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Buddhist Warfare

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Jesus and the 99 Percent

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Posted on Dec 2, 2011
Composite: Wikimedia Commons / Flickr / _PaulS_ (CC-BY-SA)

By The Rev. Madison Shockley

Many have asked whether the Occupy Wall Street Movement has a coherent message. It really seems pretty clear to anyone who is listening at all. Because of the greed of the 1 percent, the other 99 percent of the population has been reduced to working for lower wages (or not working), to trying to survive (unemployment insurance, welfare and family handouts), to renting or homelessness, to suffering environmental degradation with sickness but without health insurance, and to paying higher prices for food and education while getting lower returns on savings and investments. The unchecked greed of these capitalist elite (symbolized by the banks) impoverishes the majority of people and undermines our democracy. This much was obvious in just the first five minutes of OWS.

We in the Christian community are also asking how the movement’s message coheres with our theological precepts. Should the church be for or against OWS? Should the church offer spiritual support? Should the church lend physical and material support to movement members? As I write from here at Union Theological Seminary in New York City (my alma mater where I’m currently on sabbatical), I have observed and participated with OWS at Zuccotti Park and its Oct. 15 action in Times Square. Union Theological is the seminary of choice for progressive Christian clergy in the United States, so it is no surprise that it has students who are active with an inter-religious group of clergy, religious professionals and leaders, as well as seminarians from other institutions, known as “Protest Chaplains,” who participate in OWS as spiritual support and presence. I have attended meetings and worship services conducted by local clergy Occupy Faith NYC who felt drawn to be involved, even before all the questions listed above have been answered.

What has become clear among these liberal and progressive clergy is that although we do not know fully what the movement is or where it will wind up, we know that we are called to be there. The fundamental question is whether we are called to be there for the OWS members’ benefit or for ours. Do they need us or do we need them? We intuitively feel the connections between the nascent OWS and the major social movements of the past from the free speech and civil rights ones of the ’60s to the anti-Vietnam and peace ones of the ’70s. When the history of this second decade of the new millennium is written, we don’t want it said that American Protestantism was late to the party, again.

Upon serious reflection, the question emerges as to whether the Christian church has a message for OWS or whether the movement has a message for us. Of course the answer is “yes” and “yes.” Occupy Wall Street’s message to the church is, “If you were doing your job we wouldn’t be necessary.” The message of the church to OWS is, “There is an ally in the liberal progressive Christian community, and not all Christians are on the right.”

OWS pushes us to re-examine our fundamental understandings of Christianity to discover what our role is in this historic moment. When it comes to greed the Christian message should be pretty clear across the board. Jesus quite clearly said, “Blessed are the poor”—not the rich. Jesus constantly challenged his listeners to understand that the choice before them was between wealth and fidelity to the Empire of God: “You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). He also spoke to the issue in Luke 18:25: “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” So it should be immediately obvious that the church from left to right should be doing all it can to breathe life into OWS. In fact, if the liberal progressive Christian community were to find its way to fully supporting this movement it just might breathe life into itself. Occupy Wall Street seems quite healthy, thank you.

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The Roman Catholic Church has weighed in indirectly with the recently issued document “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority” prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. This document, although not carrying the authority of the pope, calls for a focus on the “common good” and redress of the “inequalities and distortions of capitalist development.” Mainline Protestant churches have been dribbling into the movement congregation by congregation in various Occupied cities from coast to coast. Judson Memorial Church here in New York City has become the de facto home base for the Protestant Christian response to OWS. In one dramatic gesture, the church carried a papier-mâché “golden calf” in an OWS event symbolizing the worship of false idols that had led us to financial and social catastrophe.

But on the conservative and evangelical end of the spectrum there is either hostility or a deafening silence about OWS. Mark Tooley, president of the ultra-right Institute on Religion & Democracy, commented, “Amid our many blessings is a spirit of entitlement and resentment, embodied in the Occupy Wall Street movement, supported even by religious voices who confuse the Gospel with coercive wealth redistribution.” A search of the website of the Southern Baptist Convention finds no mention at all of OWS.

Back on the progressive end of the theological spectrum would be the voices of Liberation Theology who constantly ask, not as the evangelicals, “What would Jesus do?” but “Who would Jesus be?” In the 1960s, Jesus would be a peasant in South America oppressed by both Fascist regimes and the Roman Catholic Church or a poor black woman in Mississippi during the civil rights movement. Liberation Theology asks how we would recognize Jesus in a contemporary moment followed by the question, “What will we do?” in response to the presence of Jesus in our midst.

So, is Occupy Wall Street the contemporary presence of Jesus? I’ll say this much: It certainly reminds me a lot of John the Baptist of whom it was said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth. …’ And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ ”

The rulers of his time responded first by putting John in prison. When this did not shut him up, they cut off his head (not just an al-Qaida move). Our current rulers, from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles, unable to find a head to decapitate, are attacking the body with mass arrests. The OWS movement is wise to have the non-leadership leadership structure it has. If its members are like John the Baptist, they are wise to keep their heads down.

The Rev. Madison T. Shockley II is a board member of ProgressiveChristianity.org and pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ (UCC) in Carlsbad, CA.


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By ezflex, December 11, 2011 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Dear People (99%),

Every prophet (yes, this includes Jesus) urged us to
live by the same principles which were to enhance our lives. At this time, the
entire world is affected by an immorality that causes
harm to all, even to the 1% (they just don’t feel the
same type of pain).

We have been grumbling to ourselves for a long time
now about the injustices in our world. Most of us
agree that there is something very wrong.

Get up, get out, hold your signs, talk to your
neighbors, vote, and DEMAND CHANGE.

When you are with other protesters, you find out very
quickly just how much we all have in common and that
the differences are few. Even if you can only manage
to discuss the state of our nation with family,
friends, neighbors, and co-workers, do that. It’s
better than doing nothing at all.

We should be supporting OWS because we are HUMAN.

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By OzarkMichael, December 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Maani said:

I choose the “loving” side - though, as you note, I have occasionally exhibited righteous indignance as well.  You choose the latter, to the exclusion of the former.  That is your right, and I totally respect that.

It isnt totally a matter of choice. The appropriate response changes. If there is an urgency to warn, and if in that situation we find that kindness merely perpetuates or validtes worsening inequality, I think our response needs to shift.

For example it isnt very loving to speak gently onto the window of a burning house. We must make a racket that would wake the dead, and if lives are saved it was quite loving(although that love is hidden) even if it had the look of anger.

I am very happy that you recognize what I am saying.

I am frequently accused of copying/following orders/being crazy, but in fact I put quite a lot of thought into this. I decide what line to take, and it influences others. The proper line is not written in the Bible, Christ leaves us very very free to figure out what to do. I am well aware of my own potential to be in error. It is a constant worry.

I have to go for now, I am writing this on a borrowed computer, in a public place, and I need to give someone else a turn. But I hope that soon we can talk more.

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By ardee, December 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

It must be rather difficult to wrap oneself in a cross!

Haters left and haters right yet OM can only speak to these “leftists” who so despise Christianity. As to my opinion, I see Christians who attempt to force their own beliefs upon the community at large. This is wrong. We are not a theocracy and I hope we will never become one.

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By Maani, December 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

OM:

I appreciate your latest post.  I will simply make a single point.

There is room for BOTH sides of the Christian ethic in this situation: the “loving” side and the “righteously indignant” side.  Even Jesus displayed both, though His righteous indignance was focused almost solely on tose who were corrupting the faith/religion, rather than the socio-political side.

I choose the “loving” side - though, as you note, I have occasionally exhibited righteous indignance as well.  You choose the latter, to the exclusion of the former.  That is your right, and I totally respect that.

Neither is “right” or wrong,” and my choice of the “loving” side is not a “selling out” or rebuke to your choice of the “righteously indignant” side.  Nor is it an “appeasement” of those who mock or scorn or dismiss us, nor is it “mousey conciliation.”  As noted, both of our approaches have their place in this discussion.

Trust me, I know Martin Niemoeller’s quote by heart, and if and when I feel there is reason for me to “let go” my “righteously indignant” side, it will (with due respect) make your own look like kindergarten. LOL.

I hope that all of this goes a long way to easing the (ultimately unnecessary) tension between us.

Peace.

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By OzarkMichael, December 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

doooh ouch. i made a mistake about that one quote. yes it came from someone else. Sory maani.

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By OzarkMichael, December 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Maani, your last post was not available to me when i wrote my response. i will be gone for awhile. so please excuse my upcoming silence.

Before i go, I did read your post. i too, would like to be understood.

But now I must admit confusion as to what your point IS.  Of COURSE there are many on the Left who try to tar Christians with past atrocities, and lump us all together in a big “hyper-conservative, right-wing” box.  And yes, such has it ALWAYS been.  And as you point out, even I have been making this point for quite some time.

So how am I “selling you out?”  Because I choose, in the spirit of Christ, to love, accept, forgive - but also rebuke - rather than being angry (which I actually have expressed at times), hard-nosed and defensive (which I also have been at times)?

Please read your old post that got me started. Try to see the process. You first notice the problem of Leftist accusation and hatred, and yes I saw that you wanted to solve it. You sort of defend(bravo), but then cut loose the Catholics, and then you evaluate the Protestants, (‘mostly benign’) and then you cut me loose. Our posts since then confirm this cut loose process.

To win over the Leftists, hoping they recognize you as their ‘fellow traveller’, you basically accept their anger, trying to ameliorate it somewhat(bravo), but then you collapse and unload it on others.


Remember that the radical Left has had its way at times, a revolution succeeds and they grab the power. It doesnt come out well for Christians, but many escaped by saying things similar to what you have been saying of late.

Lets change this thing completely around so you can see it more clearly. Lets imagine a scenario the opposite of where we are now:

If people on the political Right were howling for Christian blood, and the clamour grew and swelled as the decades went by, until some Rightist Christians began to appease the haters by selling out Leftist Christians

I would give them hell for it. One peep from a conservative Christian about scapegoating you would bring a storm warning from me. I would not be wishy-washy. I would spread that word to every local church that would listen. Frankly, i am known so i hope that I would be effective. 

