Wednesday, December 26, 2018

And Then, After Christmas...

Shortly after Christmas: Matthew's story updated slightly, made even more relevant to today...

When the Political Leader realized that he had been outwitted by the Wise People,
he was furious,
and this dim-witted, villainous leader gave orders to
kill all the boys in Bethlehem
and its vicinity who were two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had learned from the Wise.
And he gave order to build Wall
to keep people from seeking safety
and to arrest them when they did
commit the crime
of seeking refuge.

Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.
And a voice was heard in
Weeping and great mourning
weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted
because those children are no more.”

Sunday, December 9, 2018

"Merry Christmas" Ain't Everything... (or, Really, Anything...)

Trump: "When people wrong you, go after those people, because it's a good feeling... I always get even..."

Jesus: "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you."

Trump: "I'm putting people on notice who are coming here from Syria as part of that mass migration, that if I win, they're going back!"

Jesus: "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me in."

Trump: "Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if I'm not making mistakes?"

Jesus: "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish..."

Trump: "Part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich."
"I'm very greedy."

Jesus: "Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth, for where your treasure is, there your heart is, as well..."

James: "Is it not the rich who oppress you?"

"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you..."

Trump: "Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything."

Jesus: "Oh, come on, people! This man is a charlatan and an oppressive pervert of the worst sort!"
(Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the point... And I could go on and on, but that will suffice)
For my fellow Christians who think that Trump is a great Christian because his Christmas cards say "merry christmas...," there's more to it than that.

Just sayin'...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Happy Welcome the Stranger Holy Days

This is a group art project from my church several years ago... the Star of Christmas, created using a collage of Christmas season/Black Friday advertisements encouraging people to buy more junk they don't need.

Subverting commercialism for a remembrance of the story of poor immigrants being guided to a safe sanctuary in the midst of dodging a government out to harass and kill them.

Happy Subversive Holy Days, all you subverts!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wise Spirits

They were wise spirits
and strong
waiting for a change
that they would make come

Monday, November 5, 2018

Yes, We Can

Lead the way, dear women. Lead the way, you children of conservatives. Lead the way, dear Latino friends. Lead the way, our fearless LBGTQ folk. Lead the way, young adults! Lead the way, our black friends. Lead the way, you wise elders!

Hell, lead the way, you trees and rivers and skies and oceans! Make way for the awful and glorious wisdom of a Just and Stern Earth.

Lead the way past the racists and those who embrace violence... those who fear what ought not be feared.

Lead the way for wealthy, powerful white men, who will only have Life to gain by releasing the power and wealth that they so often drown in.

Lead the way to a better - if imperfect - tomorrow.

Lead the way, and let wisdom follow!

"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."

~The Prophet, Joel

Monday, October 29, 2018

Into a Wild Night Wood

She rolled into a wild night wood
fearing nothing
knowing there was nothing to fear

Friday, October 5, 2018

"A Very Scary Time for Men!"

The days had darkened
warnings were hearkened
and terrors lurked not so faint
Horrors haunted
and dangers vaunted
and evil spirits did haint

an accursed and eldritch madness
had removed the men's gladness
what hope they had was dimmin'
For a fear had fallen
false charges would come callin'
Oh, to be safe, like all those fair women!

Be the Light

In the midst of a dark night
count the stars and rely upon them
call upon the moon and her
certain return
hold hands
stand tall
walk carefully
but surely.

The Ground is beneath you.
Count on it.

Don't be afraid.
be afraid
and trust your friends,
that you have each other

In the midst of a dark night
let your eyes adjust
and listen

In the midst of a dark night
Be the Light
Even if you have to bring the sun

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Defining "The Gospel"

Stan, over at the Winging It blog posted today about the "gospel," and he takes issue with people who believe in the so-called "social gospel" (what WE would call simply, the Gospel) and who Stan tries to mock as "social justice warriors." According to Stan (and I've heard this from others, I'm just using Stan's words as a starting point, but this is directed to the concern raised, NOT Stan, so please, no negative comments about Stan...), the problem with including concern for justice for the poor and oppressed in with the Gospel of Jesus is that those things are flat out NOT part of the Gospel.

According to this mindset, the "gospel" is "defined" by Paul in 1 Corinthians. Stan cites those verses where Paul reminds the Corinthians of "the gospel I preached to you," and, in that passage, Paul cites things like the death and resurrection of Jesus... the sorts of things that some Christians have come to recognize as the Penal Substitutionary Theory of Atonement.

Stan then responds...

"Eleven verses in which Paul lays out the entire" gospel I preached to you." I'm looking ... I'm looking. Nope. Not one reference to poverty, nutrition, crime, or war. 

I can only conclude it is not the Gospel.

Damn. STAN can only conclude that, according to STAN's interpretation of ONE passage from Paul, that concern for the poor and justice for the oppressed is NOT "the Gospel."

I responded to Stan but of course, he doesn't generally read or respond to my concerns I raise to him. So, here's my concern...

