Thursday, July 30, 2009

Former African slave, Josephine Bakhita, patroness of Sudan

For the Africans enslaved today, for the Christians persecuted in and around Africa and for Sudan, ask St. Josephine Bakhita to pray. They need help.
She didn't know her real name. When she was a child, Muslim slave traders captured her in the countryside as she was on an errand for her family. They sardonically nicknamed her "Bakhita", "Lucky One", and sold her to a man who tortured her until she forgot her name.
Eventually she was resold, this time to an Italian-African family, who taught her to read and gave her a Bible. Though she still longed for ehr freedom, she was glad they didn't treat ehr the way her first slaveholder had. In fact she was almost like part of the family to them. But she wasn't family. Family can come and go, and inherit. Servitude is not the same thing.
She traveled with them to Italy, where she asked to be allowed to stay a year in a convent, learning to teach children. They let her stay. A year later, they returned and said it was time to go back to Africa. She refused. She had not made a free contract to stay only a year, because being unfree she could make no free contracts. They said it was a deal and she should have to keep her word. They took it to court. The judge said Italy didn't recognize slavery, and therefore the agreement she had made was invalid as she had not been allowed to make a free decisison. It was an extorted promise. She would be allowed to stay wherever she wanted to. She took the name Josefina, or Josephine, and was known to her pupils as Mother Moretta -- Beloved Little Dark Mother -- a favorite teacher.
She is now known as patron saint of Sudan.

It starts somewhere

Christians in the United States have never been publicly persecuted for their faith -- yet. But when a President visits a Catholic university and tells them to cover up every hint that it is a Christian institution so he can speak, it sends chills up the spines of those who watch the patterns. When they do as he says, it ought to raise an outcry. When the major news media hardly notice San Franciscans stomping old women and attacking churches because an election didn't come out as some (not most) had hoped, it rings a solemn historic note that lingers. And then when the legislature nearly orders the (impossible) reorganization of the largest Christian institution in the world, we ought to be speaking out for our right to worship God in the USA, while speech is possible.

Cheap hairbands made with used condoms -- Snopes confirms story

Check out the story on about cheap ponytail bands made from string and pieces of used condom. It makes another reason to know where your consumer products come from.

Stop the abortion mandate! Stop the war on the vulnerable.

The Health Care Reform deal now under the US Legislature's consideration would mandate that taxpayers fund abortion, and that the disabled elderly review their "options", including death, every five years. Meanwhile, an unprecedentedly high percentage of American adults, 51%, consider themselves pro-life, according to the latest Gallup Poll.
Go to to speak out against the doublespeak bill that would push even more death on the needy and vulnerable under the label of health care. We can get real health care for the needy. This legislation isn't it. Tell them to scrap any health insurance law that includes funding for "procedures" most Americans oppose.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Around the world, children work without pay and without promises. Toddlers make rugs, using hot oil to sear shut their cuts because their captors won't let them use a bandage. Did you buy something today that was made by a slave? Boys as young as five carry automatic weapons into the forest to fight in wars they know nothing about. Girls only nine sit in guarded rooms awaiting the day they have worked off the money their captors paid their parents for them. The dealers usually assured the parents that the little girls would not be used in the sex trade, and showed them booklets about trade schools, saying they wanted workers for office jobs where the young trainees would end up as executives or at least skilled office workers. All lies; the children never sleep, they live for the day they get out and no one will ever touch them again. But that too is a false hope. They will have no other work experience.
Slavery happens in China, in India, in many African countries, in Thailand, in the USA. The two biggest factors that contribute to it are poverty and governmental repression. In China, most slaves are prisoners, many of them prisoners of conscience. Thousands are in prison for being Christians. They are worked to death for going to church.
The way to stop slavery is to stop poverty and governmental repression. If parents don't have to sell a child to feed another child, they won't. No one would do that without a reason. To stop poverty, we have to support economic development, and to do that, we have to support economic freedom. Economies blossom when inventors can be rewarded for inventing and investors for investing, right down to the smallest and newest ones. Sall investors are people who get micro-business loans, like two hundred dollars for a goat or a few hundred for a row of fruit trees. These are good for the environment and the economy, as well as social life, by bringing resources into communities, and they help end slavery. If you can, check out my blogroll for ways to support micro business loans and gifts for poor countries. If not, perhaps you can afford to buy from such small business owners and give some wedding, birthday and Christmas gifts this year that reflect your belief in freedom.
Governmental repression goes hand-in-hand with foundering economies; each feeds the other. Insecure people are less likely to stand up for freedom and less able to do much about it. Unfree people have few opportunities to invest, build, invent, improve and create new wealth.
The best way to defend freedom everywhere is to defend it wherever you go -- and wherever you live.
Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Central America, Australia, Asia and the rest of you out there, I'm talking to you now. Your freedom will lighten others' shackles. Your chains will weigh down the free. Don't give up your freedom to speak, start a business, worship, ride a bicycle, use a public restroom in privacy, own a home-defense weapon, own a pet or wear a pair of pants without a major outcry. It affects everyone else too.
As for those of you who are about to ask why I'm for freedom to do such things but not to abort a child, it's for the same reason I object to the "freedom" to own a slave: Cruelty isn't part of freedom. Cruelty infringes on other people's freedom. One person's right to punch the air ends where another person's face begins. It's basic decency. One person's right to "choose" ends the second another person's life begins, and starts again when the more vulnerable person is safely out of harm's way.