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30 Second Evictions

Legal gavel, Author Blogtrepreneur (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Since the coronavirus pandemic, health concerns have moved eviction hearings online.  At least 43 states now allow virtual evictions; 7 states mandate that eviction proceedings take place online.

Unfortunately, online evictions often deprive tenants of their rights [1].

CDC policy bans residential evictions for non-payment of rent through June 2021.  Many landlords have though continued to file evictions.

The CDC eviction moratorium can only be raised as a defense at an eviction hearing.  The CDC eviction moratorium (enacted under the Public Health Service Act of 1944) has, itself, been struck down at least four different times [2].  And CDC policy does not apply when a lease has expired (a fact unscrupulous landlords exploit).

During virtual evictions on video platforms like Zoom, internet connection issues are common; multiple tenants may appear on screen at the same time; and participants are often muted.

Depending on the state, electronic filing procedures may prohibit all but lawyers from filing critical documents online.  Just 10% of tenants facing eviction have such legal representation.

As a consequence, virtual eviction hearings can take as little as 30 seconds.  This eliminates any semblance of equal justice for the poor.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly…” (Prov. 31: 8-9 NIV).

[1]  CNBC, “30 Second Trials.  Judges Muting Tenants.  The Problems with Virtual Evictions” by Annie Nova, 5/1/21,

[2]  New York Times, “Federal Judge Strikes Down Moratorium on Evicting Renters” by Glenn Thrush, 5/5/21,


“Essential Help for an Essential Worker” by Pete Hileman

Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background, Philadelphia, PA, Author National Park Service Digital Archives (PD)

Readers of this blog will by now be familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia, a non-profit whose predecessor I had the privilege of co-founding.

CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with quality legal services at no cost.  This is accomplished with the assistance of Christian attorneys and paralegals who selflessly volunteer their time and expertise for the love of God.

By His grace and their devotion, CLCP has grown from humble beginnings in a single room at the Salvation Army in West Philadelphia to 8 clinics across the city.

The story below is from Peter Hileman, Esq., Director Emeritus of CLCP:

“Yvonne came to our Germantown clinic…for a will and power of attorney.  She is a nurse at Temple University Hospital and has been treating COVID patients for months.  It has been a very challenging time for her, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A woman of deep faith, she says she trusts in Jesus every day to enable her to keep going to work and staying healthy so as not to become infected herself and possibly infect her family…

She never had a will before and she heard about our clinic from a friend and wanted to be responsible.”

Read more…

Connecting Threads, Part 2

Child labor in Africa, Author Amk-Ámmar (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

“ ‘As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’ ” (Genesis 8: 22).

Hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18 work in agriculture in the US.  Precise figures are difficult to come by.  But the 2018 Child Agricultural Injury Survey put the number of those under the age of 20 employed on farms at 719,582 [1].

Federal Regulation

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act governs US child labor.  Children from the age of 12 on may legally work for any farm with parental consent.  No survey could be located re:  the number of children age 12 and under illegally engaging in farm work.

There are no legal limits on the hours children can work in agriculture when school is not in session.  Farm workers are not, however, entitled to overtime, and they generally do not receive job benefits.

Child farm workers often make less than minimum wage, with pay reduced still further when employers under-report hours and force children to purchase the gloves, tools, and drinking water that employers are actually required by law to supply.

Child Injury and Mortality [2]

“About every three days a child on a U.S. farm dies from an agriculture-related incident.  Every day some 38 children are injured on a US farm [3].”

If those statistics are not sufficiently shocking, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 907 young people died on US farms between 1995 – 2002.  That averages an astonishing 130 deaths per year.

Human Rights Watch over a decade ago reported on the grave health and educational risks children employed in agriculture face.  Farm workers (children and adults) often work with or in vicinity of  dangerous equipment. Again, the 2018 Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey estimated that 11,942 injuries occurred to young people on farms.

Both adults and children regularly work in fields treated with chemicals, some carcinogenic.  According to the EPA, children ages 3 – 15 may experience three times the cancer threat the same level of chemicals would pose for adults.  Simply put, children are more vulnerable to harm. Read more…

Connecting Threads, Part 1

Hand-woven bag on rigid heddle loom with cotton threads, Author/Source SEN Heritage Looms – Sophia Tsourinaki (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

“ Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards …” (Job 24: 5-6).

King Cotton

No one can say for certain when cotton was first utilized in textiles.

Fragments of cotton bolls and cotton cloth have been found in Mexico dating to about 5800 BC. Cotton clothed ancient Egypt, India, and China. When Columbus arrived in the Americas, cotton was already growing in the Bahamas.

By the mid-19th Century cotton formed the basis of the South’s economy. Fortunes were made in the lucrative cotton trade, as an outgrowth of slave labor.

Americans continue to wear and use cotton daily.

We are clothed in cotton, soothed and pampered by cotton, and take cotton for granted. Terrycloth robes, jeans and T-shirts, corduroy slacks and chambray work shirts, socks, underwear, cosmetics, swabs, and coffee filters are among the myriad products containing or derived from cotton. Luxury bath towels are graded by cotton thread count.

By the Labor of Their Hands

Until 1943, cotton was laboriously picked by hand. This meant long, backbreaking hours in the sun – first by African American slaves, then share croppers (black and white), then migrants and their children. A grown man was expected to pick about 90 lbs. per day.

Much has changed with the advent of heavy machinery, but migrant workers continue to play an important role in agriculture.

