Sunday, June 17, 2018

Can I Get a Witness ?

The other day I went to see a movie called First Reformed.  This is a story about a minister (played by Ethan Hawke)  in a small church, (the location is Albany County in upstate New York) working in the shadow of a much larger megachurch, manned by a political savvy minister (played by no less Cedric the Entertainer).  He finds himself counseling a woman and her husband recently released from prison for committing crimes related to his environmental activism.  As a result of this  and his own demons that brought him to the church in the first place, he descends into a dark night of the soul brought on partly by a growing feeling that what he’s believed isn’t a sufficient answer for the struggles of the world in which he lives.  It perhaps is the most evocative film made about the subject of the role of the Church with regards to the environment in which it serves and those who reside in said environment all while the role of money and patronage of the Church is truly what enables their existence, so which master does it serve?

Living here in the Bible Belt I don't know anyone who doesn't have issues with Jesus.  And by issues I mean that the idea that he was the son of God and that he died for our sins.  Okay sure.  I love mythology and stories and I am a great believer that if you are willing to die for your beliefs then you deserve my respect even when I don't agree with said beliefs.  I urge many to see this amazingly intense film that gives no answers but asks many questions.

The role of the Evangelical movement behind the Trump Debacle only further fuels the debate about the role of money, patronage and the idea that the words of Christianity are in often direct contradiction from what currently is transpiring with regards to the separation of children from their parents when they are seeking refuge in America.   There is no one who is truly and advocate of faith regardless of the type of religion they follow could possibly understand and support this.  Throw in the Atheists and Agnostics as well as they could simply use reason and compassion to comprehend why this sick policy is utterly outrageous and horrific.

What is even more disturbing is that the daughter of the Evangelical shape shifter, Mike Huckabee, had the audacity to support this by stating the idea that the Bible supports upholding the law.  This apparently came from the Forrest Trump who also declares that he is super duper Religious and knows the law. Really can I get a witness?

What the fuck happened to the separation of Church and State? Is that not the law? Well sort of kinda of, this according to the Oxford Encyclopedia on American History regarding the First Amendment:

Despite its inclusion in the pantheon of democratic virtues, separation of church and state did not become constitutional canon until the mid-twentieth century with incorporation of the Bill of Right to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. In the modern Court’s first Establishment Clause holding, Everson v. Board of Education (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote:
The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another […] No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion […] In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between Church and State.”5
 So as that line seems to be in constant flux I realize that a cluster of people who are largely a minority in this country are in charge of this country and its laws then we are fucked.  As again living in the Bible belt I see the hypocrisy and bullshit on a daily basis.   Few have managed to lie as well as they do here and all with a smile and a bless you're heart as an admonishment versus a blessing.  It is fucking terrifying when you realize how stupid these people are.  Again, I work in the schools which confirms this in ways that again is equally terrifying.  Look to our voting registration and percentage to confirm again how idiotic and dangerous they are.  Right now in Tennessee 1/3 of the population vote and look at the dipshits currently in Tennessee offices of law making. Diane Black anyone?

The New York Times did an amazing article on detention camp/prison/housing located in a former Walmart super center in Texas.   Please read this piece.  This facility  is run by a private company and at one point refused to allow a United States Center entrance.  And when the finally admitted the Press and others to tour these "facilities" they were equally concerned as to what they witnessed. 

The reality is that is not about Christian faith and charity but about inherent racism and xenophobia.  This is the Trump Doctrine and while Obama clearly deported more Immigrants than any other President in History, Trump in his insatiable need to trump Obama has found a way to do so by being utterly abusive and egregious in manners that I cannot say I have ever seen or read about in a Democracy.  Can I get a Witness?

You Can’t Be Pro-Life and Against Immigrant Children

By Charles C. Camosy
Mr. Camosy is a board member of Democrats for Life.

The New York Times/Opinion/ June 16, 2018

What does “pro-life, pro-family” really mean?

The idea behind that phrase has long been an important organizing principle for pro-life groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

For many who work for these organizations — or who vote for candidates endorsed by them — being “pro-life, pro-family” is not a euphemism for opposing abortion and same-sex marriage. It acknowledges that protecting children, including ones not yet born, often requires protecting and supporting their mothers and families too.

We are in the midst of a serious crisis for vulnerable children and families, though, and these “pro-life, pro-family” organizations have been largely silent.

The crisis is the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from undocumented parents, even when the families are asking for asylum. In one particularly horrific case, a mother said that her baby was taken from her while she was breast-feeding.

The number of children being taken is so large that the administration, using the fear these children must feel as a means of deterring undocumented immigration, is apparently building “tent cities” around military bases to house them.

Given their support of the administration, and an unwillingness to speak critically about immigration policy, “pro-life, pro-family” organizations now risk being tied to these and other horrific practices.

Some church groups and leaders have followed their broad pro-life commitments in condemning these practices. Evangelical leaders like Russell Moore and Samuel Rodriguez have signed a public letter of protest to the administration. “The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern,” they wrote.

On Wednesday, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, denounced the Trump administration’s immigration policy. “We urge courts and policymakers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life,” he said.

Catholic bishops in border states and cities have been particularly scathing. “Separating immigrant parents and children as a supposed deterrent to immigration is a cruel and reprehensible policy,” Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Tex., recently wrote.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, I spoke with Bishop Flores about mass deportation. He called the policies intrinsically evil. Because it regularly forces children into places where their lives are under threat, Bishop Flores argued, it is “not unlike driving someone to an abortion clinic.”

So why can’t the biggest pro-life organizations join these religious leaders in condemning the administration’s treatment of children?

Where is National Right to Life? Where is the Susan B. Anthony List?

The leadership of the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the most powerful pro-life groups in the country, originally had harsh things to say about Donald Trump as a candidate. They were “disgusted” by the way he treated people, and “women, in particular.” It was “anyone but Donald Trump.”

But after his nomination, the group promoted him as someone its supporters should vote for. Going well beyond “the lesser of two evils” language, it even made Mr. Trump the keynote speaker at its annual gala last month.

It is true that the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, seems likely to be anti-abortion, as do several federal judges who have been confirmed under Mr. Trump. His appointments and policies with respect to the Department of Health and Human Services have been similarly anti-abortion.

But this is nothing like a turning point for the movement. People opposed to abortion got some short-term gains, all of which could be easily reversed by the next administration, and some judges about whom they must wait and see.

And these modest gains have cost the movement greatly.

In standing by President Trump and his administration — and, indeed, in now honoring him as their standard-bearer — traditional pro-life leaders have put short-term and uncertain political gain ahead of consistent moral principle.

Because of their support of the president and general silence on his administration’s actions, the major players in the pro-life movement are now tethered to his horrific border policies. This presents a real threat to the broader movement’s capacity to be taken seriously by young people and people of color.

The silence on the border policies is not a simple question of groups keeping a focus solely on abortion. Many pro-life organizations also do extensive work opposing euthanasia. There is nothing in principle compelling such organizations to ignore anti-life and anti-family border policies.

If the traditional pro-life movement is to regain credibility as something other than a tool of the Trump administration, it must speak out clearly and forcefully against harming innocent children as a means of deterring undocumented immigration.

These groups have extraordinary access and influence in the White House. They have to use it.

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