698 Comments
May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

I'm repeating myself, but I just can't seem to get my mind around the fact that white male Christians have coopted the name of Christ, who never called himself Christ and who, by the way, was a brown-skinned Jewish Rabbi. This from me, a theologian and pastor in the United Church of Christ. The White Christian male overreach is much more akin to the so-called scribes and pharisees - the keepers of the law, who Jesus criticized.

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Rosalind, my dear, keep repeating yourself. Your message is timeless and valuable. You never know who is reading, it changes all the time, and many people don’t see your post on any given day because the volume of messages grows so large.

Self-identified Christians are often as full of themselves and as hypocritical as the scribes and Pharisees. A true Christian is a follower of a moral code. Joshua was “no respecter of persons.” You treat the poorest person as you treat the richest person, with kindness and equal respect. Treat men and women and children the same. Treat everyone in the world equally. No one person is better than any other. Now if only we could get that message through to the coalition of misguided and deluded people who have joined the Republican Party and who vote for degenerates like Trump. They live in the dystopian fantasy world where certain types of people are superior to others. Keep the message going, Rosalind, sooner or later the social laggards will catch up with reality.

This forum is a place to reach the teachers, the leaders. Yes, that means YOU.

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Thanks for the support and your words, Roland. The prophet Micah said that all God wants from us is to "Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." He was trying to get through to the kind of entitled folk that are ruining our nation.

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Back in the 80's I was doing video & media coaching work with Republicans who were mostly of the IKE variety. Then along came the conservative Christians who took control of our state party. I got to see them up close, behind closed doors and they were some of the most petty and closed minded people I had ever met. I was really stunned by their Jr High School behavior and thoughts. There was an organized take back of power by the Ike leaning crowd and I hung in for awhile with them...but eventually had to walk away from it all. I still work a few conservative events in DC just to hear and see what they are saying with no media around. I've got a major one coming up in 10 days and I'm VERY curious to hear the buzz first hand.

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Please let us know what the buzz is, Mike!

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This is a conservative awards event in DC that has been around for awhile. Actually here's the public video from the 2021 event. The camera crew are my people. We work free lance for different production companies across the political spectrum, since it is DC. Check this out at about 46 minutes...she was the "rock star" in the room that night. https://vimeo.com/600297455/8e8c1523b2

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Thanks for this peek into another world.

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Thanks, Mike. Faulty streaming keeps me from "enjoying" this. Apparently, as I listened to the beginning part, these folks feel as threatened by us as much as we feel threatened by them.

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Beautiful Work!

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Don't have access to video. Thanks anyway, Mike.

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I'm thinking Reagan, in order to garner votes, gave these folks a nationwide platform they'd never enjoyed, similar to what Trump did with the MAGA crowd. Feeding and unleashing. And here we are.

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Yesterday Prof HCR reported that the Reagan administration began courting the white nationalist Christian vote … and here we are.

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It started under Reagan--when Jerry Falwell first raised his ugly head--but then in the '90s Newt Gingrich came along and turned everything REALLY nasty. That's when the invective-driven, ugly side of the Republican party really took off--plus the advent of conservative talk radio and the Fairness Doctrine. Add to that the co-opting of social media to spread disinformation and hatred. It's been a long, slow, steady spiral downwards into the cesspool we find ourselves in now.

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Don’t forget Newt Baby’s Contract On America that helped with the damage.

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Add social media, add some bots, and you have an algorithm pathway to radicalization.

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Or... some people trace this back to Nixon and the "smoke-filled rooms" where discussions took place on how to take over the GOP... I don't know, but I know it starts with racism, misogyny, and hate.

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Yes. A certain type of self-identified religious person (Christian, etc.) is very low consciousness. My dad is one. They have a lot of learning to do, as you noticed.

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I worked a big Christian event on the Mall in DC the summer after Trump was elected. Their main theme was around abortion and I asked a number of them as "Christians" how could they be so supportive of a man like Trump ? And the reply was always "he supports us on abortion". The rest did not matter. I just can't imagine what I know of Jesus, for him to take that same position.

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They use the word "Christian" as a mask - or like a KKK hood - it has nothing to do with a higher faith.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Mike,

Unfortunately, with what I know about Jesus, he would have briefly encountered Trump, offered him love and forgiveness and asked him to go and "sin no more".

Jesus would have accepted Trump into his fold. And forgiven him.

Which, would have aggravated the heck out of me if I had been around.

:-)

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Low consciousness, indeed, Roland. Jesus' message encouraged people to open their minds and hearts to love and to practice the Golden Rule, yet to many Christians today do the exact opposite. I'd like to say that they know not what they do but they're abandoning their principles in favor of political expediency and the entire country pays the price.

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Yes, it's always seemed to me that the Golden Rule is all the rules you need.

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That’s beautiful Randy

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Thanks, Mike. It was Barry Goldwater who said that if the preachers ever took over the Republican Party there would no longer be a Republican Party.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Mike I voted for Ike in 1956 and have been involved with Eisenhower Fellows (a wonderful organization that has brought thousands of outstanding individuals to the United States and has sent hundreds of Americans abroad) since 1953. David and Susan Eisenhower are still EF trustees. I consider them ‘Eisenhower moderates,’ an almost extinct breed.

My demise as an “Eisenhower moderate’ came with my presence on the Nixon White House Enemies List. Like the dinosaurs, I felt extinct. Susan Eisenhower publicly supported Obama in 2008. I don’t recall that David Eisenhower, married to Julie Nixon, ever publicly expressed his political beliefs in 2008.

Under Chairman Colin Powell, in 2008 we had an EF trustees’ hand vote regarding the Trump/Clinton election. I was surprised and gratified that a majority of the trustees (a number of ‘good old boys’) preferred Clinton over Trump.

