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Freedom From Terror: MLK JR’s Legacy


“Your father and his brother, the mayor, came into the kitchen with a rope. They said a black man had raped a white woman and they were going out hunting for him. I was terrified.”

Until I was an adult, my mother had told me nothing about her dashing, handsome husband, my birth father.

She asked me not to look for him because he was “dangerous.” I honored her request until I was forty-seven years old, when I searched for and found my father, an old man living in South Georgia.

Mom was a beautiful, small town Northern Pennsylvania school teacher who had spent years caring for her sick mother. He, a charming Southern soldier on leave, had swept her off her feet. They married on a whim. On their honeymoon, he took her to visit his traditional, southern family where she discovered his true identity.

With a flare towards the romantic, mom picked her china pattern, ‘The Georgian’ by Homer Laughlin,  learned to make Southern Biscuits, got on a train back to Pennsylvania and seldom saw the man she married until after WWII.

He returned to discuss divorce, disown me, and disappear. He never appeared in our family story until I found him in his kitchen forty-seven years later.

“I always wondered what happened to you, but I never did anything about it.” sad words from my elderly father, as I sat at his knee bawling.

We spoke on the phone several times and then three months later he died. The end.  Yet my work was just beginning. I needed to forgive the trauma and loneliness, depression and anger that remained in me.

When I read this article, I remembered him again and thought about the terror he was responsible for in that Southern town so many years ago.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/29/1011562/-Most-of-you-have-no-idea-what-Martin-Luther-King-actually-did

Some Things to Consider: Sam Harris, the New Atheists, and anti-Muslim animus


Freedom From Religion Foundation

Freedom From Religion Foundation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Of course one can legitimately criticize Islam without being bigoted or racist. That’s self-evident, and nobody is contesting it. And of course there are some Muslim individuals who do heinous things in the name of their religion – just like there are extremists in all religions who do awful and violent things in the name of that religion, yet receive far less attention than the bad acts of Muslims (in the following article are recent examples). Yes, “honor killings” and the suppression of women by some Muslims are heinous, just as the collaboration of US and Ugandan Christians to enact laws to execute homosexuals is heinous, and just as the religious-driven, violent occupation of Palestine, attacks on gays, and suppression of women by some Israeli Jews in the name of Judaism is heinous”.

via Sam Harris, the New Atheists, and anti-Muslim animus | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

What do you think?

Gay Marriage Revisited


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd”

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride.

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry for the hateful rhetoric that comes out of people’s mouths about same-sex relationships. I realize that some of this garbage originates out of misguided Christian beliefs, and I would defend a Gay person to my death against a hateful bigoted Christian.

I also want my Gay friends to know that I am struggling over what the Scriptures teach.

I often talk about this with Christians who say,  “We know same-sex relationships are wrong: we love the person but we hate the sin.”

“God says it, I believe it, That settles it!”

But, somehow, I feel that just isn’t enough for our complex society.

I mention that Jesus hadn’t spoken about it…”Well, No.”

What does it mean that Jesus didn’t speak about same-sex relationships but Paul did?

I am one follower of Christ, who doesn’t separate  the Scriptures into “Red Letters” as my Social Activist heroes, Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo tend to do. This means they are primarily followers of those words of Christ and leave to (?) the rest

But, since I began to follow Christ as a very young person, the Bible has been my guidebook. How else could I know God? Did He have a plan for me? We are guided by circumstance, by counsel, but the Bible is the best instruction manual I know on how to live and I’ve followed it my entire adult life and found it very practical and foolproof.

But, God’s ways aren’t always the easiest to figure out. (HA!)

I’ve found God’s love to be great and covering over a multitude of my wrongs and even, societal wrongs which I would like to wipe off the map.

I know God doesn’t condone injustice and ill-treatment of people who are helpless, and that He tells us to not judge others. We are supposed to leave that to Him. But, we are supposed to be discerning and make wise decisions about life.

So, I struggle with what the Bible teaches sometimes, and there are some Scriptures I just wish weren’t in there! I used to think people chose to be in same-sex relationships, because I didn’t think God would make “mistakes” about sexuality, but, I’ve changed in that.

I really don’t understand it, but I think our world isn’t perfect and few sexual relationships are either. So…I abandoned that theory.  But, why on earth would God allow things to become sooo hard?

Did He want people to remain celibate? That is, not have sex unless they were married? Then is Gay Marriage a part of His plan? Sounds good, right?

But, how can I say this boldly enough??? I CAN’T JUST IGNORE WHAT IS CLEARLY FORBIDDEN IN SCRIPTURE…SUCH AS ADULTERY, GLUTTONY, AND LYING WITH THE SAME SEX.

Maybe people like me died in prison in the past, because their religious beliefs didn’t coincide with what was politically correct. They could not change what they believed to be true.

