A MOTHER´S HEART BROKE: Impoverished Mother Dies In Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines For Her Kids Missing School
Mother Dies in Jail
Children collect flowers in the Mahan forest, which is threatened by a coalmining project run by the British-registered company Essar. Photograph: Greenpeace
Indian forest villagers rise up to halt UK firm’s bid to clear land for mining
British firm Essar Energy’s plans for open cast mine in Mahan forest plans could destroy villages and 5m trees.
The Observer, Saturday 28 June 2014 12.22 BST
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Children collect flowers in the Mahan forest
Children collect flowers in the Mahan forest, which is threatened by a coalmining project run by the British-registered company Essar. Photograph: Greenpeace
India’s new government faces a crucial test of its support for big business over plans to let a British-registered energy company cut down a tract of forest to make way for an open cast coalmine.
Essar Energy – owner of the UK’s Stanlow oil refinery – and its partner…
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In past summers, Child Evangelism Fellowship has targeted  children in Boston, Denver, Chicago, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, and the Twin Cities for conversion to their brand of biblical fundamentalism. This summer they chose Portland, Oregon. It may have been a mistake.
Some child advocates argue that proselytizing children for religious conversion is immoral. By contrast, Child Evangelism Fellowship boldly proclaims  what they see as a God-given mission:
“Child Evangelism Fellowship® is a Bible-centered worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.”
One of their key tools is an after-school program called the Good News Club, which takes place in public grade schools across the country. Good News Clubs mix snacks, games, art projects and stories with upbeat moral lessons and the theology of blood sacrifice. In a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Child Evangelism Fellowship argued that they were entitled to operate in public schools because they are running a social and moral enrichment program akin to Scouting.
Much to the dismay of church-state watchdogs, a majority of the Court agreed, but to call Good News Clubs moral enrichment by secular standards or to liken it to Scouting, is a stretch. Despite evangelical influences in the Boy Scouts, scouting programs to a large degree emphasize virtues  that are prized across both secular and religious wisdom traditions . Good News Clubs teach dark, divisive and potentially traumatic  doctrines that are unique to fundamentalist forms of Christianity.
Attorney Eric Cernyar participated in Good News Club as a child. He now monitors Child Evangelism Fellowship activities and documents club practices  such as deceptive marketing, authoritarian conditioning, diminishing nonbelievers, shame indoctrination, fear indoctrination, attacks on science education, and the cult technique of “mind control.”
The Good News Club curriculum is filled with over 5,000 references to sin and thousands more to obedience, punishment, and hell. It stresses Old Testament narratives of a retributive God who must punish sin, warns children that they will suffer an eternity in hell if they refuse to believe, and stresses complete obedience as the supreme value. Good News Club tells children as young as preschoolers that they have “dark” and “sinful” hearts, were born that way, and “deserve to die” and “go to hell.”
One Good News teaching tool is the “wordless book ” in which colored pages represent key doctrines of atonement theology. The black page represents sin, seen as evil born into every human that keeps a person from getting to heaven (represented by a gold page). Red is the blood of Christ, whose death was necessary payment for sin. White represents the pure righteousness of Jesus and people who are saved by his atoning sacrifice. It’s as simple as “A,B,C”—Admit your sin, Believe Jesus can save you, and Choose Jesus as your savior. Green, the color of growth, represents the newly-saved child’s life as a budding Christian.
Each summer since 2008, Child Evangelism Fellowship has run a saturation blitz called Good News Across America  in which “hundreds of volunteers” descend on a targeted city to run Bible schools “in community centers, parks, apartment complexes, playgrounds, boys and girls clubs – anywhere children gather.” Child Evangelism Fellowship boasts of reaching 2,700 Denver children through these five-day “evangelistic clubs” and swelling attendance at one church from 75 to 235, almost half of whom were children.
This summer, over 100 missionaries will set up shop in Portland from July 14 to 26, when they will partner with 32 local churches to recruit children as young as five years old to summer day camps. If all goes according to plan, come fall these churches will institute Good News Clubs in Portland public schools. But some locals aren’t so keen on the idea. They point to the experience  of Seattle parent, John Lederer, after a local church “planted” a Good News Club in his daughter’s grade school. Lederer was troubled by the treat used to entice children, the way volunteers blurred the line between school and club. But he also hated the effect on the school community.
“Before we were all Loyal Heights parents together,” he said. “Now we’re divided into groups and labels: you’re a Christian, you’re the wrong kind of Christian, you’re a Jew, you’re an atheist.”
For perhaps the first time, this summer Good News Across America will face organized opposition. As volunteers step up preparations for the Portland blitz, a coalition called Protect Portland Children is stepping up outreach to local media, parents, child advocates and school administrators. Protect Portland Children says they mean no disrespect for local churches and volunteers. Rather, they hope to “spread the word that the Good News Club’s extreme teachings can be psychologically harmful to children” and that Child Evangelism Fellowship “is now targeting Portland with a major recruiting campaign.” “One of our goals is to help the next city they target and to make this a national conversation,” says member Kaye Schmitt.
