Saturday, February 05, 2005

Moral roots of poverty

Robert Rector reviewed American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare, by Jason DeParle. In that review he made the following comment:

"He argues that the next step must grapple with the absence of fathers and marriage, which he correctly sees as the arch-problem fueling all others. In this, he concurs with long-held conservative views.

"At heart, American Dream shows that the problems of the underclass are not economic but moral and behavioral. Liberals, for decades, have studiously ignored the moral dimensions of poverty — which leaves them ill equipped to address the crippling problems presented in this book. Conservatives, on the other hand, have always seen poverty and social problems as emanating from individual behavior. They have long proposed policies targeted specifically at the problems that afflict DeParle's families. These policies include programs to promote healthy marriage, vouchers for poor children to attend religious schools, and public funds for faith-based drug treatment. Each of these ideas is currently mocked by the Left, just as conservative workfare policies were derided in decades past. But these policies, aimed at fundamental moral change, offer the best hope for broken families to find the American dream."

Everytime I hear my neighbors having a knock-down-drag-out shouting match on their front porch I cry out in my heart that it doesn't have to be that way for them if only they could catch the vision of what Christ tried to teach the world. He must cry in His heart a thousand times more bitterly as He contemplates what He offered to them if they will only accept it. I don't know if I will every have (or make) the opportunity to share the gospel with my neighbors. We haven't lived here long and we don't know much about them. We are just trying to be friendly neighbors for now. Hopefully that is what the Lord would have us do for now. Sometimes it is almost a guilty feeling to know how blissfully happy I am with my life and that others could have the same thing if they only would accept it.


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