Meanwhile i would defy the Christian haters even if I agreed with every political program they represented.

I would break off any talk about ‘fellow travellers’ and ‘allies’ between the Rightists and myself.  I would do so publically, and let it be known that whatever they plan for Leftist Christians, they had better plan for all Christians.

I would not make conciliatory mousey noises. I would thunder like an old-time prophet. As an American citizen i have a right to make noise, and be involved. 

The Rightist haters of Christians must be confronted. Not appeased. As a Christian I have no choice. 

Meanwhile, i certainly wouldnt turn to you and say, “well, you can accept the guilt if you want to”, because i would never ask you to go against your conscience. Nor would I be quick to applaud as other Rightists mocked you and your faith.

I would appreciate that you are the person under the gun, that there is inequality between us unless i make a move. You would be the one who has had to resist the hatred and accusations from the Right far more than I. You would be the one under the gun for many more years and far more heavily than I could imagine, possibly suffering a little persecution for it already.

I would make allowance for you to be angry if you felt betrayed. I would have to make a move, and unite us, because it would not be within your power to do that.

It is unimaginable for an American and damnable for a Christian to destroy your own principles in order to be accepted. I wouldnt want you to give an inch, not under those conditions. i would encourage you to be true to your Leftist principles(ugh) and your faith, which is no less valuable to me than my own.

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By Leefeller, December 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

As virtually everyone” well then how about ‘everything’?

By the way me and shenanigans have a long history!

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By tinkdnuos, December 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, don’t give Maani the blame for my words. Read more carefully. That issue may actually be the source of ALL of your myriad problems…

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By OzarkMichael, December 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Maani said:

And most of them, by the way, are MUCH better christians than you. You’re really the sort that gives the leftists GOOD REASON to hate christians. You embody all the worst stereotypes of ignorance and self-assuredness.

You at least name the accusers, the ones with the hate for Christians. Should those Leftists ever come to power, do you think that disowning me will appease them enough to leave you alone? I dont. Knowing that power tends to make people more cruel, and more protective of their power, I do not think you will be safe. Maybe they will just take away some of your rights, and you will have to settle for that.

I’m a leftist, and I don’t want to persecute christians for their beliefs. But I wouldn’t mind if the world had a lot fewer of your ignorant kind.

Someday you might get your wish.

Let me put better words in your mouth: “I’m a leftist, and i dont want to persecute christians for their beliefs. I also dont want to ingratiate myself with those who want to persecute christians.They haters want me to disown the brothers who I might disagree with politically, but rather than disown them, i must stand beside them because I am under orders to do so, and those orders dont come from the 1% or the 99%.

I will not sever myself from the past, present or future Christians, just to make myself look good to the haters and accusers.”

Not only is it the right thing to say, it is also a wiser thing to say.

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By tinkdnuos, December 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, please note that I said “virtually everyone.” You started your quotation one word too late.

Not that I’m accusing you personally of such shenanigans…but that’s EXACTLY the sort of disingenuous “argument” that far too often happens here.

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By Maani, December 7, 2011 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

tinkdnuous:

LOL!

OM:

You did not explain yourself very well the first couple of times, and I now realize that I have been responding to you incorrectly.  For that, I apologize.

But now I must admit confusion as to what your point IS.  Of COURSE there are many on the Left who try to tar Christians with past atrocities, and lump us all together in a big “hyper-conservative, right-wing” box.  And yes, such has it ALWAYS been.  And as you point out, even I have been making this point for quite some time.

So how am I “selling you out?”  Because I choose, in the spirit of Christ, to love, accept, forgive - but also rebuke - rather than being angry (which I actually have expressed at times), hard-nosed and defensive (which I also have been at times)?

There is an old saying that you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  As a Christian, I not only agree with that, but also know that it by EXAMPLE that I am most likely to have any effect on those you rail against.  Thus, I approach those people in a spirit of love, acceptance (though I state my disagreements), forgiveness, humility (though I do rebuke and challenge) and patience (for the most part…LOL).

You, on the other hand, continue to use “vinegar” in your attempts.  And people see that, and react to it.  Need I point out that, even in this thread (as well as many other threads) my comments have elicited SOME soul-searching (or at least some second thoughts) on the part of some of those with virulent (or even just strong) anti-Christian or anti-theist positions?  However, your comments have elicited little more than rejection, if not outright scorn.

Thus, perhaps it is your APPROACH that is causing the problem, and not any “selling out” on my part.

There is another saying: patience is a virtue that often goes unrewarded.  I would rather remain patient and unrewarded than impatient (and still unrewarded…), thus setting a “bad example” as a Christian.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, December 7, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

“everyone here obviously knows everything about everything and cannot be convinced otherwise in any fashion.”

Convince me this is true tinkdnuos, (by the way I like saying tinkdnuos) .... all encompassing word ‘everyone’ is absolute,  absolutely not possible there are exceptions? May it be more prudent to say ‘almost everyone’?

Yawn! And I raise you a Yawn!

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By tinkdnuos, December 7, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, I’ve been around. I generally don’t bother to comment unless I’m moved by my own amusement at what I might write. Otherwise it’s usually pointless, as virtually everyone here obviously knows everything about everything and cannot be convinced otherwise in any fashion.

Yawn.

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By Leefeller, December 7, 2011 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Hunky Geebebiz on a cow patty!

This thread has turned into an Ozark Fest! I have never seen tinkdnuos as a poster here on TD before and he/she is already onto Ozark Michael our Truth Dig resentment personified!... Nice synipis tinkdnuos!

Don’t be so hard on Ozark Michael, unlike me who had the opportunity of the seeing the light by an accident with a bowling ball and a garage door, which changed me life for the better and made me an icon in me own mind!  I believe Ozark Michael was born as an icon in his own mind, which is kind of a Republican/Teabag requirement!

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By tinkdnuos, December 7, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, your paranoia is actually almost endearing.

There are ABSOLUTELY a lot of folks on the left who reflexively hate christianity, and/or religion generally. But there are lots who don’t. In fact, there are lots of people on the left who are christian, or otherwise religious.

And most of them, by the way, are MUCH better christians than you. You’re really the sort that gives the leftists GOOD REASON to hate christians. You embody all the worst stereotypes of ignorance and self-assuredness.

I’m a leftist, and I don’t want to persecute christians for their beliefs. But I wouldn’t mind if the world had a lot fewer of your ignorant kind.

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By elisalouisa, December 7, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

FYI:

“Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Exodus 34:6-7

Some Eastern religions call this Karma.

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By OzarkMichael, December 7, 2011 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Where on earth are you getting the interpretation you provide here, that not only do you carry the “debt” of your own sin (apparently, forever), but also the sins of every Christian who ever lived, and every atrocity ever done in the name of Christianity (again, apparently forever)?

Where on earth did I get it? Are you serious?

I got it the same place you got it. It is not my theology, it is not biblical, the “guilt” is not my idea. It is foisted upon us by Left, an accusation which grows and expands as the years go by.

The accusation practically demands the exclusion of Christianity from participation in civics. If the accusation from your ‘fellow travellers’ keeps getting worse, you will become a second class citizen.

You are the one who explained it in the first place:

There is also the continual reference to past “bad deeds,” like the Crusades, inquisitions, etc.

By whom? Are you going to say Conservatives make continual reference to the Crusades?  Libertarians?

Or maybe it is Christian Fundamentalists? Yes,somehow you have done just that. You are blaming me, as if i am the one who makes the accusation against myself and against you! You enjoyed Outraged’s little pretense that all this comes from my own mind, as if its some kind of personal “guilt” that I am feeling, as if i am making all this up from a mental or spiritual sickness.

Maani, face the facts here. You know where the accusation comes from. Do not pretend that the accuser is me, for I too stand accused, more often and more deeply than you will ever be. For i cannot and will not escape from my bonds. For you it is optional.

The growing Leftist demand for Christian second class status bothers you a lot. You want to be accepted. You want to participate as an equal. You want the same right to influence policy as the other Leftists claim. But you are shut out by some/many/most of them, and you need to win them over.

In order to win some respect for yourself you need to be distinguished from other Christians on the political spectrum, so you point me out as the bad guy, knowing full well that the accusation already falls heavily upon me, and on top of that you now blame me for imagining the accusation!

How about a little direct truth for a change? Who constantly makes reference to the Crusades? Dare you name the philosophy, the political view that is the real accuser? Dare you offend everyone you have worked so hard to ingratiate yourself with?

Who dares to suffer the wrath from the Leftists wolves who are already howling for blood? 

Maani, listen. This is no game. It has happened before. When a Leftist Revolution succeeds there is a precedent already established for the fulfillment of Revolutionary justice against the” enemies of the people”. Including Christians. 

You have stepped aside from that as best you can, and you pointed at me while you did i,. ‘If you must blame someone, blame him, and accept me as your fellow traveller’

You sold me out.

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By Maani, December 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

OM:

I utterly reject the notion that ANY Christian - you, me, elisalouisa, whoever - has a “debt” to pay with respect to the past atrocities of the Church, be they Catholic or Protestant.  This flies in the face of the entire notion of repentance - i.e., that one is forgiven for ALL past sins, both individual and collective.  Do you really think that when you or I stand in front of Christ (assuming we do…), He is going to ask us about the Crusades?!  Or the Salem witch trials?!  With due respect, that sounds more like the punch line to a bad joke than a serious theological argument.

Like I said, if you WANT to carry that guilt or debt - or any part of it - that is your prerogative.  But I feel bad that this is how you interpret Scripture and Christian history.

The only sins I have to atone for are the ones I commit TODAY.  And if I repent - humbly, honestly - and make honest efforts to diminish those sins going forward, then those sins are forgiven, and are “separated” from me “as east is separated from west,” and I carry no “guilt” at all.

Where on earth are you getting the interpretation you provide here, that not only do you carry the “debt” of your own sin (apparently, forever), but also the sins of every Christian who ever lived, and every atrocity ever done in the name of Christianity (again, apparently forever)?

