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February 9th, 2010
O'Keefe arrest shows dangers of conservatives' love affair with Rules for Radicals

Conservatives have long criticized the lingering effects of the 1960s, and not without reason. The legacy of the “Love Generation” — or, as renamed by some disaffected ex-members, the “Destructive Generation” — is decidedly ambiguous. Not unlike Woodstock itself — “three days of peace and music” which turned Yasgur’s farm into a 600-acre latrine — the era’s idealistic youth, having rocked the world with some positive transformations (particularly in civil rights), left a cultural morass for future generations to clean up. Among the era’s gifts to posterity is the continued popularity of the in-your-face tactics…

January 29th, 2010
"This is so much more than just numbers."

Benita describes how a routine traffic stop has turned her life upside down.
In episode one, Benita discusses her background and the difficulties she faced growing up.…

January 27th, 2010
Reflections on a good deed gone awry

No good deed goes unpunished.
How many of us have used that phrase at one time or another? Sometimes it means that we secretly wanted more gratitude than we got in return for our trouble. Sometimes it’s a preemptive excuse for not going to the trouble in the first place. In general, it is a lousy phrase, and I hate it when I hear myself using it.
Nevertheless, I have learned that there are genuine risks to trying to help others, and it is best to stop and anticipate those risks before leaping into situations we may not fully understand. Otherwise, the results can be the very opposite of what we intended to achieve.
I think of Jack Henry Abbott, the self-educated career criminal whose book on life behind bars, In the …

January 22nd, 2010
"Into the mouth of the lion."

Giselle discusses the incident that forced her to look at the immigration issue.…

January 20th, 2010
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a nun reflects on the abortion debate

This past January 22 was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion in the United States. There aren’t very many other days in the United States that manifest such division. I can’t think of any other anniversary that has consistently been celebrated with public demonstrations of opposing beliefs and emotions. Some, including such high profile figures as Alan Keyes, have compared the abortion debate in this country to the debate regarding slavery in the 19th century. That’s a pretty serious comparison considering that that debate was resolved by a civil war.
The latest Gallup Poll conducted between May 7 and May 10, 2009, found that for the first time since this question…

January 15th, 2010
A Busted Halo contributor with family in Haiti shares her thoughts

Last September my mother returned to Haiti after a seven-year absence from her home country. It was a brief trip involving minor family matters and she came back telling us how amazed she was at the economic growth she had seen. Many families had personal computers or cell phones. Some of the small villages had better roads and bridges. After the tragic events there this past week the country my mother visited just a few short months ago no longer exists. In the wake of the earthquake I keep thinking of the “what if’s:” What if my mother had traveled last week instead? What if I had gone to visit her? What if my sister had finally found the money to spend Christmas, New Year’s in Port-au-Prince? The “what if’s”…

January 14th, 2010
A Haitian man and his family wait to see if he is deported and if their family is torn apart

Jean Montrevil and his family, from whom he is currently separated while in an ICE detention facility awaiting deportation to Haiti

Jonathan Freed hasn’t eaten since New Year’s Eve. The South Florida immigrants’ rights activist is one of six people who say they will not eat until President Obama puts a stop to deportations that separate immigrants from their American families. (Download the letter to the president.)

After a few days he stopped being hungry or thinking of food, he said. Instead he is consistently queasy, and his head is a little foggy.

The hunger strikers are part of a increasingly impatient immigrant movement that wants to see a moratorium on deportations until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted by Congress.

So Freed and his companions are camping on the grounds of St. Ann’s Mission in Naranja, Florida. Naranja is a community filled with Mexican, Guatemalan and Haitian immigrants, too many of whom, Freed said, are at risk of deportation either because they are in the country illegally or because they’ve committed crimes ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deems worthy of exile.

“In our community the amount of enforcement is ripping families apart,” he said Wednesday. Freed, who is executive director of We Count!, a immigrant rights organization, acknowledges that the hunger strike is a dramatic step — and one that could fail. But more traditional forms of protest haven’t worked, he said.

“People have marched, written letters, held rallies and vigils. We’ve done all that. The situation has become so critical we felt we had to do something dramatic,” said Freed.

So for thirteen days now Freed and five others — among them undocumented immigrants with American children — have slept in a tent on the church grounds and spent their days explaining their action to visitors, keeping each other company and praying.

