A PISSED OFF SOUTHERN PASTOR (Complete Article) by Rev. Melanie Tubbs

A PISSED OFF SOUTHERN PASTOR (Complete Article) by Rev. Melanie Tubbs

Screen_Shot_2015-11-10_at_8.46.38_AMWhen Melanie Tubbs wrote a blog entry on LiberalAmerica.org last month on being a proud member of the Christian Left, she expected some blowback, but frankly, she probably didn’t expect that many people to even see the piece. But it went viral.  I used excerpts with the permission of the Daily Koz.  So many people wanted to read the entire article, I went to the original at LiberalAmerica.org.  It is reprinted here with the permission of the author, who wants the material to be widely disseminated.

A P*ssed Off Southern Pastor Tells It Like It Is

I am a southern pastor and an educated professor who lives in rural Arkansas amidst folks who own guns and vote Republican. I hold college degrees, I preach in two churches, and I teach history in a respected four year college. I am not stupid. But I am not allowed to put political signs in my yard or stickers on my car because it will offend my students and my congregants if they know how I truly believe, even though my gun toting friends can post all the memes promoting ignorance and violence they want, without fear. So instead, I will write an article and tell the whole damn world the truth:

1. I am a proud member of the Christian Left. Not only that; I find it very hard to believe that you can read the Bible and vote Republican right now. Intolerance and hatred are not in the teachings of my Christ.

2. I vote for Democrats. Every time. I would vote for a yellow dog before I voted Republican, just like my Ma and Pa before me. I do not find good in both parties like I say I do to keep you happy. I think Republican candidates are mostly ignorant and ridiculous in everything they say, and they absolutely do not represent my Christian values of love and mission.

3. I believe in freedom of speech, for everyone, even when they don’t agree with me, even when they are stupid.

4. AND freedom of religion, for everyone, even when they don’t agree with me, and aren’t Christian. I have friends who are some of the kindest people I know and they follow a different sacred text. I honor their faith, as they honor mine. To do otherwise, would not be Christ-like of me.

5. I live my life for God, but I do not think God belongs in our Constitution. Separation of church and state; It’s a thing. Look it up.

6. You cannot be both prejudiced and Christian. One prevents the other. No exceptions. If you are Christian, you don’t hate.

7. There is too much hate and there are too many guns in this country. And, I believe those things do not align with Christ’s command to love our neighbor. You cannot believe that guns are the way to save the world if you study Christ’s teachings. Peace, love, giving, acceptance, forgiveness; Christ taught all these things. I find no red scriptures on gun ownership or arming for peace. They just aren’t there. Get over it. You are not being a Christian if you put your faith in guns. How dare you post pro-gun propaganda after a school shooting. It is insensitive, and offensive, and immoral. Christ would NOT approve. People carrying guns are NOT saving lives. But the free availability of guns in this country is causing deaths which are reaching viral proportions. Enough is enough. I don’t care about your damned right to own guns. I am tired of children dying in this great country.

8. Consenting adults have a constitutional right to get a government document certifying their legal marriage. The 14th amendment guarantees it. Not only that, marriage is love, what this country is needing to combat the hate and violence we are infected with. Love and marriage are not what we should be focusing on. Starving children, mass shootings, immoral lobbying, planet destroying, violence, and hate, those are our problems.

9. Traditional marriage in the Bible is polygamous. Get a Bible and read it before you try to use it to support your hatred and intolerance.

10. The confederate flag is racist. It was flown by treasonous terrorists who fired on their own country and supported the enslavement of human beings. They lost that war and it is time to move on. If you want to show your southern pride, fly an American flag and be the true patriot you claim to be. Eat some biscuits and gravy and visit your dear old grandma. Go put flowers on the grave of your grandpa who probably fought for your right to grow up privileged. And show some appreciation for the great country you live in.

I am tired of thinking I can’t be openly honest about any of these things. Now, I am going to go pray for this great country I call home.  And then, I am going to do what Christ would do. I am going to act. I am going to write my congressman, donate money to the candidates I support, and read real scholarly work on the issues of this country, so that I can form educated, rational opinions and be a contributing member to real change for the better in this rural paradise I love. We are not all stupid here in rural, southern America. And it is time for the Christian Left in the South to stop being afraid to speak out.

[You can see the original blog entry at LiberalAmerica.org.  This article is reprinted with permission of Melanie Tubbs in LiberalAmerica.org.]

