Drumming for Love and Justice

In regards to the incident on Saturday, January 19th in Washington DC relating to the Covington Catholic High School students, a group of Hebrew Israelites, and a group of Native Americans; I offer the following with the hope that all who were involved and all who have observed the many videos of the incident might find a way towards wisdom and reconciliation.

1. The particular Hebrew Israelite group that was involved behaved in an abhorrent manner. If that is how this particular group interacts with people, it would be appropriate for them to be identified as a hate group. Hopefully these men were not representative of all persons who identity with this religious group.

2. Why would a group of students representing a Catholic high school at a march in Washington D.C. be decked out in MAGA hats and sweatshirts? Was this an officially sponsored activity of the high school? If so, there are some serious issues here related to partisan political activity on the part of a religious organization.

3. Why would a chaperone of a group of high school students think that giving the go ahead for them to start yelling school chants would diffuse the situation between the students and the Hebrew Israelites? This was not a wise decision.

4. The videos make it clear to me that initially the Native American group was attempting to diffuse the situation by putting themselves in between the students and the Hebrew Israelite group. As the exchange between the Native American group and the students continued, there was a statement from one of the Native American persons about white people needing to go back to Europe and that this is not their land followed by this same person arguing with one of the students about this point.

5. The response of the students to the Native Americans was mocking and disrespectful. The continued taunts of the Hebrew Israelite members who apparently were trying to escalate the conflict were totally inappropriate. It reminded me of Westboro Baptist Church – truly hateful rhetoric.

6. Chaperones of youth representing a non-profit religious school at an event: Don’t show up at an event in partisan political gear. Don’t confront or react to groups like this particular group of Hebrew Israelites. That is what they want. Learn about how to deescalate situations like the one in this case.

7. The students were not innocent in this encounter. They acted in a very mocking way in relation to the Native American persons. It might have been racism or ignorance or a combination of the two, but whatever the contributing factors, it was still totally inappropriate.

8. Covington Catholic High School: Open up meaningful dialogue and interaction with Native American communities. Find opportunities for your students to learn as much as possible about indigenous peoples and cultures and cultivate relationships with them.

9. All K-12 educational institutions: See Point 8. We are all part of the same human family, and as the prophetic Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “We must live together as [siblings] or perish together as fools.”

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Why the Right and the Centrists Attack Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Here is one big reason why Republicans and even some corporatist/centrist Democrats are obsessively criticizing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – they know that if younger generations ever fully realize and fully embrace that Democratic Socialism as practiced in the Nordic model actually works very very well (great education, great health care, strong economies, responsible care for the environment, and superb social security), then the Republican Party and the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party are finished.

Republicans and corporatist/centrist Democrats see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a threat, and they are correct in their perception. She is a threat – not to the United States of America, but to the oligarchs who have ruled American politics and economics for far too long. These American oligarchs have more in common with Russian oligarchs and Saudi Royalty than they do with the everyday hard working people of the United States, which is perhaps why they are willing to cooperate with Russian and Saudi elites more than they are focused on creating a better life for average Americans. They see AOC as a threat because she is a compelling messenger with a compelling message that things do not have to continue simply going the oligarchy’s way.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez is helping the young, the old, and the in-between to see that we do not have to live in a country with a crumbling infrastructure while the wealthy prosper like never before, that we should not have to fear that getting sick will lead to our personal and family financial ruin, that we should not have to worry that our life savings will run out before our life runs out, that we should not have to incur life crushing debt in order to receive a good education that contributes to both life giving personal and social flourishing, that we should embrace our diversity as one of the greatest strengths of our nation, that no one should go without food and shelter in the wealthiest nation on earth, that we can no longer afford to treat nature as a commodity instead of embracing it as our community, that human flourishing requires ecological flourishing, and that there is not a livable future unless we do all we can to maintain a livable climate.

The threat that Representative Ocasio-Cortez poses to the oligarchy is actually a great hope for people and the planet, but the oligarchy will not simply give up the power that they have worked systematically to maintain and strengthen for decades. They are obsessed with AOC because they know that she and the many others like her are creating a new movement for political action that will create a country and a world in which the oligarchs have less political and economic control. They will attack her mercilessly and relentlessly, and corporatist/centrist Democrats will likely do little to defend her.

