PG Readers Sorely Lacking in Christian Compassion

I think a few PG readers must have slept in on the Sundays when their pastors talked about visiting the imprisoned and other Jesus references to compassion for the less fortunate. 

Last week, the paper ran a feature on mothers who are in jail.  It was harsh and difficult to read, especially when a woman admitted that she loves heroin as much as she loves her child.  That's a difficult line to read.  No matter that its true. 

But these two particular readers took affront at the notion that these women deserve compassion and respect as mothers to their children. 

T. Pawlos of Crafton asks “What about the children and other family members? They are the ones hurting and embarrassed by these women's actions.”   T. continues, “I don't feel a bit sorry for them.”  And “They think of only themselves, now and forever, trust me.”

Well, that's a nice example of Christian compassion.  If a woman embarrasses her family, she deserves no compassion.  I'm surprised T. didn't use the phrase “loose morals.” 

Patricia Wilkeson of Robinson (are you surprised?) writes “I don't have any sympathy for any woman who says, “I love heroin as much as my child.” I'll never understand all the “do-gooders” who support these creatures of habit.”

Creatures of habit.  That's nice.  Patricia goes on “Why don't you honor those who work along with their husbands, sometimes at two jobs, to support their children and grandchildren?”

Shouldn't those working mothers stop being so selfish about their careers and stay home with their kids?  I wonder what human mistakes Patricia's own children made that result in her caring for her grandchildren? 

Then there's the line that is so very sad and reveals the bitterness in Patricia's heart.  “Alcoholics and drug addicts who have to do anything to support their habits belong where they'll end up — on the obituary page.”

I'm tempted to churn out a few sentences lambasting her as an example of how perverted American Christianity has become.  Or how successful the Republicans have been at turning the middle class against other vulnerable groups. 

But all I can think about if whether Patricia is having a nice Mother's Day.  Somehow I doubt it.


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  • One of the road races I helped put on was for Lydia's Place. They're good folks — some Christians, some not.
    The letter writers in the Post Gazette… I won't try to make excuses for them, but I also understand a bit about how they feel. Read the original article again, and note the recidivism rate. That's terribly hard on the children. If you've not been an addict, or at least haven't had to work with them on a daily basis, it can be hard to understand.
    A couple weeks (months?) ago, I heard Gwen Elliot (former Zone commander, Pittsburgh Police) and someone else talk about a new waiting room at the A.C. Jail that's kid-friendlier. If people want to volunteer to help out (which many churches have done) they can call 412-731-7670 (ext. 23 if you need the extension). They really need help. It used to be a scary place. It's hoped the new setup will make things better.

  • I've heard good things about the new waiting area, too. Thanks for posting the contact information.
    I understand that the readers' lack of exposure colors their perspective. But to say “haven't had to work with them” makes it sound like the opportunities aren't there. And the letters IMHO are more about slapping down the addict parents than expressing concern for their children. That's the thread that concerns me. It continually reinforces the segregation between deserving and underserving vulnerable people. Perhaps if we as a society channeled more resources into helping children rather than judging their parents, we might be more effective at breaking these cycles.
    I suspect their frustration is much deeper. The powers that be are very good at turning us against one another in this society.

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