Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They're Running for President of the United States, Not President of the Southern Baptist Convention!

OMG, I wish a Druid or a Hindu would run for president, win, and do an amazing job as world leader just to put this question of who is and isn't "Christian" to bed once and for all. Christianity, by Graham's or anyone else's definition, is NOT a requirement for public office in this country. Remember?!?!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Prayer of Compassion

This was one of those days when I kept receiving information about the struggles others are going through.
When I feel concern or compassion for someone, I tend to pray.

By "pray" I don't mean that I am trying to get the gods to notice someone they had previously overlooked, nor do I mean that I am trying to persuade a cosmic dictator to show kindness that he/it/she otherwise would not be inclined to show.

Prayer for me is more of an artistic practice, a way of expressing hope and concern, of allowing myself to feel united with the person for whom I pray, and a way of releasing my own sense of helplessness by doing "something."

Such prayer might be lengthy, flowery prose.
Or, it could be short one line affirmations or declarations of compassion and care.
Or, it could be a moment of silence, just holding a person (or persons) in mind, letting the silence wash over me and imagining it extending to them as a blanket of comfort.
Or, it could be an active imagining, a visualization of the person being cared for, safe, content, and renewed.

Whatever the form of the prayer, what I am really saying, to myself, to the universe, and to the human family is that I realize we are all somehow connected, and I want to inject optimism or compassion or goodwill into the lifestream we all share.

These moments of prayer almost always bring some sense of comfort to me.
I hope that comfort reaches the ones for whom I pray as well.
And sometimes, it actually seems as if such prayers contribute to some form of healing, growth, recovery, reconciliation, strength, learning, or breakthrough.

So, tonight as I come to the end of my day, I remember those whose needs were brought to my attention.
I remember one whose pet companion died.
I remember one who lost her father after a brief illness.
I remember one who lost his father after a lengthy illness.
I remember one who is struggling to become sober.
And another.
And another.
I remember one who is having medical tests.
I remember one who is living with a difficult secret.
And another.
I remember one who has been without work for a while now.
I remember one who has struggled with physical pain, loss, financial difficulty, and depression for many, many years.
I remember one who is summoning the courage to come out of a self-imposed isolation.
I remember one who is recovering from an illness.
And another.
And another.

I'm honored that so many people dare to share their burdens so that they might be lightened.
I'm honored to be one who can remember, who can care.
And so I do remember these who expressed need, concern, or sorrow today.
I wish each one health, happiness, security, fulfillment, and peace.

These are my prayers. I release them to the perfection of divine right action.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rickie Santorum

So, I've been asked why I haven't yet blogged (or otherwise commented) on Sen. Rick Santorum.
The truth is, I don't find him compelling enough to talk about (well, until I'm asked to actually think about him and comment). He is a garden variety theocrat, a rabid homophobe, and an opponent of procreative freedom. He claims to be a conservative, but his conservatism seems to be a mix of wanting the US to serve as the global police force (sounds disturbingly like imperialism), a religious world view from the middle ages that may not be entirely comfortable admitting even still that the world isn't flat, and an unapologetic privileging of maleness and heteronormativity. I'm not sure that's "conservative" as much as its just white male privilege trying to hold onto power.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mean to suggest that Santorum isn't dangerous. I mean, whenever we don't take threats seriously, they have a way of becoming even more threatening. I'm not suggesting that by ignoring him he'll just go away. But his unenlightened, hateful rhetoric, his intolerance of women's agency, and his opposition to equal rights for all people just seem so extreme, so misguided, so antiquated, and so ridiculous, I have a hard time imagining that he would appeal to the majority of Americans, or even to the majority of Republicans. I just am still enough of a humanist to believe that most humans want better representation than that. However, I have been wrong before.

