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Posts tagged ‘Justice’

“They” weren’t born that way

I cannot believe that people are still saying that GBLT do not deserve the same rights and protections under law as “straight people” because “homosexuality” is a choice. Protections from arbitrary discrimination is ok because the does not protect the rights of some people because their religion says so,

Oh really?

What would it be like if I could make the case that being a Right-Wing Christian is dangerous to the nation and the nation children…

“They” aren’t born that way

Christians aren’t born that way. It isn’t like being black or white
or asian or male or female.

No, someone has to recruit them to this. Sometime it is their parents
or relatives. In some cases it is total strangers! Sometimes someone
later in live will convert a person into Christianity! And they brag
about this!

They flaunt themselves in public too. You will see them wearing
T-shirts with “What Would Jesus Do?” or wearing crosses. You see them
on the bus and subways reading The Bible! Can’t they keep it to
themselves? Why do they always have to be in your face with their
Christianity?

Some of the more fanatical females dress-up like they are huge
penguins and can be seen out of public streets without any shame. And
there are some of these men running around in these fancy gowns with
these silly hats on their heads. Talking about looking queer!

Then there is always the big deal a lot of these fanatics make about
their abnormal sexuality–celibacy. Since when is that natural? They
make a big deal about it and their not having children. Aren’t adults
suppose to have children? How abnormal that these Christians don’t!

Christians doesn’t happen in nature either. Who every heard of
animals being Christians? You ever see a seagull or a horse or a dog
praying? Of course not!

You can tell they are unnatural because they have only been around for
2,000 years or so. Clearly some freak event happened around back to
create this unnatural people with their unnatural behaviors. It’s
like Hitler and the Nazis!

People try to make excuses for them, saying that they should be able
to live their own lives without being troubled by others. But this is
wrong! There is nothing natural about Christians!

There really needs to be laws against them, to stop them from trying
to recuit children and other innocent people into their unnatural
ways. They should be, they are criminals!!

-The Lady

Was Jesus a Conservative?

(Again, I was looking for something in my files, and I came across one of those articles I kinda wish I had written. I am not terribly thrilled by some of the name-calling the original author get into, but I certainly can understand the anger….

I am also afraid that the author no longer seems to have an active blog. I think there really needs to be more thinking Christians blogging…
Ninure da Hippie)

Conservatives (Republicans and their predecessors) have fought among other things:

* child labor laws
* the forty-hour work week
* unions
* protection of the air and water
* overtime pay
* Medicare
* Social Security
* consumer protections
* national heath care
* racial equality
* equality for women
* inter-racial marriage

Conservatism is about preserving or returning to the conditions of an earlier time, it is, by definition, anti change. Ultimately, unless it goes to it’s extreme expression, fascism, it’s doomed to failure because, simply, change happens. Or the house of cards built on the
exploitation of the poor and working class tumbles. Conservativism is anti-American, running contrary to the Founding Fathers battles against the conservatives (Torys) of their day. If conservativism had prevailed in the late 1700s, there would be no United States of
America today.

In contrast this to conservatism, we read of Jesus:

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. (Matt. 14:14).

Jesus stood against the conservatives of His day, the Republicans of His time, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, and they released their “Republican attack dogs” on Him and led Him to His death.

The word “Christian,” means “like Christ.” Which is something we should endeavor to become. Religious conservatives are the anti-thesis, the opposite, the “anti-Christ” and stand against His compassion and love for the poor, widows and orphans expressed so many times in the Scriptures.

The apostles, in their letter to Paul, expressed concern that the poor were taken care of, contrarily, Ronald Reagan used to express concerns not to provide a perception of a safety net.

The so-called “Religious Right” and other conservative anti-Christian movements are no more Christian than their father the devil. One cannot Scripturally claim to be conservative and Christian for “Conservative CHristian” is an oxymoron, they are self contradictory.
Indeed, the “Conservative Christian” movement is a part of the “great falling away.” (2 Thes. 2:3)

Terrell D Lewis
http://epigramz.blogspot.com/
Fighting the Riech Wing Conspiracy

Rant: Christian American Quiz

Christian American Quiz

Please answer the following Questions:

1) Which is the only country in the world to have dropped bombs on over twenty different countries since 1945?

