Thursday, August 21, 2014

When "Slipping Through The Cracks" Is No Excuse: The Negligence Of Some Child Welfare Workers



'It was just like every inch of this child had been abused,'
"Before 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was allegedly beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend, they doused him with pepper spray, forced him to eat his own vomit and locked him in a cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams, according to court records made public Monday."
But that was not the entire extent of his abuse. You may not want to read the entire L.A. Times article if you are sensitive to the issue because it contains some graphic descriptions of unbelievable abuse, but know that the case has sparked an outcry for reform of a child welfare system that was clearly inept.
When paramedics arrived, they found Gabriel naked in a bedroom, not breathing, with a cracked skull, three broken ribs and BB pellets embedded in his lung and groin. He died two days later.
"It was just like every inch of this child had been abused," testified James Cermak, a Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic.
Gabriel's mother, Pearl, said that Gabriel had hit his head on a dresser. 

Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, are in jail awaiting trial for capital murder and special circumstances of torture. 

The torture consisted of heinous acts, the least of which was making Gabriel wear humiliating girl's dresses to school because he liked playing with dolls. His murder has gone viral, because, like another publicized abuse/death - the case of Zachary Dutro Boggess - one of the "reasons" for his abuse was that he acted too "gay". Another reason: a system where "slipping through the cracks" means death. Months before his death, Gabriel wrote a suicide note, but it was dismissed as nothing consequential by child welfare workers (it contained no mode of suicide - kids have to be more specific than that!).  Reports of abuse from teachers were poorly followed up. "Huge caseloads" and "inexperience" were cited. 

"Inexperience". How experienced do you have to be to read a suicide note of any sort and not take action? How inexperienced do you have to be to visit a house more than several times, see bruises and not put the dots together? How inexperienced do you have to be to take the initial testimony of siblings as the truth - kids who are obviously scared the same thing will happen to them? 

The Good, The Bad And The Totally Inept

To be fair, some social workers can only be as effective as the law allows: Child Protective Services vary from region to region according to what authority they actually have. Some parents are very crafty and intimidating (e.g. Fred Phelps - the "Man Addicted To Hate" - repeatedly fended off CPS in Topeka, KS despite warnings from teachers and neighbors). Some truly are over-burdened with caseloads and become duly depressed about their work.  

The workers in Gabriel's and Zachary's cases, however, were absolutely negligent:

Four county Department of Child and Family Services employees will be fired over their involvement in the case of Gabriel Fernandez, the 8-year-old Palmdale boy who died in May, after allegedly being tortured by his mother's live-in boyfriend.

According to a statement from County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, the four include two social workers and two supervisors. Three others involved in evaluating multiple reports of abuse of Fernandez were issued warning or reprimand letters.
DCFS records showed that there had been five previous reports of abuse of the little boy, but that social workers had deemed them "unfounded." A sixth case was being investigated at the time of his death.
Five reports. FIVE. Five reports and a suicide note. 

Zachary Dutro-Brugess was murdered in, of all places, a homeless shelter. His abuse was reported by his older sister who had been abused as well, but not by the shelter.

Jezebel:
While [Jack] Schwab [Director of the Good Neighbor Shelter in Tigard, Oregon] says that the staff never saw anything that could be reported, it's hard to believe that such abuse could have gone on without the staff having even an inkling. And even those inklings can be reported.
Negligent Abuse

What happened to both children might have been prevented, had people paid attention. Unfortunately, we can't make lack of attention a crime, nor can we make negligence or ineptitude a felony. To some, the firing of two social workers and two supervisors was enough in Gabriel's case. To some, the consciences of the Good Neighbor Shelter will deliver justice. 

To Gabriel and Zachary, however, justice may not have been served.

