Sunday, February 19, 2017
Show And Tell
I’m so over defending my own humanity. I’m so over providing a power-point presentation about the fact that I exist. And I’m completely done with engaging with anyone who has a clever theory explaining why they actually understand my soul better than I do.
To be blunt: if your crazy-ass theory of the world doesn’t ease the suffering of people whom you do not understand, maybe what you actually need is a new theory.
Look, I’m going to continue all of the work I’ve been doing these last 15 years talking about identity and story and love. I’m going to try to support other people in the community whose work I admire, or find challenging or engaging.
But in creative writing circles we have a saying: Show, Don’t Tell. [ed. note: she drilled that into us in class] In writing, that means that a scene — with dialogue and texture and character — is much more convincing than narration — explaining and lecturing. And it strikes me that this is true of our movement now as well.
To exist is to resist.
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Monday, January 30, 2017
I will not give up repeating the names of Rama and Rahim, which mean to me the same god.
Back in 1908, Gandhi was released from the first of his many imprisonments in South Africa. He'd been arrested essentially for refusing to register per the Asiatic Registration Act (only about 500 of 13,000 Indians complied). His trial on January 10 was quite a circus:
The eastern side of Government Square presented an extraordinary scene of excitement this afternoon. All through the lunch hour there was a big gathering of Indians, and at two o’clock precisely a continuous stream of Indians indicated the approach of the leaders. Mr. Gandhi was the first to appear. It was drizzling, and his ardent admirers sheltered him with umbrellas as he walked along slowly reading the first edition of The Star. The Indians kept pouring on to the Square, and the public entrance to the Court was blocked.
The Magistrate, Mr. Jordan, was seen walking through the crowd, and of course he attracted considerable attention. At ten minutes past two the lock was heard in the door, and the press outside became greater. The doors were flung open and the crowd was met by Captain Potter, Superintendent Vernon, and two police. The officer ordered the entrance to be cleared and considerable confusion followed. The dense mass swayed backward, and when it was possible for egress to be obtained by a few people at a time, people were allowed to pass in.
Mr. M. K. Gandhi was first called, and he pleaded guilty to the charge, which was one of disobeying the order of the Court to leave the Colony within 48 hours.
Mr. Fred Klette, clerk in B Court, went into the witness-box and produced the records in the case Rex v. Gandhi heard in that Court on the 28th of December. Defendant was on that occasion ordered to leave the Colony within 48 hours. Witness served a written order personally on the accused.
On being asked by the Magistrate if he had any questions to ask, Mr. Gandhi replied:
Superintendent Vernon, B Division, said that at 2 p.m. that afternoon he arrested the accused for failing to comply with the order. He had seen the accused repeatedly from the date the order was made until today.
Mr. Gandhi had again no questions to ask.
Mr. Schuurman intimated that this was the case.
Mr. Gandhi asked leave to make a short statement, and, having obtained it, he said he thought there should be a distinction made between his case and those who [sic] were to follow. He had just received a message from Pretoria stating that his compatriots had been tried there and had been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour; and they had been fined a heavy amount, in lieu of payment of which they would receive a further period of three months’ hard labour. If these men had committed an offence, he had committed a greater offence, and he asked the Magistrate to impose upon him the heaviest penalty.
MR. JORDAN: You asked for the heaviest penalty which the law authorizes?
MR. GANDHI: Yes, Sir.
MR. JORDAN: I must say I do not feel inclined to accede to your request of passing the heaviest sentence, which is six months’ hard labour with a fine of £500. That appears to me to be totally out of proportion to the offence which you have committed. The offence practically is contempt of Court in having disobeyed the order of December 28. This is more or less a political offence, and if it had not been for the defiance set to the law I should have thought it my duty to pass the lowest sentence which I am authorized by the Act. Under the circumstances, I think a fair sentence to meet the case would be two months’ imprisonment without hard labour. Mr. Gandhi was then removed in custody
It was around this time that Gandhi's fundamental concept of nonviolent struggle was formed:
The principle called Satyagraha came into being before that name was invented. Indeed when it was born, I myself could not say what it was. In Gujarati also we used the English phrase 'passive resistance' to describe it. When in a meeting of Europeans I found that the term 'passive resistance' was too narrowly construed, that it was supposed to be a weapon of the weak, that it could be characterized by hatred, and that it could finally manifest itself as violence, I had to demur to all these statements and explain the real nature of the Indian movement. It was clear that a new word must be coined by the Indians to designate their struggle.
