My hometown does good


I grew up in Kent, Washington, and I just learned that Kent is one of a small number of cities chosen to settle Syrian refugees.

Among a divided community, Twenty five, ten-member families will resettle in Kent in the coming weeks.

“Kent has affordable housing, ample job opportunities, and a welcoming community,” said Dave Duea, director of refugee and immigration services for the Seattle-based Lutheran Community Services of Washington. “We expect to resettle many more families in Kent, along with many other refugee groups we are proud to serve.”

Well, I hope it’s welcoming. On the forum where I heard about this, people were talking about “savages” and declaring that “the jungle just opened up”. I see it as good news, though. Not only are they praising the town, but it’s a reflection of a vast improvement since I lived there. I remember Kent as a barren wasteland of banks and gas stations, with farms being steadily paved over and replaced with warehouses. When I’ve been back to visit, it is much improved (although traffic is much worse), with an entertainment complex, an expanded library, and a light rail station. When I left, I thought I’d never be back. Now it looks like a lovely place to retire to (except for the traffic).

Having some more ethnic diversity is just another big plus.

It is too bad, though, that a religious organization is front and center in assisting in this humanitarian effort. If only secular organizations were larger and more involved…

NEVER MIND. Snopes has the source for this one, the “Nevada Scooper”, as a fake news site. I hadn’t checked because it was such a mundane and unsurprising story, and didn’t seem particularly like clickbait — it was just something happening in my hometown. But apparently, “settling refugees in America” is one of those subjects that draws in outraged readers.


  1. frog says

    If only secular organizations were larger and more involved…

    Perhaps the way to get the “dictionary atheists” to do such things is to appeal to their self-interest. There are two major reasons (other than “it’s the right thing to do”) that atheists should form larger organizations that do charitable work:

    1. Recruitment. Either for ourselves or at least to keep vulnerable people out of the hands of the religious. I’m sure most religious charities don’t refuse help to people who aren’t of their religion, but it sure is a good way to get people thinking favorably of them, and perhaps wanting to join them.

    2. Money. If nothing else, religious groups get a heck of a lot of funding. Even if they are doing really good work, they still have people on staff who are being paid. Maybe some atheist groups could benefit from more charitable donations if they were seen actively doing good. Community outreach is a thing, and I mean in-person, face-to-face, in local communities, not just online or at meetings.

    And there’s a small (3), related to (1): It would give atheists an organization they can turn to without having to run a gauntlet of godbotherers. We have secular nonprofit assistance for legal issues and for analysis of social patterns, but it would be helpful to the atheist community to not need to crowdfund when someone’s health care costs exceed their life savings. Or when they lose their home in a natural disaster. Or any of a million other things that churches can often find a way to provide assistance for, but atheists don’t have in any organized structure.

  2. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    I’m sorry it was a fake story.

    Growing up in Shoreline and living in Seattle for many years, I thought of Kent as a wasteland, too–but now that I live here, it’s pretty nice. I live in the old Downtown, and there are a lot of neat restaurants, the Transit Center is great, the Regional library is two blocks away…but to do any real shopping I have to drive anything from 3 to 11 miles round-trip.

    Now if I could just figure out where that rotten-egg smell at the top of East Hill was coming from….

  3. says

    I grew up on the corner of 2nd and Titus; it’s now the Catholic church parking lot. My paternal grandmother had a little house on the corner of Railroad & Willis, and I lived there for a few years; it’s now some kind of tire storage lot. When I was a baby/toddler, my parents lived in an apartment on 1st & Titus; it’s now a Lutheran church parking lot. Every place I touched as a child and teenager seems to have been leveled and paved over, but yeah, I know the downtown area very well. Or used to, it’s completely changed. I had to look it over on google streetview.

    There was an old florist shop where my dad helped me pick out flowers for my first date with my wife-to-be…it’s gone, there’s something called “Vibe” there?

    I don’t even recognize Meeker street. The 5 & dime, Shoff Sporting goods, all gone.

    OMG, the little drug store where I used to buy all my comic books has been turned into a Catholic store? No wonder I hate religion.

  4. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    6th and Harrison here–64th and Meeker before that. I guess the story sounded believable because Kent is trying to become the Human Services capital of King County–right next door is the County Attorney’s office that chases down deadbeat dads.

    The traffic is murder, though, I’ll give you that–the way Meeker zig-zags under the freeway and becomes Smith doesn’t help one bit.

  5. andyo says

    I read an article a while ago about these “fake news” sites which are not in the satirical vein of The Onion, but are explicitly set up to trip up and then shame the lamestream media. They interviewed one of the site runners, he seemed like a big douche, instead of the great mind liberator he presumed he was being.