Protect Portland Children points to the investigative expose by journalist Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club ,. Like Seattle’s Lederer, Stewart dug deeper after witnessing Child Evangelism in action at her daughter’s school. And they are taking tips from Cernyar, whose website Intrinsic Dignity  examines legal precedents related to use of public facilities, providing guidelines and models for parents and administrators who oppose religious bullying in public schools. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Cernyar urges parents and district administrators to push back: “It is possible for a school district to regulate its forum to protect its students from psychologically and emotionally harmful after-class activities.”
Child Evangelism brings to the fight the clout of a national organization with over 700  paid staff in the U.S. and Canada alone and a seasoned legal team. They face a loose-knit group of volunteers. To speak in biblical archetypes, it’s a story of David against Goliath. But in one regard the opposing sides may well be evenly matched: their sense of righteous mission. On the Intrinsic Dignity site, Cernyar puts it this way:
“Children have a right to develop in conditions of freedom, open inquiry, and empathy, and in respect of their inherent dignity and equality. Our mission is to challenge practices—beginning with private organizations infiltrating our nation’s public elementary schools—that shame and terrify children and assault their self-esteem.“
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus sends his disciples out into the world with these words, “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” It’s a shame that some Bible believers seem to have missed the second half of the sentence.
The Desperate Choices Behind Child Migration
By Alexandra Early
June 28, 2014 “ICH” – As someone who just returned from living and working in El Salvador, I’m still having a hard time adjusting to our mainstream media’s never-ending wave of know-nothing commentary on the subject of immigration. A case in point is the column penned by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat on Sunday, June 22nd. Douthat expresses alarm about the “current surge” of “unaccompanied minors from Central America” who are dangerously crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in such unprecedented numbers that the Border Patrol and the courts are now “struggling to care for the children and process their cases.”
What has caused this “children’s migration?” According to Douthat it is “immigration reform’s open invitation”–“the mere promise of amnesty” that has now worsened “some of the humanitarian problems that reformers say they want to solve.” Douthat is a conservative but his solution is a familiar, bi-partisan one: “let’s prove that a more effective enforcement system can be built and only then codify an offer of legal status.”
That immigration policy proposal, per usual, totally ignores what’s really driving the big increase in border crossings by impoverished young Central Americans and what the U.S. government could be doing to make staying in Central America a viable choice.
The “Push Factors”
To see things differently, it helps to put yourself in the shoes of others. Let’s imagine that you are poor single mother living in Apopa, a dangerous city next door to the capital, San Salvador.
You work cleaning houses for $15 a day. Your neighborhood is completely gang dominated. When you take the bus to the house where you work you are often late because the police check the bus and make all the men disembark for body searches. There are some mornings when you wake up and send your daughter to the corner store for eggs and she sees dead bodies in the street. They could be the bodies of a neighbor or a storeowner who refused to pay the extortionate demands of the local gang. Just a few days ago, walking with your son you were caught in a shoot out between two rival gangs. You could do nothing but duck and cover and try to comfort your wailing child.
Your son is 12 and one of the gangs–let’s say la Mara Salvatrucha (MS), the country’s most violent–is starting to recruit him. They want to use him as courier to send messages and deliver drugs. Perhaps more frighteningly, your older daughter, 14 now, is attracting the attention of an MS leader in the neighborhood. You tell her to reject his overtures, but you know how hard it is for any young woman to spurn such a relationship—or end it, once it has begun.
No Rural Refuge
You think about just packing up and moving to the countryside, but you have heard stories. Your next-door neighbor, an office worker, faced gang pressure to pay a fifty-dollar a month extortion fee. So she decided to move back to her hometown, a tiny village in rural San Vicente. But even small towns in El Salvador aren’t safe these days. After your neighbor moved back home, her nephew, a 16 year-old scholarship student was killed in the middle of the afternoon in his own front yard, right across the dirt road. He wasn’t the slightest bit involved in any gang activity. All he did was date the ex-girlfriend of a gang member.
In Apopa, you try to keep your kids inside as much as possible. And you worry. You worry about how you will pay the rent and find the money to send them to high school, let alone college. And you think about sending them to la Usa. Your brother lives in Maryland. Maybe he could cover part of the cost of their journey? You know the journey is dangerous but what other choices are there?
How many American parents have ever had to weigh such terrible options—the danger of daily life for their children versus the dangers of illegal immigration? How many have experienced the emotional pain of resulting family separation—first from parents leaving for work in Los Angeles or Maryland, with their children staying behind, and now from the stream of children and teens following the same route north in search of a safer and better life?
Forced to Leave
In February, with my U.S. passport in hand, I left El Salvador and hopped on a plane headed for the U.S. – adios gangs, adios fear, adios poverty. I left behind many Salvadoran friends who will never be able to do the same thing. Just a few months later, a bright young man from one rural community I often visited left to join his father in Washington State. To me, with a steady job and money in the bank, his beautiful mountainside community seemed like paradise. But the young man couldn’t gain admittance to the one affordable, public university in El Salvador and couldn’t find a job. While Douthat bemoans the fact that Border Patrol agents are “neglecting other law enforcement duties” to deal with the influx of child migrants, I am hoping they will be too busy to catch my young friend and that he will reach his destination safely.
