| QUOTE OF THE WEEK|
I will no longer represent only the White House; I will represent the United States of America and its people. I understand the differences between the two roles.
- Alberto Gonzales, who resigned from the office of U.S. Attorney General on Monday, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing in January 2005. (Source: The New York Times )
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A Mother's Call to Action
We are approaching the 11th hour in the fight to expand health care for our nation's most vulnerable children. During the last year Sojourners has been working with you to move three legislative priorities: immigration reform, the Farm Bill, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Of these three priorities, SCHIP represents our greatest hope for a legislative win this year, with a bill recently passed by the Senate and House expanding SCHIP funding and coverage—one that will have a profound impact on the welfare of our children. President Bush has threatened to veto any expansion of SCHIP, however, based on the misleading argument that it would encourage children already covered privately to shift to public care.
Nothing speaks more persuasively to this shortsighted leadership than the testimony of those directly affected. Susan Molina is a courageous mother and leader in our partner organization PICO, which has been leading a grassroots campaign to extend SCHIP coverage to all children in need. She offered this testimony earlier this year to the House Energy and Commerce committee.
We pray that her story will inspire you to take action. If you're a clergy person, we urge you to sign on to PICO’s petitions to Congress and President Bush. If not, please send a message to your pastor asking him or her to do so.
I am here as a mother to speak on behalf of my two children, Bernadette (age 14) and Joseph (age 10). I am also speaking for the tens of thousands of parents in the PICO network who lack coverage for their children.
Almost all uninsured children (83%) live in families where at least one parent works. I am a single mom who works. I am uninsured. ... I was married at the age of 17 and I had two children. My husband was a very abusive man who walked out on us when my oldest was 5. I worked very hard so that I would not become a burden to my parents. Sometimes I worked two jobs. ... I say all that to say this: As a single mother who has worked to be where I am now, it's hard to know that my kids don't have health care. Somehow we are punished for bettering our lives.
When my daughter was 4 she needed a lot of dental work. I was working two part-time jobs that paid $8-9 an hour and none of us had health coverage. I remember going to the welfare department and asking to enroll in Medicaid. I told them I did not need welfare or food stamps or anything else, just help with the dental work that my daughter needed. After I did the paperwork the caseworker told me I didn't qualify unless I quit one of my jobs or had another baby.
When SCHIP became available, I was able to enroll my children in the Colorado Child Health Plus Plan and get my children health coverage. And like most kids, they needed it. While they were on SCHIP, both my children sprained their ankles, my son broke his arm, and my daughter had a bad burn. Both received good care that kept them from any permanent harm and allowed them to go back to school and allowed me to go back to work. I was not worried about how much these accidents were going to put us in debt. I just knew they were going to get the care they needed.
All that changed when we lost our coverage in September, because my new job paid slightly above the 200 percent [of the poverty level] cutoff to qualify for SCHIP in Colorado.
We talk about 9 million uninsured children. Behind these numbers are real children who go to school, have accidents and get sick. And real parents like me, who work hard to meet their families' needs.
When insurance prices are outrageously high, as a parent I have to decide whether to put food on the table or buy health insurance. I cannot afford to pay the hundreds of dollars each month that it would cost me to buy health insurance for my children.
I worry that when my children, God forbid, have an accident or get sick I will not have the means to pay for the medical attention they need.
Both of my kids were home sick last week for a number of days. The first night I felt very sad that I couldn't just take my son to the doctor because we don't have health insurance any more. He was running a fever, and as I drove to the store to buy him some medicine, I began to cry. I felt like a failure. My kids needed something I couldn't provide. As a parent you work to make sure they have what they need. I went into the store and picked up the generic brand of chest rub and some Motrin for the fever. As I got back into the car I felt the need to tell someone that of course I would take my children to the doctor if I felt it was an emergency. I wouldn't care if I had to pay hundreds of dollars later.
I called my friend and told her. She just heard me cry for a while, and she said that it was important that I tell this in my story so that you would know that parents go through this helpless feeling every day. She was right, and I hope you do. ... Thank you for the opportunity to tell you one parent's story, on behalf of millions of parents throughout our country.
+ Clergy, please sign on to PICO's petitions to Congress and President Bush
+ Non-clergy, send a message to your pastor asking him or her to do so
| THIS WEEK IN GOD'S POLITICS|
+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends
Back to School Reading List
by Jim Wallis
Many students will groan when I point out these inevitable signs of the times, and an equally inevitable conclusion. September is upon us. Summer is quickly winding down. And this can only mean one thing: school is just around the corner! I was reminded of this fact yesterday as I sent off my book order for the course I’m teaching at Harvard Divinity School this fall. If you’re looking for some late-summer reading, consider the following titles...
American Christians Should Listen to Christian Arabs
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler
Here are some key quotes from a Christianity Today interview with "Beirut-based journalist Rami Khouri, a Palestinian-Jordanian Christian. ... An American citizen, he is editor-at-large of The Daily Star, the largest English-language newspaper in the Middle East. He is also director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut." ... "American Christians could look at Christian Palestinians or Christian Arabs as a potential window into the minds of millions of Muslim Arabs. You would find that what Christian Arabs are feeling is very similar to what Muslim Arabs are feeling."
Reclaiming Islam's History and Future
by Rose Marie Berger
Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain aired this week on PBS in my viewing area. The film, which looks at the period of "Moorish" rule in European history when religious diversity was accommodated within a social and political system, and culture among Muslims, Christians, and Jews thrived, is part of a renaissance movement to reclaim the history of religious tolerance in Islam.
Gonzales Resignation Reactions
by Duane Shank
Here's a collection of quotes about Gonzales' resignation from the AP.
Why Did Elvira Risk Deportation by Leaving Sanctuary?
by Alexia Salvatierra
I sat with Elvira Arellano at a press conference last weekend with representatives of our sanctuary families in Los Angeles. Several of the reporters asked her if she believed that she was the Rosa Parks of the immigrant rights movement. Her response was simple and clear – "I am Elvira Arrellano, just a mother who does not want to be separated from my child nor to take him away from his country."
Kingdom Commodified: Taking the Bible Seriously, Part II
by Elizabeth Palmberg
More Bible passages ignored by the Left Behind books. It's particularly ironic that the judgment scene in Kingdom Come, the 16th Left Behind book, quotes verbatim from Matthew 25, in which Christ sends those who do not help the hungry, the naked, the sick, or the stranger to hell. A priority on helping the sick was nowhere in evidence, say, when protagonist Buck was responding to the huge cataclysms featured earlier. After the giant earthquake, for example, Buck makes a very brief attempt to help one victim, then decides to be a Bad Samaritan, keeping "his eyes straight ahead as despairing, wounded people waved or screamed out to him" for help...
by David Cortright
In an attempt to scare off support for a military exit from Iraq, President Bush in a recent speech made the false claim that U.S. disengagement from Vietnam caused the killing fields in Cambodia. The price of American withdrawal, the president said, was paid in the agonies of millions of innocent people.