I Just Want to Do God’s Will

This MLK Day, I read someone comment on King’s optimism and how it animated his work, basically him as the Dreamer. But he was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and God is what animated him. He did not mince words about this. The night before he died he said,

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!

And the next day he was shot and killed.

Sweet Home Alabama

Truth is spoken in the barber shop…

The TRUTH is spoken in the barber shop…

Loving Your Neighbor is Communal

This conservative “Christian” idea that the Bible demands individual acts of charity and this government programs aimed at social and economic justice is flat out idolatry. Jesus himself spoke communally about justice and Judgment.

This conservative “Christian” idea that the Bible demands individual acts of charity and thus government programs aimed at social and economic justice can be resisted is flat out idolatry. Jesus himself spoke communally about justice and Judgment.

Mark 7:6-13 (NABre)

[Jesus] responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me;

In vain do they worship me,

teaching as doctrines human precepts.’

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

And in one of the few places where Jesus condemns people to hell:

Matthew 25:31-33,41-46 (NABre)

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left…Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

In a country where government is of the people, by the people and for the people, the people are responsible for its morality. If your are Christian, as in an actual follower of Christ, then the government must act in certain ways for you to support it. If you want it to ban abortion, you better accept it should provide poor children with healthcare. Otherwise stop pretending to be a follower of Christ.

Pragmatism

AL governor shows us what happens when the pragmatic politics shoe is on the other foot.

In the presidential election of 2016, I was harangued and admonished for balking at voting for Hillary Clinton because she was disingenuous about combatting police brutality. Having a son in a country where police are excused from shooting black children made that issue a singular one for me. Folks couldn’t really argue against that so I as told to subordinate that for pragmatic gain. Clinton would ensure a liberal SCOTUS and that would have far reaching effects on police brutality among other issues. Well, Governor Ivey has taught us that sword cuts both ways…

“I will cast my ballot on December the 12,” [Alabama governor] Ivey told reporters. “And I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for.”

She attributed her decision to a desire to preserve the advantage Republicans hold over Democrats in the Senate, which has enabled them to advance key judicial nominations and other elements of the GOP agenda.

Alabama’s GOP governor says she plans to vote for Roy Moore – The Washington Post

Republicans look for exit strategy in Roy Moore saga – CNNPolitics

Republicans across Congress unleashed forceful condemnations urging Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore to abandon his bid. But they’re not sure what to do next

Source: Republicans look for exit strategy in Roy Moore saga – CNNPolitics

Republicans look for exit strategy in Roy Moore saga – CNNPolitics

Popcorn!

Sen. Cory Gardner was quick out the gate to say Moore should be expelled if he ends up in the Senate — something that requires a two-thirds majority vote and hasn’t been done in 155 years. Gardner, head of the Senate Republican campaign committee, released a stunning statement, stating clearly that if Moore “refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him.”

Source: Republicans look for exit strategy in Roy Moore saga – CNNPolitics

Professor resigns after allegations he sexually abused minors as a priest – CNN

In a statement last week, the Diocese of Brooklyn included him in a list of those who had been “dispensed from the clerical state.” The decree was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “which is the Vatican office authorized to deal with cases involving sexual abuse of minors by a cleric.”

Professor resigns after allegations he sexually abused minors as a priest – CNN

It’s Complicated

The WaPo recently reported on Trump’s latest attempt to squirm out of his impossible campaign promise to build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border paid for by Mexico. It is equal parts clown action and cynical maneuvering.

An import tax is pure clown action because any tax that we impose Mexico can as well in retaliation. They are a sovereign nation able to levy any taxes they wish. And they’ve said that they will do exactly that and even go beyond. According to the WaPo:

Mexico’s economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, said this week that Mexico is prepared to “mirror” any action by the United States to raise tariffs or impose taxes on imports. Guajardo has also said it might be necessary for Mexico to walk away from NAFTA — a once-unthinkable idea — if there was no benefit in the negotiations for his country.

And it’s not like we are immune to such retaliatory action:

Every day, goods valued at $1.4 billion cross the U.S.-Mexico border, and millions of jobs are linked to trade on both sides. Mexico is the world’s second-largest customer for American-made products, and 80 percent of Mexican exports — automobiles, flat-screen TVs, avocados — are sold to the United States.

So that $600 flat screen will now cost the American customer $720. That’s $600 plus $120 to pay the 20% import tax Trump imposed. After all is Best Buy or the TV manufacturer going to eat that cost? No. We are. And not just at the cash register. Try American jobs as well. Which brings me to the cynical maneuvering part of this story.

Trump knows damn well Mexico will not pay an import tax. Americans will. Sure such a tax hurts Mexican exports but Mexico can do much of the same damage to us. That’s why no one wins in a trade war, except perhaps the tax man, surely a high GOP priority. With Americans paying the import tax, Trump is attempting to bamboozle his supporters into thinking Mexico is paying for the wall in a “complicated form.” And like any con, the mark is always the only one who pays. Unfortunately, because marks can vote, we are along for the ride.

Defeating Abortion

A more important driver of the declining abortion rate, Jones said, appears to be improved access to contraception, particularly long-acting birth control options like IUDs. She noted that women in the United States have been using the highly effective devices in growing numbers for more than a decade, and said the declining birthrate suggests more women are preventing unwanted pregnancies.

U.S. Abortion Rate Falls To Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade

And that’s why I support effective contraception 100%. This issue is where the Church has lost just about all moral authority. Not only is next to no one listening for practical reasons. It’s schizophrenia over the obvious moral need for birth control (not frankly ridiculous euphemisms like “birth spacing”) and trying to call “artificial” contraception evil, leave even fewer listening on moral grounds. The fruits are clear. Even with sexually active couples who wouldn’t abort, using birth control reduces those (hundreds? thousands?) of conceived children that fail to implant. Why should we support more of that given the choice?

If the Church really wants to talk about the theology of the body, let’s talk about those conscious decisions about using our bodies in God’s service honestly, intentionally, and responsibly rather than playing games with birth control efficacy natural or otherwise or euphemisms designed to hide the truth about what we are doing.

Healthcare is a Responsibility 

Luke 10:29-37 (NABre)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

I’ve long condemned the attempts by the GOP to repeal Obamacare. Mostly because they have no intention of replacing it with anything. As the above story illustrates, it’s patently immoral. They’ve tried to doublespeak their way around this by the canard “healthcare is a responsibility not a right” in line with the mantra of so-called personal responsibility. Notice the Samaritan nit only displays charity, he goes the distance and pays for the traveler’s care. No mention is made of the man’s ability to pay. And we can reasonably infer he cannot. And what does Jesus tell us to do? 

Go and do likewise.

Healthcare is a responsibility. Conservatives have it wrong whose it is.