SOMETHING EVEN UGLIER THAN RACISM by Constance Hilliard

SOMETHING EVEN UGLIER THAN RACISM by Constance Hilliard

HUCKABEE SANDERS - POSTER CHILD FOR SOMETHING EVEN UGLIER THAN RACISM THAT AROSE FROM ANTEBELLUM SOUTH

What could be worse than the soul-shredding evil of racism during the era of human bondage? My answer would be creating a world of make-believe so fortified by lies that those who lived within it could believe that slaves didn’t mind it in the least when their children were sold from their trembling arms or when their wives were sexually assaulted by the plantation owner.

While the institution of forced labor was dismantled after the Civil War, the peculiar mindset that defined reality as whatever the patriarch said it was, regardless of the evidence of one’s own senses, escaped the confines of the South and spread to other areas of white working class America.

It was a worldview built on an invented moral authority. Southern evangelicals had fought the abolitionism of their northern evangelical counterparts by creating a new hermeneutics–Bible literalism. It proclaimed that anything theologians found in the world of 2,000 years ago as having made its way into the Bible could be declared sacrosanct and God-inspired. Critical thinking skills, even personal observation were disdained for the proclamations of the patriarchal leader. In that context, lies were whatever liberals said, and the truth was the patriarch’s mumblings.

SARAH HUCKEBEE-SANDERS

White House press secretary, Sarah Huckebee Sanders, thinks of herself as a good Christian because she is faithful to the truths of Donald Trump. If this poison isn’t worse than racism, then it certainly runs a close second.

[Constance Hilliard’s article was reblogged by Daily Kos Liberation League on August 2, 2017. It is reprinted here with permission of Daily Kos.]

HE SITS THERE ALL ALONE by T. H. End

HE SITS THERE ALL ALONE by T. H. End

he sits there all alone

as so many nights before

slowly sipping coffee

at the table by the door

he gazes so intensely at the rain outside the glass

and sighs a mournful sigh

as he waits the day to pass…

(–why he sits and what he thinks

I venture not to say

but the emptiness he feels - I know

I lost myself that way–)

I know too well how lonely feels

I’ve had the splintered heart

I’ve cried that sea of sorrows

which no one can be a part

I’ve felt the disappointment 

of a love that’s turned away

I know the pain of hatred

from the words that people say

and I have scaled the mountain

and crawled the desert floor

I’ve blazed a trail through wilderness 

from short to desolate shore

I’ve cried up to the heavens

and cursed the wretched ground

I’ve screamed into the canyon

but, have heard no echoes sound.

yes

I know exactly how he feels

I understand his pain

for I am he

who sits and stares

intensely, at the rain.

(c) 2009, LoveWorks Ink)
HYPOCRISY LIKELY TO BLAME FOR DECLINE OF CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS by L. Milton Hankins

HYPOCRISY LIKELY TO BLAME FOR DECLINE OF CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS by L. Milton Hankins

Before I intimate the declining state of religion in this country, let me say that it is in dismal disarray.

Thousands of churches in America, on any given Sunday morning, have a telling number of empty pews–most of them more than half-empty. An equal number (thousands) of articles have been written, asking, “Why is church membership declining?” That is not my particular concern either.

MADALYN MURRAY O’HAIR

My interest is in the growing number of agnostics and atheists, in general. I well remember a time in this country when only one atheist’s voice was being heard and who name was well-know–Madalyn Murray O’Hair. O’Hair once opined, “Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea.” The remarkable, but unthinkable truth, is that she was right! Keep this thought in mind.

Before I share statistics, it is important to understand the meaning of the words “atheist” and “agnostic.” According to Dr. Phil Zuckerman, in an October 2015 issue of Psychology Today, “An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of God or gods. And agnostic is someone who isn’t sure if there is a God or not, or who doesn’t feel like he or she (or anyone) can have any valid information on the matter, and thus, thinks that it is impossible to say there is a God, or that there isn’t.”

I’ll go with Zuckerman’s definitions, but simplify them by saying that both atheists and agnostics (nonbelievers) simply have no belief in a deity, period. They are neither theists nor polytheists. They are about as willing to talk about God or gods as they are to enter into a passionate, intense discussion of unicorns or leprechauns!

Atheism and agnosticism is growing at breathtaking rates through the world. Just to share some statistics, according to the Oxford Handbook, 41 percent of the people of France (or nearly 20 million) are nonbelievers. Almost one-third of the people of the United Kingdom are nonbelievers. But, wait…

While we may not be surprised that 17 percent of the people of Russia are nonbelievers, it startles us to learn there are a little less than half that number (8 percent) in the United States. The actual number of unbelievers in the United States is 18,625,556. Compare to the population of the State of New York - 19,795,791 (2014)

 

SYMBOL OF ATHEISM

The rise in numbers of unbelievers in the U.S. is, unquestionably, not due to the efforts of Madalyn Murray O’Hair!

I suspect this statistic is buoyed and burgeoning because the church continues to be unrealistic in its teachings, along with its unrelenting promotion of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. It is growing because of the unremitting hypocrisy between what Christians “say” and what Christians “do.”

The results of the recent election evince the latter. I cannot, in my lifetime, remember so profane and un-Christ-like a candidate as Donald Trump; yet, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported and voted for him. Go figure!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins

LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON BEING “LIBERAL” by L. Milton Hankins

LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON BEING “LIBERAL” by L. Milton Hankins

Ok, I’m sick and tired of […..] columnists using the word “liberal” and “liberals” in a cravenly insulting manner. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, liberal means “giving generously…not strict or literal…broadening the mind in a general way…tolerant, open-minded especially in religion and politics…favoring democratic reform and individual liberty, moderately progressive.”

 

None of these definitions are inappropriate, disgusting or worthy of disdain! And, certainly not undesirable! If there is a “liberal agenda,” it naturally aligns itself with these principles.

As a liberal, these values are precious to me.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. These freedoms are guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. I am opposed to anyone or anything which threatens these freedoms. I am deeply disturbed by people who contribute to false or “fake news” or suggest the “media is the enemy of the American people.”

Liberals believe that every American has a right to quality education at all levels. We support public education fervently. Personally, I believe the time has come for all students who maintain high standards of achievement to receive tuition-free education–at a minimum through community college levels.

Liberals believe that every American has a right to medical care. No American should be turned away or refused treatment in a hospital. Medical care should be equally applied, across the board, to everyone. Unfortunately, although several ways to afford this type of medical care have been proffered, I do not have space to go into detail. I personally support a single-payer, graduated system based on family and/or individual annual income levels.

Government must be of, by and for the people and large enough to provide for the general public what it cannot provide for itself, i.e. adequate infrastructure; police, fire and military protection; Social Security; and care for the indigent.

Liberals accept, appreciate and support all races, creeds, nationalities and sexual orientations. This liberal “belief” includes the axiom that whatever is acceptable for any homogeneous group is acceptable for all other homogeneous groups. As human beings “made of one blood,” we are in fact one huge homogeneous humanity.

Liberals welcome immigrants and believe our nation has achieved greatness because it is a melting pot of languages and cultures.

Liberals, in general, disapprove of despotism, bigotry and bullying; that is, one individual “lording over” or implying that he or she is innately better than others because of his/her social, political or financial status.

I wrote this column to suggest that part of the discontinuity that proscribes (“rejects as dangerous”) and separates political parties (liberals, independents, conservatives) is a lack of understanding of the basic values of opposite points of view. But, also, lack of understanding of the basic value of diversity.

One might get the impression from reading some opinion pieces that liberals are bad people–that they are people who have purposely set out to destroy everything that is good and right in America. Nothing could be further from the truth!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. [This article first appeared in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch.]

 

 

IGNORE THE ATTENTION WHORE…PLEASE! by J. William St. Clair

IGNORE THE ATTENTION WHORE…PLEASE! by J. William St. Clair

“Please ignore the attention whore.” This is the response I wanted to give in response to a number of questions asked of me during my recent travel abroad. My wife and I had the good fortune of taking a walking tour along the Dodogne River in Southern France. We met great people on the path, some of whom, upon learning we were Americans, were truly inquisitive, asking us about the President of the United States. The question was often, “So tell me about Trump,” or some similar open-ended question.

    DONALD TRUMP

It appeared to me they could not comprehend him. Being advised in advance that it is considered bad form in polite European company to offer open disrespect of one’s country and its leaders, my wife and I chose a middling response: “We pay no attention to him.” This response was often met with more questions seeking our opinion of the Trumpster, to which we hung to our position - “We give him no mind,” and similar responses. Being pushed further by one British couple, I finally equated Trump to another’s child in the grocery check-out line whining and crying for candy. It is not my job to fix that kid. I endure it.

Journaling while flying back to this great country leads me to conclude that Donald Trump wants, desires, demands and maybe even craves your attention. “The Donald” does not care if you praise him or loathe him. He wants only that your attention is aimed towards him, that your energy is focused on him, that he is your first thought when you awake and the final thought when you fall asleep. And then he wants to be the sandman of your dreams.

 

A possible bromide - Pay no attention to the attention whore. My hope is this prescription may be considered by my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, which braces itself to receive The Donald on August 3, 2017. My soul was lifted upon learning that tickets remain available for those willing and able to endure his whining and crying for candy. Yet, I fear that any deprivation The Donald may feel for each empty seat inside will be offset by The Donald seeing a sea of protesters outside.

As a final shot - To every local politician considering an apprenticeship on the continuing “Donald Show” by standing on stage with him…REALLY?

NO, MY DIVERSITY DOESN’T HAVE TO TOLERATE YOUR BIGOTRY by John Pavlovitz

NO, MY DIVERSITY DOESN’T HAVE TO TOLERATE YOUR BIGOTRY by John Pavlovitz

Some days I think people choose to miss the point.

In the weeks following the election, those of us opposing the coming Administration and protesting what we see as very problematic Cabinet appointments and flag-raising political maneuvering, have received a similar scolding from Conservatives as we engage in debate on the issues. It’s an attempt to call us out for our alleged hypocrisy:

“I see, you’re all for diversity unless someone disagrees with you! Apparently we don’t get included in that! You Liberals are so tolerant!” they say.

Well, they’re partially right.

The commitment to diversity and equality means demanding that everyone gets a seat at the table; that each person’s inherent worth is recognized there, that no one is devalued or excluded based on fixed and fundamental part of their identity: skin color, gender, nation of origin, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

This means that we declare every human being equally valuable. It does not mean we treat all behavior equally:

If your opinion directly endangers people based on those essential parts of who they are–we’ll pushback.

If your worldview permits you to treat someone as less deserving of civil rights or it discards their basic humanity–your worldview is a threat to true diversity.

If your evaluation of another makes you more tolerant of their mistreatment or less outraged by hate crimes against them, that’s a fundamental problem.

Active discrimination and violence don’t get a seat at the table. They don’t get proximity to do further damage to people.

For example, a gay teenager and a Baptist preacher are both invited into genuine community and both welcomed into conversation, but if the preacher insists on the inherent depravity of the teenager, if he or she cannot see the teenager as fully equal to them in the eyes of God or the Law, this is a barrier to diverse community and an assault on the teenager’s very identity. The teenager’s place at the table is terribly altered by the preacher, not the other way around.

Diversity will always err on the side of the marginalized and always be an inconvenience to the privileged because diversity seeks justice. It demands benevolence for those who are not experiencing it.

The contention for the past year has been that all political perspectives are valid, but I won’t consent to that and it’s a matter of personal safety. No individual groups of white people are explicitly, measurably endangered by a Progressive platform, they receive the same consideration. But I can illustrate the specific ways people of color, immigrants, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ community are less safe and less represented by the coming Administration, which is already by its conduct, a movement of exclusion.

 

JOHN PAVLOVITZ, AUTHOR

Friend, I can respect you and seek to understand you, while declaring your actions or those of politicians you support, completely reprehensible. I can criticize your conduct or the results of your behavior without attacking your worth. That’s how this works.

If you believe people of color are simply inferior to white people, you’re going to have to work hard to stay at the table.

If you claim LGBTQ to be abominations, you’ll have to do better.

If you believe Muslims are likely terrorists, you probably won’t feel welcome at the table for long.

And so no, it isn’t at all hypocritical to champion diversity and to confront injustice simultaneously. They are fully collaborative and integrated movements.

All people are welcomed at the table but bigotry isn’t, so save the allegation that its acceptance is a requirement for me.

Equality demands decency toward humanity’s diverse gathering–and it’s what I demand.

 

AVAILABLE THROUGH AMAZON.COM OR LOCAL BOOKSTORES

 

[The above article appeared first in John Pavlovitz’s STUFF THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID on January 12, 2017. Permission pending.]