Just a thought.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Last Week in Bigotry: From Cursing Gays With Ebola To Righteously Phoning In Pain To A Grieving Mother



Note: Some parts of this article are NSFW

The conflagration in Ferguson, Missouri (perhaps rightfully) overshadowed other incidents of racism and bigotry in the country last week. Michael Brown's death and the subsequent reactions by Ferguson and law enforcement have been news fodder for every media:  everyone seems to taking a polarizing stance, with very few pundits in the media taking a moderate tone. For example, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson* of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny called Brown a "thug" just like Trayvon Martin.

Rev. Peterson is African-American.

Right Wing Watch
"I've said from day one that Michael Brown is a thug," Peterson declared, using as evidence "the fact that he was running from the cops, period, because good folks do not run from police officers, they follow their instructions."
Rev. Peterson has obviously never lived in an inner city.

Of course, we all know that Michael Brown was really a "menacing" giant hopped up on marijuana because Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association says so. But there were moments when Christian pastors (not Christian enough for Fischer) who participated in protests risked arrest and one Christian minister was shot with a rubber bullet trying to mediate.
The Callousness Of It All

But there were other incidents of racism and bigotry, maybe not as notorious as Ferguson, but just as damning ... and callous.



Yes, Pastor James David Manning is still with us in Harlem, spewing hatred via the Word of God (in itself, blasphemous, but Manning certainly doesn't see it that way). He added Ebola for good measure later on in one of his broadcasts.

Not to be outdone in the realm of the callous, Rev. T.W. Jenkins told the mother of a young man that his church would not bury her son because he was gay - over the phone while she was next to her son's casket at the wake the night before.

Huffington Post:
Kendall Capers found no hope at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church after the death of his husband, Julion Evans, who died at age 42 from amyloidosis. Evans' family are members of the New Hope congregation in Tampa, Florida, and Capers arranged to have the service there.

However, the funeral was abruptly canceled the night before it was scheduled to happen. The family was informed with a phone call from New Hope that said that it would be "blasphemous" to hold the service at the church, reported KCCI.

The cancellation came after members of New Hope noticed Evans' obituary, which named Capers as the "surviving husband," according to WFLA.
Bill to stone gays to death introduced in Kenya

Yes, it's actually on the docket. Kenya has yet to learn from its African neighbor, Uganda, what the consequences are for showing such medieval inhumanity. The idea, of course, was imported from the U.S., but Rev. Scott Lively disavows any involvement.

Anti-abortion Bigotry Tunes In On Robin Williams' Death

From RH Reality Check:
"Kevin Burke [contributor, Pro-Life News]drew the card this week with a repugnant attempt to blame the suicide of comedian and actor Robin Williams Monday on, you guessed it, abortion. ...In the article, Burke focuses on the fact that Williams had a girlfriend in the 1970s that had an abortion, which Williams brought up in a Playboy interview in 1992. From this information, Burke wildly speculates that pretty much every sad or bad thing that happened to Williams was because of this abortion....The fact that Williams was unabashedly pro-choice is also rationalized away in a nasty manner..."
Oh, the lengths to which people will go ...

Bigotry Gone Viral

The following video is certainly NSFW and probably the most virulent anti-Muslim rant to go viral. It spawned a plethora of shocking comments, but it may have spawned a social media star: her name, Debra Wilkerson has become synonymous with hatred and so has given birth to some supportive video responses. The one below may be a parody, of course, but there are still people out there who actually believe that the victim of Debra's hate could have been a terrorist because he was Muslim. (This did, of course, happen in the state of Alaska where one former governor espoused waterboarding as baptism). 

Since the video has gone viral in only the last 48 hours (1.2 million views), there is no word from Debra as to how she is dealing with the notoriety. While some say she was under the influence of something other than pure hate, any explanation for this kind of behavior would be considered lame. "The crazy racist lady" may be in hiding for some time. 

