cannabisnews.com: Bush Puts Faith in a Social Service Role 





Bush Puts Faith in a Social Service Role 
Posted by FoM on May 05, 2000 at 20:50:56 PT
By Hanna Rosin, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Over the door of one church-based drug treatment center in Houston, a sign printed in foot-high letters announces: "Drug Addiction Is NOT a Disease. It's a Sin." At another, clients pass by a poster of an addict in a hospital bed, ripping IV tubes out of his arms and throwing his pills in the garbage. An angel hovers nearby, offering her protection from this plague of prescriptions.
And at a Christian young adult home in Corpus Christi, police recently took the unusual step of arresting a supervisor after teenagers complained that they were beaten and roped to a bed, all in the name of Christian discipline. More arrests are anticipated, authorities say.These are some of the results--expected and unexpected--of Gov. George W. Bush's "bold new experiment in welfare reform." With his conviction that religious groups can transform lives in ways government can't, Bush sponsored laws in 1997 that allow churches to provide social services their own way, outside the intrusive glare of the state.The new laws exempted faith-based drug treatment programs from all state health and safety regulations followed by their secular counterparts, a list contained in a rule book as thick as a Russian novel that covers every detail from fire detectors to frayed carpets. Counselors in religious treatment programs now may skip the criminal background checks and hundreds of hours of training required of their state-licensed peers.Faith-based groups that provide child care or operate homes for troubled youths can opt out of state inspections and choose to be regulated by a Christian child care agency approved by the state.Since their inception, the new rules have been criticized by traditional caretakers, who worry that Bush has placed too little emphasis on holding religious groups accountable, and too much on the notion that faith alone can heal addiction and delinquency--despite decades of research to the contrary."We've worked so long and hard to combat the stigma that substance abuse and delinquency and mental health are a symptom of a breakdown of morality, and to convince people they are an illness," said Bill McColl, spokesman for the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors. "This would roll us back 60 years, right back to when people thought you were an alcoholic merely because you didn't accept Jesus as your personal savior."Traditional social service organizations say allowing faith-based programs to regulate themselves creates a mutually affirming atmosphere, where groups of a similar mind-set could be reluctant to find or report abuse. The Christian agency that oversees the juvenile homes invites the superintendents of those homes onto its board, and facility supervisors inspect one another's homes--an obvious conflict of interest.Perhaps more important, the critics worry that these are precisely the types of problems that would crop up in every state under a Bush administration, given his campaign promise to establish an "Office of Faith-Based Action" to seed the Texas experiment nationwide.Texas officials say they're only correcting years of narrow-mindedness. The secular, post-New Deal world has shut certain churches out of providing social services, despite their obvious successes, they say."So far, government rules have reflected a 'one size fits all' mentality. But we have to respect the different methods," said Don Willett, a policy adviser to Bush. "In their view, addiction is indicative of sinful behavior; it's at root a moral problem that requires a moral solution, as opposed to the therapeutic notion that it's a disease."They also argue that the system includes sufficient checks and balances. So far, the one Christian oversight group has set up its own stringent criteria, and when abuse is reported the state is empowered to step in.The Texas experiment began in a spirit of defiance. In 1995, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse threatened to shut down Teen Challenge, a popular faith-based drug rehab program, for violating a variety of state regulations, including hiring unlicensed counselors.Bush sided with Teen Challenge. He convened a task force and called faith-based providers to testify how they'd turned around troubled lives. His staff then wrote and promoted legislation similar to laws in Florida.The Texas changes took effect in September 1997, mainly targeting child care and drug treatment. Under the new rules, churches that once merely gave advice or pastoral care can now advertise themselves as drug treatment programs, simply by signing up with the state. So far, 58 churches have registered. And next year, the state will consider funding the faith-based groups.Under the child care changes, the state has so far approved one Christian oversight agency, the Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies, which oversees seven Christian juvenile homes.Bush's initiative was called "Faith in Action: A New Vision for Church-State Cooperation." In fact, the rules embodied the