But I could not for the life of me find out a new name, and therefore offered a nominal prize through Indian Opinion to the reader who made the best suggestion on the subject. As a result Maganlal Gandhi coined the word Sadagraha (Sat=truth, Agraha=firmness) and won the prize. But in order to make it clearer I changed the word to Satyagraha, which has since become current in Gujarati as a designation for the struggle.
General Smuts let Gandhi out of jail after they'd reached a tentative compromise about the legislation, but the struggle continued for many years. Even throughout their disagreements, Gandhi viewed Smuts through the lens of common humanity (as Howard Thurman always advised decades later):
[F]or much of the rest of the time Gandhi spent in South Africa, Smuts tended to prevaricate on the "Indian Question", continually disappointing Gandhi. It was only in 1914 that Gandhi was able to negotiate a lasting compromise, the Smuts-Gandhi agreement. While not resolving all the issues plaguing South African Indians, it lead to an amelioration of previous laws, passed under the name of The Indian Relief Bill of 1914.
Nevertheless, they never lost respect for one another. As can be seen in the passage below, Gandhi tried, at all times, to look for the positive in Smuts, even according him a "high place among the politicians of British Empire and even of the world". At other times, however, Gandhi could not shake his concerns about Smuts’s duplicity.By 1914, however, the relationship between Smuts and Gandhi came to something of an end. In an act of supreme generosity, Gandhi presented Smuts with a pair of sandals (which he had learnt to make at Tolstoy Farm), which Smuts was to use late into his life.
Sadly, not everybody got the message, which is why he was killed exactly 40 years after his first release from satyagrahic confinement. His last words?
A few days after Mahatma Gandhi died, his secretary, Pyarelal, wrote a detailed account of the assassination, including the following: "At the first shot, the foot that was in motion, when he was hit, came down. He still stood on his legs when the second shot rang out, and then collapsed. The last words he uttered were 'Rama Rama'."
A different exclamation, "Hey, Ram!", is normally attributed to him. (An American scholar has suggested that this version is due to Gurbadu Singh.) In the 1960s his niece, Manu, who was near him, recalled his last words as "Hey Ram, Hey Ram." According to one of the conspirators who was in the crowd, he produced only an inarticulate guttural rasp.
At least some of the witnesses seem to have heard what they expected or wanted to hear. The "guttural rasp" version, for example, might well be dismissed as hostile. However, the fact that two of the other three accounts imply that he said more than just "Hey Ram" once - which a devout Hindu might be assumed in principle to say - suggests that this "normal" version is probably also incorrect.
"Rama, Rama" would beautifully express surrender to Rama's will, whereas "Hey Ram, Hey Ram" would more likely express an un-Gandhian sense of helplessness. However, the mere existence of so many contradictions makes it seem likely that he was heard indistinctly. And indeed, he was frail and old and two bullets had just entered his chest.
In this light it may be of interest that nine months earlier, Gandhi in one of his talks after a prayer meeting suggested unequivocally that his very last words, if he were assassinated, would be "Rama, Rahim": "Even if I am killed, I will not give up repeating the names of Rama and Rahim, which mean to me the same God. With these names on my lips, I will die cheerfully."
Thus he was finally released from service to India and nonviolence.
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Sunday, January 01, 2017
We All Got Coal This Year, But We Can Get Back On The Nice List In '17
How do you "earn" a gift? Even Santa Claus doesn't really work that way. Ever know a kid who actually got coal and switches for Christmas? It is God's gift that we should eat and drink and take pleasure in our toil. What gain do we have from it, aside from pleasure in doing it?