“It’s a political action, but it’s also a spiritual action that you try to get God to intercede and change the hearts of those in government,” Freed said.

A senseless policy — a family suffers

That is exactly what Jean Montrevil is praying for as well. The 41-year-old Haitian immigrant, Brooklyn, New York resident and father of four is in a jail in York County, Pennsylvania, awaiting deportation to the country he left when he was 16. Tuesday’s devastating earthquake offered an odd sort of reprieve, temporarily suspending deportations to Haiti, but Montrevil is still in detention, three hours away from his family and could be deported as soon as ICE deems conditions in Haiti stable.

January 14th, 2010
How you can help

Earlier this week a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti and we are learning only now of the complete destruction that has fallen on the Haitians. Early estimates are putting the death toll at 50,000. Here are ways to help:

Follow the lastest developments on the Catholic Relief Services site and blog.
Catholic News Service has this list of ways to help.
Tips For Funding Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts from Charity Navigator
You can even donate with your mobile phone via Red Cross, by txting “YELE” to 501501 for a donation of $5, or “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10. The charge will show up on your cell phone bill.

May God comfort and be with the Haitians, and may He be merciful to us for the ways…

January 12th, 2010
"It started 21 years ago."

Rishi talks about his family’s move to Canada from Trinidad.…

December 31st, 2009
A former CBS employee recalls the most trusted name in news

Long before Twitter or Drudge or Huffington or Gawker, there was another one-word media monolith, bigger and more influential than any one else.
Walter.
Television viewers didn’t call him Cronkite. Or even Mr. Cronkite. To America, he was just Walter. Everyone knew who you were talking about when you uttered that name. When I was growing up, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, he was part of an American ritual: come home, have dinner, watch Walter. He told us “that’s the way it is,” and we know he was right. Occasionally, people would also sit down to Chet and David (over at NBC) or Harry and Barbara (at ABC). But Walter was it. Nobody could touch him. He was gravitas, and veritas – gravity and truth – and…

December 31st, 2009
And You Probably Don't Know His Name

Quick — can you give me the latest on the divorce drama between Jon & Kate Gosselin? Or why Paula Abdul isn’t going to be judging this year’s American Idol? Odds are you can answer those questions but you can’t tell me the name of the man who died recently after saving more than a billion lives.
I’ll give you another hint: He was one of only six people ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
You can probably name most of the other five recipients of this trio of honors — Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi — but odds are you’ve never heard this man’s…

December 31st, 2009
Video 1 - "Ten years"

Nicole, a U.S. citizen, prepares to move her four children to rural Mexico to be with her husband who has been barred from reentering the United States.
In this segment, Nicole explains how her husband was barred from returning to the United States. Because of this, she is planning on moving with her kids to Mexico.
In video two, Nicole talks about the difficulties she’s facing uprooting her four kids and moving to a foreign country.
In video three, Nicole and the kids begin the process of leaving their home for Mexico.
In the fourth and final video, 24 hours before their move to Mexico, Nicole and the kids say goodbye.
Originally published on September 9, 2009.…

December 31st, 2009
A traditional nun and her openly gay cousin discuss sexuality and the Catholic Church

Growing up just south of Los Angeles, Sr. Bernadette (Mary) Reis would see her cousin Paul Mages when her family took vacation trips to visit his family in the Milwaukee area. For the first 25 years after she entered the convent with the Daughters of St. Paul at the age of 14, Sr. Bernadette and Paul saw each other only at a couple of family gatherings.
Having reconnected over the past two years while living near each other in New York City, Sr. Bernadette and Paul have developed a deeper friendship. This has forced them to bridge the very different worlds they inhabit: Paul’s as an openly gay man and Sr. Bernadette’s as a member of a traditional Roman Catholic religious order.
During their wide-ranging…

December 31st, 2009
A plea for an end to our culture wars

The uproar over Notre Dame’s honoring President Obama in late May exposed the fissures within American Catholicism that will no doubt be on display following the President’s July 10 visit to the Vatican.
But while it is no secret that American Catholics have been publicly bickering with one another since the end of Vatican II (and well before then, if one reads a little history), what we are seeing now is more disturbing than a simple clash of ideologies.
It is a culture war — but not the broader, endlessly discussed “culture war” between blue- and red-state America. Rather, it is a more specific, more intense, intramural Catholic culture war. It is not pretty and, more importantly,…