2) Which is the only country to have used nuclear weapons?

3) Which country was responsible for a car bomb which killed 80 civilians in Beirut in 1985, in a botched assassination attempt, thereby making it the most lethal terrorist bombing in modern Middle East history?

4) Which country’s illegal bombing of Libya in 1986 was described by the UN Legal Committee as a “classic case” of terrorism?

5) Which country rejected the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to terminate its “unlawful use of force” against Nicaragua in 1986, and then vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law?

6) Which country was accused by a UN-sponsored truth commission of providing”direct and indirect support” for “acts of genocide” against the Mayan Indians in Guatemala during the 1980s?

7) Which country unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in December 2001?

8) Which country renounced the efforts to negotiate a verification process for the Biological Weapons Convention and brought an international conference on the matter to a halt in July 2001?

9) Which country prevented the United Nations from curbing the gun trade at a small arms conference in July 2001?

10) Aside from Somalia, which is the only other country in the world to have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

11) Which is the only Western country which allows the death penalty to be applied to children?

12) Which is the only G7 country to have refused to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, forbidding the use of landmines?

13) Which is the only G7 country to have voted against the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998?

14) Which was the only other country to join with Israel in opposing a 1987 General Assembly resolution condemning international terrorism?

15) Which country refuses to fully pay its debts to the United Nations yet reserves its right to veto United Nations resolutions?

Answer to all 15 questions: The United States of America.

Do you call these actions “Christian”!!!!!

Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Let me admit that q friend eeyorn posted this on his Blog back in 2008 before MySpace erased our Blogs in 2008. The references to Bush still does not date this piece.

There are many who think that should the Jesus of the Gospels appear in the USA today, he’d get a nasty welcome, but this has got to be the best writing I have yet seen on the topic. – Ninure da Hippie

The Crucifixion of Christ, American Style
By Jerry Ghinelli

“For God so loved the world…” he returned his only begotten son to the land where he shed his grace on thee.
 
Vindication for the faithful, rejoicing for the true believers, it was the second coming of Christ—and he was coming to America. Not to bring Armageddon, but to save mankind from Armageddon.
 
Jesus will make his first appearance at the intersection of the streets appropriately named “Liberty” and “Church” in New York City, located at what has come to be known as “Ground Zero.”
 
Lower Manhattan was virtually shut down as millions of the faithful and curious flooded the streets to get a glimpse of the second coming of their lord and savior.
 
Even the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading as the crowds swelled from the Battery to midtown Manhattan. The joy and hope that Christ was bringing was palpable—breathtaking, you might say—in the near carnival-like atmosphere that was created in lower Manhattan.
 
Songs like “Jesus Is Just All Right With Me,” “Amazing Grace” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” played from loudspeakers where the Twin Towers had once stood. American flags and crosses were everywhere.
 
Martin Luther King’s “dream” was now a reality, as black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, young and old, “red staters” and “blue staters,” even atheists and agnostics, all joined hands in love and friendship at this celebration of the second coming of the Prince of Peace.
 
The media frenzy was unprecedented.
 
It was “all Jesus all the time”: round-the-clock coverage as priests, rabbis, and even an ayatollah appeared as expert commentators to explain what this all meant and what we should think.
 
Mel Gibson, who produced the film “The Passion of the Christ,” was interviewed on so many television stations the joke was he must have a double. A female CNN reporter facetiously asked if the handsome Gibson’s identical twin was married.
 
The night before, the new Pope, Benedict XVI, gave a rare interview with Mike Wallace from the CBS News show, “60 Minutes.” And for good reason: This was to be “the greatest story ever told.”
 
On vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush read a brief statement, calling the second coming of Christ a “miracle of faith,” and formally welcoming him to America. Bush ended his remarks by declaring, “Let freedom reign and God bless America.”
 
Christ had chosen to begin speaking at 8:46 a.m., the precise time when, on September 11, 2001, the first plane smashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
 
The clock in the corner of the TV screen read “Countdown to Jesus” as the minutes and seconds ticked away. It looked a little like we were about to launch the Space Shuttle, one reporter noted.
 
