Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

The kingdom gospel

January 22, 2018

Christ first proclaims a kingdom, the kingdom of God and this is so important, by comparison everything else becomes ‘the rest’, which is ‘given in addition’. Only the kingdom is absolute.,and it makes everything else relative…

 

Evangelium Nuntiandi ( On Proclaiming the Good News, Dec.8,1975, Pope Paul Vl)

 

I might add to this important statement, this includes the Pope, sacraments, the Bible, priesthood and even the Church. Only God’s reign of peace and justice is ultimate.

 

All New Testament scholars tell us that the kingdom (“malkuth Yahweh”) is the central proclamation of Jesus.
So Sunday’s gospel: “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15

 

JC
Jesus is murdered for the reign of God, the transformation of empires into realms of peace and justice. Nobody gets crucified for “internal changes.”
Palestine was a backward province of Rome ruled over by henchmen like Pilate and Herod. He is a threat to Roman imperial theology which claims the Augustan emperors were divine sons of God, “divus”, liberators and redeemers of the world. The Pax Romana was a lie built on slavery, theft and oppression

 
This Jewish peasant Yeshua ben Miriam (Jesus) must be stopped. His vision is radically countercultural. His fate, crucifixion, is that of political prisoners who reject the Pax.
Jesus proclaims a holy way, the malkuth yahweh, the way of nonviolence, peace and justice.
Reza Aslan in his readable book Zealot describes Jesus the Palestinian Jew living under occupation

 

Unknown-1
“There are only two hard historical facts about Jesus of Nazareth upon which we can confidently rely: the first is that Jesus was a Jew who led a popular Jewish movement in Palestine at the beginning of the first century CE; the second is that Rome crucified him for doing so…The Jesus that emerges from this historical exercise—a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine—bears little resemblance to the image of the gentle shepherd cultivated by the early Christian community. Consider this: Crucifixion was a punishment that Rome reserved almost exclusively for the crime of sedition…Jesus’ crime, in the eyes of Rome, was striving for kingly rule (treason), the same crime for which nearly every other messianic aspirant of the time was killed.”

 

Mark Lilla in his brilliant attack on identity politics (The Once and Future Liberal) writes that prophetic religion, the kind that would get you crucified, criticized, marginalized basically died under “the Reagan Dispensation” which a majority of Catholics bought into.

 

As the post WWll economy exploded, the Roosevelt Dispensation faded with its two grand themes of American liberalism, justice and solidarity. Both are gospel imperatives. Moving out of the city to suburbia, people drifted away from face to face urban communities and joined evangelical communities long on individualism but short on solidarity and social commitment. As Lilla says more “got saved but alone.”

 

For Vatican ll Catholics there was a similar migration away from peace and justice. In tis culture we breathe the same hypercapitalist air as all others. Parishes became at best comfy zones, long on charity but very short on justice—that might get you crucified. So in Bonhoeffer’s prophetic words:

 

The price we are having to pay today in the shape of the collapse of the organized church is only the inevitable consequence of our policy of making grace available to all at too low a cost. We gave away the word and sacraments wholesale, we baptized, confirmed, and absolved a whole nation unasked and without  condition…we poured forth unending streams of grace but the call to follow Jesus in the narrow way was hardly ever heard.

 

Unknown

 

The Vatican ll priests left only to be replaced by “the young fogeys”, the JP ll brigade of ultraconservative prelates who Karl Rahner brilliantly dissected in 1971:

 

Unknown-2

 

“If we talk of the ‘little flock’ in order to defend our cosy traditionalism and stale pseudo-orthodoxy, in fear of the mentality of modern society; if we tacitly consent to the departure of restless, questioning people from the church so that we can return to our repose and orderly life, and everything becomes as it was before, we are propagating, not the attitude proper to Christ’s little flock, but a petty sectarian mentality. This is dangerous because it shows up, not under its true name but in an appeal to orthodoxy, church-loyalty and strict, Rome-dictated morality.”

 

Today a new pope has arrived offering the same prescription of the great John XXll, “the medicine of mercy” and the liberating and challenge of the great Council—the kingdom summons or as Gaudium et Spes 1965 reminded us “He taught us that we too much shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict on those who who search after peace and justice.”

 

 

Peace with Christ means conflict with the world…The kingdom costs. No cross, no crown. No Good Friday, no Easter.

