Friday, April 26, 2013

Prison Ministry and the Trickle-Down Misery of Power-Hungry Politicians

I'm thankful that the department I work for will not experience furloughs this fiscal year but, because of politicians in D.C. who ignore the law and exempt themselves from it, we recently learned that our prison will probably not be able to purchase needed resources for our various faith groups such as scriptures, the curriculum we were going to teach from this year, and numerous other items needed to facilitate worship services and the free exercise of religion.

As I write this, the top-of-the-hour news report on the radio quoted a politician saying, "We've got to prioritize what is most important" in reference to this week's FAA/air traffic controller negotiations. That's true, which is why prison staff will not be furloughed due to the safety risk that would result from depleting an already-understaffed workforce. Furloughs would have been especially difficult to explain in light of the recent murder of Officer Eric Williams at the penitentiary in Canaan, PA. That's a good example of prioritizing what is most important.

Prison ministry will, of course, proceed despite the lack of resources. However, we all discovered this week that the federal government will spend at least $890,000 on service fees for bank accounts that are empty this year. The government also spends $1.7 billion for maintenance on empty buildings it owns. These are only a couple examples from an endless list of waste, abuse, fraud, and corruption financed by the outrageously-high level of taxes squeezed from the life-blood of tax-paying citizens. I think we could have bought an item or two with that kind of money.

I can still get up and preach the good news of Jesus Christ without a budget but that shouldn't minimize the irresponsibility and corruption of the politicians who are responsible for creating the train-wreck we're speeding toward. Many people are disgusted by what takes place in Washington and would rather tune it out. The problem with disengagement, however, is that power-hungry politicians will never be kept accountable unless the people demand it. Now is the time to re-engage, pray, educate ourselves, and use our freedom of speech while we still have it.

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