tv Religion Ethics Newsweekly PBS November 30, 2014 4:30pm-5:01pm EST
coming up -- lucky severson reports on the long campaign of catholic priest michael doyle to fight poverty and crime in camden, new jersey. >> we're working against the odds, but i think god is on our side. >> reporter: also, deborah potter on the ethics of inoculation, as contagious diseases such as measles and whooping cough make a comeback. >> there is really also a moral responsibility and an ethical responsibility, i think, for parents to look at their community and think, you know, would i want these children to be sickened because i decided not to vaccinate my child?
main funding is provided by the lillian endowment, an indianapolis private family foundation dedicated to its founders and christian religion, community development and education. additionalç funding also provid by mutual of america. designing customized, individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. welcome. i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. this week, the national council of churches was among the many faith groups reacting with dismay after a ferguson, missouri grand jury decided there was no probable cause to indict white police officer darren wilson in the shooting death of michael brown. the decision not to indict wilson followed months of anticipation as well as a nationwide debate about police treatment of young black men. angry protests broke out in ferguson and in many other cities across the u.s. shortly
after the decision was announced. while many of the ferguson protests were peaceful, there was also chaos as several buildings were looted or burned and police fired tear gas. faith groups have been active in ferguson, urging peaceful ç protests, and several local churches are providing safe places for protesters to meet and pray. president obama acknowledged the deep divisions and appealed for calm -- >> there are americans who agree with it and there are americansç who are deeply disappointed, even angry. it's an understandable reaction. but i join michael's parents in asking anyone who protest this decision to do so peacefully. in other news, jubilant immigration activists gathered outside the white house to celebrate the president's executive order to protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
meanwhile, obama visited a las vegas high school to rally support for his immigration plan.ç he pledged not to give up on working for even larger reforms of the immigration system. back in washington, obama presented the presidential medal of freedom to the family members of three fallen civil rights workers, 50 years after they died. in 1964, andrew goodman, james chaney and michael schwerner were murdered by the ku klux klan in mississippi for their ç efforts to register black voters. among the other recipients was ethel kennedy, who was recognized for her humanitarian work. at the vatican, pope francis conferred sainthood on four italians and two indians. the indians were a priest and a nun from india's state of kerala, and they were honored for their lives of service to the poor and sick.
francis also visited strasbourg, france this week to address the council of europe about the high rates of unemployment throughout the continent. the pope warned that europe had become "tired and pessimistic," and he called for more job creation.ç now, a special report on an irish catholic priest's ministry in camden, new jersey. father michael doyle loves his parishioners and has led great ç improvements in housing and education. but drug wars have killed so many people he says conditions overall are worse now than they were when he arrived nearly 40 years ago. earlier this year lucky severson told father doyle's story. >> reporter: sunday mass at sacred heart in camden, new jersey.
this is a special one that, sadly, has become a tradition. >> dontae perkins, 25, shot to death. >> reporter: it's a mass for the 55 young men and women murdered in camden in the past year, father michael doyle officiating. >> georgianna jedrzejewski, 56, stabbed to death.ç >> reporter: for 18 years, father doyle has been conducting a mass for the murdered. >> i counted up this morning the number of murders since we started in 1995, and the number was 788.ç imagine. in this little town, 788 persons lost their lives in this city in that tragic fashion. it's a terrible place for a kid
to grow up. it's terrible.ç it is terrible, and that's why ç i -- and i think of america as being a generous country, but america has made a decision to sacrifice the poor, for the poor are concentrated in this country. you go from one city to another, they're concentrated. that concentration is deadly. >> reporter: nowhere, according to the most recent census, are the poor more concentrated than in camden.ç nearly half the population of 77,000 lives in poverty. unemployment is almost 20%. you can buy a house here for as little as $15,000. across the delaware river in the shiny city of philadelphia, houses go for as much as $15 million.ç it's not just the poverty, not only the neighborhoods that look like they've been bombed out. it's the crime. in 2012, there were
266 shootings, 67 homicides, which makes camden per capita, according to the fbi, the most dangerous city in the u.s. >> reporter: 17-year-old julian jaquez knows how scary it is here. >> recently i just started being allowed to go outside. i went here to sacred heart, and i had friends who lived across the street, and i still wasn't allowed out. i had friends who lived two houses down from me; still wasn't allowed out. >> 90% of that is coming out of drug wars, and the prevalence of guns and the anger within young people. it's slaughter. so when you look at that, camdeç is worse than when i came here 39 years ago. >> reporter: father doyle came here not long after race riots dealt camden a serious blow.ç the vietnam war and protests against it were in full swing.