 

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Advent/Christmas 2017

December 25, 2017

Jesus:palestinian

Jesus the Palestinian Jew living under occupation said to his disciples: “Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
Mark 13:33       First Week in  Advent  2017

 

So said  the wandering Galilean rabbi on the  desert edge of the
Roman empire,
And today you never know when graced lightning strikes
to turn your world upside down.
It  can be anywhere for every place can be holy.
A church can be in a gym when your eyes meet
after a perfect backdoor pass;
It can be riding over a hill or on a highway heading north
in autumn and  green has turned to crimson.
Only then use the word “awesome.”
You  turn a corner on any urban street and two three  year
olds are holding hands.
Any act of solidarity with broken humanity and damaged
creation places you already in eternity.
Heaven comes to earth daily
The extraordinary resides in the ordinary
The transcendent in the  passing
The holy in the mundane
The  cosmic dance begins where you are;
All real living is meeting
Seymour Glass was right: we move from one piece of holy ground to
the next.

 

Merry Christmas all you ikons of the Divine

 

Shame on USA Republicans

December 2, 2017

We know that budgets are immoral documents and this is one of the worst.It is gratifying to see some church resistance

TAXC

The Republican tax bill is not just immoral. It is an act of violence
The Rev Dr William Barber and the Rev Dr Liz Theoharis

LIZZZ
Donald Trump and leaders in Congress have enacted one of the most immoral pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. The Republican party has billed its plan as a tax cut for America’s middle class, but it is in fact an act of gross violence against America’s poor to serve the country’s richest and most powerful.

 

The claim of the cuts is scarcity. But we do not have scarcity of money; we have a scarcity of moral will. We have an abundance of resources that could end poverty for everyone.

 

Extremist leaders are proposing to give billions in tax breaks to the wealthy, and to pay for it by raising taxes and cutting life-saving services for poor people, working poor people and the most vulnerable among us.
Listen to what the prophets of old in our sacred traditions have to say about this:

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. (Isaiah 10:1-4)
Cutting taxes on the wealthy and eliminating services for the poor and dispossessed has been a plan of white nationalists ever since the days of the southern strategy led by the likes of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. It is a strategy that those with power and wealth have used throughout history to divide and conquer people at the bottom. What is tragic is the states that are the poorest are the states with the worst voter suppression and the states with the members of Congress most ardently behind this plan.

 
The very politicians that claim Trump is not stable set aside this assessment to heed his advice when it comes to money. But the Bible says that love of money is the source of all evil.
No one can dispute the fact that this bill being pushed through is full of evil and will have oppressive impacts for which the nation must be warned. This weekend the congressional joint committee on taxation found that while big corporations and millionaires and the heirs of millionaires will benefit, most people making under $75,000 a year will see their tax burdens rise.

 
Even provisions that one would think would help the working poor – like an expanded child tax credit – are slanted towards the wealthy. A single mother making the minimum wage with two children could claim a $75 tax credit, while a family making six figures will receive thousands in tax cuts.

 
That is not the only way this bill shifts the burden from the rich to the rest. The legislation would prey on children and families by gutting key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare premiums will rise by 10% over the next decade – meaning a premium increase of $2,000 for middle-class families.

 
These healthcare cuts will cost lives. About 13 million people will lose coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. We know that for every million people without access to healthcare, 5,000 die preventable deaths. That means our lawmakers and the president of the United States are prepared to sacrifice tens of thousands of lives to deliver a massive tax break to the fortunate few.

 
We also know these cuts will overwhelmingly hurt many of the white people who voted for them and will have a disparate impact on black people and other people of color.
Meanwhile, the tax cut will add $1.4tn to the national debt, setting the stage for deeper cuts to public goods. In the short term, we could see automatic cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. In the long term, this tax plan will lay the groundwork for massive cuts to social security and other programs that sustain the poor, the elderly, and the most vulnerable among us.

 
We reach back to our sacred texts that affirm life, love, and justice and condemn such systemic greed.

 

prop

 

This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood. (Jeremiah 22:3)

 

Many of the bill’s champions would tell you that they are Christians who let their religion guide their policymaking. Some might even say they are “pro-life”, while they work furiously to strip people of the healthcare they need to survive. But these lawmakers are passing legislation that is heretical to the more than 2,000 verses that call on all of us to care for the poor and the sick. And they have certainly forgotten the warnings of the Bible to leaders who neglect and oppress the poor.

