Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. The Ferryland – New Foundland Iceberg Easter 2017. A Word Press Production.

Eastern Religion Shrines

Lessons from the Burmese uprising

This situation just sickens me, that holy men and innocents are being killed, this was my comment to Neil McKenty earlier today.

Isn’t there some temporal directive of hellish punishment for someone who kills a holy person? A monk, in my opinion ranks higher than a temporal leader. CHINA can do many things in many places, yet they don’t. This just backs up their human rights violations that they let things like Darfur (read:Oil and Money) and Burma (read:Religious Intolerance) happen.

While the generals shoot to kill the world stands idly by. Someone is going to hell for this one, on the express train.

 **********************

Reports from BBC News Online 

Q&A: Protests in Burma

As demonstrations in Burma continue to gather pace, the BBC looks at what triggered the protests, who is involved and what they could mean for the country’s military leaders.

What sparked the protests?

On 15 August the government decided to increase the price of fuel. Both petrol and diesel doubled in price, while the cost of compressed gas – used to power buses – increased five-fold.

The hikes hit Burma’s people hard, forcing up the price of public transport and triggering a knock-on effect for staples such as rice and cooking oil.

Fuel protest in Rangoon on 22 August

Burmese people are angry about the sudden fuel price increase

Pro-democracy activists led the initial demonstrations in Burma’s main city, Rangoon. When about 400 people marched on 19 August, it was the largest demonstration in the military-ruled nation for several years.

The authorities moved swiftly to quell the protests, rapidly arresting dozens of activists. Nonetheless, protests continued around the country. Numbers were small, but demonstrations were held in Rangoon, Sittwe and other towns.

Why are monks involved?

The monks started participating in large numbers after troops used force to break up a peaceful rally in the central town of Pakokku on 5 September.

At least three monks were hurt. The next day, monks in Pakokku briefly took government officials hostage. They gave the government until 17 September to apologise, but no apology was forthcoming.

When the deadline expired, the monks began to protest in much greater numbers and also withdrew their religious services from the military and their families.

There have been protests every day since the deadline, both in Rangoon and elsewhere, and they are getting bigger by the day. Tens of thousands of monks are now involved.

Buddhist monks address a crowd at the Shwedagon Pagoda (23 September 2007)

More and more Buddhist monks have been joining the marches

The participation of the monks is significant because there are hundreds of thousands of them and they are highly revered. The clergy has historically been prominent in political protests in Burma.

Because of the clergy’s influence, the government has tried hard to woo many senior abbots. The fact that these abbots have chosen to remain silent is a sign for many people that they condone the protests.

Analysts believe that any violence against the monks could trigger a national uprising.

What has the government done about it?

At first, the country’s military leaders held back, letting the protests continue.

But on Monday they said they were ready to “take action”.

By late Tuesday, troops and riot police began to arrive in Rangoon, and a dawn-to-dusk curfew was introduced.

On Wednesday violence broke out at the Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon’s holiest shrine, as police used baton charges and tear gas to try to stop monks embarking on a ninth day of protests.

Further clashes were being reported on Thursday.

Are the protests still about an apology?

For some of the monks, yes. But for others, it has now gone far beyond that.

A group called the Alliance of All Burmese Buddhist Monks has emerged to co-ordinate the protests, and on 21 September it issued a statement describing the military government as “the enemy of the people”.

They pledged to continue their protests until they had “wiped the military dictatorship from the land of Burma”, and they have called on people across Burma to join them.

One rally marched past the house of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, clearly linking the monks’ movement with a desire for a change of government.

Are others joining in?

In the initial days of the protests, the public did not appear to be involved – commentators suggested that they were too scared of retaliation.

But this has gradually changed as the demonstrations have grown in size.

Footage of one protest showed people lining the route as the monks marched, forming a chain to protect them from any retaliation from soldiers.

