The Watering Hole, Monday, August 6th, 2012: You Said It, Sister!

As some of you know, I have been invited to start my own blog on the local ‘Patch’ online newspaper. Before getting set up in my ‘new digs’, I thought I’d take a look around at the other blogs on the Patch site, to see what they looked like, what personal info showed, etc. While doing so, I ran across a blogpost from the Fourth of July, written by M. Doretta Cornell, RDC, of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, and thought it well worth sharing.

While I do not agree with 100% of the good Sister’s sentiments, she makes excellent points, based on her interpretation of her faith, the Constitution, and in science. A few excerpts:

Our founders were declaring independence from rule by birth, by a class of people whose only claim to that rule was their parentage. No test of ability or morality or vision for the country and its people was necessary, only birth into the “right family.”

Hmm, sounds like a recent Republican President and a current Presidential hopeful we all know.

In our current economic crisis, we have much to reflect on:
- How faithful are we to this basic tenet of our country that all people are created equal and have equal rights to life, justice, ability to make a decent living – even happiness, as our founders claimed?
- How can we reform our laws and policies to create a nation in which all could prosper?
- What are we doing to close the rifts between races that are still deep in our culture, in spite of all the scientific evidence that race is a superficial characteristic?
- What are we doing to close the newer abysses that have been created between people of different religions, particularly since September 11, 2001?

Sister Mary Doretta certainly sounds like quite the liberal – just as so many of us believe Jesus would have been. Personally, I believe that today’s “Christians” would, at least figuratively, crucify him if he showed up now.

“Another aspect of independence that comes to my mind is that, for many people, independence today seems to be synonymous with egocentric individualism: the feeling that no one has contributed to this person’s achievements, and therefore that person has no responsibility for anyone but him—or herself.”

(Psst…Republicans, faux-Christians, and Libertarians, listen up, I think she’s talking to you. C’mon, even the god of the Old Testament got pretty pissed when Cain asked “Am I my brother’s keeper?”)

“…along with Independence, we must also celebrate today our Interdependence! Interdependence—not subservience. Subservience is what our founders were rebelling against in founding this new nation: the belief that some are inferior and others superior by nature, and therefore people have different rights.

Interdependence says that we all have the same “inalienable rights” and that these rights are intertwined, as are all elements of our very existence.

And here’s what I found most impressive and inspiring about Sister Doretta’s piece:

Over the last few decades, we have been learning just how deep our interdependence is, at microscopic levels of ourselves and of the world around us. Astronomy and cosmology teach us that each molecule of our bodies is inherited from one pool of matter, each breath we take is dependent on the exhalations of trees and other plants. Even the tiniest shift in temperature, or chemical makeup of the air, position of the sun, or radiation in the atmosphere would render Earth unable to support human life. We are all interdependent—people, animals, grasses, stars, Earth.

Independence, then, demands that we reflect on and adjust our understanding to the interdependence of all things and all people on each other. It also demands that we learn to act in ways that support that interdependence—ways all our moral and religious educations have taught us. And, as Jesus taught, “the greatest of these is love,” and understanding of the essentialness of each creature to the enterprise we call life.

If more Christians were this enlightened about the role of their faith’s principles and their implicit responsibility to each other and the planet that we call home, this world, or at least this country, would be an infinitely better place.

This is our daily open thread — Got anything you feel like discussing?

The Watering Hole – Monday, July 30th, 2012: The United Theocracy of America

(Note: all emphasis mine)

2 Chronicles 7:14:  “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

A sidebar article at US NEWS & World Report caught my eye yesterday. How could I resist the headline, “Evangelical, Baptist Churches To Hold Massive Gathering Before Democratic Convention”?

On September 2, 2012, the evening before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Charlotte, NC, a coalition of varied churches “…will host a massive church service in the 20,000 seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.” This event is called the “Charlotte 714″, [short for "Charlotte 714, Humbly Exalting Jesus" [short for "Charlotte 714, Humbly Exalting Jesus as King in Our City"]

Charlotte714 is a call to the Church of Charlotte to a 40 day fast culminating with a special city-wide gathering the night before the Democratic National Convention on Labor Day Weekend. Charlotte714 is not a political event or a protest or demonstration. It is a gathering of believers seeking spiritual renewal in the church through biblical repentance. We humbly bow in Jesus’ name requesting that He hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

Charlotte714 is a proclamation that Jesus Christ is King, and that returning to Him in repentance is the only hope for our nation. From this position of authority, we lift up our hands in prayer for our city, our nation, and our leaders as directed in 1 Timothy 2. At the heart of Charlotte714 is restorative love. Love toward all people that we may be restored to God and fully submitted to Christ.”

