Madison, Wis., is the land of great promise, at least according to pastor Alex Gee, who moved with his family to the capital city in the early 1970s when his mother applied and was "admitted virtually on the spot" to the University of Madison. Gee was 6 years old when he made his home in the "Berkeley of the Midwest," and has since raised his family there, and pastors a church and leads the nonprofit organization, Nehemiah.
And yet, as an African American male, Gee is reluctant to admit that Madison has fulfilled its great promise. His professional accolades did not keep police from stopping him outside of his car in his church parking lot several years ago, or allow him to vouch for himself to authorities by pointing out that the name on his license matched the one on the church sign. (Without ever presenting his ID to the authorities, his white associate pastor accomplished that for him.)
His daughter's high academic performance did not translate into a guidance counselor offering her accurate information about applying for the National Honor Society or recommending colleges appropriate for her GPA. more >>
In the wake of the jury deadlocked on whether to charge Michael Dunn for first-degree murder charges against the late Jordan Davis, pastors and Christian leaders have criticized Florida's Justifiable Use of Force law, most often referred to as the "Stand Your Ground" law.
Dunn was convicted on three counts of attempted murder, but the Florida jury came to no consensus on Saturday on whether to convict or acquit the defendant in the African American teenager's 2012 murder.
Dunn, who is white, shot into Davis' car 10 times after the teenager ignored his requests to turn his music down and "mouthed off" to him. The defendant also claimed that Davis had a shotgun, but police found no weapons inside the car. more >>
WASHINGTON – A panelist speaking on the morality of markets proclaimed that capitalism is miraculous, and the debate may have convinced the Dalai Lama – leader of Tibetan Buddhism – to open his mind to capitalism.
"Free markets really are miracles," declared Jonathan Haidt, professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University, at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday. "You really can turn water into wine, vast quantities of wine, at low, low prices, as long as the vineyard owners can get access to cheap credit and transportation networks, and have property rights."
The Dalai Lama seemed impressed by such arguments. "After listening, yesterday and today, I have more respect for capitalism," the religious leader, a self-described Marxist, declared, with a laugh. more >>
A new economic report on India revealed a lower poverty rate in the world's second most populous country. At the same time, more than half of the population still cannot meet their basic needs. With that, the Roman Catholic Church in India echoed Pope Francis' call to devote itself to serving the poor and those marginalized by society.
"The Catholic community intends to improve its services to education, making schools and other educational institutions closer to the poor. It also aims to combat the culture of well-being, which leads to 'globalization of indifference,' as Pope Francis defines it," Agenzia Fides reported on Thursday, citing comments by the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Indian Bishops.
The McKinsey Global Institute report, commissioned by the Indian government and released this month, revealed mixed economic news for the South Asian country. While the official poverty rate has gone down from 45 percent of the population in 1994 to 22 percent in 2012, it was found that 56 percent of the population, or 680 million people, still lack the means to meet essential needs, such as food, energy, housing, drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, education, and social security. more >>
A Michigan church made their vision a reality when they gathered thousands of volunteers to prepare over two million meals in three days to feed hungry children around the world last weekend.
Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church led the "2 Million Meals" project with nearly 9,000 helpers who assembled the meals consisting of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 21 vitamins and minerals. The meals will be shipped to El Salvador, Haiti and the Philippines, where 5,560 children will be able to eat a meal every day for one year.
"The truth is, this has been an amazing experience because of the impact it's going to cause in the lives of every child and every person who's going to eat these meals," said Powell, according to ABC News. "But I think you can see from the energy in this room and all that's going on it's going to change more than just the lives of those who will eat this food." more >>
The recent devotion of churches to caring for orphans has changed the lives of not only the children they saved, but the communities in which they serve and the churches themselves, panelists pointed out at a Wednesday event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. With 400,000 kids still in foster care in the United States, though, there is more work to be done.
When churches get engaged in the orphan care issue, it changes whole communities, explained Jason Weber, national director of foster care initiatives at the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
The outcomes of those who "age out" of foster care, or reach age 18 without being adopted by a family, are terrible, Weber said. They end up costing the government a lot of money in social services because of these poor outcomes. Weber cited an article by Bloomberg noting that the 20,000 to 25,000 kids who age out each year cost taxpayers almost eight billion dollars. The cost, therefore, of churches not getting involved in orphan care is "enormous," Weber reasoned. more >>