Posts Tagged With: United States

God Girl’s Got News: My Happy Return to Fourth Estate

800px-Arancia_di_Ribera_byFigiu

Imgage via Wiki Commons: http://bit.ly/VvGUxk

It is with great delight that I share some (personal) breaking news: At the end of the month, I will be joining the staff of the Orange County Register as its Faith & Values Columnist.

I’ll be on sabbatical until then, but I am thrilled to be joining the Register in this new era, with a publisher, Aaron Kushner, who believes in the power and necessity of excellent newspaper journalism. In the last few months, the Register has hired more than 70 new reporters, columnists, editors,  and designers.

When I visited the Register offices in Santa Ana late last year, I found something I hadn’t seen in more than a decade and feared I might never see again: a thriving newsroom. Every seat filled. Humming with the sounds of reporters doing their thing. Bubbling with energy and excitement. Unnamed_CCI_EPS

I was beyond thrilled to meet astute and creative editors who understand the importance of covering issues of faith, religion, values, morals, ethics, and belief that are a vital part of the fabric, history, and future of Orange County.

During the 3.5 years since my family relocated from Chicago to Orange County, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with this magical place, its lively and diverse community, and the extraordinary people I’m blessed to call my neighbors.

I can’t wait to dig in, discover, and tell their stories.

It’s an unexpected new chapter in my life for which I am deeply grateful.

Thanks to all of you for walking with me these many years and for joining me on this new adventure.

Categories: BREAKING NEWS! | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

God Was Here

102953079_096141d006

Image of “Street God” by Sweetsofa (Streetart) via Wylio: http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/102953079

Michael Hidalgo has a powerful post over at my old shop, Sojourners, this morning reflecting on the question, Where is God? or, rather, Where was God? during the Newtown school shootings on Friday.

Michael writes:

When I heard the news of Friday my gut response was to say, “God, why?” My heart wondered where God was in all of this. Many people wondered the same thing. Sometimes it is hard to mesh the words of Scripture with our world.

One commentator suggested that it was precisely because God was not there that this heinous act happened. Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed we should not be surprised to see this kind of violence since we have removed God from our schools and our society. His sentiment is to say, “God is NOT here.” If that is the case, then it surely can explain the existence of pure evil that we saw displayed on Friday.

However, thinking like that of Gov. Huckabee suggests that we somehow have the power to remove God from our schools and our society. This kind of God is quite small, weak, and impotent  — one that is dictated by the mere whims of humanity. This is not the God of whom Matthew spoke.

Read his post in its entirety HERE.

Categories: GODSTUFF | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Obama’s Address to Mourners in Newtown

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release                          December 16, 2012

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

AT SANDY HOOK INTERFAITH PRAYER VIGIL

Newtown High School, Newtown, Connecticut

8:37 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Governor.  To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests — Scripture tells us:  “…do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults.  They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school; in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation.  I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.  I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.  And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it.  Newtown — you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice.  We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate.  Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”

And we know that good guys came.  The first responders who raced to the scene, helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety, and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and trauma because they had a job to do, and others needed them more.

And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren, helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do; one child even trying to encourage a grown-up by saying, “I know karate.  So it’s okay.  I’ll lead the way out.”  (Laughter.)

As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown.  In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other, and you’ve cared for one another, and you’ve loved one another.  This is how Newtown will be remembered.  And with time, and God’s grace, that love will see you through.

But we, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions.  Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.  With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice.  And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm.  And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.  They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments.  And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.

And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.  It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself.  That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation.  And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.

This is our first task — caring for our children.  It’s our first job.  If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.  That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations?  Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?  Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return?  Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.  We’re not doing enough.  And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.  The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors.  The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.  And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.  If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.

In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.  Because what choice do we have?  We can’t accept events like this as routine.  Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?  Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

All the world’s religions — so many of them represented here today — start with a simple question:  Why are we here?  What gives our life meaning?  What gives our acts purpose?  We know our time on this Earth is fleeting.  We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped.  We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way.  We will make mistakes, we will experience hardships.  And even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children, for our families, for each other.  The warmth of a small child’s embrace — that is true.  The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger — we know that’s what matters.  We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness.  We don’t go wrong when we do that.

