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Farming in Africa and Catholic Social Justice – Peace & Justice Report March 7

Written by on Monday, March 5, 2018

Growing and preparing food is life’s highest priority in Africa’s rural villages. Unfortunately, food is produced in ways that exacerbate the damages already wrought by climate change to the rapidly deteriorating lands south of the Sahara. How do we reform food production to help the villages adapt to climate change and combat the ravages of desertification?
Charles Reith will be our guest on  the first half of the show. He’ll describe his research and life with the Hausa farmers and Fulani herders in Eastern Nigeria. He’ll discuss climate change, desertification, and the conflicts – including the Boko Haram insurgency – that have arisen from land abuse and resource shortages.
Charles will how the lessons of driving sustainability in Africa can b e applied to our own challenges here in Sarasota.
Charles and his wife Pin are recent arrivals to Sarasota and UUCS.  Both lived in Africa for four years to serve as administrators at the American University of Nigeria and provide assistance to a community that was inundated with refugees from the Boko Haram Insurgency.  Before teaching and serving as Provost at AUN, Dr. Reith was a professor and sustainability director at Tulane University, where he played an active role in promoting sustainable redevelopment in post-Katrina New Orleans.
 Charles now lives year round in Sarasota. His surname is pronounced “Reeth.”
On the second half of the show we’ll chat by phone with Sallie Latkovich of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
Here’s what Sallie says about herself and her work:

–I received my BA from Cleveland State University, and MA from St. Norbert College in WI. Completed my Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation in 1995.

–I have been interested in and committed to justice since I was a child, and loved visiting my Grandmother who fed the hungry with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at her back door.  I loved meeting them, and talking with my Nanna about justice.

–My area of study was the Prophets of the Hebrew Bible.  That study led me to Catholic Social Teaching.

–I love to speak about the meaning of Biblical Justice, as distinct from the “justice” of our criminal system which is really retaliation.

–Catholic Social Teaching is often called “The Best Kept Secret” in the Catholic Church, as the documents are little known, and seldom preached.

–There is a  Catholic Social Justice Lobby in Washington, DC, called NETWORK, which is founded on Catholic Social Teaching.  The “Nuns on the Bus” campaign, with Sr. Simone Campbell was from NETWORK.  They actually lobby the legislators representing the Gospel.

–I also direct the Bible Study and Travel Program here at Catholic Theological Union, and so travel to Israel fairly often.  Jesus was thought to be a Prophet by many, because of his “speaking truth to power.”   Some suspect that Jesus’ experience in Sepphoris, where a “deal” was cut with Rome to avoid violence was an experiential learning for Jesus’ own non-violence.