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, December 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

My response Michael to your youtube “They Sold me Out” and also to the the views expressed in your commentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajCYQL8ouqw

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By OzarkMichael, December 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

In our society there is an assigned “guilt” to Christianity which must be atoned for, but some decided that the word “guilt” reveals something terrible about me.  So instead of “guilt” I will call it “debt”. I have plenty of money in the bank, so dont try to make my talk of “debt” into an acccusation that i owe lots of money.

Moral debt has 2 interesting qualities:

1)The bills from old expenses are not a fixed amount. They change over time.

2)The folks who owe that debt shifts,and the people who will have to pay the price have not been born yet. 

For example, the ‘Salem Witch Trials’ which were a bad thing, produced a moral debt, properly credited to the people who proposed and practiced it. They were Christians like me. I will not sell them out. 25 people died.

This moral debt was transferred to future Christians, which i suppose is fair, but it is also artificially driven to higher and higher amounts, ie, it becomes inflated. Especially if we consider similar other types of people with a different belief system(or even atheists) decided to destroy their innocent fellow citizens. The deaths, (and it could be in the hundreds) are not blamed on future adherents of the belief(or unbelief) system. In other words the debt for most groups diminishes over time or is forgotten altogether.

So relative to other (un)belief systems, we see that the debt of Christians seems to grow instead of being forgotten or cancelled.

Also, there are newly concocted debts from old accounts which were once considered as positive balances, for example ‘the Crusades’.  I am not arguing for a positive or negative balance on that account. I am only commenting on the percieved change in the account balance, which proves that the moral debt is elastic, and for Christianity it increases instead of fading away.

Also a new accounting fad: to add the long historical failings of the entire human race(such as slavery) to the Christian debt as if it is our exclusive bill to pay. 

Many other bad events which resulted from a mix of causes(including Christian) tend to be billed exclusively to the Christian tab, while good events from similar mixed causes(including Christian) are not credited to the Christian account at all.

Thus in our society today, current events which are felt to be moral debt become transferred from the broad base(entire society), to a narrower one(Christians).

Now there are many new debts, and suddenly many old accounts are accruing accelerated interest rates, so it seems each new bill has the mysterous power of also inflating older bills.

Somebody somewhere must have an intense desire to peg that Christian debt up as high as possible, until it is massive and overwhelming.

Maani has decided to legitimize the exhorbitant bill. But simultaneously he asks to be seen as different from those who ought to pay! For the ancient ‘bad Christians’ who did all the ‘bad things’ are the spiritual fathers of the ‘bad Christians’ today. The mountain of debt which Maani cheerfully approves of is not for Maani to atone for, and thus the bill comes to me, because I wont claim severability from any Christian.

Maani achieves a triple advantage: He ingratiates himself with the bill collector by validating the exhorbitant bill, he steps aside and isnt responsible for the bill, he appears to be the true Christian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30lDdPnZa-8

Someone said that i claim martyrdom status. No. I am pointing out the future result of the scapegoating, which wont actually happen in my lifetime. It is only for poetic effect that I say Maani steps aside and I will be standing there when the bill comes due.

But if the bill of Christian moral debt comes due unexpectedly soon, the temptation will be to get clear of the church, wont it? One should practice steadfastness today so the habit is established for harder times. If you can not run with the footmen, how will you keep up with the chariots?

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By Maani, December 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

objectiveobserver:

Outraged was good enough to make most of my points for me.  I agree with him on all counts.  The Judeo-Christian Bible consists of three different types of text: (i) “black-and-white,” meat-and-potatoes text that can be taken literally, at face value, (ii) allegorical text which clearly is not literal, and (iii) interpretative text that can be interpreted in different ways.  Some of this text is, as Outraged notes, in conflict with other text.  Even veteran theologians wrestle with this aspect of Scripture.

Indeed, I would suggest that it is YOU who may be taking Scripture out of context to support faulty viewpoints and positions vis-a-vis the Judeo-Christian construct.

That said, I fully understand your concern: if so much of the Bible is interpretive, and thus not “inerrant,” why should anyone believe ANYTHING in it?  But anyone who would ask that is setting up a straw man: the Bible is a “guidebook,” not a literal document.  After all, we know the earth revolves around the sun, that it is not flat, that it is billions of years old, and that humankind has existed on earth for millions of years, not just 6,000.  Does this mean we should throw away the Bible?  Of course not.  Because it is filled with good ethical, moral and practical knowledge and philosophies that have stood the test of time, and are as relevant now as they were when they were first written.  (I am setting aside for a moment their specific relevance to Christians vis-a-vis salvation and redemption through Christ, and simply suggesting their relevance to society as a whole.)

As noted, among those philosophies - indeed, chief among them - is concern and care for the poor, and the neediest among us.  There is little dispute about that, given its prevalence in the Bible.

As for Jesus, if one is going to self-proclaim as Christian,” that person would be expected not only to believe in the spiritual aspects of salvation and redemption through belief in Him and His resurrection, but also to follow His example HERE, in the temporal world.  As He said, “I do not come to judge, but to bring sinners to repentance.” If HE - who has SOLE RIGHT to judge - does not do so, by what rubric do YOU take on that mantle?

Our call in living a Christ-like life is to be loving (including our enemies, and those with whom we disagree); peaceful, not disputative; forgiving, not judgmental; unconditionally compassionate; humble, not arrogant or proud; patient; charitable, not “stingy” (including with respect to ourselves); selfless, not haughty; having a willingness to serve (and not just those with whom we agree); showing justice (legal, economic, etc.); and expressing truth.

kibitzer:

Thank you for your excellent comments.

Alan:

Let me add:

Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.

Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.

Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

And, of course:

Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Peace.

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By Alan Lunn, December 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

Speaking of the Bible (and this allegedly by an
apostle):

James 5

Warning to the Rich

1You rich people should cry and weep! Terrible
things are going to happen to you. 2Your treasures
have already rotted, and moths have eaten your
clothes. 3Your money has rusted, and the rust will be
evidence against you, as it burns your body like
fire. Yet you keep on storing up wealth in these last
days. 4You refused to pay the people who worked in
your fields, and now their unpaid wages are shouting
out against you. The Lord All-Powerful has surely
heard the cries of the workers who harvested your
crops.
  5While here on earth, you have thought only of
filling your own stomachs and having a good time. But
now you are like fat cattle on their way to be
butchered. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent
people, who couldn’t even fight back.

Somehow, that doesn’t sound like today’s evangelical
right. And I was one of them. No longer. I’m with
Occupy.

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By kibitzer, December 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

@ Maani Dec. 6 2:04pm:

Of course a person of consciousness should rebel against the established order
of things.  The established order of things is corrupt, and rewards corruption; is
unfair to all living things, including Gaia Herself.  And all of it is due to one
thing: a lack of knowledge of what life is all about.  And to its corollary: lack of
a desire to WANT to know, having been mesmerized by the baubles of the
material world.

‘Without a vision, the people perish.’

Wars; - all of it, our state of ill health with its manifold symptoms, is a
consequence of our not living in community on planet Earth.  Which is a
consequence of our being separated from one another by the invention of
interest-bearing money, whereby the money itself -  and its accumulation -
becomes the end, rather than the means, and thus breeds the ‘consciousness’ 
of oneupmanship. 

We got off on the wrong foot millenia ago; are all the sons and daughters of
one loving Divine Being, and should be treating ourselves as such.  Brothers and
sisters, living in small degrees of separation from one another (via different
races and nationalities and religions), and from our Source; for a purpose.  To
grow spiritually from the experience, of free will.  Not to grow more alienated
from our essential and common roots in Oneness.

We will never get out of the mental wilderness of our making until we recognize
that We Are One Another - literally: through the Plan of Life known to us as
reincarnation.  Whereby we keep playing parts in the drama - now a prince,
now a pauper; now a male, now a female; now one race or religion or
nationality, now another - until we ‘get it’ (and therein the Purpose).  And move
on; the richer - in wisdom - for the experience.  And so is the Whole, of which
we are a part.  Fragments of consciousness, waking up to our essential
Beingness (‘spiritual beings having a human experience’).  As part of One Divine
Essence.  (Some are calling it The Source Field.)

It is this which we must strive for.  Move out of the limitations of the thinking of
the past, and inherit our maturity, as a race of beings - momentarily encased in
human garb - awakening to our essential (higher) Selves.  And once we do, we
will live in community on this lovely planet; now crying out for our best.

Will do so, as long as we continue to wish to experience a degree of separation
from our Essential Self, as One with our Creator.

But first things first.  First,  we have to prove ourselves, as worthy of our next
steps.  And we do that, by just such measures as the OWS folks are engaging in. 
Questioning the basic Order of Things.  And trying to dream into the New Order
of Things.

And I assure you - all of you - that it is not the dystopian New World Order of
the fevered imagination of the current crop of ‘leaders’ on the planet; who think
they are planting the keystone on the top of the pyramid of life with the
creation of the all-Seeing Eye of the all-powerful State.  That is the vision of
lesser beings.  It is not the one that needs to come into being now.

That is The Work we have to do.  Now.

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By Outraged, December 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Re: objective observer

Your comment: “progressive and liberal points to
abortion is OK, homosexuality is OK,
fornication/adultery is OK, etc, none of which are
Biblically OK.”

First, let me say that I agree with Maani. Aside from
that you are using your interpretation of the
bible to “justify” your perspective, while at the
same time claiming someone else’s interpretation to
be incorrect.

You must be aware that the bible contradicts itself
many times, which is where much of the arguing comes
from. But if you want to debate a certain issue
using the bible as a reference then you would also
have to allow for differing interpretations of that
very same book. Since these interpretations are BELIEFS (not facts) one must be cautious toward implementing them.

Things can be taken out of context and/or appear to be the message in any given text, however if this is not BALANCED against the whole (and if you are christian - balanced against Jesus’ teachings), it can be quite meaningless.

What do you think is the principle of the bible, as a whole? And do you give more weight to Jesus’ words or examples, than you would to other portions of the bible?