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OMG, Ike looks like a saint now. Nixon looks like a petty thief

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You were on the Nixon White House Enemies List? Were you both horrified and gratified? Reminds me that our political climate has often been fraught.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Nancy Initially being on the Nixon White House Enemies List posed some personal problems. Only later did it become a badge of honor. Openly, in Greenwich, working against Nixon in the 1972 election prompted considerable ‘distaste,’ By late 1974 I had the impression that few of those Greenwichites who had gloried Nixon spoke of their 1972 vote.

My dream is that such might eventually occur with some of the 74 million who voted for Trump in 2020. (I also believe in the tooth fairy.)

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Yea, I like Ike more all the time. Have been working on a video project on his "Atoms for Peace" NS Savannah that is berthed here in Baltimore. I've heard Susan speak at an event we covered. I was suitably impressed

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Mike Susan Eisenhower’s book HOW IKE LED is, in my opinion, the best single book to read on Ike. Also, the PBS American Experience presidential DVD on Ike provides valuable insights into Ike. (For some reason, which neither Susan nor narrator David McCullough could explain, it was removed from the available PBS DVDs.) It avoided the facts on Ike’s affair with his British driver, Kay Summersby, who, in 1975, wrote a book discussing this.

I had the privilege of meeting Ike while he was president.

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Such interesting history, Keith!

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Wow, you have seen it from the inside. Bill Moyers saw it from the outside but he saw and warned us. By then, Rupert had a toe-hold on our media, courtesy of Ronnie…

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Bringing up Rupert makes me think of Zuckerberg (and now Musk), who now hold so much media power and are poorly equipped to handle normal human interactions, let alone deal with the evil unleashed on social media now

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Mike, make sure u wear a flea collar to the event.

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Thanks for offering a reason to laugh, Ted. You always deliver.

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Be sure and report back here!

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Apparently they publish the video we shoot...but I will be paying attention to what's said "off stage".

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Thanks, Mike. We need you! I was unable to view the full video as my heart stopped when Yolanda Peltzer (sp?) sang the National Anthem. The power and exhaustion of the "bombs bursting in air" has felt like America for the past 6-7 years. And today.

But through my tears, the "home of the BRAVE" is what grabbed me, deeply. And the resolve of all the people before us who fought tyranny stand behind us, right now, to take this country to the next level of "consciousness" that Roland speaks about. This means, we need to hold that consciousness as the Light to do and say the right things. In the weirdest way, it is a real "Jesus moment" (maybe deep within I am a true Christian? Yikes to that!) I have always believed that the Second Coming religious organizations talk is not about a person coming. I hope it is about the consciousness within each of us. No church or ring kissing necessary. We Are It. (Love) And it is our turn to be brave enough to Be and Shine that Light. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for HCR who brings us together, who cuts out all the media BS and goes straight to the heart of the matter at hand enabling us to focus lazer-like energy on what needs to be done. Burn brightly, my friends, and take heart that the New America is ready for this shift.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Mike, please do report back. The fact that they treated you as they would a piece of furniture is exactly what I'd expect from people of this sort. Think of what they would do to an object of their scorn.

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Some clients treat the crew with respect, feed us well, etc. For others I feel like we are sub-human, along with the wait staff, to cater to them and serve their needs...but we are "less than".

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Mike, I can picture this behavior. In fact, I voiced this view to one of "them," and the reaction was one of stunned disbelief, as in "how dare you!"

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Wow, Mike! This is fantastic. There's nothing I like better than hearing it straight from the horse's mouth. I'll be looking forward to hearing what you hear.

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There's nothing I like better than hearing it straight from the horse's mouth. I look forward to your telling what you hear.

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Please share your observation with us after the upcoming event!

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We look forward to a report.

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We are all part of Consciousness. Consciousness is like a jewel with an amazingly large number of facets. Every human is a facet. And since one facet of a jewel is not better than any other facet, and since every one of the facets is part of the jewel, all of it is equally precious and sacred.

That’s the message that needs to register. So you keep hammering the message, at the risk of repeating yourself.

Also, since this is a forum of teachers and leaders and true Christians, this is an excellent place to repeat oneself. Yes, I know you’ve never thought of yourself that way, but if you’re reading this you are very likely a true Christian. Notice the similarities between the words Christian and Crystal. It’s about accessing and being a messenger for a pure light, just like the aforementioned facets. Integrity, character, moral purity. Our job here, Rosalind and others, is to reinspire, to boost morale, to inspire the leaders, the messengers. Never give up. We are all doing excellent work in our lives, and everyone gets down from time to time. Our job here is to boost each other back up.

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Well said, with the caveat that some of us are very definitely not Christians. We are atheists or agnostics or Buddhists or Muslims or Jews (or more than one of those, or of a religion not on my very short list), happy to keep company with the kind of Christians you describe, but not properly described as such and would rather not be.

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The problem is more than correct identity. Setting up a model of admirable behavior for any group to emulate is a fine thing. The trouble comes when the group identity is conflated with the model in a way that implies people in other groups are far less likely to be admirable. Implications do not have to be intentional to have their effect. I've see plenty of examples in American literature(not that I can call any particular books to mind, although perhaps Huck Finn). If "that's Christian of you" doesn't resonate for you in this way, how about "that's white of you"?

