they were against abortion, that by focusing on the issue of abortion, many pro-life people have inadvertently supported politicians and policies that are decidedly detrimental to quality of life. Low wage jobs, the lack of heath care, our sorry educational system, the dissolution of the family, an entire laundry list of societal woes have been deemed "unimportant" when contrasted with being against abortion. Ironically, it seems that policies have been pursued that decrease the quality of life and increase the perceived need for and actual number of abortions.

And so I find myself homeless on this issue. And as this issue seems to be the only issue at times, I'm often at a loss.

(Cross posted on

one catholic perspective on roberts

I will not claim to have spent the time or energy to evaluate John Roberts myself. But I did get this perspective (from Pax Chrisit USA) in my mailbox and thought I'd share it here, especially as it relates to Catholic Social Teaching:

Washington, D.C. - On the second-day of confirmation hearings for John Roberts, President Bush's nominee for chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, two national Catholic organizations have expressed serious concern over the choice of Roberts to lead the Court. Citing comments that Roberts has made regarding issues of protecting human life, individual rights, religious liberty, the death penalty and other principles of Catholic Social Teaching, both Pax Christi USA and Catholics for Faithful Citizenship raised questions about Roberts' commitment to the core issues of Catholic Social Teaching.

Both organizations have measured John Roberts against criteria set forth by Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a letter Bishop Skylstad sent to President Bush regarding Supreme Court nominations. That letter asked the President to consider qualified jurists who support the protection of human life from conception to natural death, who are cognizant of the rights of minorities, immigrants and those in need, who respect the role of religion and religious institutions, who recognize the value of parental choice in education, and who favor restraining and ending the practice of the death penalty in the United States.

In evaluating comments that John Roberts has made on all of these issues, Pax Christi USA Executive Director Dave Robinson said that Roberts' positions were unclear around issues important to Catholics.

'When you look at the comments and statements John Roberts has made regarding the rights of minorities, abortion, immigration, poverty and the rights of the disabled, Roberts presents a very mixed record that should raise serious concerns for Catholics,' said Robinson. 'Of particular concern to Pax Christi USA are comments that Roberts has made suggesting narrow interpretations of the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as hard-line comments on immigration and international agreements like the Geneva Convention.'

Eric McFadden, Director of Catholics for Faithful Citizenship, said it's clear that John Roberts doesn't fit the picture of an ideal Supreme Court nominee, using the criteria set forth by Bishop Skylstad. 'Though Roberts has made some encouraging comments on issues like the death penalty and religious liberty, there's enough evidence in his public statements to show that Roberts has a very mixed record in regards to the framework set forth by Bishop Skylstad,' said McFadden. 'As the confirmation hearings on Roberts' nomination continue to move forward, our hope is that Roberts is called to accountability on this mixed record, and asked to explain more clearly his positions on issues that lie at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching.'

To view Bishop Skylstad's letter to President Bush on Supreme Court vacancies, click
, or visit

September 08, 2005

Supreme Court Buzz

As virtually all of our readers must know by now, President Bush has nominated Judge John Roberts to fill the vacancy left by the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Judge Roberts' confirmation hearing has been delayed until Monday due to the state of emergency caused by Hurricane Katrina and the new circumstances of Roberts' nomination. Some are opposing this new nomination on the grounds that Judge Roberts is not qualified to be Chief Justice of the United States, since he has only served a short time on the federal courts and since he has never before served on the Supreme Court.

Although it was delayed for a while by Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath, the Supreme Court buzz has started up again in earnest. David Schrader (Catholics in the Public Square) is reporting that conservative Catholic historian and theologian George Weigel has written an open letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging him "to insure that Catholic-bashing, overt or subtle, does not spill over into the Judiciary Committee's deliberations."

In his open letter, Weigel returns to the theme of American Catholics as an oppressed minority, even though three of the nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic. If Judge Roberts is confirmed, there will be four Catholics on the court; if President Bush nominates another Catholic (there are five or six of them on his short-list) and that person is confirmed, there will be five Catholics on the Supreme Court, giving Catholics a majority on the court. I think Weigel is going to have a difficult time making the "Catholics as oppressed minority" argument with rational human beings who know anything about the make-up of the Supreme Court.