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By objective observer, December 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

maani:

agreed. Jesus was not a conservative (heartless, dog-eat-dog, ignore the minority, etc), nor was he a liberal (anything goes, no absolutes/responsibilty/accountibility).  rebel and anti-religious?  you betcha. 

yes, i take the Bible literally, with some allegories (no, God doesn’t have feathers, see old testament).  but without it being seen literal and taken as a whole, you can create all kinds of belief systems and cults, words/verses taken out of context.  slippery slope, indeed.  liberalism greases said slope.

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By Maani, December 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

“‘Liberal and progressive clergy’ by definition can hardly call themselves ‘christian’ and have any credibility, at least by bibical standards.”

It is a truly slippery slope you ride when you start making judgments on who is a “true” Christian and who is not.  And it is certain not, as your moniker would have it, “objective.”

Even if you are arguing from the position of the absolute inerrancy of Scripture (i.e., the “Fundamentalist” position), your comment would be at best presumptive, and at worst arrogant.

Are you suggesting Jesus was hyper-conservative from a socio-political standpoint?  Or, indeed, that Judeo-Christianity as a whole socio-politically hyper-conservative?  If so, then you and I are apparently not reading the same Bible.  There are more passages in the Bible about helping the poor (over 2,000) than about any other subject, bar none.  That single fact speaks volumes more than - and seems to belie - your condescending accusation.

Jesus may not have been a “liberal,” but He was certainly NOT a conservative.  He challenged the authority of the spiritual leaders (Temple Priests, scribes, pharisees et al) and the policies of the political leaders.  These are hardly the acts of a conservative.  One might even say they are the acts of a rebel.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, December 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

objective observer,.... Absolutism’s appear to be over ridden by certainty’s!

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By objective observer, December 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

outraged:

progressive and liberal points to abortion is OK, homosexuality is OK, fornication/adultery is OK, etc, none of which are Biblically OK.  the progressive/liberal folks i’ve discussed such things with also have the opinion there are multiple ways to heaven, also not Biblical.  Jesus is THE only way, the Bible the Word of God.  people have their opinions as to the way to God/heaven, this is mine.  should persecution be allowed when opinions diverge? absolutley not.

have some “christians” distorted and fouled what Christianity is supposed to be?  absolutely.  did/does Jesus stand up for the poor and disenfranchised?  absolutely.  does this give license to distort the Bible’s view of mentioned above? no.  a more “liberal” view of the teachings of the Bible leads to an anything goes standard when taken to the logical conclusion.  this is what i meant.

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By Outraged, December 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Re: objective observer

Your comment: ”“liberal and progressive clergy” by
definition can hardly call themselves “christian” and
have any credibility, at least by bibical standards.”

Why would you say something like this…. Can you
explain yourself? Why do you feel they cannot call
themselves “christian” by what you claim are “biblical
standards”?

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By scotsman63, December 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
(Isaiah 1:17 ERV)

As one who has been a part of both the evangelical
right as well as more progressive sects of the
Christian faith, and sadly disenchanted with much of
what I have seen in both arenas; my faith in Jesus of
Nazareth still stands firm and compels me to stand
where the Jewish Prophets stood centuries ago in the
times that the people of Israel went astray.

Any so called “Christian” nation, or one at least
receptive to the precepts of the Christian faith must
stand against tyranny and injustice in whatever forms
they appear. I do not advocate Christian Socialism
but I shudder at how much of the evangelical movement
has evolved into Christo-Fascist puppetry speaking
for those whose true objective is to increase their
wealth and power at the expense of those less
fortunate. What the current evangelical right often
advocates is more akin to social-darwinism than
historic Judeo-Christian principles.

There certainly may be factions of OWS that are too
extreme but the basic message of holding up what is
just and right in socioeconomic terms stands with the
call of the prophets as well as the one I believe to
be the Messiah and Savior.

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By objective observer, December 6, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“liberal and progressive clergy” by definition can hardly call themselves “christian” and have any credibility, at least by bibical standards.

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By Maani, December 6, 2011 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Outraged:

Thank you for your assessment of OM’s situation.  Obviously, none of us (except OM) can know for certain to what degree you are correct, but there would clearly seem to be a great deal of accuracy in your assessment.  And I agree that, even if you are incorrect about certain aspects, or even the whole thing, the manner in which you offered it is all too rare these days, and I commend you for your sensitivity.

Interestingly, even fundamentalists come in different stripes; i.e., not all are as hyper-conservative and “narrow” as those you describe (even if OM turns out not to entirely fit the description).  I know fundamentalists who are that way, but I also know some who are more…open, to various degrees.  And none of the latter are worried about going to hell for believing (socio-politically) what they do, much less simply interacting with, and accepting, those who believe and act in different, even contrary, ways.

Still, it is true that of all Protestant denominations, the fundamentalist Evangelicals and Pentecostals seem to be least open to, and often downright hostile to, anyone who does not believe as they do, both spiritually and socio-politically.

Peace.

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By IMax, December 6, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Outraged, - “In the spirit of Occupy…..all are welcome.”

-

A wonderful sentiment. When will we see you practice this new-found welcoming attitude on these pages?

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By ardee, December 6, 2011 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

Outraged, December 6 at 2:23 am

We have our differences to be sure. This effort of yours is both perceptive and on the mark. A shame it will never penetrate.

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By elisalouisa, December 6, 2011 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

Thank you Outraged for your perceptive post written in the spirit of concern and
care.

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By Outraged, December 6, 2011 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

Re: Maani

OM is not really upset with you, nor is OM upset with
me, nor is OM blaming you or I, but certainly it appears that way. OM has been taught, for many, many years and
possibly since birth that IF in fact OM would find
camaraderie or fellowship with anyone outside of his
religion, which likely includes people that OM loves
very much and cares for deeply that it is really
demons talking to OM.

In this way, OM’s religion keeps a special hold on
OM’s thought process. To OM, all are inherently evil
via the demons’ hold on what OM is told is purposeful
and/or even innocent disregard for “true
knowledge”. This “true knowledge” flies in the face
of what OM has experienced and learned throughout the
years. But this does not matter, because OM has been
taught repeatedly to BEWARE of having any fellowship
with non-believers. (Non-believers are anyone NOT of
OM’s faith)

I understand OM’s dilemma only too well. OM likely feels a great deal of grief when finding that OM’s own thoughts or feelings align more closely with people not of OM’s faith than those that are. OM likely internalizes this as a sort of weakness within himself and will fight to dislodge it from OM’s actually being. From what OM has be taught, to consider it any other way is tantamount to hating God. This is what OM truly struggles with.

Additionally, OM finds it increasingly difficult to NOT see others as human beings just like him/herself . This too, OM is taught is a sign of weakness and loss of faith. Even when OM has very sincere concerns for wrongs, ones in which even OM’s own religion teaches as wrong, OM is taught to NOT WAVER from what he/she has been taught, because this also is tantamount to hating God.

So realistically, OM does not hate nor even find us lacking and OM’s “blame” is misplaced and unintentional, the “problem” is that OM understands what we are saying. For this reason, it creates an incredible amount of conflict for OM. It is extremely real and heartfelt. But in OM’s world this means that OM, “hates God”, “is weak”, could lose everyone he/she loves, “is confused”, “needs spiritually attention”........and on and on.

I wish I could help OM, since I hear OM’s voice loud and clear, but as it is… I cannot. Only OM can do that. But it is a very difficult journey, and in this regard, I do not fault OM one bit.

In the spirit of Occupy…..all are welcome.

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By YoungGringos, December 6, 2011 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael,

Not only do we not forgive,
We also don’t forget.

smile


(seriously, don’t be so paranoid. have some faith)

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By kate dyson, December 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...we are capable as humans of behaving in ethical and moral ways and demanding a more egalitarian society without the help of imaginary beings…if religious people want to support the Occupy movement…fine…but leave the imaginary friends at home or in your place of worship…

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By Maani, December 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller:

No harm done.  All is forgiven.  I still love you.  LOL.

OzarkMichael:

I am confused by your comment.  Setting aside that I think you are “reading into” what I said - and with all due respect - the only “guilt” you feel is that which you accept and ALLOW yourself to feel: I cannot “foist” guilt ON you.  If you feel “guilty” vis-a-vis anything I said, then that guilt is yours to own and explore.  But to suggest that it is ME that is adding to that guilt, much less “foisting” it on you, is not correct.

I do not have - will never have - a “squeaky clean soul,” nor have I ever suggested that, nor do I think it is something I can even work toward.  My soul is what it is, and God knows it better than I do.  All I can do - here, in the temporal world - is attempt to live by the eleven precepts of Jesus’ ministry: love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth.  And when I forget to do so - or speak or act in ways that are antithetical to those precepts - I privately and quietly repent for such, and try to minimize them going forward.  That is, to my understanding, what “living a Christ-like life” is all about.

I do not judge you based on your place on the socio-political spectrum.  (In fact, I do not judge you at all.)  You are entitled to your understanding of where you think you SHOULD be on that socio-political spectrum based on your understanding of your faith and religion.  And no one has any right to judge you AS A CHRISTIAN based on your socio-political beliefs.  Thus, I may disagree with you socio-politically, but I respect the honesty of your faith.

Peace.

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By OzarkMichael, December 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

Maani said:

As for Protestants, we, too, have things to atone for.  But until the advent of the Fundamentalist movement in the early 20th century, most (and I am specifically saying “most”) evangelicalism (with the possible exception of Pentecostalism) was fairly benign.

As one of the Fundamentalists, the type that you are inferring is malignant, I would like to comment on your post, and hopefully provide some clarity about our situation.

Thus I repeat that it is sad that all too many atheists and other non-religionists do no (cannot?) make any distinctions, much less “forgive” Christians for their “sins of the past,” and move forward in accepting them as socio-political “co-travelers” and allies.

Those of us who are not their “socio-political co-travellers” and who in good conscience cannot become their “allies”, are going to be left holding the bag someday. 