At exactly 8:46 a.m., there was a sudden, immediate, “deafening” silence, almost as if the world had ended. Then Jesus Christ appeared alone before a massive bank of microphones, placed just two blocks north of Ground Zero on a little street appropriately named “Trinity Place.”
 
Looking much as he did two thousand years ago, the longhaired, bearded Jesus Christ, shabbily dressed in a robe and sandals, began to speak in a soft voice.
 
“Shalom, salaam and may peace be with you,” he offered.
 
“I, Jesus of Nazareth, use this sacred ground to symbolize where over four years ago, at this exact moment, man’s inhumanity to man was broadcast live for the entire world to bear witness to.
 
“Those who committed these barbaric acts thought of themselves as ’believers,’ but only a believer in Satan could commit such a heinous act,” said Christ.
 
The applause rang out like booming thunder, echoing off the skyscrapers along the narrow streets of lower Manhattan, and down the section of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. Shouts of “hallelujah, hallelujah” sent goose bumps up people’s arms. The faithful were not crying; they were sobbing. Some people fainted.
 
For the viewers at home, in the corner of TV screens a small woman provided sign language for the hearing impaired.
 
Christ continued. “But I come before America today, for she is the greatest danger to world peace since Genesis.
 
“To suggest that God, our father, would ever be on the side of an America—or any country, for that matter—which attacks poor, defenseless, impoverished people out of revenge, fear, ignorance or greed, contradicts everything I stand for today and, more importantly, died for two thousand years ago.”
 
On the streets and watching at home and at work, the American people were in “shock and awe” at this blunt criticism from their lord and savior.
 
A few cheered, but Christ’s condemnation of America’s response to the evils of 9/11 and of their President, Bush—the born-again man of faith, leader of the greatest country on earth—drew immediate and harsh disapproval.
 
Christian conservatives went on the attack, charging that Christ was wrong to criticize Bush while he was fighting the evil forces of Satan in his divinely inspired worldwide crusade on the war on terror. Christ, as one remarked, seemed to speak with a French accent, and sounded a lot like a bleeding-heart liberal.
 
Fearing that Christ’s message might undermine troop morale in Iraq and Afghanistan conservative Republicans launched an urgent campaign to—as they term it—”swift-boat” Christ.
 
“Swift-boat” is a new verb in the American lexicon, meaning “to smear in the name of truth, justice and freedom.”
 
A Conservative evangelical group from the Bible Belt was quickly formed, named “The Twelve Veteran Disciples for Truth.”
 
Using only their first names, Peter, Paul, James, John, Andy, Phil, Bart, Matthew, Simon, Thad, Tom, along with their spokesman, Judas, appeared together on Fox News to, as they stated, “set the record straight.”
 
They all claimed to have ancestors who served with Jesus back in the Middle East, and stated that his message of “love your enemies” was outdated and dangerous in these troubled times, when terrorists and evildoers lurk around every corner and can strike at any moment.
 
“George W. Bush is a strong and sincere proponent of Christianity, a strong advocate of using military force to attack—even pre-emptively attack—our enemies. Notice that I say ’attack,’ not ’love’,” said Judas.
 
Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing with former Georgia Senator Zell Miller before a uniformed military audience in Texas, suggested that Jesus’ “love your enemy” message was a thinly veiled liberal euphemism that meant Christ wants to cut the defense budget and reduce the federal funding for the body armor badly needed by our brave young men and women in harm’s way.
 
“Let he without sin cast the first spitball,” Cheney mocked, to a standing ovation from the troops.
 
The American media, which loves simple soundbites to always entertain and sometimes inform, played Cheney’s clever spitball line over and over ad nauseum.
 
One enterprising young Republican trademarked the term “Let he without sin cast the first spitball,” embroidered it on t-shirts and is selling them on eBay, along with a scowling “have you hugged a terrorist today” teddy bear wearing a little turban.
 