As usual, Weigel has made opposition to the Roberts nomination all about Roe v. Wade, in an attempt to frame the opposition as imposing a religious litmus test on Roberts, who seems to oppose Roe v. Wade on religious grounds. As I pointed out on August 4, opposition to the Roberts nomination isn't all about Roe v. Wade. Many liberals are also concerned about Roberts' narrow interpretation of the Constitution's Commerce Clause, which could turn the entire federal government upside down and mightily upset all Americans -- liberal, conservative, or moderate. Many civil libertarians are additionally concerned about a controversial ruling in which Judge Roberts allowed problematic trials at Guantanamo Bay to continue in the face of evidence that the detainees are being denied their rights to fair trial and due process. These concerns have nothing to do with Judge Roberts' Catholic faith; in fact, a case can be made that his faith should have guided him to rule in the opposite manner in the Guantanamo case.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Weigel's attempt to make this all about Roe v. Wade and a religious litmus test is disingenuous. It's not that simple. For my part, I think I would have ultimately been okay with Judge Roberts as an associate justice on the Supreme Court -- as our readers know, I refused to take a position either way until the beginning of the confirmation hearings. But I'm uncomfortable with Judge Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States. I don't believe he has the judicial experience necessary, and I think it was a bad decision for President Bush to make. I think a Roberts Court could reshape the Supreme Court in ways that we're only just beginning to imagine, and I don't think we're going to be headed in a positive direction. I do, however, think he's going to be confirmed. So I'm not going to waste time and energy on opposing his confirmation.

A more troubling prospect, perhaps, is the still pending replacement of Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Judge Roberts, a conservative, will now be replacing Chief Justice Rehnquist, also a conservative. But there will be a lot of pressure on President Bush to once again nominate a conservative to replace Justice O'Connor, in the hopes of changing a variety of judicial precedents which include Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. As I mentioned, there are five or six Catholics on President Bush's short-list. I believe that President Bush will nominate someone from his Catholic short-list, and I'm leaning toward Judge Edith Brown Clement or Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Both are quite conservative, although it's likely that the White House would try to depict Gonzales as a moderate.

This concludes your Supreme Court Buzz update. As always, we'll be keeping you informed as new developments occur.

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Those Darn Liberals! Or... Not

That last great bastion of American liberalism, Robert Novak, being the leftist that he is, has taken a blatantly partisan swipe at the federal response to Hurricane Katrina...

The Democrats on the ground, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, have done little to commend themselves. But that does not excuse the federal performance, in the candid opinion of many Republicans. To start with, these Republicans talk about taking FEMA back from the Homeland Security Department. They agree that heads must roll, certainly Brown's and possibly Chertoff's. Above all, these Republican politicians say, let's get the lawyers out of disaster relief.

Shame on Bob Novak, that darn liberal, for using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to suit his partisan liberal agenda!

Oh wait... that's right... I forgot. Robert Novak isn't liberal. He's conservative! He's even a Catholic conservative. He's even been known to be -- oh, I don't know, insanely supportive -- of the Bush administration in the past. And he's not satisfied with the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. (Imagine that!) I hope that his fellow conservative Catholics will take note; so far, they haven't.

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September 06, 2005

Even our "enemies" wanna help

According to Ekklesia, Cuban, Iran, and Venezuela are all practicing good Christian charity.

Last Thursday the Cuban national assembly held a minute's silence for Katrina victims. President Castro has offered to send 1,100 doctors to Houston, Texas, together with 26 tonnes of medical equipment. Cuban churches have also offered to help.

Iran, another "axis of evil" nation, has offered aid through the Red Crescent organisation, a Muslim relief agency. Hamid Reza Asefi, from the Iranian foreign ministry, said that there was genuine concern for the plight of affected communities.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, recently the subject of an assassination call by renegade US evangelist Pat Robertson, also pledged cheap fuel, humanitarian supplies and relief workers.

And Cuba might be able to give us a few pointers on evacuation. During hurricane Ivan in September 2004, 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated.

Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, only a handful subsequently died. There was a well ordered defence plan, coordinated leadership, no curfew, no looting and no violence.

"Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable", commented Latin America expert Dr Nelson Valdes. "Shelters all have medical personnel... They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighbourhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin."