As their rightious anger at my “sins of the past” never slackens, and thanks to confessions like yours, my “guilt” grows greater with each day, what will the future bring?

Recall that their motto is “We do not forgive!” I take them at their word.

You do know that you are foisting all the guilt from the past onto me, and asking them to make a “distinction” between us. You are saying that you have a lot to “atone” for, but in fact you have placed it all upon me, it will be my burden, I am the one who will atone for it.

I think you are making me into a scapegoat so that you can have a squeeky clean soul to show off(not to God, but to men), I wonder if you understand that someday the scapegoat has to answer for its “crimes”, and that several of the unforgiving people you are dealing with are going to demand that revenge when they get the chance to do so.

When that future day comes and they have the power, after you have already spent all your days from this day to that trying to ingratiate yourself with them, will you enjoy whatever payoff they gave you?

Van Morrison said it very well. “For a few shekels more, you wont even think twice.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30lDdPnZa-8

Somehow, and i cannot explain how it works because I am not of any consequence, but somehow what you do to me, you are doing to Christ, who you claim to love.

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By kibitzer, December 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

When all is said and done, I hope all sides to this matter will understand that as
you do unto others, so do you do unto yourself.  For we are all One.  And All Is
One.

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By OzarkMichael, December 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

ardee said: “When one votes with ones own interpretation of the New Testament one automatically injures the rights of those who read and interpret the Koran or the Old Testament, or no such tome at all.”

elisalouisa responded: “Rather controlling isn’t it Ardee?  Christians vary greatly as to their beliefs. You do not specify as to what Christians.”

And if he did specify certain Christians, but left you off the hook, would that make his statement acceptable to you?

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By Leefeller, December 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Manni,

Yeah I did jump past the brackets, me apologies! I agree with your premise, we must all work together and keep petty personal proclivities in the closet, well at least not wear them on our sleeves!

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By Stephen, December 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a publication that purports to dig at the truth, the
only articles it should be printing on religion are
those exposing it for the nonsense that it is.

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By ejreed, December 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

meanwhile in DC…
Occupy Protesters Arrested in Washington
Several Occupy D.C. protesters were arrested in
Washington after confrontations with police in a park
near the White House.
http://www.newslook.com/videos/377990-occupy-
protesters-arrested-in-washington?autoplay=true

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By YoungGringos, December 5, 2011 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Lafay,

“Victimization”?  The fault of “somebody else”? 
What the f? 
This movement is built on the principles of anarchism.  We take power.
It’s hilarious to hear someone ask where I’ve been the last 30 years while suggesting the way forward is electoral politics.  This is a ruse, right?
You almost had me you saucy minx. 

So you know how to reform this broken system?  Awesome.  You and everyone else.
Take the next step. Get involved.  Lead.  Inspire.  Do a teach in. Let us benefit from your superior knowledge and vast, unrivaled experience.
We meet at six.  Wear lots of layers- it’s cold out there and we go late.

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By Maani, December 5, 2011 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Leefeller:

“Maani, unfortunately you have stereotyped Atheists and other anti theists just as you mentioned and criticized them about stereotyping of Christians?”

You don’t read so good…LOL.

The comment I responded to said “Christians have…”; i.e., painting with the broadest brush, with no attempt to see, much less note, that there might be different types of Christians, at different points along the socio-political spectrum.

My response said “...many (most?) atheists…”

Thus, I was careful NOT to lump all atheists in the same boat.  And if you were to go back and read every single post of mine in which I responded to broad-brush anti-Christian comments, you would see that I ALWAYS do this: that I am VERY careful about the words I use.

That said, I agree with you re not seeing where the issue of separation of church and state come in here. Progressive Christians like Shockley (and myself) are not out to create a theocracy; indeed, we abhor the idea as much - perhaps even MORE - than atheists and other non-religionists.  This is yet another way in which “Christians” are “tagged” in toto by many atheists and other non-believers.

There is also the continual reference to past “bad deeds,” like the Crusades, inquisitions, etc.  Setting aside that these were long over before the Protestant Reformation even began - and are thus ENTIRELY a “Catholic” phenomenon - how long must Catholics be blamed for these things?  It has been almost 500 years since the last real inquisition ended, and almost 700 since the last Crusade.  Sure, the Catholic Church has continued to be on the “wrong side” of some issues, particularly socio-cultural ones.  But to continue to “tar” them with the Crusades is not simply absurd, but intellectually dishonest.

As for Protestants, we, too, have things to atone for.  But until the advent of the Fundamentalist movement in the early 20th century, most (and I am specifically saying “most”) evangelicalism (with the possible exception of Pentecostalism) was fairly benign.  As I have noted ad nauseam, Protestants (including many evangelicals) were in the forefront of the abolition, child labor, women’s suffrage, and civil rights movements.  And they built more (public) hospitals, schools, orphanages, community cneters, etc. than any other organization, even including (until later) the U.S. government.

That is not meant as apologia for the horrible things many Protestants did in the past.  But it shows that not all Protestants - much less all Christians - can simply be lumped into the same category.

Thus I repeat that it is sad that all too many atheists and other non-religionists do no (cannot?) make any distinctions, much less “forgive” Christians for their “sins of the past,” and move forward in accepting them as socio-political “co-travelers” and allies.

Peace.

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By Leefeller, December 5, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Polarizing by making up differences of any kind, must not happen, for this is what the powers that be will instigate, manipulate and utilize with the regularity of ExLax!

My view is if one needs to question whether they as an individual or a group (stickily s religion) feel the urge to support Occupy s message of disenfranchisement by the few over the many, do support Occupy or not as you wish.

Occupy is not about any one group, except the 99 percent, the blatant inequality and corrupting injustices and constant unfairness sponsored by the 1 percent.  Far as I see it all races, all religions, all workers, middle class, poor and some wealthy who already happen to agree with the core message of Occupy should have little to argue about?

Shockley’s article appears to be debating with religion in general.  MY uncomfortable past experience with religion and its polarizations within itself when it comes to making decisions and power within a church had its own politicizing baggage, so maybe this article should only be directed towards the religious for it up to them if they want to support Occupy, not up to occupy if they want to have them support it.

I feel a slight double standard from this article, something uncomfortable in its approach to how religion supports broader issues, issues which are not religious in nature, almost a need or desire to have Occupy become and have some religiosity, am I sensing a bit of opportunism here, I hope not!

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By elisalouisa, December 5, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Ardee: “My response to you is the same as that to elisalouisa actually, where religion is concerned. Leave it in church and do not take it into the voting booth. When one votes with ones own interpretation of the New Testament one automatically injures the rights of those who read and interpret the Koran or the
Old Testament, or no such tome at all.”

Rather controlling isn’t it Ardee?  Christians vary greatly as to their beliefs. You do not specify as to what Christians. Yes, this is stereotyping. We all bring our beliefs to the voting booth and/or demonstrations. In fact, that may but one reason why we vote or protest. Those who read the Koran and the Old Testament, also vary greatly as to beliefs as those who believe in absence of a high source are not in agreement as to other issues. All of what a person is goes in a voting booth and that’s as it should be. 

Lafayette, December 3 10:31 pm Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics can all participate in the OWS movement. They need only bring their political beliefs to the demonstrations and leave their religious beliefs at home.

Comment that started it all.

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By radicalfemme, December 5, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Christian’s have brought a lot of the criticism and stereotyping on themselves.  By getting involved in political issues as a voting bloc that imposes their Christian values on other people who are not Christian. They have literally taken over the Republican Party to where it now reflects their values.  It’s the reason a lot of us just left the Republican brand.

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By IMax, December 5, 2011 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

I believe ardee should be the out-front spokesperson for the entire Occupy demonstration. Who’s with me in nominating this wonderfully insightful human-being as a spokesperson for the ‘99’?

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By ardee, December 5, 2011 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

May I say that not only Christians are lumped into a group but Christians, Israeli Jews and Muslims are also grouped together. Ignorant stereotyping indeed.

This, elisa is where your unpopularity stems from, I believe. Taking a remark , twisting its meaning to suit your own unique point of view reflects upon you and not the subject at hand.

May I remind you that we are speaking about those ‘religionists’ who attempt to turn politics to reflect their own view of their religions requirements. Your attempt to alter that to a critique of ALL religions and adherents is pretty poor and lumps you in with the blatant liars like Imax etal.

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By Lafayette, December 5, 2011 at 12:48 am Link to this comment

YG: We won’t let our legitimate anger be co-opted to get a new brand of corporate shill elected.

So who’s promising a “new brand of ... yada, yada, yada”?

Thanks for our daily dose of naive “victimization” sentiment. It’s all the fault of “somebody else”, is it?

Where was that outrage and indignation whilst it has all been happening this past 30 years? Going along with the goons, that’s what. Accepting the crumbs off the table and being grateful.

You haven’t the foggiest notion of what it takes to reform the structural damage to this country’s system of government.

Still, you can be useful. Get out an militate.

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By Leefeller, December 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

Maani, unfortunately you have stereotyped Atheists and other anti theists just as you mentioned and criticized them about stereotyping of Christians? 

I must admit, stereotyping is so comfortably convenient, on occasions I have stereotyped Repulcians,....after all they are so stereotypical!

How does the separation of church and state fit if at all into all this, though so far Occupy seems more of a social movement so Churches should be involved, hopefully without a Religious agenda but a moral one. Look at what has been going on in the Middle East and now most recently Egypt, people have agendas.

Supporting Occupy for what stands for the 99 percent seems a most equitable and noble cause.  All support for Occupy, this goes for unions, political parties, and I feel religions should provide support without contingencies.  Though I may be naive in my opinion for it may not work, it seems most would have their own agendas?

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Imax,

It’s quite simple.
The problem:
EGT is trying to crush the ILWU.
The ILWU is unable to strike.  The ILWU approached Occupy for help.

The solution:
We shut down the port effectively allowing the
ILWU to strike. ILWU workers still get paid according to their contract.

As a bonus Goldman Sachs owns a stake in the port.
EGT and Goldman eat it.  Last port shutdown they lost some $40 million.