On his daily radio program, Rush Limbaugh—the lord of the airwaves, the voice of the people, his excellency in broadcasting, revered by millions of “ditto heads” —asked whether the wounds Jesus suffered during his crucifixion had possibly been exaggerated.
 
According to Limbaugh: “Thorns can only cause flesh wounds, and nails in your hands and feet are not lethal.”
 
Nails, Limbaugh went on with a chuckle, “should be an occupational hazard for Jesus Christ, the carpenter from Nazareth . “What’s next, Christ building houses for the poor, along with the second most annoying liberal, that other bleeding heart carpenter, Jimmy Carter?” Limbaugh mocked .
 
Immediately after the show, on sale at http://www.rushlimbaugh.com were steel-toed workboots adorned with the American flag, a pair of “thorn-resistant” “holy” garden gloves, and a box of Band Aids with tiny red crosses should the gloves ever fail.
 
On his program, radical preacher and firebrand television evangelist Pat Robertson referred to Christ’s “meek shall inherit the earth” remark as “communist infiltration and extremism.”
 
He suggests, like Limbaugh, that the liberal Christ is soft on the freedom-hating Islamic evildoers who detest our values.
 
Robertson went so far as to say that Christ was dangerous, and posed the question “perhaps someone needs to take him out before he brings on Armageddon?”
 
President Bush, speaking to new Marine recruits at Paris Island, praised the Lord Jesus and thanked him for his sacrifices. The President, who speaks to God regularly, insisted, however, that God also put him on this earth during these dangerous times to do his will.
 
“Christ is my brother,” Bush emphasized, “and brothers often have differences of opinion, that’s all. Christ believes in turning the other cheek; I prefer an eye for and eye. Or, as we say in Texas—dead or alive,” he said to applause from his troops.
 
“Semper fi,” shouted Bush.
 
Bush declared, “Jesus has never been elected to any public office. I come to work every day as your Commander–in-Chief with war on my mind. Christ speaks of peace this and love that… all kinds of dangerous messages in the post 9/11 world, when we have been attacked by the evildoers who can’t stand our freedoms,” Bush said, to a standing ovation.
 
Bush ended his speech by reciting his own version of “The Lord’s Prayer”:
 
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
 
Hallowed be Thy Name.
 
Thy Kingdom come.
 
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
 
And never forgive the terrorists,
 
who trespass against us.
 
And lead us not into appeasement,
 
and deliver the U.S. from evil. Amen.
 
The Democrats, eager to dispel rumors that they will forever be irrelevant, have got into the act.” .
 
Fearing that the compassionate Christ might be pro-life, they have set out to—as they term it—”Bork” Jesus.
 
Like “swift-boat,” “Bork,” taken from the name of the rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, has also become a verb meaning “to publicly destroy the character of those opposed to the Democrats’ single issue of abortion.”
 
Teams of lawyers paid for by the Democrats, many of whom, opponents allege, have never read a Bible, sworn on a Bible or seen a Bible except in a motel room, are now scouring the Bible to determine whether Jesus, two thousand years ago, may have had an inappropriate relationship with Mary Magdalene and engaged in a sexual relationship with a subordinate.
 
Former President Bill Clinton advising the Democrats, as an expert in this area, stated emphatically, “Jesus did not have sexual relations with that woman!”
 
With Clinton’s declaration, Democrats ended the investigation and went back to their fund raising.
 
The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal stepped in and was sharply critical of Christ’s message that “the love of money is the root of all evil and that it would be easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
 
Greed, according to the Wall Street Journal is good; greed works; greed is what made America great.
 
They added that “to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” suggests that Christ is in favor of raising taxes to fund liberal social programs and increase handouts to welfare mothers.
 
Jewish groups, fearing that Christ—who was, after all, born in Bethlehem, Palestine—would be sympathetic to Palestinian suffering and thus would oppose increased military aid for Israel, labeled him anti-Semitic.
 
When reminded Christ was born Jewish they amended the label to “self-hating Jew.”
 
Catholics, fearing that this time around not only would Christ clear the temples, but the churches too, were quietly distancing themselves from their lord and savior. With sky-rocketing insurance premiums caused by the lawsuits stemming from the church’s sex scandal, Saturday Night Bingo is needed now more than ever and must not be interrupted.
 