Aung San Suu Kyi at the gates of her house, greeting the monks amid a heavy guard presence, 22nd Sept

Aung San Suu Kyi was able to greet the monks over the weekend

And on 24 September, thousands of people responded to a call from the monks and joined a massive protest in Rangoon.

Key members of the opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) are now said to be joining the protests, after initially distancing themselves from the action.

When did Burma last see protests like these?

The last time Burma saw anything on this scale was during the popular uprising of August 1988.

These protests were triggered by the government’s decision in 1987 to devalue the currency, wiping out many people’s savings.

Demonstrations began among students and then gradually spread to monks and the public. These culminated in a national uprising on 8 August 1988, when hundreds of thousands of people marched to demand a change of government.

The government sent troops to brutally suppress the protests. At least 3,000 people are believed to have died.

************************************

 

By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs correspondent BBC News website


Riot police in Rangoon

Burmese military has managed to hold together

The military crackdown in Burma is a reminder that street demonstrations do not necessarily lead to success for popular uprisings.

The key factor is the destabilisation of the existing regime and if protests cannot bring that about, they become vulnerable to the kind of repression the Burmese authorities have imposed.

So far, the Burmese military has held together. The campaign for democracy in Burma still hopes for rapid success but fears that the project will be more long-term.

In our day, we have perhaps become so used to seeing pro-democracy protestors toppling authoritarian governments that the difficulties involved can be underestimated.

A handbook for overthrowing such governments would have to include the following factors:

  • Widespread public protests, bringing in many different social and economic groups

  • An opposition leadership with clear ideas around which people can rally

  • The ability to use the media in some form to get a message across

  • A mechanism for undermining the existing regime – whether by internal coup in the case of a military junta, the emergence of reformers, or the simple exhaustion of an existing government leading to its collapse

  • External pressure from key countries able to exert influence.

    Experience has shown that a combination of the above is usually necessary for success.

    Examples

    In Eastern Europe in the 1990s, for example, several factors came into play. There were the protests, the communist governments were exhausted, reformers came to the fore, the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew its support and the local security forces switched sides.

    However, in Uzbekistan in 2005, protests in the city of Andijan were swiftly repressed because they did not lead to wider influences being brought to bear.

    And in China in 1989, the democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square were eventually dispersed by force because the Chinese government cracked down instead of cracking up.

    In Burma, the protesters have been faced with an implacable military government. Maybe elements of the armed forces will rebel and overthrow the old guard. But this has not happened yet.

    In the meantime, the regime has blocked off the media, including the new phenomenon of the internet, which proved instrumental in helping to mobilise opinion abroad.

    External pressure, in the form of international condemnation and talk of sanctions, has not been strong enough to be decisive.

    The China connection

    I watched the unfolding events while on a visit to China, and it was interesting to note the approach to events in Burma there.

    On satellite television, one could see the concern growing in Europe and the United States. This emphasised the way in which the foreign policies of Western governments are influenced by non-governmental organisations, human rights groups and also celebrities.

    On French television, the actress Jane Birkin was interviewed at length about Burma and the next day led a delegation to see President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    In China there was none of that. The media almost ignored the crisis in Burma. The first 10 minutes of the nightly news concentrated, as it always does, on the comings and goings of the senior Chinese leadership, which seemed to consist mostly of making speeches.

    The government in Beijing is not susceptible to influence on human rights grounds. It has a policy of pursuing its own interests world wide (which require the acquisition of large amounts of natural resources) while keeping out of world crises as far as possible.

    There is only one point of pressure on China – the Olympic Games being held in Beijing next year.

    The Chinese government is desperate that there should be no boycott. The Olympics are presented as the symbol of China’s “peaceful rise”, as it is called.

    So China has to pay some attention to world opinion. That has led to it calling for restraint in Burma, but not much more.

    The prospect in Burma now is for another lengthy campaign for democracy of the kind that has had to be waged since the last major crackdown in 1988.