I know that won’t satisfy.  Nothing ever could.
Peace.

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By AnAlienEarthling, December 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

@Robes Dec 4
The support of OWS by self-professed Christians is not a matter that I have any opposition to whatsoever. If their “reasons” for the support is, as you suggest, constituted by their religious conviction, or their religious justification to themselves, or their grounds for thinking such support is the morally right course of action - what have you! - then I would argue that they are supporting the correct “cause,” if you will, the correct course for our country to follow, but that they are doing so for the entirely wrong reasons.

When the dust clears, and, for example, decent federal subsidies are accorded our impoverished schools so that children attending schools in virtually zero-property-value neighborhoods are provided science education whose content competes with that provided schools in well-to-do neighborhoods, will our OWS-supporting Christian faction oppose the subsidy that helps fund knowledge of Evolution, or String Theory, as it seems to conflict, according to many Christians, with their own religious beliefs? It is not UNLIKELY.
That is my point - Christianity should never be recognized as “justification” for a socio-politico-economic policy instituted by the federal government.

It’s similar to extreme social conservatives demanding “unreasonable” limitations on free speech. If they support those limitations for others, then the limitations apply to themselves as well.

Will Christian support of OWS - not for reasons of a reawakened understanding of what it means to be American - not eventually oppose its aims?

It’s like Kant’s argument against ‘feeling’/‘emotion’ as ground for morals: it’s too flippant….

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By OzarkMichael, December 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

I said: “Every Leftist movement succeeds with the help of what Lenin called ‘useful idiots’.”

Stalin replied: “Sorry, Ozark, but Lenin never said that.”

Apology accepted. Lenin merely referred to a liberal as an “utter simpleton”, he didnt use the phrase “useful idiot”.

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By screamingpalm, December 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Why would OWS even want a “powerful ally”? Isn’t that contradictory to the whole idea? lol

Unfotunately, and ultimately, it will probably get out of control and get co-opted and swallowed up (and lose all meaning). No surprise that the church wants in on it- lots of vulnerable, desperate souls to recruit.

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

Well said Maani.

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By elisalouisa, December 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Well said Maani and so true. 

May I say that not only Christians are lumped into a group but Christians, Israeli Jews and Muslims are also grouped together. Ignorant stereotyping indeed.

Nice to see your post Maani.

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By Maani, December 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

“The christians have done enough talking..Now its time for them to shut up.”

This is the kind of ignorant stereotyping comment that made me pull back from TD.  As if all Christians can simply be lumped into a group called “Bible-thumping, hyper-conservative, flat-earth believing, anti-choice, creationist ignoramuses.”  It just shows the hypocrisy in calling Christians (as a whole) intolerant.

I have been arguing what I believe is Rev. Schockley’s main point for almost a decade at TD: that, in their myopic reaction to conservative Christianity (which has admittedly dominated the “public eye” for a long time),  many (most?) atheists and other anti-theists continue to alienate a potentially powerful ally re the millions of center, center-left and left Christians who share their socio-politics.

I continue to find this incredibly sad - to say nothing of self-defeating.

Peace.

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

YoungG

You estimate that, if you are to have your way, every living human-being will feel the sting of your grievance. It’s easy then to see the reason you hesitate to answer the question.

Next question: Do you believe you speak for all or most of ‘Occupy’ and, if so, why are these goals you seek not made clear? - I ask this again now because, when asked, you are never able to articulate precisely what it is you hope to accomplish.

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Imax,
oops.  Just saw this:
“In response to coordinated attacks on the occupations and attacks on workers across the world:

Occupy Denver stands in solidary with our brothers and sisters who will be blocking the economic apparatus of the 1% by shutting down the ports of the world on Dec 12. Occupy Denver is calling for all land locked occupations to do the same with a coordinated shutdown of Walmart distribution centers throughout the United States on December 12th. The 1% through this greedy cooperation have destroyed communities throughout the world, disregarded workers natural rights, eliminated production jobs in the United States, lowered the standard of living for all, and disrupted the lives of the workers who create their wealth.”

That Chinese slave-labor crap may be more delayed than I thought.

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Imax,

7 billion.

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,
I don’t think it was divisive either- that’s why I’m surprised (not really ) at the outcry.  The man said nothing about church injecting itself into the state.

I’m an atheist- I was raised fundamentalist Christian.  I get it.  I get separation of church and state more than most, but I’ve also seen the church and state argument used as a bludgeon- a roundabout way of saying STFU. 

That I cannot dig.

Heck, I want to rail against people taking their capitalistic ideology into the voting booth.  You consumer zombies will be the death of us! It’s not all about the economy, stupid!
But no one wants to hear that.

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By Robespierre115, December 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

What’s very interesting is the hypocrisy of the people here sounding alarm bells over whatever phantom threat they see in this article. They claim to promote freedom, equality, justice and the freedom to live as you like, but when these admirable Christians show their support they are met with bigoted taunts and paranoid gibberish. Good luck making inroads into the working class and poor or Hispanic communities.

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

YoungG

Changing the subject is never a substitute for answering a direct question.

Closing every shipping port on the West Coast is an idea you enthusiastically support. How many working families do you estimate will be harmed financially by closing every shipping port on the West Coast? Ten Million? Twenty-five million? 50 Million? More?

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By ardee, December 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

A question for you: What in Mr. Shockley’s divisive article raises the ominous specter of church in state?

I found the article to be far from divisive actually,Young Gringo. What worries me are the current attempts, by Christians, Israeli Jews, and Muslims alike, to make law synonymous with scripture.

My response to you is the same as that to elisalouisa actually, where religion is concerned. Leave it in church and do not take it into the voting booth. When one votes with ones own interpretation of the New Testament one automatically injures the rights of those who read and interpret the Koran or the Old Testament, or no such tome at all.

Have we not enough examples of those who believe that their own unique and distorted perspectives should be the law of the land?

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

IMAX-

Your rationale is the one used to strip the right to strike from countless workers. Reagan would be proud.
I will stand with the ILWU against EGT and Goldman Sachs any day. 

Fear not. Chinese slave-labor crap will get to your local Wal-Mart unscathed. I bet you won’t even know the difference.

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

anaman51,

What is a Jeezon?

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By anaman51, December 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Here come the Jeezons, trying to take control of what’s going on. You think you have a place in this debate? Part of this exercise in freedom is the scrutiny of the effects of forced theology on the freedoms of the citizens of these United States.

As was directed in the documents passed down by our founding fathers, you’re free to worship any cockamamie thing you want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s right to worship any cockamamie thing they want. Nowhere in there is anything that says the people of this nation have to agree with or worship in regard to anybody’s god if they don’t feel the need to do so. This includes participation in government activities.

If you Jeezons feel as though you want to participate in elections and governmental affairs as simple Americans with no agenda, well and good. All you have to do is keep your cockamamie religion out of it. On the other hand, if you want to tell the rest of us how to think and live, or how to regulate our government, and you’ll find yourselves being reviled and ostracized even more than you already are, distanced from the rest of us by your senseless justifications, your narrow-minded thinking, and your non-existent god. Butt out of government, stick to running your own convoluted fairy-tale lives, and step away from trying to force theological regulation upon the lives of those of us who know better.

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

YoungG

I’m sorry but, I can’t imagine worse ways to address income and social inequalities than the things you propose. You talk as if your personal issues and grievances (shared by many but still very much the minority) is worth the very real pain and hardships you seek to create.

How many working families do you estimate will be harmed financially by closing every shipping port on the West Coast? Ten Million? Twenty-five million? More?

What, precisely, are you looking to accomplish by forcing so many to suffer? Perhaps you could do a better job of announcing your intentions?

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By elisalouisa, December 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

elisa’s comment, responding to Lafayette 12/3 at 10:31 pm last paragraph.
As if one could be compartmentalized. As if some beliefs arejust “beliefs” and not in the very core of being. Humanists stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasizing common human need, should they leave their beliefs at home also??Then there are monsters parading as humans, some wearing SWAT team uniforms, others manning drone stations murdering innocents with the push of a button. That is the sickness of our society.

Ardee, “When you speak to ‘compartmentalizing’ do you refer to the inability of religious folks to operate politically without interjecting their religions unique belief systems? Do you think that any and all folks who profess to believe in a religion, any religion, should, perforce, absent themselves from politics?”

What I am saying Ardee is that a person should be whole as in Holistic Medicine. Your beliefs, your inner core is who you are. It cannot and should not be separated from the rest of you. Organized religion is another thing as is indoctrination of certain beliefs.

I realize I am treading on dangerous ground putting such comments out on this forum. Hopefully you get the trend of what I am saying.

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Ardee-
I call ‘em like I see ‘em.
OWS is not the state.  It is an open people’s movement.
A question for you: What in Mr. Shockley’s divisive article raises the ominous specter of church in state?

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette,

Please don’t try to turn OWS into the left’s Tea Party.  We won’t let our legitimate anger be co-opted to get a new brand of corporate shill elected. 

Electoral politics are their game, not ours.  90+% of the time the candidate with the most money wins.  Do you think we can raise more money than our opposition?  Can we outspend the 1%?

Do you remember all the anti-war demonstrations during the Bush years?  Do you remember how he galvanized the liberals in opposition?  Then what happened when Obama was elected? 
Dead silence. 
Liberals sold their ideals down the river.

Never again. 
We will not be steered into the boondoggle of electoral politics with promises of hope and change.
Rather we should follow the example of successful movements of disenfranchised, oppressed people.  I’m sure you can think of a few.

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By ardee, December 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

YoungGringos, December 4 at 10:00 am

Your judgement is at question regarding the “hatred” you find for religion herein. I see a trending towards separating church and state only, now where did I hear about that before????

elisalouisa, December 4 at 5:04 am

I am confused here, perhaps you might help me out. When you speak to ‘compartmentalizing’ do you refer to the inability of religious folks to operate politically without interjecting their religions unique belief systems? Do you think that any and all folks who profess to believe in a religion, any religion, should, perforce, absent themselves from politics?

