Thursday, June 18, 2015

Domestic Racist Terrorism

Can any of us know the terror and ultimately the grief of a family, of loved ones, of a congregation, of a community, of a people which has experienced such a racist murderous act? It’s unimaginable, AGAIN!

South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, speaking for the citizens of that former confederate state, voiced what some believed to be her grief. Yet, it’s not what Governor Haley said; it’s not her tears which express the true sentiments of her adopted white supremacy; it’s what she didn’t say.
In a statement Haley publicly released shortly after the murders, she proclaimed her surety of only one thing, that “we do know that we'll never understand what motivates" people to commit acts of violence such as this. Really governor?  When a group of black people gather to pray in the Emanuel AME Church which stands eloquently on its nationally prominent foundation of freedom fighting and equal rights, and when a white man joins this prayer group later murdering nine innocent members while announcing that he has “to do it . . . You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go,” Governor, do you really wonder what motivates people - while you fully support the continued flying at full mast of a confederate flag on capital grounds?
The overt, de jure practice of slavery, and the dehumanization of human persons of color, may have vanished in its material substance, but its ghost lives on in this covert de facto Spector of intolerance and hatred. To reduce this terrorism to a question of an unknowing motivation is reprehensible and inhumane.
Haley’s solution? Let’s murder the murderer even though state endorsed murder has never been a solution or a deterrent to hatred. However, it’s far more comfortable than a dialogue in South Carolina on racism.
As reprehensible if not more so is what Lindsay Graham, US Senator from South Carolina offered as his observation. “There are real people who are organized out there to kill people in religion . . . There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” What part of Roof’s statement does the esteemed Senator not understand? Was it that CHRISTIANS were raping our women and CHRISTIANS were taking over the country that motivated these murders? It’s about race, Senator; it’s about hatred of BLACK people and not about people who are Christian. Your integrity Sir, is raped by your cowardice.
AGAIN, I ask, Is there no end?

One hundred years of frustration and battle have not resulted in victory over Jim Crow and racism.” (Freedomways, XIII, 1973)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A White Christian Boy

Back in 2003-4, a white "Christian" boy, age 14 - 15, ". . . acted inexcusably" (in his revisionist words) when he sexually molested (it is reported) up to 5 underage girls, including four of his sisters. STOP.

He fondled some as they slept and some while they were awake. STOP. The boy’s father and mother kept this nightmare hidden for at least a year, after which the father went to the police with the information (read: the victims came forward - don’t confuse a proactive valiant act with a cowardly reactive one). STOP. 
The boy was sent away from home (his virtual harem) for “hard physical work and counseling.” STOP. 
The parents, devout Independent Baptists and adherents of the Christian patriarchy movement, kept the abused girls at home. STOP. 
Five years later Jesus rewarded them with a TV reality series. The brood increased; the money increased. STOP. 
Seven years later Jesus tired of them, leaked their secret onto the web and threw them under the bus. STOP. 
The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away. STOP. Amen

It’s a gender issue; it’s a race issue; it’s a religion issue. It’s about hypocrisy; it’s about self-indulgence; it’s about self-righteousness. It’s about greed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm Christian; therefore I'm God.

Evangelical Christians. Fundamentalist Christians. The Christian Right. Christian Conservatives. Whatever the flavor of the month is the message should be the same: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus’ answer to that conniving lawyer in Matthew should form the basis from which Christian ethics, Christian morals, Christian values and Christian love flow. Yet, is this what truly drives self-proclaimed Christians to say or act as they do?

The host of a popular Christian Evangelical program, the 700 Club, made some disturbing comments this week. A man wrote to the host, Pat Robertson, seeking help for his friend whose wife has Alzheimer's and no longer recognizes her husband. Robertson responded, "I hate Alzheimer's" and then he offered the following advice which aired on Tuesday's program: "I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.

"Huh?? I assumed Robertson believed marriage to be sacred. Don’t spouses vow to love each other ". . . in sickness and in health, til death do us part”? Isn't that what Robertson preaches? And what of divorce? Doesn't Jesus say in Matthew, "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery . . ."? And what of sharing in the suffering of Christ? Robertson advises that the husband walk away from the cross simply because his wife doesn't recognize him. Another, “Huh?” Isn’t Robertson pro-life? I suppose, the answer is yes, however it appears his position may be conditional. If it's convenient, then defend it; if it's uncomfortable, then reject it. This sounds more like pro-choice, than pro-life. Is this really the message of Jesus’ love?

My mother was care-giver to my father during his 5 years with diagnosed Alzheimer’s; she hid his decent into the maelstrom from us, her children; she couldn't bear my father being taken away from her. We ultimately 'discovered' her secret, and we reluctantly placed my father in a nursing facility, against my mother’s protests. My mother however, continued to visit him every day without fail. Why? Because she loved him “in sickness and in health”; she couldn’t imagine being without her beloved partner. Only death could part them physically. As horrid as the disease became, it brought out the best in my siblings and me as well – it brought out the best of all that my father gave to us: his love, his compassion, his humor, his strength, his dedication, his patience (well maybe not so much his patience, ha ha).

I am truly appalled that a man who contends to ‘know’ God, who contends to be Christian, could so brashly offer such an unloving statement of advice. It’s as if Robertson is forgetting that he is NOT God. AND if he thinks he is, he should at least project some semblance of God’s true message. It would be good for the ratings.