No, no political agenda there.

The event’s ‘invitation’ page uses – or misuses, or abuses – a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. in their justification of their ‘come to Jesus’ day:

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

According to the Charlotte714 site: “The essence of Charlotte714 is captured best by late revivalist, Charles Finney”:

“Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits…If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

- and -

The organizers of Charlotte714 are Christians who love Jesus and the City of Charlotte and want to provide a forum for the city church to unite together in the name of Jesus in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14.”

Those organizers, David and Jason Benham, who head BENSON Companies,both graduated Liberty University in 1998. Jason Benham says ““For us to take credit for building a successful business would be like a shovel taking credit for digging a hole. We’re simply the tools God chose to use to build a successful business.”

David Benham is described on the Benham website “As a follower of Christ, he believes the marketplace is a powerful venue to impact lives.” “By remaining true to our core principles, despite the economic circumstances, we’ve grown our company by faith instead of it simply growing because the market is strong”.

On Jason Benham’s “about” page, “BENHAM Companies exists to build, strengthen, and reproduce the heart of Jesus Christ in believers around the world by teaching them to be Kingdom Builders in the marketplace and to give abundantly to His work on the earth.” Hmm, sounds a bit C-Street-ish to me.

Read the BENHAM Companies’ Global Initiative: something they call “Missioneering”, “…eras[ing] the line that separates business and ministry…”

I don’t know if this is supposed to be part of their ‘Missioneering’: “David Benham in this short 4 minute video expresses the very heart of God, as he brings Biblical truth to a horrible tragedy [Aurora, CO, shootings.] Jesus, and Jesus alone, is our answer.”

Here’s where some dots connect: David and Jason Benham’s father, “Flip” Benham “…is and has been the Director of Operation Rescue /Operation Save America since 1994. Randall Terry was the founder of Operation Rescue, and then the leadership was passed to Keith Tucci…In 1994, the leadership was passed to Flip Benham and that is where it remains.”

So, this is a “non-political” evangelical/fundie gathering, the day before the Democratic National Convention, organized by a corporation/ministry, that just happens to be closely connected to OR/OSA. If it’s ‘non-political’, then why can’t I find any indication that this same group is gathering before the Republican National Convention? Maybe they feel that one big prayer meeting will be enough for Jeebus to ‘hear them’ and act to ‘heal our land’?

I had to laugh at this one:  Operation Rescue/Operation Save America issued a “Press Release” stating: “Operation Save America Prepares for Invasion of DNC: “The DNC is coming to Charlotte, bringing its “culture of death!” Read some of the rest, about the blood running in the streets – somebody’s on some nasty drugs there.

This is our daily open thread — Whatcha thinking about?

P.S. – Here’s some interesting info on Tampa Bay’s preparations for the upcoming RNC there.

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 11th, 2012: Which Christ is more “Christian”?

I’d like to expand a little on a comment posted yesterday by Briseadh na Faire:

Many of the basic tenents of liberalism are summed up thusly:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36. But we refuse to give credit to the man who said those things, hence lose the “Christians”.

Give credit where credit is due – own up to following Christ’s teachings, whether or not one proclaims one’s self to be a Christian…

In other words, Liberals, who follow the teachings of Christ, need to take the evangelicals on, on their own ground. It is, after all, who we really are.

After reading this, I could not help but think of the contrast between what the pastor of a local church espouses, and what a particular Catholic organization espouses.

The pastor of the local Patterson, NY, Baptist Church, a Dr. Larry A. Maxwell, is the founder of an organization called Brighter_Future.us. In the “About Us” section on his website, Dr. Maxwell states that, under his ministry, the local Habitat for Humanity for Putnam County was established. Okay, that’s nice. On the other hand,

“Dr. Maxwell is one of the few men ordained to the ministry by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, Pastor of Thomas Rd. Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA. Dr. Falwell, was the founder of Liberty University and Moral Majority. Dr. Maxwell graduated from Liberty University in 1975 and was active in Moral Majority, one of the organizations that helped Ronald Reagan become President.”….”The Governor of Kentucky bestowed the title of Colonel upon Dr. Maxwell for his outstanding service.”