December 31st, 2009
(1921-2009)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver poses with an athlete at the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games in North Carolina.It’s difficult now to grasp what a radical thing Eunice Kennedy Shriver was undertaking in the 1960s, when she founded the precursor of the Special Olypics, then fostered the later event’s success. We sit, after all, in a time — thank goodness — when we have largely lost the ability to flinch in the face of physical or mental hindrance in our brothers and sisters. We prefer to take people as they are, and our world is better for it.

This is due quite directly to Eunice Shriver, who began her work in a vastly different era when handicaps were something to be hushed up about, or hidden from view. After all, she caused a minor scandal in America in 1962 when she penned an article in the Saturday Evening Post acknowledging that her sister Rosemary, one of the nine Kennedy siblings, was developmentally disabled. This was considered a taboo for any family at the time, even one whose members included the President and Attorney General of the United States.

Shriver by all accounts was the sort of person who never blushed, and never backed down. As important as she considered it to force into the public conscience an awareness of Rosemary and others like her, she put a far greater priority on the work that caused much less instant fuss, but that has had much greater, lasting effect. In the same year she introduced the world to her sister, Shriver hosted a camp for the handicapped during summer days on the grounds of her farm. The idea for “Camp Shriver” was simple: allow those with disabilities the chance to enjoy each other’s company and take part in friendly competition — without judgment, without spectacle. It sounded so small, but the humanizing effect of sportsmanship was enormous.

December 30th, 2009
A pilgrimage for my two mothers

When I was ten, my favorite movie was Mary Poppins. As it begins, British siblings Jane and Michael Banks write an advertisement listing their requirements for a new nanny. Their father — a curmudgeon who prefers investment banking to parenting — shreds the heartfelt proposal, throwing it in the fireplace and into infinity. His children’s wishes reach Mary anyway; she sits perched contentedly in the sky, as if waiting for them. With the snap of her fingers, Mary Poppins could transform a routine bunch of chores on a mundane Monday into an eternal summer Sunday afternoon at the carnival. Truly, Mary was capable of the miraculous.
Twenty-five years later, I found myself seeking Mary again. This time,…

December 20th, 2009
We asked... and you came through

Wow, you guys are amazing!!
With the outpouring of support from Busted Halo readers earlier this month, on December 16 we found out that Tiyatien Health won the grand prize in the Ashoka Changemakers’ “Rethinking Mental Health” global competition. The competition drew over 340 submissions from 42 countries and sought the “best solutions to improve mental health in communities around the world.”
Dr. Patrick Lee, a friend of mine who is heading up this important project, said, “We were overjoyed by the outpouring of support from people around the world. You — our community of friends, families and colleagues — rapidly mobilized a global network of concern…

December 16th, 2009
A 10-year-old contemplates his religious identity

We were waiting for the bus. We were in Iowa for a month. We were there for the Iowa Writing Festival. My mom and dad were teaching classes. It was the third day of camp. My little sister had a friend to play with that lives in Iowa. It wasn’t fair! I had nobody to play with. This is my story.
It was a boring day as usual, with Chris and Tomas cracking jokes, Lauren and Taylor babbling their heads off to their friends about the daily gossip, and my friend Sarah silent like me. Then the yellow bus drove up with “Camp Otter” written on it in dark green letters. “All aboard!” screamed Alexander, the 26-year-old bus driver. All the little girls always blushed when he said “Hello, girls.”…

December 11th, 2009
"I thought I was coming here on vacation."

In this video, Benita discusses her background and the difficulties she faced growing up.…

December 9th, 2009
A forgotten incident in the life of St. Francis speaks volumes today

As the former city editor and senior religion writer for Newsday, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Moses is well aware of what it takes to get the facts right on an important story. But when the story you’re researching is 800 years old, things can get pretty complicated. In the wake of September 11, Moses discovered a little-known episode in St. Francis of Assissi’s life in which he attempted to end the crusades by crossing enemy lines to gain an audience with the Sultan of Egypt.
In The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam, and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace…, Moses — now a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate School —

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