he, along with father daniel berrigan, still his close friend, were arrested as part of the famous camden 28, charged with breaking into a government building to destroy draft records. it was a world away from his home in ireland, where he goes to rejuvenate. >> i have the best place in the world -- the farm on which i was born and raised, and my family for four generations. i'm so at home and nurtured, like back in the womb. it's an amazing kind of thing. >> reporter: and then he returns to camden, which he refers to as a "peoplefill" -- a landfill for poor people. but he sees beauty here. >> i see it all the time, a beauty that's deep and wonderful and sometimes tragic, but beauty absolutely, i do. the faces are there with their burdens and their wrinkles and their difficulties and so forth, but beauty that's just jumping at you.ç 'h$e's not a fire-and-brimstone preacher, but his faith is intense. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> i just want to say how thankful i am for the blessing of you here.
hi lally, how you doing? >> hi father, how you doing? praise the lord! >> reporter: and they love him not just as father doyle, but as up.an of god who refuses to give >> i'm drawn back because it's a place where a church is of value. >> reporter: few would argue about the value of father doyle and sacred heart to camden. >> actually, we've built this whole thing around michael doyle. he's the most wonderful person in the world. he lives a real christian life. it's just wonderful. we love him. >> we practiced this yesterday. she did very well. >> reporter: this is a weekly saturday morning food sharing and prayer service. they give away food freely here, but mostly to women. >> because women are the feeders of the children, and we have found that sometimes the men come and then we find them selling the food on the street. come, holy spirit, and inspire ç
us with energy and willingness to rebuild camden city to your honor and glory. amen! >> reporter: sacred heart also funds a food kitchen, and there's always a full house. and then there is the sacred heart primary school for 200 kids. most of them are not catholic.ç father doyle was worried that the diocese would close sacred heart, as the church has so many inner-city schools. >> and so we created a sponsorship. we set it up that people would give $300 a year, and that would help the family to get the child through. >> reporter: many in the congregation who are catholic come from as far away as 50 miles to attend mass. they, and hundreds on the mailing list, get epistles each month from father doyle etááv and a request for help. in 2012, he raised more than $900,000.
camden mayor dana redd, a baptist, attended sacred heart school after her parents died from gun violence. here's a picture of her giving flowers to mother teresa when she visited the parish. >> i can say that sacred heart really played an important role in shaping and framing the person that i am today.ç they were my extended family in so many respects. >> reporter: julian's mother helped pay for his schooling at sacred heart. his father wasn't around. >> i do sometimes wonder, like, what would my life be like if i had that perfect family. but then i think about the people who don't have what i have. i mean, it's bad, but there's people who have worse. >> reporter: helene pierson has been in charge of father doyle's heart of camden project, which has now purchased, refurbished,ç
and resold close to 250 homes at reduced rates for those who could never afford a house before. >> the houses were going empty in camden so fast at that time in the early '80s that we moved people in-volunteers rehabbed the house and their credit was poor. now the percentage is alozt 100%. >> reporter: that make their payment? >> that make their payments. >> i'll be moving in either friday or monday. >> reporter: cristya rodriguez is so happy she can hardly contain herself. she and her two boys are moving out of her mom's house and into a heart of camden house which she can own for $600 a month. she recently got a job at the police department. >> at least here i can actually let my boys play on the sidewalk. i would never let my boys play on the sidewalk where my mom lives. >> reporter: father doyle says what keeps him going is one little victory at a time. >> even when jesus was here, he cured 10 lepers, and nobody asked him how many lepers are iç the quarries? so i always go by that principle. my bit in god's hands is enough. i do that little bit, that's all
i can do. so i don't take all of camden into my head, or my heart. i juat take a bit of it. >> reporter: the day before the special mass there was a ceremony across the street from sacred heart planting crosses for those who have fallen in the last 12 months. cristya was there with her two boys, whose father was gunned down in 2012, and julian was there to honor his close friend, juan rosa. >> he was literally like an older brother. >> juan o. rosa, 25, shot to death.ç >> reporter: when the stand-ins for the murdered stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder, the magnitude of the loss is overwhelming.ç
>> and god will raise you up on eagles' wings. >> reporter: i guess if camden can turn it around, any place can turn it around? >> that's very, very true. if we had frank sinatra come here and sing for us "if you can do it there." >> reporter: "you can do it anywhere." >> that's right. you can do it anywhere. we're working against the odds, but i think god is on our side. >> reporter: for "religion and ethics newsweekly," i'm lucky severson in camden, new jersey.ç this week a muslim prayer service was held in indiana for peter abdul-rahman kassig, the american aid worker who was beheaded by isis militants.ç the 26-year-old kassig had converted to islam prior to his abduction in syria last year, a conversion his parents said was
sincere. he became the 5th western hostage that isis claims to have beheaded since august. the christian organization bread for the world this week identified as one of the major causes of hunger the way the world treats women. the report says poverty, discrimination, unpaid work andç barriers to education all combine to make women effectively second class citizens. bread for the world also notes that the new u.s. congress, convening in january, will have as members 100 women, the most ever. now, the ethics of inoculation. if parents don't want their child vaccinated, for religious or any reason, does that put other children at risc nf getting sick? it's a current public health issue because contagious diseases long considered under control, measles and whooping cough, have been making a comeback. deborah potter reported. >> reporter: for generations, it's been a rite of passage.
