Monday, 4/15/13, Public Square



by | April 15, 2013 · 6:00 am

31 responses to “Monday, 4/15/13, Public Square

  1. This article breaks my heart. So many good people hurt, all in the name of god. As children too many are abused and neglected, as adults they are left without adoption records to prove citizenship and no educational records. Adrift if they attempt to leave — they’ve never been to school, they have no ties outside the church families — they often return and even perpetuate the horrors of their upbringing. The article states: “It’s like battered wives syndrome, she told me. “If the children at any point established a connection, they’re going to want to return…Even though it ended badly, it’s still a connection.”

    (from the link): …an “orphan theology” movement that has taken hold among mainstream evangelical churches, whose flocks are urged to adopt as an extension of pro-life beliefs, a way to address global poverty, and a means of spreading the Gospel in their homes. The movement’s leaders, as I discovered while researching my upcoming book on the topic, portray adoption as physical and spiritual salvation for orphans and a way for Christians to emulate God, who, after all, “adopted” humankind. Churches reported that the spirit was proving contagious; families encouraged one another to adopt, and some congregations were taking in as many as 100 children.

    …Liberian parents began complaining that adoption had been misrepresented to them as some sort of temporary education arrangement

    …The children recalled being so hungry that they would, on occasion, cook a wild goose or turkey they caught on the land. “We went from Africa to Africa,” CeCe said.

    …”The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians,” author Dan Cruver wrote in his 2011 book, Reclaiming Adoption, “is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel.”

    Orphan Fever: The Evangelical Movement’s Adoption Obsession

    • I’ve got one very big question for these Fundy Christians.

      If God knows everything and makes no mistakes – then why did God allow these children to be born in LIberia in the first place?

      I mean, seriously, think about this.

      The most fundamental idea of the Fundy Christian Movement (when I was involved in it) was that God had already pre-ordained your entire life.

      SO…..if this is true….then wouldn’t God have known what life in LIberia would be for those kids and why put them there in the first place?

      After all – if God is love – is that really the way you show love?

      • wicked

        “God had already pre-ordained your entire life.”

        Which means there is no free will.

        Sorry, I have trouble buying into that, in any direction. 😦

  2. This article reminds me of my mother-in-law. When I became engaged, my mother-in-law was mad at me for not ‘thanking her for adopting my husband’ .

    My husband was born in Germany and his adoptive Dad was a chaplain in the Air Force. My husband was 6 months old when they adopted him.

    In the first place – that thought never crossed my mind to thank her.

    In the second place – if she did not want to adopt a child out of the desire to love that child and make a good home for her entire family – then DO NOT adopt.

    My MIL also ‘adopted’ a widow in one of the nursing homes my FIL worked at in Vermont. This elderly woman was very nice (when I met her) – and she went by the name Grandma Bennett (even though she was not related to the family).

    My husband’s family moved around a lot – so Grandma was the one constant mother figure in my husband’s childhood.

    My MIL was too busy with her ‘church work’ to be a mother – was what I was told.

    But back to my MIL being angry with me for not thanking her for adopting my husband….

    She actually said to me that she had done what the Bible told her to do – take in orphans and widows. And that someday she would get her crown of jewels when she gets to Heaven.

    Hey – Lady – I’ve got a perfect place to put that crown……if you know what I mean….LOL

    I’ve seen this ‘adoption fever’ up close and personal…….

    My husband’s childhood was not a good one. But, at least, he and one elderly widow had a good time together – so maybe that was the blessing in disguise?

    I liked Grandma Bennett – but by the time I came along, my MIL had put her in to a nursing home – far away from Vermont.

    I’ve often wondered if Grandma Bennett regretted being taken from her Vermont home and dragged around the country – just so my MIL could use her monthly pension check.

    BTW – my MIL firmly believes that she will be on the right side of God on Judgment Day to help him aim those lightning bolts at ‘certain’ people to send them to Hell.

    He..he…he…. how much do you want to bet my name is first on her list?


  3. In comparison – my uncle adopted a baby girl. This was back in the 1960’s.

    This uncle is the one that believes that our life on Earth is the real Hell – but that’s another story.

    This uncle is not religious – nor church going.