opposite philosophy. The main goal was to limit contact between church-run groups and the state as much as was safely possible."Wherever we can, we must expand their role and reach, without changing them or corrupting them," Bush said about church-run programs in July, when he announced a campaign initiative modeled on the Texas experiment. "This is the next bold step in welfare reform."Even before the new laws were approved, Texas had no shortage of church-based social service groups, from Lutheran Social Services to many Baptist and Methodist homes around the state. But most of those traditional charities opposed the changes, and afterward chose to stay under state regulation.The churches that took advantage of the new laws were mainly from the more evangelical, independent strains of Christianity, part of the long Protestant tradition that believes the church is solely accountable to Jesus Christ and government oversight infringes on God's authority. As a practical matter, oversight by fellow Christians instead of government came as a great relief to the homes. Previously, they'd been subject to the whims of state investigators. In its two decades of existence, Victory Children's Home in Alice, an hour west of Corpus Christi, has dealt with one investigator who called the home a "weird cult," another who opposed any form of corporal punishment and a third who pulled 11 girls from the home when he decided they were too isolated."We'd tell a person from the state the Lord really changed this girl and they'd say: 'Okay, uh, next. And who's the Lord?' " said Nancy Ruth Gill, the home administrator. "Now the people who oversee us speak the same language. It's not that we're trying to get away with anything. But they understand us."Still, traditional social services providers have their doubts. "I continue to be nervous about whether folks who constantly work together will be strong in their determination to assure protection for children," said Phil Strickland, who runs the social service arm of the Baptist Convention and chose to leave his homes regulated by the state.To these more traditional groups, the redemption-only cure ignores reality. The Rev. Buck Griffiths, who runs Christians Against Substance Abuse out of a Church of Christ in Corpus Christi, still insists on working only with counselors who have met the state's credential requirements. The first page of his client handbook says in bold letters: "Chemical dependency is a disease. . . . It is NOT a moral weakness.""Initially it's a choice, and we're responsible for our choices, but some people are biologically or chemically disposed," said Griffiths. "We have to be realists. Sometimes people just need medical detox."Social scientists say faith-based groups make exaggerated claims of success, long before there are any studies to back them up. Teen Challenge, for example, claims a 90 percent cure rate for drug addiction.But no evidence supports that, said John Diulio, who favors the approach but is skeptical of some of the claims of success. A study by one Christian researcher considered favorable to Teen Challenge showed a success rate equal to the medical model--13 percent.Teresa Calalay knew nothing of the statistics when she first thought of sending her son, Justin Simons, to Roloff Homes, a group of five juvenile and young-adult facilities in Corpus Christi.She did not know that months earlier, the mother of a teenage girl living at one of the group's juvenile homes, shut down by regulators several years earlier but newly reopened by Bush's laws, complained to state officials that her daughter had been bound with rope and duct tape, an account confirmed by the state. All she knew was that her son would be away from home for the first time in his life.Reluctant as she and her husband were, they knew they had to do something with their son. When he was a young boy, doctors diagnosed a genetic disorder that ultimately made him jumpy and aggressive. Nine times he was hired at fast-food restaurants, and nine times he was fired because he couldn't concentrate. Then came the speeding tickets and a fight with a friend that police had to break up.Calalay heard of Roloff Homes through her pastor in Georgia, who told her they had a good record with wayward teens. So on March 10, the whole family flew to Corpus Christi to take Justin to one of the homes for young adults."I thought he would find himself putting out sweet feed and salt lick," she said. "And that he would find God out there in a field with a bunch of cows." She and her husband asked about the discipline policy and were told that if the boys misbehaved, they would be forced to run a few laps, Army style.What Justin, 18, says he found was something quite different. "Every night I always heard someone getting beat and screaming, saying 'Please help me' and 'Please stop hitting me.' I couldn't see them but I always heard them." They never saw the cows, or the field, but spent most of their days cleaning the kitchen."Lord, I am going crazy." he wrote one night in his Bible. "Please help me." After almost a month, Justin and Aron Cavellin, 17, decided to run away, right after laps, but both were caught. At about 6 p.m., Alan