That’s what we can be sure of.  And that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us.  That’s how you’ve inspired us.  You remind us what matters.  And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do, for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them — for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Charlotte.  Daniel.  Olivia.  Josephine.  Ana.  Dylan.  Madeleine.  Catherine.  Chase.  Jesse.  James.  Grace.  Emilie.  Jack.  Noah.  Caroline.  Jessica.  Benjamin.  Avielle.  Allison.

God has called them all home.  For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place.  May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort.  And may He bless and watch over this community, and the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                 8:55 P.M. EST

Categories: GODSTUFF | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mother Africa: Weaving a Hopeful Future

When I think of weavers, what comes to my mind are the ladies in the back of the knitting store in my Southern California hometown, the ones who hang out on weekend afternoons with their handlooms – weaving cloth shawls, blankets, or the occasional modern tapestry.

Here, weaving is, by and large, a pastime. Some would call it an art form. The ladies in the back of the knitting shop are craft weavers. We might consider them “artisans” and laud them for mastering the truly ancient craft.

In the West, machines do most of the commercial weaving, not people. In Ethiopia, and elsewhere in the developing world, handloom weaving is most often an occupation for men and one that isn’t usually heralded for its artistry. Weaving isn’t a prestigious job and, by and large, those who weave are the working poor.

Traditionally, men are the weavers. I’ve heard what felt like an odd gender role (from my American perspective) explained as merely a function of physiology. Handloom weaving requires the strength – and therefore the physical mass – to batten, which is the term used to describe moving the beater (a long metal or wooden bar that is used to keep the weft thread or yarn in place).

Women spin the wool or cotton into thread that’s loaded onto spools and then strung onto the loom’s warp (lengthwise thread) and weft (the thread that weaves in and out of the warp thread.)

The sound of handloom weaving is unmistakable. The shush of the Flying Shuttle – a small missile-shaped object, often fashioned from dogwood, that holds the weft thread – as it’s thrown through the shed, or warp threads. The slam of the beater. The click of the heddles.

In Addis Ababa last month, I could hear the weavers at fashionABLE, a faith-based non-profit that has partnered with a local organization that helps women exploited by the sex industry to change their lives.

(Learn more about fashionABLE’s story in video form HERE.)

Founded by American Barrett Ward, who spent a year in Ethiopia after launching in 2005 his Mocha Club – a cadre of activists who pledged to give up the cost of two mocha drinks (or about $7 a month) to fund relief and development projects in Africa.

While living in Addis, Ward, who now lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters adopted from Ethiopia, encountered the Women at Risk organization and saw how effectively it worked to restore dignity and health (mental, physical, spiritual) to women trapped in prostitution. An estimated 150,000 women work as prostitutes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capitol, alone – and about 75 percent of those women are HIV-positive.

When Ward learned that one of the mightiest challenges to keeping women off the streets and out of the clutches of the sex industry was work that paid a living wage, the idea for fashionABLE was born.

Working hand-in-hand with Women at Risk, which boasts a 90 percent success rate (i.e. non-recidivism) among the more than 350 women who have passed through its 12-month rehabilitation program since 1996, fashionABLE teaches former sex workers how to spin, dye, and weave cotton into truly beautiful scarves (I’m wearing one as I write this) that are sold in the U.S. at high-end retailers such as Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif.

FashionABLE exports to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which permits the export of certain African goods to the States, duty-free and quota-free. (Under AGOA, Ethiopia has exported $13.8 million worth of goods to the U.S in 2011 – primarily textiles, apparel, and agricultural products such as coffee and khat.)

Each scarf created at fashionABLE bears the name of the woman who made it. It’s a small but radical act, a thread in a new garment the women are trying on for size, a future with ample hope and grace.

Today I am wearing a white scarf with various stripes and textures woven near the tassels at the bottom. The woman who made it is Bezuayhu. She’s 19.

“My parents had passed away and I used to live with my aunts and grandparents,” Bezuayhu says on the organization’s website. “They always wanted me to work and not to go to school. So, I came to the city, and there I came to this life of prostitution.Now, it feels so good to get up in the morning and say I am going to work. It feels so good to have a scarf named after me. I’m so proud to be called a scarf maker.”

Her tag reads: Because of you, I am ABLE to look forward to my future. Thank you.

