If awakening involves transcending this suffering world, we can ignore its problems. If the Buddhist path is psychological therapy, we can focus on our own individual neuroses. Yet both of those approaches assume and reinforce the illusion that I am essentially separate from others, and therefore can be indifferent to what they are experiencing. If “I” am not separate from others, neither is my well-being separate from theirs. Today this means that we are called upon not only to help other individuals deconstruct their sense of separation (the traditional role of a bodhisattva) but also to help our society to reconstruct itself, to become more just and sustainable—and awakened.That's a quote from David Loy from his most recent book, A New Buddhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution, and Ethics in the Modern World.
On behalf of its almost 43,000 armed forces active duty and veteran clients, which includes approximately 13.5% of all Muslim-Americans serving in the United States military, and its 224 clients stationed at Fort Carson, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) expresses unmitigated outrage that the Army leadership at Fort Carson permitted the selling of that virulently Islamophobic and disgusting T-Shirt at its official Post Exchange store. The juxtaposition of that shocking image and text message on that T-Shirt epitomizes the wretched plight of prejudice and bigotry which innocent Muslim-Americans all too often suffer whileso honorably serving in today’s service branches.
MRFF has provided substantial testimony to the United States Congress specifically on this sad matter on more than one occasion.
The fact that this matter happened at Fort Carson, a major military installation which has had so many of its soldiers killed and grievously wounded in the War on Terror, only miserably magnifies the malfeasance of permitting that “Shirt of Shame” to be sold at its Post Exchange.
MRFF demands that the Army Inspector General’s Office in Washington D.C. initiate an immediate and aggressive investigation of this sordid event and that all Fort Carson personnel who either directly or indirectly allowed this travesty to happen be appropriately and visibly punished.
ProgressNow Colorado Calls For Gordon Klingenschmitt’s Resignation
DENVER: After nearly a week since video surfaced of Colorado Springs Representative Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s outrageous remarks on the horrific assault on a pregnant woman in Longmont, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Republican leadership to call on Dr. Chaps to resign.
“Enough is enough,” said said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Republican leaders in the House and Senate have had almost a week to hold Klingenschmitt accountable, and there he is, still representing Colorado’s 15th House District despite his offensive behavior.”
On Monday, House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso removed Klingenschmitt from one of his two committee assignments, saying it was one of the “few tools” he had for discipline [Denver Post, 3/30/15], prompting fellow Republican Justin Everett to call the move a gesture to “save face” on the House floor today.
State Sen. Owen Hill, another Republican from El Paso County, took the additional step on Monday to send an email calling for Klingenschmitt’s resignation.
Yet silent on the whole matter is Senate President Bill Cadman, a fellow Colorado Springs Republican, who represents Klingenschmitt’s district in the state Senate.
“There is more the legislative leadership could do if they just had the courage to do it,” added Runyon-Harms. “Every day that Klingenschmitt is in office is an insult to the people of Colorado.”
Oh, God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry. When I have work, help me to remember the jobless. When I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless. When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer, and remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion. Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted.Lamborn has taken up the cause not of the poor, jobless or homeless, but rather Christians. Last week, he spoke on the House floor in favor of a resolution regarding Christmas.
Yesterday, we were contacted by 120 cadets and 12 faculty members — 132 total, out of whom 118 are of the Christian faith, either Protestant or Roman Catholic. They reported that senior Cadet Commanders were issuing memos to the entire Cadet Wing (USAFA student body) urging cadets to vigorously and enthusiastically participate in “Operation Christmas Child,” a project of internationally-infamous Islamophobe Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse organization. Ostensibly meant to bring a bit of “Christmas cheer” to children in disaster areas and war-stricken nations, this missionary program masquerading as an innocuous charity uses deliveries of toys and toiletries as a Trojan horse to sneak Graham’s fundamentalist Christian ministry of Jesus Christ into “heathen” nations such as Japan, Libya, Haiti, and Iraq.Lamborn's speech went on to call groups such as MRFF a "vocal minority" and to note, "These petty efforts by groups offended by the religious significance of Christmas violate the freedom of religion our forefathers provided for us in the Constitution.... I have introduced a resolution to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas for those who celebrate the holidays. We cannot allow those who choose to take offense to shut down the religious celebration of every other American."
MRFF immediately jumped into action against this blatantly unconstitutional memo - and it wasn’t long before an official letter of apology was emailed to the entire U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Wing on behalf of the Cadet Wing Vice Commander (the second-highest ranking cadet at the Academy).
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has truly outdone himself in terms of the breadth and depth of his Constitutional dereliction and his vituperative evangelical Christian sectarianism. Lamborn is a breathtakingly ignorant, World Class(less) fundamentalist Chrisitan bully, surpemacist and brazen bigot. He is even a disgrace to the gutter dwellers he is often compared to.We asked Lamborn's spokesman how much in campaign money was spent on the Christmas card and how many were mailed, but haven't heard back. We'll update if and when we do hear something.
