Archive for the ‘Church & Culture’ Category

Catonsville 50 years Ago Today

May 17, 2018

50 Years Ago Today: Catonsville 9 Burned Draft Papers with Homemade Napalm to Protest Vietnam War




Fifty years ago today, on May 17, 1968, in the Baltimore suburb of Catonsville, Maryland, a group of Catholic priests and laypeople stood around a small fire that they had made, praying and singing. They had gone into the local draft board office and taken 378 draft records for the young men in the 1-A category, who were most likely to get drafted to go to war in Vietnam. They set fire to the draft records using homemade napalm, made from gasoline and laundry soap, to symbolize the U.S. military’s use of napalm on Vietnamese civilians. They became known as the Catonsville Nine. Video of the act of civil disobedience was seen around the world. Democracy Now  turns to the 2012 documentary Hit & Stay, which chronicles  the stories of the activists, including Fathers Phil and Dan Berrigan.


FATHER DANIEL BERRIGAN: We make our prayer in the name of that God whose name is peace and decency and unity and love. We unite in taking our matches, approaching the fire. We’re all part of this.




GEORGE MISCHE: While people throughout the world, and especially Vietnam now, are suffering from napalm, that these files are also napalmed, to show that these lives can fall on the same fate as the Vietnamese.





DAVID DARST: Napalm, which was made from information and from a formula in the United States Special Forces handbook published by the School of Special Warfare of the United States. We all had a hand in making the napalm that was used here today.

JIM HARNEY: Napalm is a very old weapon. It goes back to the Byzantines. But it really came to public attention during the war in Vietnam, in the pictures of napalmed people. So that was the kind of quintessential symbol of the war: We were burning babies, literally, in Vietnam. So that’s why we wanted to come up with something symbolic and also something that would really destroy the files.


TOM MELVILLE: Our church has failed to act officially, and we feel that, as individuals, we’re going to have to speak out in the name of Catholicism and Christianity. And we hope our action to inspire other people who have Christian principles or a faith similar to Christianity will act accordingly, too, to stop the terrible destruction that America is wreaking on the whole world.


FATHER DANIEL BERRIGAN: We regret very much, I think all of us, the inconvenience and even the suffering that we’ve brought to these clerks here.



FATHER PHIL BERRIGAN: We sincerely hope we didn’t injure anyone.


PRIESTS: Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.


FATHER DANIEL BERRIGAN: We have chosen to be powerless criminals in a time of criminal power. We have chosen to be branded as peace criminals by war criminals.

AMY GOODMAN: The Catonsville Nine were prosecuted and, in 1970, given prison sentences of up to three years behind bars. Earlier this month, a ceremony was held in Catonsville, Maryland, to mark the unveiling of a new historical marker to commemorate the action.




Frida Berigan daughter of Phil and liz McAlister with children


Trump’s bizarre pastors

May 15, 2018


Here they are insults to Christianity, purveyors of hate and stupidity

Step up Robert Jeffress, introduced to radio by Amy Goodman




An anti-gay, pro-Trump pastor of the First Baptist megachurch in Dallas, Pastor Robert Jeffress, was chosen by the Trump administration to lead the prayer at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Pastor Jeffress has a history of making hateful comments against Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Mormons, the LGBTQ community. This is just a few of the statements he’s made over the years.


DONALD TRUMP: Where is Pastor Jeffress? He’s around here someplace. What a good guy! Where is he? Well, come here. I love this guy!


PASTOR ROBERT JEFFRESS: Here’s the deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam. It is a religion that promotes pedophilia, sex with children. … Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity.


ANDERSON COOPER: Hindus and Buddhists, Islam—cults?

PASTOR ROBERT JEFFRESS: Yes, absolutely. … Muhammad was nothing but a bloodthirsty warlord who beheaded 600 Jews who would not follow him into battle.


IMAM MOHAMMAD ALI ELAHI: That is not true.


PASTOR ROBERT JEFFRESS: Islam is wrong! It is a heresy from the pit of hell. Mormonism is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell. Judaism, you know, you can’t be saved, being a Jew and Catholicism represents the genius of Satan


and Obama?