 

 

It’s time to stand up and sound the call for the moral revival our country so desperately needs

The proponents of this bill have promised us that tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will “trickle down” to the rest. Not only does history refute this tired talking point, the executives who lead the companies themselves deny they will invest their newfound gains in good jobs that could lift working people and their communities. Instead, companies like Cisco, Pfizer and Coca-Cola have said they will turn most of the gains to their wealthy shareholders in a vicious circle of greed and vice.

 
We know our nation has a heart problem when our elected leaders would rather fight a war on the poor than a war on poverty. This is bigger than any one bill. Legislation like this could only come so close to fruition in a broken political system.
In the 2016 elections, candidates across parties held 26 debates, and in all those hours there was not one mention of poverty or systemic oppression. The voices of America’s poor have been forgotten by those in power, who continue to push a narrative that the poor are poor through fault of their own.

 

For things to change poor people and people of conscience will have to stand up by the tens of thousands and demand to be heard. On Monday, we are launching the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a movement of direct action, civil disobedience, voter education and mass mobilization aimed at saving the soul of the nation.

 
Now, 50 years after Dr Martin Luther King, welfare rights workers and many others called for the original Poor People’s Campaign, there is still much work to be done. Whether the tax bill succeeds or fails, it has given the country’s poor, as well as people of faith and conscience who stand with them, one more reason to stand up and sound the call for the moral revival our country so desperately needs.
The Rev Dr William Barber II and the Rev Dr Liz Theoharis are co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival

 

Zionism no substitute for Judaism

November 30, 2017

God help the blind man, the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris.

 

 

This poor man is pained by the fact that young Jews are expressing “apathy” or outright “hostility” toward Israel. He wonders what his generation did wrong in schools and homes not to convey “a sense of unbridled joy and pride and thrill” in Israel.

David-Harris

 

In one sense Harris can, and should be proud of some things Israel has done since its inception in 1948—but occupation, ethnic cleansing and blatant discrimination should be causes for self-examination and atonement which Harris seems incapable of.

 

Harris speaking at Temple Shaaray Tefila, a Reform congregation in Bedford Corners, N.Y., last week was in full bore lamentation:

 

Every time I hear in a Jewish meeting concerns about our children and their lack of interest in Israel, their apathy about Israel, their hostility to Israel, those friends of theirs who are involved in anti-Israel activity on their campuses or in their schools– to me it’s extraordinarily painful, and I ask myself, Where did we go wrong? Where did we go wrong?

 

Oh, Mr Harris let me count the ways!

 

I do have a certain sympathy for his frustration, that Israel’s reputation has latterly turned to rat shit

 

Why? Why can’t we convey to our own children successfully– why can’t Jewish day schools and synagogues in their after-school programs convey successfully a sense of unbridled joy and pride

 

Harris then added this howler

 

I don’t know of another nation that wants peace as much as the nation of Israel. Precisely because, One, it has not known a true day of peace,

 

Harris’ problem is that he is a stone blind Zionist absolutely unable to come to grips with Israel’s central problem —its failure to acknowledge its original sin, the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 and its continuation of land theft by settlers since 1967.

 

OC 1

 

True Zionist believer Harris is unable to see what young Jews see on a daily basis, the brutal oppression of a besieged indigenous population, the shocking murder of innocents in Gaza of 2014. This you cannot hide anymore. The apartheid state up till now has been successful with its propaganda but with cell phone technology, computerization and Facebook, the ugly curtain has been pulled back and young Jews like the young everywhere see the world through the lens of human rights and as far as Israel’s behaviour is concerned, it ain’t pretty.

 

atme for peace replied to Harris on the Mondoweiss website: Israel just doesn’t have anything to inspire a young jew to love or stand up for.

 

Eljay wrote: I wouldn’t expect you or anyone else to argue that Israel is or should be a “perfect” country. But what it shouldn’t be is a deliberately and unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state.
Annie Robbins: the ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and colonization — that’s what it is. it’s natural for young people to want to disassociate from war crimes and massive human rights violations. … Harris should know that most young people with even a minor understanding of the principles of democracy understand it to be representative of all the people, not just people of one ethnicity… but it is downright abusive towards. 
it boggles my mind he doesn’t get this. this ‘why?’ and ‘what is it?’ approach — he could easily find out these answers if he just speaks to young people. it’s kind of a no-brainer.