 

WHAT PRESIDENTS SAID ABOUT OTHER PRESIDENTS (Presidential Series) by L. Milton Hankins

WHAT PRESIDENTS SAID ABOUT OTHER PRESIDENTS (Presidential Series) by L. Milton Hankins

[Following is the tenth of a twelve-part series in COLUMNIST WITH A VIEW. The sketches are taken from the editor’s book manuscript Our Curious Presidents and Their Families. Many books of presidential trivia are available, however, the pieces I have selected from my own research are somewhat obscure. Most of them come from presidential autobiographies, approved biographies, or the sources indicated.]

John Adams said of his predecessor George Washington: “He is too illiterate, unread, unlearned for his station and reputation.” On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson had this to say about John Adams: “He is as disinterested as the Being who made him.” Jefferson said of Washington: “His mind was slow in operation but sure in conclusion,” which, I assume, was a compliment!

Thomas Jefferson

thomas-jefferson-153568_1280Jefferson said of Andrew Jackson: “I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing Jackson president.  A mixture of profound and sagacious observation with strong prejudices and irritated passions.”

William Henry Harrison said of John Quincy Adams: “It is said [John Quincy Adams] is a disgusting man…coarse, dirty, and clownish in his address and stiff and abstracted in his opinions, which are drawn from books exclusively.”

James Knox Polk, who is considered by presidential historians to be one of our most successful presidents, said of James Buchanan, who is considered one of our least successful presidents: “All his acts and opinions seem to be with a view to his own advancement….Mr. Buchanan is an able man, but is in small matters without judgment and sometimes acts like an old maid.”

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln complimented Jefferson by saying: “The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of a free society.” Of James Knox Polk, he had this to say: “I suspect he is deeply conscious of being in the wrong–that he feels the blood of this war [the Mexican War] like the blood of Abel, is crying to Heaven against him….He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man.”

Andrew Johnson remarked of Ulysses S. Grant: “…his brain could have been compressed within the periphery of a nutshell.” Grant was not always solicitous. He said of James A. Garfield, “Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone of an angle-worm.” Garfield summarized Grant’s administration by, truthfully, saying,”Grant has done more than any other president to degrade the character of Cabinet officers by choosing them on the model of the military staff, because of their pleasant personal relations with him and not because of their national reputation or the country’s needs.”

Theodore Roosevelt called Benjamin Harrison “a cold-blooded, narrow-minded, prejudiced, obstinate, timid old Psalm-singing Indianapolis politician.”  That about said it all! He said essentially the same thing of Woodrow Wilson, but in fewer words: “He is an utterly selfish and cold-blooded politician always.” Roosevelt could never be accused of mincing words!

Woodrow Wilson said about Warren G. Harding:  “Harding is incapable of thought, because he has nothing to think with.”

Harry Truman

Harry Truman

Harry Truman once said of John Adams, “It’s just that he wasn’t very special.” He wasn’t particularly gentle with his successors either. Of Dwight D. Eisenhower he said, surprisingly, “The trouble with Eisenhower is he’s just a coward….He hasn’t any backbone at all.” About Richard Nixon he said,”I don’t think the son-of-a-bitch knows the difference between telling the truth and lying.”

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy shortened Truman’s opinion of Nixon by remarking simply, “He has no taste!” In 1960, Kennedy expanded his assessment of Nixon: “He’s a conservative, and if he became president, we could expect Republican policy would switch to the right….He is a filthy, lying son-of-a-bitch, and a very dangerous man!” No one seems to have had much good to say about Richard Nixon. Lyndon B. Johnson said, “I just knew in my heart that it was not right for Nixon to ever be president of this country.”  Of Nixon’s successor Gerald Ford, Johnson remarked, “He played too much football with his helmet off! Jerry’s the only man I ever knew who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Interestingly, Nixon said of Ronald Reagan, a fellow republican, “Reagan is not one that wears well. Reagan, on a personal basis, is terrible. He just isn’t pleasant to be around. Maybe he’s different with others. No, he’s just an uncomfortable man to be around…strange.”  Nixon may have hit the nail on the head when he said “Maybe he’s different with others.” Personally, although I empathized with the man, I’ve always thought Richard Nixon would have been an insufferably outspoken dinner guest.

cowboy-67630_1920

                                                     Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan said of Bill Clinton:  “This fellow they’ve nominated claims he’s the new Thomas Jefferson. Well, let me tell you something, I knew Thomas Jefferson.  He was a friend of mine. And governor, you’re no Thomas Jefferson!” The quote was paraphrased by Lloyd Bentsen in a debate with Dan Quayle.  Bentsen used “Jack Kennedy” instead of “Thomas Jefferson,” and the phrase, though well-remembered, lost a lot of  Reagan’s punch.