The year ended has left us wondering what the year ahead could bring; and dreading it. We assumed the system would take care of us, and it didn't. But neither did the system turn reality on its head. A sliver of the population elected Donald Trump, because a larger sliver of the population decided there was no merit to trying, no reason to care, no purpose in turning out. They decided the system would function with or without them, so why bother? They thought the system didn't matter; or didn't matter to them; or they didn't matter; or that the system would save them from themselves; when, of course, the system rolls blindly on if no one steps up to guide it. To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. Those are words of guidance, not words of reassurance that it will all be fine, and you will be taken care of. You should find pleasure in your toil; but you still have to toil.
There is a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance; a time to build, a time to pull down, a time to keep, a time to throw away. But you have to act to keep, or it will be taken away from you. You have to decide to throw away, or you may not be able to discard what burdens you. Laughter and mourning are activities, not spontaneous and involuntary actions; dancing and building and even tearing down require your involvement; you cannot leave it to others.
Yea, verily, amen. A less poetic presentation is something I've been flogging for a few years...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Where Does My Nose Begin?
What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.
- Elbridge Gerry, debating the Second Amendment on 17 August, 1789
Not that I agree with Prohibition, nor total bans on any particular firearms, but John Finch, Chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, does offer some counsel from the 19th century that we might consider:
Unrestrained natural liberty is the enemy of civil liberty. Let me illustrate: It was personal liberty that enabled Guiteau to send the bullet through the back of President Garfield. It is civil liberty which will hang him on the 30th of June. Do you see the difference? It is personal liberty that would let me meet you on the street and knock your brains out with a club; it is civil liberty that would punish me for the crime...
Personal liberty means individual or brute liberty. Civil liberty means the restraint of personal liberty. I have a legal right to fill my mouth with tobacco, and chew, and chew and spit. I do not believe I have the physical and moral right.
I have a right to chew and spit that way, or chew and spit the other way—it is none of your business. You grant that right if I am alone on the prairie. I go into a crowd of men and exercise the right. I chew and spit in one man's facer and chew and spit in another man's ear. I would be knocked down in a minute. As a man hits me on the ear, I exclaim, "Is not this a free country?" "Yes." "Have not I a right to spit?" You would teach me that my right to spit ceased where your right not to be spit upon began.
This arm is my arm and my wife's; it is not yours. Up here I have a right to strike out with it as I please. I go over there with these gentlemen and swing my arm and exercise the natural right which you have granted;. I hit one man on the nose, another under the ear, and as I go down the stairs on my head, I cry out:
"Is not this a free country?"
"Have not I a right to swing my arm?"
"Yes, but your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins."
Here civil government comes in to prevent bloodshed, adjust rights and settle disputes.
Natural rights have inherent limits because they inevitably come into conflict with other natural rights. Constitutional rights have explicit and implicit limits, even the precious RKBA. You might claim that you're protecting yourself, but the political process exists for all of of us to protect ourselves. Trying to find a balance is not infringement: it's the way this shit is supposed to work.
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Wednesday, June 01, 2016
A Dose Of Oppressive Reality
[C]oncerning these quakers (so caled)...we have no law among us whereby to punish any for only declaring by words, &c, their mindes and understandings concerning the things and ways of God, as to salvation and an eternal condition.
- Letter from the government of Rhode Island to the government of Massachusetts (October 17, 1657)
Memo to Larry Pratt: we Friends been executed and otherwise persecuted for not worshipping properly (which is tad worse than all the gun grabbing that Obama hasn't even tried). One of the most famous examples is Mary Dyer:
On June 1, 1660, at nine o'clock, Mary Dyer again set out from the jail for the gallows on Boston Common, surrounded by a strong military guard. As she stood upon the fatal ladder, she was told if she would return home, she might come down and save her life. " Nay," she replied, " I cannot ; for in obedience to the will of the Lord God I came, and in his will I abide faithful to the death."