Beginning first, with the words of Jesus in the story where John the Baptist (who is in prison) has his followers come to Jesus to try to ascertain if Jesus is "the one," the Messiah...

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.  So he replied to the messengers, 

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 
The blind receive sight, 
the lame walk, 
those who have leprosy are cleansed, 
the deaf hear, 
the dead are raised, 
and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 

Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

~Luke 7

What Stan has done is not a problem with just Stan, it's a common problem for many folks. He lifted ONE passage from Paul and decided that those single words of Paul, there, constitute the "entire definition" of the gospel. Or at least that was my question to him (which, of course, he doesn't generally answer)... Really? Are you saying that Paul's words here constitute the entire definition of the Gospel and nothing else IS or CAN BE part of the Gospel?

Because, why?

Jesus NEVER ONE TIME gave Paul's "definition" of the gospel as being the gospel. Jesus regularly uses the term "The Gospel," (meaning literally, "good news" in translation). He sent his disciples out to preach "the gospel," he himself references preaching "the gospel..." but he never suggests the gospel he is preaching is that he will die "for our sins," and his "blood" will "pay for our sins" so an "angry God" will be "appeased." None of that ever appears in the four books ironically called The Gospels.

On the other hand, it appears clear, from Jesus words, that the gospel has a whole helluva LOT to do with how we treat the poor, marginalized and oppressed (i.e., it looks like according to Jesus the "social gospel" IS the Gospel, the good news to the poor of God).

I'm relatively sure that Stan is aware of Jesus' words here, but maybe not.

I wondered to Stan, if he would maybe care to back down a bit from the suggestion that HIS random choice  of Paul's cherry picked words in this one passage equate the definition of the gospel and anything else beyond what Paul says in this one place is NOT the gospel? Maybe he'll respond, we'll see.

My point, again, is not about Stan. It's about those who would ignore what Jesus himself has to say about the Good News he brings, the Gospel according to Jesus, and instead try to force a definition pulled from Paul's words that ignore Jesus' own words and teachings.

Seems followers of Jesus should be wary of such an approach.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Walking With the Devil

So, for many, many people, it was clear from the beginning that this current president simply was not fit for office.

It was clear to many (across the political spectrum) that this man was a conman and a liar, that he was amoral and undisciplined, that he was abusive and a cheater, that he was woefully ignorant of how government worked and opposed to science, data, norms and reason.

This was apparent to many, across the political spectrum, from the beginning.

We see these last few weeks that it has become even more clear that, even amongst his supporters and colleagues working closest to him, that he is amoral, dishonest, disreputable, ignorant and a threat to basic decency and liberty.

He is unfit for office, it's just increasingly obvious.

The question is, what do we do with that?

Do his supporters continue to support a man who is woefully inept, dishonest, immoral, a threat to liberty and democracy (and this, according to HIS FRIENDS), so long as they "get" a SCOTUS Justice to their liking and a tax cut for the wealthy?

"For what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?"


Sunday, August 26, 2018

What Good Conservatives SHOULD Be Doing...

I recently read, in more than one place, a nominally anti-Trump conservative saying in exasperation, "What SHOULD we be doing that we're not doing? Assassinating Trump or his supporters!? Cussing out Trump supporters?!"

Now, of course, they're generally doing this not because they were looking for ideas (at least by all appearances) but to justify their lukewarm, milquetoast non-response to the Trump disaster. But setting that aside for a minute, it's not an unreasonable question. I'm entirely sure there are some genuine Never-Trumpers who need ideas on what they can be doing.

So, I'm just going to brainstorm some ideas about what they should be doing has conservatives who say they are opposed to this Administration. And I say, "THEY" specifically on purpose. Because of the anti-media mania that has been enflamed by Trump, but existed before him, the MAGA-types simply aren't listening to rational voices on the left or in the mainstream/moderate world. They NEED to hear from fellow conservatives for us to even have a chance to reach out to them. "Liberals" are just part of the vast left wing media conspiracy out to ruin the country, so we can't be the ones who stop the Trumpians.

So, given that, consider what George Will has done by way of an example of responsible conservatism.

1. He left the Republican party and registered as an Independent.

Boom. Just left. Good on him! That's a significant step.

If Trump or someone like him had been the Democrat candidate to receive nomination in a presidential race, I would certainly step away from that party. I get that there is something to be said for staying within a Party or a group to try to effect change from within, but by the time you have a Trump-like aberration overtaking your party, that time to work from within has passed.

2. He actively encouraged conservatives to vote against Trump. And this coming election, he has said conservatives should vote against the Republican candidates. He saying publicly and loudly and often that conservatives need to own the responsibility in this and do their part to actively make the GOP lose races, to make it abundantly clear that the trunk wing of the party is being repudiated and rejected by conservatism.

Of course, it goes without saying that conservatives should quit funding GOP causes. The GOP has to KNOW that they can't go down the Trump-type path, that it will only result in the complete destruction of the party. The only significant way of doing this is for them to lose and lose big, now.