In 2014, Jeffress wrote a book arguing that Obama was paving the way for the coming of the Antichrist, if not the Antichrist himself. He’s cast Trump as a kind of modern-day King Cyrus: chosen by God as an unlikely leader.


and John Hagee, a bizarre end timer who believe that the Jewish people are going to burn in Hell for all of eternity unless they abandon Judaism and convert to Christianity. This guy is to serious theology as Popeye is to Plato. You simply can not believe the nonsense he promotes like the Blood Moon Prophecy, an end-of-times theory that lunar eclipses are a sign that the world is on the brink of destruction and that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is near.


To have these two “Christians” present at the unveiling of an embassy is to both invite ridicule and debase Christianity.

Genetic Judaism not enough

May 2, 2018

Once again the intrepid Israeli writer Amira Hass attempts to help North American Jews and indeed those seduced by Israeli propaganda to really arise from their slumber and understand the depth of depravity the Israeli governmement has sunk.




If Americans and Canadians and in particular Jews knew the facts on the ground they would quickly understand that they must withdraw support from a state which prides itself as Jewish. It is doing irreparable harm to the universal tenets of the religion from which Christianity sprung. If they knew the reality instead of the hasbara spun on Israell’s behalf, they could no longer support such abhorrent behaviour in “the kingdom of the occupation”(Hass).




No democrat and no human being would tolerate for any length of time what the state of Israel is doing to Palestinians. This is why young Jews are abandoning knee jerk fidelity to Israel, They have moved way beyond an atavistic tribalism to a higher plane.These beautiful young people applaud the sentiments of Jews such as Orthodox former speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg when he says:



For me the Jewish people is about a values system not about genetics. …When you ask today a Jew in Israel, what is the nation, unfortunately too many of my cousins will say it is about the Jewish blood. To me being Jewish is not about blood system. 

if cousins of mine literally speaking are racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, they are genetic Jews but I don’t have any partnership with them. If somebody,might be an Arab, might be the educator of my grandchildren, who is pluralistic, tolerant, humanist, who comes to her position from her Islam not Judaism– she is my partner.

Tomorrow Amira Hass, an Israeli writer whose mother survived Bergen-Belsen writes on


The Websites You Must Visit to Understand Israel’s Policy Toward Palestinians 

For those who don’t speak Arabic, these sites will put you on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza


Jean Gump, Tireless Fighter for Social Justice, Dies at 90

April 30, 2018



Who knew her outside of Chicago? Yet the NY Times ran a huge obit for her on their big fat Sunday edition. It made my day. Hopefully the 55% of Catholics who voted for the Groper in Chief read it too.

As the button on my coat says:




At a time when more and more people are living in Fantasyland and posting another picture of their dog on Facebook, it is people like Jean Gump who will save the world and possibly renovate the Catholic church presently good at charity but absolutely lousy at justice.


RC JUStUnknown


While Jean Dalton was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her parents became so disgusted by Mayor Richard J. Daley’s ethnocentric and monolithic Democratic machine that they not only enrolled as Republicans but also hid their Irish ancestry from their five children.


Within just a few years, though, Ms. Gump had an epiphany. Perhaps it was inspired by the birth of her 12th and last child in 1964, after Kennedy’s assassination, that nonplused her about what kind of world her children would inherit. Maybe it was the rumblings of social justice reverberating from the ecumenical Vatican II council in Rome.


iPope Justmages


Or maybe it was the inconvenient question posed by her son Joseph one day in 1965, when he turned to her despairingly from the brutal television images of blacks being mistreated in the South and asked what she was going to do about it.


“I took the next available plane to Alabama and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery.”



So began jean Gumps’ life as a citizen, a life that inspired the Gump children to describe her in a paid obituary last month as “a lifelong advocate for peace and justice, and a convicted felon for antinuclear activism.”


In 1986 she served more than four years, 63 days of that time in solitary confinement, for invading Whiteman Air Force Base near Holden, Mo., with two other Roman Catholic peace protesters on Good Friday earlier that year. It prompted her husband to quit his job,, and join the antinuclear weapons movement. In 1987, he was convicted of conspiring to damage another Missouri missile site. He was imprisoned for three years.



