LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

I’m Too Old For That November 11, 2016

My wife recently expressed concern for my safety and well-being.
You see, I’ve decided (for a while at least) to leave my “Hillary” magnet on my vehicle.
Kathleen believes that in this time of Trump-sanctioned acts of violence, I may be inviting hate-crimes against myself or my property.
She’s right, of course.
And I have considered removing it for just that reason.  Seriously, I really don’t want to get beaten up or spat on.  In my younger days I did take a number of beatings (many from my younger brother. 🙂 ).  But my bones weren’t nearly as brittle then.  Now, I don’t know that I could survive such an incident.  I’m too old for that shit.

Still, I’m leaving the magnet on my truck.  Yes, I have a little fear in doing so, but I will not be ruled by that.  Now is not the time to go into hiding.  Now is certainly not the time for anyone to stay in their closet (unless they’re praying).
No, now is the time to stand.
To stand tall, vigilant and proud.
I will display my support for social justice on my vehicle, my clothing, and any other way I can.  I will be more bold than ever.
Hate-crimes are increasing by those who believe they have the government’s blessings.
We need to stand up for ourselves, and whenever possible, intercede on behalf of anyone we see being harassed, belittled or abused.
We’ll all have to give more to the causes of social justice.  Time, or money.  Both when possible.  We need to keep our camera phones ready to record when needed.  We must be unafraid to speak out against discrimination and hate.  Especially hate that comes from those claiming to stand for God.  Yes, that’s hard to do if you fear for your safety.  It’s been hard in every civil rights movement of the past, and it will often be hard now.

We may not be using swords, rifled-muskets or breech loaders, but we are in a civil war. Hillary won the popular vote (by quite a lot, really), but Donald won the electoral college.  Either way, This was a tight race. We are living in the Divided States of America, and we can’t just all get along.  The opposition will often use physical violence.  We MUST use what author and activist Mel White calls “The Practice of Relentless Nonviolent Resistance.”  Love still trumps hate.  It sounds trite.  It’s not what I want to hear or say right now.  But it has to be.  It just has to.

Yes.  Hate won.
Hate won this battle, but the war for justice and equality goes on.
And by the grace of God, I will stand.
As of yet, I’m not too old for that.

– dave


I don’t know who put this together, but I like it:

if-you

 

Now, Can’t We All Just Get Along? November 8, 2016

“No.  We can’t.”

As many others have said, this election cycle has brought out the worst in people.  It’s exposed an underbelly of America that we’ve long been told was no longer a big issue.
I can still love friends and family with whom I disagree.  That doesn’t mean I can respect their beliefs.  It doesn’t mean I can agree to disagree.

Yes, I’m talking about Trump voters.
Especially “Christian” Trump voters.
This man’s campaign was based on, and filled with racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and unadulterated hate.  A straight, white, protestant male will be largely unaffected by a Trump presidency.  But all kinds of minorities will suffer dearly.
How am I supposed to agree to disagree with that.  We can’t just “move on.”  It would be like watching a man beat his slave, and have him tell me, “Well, we just have to agree to disagree.”
It would be like seeing a public servant refuse to do her job of issuing marriage licences, putting loving couples through the ringer, and saying, “She’s just following her convictions.”
No.  I can’t do that.
She can follow her convictions by resigning from a job she refuses to do!

And let me just say that not tolerating intolerance is not being intolerant.
JESUS didn’t practice or advocate forcing your convictions on others. That’s not something his followers do. That’s what Pharisees do.

Christian slave owners were just following their convictions.  Men who didn’t want women to vote were just following their convictions.  Many who’ve inflicted torture in the name of God were just following their convictions.
I’ve had friends tell me that the only people it’s OK to be intolerant of is “Christians.”  What I actually see is that Christians are one of, if not THE most privileged groups in America.  In fact, they’ve been so privileged for so long that to them, not being allowed to discriminate feels like discrimination.  Not being able to legislate their beliefs, and force them on others, to them feels like oppression.   It’s not enough for them to live by their convictions.  They want the rest of us forced to do the same.  Trying to show them they’ve been used and manipulated, of course, doesn’t do any good.  Thank God, their are millions of Christians who are not part of the “religious right.”

So how do you just get along with racist, religiously intolerant, homophobic, xenophobic, “good-old-boys?”  Frankly, you don’t. “Agree to disagree” is not something I can do in cases of social injustice.

We can not come together as a Nation at the expense of the marginalized; the ones I believe Jesus would have stood up for.  (His greatest enemies were the “Religious Right” of his day.)
You may be my friend.  You may be a family member.  And I may love you dearly.  But if you’re a part of the problems I’ve mentioned (inherent with voting for Trump), I will fight what you stand for, legally, socially and non-violently, with every fiber of my being.
I do want unity and peace as a Nation. But sadly, as long as these age-old attitudes of oppression are alive and well, we can’t, actually, just all get along.