    But when he adopted his little baby girl – that was just it – she was HIS.

    No stories. No big ‘where’s my thanks’ speech.

    In fact, nobody ever thought anything about Kelly not being his because he never treated her any different.

    He and his wife adopted a baby girl because they wanted to love a child, raise that child and build a family life together.

    So… comparison to the story of my Mother-in-Law – which adoption do you think a just, kind and loving God would want for a child (or elderly person)?

    Just because you thump a Bible, wear that pretty hairbow and cloak yourself in self-righteousness – does not mean you’re a true Christian.

  4. Here’s another adoption story that I know of personally —

    A man with a 20yr marriage divorces his wife, leaves his 5 kids to go and marry his new trophy wife.

    This new wife wants a baby – so they adopt a 5-yr-old girl from Guatemala. Then a few years later – this new trophy wife is suddenly so concerned about being a ‘good Catholic’ – so Daddy decided to convert to Catholicism.

    In order to be a ‘good Catholic’ – this couple had to get the man’s previous marriage written off the books……so they sent a priest to harass the first wife into signing a bunch of paperwork. (which she refused to do – several times)

    Now – mind you – this man has 5 kids from his first marriage – of which every single one of those kids have emotional problems. Gee, I wonder why???

    This little Guatemalan girl is the ‘princess’ at family gatherings. She is dressed to the nine’s and everyone is to sit down and watch her if she demands attention – and boy does she demand attention – ALOT.

    I’m friends with the first wife and the 5 kids – so I am getting their perspective of this dog and pony show. – Which I can understand why they would call it that.

    So – here we have a devout , religious (oh yeah, sure) couple who was playing footsies, they both got divorced, ran off to get married and then came back with an adopted kid from Guatemala.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    The kicker to this story —– I saw a church bulletin that had an article about this man’s life story and his conversion to Catholicism.

    My – oh, my – what beautiful praise the author had for this man.

    Funny thing though – there was NEVER a mention of this man’s marriage of 20 yrs, his ex-wife and their 5 kids.

    There was also a picture of this man’s ‘family’ – it was him, the trophy wife and the little ‘princess’.

    Excuse me……but when I know this has happened, why would I believe the Catholic Church when they try to bully me into believing that gay marriage is going to ruin traditional marriage?

    I just don’t get that one.

    BTW – I’ve been told there is a support group for adoptive parents of children from foreign lands.

    Maybe this is just another ‘social country club’ gathering – is that the attraction these folks seem to have?

    They can all sit around together and have a pissing contest as to who is the most righteous and who will really get to sit next to God on Judgment DAy?

    Sorry – ladies and gents – that special spot next to God is reserved for my Mother-in-Law….

    • wicked

      indy, there are adoption groups here in the U.S. for U.S. adopted children, adoptive families, and birth families. I was a member of one here in town for a few years. Not all adoptions by Catholics are bad. Just sayin’. 🙂

  5. I really didn’t want to know what I learned from a former neighbor, but over the years the snippets added up to a story I think happens all too often. I became acquainted when three people moved in across the street: Grandma(a woman my age), Daughter (near 20) and Grandson (five).

    Daughter suffered mildly from Cerebral Palsy due to lack of oxygen at birth. Raising this special needs child was a great challenge to Grandma and it seemed to me she never looked for or found resources that might have helped. Grandma was raising Grandson while continuing to take care of her own daughter who was not only mildly physically and mentally challenged but now sexually active.

    I never knew the actual name of their church but their lives revolved around it. The house was full of visitors all the time — some visited for a few hours every day and some stayed on for weeks and months. There were LOTS of children. No one went to school, everyone was home schooled. All of the families took in children from SRS and some of these children were eventually adopted.

    Over the ten years they lived across the street, Daughter got pregnant again and again. When they moved Daughter had five children and took in foster kids. None of her own children could read. This was admitted to me by Grandma. And, it seemed to be the norm, not the exception among this bunch of women and children who thought of themselves as people who were saving and helping children in the name of god.

    I can’t even imagine the fate of this large number of people — I’m talking probably 20 women who came and went and had probably 100+ kids in their care. They were kind, generous to a fault, but illiterate and as removed from the rest of the world as they could get.