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If I may, I think some of what Roland said in response to what Rosalind said, lo these many hours ago, maybe comes down to semantics. As a Christian myself, I tend to describe people in my orbit--and there are a lot of them--as being "Christ-like", but I would not call them "Christian". I think that's an important distinction. A "Christian" is defined as someone believes in the person of Christ and follows (or tries to) his teachings and example. There are so many people in my life that I have encountered, people of other faiths or no faiths, that I, speaking as a Christian, would describe as "Christ-like". In many instances in the manner of their life, THEY succeed in actually being more exemplary of how we, Christians, see Christ. Does this make sense? I see any number of people on this site as exhibiting traits that I would describe a "Christ-like", but I wouldn't call them "Christians" because they are not believers, and that is totally okay by me. Many bristle at the mere thought of being called "Christian", and I understand that. I don't care who they are or what they believe, but if they live a good life and treat others as they themselves would be treated, then that is a life worthy of emulation. My feeling is that is what Christ embodies. We--at least people in my denomination--do not believe in evangelizing. We believe in trying to let our lives, the way we treat people, and our works be our lesson, not beating people over the head with it, threatening them with hell-fire and damnation, or ramming it down their throats. That is NOT what Christ is about. We believe in "respecting the dignity of every human being", part of our baptismal covenant. For the example in my own life I refer to my recently (almost a year ago) departed mother. She hardly ever set foot in a church, but in her many years of being a phenomenal nurse, she aided and comforted countless thousands of people. She eased pain and helped her fellow human beings. She did it out of love. If that's not Christ-like, I don't know what is. Her faith, whatever it was, was something she didn't ever wear on her sleeve...just do the work. That example, and there are others, sustains me and shows me what God is truly about. That's what works for me. So I don't want to put words in Roland's mouth, nor do I want to irritate folks on here by telling them they ARE actually more like Christ than a lot of so-called "Christians", but most of you are very admirable people and it matters not one whit what you do or don't believe. We ARE united here by our faiths in what this country stands for and are deeply concerned about what is happening to it. That's good enough for me, so you're stuck with me. Peace, y'all.

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Thank you, Bruce!

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I was brought up Catholic, but no longer attend. To much hypocrisy. I had a priest whom I really liked and he once told me that going to church did not make a man good and that some of the best men he had ever met had never set foot in a church. He was a good man.

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To clarify, I am a believer, just not a fan of organized religion.

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This decision strips several faith traditions of their First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. Without a peep.

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Exactly. When Alito says it doesn't matter what the majority of the country wants, that is not a remark in passing - it's the core of his action. A minority imposes their version of religion on everyone else.

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Agree Joan. Thx.

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Joan, no matter what we believe we are all in this together from birth to death. It is those that that think they are better that are destroying our world. Look at Putin. He claims to be a Christian. I believe he is pure evil and corrupt for what he is doing in Ukraine and to individuals that try to take away his power over Russia. He is a role model to many! Look at Tucker Carlson and TFG! TFG pretended to be a Christian in front of the camera, and I am sure Tucker Carlson pretends also. They only want power and they do it with brainwashing tactics! Hugs

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Thanks, Joan. Well said!

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

@Roland,

I am here and I am not Christian. Just saying. I appreciate your distinction between hypocritical Christians and humble ones but we are not all Christian at all. Please don’t start that exclusionist language here! Thank You.

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I think he is referring to the Spirit of Jesus' thoughts, not actually the organized Christians. At least that is how I accept what he is saying and I am definitely not a Christian! But the true heart of most religions probably have similar tenets to begin with and then get very muddled by humans when they "organize." Then control dramas seem to appear tempted by power, ego and greed.

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Thank you Pensa. 🙏 I was going a little out on a limb, because of course I am addressing Cara and Joan Friedman and Joan TX->DE and all of you who are Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, et al. How one identifies spiritually is a very personal matter, and I have no intention of causing offense. On the contrary, I am praising this group because it is so full of so many beautiful people.

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Wait, but not everyone who reads HCR and comments identifies as Christian. I have friends who are faithful followers of HCR who are not. I'm pretty sure they would be offended to think they might not be respected by others following HCR because they don't call themselves "Christian".

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Perhaps they don't identify as "Christian" because they don't practice the religions who worship Christ. In my lifetime, one of the people who I came across who was one of the best Christians I ever met was actually a Muslim woman--her deeds and actions, her kindness and consideration of others were better than some of the most devote Christians I know.

I don't think I expressed the above well, but I think you know what I mean.

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I do. One doesn't have to call themselves a Christian to be a good, well-meaning person.

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Roland, this is so beautiful and a keeper message. I am so glad you have returned. ❤️

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Agree. I read Roland talking about the attitudes and behaviors of HCR followers, as a self-identifying Christian, not partitioning us or being exclusive. Facets, each one of us, together a whole consciousness.

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Thank you, you’re very sweet

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Last night I had insomnia, so I was awake for the hours when HCR’s letter appears. If you contribute after waking on the West Coast, your little dinghy messages disappear into the tsunami.

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Thank you, Roland. I needed this this morning!

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Well here I am again to say thank you. That seems to me possibly the most important passage in the entire Hebrew bible.

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Which passage do you have in mind?

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Rosalind wrote: ‘The prophet Micah said that all God wants from us is to "Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." ‘

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Thanks Mary. I agree, that's the core.

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Micah, which Rosiland quoted.

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It can be hard to keep track, with dozens of comments in the thread.

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One of my favorite and life guiding verses.

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I hope when you say "he" you are referring to Micah and not God? Important for the progressive voices of faith to be heard and valued!

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Yes, I believe she is referring to Micah.

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I join the ranks of "not a Christian" here. I once was given what I took (at the time) to be a great compliment, and having the opportunity to talk with the very conservative and true Christian friend some 40 years later, realize that it was, indeed, from that source, a compliment: "For an atheist, you are one of the most Christian people I know."

I also relay two thoughts from essays I've read (both paraphrased). Before I judge a man by who he worships, I shall watch his actions. They tell me far more than any words that might be uttered. The second: A good deed done by an evil person is still good, and an evil deed done by a good person is still evil.

As close as I come to any organized spiritual practice is found in the woods or at the ocean.