President Bush’s press secretary has denied reports suggesting he was the source of the leak that begs the question “when did Christ stop beating his gay wife.” 
 
Sensing blood in the water, the Republican spin machine revved up to full throttle.
 
Ann Coulter, the “angelic”-looking “Republican Party Doll,” appeared on The O’Reilly Factor in a pure white dress with a Victorian collar, her Rapunzel-like blond hair gleaming; under the set lighting. O’Reilly, complimented Coulter saying she reminded him tonight of “Glinda, the good witch of the north in the Wizard of Oz.” However, some critics suggested she sounded more like the “wicked witch of the west” when she said: “…with his sandals, long hair and beard, Christ bore an eerie resemblance to Osama bin Laden.” O’Reilly said nothing but nodded his approval.
 
But the coup de grace for Jesus was when Judas, the spokesman for “The Twelve Veteran Disciples for Truth,” approached the Justice Department with evidence that the Middle Eastern–born, bearded Christ, who speaks Arabic and is in the US illegally, is a card-carrying member of Al Qaeda.
 
Judas charged that Christ was not the son of God, but rather the son of Allah.
 
With silver selling today at about $16.81 an ounce, thirty pieces of silver—about $504—just doesn’t buy what it did two thousand years ago. So Judas opted for his “fifteen minutes of fame” instead.
 
He is scheduled to appear on “Oprah” tomorrow, “Larry King Live” at night and “Good Morning America” the next day.
 
President Bush has invited him to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, for some spiritual guidance. Judas, it is expected, will assist the President in “clearing brush” at his sprawling Texas compound this Easter weekend .
 
All suggestions regarding book deals and movie rights are referred to Judas’s agent at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills.
 
With Christ-approval numbers now in the single digits, and with compelling evidence from the “disciples for truth” that Christ is a member of Al Qaeda, he was arrested under the provisions of the US Patriot Act and whisked off to an undisclosed location.
 
The indigent, penniless Christ was represented in court by a public defender who appealed Christ’s incarceration all the way up to the US Supreme court.
 
Justice Antonin Scalia, who is of Italian ancestry tracing back to ancient Rome, when speaking for the court refused to hear the appeal. In a tersely worded opinion for a unanimous court, he stated: “We wash our hands of this case.”
 
The High Court, however, then overturned the twenty-five-year sentence of former WorldCom (MCI) C.E.O. Bernard “Bernie” Ebbers, declaring that his rights under the 8th Amendment, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, were violated.
 
Ebbers was immediately released back into society and received a hero’s welcome in his hometown. Signs of “Give us Bernard” appeared everywhere.
 
Outside the court at Christ’s hearing, one lone supporter of Christ held up a sign that read “crucify the sinless, and set the guilty free.” He was immediately arrested.
 
Accompanied by his legal aid lawyer, Christ was returned to the courtroom from his undisclosed location, along with two other prisoners.
 
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and shackled at the wrists and ankles, he looked gaunt and sad at his circumstances.
 
His public defender angrily referred to this proceeding as a “high-tech crucifixion.” The public defender was immediately cited for contempt of court.
 
Christ never spoke during the brief hearing, except when the judge asked him if he had any final words before sentencing.
 
“Yes, your honor. Father, forgive them, once again, for they know not what they do.”
 
Amen
 
Jerry Ghinelli writes essays exclusively for Information Clearing House (  www.informationclearinghouse.info) and contributes his time and efforts as a private citizen, with the hope of encouraging readers to think more broadly about the important issues that threaten the peace and security of the world community. Positive feedback should be sent to email@jerryghinelli.com or visit http://www.jerryghinelli.com for more information.

People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
    — Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist   (1908-1998)

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

===================

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Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Hippie Rant: A Challenge for Conservative Christians

A Challenge

Here’s a challenge, promarily directed towards those “christian” posters/leader/politians who spend so much time “standing against sin” and/or letting the worlf know who is and isn’t a “real” christian.