I had the pleasure of meeting Saba, a beautiful young woman with a warm smile who made the purple scarf I gave my son’s godmother as a gift upon my return to California, at the modest fashionABLE compound in an industrial area of Addis.

With Women at Risk’s founder Serawit “Cherry” Teketel serving as translator, Saba spoke (in her native Amharic) about her life before and since arriving at fashionABLE. Listen to Saba tell her story below:

The message on Saba’s tags?

Because of you, I am ABLE to feel pride in my work. Thank you, Saba

At Muya Abyssinian Crafts, a fair-trade company in Addis that employs about 150 weavers — both men and women — who make high-end textiles for European and American designers, including Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede’s Lemlem line at J.Crew, I learned something fascinating.

Muya, which means “talent” in Ge’ez, the language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, also employs potters who make various earthenware vessels, such as coffee pots and intricately hand painted guinea fowl figurines.

Jacques Dubois, a native of France who has lived in Ethiopia for more than 40 years and is co-owner of Muya, told us that when the company first approached the potters about making exportable goods, they balked at the idea. They saw no artistry in that work, Dubois explained, and could not believe that anyone outside of Ethiopia would want to buy them.

The coffee pots and urns were simply utilitarian and those who made them — the potters — at the low end of the pecking order in Ethiopian society, Dubois said.

Why? Because they work with fire and fire is, according to tradition, he said, associated with the devil. Ergo, potters are practically outcasts.

On the wall of the room where several women crouched at their work stations, painstakingly painting white dots on large black guinea fowl figurines, polishing dappled vases, or weaving long grass through the edges of a decorative plate the color of polished onyx, were posters and framed renderings of Christian icons, including the Virgin Mary, who seemingly bestowed their blessngs on the artisans as they worked.

Muya is the first Ethiopian company to obtain membership in the World Fair Trade Organization and is deeply committed to social responsibility, Dubois explained. The weavers and other craftspeople employed by Muya make substantially more than their counterparts elsewhere, and the company helps enroll workers’ children in better schools. The company subsidizes its employees meals so that they can save their money and spend it to feed their families, and also runs a training program for female prison inmates, teaching them spinning, weaving, and other marketable skills so that when they’re released, they can better support themselves.

Dubois proudly introduced me to one of Muya’s “master weavers,” 24-year-old Solomon, who has worked at Muya for more than six years. The middle child of seven, Solomon told me about what weaving at the fair-trade company has meant to him — and his family.

“I am the spinal cord of my family,” Solomon, who grew up and still lives about 1 km from the Muya factory. “It’s not just me,” he said, explaining that the work allows him to support his parents as well as his siblings, three of whom are enrolled in university. His younger brother earned a degree in engineering and is now a teacher.

An obviously bright young man who is tremendously proud and grateful for the work he does at Muya, Solomon is also aware of the tangible effects of the global marketplace and efforts to level the playing field, such as AGOA, have on his life.

“I am grateful to the Europe and North America because now there is a market,” he told me. “I need to work, but I need a market, too.”

Listen to more of my conversation with Solomon below.

Muya’s products are not yet available for purchase online, but you can browse its collection HERE or at J.Crew.

FashionABLE’s scarves are available for order online HERE.

Cathleen Falsani is Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners. Last month, Cathleen traveled to Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign on a listening-and-learning visit to programs and organizations that work primarily with women and girls. Learn more about ONE Moms and the Ethiopia trip HERE. Watch for Cathleen’s tweets (and those of her ONE Moms traveling companions) on Twitter with the tag #ONEMOMS.

Photo credit: All photos, video and audio by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners.

Categories: From Sojo.net, GODSTUFF, ONEMOMS | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Fiscal Cliff: Mommas Said Knock You Out

A young mother and her child outside a health post in rural northwest Ethiopia last month. Photo by Cathleen Falsani.

By the time President Obama walked off the stage at Chicago’s McCormick Place after delivering his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning, pundits already were screaming HERE COMES THE FISCAL CLIFF!

And while it might have been a nice idea to take a collective breath after such a divisive election season before new screeching began, the pundits were not wrong.

Be warned: The Fiscal Cliff approaches. On Jan. 2, 2013, to be exact.