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Yes, nature needs our help as much as anyone, right now. Heading out shortly to lead a Writing in Nature workshop, a health enhancing, nature focused event.

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Ally, I totally agree with you. There are non-Christians, people of other faiths and no faith at all who do not want a small reactionary religious minority making life decisions for us. And, there are actually millions of Catholics who support a woman's right to choose. I saw on TV that one of the protestors carried a sign "Catholics for Choice". So, I Googled it and found a group devoted to this. I was so encouraged to know that there are others like me!!! If you are Catholic and interested in this group, check it out: https://www.catholicsforchoice.org/

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Annette, has the Pope offered any reaction to the draft decision?

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No, and I am sure he won't. All the reactions that I have seen from local priests, for example, seem to be happy with this. I don't think any of them will question it a bit.

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Try Ireland, France, Italy and Colombia - predominantly Catholic countries which ALL allow abortion now and treat it as a medical, not a religious issue. How did they get to this place? How did we?

Why do we have to cope with "fake" Christian fanatics everywhere? How can these people talk without a shred of irony about how vaccination violates their right to do what they want with their bodies?

I wish Heather would write something about our Bible Belt and the origins of this fanatical Christian evangelical movement. I was going to do a Masters thesis on Christian Broadcasting in the 1980s but I never did. What I saw then was that it was mostly about greed and money, these snake oil sales people (another interesting thing in U.S. history) preying on people who were poor, uneducated and naive and at the time flocking to TV religion and megachurches.

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Love, love, love this.

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I hear you. Nature/spirituality can be found in a blade of grass, a cloud, a lion or an ant, Sir Attenborough’s voice. It is where I find it when I pay attention. Even, dare I say, in the face of my right wing “Christian” daughter. We are all in this together.

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Yes, thanks, Janet, even in our right-wing "Christian" friends and relatives. Even those who voted for tfg -- this, lest we too be judgmental.

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Yes, thanks, Mary.

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Bravo, Ally, and I repeat my post from above:

Miselle1 min ago

Perhaps they don't identify as "Christian" because they don't practice the religions who worship Christ. In my lifetime, one of the people who I came across who was one of the best Christians I ever met was actually a Muslim woman--her deeds and actions, her kindness and consideration of others were better than some of the most devote Christians I know.

I don't think I expressed the above well, but I think you know what I mean.

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The Muslims that I know revere Christ as a great prophet, just not the son of God and study his teachings.

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Yes. Christianity and Islam are very closely connected. Most people don’t know that here, I just learned it a year ago. Apparently Islam reveres Abraham, whose children are Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac is an ancestor of Joshua (Jesus), Ishmael is an ancestor of Muhammad. So in Islam, Jesus is another prophet like Mohammed. Whodathunk.

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My friends said that he is ranked right below Mohammad—so #2

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Me too. I crave being outside and find space in AZ but really my heart is in the mountains in Alaska or walking by the shores of Cook Inlet. At the same time, I am aware of the fellowship offered by organized religions, and how valuable that can be.

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I ring handbells in an "Open and Affirming" Disciples of Christ church. I love their works, their fellowship, and their commitment to community. There's just too much God stuff for me to join the congregation. I'm welcome as a musician, however.

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Really cool, Ally!!

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Or on the shore of Norton Sound at Shaktoolik trading freeze dried for fresh salmon guarded from the bears at night by a 5 year old with a broken 30-30.

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How deep in the woods, Ally?

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It can be as simple as the wooded unimproved park behind my house inside the city, deep into the Redwood Forest, or along the McKenzie River Trail or Ridgeline trail that are 60 miles and 3 miles respectively from my house.

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I tend to treat the poorest person better than the richest person - he's far less likely to be a heartless bastard.

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Talia yes:

I have often observed that people who have the least give the most and people who have the most give the least.

A puzzle to be sure.

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People who have the least see the need more clearly

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❤️ agreed, I see many people who give away whatever they have and therefore never accumulate and I’ve seen the richest be unable to give away pennies

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Why I am a Dem. Samuel Gompers said it best “The man who has millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day.” Sad that so many of the “poor devils” of today align with the MAGATS and the lying bastards with the money.

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Well, that’s why Joshua was much more comfortable with the poor people. No surprise there.

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One if the most inspiring things I've watched this week was Jose Andres on Colbert. Love his tshirt too "Fight Like Ukranians! " https://youtu.be/4IVfyu2NUUQ

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Chef Jose has a huge heart. He deserves every single encomium bestowed upon him.

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I submit the word ‘religionist’ as a discriptor for those who pick and chose the teachings of Christ that suit their delusions!

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The so-called evangelical Christians are as far from Jesus’s teachings as I am from being 30. Love, care for one’s neighbor, ‘a rich man has scant chance of reaching heaven,’ and ‘turn the other cheek’ are the antithesis of these credit-card ‘churches.’

Indeed, as someone who, for nearly two decades, taught a course on the similarities and differences between early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, most evangelicals violate the core tenets of these three great religions.

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“The so-called evangelical Christians are as far from Jesus’s teachings as I am from being 30.”

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My husband's aunt was married to an evangelical minister, complete with televised services. When I commented that there was a church in our neighborhood that was affiliated with his denomination, he sneered and commented that it was not "up and coming" and brought in no money. Confirmed what I'd suspected about his character.

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Nancy Jesus’s only act of violence was when he banished the money changers in front of the temple. Weitzel’s selling of indulgences (to finance St. Peter Cathedral) offering absolution for sins not yet committed prompted Martin Luther to issue his 95 Theses and create Protestantism (with the political support of German princes).

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I'm now wondering whether TFG's contention of being Christian could actually have a bit of credibility - you know, depending upon which brand we're discussing.