    There will always remain the hope among activists, though, that one of the other decisive factors can suddenly turn things around.

    Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk


    Report: Anglican Head To Meet ‘In Secret’ With Gays

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    THIS is NEWS!!! 

    by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

    (London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

    The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

    The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

    Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

    A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

    Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

    This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

    The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

    Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

    Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

    Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

    Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

    When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

    Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

    Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

    In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

     A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

    Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

    Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

    In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

    ©365Gay.com 2007


    Report: Anglican Head To Meet 'In Secret' With Gays

    gene_robinson.jpg

    THIS is NEWS!!! 

    by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

    (London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

    The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

    The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

    Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

    A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

    Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

    This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

    The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

    Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

    Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

    Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

    Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

    When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

    Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

    Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

    In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

     A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

    Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

    Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

    In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

    ©365Gay.com 2007


    For the Bible Tells Me So …

    For The Bible Tells Me So – Trailer

    For more information go to: For The Bible Tells Me So…

    gene-robinsonb.jpg

    Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake’s provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).

    Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

    gene_robinson.jpg


    Pope speaks of Europe’s tragic past

    capt4bd015a8a6c14b13901156475e6cc741austria_pope_papa102.jpg

    By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer 

    VIENNA, Austria – Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Europe‘s tragic past and warned of its uncertain future Friday as he honored Jews killed in the Holocaust and urged the continent to accept its Christian heritage.

    Abortion must never be considered a human right, Benedict said, and urged European political leaders to encourage young married couples to have children and the continent’s graying population “not to become old in spirit.”

    “Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots,” the pope declared, saying that Christianity has “profoundly shaped this continent.”

    Benedict opened a three-day pilgrimage to Austria, once the center of a Roman Catholic-influenced empire and now a wealthy but small nation that has seen considerable dissent against the church, as in much of Europe.

    In an evening address to Austrian officials and diplomats in the former imperial Hofburg Palace, Benedict spoke of the “horrors of war” and the “traumatic experiences of totalitarianism and dictatorship” that Europe has undergone.

    The pope, born in neighboring Bavaria, Germany, began his visit by paying tribute to Holocaust victims.

    He stepped out of his popemobile in a driving rain and joined Vienna‘s chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in prayer before an austere stone memorial honoring the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps and others burned at the stake in the 1400s after refusing to convert.

    He made no public remarks during the seven-minute stop but told reporters aboard his plane from Rome that he wanted to extend his sense of “sadness, repentance and friendship to the Jewish people.”

    In 1938, the city’s vibrant Jewish community numbered 185,000 members. Today, there are fewer than 7,000.

    Alluding to the nation’s past complicity with the Nazis, President Heinz Fischer conceded in a greeting to the pope that Austria had “dark hours in its history.”

    Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria’s top churchman, noted Christianity’s roots in Judaism and urged his countrymen never to forget the atrocities committed against the capital’s Jews.

    “It is part of the tragedy of the city that here, of all places, this root was forgotten — even denied — to the point where godless will destroyed the people to whom God gives his first love,” he said.

    Benedict, who visited and vacationed here often as a cardinal, faced a challenge: Many Austrian believers, disgusted by clergy sex scandals and deeply resentful of a government-imposed church tax, have grown cold — and tens of thousands have left the church altogether.

    Benedict’s trip underscored the difficulties the Vatican confronts across Europe, where cathedrals are empty as disillusioned believers question the relevance of faith in the postmodern era.

    The pope defended the vitality of Christianity today, saying Christians throughout history have been examples of “hope, love and mercy.”

    In his condemnation of abortion, Benedict said he was speaking out “for those unborn children who have no voice.”

    He also urged Europeans to ensure humane care of the elderly, assailing “actively assisted death,” a reference to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

    In a reflection of anti-pope sentiment held by some Austrians, about 300 young demonstrators marched through central Vienna on Friday to protest the pontiff’s conservative stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues.