Captain John Webb, the commander of the military, said to her that she had been there before, and had the sentence of banishment on pain of death, and had broken the law in coming again now, as well as formerly, and therefore she was guilty of rer own blood. " Nay," she replied, " I came to keep blood-guiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law of banishment upon pain of death, made against the innocent servants of the Lord, therefore my blood will be required at your hands who wilfully do it ; but for those that do it in the simplicity of their hearts, I do desire the Lord to forgive them. I came to do the will of my Father, and in obedience to his will I stand even to the death."
Then her old Puritan pastor, the Rev. Mr. Wilson, bade her repent, and be not so deluded and carried away by the deceit of the devil. To which she replied, "Nay, man, I am not now to repent."
And more she spake of the eternal happiness into which she was about to enter; and then, without tremor or trepidation, she was swung off, and the crown of martyrdom descended upon her head. Thus died brave Mary Dyer. Her remains were buried on Boston Common, and there they now rest in an unknown grave.
Now tell me how sad you will be if our next Democratic preznit appoints a Justice who will uphold Heller's precedent that there is an individual RKBA with reasonable, constitutional limits...
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Friday, March 25, 2016
I Hate Pacifism
When the bullets start flying, I don't know if I want a Quaker doing my fighting for me.
- Sgt Wild Bill Guarnere of then-Lieutenant Dick Winters
Okay, maybe 'hate' is too strong a word, but 'pacifist' isn't strong enough:
When I think of “pacifist” I think that the word is too small to hold what I would like to mean and not sure what the word is so I'm going to try and work it out. “Pacifist” implies someone who denies or abores or negates the use of physical violence and war—which I do—but it doesn't in my mind open up the truly revolutionary possibilities that are implied in peacemaking and especially in faithful peacemaking...
I've written about such difficulty before. Gandhi also struggled with terminology, as well as his own actions, just like many Quakers have. This stuff is hard, which is why you gotta study and practice it.
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Monday, November 23, 2015
Freedom Of Speech Isn't Free
Oh, Dr Rocket Surgeon:
After a brief moment near the top of the Republican field, Ben Carson’s numbers have been on the decline. Clearly feeling the pressure to say something crazy enough to outdo professional lunatic Donald Trump, Carson just went full-fascist. And you never go full-fascist.
Having already admitted that he likes the idea of keeping American Muslims (and foreigners) in databases to be watched, Carson seems to be warming to expanding that surveillance to other groups he doesn’t like. At a rally in Columbia, South Carolina, Carson dropped the bombshell that he believes any “anti-American” group should be monitored.
“What I have said is that I would be in favor of monitoring a mosque or any church or any organization or any school or any press corps where there was a lot of radicalization and things that were anti-American.”
As recently as October, Carson was suggesting that there needs to be a ban on “liberal” speech on college campuses.
“I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson remarked. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.”
His own supporters told him that was dangerously close to censorship, so he assured them that he didn’t mean right-wing speech, he was talking about liberalism.
Don't forget to monitor Quakers. Those fucking Quakers. Anyway, brings to mind Milton's Areopagitica, published on this date in 1644:
We can grow ignorant again, brutish, formal and slavish...Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
Free to know what Dr Carson thinks he knows...
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Get Thee To A Quakery
Church and State! Whiskey! Sexy!
At a General Court held at Boston, the 14th of October, 1656.
Whereas, there is a cursed sect of heretics, lately risen up in the world, which are commonly called quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent from God, and infallibly assisted by the Spirit, to speak and write blasphemous opinions, despising government, and the order of God, in the church and commonwealth, speaking evil of dignities, reproaching and reviling magistrates and ministers, seeking to turn the people from the faith, and gain proselytes to their pernicious ways:
...be it ordered and enacted, that what master or commander of any ship, bark, pink, or ketch, shall henceforth bring into any harbour, creek, or cove, within this jurisdiction, any quaker or quakers, or other blasphemous heretics, shall pay, or cause to be paid, the fine of one hundred pounds to the treasurer of the country...