 

Finally, the Paranam Kid sums it up

 

Mr. Harris, the mere fact that you ask this question means 1 thing and 1 thing only (assuming your question is sincere):
You have had your head in a cloud, living in an ivory tower, because it is now painfully obvious that Israel’s lies, justified & prettily dressed up by the incessant stream of Hasbara, has become repulsive to young Jews, who, unlike their (grand)parents, have a more realistic view of that Apartheid state that subjugates a people & works at their slow extermination.
You should be ashamed of yourself for even needing to ask the question, considering your position in the American Jewish community.

 

Harris seemingly has lost touch with the universal aspects of Judaism, the Deuteronomic (16:20) imperative of tzedek, tzedek tirdof. Justice, justice you shall seek. He has allowed a piece of land in the Middle East to become  the golden calf an idolatrous substitution for the the ethical demands of the Holy One of Israel. The first commandment of the Mosaic decalogue “You shall have no other gods before me.” is suborned on a daily basis in Palestine. A serious Jew would name this false god for what it is.Sadly Harris’ zionism trumps his Judaism.

 

10:30 mass in Read,Ontario

October 20, 2017

READ

They ‘re all over eastern Ontario
our poor famine Erin relatives
“indigent Irish” on the ship’s manifest
and both sides of the family.
That’s us: who do we think we are indeed?
We walk the Mick graveyards
Erinsville, Centreville and now Read
Catholics here since 1854
What were the odds that our decidedly urban Toronto family
Had mother and father relatives here in Read?
Did Mary O’Brien know Joanna Wringe?
We’ll never know.
Tired of the graveyard I wander into 10:30 mass.
The aging priest now has 3 parishes to tend
He does his best with Matthew’s wild gospel of the wedding feast and the raging host
However he misses  badly.”It’s abbout the KINGDOM, padre!
The church like most of these  parishes are right-to-life obsessives
The only issue it seems.
The  building  is musty, baroque and uninviting
The parish is spread out this morning
I walk to communion hemmed in  by stained glass windows bearing  those Irish names Ryan,Walsh, Shannon, Egan Lacy, Gandon, Hart
And here am I on this October morn very happy to be home among them.

 

High Holy days

October 2, 2017

Yom Kippur ended on Saturday and like many I had a lot to atone for, simply a Catholic struggling to be a Christian. Catholicism coming out of Judaism always tipped a hat to original sin and brother Immanuel Kant wisely said,” Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.”No proof needed here.

YOM
So we stumble on, mostly with the wisdom of guys like Sam Beckett;”Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” 
During the High Holy Days of Judaism culminating in Yom Kippur I pay attention, at least intellectually. I was infected by this felicitous virus as a kid growing up in a Jewish area. I had my pre-teen mind blown during Sukkot (this  week, Oct 4-11) when I observed in amazement Greenberg’s sukkah, the mini-fort topped with branches down the street.
We had nothing like this in Catholicism.
Originally Sukkot was a harvest festival which symbolized temporary quarters during the 40 years of exodus. Today it is more of a breather after the heavy introspection of Yom Kippur.
Enough already.
I followed the prophetic utterances from Israel about Yom Kippur, the great day of atonement. The secular Jews were way more religious than the putative rabbinical leaders who could never confront the obvious: atonement without mentioning occupation is meaningless.
One blistering article by Israeli commentator B.Michael will suffice. It is almost shocking in its ferocity. He echoes Rabbi Heschel’s warning about the prophets’ anger:
Prophecy is the voice that God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profane riches of the world. It is a form of living, a crossing point of God and man. God is raging in the prophet’s words.

The prophet’s word,” Rabbi Heschel once wrote, “is a scream in the night. While the world is at ease and asleep, the prophet feels the blast from heaven.”

Another time in Volume 2 of The Prophets ( The Prophets are Morally Maladjusted) he wrote:

“The prophet is a person who suffers from a profound maladjustment to the spirit of society, with its conventional lies, with its concessions to man’s weakness…. The prophet’s maladaptation to his environment may be characterized as moral madness (as distinguished from madness in a psychological sense).”

 

B.Michael and another secular israeli writer, Gideon Levy are the true prophets of Israel today attempting to wake a terrible government from their spiritual indolence and their brutal treatment of the original indigenous, Palestinians.