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Dear Jesus, As I lay me down to sleep, I pray to the Lord my soul to keep: Also please feed president trump a sardine and ask him to repent and if not please turn that sardine into a whale. Amen.

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Thank you Keith

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They argue that life begins at conception, so they do take the moral high ground by protecting the poor, vulnerable cluster of cells yearning to be free with no voice or representation. BAH! Is my only retort. Crazy, crazy notion from where? The pulpit? Perhaps all of us who have abandoned the organized church need to go back into those spaces and argue our understanding of "what would Jesus do"?

Didn't the Christian church have it's reformation? We're all waiting for the Islamic church to go thru their reformation, maybe they can skip ahead?

Gonna go plant some daisies now.

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Why are you dissing the Muslims? It’s a Christian minority that is passing laws and declaring court opinions that are taking away our rights. The mosques (which are not churches) have many different sects. A minority of those are terrible. But they are not the people attacking our freedom to live as we choose.

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Imagine the Christian’s taking over American politics. Why it would be like the Middle Ages again. Maybe we could have a plague too!

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Don’t ever forget what the native Americans said. “The most dangerous thing on planet earth is a middle aged Christian white lady.

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Perfectly stated!!

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Because, as I understand the basics, women ate subservient, if not property.

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Not in Islam itself -- the cultures of countries that practice Islam have put women in subservient positions. Women in some Islamic countries had more rights than western Christian women until the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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So, sort of like the Maga crazies perverting Christian teachings?

Sigh.

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As soon as you hang a toilet seat on your head what you call it doesn’t matter. Exclusivity for all matters.

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Pat, I can tell you feel strongly but I don't understand what you are trying to say. Please clarify.

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We get a few ideas in our heads then we distort it to suit, we take up that mantra and declare ourselves something that stinks. Hence toilet seat. Some hang their degrees on the wall too proudly, claiming the high ground . Others jump on board and wear the toilet seat with distinction. Exclusivity follows, but I claim exclusivity for all people on earth is democracy and wrest that word, When all become the sum of exclusivity.

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Daisies are eternally cheerful. I'm waiting for IVF to be outlawed if personhood begins at time of sperm penetration of the ovum. The Mormons, among others, will have a very hard time with that, whereas they have fought hard along side the Catholics and Evangelicals for this decision.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

I’ve said it so many times over decades. What has been my spiritual center is what I believe of the original download from the Creator…..

We are all in this together. There is enough to go around.

Usually the simplest solution is that which all can hold onto and embrace.

Thank you, Roland, always for your encouragement to others to hold the center. Peace lies not in the extremes, but in the center.

Salud! United.

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Bravo, Roland AND Rosalind. This needs to be the loudest voice in the current din.

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Roland and Rosalind well named for the ages.

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Joshua's idea comes down the the Golden Rule, plain and simple. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." from the King James bible.

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I also like the judge not theme. That should ring a bell with the zealots.

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Yeah, tell it to the Republican SC appointees. SHEESH.

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Especially Amy three names. How does she sleep at night? Oh I know, faith. BAH.

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Love me some Golden Rule, Barbara!

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Beautiful message, Roland. You see the big picture with calm clarity.

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And it is so hard to get them to listen to us the true believers! Many of them are wonderful people! It doesn't take much to repeating of the big lie before they begin to follow evil!

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Following someone else is the easiest way to Heaven. Notwithstanding Jesus.

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I wouldn't call myself a "true believer." I do try to be the kind of person the Samaritan was: be just, be merciful, be humble.

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Children in Christian schools and families grow up hearing that abortion is murder I know I did. All the time. In 5th grade we read “the diary of a fetus” aloud in class. It ends with the fetus writing “my mommy killed me today.” That is a hard thing to step back from and unlearn when it is taught as fact to young minds. It is an easy issue to support at all costs if you believe you are saving babies. I’m not defending the stance against reproductive rights which I grew to understand as essential thanks to patient friends at a liberal college. But I understand how recalcitrant and motivating antiabortion beliefs can be. They are ingrained and deeply indoctrinated. Right now the religious right are celebrating that the minority (David) beat the majority (Goliath) to save babies. It’s important to know this in order to combat it with both fury and compassion.

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It’s not really about babies. If it were, the same people who claim to be pro life would support prenatal health care, maternal and child health care, public schools, and responsible gun laws.

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@joan I agree in principle. It goes against all logic to respect life as a fetus but not care as Christ would for the child’s well-being after birth. My Catholic school indoctrination taught of the horrors of abortion. But we never talked about the poor or poverty or crime in any hard hitting way. “Treat others as you would like to be treated. Turn the other cheek and let he who is without sin cast the first stone” we passing stories Shared as “Nice ideas.”

But in my Catholic grade school and high school, selling abortion as murder was pounded in as a real tangible horror that had no room for discussion.

To catch earthworms, I learned as a child, you must gently hold the worm without pulling it from the ground or it would break and you’d have nothing. After a while the worm relented and relaxed and you could pull the whole worm from the ground. It is with this method, those like my younger self will one day see the truth about reproductive rights.

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Shawn, I too am a product of Catholic education (graduated from an all girl catholic high school in the late 60s). The nuns might have tried to indoctrinate us, but my older brother was at a Jesuit college where the priests encouraged him to question everything. Made for some lively discussions with our mother....who was indoctrinated!!

As for me, when I was in the 5th grade I asked if anger was a sin, then why was it OK for Jesus to be angry in the temple? The answer was completely unsatisfying, basically because Jesus was righteous. The church kinda lost me then. When I do go to church, it's for the music.

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I think there are a whole lot of prolife people for choice.

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This is where I come down very hard on the side of those who are pro-choice. Pro-life movements do not rally with equal fervor to protect the lives of those who have been born but live helplessly in extremely difficult situations. They do not lobby to decrease the obscenely high rate of death while giving birth of non-white people. They do not lobby against the death penalty. Their argument is pro-fetus, not pro-life.