Most people go to prison for violating their conscience. The Gumps were sentenced for rigidly cleaving to theirs.


Ms. Gump’s moral code could be condensed into a single sentence: “If you don’t act against it, you must be for it.”




Her last arrest was in 2010, when she was 83. She was protesting upgrades of Trident submarine nuclear warheads at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.


“We are people of conscience who know that nuclear weapons are immoral, so we make our statements and expect to be found guilty at our trials.”


I was brought up as a bigot and could have become a Nazi,” she told the weekly newspaper The Chicago Reader in 1987. “If the German people who were stunned by what the leaders were doing had said ‘no,’ it wouldn’t have happened. Very early in my life I realized I would never have a child of mine come to me and say, ‘What were you doing then?’ ”


“My mother was living the American dream and rejected it all in her fight for social justice,” Holly Gump, who confirmed the death, said in a telephone interview.


When her first grandson was born, she recalled, she decided that her civil disobedience had not gone far enough. “I realized I had to do something,” she said. “He would have no world to grow up in unless I did something.”


““I thought I might be frightened,” Ms. Gump said, “but as we were driving out, I felt a tremendous peace that I had never felt before.”


After moving to Bloomingdale, after prison, the Gumps wrote letters opposing the presence of Israeli troops in the West Bank and helped start the Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War.




We have got to have a future for our children, and we’ve got to make some sacrifices for it, O.K.?,” she told Studs Terkel in a Playboy magazine interview in 1988. “Call it a legacy if you want to. What else is there?”



Not my Israel

April 6, 2018

The fallout from Israel’s unprovoked massacre of 1t Gazans continues to reverberate in many quarters. Israel’s contempt for Palestinian life is finally becoming obvious to much of the world which had frequently fallen for its masterfully cynical propaganda. Those days are over and many Jews in the diaspora are breaking ranks and speaking painful truths.


PI Whitewash


Here in Toronto one Israeli’s disgust with his former home found its way into print, a letter to the Toronto Star, April 4, 2018

This is not my Israel

I do not recognize my birthplace and childhood home. I was raised with the narrative that Israel was a safe haven for persecuted Jews from around the world — a sanctuary.


What I see now is a racist, cruel and destructive country intent on punishing refugees, demonizing Indigenous Palestinians and carrying a messianic zealotry I would ascribe to totalitarian regimes. This is not my Israel.


Like so many other disillusioned Zionists, I grabbed a piece of hope on Passover and Easter, when Israel announced it had reached a deal to allow its African refugee community to stay or be resettled. A few hours later, the government of Israel suddenly announced it was rescinding this compromise, and would be looking at deporting these refugees forcibly.


This is just another reflection of the heartlessness that is now sewn into the cultural fabric of Israel.

Avi Zer-Aviv, Toronto


The Toronto Star periodically will publish letters critical of Israel, particularly from diaspora Jews critical of this rogue state. The above letter of Mr. Zer-Aviv is one such example.


Sometimes, maybe once a month, a similarly critical oped will be printed. Never will the Star editorialize about the rampant injustice and racism prevalent there.




The Star has always operated on the Atkinson principles of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. But it always very wary of offending Israel-firsters in the Jewish community and for good reason. If you poke this bear, there will immediately be an economic attack on the newspaper, threatening dire consequences. Newspapers can not risk this.


One can have sympathy with a print organ like the Star avoiding such a situation in these days of folding dailies. Similarly, the CBC must be very careful in this regard, and it is. Ditto the rabbis of major temples who know what is going on so most avoid the topic. A rabbi friend of mine told me the reason I am having trouble engaging these worthies is that most agree with me. Israel has become its worst enemy.




In the waning days of Zionism, there are many in the Jewish community, as there are in most Christian communities where tribalism has supplanted the prophetic impulse. The radical voice of justice ”the voice that God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor” as rabbi Heschel said about the prophets is sadly lacking in all the Abrahamic faiths today. Such religion will as the prophets like Jeremiah, Jesus, Gandhi and King showed, get you in deep trouble. It may even claim your life.




