Friday, October 14, 2005

Children in New Jersey

Evangelical liberals abhor abortion, but wish to protect the welfare of the mother by providing medically supervised options. Remember Bill Clinton's oft-used line, "I want abortion to be safe, legal, and rare"? When I first heard that, I said Amen. Christians of all stripes point to the alternative of adoption, which seems like a win-win situation for unwanted children and childless couples. Well, if Christians want to reduce the number of abortions they had better get busy in New Jersey, because the system for adoption is so byzantine, so soul-defeating, that it results in many families simply giving up.

I just finished Russell Shorto's excellent, The Island at the Center of the World, and found out that when the English took over Manhattan from the Dutch, they wanted to name the area to the west Albania! Truly. Wiser heads prevailed, and it was named after one of the Channel Islands, Jersey. I mention this because it is easier to adopt a child from the European Albania or Romania or China than it is from New Jersey. Meanwhile, horror story after horror story keeps appearing in the local media about poor children starving in foster homes, abused and even killed by neglect due to a dysfunctional child welfare system.

In today's New York Times, an article appears which documents the problems, and some hopeful new solutions to the adoption mess in New Albania, I mean New Jersey. In a nation which is so quick to send billions to help those overseas (and thank God for that), surely we can take a moment to address the serious issues of child welfare in our own backyard. What disturbs me most in all of this, is the absence of any mention of the Church in advocating for easier adoption processes and better oversight of foster care. Does it even appear on our congregational radar? Probably not. But why not? Could it be that Bill Bennett's recent "thought experiment" is reflective of a deeper apathy toward children of color? I can't say for sure, but I have my suspicions.


Blogger homo unius libri said...

The byzantine maze of rules and regulations is the result of the "over-protective" (hah) nanny-state that has thrived under the corrupt rule of Democrats in Trenton for decades. Years of cronyism and kickbacks have come at the expense of the "least of these" children.

Even Christian organizations like Bethany Christian Services (for which we as a congregation have given thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours)are hamstrung by these rules.

The best the church can do in NJ is pray, vote and watch the children of their flock. Because the state won't...

10:39 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

It's not that society doesn't care.
Society has just chosen to address these social problems through government instead of private charity and religious aid. It's like trying to do brain surgery with a baseball bat. Scott's right.

The problem isn't racism or apathy; it's viewing government as our social savior.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Scribe said...

Do you really believe that the church or private charity can cope with the immensity of problems in our society? It seems ludicrous to imagine that hundreds of thousands of cases could be coordinated by private interest. Government is not a savior, but it must be a safety net for those who have no voice or "value."

When the church ran some social services in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the horror stories of abuse were rampant. For example, look at the history of the Catholic "charities" treatment of women and children in Ireland. It was horrendous and soul-destroying.

5:13 PM  

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