In truth this is an agonizing question. Caitlin Flanagan (writer for the Atlantic) made a comment that resonated powerfully with me last night.

“The truth is that the best argument on each side is a damn good one, and until you acknowledge that fact, you aren’t speaking or even thinking honestly about the issue”.

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About your last line: That is only true of the best arguments for or against a woman actually having an abortion. The language is "pro-choice" not "pro-abortion" for a reason: a pregnant person might well choose to carry a pregnancy to term, and in fact usually does.

The arguments for making abortion illegal are misguided at best, because all that does is mangle and kill women who turn in desperation to illegal abortions.

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They may be misguided, and I take your point seriously. But ”all that does” is a simplification. Abortion laws reduce abortions. An article in the Globe (Toronto) today affirms that clearly for the state of Utah. The SB8 law has proven to have a decisive effect in limiting abortions in Texas. This, of course, is partially offset by a significant increase in Texans getting abortions in (mostly) nearby states. However, as many, many people cannot afford this luxury, the net effect is that Texans are receiving some fewer amount of abortions in toto.

As for substitution of illegal abortions for legal ones, and the danger that entails, your point is taken. My question is - are there are any statistics to give us a sense of the depth of this problem? It is indeed a frightening consequence of stringent abortion law, but does anybody know, say, whether sweeping bans reduce abortions by more or less than they induce the so-called “back-alley” abortions.

My fundamental sticking point remains - if one is going to be fiercely pro life, than one must adopt this philosophy consistently. My reading suggests this to be far from true. If I am correct the better name for this phalanx of people would be pro-fetus. I cannot abide the hypocrisy.

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Check your last sentences, I think you wrote differently than you meant.

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Isn't the real question, "When does HUMAN life begin?" We don't have a final answer on that, although some churches claim to., The Catholic church, e.g. But I haven't heard that question asked in these days since the big leak. Like other political or religious discussions, we haven't defined our terms.

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Excellent point. I think it is now the issue that people want to stay from unless they take extreme positions.

And I happen to have one of the extreme positions. It seems to me that human life begins at conception. It’s not recognizable as human, but there is nothing other than human that it will turn out to be. Since the process of growth and development is unbroken, it seems logical to me that conception is a starting point. It seems like sophistry to me to argue for any particular week, for viability, for whatever else.

The next point one comes to is that of (in some cases) competing rights - the fetus or the mother. This is a serious question - both entities have, as I see it, legitimate claims to argue here.

I think, for no really compellingly rational reason, that at the point of medical viability, that the rights of the fetus trump those of the mother, except in the usual extraordinary cases - rape, incest, life of the mother.

Before viability, there is a very strong case for the rights of the mother.

I recognize that this is kind of squishy. The longer a fetus develops, the more it feels awful to terminate the life to come. It’s hard to look at pictures of a thumb-sucking, kicking, clearly proto-human fetus without feeling uneasy about denying it life. At least it is for me. But at the other end, when it is a collection of cells, it feels wrong to deny the mother agency over her body.

It’s such a fraught issue. Where I live, there is a large number of abortions performed when the fetus is determined to be a girl in the making. I assume other reasons are given, but it’s plainly obvious what the real reason is for many families.

And further complicating my thinking is the fact that I’m male. I don’t have the intensity of violation that many, many women feel when forced to carry to term.

It’s altogether an extraordinarily fraught issue.

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I like what Grandad said. “Don’t talk politics and don’t talk religion. Most importantly keep your nose out of other people’s business”. I have no idea what he believed in . He never said.

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Sorry, but I don't think they are PRO anything - I think they are Anti-Choice and Anti-Women and Anti-Freedom!

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Yes, it's not about babies. Rose Aguilar on KALW's Your Call discussed the money behind the anti-abortion movement, and the intentional grooming of judges that support the monied.

The interview can be found at https://www.kalw.org/show/your-call - - scroll down the list to "The Groups and Dark Money Behind Anti-Abortion, anti-LGBTQ and Anti-CRT Legislation." Excellently researched.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

"In 5th grade we read “the diary of a fetus” aloud in class. It ends with the fetus writing “my mommy killed me today.”"

Wow. If my kids had read such a book in 5th grade I would have sued the school for child abuse, indoctrination, lying (since fetus cannot communicate), and mental duress and I would not have stopped until the teacher sponsoring that reading was fired. And I live where there is a teachers Union.

You certainly were indoctrinated. I am sure it was hard to get past all that mind washing and indoctrination.

This is one of the saddest stories I have ever read that was true life.

I am really sorry you had to go through that process of indoctrination and then, the painful process of waking up. I really am Shawn.

"Right now the religious right are celebrating that the minority (David) beat the majority (Goliath) to save babies. It’s important to know this in order to combat it with both fury and compassion."

Thanks for this too. I am reminded of the many times I heard that comparison at my own fundamentalist church as a young adult. In some ways it is a great story. But, in some ways it is just a setup to get people into trouble.

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"In 5th grade we read “the diary of a fetus” aloud in class. It ends with the fetus writing “my mommy killed me today.”"

This is trauma.

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Abuse

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Did they also provide advice on what to do if you didn't know when to say No, or otherwise stop the invasion, and you found yourself to be the happy and excited owner of a real live fetus when you were, say, 14?

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As a Catholic who went to Catholic school, I got those same lessons. The point is to humanize a fetus and at the cost of the woman who nurtures it. She is abandoned to her fate as a consequence of her actions, (as if she did it alone), and her only value is that of a vessel for the child she bears.

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One Republican Legislator called women "The Host" when arguing over an abortion statute. No Catholics in the chamber commented or objected.

