How is it we’re willing to help dogs, children but not homeless?
Good will toward men, as long as we don’t have to shelter them. This appears to be the message coming from the Harrold Street NIMBYs and the county Planning Commission regarding its vote on Our Daily Bread Ministries’ proposed homeless shelter. Well, guess what? The homeless already are in our backyards, our front yards and sleeping in our unlocked cars.
Within this community, we have managed to find the money and political will to house and comfort stray dogs. How is it we can’t seem to do the same for our fellow woman and man?
“Five-hundred kids still need presents,” reads a headline in Thursday’s Triplicate. The $20 or $40 gift money per child sought by Santa’s Workshop would total $10,000 to $20,000. I know I’m thinking way outside the box here, but how about gingerbread and oranges for the kiddies and a little humanitarian assistance during the coldest months for those who desperately need it?
This tired old Christian claim demands some comment. First, most of the founders of our country were deists, not Christians in the modern sense. Jesus is almost never mentioned in historical documents.
Talk of Christian principles and morality sounds good until we read the history of what Christians did with it during their centuries of absolute power in Europe. This period of history is called the Dark Ages for good reason. Millions (millions!) of innocent people were horribly murdered during the centuries of the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the witch hunts, as part of official policy of organized Christianity.
Most people do not realize that the American ban against established religion in the First Amendment of our Constitution was included by our founders, not because of earlier religious persecution suffered in Europe, but as a reaction against the kind of religious tyranny brought to America by the Puritans in the New England colonies, which gave us such examples of Christian love as the Salem Witch Trials.
I believe most Christians today are good, well-intentioned people. It is only when they join together and are given public power that they go wrong. I respect their individual right to believe as they choose, but not to publicly impose their beliefs on others.
The scenario would be laughable if not for the possible tragic outcome. I am appalled and disgusted by the bureaucratic mindset opting for lethal solutions to wildlife problems, especially those caused by poor planning and mismanagement. It’s time our officials are held accountable for their poor decisions.
A year ago Airport Manager Jim Bernard also wanted the elk to be shot which wandered onto airport property. And Supervisor Finigan’s suggestion to donate resulting meat is equally a cheap shot to justify a deadly decision.
First it was the Aleutian goose and the farmers, then the Smith River elk herd/traffic collisions. There must be meaningful open dialogue to consider humane solutions to this unfortunate situation. Killing deer at the airport is an unacceptable outcome.
Thanksgiving forever changed in our house after Alexander’s op-ed
Kudos to Jon Alexander for his most excellent pre-Thanksgiving piece (“Carole King, lemonade and Thanksgiving,” Nov. 25).
While preparing for our usual three-bird blowout, I considered the wisdom embodied in that article and how best to incorporate it into our celebration. Realizing that the answer was also included in the writing, I mixed up a pitcher of lemonade on Wednesday evening and squeezed it into the “back fridge” between the marinating turkey and the fresh-cut veggies.
After the feast and before dessert, I poured out glasses of lemonade for each of our family and friends present and gathered us all around the “center island” in the kitchen. I led off with a brief description of the major “lemons” that have plagued my life for the past two years, the current “light at the end of the tunnel,” and the parts played by everyone there in helping us through it all.
My wife was next, followed by everyone in turn. In those minutes, Thanksgiving has forever changed in our house. Much like marriage changes the relationship between a man and a woman by spelling out their love and promises to each other, our new “lemonade” ceremony now cements the meaning of Thanksgiving for those present. While the strawberry cakes, cheesecakes, pecan and pumpkin pies still suffered greatly at our hands (or rather, forks?), our open statements of love and support for each other strengthened us all. And we are better for it.
Wonderful stuff, that lemonade! Still don’t understand Carole King, though.
The continuing saga of the homeless in our community tells us there is a need for a better strategy for addressing this problem. The issue is complex. The issue includes the underemployed, single parents, children, substance abuse, disabilities, mental health issues, etc.
Lori Rooney’s accusation that our community is uncharitable (“How many more homeless will die before we find compassion?” Dec. 5) is false. As a person involved extensively with nonprofit organizations in this community, I know Del Norte is a most charitable community. Yet, Lori’s accusation also points to the frustration we all feel when confronted by the issue homeless people.
Poverty and its related concerns appear to be overwhelming for individuals. Individual citizens look to government and other agencies for leadership to solve these heart-wrenching situations. Individuals attempt to assist by giving directly to “panhandlers.”
I want to offer a different approach; let me be bold and say, stop giving directly to the “panhandlers.” Individually, when we give indiscriminately in this manner we reinforce panhandling and a lifestyle. I propose we give directly to community agencies best equipped to respond to the needs of people in poverty. Specifically, organizations like the Community Assistance Network, Rural Human Services, Daily Bread Ministries, the Pregnancy Care Center, etc. are in the best position to coordinate the delivery of resources.
These agencies are staffed with employees and volunteers who are knowledgeable regarding the issues of poverty. They operate effective programs, establish individual accountability, and are accountable to our community. Each of these organizations works effectively with local government, coordinates with one another, and is able to provide timely services in emergencies. Strategic giving to these organizations will provide them with the necessary resources to enhance services.
Do not allow guilt or frustration to rule your compassion. Let us be pro-active with our compassion and donate with a purpose! It is time for us as individuals to rethink how we are responding to the issues of poverty. Let us empower those agencies most knowledgeable, capable, and ready to serve.
Pastor Steve Perez
Hiouchi Community Fellowship