Archives For vote

1. Four important voting questions
Gideon Strauss suggests four questions that gospel-motivated citizens should consider when voting, but that his 11-year-old self wouldn’t have considered: Will this candidate help rehumanize American political life? Will this candidate help Americans of differing convictions to coexist more peaceably? Will this candidate help American communities and institutions toward a more symphonic justice? How does this candidate talk? These are important considerations in an election year.

2. Latinos and environmental stewardship
A Fox News Latino article takes a look at Latino support for legislation related to climate change, indicating that in addition to immigration, education and jobs, Latinos are also very concerned about environmental issues:

A 2010 study by Yale and George Mason universities found 66 percent of Latinos considered climate change a “high” or “very high” priority for the president and Congress to address, compared to 48 percent of non-Latino whites… Latinos viewed several forms of environmental damage, including air pollution and toxic waste, as a more pressing issue than whites did… Quintero said Latinos are less likely to question climate change because they have more contact with countries in Latin America that lie closer to the equator, where the repercussions are more evident. “The reason that Latinos believe and see the reality of climate change is because they live it,” Quintero said. “These impacts are very real and they’re costing lives and they’re costing jobs.”

3. Conservative evangelicals and immigration
Ali Noorani writes for CNN about a recent conference in Alabama focused on immigration from a biblical perspective and changes taking place among ordinary conservatives and evangelicals:

If you think all conservatives support a deportation-only approach to immigration, think again. Last week, hundreds of conservative evangelicals gathered in Alabama to engage in a reasonable, respectful discourse on immigration. You read that right. Less than a year after Alabama enacted the strictest immigration law in the land, evangelical students, pastors and national faith leaders gathered at Samford University in Birmingham for “a Christ-centered conversation on immigration” called the G92 South Immigration Conference… A fundamental shift is occurring among conservatives toward a new consensus on immigrants and America. These are the early steps in a march by Americans of all political stripes fed up with partisan attacks on immigrants and immigration — a groundswell ready and willing to skewer political extremism from either side of the aisle.

4. U.S. evangelicals’ overseas focus
Karl Zinsmeister writes in Philanthropy Magazine about how evangelicals in the U.S. are becoming more and more actively involved in overseas ministry, looking at different denominations and faith-based NGOs. The piece covers a lot of interesting ground, but here’s an interesting blurb:

While smart government agencies and secular NGOs often hire local workers to help them navigate crucial cultural nuances, Christian aid generally takes place in close partnership with indigenous church members. Those partners, who are both local and motivated by religious conviction, are especially good at opening doors, establishing trust, and mobilizing communities. That’s why AIDS care, health clinics, schooling, and similar assistance provided by Christian philanthropists and volunteers is frequently more transformational than aid delivered by other organizations. (Recognizing this advantage, some governments and NGOs seek out partnerships with religious philanthropies—as happened with AIDS assistance during the Bush administration.)

5. Lancaster, PA does it again
Yep, a new study shows that well-being is higher in the Lancaster metro area than in any other metro area in the country. Though I no longer live there, that finding makes me happy. It really is a great little city. Daniel Klotz has good analysis at his Lancaster, PA Blog.

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

[Photo credit: storiesofusa.com]

The 2010 US census had some  important things to teach us about our country’s Latino/Hispanic population. Basically, it’s growing, and it’s growing fast:

[T]he Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation’s 9.7 percent growth rate.

And no, they’re not primarily entering the country illegally:

Analysts [of the census] seized on data showing that the growth was propelled by a surge in births in the U.S., rather than immigration, pointing to a growing generational shift in which Hispanics continue to gain political clout and, by 2050, could make up a third of the U.S. population.

While the Latino population in the US is largely Catholic and evangelical and tends to be politically conservative on social issues, in 2008 Latinos voted for Obama by a two to one margin.

The GOP really needs the Latino vote if it is going to win in November (and beyond), though you wouldn’t know it by listening to the party’s presidential hopefuls. None of the candidates have done much to woo Latinos; instead their extreme rhetoric, particularly on immigration, has only served to further ostracize the Latino electorate. Romney won the Florida primary with strong Latino support, but should he be the party’s nominee in the fall, that victory might not mean much — the political motivations of Florida’s large (and highly influential) Cuban-American population is hardly representative of the US Latino population as a whole, especially in key swing states like Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

Fortunately (both for the GOP and for the sake of civility in the public square), there are Republicans who recognize the problem and are urging their colleagues to stop making matters worse. In an op-ed for the Washington Post (which I shared on January 27), former Florida governor Jeb Bush wrote:

[W]e need to think of immigration reform as an economic issue, not just a border security issue. Numerous polls show that Hispanics agree with Republicans on the necessity of a secure border and enforceable and fair immigration laws to reduce illegal immigration and strengthen legal immigration. Hispanics recognize that Democrats have failed to deliver on immigration reform, having chosen to spend their political capital on other priorities. Republicans should reengage on this issue and reframe it.

A second Florida Republican has spoken up as well. It’s up-and-coming Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American with strong support from his own demographic, but who also understands the broader issues impacting the country’s Latinos (and there’s been speculation that he could be a GOP running mate in November).

During his keynote address at the Hispanic Leadership Network’s conference in Miami just days before the Florida primary, Rubio was interrupted by DREAM Act supporters who had come in protest. Here’s the video of the speech, including the disruption and repeated pleas from Rubio for the protesters to be allowed to stay, followed by what I think is one of the most sensible articulations of the need for immigration reform I’ve heard from a Republican. I can’t say I vouch for Rubio on everything, but I do respect him for this:

[Photo credit: buschap/Flickr (Creative Commons) via SCPR.org]

With Goldcorp‘s annual meetings coming up in Vancouver next week, once again shareholders will have the chance to vote on a proposed resolution to suspend operations. I’ve written about this at length before, so I won’t give all the back story here, but needless to say, the saga has been ongoing for quite some time. Human rights violations, lack of community consultation, environmental devastation, even death threats and possibly murder, have all been alleged. One Canadian visual artist describes her visit to the mine, and specifically the tailings pond containing cyanide:

There were “mountains of white foam” on the edges of the “totally toxic” pond whose water was a bright blue hue, the Vancouver resident recalled in an interview at the Georgia Straight offices.

“We were standing at the top of a hill, and I feel like my eyes are totally burning,” Schambach said. “And the hairs of my nose are, like, piercing my skin.”

While this account is obviously unscientific (one can find the science elsewhere), I think it’s safe to say that nobody would want this sort of a scene in their own backyard. And, not surprisingly, 18 indigenous Mayan communities have voiced their concern, leading the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to call for the mine’s suspension.

In the absence of any sort of enforced accountability structure preventing basic human rights and environmental abuses, chances are good that shareholders will choose to continue with business as usual.