I would hope that our society would be open to Christians and non-Christians who believe different things. But, you know, there is unprecedented pressure on us Christians to accept Gay rights, without regard to our own beliefs.  It’s like we have to go into the closet while Gay people come out.

Is that what is expected?

Hmm?

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2013/03/15/gay-marriage-revisited/

Democrat. Jewish. Still Voting for Obama.


We’re disappointed too…for one of the same reasons Emily Hauser mentions in her article in the Daily Beast.  Read on.

Democrat. Jewish. Still Voting for Obama. – The Daily Beast.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.”


Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bombe...

Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bomber Stopped in Gaza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage (Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces)

I wish this title were true, or even wishful thinking. There are two sides to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict and this incident illustrates it well.

I’ve heard that at this time when the Palestinians are increasing their efforts at non-violent negotiations and protests, the Israelis are increasing their aggressive behaviors.

As I watched the following short, YouTube clip sent by a Christian friend, several thoughts ran through my mind.

What is Done in Secret?  uL-GmYBNDqY

Sure, the young protesters were there to provoke a response, but they were non-violent. They were present in Israel to call attention to the violence and injustice done towards Palestinians, something seldom seen in the Western press, and not deemed important by American Christians.

That there are real security concerns in Israel is a fact.  The IDF is trained to suspect all Palestinians of the most egregious crimes and behaviors.  They do not differentiate. Imagine an entire nation labeled “Terrorist Killers”! This includes small children, pregnant women, old women and hard working farmers who are Muslim and Christian.

That there is an over diligence and over reaction often to the point of bullying on the part of the IDF and the Government is a well documented fact.

Let’s give the Lt. Col. who over reacted, the benefit of the doubt: PTSD, Family troubles, Stress, Depression, Economic problems may have entered in.  But, consider what happens in similar situations to a lone Palestinian farmer who doesn’t have a camera following him, when he argues with a soldier about the confiscation of his land?

Read what blogger Emily L. Hauser, who left Israel because of their policies toward the Palestinians, has to say.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.” « Emily L. Hauser – In My Head.

Boycott Israeli Settlement Products


Nof Zion (settlement)

Nof Zion (settlement) Decode Jerusalem)

In case you are interested in which products are made in Israeli settlements, I have found some lists.

This boycott is to protest the Israeli Settlements and their illegal occupation of Palestinian land inside the West Bank/Green Line.

It is NOT to protest the State of Israel nor their right to have a secure homeland.

http://www.meretzusa.org/boycott-these-settlement-products-sold-us

Boycott Israel Campaign. This is a Muslim Website.

The American Black Males “Don’t” List…”Don’t Act Threatening”


How many of us white parents have instructed our young sons about the company they keep? How about driving too fast, keeping their grades up, and studying before watching TV or playing games?  Have you warned your son lately about the dangers of running with anything in his hand or running at all in public?

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (werthmedia)

I was very moved this morning, when I heard Jonathan Capehart on “Morning Joe” talking about the warnings he received as a young, black male close to Trayvon Martin’s age and earlier…these exact warnings, and others.

What an unimaginably perverse world these young African-American men, children really, live in, when 17 is as innocent as carrying Skittles and Iced Tea and rushing to get home for the NBA playoffs and as menacing as being pursued and killed by a “vigilant citizen”.

Our own adopted son, who is brown and a Pacific Islander, was well aware of the need to keep a low profile when he was driving, especially when he wore a baseball cap and drove his rusted out red(ish) car. “Mom, cops always pull over the black kid with the red car and baseball cap, even if they’re not doing anything.” (nor even Black…but simply “shaded” a beautiful brown).

He has been strong armed and attempts made, by clientele, to bar him from some “hangouts” in Ithaca, NY. Called “Black”, and most recently “Mexican”, the wonderful ability he has to identify with most of the rest of the world culturally, is seen as a flaw and a threat in white Western nations.

I marvel that we, his father and mother, who are white, can travel so many places in the Middle East and be welcomed into homes of strangers, yet our son has never felt welcomed in his adopted country.

What adds insult to injury in the Trayvon Martin case, is that the killer, though known, has not yet been arrested, but Trayvon’s body was held for three days while drug testing was done.

Some of you can’t imagine this happening to your sons, but I can, and so can thousands of other mom’s in the Western world: Mom’s of foreign, dark children; Mom’s of African-American kids; Mom’s of Muslim boys…the list goes on.

We make laws to prevent terror, but we remain terrified and suspicious of people unlike ourselves. I’ve learned this is true of non-whites as well. We truly cannot adequately step into another person’s shoes without intentionally changing course, and changing course feels like a betrayal to “our own”.

Some Americans continue looking the other way, telling me that racism is a thing of the past here.

Well, it’s not, nor will it be,  until extraordinary understanding and compassion have replaced fear and loathing in our hearts.

Under ‘suspicion’: The killing of Trayvon Martin – PostPartisan – The Washington Post.