On Sunday, thousands of Christians flocked to Sunday mass to make it look like they actually give a damn about God’s teachings. For some, Easter marks one of two times they bring their families to sanctuaries during the calendar year. Inside most of those churches, a message about Jesus Christ dying for our sins and then rising from the dead is at the root of the messaging.
And while there are those who say that a church shouldn’t dip its toes into politics, it’s hard to ignore the loudmouths who use their religion to tell women what to do with their bodies, discriminate against homosexuals or justify xenophobia.
Thank God there’s at least one Tampa Bay area church willing to tell it like it is.
On Saturday, St. Petersburg’s actually progressive Allendale United Methodist Church posted a photo of their church marquee, which displayed this message: “Amber Alert. 1600 children detained for profit. Homestead FL.”
“Remember the immigrant children detained for profit who won’t be leaving their tomb this Easter,” the church wrote on a Facebook caption accompanying the photo. “This must end. Do not look away.”
The post linked to a Miami Herald story detailing protests outside of a South Florida center that houses more than 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children. A contract with the company that runs the center — Comprehensive Health Services (CHS), a “preferred provider” for its “Immigrant Shelter Services” — was supposed to end on Saturday, but now the agreement could be extended into the fall. Forbes says that one in six of the 12,500 migrant minors being detained in the U.S. are staying at a shelter operated by what is apparently the nation’s only for-profit youth migrant shelter operator. The Herald said that the average daily cost to care for one child at a facility like Homestead is approximately $775 per day.
“The average daily cost at a regular, non-temporary shelter, is about $256 per day, per child,” the newspaper wrote.
The Homestead, Florida shelter is the country’s largest for unaccompanied minors. CHS’s chairman, Thomas Campbell, is a founding partner and majority owner of a private equity firm, DC Capital Partners, which brought CHS in 2018. CHS pays DC Capital an annual management fee of $1 million. Federal filings say that the U.S. government paid CHS more than $210 million for its shelter work in 2018.
The Herald also says the the Cape Canaveral-based CHS is a subsidiary under another DC Capital-owned company, Caliburn International. But now DC Capital is looking to sell and 75-percent stake in Caliburn, which is growing its well of government contracts.
The part that stinks about it all is that former Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly was once a lobbyist for DC Capital Partners through a subsidiary. Kelly said he cut ties when he joined the Trump administration, but he did not respond to phone calls and messages from the Herald, which wanted to know if he has reconnected with Caliburn.
So yeah, as we already know, there’s so much about the government — and this administration — that reeks of corruption. So thanks to our neighbors in St. Pete for being unafraid to do their part to air it out.
Follow @cl_tampabay on Twitter to get the most up-to-date news + views. Subscribe to our newsletter, too.