Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.
The debate pops up every so often: How vocal can churches become on political matters and still remain tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations?
Each year as we approach Easter, we applaud the good works on our local churches. Today we do the same — and urge them to take a step further.
Of course, we are not suggesting political action, but action for the good of the communities they serve.
Our churches already do many positive things — provide sites and workers for food banks, counsel troubled parishioners, work in second-hand stores, to name a few services. That work should continue.
But our churches also have the buildings strategically placed in their communities to provide the forums for local projects that make our lives better, and they have the people and the energy to make those things happen.
For instance, if we feel that violence or drug abuse is becoming a problem, could not a church group or a cooperative of churches discuss ways to address the problems? We think so.
If domestic violence is of concern, could not our churches assist in getting victims the help they need? Their members might be better positioned than government officials to identify problems.
Parishioners go to their churches for their own personal development but also for a common good. They are a community of friends and families, the best that hometowns have to offer. As such, they are also qualified in identifying where more concerted effort is necessary.
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