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We are the “whores” when we want contraceptives, the murderers when we want to control our bodies. We can’t be elevated to the term mother until we actually produce a child, so our value is always questioned.

“The Host” for Catholics is the communion bread.

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So much for the sacredness of the sacrament

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Shawn it was as a weapon given to a child, 'the diary of a fetus'. You made the 'belief' and indoctrination vivid. Thank you for your lesson.

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This is astonishing! Thank you for writing about this.

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Shawn, this is one of the most disturbing stories I’ve read about religious schools. Separation of Church and State? Funding for Charter Schools? We are traveling in a backwards Time Machine. Once there were battles about the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “One nation under God.” That’s History.

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We were read that story in Catholic school long ago as well. Now… my mom, 5 of my 6 sisters, and at least 10 of their children (women and men) are celebrating. They are one-issue voters. It expands exponentially through generations.

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Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelicals are the most easily identifiable faith traditions who have paid the most and worked the hardest for this decision. There are other, smaller ones.

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I heard an interesting observation on the radio yesterday (Sorry, I can’t remember whether it was NPR or a local station). Since Reagan, the right has won elections by garnering right-to-life Christian votes by promising to overturn Roe. Now that they apparently are going to do that, will they be able to hold on to those voters going forward, given the right's alignment with the wealthy minority and their interests vs. the economic interests of most of the right-to-life voters.

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Thank you for this perspective, Shawn. I often, well, usually forget to be softer-hearted toward individual people who make up group that espouse beliefs I find to be offensive or wrong or just ignorant. I appreciate your expanding my mind this morning.

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Goebbels proved decades that propaganda works. And the earlier the better.

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I am infuriated by this use of children to promote something most children don't understand. I saw it used in the 1970s and it caused me to question my belonging to the Catholic Church. It has been a tough choice.

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For those who haven't read/heard the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNUGawPztQs

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How dare this man pretend to know "the Truth".

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Ron, Thank you for sharing. This narration and “movie”: Absolutely terrifying. Who tells the story in this propaganda video? A white, male pastor, Clean cut and Hollywood. The last heartbreaking words of the “Dear Diary” entry? “Today my mother killed me!” Who could resist that story? Especially if you had spent your childhood believing… and in fear?

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Rosalind, as an academic with a Ph.D. in Church History and Feminist Theology, I concur fully with your assessment of the cooptation of Christ and the imago Dei by white, "Christian" men. It is a fiasco that debases the Christian faith and its faithful.

As The Guardian's Rebecca Solnit has stated they are coming for us, anyone "who is not a straight white Christian man with rightwing politics." May the Force help those of us who are not straight, nor white, nor male, nor rightwing.

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Another view that makes one sit up and take notice. Letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News, April 30, 2022 "Don't get too comfortable.

Stanford University researcher Deborah Gruenfeld observed that when power feelings are aroused in otherwise ordinary people, they start viewing others as objects. As we grow more comfortable with this objectification, our sense of empathy decreases. With these others' concerns and feelings less relevant, they turn into a means to an end for the powerful.

As I read her research, I felt a gnawing sense that politicians today are taking this phenomenon to an alarming extreme. Women along with their reproductive rights have been objectified. Ditto Black people, the poor, the homeless, immigrants and most recently the LGBT community.

The objects they have become no longer deserve consideration by the powerful except as a means to further cement their hold on power through further objectification, in turn accelerating the desensitization process. Just as this cycle erodes empathy, it increases the desire for more power. With empathy gone, consideration of impact on others no longer matters.

I'm one of those others, and I'm a little afraid of where this will lead for people like me. Maybe you're one of those others too. Even if you're not, I wouldn't get too comfortable. Kevin W. Jones, Northwest Dallas"

They are indeed coming for us, a majority. The stage is set. What will play out???

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

That's it! I'm sitting here reading your words about this researcher Gruenfeld. As the parent of a young member of the LGBTQ community who happens to be a full-time acitivist for them, I've witnessed critics of that community come full-circle once they get to know a person who identifies as LGBTQ+. They finally realize they are human beings, not just some other abhorrant "thing" who isn't like them. It is hopeful and heartening when it happens, but it doesn't happen often enough.

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See: Liz Cheney.

I have been a member of the LGBTQ+ community my entire life (if you're familiar with a movement of NOT Lady Gaga, but of photos of out GLBTQ+ people as children that was around 10 +/- years ago) you'd get that at age 6 I was "that way". I have had this conversation with so many people who have "come around" to the understanding that it is simply who we are.

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Women, Blacks, and Jews are not even mentioned in the Constitution. And the latter are to be stripped of their First Amendment guarantee for practice their religion, among other faith tradtions.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Yes, my point from the beginning of this letter. Women, People of Color, LGBTQ+ and Jews are not mentioned and not acknowledged. It’s easy to be invisible when you have been marginalized all your life. When finally a court tells us we’re equal, who ever believed that could be reversed!? Perhaps we can also reverse the inclusion of the Confederate states in the post Civil War USA? They’ve been unofficially seceding since that day.

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Thank you Jeri, one of your best. At least 100 million of us are going to side you.

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Thank you, Jeri. I’m a lot afraid.

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I'm one of those others, too.

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"They are coming for us..." of course brings to mind the poetic confessional by pastor Martin Neimöller, one of whose messages is we must take personal responsibility to combat evil.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Martin Niemöller spent his first night out of 5 years in prison at the church I am affiliated with in Wiesbaden, Germany - the only resistance church in the entire area. All others buckled down under the National Church banner and opened their baptism archives to the SS, who rounded up Christians who had a tenth of Jewish blood and sent them to a brutal death.

I am heartened only by the fact that Germany is a Social Democracy with much more openness - and this after the most horrific crimes against humanity in our known history. It was less than a century ago... we won't see the turn around in the USA but maybe our children will.