Your audience has never heard of Jesus, have never ever heard of the Bible, have no acess to the Bible.

You, yourself, have no acess to a Bible..

Explain now, what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is.

Explain why YOU are a Christian.

Explain why they should believe what YOU are telling them.

Keep in mind, before you do the usual “”argumentum ad hominem” (Google the term if you don’t know what that means), please keep in mind that this is a world-wide forum and that there surely many “lurkers” may have never heard the “Gospel”….

Can you answer the challenge? – Ninure da ippie

King Did more than Dream – a selection from a speech

The only question I have is, “If I am truly a follower of Jesus, should this not be obvious? – Ninure da Hippie

Love-Force

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The gospel at its best deals with the whole [person], not only soul but body, not only spiritual well-being, but material well-being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of [people] and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial….

I had almost despaired of the power of love in solving social problems. The “turn the other cheek” philosophy and the “love your enemies” philosophy are only valid, I felt, when individuals are in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations are in conflict a more realistic approach is necessary. Then I came upon the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. As I read his works I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. The whole Gandhian concept of satyagraha (satya is truth which equals love, and graha is force; satyagraha thus means truth-force or love-force) was profoundly significant to me.

As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. At this time, however, I had a merely intellectual understanding and appreciation of the position, with no firm determination to organize it in a socially effective situation.

When I went to Montgomery, Alabama, as a pastor in 1954, I had not the slightest idea that I would later become involved in a crisis in which nonviolent resistance would be applicable. After I had lived in the community about a year, the bus boycott began. The Negro people of Montgomery, exhausted by the humiliating experiences that they had constantly faced on the buses, expressed in a massive act of noncooperation their determination to be free. They came to see that it was ultimately more honorable to walk the streets in dignity than to ride the buses in humiliation.

At the beginning of the protest the people called on me to serve as their spokesman. In accepting this responsibility my mind, consciously or unconsciously, was driven back to the Sermon on the Mount and the Gandhian method of nonviolent resistance. This principle became the guiding light of our movement. Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method.

The experience in Montgomery did more to clarify my thinking on the question of nonviolence than all of the books that I had read. As the days unfolded I became more and more convinced of the power of nonviolence. Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life. Many issues I had not cleared up intellectually concerning nonviolence were now solved in the sphere of practical action….

The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally, it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.

Source: I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

Childrens’ Day?

(Note: I’ve hit my files again with an article I read back in 2007. I’d make a terrible parent, but nothing gets me as mad as the awful way this so-called Christian nation treats children. Whether it is to ignore their needs – for food, housing, education, or healthcare – as a country, or adults abusing them physically, verbally, or sexually. – Ninure da Hippie)

We habe Mother’s Day, and Father’s Dat…I think the cars companies are trying to get Grandparents’ Day, Uncles’ Day and Aunts Day too.

But as a fromer child, I think their ought to be a Children’s Day.

Not a day to give some kids even more presents, but a day to allow those who care to commit to protecting children from harm. A day to cmmit to seeing that children might receive all that they need, eevn of their parents are stupid and/or lazy.

It makes me angry to read of adults coming up with excuses to treat children in ways that they would not tolerate for themselves for five seconds.

It is in that spirit that I share this article with you today.

Sightings  5/3/07

Christian Discipline of Children
— Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

At Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, only a short distance from my home, religious leader Gwen Shamblin encourages parents to spank their children, describing corporal punishment as a “time-tested, ancient teaching of the Bible” necessary to shaping adherence to God’s authority.  According to the February 7, 2007, issue of the Tennessean (and here was one time when I really hoped the reporting was unreliable), parents who bring children to the nursery have foot-long glue gun sticks in their diaper bags for physically disciplining them.  These details hit the news because eight-year-old Josef Smith died in October 2003, and his parents, members of Remnant Fellowship, were finally facing trial for whipping, confining, and beating him to death.