When I was a young man living in New York City, I worked in a Catholic book store in the west village. Often a homeless person would walk in, walk around and walk out. This one afternoon, a man walked in, tattered and confused. He asked me where he was. I described the store and showed him some of the books we sold. He asked if Catholic books were Christian. I answered in the affirmative, whereupon he stated: “I don’t mind Christianity so much; but Oh those Christians!!"

. . . And Oh that Pat Robertson!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Gospel According to Marc(us)

The good news, according to Dr. Marcus Bachmann, is that Christ is the Almighty Counselor. Apparently Bachmann and Associates, Inc. is the conduit for the supernatural counseling services being provided at his clinic, i.e. the Bachmann “family business”.

The best news, at least for Michele and Marcus Bachmann, is that while Christ is counseling, while Marcus is pronouncing salvation through discipline for barbarians, and while the conjugal-bearer-of-fruit, that tea party darling, is attacking the size of federal government and entitlement programs, the clinic’s coffers are being fed by federally subsidized health dollars that have flowed to their Christian counseling center. This includes $137,000 that Bachmann and Associates, Inc. have received for treating patients in Medicaid-backed programs.

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports:

The previously unreported payments are on top of the $24,000 in federal and state funds that Bachmann & Associates, the clinic founded by Marcus Bachmann . . . received in recent years under a state grant to train its employees, state records show. The figures were provided to NBC News in response to a Freedom of Information request.
Neither Michele nor Marcus Bachmann have publically addressed this. Why? Perhaps Jesus is too busy correcting the barbarians and hasn’t had the time to speak to the Bachmann’s directly.

There are two issues to consider here.

A public duty issue: As a current public servant, and as a potential candidate seeking the highest office in the land, Michele Bachmann should do no less than to defend the First Amendment upholding the “establishment clause”. Would Michele be so silent if the same funds flowed to an Islamic counseling center, or a Scientology counseling center, or a Buddhist counseling center?

A moral issue: As adherents to the Christian Bible, Michele and Marcus Bachmann should know well the words of Jesus in his many references to hypocrites and hypocrisy. Consider one:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matt 23:27-29
Gospel? Good News? It’s all in the eye of the beholder!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bachmann’s Bluff

Apart from not applying the standard punctuation for the abbreviation of Doctor of Philosophy on his website, Bachmann and Associates, Incorporated, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, a self-proclaimed Christian therapist, may be misleading more than the innocent “barbarians” who seek out his “expertise”.

The following is listed in Dr. Bachmann’s bio as part of his educational credentials:
PhD – Clinical Psychology, Union Graduate School, OH.

My first question: Does Union Graduate School exist? The answer: it did exist at one time; it doesn’t exist any more. Here is a chronology of the School’s history.

The Union Graduate School traces its origins to 1964, when a consortium headquartered at the campus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, included a number of schools experimenting with alternative education philosophies. In 1969 the consortium was renamed the "Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities", directing its focus toward providing educational opportunities for non-traditional students whose needs were best served by a non-residential college experience. The consortium also formed a graduate school called "The Union Graduate School", which offered a Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences.

However, in 1978, the consortium filed for bankruptcy, was later reorganized and eventually emerged from bankruptcy renamed as "The Union Institute" (1986). As the Union Institute, it continued to run its graduate school. In October, 2001, the consortium was dissolved, and The Union Institute was renamed the Union Institute & University, which began operating as a private university.

The Union Institute's Ph.D. program came under scrutiny by the Ohio Board of Regents in the late 1990s early 2000s which culminated in its 2002 Reauthorization Report. The report was critical of the Union Institute's Ph.D. program, noting in particular that " ... expectations for student scholarship at the doctoral level were not as rigorous as is common for doctoral work ... " (OBR 2002 Reauthorization Report, page 13) As a result, The Union was put on probation, the Union Graduate School was dissolved and the Ph.D. program was restructured. Formerly the Union had offered one Ph.D. program in Arts and Sciences. Its name and focus were changed and two other doctoral programs were broken out
• Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)
• Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

Currently, the formal title of the Union Institute and University’s Ph.D. degree is " Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies." This title and the program reflect the original idea of the consortium of offering a non-residential Ph.D. program that avoided specialization and did not take as long to complete as a traditional program (originally it took a minimum of two years to complete). While there has been some confusion in the way Ph.D.s are titled, with many Ph.D.s being represented in particular fields, the Ph.D. at the Union Institute and University is and has always been a single Ph.D. and its concentration or specialization areas should not be confused with the degree itself.

What does all this mean? On his website Dr. Bachmann states he’s had 23 years experience. Simple math brings us to the year 1988. If Dr. Bachmann’s Ph.D. was completed prior to this date, he might have graduated from The Union Graduate School which offered ONLY a Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences. If he graduated later than 1986, then he would have graduated from The Union Institute (1986), or The Union Institute and University (2001) and his Ph.D. would have been in Interdisciplinary Studies.

If in fact Dr. Marcus Bachmann graduated from this institute, whatever it was named at the time, he would not have graduated with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The ONLY doctorate in Clinical Psychology was offered after 2001, and the degree is a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) and not a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy).

In my opinion, I highly doubt that Dr. Marcus Bachmann is even a licensed Psychologist. However, at this point in time, I was unable to confirm my suspicion, as web access to the Psychology Board of Minnesota site, which is part of the State of Minnesota website has been suspended for the duration of the state government shutdown.

To err is human; to forgive divine; to mislead is simply un-Christian.