Bravo for Mr Zer-Aviv for speaking his truth in public.


Martin Luther King Jr. presente!

April 4, 2018



I was driving up University right by Del. It was still daylight on April 4, 1968 and I was at the U of T working on my Masters 5 months before I arrived at Neil. I heard the news and pulled over to the side of the road and wept.
MLK was assassinated 50 years ago today.
In my journal for that fateful April day:
Completely numbed by the sudden shock of MLK’s assassination…the lunacy of it all, the american way.God damn it—it doesn’t make any sense. King the disciple of Gandhi, both lovers of peace who cut through the sectional bull shit and confronted people. Their questions found only violent answers in the’s gonna be a long and hot summer, baby. Christ help us.


The Doc was my hero, an authentic gospel man who put it on the street, in the world where it was meant to be.
5 years earlier when the brother was only 34, he challenged fellow clergymen when he was in the Birmingham Jail, a piece of prophetic literature which threw a great challenge at timorous church people. It resonates today.


King was a accused of being “an outside agitator.” his response:


I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid….Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

ML 1

Some other gems which are memorable:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Exactly what the Palestinians are doing today.



King then laid the daily, grinding humiliation of Afro-Americans, the Jim Crow laws which flew in the face of a serious democracy


Then he wrote about nonviolent direct action in these terms:


Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.


This hit home as last week I saw the violent response to the  peaceful  Palestinian action calling attention to 50 years of brutal occupation.


My favourite part of this letter is MLK’s challenge to the Christian church to live up to the way of the crucified Christ


I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man.


Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.


But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.


An anti-Passover for” the pathologically indifferent”

April 1, 2018



Once again the reincarnated Jeremiah, Gideon Levy holds the mirror up to the “pathologically indifferent” both in Israel and in timorous government circles elsewhere.


Outside of those wonderful Jews of conscience Independent Jewish Voices,(IJV) few community leaders in Canada will dare speak such scalding prophetic words like Levy. IJV however speaks its following truth


IJV Canada is outraged by the murder of 17 unarmed Palestinians and the wounding of hundreds of others by the Israeli army in Gaza Friday,


Canadian Jews celebrate Passover to commemorate the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt, more than 3,000 years ago. The horrific irony that Israel massacred captive Palestinians on Passover cannot be ignored.


Canadian Jews celebrate the liberation story of Passover we must acknowledge Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine. Every Canadian Jew who values freedom must speak out against the relentless oppression of Palestinians that is carried out by Israel in our names, enabled by successive Canadian governments that have been oblivious to the plight of the Palestinians.

Levy in today’s article The Israel Massacre Forces sums up his Haaretz piece like this:


The shooting on the Gaza border shows once again that the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes

He goes on to write in his justifiable sarcastic tones the following:

The death counter ticked away wildly. One death every 30 minutes. Again. Another one. One more. Israel was busy preparing for the seder night. TV stations continued broadcasting their nonsense.It’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if a settler had been stabbed – on-site broadcasts, throw open the studios. But in Gaza the Israel Defense Forces continued to massacre mercilessly, with a horrific rhythm, as Israel celebrated Passover.


If there was any concern, it was because soldiers couldn’t celebrate the seder. By nightfall the body count had reached at least 15, all of them by live fire, with more than 750 wounded. Tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians. That’s called a massacre. There’s no other word for it.

Comic relief was provided by the army spokesman, who announced in the evening: “A shooting attack was foiled. Two terrorists approached the fence and fired at our soldiers.” This came after the 12th Palestinian fatality and who knows how many wounded.


Sharpshooters fired at hundreds of civilians but two Palestinians who dared return fire at the soldiers who were massacring them are “terrorists,” their actions labeled “terror attacks” and their sentence – death. The lack of self-awareness has never sunk to such depths in the IDF.

As usual, the media lent its appalling support. After 15 deaths Or Heller on Channel 10 News declared that the most serious incident of the day had been the firing by the two Palestinians. Dan Margalit “saluted” the army.
Israel was brainwashed again and sat down to a festive meal in a spirit of self-satisfaction. And then people recited “Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not,” impressed by the spread of plagues and enthusing at the mass murder of babies (the killing of the first-born Egyptians, the 10th plague).


