Judge Not, etc.

As I noted in my last blog post, I have been in and out of churches for a very long time. I have longed for the community of a good church.  I have joined my local Secular Humanist group and attended my first meeting this past Sunday.  The topic of discussion piqued my interest.  A local church group, along with the local police department (in conjunction with the police department? I really don’t know…) held a prayer walk and vigil on the streets where the local prostitutes work. The humanists were appalled by this for a number of reasons, which I’ll get to later.  The last line of the information that was provided for the group meeting was, “Humanists have a better plan.”  Well, OK!  As a woman, I am concerned about this topic.  Too many women are using their bodies to pay for drug habits. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the profession, but I have a heart for the women who feel that this is their only option, for whatever reason.

The group meeting began with introductions and then the facilitator passed out copies of the church’s flyer advertising the prayer walk and vigil, which took place on a recent Saturday morning.  Next, the facilitator read us a personal anecdote about his own experience as a young military man who was approached, along with his buddies, by ladies looking for a “good time”, or has he called it, a “date.”  The only reason he did not partake was that he couldn’t afford it.  I listened and tried to understand where he was coming from.  He preached about the “victim-less” crime and how it should be legalized, blah, blah.  Fortunately, many of the group participants spoke up and took him to task for condoning the exploitation of women (and men).  The talk then turned to how we, as Humanists, could do better.  More on that later.

The group was starting to sound pretty judgy.  The judged the supposed white, middle-class women at the church preaching to mostly women of color.  I shook my head in agreement, but still wondered how we could do better.  Unfortunately, I spent the 60 minutes in the group attempting to explain to these people that church groups do offer a lot to those who are in the midst of crisis.  They want you in church, they invite you to their groups and they can be very hospitable and caring.  I have seen this in my own life with people I have known and not every Christian is judgmental.  Still no good answers to how Humanists could do a better job.  No one really wanted to meet the prostitutes where they were and offer them comfort, a meal or some coffee.  With all the bitching that atheists do about Christians being judgmental, these people were just as bad, if not worse.  At least the Christians they complain about actually do try to help others.  I’m sure there are good Humanist and Atheist groups that help, but this was not it.

I decided to do further research into this church and their ministry and found that the leader is a recovering addict herself, who was welcomed into the church while she was in jail.  The people from the church came to visit her while she was in jail and cared about her in a way that she had never known before.  I also viewed pictures of the event on their Facebook page and saw much diversity in the participants.

No answers or solutions were given during the group time, except that drugs and prostitution should be legalized, thus subjecting them to regulation. I suppose that is one way to look at the problem, but these are people with real issues and they need a lot more than governmental interference.

America’s Lower Class

The boy who was in the car with the passed out heroin addicts is now in the custody of relatives in another state.  This, after being born to a woman (with the help of a sperm donor, no doubt) who could not care for him properly and then given over to his addicted grandmother.  He is four years old and has been passed around like a Christmas fruitcake that nobody wants.  Hopefully he will finally be given some stability and a proper home in which to grow up.  And counseling.  Lots of counseling.

I would bet that he was propped in front of a television instead of having books read to him.  I would also bet that his nutrition was lacking and has been witness to things no child should have to endure.  What does that do to a child?  What does this mean for our society?  Children are growing up in broken homes with stressed out, chemically dependent, distracted parents who don’t teach them how to behave, how to learn or how to function in society.  Crimes are being committed by children as young as 9 years old.  My son, an elementary school teacher, says that a student in his school set fire to a playground with a group of 11 year old boys.

Picture this.  It’s 1970 or 1980 and you are in a public place, maybe a grocery store or a doctor’s waiting room.  Look around.  What you may notice is an absence of out of control children.  You may notice parents (yes, a mother AND a father) paying attention.  The child is expected to behave a certain way because the parents have set limits.  The child knows he or she is cared for because the parents take the time and energy it takes to speak to them, to feed them properly, ask questions, soothe them, and monitor what they do.  I’m not saying the child always appreciates this attention, but there is ample evidence that shows that children need the basics in order to grow up and function in our society.

There were the anomalies back then.  There were single mothers who did terrific jobs raising their children and children of divorce who turned out just fine.  There were poor children who made their way and are productive members of society.  That is not the case anymore.

15 year olds are having children and the fathers often impregnate many girls or women without taking the responsibility for what they are doing.  The girls are not seeking abortions.  (another WTF question for another post)

The worst thing about this is that the irresponsible behavior of the young people in our society is creating an uneducated, dependent, helpless, violent underclass.  It’s a phenomenon that is not limited to the inner cities.  It’s in rural America New White Underclass and to a lesser degree, has spread to the suburbs.

Low wages, disappearing jobs for the middle class and unaffordable housing have all negatively affected our culture in America.  Who is to blame when unemployment rates in a once thriving small town force the majority of its residents on welfare?  This is a political issue which has caused a moral problem.  When circumstances change, we have to adapt. The government cannot be held responsible for paying for the upbringing of children.  The government can offer assistance to make sure that the children have food to eat, but the government cannot parent and it cannot provide love, safety and security for those children. The new underclass is frightening.   My grown children are not parents yet and if they choose not to bring children into the world, I would not blame them.