And it is hereby further ordered and enacted, that what quaker soever shall arrive in this country from foreign parts, or shall come into this jurisdiction from any parts adjacent, shall be forthwith committed to the house of correction; and, at their entrance, to be severely whipped, and by the master thereof be kept constantly to work, and none suffered to converse or speak with them, during the time of their imprisonment, which shall be no longer than necessity requires.
And it is ordered, if any person shall knowingly import into any harbour of this jurisdiction, any quakers' books or writings, concerning their devilish opinions, shall pay for such book or writing, being legally proved against him or them, the sum of five pounds;
and whosoever shall disperse or couceal any such book or writing, and it he found with him or her, or in his or her house, and shall not immediately deliver the same to the next magistrate, shall forfeit or pay five pounds, for the dispersing or concealing of any such book or writing.
And it is hereby further enacted, that if any person within this colony, shall take upon them to defend the heretical opinions of the quakers, or any of their books or papers, as aforesaid, if legally proved, shall be fined for the first time fort; shillings; if they shall persist in the same and shall again defend it the second time, four pounds; if notwithstanding they shall again defend and maintain the said quakers' heretical opinions, they shall be committed to the house of correction till there be convenient passage to send them out of the land, being sentenced by the court of Assistants to banishment.
Lastly, it is hereby ordered, that what person or persons soever, shall revile the persons of the magistrates or ministers, as is usual with the quakers, such person or persons shall be severely whipped, or pay the sum of five pounds.
From 1656 through 1661, the Massachusetts Bay Colony experienced an “invasion” of Quaker missionaries, who were not deterred by the increasingly severe punishments enacted and inflicted by the colonial authorities. In October 1659, two (William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson) were hanged at Boston; in June 1660, Mary Dyar (or Dyer) became the third; in March 1661, William Leddra became the fourth (and last) to suffer capital punishment or “martyrdom” for their Quaker beliefs.
While members of the Society of Friends rushed to Massachusetts to test the harsh sentences under the newly enacted laws, other Friends in England simultaneously petitioned Parliament and the newly restored king for relief from this official persecution. When the Massachusetts General Court sent a petition to King Charles II explaining and defending their actions, Edward Burrough, a leading Quaker writer and controversialist, answered it with [a 32-page publication entitled A Declaration of the Sad and Great Persecution and Martyrdom of the People of God, called Quakers, in New-England, for the Worshipping of God]. Its first part is a point-bypoint refutation of the Massachusetts claims; its second part is a detailed list of the punishments, cruelties, and indignities suffered by Friends at the hands of the colonial authorities; its third section is a narrative description of the three executions of 1659 and 1660, including the public statements of the condemned.
Burrough’s publication (and a subsequent audience with the king) led to Charles’ issuance of an order halting the punishments in the fall of 1661, although they were resumed, in only slightly less severe form, the following year.
- 22 have been Banished upon pain of Death.
- 03 have been M A R T Y R E D .
- 03 have had their Right-Ears cut.
- 01 hath been burned in the Hand with the letter H
- 31 Persons have received 650 Stripes.
- 01 was beat while his Body was like a jelly.
- Several were beat with Pitched Ropes.
- Five Appeals made by them to England, were denied by the Rulers of Boston.
- One thousand fourty four pounds worth of Goods hath been taken from them (being poor men) for meeting together in the fear of the Lord, and for keeping the Commands of Christ.
- One now lyeth in Iron-fetters, condemned to dye.
Call me when this starts happening to bigots. Until then, they can fuck off.
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Friday, September 25, 2015
When The Father Of The Constitution Loves The Bill Of Rights Very Much...
The Senate proceeded to consider the message from the House of Representatives of the 24th, wth amendments to the amendments of the Senate to "Articles to be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States;" and,
Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the amendments proposed by the Home of Representatives to the amendments of the Senate.