    I could tell you stories. Most of them you probably wouldn’t even believe.

    • That is what sad – IMHO.

      Somehow – I think your stories and my stories would have a common theme?

      This type of family life that you described across the street is all too common and – IMHO – totally unnecessary.

      God gave humans the ability to think and with advanced science technology – HELLO – birth control – that daughter would have not ended up with 5 kids of her own.

      But …when I heard Rick Santorum actually be applauded and cheered when he called President Obama ‘a snob’ for wanting everyone to go to college just made my blood boil……

      How arrogant of Rick Santorum to say such a thing…..and then how ignorant to sit there and applaud like that.

      In the case of Santorum – again, IMHO – he knows exactly what he is doing – and he likes his targeted audience to be as ignorant as possible.

      That way – he and his EvangeliCONS can push whatever agenda they want through and they don’t give a damn….

      • Their church revered pregnant women and adamantly discouraged birth control. They push abstinence while they revere pregnancies.

        Don’t ask. It doesn’t have to make sense. They were bringing children to god.

        These women couldn’t properly care for the children they had yet they all became foster mothers and many adopted children while giving birth like they were assembly lines. These children weren’t nurtured, weren’t educated, had no goals, no ambitions. They didn’t believe in science and were against childhood immunizations.

      • They had a network for getting credentials for their home-schooled children. Those who could pass the tests passed them for everyone else. They knew how to avoid any unwanted attention too.

        I don’t know any of the details of how they fooled their way through the various systems but they had people in their church to guide them through it.

      • I still think the best parents don’t confine their children to their own learning. Don’t we all want children to soar, raise the bar, understand what were our mysteries, never be limited? They are our tomorrow.

  6. Dale Swenson is a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives from the 97th district in Wichita, Kansas (south Wichita House district). From 1995 to 2008, he served as a Republican lawmaker. In 2009, he began a single two-year term as a Democrat. After 14 years in the House as a Republican, Swenson switched parties in 2009. He said he was disturbed by what he saw as his party’s shift away from traditional GOP priorities such as education and consumer protection and toward policies favoring corporations and special interests.

    Here’s a story from The Wichita Eagle about his history as a Representative to the kansas House:

    Dale Swenson said recently:

    “Brownback and his Tea Party are Christians aren’t they. They wouldn’t deliberately lie to us would they? Well, would they? I voted to have a temporary sales tax increase in order to avoid permanent property tax hikes to see us through the recession. I was defeated by a Retrogressive who made the vote an issue. He promised to repeal the temporary sales tax. Well, he voted to repeal it alright, but then less than an hour later he voted to make it permanent. Now, Brownback claims that the state was solvent without a tax hike. Not true at all since the revenues had the temporary tax imposed in 2010. Then they made needless and senseless state income tax cuts to bring everyone’s income taxes to zero unless you were either an employee or a retiree. Kansas now has the most regressive tax burden in the nation. Charles and David Koch will no longer be paying any individual state income tax, and the rest of us will see huge property tax hikes at the local level. Not to mention the cuts to all departments and state agencies. We are losing 40 percent of our revenue to Brownback’s tax plan. Our transportation plan has been employing 175,000 workers. A forty percent cut to transportation will displace 70,000 workers. This will force closure of several schools in USD 259. There won’t be money enough to fund Medicaid. There won’t be money enough to keep our prisons open. There won’t be enough money for aid to the disabled. Tuitions will have to double. Aren’t these things a tax on our community and our economy?”

    • Is Dale Swenson the auctioneer guy? Or is he that auto dealership owner?

      • I think neither, but don’t know for sure. I think the Dale Swenson who was a Kansas House Representative was an engineer at Boeing before going into politics. Does that fit either of those two?

      • I don’t know about the Boeing engineer ….I know there is a Swenson Auction family business. And that other guy has that car dealership on the west side… I remember on 2004 presidential election night – this guy’s dealership was having some sort of victory party for Bush.

        That dealership is off West Kellogg……

        This was the Republican that always looked favorably on those bills that benefited his dealership business….. well, that does not narrow down a Republican – does it? These CONS all vote to feather their own nest…

      • I found this profile on Dale Swenson – it does state he is a former Boeing employee….