Listen to B.Michael:

 

The masquerade on Yom Kippur, on the other hand, is a much more serious business than Purim. Everyone puts on a disguise on this day too, but only one mask serves everyone – the righteous man’s mask. Not a mustache, not a cowboy, not a princess, not Wonder Woman. Only righteous people.

 

But this time, when the holiday is over the masks don’t drop, and the people in disguise continue to believe that they are pious saints. To be accurate, I’m not referring to secular folk who suddenly fast on Yom Kippur and even attend Kol Nidrei prayers. Those for whom the cantor says the phrase: “By the authority of God and the permission of the congregation we allow praying with sinners.” There’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing, and they’re not really in disguise. As far as they’re concerned, this is merely traditional folklore, or a seasonal burst of the fear of God. I’m talking about those who take this business seriously, who see themselves as observing the commandments. Servants of God. Good Jews. Some of them, of course, make their living off the public – synagogue bums and parliament bums. People who whitewash abominations, others’ and their own, fraudsters and money grabbers, religion scalpers, religion pimps and others who make a living off the Torah.

 

Those righteous folks should be reminded, somewhat briefly, of Moses Ben-Maimon’s penetrating words, that “anyone who sets his heart on dealing with the Torah, and does no work, and makes a living off charity, is blaspheming the Lord and desecrating the Torah, stamping out its light, and taking his life from the next world … this man is doomed to rob the public” (Maimonides, Laws of Torah Study 3). But far, far worse are the pious people of the occupation. The thousands of empire thugs, whose brutality has no limits. The myriad of Torah-sanctioned villains, who live off the robbery and eviction, the exploitation and deceit, the trampling and oppression. All those malevolent souls, who even when fasting, their jaws continue to grind the flesh of the poor man’s lamb. There is no longer any hope for that lot. They are destined to drag us all to hell, and no disguise will help.
Whew. Amen.

 

Days of Awe: Standing with whom? pt 1

September 25, 2017

So it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment and Remembering, and we of the Jewish persuasion are beginning ten days of intensive reflection that culminates in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. We are urged to engage in self-examination, both of our personal lives and of our behaviors and attitudes in the complex world in which we live and contribute. This introspection and renewal involves taking personal responsibility for our destiny and the destinies of our communities, being unsparingly honest, and actively apologizing and forgiving. I love this part of my tradition because words are not enough; there are no Hail Marys, there is no forgiveness from on high, and at the end of the day, we actually have to DO better in our relationships with ourselves and our world. If you are a spiritual person, you have to work on that too in the here and now; there is no backup heavenly place where everything will come out fine.

As a secular Jew who finds our traditions and culture part of the bedrock of my psyche, I am obsessed by a topic that is most fraught and perilous in the Jewish community. We are besieged by forces right and left with the message that Judaism is Zionism and uncritical support of Israel is a core Jewish value, in fact the only nonnegotiable ticket to community acceptance. For these reasons at this time, I cannot ignore my relationship to Israel/Palestine. For me, this annual introspection invites an honest evaluation of history in all its voices, a recognition of the behavior and policies of the pioneers and fighters who created the State of Israel, an examination of the foundations of modern political Zionism and its current day consequences, and ultimately a willingness to express regret and apology. This is a perfect topic for the Ten Days of Awe and fully within our prophetic tradition which is focused on issues of justice.

settler

So, how do we define ourselves as Jews in the Diaspora while living in the era of a hyper Jewish nationalism? For the me the first step is examining the realities and framing of history and claiming it in our own voice. The Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, in his A History of Modern Palestine, notes that early Zionism was a European phenomenon with a clear disregard for indigenous populations. Early Zionists relied (cautiously) on the goodwill of colonial powers. (The Jewish homeland could have been in Palestine, Argentina, or even Uganda.) The Zionists carved out territory in Mandate Palestine as a haven from European persecution (which was an understandable motivation given the pogroms and anti-semitism of the time), and this became a clearly settler colonial movement when it focused on a national revival in the land of Palestine for Jews at the exclusion of the people actually living there. This was both an intellectual concept focused on the predicament of European Jewry (which was largely described as endless persecution and anti-semitism despite Spinoza, Marx, Freud, Einstein, etc.,) and also a practical solution for getting rid of the Jews in Eastern Europe and plopping them someplace else.

Alice Rothchild

The Unholy Huckster

September 3, 2017

The prosperity Gospel—believe in Jesus and you’ll be rewarded in every way.This guy fills arenas with this nonsense.

iOSTmages

The no cross theology too another hit in Houston.