    “I think the pope represents a system that has repressed people and other religions for hundreds of years. It’s simply antiquated,” said Ludwig List, 19, holding a banner that read: “Papa Don’t Preach.”

    Security was heavy for Benedict’s visit, with more than 3,500 police officers and soldiers and 50 aircraft deployed to protect him. The Interior Ministry said the measures were taken even before this week’s thwarted terrorist plot in Germany.

    On Saturday, the pope holds an open-air Mass to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Mariazell, a famous shrine to the Virgin Mary about 60 miles southwest of Vienna.

    The Vienna Archdiocese said 33,000 pilgrims had received tickets for the event and that 70 bishops, mostly from Eastern Europe, would join in. Benedict called the anniversary “the reason for my coming” and said he would go as a simple pilgrim.

    Benedict’s visit concludes Sunday with a Mass at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a visit to the Heiligenkreuz abbey outside the capital.

    ___

    Associated Press Writers William J. Kole and Veronika Oleksyn contributed to this report.


    Pope speaks of Europe's tragic past

    capt4bd015a8a6c14b13901156475e6cc741austria_pope_papa102.jpg

    By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer 

    VIENNA, Austria – Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Europe‘s tragic past and warned of its uncertain future Friday as he honored Jews killed in the Holocaust and urged the continent to accept its Christian heritage.

    Abortion must never be considered a human right, Benedict said, and urged European political leaders to encourage young married couples to have children and the continent’s graying population “not to become old in spirit.”

    “Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots,” the pope declared, saying that Christianity has “profoundly shaped this continent.”

    Benedict opened a three-day pilgrimage to Austria, once the center of a Roman Catholic-influenced empire and now a wealthy but small nation that has seen considerable dissent against the church, as in much of Europe.

    In an evening address to Austrian officials and diplomats in the former imperial Hofburg Palace, Benedict spoke of the “horrors of war” and the “traumatic experiences of totalitarianism and dictatorship” that Europe has undergone.

    The pope, born in neighboring Bavaria, Germany, began his visit by paying tribute to Holocaust victims.

    He stepped out of his popemobile in a driving rain and joined Vienna‘s chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in prayer before an austere stone memorial honoring the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps and others burned at the stake in the 1400s after refusing to convert.

    He made no public remarks during the seven-minute stop but told reporters aboard his plane from Rome that he wanted to extend his sense of “sadness, repentance and friendship to the Jewish people.”

    In 1938, the city’s vibrant Jewish community numbered 185,000 members. Today, there are fewer than 7,000.

    Alluding to the nation’s past complicity with the Nazis, President Heinz Fischer conceded in a greeting to the pope that Austria had “dark hours in its history.”

    Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria’s top churchman, noted Christianity’s roots in Judaism and urged his countrymen never to forget the atrocities committed against the capital’s Jews.

    “It is part of the tragedy of the city that here, of all places, this root was forgotten — even denied — to the point where godless will destroyed the people to whom God gives his first love,” he said.

    Benedict, who visited and vacationed here often as a cardinal, faced a challenge: Many Austrian believers, disgusted by clergy sex scandals and deeply resentful of a government-imposed church tax, have grown cold — and tens of thousands have left the church altogether.

    Benedict’s trip underscored the difficulties the Vatican confronts across Europe, where cathedrals are empty as disillusioned believers question the relevance of faith in the postmodern era.

    The pope defended the vitality of Christianity today, saying Christians throughout history have been examples of “hope, love and mercy.”

    In his condemnation of abortion, Benedict said he was speaking out “for those unborn children who have no voice.”

    He also urged Europeans to ensure humane care of the elderly, assailing “actively assisted death,” a reference to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

    In a reflection of anti-pope sentiment held by some Austrians, about 300 young demonstrators marched through central Vienna on Friday to protest the pontiff’s conservative stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues.

