No Longer Feeling The Bern

I’m no longer feeling The Bern and feeling very, very disappointed (and somewhat embarrassed) about that.

In 2016, Bernie was my guy. I loved his in-your-face pride in being a democratic socialist, his integrity on sticking to his principles and calling bullshit on our socio-politico-economic establishment. I still like that about him. 

But what I didn’t do was examine his economic program very closely. I was too excited by his social-political stands and discounted almost all of what establishment critics were saying because naturally I didn’t trust them. (Free college, for example, is no pipe dream. Trump just proposed raising the national security budget by more than enough money to pay for it.) I assumed they must be demonizing him because he was pulling their files for all of us to see. I’m certain that is still true today, however never did I think their charges might hold any water. 

Full disclosure and apologies to those who might feel unfairly maligned but in my experience my brothers and sisters on the left tend to make very poor economic analyses of our economy and its institutions, especially when it comes to jobs and wages. And I expected not much different from Bernie. I did expect a bit of flexibility and realpolitik from his long years in office. On that score, I was wrong. He is an ideologue which is a strength when you’re leading the charge of some very angry people but it is a liability for governance. Recent events have given me serious pause on this point. Cringeworthy moral equivocations of Castro. Writing bills in an election year that tax startup employees on options they haven’t even sold yet. (WHY???!?!?) Making the rather dubious claim he wants to follow the Scandanavian or Nordic Model which has more billionaires per capita than here in the U.S. Billionaires that he says “shouldn’t exist.” People defending him with the kind of excuses we heard from morally sane but incredibly naive voters that were used for Trump in 2016. (Anyone remember “He’ll mature once he’s in office?”) When folks are telling me “Relax, he can’t actually do that. Congress will stop him.” It’s a red flag on the candidate.

Of course, none of this rises to the level that I would stay home on Election Day. It will be a cold day in hell before I abstain from casting a vote against Agent Orange and the GOP. But I have to say that I’m not rooting for Bernie anymore which is a very sad and disappointing realization. I really did believe in him.

Go and Do Likewise

I practice Jesuit (that is Ignatian) spirituality and at its core is the Greatest Commandment. It dominates my life and specifically here, my politics.

I practice Jesuit (that is Ignatian) spirituality. At its core is the Greatest Commandment which dominates my life and, specifically for this discussion, my politics (more on that later).

Let’s look at the how important this is in Luke:

The Greatest Commandment. There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test [Jesus] and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

Luke 10:25-28 (NABre)

Love of God includes love of neighbor. It is one of the direct signs of the love of God. It’s not an accident then, that who “my neighbor” is is critically important and likely why St. Luke connected the commandment directly to the parable of The Good Samaritan.

Continue reading “Go and Do Likewise”

A Bishop’s License to Ill

Christians are called to win the battle of ideas and values in secular society, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said Tuesday.

via Never accept’ separation of faith from political engagement, Archbishop Charles Chaput says

Chaput is my bishop. I can say he is a man of integrity: pretty hardcore about certain things and I’d be willing to wager that he’s not the turn a blind eye “for the sake of Peter” type from sexual abuse if he were investigate (and to date there’s been no evidentiary reason to do so). He’s been pretty frank about bishop moral credibility, etc. I’ve seen him ay to a bunch of white folks in a suburban parish how they have racism in them and need to combat it to their faces in front of black people no less (of course including me). He’s said repeatedly, that refusing to aid the poor whether government program or charity just because buys you a first class non-stop ticket to Hell. He’s lamented that too many of us have the faith of a 10-year-old, etc. So I respect him and his intentions in general.

Continue reading “A Bishop’s License to Ill”

A Nation of Both Credits and Debits

The matter of reparations is one of making amends and direct redress, but it is also a question of citizenship. In H.R. 40, this body has a chance to both make good on its 2009 apology for enslavement, and reject fair-weather patriotism, to say that this nation is both its credits and debits.

via Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Testimony to the House on Reparations – The Atlantic

This Bears Repeating

We are locking up asylum seekers, intentionally traumatizing their children in order to traumatize their parents, and then calling it “security.”

Forgive the length but this bears repeating:

Trump overwhelmingly won the Catholic and evangelical votes. They were warned about this. Prophetically. The man in the White House is not a man of God nor even a Christian (at the very least you have to believe you need redemption to be one). They voted for him anyway. Some it appears lusted for power (and now feel some sense of it, read racists). Others were single issue voters on issues like abortion. I said this election and presidency would be one long civics lesson for these people and I was right. This is what you get when you vote for a sociopath. Kids forcibly removed from their parents, locked in cages by the dozens, hundreds.

A sociopath is “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.” This certainly applies to Trump. He is not “the lesser of two evils.” Hillary was. But that’s like saying speeding is the lesser of two evils when compared to driving your car into a crowd of protestors. (And spare me the canard of abortion. It’s legal now and it’s going to stay quite legal for decades to come given the trends in women running for office. Trends instigated by you know who.)

Our nation has always done evil like this: slavery, Wounded Knee, the Tuskegee Experiment, and so on. No nation is God. Evil exists everywhere and in all of us. In particular, racism and greed are at root in this situation. And that makes our nation much like Sodom which BTW was not turned to ash for having gay pride parades:

Ezekiel 16:49 (NABre)
“Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy.”

We are locking up asylum seekers, intentionally traumatizing their children in order to traumatize their parents, and then calling it “security.” Was such wonton callousness secure for Sodom?

For those who voted for Trump, you bear responsibility for this. For those who I know personally, understand that this is not a political issue. It’s a moral one (for me it always has been). Support for this tells me who you are. I will be watching.

A Better God than the One We Have

Amen. a.co/eFAksF9

I was once saying mass at the San Fernando Juvenile Hall. With nearly three hundred detained minors—mostly gang members—a homie reads from Psalm 138. I’m seated, vested, eyes closed, choosing to listen to this kid’s proclamation, rather than follow along in the liturgical sheet that rests on my lap. He reads, with an overabundance of confidence, “The Lord . . . is EXHAUSTED.” What the hell? I open my eyes and hurriedly refer to my sheet. It says, “The Lord is exalted,” but I think “exhausted” is way better. I’m not sure I want to spend eternity with a God who wants to be exalted, who longs to be recognized and made a big deal of. I would rather hope for a humble God who gets exhausted in delighting over and loving us. That is a better God than the one we have [made in our own image].

I am a Techie. Through and through.

This is why I practice Jesuit spirituality. They speak right to and for me! This quote is exactly me.

“First of all, we always recognize that we could be wrong. Logic can be flawed. Tables have been known to contain misprints. Hunches sometimes turn out to be mistaken. Next, we allow our beliefs to be tested by results. If we get an answer that works, it confirms our trust in the data, and it strengthens our preconceptions the next time we’re looking for a hunch. We allow our beliefs to be confirmed by our experience. And finally, we’re a whole lot more comfortable with our results if there is more than one line of evidence leading to the same conclusion.”

from “God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion” by Guy Consolmagno.

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.