Finally! A church on the right and righteous side of a political issue.

 

Episcopal diocese joins federal lawsuit against Trump travel ban

A church in Washington state is suing the federal government for preventing it from practicing its faith. The Episcopal diocese says the refugee ban stops them from welcoming strangers in need.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A church is suing the Trump administration, claiming it can’t perform one of its religious duties. That duty is resettling refugees, and the suit comes from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Washington state. Will James of member station KNKX reports.

The Most Powerful Religious Creed in the World

 
The Civic Integrity of Compassion and Understanding
 
 
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
 
PREAMBLE
 
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
 
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
 
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
 
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
 
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
 
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
 
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
 
Article 1.
·         All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
 
Article 2.
·         Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
 
Article 3.
·         Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
 
Article 4.
·         No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
 
Article 5.
·         No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
 
Article 6.
·          Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
·          All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
 
Article 8.
·          Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
 
Article 9.
·          No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
 
Article 10.
·          Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
·          (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
·          (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
 
Article 12.
·          No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
 
Article 13.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
·          (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
 
Article 14.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
·          (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
 
Article 15.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
·          (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
 
Article 16.
·          (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
·          (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
·          (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
 
Article 17.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
·          (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
 
Article 18.
·          Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
 
Article 19.
·          Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
 
Article 20.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
·          (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
 
Article 21.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
·          (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
·          (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
 
Article 22.
·          Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
 
Article 23.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
·          (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
·          (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
·          (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
 
Article 24.
·          Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
 
Article 25.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
·          (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
 
Article 26.
·          (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
·          (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
·          (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
 
Article 27.
·          (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
·          (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
 
Article 28.
·          Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
 
Article 29.
·          (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
·          (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
·          (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
 
Article 30.
·          Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Good Samaritans Wanted

thegoodsamaritan2

Regarding the homeless …

the poor …

and right now particularly, the veterans.

If we can’t see them they don’t exist in our moral conscience.

They are subject to priorities governed by agency number crunchers

… governed by legislatures driven by political considerations and misguided perceptions of how the public feels about it’s military society and its poorest segment of society.

Welfare reform as legislated nationally by the self-righteous political thugs a la Gingrich-America-contractors in the mid 1990’s was in some ways cynical – primarily driven by negative images designed and created by the framing forefathers of partisan swift-boat crowd that can turn Johnny Appleseed into Oil Can Henry.

Images…

a single mother standing in the grocery checkout line with a child sitting in the grocery cart and with food stamps in her hand

… surrounded by presumptuous non-food-stamp patrons smug in awareness of being “better-than” and resentful of that young mother

who probably cheated on her application in order to qualify for food assistance.

Furthermore, I’ve met smug Daddies who have bragged about their sons’ studhood; their procreative ability to seduce girls but then dodge responsibility and accountability when that stud-ness results in conception;

… jerk baby-boomer-aged blowhards who actually insist that the slut who lured their wunderkind son into bed deserved what happened. Despite birthing his grandchild she deserved nothing from their son but contempt.

Except when after the child is born they sometimes push their sons into courtrooms for custody of what might be their only grandchild.

What happens in a society when a father teaches his son irresponsibility and that it’s okay to whisper anything necessary in the dark in order to get the clothes off?

And then find the junior-high-level maturity of that lover-boy stud in a tavern bragging pridefully about how they did it while whining indignantly when the Division of Child Support comes knocking.

Single pregnant females of course are accountable and responsible for their pregnancy as well as the males. But we as a society tend very much to blame the mothers almost entirely, look the other way regarding a criticism of the father because he’s out of sight and therefore out of mind.

That’s the same sort of thing that drives public apathy toward the homeless.

And don’t get me started about churches who get all straining and diahhretic about what gays are doing but don’t pour out of their churches and into the street in moral outrage about how a nation stays bereft of real morale values while worshipping consumption.

America has yet to make “verbicide” a hanging offense.

Hyperbolic Wordage

Talk is never cheap …
nor are hyperbolic and belligerent writings … not in 2008 during a campaign … and not now.

“September 12, 2008
BILL MOYERS:Welcome to the Journal.How ugly will it get?
… the American author Oliver Wendell Holmes said that language is sacred, and wrote that its abuse should be as criminal as murder. He called it “verbicide”…violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning…”

America has yet to make “verbicide” a hanging offense. Indeed under the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, pretty much anything goes. There are some limits — Holmes’ son was the Supreme Court justice who noted in a famous opinion that you cannot falsely shout fire in a crowded theater. That’s because words have consequences and not just in politics.
People in Knoxville, Tennessee, are asking if one of those consequences could be murder. Our correspondent Rick Karr traveled there to investigate. Let me warn you — some of the language you’ll hear is graphic, provocative and downright raw.

RICK KARR: On a steamy Sunday morning in July a man armed with a twelve-gauge shotgun burst into this church in Knoxville, Tennessee and opened fire. Seconds later, one person lay dead, another mortally wounded, and six injured.

…Police said that he told them “that all liberals should be killed … because they were … ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and … ruined every institution in America….”