Now, I am many things, but an economist (or even a person remotely comfortable with numbers) is not one of them. So let me explain to those of you who are like me, in the simplest terms possible, what this proverbial cliff is all about.

In the wake of the debt ceiling crisis last summer, Congress and President Obama agreed to enter into negotiations to enact a 10-year deficit reduction package in excess of $1.2 trillion.

If an agreement could not be reached, a mandatory, across-the-board reduction in spending (also known as “sequester” or “sequestration”) would occur. All discretionary and entitlement spending — with a few exceptions — would be subject to sequestration.

Half of the reductions would be drawn from defense funding and the balance from non-defense and entitlement programs. The idea behind the sequestration threat was that it would make the political price so high for both sides that surely Congress and the president would find a common solution.

Unfortunately, no deal has been reached and the United States now faces said “fiscal cliff,” due to sequestration, the expiration of the 2001/2003 tax cuts, and the expiration of other large and expensive programs. There is little doubt that going over the fiscal cliff would plunge the U.S. economy back into recession.

So there’s that, i.e., nobody wants a recession. But we can’t fix this problem by increasing poverty — particularly among the poorest of the poor.

Many of you know that I recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia with ONE Moms, a project of the ONE Campaign that brought a dozen mothers from the U.S. and Europe to visit projects, funded by international aid (much of it from the U.S. and the U.K.) that have made significant and lasting impacts for good on the lives of women and girls.

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s greatest success stories in terms of turning things around after the devastating famine in the mid-1980s. You can read a bit more about that HERE.

Under sequestration, the U.S. foreign aid that has made such a tremendous difference in Ethiopia and in the lives of countless millions of desperately poor Africans (and others) is in grave jeopardy.

At the request of Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a report in mid-September outlining how it would implement the sequester. The program cuts are estimated to be:

  • Defense discretionary: 9.4 percent

  • Medicare: 2 percent

  • All other non-defense mandatory programs: 7.6 percent
  • Non-defense discretionary (including the International Affairs Budget): 8.2 percent

The foreign aid I’m talking about falls under that last category – the International Affairs Budget or IAB. Before I throw more numbers at you, it is important to understand that the U.S. budget for foreign aid programs, such as The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (aka PEPFAR), the U.S. government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative known as Feed the Future, and other global health initiatives (that have had such an enormous effect in turning the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa of a decade ago into “just” an epidemic) comprise less than 1 percent — only .75 percent to be more precise — of the overall U.S. federal budget.

In other words, we (the American people) are not spending very much on foreign aid to begin with, so cutting any of it is a big deal to the poorest of the poor, or the “least of these,” as Jesus so eloquently put it.

For the IAB, OMB estimates that the cuts would total about $4.7 billion in FY2013. No exemptions for IAB are anticipated and there is no flexibility permitted to protect certain programs (such as PEPFAR, Feed the Future, etc.) by cutting other programs more deeply.

Those $4.7 billion cuts would mean:

  • Global Health programs would be cut by $670 million from FY2012 levels.
  • USAID’s development programs would be cut by $207 million.
  • MCC would be reduced by $74 million.
  • Feed the Future agriculture and nutrition programs would be cut by $98 million.
  • Emergency food aid would be reduced by $120.2 million, and McGovern-Dole Food for Education by $15 million.
  • The 8.2 percent cut also would be applied to U.S. contributions to multilateral programs such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, and GAVI.

While we cannot predict exactly how cuts to IAB funding will play out in programs on the ground, we do anticipate that cuts of this magnitude would have a significant impact on international aid programs across the board that would only deepen over time. Sequestration would be applied through FY2021 — leading to continuing deep cuts each year. Congress would have to cut discretionary spending 5-8% each year for the next decade.

According to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR), the effects of sequestration “on the ground” could mean:

  • HIV/AIDS treatment for nearly 400,000 people would not be available, potentially leading to 63,000 more AIDS-related deaths
  • 124,000 more children would become orphans by losing their parents to HIV/AIDS.
  • 112,500 fewer HIV-positive pregnant women would receive Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services, potentially leading to more than 21,000 infants being infected with HIV.
  • 1.3 million fewer pentavalent vaccines for children would be available through GAVI, leading to 14,000 more deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, and hepatitis B.
  • 2.5 million fewer insecticide-treated nets would be available, potentially leading to 6,500 deaths from malaria; and 3.6 million fewer people would receive treatment.
  • 88,000 fewer TB patients would receive treatment, potentially leading to 11,000 more TB deaths.
  • 1 million fewer families would have food security and income gains.
  • 690,000 fewer children under age 5 would benefit from U.S. nutrition programs and suffer decreased nutrition, many of them facing irreversible developmental damage (stunting) as a result.

