Religion

When Leaders Lie, And Supporters Embrace It

When you say you follow Jesus but support laws that hurt people Jesus helped – people stop believing you & you hurt Christianity. — Mark Sandlin

Regardless of where one stands on the Border Crisis issue, some facts hold up despite this era of dishonesty. The shift that created the crisis was the ‘Zero Tolerance” policy implemented by Attorney Jeff Sessions in April – a policy that has the earmarkings of Stephen Miller. And, as The Atlantic, reported,

…if the goal were simply to draw voters’ attention to the border, there are plenty of ways to do it that are less controversial (not to mention, less cruel) than ripping young children from the arms of asylum seekers and sticking them in dystopian-looking detention centers. But for Miller, the public outrage and anger elicited by policies like forced family separation are a feature, not a bug. 

As appalling as this tactic is, many Christians failed to stand up and reject the hate. It is reminiscent of the 1950s-1960s Civil Rights movement where, historians noted,

“Simply put, any suggestion that the religion of southern whites aided the civil rights struggle grossly perverts the past. While many evangelicals displayed kindness in their personal dealings with blacks, most also enthusiastically defended a system designed to advantage whites and to correspondingly disadvantage African Americans at every turn.”

(The article is an interesting read as it sheds light on the way evangelicals pervert the teachings of Jesus)

But, Trump, who less than a week earlier stated he could not solve the problem (a lie) — Tweeting CHANGE THE LAW — decided, in fact, he could. So, he signed an Executive Order on June 20, ending the process of separating children from their parents.

Congressman Warren Davidson, a self-professed Christian who represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District where I live, wrote on Facebook:

“I’m glad the President acted swiftly to resolve the crisis on our southern border today.”

He wrote this, despite knowing that the crisis was, at minimum one or two months old, and also knowing the Trump administration created the situation by implementing the Zero Tolerance tactic.

When Is A Lie, A Lie?

As NPR, reported, calling a statement a lie is a matter of determining intent, which may be splitting hairs, but it does speak to where we have fallen in our political discourse. In the essay for NPR, the writer takes exception to the organization’s definition and concludes,

More important is that the media and the public register a fundamental fact: Top people speaking for the United States aren’t telling us the truth — starting with the president.

Davidson, who held his cards close to his chest concerning his opinion of Trump, when Davidson ran for election in 2016, has proven to be one of the President’s loudest cheerleaders. Recently he posted on Facebook an article about how great the economy is doing (although none of this goodness has trickled down to Preble County), and when I posted an article with an opposing viewpoint, in response to his assertion, a reader immediately denigrated the article because it was from ABC.

So, in response to the man’s denigration, I posted some Preble County stats which demonstrate the economy is not so great here, followed by the same ABC article edited by Fox News. As a former reporter, I knew the article ran across all news agencies because it was not a commentary, it was just a ‘straight up, hard news’ story. Both versions of the article attested to the reality that many are not sharing in the economy’s ‘goodness’.

But, what I found most interesting, is the ignorance concerning information dissemination that exist in parts of the Trump camp — ignorance that politicians are exploiting. Even though small, rural communities are seeing little, to no, improvement as Wall Street rages – because Wall Street and Main Street are two distinctly separate economies — for fans, there is little faith in information outside their echo chamber. And, if these fans live in more affluent regions, that reality is projected onto all of America.

For politicians, as the saying goes — it’s like taking candy from a baby — making spoon feeding ideology to their base child’s play.

Afterthought

Some of the most comical news I read on Facebook this past week came from my local commissioner who seemed giddy with excitement after getting to shake hands with Vice-President Mike Pence. Pence was in Ohio on Friday touting the greatness of the GOP tax cut (and booming economy). On Facebook the Commissioner said:

My mind went immediately to the song choice because “We are the Champions” feels like an odd selection for the homophobic Pence. The man singing the song, Freddie Mercury, was bisexual and married to a man at the time of his death.

It feels like a Southern rock anthem with some subtle racism would have been a better choice.

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Categories: 8th congressional district, My America, Preble County, Religion

‘Wild Wild Country’ Documentary Pits Small Town America Against Religious Guru

If you enjoy American history, and a well-narrated story, tune into Wild Wild Country on Netflix. It’s binge worthy.

This six-part Netflix original weaves together hours of newsreel beginning in the early 1980s and commencing near the end of the decade. It tells the story of the Rajneesh community located just outside of Antelope, Oregon. Antelope was a town of less than 100 citizens when the Rajneesh community, followers of Osho an Indian mystic guru with a penchant for Roll Royce vehicles, decided to build a city inside the same county as Antelope.

What unfolds over the course of the 6-hour show is a takeover of the small town via the election of Rajneesh members to the local council and, eventually an attempt to win the majority of seats on the Board of County Commissioners.

To review the series, would in many ways, reveal too much of the story, so I won’t. However, I will say I was impressed with the style of storytelling, and found the story intriguing. It is yet another window to peer through to uncover what it means to be an American. The series exposes some of our traits, both good and bad, and demonstrates, in my opinion, how beliefs and motivators often have nothing to do with one’s nationality — they are just universal human tendencies.

Rating: 4.5/5

Categories: American History, movies, Religion

Christians Embracing NFL Anthem Rule Lost Site Of Jesus’ Philosophy

When I see christians embracing the NFL decision to restrict a player’s right to dissent and nullifying a player’s freedom of speech I am reminded of how morally weak too many of them are.

It reminds me of the mindset that led to the creation of the Southern Baptist Church.

The church was established during the Civil War because a group of nationalist christians believed God condoned slavery. They built their belief around an interpretation of the Noah story — where he curses one of his sons into slavery (and apparently waved a magic wand and changed his son’s race). Those christians did not have the moral fortitude to go against popular opinion and do the right thing. They had no desire to solve the social injustice of slavery.

The same holds true today as many christians intentionally and willfully ignore the fact that a man kneeled because of social injustice and White people reframed his movement. As this NFL story unfolds, yet another video had been released of an unarmed Black man being manhandled and tased by White officers. Systematic racism is real. It needs to be solved.

I personally expect political leaders like Pence and Trump to exploit fear, racism, classism and good ole fashioned willful ignorance. But I expect more from those who claim to follow the ‘Prince of Peace.’

I’ve read the Book, Jesus believed in solving social injustice.

And he didn’t give a damn about a flag.

Categories: My America, Religion