Yet this #SlatePitchEsque post ought remind even Kim Davis' lawyers that there are limits to our rights enumerated in those First Ten...
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But What If Denying Civil Rights Is A Compelling State (Or County) Interest?
I mean, 10th Amendment and all that. Plus, Dred Scott, amirite?!
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Monday, September 07, 2015
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who's refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, on Monday asked the Kentucky governor to immediately free her from jail, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
"We would like them to release her from jail and provide reasonable, sensible accommodation so she can do her job," one of her lawyers, Horatio Mihet, said in a statement. "That would be taking her name off of marriage licenses in Rowan County and allowing her deputies to issue the licenses."
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office said Monday he won't respond, noting that the conflict was a "matter between her and the courts."
She was the one who rejected the accommodation of allowing her clerks to issue the certificates. Now she wants the Governor to engage in Executive Tyranny and ignore the Rule of Law?
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Sunday, September 06, 2015
Don't Get Me Started On That Tyrannical Huckabee
Ah, I see our modern GOP's dedication to the Rule of Law:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said on Sunday that U.S. citizens only have to follow court orders if judges get “it right,” and that he would follow his conscience as president even if it meant the type of jail time Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is serving.
Speaking with host George Stephanopolous, the GOP presidential candidate claimed court orders only become binding upon citizens when state or federal legislatures take the ruling and codify it into law.
“Well, you obey it if it’s right. So I go back to my question. Is slavery the law of the land?” Huckabee attempted as way of an explanation. “Should it have been the law of the land because Dred Scott said so? Was that a correct decision? Should the courts have been irrevocably followed on that? Should Lincoln have been put in jail? Because he ignored it.”
Turning to presidents following their conscience, Stephanopolous played a clip of President John F. Kennedy in 1960 stating: “When if the time should ever come and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible, when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.”
“Would you make that same statement in your candidacy for president?” the host asked Huckabee.
“I can’t see any circumstance in which I would be required to violate my conscience and — and the law,” Huckabee conceded before adding, “And if so, I think maybe there is a point at which you say either I’ll resign or put me in jail.”
Slavery was not the law because of Taney, but rather because of the Constitution, which also provides for a judiciary to do its job. And a certain a conservative, anti-gay judge actually did just that when another government official tried to impose her religion upon her constituents instead of doing her fucking job.
But at least Huckster has given Obama a pass on all his executive actions...
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Thursday, September 03, 2015
Not Everybody Can Be A Martyr
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We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions. While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.
We have a balance already: government officials abide by the law when in their office, and exercise their religious freedom everywhere else. Easy peasy!
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Tuesday, September 01, 2015
So Help Me G-d
Bless her heart:
After being rebuffed by the Supreme Court and therefore exhausting the appeals process, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to a gay couple today for the fifth time since the legalization of same-sex marriage. Davis is part of a small group of county clerks who claim that their interpretation of divine law trumps their responsibilities as public officials. Demanding that one couple seeking a marriage license leave her office, Davis said that she is acting “under God’s authority.”
She forgot whose authority is at issue, which she swore an oath to uphold:
I...will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality...
Do your fucking job, resign on principle, or suffer the sanctions, you obstinate piece of shit.
PS--The KY Leg can remove her, but is currently not in session.NToddcast RSS Feed
Friday, August 21, 2015
Friends At War
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
The other day on Facebook I shared something from Friends Journal wherein they inquired as to what themes readers might be interested in. I mused about why some Quakers go to war and how their Meetings deal with it.
Today this post from a few weeks ago popped up:
As I engaged more deeply with the gospels and discovered more about the witness of peacemakers like John Woolman, Henry David Thoreau, Daniel Berrigan, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., the latent longing for peace awakened within me. My conviction grew that Jesus really meant what he said on the Sermon on the Mount and the spirit of Christ has continually called the Friends and saints of God to realize the possibilities of peace on earth. I began to speak more openly about this conviction. But the stronger my convincement became, the harder it was to know how to respectfully relate to my friends and family who were service members.