  7. If you pay $10K in federal taxes today, $2,647.67 will go to military spending, $80.58 to foreign aid, and $1.48 to PBS.

    Where else is your money going? Enter your tax amount into this web tool, and see a receipt that shows how your tax dollars will be spent

    • But…but…Big Bird needs to be cut off from the government teat…..Don’t you understand? …..Big Bird is the THREAT to Democracy – as we know it

      Or, at least that is what I hear from these ranting lunatics….

  8. Color me shocked….I say….shocked to think the new Pope would follow the footsteps of all the Popes before him…

    Well…we are talking about women and their ‘place’ in this world…..

    Excuse me, but these Nuns on the Bus are the Catholics that got the true message of Jesus in their hearts – and their agenda. IMHO

  9. I’ve been thinking about those neighbors ……if they took in foster kids, that might have been the way they brought money into the household.

    I have known some foster parents – some good and some are not so good.

    But when the motivating factor is how much money will each kid bring in – that is when I think the foster parent needs to be reassessed – IMHO.

    Isn’t that kinda like a for-profit-prison? The more inmates you have – the more money you get?

    • I came to realize they depended on the money from the foster kids. I don’t know much about that system and I realize the numbers of children are overwhelming but it’s a system that I think needs to be improved. (which ones don’t!?) These people took advantage of ALL government programs they could, and like I said they had people in their church who knew how to navigate and take every advantage of those systems.

      Then, they sat back and complained of all things ‘government.’ Yep, they took advantage, made government programs less effective and bitched about government programs that were ineffective.

      It was such a sad situation in so many ways. They genuinely thought they were doing good. They weren’t.

      • All this talk about adoption has got me to thinking…, I went searching on the Internet..

        I came across this article in HuffingtonPost yesterday about some case before the Supreme Court regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act.

        I never realized there was such an act that was passed and it was in 1978 – that’s really not all that long ago – is it?

        But the reason this Act was needed is what got to me…….a lot of Indian children were being taken from their homes by private and profit agencies for adoption?

        I guess I just don’t get this…….but I am of the mindset that if you’re going to adopt – then adopt for the right reason.

        But – then again – this article got me to thinking that in 1978 it took a federal Act in order for the tribal leaders to have a say in where their Indian children go to be adopted.

        But in 2012 – we have Republicans voting against giving these same tribal leaders the capability of prosecuting non-Indian males that rape Indian women on tribal land?

        Is this really where we are at in 2012???

        Women and Children – the two minority groups that certain people think they can control completely…

  10. I heard this story on NPR while working yesterday.

    When reading this article, please note that this guy turned down all invitations for speaking engagements. And the reason was simple – he did not want his church to get too big.

    But – that does not mean that he had no influence. In fact, his church members were committed community service and outreach.

    Imagine that – a church filled with people who actually cared about their community?

    I wonder – how many of today’s Mega Corporate Church preachers are looking cashing on all those speakers fees – while their monuments to themselves are more like a Tax Free Country Club than a church filled with people that actually care what happens to their neighbors, their community, their state, and their country.

    Imagine……just imagine….how much good these Mega Corporate Churches COULD do if they simply followed what this guy did for years?

    BTW – I like Jim Wallis very much. He is one Evangelical that I listen to – and I respect his opinions.

  11. Just so everyone knows — I’ve spoken with all my Boston people and they are fine.

  12. “Democracy and the Republic depend for their very existence on an educated population and on intelligent and reasoned discourse. That’s our country’s Achilles Heel.” — Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station)

  13. Good to know your peeps are ok, Fnord. I was just checking in here to see if you were here and what you knew.

    Damn. Just…damn. WTF? Anything can happen anywhere, anytime.

    And on a lighter note, I intend to call my Austin buddies who run half and full marathons and lecture them on the dangers of extreme fitness. HA!

  14. So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

  15. wicked

    fnord, I just wanted to drop by and tell you how glad I am that your family is safe and sound. I wasn’t aware of what happened today, until about 5:45 while at the ice rink and saw it on the screen in the lobby. Sad, sad day. Prayers and healing thoughts, for both the physical traumas and the that done to the souls, are being sent from my heart.