Apr 172017
 

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the free practice of Religion, but forbids any government attempts to establish a state religion by giving it preferential treatment over others.  In violation of the Constitution, Trump promised to make pseudo-Christians more powerful, if they ignored his ongoing perversions and helped install him as Fuhrer.  Now Lyin’ Ryan is giving them their reward.

church-stateThe Washington Post reported on Friday that congressional Republicans are including repeal of the Johnson Amendment in their draft “tax reform” bill.

The Johnson Amendment is a decades-old legal restriction that prevents churches, like other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, from explicitly endorsing or opposing candidates for political office. As part of his bid for Religious Right support in the presidential campaign, Trump had promised to make conservative Christians more politically powerful by eliminating it.

The idea that this restriction has stifled the voice of conservative Christians in the public arena is, of course, ridiculous. Right-wing evangelicals and their conservative Catholic allies have vast access to the airways and the public through media empires and political organizations, and they were among Trump’s biggest boosters.

Churches already have the right to talk about issues, register voters, and even distribute voter guides produced by right-wing groups. Repealing the Johnson Amendment could turn some churches into political machines that launder donations from politically-minded donors as tax-exempt religious contributions.

That’s a terrible idea. As the Post notes, more than 4,500 nonprofits recently urged congressional leaders not to weaken or repeal the amendment. Earlier this month, nearly 100 religious and denominational groups, including PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action, sent their own letter telling congressional leaders not to make houses of worship “another cog in a political machine or another loophole in campaign finance laws.” People For the American Way is among dozens of nonprofit groups who signed a March letter saying the restriction has “helped maintain the integrity and autonomy of our religious and charitable sectors and preserve the boundary separating church and state.”…

From <Right Wing Watch>

Giving pseudo-Christian Dominionists more power over the state is only the first step they plan.  The second is to use the state to force their piety codes onto YOU.

RESIST!!

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Easter Sunday

 Posted by at 7:39 am  Holiday, Politics, Religion
Apr 162017
 

Easter

In the time I have available, I don’t think I can improve on last year’s Easter message, so here it is again, with one small addition.

Whether or not you are a Christian, I respectfully invite you to join me in the celebration of the my faith’s most central holiday, even though many of its traditions are borrowed.

Jesus was a fascinating man.  He associated most closely with the social rejects of his day.  He respected people with faiths different from his.  He did not burn their religious writings or try to prevent them from practicing their own forms of worship.  Sometimes he used them as an example of what is right, like the Good Samaritan.  He had a heart for meeting the needs of the poor, and admonished us to care for them.  His concern  for the rich was that their own greed would blind them.   He had no trouble getting along with sinners.  He met people at the point of their need, and accepted all, except for the religious hypocrites who used their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and to force their own piety codes, which they often ignored themselves, onto others.  Those were only people Jesus condemned.  Sadly, they are still among us.

If we are followers of Jesus, our faith will help us to follow the example of what he did.  Of course, none of us is perfect in that way.  God knows that I fall short every day.  It is important to know that those who preach the things Jesus was against, but condemn those who contend for the things Jesus supported, are not followers of Jesus.  They are pseudo-Christians. Authentic Christians try to follow Jesus’ example.  Pseudo-Christians helped install a serial pussy-grabber in the White House.

And now, for your listening pleasure:

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Apr 022017
 

I’m feeling quite tired, so I’ll be brief.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, I plan to publish most days this week, but if the forecast holds, I may make a bank run on Tuesday afternoon.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 5:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Who would Jesus starve? Step aside Pope Francis, because this Texas Republican seems know exactly who:

One lawmaker is citing a godly reference to justify changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) recently quoted the New Testament to question the strength of current work requirements. […]

House Republicans have historically cited the verse — “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” — as justification for cutting some adults’ SNAP benefits. Arrington referenced the verse in a discussion about increasing the work requirements for unemployed adults on the food stamp program. But critics say that advances a pernicious myth about the unemployed who receive SNAP.

The verse in question applies specifically to people who can work or otherwise contribute to society but choose not to, said theologians from several denominations who spoke to The Post. There is a perception, among some voters and lawmakers, that many adult SNAP recipients are exactly this sort of “freeloader.”

But policy experts say that is not the case. Many unemployed adults on SNAP simply cannot work, they say. Those include the mentally ill, the borderline disabled and veterans.

Remember that these Republican Supply Side pseudo-Christians and authentic Christians have nothing whatsoever in common. Christians emulate the care for others that Jesus said, thought, and did. Republican pseudo-Christians do not and, therefore, are not Christians. RESIST!!

From YouTube: The facts on climate change — and what to do about it

 

Once upon a time, one could be pro-science, pro-earth, and pro-wildlife from a nonpartisan perspective. If they can help educate the Republican rank and file, more power to them, but I see no way forward without opposition to the Republican Reich, because they are anti-science, anti-earth and anti-wildlife, except for Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten’s wild life in Russian hotel rooms. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Trump administration is considered the wealthiest in United States history. Here is a look at the value of assets held by some top officials at the time they joined the administration, based on financial disclosure filings.

