Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.


Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Aug 16, 2010

Does Religion Cause Poverty? Conclusion

The poor farmer's wife with the barefoot children was not an isolated case, I soon discovered during my stay in Ireland. (See Parts One, Two and Three of this series posted below). Whenever I went into town I noticed that just about every female of child bearing age was pregnant with multiple children in tow. Just three years prior, in that country an impoverished deaf woman with five children had been arrested and put on trial because she asked a doctor for birth control. The culture shock was too much for me. I was terrified that I would end up trapped in a cycle of poverty from which I could never escape, just like those women. I couldn’t believe my parents would jeopardize my future like that and I told them so. I swore up and down that if we didn’t leave Ireland soon, I’d run away. This was no empty threat. I had disappeared on them once before back in America. I was already planning to make my way up north so I could take a ferry to England, I announced.

Mom pointed out that there was a civil war going on in the north of Ireland and I could very well get bombed to pieces. I said I’d join whatever side would get me the hell out of here. I was more frightened of having state control over my reproduction than I was of any civil war. Mom knew how headstrong and determined I could be. I meant every word and would have surely done whatever it took to get back to America.

Mom said she couldn’t take it if I disappeared on her again. Then she suddenly stopped stating her case. Dad wasn’t adapting very well, either, she said, and that maybe it had been a mistake coming here. I agreed not to do anything rash until my parents had a chance to think it over and come to some alternative plan. I slept more soundly that night, relieved that I wouldn’t have to make my way through the war-torn north.

The next morning, I sat with my mother at the kitchen table, watching the cows through the window. The farmer had placed a bull in with the herd. It was mating with one of the cows. I never knew a bull could stand up on two feet like that. “Well, are we going back to America?” I asked Mom.

“Not exactly,” she replied, “What do you think about living in England?” Mom said England was more modern and a lot like America. We had relatives there who could help us get settled. One of our relatives knew a friend of a friend who had connections with the Housing Board, or whatever it was called (Their version of Housing and Urban Development). I agreed to give it a try. Mom wrote some letters and upon our arrival in England we moved into “social housing.” That is the British version of a housing project.

This concludes the series, Does Religion Cause Poverty? The conclusion is purposely open-ended, defying traditional (and restrictive) journalistic style. This is more of a personal narrative with a political bent. It does not strive to follow acceptable norms nor portray neutrality. Its purpose is to show from true life how the poor are affected by religious institutions.

Next week, August 23, 2010, I will write about my experience living in a British housing project.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to present some Socratic Sophistry for the readers consideration.

    1. Asking if the Roman Catholic Church's religious ban on ARTIFICIAL birth control (the Church does NOT BAN natural family planning birth control) insinuates that the Roman Catholic Church requires her members to be poor. Logically this would have to be the case since if one of her rules did in fact cause poverty, and in turn that rule applies to all of her members, then the only logical conclucion is that she requires all of her members to live in poverty. Obviously this is not the case.

    2. Asking this question is also like asking if the Bhuddist ban on eating cows causes starvation.

    3. Or asking if the the governmental ban on murdering the weak and the feeble causes poverty because of the resources that must be put into suporting those "non-productive eaters".

    4. Or asking if the Church's requirement that all Roman Catholics obey the Ten Commandments causes poverty since the Ten Commandments put such onerous restriction and requirements on how we may and may not live our lives and may therfore earn a living.

    5. Is it possible for the oldest, most efficient (only .3 of every dollar is spent on administration with the entire balance of .97 going to the cause), and single largest charitable organization in the world to also be the cause of poverty?!

    6. It must also be kept in mind that doing what is right is not always easy. Obeying God is often difficult. Lucifer will often put many obstacles in our way in an attempt to prevent us from doing what is right. Poverty may just be one of those obstacles.

    7. I feel that it is extremely disengenuous for the author to claim at the very end of her article series that she had no intention of being neutral in her presentation. Why did she not state that from the very beginning? Why mislead the reader with a dishonest title and throughout four articles?

    8. I find it extremely disengenuous for the author to admit at the very end of the article that she has a political bent. Why the need for the deception? Why not establish this from the beginning? Sure, readers like myself saw this fromt the word go, but not all readers are that perceptive.

    9. Stating that she did not "intend" to follow acceptable writing norms leads me to believe that A-She may be unable to do so, and/or B-She knew that doing so would demonstrate the weaknesses of her position.

    10. Acceptable writing norms have developed for a purpose. They allow for logical, intellectually honest discourse. Failing to follow them demonstrates weakness in writing ability and lack of logical clarity.

    11. Considering the fact that it is safe to assume that the average reader of this blog may probably be undereducated as a result of living in poverty, I can't help but think that by engaging in this form of writing the author has engaged in manipulating the very poor people that she gives the impression she is trying to defend. I say this bacuse the average undereducated individual would not have the intellectual prowess to read between the lines of the authors agenda, allowing them to be easily manipulated. Compare this to my posts wich are plain, blunt, and to the point. There is no hidden agenda in what I write. My agenda is proudly and clearly put forth.

    12. Although I will give the author credit for two items. A-To the best of my knowledge she is not censoring critical comments. Thus far she has allowed mine to post. She does desrve credit for this. And B- Although I disagree with this particular atrticle series and her methodology, I have appreciated the rest of her posts, her honesty in her personal story, and the fact that she has not forgotten her roots. Much of what she has talked about going through as a child rang precisely true for me...

    A fellow "Jector",

    Lt. William J. Lawler II, M.Ed
    Resident-Liddonfield Housing Projects, 8811-C-Cottage Street: 1979-2001


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