Hatred No Longer In Hiding

Thanks to technology and the openness of social media, hatred has been hard to hide: responses to bigotry like the Ferguson situation are vivid and immediate. Cover-ups are more difficult. Tempers are shown as raw and unrelenting. Even politicians have to be very, very careful of what they do and say: the ones that don't care (like Sarah Palin), pay the price in scorn and humiliation while trying for their "niche". 

The only thing we have to fear today is becoming numb to the bombardment of hatred that still fills the country. 






From Wikipedia:

On September 21, 2005, Peterson penned a column for WorldNetDaily, in which he suggested the majority of the African-American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were "welfare-pampered", "lazy" and "immoral". ... Peterson has also thanked "God and white people" for slavery—adding that if it weren't for the slave trade, blacks might have never made it to the United States—and described traveling on slave ships as akin to "being on a crowded airplane".[8]

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gay Adoption: The New Demon Of The Christian Right's Lawmakers


WASHINGTON — Two Republican lawmakers have introduced new legislation aimed at allowing adoption and foster-care agencies to deny services based on their religious beliefs or moral convictions, but critics charge the bill would simply enable agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples.
With same-sex marriage bans dropping like flies in front of the Christian Right, the next strategy has taken its cue from their erstwhile victory with Hobby Lobby: "the right to discriminate is still OURS!"
“The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014″ would “ensure that organizations with religious or moral convictions are allowed to continue to provide services for children” by prohibiting state and federal governments from terminating funding or contracts with local agencies over anti-discrimination laws."
To so many, the "Inclusion Act" is a downright act of exclusion, but the bill's sponsors, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, (R-Wyo.), and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), don't see it that way.

From Enzi's website:

“This bill is about fairness and inclusion. It is about ensuring that everyone who wants to help provide foster or adoptive care to children is able to have a seat at the table,” said Kelly. “Faith-based organizations have historically played a downright heroic role in caring for our nation’s most vulnerable and needy kids. In so many ways their work is unparalleled. There is no good reason why any of these care providers should be disqualified from working with their government to serve America’s families simply because of their deeply-rooted religious beliefs.”
But "everyone" surely doesn't include same-sex couples, does it? To give gays a "seat at the table" would definitely be against someone's "deeply-rooted religious beliefs."

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops endorses the Act, perhaps because several Catholic agencies have had their funds curtailed in the states of Massachusetts, California and Illinois, states where same-sex marriage is legal. A chief endorsement came from San Francisco's own Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, an architect of Prop 8 (surprise!).

Old Demon - New Strategy

Bryan Fischer, the Christian Right's chief demonizer, stated back in 2012:

“There is a myth that homosexual couples can be just a good of parents to children as heterosexual couples, as married moms and dads,” Fischer insisted. “Absolutely, flatly, totally, completely not true. Same sex parenting is bad for kids period.”

“The bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, to put kids into this environment, it’s a form of sexual abuse all its own. To adopt kids into a same sex environment is a form of child abuse.”
Recent studies, however, are not a "myth": they show that gay parents are no more harmful to a child's upbringing than heterosexual parents. And the American Psychological Association has determined that "parenting effectiveness is not related to parental sexual orientation."

Gays as unfit parents has been the demonizing point of the Christian Right for years, but with the loss of the marriage debate in so many states, the strategy had to change: it is a defensive strategy, to be sure, but one based on the "freedom of religion" meme that worked in the Hobby Lobby case.

Where Are The Children?

The proposed "Inclusion Act" protects faith-based adoption agencies, but what about those "vulnerable and needy kids"? Does "every child deserves a mother and a father" trump loving adoptive parents? The bill would also allow agencies to discriminate against single parents and unwed mothers. People like Bryan Fischer would certainly not allow children to be adopted by women who "rut like rabbits." The Dan Quayle/Murphy Brown attitude still exists among the Christian Right. The single-parent dilemma, in fact, is the focus of the season finale of the hit comedy "Two and a Half Men" (with a nod to gay marriage).

