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September 20, 2005

How are the Kids?

Living Room Dialogue with Sr. Marion Fahey

Kathleen as initial presenter was inspired by a week spent at an institute sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) on care for the children and public advocacy. Church people explored the role of those coming from religious traditions to ensure that no child in the USA is left behind.

Dietrich Bonhoffer, the German theologian executed for opposing Hitler's holocaust, believed the test of the morality of a society is how it treats its children. Kathleen also shared that this was an attempt to recapture the image of Christianity that has been what she thought usurped by the religious Right often justifying that the war and what it is costing US citizens us is justified while they remain silent about the needs of children.

She asked the following questions:

What do the recent terrible events in the gulf region of the United States tell us about our character? Had you interiorized the reality that 28% of the people in New Orleans live below the poverty line? Did you know that 85% of them were black?

September 20, 2005 - Living Room Dialogue with Kathleen Kanet How are the Kids? Kathleen as initial presenter was inspired by a week spent at an institute sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) on care for the children and public advocacy. Church people explored the role of those coming from religious traditions to ensure that no child in the USA is left behind. Dietrich Bonhoffer, the German theologian executed for opposing Hitler's holocaust, believed the test of the morality of a society is how it treats its children. Kathleen also shared that this was an attempt to recapture the image of Christianity that has been what she thought usurped by the religious Right often justifying that the war and what it is costing US citizens us is justified while they remain silent about the needs of children.. She asked the following questions: What do the recent terrible events in the gulf region of the United States tell us about our character? Had you interiorized the reality that 28% of the people in New Orleans live below the poverty line? Did you know that 85% of them were black? Kathleen continued with several questions: Is a budget a moral document? What are we buying? What are we not buying? Just how are the kids doing?

What about that poverty line:

In the United States for example 37 million people live below the poverty line. 13 million are children. What does that mean?

2004:

Family Number Poverty threshold Basic Expenses Minimum wage

3 $15,219 $30,000 $10,716

(From 2005 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

When you are motivated by "seeing" children who are poor and that some children are left behind? Then, what are you motivated to do?

For your seeing, for your analyzing and for your acting. These are offered for your perspective.

On a personal perspective, when we see children and families living in poverty, we may say they are poor because they are lazy, unmotivated, dumb, lacking in ambition, irresponsible, drug addicted. Etc.

A response on this level could be blaming the victim, preaching repentance, separating the children from their families or restricting what they currently have. On this level on could have a more positive response and to pray for them or not to speak evil of them. On an interpersonal perspective regarding seeing children in poverty we may say there is poor parenting, poor teaching, poor nutrition being used, there has been sexual violation of children, other forms of abuse. All of this shows a lack of personal concern by adults to young people.Negatively one then blames the adults for this realit.

In choosing a positive activity one could offer parenting workshops, counseling, removing the children from abusive situations. Now on the third perspective which is called the structural perspective. This is where the playing field is analyzed and hopefully leveled to give equal access and examines the basic human rights of a child protected by law. Ask what policies insure:

  • Adequate food and nutrition
  • A home to live in
  • Adequate health care
  • Schools with resources
  • Safe neighborhoods
  • Caretakers who have jobs with adequate pay
  • (Three out of four children who live in poverty have a working parent)

Showing pictures of children at the Dome in New Orleans: Looking at the pictures, how would you answer the following questions?

Some questions for analysis are:

  • Who gets? Why pays? Where does the power lie?
  • Who is included? Who is excluded?
  • What values are played out?
  • What does morality have to do with this?
  • On a structural level, policies are needed to insure the above
  • How do we act to insure policies that do that?
  • How do we empower or help others to be empowered to fight for themselves?
  • Is it valid to say that a budget is a moral document?
  • How would you evaluate the United States Federal budget in relation to the above question?
  • s action to change policy to ensure human rights and the dignity of personal a moral imperative?

Facilitated by Kathleen Kanet


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