While I was finishing my Ph.D. I took a job as an adjunct
professor at a small, state-run college. The experience was a lesson in
humility. Most of the time, fancy graduate degree or not, I was treated like a
cog in a machine--and a suspicious cog at that.
The common good is taking a beating. Economic inequality has accelerated dramatically since the early 1980s, and many think nothing can be done about it. But that verdict is a nonstarter for Christian morality.
It's great to see David Beckmann convince Mark Bittman to join the fast against attempts to cut federal programs
that help the poor and the hungry. Bittman's dismissal of the religious element
of the effort by Bread for the World and others--"I doubt God will intervene
here"--betrays his unfamiliarity with Christian thought. (I'm tempted to send him
one of my ELCA "God's work, our hands" fridge magnets.) But thanks to Bittman's
involvement, now even the Nation is
giving the progressive evangelical effort positive coverage.
In order to write about the inner workings of a private prison, journalist Shane Bauer took a prison guard position at a Louisiana prison for four months, at $9 an hour. The prison is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, whose CEO made $3.4 million in 2015, nearly 19 times the amount paid to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. During Bauer’s time as a correctional officer, the federal Department of Corrections temporarily took charge of the prison due to a rash of stabbings among inmates. Thirty-four percent of prison guards suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, a rate higher than that for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Correctional officers commit suicide two and a half times more frequently than the general population (Mother Jones, July/August).