So, in a sense, morality trumps child welfare. That a child might fare well in a same-sex or a single-parent household does not matter. Lawmakers may say they have the welfare of children at heart, those poor "vulnerable kids," but when it comes to pressure from the Christian Right, those same children might just be pawns in the culture war game.

Of course, for centuries, children have been pawns in politico-religious games. 

Maybe it's time to stop.

Forget EBOLA: The Greatest Threat To Africa's Medical Missionaries Is Ann Coulter!





“If Dr. Brantly had practiced at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia,” Coulter wrote in a column.

It's easy to take cheap shots at Ann Coulter these days: Ann Coulter is without a soul. Ann Coulter is heartless. Ann Coulter is evil. Ann Coulter is ... Ann Coulter. "Coultergeist." "Skeletor." OK, this writer has done it because, well, it's easy. Yes, making fun of Ann Coulter is the liberal's easy way of pointing the finger at the Right's misuse of tragedy or disaster. She's the b*tch counterpart to God's Ambulance Chasers. Of course, she doesn't heap Bibles on disaster victims, just disdain on them for being victims in the first place and anyone helping them - causing "dependency." If she is a compassionate mood at all, she might give a victim a used copy of one of her books (it having been paid for, thus no good for more royalties).


That Ann Coulter is one hell of a publicity hound there is no doubt: if you see her on any program outside of FOX News (she lives, apparently, under Sean Hannity's desk) you know that she has a new book to sell. Her outrageous comments are only fueled by the amount of publicity they get, from 9/11 widows who have "so much fun being victims" to tweets about having a "Fathers disowning their Son's Day" (after National Coming Out Day), to mocking Michele Obama's plea for the safe return of the Nigerian girls ("We want our country back."). So it's easy to look at Coulter's latest mockery in disgust as just another publicity grab.

Missionary Position

The grab, however, may have been a bit overreaching this time because her mockery was aimed at the heart of her own self-professed religion: Christianity. And not just any Christianity, but Evangelical Christianity and its missionaries: Dr. Kent Brantly was part of Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse. If Coulter had mocked Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing, she could not have picked a more overtly Christian missionary team to add to her list of enemies. She also compounded her anti-Semitism by insinuating that Hollywood was controlled by Jews who needed to be saved (or rather, "perfected").

Missionaries have always been prey for satirists, depicted as extremely upright and holier-than-thou. The position of Missionaries during times of stress, however stodgy, has always been looked upon as noble and human in the face of adversity (think Katherine Hepburn's Rose Sayer in African Queen). Attacking medical missionaries in any way, is particularly galling, since saving lives (as well as souls) and alleviating suffering was what Jesus Christ did.

Ann Coulter's own missionary position, however, is that opposition to missionaries means publicity. She considers herself, after all, a provocateur. But now even Evangelicals consider calling her something else. Her manner of converting or "perfecting" people seems to involve looking at a loaded revolver rather than hearing the Word of God. No one has told her that forced conversions went out with Queen Isabella and her minion, Torquemada.

But perhaps to Ann Coulter, Publicity is the real God, with book sales being the reward of Publicity's Prosperity Gospel. Poor Ann. Poor greedy, deluded Ann.

Is Ann Coulter Worth The Effort?

Writing about the latest Coulter outrage may seem to be futile since even her supporters know the obvious: Coulter is for Coulter is for Coulter is for Coulter. But oddly enough, she does have followers/readers who live vicariously through her outrage and mockery: most of them do not dare to enact her opinions for fear of seeming too un-Christian or inhuman. Still others, like Pastor James Manning, take comfort that her grabs at publicity overshadow his, or make him sound like more of a cartoon than a Conservative provocateur:

Manning goes on to call on God to give ebola to all homosexuals and their supporters. "All the world needs to know that sodomy and homosexuality is more deadly than the ebola virus that is spreading all over the world. Everybody who stands up and embraces sodomy, BE THOU CURSED WITH EBOLA! Cursed be ye for embracing this!"

