Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Via Daily Kos: An Evangelical responds to Sanders' speech at Liberty U

An Evangelical pastoral counselor and Liberty University graduate posted a short sermon about Bernie Sanders' speech at Liberty University to reddit yesterday:
He was convicting the Christian leaders and the religious leaders in that university, and calling us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer, the least of these, and siding with the powerful and rich, the masters of this world.  And he was convicting us and calling us out, and we scorned him, and we stared him down; and, with sour faces, we thought, "Who is this wacko, and why do all these people seem to follow him, seem to like him – this wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the political left, in his hoarse voice?"
When I heard Bernie speaking in that way, when I saw that guy on stage at Liberty University, I saw John the Baptist...crying out to the religious leaders, the Pharisees of his day, calling them corrupt and complicit with those who have all the power and all the money and all the wealth, and abandoning the people that God loves, that God cares about...
As I heard Bernie Sanders crying out to the religious leaders at Liberty University, in his hoarse voice, with his wild hair – this Jew – and he proclaimed justice over us, he called us to account, for being complicit with those who are wealthy and those who are powerful, and for abandoning the poor, the least of these, who Jesus said he had come to bring good news to. And in that moment something occurred to me. As I saw Bernie Sanders up there, as I watched him, I realized Bernie Sanders for president is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders for president is Good News for the poor. Bernie Sanders is gospel for the poor. And Jesus said "I have come to bring gospel" – good news – "to the poor."    
And lightning hit my heart at that moment. And I realized that we are evangelical Christians. We believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who would attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretations of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things, and yet somehow we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison.
I listened to Bernie Sanders as he said he wanted to welcome the immigrants and give them dignity, as he said he wanted to care for the sick children and mothers and fathers who do not have health care, as he said he wanted to decrease the amount of human beings who are corralled like cattle in the prisons, as he said he wanted to do justice for those who have nothing and live homeless. And I remembered the words of Jesus who warned his disciples that there will be judgement, and on that day he will look to his friends, and he will say "Blessed are you for you cared for me, for I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was in prison and you came to visit me, I was homeless and you gave me shelter." And his disciples said, "When did we do any of those things for you?" And he said, "If you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me."
Those words echoed in my heart as I listened to that crazy, hoarse-voiced, wild-haired Jew standing in front of the religous leaders of the Evangelical Movement, calling us to account, as a Jew once did before, telling us that he intends to care for the least of these, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to care for the sick, to set the prisoners free.
I wouldn't be much of a Christian if I didn't stand on the side of gospel for the poor, because, the last time I checked, that's where my master Jesus stood, and I'll stand with Him. And,  for now, that means I stand with Bernie Sanders.
Kos "I'm leaving out a lot here. I'd really recommend listening to the whole thing. "

Update: reddit user How_Suspicious has posted a complete transcript on the SanderForPresident subreddit. (I could have saved myself a lot of work.)

Originally posted to vinkelhake on Wed Sep 16, 2015 at 04:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by Bernie News Roundup, Team Bernie, I ♥ Democratic Socialism, and Anglican Kossacks.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Via Alternet: News & Politics Chris Hedges: America's Mania for Positive Thinking and Denial of Reality Will Be Our Downfall

The ridiculous positivism, the belief that we are headed toward some glorious future, defies reality.

The naive belief that history is linear, that moral progress accompanies technical progress, is a form of collective self-delusion. It cripples our capacity for radical action and lulls us into a false sense of security. Those who cling to the myth of human progress, who believe that the world inevitably moves toward a higher material and moral state, are held captive by power. Only those who accept the very real possibility of dystopia, of the rise of a ruthless corporate totalitarianism, buttressed by the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history, are likely to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt. 

The yearning for positivism that pervades our corporate culture ignores human nature and human history. But to challenge it, to state the obvious fact that things are getting worse, and may soon get much worse, is to be tossed out of the circle of magical thinking that defines American and much of Western culture. The left is as infected with this mania for hope as the right. It is a mania that obscures reality even as global capitalism disintegrates and the ecosystem unravels, potentially dooming us all.

Make the jump here to read the full article

Via Occupy Democrats / FB:

Via Ring of Fire: Pope Francis is Coming to Congress Sept. 24: GOP Furious with his Main Five Points


Pope Francis is Coming to Congress Sept. 24: GOP Furious with his Main Five Points

Pope Francis is scheduled to come address Congress on September 24, much to the pain of conservative politicians. Pope Francis has repeatedly made statements and policy decisions that have put him at odds with Republicans. Whether he is saying that women may be forgiven for having abortions or explaining that creationism and evolution are not mutually exclusive theories, he is setting conservative’s heads spinning.
Here are five points that Pope Francis has made that conservatives have been completely at odds with:

1. Pope Francis has made ending a marriage more easily accessible.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis outlined new rules that made it easier and less expensive for couples seeking an end to their relationship to part. The new rules are seen as a complete divergence from the church of the past, which had a history of making divorce and annulment difficult to obtain.

2. Pope Francis has made addressing climate change non-negotiable.
In his encyclical, Pope Francis explained that dealing with climate change is an issue of moral importance. It effects every single person on this planet and will disproportionately hurt people of lower means. Francis explained that the most vulnerable on our planet are those who will be faced with the brutality of climate change.

3. Pope Francis has offered forgiveness to women for abortions.
During the upcoming year of mercy, Pope Francis has announced, the Catholic church will extend mercy and forgiveness to women who seek forgiveness for an abortion.

4. Pope Francis said that capitalism without restraint is evil.
While visiting Bolivia in July, Pope Francis criticized the practice of wealthy nations and banks taking advantage of weaker and developing nations. The pope defended what he described as “sacred rights” that belong to poor people. Those rights cannot be taken by a bank or foreign power.

5. Pope Francis does not see creationism an evolution as exclusive.
Conservatives tend to use the concept of evolution as a wedge to divide true conservatives from others. Pope Francis rejected the idea that the theory of evolution and the theory of creationism need to be exclusive.
While talking at the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, he said, “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything, But that is not so.”

These are just a handful of the issues that have put conservatives on edge when dealing with the new, more progressive Catholic church. It should be interesting to see how they react to the pope’s message later this month.

For more on this, read the Alternet article titled: 5 Ways Pope Francis Has Recently Caused Conservative Christians’ Heads to Explode.

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