Here in Texas lots of people will be in church today.
Oh yes, we are proud of our religious traditions. Living right here on the very buckle of the Bible belt, well, what could make life better?
We take our religion seriously in Texas. We are a Bible-toting, Bible-reading, Bible-believing people, us Texans, yes, indeed we are!
That being said, a recent report issued by the Office of the State Comptroller ought to give us pause as we meditate on our faith and our faithfulness as Texans on this day of religion and church attendance.
Here's a brief summary of the Comptroller's findings:
Texas ranks. . . 45th in per capita spending on public health. 46th in per capita spending on mental health. 49th in per capita spending on water quality.
Texas ranks. . . 50th in high school graduation rates. 48th in SAT scores.
Texas ranks. . . 1st in child population growth. 1st in the percentage of uninsured children. 48th in spending on child protection.
Texas ranks. . . 50th in percentage of the population with health insurance. 50th in percentage of low-income children who are insured. 48th in percentage of our poor covered by Medicaid. 45th in provision of substance abuse treatment.
Texas ranks. . . 7th in the number of persons who live in poverty. 2nd in percentage of the population that goes hungry. 3rd in percentage of the population that is malnourished. 47th in welfare and food stamp benefits. 49th in number enrolled in Women's, Infant and Children's benefit program.
Texas ranks. . . 2nd in national birth rate. 2nd in teen birth rate. 37th in prenatal care.
Texas ranks. . . 1st in toxic and cancerous manufacturing emissions. 1st in number of clean water permit violations.
Texas ranks. . . 9th in unemployment. 46th in hourly wage rate. 43rd in income distribution equality. 50th in government employee wages.
Texas ranks. . . 1st in number of executions. 1st in number of gun shows. 2nd in rate of incarceration. 5th in total crime rate. 11th in violent crime rate. 1st in number of registered machine guns.
Texas ranks. . . 44th in percentage of eligible voters that are registered. 47th in percentage of eligible voters that go to the polls.
In view of what the Bible teaches us about turning the other cheek, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves and caring for the poor, the weak and the oppressed, I'd say we have a lot to think and pray about on this day of faith. What do you think?
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Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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