Yes, the furthest of the religious "wingnuts" are in fact overshadowed by Coulter (who, by the way, never derides them): sheltered by her outrageous comments in the form of immediate dismissal by the mainstream media.

Yes, a "provocateur" is always worth the effort to focus upon when one knows the people she is provoking.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Make Sarah Palin Stop! Never-ending Self-Promotion Continues With Her Very Own "News" Channel!



This channel will be the gift that keeps on giving for comedians and late night talk shows. Sarah can't help herself. As a democrat allow me to say this is some of the best news I've had in months. Palin still hasn't figured out that she peaked as mayor of Wasilla. She actually believes she has something significant to contribute to the political and cultural dialogue which is what makes her entertaining. What fun! - YouTube comment.
If you want to see the queen of self-promotion go at it again, it will cost you: Sarah Palin has announced the production of an online "news" program called Sarahpalinchannel.com. For $9.99 a month (or $99 a year), you will be able to get the news Palin's way, along with a healthy helping of Palin-style reality TV. You will see more flag-waving, more hand-shaking, more winks, more Tea Party screamers, more Obama-haters, hear more clicks, and more vapid political "thoughts". More PALIN! EVERYTHING PALIN! There will not be one digital frame without Palin!! Your laptop, tablet or phone will be oozing Sarah Palin!

In an attempt to piggy-back on her demand that we "impeach Obama", Sarah Palin has done what was expected of her: steamrolled into a new, uncharted (for her) adventure. The channel's promo piece (see below) promises to "go rogue", and keep people guessing as to her Presidential ambitions. Like her bus tour (what was it for again?), it will keep Palinmania alive...

...while the rest of the country screams "ENOUGH ALREADY!"

PPSD

That's Post Palinmania Stress Disorder and the latest poll shows it afflicts more than half of America:

The NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania survey indicates that 54% of voters say they've heard enough from Palin and would prefer that the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate be less outspoken in political discourse. That includes nearly two-thirds of Democrats, a majority of independents, and nearly four in 10 Republicans.

That's right folks, even Republicans have had enough: their very own "gosh darn" darling has worn their patience with her incessant mugging and putting in her two cents worth (now reduced to half a penny). FOX News seems to keep her on tap due to a kindness that borders on pity. Yes, they have to pander to old Tea Partiers, but what price pandering to a group that became famous for its misspelled signs? The party is dying out so fast that even Palin has suggested starting one of her (very, very) own. *

But Seriously ...

There will be no "but seriously ..." until people stop laughing.

- Whats next "smoking crack with Rob Ford" channel?- I might watch it. As a part-time EMT, I always make sure to attend the scene of a bad accident.- What in the heck is a "media filter"???? You mean actual thought?- Only in America could the most ill informed individual on the planet get a news channel.- Alternative TV channel works for her bc it matches the alternate reality that she lives in. - She'll say something stupid....others will comment on it....she'll say she is being picked on....then she'll quit.
Yet there is a serious side to this part of the Palin saga: Sarah Palin is taking it seriously.

The best way to prove how viable your views are is to make the public pay for them. Andrew Sullivan has done it successfully, because his followers pay for his intelligent (sometimes conservative) take on national and world affairs. Palin is banking on viability, not liability. She honestly thinks her take on America and it's political landscape is worth something to people. Maybe it is, but after the laughter takes its toll, her subscribers may be a bit embarrassed: "watching Palin" may not be a badge of Tea Party (or any other party) honor.

So when will all the self-promotion stop? Probably when Palin's last grandchild has been voted out of Dancing With The Stars. It's tough to halt someone so hellbent on staying in the limelight. Until then, let the SNL sketches go on!

Hurry, Tina Fey, what's takin' ya so long?




*Taking a tip from comedienne Gracie Allen's own Presidential run, she might name it The Surprise Party. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Politicizing AIDS Deaths: What The Christian Right Has Done From The Very Beginning








"Let me close by making one additional comment. On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV. These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence. President Barack Obama.