—————

 

Hate Crimes July 31, 2011

I give a damn. Do you?






Every Hour, More Hate
Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. In fact, in the U.S., one violent act of hate takes place almost every hour of every single day. In 2008, 7,783 incidents of hate crime were voluntarily reported to the FBI. It’s time to give a damn about hate crimes!
It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes involve beatings, rape, torture—even murder. Victims are targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, race, color or any number of superficial factors. According to FBI statistics, 1 out of every 6 hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.
Imagine walking down the street and wondering if this will be the day you get beaten up, simply for who you are and through no fault of your own.
It’s time to give a damn because hate crimes are dehumanizing, willful acts of bigotry perpetrated with the intent to intimidate, to target a specific community and to send a message about the victim and “their kind.”
Imagine hearing about a brutal crime and having to worry if you’ll be next—not because you know the victim or because you did anything—but simply because some stranger has chosen to hate one aspect of who you are.
Hate crimes affect everyone
Think hate crimes don’t affect you? Think again. Hate crimes are particularly insidious because they are committed against innocent people—people who live in your city, in your neighborhood, even on your block. Anyone can become a victim: your sister, your uncle, your son, the woman you work with, the guy you sit next to in class… even you.
Federal legislation is starting to buckle down on perpetrators of hate crimes. On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which gives the Department of Justice the authority to prosecute hate crimes, including attacks based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability.
But we still have a long way to go. Because—be honest—are you really OK with living in a country where a hate crime takes place every hour? Do you really intend to look the other way while such violent acts of hate are perpetrated—on your relatives, your friends, your neighbors?
It’s time for things to change.
It’s time to end these violent crimes of hate for good.

 

Of Goats and Men June 25, 2011

So.
As the victory for equality in New York is being celebrated, one of the first comments from the opposition I read is something to the effect of, “Well then, I want to marry my goat.” This echoes the quote used by Box Turtle Bulletin, “Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”

That would be like having said, “Gee, I might as well let my DOG vote,” when women were finally granted that right.

It’s a bogus argument emanating from people to justify their prejudice, hatred, or (maybe most often) plain ignorance.
It is an extension of the much-loved false notion of the old “slippery-slope” nonsense.¹

Our past shows us that the majority cannot always be trusted to insure the rights of the minority.
In 1912, there was a constitutional proposition to ban interracial marriage. It was claimed that if interracial couples married
the very fabric of society would dissolve.”²
Gee. That’s sounds vaguely familiar.

Many will say, “Yes, that was obviously wrong.”
THAT’S MY POINT. It wasn’t obvious to them at that time!
Listen people, these views were espoused by the “church!”  Complete with lots of Bible verses!
“God said it. I believe it. That settles it!”

You may see their error now, but if you were a conservative, right wing, protestant male at the time, the likelihood is that these views would have been YOUR views! AND you would have been saying, “It’s not me. It’s GOD.”

How can we be so oblivious to at least the possibility that we may be just as guilty of misunderstanding God as were our oppressive ancestors?
Yes, you’ve got your handful of verses.
So did they!

Even if you were right theologically, the one marriage that is truly devastating is that of church and state.
We were watching “The King’s Speech” the other night. It showed how the king was also the highest official of the Church of England.
The mini-series “The Pillars of the Earth” really brings home the atrocities that occur when the cross and the sword become one.
I digress.

When two humans who love each other and want to spend their lives together are allowed to unite in marriage, it has nothing to do with turtles or goats. There is no slope involved. Especially not a slippery one. The “fabric of society” will not unravel because of it. Marriage is not being “rediffined.” Others are simply being included in the existing definition.
We’re just talking basic human equality. Divorce is the great threat to the sanctity of marriage; not same-sex unions. I believe these unions will, if anything, strenghten our society.

It’s been said before, but our history shows that religious people are often the last to be swayed by the truth.
How sad is that?
Those who should be the ones championing equality and truth are all too often the ones fighting hardest against it.

— df

¹ “The slippery-slope argument – that we’d better not budge on or rethink anything for fear we’ll slip down into liberalism, apostasy, or some other hell – proves itself dangerous and naïve even as it tries to protect us from danger and naiveté. [For one thing] it assumes that we’re already at the top of the slope, when it’s just as likely that we’re already at the bottom or somewhere in the middle.”
Bryan McLaren, in “A New Kind Of Christianity.”

²  William Stacy Johnson, in “A Time To Embrace.”

Also see:
What’s So Amazing About Grace
Thou Shalt Not Love
Fall To Grace
Gay Christian Answers
The Myth of a Christian Nation
Evolving In Monkey Town

 

Alive and Well August 21, 2010



Saturday morning. This almost always means breakfast at a restaurant. It’s usually an enjoyable experience. Today, not so much.