Although later in February the parents were sentenced to life plus thirty years, the debate about Christian discipline is far from resolved.  On the one hand, social scientists such as Alice Miller indicted Christianity in the 1970’s and 1980’s for perpetuating parental abuse.  Initially Miller simply argued that narcissistic parents use children to meet parental needs — an iniquity visited on following generations, as emotionally deprived children become parents who use their children to get the affirmation missing in their own childhood.  Over time, however, Miller became more strident, and eventually accused Christians of perpetuating a “poisonous pedagogy” of cruel mental and physical techniques designed to render children obedient, described in horrifying detail in childrearing manuals.  Meanwhile, Philip Greven and others found ample historical and psychological evidence to argue that such discipline can indeed be quite hazardous to children’s health.

On the other hand, in recent years some sociologists, such as John Bartkowski and Brad Wilcox, have tried to modify such assessments.  Empirical research, they say, documents increased affection and paternal involvement as positively related to an emphasis on children’s submission to parental authority and use of corporal punishment.  There is even initial evidence that such punishment does not have adverse emotional or behavioral repercussions, an outcome that may result from its place within a broader set of positive parenting behaviors.

More than anything, all this politically loaded research suggests that Christians of all stripes should be wary of extreme claims on both sides.  Subtle agendas shape social science facts and have serious social implications.  Christians must take their troubled disciplinary history seriously, admitting the harm done in Christianity’s name, and yet also question sweeping accusations that Christianity itself is inherently abusive.  News about Josef Smith’s death powerfully reminds us just how hazardous careless use of Christian proclamation can be, especially as it impacts those least able to protect themselves and most dependent on adult benevolence.  Fervent promotion of doctrines about sin, obedience, and bending the will to God have had and can have devastating consequences.

At the same time, seeing children as sinful does not de facto lead to their harsh punishment.  It can, in fact, have an inverse affect of assuring respect for their full humanity and agency.  Many classic theologians commonly associated with ideas about children as depraved, such as Augustine and Calvin, did not condone corporal punishment, offered nuanced views of children’s spiritual capacities, and even found such doctrines cause for greater compassion for all children, especially poor children.

Scriptural accounts of Jesus’ ministry actually set a high disciplinary standard.  Nowhere does Jesus advocate physical punishment.  Instead, he goes out of his way to heal children, says they embody the kingdom, and threatens eternal damnation to anyone who would harm their faith.  “Discipline” and “disciples” share the same root.  The disciples follow Jesus not because he stands over them as commander in chief, but because he aligns himself with them and elicits their love, trust, and admiration.  Perhaps influenced by Christianity more than she realizes, Miller herself concludes: “We do not need to be told whether to be strict or permissive with our children.  What we do need is to have respect for their needs … as well as for our own.”  For Christians, discipline means fostering conditions that induce a desire to love God and seek the good of others.

Whether Remnant Fellowship Church (or any congregation that talks openly about how to discipline children) encourages this kind of discipline or rather condones abuse is still up for debate.  But when it comes to corporal punishment, there is ongoing need for serious caution, and for the work of a practical theology that studies not so much the truth of doctrine but how doctrine gets lived out in daily life.

For children in particular, what people believe about Jesus or God — whether God demands obedience or offers love — matters.

References:
“Child’s Death Renews Scrutiny of Local Church,” by Anita Wadhwani and Heather Donahoe, The Tennessean (February 7, 2007).

Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Vanderbilt University, and author of Let the Children Come: Reimagining Childhood from a Christian Perspective (Jossey-Bass, 2003) and In the Midst of Chaos: Care of Children as Spiritual Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2006).
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The current Religion and Culture Web Forum features “From Altered States to Altered Categories (and Back Again): Academic Method and the Human Potential Movement” by Jeffrey J. Kripal.  To read this article, please visit: http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/webforum/index.shtml.

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Sightings comes from the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

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There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths. The murderer rises at dusk to kill the poor and needy, and in the night is like a thief.
– Job 24:13-14

To be a follower of Jesus means in the first place to enter by compassion into his experience, with all that it expresses of the divine and of the human. And it means in the second place to enter with him into the suffering and the hope of all human persons, making common cause with them as he does, and seeking out as he does the places of his predilection among the poor and despised and oppressed.
– Monika K. Hellwig
from Jesus: The Compassion of God (The Liturgical Press, 1983)

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