Might it be that this land with all of its richness, with all of its opportunity for true greatness, its opportunity to present itself before the world as what a nation ought to be, might not be sowing the seeds of its very destruction in abandonment of its children? -Dr. Gardner Taylor, Pastor Emeritus, Concord Baptist Church, 1996 sermon at the Children’s Defense Fund’s Haley Farm
Our nation has lost its way as Congress stealthily debates dismantling Medicaid and the health safety net for the neediest children and adults. And as we await the Congressional Budget Office’s cost and impact report and the final outlines of the Senate health care proposal the only thing I can think of at this moment is to pray for our leaders to rediscover some semblance of common sense and moral decency and protect the 37 million children on Medicaid and the millions of disabled adults and others for whom it is an indispensable lifeline. I hope enough of us will let our voices be heard loudly and clearly in the Congress, the White House and in Statehouses: babies’ health care should not be capped and cut to give more tax breaks to billionaires, poor and disabled children and the elderly should not be hurt to give powerful corporations greater profits, and healthy births to mothers should not be jeopardized to subsidize tax cuts for millionaires.
A Prayer for Children© (By Ina J. Hughs)
We pray for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak Popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes.
And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who’ve never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world.
We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves with Band-aids and sing off key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.
And we pray for those who never get dessert, who watch their parents watch them die, who have no safe blanket to drag behind, who can't find any bread to steal, who don't have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser, whose monsters are real.
We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under their bed and never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smile can make us cry.
And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren't spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for children who want to be carried, and for those who must. For those we never give up on, and for those who don't get a second chance. For those we smother, and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small babies die of cold quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small children suffer from hunger quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets children be the poorest group of citizens quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets the rich continue to get more at the expense of the poor quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich and powerful nation which thinks security rests in missiles and bombs rather than in mothers and in babies.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation for not giving You sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread.
O God, help us never to confuse what is quite legal with what is just and right in Your sight.
It’s time to stand up for our children with a mighty voice and hold our leaders accountable.