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Bob Wedl | Christmas, 2016

"What a wonderful time of the  year..." the song goes and of course it is a wonderful time indeed and we appreciate those blessings.  But it is also a time to think how we can make the world better for all because we can, but only if we try.  I hope my annual Christmas poem speaks to a better tomorrow by our actions today.  We cannot predict the future ... but we can create it.

Bob Wedl, Special to Evergreene Digest

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http://voiceseducation.org/sites/default/files/images/peacegallupcolorsmall_1.jpgDecember 16, 2016 | During this holiday season and throughout the year …

Let’s learn from the November 2016 election that we thought was about issues … like our planet … and peace and justice … and eradicating poverty … like keeping Wall Street under control … and treating women with respect … and providing postsecondary education for our young people because the future success of our nation depends on it.

…and recognizing that it was our nation’s destruction of Iraq that created ISIS … and that welcoming immigrants, not building walls, is what America does

Rather than being focused on these things America decided to try a different route.

It is tempting to sit back and see how that works.  Let’s not do that.

Bob Wedll is a Contributor to Evergreene Digest.

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MN Churches Declare Themselves Sanctuaries for Illegal Immigrants

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“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate...But we’re getting them out of our country. They’re here illegally.” (Donald Trump on “60 Minutes” November 13, 2016)

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle, Alpha News

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http://alphanewsmn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ChurchSanctuaryImmigrants-KSTPPalanuk.jpgPhoto KSTP.com

Tuesday, December 6, 2016, leaders from 30 congregations held an event at the Church of the Redeemer to announce that 13 Minnesota churches plan to become “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants, including those sought by police.

The announcement stems from fears over President-elect Donald Trump’s statements regarding deportation of illegal immigrants during and after the election season. Comparing themselves to the “Underground Railroad” system during the years of US slavery, the religious leaders did not detail exactly how long they would house the people, nor the plan’s logistics.  One leader, Rev. Mark Vinge of the House of Hope Lutheran Church in New Hope, told the (St. Paul, MN)  Pioneer Press:  “That’s unknown, but we know that the Lord will guide us.”

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle serves as the chair of South Washington Citizens for Progress; a committee formed to hold South Washington County School District ISD 833 accountable to taxpayers. Her knowledge and research skills have helped guide legislators and political activists across the state.

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Christianity Needs to Clean Up its Own House

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There’s no unity with over 40,000 denominations. 

Devin Foley, Intellectual Takeout

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http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/church_0.jpgOctober 24, 2016 | Comments that one reads or hears from many Christians often revolve around the term “truth”. The “truth” is generally presented as synonymous with Christianity and is used as a way to push back against modern relativism.

But what is forgotten is the inherent relativism of modern Christianity.

According to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are now over 40,000 Christian denominations in the world, up from a mere 500 in 1800. For those who are not Christians, a denomination is generally a body of Christians who hold to certain doctrines and are usually united through an administrative body.

Devin Foley is the co-founder and president of Intellectual Takeout. Prior to co-founding Intellectual Takeout, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota, where he was responsible for meeting a $1 million annual budget. He has been a commentator on a variety of TV and radio stations.

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The Social Gospel Is Very Political

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It is the political structures that determine who shall be rich and who shall be poor, who shall be free, and who shall be oppressed, who shall live and who shall die. Thus the social gospel is very political.

Mike Wisniewski, On The Line / Los Angeles Catholic Agitator

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http://lacatholicworker.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/faith-and-politics-sign.jpgAn excerpt: Tommy Douglas said,’Social justice is like taking a bath. You have to do it every day or pretty soon you start to stink.’ Who is Tommy Douglas? In 2004, he was “named The Greatest Canadian of all time by voters across Canada.” A Baptist minister, he provided pastoral care for people who died because they could not afford medical care. This injustice led him to enter politics, believing strongly that ‘the role of government’ was ‘to improve the lives of ordinary people.’ He became the premier of Saskatchewan, and then ‘forever known as the father of socialized medicine in Canada.