I'm not saying you have to support the Democrat candidate. Send support to third party candidates if you want. Do write in votes. The thing is, the GOP needs to suffer losses to know that the time for the MAGA-types is long gone. They MUST be thrown on the trash bin of history.

Those were two steps taken by Will. But I can think of at least one other...

3. Repudiate every hint of racism every single time it raises its head in the party or out of this Administration. Any slight hint that Latinos are rapists and murderers... Any hint that an immigrant being involved in a crime is a sign of an immigration crisis because Mexicans are criminals and M13 members... Any hint of Nazis and KKK and racist groups representing conservatism. Letters to the paper, to elected representatives, to your church, religious or community groups... speak out, loud and often.

The MAGA-types (which does include at least some portion of overt racists and actual Nazis) need to know that they are NOT welcome in the party or in conservative circles. They are not feeling that heat/peer pressure now.

Again, hearing it from liberals/progressives is not going to win them over. They need to hear it from good conservatives. Now, I get that you may be reluctant to go down that path... you might be willing to cut them some slack and give them the benefit of the doubt ("maybe they meant that Mexicans are rapists in a positive sense...??")

That time has past.

Y'all have a credibility problem on racial issues. Stop being defensive about it, recognize it, own it, and take steps to fix it.

Stop saying things like "but I have black friends, I'm not racist!" and just own that y'all have a problem. And reject it at every turn strongly clearly unequivocally. You have to go overboard on this one.

Stop the anti-immigrant rhetoric. Reject it when your conservative friends engage in it. Correct them. Strongly.

Stop the anti-Muslim rhetoric. Reject it when your conservative friends engage in it.

Stop the anti-black rhetoric. Quit complaining about football players respectfully and peacefully taking a knee in protest. Quit complaining about BLM. Just stop it. There may be a time, down the road, to critique these approaches, but that time is not now, and the people to do that critique are not old white conservative men.

You're only making the perception of racism worse with your criticism of these groups.

There's three great steps to start.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Responsibility for the Oppressors, not Blame for the Victims

I've read it again (this time at Stan's blog)... another person who doesn't understand that it's not acceptable to blame the victim and to not set all responsibility for a person's bad behavior on the one that's behaving badly.

Stan appeared genuinely puzzled about the school that got into trouble for posting a sign up to greet the students that read...

"The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman."

Stan's questions are the typical ones...

"I guess her message is that no one (male or female) has any impact on how people treat them and shouldn't concern themselves with that? I hear her complaining that girls should not act like a lady? I am assuming she did not read the implied, "And you guys -- the more you act like gentlemen, the more she'll act like a lady"? I'm missing it ... entirely."

The ONE thing he's getting right is that he's missing it. Entirely.

Imagine a sign on the school walls as the kids walk in the first day of school...

"The less you act like a fundamentalist Christian, the less likely that you'll be beat up."


"The more you act like a straight guy, the better the homophobes will treat you."

or, what if the sign had read,

"The more you wear clothes that show your ankles or (Allah forbid!), your calves, the more you'll be treated like a slut."

The problems with the sign are...

1. It promotes rape and rape culture. You may not understand that it does (apparently Stan doesn't, given his befuddlement) but it does. Stop promoting rape culture. Stop defending rapists. This is what people like Stan are doing, by their admitted lack of understanding. Again, I GET that maybe he truly doesn't understand that it does that, but I'm helping him and his tribe out by letting you all know that it does.

2. It blames the victim instead of holding assailants responsible for their own bad actions. (You'll note that there were no signs up in school that said, "Guys, you can't grab a girl's breast just because you find the clothes she's wearing too sexy..." The blame/responsibility was solely on women.)

3. It's an arbitrary standard created by the guys who rape and harass

. Who says what "acting like a lady" means? Is wearing a skirt that shows your calves too "slutty..."? How about if only your ankles are showing... does THAT mean you're a "slut" and not a "lady..."? Is dating too many guys in one year not "lady-like..."? What IS the right number? WHO gets to make that call? Why is it the rapists and the men who are telling women what's "too sexy..." or "too unlady-like..."?

4. If you turn that around to any other group, or at least, a group that you're part of - "Don't act too much like an evangelical or you might get beaten up...!" - it probably becomes more obvious that it's blaming the victim for the bad behavior of aggressive Others for acting in a way that The Others find disagreeable or that invites the Others too abuse, molest or otherwise harm the victim.

Try that out. Maybe you can see how it's so wrong-headed.

The message we should be sending out to any potential abusers is not, "If those people act a certain way... it's kinda understandable when you molest, abuse, harass them..."

Rather the message should be...

"It doesn't matter if a young lady wears a BIKINI to school,
It doesn't matter if she shows up only wearing a thin layer of wet toilet paper clinging to her breasts and covering her pelvis...
that does not give you the right to leer, harass or molest her.
It is not a sign that she's any less a lady
or inviting abuse of any sort!
Don't be a moron, dudes, get your crap together!
You are responsible for YOU."