 

 

Value of assets

 

 

Name

Bottom estimate

Top estimate

 

Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education

$579,783,484

unknown

 

Wilbur L. Ross Secretary of Commerce

$326,224,177

unknown

 

Gary D. Cohn Director of the National Economic Council

$252,952,172

unknown

 

Jared Kushner Senior adviser to the president for strategic planning

$241,037,233

unknown

 

Rex W. Tillerson Secretary of State

$239,488,353

unknown

 

Reed Cordish Special assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives

$197,281,047

unknown

 

Steven T. Mnuchin Secretary of the Treasury

$154,137,166

unknown

This is the face of fascist plutocracy. Click through for the rest. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0402Cartoon

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Mar 042017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  I try to present incidents from the news which call for outrage, in order to help with keeping it alive.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

But I am giving the Furies a week off – at least from me.  In "The Resistance #40" (in TomCat's Open Thread for March 1  and also on the YouTube GQ channel), Keith covered exactly the kind of atrocities I try to cover, covered more of them than I would have room for, and covered them in a fiery icicle-dripping tone (oxymoron, yes, but I stand by it) that I can't begin to match in print.  So I am sending the ladies over to him to follow up on those incidents, while I indulge some of my passion for art.

Now, of course, we all know there are two kinds of Christians, real ones and fake ones.  And probably some of us know there is another way to divide Christians where both divisions contain both realies and fakies, and that is liturgical or non-liturgical.  "Liturgy" comes from the Greek words for "people" and "work," though today we think of it mostly as doing church services with the same words every time, or verbal ritual.  Probably the Catholic Church is the most liturgical on the western side (as opposed to the orthodox denominations), keeping its verbal ceremonies in obsolete languages long after they are obsolete, and keeping them always the same.  But it's not just verbally that Catholics are liturgical.  We like movements (ever been to a Catholic service and wonder whether you had accidentally read "catholic" when it was really "calisthenic"?) and we like objects.  In that way, a new ager focusing energy through a crystal or a wiccan focusing on a tarot symbol is also being liturgical.

During Lent (which started Wednesday), one liturgical exercise that a Catholic (or anyone who wants to) can do is called The Way of the Cross (or the Stations of the Cross or the Via Crucis, or the Via Dolorosa).  You will see around most Catholic churches a series of picture, fourteen in number, often seven up one side and seven down the other, showing incidents which happened before, during and after the Crucifixion.  It's the same 14 incidents everywhere, at least since about 1588, and there are some prayers that are traditional, but the idea is that you can go round them and contemplate each one, and so do a mini-pilgrimage.

Sometines they will be outdoors (there is a remarkable outdoor set in Colorado's San Luis Valley), and it is an outdoor one that made me want to share this today.

Coexist House at this point is a vision for a new ecumenical landmark in London, England.  But they have coordinated with people and institutions in Washington, DC, to "build" a (mostly) outdoor Stations of the Cross from existing art.

This unique exhibition—held in 14 locations across Washington, D.C. —  will use works of art to tell the story of the Passion in a new way, for people of different faiths. The Stations weave through religious as well as secular spaces.  In this pilgrimage for art lovers, viewers  will travel across the District, from the United Methodist Building adjacent to the Supreme Court, to the National Cathedral.  Instead of easy answers, the Stations aim to provoke the passions: artistically, spiritually, and politically. 

I won't show an illustration of every station, but the fourteen works selected for this different incidents are:

Station One
​Jesus is condemned to death by the mob
The United Methodist Building
Ndume Olatushani 'Disrupting the Cradle to Prison Pipeline ' 2017

Station ​Two
Jesus takes up his cross and begins his journey
West Potomac Park
Lei Yixin, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 2011

Station ​Three
Jesus falls the first time
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
George Segal, Depression Bread Line, 1991 and Leonard Baskin, The Funeral Cortege, 1997

Station ​Four
Jesus meets his mother
Vietnam Women's Memorial
Glenna Goodacre, 1993

Station ​Five
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
Marine Corp War Memorial – Iwo Jima
Felix de Weldon, 1954

Station Seven
Jesus falls for the second time
National Gallery of Art
Barnett Newman, Stations of the Cross: Lema Sabachthani, 1958-1965

Station ​Eight
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
First Congregational United Church of Christ
Leni Diner Dothan, Dead End, 2017

Station ​Nine
Jesus falls the third time.
Church of the Epiphany
Michael Takeo Magruder, Lamentation for the Forsaken, 2016

Station ​Ten
Jesus is stripped of his garments
Catholic Charities
Timothy Schmalz, Homeless Jesus, 2013

Station ​Eleven
Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Georgetown University
Altar Cross, 17th century

Station ​Twelve
Jesus dies on the cross
American University Museum
Fernando Botero, Abu Ghraib 73, 2005

Station ​Thirteen
Jesus is taken down from the cross
St. Sophia Orthodox Cathedral
Epitaphios

Station ​Fourteen
Jesus is laid in the tomb
Washington National Cathedral
Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea

Some of these choices, I think, are obvious, but most are anything but, and some are so striking they just grab the imagination and won't let go.  Here is a link to the page which provides a small picture of each, explains the rationale for each choice, and gives the hours, a map, and a short podcast for each.  Everything you'd need to know.  For those here who are not Christian or not liturgical, hopefully you can still appreciate the art, and perhaps the inspiration the art is intended to evoke.  I am not trying to proselytize, but to share.