>> can i listen to you? >> reporter: a visit to the pediatrician, and an injection or two. >> okay, all done. >> reporter: rahm kaiser epstein is 15 months old. on this day, he's being vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox.ç he doesn't much like it. neither does the 4-month-old in the next room. hayden's vaccines also covered multiple contagious diseases, including diphtheria and whooping cough. >> i think it's all the ç standard, routine shots i think we need to protect us. we've all had the same shots as kids, so i don't see a reason why he wouldn't. >> reporter: at this pediatric practice in amherst, massachusetts, most children get all their vaccines on time. but dr. john snyder sees a
growing number who insist on delaying vaccinations or flatly refuse them. >> these are not bad parents. these are parents who do want to do the best thing, and unfortunately they are misinformed, and there's an enormous amount of misinformation out there. you have parents who are certain that vaccines are the cause of eaxbe autism or autoimmune diseases or whatever else they may have heard, and they know because they've done their "research," and they know the answers, and i'm just part of the problem. >> reporter: before her son, logan, was born, jodie castanza had already decided not to have him vaccinated, concerned about a possible link between some vaccines and autism or asthma.ç >> i've read enough that said, you know, boys in particular seem to be more at risk. that there's maybe a genetic link that then makes boys at higher risk, not that the vaccinations are causing the issues, but that the vaccinations might be triggering the cause of the issues, and
until we know more i just -- i don't feel good about it. >> reporter: the autism concern stems mainly from a report published 15 years ago in a british medical journal that has since been withdrawn and labeled a fraud. but castanza isn't convinced that doctors know best. >> i don't ever put full power and control into anybody who says, "i'm a scientist. i know what's going on," i don't feel like anybody really has the right to take away that decision-making power, and i also feel like it's an important responsibility for parents to not place the responsibility for the decisions around their ç parenting, their children, in the hands of someone else. >> reporter: every state in the country requires children to be vaccinated before they can go to school. but in all but two states, west virginia and mississippi, ç parents can opt out by stating a personal or religious objection. in most states, including massachusetts, there's no proof or explanation required. it's as easy as signing a piece of paper. >> if a parent says that that's a religious belief, that's what we need to go with, and we need to keep our fingers crossed that there isn't going to be an
outbreak during the school year. otherwise, those students would be held out of school until the period of communicability has passed, and then unfortunately other students and staff members could be subject to illness.ç >> reporter: the vast majority of american children get all of their recommended vaccinations. only about one and a half percent are unvaccinated.ç but in some areas, the rate is significantly higher. in this part of western massachusetts, for example, it's 6%, and that raises the risk of outbreaks. a community with a vaccination rate that low loses what's
called "herd immunity" to contagious diseases, so anyone who hasn't been vaccinated can get sick. that includes babies too young ç to be immunized and people with certain health conditions who can't be vaccinated. >> there are some schools where the children are completely unimmunized, and those childrenç are at very high risk, should a child come with measles from another country. and again, all these diseases are just a plane ride away, and measles is incredibly contagious. one child who's susceptible exposed to a child with the disease, there's a 90-plus% chance they're going to get that disease. >> reporter: recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have been concentrated in areas with low vaccination rates, including religious communities of orthodox jews and evangelical protestants, some of whom believe vaccination is interference with divine will. some catholics also object to a few specific vaccines because they're based on a cell line obtained from aborted fetal tissue in the 1960s. one of them is the relatively new chicken pox vaccine, and the furton family, devout catholics, wrestled with whether to give it to their youngest child, maggie. >> on the one hand, you have your own child whom you love very dearly, and you don't want to have to undergo any kind of disease, but you're weighing against that in association with a product that is connected, yes, in a distant way, with