As we were entering the establishment we had chosen today, another family was leaving. I held the door open for my wife to enter, and this family of three seemed to be leaving in a huff. Being the cynic I am, I just assumed they were rude.

It so happened that this was a family of African Americans. As we were waiting to be seated, the man of the family came back in, and engaged the cashier and hostess is a heated conversation. He was accusing them of racist acts in their seating policy. Now, we weren’t there during the event being discussed, but we were certainly available to hear the aftermath.

As we were seated, there was much conversation between some patrons AND THE STAFF about “those people.”
“Those people,” meaning blacks. There was talk of how ridiculous “they” act. How “they” walk. Most of the remarks were agreed to by the staff engaging in the conversation.

As we were checking out, the male customer in front of us, and the female cashier, were in whole-hearted agreement with their disgust for “those people.” Just before walking away from the counter, the man actually said, “They don’t even take points off of your drivers license,” indicating running them down was perfectly acceptable. I’m guessing he was “half-joking.” That doesn’t change the absolute reprehensibility of his words and attitudes.

Well, my wife has sent an email to the management of Halls Restaurants, to inform them of the horrible, completely unacceptable words of the staff at their Coliseum and Lima location. The only way to even begin to rectify this is to fire all employees who were a part of this verbal hatred. If only we had the presence of mind to take down names. All we can do at this point is to refuse to eat there anymore, and inform as many people as we can.

It seems coincidental that my wife and I had just been discussing racism. How it often seems like “a long time ago” that slavery was the norm. It wasn’t, in fact, all that long ago. It wasn’t all that long ago that interracial marriage was made legal in all of the US. That didn’t happen until 1967.

So, again we are reminded that in spite of all the technological advances of mankind, our attitudes of hate haven’t changed as much as we may like to think. Hatred is alive and well. Racism is alive and well. Don’t believe it? Just visit Halls Hollywood Drive-In. You’ll see. But you may not be able to finish your meal.



[NOTE: The picture of the sign is to help make a point, and was not actually displayed at this Halls, although, it appeared some of the staff wishes it was.]

 

Think June 17, 2010

Capital Punishment:
A consistent ethic demands that our nation end capital punishment. We should not take life to punish wrongful death. There is no evidence that it deters murder. It is easy to make fatal mistakes, as DNA testing has shown. The death penalty is biased against the poor, who cannot afford adequate legal representation, and is racially disproportionate.
– Sojourners

Gays and Lesbians:
“Regardless of what moral or theological positions churches hold regarding gay and lesbian sexual behavior, all Christians can and should unite around a commitment to defend people’s basic rights. But the church cannot in good conscience take a passive approach to this question. It is, after all, other Christians who often have taken the lead in this thinly disguised but mean-spirited assault on human dignity. Biblically based Christians who operate out of a more loving and compassionate framework must meet the challenge head-on and forcefully oppose homophobia.
– When Dignity is Assaulted by Jim Rice

But do we really want to deny a gay person’s right to be at their loved one’s deathbed in a hospital with “family restrictions”? Do we also want to deny that person a voice in the medical treatment of his or her partner? And do we really want all the worldly possessions of a deceased gay person to revert to the family who rejected them 30 years ago, instead of going to their partner of the last 20 years? ”
– Gays and Marriage: A Middle Way by Jim Wallis

“While the passing of [hate-crime] legislation that prosecutes attacks on gays and lesbians would be a good thing, it will do very little to prevent such crimes unless Christians and other people of conscience work to change the atmosphere where gays are seen as less than complete human beings with the full civil privileges of other citizens. Gays and lesbians aren’t going to go away. Nor are they going to stay away from the church, where—rumor has it—people “love their neighbors as themselves.” This is an opportunity to practice what we preach.”
— Practicing What We Preach by Aaron Gallegos

War and Peace:
Our world faces a major challenge of how to resolve conflicts, reduce violence, and defeat terrorism without preemptive war. War has become a first resort instead of the last resort. In a world with terrorists, terrorist states, unilateralist superpowers, and weapons of mass destruction, alternatives to an endless cycle of violence are needed.

Ecology:
Addressing the degradation of God’s sacred Earth is the moral assignment of our time, comparable to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s, the worldwide movement to achieve equality for women, or ongoing efforts to control weapons of mass destruction in a post-Hiroshima world. — From the National Council of Churches Open Letter to Church and Society in the United States.

Put aside the Holy Scriptures for a while and read God’s first revelation—nature itself. Such was the advice offered some years ago by a profound, Christian thinker. We stress “Christian” here because this person of faith intended no offense to [the Bible], nor to us who hold [it] sacred. His point was that long before the writing of Genesis, humanity could already read God’s self-revelation in the natural world.

In the book of Genesis, the creation is simply gift, a garden made with care, and in its essence, very good. Our original place was to walk with God in the garden of life.

(All above comments are taken from “Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace.”

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR CREATION CARE: MAY 25TH, 2010

 

 
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