So, there's the problem, Stan, and folk like Stan. YOU are responsible for YOU. If I get up today and feel like wearing pink flip flops and a tiara, that does NOT give homophobes the right to harass me because they think I'm gay or transgender. If YOU get up today and decide to put a big cross pin on your leisure suit and carry a large King James Bible around with you, that does NOT give atheists the right to belittle you. If a woman or teen-aged girl is wearing clothes that she finds fits her mood and comfort level, it is NOT A SIGN THAT SHE IS LESS A LADY because some abusers might find it "too sexy."

We must not give the rapists and their abusive brethren the power to make that call.
We must not blame the victims and lend support to the rapists.

Because, truly, that is what this sort of message does, and surely Stan and his brethren don't want to do that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

This Is Not Normal. Nor Is It Acceptable

To the good conservative people out there...

Just the facts that we know:

1. Trump makes false claims regularly (and at an ever increasing rate), at a rate unheard of ever in the office of the presidency. This is not disputable, it's demonstrable. Look it up if you doubt it.

2. This president has cheated on all of his wives. All of them. He's boasted about it. He's unrepentant about it. The man has no honor as it relates to any of his wives.

3. This president has boasted about sexually assaulting women and ogling half naked teenaged girls. He's laughed about it.

4. This president's defenders say that this is "normal locker room talk" and just how guys talk when they're alone. This is just not the case (neither I nor my friends have ever engaged in such behavior... not my progressive friends now, not my conservative friends when I was a younger man). To the degree that it IS the case, that SOME men (boys, really, whatever their age) engage in such oppressive and damaging talk does not make it acceptable.

5. What this president has said about making false claims and playing to people's worst nature by telling lies...

"The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole."


"I'm the first to admit that I am very competitive and that I'll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win. Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition."

He plays people like a conman, preying on their ignorances and thinks of this as a benefit.

6. What this president has said about greed...

"Now, I’ll tell you, I’m good at that – so, you know, I’ve always taken in money, I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy – I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?"

7. Along these lines, we know that this president and people he surrounds himself with, like Paul Manafort, are greedy hedonists. They are ostentatious in their hyper-consumption. They, no doubt, think of this as a moral or practical good. But the words that traditionally have been used to describe golden toilets and million dollar wardrobes (millions of dollars on their clothes... let that sink in! MILLIONS of dollars on their clothes!) is Greed, Hedonism, Debauchery.

Traditionally, these have been considered great grievous sins, NOT morally good.

8. The people around this man have secretly recorded him and each other. They are fundamentally suspicious of one another, and for good reason, it would appear. They are simply not trustworthy people and each of them appears to recognize it.

This recording of your co-workers and "friends" is not normal and must be happening for some reason.

...I could go on, but I think the point is clear: This administration, from its pathetic, lying leader to many of its top players are peopled with hedonistic, greedy, self-centered people who are willing to lie on a regular basis.

This is not normal. This is not good.

The only term I can think to describe what we are seeing and have seen is depraved, debauched. Sick.

Come on, conservative friends: You KNOW that people can make mistakes and get sucked into believing wrong things... that you can surround yourself with bad people who are thinking poorly and you, yourself, be influenced by such bad company. It is a well-worn conservative truism: You are known by the company you keep.

You KNOW this.

Set aside the politics for just a minute and look at what we know. Facts like what I've listed and so many more... isn't it possible that you've made a mistake? That you find yourself defending the wrong man, the wrong people... people who are genuinely hedonistic and debauched... and that you've simply got swept away in the heat of things (and no doubt, with good intentions on your part) and got behind a cadre of thugs and liars who simply aren't worth defending?

I know conservative religious folk believe in the notion of repenting... of admitting a mistake and turning away from that mistake.

Brother and sister conservatives who are defenders of this administration... isn't it time to turn away from that mistake?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I Hear the Sound

I hear the sound of mother crying
I feel the pain, the bitter sting
I hear the sound of a righteous warning
I hear the sound of a people sing

I hear the sound of old bones burning
I hear the sound of fallen kings
I hear the sound of thunder rolling
I hear the sound of a people sing
I hear the sound of songs of freedom I hear the sound that justice brings
I hear the sound of a new day coming I hear the sound of a people sing

I hear the sound of justice marching
I hear the sound of the rivers roll
I hear the sound of a new day coming
I hear the sound that cheers my soul


I hear the sound of dark skies rumbling
I hear black birds sound the call
I hear the sound of mountains tumbling
I hear the sound of the mighty fall


Monday, July 16, 2018

On The Nature of Crudity

There are some who take offense at the word, "Fuck,"

...but who don't flinch at the Bible where it seems to suggest God orders the forced marriage (i.e., rape) of the virgin girls of the enemy. "Well, of course, God commanded it, there it is in black and white!" they'll say. "So, of course, we can't really say that slavery or forced marriage or killing off children is ALWAYS wrong, because there are circumstances where it may be, indeed, good."

And they are offended by the word, "Fuck."