Lee Smith, a supervisor at Roloff Homes, drove them into the woods and tieds their wrists, then roped them to each other. He took them to a 15-foot-deep sewage pit and ordered them to dig, the boys told police.At about 2 a.m., Simons was told if he needed a break he would have to jump over the pit. He tried, but was tired and fell short. He wound up in the hospital with three toes broken, his ankles sprained and his feet swollen into useless clumps.Police found enough evidence to arrest Smith, 42, and charge him with unlawful restraint, a third-degree felony. About one-third of the 30 young men and boys living there at the time have since filed complaints, and the sheriff's department expects to make at least four more arrests this week.David Gibbs, an attorney with the Christian Law Association, speaking for Roloff Homes, pointed out that the program is for older teenagers, and voluntary. He described it as "military style," but said any punishment was "an incentive to encourage competitive behavior.""As I look at the situation, I would hope law enforcement gets an understanding of the program, and the tough discipline involved, and sees if there are any criminal elements," Gibbs said. "And they have to look at the veracity of who is giving statements. Some of it is terrifically elaborate."Texas law allows caretakers to use reasonable force to impose discipline and keep order, said Grant Jones, Smith's attorney. In any case, homes designed for young men over 18 have never been regulated by any agency. The Lighthouse, where Simons was staying, shares property and supervisors with Roloff's new children's home, and at least three of the teenagers staying there were under 18, but it is not supervised by the new Christian child care agency.The boys' stories were not well-received in the church community that supports Roloff, where they are assumed to be the tall tales of undisciplined, unsaved boys. After the arrests, David Blaser, who runs the new Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies, sent two of his inspectors to Roloff to determine if the younger boys and girls his agency oversees were affected."These boys have a great imagination, I guess," said Blaser. "My men were down there and found out what the situation was. The boy claimed he was pushed and shoved and made to jump the pit. But he did it himself. He wanted to jump the pit, just like any boy always doing the wrong thing." The home's defenders note stories of former and current residents who have told how the Lighthouse transformed them. "When I came in here, I was worthless, into drugs and alcohol," said Steve Summers of North Carolina, one of five young men still left in the home. "But things have been happening for me here. God's been blessing me here. It's like a family," he told a reporter for the Corpus Christi Caller Times.Authorities plan to convene a grand jury next week. None of the boys has a spotless record, and the homes have a long history of litigation against people who file complaints against them.The only one who seems to have found some peace is Calalay, Justin's mother."I believe God sent Justin there for a reason," she said. "So that we could work to make these boys understand that these people are not the face of God, that God is about love."Corpus Christi, Tex.Friday , May 5, 2000 ; A01  2000 The Washington Post Company News Article Courtesy Of MapInc.http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n602/a01.htmlCannabisNews MapInc. Archives:http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/list/MAP.shtmlNewsHawk: Tom Painehttp://www.angelfire.com/rnb/y/links.htmCannabisNews Articles On George Bush:http://alltheweb.com/cgi-bin/search?type=all&query=cannabisnews+bush
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Comment #8 posted by GentleStormi on February 28, 2005 at 10:34:28 PT
Roloff Rebekah Home for Girls Survivors Safe Forum
HI GentleStormi here ...
there is a forum for survivors of Roloff Rebekah Home for girls it is safe, and a healing environment:Roloff Rebekah Home for Girls Safe Forum
at this link:
http://forums.delphiforums.com/RoloffSurvivorsThe Roloff Rebekah Home for Girls based in Corpus Christi Texas, all survivors of 1970's and 1980's who were under the administration of the Weatherfords, the Camerons, and the Barretts are welcome to seek entry to this forumthere is a second forum that is PRIVATE, and is only open to those that are approved, and trusted.
the Second Forum is called 
REBEKAH"S SOUL
and it is at this link:
http://forums.speakezforums.com/directory/contact us if you are a true Rebekah sister and want to find your friends, and heal together.KEY Words:Lester Roloff Rebekah Home for Girls Corpus Christi Texas, Wiley n Faye Cameron, Weatherfords, Barretts Farm Brownsville, Cult , Mindcontrol child abuse, airplane Roloff
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 09, 2001 at 12:38:14 PT
Tamra 
Your post is breaking my heart. I know why church would be a hard place to go for you. I was raised a Christian too and things like this make me not want any association with any church. I hope you are rising above it all and know others think this is very wrong too. You are not alone.