Let me end with an image of the face of Jesus which I have found to be extremely moving; I have often tried to describe it (usually eliciting responses like "yeah, yeah, whatever."  I don't think it can be described; I think it has to be seen).  As far as I know, the only place it can be seen is in a book by Frederick Buechner called The Faces of Jesus, which contains over 150 photographs, all but about a dozen of which were taken by Lee Boltin, who holds the copyright.  I think showing one out of about 140 (with full credit) constitutes fair use here.  Beyond here, maybe not so much; if you want to share it beyond here, I'd appreciate you having your friends come here to see it.   The original, by an unknown sculptor, is in a private collection.  The book is still in print in paperback, about 3/4 of the size of my hardcover.  The images range in time from about the 6th century to yesterday, in space from all over the world, in artistic ability from children's refrigerator art to great masters, in medium from bronze through stone, wood, tapestry, and paper, to almost anything you can think of, including one sliding steel door.  I hope that at least some others here will appreciate seeing this one.

The Furies and I will be back.

 

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4040239

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Feb 182017
 

I’m running late as I have a lot to do, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:20 (average 5:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From All In: Scott Pruitt won’t get a warm welcome at EPA

An enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency has been confirmed as its leader. And the staff is revolting.

 

Kudos to EPA employees, but they are resisting.  Pruitt is revolting… VERY revolting!!  If those emails reveal what I think they will, Republicans will have another criminal scandal.  RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: The man who was reportedly tapped by Trump to replace the disgraced Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser has said no dice to this administration. Vice Admiral Robert Heyward has reportedly said thanks but no thanks.

Two sources close to the situation confirm Harward  Harward demanded his own team, and the White House resisted.

Specifically, Mr. Trump told Deputy National Security Adviser K. T. McFarland that she could retain her post, even after the ouster of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Harward refused to keep McFarland as his deputy, and after a day of negotiations over this and other staffing matters, Harward declined to serve as Flynn’s replacement.

Since then even David Petraeus, who earned the label Betraeus for goose-stepping behind Crawford Caligula, turned the Fuhrer down. Potential appointees in many areas are coming to realize that appointment in the Rectum Reich is a career ender. RESIST!!

From Right Wing Watch: On his “Pass The Salt Live” webcast yesterday, Religious Right activist Dave Daubenmire called on citizens to rise up with pitchforks and torches and arrest that “traitor” Barack Obama for undermining President Trump and trying to “destroy America.”

“Donald Trump, now we know his own CIA, FBI—what do they call those guys? The snoops—they’re not sharing all their information with the president now,” Daubenmire said. “They’re not giving him the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They’re undermining him at every turn. Why? Well, we have to understand that we’re in a war. We’re at war and to see what President Obama put into place, his desire to destroy America, I think he ought to be arrested.”

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Attributing mob violence to Jesus is what Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian Trump Nazis do. It is NOT what Christians do! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0218Cartoon

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Feb 092017
 

I had a pretty good night's sleep last night, after Wendy left, but I'm still quite tired.  Sometime today the pest control people will be here to inspect my place, and do some baiting for roaches as needed.  I have my own bait injector, so even though there are roaches in the bathrooms and some other people's rooms, I don't have a problem here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 3:19 (average 5:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): The Travesties Done in Your Name and Mine | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

I trust that, if they heard this at all, some traditional Republicans, would be very upset at it. Others would make excuses and hide their heads in the sand, not wanting to know the truth. The Fuhrer, his associates, and the rabid base would rejoice at the opportunity to kill another potential Muslim for Republican Supply-side Jesus (The exact opposite of the real Jesus). RESIST!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Schumer: Democratic bulwark will hold on Trump SCOTUS pick

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer assures Rachel Maddow that despite reports of defections, Democratic Senators will filibuster Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

 

I hope the only useless piece of crap to break ranks and vote to break the filibuster against Whoresuch is Joe Manchin (DINO-WV). RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: The Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary means that immigrants will be the nation’s only reliable source of educated people going forward, education experts said on Tuesday.

Under DeVos, according to Davis Logsdon, the dean of the University of Minnesota’s School of Education, the U.S. will have to “drastically increase its inflow of immigrants” if it wants people capable of performing even the simplest tasks.

“Most of our industries require people who can read, write, and do arithmetic, even in a rudimentary way,” he said. “The Senate just shot that to hell.”

With DeVos running the Department of Education, Logsdon said, millions of American students “will graduate from high school each year without mastering any useful skills—in other words, much like DeVos herself.”

Dang!! I miss the days, when Andy did satire. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0209Cartoon

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