There are some who will say that "You are demonstrating a depth of depravity and vulgarity that is not to be tolerated and can't even be imagined!"

And they will continue whining,

"I'm telling you that God tells us that God is a Father, Jesus WANTS us to use that term and so, God must WANT us to use Father... and those who'd say otherwise are not even Christians. Why don't they start their own religion rather than interfering with OUR Christianity...?"

...and if someone responds,

"So, you think God's got a big God-dick and wants to be known as the Holy Dude?"

...they sputter and nearly faint at the great depravity in using the word "dick" in a sentence that mentions God.

...but who won't flinch at the depravity in presuming to speak for God something that God hasn't told them, or the arrogance in presuming that Christianity belongs to them.

There are some who think that the US is a Christian nation and that the "liberals" and "socialists/democrats" are evil and godless and who want to destroy the country because they want to let "the Muslims" come in and cut off the heads of infidels and others from shithole countries come in and rape our people and sell drugs and leech off the welfare system...

...but who don't speak out against a pussy-grabbing, daily-lying, disabled-folk-mocking, racists-encouraging, immigrant-demonizing, criminal greedy idiot who can only be called an awful, awful man, surrounded by criminals and liars...

but they won't speak out against this awful, awful man and his attacks on those seeking safety and those investigating truth and, to the degree they DO speak out against him, it's so milquetoast and watered-down and missing the actual points as to be irrelevant.

No, I think I recognize the true nature of Crudity very well and I know on which side I stand, as is demonstrated by demonstrable data.

"Fuck" is a rude word. "Dick" is a rude word. But they're nothing else. Just rude words. Fuck them.

Lying on a daily basis, attacking the free press, attacking those investigating crimes, throwing support to dictators and oppressors who are actually killing people, turning away those escaping danger, assaulting women... THIS is crudity, THIS is vulgar, THIS is evil.

There are good reasons to be upset and angry, these days. But be sure to be angry at the Real Things to be Angry about.

Hint: It's not rude words.


NOTE: Those words ARE rude words, to be sure. I don't use them, generally speaking. I have used them in the blogging world by way of object lessons, for just what I'm doing here, today. Yes! These are very rude words... but let's keep things in context.

Rude words are rude.

Saying "Sometimes God is okay with forced marriage, slavery, killing the children of our enemies..." is grotesque and horrifying and evil.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Land of the Free, Because of the Press!

We keep hearing all manner of attacks on the media (with the chief sinner being our current president, sadly), but it is important to keep a few things in mind:

1. We WILL NOT have a free republic without a strong, thriving free press. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, on and on and on... great thinkers and supporters of liberty always emphasize this point.

2. No free press made up of humans is perfect. Of course.

3. Nonetheless, the mainstream US free press does an amazing job, by and large. There are others who do it better, but not many. There are others who have a more free press, but not many.

4. Our ranking in Best Nations for a Free Press has taken a hit in the last two years, since this administration began its non-stop onslaught of attacks on our press.

5. When people accuse the mainstream press of being fatally flawed, or horrendously and hopelessly biased, don't believe them. They are not operating on facts or data.

6. Support our free press.

7. The status of our press, here in the US, where we're ranked #45 in the world for a Free Press...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Questions From the Right, Answered


A conservative blogger recently asked the question that I hear a lot from the Right...

I, personally, am confused. If fictitious Bill, a husband and father of two, is caught robbing a liquor store, for instance, do they not separate him from his family? Why is no one protesting this injustice?

And I am glad to answer this question (and DID answer it for the blogger who asked it, but he's apparently ignoring the answer, or at least it goes unaddressed, as so many reasonable answers and questions raised do go unaddressed), but I feel compelled to raise the question again, as I have so often lately...


Really? You don't see the difference between...

A. a robber forcibly taking stuff that isn't his in a robbery from a store, and

B. a family moving their family away from death threats and/or starvation and/or severe deprivation

...? Really?

The reason that this has been so damaging to this administration (in every place EXCEPT amongst the 1/3 of the nation that are his supporters or at least defenders) and has raised such an outrage the world over is obvious. It should be obvious.

The robber is causing harm. His actions are causing harm to an innocent bystander who has done nothing to harm the robber.

The immigrant family, on the other hand, is doing NO harm and indeed, is only seeking safety and/or a better life for their children... and this amongst those who are struggling in poverty and are just wanting to be safe and/or to have a better life, especially for their children.

In case A, there is harm in their actions and so, they are punished.

In case B, they are seeking safety FROM harm, and so they ought NOT be punished.

It is what almost any of us would do if we were faced with a similar situation. Moving to a better place is just reasonable. Staying where you are, especially if it harms your children, is neither rational nor moral, in and of itself.

(I will say that there is something to be said for those who'd choose to remain in/move to a tough situation to strive to make it better... that is usually a great moral good... but leaving to protect one's children or self is also a moral good. It's certainly not a harm.)

And so, the world (minus ~1/3 of the US, who are increasingly sounding deplorable on several issues) is appalled not only at the harmful and immoral and irrational policies of this administration, but also that so many people don't even seem to see the difference between a robber causing harm and a family seeking safety.

