Poverty

Am I Liberal or Conservative? Or Both? (Part 1)

It wasn't until I started working in the world of religion and politics with advocacy organizations on Capitol Hill that I ever heard anyone define Christians as liberal or conservative. These terms were not used in my church experience. But when I recall different experiences working in the church, I can see how some members of the churches where I worshiped then, where I worship now, and in congregations across the country, fit into these categories. I've found it difficult to [...]

Measuring Poverty

In January of 1964, President Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty in America." In response, the Census Bureau created a methodology for establishing an "official poverty line," determined the number of people whose incomes fell below the line, and calculated the poverty rate. The formula for determining poverty was based on the assumption that food costs consume one-third of a family's after-tax income -- an assumption that is still used today, though food now constitutes [...]

Poverty and Personal Responsibility (Part 2)

[ ...continued from part one]

So how do we help people who have been hurt so much psychologically and emotionally that they don't believe in themselves and don't believe they deserve better? How do we help children who have never heard a parent say, "I love you, you are special, talented, and will do great things one day"? Or those who watched their parents harm themselves through substance [...]

Poverty and Personal Responsibility (Part 1, by Romal Tune)

During this election cycle, we have heard candidates talk about ways in which we can work to end poverty. John Edwards has a new initiative to cut poverty in half in 10 years. These and other initiatives are certainly admirable ideas and much-needed programs that could help millions of men, women, and children.

In additions to programs and needed policy changes from our elected officials, we are also hearing about personal responsibility. And yes, inasmuch as [...]

Washing Down the Food Crisis with Corporate-Trade Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid ManIt's clear that one cause of the current food crisis is that poorer countries have been pressured into dismantling their food policies, leaving peasant farmers and eaters alike to bear all the risks of the extremely volatile world market. This has left corporations free to ship factory-farmed food to those countries, peasants free to migrate to urban slums, and corporately-dominated economic [...]

Serve Your Country: Teach

I grew up in a working-class, African-American neighborhood in Detroit. I was fortunate to have two college-educated parents who knew how to set my brother and me up for success in school. They also knew how to navigate the public school system to ensure we got the best education possible. That support helped me gain entry into a competitive college prep public high school. My path to college was clear: 99 percent of the graduates at my high school went on to four-year colleges and [...]

Dalit Converts to Christianity Face Persecution and Violence (Unveiling India's Apartheid, Part 3)

As you were singing carols, placing the last presents under the tree, and worshiping at a Christmas Eve service this past year, Indian Christians halfway across the world were being victimized by the largest attack on the Christian community in India's democratic history. The complex and combustible layers of caste-based oppression and religious persecution came to a head on Dec. 24,2007, through a spate of violence in the Kandhamal District of Orissa state. During the course of [...]

Faith-Based Initiatives Are Neither Democrat nor Republican

In the wake of Sen. Obama's proposals on faith-based initiatives, I listened to political pundits characterize this as simply another shift by Obama toward the political "center." All this knee-jerk analysis totally misses the point.

I've followed the development of this idea for years. In September 2000 I was at a breakfast for religious leaders at the White House when President Clinton [...]

Seeds of Liberation (Unveiling India's Apartheid, Part 2)

As our motorcade approached the Dalit village of Nayagarh, we could see the bright and brilliant image of 500 Dalit women gathered to welcome us, their saris forming a kaleidoscope of color. Cheers and whistles erupted from the crowd of women as we approached. I felt like a presidential candidate as I passed through the crowd, shaking as many hands as I could reach, wanting to make human contact with women whose dignity is so often demeaned and whose worth too often dismissed. These women [...]

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