Christian Good Friday and the Jewish seder night became a day of blood for the Palestinians in Gaza. You can’t even call it a war crime because there was no war there.
The test by which the IDF and the pathological indifference of public opinion should be judged is the following: What would happen if Jewish Israeli demonstrators, ultra-Orthodox or others, threatened to invade the Knesset? Would such insane live fire by tanks or sharpshooters be understood by the public? Would the murder of 15 Jewish demonstrators pass with silence? And if several dozen Palestinians managed to enter Israel, would that justify a massacre?


The killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes. There’s nothing cheaper in Israel than Palestinian blood. If there were a hundred or even a thousand deaths Israel would still “salute” the IDF. This is the army whose commander, the good and moderate Gadi Eisenkot, is received with such pride by Israelis. Of course, in the holiday media interviews, no one asked him about the anticipated massacre and no one will ask him now either.


But an army that prides itself on shooting a farmer on his land, showing the video on its website in order to intimidate Gazans; an army that pits tanks against civilians and boasts of one hundred snipers waiting for the demonstrators is an army that has lost all restraint. As if there weren’t other measures. As if the IDF had the authority or right to prevent demonstrations in Gaza, threatening bus drivers not to transport protesters in territory where the occupation has long ended, as everyone knows.


PI Whitewash


Despairing young men sneak in from Gaza, armed with ridiculous weapons, marching dozens of kilometers without hurting anyone, only waiting to be caught so as to escape Gaza’s poverty in an Israeli jail. This doesn’t touch anyone’s conscience either. The main thing is that the IDF proudly presents its catch. Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas is responsible for the situation in Gaza. And Hamas, of course. And Egypt. And the Arab world and the whole world. Just not Israel. It left Gaza and Israeli soldiers never commit massacres.


The names were published in the evening. One man was rising from his prayers, another was shot while fleeing. The names won’t move anyone. Mohammed al-Najar, Omar Abu Samur, Ahmed Odeh, Sari Odeh, Bader al-Sabag. This space is too small, to our horror, to list all their names.


Passover in Gaza

March 31, 2018


PI Gaza now

One wonders when the civilized world will have enough courage to take a stand against the persistent and brutal treatment of Palestinians by Israel.The Canadian government led by Justin Trudeau stands mute as do all political parties on this latest atrocity.




On Land Day, (Good Friday for Christians more brutalization for Palestinians) Israeli forces killed 16 Palestinians and injured over 1400 more along the Gaza border as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in “The Great March of Return” on the 42nd anniversary of Land Day a day Palestinians worldwide have commemorated since 1976, when Israeli security forces shot dead six Israeli Arabs who were protesting the expropriation of Arab-owned land in northern Israel to build Jewish communities.


The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 14 Palestinians were killed on Friday. They were identified as:



Mohammad Kamel Najjar
Wahid Nasrallah Abu Samour
Mahmoud Abu Muammar
Mohammad Abu Amro
Amhad Ibrahim Odah
Jihad Farina
Mahmoud Rahmi
Ibrahim Abu Shaer
Abd al-Fattah Bahjat Abd al-Nabi
Abd al-Qader al-Hawajri
Sari Walid Abu Odah
Hamdan Ismail Abu Amsha
Omar Samour
Bader Fayek al-Sabbagh


While the majority suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation, tens of Palestinians were injured with live ammunition, some critically.


As usual the Israeli propagandists justified such wanton killing by attempting to describe the resistance which was nonviolent and unarmed as “violent riots.” Despite the Israeli army’s claims, Palestinian activists and leaders in the Gaza Strip have maintained that the “March of Return” was organized as a massive non-violent, weeks-long protest advocating for the return of Palestinian refugees to their original homelands in historic Palestine, now present day Israel.


Leading up to Friday, the first official day of the march — which will continue until the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, in May — Palestinians set up tents along the border with Gaza, where protesters plan to stay until the Nakba anniversary.


American based Jewish Voice for Peace stated that it was horrified by the Israeli response. It said: The Israeli military has yet again unleashed disproportionate violence against demonstrating Palestinians, the latest in a long series of deadly responses to popular protests by Palestinians.