    “I think the pope represents a system that has repressed people and other religions for hundreds of years. It’s simply antiquated,” said Ludwig List, 19, holding a banner that read: “Papa Don’t Preach.”

    Security was heavy for Benedict’s visit, with more than 3,500 police officers and soldiers and 50 aircraft deployed to protect him. The Interior Ministry said the measures were taken even before this week’s thwarted terrorist plot in Germany.

    On Saturday, the pope holds an open-air Mass to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the founding of Mariazell, a famous shrine to the Virgin Mary about 60 miles southwest of Vienna.

    The Vienna Archdiocese said 33,000 pilgrims had received tickets for the event and that 70 bishops, mostly from Eastern Europe, would join in. Benedict called the anniversary “the reason for my coming” and said he would go as a simple pilgrim.

    Benedict’s visit concludes Sunday with a Mass at Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a visit to the Heiligenkreuz abbey outside the capital.

    ___

    Associated Press Writers William J. Kole and Veronika Oleksyn contributed to this report.


    Bishop Orama’s Courageous Biblical Christianity

    Originally read on:“The Anglican Scotist”

    Probably by now you have heard that Bishop Orama of Oyo in Nigeria claimed

    Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man…

    Though one hopes Orama was completely misquoted, still, one might reasonably suspect that this opinion is authentic to Nigerian Anglicanism and the Global South faction; it might well be that strong, international criticism will serve not to change the opinion, but merely silence it, driving it underground where it can continue to operate unseen and unheard.

    I. Curious Conservative Reactions
    While some Western conservatives might disavow Orama’s comments, one might be forgiven for wondering why they would bother. Here’s Father Kendall Harmon of T19:

    These words are to be utterly repudiated by all of us–I hope and trust.

    Well, why is that? He wrote (beackets added):

    [1]We are all in the global village now, like it or not, and the world is indeed flat. So what we say needs to take seriously the resonances that it may bring out in contexts other than our own. There could hardly be a worse statement in a Western context than to say of ANYONE that he or she is “not fit to live.” [2] It immediately brings to mind the Nazi language of Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”) and in flood images and activities too horrendous and horrific for any of us to take in even at this historical distance from the events themselves.

    According to [1], the problem is that others will hear–we live in a global village after all, and comments like this will gain a wide enough audience to most likely hurt the Separatist cause. Why? Part [2] gives Father Harmon’s answer: it will remind hearers of Nazi language. And of course he is right about that. Bishop Orama is not a Nazi or fascist so far as I know, but he has no trouble employing their Eliminationist rhetoric. Some bishop.

    But I am utterly stunned by Father Harmon’s reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s rhetoric. There is nothing specifically Christian–no laudable Biblical principle–invoked in Father Harmon’s words. And there is nothing significantly moral either. The trouble with Bishop Orama’s words is strictly instrumental: it will hurt the cause by bringing to mind Nazi depravity. I suppose such an instrumental reason could have a moral resonance for Father Harmon: the end–Separation–justifies the means perhaps. He did not say that Bishop Orama was in error, or that Bishop Orama’s words were unscriptural or anti-Christian. The problem? Bishop Orama could hurt the cause.

    Here is Greg Griffith of Stand Firm (I do not know if he is ordained like Father Harmon: no disrespect intended):

    [1] About the horrible nature of the remark, the injury to the Christian witness it does, and yes, even the “rhetorical violence” it commits… I agree completely.

    [2]Describing homosexuals as “unfit to live,” or implying that that sentiment is in any way part of the Gospel message, is where I get off the bus. “Life not worthy of living” is the phrase Nazis used to describe Jews, dissenting Christian clergy, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded, and anyone else who might spoil their vision of a pure Aryan world.

    [3]If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world.