There is the answer.



To the Left, I ask if it's wrong, wrong, wrong for a Christian baker to refuse to make a wedding cake for a couple of same-sex individuals because it violates the baker's constitutionally protected First Amendment rights, why is it not equally wrong for a restaurateur to refuse to serve someone because it violates her conscience? To the Right I ask if it's right for a Christian photographer to deny service to a same-sex couple because it violates her religious beliefs, why is not equally right for this restaurant owner to stand on principle and deny Sanders service?

It is wrong/an ugly discrimination to deny service to a group/class of people, especially/particularly an historically oppressed people.

It is NOT wrong to say to an individual/individuals who are embracing harmful/oppressive behaviors, "You are not welcome here... we will not help to normalize your harmful behaviors by treating you as if you were just a regular citizen..."

It is the difference between a restaurant saying to a group of black or Latino people, "We don't serve your kind here!" (that is evil discrimination and rightly not allowed) and a restaurant saying to a group of klansmen entering for dinner, "We do NOT agree with you or what you stand for... you're promoting oppressive, harmful behavior. We do not want YOU to eat here." (that is not a discrimination against a group/class of people, it is saying that those who cause harm/oppress are not welcome in polite society.

Now, those on the Left can debate whether or not that is the best way to handle oppressors (some may say it makes the oppressor seem sympathetic and in need of support), but it is not evil/wrong in and of itself. Those on the Right, as the person asking the question noted, can't really protest, without showing themselves to be hypocritical. The Right has no moral standing to protest against such a policy by a restaurant.

At any rate, there's the answer to that question.

Maybe more to come...

I'm not really looking for any commentary on this. If you want to speculate as to why so many on the Right don't understand the big difference between the two, feel free to do so. If you don't think there's a difference between the two, even though it's blindingly obvious (or should be), no need to try to make that case. It's a deplorable case to try to make and I don't want to see it here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

In Their Own Words...

On Facebook recently, I referenced the plight of immigrants, how they were leaving their beloved homelands because they literally were not safe there. There lives were at risk, their women and girls at risk of rape, their homes and their families at risk of destruction and death.

A conservative friend of mine offered some sympathy, saying it was  too bad that "some" of those people from these "shithole countries" (although he was sensitive enough - ? - to refer to them as "s%@t-hole countries...) were suffering so much. Some of these who were "legitimately" concerned for their safety should find a safe haven in the US or Mexico or another neighboring nation.

No doubt, this friend was being sincere and trying to be sympathetic. After all, I referred to very real threats in these nations.

But, good intentions...

Another of my FB friends saw the comment and responded to his comment. She is someone who lived in one of these Latin American nations disparaged by our president not long ago. She has family and loved ones there still, but she lives here now. Here she is (name removed for the safety of her family, who are still at risk) responding (posted here with her permission)...

Considering that my two children and my beloved spouse are from a so-called "shithole" country, it is indeed extremely offensive and just plain wrong for white privileged "Christian" people to use such pejorative language, especially when they do not actually know anything about the peoples or countries, or, and this is really important, about how US funding, training, and interventionist policies, along with a few CIA sponsored coups to oust democratic governments, have set up these countries to be the way they are.

I lived for over a decade in one of "those" countries, and the people are some of the most generous people ever, governed by extremely rich and corrupt leaders who were given support by the US. In fact, US banks laundered money for some of the ex presidents, and we also have let in, legally, men who led genocides- we provided them with asylum so that they would not face trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity. These ex-military from these countries, were protected by our country, and yet those who are intergenerational victims of their policies and wars, are now being prosecuted and separated from their own children. Some of the men we let in willingly practiced scorched earth policies to rid villages of all people, and US taught them how to do that.

Until and unless people know the histories, have listened to those who are fleeing, and have researched how the US policies and funding have also made many situations worse, then having a strong opinion about keeping people out is just not ok.
It is never okay to use disrespectful language to place judgement on someone. If I had not been in danger with my family, we never would have left Central America. And we have to worry and live with the news that friends of ours have since been killed. I have known many many people who have been killed. I have seen many others killed in front of us. 

No one is making up asylum claims.


She went on to clarify that she worked with a human rights organization, literally digging through mass graves, trying to identify people for the sake of their families, so they might have at least the small and painful peace of knowing their final fate. She had to leave her home that she loved because she and her whole family had their lives threatened and they would be dead if they stayed there.

She now provides counseling to immigrants here, assisting how she can those suffering the traumatizing effects of US terrorism towards immigrants. She often does this for free because the trauma is real, but the funds to support these neighbors is sadly lacking.

Warning: While I'm okay with comments on this post in support of the oppressed and providing sympathy and positive actions that might help (I could get money to this brave social worker should anyone want to give, for instance...), but I will NOT tolerate even the slightest criticism of these brave people and the noble people and wonderful immigrants they work alongside. 

Immigrants make our nation great. It's time to end the criminalization of immigration for people seeking safety.

