Thursday, September 17, 2015

What's So Christian About Peace, Love, And Understanding

We keep hearing from GOP candidates about how the Christian faith is under attack in America.   I just have some questions.

  • What's Christian about attacking people for their place of birth?
  • What's Christian about not helping people who are less fortunate than you?
  • What's Christian about seeking unlimited wealth for yourself while not caring about the financial health of others?
  • What's Christian about editing Planned Parenthood videos to portray something different than reality? 
  • What's Christian about making up a completely fictional account of those videos?
  • What's Christian about misrepresenting the history of this country and our founding fathers?
  • What's Christian about misrepresenting the content of the Constitution or the principles it was actually founded on?  
  • What's Christian about continually attacking people of other religions, colors, or creed?
  • What's Christian about cherry picking bible verses to justify your hate?
  • What's Christian about judging other people while ignoring your own sins?   
  • What's Christian about mocking efforts for peace and working for war?
  • What's Christian about unbridled defense of gun lust and the Second Amendment?  
  • What's Christian about lying and misrepresenting many facets of sound science to justify destroying the planet or allowing children to get preventable disease?   
It seems quite clear that if Christianity is under attack, it's not by the culture or the people that evangelical conservatives are complaining about, but by their own hypocrisy.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Faith, Kim Davis, The VP, and Me

I woke up at 5:15 today with my head a mash of last night's lousy football game, too little sleep, and thoughts of the day ahead. A friend had said everyone should watch the Colbert interview with Biden, so I decided to pull up the show on the DVR and take a look.
Hearing Joe Biden talk of his son's strength and grace, even in dying, was heartbreaking and brought tears to my eyes, and made me think of my daughter who I'd be waking up in only a few minute for school. Then Colbert shifted the talk to faith and how it has helped him and switches started to turn on in my sleepy brain.
Biden talked about the Catholic Mass and how it made him feel "alone", and I instantly knew what he meant. The most moving moments for me when I went to mass were those in which the church was quiet and in a room of a few hundred people I felt present with my thoughts, worries, hopes, and concerns inside the church. I was alone in a good way.
As I wiped away tears and turned off the interview to go wake up my daughter, the final pieces began to fall into place about what truly bothered me about the fiasco involving Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue gay marriage licenses.
Joe Biden framed the incredible sorrow he's known in his life by pointing out that there are others suffering equally or greater than he has. "I feel self-conscious. The loss is serious and it's consequential, but there are so many other people going through this." It is clear that Joe Biden's faith is one in which he seeks solace and comfort for himself, but also one in which he looks for ways to be a better person and have true empathy for others.
Then I look at Kim Davis and her supporters, who include not just politicians, but alleged spiritual leaders like Franklin Graham. To them, the most important message of their faith seems to be the desire to diminish and demonize a population of people. Jesus' message of love, charity, and empathy for others is turned into an exclusive club in which a certain set of people are members for life, and others who are different are viewed as the enemy, who deserve no empathy, compassion, or thought beyond how their happiness can be denied.
From my own Catholic upbringing I came away with the following thoughts. I will not claim them to be right, or having sound theological basis, but they make sense to me.
Jesus was made man to show us how to be better people on this earth. His message included nothing about attacking gay people, or showing them "love" by calling out how much more full of sin they were than you. He never once discussed the issue of gay marriage or how it was a priority for Christians to focus on over charity, love, compassion, or empathy.
Sin is not a cherry picked list of infractions from the Bible, but rather the way in which we fail to be decent people. If we hurt ourselves or others, we have sinned. Claiming you are "saved" is not a license to judge or condemn others for their sins. Most everyone is suffering and failing themselves and each other in ways big and small everyday. Our goal should be to be kind and understand where they are coming from in THEIR eyes, not view them through our own narrow lens and find a few Bible passages that allow us to dismiss them because they are different.
Perhaps Jesus himself said it best in John 13:34-35. "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Rowan County Hillbillies Theme AKA The Ballad of Kim Davis (With apologies to Flatt and Scruggs)

Listen to a story about a woman named Kim
Simple county clerk with a brain that's kinda dim
And then one day SCOTUS made a marriage rule
And out came the bigotry of this bumbling fool

The Liberty Counsel said Kim'd be a millionaire
Just don't change your dress or cut that stringy hair
They said "county jail is the place you oughta be."
You'll be martyred that day and then we'll make our plea
(For donations that is.   Poster girl's behind bars.) 

Well now it's time to say goodbye to Kim and all her kin
Who impose their faith on others while ignoring their own sin.
You're invited back again, Cruz and Huckabee
But it's doubtful that you'll make it past the pri-mar-y.  
Y'all go away now, ya hear!   

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Kim Davis and Conservative Propaganda

In the wake of the Kim Davis ruling, the same curious phenomenon has occurred that occurs during any major news event that involves a divisive right vs. left issue.
What amazes me is how quickly the erroneous or semi-factual talking points quickly enter the discussion, occurring with such frequency that is apparent that they're coming from the same popular source and/or are being reinforced by other sources.
This is how propaganda works. It only stops working when people learn how to validate and verify the information they're given with actual facts.
Kim Davis was jailed by the son of Jim Bunning, a far right Republican. David Bunning was appointed by George W Bush, a Republican. David Bunning chose the harshest punishment possible for Ms Davis, no doubt for a reason. Kim Davis' rights were not violated, she violated the rights of others. First amendment protections are not absolute for any number of reasons.
If you watch Fox News, get your facts from friends, or talk radio, stop. You're being misled and taught things that are propaganda, not factual or historical. Don't echo someone else's talking points without validating them. Learn facts by reading direct sources and studying.