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Southern Religion

‘Senseless’ attack on World Vision in Pakistan

A Christian aid agency suspended operations in Pakistan after six of its staff members were killed in an attack March 10.

World Vision International, which has offices in about 100 countries, called the attack in the Mansehra district of Pakistan “brutal and senseless.” The victims, which included two women, were all Pakinstani nationals, according to a BBC report.

Seven other World Vision staff members were injured in the attack, which included gunfire and a bomb.

About 97 percent of World Vision’s more than 30,000 staff members work in their home countries, according to the World Vision web site. More than 500,000 people sponsor children through the organization.

“No threatening letters were received prior to the attack,” the World Vision statement said. “World Vision’s relief and development work in Pakistan is conducted by local citizens.”

World Vision has been working in Pakistan since 1992 and expanded its operation there after an earthquake hit the country in October 2005.

No group immediately took credit for the attack, according to the BBC report.

March 11, 2010 Posted by | news | , | Comments Off

Condomonium goes to school in Rome

The Vatican is displeased with Kepler scientific secondary school in Rome’s decision Wednesday to install condom vending machines for students. To be in the girls’ and boys’ toilets, they will sell condoms at half the usual retail price.

They didn’t do it just to provoke the Vatican. The London Daily Mail reports:

In a recent survey of 7482 students in Italy by the Ministry of Health on sexual knowledge, 18 per cent admitted regularly having intercourse without using a condom, which officials said had contributed to rises in sexually transmitted diseases.

Other Italian schools and British schools are considering the same action. The British have an additional reason, again from the Daily Mail:

According to he latest figures available from the Italian Ministry of health the teenage pregnancy rate is six per 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19, compared to 26.4 in the United Kingdom – one of the highest in Europe.

Meanwhile, the long and sometimes strident epidemiology/theology debate continues, literally.

March 11, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Education, Health | , , , , , | Comments Off

Minority young children become the majority [not extinct]

Straightforward demographics trump shrill cries that “Black Children Are An Endangered Species.” Black, brown, red and yellow children are apparently the majority of their age group now, just as current minority groups are projected to become the summary majority in 2042.

Minority children have been moving toward majority status for some time, not toward extinction. In 2009, 48 percent of the children born in the United States were members of minority groups. And growth continued so that, according to projections from the latest U.S. Census data by researchers at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), the tipping point passed.

Kenneth Johnson, UNH professor of sociology and senior demographer at the UNH Carsey Institute, and Daniel Lichter, Ferris Family Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University, said [.pdf] in a paper published Wednesday in the Journal Population and Development Review:

We do not need to rely on Census projections or wait until 2042 to observe the putative demographic implications of growing racial and ethnic diversity in American society. Our research documents the demographic forces that have placed today’s young people in the vanguard of America’s new racial and ethnic diversity. The seeds of diversity are being sown today by immigration and high fertility, which are revealed in growing racial and ethnic diversity among America’s children and youth. In many parts of the United States, the future is now.

Why? Most women of childbearing age are members of minority groups:

A key reason for the growing child diversity is the changing mix of women in their prime child-bearing years (20-39 years old). From 1990 to 2008, the number of non-Hispanic white women in prime child-bearing years decreased 19 percent while the number of minority women increased 40 percent. In 1990, 63 percent of all births were to non-Hispanic white women; in 2008, 52 percent were to non-Hispanic white women.

It is irresponsible to artificially elevate racial tensions in any context, but it is especially so in times of demographic transition when there is already tension over the costs of transition. The demographers speak directly to the most immediate concern when they write [.pdf]:

It has been more than 25 years since Samuel Preston (1984) argued that America’s declining fertility rates, increasing longevity, and consequent aging of the population have had the effect of shifting the nation’s resources from the young to the old. The social and economic realities of children had deteriorated while the circumstances of the elderly had improved. Our results raise an additional demographic complication for children (Hernandez 1993). That is, will America’s older, largely white population—through the ballot box and collective self-interest—support young people who are now much different culturally from themselves and their own children? Will they vote, for example, to raise taxes for schools that serve young people of ethnic backgrounds different from theirs? Preston (1984: 448) worried that “Americans have never had any strong sense of collective responsibility for other people’s children, only private responsibility for their own.” This may be especially true if “other people’s children” are largely minority, disproportionately poor, and live in separate communities. In fact, Poterba (1997) found that the presence of large fractions of elderly residents in a jurisdiction was associated with significantly lower per-child educational spending, especially if the elderly and children were of different races.

For the sake of the young who are alive, and for the sake of those yet to be born, this is a time to build more bridges.

March 11, 2010 Posted by | History, Politics | , , , , | 5 Comments

   

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