Check out what Dr. Maxwell lists as “5 Areas of Influence That Shape Our Society” – why, as a pastor, does Dr. Maxwell list “Government” first and “Religion” fourth? Note that, under #3, “Media“, Dr. Maxwell says: “Media has perhaps the greatest influence on all of us. We Need To: Encourage & Endorse media which presents fair & balanced news and avoid those which do not. Hmmm, I wonder whom he’s talking about? What’s also scary is that, while Dr. Maxwell is the head of the “Living History Guild” and is the official Town Historian for Patterson, NY, under #4, “Religion“, he claims that “Religion once provided a moral compass for our society. The overwhelming majority of our Founding Fathers were men of faith committed to Biblical moral principles.” Also note in #5, “Family“, “We Need To: Recognize marriage consists only as a union between a man & woman who make a lifelong commitment to each other before God & man.”

Dr. Maxwell’s list of “Necessary Qualities for Leaders” contains some pretty scary crap, too:

2. Belief & Dependence on the Divine God

Leaders must recognize the fallen state of man and his imperfections and the necessity of help from the Divine God for man to reach his full potential.

3. Love for Our Country

Leaders need a Commitment to the original intent of Our Founding Fathers & the documents they drafted such as; The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. They must believe the best government is Limited Government, answerable to the people at all levels. Leaders must honor our history as it happened, not rewrite or redefine it.

4. Commitment to Family Values

Good leaders must recognize, embrace and encourage traditional family values.

6. Belief in Free Enterprise & Property Rights

Leaders must understand Free Enterprise & Property Rights are two important foundations. Government must encourage, not interfere with, nor over regulate, free enterprise & property rights.

And if any doubt was left that Dr. Maxwell and his group are dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, the list in the “Contacts and Links” section reads as a veritable who’s who of conservative/right-wing organizations, including The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, etc.

By contrast, take a look at the issues with which Catholics United concerns itself:

- trying to restore funding, denied by the US Catholics Bishops, to an immigrants’ rights group called Campaneros, which doesn’t discriminate against gays.

- speaking out against the U.S. Catholic Bishops and Catholic institutions who continue to fight the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act, despite the exemptions therein.

- Organizing against Paul Ryan’s budget because it does nothing to help the poor.

- Organizing alternative charitable organizations to counter the stripping of funding by U.S. Catholic Bishops.

It certainly seems to me that it is the people at Catholics United who are following the teachings of Christ (which all of us liberals follow in one way or another), rather than the pastor of the Patterson Baptist church. It makes one wonder if there is a different Christ within each human-authored version of the bible.

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 14th, 2012: Teh Crazy, Local to International

For this Monday’s mix, let’s start with local (to me, anyway) weirdness:

A different aspect on ‘robbing the poor’ involves attempted theft from a local drop box. According to the Patch news article, three men allegedly were not only stealing from the drop boxes, they were stealing the drop boxes themselves. The men stated that they worked for a company called “God’s Property”, although my quick search of the googles/bing could only come up with a house-cleaning service by that name.

On the national crazy homefront: The religious right is celebrating what they believe to be President Obama’s downfall in November, now that the President has officially endorsed same-sex marriage. Adding to the craziness in this article from The Daily Beast is the following quote from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:

“President Obama just torpedoed his chance to win in November,” Bryan Fischer, the firebrand spokesman for the American Family Association, told The Daily Beast. “This was a move born of desperation, a Hail Mary pass. The results in North Carolina make it abundantly clear that the American people are not with him on gay marriage. This is a golden opportunity for Mitt Romney. If he will send a strong, consistent and unambiguous message in support of natural marriage he will win the election in a landslide.”

Yet this is the same Bryan Fischer who managed to get Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy adviser, Richard Grenell, to resign from Romney’s campaign staff; then accused Romney of weakness for caving to a self-described “yokel.”

“If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership.”

So, I’m guessing that Bryan Fischer is going to stay home on Election Day this November?