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Let us hope for and work toward a turnaround beginning in November.

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What also strains the cooptation is the arrogance. One of my professors at Union Theological Seminary was Dr. James Cone. "The Cross and the Lynching Tree" was his last completed book - the analogy is obvious to anyone who doesn't relate to the cross as a weapon. Jesus was lynched. White "Christians" lynch Jesus again and again.

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That "Jesus was lynched" is a fascinatingly different interpretation.

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Rosalind, your comment is heartfelt, but don’t kid yourself that these White male “Christians” would be deterred by your criticism. For them, religion is a weapon, to justify their bigotry and their lust for power. Which, by the way, is often how religion has been wielded over the millennia. These right-wing “Christians” are no different from the Taliban. We make the mistake of pointing out their hypocrisy, thinking it will lead them to stop. They don’t even blink.

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Bill Barr spelled it out for us at Notre Dame - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/19/william-barr-attorney-general-catholic-conservative-speech

The cabal of “Christian dominionists” in Congress has been quietly planning to take over government “for Jesus” for decades - https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/01/31/christian-nationalism-josh-hawley-ted-cruz-capitol-attack-column/4292193001/

I think many of us dismissed these plans as ridiculous. It can’t happen here. The triumphant Alito is demonstrating to us that it can, and it is.

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Their version of sharia law!

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Indeed. They were so worried about Sharia law being imposed here. Turns out, it was not because they opposed government imposition of religion, but because they were afraid the Muslims were going to beat them to it.

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Greg Olear goes in-depth on Leonard Leo, the religious man behind the effort to establish a fundamental religion version of the Supreme Court.

https://gregolear.substack.com/p/leo-the-cancer?s=r

https://gregolear.substack.com/p/breaking-brett?s=r

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

This is a scathing condemnation of Leo. It also makes abundantly clear that any judge that has been vetted by Leo’s Federalist Society is certified to be anti-abortion and will vote to overturn Roe. There’s no way that Collins or Murkowski (or any other Senator) could believe that the Federalist judges that appeared before them would support Roe as “settled law”. Collins knew. She lied.

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Roland, thank you. Too shocking! This was written more than a year ago and even though Leo and his ties are out in the open, nothing stops him. Warnings abound for his evil and dangerous connections with the courts and government. As with other backroom and/or powerful men, his religious and political philosophy were well known in Washington. Yet…. He was instrumental in installing TFG’s three latest SCOTUS justices and blocking Obama’s. This all reads like a Dan Brown thriller, as Greg Olear writes in this highly disturbing story.

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May 5, 2022·edited May 5, 2022

Don't I know it! I grew up in that world. My Florida family looks to Trump as Messiah II. I gave up on religion as a kid and kept the Jesus guy who honored the children.

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and by the way, I'm not looking for them to blink. I like HCR's posts because sometimes it feels good to preach to the choir.

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Rosalind, I can’t count how many times over the past few years sincere liberals have pointed out that right-wing “christians” aren’t Christian. I get it. Their hypocrisy is beyond obscene. Why do we need to keep repeating that? Does it change anything? Does it make us feel better, to say to ourselves, “Look at those phonies, Jesus wouldn’t approve.” They don’t care what we say. They’re winning. They’re going to keep on spreading hate, lies, bigotry and oppression in the name of Jesus. Is all we can do to fight back is to keep reminding them that Jesus wouldn’t approve? They’ve got control of the Supreme Court, and soon Congress, and then the White House. When their “christian dominion” is complete, they’re going to cram their “christianity” down our throats.

I don’t mean to take this out on you. We all have done it. We wring our hands, while they put 6 Opus Dei judges on the Supreme Court. Forget what Jesus would say, he’s irrelevant.

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I have definitely seen "true Christians" find every excuse in the book for why they support chump; they ignore Christian principles and instead pick and choose which parts of the bible to quote while supporting chump. It seems they are impervious to facts.

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You have hit the nail on the head! As a member of a UCC church, whose pastor received racist hate mail for our Black Lives Matter sign, I fear for our country, and quite frankly our diverse congregation's safety, if these people take power. White Christian nationalists truly are the "American Taliban". I wish that term was more widely used to demonstrate just how radical these people are.

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They are Radical Christian Extremists. They’re a standalone terrorist group and aren’t affiliated with Muslim-based terrorists like Taliban.

They’re the people who loiter at the DMV handing out leaflets w/graphic abortion photos instead of working. They stand in front of Planned Parenthood clinics hurling insults at patients and workers. They physically attack Planned Parenthood Dr’s and workers. They vandalize facilities and vehicles, and from what I read in other cases comments, the indoctrinate and traumatize young children by making them read “Diary of a Fetus” whose final like states “Mommy killed me”. Now they’re taking over our government and destroying rights. It won’t be long before they end right of other Christian denominations and other religions to practice in America.

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I have called them Pharisees for decades (Falwell and his ilk). They resemble not the Christians I grew up with, but I’m old. They are power hungry cretins with ignorant followers who desecrate every teaching of Jesus.

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Rosalind, I am sure you are well versed on Christian history. As a medieval historian, I can safely say that it was ever thus. You, John Pavlovitz, the UCC and the UUA are the only consistently inclusive organizations in the Christian umbrella (even the Quakers were not exempt historically from misogyny and autocracy in their own way)--and that is because you folks are relatively new to the organized religion game. For those of us who know about and teach the history of religion in the West, Alito and his despicable ilk are just another version of Bernard of Clairvaux and Boniface VIII. It's a shame Dante did not consign the former to Hell, because he deserved to be there. Boniface he gladly dumped in a deep dark "bolga" of filth.

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We need to get rid of religious extremists by any means necessary. They will only destroy in the name of their version of God.

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