I woudl refer you to this post:

Inherit The Wind, December 4 at 5:07 am

for a real clarification.

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By race_to_the_bottom, December 4, 2011 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, December 3 at 6:33 am———————

“Every Leftist movement succeeds with the help of what Lenin called ‘useful idiots’.”

Sorry, Ozark, but Lenin never said that. This is a cold war propaganda fabrication. Those who believe such fabrications are unreliable sources. Are you willing to concede that you have been mistaken?

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By Lafayette, December 4, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

KEEP THE FLAME BURNING

YG: In Occupy we’re not looking for what divides, but what we hold in common: the fact that we’re ALL being screwed.  Our neighbors are getting screwed.  Our schools. Our environment.  Getting screwed.

Yeah, so what are you going to do about it? Occupy the White House?

Demonstrations can only get the OWS Movement so far. Then it must morph into a political organization with a clever Action Agenda that gets progressive representatives elected into both Chambers of Congress.

And you (plural) are far, far away from even considering what such an agenda should look like. The rest of America, much of which is perhaps sympathetic to the cause, is just observing for the moment. And all they are getting are demonstrations on TV and lots of blog commentary.

Which are necessary (to get media coverage) and stimulate interest to keep the flame burning - but are not nearly sufficient to bring about any real change to America.

That has to be done by Congress and a willing PotUS who will not veto any legislation.

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By YoungGringos, December 4, 2011 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Lot of hatred for christians round here.
That’s not at all what I feel from the Occupy movement, but then again I don’t think anyone here is with the Occupy movement.
Liberals like ideological purity.  Before they’ll stand with you they want to know you think exactly like them.  In Occupy we’re not looking for what divides, but what we hold in common: the fact that we’re ALL being screwed.  Our neighbors are getting screwed.  Our schools. Our environment.  Getting screwed. 
Come to that understanding and we’re on the same page.  Actually ACT on that understanding- well, my brother or sister, you have arrived.

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By Lafayette, December 4, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since freedom of speech doesn’t make an exception for those who want to color it with religion, I’d say religious participation in the political discussion of the nation cannot be removed.  So rather than decry it, make it work for us.

Freedom of speech covers all sorts of sins, because people (like you) think that speech is unlimited. It isn’t.

Besides, we have far enough arguments based upon innate moral and ethical beliefs to carry the day. We don’t need God interfering with the state.

Freedom of religion has no place in a functioning secular democracy. The history in Europe proves that fact, given the mayhem that confusion of the power of the state and the church.

I believe in God. I believe in a God who could not care a fly’s fart about politics. That is, for each human, in their own conscience, to decide what beliefs they hold so precious that they should be proposed for legislation.

From the Bible: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

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By gocatgo50, December 4, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

American Protest—antism is not late to the game, they are not in the game.  Protest-Baptism is what is called resurrection!!!

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By balkas, December 4, 2011 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

jesus was not, i conclude from reading the bible, a person for peace on
earth. he was not for justice, equality, or against poverty.
of course, he may have not said a word of what scribes [wishful, extremely
deluded, selfish, separatisitc people] wrote in his name.

thus, clearly, believing in or obeying jesus means obeying enemies of
justice, peace on earth, equality [not in utopian sense, of course, but the
kind that 99% of people wld be happy with and not just 1-30%] etc.

believing in jesus means believing in bible and not god. believing in god is
ok by me.
believing and/or obeying jesus means obeying vatican, ulema [body of
mullahs] heads of congregations, etc.

i love and deeply respect people who believe in god, if, that is, the IT be left
undefined. once ‘defined’, this represents to me an usurpation of the
meanings of god.
in short, it is, to me, a criminal activity [usurpation of reason, justice, peace,
etc.] when anyone ‘teaches’ god.
‘teaching jesus is also an usurpation of basic panhuman values.
religious teachings [or ‘teachings] ‘teach’ jewish, christian, islamic, buddhist,
hindi, other cultic values, but never the universal values.

so please don’t tell my u believe in moshe, mohammed, jesus; tell me,
please, that u do or do not believe in god—and don’t add a single word to it
or else u are creating a bedlam, hatred, anger, frustration. thanks

an explanation of the use of the single quotes. a word under single quotes
denotes not only its false symbolic value. but also that such an activity is
inseparable from reality; ie, all of it!
thus, ‘religion’ is an ideology or science [using a peculiar method of
evaluation] and part of governance. this means, that it is a myth if u think u
can separate cultic science from politics, physical science, jurisprudence,
warfare, exploitation, etc.
u cannot. ‘religions’ are living part of that whole.

OWS may have espied this fact. thus, appears, to be rejecting it from
participating in panhuman liberation from millennial oppression,
exploitation abuse by also the church.
‘reverend’ discard that mantle abusive behavior] then come to me!

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

greg,

Adult men with nothing to hide uncover their face. They stand-up straight and give their opinions.

I remain interested in understanding how you know so well my knowledge of anarchy. Do you find it interesting that you would tell me what my understanding of anarchy is before asking?

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By ac, December 4, 2011 at 9:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

interesting article, but i find it a little disconcerting that the church would
be in the business of spreading it’s message through ows.  after all isn’t ows
being run like a small corporation, with hostile takeover dendencies? i also
find fault with the one sided quotes from scripture, just as the bible speaks
of charity it also speaks of turning the other cheek, doing good works,  and
following your kings and or governments.  my 2 cents.

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By greg_2, December 4, 2011 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

I can face it anymore! You found me out… And I just can’t go on on with this charade anymore.

I’ve never even been to an occupy camp. They recruited me and tell me what to say. My mis-misinformation campaign is over.

Their goal is, it turns out, to take over city halls by violence before Xmas.

Armed with pee-pistols and poop-guns they are going to have a coordinated attack. Backed up with brigades armed with rolls of toilet paper and used Tampons. They’ll even have bottles of vinegar.

They say the heck (well, they use another word) with the pigs and their semi-automatic weapons and body armor! They’ll gross them out first. Then take over as they are all puking.

Or something like that.

Please forgive me!

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By flaco, December 4, 2011 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

” coherent message”? “false idol”? Coming from the religious side, it is very funny. Religion out of politics. Religion has been at the forefront of oppression and disinformation everywhere.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 4, 2011 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, December 2 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

STAY AWAY FROM THE FRAY

Religion should stay out of politics. It is just another belief system, like so many others - except that it confuses public purpose with sanctimony.

Why not have agnostics and atheists offer their opinion as well? After all, don’t we want balance in our journalistic content?

Religion has been employed as a political tool by the Religous-Right sufficiently in this country to have done enough damage to our system of governance.

The Religious-Left should stay out of the fray.

The separation of belief and state is a major cornerstone of any truly democratic nation.
*********

Since freedom of speech doesn’t make an exception for those who want to color it with religion, I’d say religious participation in the political discussion of the nation cannot be removed.  So rather than decry it, make it work for us.  MLK infused everything he did with religion: He WAS the REVEREND Dr. Martin Luther King.

There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits an ordained minister of any religion from running and holding any office in government—and they have.

But that does not mean the separation of religion and government cannot be enforced.  It can, it should and it must be absolute.

That we see this being twisted into religious tests for office and for appointments is a clear-cut violation of our Constitution.

There have been and always will be those that seek to bend or break the long-time Constitutional rules for short-term gains and for personal power.  We are infested with them particularly badly now, like crab lice.  We need to rid our government of these lice.

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By elisalouisa, December 4, 2011 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics can all participate in the OWS movement. They need only bring their political beliefs to the demonstrations and leave their religious beliefs at home.

As if one could be compartmentalized. As if some beliefs are just “beliefs” and not in the very core of being. Humanists stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasizing common human need, should they leave their beliefs at home also?

Then there are monsters parading as humans, some wearing SWAT team uniforms, others manning drone stations murdering innocents with the push of a button. That is the sickness of our society.

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By IMax, December 4, 2011 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

greg_2, - “O yeah, your understanding of “Anarchism” is that of propaganda against it.”

-

Take a breath and relax yourself, greg.

Before we go any further I’m interested in understanding how you know so well my understanding of anarchy. Do you find it interesting that you would tell me what my understanding of anarchy is before asking me?

I’ve posted several dozen URLs, in several places here on TruthDig, documenting the things I’ve written concerning the violence associated with nearly every large gathering of Occupy. You are free, of course, to revisit those posts.

Please keep in mind that your passion to minimize the problems associated with ‘Occupying’ streets, bridges, parks and buildings will not aid the Occupy message. Only in confronting those problems, head-on, will you help your cause.

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By wanderingbear, December 4, 2011 at 3:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The christians have done enough talking..Now its time for them to shut up.

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By greg_2, December 4, 2011 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

Sorry about the double post. It was my fault! Sorry, sorry!

@IMax

You need a chill pill. I heard “Bush’s Famous Cure-all” does a good job!

I have looked into a couple of things you accuse OWS of. I have been following the Occupies of NY, LA, Oakland, Philly, DC, Boston and some others, since about the first of October. I read the newspaper reports, the blogs and twitter. I read many forums. I watch the livestreams and the videos on Youtube.

I’ve seen the pictures of paint covered police. The Black Bloc has vandalised and thrown things at the cops. I read a raped women’s first hand account (an OWS-er who was raped in a tent).

Of the “feces being thrown” accusation, all I could find—so far—has been a two paragraph report of a food vendor who stopped serving and had “feces” put on his cart. I am still looking for a report, first hand, of anyone who saw anyone throwing anything like that. Yeah, bottles were thrown, a barricade thrown I saw on a video.

The rest of your claims range from exaggerated to foolish. (If you have some evidence, please post; I’d like to see it. First hand or very well documented only please.) Occupy Oakland is well, Oakland!

There are more Occupy encampments than there are states. There is one in nearly every major city, and there are some that are of only a few people. Poor guy in one I read about: Just this one guy! And he got arrested!

Yeah, sure. Oakland sucks. One or two (or three or four or five or five or six) violent instances by protestors in a few violent and corrupt cities vs. thousands of peaceful protestors everywhere else!!!!!

