Mar 17

My Babies

5 more Jewish community centers were targets of bomb threats this weekend. Since January there have been 154 bomb threats made against Jewish community centers and synagogues. There have been around 25 such threats made against mosques and Islamic community centers in the same time period. Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis have been vandalized, with over 250 graves disturbed.

Meanwhile across the country signs of hate are being posted and passed around.

In Upstate New York, the home of a Jewish man was spray-painted with swastikas. In Virginia, fliers were distributed in several neighborhoods with the words, “Make America WHITE again-and greatness will follow.” In Colorado, two typewritten notes that read “WERE GONNA BLOW UP ALL OF YOU REFUGEES,” were left at a community center serving mainly Muslim immigrants.

And in Dahlonega, Georgia a sign was posted in the town square saying "Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Hall." Resulting in chaos and fear that is tearing a little town apart.

Dahlonega is just a microcosm, however, of what is going on in America.

Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, tweeted support for a far-right Dutch politician with the words "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." David Duke replied "God bless Steve King!"

Fine Congressman, let's talk about MY babies. I am a white middle-aged male Protestant Christian from a semi-rural middle-class background. My babies have pale skin and red hair.

Let me tell you about the civilization my babies are going to build.

MY BABIES are going to build a civilization where it doesn't matter what color you are, what you believe, or who you love. They are going to build a civilization where you are respected for just being human. Where you really are treated the same no matter what and not just paid lip service. They are going to be ceiling busters and tent wideners and nazi-punchers. They are going to love learning, love faith, and love one another. My babies know hate is wrong. That making fun of people who are different is wrong. That different families have different rules and as long as no one is hurt that is OK. MY BABIES are going to build homes and welcoming places for everyone who needs them. MY BABIES are going to build a civilization that all you haters are going to hate.So enjoy this Renaissance of Hate while you can xenophobes. It will be short lived. Perfect Love drives out Fear. My BABIES love everyone. MY BABIES are coming.

And their mommy and daddy are going to cut them a path.

Jan 17

Not in Our Country

I am still considering a change, or perhaps even an end to God's Mote as it. Feedback is not only welcome but eagerly desired.
However, I saw this and felt it deserved a post.

Russian Yoga Teacher Detained on Charges of Terrorism.

Simply put a Russian law makes illegal any missionary activity from what they consider non-traditional beliefs. Similar laws also require clear labeling of anything that might be considered religious literature. These are part of a suite of so called anti-extremist laws designed, in theory, to tamp down on the rise of domestic terrorism.

>emotionally charged expletive redacted< No. These laws are deliberately vague excuses for law enforcement to harass anyone and anything outside of the desired cultural norm. They are not new in Russia, nor anywhere else in the world. Want to stop the Salvation Army? They are, after all, a radical Christian sect that does not even observe baptism or communion nor any official clergy. Destroy their Bibles for failure to be approved as religious literature, as happened in Vladivostok in December. In America the thought of harassing the Salvation Army seems ridiculous; but they are a deviation from the norm and that is enough for some to see them as a danger. As they see anyone who is not just like them to be a danger. In the US there was a fringe movement in the 70s and 80s that got labeled "Dominionism", although they do not like that term and so I will use it all I can. On occasion I choose to violate my "call people what they ask to be called" rule but I save it for people like this and Alister Crowley. The name comes from the KJV reading of Genesis 1:28 where man is told to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. They go by things like Calvinist Christian Reconstructionism, Charismatic/Pentecostal Kingdom Now theology, New Apostolic Reformation and others. Basically this group would like to eliminate the separation of Church and State in favor of what they consider to be a nation governed by Biblical laws. Rousas Rushdoony, wrote in The Institutes of Biblical Law that Old Testament law should be applied to modern society and he advocates the reinstatement of the Mosaic law's penal sanctions. Under such a system, the list of civil crimes which carried a death sentence would include homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about one's virginity, bestiality, witchcraft, idolatry or apostasy, public blasphemy, false prophesying, kidnapping, rape, and bearing false witness in a capital case. He wrote "Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies", and he said elsewhere that "Christianity is completely and radically anti-democratic; it is committed to spiritual aristocracy," and characterized democracy as "the great love of the failures and cowards of life".