By Travis Gettys / Raw Story
SJoel Osteen’s reputation was submerged in the wreckage left behind by Hurricane Harvey — and at least one pastor says the televangelist got what he deserved.

John Pavlovitz, head of North Raleigh Community Church in North Carolina, said the “prosperity gospel” minister had discredited his faith by tweeting out banal platitudes as locals mosques and furniture stores offered shelter from the hurricane that flooded Houston.

“You’ve experienced the wrath of millions of people who watched the week unfold and determined they were witnessing in you and your megachurch’s response to the hurricane—everything they believe is wrong about organized Christianity,” Pavlovitz said, “its self-serving greed, its callousness, its tone-deafness in the face of a hurting multitude, its lack of something that looks like Jesus.”

The North Carolina pastor said Osteen’s critics had found his social media expressions of “thoughts and prayers” hollow and disingenuous, and they were disgusted by his self-serving excuses for his “late and underwhelming act of kindness performed under duress.”

“Don’t wait for an invitation, you don’t wait to be shamed by strangers, and you don’t make excuses,” he said.
“I imagine you feel like this has been a rough week,” Pavlovitz wrote. “It hasn’t. You’ve had the week you probably should have had, all this considered. You’ve had the week that was coming long before rain ever started falling in Houston.”

He urged Osteen to learn from the experience and understand why his critics have questioned his theology.

“They rightly recognized that mansions are not places that servant leaders emulating this humble, foot-washing Jesus occupy,” Pavlovitz wrote. “They correctly saw the massive chasm between the ever-grinning, your ship is coming in, name it and claim it prosperity promise that is your bread and butter—and the difficult, painful, sacrificial ‘you will have trouble’ life that Jesus and those who followed him lived in the Gospels.”

The pastor hoped Osteen would follow the example set by his fellow Houstonians and turn away from his “coddled, cozy, stock photo existence.”

“You had a difficult week, but you are safe and dry, and despite the criticism and pushback, blessed with more abundance than most people will ever know,” Pavlovitz wrote. “That’s good news for you. I don’t hold any of that against you.”

 

OST@@
“The even better news, Pastor Osteen, is that you are alive,” he added. “You are still here and you have a chance now to show people that Christianity is far more than their greatest fears about it, much better than the worst they’ve seen of Christians, and more beautiful than the ugliness they’ve experienced in the Church.”

 

The Christian Right pt 1

August 9, 2017

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_hedges.html

 

On the surface it appears to be incongruous that the Christian right would rally behind a slick New York real estate developer who is a very public serial philanderer and adulterer, has no regard for the truth, is consumed by greed, does not appear to read or know the Bible, routinely defrauds and cheats his investors and contractors, expresses a crude misogyny and an even cruder narcissism and appears to yearn for despotism.

 

SHOP

So writes Chris Hedges

Indeed it does seem strange until you begin to analyze religion under turbocapitalism. Consumer culture destroys prophetic religion. It empties the great symbols of Christianity (and Judaism) beyond recognition. Conumerism, along with nationalism, class division and tribalism literally take the prophetic dynamite out of biblical faith. They leave behind a gutted version best summed up by the old Protestant hymn, “No cross, no crown.” Reloigion becomes a mere add-on to the consumer lifestyle.It never seems to impact on daily living and social practices.

RAD

This ersatz Christianity denies the radical nature of Jesus’ politics, the preferential option for the poor and excluded. It allows a a man like Republican Paul Ryan to actually say as a putative Catholic that his greatest influence is the high priestess of selfishness Ayn Rand

 

Hedges insists that Trump-like values are actually those of the Christian right:

In fact, these are the very characteristics that define most of the leaders of the Christian right. Trump has preyed on desperate people through the thousands of slot machines in his casinos, his sham university and his real estate deals. Megachurch pastors prey on their followers by extracting “seed offerings,” “love gifts,” tithes and donations and by selling miracle healings along with “prayer clothes,””self-help books, audio and video recordings and even protein shakes.

 

Pastors have established within their megachurches, as Trump did in his businesses, despotic fiefdoms. They cannot be challenged or questioned any more than an omnipotent Trump could be challenged on the reality television show “The Apprentice.” And they seek to replicate their little tyrannies on a national scale, with white men in charge.