Bill Clinton said of George H. W. Bush:  “Every time Bush talks about trust it makes chills run up and down my spine. The way he has trampled on the truth is a travesty of the American political system.” About his father, George W. Bush said, “I had watched Dad climb into the biggest arena and succeed. I wanted to find out if I had what it took to join him.”

According to Blood Feud by Edward Klein, Clinton once said to his friends, “‘I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived.'” He was apparently referring to Obama’s once referring to him as a racist during Obama’s campaign for the nomination against Hillary Clinton.

At the dedication of the George W. Bush library, Barack Obama said of George W. Bush:  “…what President Clinton said is absolutely true–to know the man is to like the man, because he’s comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is. He doesn’t put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a good man.”  On the same occasion, Clinton said, “He [George W. Bush] used to call me twice a year in his second term, just to talk. We talked about everything in the wide world.”

Referring, of course, to his relationship with his successor Barack Obama, George W. Bush said, “I don’t think it’s good for the country to have a former president undermine a current president; I think its bad for the presidency for that matter.”

 

 

 

 

 

[Readers can learn more about the writer's biography and publications by going to www.lmiltonhankins.com]
SEEING ANOTHER SIDE by Beth Rankin

SEEING ANOTHER SIDE by Beth Rankin

Imagine, if you will, a nice spring day. Your main front door is open and you are letting the sun and breeze enter your home through the screen. A knock on the door is answered by your teenager and a stranger, with 3 other people, tells him, “These people are my guests and they want tea.” What would you do?

Blue Lotus Chai Tea Cup

I know my inclination would be to tell them where the closest coffee (tea available) shop is located. Imagine instead, flinging the door wide open and inviting the four strangers inside, making tea and spending an hour, your family gathered around you, listening and learning about the strangers who entered your home. Come with me into a poor neighborhood of Agra….feel this one with me.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~When Kamal and Nilal met us at our hotel and asked what we wanted to see with our personal tour with them I had thought it was all organized already. I had been in email discussion with the BuddhaPath office in Delhi and was promised a tour of a Buddhist Temple and a mediation session and then some other things. That sounded great as I have read some about Buddhism but know the real life exposure would be meaningful. But the guys had not gotten the memo. So, basically Lisa and I told them we wanted to stay away from the tourist areas. We wanted, while staying safe, to see how people live. We also had a list of items we were trying to find for friends and wondered if they knew of any market where regular people shop that might have them. Nilal got on his cell phone and within 20 minutes we were out the door and into the car.  We headed to an area of town SmartTours never would have wanted us to see. This was the real deal…the place where people in the middle middle and lower economic areas live, work and play.DSCF6128Walking through the market itself was amazing with the narrow street, the moving traffic (I inadvertently walked into a moving motorcycle at one point and was vigorously told off ), the animals wandering around. The mass of humanity.DSCF6130DSCF6243Shopping was more fun. First of all, the prices were not super-inflated for tourists to begin with. For example, I knew I did not want a sari; I would never find a real occasion to wear one, but I wanted a shalwar, an outfit with pants, tunic and scarf. I had priced one earlier in Delhi and it was over $70.  So, with some hope, we entered a shop. Open to the street with an metal overhead garage type door, the store itself was probably 15 feet wide by 20 feet deep. This was a large shop (larger than the shop with jewelry Lisa is exploring in the photo above). Shelves stacked to the ceiling were loaded with plastic bag wrapped clothing items.  With Nilal getting into the spirit of the shopping, the request was spoken, the estimate of my size was made, and the stack started growing on the counter. Every bag was opened. Every item unfolded. Soon there were about 10 choices on display.  When requested the price was given…equivalent to $40. That was better, but we already knew the system. Bartering, arm wrestling over the price, is expected. Nilal quietly asked me what I was willing to pay, Giving the equivalent in rupees at $25, he then went into his discussion in Hindi. In a few minutes it appeared I had purchased my new outfit for $15.We hit a few more shops and made a few more purchases. In this market, unlike the ones where the tourists go, the vendors did not chase us. There was curiosity about us; we were the only Westerners on the street. But courtesy and interest was the action.DSCF6159We wandered south along the street and crossed some railroad tracks, entering into an area where small factories lined the narrower street. Metal works included pots and pans and also what we figured were evaporative coolers similar to what is used in the American Southwest as a less expensive alternative to air conditioning.evaporative cooler factoryNilal lead us on and then took us into a side alley. He said he hoped we could get to see the inside of a house, and then he knocked on the door, the teenager answered.  He disappeared for a few seconds (probably to check with mom) and then ushered us in.DSCF6141After crossing the small entryway we entered into a courtyard about 10 feet by 10 feet and open to the sky above.DSCF6147To the side was a room with a few plastic outdoor chairs and several platforms of woven canvas webbing. A middle aged woman offered us the chairs and then asked Bilal in Hindi if we would like some chai. I had no idea what he had said to the teenager that we wanted tea so we looked at him and he nodded and we smiled and nodded. DSCF6144The room filled with people and they piled on to the platforms.  The family living in the house includes a grandmother, 5 adult brothers, their wives and their children.DSCF6148We counted about 25 people and only met one of the men who was sewing in his room upstairs.  DSCF6150(When I noticed his sewing machine I immediately flashed on the family history that my mother’s father was a tailor when he immigrated to the United States in 1905 and had probably worked in a similar setting in New York before leaving the city for literally greener pastures; he became a farmer.) We learned that the family had owned the house for  at least 5 generations. That the oldest boy was soon to take his college entrance exam.