There has been no response from the U.S. government about whether or not we will accept their aid.

September 05, 2005

The diary of hope

We are in real bad shape. We are pleading to God to help us out...Where is the help that Bush spoke about. No one knows.

Where are the humanitarian organizations, where is the aid?...Why don't they hear the cries of children? Why? Why? They are crying and shouting. Why don't you hear their calls?...Do you hear us? Where are you? I am crying now, and shouting, but no one is listening.

Women were crying, and many people with grief on their face seemed bewildered and unable to understand why so many people have to die. After the funeral, the street was empty, but there was still a lot of wreckage and debris. Many started to clean up, especially the shop owners, but the big problem is we don't have water for drinking. There is no life!

It sounds like quotes from those in the Superdome perhaps, or the New Orleans Convention Center, but they are instead quotes from the diary of a 14-15 year old Iraqi girl who is featured in a series of articles by Anthony Shadid in the Washington Post based on his new book, Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2005). Beginning with the prelude to the U.S. invasion, Shadid takes us through the war and its aftermath through the eyes of precocious Amal Salman, who writes about the experience in her diary. While her life has not of yet ended in the same tragic way that Anne Frank's did, one can't help but find parallels. Along with the parallels to the abandoned Katrina victims.

The rich can live outside Iraq very comfortably but the poor who can't have to stay suffering...God knows who is telling the truth or not these days. No one has trust in anybody else, whether the police, the National Guard or even our own folks. God help us all!

And just as it has been horrific for Americans to watch pictures of our fellow citizens reduced to third world conditions, the deterioration of Iraqi life has been painful for its citizens to watch.

Following the explosion by about eight hours, an American military truck loaded with water bottles came over. An American woman soldier was distributing the water bottles in the same place where the explosion took place. People then lined up in a long line in front of the American truck, and received the water. It was a scene that was hard to describe, as if the Iraqis were beggars standing in line in a humiliating way! During the dispensing of the water bottles, the American woman soldier gave a camera to the translator to take a few pictures.

As hurricane Katrina has exposed the neo-Darwinianism of American society, one can't help but wonder what form of society exactly we are exporting to Iraq.

Life has become very, very difficult. . . . People are exhausted and conditions are harsh. We are now living on false dreams and in a failed democracy. Satellites were banned in the past, and they are now permitted, but who can buy a satellite? Those who have money can buy, but those who don't can't buy anything. This is democracy. I used to think that democracy was something that benefited the people, but what has democracy done? Where is democracy? It is a question that should be asked of everyone.

A question that I think a lot of Americans should be asking now. Is democracy about leaving behind our most fragile -- the weak, elderly and poor? Or about bombing a modern country back to the Stone Age?

It has been a traumatic week for Americans, though in a most palpable way for those along the Gulf Coast. For those in Iraq, it has been decades of trauma. And it is when life is its most traumatic that the optimism of youth seems so precious.

"People must be optimistic," Amal tells Shadid.

Sometimes her dark brown eyes were cast to the floor. At moments, though, she looked up, her voice clearer, her ideas more insistent. "There must be hope. Even the Koran says we should be optimistic."

She looked down to the floor again. There was a suggestion of defiance in her words. "If not for my generation," she said, "then the generation that's coming."

...Her family had turned quiet, listening. "The situation is bad. It's true, it's really bad. It's true that every day is worse than the one before. But we don't ever want to be hopeless.

"I always want to leave something for tomorrow," she went on. "The sun will set today, but it always rises again. Everything rises again. Even without life, there is hope."

Shadid gives us three separate links to translated excerpts of Amal's diary. But he fails to translate her name for his readers. In Arabic, Amal means hope while Salman comes from the root word for peace.

[Cross-posted at Behind the Surface]

September 04, 2005

A Retraction

I've decided to retract my previous entry, "Did It Have to Happen?", and all of its subsequent comments. Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) has called for congressional hearings regarding the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and hopefully these will also include the federal funding (or lack thereof) to flood- and hurricane-control in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina. I will wait for the congressional hearings called for by the Senate Majority Leader before passing judgement on President Bush's role in all of this.