    I think it is pretty clear that Griffith does alot better than Father Harmon in stating his reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s remarks. The remark has a “horrible nature” perhaps due to its “injury” to Christian mission and its “rhetorical violence.” On the latter count, Griffith invokes comparisons with the Nazis in [2]. He goes further than Father Harmon, saying explicitly that the Nazi message of Elimination is not part of the Gospel message: thanks for that. Finally, in [3] there is some kind of half-baked argument that Bishop Orama deserves to die if homosexuals deserve to die–and that this is not the Gospel message.

    While Griffith’s response has unmistakable specific moral content, and even refers to the Goispel message, still it leaves one wondering. What exactly in the Gospel message contradicts Bishop Orama’s message? It is odd–even comic–to see biblical conservatives in the tradition of Barth and Childs run to secular notions of moral good when push comes to shove. Guys, one does not need to hear the Good news of Christ to condemn Nazis, their Eliminationist rhetoric, and rhetorical violence: one can do that on purely secular moral grounds.

    II. Throwing Down the Gauntlet
    When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

    Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

    Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

    Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You ‘d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

    ****************************
    From:
    Father Jake Stops the World

    There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last 24 hours regarding Bishop Orama of Nigeria’s disturbing remarks. There have been condemnations of the declaration that gays are “unfit to live” from all corners of the Episcopal Church. For that we can be thankful.

    Yet, even in light of these condemnations, this incident has given me cause to wonder if the sentiments expressed by Bp. Orama are really an isolated incident, or are they more broadly accepted, but just not so bluntly stated?

    Mark Harris points us to an interesting article in the Boston Globe, which includes this paragraph describing a reporter’s experience at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya:

    …Criticizing the Episcopal Church’s embrace of gays and lesbians, the Rev. Samuel Muchiri told the 1,000 worshipers “we in Kenya feel this is not what God wants.” An usher advised a visiting reporter to “remember that Sodom and Gomorrah was demolished because there were homosexuals.” Another warned that the reporter could be assaulted if he asked worshipers about the issue, and said that America’s permissiveness toward homosexuality had led Osama bin Laden to attack…

    Where are they getting these strange ideas? To some degree, they are probably being taught this by their leaders. For instance, in the same article, the Archbishop of Kenya made the following statement:

    “God cannot be mocked,” said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya. “Here, in the context of Kenya, if we take somebody who is polygamous and we make him a lay reader or a priest, we would be doing the wrong thing. . . . If I know somebody is a homosexual, and I make him a lay reader, or I make him a priest, or I make him a bishop, I am sanctioning what he is doing as right. I am saying ‘no’ to this, and the church is saying ‘no’ to this.”

    Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria, is also notorious for his hateful words regarding gay and lesbian Christians. With leaders like Nzimbi and Akinola at the helm, it is not surprising that bishops and clergy might feel free to perpetuate ideas such as gays and lesbians being unfit to live, and that they could be assaulted because they caused 9/11.

    I think that the leaders giving either explicit or implicit permission for such rhetorical violence is a big part of the problem. But I think there is something more to it than that. In the Boston Globe article, the Primate of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, know as one of the more careful voices among the extremists, points us towards that “something more”:

    …”Sadly, the sexuality issue isn’t the issue – it’s about Scripture,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Venables, the primate of South America. “What’s happened in the States is that they’ve moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture, and they’re rewriting that with post-modernity relativism”…

    The erroneous accusation that “the States” have “moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture” might sound like nonsense to us. Most Episcopalians that I know, including myself, affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be regarded as divine revelation, which completes natural revelation. Our difference of opinion is over the matter of how we interpret this revelation.

    And, it is on this point that the Global South extremists find allies among some North Americans.

    This causes some problems in the current discussions regarding rhetorical violence, and gives us reason to seek further explanations regarding some of the condemnations of Bp. Orama’s remarks. Anglican Scotist offers us a good explanation of why this supposed stance rooted in “biblical authority” is problematic:

    …When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

    Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

    Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

    Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You’d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

    The reality, which most thoughtful people accept without a second thought, is that scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, but also includes lots of other stuff as well. The argument has never been “The bible said it, I believe it, that ends it.” Otherwise, we’d be executing disobedient children, to give but one bizarre example of the biblical mandate. The debate has been over how to define what exactly is “necessary for salvation,” and what is “other stuff.”