Firstly, it’s not the business of the United States military to mark, as he seems to imply, the “humble birth of our savior on a holy night 2,000 years ago.” Let me remind readers that those who serve in our armed forces solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; it is NOT their role to uphold one or another particular religious faith (or no faith) or its associated holidays and rituals.
Secondly, if Lamborn was implying that it was the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) which filed a lawsuit to prevent the participation of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Franklin Graham’s Operation Christmas Child (OCC), then that implication is absolutely false and is the product of either woeful ignorance or deliberate calumnious deceit. What did happen was that MRFF filed a complaint on behalf of 132 Academy personnel, the vast majority of whom were Christian, urging that participation in the OCC evangelical Christian fundamentalist charity be placed under the auspices of the Chaplain Corps, and not the Cadet Wing or other USAFA command leadership.
Lastly, MRFF is not a parochial atheist organization (about 96% of our nearly 40,000 armed forces clients are Christians themselves), but is a Constitutional civil rights organization devoted to stopping fundamentalist Christian predators like Rep. Lamborn who are quite literally 'hellbent' on seeing that not only civilian legislatures but the draconian spectre of military command influence is used as a crude and blunt instrument for unconstitutionally forcing helpless subordinate service men and women to accept their own sectarian, bigoted, and fundamentalist biblical worldview.
The Order did not limit Dr. Klingenschmitt’s right to engage in any religious practices (including presenting an opening prayer at the event or invoking the name of Jesus in his prayer). It simply prohibited Dr. Klingenschmitt from engaging in this activity while wearing his uniform at what was clearly a political event and not, as Dr. Klingenschmitt seems to suggest, a bona fide religious service.In the way of background:
Mr. Weinstein, in follow-up to our phone conversation, the Military Personnel Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) and ranking member, Susan Davis (D-CA), are holding a hearing on religious freedom in the military on Friday, September 19th at 8 a.m. in 2118 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is expected to last from 8-10 a.m., and we expect to have 3 other witnesses from outside organizations testify. There will be no government witnesses at the hearing.Weinstein says he understands he'll be one of at least four witnesses.
We appreciate your consideration to agree to testify. A hearing invitation letter will be sent to you, which will include the details of submitting a written testimony, along with your disclosure form. We ask witnesses to keep their oral statements to 3-4 minutes to afford greater interaction and dialogue among members. In addition to the subcommittee members, we expect members of the committee to attend the hearing, along with potentially members not on the committee given the interest in this topic.
It takes a lot of visits to build trust. The first time, with one particular lady, she won't look me in the eye or acknowledge me, and the second time she might look me in the eye. The third time she might have the courage to say hello and then after the 10th or 15th time, we told them about [a possibility to] leave the trade. We're like, 'We're starting this business in your area for the women on the line so you can have a choice of freedom' and they look at me like, 'This is good. I'll wait for you, I'll quit the trade.'Back in January, as our Yobel Exposure Trip team enjoyed a lunch in the living room of the Beisly's small flat they were living in, prior to moving into BowBazar, I surveyed the couple's bookshelf, easily identifying influential materials.
... Right off the outset that goal is an impossible task for us — like, we can't do that — we have to rely on god. We want to see god transform every area of these womens' lives: the trauma they've suffered, the relational breakdowns, the stigma in society, health issues. It will take a miracle — we come with an impossible task. We just do the small little things that we can do and rely on god for the big stuff. ...
I just have such a sense of the fact that its not our work, it's god's work. He's at work restoring his will and he's doing this beautiful miraculous thing of taking a broken wheel and working in the most dark, horrible places and restoring life and giving new hope and that it is his work, and he's inviting us to be a really tiny part of it. And that's a privilege. We can't own it. We can't assume that we can fix the problems in Calcutta. ... It's just coming back around to a daily reminder of how much we need him, a reminder of the fact that we can do nothing apart from him. That's the feeling I get constantly when I visit the red light areas. There's nothing I can do. Like, it has to be Jesus, and it's quite nice having that reminder because it takes the pressure off us. It's not actually about us. The minute we start to think that we are the answer, that we start to think we can figure this out and fix the problems, then we mess peoples lives up and burn out and have to go home. ...
To view India or Calcutta's problems on the macro scale is just absolutely frightening and completely crippling. But maybe from a different perspective, if we come here and live amongst the people, it becomes us loving our neighbor, and I can do that. I can show them love in various ways. That I can do, and maybe in that small act of love there can be a greater wider impact, but that's out of our control. ...