Friday, June 15, 2018

What Does it Profit a Man if He Gains the Whole World?

RE: The suggestion that Trump has "lost money" as a result of becoming president (because his very shady numbers are reportedly less in 2017 than in 2016, says Forbes)...

That is one way of looking at it. Another - I think more accurate - way of looking at it is that ALL other presidents divested themselves from their businesses. Thus, all other presidents made $0 from their businesses while in office.

Trump, on the other hand, refused to divest from his businesses. As a result, he continues to make tens of millions of dollars - maybe more - from his businesses.

He does so largely in secret and with unnamed, offshore accounts so we don't even know who he is doing business with. He is the least transparent of presidents. And so we do not really know the state of his financial affairs... who is making money with him from him and who he's making money with and from.


Regardless, making FEWER tens of millions of dollars is not a sign that one has not profited from the presidency. His money is complex. It involves his income, but also his outgo (in settling lawsuits and paying off bribes and mistresses and other more shady dealings... also, how much of his supposed loss is due to his own damned incompetency, cheating, lying and payoffs? Becoming president may have nothing to do with any losses, other than the light was shining on his shady dealings more and people were maybe more likely to not cave to his bullying).

PROFITING LESS - even if it turned out to be true, and frankly, I'm dubious - is still profiting.

All other presidents' profit from their businesses? $0, because they divested.
Trump's profit? Tens(?) of millions of dollars.

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Class and Humility VS Greed and Crudity

"Woe to those who enact evil statutes
And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
So as to deprive the needy of justice
And rob the poor of My people of their rights,
So that widows may be their spoil
And that they may plunder the orphans.

Now what will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the devastation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?

And where will you leave your wealth?"                                         

~Prophet Isaiah

"For the love of money is the root of ALL SORTS of evil."

~St Paul

"But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.

Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep."


"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 

Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 
Your gold and silver are corroded. 
Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. 

You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 

You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. 
You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter."

~St James

Because Character and Justice Matter.

Because Greed Harms, Sickens and Destroys.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Free Movement is a Basic Human Liberty

Damn it! THIS.…/teen-killed-after-ice-re…/index.html

This story is why our immigration policies are immoral, criminal and an affront to human rights!
It should not be treated as a crime to move from point A to point B, especially if point A is potentially dangerous. Of course, you should move away from one place if your life or the life of your family is threatened there!

The free movement of people is a basic human right. Seeking safety in moving away from danger or threat to a safe place is a basic human right.

Our US policies are killing people, tearing apart families, terrorizing innocent, decent, hard-working people. Our policies are an affront to human rights and basic human decency. When did we become such heartless thugs, willing to send people to their deaths and stirring up fear of these darker-skinned and poorer citizens from oppressed nations to enact these immoral policies?

And, if it makes a difference to you, this is NOT a problem unique to the current president. It has been our policy way too long, Obama was doing much the same thing. It has gotten much worse under the current president, but it's not unique to him.

Let's start a movement to embrace human rights and end our terrorism and sending innocent people to their deaths.

Wake up, US! We're on the side of oppression and that ought not be.

And may God Damn our current irrational and terrorist immigration policies to hell.

Word of warning: DON'T comment on this post unless you're prepared to offer helpful changes/an end to our current deadly and anti-liberty policies and this God damned president who is making it so much worse. I will delete any xenophobic, fear-mongering, hateful, terrorist-supporting, anti-immigrant comments that attempt to defend this home-grown terroristic policy.

Fuck that shit.

Friday, June 1, 2018

All the Weird Love

They were odd and
quirky and
maladjusted and
just plain

and they enjoyed
their own damned company

within the greater tribes of
Oddballs and Misfits.

They were the moon and
All the Stars in the night sky
to each other.

And love,
and love,
and love...

Happy Anniversary!

Love you, Donna!

Monday, May 14, 2018

All Things are Made, New

To step into an early spring forest
is to step into a new world

The old life has past

and all things are made new.
And yet, no.
The old remains
and all things are made new.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


The point of this post is simply to review what the Bible does (and doesn't) say about the people of Sodom, and why specifically they were known for their wickedness, at least as recorded in the Bible. There are many (myself included, once upon a time) who have it fixed like a stone in their head that the "sin of Sodom" was homosexuality.

By reviewing the Biblical accounts that touch on Sodom, we will see that the Bible itself literally, factually, demonstrably nowhere makes this case. Rather, it is the case that traditionalists have had this opinion of it and that is what they/we read into it... oftentimes so strongly that we can not see that it is literally not there.

I'm omitting the Biblical references that merely mention the name Sodom, without any context or commentary on the nature of the people there. Instead, I'm looking only at the passages that talk about why Sodom had its evil reputation.

From the Beginning, then...

[Gen 13, no mention of details, only that they were wicked...]