 
The personal piety of most of the ministers who lead the Christian right is a facade. Their private lives are usually marked by hedonistic squalor that includes mansions, private jets, limou

 

Donald Trump’s ideological vacuum, the more he is isolated and attacked, is being filled by the Christian right. This Christianized fascism, with its network of megachurches, schools, universities and law schools and its vast radio and television empire, is a potent ally for a beleaguered White House. The Christian right has been organizing and preparing to take power for decades. If the nation suffers another economic collapse, which is probably inevitable, another catastrophic domestic terrorist attack or a new war, President Trump’s ability to force the Christian right’s agenda on the public and shut down dissent will be dramatically enhanced. In the presidential election,

FAs

 

Trump embraces the white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, greed, religious intolerance, anger and racism that define the Christian right.

 

Orthodox not Zionist

July 31, 2017

 

20170724-1-1

Neturei Karta International
Jews United Against Zionism

Statement by Neturei Karta International at the Al-Aqsa rally 
Toronto – Saturday 29, 2017

 

We apologize that, due to the religious restrictions of the Jewish Sabbath, we cannot speak to you on the microphone, but we are here to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in general and to protest the recent Zionist aggression on Al-Aqsa.

Apart

From the day the Zionist movement was founded, the greatest rabbis opposed it and fought against it. This is because Judaism teaches that Jews are not allowed to rule over any part of Palestine. Jews are presently in exile and must live peacefully under the governments of other nations.

Gurion 2

To this day, the central anti-Zionist rabbinate in Palestine, the Edah Hacharedis of Jerusalem, continues to refuse any form of recognition of, or co-operation with the state of Israel. Anti-Zionist Jews frequently pay for their opposition to the state by being arrested, beaten and, at times, murdered. These rabbis speak out strongly against every Zionist provocation.

 

This is especially true when it comes to the site of Al Aqsa, the Temple Mount. Already in the 1920’s, militant Zionist groups claimed the Western Wall and the Al Aqsa compound, but in October 1929 the chief rabbi of the Eidah, Rabbi Sonnenfeld, of blessed memory, published an open letter in English and Arabic saying:

 

The Jews do not want, in any way, to take that which isn’t theirs. And they certainly don’t want to contest the rights of the other inhabitants to the places held by them in which they regard with honor and consider holy. And in particular there is no foundation to the rumor that the Jews want to acquire the Temple Mount. On the contrary, from the time that we were exiled from our land, it is forbidden for any Jew to set foot upon its holy grounds.

 

More recently, on October 12, 2015, the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem issued the following declaration:

 

Trembling has seized us as nationalist movements are once again attempting to ascend the Temple Mount, and to campaign for free Jewish entrance to the Temple Mount. Already back in 1967, the members of our Rabbinical Court, of blessed memory, warned in the name of the Torah that it is a severe and grave sin to enter the Temple Mount nowadays, and that whoever enters the Temple grounds is liable to Divine punishment. They repeated this admonition many times over the years, and all great rabbis, both in the Holy Land and abroad, ruled similarly. Now we have come to reiterate this ban, and we declare that the Torah cannot be changed.

Al A aUnknown

 

According to Jewish belief Jews may not even enter the Temple Mount or Al Aqsa, so certainly they have no right to control the site or regulate who enters. Orthodox Jews in Palestine as well as around the world are opposed to the recent step taken by the Zionist government to anger the Palestinian people and spark a new wave of violence.

 

In general, we wish to say: the State of Israel has no right to govern over any part of Palestine. None of their actions represent world Jewry, and certainly not the Jewish religion.

 

And Zionist provocations are not limited to Palestine. Right here in Toronto, there is a group of Zionist extremists who constantly seek to intimidate the Arab and Muslim community as well as anti-Zionist Jews from speaking up and voicing their opinions. We can only conclude that their goal is to forment hatred between Jews and Muslims. That is not the way of the Torah. These people may call themselves Jewish, but they do not speak for Jews at all.

 

We pray for the complete dismantlement of the Zionist state. We pray that this should take place peacefully, without any bloodshed or suffering to anyone. May we all reach the time when our peoples live in peace with each other, as in times past.

 

Ultimately, let us pray for the revelation of G-d’s glory, when all of mankind will join to serve G-d together, Amen.

 

Free free Palestine, Free free Palestine.

Judaism Yes, Zionism NO

For more information: http://www.nkusa.org