Nothing worth doing is going to be easy, it's so true. Our culture that we come from is all about seeking comfort — the path of least resistance. So we seem very freakish to do this, but really the gospel was not about choosing the easy option.
As I often do at this time of the year, I want to share a special story that I think you will appreciate. Perhaps you will want to read it when you gather with friends and loved ones. It is titled, “A Baby’s Hug” (author unknown).What follows is a story of some judgment-y assholes eyeballing a dude's crotch in a restaurant somewhere.
We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.Joked the Son of God.
The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.Said the Christ Child.
My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum ...Quoth God's eternal and everlasting love.
It reminds me of our trip to London a few years ago. ... Sitting there in the shadows was an old, unshaven derelict who was obviously drunk. Well-dressed theatergoers were passing him by without a glance. Then I saw a mangy German shepherd snuggled beside him. The dog didn’t care that his “friend” was a bum whom polite society would consider worthless.Since Dobson apparently did nothing for the bum whom polite society would consider worthless, we're left with canines and little kids as the best examples this newsletter can come up with of people living by the words in Proverbs 19:17, or Matthew 25:40-45 or Luke 3:10-11. Which, bizarrely, Dobson gets, but, you know, doesn't.
Dogs and babies are often more likely to show compassion for the downtrodden and lonely than those of us who have been abundantly blessed. The mother of the baby in our story felt convicted by her revulsion for the old man. Perhaps there is takeaway value here for the rest of us. May I suggest that we think carefully about the message she wrote?YES. YOU CAN.
The purpose of sharing these thoughts with you this month is because they lie at the heart of the Family Talk ministry. ... I hope you have our mobile app on your smart phone and are telling others about how they can listen to solid programs with the click of a button.... INTO A MONEY GRAB.
I must close by telling you that our contributions during the summer and fall of 2013 have been far below our needs. It isn’t difficult to figure out where that leads. It is likely that this shortfall in income has been caused in part by economic uncertainty and the utter foolishness of Obamacare."We're not getting any money and it's probably because of Barack 'The Great Muslim Satan' Obama and it's not hard to figure out where this leads ... so maybe give us all your money."
Christian leaders from across the nation plan to be in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. They'll attend an Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action on Immigration Reform, which is being billed as an "unprecedented, nationwide evangelical gathering on immigration will show a unified evangelical voice echoing a biblical vision for immigration reform that respects the rule of law, reunites families and upholds human dignity."
A number of influential evangelicals, including the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, have broken with their allies on the Right to advocate a more humane approach to the starving people who risk their lives to come to this country to wash our dishes and pick our fruit.
According to the Colorado Evangelical Immigration Table, the state branch of a nationwide reform effort we wrote about last June, a number of Coloradans will be in D.C. tomorrow for the rally.
We first interviewed Stoller-Lee for a story that examined the Christian responsibility when dealing with the immigrant; and how far the Republican Party has strayed from that calling, despite its touting of the cross.
Here's what Stoller-Lee told us in 2011:
"The Bible is pretty honest about the issue of immigration," notes Stoller-Lee. "God's people have been exiles a lot. It is the story of the exodus. Shortly after Jesus is born, his young family is forced into exile. It's not like this is a minor theme."
Throughout the Old Testament, God instructs the Israelites to be kind to the immigrant. In Leviticus, as in Exodus and Deuteronomy, God is clear that "when a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt."
And here is his recent statement on the current immigration reform being debated in Congress:
As the Director of Fuller Theological Seminary in Colorado Springs I will be joining a group of pastors and ministry leaders from Colorado attending the Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action for Immigration Reform on April 17th in Washington, DC. I am looking forward to meeting with Rep. Doug Lamborn and other members of the Colorado delegation to encourage them to work together toward a truly bipartisan solution. The tone of this divisive debate has changed significantly in the past 6 months as business leaders and politicians have looked for constructive ways to work together on a political solution that is both just and compassionate. At the same time this is a justice issue that demands that people of faith reflect biblically and prayerfully on the how to welcome a new generation of immigrants to our society, and our churches. I began this process by reading through scriptures as part of the "I Was a Stranger" campaign. In the process I have discovered a new group of brothers and sisters who have enriched my journey of faith.
“This is astonishing and offensive,” read a draft of the letter written by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). “We call on you to rescind this briefing and apologize for its content and set the record straight on the Army’s view on these faith groups by providing a balanced briefing on religious extremism.”
Apparently, according to the article, "Lamborn is referring to an Army training session conducted last year that featured a presentation listing Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of extremism — alongside Al Qaeda and Hamas."
The article continues that a lieutenant colonel in the Army allegedly wrote an email calling the Colorado-based Family Research Council and the Mississippi-based American Family Association hate groups.
If true, this officer in the Army isn't alone in identifying the two anti-gay organizations as such — both groups are considered "hate groups" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Read the full article here.
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