Much of the media coverage thus far refers to “clashes” at the Gazan border, an inaccurate and biased description of the Israeli military’s violent response to nonviolent protest. We call upon the media to accurately portray the lopsided reality of thousands of unarmed protesters on their own land facing a military force armed to the teeth and explicitly permitted to use lethal force.


Israelis of conscience continue to speak out, largely in vain to American rabbis and media outlets which never quote them.


Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem released a statement on Thursday, condemning the repeated threats of Israeli officials to use lethal force against the civilian protesters.


“Completely ignoring the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and Israel’s responsibility for it, they are couching the planned protest in terms of a security risk, framing the demonstrators as terrorists and referring to Gaza as a ‘combat zone’,” B’Tselem said.


PI;If israel

Meanwhile mainline Jewish organizations, tribalists to the extreme, and utterly disconnected from the Jewish prophetic tradition, consistently use Israeli military talking points.This is pointed out by Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada. The constant drumbeat always includes HAMAS using civilians to further the cause as if these people have no hand in the fire. In fact they are all relatives of those who have had their lands and livelihoods stolen by Israel.


Notice how major Israel lobby groups @ADL_National & @BoardofDeputies, that purport to speak in the name of Jews, use identical Israeli government talking points to justify massacre in Gaza. They speak for Israeli apartheid, not for Jews …


Jim Zogby of the American Arab Institute lays out the double standard:


There’s only 1 reason why US is silent: racism. Americans do not see #Palestinians as humans equal to #Israelis. They’re not “like us”. We cry when Jews die, but don’t even care to know the names of Arabs who are murdered. Hence no protest from Washington


Maybe the most prophetic, the most Jewish and non-Zionist is the statement released by Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights who pointed out that “last night was the first night of Passover:


Will I commemorate #Passover tonight? Not a chance. How can one celebrate Jewish liberation from oppression millennia ago while most Jewish people today turn a blind eye to, or actively support, Israel’s oppression of Palestinians today?And I especially refuse to celebrate #Passover today of all days b/c of #Israel‘s ruthless, cold-blooded massacre of 15 Palestinians marching for their right to freedom and to return to their homes



Zuckerberg: stop blocking Palestine

March 29, 2018

When you get sad about the lies spread about Palestinian justice, BDS and attempts to bring sanity to the Middle East, do not lose hope. There are Jewish organizations refusing to be cowed in this nobel quest. Jewish Voice for Peace is a prophetic voice in the heart of the Jewish tradition.


Here is their visionary statement

We are inspired by Jewish traditions to work for justice and such work is part of our own liberation. We work to build Jewish communities that reflect the understanding that being Jewish and Judaism are not synonymous with Zionism or support for Israel. Our work is part of a broader struggle and commitment to end racism, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry, and all forms of oppression.





This is their latest project



It’s demoralizing and terrifying: new research shows 1 in 9 Facebook posts written about Palestinians contains a call for violence or a curse. And In Israel hate-filled ANTI-Palestinian posts go up every 71 seconds!1
Yet incredibly Facebook removes 10,000 Palestinian posts each year,1 through an extraordinary agreement with the Israeli government.

Its mission is to bring the world closer together — but Facebook is actively pulling Israel/Palestine apart. That’s where we come in.

Mark Zuckerberg is under fire like never before and Facebook is vulnerable to being called on their hypocrisy.  So if we create a massive outcry we can get Facebook to stop blocking Palestine, and start taking on hate speech against Palestinians:
Add your name now
Just this month Facebook has shut down hundreds of Palestinian media and activists accounts, including the controversial Safa Palestinian Press Agency which has 1.3 million followers.
The justification for this muzzling is to stop “incitement” under an agreement where Facebook acts as the enforcer of Israel’s apartheid laws that lumps activists together with terrorists to shut down dissent.
And the Israeli government isn’t shy about getting Facebook to do their dirty work: their own stats show they’ve asked for 12,000 posts to be taken down!