Sometimes a distinction is made between "Soft" Dominionist theology ("America is a Christian Nation") and "Hard" Dominionist Theology ("America's laws need to be Bible based.") Either way, what was once a fringe movement has grown in prominence in the last twenty to thirty years. It does not take long to see elements of Dominionist theology in the avowed beliefs of many leaders on the political Right, some extending the label to Mike Pence and Ted Cruz. Personally, I am not satisfied with what I have found to apply those labels myself to individuals, but I do believe they have been influenced by the movement. Dominionist theology is certainly evident in the creeds of numerous militia groups in the so-called Christian Patriot movement.

What does this mean? If you are not a Christian then it should scare you death. If you are a Christian it should scare you to death. It means that a narrow segment of society decides what is and is not God's Will and has the power of law to enforce it. They decide what is normal and acceptable and what is not. Contradicting them or correcting with them is to thwart the will of God.

>emotionally charged expletive redacted< Do you think Muslims should register? Do you think that America's laws should be based on the Old Testament? Do you think creationism and not evolution should be taught in schools? Do you think Israel should be supported no matter what they do? You might be a dominonist. You might be responsible for putting them in power. You had better be prepared to tow the party line or you might wind up on a list of undesirables yourself. As for me I believe in democracy, I believe in the separation of church and state, and I believe in God - but you don't get to dictate to me or my children what that means. And if some registry of undesirables -be they Muslim or gay or whatever - gets made law I am signing up. I will stand with the persecuted, the imprisoned, and the outcast. I will oppose the enforcement of someone's idea of religion on others in every way possible. Why? Because that is what Jesus would do.

Dec 16

Mixed Messages

Let's talk about hate. Let's talk about you and me and all the horrible things we can be.

We see lots about hate in the media these days; or at least we see a lot of hate. This hate is a bi-product of fear. Fear of what is different, fear of a loss of identity, fear of a loss of control, and fear of change.

To quote a wise puppet: Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to Hate. Hate leads to Suffering.
To quote a wiser man who I also happen to believe was God: Perfect Love drives away Fear.

So let's look at two different responses to the growing climate of hate and fear, not just in America but in the Western world.

First we have a man who was so afraid of people who held a different set of political beliefs that he was willing to swallow the most outrageous stories. In this case 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C. went into Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington DC with a gun to "self investigate" (his words) if the claims that the establishment was a front for a child sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton were true. These claims were the creation of 4chan users and led to a 20,000 member Reddit group. These claims were then spread all over the internet in groups that already had reasons to dislike Sec. Clinton. Fortunately no one was injured and the police were able to resolve the matter. Unfortunately Pizzagate still has idiots and people of ill will sharing it. See my post about Fake News from last week.

Next let's go the opposite direction. Religious fears have lead to violence all over the world. The Muslim community in the US has been the subject of growing fears. Unfortunately many people seem to not understand that the more persecuted a group is, the more marginalized, the more likely it is to develop radical elements. Fortunately there are people like 53-year-old Justin Normand of Texas. Normand has taken to standing outside Islamic Centers with signs saying "You Belong" and pictures of him doing so have gone viral. This is what he said about what he had done:

It wasn’t about demonstrating my outrage to right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road in front of the mosque. I can never, and will never, change any of the haters. It’s not about them. Not this time, and not here. This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us. Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother’s feet. This was about my religion, not theirs. And, it was about what I think I must do as an American when our way of life is threatened. Targeting people for their religion not only threatens our way of life, it is the polar opposite of our way of life.

So what was the difference?

Two men faced with the potential other. The scary thing we do not understand. One chose to read social media and react with potential violence. One chose to read the Bible and act with a simple message of compassion. One chose to buy into his peer group's ideology and one chose to reject the culture's prevailing message. One is in jail, the other is lauded.

There is a lesson here. A message that I continue to preach. Reason. Dialogue. Compassion. These are what change the world. We all know it. We have just let our fears tell us something different.