Tag Archives: religion

Who’s Burden Is The Cross You Wear?

Crucifixes signify that a person is Christian. They adorn the neck of the religious. Some of those crosses though come from the sweat of Chinese slaving away in factories. Those crosses have more than the blood of Jesus on them.

“Jesus, take pity on me! I’m going to die of exhaustion.”

Factory workers at the Junxingye factory in China are forced to work seven days a week for fourteen hours a day to manufacture the crosses that will be shipped to the United States. Before shipments must leave for the US there are often forced all night shifts lasting up to 25 hours. Workers routinely work over 100 hours a week, 51 of those are overtime. The legal limit of China’s work hour rules are exceeded by 514 percent. The majority of the workers at this factory are young women, some as young as 15, who can go months before they see a day off.

Those toiling to get that cross you wear to you are paid a measly 26.5 cents an hour, less than half of the legal minimum wage. Workers are paid $10.61 a week but then they have deductions that have to be paid for their company dorm room and food. When the final tally is made workers see about $3.70 a week. Those working a 91 hour week get a bit more at $30.61. That’s only 43 percent of the $70.71 that legally they should be getting.

Does that crucifix feel a little tighter now? Don’t worry there’s more to this story.

The dorms that employees reside in are filthy. Maybe it’s better to be in the sweatshop slaving away than laying on a narrow double bunk bed with only a draped sheet hanging for privacy. There are no dressers for their clothes and in the bathroom moss grows.

The food that takes money out of their paycheck is not gourmet quality. They get a soup with a few veggie leaves and drops of oil. Their meat dish has pieces of meat so small that they can’t be lifted with chopsticks.

There’s no stories of Jesus swooping in with bread and fish to feed the masses a bountiful meal.

Their bodies have rashes from the chemicals they are forced to use. The names of the toxic ingredients are not known to the workers though. Management refuses to tell them what they are using.

They have no employment contract which strips away their legal rights that other full time Chinese employees are given. If they miss a day because they are too sick to work they are docked 2.5 days wages. Every single labour law in China is being violated at the Junxingye factory.

Is that cross starting to choke you yet?

There’s money though to be made by the cross. The $4.63 billion Association for Christian Retail has followed the golden brick road to China. The association doesn’t monitor what they ask to have manufactured. They don’t even care that the people that are slaving away for their products have no freedom when it comes to religion.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity Church and the Association for Christian Retail have 2,035 member stores and suppliers. They do not have a fair trade rule for their merchandise.

When it comes down to the ethics of that pretty little cross around your neck it seems that if one doesn’t know the price of the blood that made it then close your eyes and it’s just fine.

So in the scheme of things I leave you with one question: What would Jesus do?

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Jeffs Sentences To Ten Years To Life

Warren Jeffs has been sentence to 10 years to life in prison for forcing a 14 year old to marry her first cousin. The leader of FLDS was given five years to life for both of the felony convictions of being an accomplice to rape.

Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which believes in polygamy.

The sentences are to be served consecutively and it will be up to a state board of pardons to determine how much time he will actually spend behind bars.

For 15 months Jeffs eluded the police while on the run and was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He was captured in August of 2006. His trial ended with a conviction in September.

The victim is now a 21 year old who has remarried. She sat on the front row during the sentencing after addressing the judge before his final decision.

“Jeffs and his influence over me, as a 14-year-old girl, affected me and my family in so many ways,” said Elissa Wall, her voice trembling with emotion.

Jeffs led his followers in Utah and Arizona. He was considered infallible by those in his flock and thought of as delusional by outsiders.

His sect taught women to be submissive to their husbands who were allowed to have more than one wife.

Jeffs still faces charges in Arizona for sexual abuse in addition to federal charges.

“Thousands of children can sleep safer tonight with Jeffs in jail,” former church member Flora Jessop said outside the court house.

“It is a positive first step, although much more needs to be done … to protect women and children who want out of the community,” she added.

The sentencing comes just days after it was revealed that Jeffs had attempted suicide in January. He had attempted to hang himself in his cell. He also revealed to his brother that he was “not the prophet” which has the potential to damage the FLDS.

The members of the church though have been instructed not to watch television or read news on the Internet.


op-ed: Muslims Portrayed In a Negative Light By Media

How does the average non Muslim person feel towards Muslims? Could the press to blame? A new report out from Britain says that 91% of articles written about Muslims are negative in a one week study commissioned by London mayor Ken Livingstone.

“The overall picture presented by the media is that Islam is profoundly different from and a threat to the west,” he said. “There is a scale of imbalance which no fair-minded person would think is right.” Only 4% of the 352 articles studied were positive, he said.

The report showed how the media is in a way using scare tactics when it comes to the Muslim population even using Christmas as a way to put a negative spin on things. An article whose information proved to be false depicted that Christmas was being banned in an area because it offended the Muslims that lived there.

There were a total of 352 articles that were used in the study. Of those articles only 4% portrayed the Muslim community in a positive view.

“The charge is that there are virtually no positive or balanced images of Islam being portrayed,” he said.

“I think there is a demonisation of Islam going on which damages community relations and creates alarm among Muslims.”

In the past I have questioned if journalists can change the way others view the world. Now I think I need to rephrase the question and ask is it right to allow negative spins on different religious views?

In many online news sources and blogging communities you can see very negative articles about Muslims as a whole. The same can be said about any religious view if you look for it but the world has been on a Muslim witch hunt since 9/11.

As someone who puts articles out for view I have to temper my own feelings in some cases. It’s difficult not to slate our personal feelings when we are impassioned to write an article. Staying true to journalistic standards is a very hard concept to keep when it comes to personal beliefs.

The question now is how do we put aside our personal feelings and simply report the news. Should we leave out religious convictions of those being reported? If we took out the religion card in news reports would that change the way others feel about different religions?

I have to wonder if during the aftermath of 9/11 the term extremist radicals had been substituted for the term Muslim extremist radicals would that have a difference on the way Muslim people are depicted in the media today. There is no answer to that question.

The truth is in this world there are religious wars being fought. There are media and military wars between believers and nonbelievers, Christians and Muslims, Jews and Muslims, etc. Is there a way to report on these events without putting down one side or another?

The truth is out there but it depends on the keyboard what some truths are.

What is your truth?