It was at my current meeting that I began to understand how real this tension is within service members and veterans themselves. During a conversation, a member of our meeting who is a Vietnam veteran told me about his struggle to find a church that could “speak to his condition.” One of his most telling statements helped me see what Friendly work may be needed with veterans: “It felt like [to the churches I visited] I was either a monster or a hero.” This connected with my experience of many churches, including Quaker meetings. Too often, meetings have trouble distinguishing the wars they oppose from the men and women who are asked to fight them, seeing them as monsters. Other churches want to honor the service of veterans and their willingness to “lay down one’s life for their friends” (John 15:13) and can only relate to them as heroes. Neither of these extreme labels fits the experience of most veterans. Veterans are like most other folks in that they have mixed emotions about their life choices and experiences. They carry a mix of pride and shame, joy and regret. Veterans need Quaker meetings that are able to navigate a “third way” beyond the labels of monster and hero and create a hospitable space where they can attend to the leading of the Light. They need a safe space where their wounds can be healed, their stories can be heard, and their gifts can be shared.
There is new language that helps us understand the spiritual and psychological trauma faced by so many veterans. We not only hear about post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma, we are now hearing about moral injury. Moral injury happens when there is a deep violation of one’s conscience and moral center. The violence and trauma becomes internalized within the service member, and there is a need for healing and cleansing. Many ancient cultures had rituals and healers who were practiced at integrating warriors back into the community, but those communal structures have largely broken down. Perhaps this is a unique invitation and opportunity for Friends. We do not believe in war; we oppose war and want to end it. But we do believe in peace, and if we want to be faithful to that testimony, we must address violence in all its forms: external violence between groups and nations and internal violence within those who experience the trauma of war. The realities of moral injury call us to a ministry of soul repair. Perhaps this is the “third way” to which we are being led.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The Quaker And The Gadget
A Quaker reflects on his father's involvement in the Manhattan Project. It's not clear to me if dad was a Friend himself, but I will note once again that some of us do, in fact, get involved in wars in various ways, because anybody can get to the point where evil seems impossible overcome without violence.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015
God Loves Fags!
Well, some of Her churches do, at least. People ought to remember that.
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Monday, June 29, 2015
Conscience Has Consequences
A county clerk in Arkansas intends to resign from her position because she doesn't believe in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Cleburne County Clerk Dana Guffey said Monday that she intends to step down June 30, according to ArkansasOnline, because she has a moral objection to same-sex marriage.
If you can't do your job, find another. Don't try to use the Bible--or MLK--as a Get Out Of Work Free card.
PS--Here's somebody who apparently read all her Bible:
Over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that local clerks with religious objections could opt-out of granting marriage licenses to gay couples in light of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage. But at least one Texas clerk who opposes gay marriage on religious grounds doesn't see a need for the exemption.
“Personally, same-sex marriage is a contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Denton County Clerk Juli Luke said in a statement Sunday, according to the the Denton Record-Chronicle. “However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law, and as an elected public official, my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required.”
Her clerk's office oversaw its first gay marriage Monday morning, the Denton Record-Chronicle. The couple, Sara Bollinger and Whitney Hennen, received their license a little after 8 a.m.
Let her light so shine before Texas officials, that they may see her good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven...
Monday, June 22, 2015
It's Almost Like You Have To Push Pols To Do Stuff
- I think Haley merits praise for this action. People called for South Carolina to take down the flag. She called for it to be taken down. I, myself, take yes for an answer. (And while she’s not running again, plenty of public officials in the South who have safe seats or aren’t running again haven’t done the right thing.)
- Yes, she had to be pushed by a horrible event. But as Coates says, when it comes to politicians this is very nearly a tautology. (You think LBJ would have had a major record of accomplishment on civil rights had he been elected president in 1952?) Politicians, up to and including Lincoln, act in politically expedient ways, and doing so is integral to progressive success.