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Comment #6 posted by Tamra on December 09, 2001 at 12:30:38 PT:
It was a living hell for me....
I was in the Rebekah Home for girls from 1982-1983, 13 months. I was a christian prior to being put in the home and was not using drugs. My father had just died of cancer a few months prior and I lived with a family who was very poor because my mother no longer wanted me. I asked my mother for some help financially to buy clothes for school, she said no. I threated her with calling the Social Security Department because she received payments for my care from my fathers death. She kidnapped me and took me to Texas which cost her nothing. During my stay I was beaten on numerous occasions, (which they referred to as licks) thrown in lock-up with no human contact, no showers, no light for days. I was on one occasion made to kneel on a linolium floor late at night for two hours along with approximately 20 other girls until someone confessed to taking a knife that came up missing from the foods class. The pain was excruciating - girls crying, pleading with Mrs. Cameron to stop. At midnight it was over and we cried in pain as we helped each other walk back to our rooms. No one confessed, the misplaced knife if there ever was one to begin with was found by the teacher the following day. Solitary Confinement was a more milder form of punishment. You were not allowed to talk to anyone or look at anyone except your room captain and even then it was only to ask questions such as permission to go to the bathroom etc. You followed your room captain everywhere with your head looking at the ground always. This would last anywhere from a few days to weeks. Everything was screened - mail was read and was only allowed to go to your parents. If you did not write within a certain period of time you were forced to write something and God forbid it was anything negative. That would mean licks and a re-write until it was a positive letter. One incoming phone call a month was allowed only from your parents and it was monitored. You could not tell anyone what was going on there and if you tried you were disconnected. We were completely isolated from the outside world. I came out of that place a very hard and bitter person. Up until a few years ago I could not even step foot into a church without the horrors and nightmares of the place coming back. I have just recently dealt with this emotional past and I want to see justice done. I am still a christian and I truly believe that They will answer to God for the mental and physical damage that they have inflicted on the lives of so many children including myself. So many days and nights of listening to girls being beaten, forced to kneel, pleading for help from lock up rooms they had been in for over a month at a time. This is not the work of the God I believe in! This was and still is a living Hell!I have talked to others who were there and feel the same way. If you are one of them please contact me by e-mail tamra bigplanet.com Remember Emily? She was the Rebekah girl who went home and said the only way they would ever bring her back was in a body bag. They tried bringing her back, she got control of the car and they went head first into a truck. All dead. 
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Comment #5 posted by Captain Clearspot on May 25, 2001 at 08:05:12 PT:
Ever Been Sold the Bill of Rights, As A Bill of Go
Duly elected best comic strip in 2001, by five members of the U.S. Supreme Court!
Back Forward Comics by Will Ferret
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 20, 2001 at 19:19:00 PT
Thanks for sharing
Thank You Nikki,I believe that faith based drug rehabilitation can work. I also believe that other approaches can work too not just those with a fundamental religious belief. Good Luck to you ! God Bless
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Comment #3 posted by Nikki Stanger on March 20, 2001 at 19:05:43 PT:
The Roloff Homes have helped me
My name is Nikki stanger I am 16 years old and I am from North Carolina. I was a drug addict and had nothing for me. I was sent to the Rebekah Home for girls on October 29th 1999. I got saved there and have never been the same. The Roloff Homes have helped me tremendously. I thank GOD for Wiley Cameron and his wife Faye Cameron. I also thank Him for the MacNamara's the superintendents of the home. If you go there and really see what it is always about you will know that all this stuff about it being a cult is not true. There is so much love and peace there. If you ask Jesus into your heart you can have the peace of God that passeth all Understanding (Phil 4:7 KJV) I invite you to see what the homes are all about instead of listening to others. I am a walking miracle of God's grace and the Roloff Homes. May God Bless You. Isaiah 38:17
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on May 06, 2000 at 10:48:55 PT:
Praise the Lord, and pass the ...admonition?