"How dare pernicious researchers and activists interfere with the machinations of God! It serves them right!" Or so the sentiment will go. Perhaps not quite as pointedly tacky nor as bourgeois (ok, that's mildly redundant, but the Right lives on redundancy), but the Right has already begun to take God into the MH-17 disaster and international crisis. Ala the American Family Association:









True, Bryan Fischer is a card-carrying God's Ambulance Chaser, but when criticized for the above tweet, he absolutely insisted that it was Obama who was politicizing the death of the AIDS researchers.

This attitude, of course, is delusional, but key to people like Fischer.

THE MOTIVE

In the coming weeks/months, the question of motive for the downing of MH17 will be key to understanding the international crisis: it will beat like a heart throughout all the commentaries and articles, all the social media blasts and all the documentary preliminary discussions.

Some faction of Separatists had to make the decision to target an airliner. Why an airliner? Perhaps an inept attempt to call attention to its cause, like videotaping a beheading. It certainly could not have been an act of sheer stupidity, could it? An accidental push of a button by a Pixar-like buffoon? So MH17 was targeted?

Why? The next step is to consider who was on the plane. The positing of it being mistaken as Putin's plane is ridiculous: the Separatists shooting their biggest supporter and the supplier of all their armaments. Since most of the passengers were from the Netherlands, was it possible that Separatists thought it would make the best statement to shoot down the most liberal of European countries? Maybe.

Or did the Separatists know that one third of the passengers were going to an AIDS convention and that one of the world's chief researchers were on the plane?
"Among the many lost were two giants of the HIV research community. “Both Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren meant a lot to us, as colleagues and as friends,” an anguished Brandon O’Dell of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development told me. Lange was once the president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the conference. Van Tongeren, his partner, was a nurse and advocate and head of communications for the AIGHD."

All right, to go any further with a hypothesis involving AIDS researchers and (possibly) Russia's homophobia would be to go all Glenn Beckian. But the presence of so many passengers on one mission (and so many from one country) put emphasis on motives too important to dismiss.

Politicizing/Trivializing

When anyone strives to politicize a crisis or disaster, many times the deaths of the people involved become trivialized as well: Bryan Fischer's comment strives to trivialize the deaths by demeaning the work the researchers and activists were trying to accomplish.

The best of the backlash can be read at Forward Progressive, Wonkette, and Salon.

To be fair, not all of the Rights' political hacks have succumbed to politicizing the tragedy: when Todd Starnes tweeted "snarky" comments about Obama, FOX News' own Greta Van Sustern had some serious words of her own:
“I was just sent a Mediaite article with these tweets on it. I don’t know Todd Starnes (he works in NYC), but I do know he works at Fox News Channel and so do I. I don’t like his tweets. They are very bad taste. This is not the time to be snarky or have some pathetic attempt at humor. Let me repeat… 295 people died.”
Unfortunately, the Right (especially the Christian Right), has developed a very hard skin when it comes to criticism about their treatment of AIDS and AIDS deaths: it's as if they've never heard the facts about AIDS not being a "gay disease" and stories about their own hard-hearted Fundamentalists and Southern Baptists. For over 30 years, the Right has used AIDS and its deaths as political tools against the poor and the LGBT community, while giving itself kudos for "tolerance" if anyone survived the epidemic.

In 2006, PBS' Frontline produced an in depth series titled The Age Of AIDS. It's long, but riveting and chronicles the hopes and dreams of researchers like Joep Lange and the quest to politicize the crisis by politicians and Christian Right groups alike (think George H.W. Bush during the Republican Convention).

Sad to say, Bryan Fischer is still not alone in his attempts to feed the righteous arrogance of himself and his supporters: if any form of AIDS-phobic or homophobic motive comes to light...