We need to tell Congress that in any agreement on deficit reduction, programs (domestic and international) that serve the poor must be exempt from cuts.

Saving ourselves from careening off the fiscal cliff by throwing the poorest of the poor over first is simply not a moral option.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a statement released last year by the Circle of Protection about the urgency of protecting the poor and how our budgets are a direct reflection of the condition of our soul as a nation.

As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up — how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected.

SIGN THE ONE CAMPAIGN’S PETITION TO PROTECT FOREIGN AID BY CLICKING HERE.

Click HERE to find your U.S. Representatives or Senators and tell them directly via email or phone.

Click HERE to send an email to the White House, or phone the White House directly at 202-456-1111.

Cathleen Falsani is Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners. Last month, Cathleen traveled to Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign on a listening-and-learning visit to programs and organizations that work primarily with women and girls. Learn more about ONE Moms and the Ethiopia trip HERE. Watch for Cathleen’s tweets (and those of her ONE Moms traveling companions) on Twitter with the tag #ONEMOMS.

Photo credit: All photos by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners. Photos in the video by Karen Walrond for ONE.

Categories: From Sojo.net, GODSTUFF, ONEMOMS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Americans Think About U.S. Foreign Aid Might Surprise You

Children outside the Anbesame Health Center in rural northwest Ethiopia. Photo by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners.

In an OpEd that appeared on POLITICO Monday, Mike Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Arkansas, and Blanche Lincoln, the former Democratic senator from Arkansas — who together co-chair ONE Vote 2012, a non-partisan campaign to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in the 2012 presidential election, wrote about the importance of maintaining U.S. foreign aid to the developing world that has helped make significant improvements in the health and sustainability of myriad nations, including many on the continent of Africa.

They wrote:

We recognize that Americans today are suffering at home from one of the worst economic recessions in modern history. We understand that there might be temptation to cut back on U.S. humanitarian programs and investments abroad. However, the cost of cutting back on such programs is not worth it. Not even close. It would affect too many peoples’ lives and damage American economic and national security interests at a time our world is more interconnected than ever.

It might come as a surprise to learn that less than one percent of the U.S. budget is spent on foreign assistance. It might even be shocking to discover that, despite this relatively small amount, these funds are literally saving millions of lives and improving the lives of many more millions of people.

For example, American investments in cost-effective vaccines will help save nearly 4 million children’s lives from preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea over the next five years. We’ve also helped to deliver 290 million mosquito nets to Malaria-stricken countries, and put 46 million children in school for the very first time. And thanks to the leadership of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 8 million HIV/AIDS patients now have access to life-saving treatments, up from just 300,000 a decade ago, making an AIDS-free generation a real possibility within our lifetimes.

A healthier, less impoverished planet is good for all of us.

Read the post in its entirety HERE.

Our friends at the ONE Campaign spent 48 hours asking everyday Americans what they thought about US Foreign Aid.

(Source: The ONE Campaign)

Cathleen Falsani is Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners. Follow Cathleen on Twitter @GodGrrl. Cathleen is traveling in Ethiopia this week as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign on a listening-and-learning visit to programs and organizations that work primarily with women and girls. Learn more about ONE Moms and the Ethiopia trip HERE. Watch for Cathleen’s tweets (and those of her ONE Moms traveling companions) on Twitter with the tag #ONEMOMS.

Read more of Cathleen’s posts from her Ethiopian journey by clicking on the links below.

Ethiopian Orthodoxy, Tawahedo, and ‘Being Made One’

GGNFT (Ethiopia Edition): Teddy Afro

Ethiopia: The Face of God

Ethiopia: Motherhood is Powerful, Precious

Ethiopia: God Is Even Bigger Than We Think

Categories: From Sojo.net, ONEMOMS | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,037 other followers

%d bloggers like this: