Friday, June 13, 2014

The Gays and marriage

    • Many on the fundamentalist right believe, mistakenly, that Sodom and Gomorrah was all about homosexuality and that its presence in the US will bring down the wrath of God upon our nation. Fear seems to motivate them rather than love.

    Those who believe, incorrectly, that being gay is a demon induced choice will never warm to the idea that these people deserve all the protections that the Constitution provides.

    I remember being told that God does not make junk in reference to each and everyone of us who think that somehow, 'I have no value'.. That who we are, regardless of whatever we, or the public, thinks about our state in life, are loved by God. That somehow we all fit into His plan and are valued.

    In reference to Gays, who are born that way, are loved and valued, by God and fit into His plan, we should do no less, because God doesn't make junk.

    "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question, "Tell me when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person ?" We must always consider the person."
    Pope Francis 

    If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn't marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.
      Pope Francis

    All sorts of people are born into this world with varying degrees of looks, intelligence, health and,yes, sexual orientation. God loves them all. And in this nation of ours they all have the same rights.

    The Bible, however anyone reads it, is not in any way connected to our Constitution and Bill of Rights which we all live by in this nation. You can believe whatever you want, say what ever you want and worship in any way you choose or not, but, in this country you can not deny anyone their rights.

    Gay marriage is no threat to me. It took some time for me to embrace that change from accepting civil unions. All the arguments against it were easy to dismantle.

    In this land of liberty the rights of an individual trumped everything else. No religious tyranny can be tolerated here.
    There is no way that a same sex couple, down the street, in the next block or the same pew, living in a loving marriage can diminish the word or what my marriage means to me.

    The obvious sin in Sodom was a desire for violent mass rape of the two angelic visitors who came to visit Lot. They were a wicked town, with only one righteous man and his family to be found within its borders. It causes me to wonder what kind of other grave sins this community was indulged in. How were the widows, orphans, poor and sick treated. What kind of false god was worshiped there and what kind of sacrifices did they perform to it. 
    and its destruction on note19:25;

    Whatever horribleness was there it was, too, difficult for Lots wife to turn her back away from it. Some sins are very enticing and easy to rationalize their acceptance, but they always darken the soul and distance a person from God.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Forgiveness is hard, but...

We are all called, as Christians, to find the grace to forgive, just as, Christ did from the Cross. It's good for our souls and general well being. 

Penance (justice) is still required for the offender regardless of whether that person seeks forgiveness or not. There is always a penalty to pay, even for those who strive to keep the act unnoticed. Those who work to sweep it under the carpet have their sins (crimes) intertwined with the offender and may be committing the greater crime (sin). Justice is mandatory.

Many bad things happened to me in my youth that hurt a lot, especially, when my memory would torture me with it. When I began to come back to my faith that forgiveness part was a challenge. How could I do that? My anger and hurt were clearly justifiable. 

But there was that forgiveness part. So I said I forgive the hurt inflicted on me. Not really. God is no dummy. He knows it's hard. I kept at it and eventually found that, for me, asking that the person be forgiven by the Lord, that they be blessed and saying a prayer for them worked. My memories of those moments are still there, but the anger and hurt has vanished. 

This was clearly a plus for me. I have no idea whether my prays had any effect on those who harmed me. But I wasn't carrying that load of anger, hurt and hate around with me anymore. Forgiveness is truly good for the soul.

Lent ends at midnight, but, this lenten reflection is good for the whole year. (especially for me)

A Lenten Reflection

“Give up complaining----focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism----become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments----think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry----trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement----be full of hope.
Give up bitterness----turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred----return good for evil.
Give up negativism----be positive.
Give up anger----be more patient.
Give up pettiness----become mature.
Give up gloom----enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy----pray for trust.
Give up gossiping----control your tongue.
Give up sin----turn to virtue.
Give up giving up----hang in there!”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Unitary Executive and torture

from the Spokesman Review;

The Unitary Executive theory, championed, most recently, by Vice-President Cheney, is the root of our disgrace. The belief that the president, has the power of a monarch, so that he can ignore laws passed by the legislature and treaties is a misguided threat to our democracy. Unitary Executive proponents believe that Congress has no power over the Commander in Chief. He can use the military in any place and any way he wants even if it may break treaties or the laws of America. We are all left without a voice in our own government.

When, Cheney, led the US ,down the road, to torture, we became less. It was another one of those dark sinister turns, in our nations past, that must be made right. Great shame has been brought upon our nation because of this hideous practice.

Torture is and always has been evil. This is highly unconstitutional, immoral and a completely un-American exercise in shame. It is much more in likeness to the old Soviet Union, China, or nations such as Syria. Confessions as the result of torture and ill-treatment make them completely invalid in a true court of law. Information gained is unreliable and is dangerous to the well-being of our troops by putting them in a situation, when captured, of being treated the same way. Which we believe to be immoral, cruel and illegal when it happens to one or more of our own.

Once we believe, as many conservatives have, that torture is okay; that we're still pure and clean and good for having accepted it, we open ourselves up to many evil embraced horrors of our own making. We already believe in pre-emptive war and collateral damage without a conscience thought, of the results of our actions. How long will it be before this hideous practice is embraced by the American justice system ? How far down the road must we go before family, friends and acquaintances, of a wanted felon, become subjected to enhanced interrogation methods, because, they may know something.

Torture is a cowardly act of weakness. It is evil everywhere it's practiced. This horror must never be used for information or punishment or intimidation or for any of the other screwy reasons governments, 'freedom fighters' or law enforcement deploy it.

You people who have welcomed this filthy practice of torture have disgraced our flag, our ancestors' sacrifices and the dust of their bones. This is a war crime and all those involved should be prosecuted all the way up to the head torturer in chief.

We must arrest and try all involved especially those on the top of the heap who thought they could find 'legal' ways to break the law.

This must be a relentless campaign issue.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Should I Be Silent ?

There are Christians here in the US and around the world who don't live up to what the Gospels direct us to be. They're called people. We all have failings and struggle to overcome where we see where we've strayed.. All but the most saintly among us fail to see just how jagged our path is or the one pair of footprints in the sand.

But should I be silent ? When those who dare to call themselves Christians turn a blind eye toward those who suffer because of their actions. Should I be silent ? No. The economic violence directed toward the poor, sick and disabled are crimes in the eyes of God.

The Bible is full of chastisements such as this;

Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees,
Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people's poor of their rights, Making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!
What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealthIsaiah Chapter 10

The evangelical right and fundamentalist conservatives who claim to know the Bible well act as though these teachings are invisible. Catholics should know better, but, despite the teachings of the saints and Pope John Paul II in modern times, our conservatives have often behaved the same. They warmed up to the right-wing of the GOP, because of the single issue of abortion. They've fallen away from the entirety of Catholic Social Teaching in favor of all things belonging to the extremists of the Republican Party.

Seven Themes Of Catholic Social Teaching

With the popularity of our humble Pope Francis, lies hope for more engaged priests, religious and parishioners. And a healthy Church paving the way for a truly compassionate legislature that puts the needs of the poor, sick and disabled ahead of the rich and powerful of the world.

This is long, but, it contains many gems.

The Joy of the Gospel

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Struggle against Al Qaeda continues

Well it's 2014 and we are still at war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and with Al Qaeda, wherever they raise their ugly heads. Be it Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, the US or their presence and influence throughout the Middle East, the Obama administration is tracking them down. As the multiple drone strikes would lead us to believe.

Approval for the war in Afghanistan has dropped to 20% . I can't help but think that the longer we're there and the more civilians, especially women and children, we kill and injure the more enemies we create. It seems to be a vicious circle with no way out. War is easy to get into, but, almost impossible to get out of, as everyone should know.

I worry most about the women and girls who will become acid targets or worse, from the Taliban, just because they have embraced their new freedoms, especially education. They wouldn't be in this position, of hope, if it wasn't for us. They may owe us some level of gratitude, but, we owe them protection, because, of what our actions have initiated. I'm in favor of a quick organized escape for those women, and their loved ones, who desire it.

Drones and how they are used is classified. Reports suggest that they have been useful in killing Al Qaeda leadership. But that success seems to be at the price of the lives of women and children noncombatants. Amnesty International is the best source here;

"Will I Be Next?" US Drone Strikes in Pakistan