REVEREND CHRIS BUICE: The man who walked into this sanctuary on July 27th was armed with a gun but he was also armed with hatred, he was armed with bitterness, he was armed with resentments, he was armed with indiscriminate anger. He was armed in body and spirit.

I watched again Bill Moyers’ review of the Tennessee Church murders (2008) where a man influenced by long-time vilification of liberals as everything from political traitors to persons who are not human and in need of extermination.

That would be me … some who has – among other social attitudes – an admitted liberal perspective. But also someone who has no self-accusing sense that I deserve extermination – particularly at the hands of someone hypnotized by liars.

We know which liars don’t we?

The ones who imply that liberals are sub-human and less worthy than radical self-named “conservatives.” Many of these are tragic people who in reality have become pawns in a political battle. They’ve compliantly accepted someone else’s mass-issued value judgments – “values” that ought to have no place in churches that profess a relationship with “the living God and Christ Jesus” as someone recently said to me.

I consider myself an active spiritual human being – not liberal and not conservative – but one trying to include Jesus’ God of Compassion in how I approach life. I flat out disagree with any who somehow believe the Jesus was a social conservative and that He taught that wealth is a sign of God’s favor or disfavor.

I see nothing in His words that even suggests that political conservatism is equal to godliness. Social conservatives tend to think of themselves as “optimists” in wordage that smacks of self-righteousness – the sort of prayerful pride portrayed by Jesus in Luke:

God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Speaking then in terms of what actually amounts to free-market religious capitalism, these supposed religious economic experts equate conservatism to a willingness to work; that a willingness to work is more naturally present in the socially and politically conservative mind.

A liberal mind, in this regard, must be lazy – but not too lazy to be working hard to get something for nothing. The whole point then suggests strongly that productivity as a spiritual test has to do with the self-proclaimed attribute of industriousness and self-reliance driven by political philosophy.

Apparently one must not be able to be industrious, self-reliant or contribute to the overall national well-being if one has liberal thoughts.

In that regard, I ask about the greatest evangelical conservative self-publicizers who have enriched themselves by merely talking about work, industry, and the spiritual efficacy of hard work. They have enriched themselves through talk and promises, all the time waiting for someone else to send them money …

Espousing the religious free-market system, political evangelical talking points emphasize the primacy of people needing to take personal initiative and work towards achieving self-support and self-reliance.

Good ideas, but not particularly applicable when explained by the self-righteous as  necessary in a society that blindly worships and believes the American economy is actually based on universal free-market opportunity, participation and competition. This admirable view also only makes conservative sense if one believes in an imaginary cookie-cut world where each and every soul is identical in ability, potential and circumstance.

That such a world does not exist seems to mean little to folks bent on self-serving justifications for defending themselves against those of us who would criticize their judgmental minds and question their degree of genuine compassion. Having equated liberalism as giving away the economic farm to those who are lazy and refuse to contribute, many who deem themselves social conservatives have accepted the liberal straw man spawned out of talk show and talking-points propaganda.
Lazy refusers-to-contribute come defined by all sorts of social attitudes. However, in my professional experience as a social worker in the public assistance system, the more outspoken among the lazy are those who describe themselves as “conservative” and  who blindly insist that they would work if immigrants, other minorities or the crooked poor had not stolen their jobs.

Someone has certainly made available to these souls that which they assume is justifiable vindication of their own laziness.

Such “conservatives” have always run afoul of Christian teachings and historical practices of honest, love-based charity that intends in its acts practices of love, compassion and generosity. The conservative idea of charity seems to limit itself to determining just who might qualify as the “worthy poor.”

The “worthy poor” are the poor defined by publicity-minded social conservatives as those toward whom measured and tight-fisted conservative charity will bring the greatest public rewards to the givers, not the receivers … those charity cases that will drive up production, prices and CEO bonuses.

Such is the precise hypocrisy described in the Sermon – acting publicly to be seen by others as righteous.

When a conservative quotes the old proverb

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day — teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,”

the twist to this is that all who do not know how to fish, have insufficient resources to fish, or do not live near a fishing hole may be given –through genuine conservative morality – two loaves and seven fishes; and that’s all. A conservative’s duty to charity has been met.

“We told you how to fish and it isn’t our problem if you have no boat, don’t know how to build one and have to go fishing from your wheel chair. Now show some initiative!”

According to conservative propagandists, liberal ideology reveals in its thinking a version of government that is overly generous and that exercises far too much compassion on behalf of it’s citizens.

These propagandists insist that government can actually and with confidence hand off the compassion obligation to everyone else. A nation of compassionate conservative citizens will take care of our own poor “privately” through altruistic compassion – the very attribute of liberal social justice that they themselves seem to oppose.

There aren’t enough compassionate conservatives among us who have demonstrated the validity of this particular notion.

Free-market capitalism by definition is opposed to such a notion since aggressive competitiveness underlies any ability of the market to provide affordable whatevers to the populace.