September 03, 2005

Breaking News: Rehnquist Has Died

CNN is reporting that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

hope and despair

This is a post from my personal blog. In light of Nathan's last post though, I thought I'd cross post it here. - Peace, Susan ........

Last night we watched some of the special on tv about the hurricane. I normally don’t watch tv news. I stopped a long time ago for my mental health. There’s usually just so much fear mongering. But last night, it visually said what I’ve been picking up in the newspaper and radio accounts as the underlying theme … race and class relations. Will we as a nation finally face up to the fact that our sordid history has not in fact been dealt with, just pushed under the rug? And then when a hurricane comes and pushes it back to the forefront, and we white Americans are sitting in horror in our living rooms as our government appears to do nothing as the least amongst us suffer, what do we think? What do we feel? What do we do?

I decided to pray for the people in Louisiana who are probably too tired and full of despair to pray for themselves. And as often happens, the evening prayer in my People’s Companion to the Breviary was perfectly matched to my needs last night. I only hope that somehow it helped someone who was having trouble sleeping last night outside or cramped into an overcrowded shelter. I hope it gave them some hope.

We can and should be outraged at what has happened, but we should not and cannot give up hope. Christ is the source of our peace. God is our hope. The readings today also seem perfectly matched.

Jesus answered them, ‘So you have not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and took the loaves of the offering and ate them and gave them to his followers, loaves which the priests alone are allowed to eat? – Luke 6: 3-4

Arrogant men are attacking me,
bullies hounding me to death,
no room in their thoughts for God.
But now God is coming to my help,
the Lord, among those who sustain me. -Psalm 54: 3-4

You were once estranged and of hostile intent through your evil behavior; now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body, to bring you before himself holy, faultless and irreproachable – as long as you preserver and stand firm on the solid base of the faith, never letting yourselves drift away from the hope promised by the gospel, which you have heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have been the servant. -Colossians 1: 21-23

In despair it’s all too easy to have no room in your thoughts for God. Funnily, in my experience when you make room for God, there’s less room for despair. Pray for our brothers and sisters on the Gulf. Pray for our men and women working to relieve their suffering. Pray for our government, pray for our country. Please.

Taking a Break

I've decided to take a break from blogging here at Sollicitudo Rei Socialis. I don't know how long the break will be. My reason for taking the break is that I am utterly scandalized by both the government and the Christian Church following Hurricane Katrina, and I just can't right now. I can't say anything.

I hope to be back soon. Until then, I trust that my fellow bloggers will be able to keep you up to date on what's going on in the world.

September 01, 2005

hurricane justice issues

I'm borrowing this from the folks at Center of Concern. (It's from their Education for Justice site that I subscribe t0). It's very important I think to stress the justice issues involved in this disaster. Large numbers of those effected need our help - the do not have insurance or savings. The numbers speak for themselves:

Poverty in the Region Hit by Hurricane Katrina
• The percent of persons living below the poverty level in Gulfport and Biloxi (the hardest hit cities) in Mississippi is 17.7% and 14.6 % respectively, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1999.
• The poverty rate for the city of New Orleans is an astounding 27.9%, as reported by the 2000 U.S Census Bureau.
• The median household income for New Orleans residents in 2000 was $27,133, compared to a median of $41,994 for the U.S. population as a whole.
• 32% of children under 18 in New Orleans are below the poverty level.

Disasters Hit The Poor the Hardest
• Poor people live in homes which are not as sturdy, stable and safe as others. Many homes of the poor in New Orleans were old, one story wooden structures.
• The places where those in poverty live are often the most vulnerable, overcrowded and the first to flood.
• It is much more difficult for the poor to evacuate. Many don’t have cars. They cannot afford to get train or plane tickets for their families and they have no place to go.
• Low income people are least likely to have insurance to rebuild. They often have no savings for emergencies.
When jobs are lost in disasters, their jobs are often the first to go.
• Poor people can become emotionally dysfunctional because of constant crises, no hope and little resources to deal with living on the edge and post-traumatic stress.

Blog for Relief Day

Today is the Hurricane Katrina Blog for Relief Day. It's a day of blogging to raise awareness of and funds for relief efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Today, we are once again asking our readers to donate to Catholic Charities. The people of the American South desperately need our help.

See also: Instapundit's Roundup

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