The internet is one of the few places Palestinians can be free — but that’s under attack like never before. Add your name and let’s get Facebook to stop blocking Palestine:

The Mighty Quinn tosses in towel-for now

March 22, 2018


JQ with Joan Chittester and Diarmuid Omurchu


John Quinn the sage of Niagara has called it quits for now with his always timely The Canadian Forum on Theology and Education but the brother is always ready for resurrection.



Tina Beattie and Catherine Cavanagh will present on Dignity, Difference and Dialogue: Theology in Context April 27th & 28th 2018
Who knows about the future?

JQ is the unsung hero of Vatican ll in the Toronto-Niagara Horseshoe era.Wisdom seekers came from all over Canada for these stimulating faith events. None of those people were bishops. This alone tells you something. He has been never flagging in bringing the best and brightest Catholic thinkers to Catholic education and beyond. This has been an uphill struggle in what Karl Rahner called the “ice age” of Catholicism, the theological shutdown of Pope John Paul ll and Benedict. But it never stopped Quinsy.

History will not be kind to either pope.between the pair of them thy canned over 100 theologians and stopped the necessary evolution of Vatican ll Catholicism in its tracks.The prophetic however never dies and JQ is living proof of this with his dogged fidelity

He sent out this sad missive recently:
I am sorry to announce that the Canadian Forum on Theology and Education ( 2018 has been cancelled. Forum (a public meeting for open discussion or expression of ideas ) began in 1979 as High School Forum and this is just the second time in its history I have had to cancel.


Forum 2018 Dignity, Difference and Dialogue : Theology in Context with Tina Beattie and Catherine Cavanagh was intended to address issues of diversity and inclusion specifically in the Canadian Catholic school context as a reflection of Catholicity within society as a whole; in other words it would examine how we struggle with issues such as race, gender, LGBT concerns, religious difference and poverty in our Catholic schools, issues that are absolutely contemporary.Tina and Cathy are both aware that Forum will not go this year.

The Canadian Forum on Theology and Education will not happen again.

I am obviously very disappointed.

JQ went on to thank the many people who supported this necessary enterprise over the years.In particular he thanked the recently retired director of the Dufferin-Peel CDSB John Kostoff, who supported Forum as a teacher, department head and superintendent. As Director, he offered to pay registration fees for two participants (teacher, chaplain and/or administrator) from each secondary school to attend Forum. This was also offered by the current director, Marianne Mazzorato, Shockingly, only 8 of the secondary schools have sent in registrations this year for a grand total of 15 participants. 18 schools have not a single participant.  This was a sea change from the halcyon days when Vatican ll was a vibrant memory and challenge.

When High School Forum began in 1979, it was aimed at religious education teachers in Catholic high schools. Although the Canadian Forum on Theology and Education had a broader perspective, it was religious education teachers who, until recently, provided the majority of participants.

JQ tossed out a few thoughtful observations;

From the beginning I have tried to emphasize that Forum is intended to help teachers work with “tomorrow’s Catholics.” If we are only reproducing in our students “models” of who we are then we are doing them a great disservice.



I suspect one reason for poor attendance may be that there are fewer teachers in schools teaching religious education who are actually qualified to do so and actually want to do so. In so many schools it seems that religious education is a fill-in to make up a person’s timetable. And qualifications for many of those who are teaching is perhaps Part 1 of the OECTA/OCSTA 3-part religious education AQ. I ran and taught on that program for years and know how much and how little it can offer. And that was when it was taught by real people in face-to-face situations, not online.


This last reason is shared by many.The Catholic Teachers Union (OECTA) has done very to birth a new Catholic future. In an outstandingly stupid move the union forbade Catholic elders who had taught younger teachers over the decades from continuing to teach on these courses. Across this province many gifted elders who had midwifed young teachers were suddenly proscribed on very spurious reasons. This was shocking. In their place online courses! Who ever got excited online? Our faith is incarnational, it needs flesh on fire, real live theologically aware committed souls to pass on a living faith. Elders were replaced by the dead weight but financially lucrative online courses. This scandal still reeks to high heaven.

And now the mighty Quinn has tossed in the towel.

Ave atque vale, faithful one. We hope to see you soon.


I have recommended JQ for a papal knighthood