For the foreign crazy, here’s a pair of articles from Foreign Policy’s website about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iran. It appears that some former Mossad leaders are speaking out against the idea, while Netanyahu’s recent political moves send mixed signals both for and against an attack on Iran.

Lastly, from Slate, some interesting little stories about various Vice-Presidents, from Aaron Burr to Joe Biden.

This is our daily open thread — feel free to discuss one of the above topics, or whatever’s on your mind!

Watering Hole: Monday, February 27, 2012 – Birth Control All Female Panel

This speaks for me and for itself.

Some of you may have seen this before.  I wanted to share it again because the birth control issue is NOT going away.

Here’s a link to a good rant on how women really feel about the War on Women.  On April 28, there will be a protest rally/march in all 50 states.  And for the men that love women, we would love to have you join us.   :)

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole: December 2, 2011 — The religious right vs every woman on earth

This video is pretty long, but I think it’s worth listening to.  Humor and common sense go well together.  :)

This is our daily open thread — it’s Friday!!!

Revoke Bush-Era ‘Conscience’ Rules

CommonDreams

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind a regulation put in place by former President George W. Bush dealing with religious objections to medical procedures, saying the rule could violate patients’ rights.

The sweeping regulation, implemented by Bush in December, essentially gives health-care workers a right to refuse to take part in any procedure that they say violates their religious beliefs.

“This regulation was a parting gift from President Bush to the Religious Right, and it ought to be returned to sender,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “The last thing this country needs is more Religious Right meddling in our health care.”

President Barack Obama has proposed rescinding the Bush regulation, and today is the deadline for public comment on the matter.

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Fear and Loathing in Jesus Camp land

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In the last two days, I saw two amazing rants from the Religious Right, should, God forbid, Obama be elected.

First up, is a letter, sent out but Focus on the Family, entitled Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America. This 16 page missive starts by asking “What will the United States be like if Senator Obama is elected?” It then goes on to postulate what the year 2012 will look like. What do they think 2012 will look like?

First, it posits that, after Obama is inaugurated, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens would announce that they were stepping down. Obama would immediately replace them with “two far-Left, American Civil Liberties Union-oriented judges.” (We should be so lucky!) And then (cue the “da-da-da-duuuum” scary music):

The decisive changes on the Supreme Court started in June, when Justice Kennedy resigned – he was 72 and had grown weary of the unrelenting responsibility. His replacement – another young liberal Obama appointment – gave a 5-4 majority to justices who were eager to create laws from the bench. The four conservative justices who remained — John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito — were suddenly in the minority.

Then in August 2009, two months after Kennedy resigned, Justice Scalia  unexpectedly announced his resignation due to health reasons and by October 2009 another Obama appointment took his oath and joined the court.

Finally the far-Left had the highest prize: complete control of the Supreme Court. And they set about quickly to expedite cases by which they would enact the entire agenda of the far Left in American politics – everything they had hoped for and more took just a few key decisions.

Scared yet?

And, what are these cases that were the entire agenda of the far Left in American politics? Let’s look at them. It’s fun, really. Grab a beer (yes, this is long), click that link and read the massive freak-out taking place in Jesus Camp land.
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Praying for torrential rain on Obama and supporters

On Monday night, Keith Olbermann took this one on, but I thought it deserved not just repeating but distributing across the Internets.

Focus on the Family, the uber right-wing “Christian” group is asking its followers to pray for rain during Obama’s acceptance speech.

“Would it be wrong to ask people to pray for rain. Not just rain, abundant rain, torrential rain, urban and small stream flood advisory rain. Swamp the intersections rain. Network cameras can’t see the podium rain. Attendees cant walk back to the indoor arena without wishing for hip waders rain.”

Why? Because Obama’s not pro-life, and doesn’t believe that marriage should be solely between a man and a woman, and this man wants the next president to be able to put the right justices on the Supreme Court (no pun intended).

After members of Focus on the Family complained about this Focus on the Family video, the organization backpeddled with the usual: Lighten up, man…it’s a joke. Proving, yet again that Republicans have no sense of humor.

Right-wing Watch reports:

Focus has gone all out; disabling the video and removing it from their archives, as well as from their GodTube and YouTube pages but, unfortunately for them, that hasn’t prevented others from capturing the video and posting it themselves [Good As You has the video as well].

The only smart move they have made.

h/t: The Carpetbagger Report


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