I don't know Sen. Santorum. He must be intelligent; he holds both law and business degrees. He must appeal to some people; he held a senate seat for a dozen years and recently won some primaries/caucuses as he seeks his party's nomination for president. He has a family and I'm sure he loves them and they probably love him, too. He even has a fairly decent smile. He can't be soul-less. He must possess some good qualities. But his inability to separate the right wing of Christianity from faith in general, and his unwillingness to separate personal faith from public office is disturbing, and for me, enough to disqualify him as a national leader.

When people try to legislate their personal faith, it not only shows their faith to be weak (why else would it need political enforcement for it to seem legitimate to them), but it also poses a real danger to everyone who doesn't share their faith...and in a nation that has always prided itself on freedom of (and from ) religion, that is problematic.

I hope Mr. Santorum does not get his party's nomination.
I hope Mr. Santorum never becomes president.
I hope Mr. Santorum never holds public office again.
But I also want to have and express these hopes without demonizing him personally. He is a member of the human family and he, like all people, possesses sacred value. However, that still isn't quite enough to elevate him to the status of world leader.

So there. I have now expressed views about former Senator Rick Santorum.

My non-sectarian prayer for this election year is: "Let there truly be liberty and justice for ALL and may peace prevail on earth."

Vote in November :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Facts vs. Rumor, Legend, or Myth

"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe." Andy Rooney

This explains why gossip seems so much more powerful than verifiable metrics. People are looking for facts that agree with their opinions, and if they can't find them, they'll just stick with their opinions. Sigh.

Monday, February 13, 2012

There Is No Victimization of the Majority

Here's the thing...
Those of us who enjoy majority status absolutely CANNOT pretend to be victimized by our majority status.

1. There is no reverse racism. One must have the social power of the dominant race to be racist. Anyone can be prejudiced, even bigoted. But to be racist, one must enjoy the privilege of majority (or in the case of Apartheid era South Africa, the power of the controlling minority). So, attempts to level the playing field, mend systems damaged by institutional racism, make amends for past injustices, or prevent continuing injustices is not a persecution of white people who still, on the whole, control most of this country's wealth and make up most of this country's systems of power.

2. Challenging misogyny, naming sexism, valuing the contributions of women, breaking long standing boys clubs, attempting to change language so that it no longer privelges maleness, and insisting that women are not disqualified because of their gender from any position of authority or leadership is not a persecution of men. To have one's privilege threatened is not the same as to have one's person or personal dignity threatened.

3. Same gender love and attraction does NOT pose a threat to family, society, religion, or the common good. It has always existed. It will always exist. And allowing people to celebrate their love openly and forbidding the oppression of same-gender loving people is not a persecution of heterosexuals, tradition (which is ever evolving anyway), values, patriotism, or faith.

We all enjoy some level of privilege. Recognizing that privilege, renouncing at least some of it as much as is possible, and caring about those who have been disadvantaged by our privilege isn't is just, and fair, and ethical.

Aren't we finally evolved enough as a society to acknowledge this and work together to dismantle systems of real oppression that have left far too many people marginalized for far too long?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Same-sex Marriage Continues to Gain Ground

To those who argue that marriage has always been betwen a man and a woman, let me respond:

Marriage has not always been between A man and A woman...different societies have had different norms. A man and a woman, a man and multiple women, a woman and multiple men (fewer, but they have existed), a man and a woman and a 2-spirited man (who would cross dress as a woman) who would be the husband's second wife (again, few, but it has existed), and there is even historical documentation of same-gender "friends" who have had their unions blessed by the church in the middle ages. Some cultures have allowed divorce and remarriage while others have not. Some have allowed young teens to marry (not appropriate for our day and time, but in the past it happened), and so on. Marriage has meant many things over many centuries across many cultures. Now, just b/c marriage has or has not looked a certain way in times past doesn't negate the need for us to what is just and fair NOW. And while many countries do not recognize gay marriage (yet), other countries do, some first nations do, and now some US states do. The trend will continue to move toward liberty and justice for ALL.