Fischer will be crowing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Busy Days For Francis: Tackling Pedophilia, Celibacy, Compassion And "Humanitarian" Rick Perry




“Whether they are traveling because of poverty, or violence, or with the hope of reuniting with relatives on the other side of the border, it is urgent to protect them and help them because their vulnerability is greater and they are defenseless against any abuse or misfortune”.

Pope Francis has hit the news several times in two days and the subjects of debate are shocking and straightforward: the Vatican admitted that at least 2% of all clergy (including bishops and cardinals) are ... pedophiles. Addressing the subject, the pontiff also questioned the efficacy of celibacy (!). And with a very quick shift in gears, Francis made pointed remarks about other juvenile victims: the refugees flooding Texas, Arizona and California borders from Central America. 



Human Earthquake



"The Diocese of West Texas released this photo Wednesday of Central American refugee children apprehended at the southern U.S. border. Tens of thousands of them have fled their homes in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, hoping to reunite with relatives in the North. It’s a humanitarian crisis, government agencies are overwhelmed, and the diocese is working with Episcopal Relief and Development and other agencies to find shelter, safety and legal protection for these refugees. It’s like a human earthquake, caused by violence and worsened by politicians; meanwhile Episcopalians and other churches are trying to focus on the kids." From The Daily Office.






Obviously, Rick Perry didn't like what the pope said. In a FOX News interview with Brit Hume, Perry said that deporting the children during the immigration crisis brewing in the south was "the most humanitarian thing we can do." Perry lambasted Obama's efforts to support border patrol, intimating that it was his "Katrina." But although he stated that the children should be humanely accommodated, his strident tone for the children's reasons for being here in the first place took over:

The former Republican presidential candidate said that he knew refugees would send the message back to their families that troops were on the border because “their conversations are being monitored with calls back to Central America, and the message is ‘Hey, come on up here, everything is great, they’re taking care of us.’ And that needs to stop.”


No, Perry could have been pleased with the Pope's plea for unconditional compassion.

And neither could Rush Limbaugh: 

There's a typical headline here about what happened in Murrieta, California. It's from Reuters: "Anti-Immigration Protesters Block Undocumented Migrants in California." That headline is a lie in several ways. One, these people were not protesting immigration. They were protesting illegal immigration and dumping, number one. And then Reuters called these kids migrants.
He also stated that many of the children probably carried communicable diseases. 

Naughty Murietta

Murietta, CA is part of affluent Riverside County. Check that: it's THE most affluent part of Riverside County. And the most Republican. And the least diverse. And the least Hispanic. It may have the only all-Rush Limbaugh and all-Sean Hannity cable channels in the country. Naturally, it hates any form of illegal immigrants, from babies to octogenarians. 



“The Town Where Immigrants Hit a Human Wall,” read a New York Times headline. “In California, an Immigration Flashpoint,” proclaimed The Washington Post. And the "flashpoint" was countered by faith-based organizations in the border states willing to help the children, taking Francis' plea to heart. 


Murietta is now a shouting match.

Leprosy In The House

For Francis, the matter of children seemed to dominate his thoughts this last week: the immigrant crisis in America came after a shocking admission:
"Many of my co-workers who struggle with me reassure me with reliable data that assess pedophilia within the church at the level of 2 percent. This finding should reassure me but I must tell you that I do not [find it] reassuring at all. I consider it very serious indeed. ... I find this situation intolerable and I intend to tackle it with the seriousness it requires," he reportedly said in an interview with Eugenio Scalfari for the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.
He called the 2% a "leprosy in the house", just days after he met with abuse survivors and begged forgiveness. 

The Vatican officially denied parts of the interview, giving shadings to the "2%" comment. It also denied that the Pope commented on finding a solution to celibacy. 


Whatever the pending reactions to the outspoken Francis, it is clear that his devotion to children and the less fortunate is not to be diminished or demeaned by pundits like Rush Limbaugh, or negated by politicians like Rick Perry.