What the oligarchs may not fully understand is that people like AOC who share deep passion and commitment for people and the planet are legion, and they will not simply go away because the oligarchs and their minions attack them on social media. AOC and her generation are much much tougher, smarter, and committed than most of us realize. They really do not care much about what the oligarchs think about them because they see clearly what the oligarchs are doing to the world around them, and they have seen enough to know that they have had enough.

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The 1950s Without the Happy Days

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From the 1950s to the early 1970s, there were some great things about the United States – strong unions, excellent K-12 public education, outstanding and affordable higher education, strong social security, post-Depression financial laws that kept the economy rather stable, increased efforts to assist persons in poverty, a movement towards greater civil rights and more women’s rights, a movement towards establishing more affordable healthcare for more people, laws established to protect clean air and clean water and to protect the environment and endangered species, and an outstanding infrastructure made possible by much higher taxation on the wealthy in our society.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, there were also some very problematic things about the United States – the military industrial complex was gaining more power, racism was rampant, Jim Crow was the law of the South until the mid 60s, women were seen as subordinate to men and had little economic and political power, persons who did not identify themselves as Christian were discriminated against, the rights of indigenous persons were a low priority, and persons who were LGBTQ were oppressed and deemed mentally ill.

The MAGA folks (under the influence of the American oligarchy) look back on the 1950s as a time in which America was great. The problem is that they don’t see that what was putting us on the path to being great from the 1950s through the 1970s are all the things that the Republican Party from 1980 to the present has been systematically dismantling – unions, public education, social security, voting rights protections, women’s rights, assistance for those in poverty, affordable and accessible healthcare, laws protecting the environment, responsible laws governing financial institutions, and a tax system that funded the best infrastructure on earth.

If we take away these things, we are not making America great again, we are simply making America more oppressive to workers, less educated, more racist, more sexist, less safe, more unhealthy, more desperate for the most vulnerable, more poor, more theocratic, less free for persons who orient themselves to religion differently, more militaristic, and less just for persons who are LGBTQ. When you combine all of this with a crumbling infrastructure, what you get is a 1950s minus all of the things that made those years bearable and provided hope for the future. This might be great for the oligarchs, theocrats, and racists; but for the rest of us, it is not so great.

The current agenda of the Republican Party is antithetical to the greatness that has at times, though never fully, manifested itself in the highest aspirations of our republic; rather it represents a capitulation to the evils that we as a nation have been attempting to overcome to create a more perfect union – racism, sexism, poverty, greed, militarism, religious discrimination, and environmental destruction. If our republic is to have a flourishing future, we must listen “to the better angels of our nature” as the founder of a very different Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, once said, rather than regressing towards our original sins as a nation.

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The Urgency of Now and Climate Change: There IS Such a Thing as Too Late – Video

Video of Mark Davies’ talk on “The Urgency of Now and Climate Change: There IS a Such Thing as Too Late” – sponsored by the Arizona Foundation of Contemporary Theology and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light, January 6, 2019 at Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ in Phoenix, Arizona.

Part One of two parts:

 

Part Two of two parts:

 

 

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Not the Time for a Woman??

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“Not the time for a woman” – Of all the comments that I saw coming from democrats and progressive independents yesterday when Elizabeth Warren announced the formation of an exploratory committee for her candidacy for president, this comment had to be one of the most troublesome for me, and I saw a version of this comment multiple times from both men and women. Not the time for a woman? Are you kidding me? We have only had one woman presidential nominee from a major political party, and she won the popular vote by over 3 million votes and lost the three states that cost her the electoral college by only about a total of 100,000 votes, and she didn’t really have a compelling message for the middle class; and now democrats are talking about it not being time for a woman because we have to make sure we get rid of Trump? You know something we never hear after a man loses any election? “Not the time for a man” – that’s what!
 
Not the time for a woman? – Right after a record number of women were elected to Congress in the mid-term elections? Really? We are going to discount potential candidates’ viability for election because we think the United States is not ready for a woman president and we are so afraid that running a woman will lead to Trump being elected again? Really? There are numerous women who would make formidable and electable candidates for the Presidency of the United States, and we are going to diminish our expectations for them because they are women before one debate has been had and before one primary has been held? Really?
 
We democrats may or may not choose a woman to be our nominee, but for crying out loud, don’t discount the prospects of some of our most dynamic and qualified candidates because we are afraid that misogyny in the United States is so strong that a woman cannot be elected. Talk about giving in to the misogyny! We should not let Trump bully us into not nominating a woman if a woman is our strongest candidate. If a woman ends up being the best candidate to become the Democratic nominee for president and we diminish her chances owing to her gender, we do both our country and the world a disservice in this most critical time.
 