The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.  Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

[Gen 14 contains a story about a battle between various nations where Abram's nephew, Lot, was kidnapped by these other kingdoms as well as people and goods from Sodom. Abrams staged a raid and rescued Lot and others. Afterwards, the king of Sodom requested that Abram and he split the goods and people rescued. Abram responded that he'd only take what was his, that he didn't want anything from Sodom. But that's all that's stated.]

[Gen 18 is the story of Abram pleading for the sake of Sodom, because there are at least a few decent people living there... God reports that God is going to check out Sodom, to see if they're really as bad as rumored (interesting aside: the omnipotent God doesn't appear to know how bad they are, taken literally). Again, literally no specifics about the "sins of Sodom..."]

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

[Gen 19, the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We find that Lot is living in Sodom and is visited by "messengers" who are supposed to be angels from God. In the story, the "men of Sodom" surround Lot's house...]

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

[That passage above, Gen 19, is the one people cite when they think about Sodom being destroyed because of homosexuality, or "homosexual behavior," some people will distinguish. But look at it, there is literally NO mention of homosexuality. Instead, what you see is an attempted gang rape.

And indeed, gang rape is bad, wicked, wrong, no doubt. But, gang rape is not an indictment on sexuality itself. Consider (and, if you're going to comment here, answer this question): IF you read a text that talks about the evil of rape, male on female... do you recognize that as an indictment on heterosexuality? Would you say of that text, "Clearly then, we see that heterosexuality is being condemned in that passage..."?

No, of course you wouldn't. No one should, anyway. Recognizing the evil of rape is not at all to say that, "and thus, sexuality is itself evil..." That would be an exactly wrong and awful conclusion to reach.

So, no reasonable person can say, "Because this story contains a reference to an attempted male-on-male gang rape, that is clearly saying that Sodom was destroyed, at least in part, due to homosexuality." That conclusion simply can NOT rise out of that passage. That is an example of reading INTO the passage something that is literally not there.

So, so far, we have seen that Sodom was considered evil, but with no direct references to what they did there that made them evil. NOW, we can see that at least one thing that made them evil was that they were all ("all the men [and boys] of the city of Sodom") willing to engage in gang rape. The story so far does not SAY that is why Sodom was destroyed, but the destruction comes following that and, I think most reasonable people will agree that gang rape IS an evil thing.]

[The next few references to Sodom are all more or less like this passage from Isaiah 1, where it is a general comparison of bad nations to the evil nation of Sodom. These point out that Sodom was bad, but does not go into details...]

Unless the Lord Almighty
    had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom...

[...or this one, in Isaiah 3, that alludes to arrogance and obviousness of their sin, but not to specifics...]

Jerusalem staggers,
    Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
    defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them;
    they parade their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
    They have brought disaster upon themselves.

[Then, in Ezekiel 16, we have something that is more specific that explains WHY Sodom was evil and destroyed...]

our older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: 
She and her daughters were arrogant, 
overfed and 
they did not help the poor and needy. 
They were haughty and did detestable things before me. 

Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

[And so, HERE we have some specifics and, lo and behold, not once is "homosexuality" or "homosexual behavior" mentioned. Not one time.

Now, there are vague references to doing "detestable things" and one could GUESS that MAYBE it was a reference to "homosexual behavior," but it is literally not there. That would be a guess from out of the blue. Like, "It says "detestable things..." that MUST be talking about twerking and doing the salsa!" would be a guess from out of the blue, not based upon the text, but, well, not based on anything, just a wild guess.

Clearly, the sins that lead that list are at least relatively clear: Being wealthy and, in that wealth, being overfed and unconcerned with the poor and needy. THAT is a pretty specific explanation of what brought about Sodom's downfall literally from the text.

Guesses about "maybe it's speaking of 'homosexual behaviors...'" are just that, wild guesses, NOT from the text, but from prejudice and traditions.]

[Beyond that, the rest of the Sodom references in the Bible are of the sort that were general warnings, "Be careful or you'll end up destroyed like Sodom..." with no specifics. There IS one verse in the NT that is in that vein, but offers something more specific. From Jude 1...]

 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns 
gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.

[Here, we have a reference to "sexual immorality and perversion," that at least COULD be referencing homosexual behavior, if you wanted to make that guess. But it could be referencing gang rapes (which we know had been attempted). It could be just general licentiousness. It could be using children for sexual purposes, which we know was a problem in these areas in these times. It could have been many things and there is literally NOTHING in the text that suggests it should be interpreted as "homosexual behaviors."

And that is the point of this post, that and no more. That the traditional hunches that 'the sin of Sodom" included - or were mainly - related to "gay behavior" is literally not found in the Bible. It just isn't there. At all. Not hinted at. Not alluded to. Certainly not clearly affirmed.

Those who embrace that human hunch do so because of tradition, NOT because of the text, because the text clearly, literally does not contain that suggestion.

I will just note that, as I have said in the past, it was THIS realization - that no matter how strongly I believed that "the sin of Sodom" was/included "homosexual behavior," it's simply not there in the text of the Bible - it was that realization that began me down the road to changing my position on homosexuality and Christianity, from the more traditional one to what I hold to now.]