    Apparently, there are some bishops, such as Orama, who have not been informed of this particular nuance in the discussion regarding scripture. That is a rather frightening realization, it seems to me.

    Regarding our continued discussion of this topic, I want to draw your attention to a recent reflection from Elizabeth Kaeton entitled What the Anglican Communion Can Learn from Dog Fights. Elizabeth affirms what the Anglican Scotist has pointed out:

    …People like Fred Phelps don’t make up the hateful words on the signs they hold up during the funerals of people with AIDS or soldiers who have died in Iraq. That self-proclaimed but unlicensed minister of God takes them right out of “The Good Book.”

    It is Levitical logic, of course, almost pristine in its purity and simplicity. Indeed, some of us in the LGBT community have said to our orthodox and conservative sisters and brothers that if they really believe every literal thing in Scripture, then they are compelled to pick up a rock and stone every last LGBT person to death…

    But then Elizabeth continues with some thoughts that I think it is important for us all to hear:

    …The worst thing we mongrel dogs can do is to allow ourselves to be baited into a blood-sport by those who glorify and are entertained by violence.

    We must resist that temptation with every thing that is in us. This is not about us. It is not about homosexuality or even scriptural interpretation.

    This is about power and violence and we who claim the high calling of Christ Jesus must be about peace and justice, mercy and compassion, and walking humbly with God.

    This is neither our fight nor our sport. Let’s not dignify it with our blood. Let us not insult the blood that was shed for our salvation.

    Let us, instead, like our Samaritan sisters and brothers in Christ, use our wit and our intelligence.

    The Samaritan woman, that mongrel dog, said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Mt. 15:27)

    And Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Mt 15:28)

    May it be so for us in our day and time.

    And may God have mercy on us all.

    I understand that some will need to express their outrage and indignation. But let’s not allow ourselves to be baited into pointless arguments that just may tempt us to toss out our own forms of rhetorical violence.

    This is not some kind of rhetorical game. We must stand against violence and oppression. But let us make our stand with intelligence, wit and dignity.

    J.

     


    Bishop Orama's Courageous Biblical Christianity

    Originally read on:“The Anglican Scotist”

    Probably by now you have heard that Bishop Orama of Oyo in Nigeria claimed

    Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man…

    Though one hopes Orama was completely misquoted, still, one might reasonably suspect that this opinion is authentic to Nigerian Anglicanism and the Global South faction; it might well be that strong, international criticism will serve not to change the opinion, but merely silence it, driving it underground where it can continue to operate unseen and unheard.

    I. Curious Conservative Reactions
    While some Western conservatives might disavow Orama’s comments, one might be forgiven for wondering why they would bother. Here’s Father Kendall Harmon of T19:

    These words are to be utterly repudiated by all of us–I hope and trust.

    Well, why is that? He wrote (beackets added):

    [1]We are all in the global village now, like it or not, and the world is indeed flat. So what we say needs to take seriously the resonances that it may bring out in contexts other than our own. There could hardly be a worse statement in a Western context than to say of ANYONE that he or she is “not fit to live.” [2] It immediately brings to mind the Nazi language of Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”) and in flood images and activities too horrendous and horrific for any of us to take in even at this historical distance from the events themselves.

    According to [1], the problem is that others will hear–we live in a global village after all, and comments like this will gain a wide enough audience to most likely hurt the Separatist cause. Why? Part [2] gives Father Harmon’s answer: it will remind hearers of Nazi language. And of course he is right about that. Bishop Orama is not a Nazi or fascist so far as I know, but he has no trouble employing their Eliminationist rhetoric. Some bishop.