Children continue to work by their parents’ sides. For one thing, cotton has been genetically modified to incorporate the genetic coding for Bt toxin, a natural insecticide produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This has reduced the reliance on pesticides. As it turns out though, children are just the right height to pollinate Bt cotton seeds artificially. Read more…

Libel and the Holocaust

Gdansk railway station and Warsaw Ghetto burning (May 1943), Author Unknown (PD)

An obscure Polish libel case may have a chilling effect on research regarding the Holocaust worldwide [1][2].


Nazi genocide took the lives of 3 million Polish Jews during the Holocaust [3].  No doubt exists about this.

At least 90% of Poland’s Jews were exterminated.  Hundreds of synagogues were destroyed [4].  No less than 457 concentration and death camps were located in German-occupied Poland during WWII [5].  These included the infamous Auschwitz, Birkenau, Sobibor, and Treblinka [6]. 

National Responsibility Denied

Despite this, Poland has remained adamant that the nation did not participate in persecution of the Jews [7].  In 2018, an Amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance criminalized any public statements attributing collective responsibility to the Polish nation for crimes related to the Holocaust.

Pogroms and Complicity

Statutory religious tolerance notwithstanding, antisemitism in Poland long pre-dated the Holocaust [8].  Pogroms were not uncommon.

While individual Poles did risk their lives to hide and aid Jews during WWII, others were complicit in – or apathetic to – the fate of the Jews.  In multiple instances, the same person both saved and denounced Jews.

Alleged Libel

Which brings us to the case of Leszczynska v. Engelking.

Historians Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski only briefly mention the deceased Edward Malinowski in their 1600 page tome titled “Night Without End:  The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland.”  Malinowski, a village elder and uncle of the 81 y.o. plaintiff, Filomena Leszczynska, is alleged both to have robbed and saved Estera Siemiatycka by finding her work as a forced laborer. Read more…

“Unenlightened” by Cole Richards

Tian Tan Buddha (also known as the Big Buddha) on Lantau Island, in Hong Kong, Author Beria Lima de Rodgriquez @ Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The following is excerpted from the October 2020 edition of Voice of the Martyrs Magazine:

“Buddhism is more than 2500 years old, but it came to widespread prominence in Europe and the US only about 50 years ago.  Since then, Buddhist thought has become deeply rooted in American popular culture through music, books and films.  Many Americans encounter the teachings of Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, when seeking a way to empty themselves of desire and attachment while embracing peace of mind through meditation.

Gautama is called the Buddha (enlightened one) by his followers.  The simple response God’s word gives to the notion of human enlightenment is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true light and life.  Without Him, there is only darkness and death (see John 1: 1-13). Read more…

He Is Risen

“Resurrection of Christ” by Emile Signol (c. 1856), Church of Saint Eustache, Petit Palais (Accession No. PPP4792), Source Paris Musees (PD)

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matt. 28: 6).

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!


A God Who Allows Suffering

“Christ Crucified” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (c. 1655), Basilica of Escorial, Madrid, Spain (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

As we enter Spring and finally begin to turn the corner in the fight against coronavirus, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the suffering this pandemic has caused.

During the 25 years I practiced law, I witnessed a great deal of suffering.  It took many forms:  brain damage; paraplegia; rape; child molestation; death by cancer, by explosion, by decapitation, by fire, by scaffolding collapse, by head-on collision; loss of an eye, of an arm, of a leg, of a child.

Some of the most heart wrenching cases for me were the ones involving poverty issues – eviction, foreclosure, consumer fraud, unsafe housing, denial of public benefits.

Those issues meant fathers unable to keep a roof over their children’s heads; mothers driving themselves to exhaustion, in an effort to put food on the table; children already deprived of hope; lives destroyed by drugs and despair.  The working poor, running hard just to stay in place.

How can a good and loving God allow such suffering? Read more…

Preaching Christ Crucified – Fr. Bill Atkinson

Fr. Bill Atkinson was the first paraplegic priest in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

A toboggan accident in 1965 confined Fr. Bill to a wheelchair.  But he viewed his physical condition as the call to a special vocation conformed to the cross.

As Fr. Bill explained, “in this modern age where the dignity of human life is measured by productivity alone and where suffering should be eliminated at all cost, we must more than ever preach Christ crucified.”

For nearly 30 years, Fr. Bill taught theology at Msgr. Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, PA.  He served as asst. school chaplain, football team moderator, senior class retreat coordinator, and detention program director. Read more…


Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, Author Berthold Werner (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Muslims were a presence on the Iberian Peninsula (called Al-Andalus) from 711 AD to 1492 AD [1A].

A “Golden Age”

For much of its history, al-Andalus was in conflict with northern Christian kingdoms, in what is now known as the Reconquista (reconquest).  But the Muslim occupation of Spain is often described as a “golden age” during which literature, poetry, and architecture thrived [2A].

Religious Restrictions

Indeed, those who say, ‘Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary,’ have fallen into disbelief…”

-Quran, Sura 5:17

While ambitious nobles anxious to share in power embraced Islam and the Arabic language, the majority of the Spanish population remained Christian [3].

Islamic Spain was not, however, tolerant by modern standards [2B].

Non-Muslims had to acknowledge Islamic superiority; had to pay a “jizya” or tax; were disqualified from testifying in Islamic courts; and were limited to lower compensation than Muslims for the same injury [1B][2C]. Read more…