I just came across this video from Nathan Blanc, a 19 year old Israeli who has refused the mandatory time of service in the Israeli military because of his objection to the occupation of Palestine. Israeli law does not allow for conscientious objectors so they are sent to prison if they refuse to serve. Hear what he has to say and judge for yourself, and then check out this link to an article about other Israeli youth who are picking prison over occupation.
There has never been a time when somebody in our government was not misbehaving in some kind of way, whether it’s overthrowing democratically elected presidents of other countries or tailoring legislation to fill the pockets of campaign donors. The latest misbehavior has involved the surveillance of the Associated Press by the Justice Department as part of an investigation of leaks of classified information and the targeted scrutiny of conservative political “non-profits” by the IRS. The sad irony in these incidents is that the government is behaving undemocratically and very clumsily in response to issues that are legitimately undermining our democracy. Continue reading
In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt traces the history of European anti-Semitism through its many decades stewing as an ideology that became normative. It was like a dormant ideological virus until the right social catalyst transformed it into genocide: the economic devastation and social upheaval of Eastern Europe after the first World War and then the Great Depression. I’m genuinely concerned that the escalating anti-government rhetoric within the US is functioning similarly as a viral ideology that will turn bloody given the right social catalyst. This question will offend some people, but I think it’s my duty to ask it. If you say you’re collecting guns to protect yourself from government tyranny and you call the current president a tyrant, at what point are you going to start shooting? Continue reading
Recently I’ve found myself called into conversation with the new evangelical feminist movement that has blown up in the last few years. I consider myself an ally, a “man-feminist” if you will. I also consider myself a misogynist, or someone who sins uniquely against women because of things about my manhood. My own particular form of misogyny often manifests itself as my need to be recognized as the hero of Christian feminists everywhere, the anti-Driscoll (Give me my gold star for pointing out all the flaws of other men I already define myself against anyway!). So I wanted to consider what it means to be an ally who is still a misogynist and also to try to translate terms and build bridges for Christian men who burst blood vessels in their foreheads when they hear words like misogyny.
Do you think these human beings matter to God? They certainly don’t matter much to us. About a hundred prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are now engaged in a hunger strike. But don’t worry; the prison guards won’t let them die. They force-feed them through tubes in their noses. Apparently one detainee has been force-fed daily since 2005. Continue reading
A number of people in my church have been impacted by the game of chicken known as sequestration that Obama and the Republicans are playing with one another. Almost everyone either works for the civilian sector of the government, a government contractor, or the military. Several people have lost their jobs; many have been furloughed. And that’s why I’m more than a little bit hot about the way that Congress has suddenly bolted in action to exempt the FAA from sequestration rules so that people won’t have to wait in line at airports. It’s an illustration of the uniquely American religious belief in ideology without consequences. Continue reading
He always had a joke for the pastor in the handshake line, often a slapstick pun characteristic of an older guy who didn’t mind being corny. He carried himself with the confidence of an ordained Methodist minister, former congressman, seminary president, and National Council of Churches secretary-general, but he was thoroughly humble and approachable, caring intimately about the personal lives of his fellow parishioners at Burke United Methodist Church. I was deeply honored to be a pastor in the church that Bob Edgar attended. His most recent position was the president of Common Cause, a national campaign to get corporate money out of politics. Bob believed in democracy, and he believed that Christians should fight for the common good. It was devastating to learn of his sudden death this week in a dark time when his prophetic vision has never been more sorely needed.
I knew it was coming. The lunatics in the outrage industrial complex are out in full force trying to say that because the Boston bomber brothers are from Chechnya, it goes to show what immigrants will do, and therefore our thoroughly broken immigration system should not be reformed. Actually events like this illustrate exactly why the immigration system needs to be reformed (even though both brothers were naturalized US citizens and their immigration status had nothing to do with what they did). Continue reading
If I were a non-Christian looking from the outside in, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to think that American Christians’ two highest priorities right now are keeping the government from taking away our guns and stopping gay people from getting married. And I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to assume that Jesus sure must love guns and hate sex. But should these really be our priorities as Christians? And if not, how did they rise to the place of prominence they have? Continue reading
One of my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd songs is “Mr. Saturday Night Special.” The US Senate’s decision to disregard the will of 92% of the US population today regarding mandatory background checks for gun sales makes it apropos to share the lyrics on my blog. I used to blast Lynyrd Skynyrd on my car stereo in tenth grade when I wore cowboy boots and a Texas Ranger belt buckle to school every day. It used to be okay for wannabe redneck teenage kids to listen to Southern rock songs that weren’t in line with the ideological orthodoxy of the NRA. That was before the crazies took over.