In the 1970's there were calls from all kinds of conservative groups that if only the dead hand of governmental regulation were lifted from the econmomy, particularly industries such as banking, we'd have Paradise.Instead, we had greedy Savings and Loan officers in cahoots with slimy pols (of whom Jaw-jee was a key player; rememeber the Silverado debacle?) scheming to fleece not only their depositors, but the entire nation through payouts via the FSLIC. Funds from which come solely from our taxes. And will come from our *children's* taxes. And from *their* children's taxes. Our *grandchildren* will be paying out that money to the end of their days. And Jaw-jee, just like the rest of them, dances away smiling, not a scratch on him.Yes, sir, Jaw-jee has learned his lessons well; take away the cats in charge of oversight, and the rats get into the grain and gorge themselves."We've worked so long and hard to combat the stigma that substance abuse and delinquency and mental health are a symptom of a breakdown of morality, and to convince people they are an illness," said Bill McColl, spokesman for the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors. "This would roll us back 60 years, right back to when people thought you were an alcoholic merely because you didn't accept Jesus as your personal savior."Traditional social service organizations say allowing faith-based programs to regulate themselves creates a mutually affirming atmosphere, where groups of a similar mind-set could be reluctant to find or report abuse. The Christian agency that oversees the juvenile homes invites the superintendents of those homes onto its board, and facility supervisors inspect one another's homes--an obvious conflict of interest.' Now, in order to get into the political bed with people he would never associate with socially, he has ingratiated himself with the Religious Right, granting them effective carte blanche in addiction treatment. Is it any wonder why, with a history of abuse going back thousands of years (all in the name of God, of course) once again we are being treated to the spectacle of self-proclaimed moral proctors committing atrocious acts in the name of saving souls?I thought he would find himself putting out sweet feed and salt lick," she said. "And that he would find God out there in a field with a bunch of cows." She and her husband asked about the discipline policy and were told that if the boys misbehaved, they would be forced to run a few laps, Army style.What Justin, 18, says he found was something quite different. "Every night I always heard someone getting beat and screaming, saying 'Please help me' and 'Please stop hitting me.' I couldn't see them but I always heard them." They never saw the cows, or the field, but spent most of their days cleaning the kitchen...After almost a month, Justin and Aron Cavellin, 17, decided to run away, right after laps, but both were caught. At about 6 p.m., Alan Lee Smith, a supervisor at Roloff Homes, drove them into the woods and tieds their wrists, then roped them to each other. He took them to a 15-foot-deep sewage pit and ordered them to dig, the boys told police.At about 2 a.m., Simons was told if he needed a break he would have to jump over the pit. He tried, but was tired and fell short. He wound up in the hospital with three toes broken, his ankles sprained and his feet swollen into useless clumps.Police found enough evidence to arrest Smith, 42, and charge him with unlawful restraint, a third-degree felony. About one-third of the 30 young men and boys living there at the time have since filed complaints, and the sheriff's department expects to make at least four more arrests this week.'Do not get me wrong; I consider myself a person of faith. But too many crimes have been perpetrated under the banner of religion ever to be dismissed. This is but another cautionary tale of why we should be suspicious when politics and religion climb into the same chariot; everyday, ordinary people like us are apt to be the ones run over in their haste to remake the world in their image. 
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Comment #1 posted by Suspect Stereotype on May 06, 2000 at 08:54:37 PT
Salem Revivited
I should think that there is an especially warm pit in the furthest corner of Hell for people who would perform attrocities on children.And people who would perform those attrocities in the name of God will be the tender.If Bush is sanctioning this type of "treatment" for children who's only crime is non-conformity, then the man is insane.But then, insanity seems to run in his family.Do me no favors Wouldbe King George!They will have to drag my sons past my bleeding corpse to put them into a facility like the one discribed above.Furiously Yours,SS 
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