I live near Occupy Boston and visit and have been in the marches. OB has been as peaceful as any such group can be. The worst thing was when Governor Patrick visited some booed him. I think I saw a beer but it could have been a soda.

And what about the police? The police harass OB all the time. The police in Oakland have been violent. Protesters have been gassed, sprayed, beaten, wire-tied and put in jail without food, water and bathroom facilities at times.

You say there has been violence, etc. How many cops were hurt? Any hospitalised? One cop got 20 stitches in his hand from a thrown piece of glass. What else?

O yeah, your understanding of “Anarchism” is that of propaganda against it. Please read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism

Thank you.

P.S. To all: This has been a great discussion! Thanks. See you later. Hope I ain’t been too much of a bother!

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By Robespierre115, December 4, 2011 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

@Lafayette, as for Egypt, sorry to say but in the particular case the secular elements have no one but themselves to blame. First the secular youth trusted a bunch of old guard generals and never made the effort to seriously organize and form alternatives, as has been done in Latin America where new movements and popular parties were born literally in the heat of street combat. Now they’ve spent weeks demanding the generals step down without even suggesting who or what they want in their place. So who wins? The Islamic parties which are organized, clear in their goals and alternatives and who’ve done the hard work of organizing for years among various sectors of society. In a way it should be a lesson to OWS which protests the current conditions, but forms nothing new to end them. Spain is another example, the Indignados protested and openly said they weren’t for any side or idea, ok, so now the ultra-right party won the recent elections in a landslide.

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By Robespierre115, December 4, 2011 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

@AnAlienEarthling, of course our government should remain strictly secular and its laws un-theocratic for the benefit of all. When I use the word “justification” I mean that for a progressive, radical Christian, his/hers belief in social justice is justified to them by their own personal faith, and in a free society they should be able to say “I support OWS because the Gospels advocate social justice and so I stand in solidarity with anyone who fights for the poor.” We live in very cynical times and as I stated before, it does the movement harm for people to panic because someone says “I believe in Jesus and because of that I support social justice.” They are not imposing a faith on anyone, they are not asking anyone to convert, they are being open in the way someone might say “I am a Marxist” or “I am an atheist.” Maybe their stance freaks people out in our postmodern age where the average person, including protesters, are scared of offending anyone and so they proclaim empty slogans about how there is no right-wing or left-wing, capitalism and socialism are the same, they don’t care for politics but want political change etc.

@Lafayette, again, in this particular case you’re seeing something that just isn’t there. How do Christians who simply support OWS because of what their faith teaches threaten our democratic order? You mention Divine Right, but you ignore the complexity of Christian history. The Anabaptists were some of the first Christians who called for the overthrow of kings and feudalism, figures like Thomas Muntzer were so radical that Marx, Engels and Bakunin paid homage. I think you’re allowing your personal feelings towards religion cloud your judgement here because where is the theocratic threat in this article? Let’s not turn into Sam Harris-like clowns afraid of the Jesus under our beds. It’s ridiculous. I would support some of your points if these were people who launched some sort of “Christian Party” to take power, but you have to smoke some still undiscovered leaf to see that in this piece.

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By AnAlienEarthling, December 4, 2011 at 1:21 am Link to this comment

Robes,
Perhaps,it is their personal felt “justification.” Be that as it may, it is not a justification that we as a nation would (indeed, should) recognize. Imagine an appeal reaching the Supreme Court: because it “says” in the Bible that, because America is a “Christian” nation .... For the same reason, no such personal “justification” should ever be “legitimated” to oppose Roe V Wade….
Let it be motivation - it cannot be recognized as any justification….

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By screamingpalm, December 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

By Joseph Couture, December 3 at 7:28 am

One church here where I live offered “sanctuary” to the Occupiers only to withdraw the offer and ask them to leave when they found out their insurance didn’t cover them for liability.  The message: Jesus loves you as long as you can’t sue his ass.

Thanks for that, made my day today.

As others have already pointed out, bad things happen when you integrate religion into politics, I prefer they remain as seperate as possible. Thanks, but no thanks.

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By Lafayette, December 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

Robe: Should Christians who sympathize with the popular movement stand aside? These guys are not calling for a theocracy, they are simply examining how their belief system justifies the fight on the side of the poor and unequal.

Given your pseudo, you don’t seem to understand history.

Divine Right was the means by which the Church ensconced royalty into absolute power. It is the manner in which the Church and Royalty had clear but separate agreements as regards each other’s “territory”. (Fundamentalist Church rules forbade teaching European peasants how to read because only its clergy should be able to interpret the bible. No monarchy ever disputed that rule and wide-spread elementary education was unknown until the 19th century.)

Religious fundamentalism has done much the same in Iran today and threatens to do so in Egypt.

And we think, because we are a democracy, that we can elect people who have no dependence upon religion for their political beliefs? That is very, very naive.

An example: The issue alone of abortion shows how religion can confuse the debate about a woman’s freedom to chose what do do with her own body.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics can all participate in the OWS movement. They need only bring their political beliefs to the demonstrations and leave their religious beliefs at home.

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By greg_2, December 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

(I’m getting an error posting this. Hope it doesn’t come out twice. It’s not my fault!)

Not all “churches” support OWS. I’ve read of OWS-ers being turned away from some churches, and welcomed by others.

Should “religious people” be allowed to participate? Yes.

Should “a religious organisation” be part of OWS? No.

***
True story:

At Occupy Boston a couple of weeks ago, three or four people came to visit, who were from some “church.” At first, they had up a homophobic sign, but for some reason they quickly put it away. Weird.

Then they set up a milk-crate and a young man (say 16) stood on the crate, and, with a bull-horn, starting quoting “scripture” and was saying how all non-believers are going to hell. Yes. Prosthelytizing (sp?) to the “Anarchists” and “Socialists” and “hippies” of OB.

The kid was way serious: “You all are going to hell unless you embrace jesus!”

Well, he was allowed to do his thing for about 30 minutes; and still going strong! Then some OB people stood in front of them with their backs to them. Then someone, then three and four people starting drawing large hearts in chalk around the religious folk.

Then drums, four of them, were brought over to drown him out. Free speech free-fer-all! Battle of voices! People held up hastily written signs: “They don’t speak for us!”

But that kid just preached louder.

Only, when one of the OB-ers decided to actually talk to the religious folk did that kid finally shut… I mean, stop speaking. They finally had a dialogue going.

It was really weird and fun to watch. Nuts can join too.

P.S. Some will say: “Oooo, you tried to stop their speech you hypocrates!” Well, touchy subject. The religious folks were there, to take advantage of the crowds, to incite, too provoke and to make a speech bordering on hate speech.

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By greg_2, December 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

Not all “churches” support OWS. I’ve read of OWS-ers being turned away from some churches, and welcomed by others.

Should “religious people” be allowed to participate? Yes.

Should “a religious organisation” be part of OWS? No.

***
True story:

At Occupy Boston a couple of weeks ago, three or four people came to visit, who were from some “church.” At first, they had up a homophobic sign, but for some reason they quickly put it away. Weird.

Then they set up a milk-crate and a young man (say 16) stood on the crate, and, with a bull-horn, starting quoting “scripture” and was saying how all non-believers are going to hell. Yes. Prosthelytizing (sp?) to the “Anarchists” and “Socialists” and “hippies” of OB.

The kid was way serious: “You all are going to hell unless you embrace jesus!”

Well, he was allowed to do his thing for about 30 minutes; and still going strong! Then some OB people stood in front of them with their backs to them. Then someone, then three and four people starting drawing large hearts in chalk around the religious folk.

Then drums, four of them, were brought over to drown him out. Free speech free-fer-all! Battle of voices! People held up hastily written signs: “They don’t speak for us!”

But that kid just preached louder.

Only, when one of the OB-ers decided to actually talk to the religious folk did that kid finally shut… I mean, stop speaking. They finally had a dialogue going.

It was really weird and fun to watch. Nuts can join too.

P.S. Some will say: “Oooo, you tried to stop their speech you hypocrates!” Well, touchy subject. The religious folks were there, to take advantage of the crowds, to incite, too provoke and to make a speech bordering on hate speech.

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By Robespierre115, December 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

Interesting to wander in and find a string full of intellectual thumb wrestling about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  Religion is, at its base, emotional satisfaction.  Therein lies the problem, invoking the Flying Spaghetti Monster to justify your position is meaningless, as history, and I’m sure the future, will show again and again that it is on all sides of every issue.”

But specific forms of theology, philosophy etc., influence people’s actions. Again, I draw attention here to the Reformation and the Radical Reformation and the ideas begun in that particular era that along with the Renaissance helped inaugurate the modern world. Read Engels’ “The Peasant War In Germany” or “The German Peasant’s War And Anabaptist Community of Goods” by James M. Stayer. Or for those who want some radical but fun reading, there’s the novel “Q” by the anarchist collective Luther Blissett (now calling themselves Wu Ming).

Action is important, but we’re finding ourselves in a time when there is action without ideaology, protest without ideas, or as Slavoj Zizek has stated, people want coffee without sugar. And in this case we have Christians speaking out in favor of social protest and those who believe themselves to be too modern or rational put their fists over their ears and whine about the evils of religion. At least these Christians are speaking out, meanwhile people like Richard Dawkins, who is a talented scientist but repugnant man, dedicate themselves to organize events to spread paranoia about Muslim immigrants in Europe. Christopher Hitchens also dedicates his time to repeating what we already know about organized religion and the corruption within the embedded systems like the Vatican…oh, and still irrationally justifying the Iraq War.

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By Robespierre115, December 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

@greg_2, actually a good place to start to learn about Anarchism are the works of Bakunin and Kropotkin, start with “Bakunin On Anarchism,” an excellent collection of his writings where he specifies that even in anarchist revolution, you need disciplined organizing and a “partisan” tone: Either support social revolution or stay with the old guard. That’s not directed at you, but at those who try to wave the banner of anarchy as if it just means running around “leaderless” and protesting for the sake of protesting.

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