Understanding that offering them money would be an insult I told them a bit about New York City and then, using paper and pen we drew a map of the United States and showed them other places we had lived. They knew California but nothing else, including Nashville. Marketers for Music City USA would be devastated.

When asked if we would like to see the house I grabbed the opportunity (once again thinking how my house would look if strangers came to call). I watched one of the women make our chai.

DSCF6146

 

The tour wound up and up and up five flights of stairs.  We poked our heads into several of the rooms and one was nicer than the others; the man must have a good paying job.

DSCF6151The boys then proudly lead us up to the roof where they have a coop with pet pigeons.

DSCF6154

The view from the roof gave us a glimpse that life in this neighborhood is vertical and that not all is as it seems on the street level.

DSCF6157

We talk a lot about hospitality in this country, especially in our church communities. Since 9/11 we also are very quick to think poorly about people who are Muslim. It is so easy to generalize when you don’t know anyone.

These people live at the lower end of what is considered middle class in India. Here it would be poverty level. But the house was spotless. The people were curious and friendly and involved. They had little but were very willing to share with the strangers.

How we measure riches? How do we show acceptance?

Getting off the beaten track is what Lisa and I like to do when we travel. The Taj Mahal, visited that morning, was the highlight of the trip for many in our SmartTour group. For us, the day only got better and better.

IS THERE NO MORE MIDDLE GROUND? by Milt Hankins

IS THERE NO MORE MIDDLE GROUND? by Milt Hankins

politics        If you are not aware of, or disturbed by, the extreme polarization in our country; with all due respect, something is sorely missing in your cranial processes.  We have wide-ranging division separating almost any subject two sensible individuals might wish to discuss.

        We have an ever-widening gap between law enforcement and lawlessness or criminal behavior; whites vs. “people of color”; religious fundamentalists and moderates; progressives (liberals) and conservatives; the very wealthy and the very poor; pro-gun control people and anti-gun control people; for immigration and against immigration….  There is no end to the list.

        I, and surely you, have observed without too much effort, that whichever position we espouse, it is virtually impossible to have a sane, levelheaded argument or discussion with anyone who has adopted, or is convinced of, the opposite side of that question.  Anymore, it seems there is only one acceptable approach to any issue, and that is my/your approach!

        A religious moderate or liberal, for example, can talk until he or she is “blue in the face,” using convincing ideas with sound, logical examples, but the religious fundamentalist will neither hear the presentation nor be persuaded by it, period.  Progressives are so far removed from conservatives that any attempt at a calm dialogue about government, politics, foreign and/or domestic affairs or any other pertinent subject is impossible.

        I’m not sure that the very rich and the very poor ever come together long enough to have a constructive conversation about the necessity for expansion of the middle class.  I don’t mean to pick on any one particular individual, but I think it’s totally unrealistic to imagine that a person of incredible wealth, say Donald Trump for example, truly cares about my well-being or yours.  I don’t see any poor people on political debate stages these days.  And, you and I know why.

        If there are ten more brutal school, church, and/or theater shootings within the next year, and average folk like you and me cry out for some kind of effective gun control, we will not convince the pro-gun/anti-gun-free zone people that more regulations are needed.  It just isn’t going to happen!

        I’ve made my point.  Mind-boggling, polarized ways of thinking in almost every area of our daily lives has made practical discourse virtually impossible.  That, in a nutshell, is why Congress is deadlocked and attempts to deal with substantive concerns are at a virtual standstill.

        For the first time ever (and I have been listening to political debates for several decades), I heard the word “revolution” come from the mouth of one of the Democratic presidential candidates!  That, folks, is a word all of us should have heard clearly.  It should have sent ripples of goose-bumps down our arms.  Thinking about it made me wonder if it’s a word we’ll hear more of in the future.  Have we completely lost respect for the middle position or a “common ground?”

