Archive for Religion
“America’s descending into madness,” writes Henry Giroux in his latest book. The author appeared on Bill Moyer’s program Friday as the nation observed the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Since the Reagan-Thatcher era, Kennedy’s calls to public service and national aspiration have been systematically supplanted with an ethos of radical self-interest and tawdry appeals to men’s basest instincts. It is a world, Giroux asserts, in which elites consider that “survival of the fittest is all that matters” and that “democracy is an excess.” Giroux is appalled.
… the notion that profit making is the essence of democracy, the notion that economics is divorced from ethics, the notion that the only obligation of citizenship is consumerism, the notion that the welfare state is a pathology, that any form of dependency basically is disreputable and needs to be attacked, I mean, this is a vicious set of assumptions.
A lecture last night by Rev. Dr. William Barber, II at Appalachian State. Worth the hour. Embed seems not to be working. Stream it here. Lecture begins at timestamp 9:45.
Inspiring. Feels like a movement.
[h/t TJ Amos]
With the North Carolina state legislature in recess, Moral Mondays – the Forward Together Movement – began a march across the state, starting in Asheville on August 5 with the largest protest yet. The crowd “well exceeded” the 5,000 the Asheville police department had prepared for, with early police estimates to 10,000.
“You can’t do wrong in Raleigh and then hide back home,” said NC NAACP president the Rev. William Barber. Firing up the crowd as he has in Raleigh, Barber condemned the actions of the state legislature as “constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible and economically insane.” Barber and other speakers called out local and state legislators by name, some of whom were in the crowd.
“From the mountains to the coast, we’re sick of this mess,” Barber declared. “This is no momentary hyperventilation or liberal screaming match; this is a movement. We have a governor that has decided to be on the wrong side of history. We have a legislature that is bragging and boasting about its power and is legislating on the basis of lies and discrimination. Though they have temporary power, the future does not belong to them.”
Barber and other speakers addressed education, labor, LGBT rights and a bill seizing the local water system. Asheville local, Heather Rayburn, spoke surrounded with a group of other civil disobedience protestors arrested in Raleigh. Keeping with the moral theme, Rayburn reminded the crowd, “This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too.”
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry was in Raleigh, NC this week covering the largest Moral Monday protest to date against the GOP-led legislature’s radical rightward tilt. State NAACP president Reverend William Barber leads the protests that grew to well over 1,000 last week, with 150 arrests for civil disobedience.
Perry: We have a series of bills including voter I.D. requirements and doing away with same-day voter registration and a bill that would penalize parents of college students who vote where they attend school. A bill whose numerical name, SB666, is not lost on Reverend Barber.
Barber adds that North Carolina has joined the 15 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — a group Paul Krugman’s Friday column labeled “The Spite Club”:
Barber: In the first two weeks of the session, they denied 500,000 people Medicaid. Not 500,000 black people. Not 500,000 white people. 500,000 poor people and disabled children in a state that has 1.6 million poor people and 600,000 of them are children.
“If you kicked them out of your bedroom, they would have no idea where else to go.” — Rachel Maddow
[h/t Doug Abernethy]
It’s 12.12.12. Do with that what you will. In the past 24 hours there have been approximately 153,400 deaths world-wide ( with approximately 356,201 births, do with that what you will), one of those deaths belonged to Ravi Shankar, again, do with that what you will. Also, several people were shot and killed at a mall in Portland, by a man wearing a white mask and brandishing a semi-automatic rifle. He killed himself. Also, North Korea shot something off, and had a parade. They are fond of parades.
Here’s some random stuff to read/discuss/ignore (after the break):
This week, Louisiana state Rep. Valarie Hodges expressed second thoughts, about passing the state’s new voucher law because taxpayer dollars might go to support not just Christian, but also Islamic schools.
“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”
That is, it’s okay for me, but not for thee. (Hodges might want to read Jefferson and Madison regarding Mahometans.)
Many evangelicals insist that America was founded as a Christian country – right up until you suggest that America behave like one. Like Hodges, they believe America was founded by Christian men and that its constitution is interwoven with Jesus’ principles and values. David Barton travels the country claiming to receptive (and unquestioning) audiences that, “it is absolutely no surprise that so many of the clauses we find in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible.” He then directs listeners to a list of verses that anyone can see are not. Right Wing Watch asks, “… if Barton is willing to lie about what the Bible says , it raises the question of whether there [is] anything that he won’t he lie about?”
North Carolina is in the news again, this time because of an anti-LGBT sermon preached by Pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C. You can see footage of his sermon here.
Make no mistake: the violent theology animating Pastor Worley’s sermon is directly linked to the discriminatory animus at work in Amendment One or the North Carolina statutes that treat LGBT people as second-class citizens.
The violence of Pastor Worley’s message speaks to the evil at the heart of persecution, and it ensnares all of us, including him, including me. It is an evil that seeks to dehumanize people and that seeks to divide communities. It has long lurked in the shadows of religious and political discourse and, periodically, makes itself plainly visible and clearly heard.
What are we to do when such attacks occur? Each of us has an individual choice to make about how to respond.
I often need help cutting through the static of anger and sadness in moments like this. I need help getting to love and, in my own life, I turn to my faith for that help. My faith’s teachings on this point are clear and consistent: no matter how hard it is to do so, we are called to love those who oppose us. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that my existence is inextricably bound to my enemy’s, whether either one of us likes it or not.
The hard thing right now is to find a way to love Pastor Worley. To do so does not also imply condoning or supporting what he has said. But it does mean choosing to respond to spiritual violence with the only force that can overcome it: love. And it means seeing the violence of his words as an expression of how he too has been wounded by a persecuting system; his theology isn’t just plain wrong, it’s wounded.
But my faith also teaches me that the rhetoric of love is not enough. We must also act to directly resist unjust laws in public life and, as we take action, to express empathy and love towards all those we encounter. This is precisely why and how we take action with the WE DO Campaign and why this campaign will continue growing across the South until we achieve full equality under federal law.
Love has changed the world before and, we dare to believe, it can do so again.