An economic bottom-line theology would never permit giving away all one has – as Jesus suggested – to help the poor without a consideration for turning a profit; perhaps even getting a receipt for the willing and faith-based donation as proof to God of one’s goodness.

If among social conservatives there is such a massive compassion, why would we ever  encounter a single mother with a food assistance card in the grocery store?

If her full time minimum-wage job won’t pay living expenses and feed her children at the same time, what would an ideal generous and altruistic social conservative do about that?

What happens most of the time is an almost whispered declaration that she somehow deserves her lot because economic and religious free-market politics says God expects her to succeed to self-reliant mode all on her own faith and initiative.

If a conservative wants to teach someone to fish, rather than give away a fish – which apparently is so repulsive – what harm would there be in some evangelical hero stepping forward and hiring that single mother who is willing to work, but paying her twice the minimum wage as long as she works hard?

Not practical?

Couldn’t do that for everybody?

Then why make public insistence in the holiness of godly conservative free-market hypocrisy that such is possible and that generous citizens will do so?

I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt that the Living God and Christ Jesus would proudly pat the self-interested purveyors of social and political stinginess on their tiny little minds and say,

“Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

For more about this stuff check out

They can’t do that! Not without the permission of the party of refugee and immigrant management.

p1060764

Probably better call Fox News and give em a hot tip.

Guess Who’s Helping Seattle Homeless Veterans? Syrian Refugees

The debate about resettling Syrian refugees has some people asking, “Why don’t we use that money on homeless veterans instead?”

We asked homeless veterans in downtown Seattle what they thought.

In line at the Millionaire’s Club, veteran Greg Klutcher shared his view: “The whole reason veterans fought for what they did is so that people like that could come here. Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes.

When there’s a strong inclination to parse the measure of our compassion according to conditions we have that must be met, there’s a strong inclination to become like those who walk around and ignore the sufferer in the famous parable.

syrian_refugees-690x460

Or as Mr. Watts wrote,

“… the dutiful manner in which it [monarchical christianity] breeds resentment in the giver and receiver alike, for when one gives with reluctance the other receives with guilt.”

MY CONGREGATION TRIED TO HELP A SYRIAN FAMILY SETTLE IN THE US

“We are a small, mostly elderly congregation. Realistically, our ability to help is limited. But the church mice took the cause up with a fire. Within the space of two weeks, we had collected an astonishing amount of supplies for the family: aspirin, personal care products, two toilet plungers (no idea how that happened), pots, pans, plates, silverware, pillows, sheets, blankets, furniture, gift cards and on and on. Friends of the congregation and their relatives wanted to help. A bag of donations showed up on the doorstep unsolicited. We had so many offers to help that I had to graciously turn people down.”

plymouth refugee vetting

On Silly Section courage:

Silly Section captain-picard-facepalm

Americans Are Very Dumb

As you might have guessed, the Isis Books and Gifts store in Denver, Colorado is not a terrorist book store.

The Isis books store, which also offers psychic readings, is a 35-year-old spiritual book store named after the Egyptian goddess Isis, but that fact hasn’t stopped dumb Americans from vandalizing it.

Yeah … just whom are we supposed to most afraid of? Who is the more dangerous to truth, justice and the American Way?

pan

Armed protesters gather outside Islamic Center of Irving

About a dozen protesters — most carrying long guns, some masked and one with his mother — lined up outside an Irving mosque on Saturday. They had come from as far away as Hunt County to the green-domed complex. To “Stop the Islamization of America,” as the mother’s hand-drawn sign urged.

 

And this from a Facebook page:
Silly Section Kindergarten Konservatism

Or this on the party of chest-pounding personal responsibility:

terrifying refugees nick anderson.jpg

“actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith.”

sadgirl

An excellent writing by John Pavlotvitz. There are so many valuable and worthy lines in his article, I’ll paste a couple but the only way to appreciate the fullness is to read it on his site.

Distorted Love: The Toll Of Our Christian Theology On The LGBT Community

This is the cost of our religion to the LGBT community. More accurately, it’s the cost of our religion to LGBT human beings. This is the painful collateral damage that comes when we see principles and ignore people; when we refuse to give them the dignity they deserve.

Apparently Love does hurt; really, really badly.

The most common defense I’ve heard over the past 14 days from Christians who believe that being gay is both chosen and sinful, has been some variation of the supposedly well-meaning, “Well, we’re just loving people by being honest with them, by giving them ‘the Truth’. Telling people the truth is loving them.”

Really?

Theology is NEVER a truth … yes, I said NEVER a truth, divine or otherwise.

Original sin is not and never was a real thing … nor was the consequential need for redemption and atonement … none of that is any kind of truth.

Theology is merely a righteousness tool most frequently used as a cudgel by people who want to FEEL morally superior in any desperate way to someone to whom they are in fact not superior in any way.

Then there are those who do passive/aggressive ostraciscm of friends and loved ones who doubt or stop believing their societal or cultural “truths.” This from John Shore:

Is this fundamentalist mother’s letter to her daughter loving, or horrible?

Or as John Pavlovitz expressed it: “actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith.”