The vast majority of Salvadorans, like other Central Americans, don’t want to migrate to the U.S. They love their families and communities and would much prefer to stay and work or go to school in their own countries. Creating stricter immigration rules and deporting more children will not stop this wave of forced migrants; only giving them the chance to survive and prosper at home will.
U.S. Policy Impact
The U.S. Government could do a lot to make life better in El Salvador and Honduras. But right now they are doing just the opposite. In El Salvador, the Obama administration is currently undercutting efforts by the Salvadoran government to support sustainable, small-scale farming. The U.S. Ambassador has threatened to deny a multimillion-dollar aid package if the FMLN government continues to buy seeds from local farmers, instead of from foreign companies like Monsanto, as part of their highly successful Family Agriculture program.
Meanwhile in Honduras, since the military take-over of June 2009 the U.S. has been supporting a corrupt, illegitimate regime responsible for increased economic inequality and violence. I have participated in a number of human rights and electoral observation delegations to Honduras and heard from community leaders about the hundreds of murders of women, gay people, activists and union leaders that have occurred under the watch of the post-coup regime. If I were Honduran, watching right wing hard liner Juan Orlando Hernandez “win” the presidential election through blatant fraud and intimidation would have been the last straw for me. I would have left too.
I am no Harvard trained political analyst like Ross Douthat, but I know that only a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy will help change conditions in Central America and ease the humanitarian crisis at our border. The U.S. government must stop pushing free trade and privatization and start funding social programs. But most of all it must stand up for human rights. And these include the right not to migrate but to stay, study, work, speak out and live happily in your own home country.
Alexandra Early worked for four years in El Salvador as a Coordinator for U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Via Suzanne Gordon.
See also –
Child Migrants and Media Half-Truths: Most of these mainstream press stories are telling half-truths about child victims, while muddling or downright manipulating the question of who and what is responsible
Prisoner’s seven-year-old son sues Swedish state for not being permitted to visit her father often enough
Prisoner’s seven-year-old son sues Swedish state
File photo: Shutterstock
Published: 24 Jun 2014 17:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Jun 2014 17:05 GMT+02:00
The seven-year-old son of a convicted criminal has taken legal action against the Swedish state for not being permitted to visit his father often enough.
The father was handed a 14-year prison sentence in 2010 for aggravated narcotic crimes, and was soon placed in the prison’s secure wing.
The plaintiff is the organization Reclaim Justice, an independent group started by a man previously convicted of fraud who was dissatisfied with Swedish courts and prisons.
“Reclaim Justice is working to improve the Swedish judicial system by illuminating deficiencies in the justice system as well as correctional treatment,” the organization’s Facebook page reads.
The organization pays the costs of the trial and has only asked for a single symbolic krona ($0.15) coin in damages on the boy’s behalf.
“The goal is to point out that the boy has not been allowed to see his father to an adequate degree,” Stig Barrdahl, the lawyer who has drafted the legal action, said.
The lawsuit contends that the boy has suffered both physically and mentally due to the lack of contact with his father.
“My name is NN and I just turned seven,” the introduction of the document reads. It goes on to describe how the boy’s father was originally able to ring him fairly often from the jail, but was then moved to a secure wing where he was only allowed to use the phone once a week for ten minutes. Physical visits also became rarities.
“When dad was at the prison my sister and I could visit him, but we only saw him a couple of times before he was moved. It has been terrible.”
The lawsuit claims that the boy was permitted to see his father less and less frequently, even after a child psychologist recommended that they meet more often.
“Sometimes it goes so long between meetings that I am afraid I won’t recognize him or that he won’t remember me,” the boy said in the summary of grounds for legal action.
The organization is suing the state for violating article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that each person has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home, and correspondence.
“There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right”, the convention states, except when absolutely necessary for national security or well-being.
The Local/sr (email@example.com)
IT´S AN OLDER ARTICLE, BUT I LIKE IT!
Kids and Prisoners: A Father’s Day Justice System Prison System San Quentin
Fathers Wave Goodbye To Their Children
Fathers wave goodbye to their children after a visit at San Quentin State Prison.
Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
MORE PHOTOGRAPHS HERE:
Kids and Prisoners: A Father’s Day Behind Bars in California
When Dad can’t come home, home comes to Dad.
WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year carried out more than 72,000 deportations of parents who said they had U.S.-born children, according to reports to Congress obtained Wednesday by The Huffington Post.
The reports were se…
“Unser Leben ist eine Droge”
Brasiliens minderjährige Prostituierte locken Gringos
“Unser Leben ist eine Droge”: Brasiliens minderjährige Prostituierte locken Gringos http://www.n-tv.de/13056566 via @ntvde
Hunderttausende WM-Fans aus dem Ausland sind in Brasilien. Ihnen geht es um den Fußball und die Samba-Stimmung im Gastgeberland. Als Nebenprodukt befürchten Behörden und Kinderschützer mehr Missbrauch von Minderjährigen. Prostitution ist in dem WM-Gastgeberland ab 18 Jahren erlaubt. Trotzdem sind viele Prostituierte jünger.