abortion. and for those of us who are adamantly opposed to the harming of the innocent in any way, that's a very serious problem for us. >> reporter: instead of being ç vaccinated, maggie was deliberately exposed to chicken pox and caught it, just as the rest of the family already had. it was the furtons' way of making sure she was protected and posed no risk to anyone else. all of the children received every other recommended vacc[ne. furton is an ethicist with the national catholic bioethics center, well aware that the vatican advises catholics they have the right to abstain from vaccinations only if it does not put children at risk and that protecting the whole population is more important than concerns about how some vaccines are made. >> there's a duty to care for one's health and for one's life, and there's a particular duty to care for one's children. so the sense from the church is
that people should be immunized for the sake of the common goodç and children in particular should be immunized against any seriously dangerous disease. >> reporter: in spite of the concern about abortion?ç >> in spite, yes. the connection is thought to be distant enough to justify what's called cooperation with the wrongdoing of others. >> reporter: jodie castanza has no religious objection to vaccination. most people who opt out don't. for her, it's a personal decision that she thinks is of no one else's concern. >> people definitely will say that, you know, you're putting other kids at risk with that and maybe, but kids are also at risk when they pick up sticks and play sword fights on the playground and, you know, slam each other into snow banks and put rocks in snowballs and you know, all -- there's so many risks that i'm not willing to ç
take on guilt or ownership of that particular one at this point.ç >> reporter: in some ways, vaccines have been victims of their own success. illnesses that once ravaged communities are now out of sight, out of mind. >> these are nasty diseases. these aren't illnesses that most parents are familiar with now. these are diseases that frequently hospitalized, disfigured, permanently damaged, or killed children on a regular basis. there is really also a moral responsibility and an ethical responsibility, i think, for parents to look at their community and think, you know, would i want these children to be sickened because i decided not to vaccinate my child? >> reporter: what worries doctors like snyder is that it might take a resurgence of preventable diseases for parents who now refuse vaccines to see them as essential. in amherst, massachusetts, i'm deborah potter for "religion and ethics newsweekly." it's been 20 years since the death of the revered lubavitch leader, rabbi menachem schneerson. this year, as usual, rabbis in ç his movement mourned his loss at his gravesite in queens.
they enjoyed each other's company, and their mission of reviving jewish awareness and practice. and they posed for their annual group photo -- about ç 4,200 rabbis, from all over the world. finally, advent starts this sunday -- the christian season of preparation for christmas. for many families, part of the tradition is the advent calendar, with its tiny doors opening up to a new religious symbol each day. but this year, there's a new degree of christmas commercialization -- advent-like calendars promoting products. here's one for a line of tea bags under the mantle. body shop has its version, and so do starbucks, sephora and the pottery barn. that's our program for now. i'm bob abernethy. you can follow us on!dwitter and facebook and watch us anytime on the pbs app for iphones and
ipads. there is also much more on our website, where you can listen to or watch every program. join us at pbs.org.ç as we leave you, scenes from the german city of dortmund, which next time -- after his son died of an overdose, evangelical leader richard cizik is urging congregations to break what he calls a "code of silence" about heroin abuse by people in the pews. >> the price is more parents who bury their children, their sons and daughters. that is the price. as we leave you, scenes from the german city which claims it has the largest christmas tree in the world. the tree stands nearly 150 feet tall and isç decorated with 48,000 lights. ♪ ♪ sleep in heavenly peace sleep
in heavenly peace ♪ç major funding is provided by the lily endowment, an indianapolis based private family foundation dedicated to its founder's interest the in religion, community development and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america. designing customized, individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company.
>> rose: welcome to the program. i'm charlie rose. this is a special thanksgiving edition of "charlie rose: the week." just ahead, amy poehler on the importance of improvisation. neil patrick harris brings back the variety show. and the singer/songwriter john mellencamp, performance and conversation. >> man, look out the window. there is so much to write about. how could you possibly have a writing block? i couldn't possibly cover all the topics i feel i need to write about. if i just wrote every day, day in, day out. out. ♪ no hopes to get better
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