Tommy Douglas provides a timely example for American Christian faith leaders, their seminaries and related Clinical Pastoral Education training centers. Many of them need to take a ‘social justice’ bath — regularly! They often live off the reputation of the great prophets of their past, while mass- producing chaplains of the status quo. They tend to vicariously identify with the heroes of their faith, turning their prophetic movements into monuments and worshipping them. Stature is found in the statue. The power is in the prayer. The right is remembered in the rite. The movement is worshipped as a memory, and thus avoided as a model for continued moral risk-taking on behalf of oppressed people. In the face of the 2016 presidential campaign, their long avoidance of speaking reality and moral truth to political power has contributed to the rise of immoral candidates who stink up the place.

Mike Wisniewski, Editor, Los Angeles Catholic Agitator

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Pope Francis Walks With LGBTQ People, One Step Forward, Big Steps Back

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He is still a man marked by decades of theology that don’t recognize gender fluidity, he still struggles to understand feminism and its relationship with LGBTQ rights, and he still has to deal with leading a global church where simply being LGBTQ can get you killed in many countries.

Kaya Oakes, Religion Dispatches

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-10-at-10.58.04-AM-690x460.jpgOctober 11, 2016 | On immigration, the environment and the rights of the poor, Pope Francis has consistently pushed Catholics to fulfill what he sees as the church’s mission to “go to the margins.” On gender and sexuality, however, the Pope has occasionally seemed to twist himself in knots to avoid sounding like one of the narrow-minded church leaders he is often wont to criticize.

The pope and the Catholic church are both on a learning curve, scrambling to keep up with the larger social acceptance of LGBTQ people in many Western nations. Francis is, after all, a 79-year-old Argentine, and sometimes his ideas about gender reflect his complex responses to the pervasive machismo of the Latin American culture in which he was raised.

Kaya Oakes is the author of four books, including The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In Between (Orbis Books, 2015), and Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church (Counterpoint, 2012). She is a contributing writer at Religion Dispatches, America, Commonweal, Religion News Service, and many other publications.

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The National Review Says Because Theocracy Has Been Held Off, the Threat Never Existed

  • On the contrary, we have seen religious laws against abortion, contraception, marriage equality, religious diversity, education, and even global warming.
  • Ignored is what the Religious Right has done to itself, selling a program of hate and intolerance Americans increasingly reject. Each time it is rejected, rather than re-evaluate and moderate their tone, they double-down. The Republican platform in 2012 was the most theocratic we had seen until this year’s, which the Religious Right brags about having crafted.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, Politicususa 

http://15130-presscdn-0-89.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/prayer-in-school-701x433.jpg Sat, Aug 27th, 2016 | The Left has been warning about the threat of the Religious Right for years, and assuming repeatedly that the threat was past, only to see it arise again. In state after state we have seen violations of the First Amendment as religion is established through one piece of legislation or another.

We have seen laws against abortion, against contraception, marriage equality, against religious diversity in schools, against education, evolution, and even global warming on religious grounds – not to mention against religions other than Christianity (like anti-Sharia laws or not letting atheists run for office).

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, Senior Editor PoliticusUSA/Senior Columnist, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance.

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Related:

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The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government, Chris Hedges, Truthdig

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  • The rise of Christian fascism is aided by our complacency. The longer we fail to openly denounce and defy bankrupt liberalism, the longer we permit corporate power to plunder the nation and destroy the ecosystem, the longer we stand slack-jawed before the open gates of the city waiting meekly for the barbarians, the more we ensure their arrival.
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

 

How a Group of Catholic Pacifists Took on the Nuclear State

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A review of Plowshares: Protest, Performance, and Religious Identity in the Nuclear Age ~ Kristen Tobey

Eric C. Miller, Religion Dispatches

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/plowsharesboook-307x460.jpg September 7, 2016 | Over the past four decades, a small group of Catholic activists has worked to symbolically disarm nuclear weapons. These activists have made headlines—and, in many cases, served prison sentences.

Plowshares activism was launched in 1980 by Daniel and Philip Berrigan, the duo of brother-priests previously known for their opposition to the Vietnam War. A select group of radical clergy and dedicated laypeople, the Plowshares have challenged the national security apparatus wielding little more than wire-cutters, hammers, prayers, and bottles of their own blood.

In Plowshares: Protest, Performance, and Religious Identity in the Nuclear Age, Kristen Tobey examines the methods of Plowshares activists, and she dives into their devout, dramatic, and often perplexing work.

Eric C. Miller is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. A regular contributor at Religion Dispatches, his research area sits amid religious rhetoric and public advocacy.

 
 

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