        Worse still, are we never again going to seek workable compromises or attempt consensus in this society? 

[This article first appeared in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch. Milt Hankins is a regular, local columnist for that newspaper. He is also publisher and editor of Columnist With a View (columnistwithaview.com)
COWARDS by Simian

COWARDS by Simian

I’ve sampled the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere today, and the fear and loathing is so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw. It makes me feel alternately sick, and pissed off. Right now I’m pissed off.

Maddeningly, many of those haranguing others about closing the borders to Syrian refugees are congratulating each other how about brave they all are. Well I’m calling them out. They are nothing more than cowards.

What does a coward do, two days after the horrific terror attacks on the people of Paris?

The Syrian civil war has metastasized into a war between Daesh, or ISIS, and the people of Syria and Iraq. The ISIS extremists are among the most violently depraved the world has ever seen.  I’m not going to link the most graphic images to illustrate my point.  Anyone who wants to do so may simply search “ISIS victims.”  The sheer brutality of the carnage will turn your stomach.  These are people who behead not just men, but women and children .  These are people who not only ritualistically slaughter captured innocents by beheading them, but who also kill in other creatively cruel and gruesome ways, such as by flaying the skin off of their victims.  And there are lots and lots of victims.

Some poor souls who didn’t get away.

The war has generated hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of refugees.1416146491305_Image_galleryImage_An_image_grab_taken_from_  They are fleeing for their lives from this unimaginable cruelty, this genocide perpetrated against minorities such as the Yazidi, this unspeakable evil.  Several countries, most notably Germany, have opened their borders to these fleeing unfortunates.  The US promised to take 10,000, which in all honesty is a drop in a bucket.

Why are Daesh so flamboyantly cruel?  Because they want to goad the world into coming there to fight them.  They believe such a battle will signal the end times.  But the world hasn’t cooperated.  The West is content to bomb them from time to time, conduct a few special ops raids, hit their leadership with drone strikes, and supply local fighters who are willing to resist them.  Despite the modest level of support of ISIS opponents by the West and Russia, ISIS is losing.  They’re losing cities and towns they took last year.  Their territory has shrunk by 25%.

So ISIS—the same people who slaughter innocents by the truckload in Syria and Iraq, people who behead even little girls—lashes out with horrific and deadly attacks in Paris, an iconic and much-beloved city.  And how do the governors of 24 states and countless other profiles in courage who populate this great freedom-loving country of ours, react?  By adamantly refusing to allow the people fleeing from those same terrorists into our country out of fear that hidden among the 10,000 victims there may be a few terrorists.

COWARDS.

These are people who are the first to say that the United States military is fighting for freedom.  Yes, as long as it’s in some far-off place, as long as it’s somebody else’s kid, as long as we can stand up during a football game and admire the fighter jets zooming overhead during a halftime Tribute to the Troops, as long as somebody can make a buck selling weapons, it’s all good.  Because freedom.

But let in to our beautiful country some of those very same people that Our Troops were fighting to save?  Not on your life!  What if one of them turns out to be a terrorist?

Can you spot the terrorist?Syrian-refugees

COWARDS.

These are people who stood by while the school bully beat up the fat kid, the effeminate kid, the kid with  learning disabilities.  These are people who laughed at the victim.  Some of them helped.

Cowards, every one of them.  Only now they aren’t just sucking up to the school bully.  They are sucking up to terrorists.  They are sucking up to ISIS, surely the most depraved bunch of murderers to have darkened the 21st Century.  These cowards won’t help the bully’s victims get away from the brutality because they’re afraid.  They’re afraid the bully might turn on them.  ISIS has those poor refugees backing away in terror, and these people are sneaking up behind on hands and knees, smirking as they make themselves into an obstacle for the bully to push the victim over backwards.

Well, that’s what they’re doing in their minds…but this bully doesn’t just beat up his victims.  This bully they are sucking up to, this bully beheads children.

But by all means—turn away any children who come to us seeking refuge!  They could be terrorists!image (1)

COWARDS.  

Terrorists, or Terrible Twos? Many fear-stricken Americans  can’t tell the difference.

As if terrorists need to pose among refugees to gain entrance to our country.  Hell, all but one of the ones who carried out the Paris attacks were French citizens.  They didn’t need to come into France to murder people, they were already there.

STUPID COWARDS.

[This article, with selected pictures, is reprinted with the permission of the Daily Kos. We try to bring the best material we can find to you, our readers. We select material from other sources, only with permission, when we feel you might have missed it at its original source.]