What time is it? It is time for decent human being, woman or man, to become President of our United States; and democrats should not let our candidates’ gender be the defining characteristic that propels one of them to the nomination and to the presidency.
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Indivisible

Elizabeth Warren announced today that she is forming an exploratory committee to run for president. In other words, she is running for president. The arguments among Democrats and progressive independents about whether she should run or whether she will be a good candidate have already begun. Here are my thoughts:

At this point I think democrats and progressive independents should all be collectively celebrating every Democratic candidate who has the courage to put herself or himself forward to run for president. We need to find ways to come together and choose a candidate without tearing other candidates down or tearing each other apart.

I celebrate Elizabeth Warren loving our country enough to take on this urgent challenge of running for president. She would make a great president as would many other Democratic candidates yet to declare. I will also celebrate when she is joined by many others who will help us all discern in time who the best candidate will be. I look forward to the many good and diverse ideas and plans that the Democratic candidates will bring forward, and I hope for a vibrant and civil debate as we search for the best way forward. We have to all be in this together.

Once the Democratic field of primary candidates is set, I will work hard for the candidate I believe will be the best president for our country and who will make the most positive contributions to the well-being of the whole world at this critical time.

I believe in universal healthcare (no one should go bankrupt because they are sick), strong public education (a bedrock for greater equality of opportunity), decreasing wealth inequality (we are currently competing with the Gilded Age), eradicating homelessness (it is much more cost effective than our current approach and is simply the right thing to do), affordable and accessible college education and/or vocational education for all (countries much less wealthy than ours do it, and it eradicates the crushing debt experienced by college graduates), strengthening social security (no person should live their last years in extreme poverty), and aggressive action to care for the environment and do all we can to preserve a livable climate for all life (a flourishing human community is not possible without a flourishing ecological community). All of these are achievable goals that would benefit people and the planet as a whole.

There will likely be more than one Democratic candidate who will share most if not all of these goals and who will present thoughtful approaches to achieving them. Some of the candidates will share fewer of these goals than will be to my liking, and I will not be voting for these candidates in the primary.

But when the primaries come to an end, I will be supporting the Democratic nominee for President. I will continue to work for Ranked Choice Voting so there might come a day when we can all vote for our first choice every time without it helping our least favorite choice and hurting our second choice, but that is not the system we will have in 2020 for the Presidential election. Voting for any candidate other than the Democratic candidate will contribute nothing to removing our current president from office.

Our current president is a threat not only to the well-being of our republic, but also to the well-being of the world as whole. His brand of racist nationalism is encouraging similar nationalist movements around the globe. His relentless support of all things fossil fuel is a direct threat to a livable climate for human and ecological communities. His cooperation with fundamentalist Christian theocrats is a direct threat to women’s rights, religious freedom, and the rights of persons who are LGBTQIA. His Xenophobic immigration and asylum policies have led us to putting persons in detention camps, children being separated from their parents, and the deaths of immigrant and refugee children in our “care.” His praise of murderous dictators and his open disdain for many of the democratically elected leaders of our allies are creating global instability and harming the cause of human rights though-out the world. His attacks on a free press and his support of dictators who have brazenly murdered journalists diminish what have been core values of our republic and endanger the lives of journalists both at home and abroad.

Our current president is an existential threat to people and the planet, and there is not one viable Democratic candidate who would not make an exponentially better president than the current resident of the White House. We cannot let this horrific president and his Republican Party divide us. This is the time that all Democrats and progressive independents must be indivisible in our resolve to remove the global threat that is our current president. If we do not stand united against this threat, our republic and our world may never recover. We must be indivisible.

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Top Five Blog Posts on One World House – 2018

Thank you to all who are reading and supporting One World House. If you would like to support the work of One World House with a contribution, you can do so at this link: Support One World House.

As we reflect back on the year, here are the top five blog posts of 2018 at One World House. Thanks again for reading and for all you are doing to make our World House more just, peaceful, and sustainable.

  1. Turning Over the Tables of ‘American Christianity’

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2. The Abuse of Romans 13 to Abuse People

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3. Matthew 25 for an American Empire Christmas 2018

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4. The Moral Culpability of the United Methodist Church

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5. Taming Jesus

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I wish you and yours a Happy New Year, and may it bring more love and justice into our midst through your lives.

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