    But I am utterly stunned by Father Harmon’s reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s rhetoric. There is nothing specifically Christian–no laudable Biblical principle–invoked in Father Harmon’s words. And there is nothing significantly moral either. The trouble with Bishop Orama’s words is strictly instrumental: it will hurt the cause by bringing to mind Nazi depravity. I suppose such an instrumental reason could have a moral resonance for Father Harmon: the end–Separation–justifies the means perhaps. He did not say that Bishop Orama was in error, or that Bishop Orama’s words were unscriptural or anti-Christian. The problem? Bishop Orama could hurt the cause.

    Here is Greg Griffith of Stand Firm (I do not know if he is ordained like Father Harmon: no disrespect intended):

    [1] About the horrible nature of the remark, the injury to the Christian witness it does, and yes, even the “rhetorical violence” it commits… I agree completely.

    [2]Describing homosexuals as “unfit to live,” or implying that that sentiment is in any way part of the Gospel message, is where I get off the bus. “Life not worthy of living” is the phrase Nazis used to describe Jews, dissenting Christian clergy, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded, and anyone else who might spoil their vision of a pure Aryan world.

    [3]If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world.

    I think it is pretty clear that Griffith does alot better than Father Harmon in stating his reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s remarks. The remark has a “horrible nature” perhaps due to its “injury” to Christian mission and its “rhetorical violence.” On the latter count, Griffith invokes comparisons with the Nazis in [2]. He goes further than Father Harmon, saying explicitly that the Nazi message of Elimination is not part of the Gospel message: thanks for that. Finally, in [3] there is some kind of half-baked argument that Bishop Orama deserves to die if homosexuals deserve to die–and that this is not the Gospel message.

    While Griffith’s response has unmistakable specific moral content, and even refers to the Goispel message, still it leaves one wondering. What exactly in the Gospel message contradicts Bishop Orama’s message? It is odd–even comic–to see biblical conservatives in the tradition of Barth and Childs run to secular notions of moral good when push comes to shove. Guys, one does not need to hear the Good news of Christ to condemn Nazis, their Eliminationist rhetoric, and rhetorical violence: one can do that on purely secular moral grounds.

    II. Throwing Down the Gauntlet
    When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

    Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

    Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

    Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You ‘d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

    ****************************
    From:
    Father Jake Stops the World

    There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last 24 hours regarding Bishop Orama of Nigeria’s disturbing remarks. There have been condemnations of the declaration that gays are “unfit to live” from all corners of the Episcopal Church. For that we can be thankful.

    Yet, even in light of these condemnations, this incident has given me cause to wonder if the sentiments expressed by Bp. Orama are really an isolated incident, or are they more broadly accepted, but just not so bluntly stated?

    Mark Harris points us to an interesting article in the Boston Globe, which includes this paragraph describing a reporter’s experience at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya:

    …Criticizing the Episcopal Church’s embrace of gays and lesbians, the Rev. Samuel Muchiri told the 1,000 worshipers “we in Kenya feel this is not what God wants.” An usher advised a visiting reporter to “remember that Sodom and Gomorrah was demolished because there were homosexuals.” Another warned that the reporter could be assaulted if he asked worshipers about the issue, and said that America’s permissiveness toward homosexuality had led Osama bin Laden to attack…

    Where are they getting these strange ideas? To some degree, they are probably being taught this by their leaders. For instance, in the same article, the Archbishop of Kenya made the following statement:

    “God cannot be mocked,” said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya. “Here, in the context of Kenya, if we take somebody who is polygamous and we make him a lay reader or a priest, we would be doing the wrong thing. . . . If I know somebody is a homosexual, and I make him a lay reader, or I make him a priest, or I make him a bishop, I am sanctioning what he is doing as right. I am saying ‘no’ to this, and the church is saying ‘no’ to this.”

    Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria, is also notorious for his hateful words regarding gay and lesbian Christians. With leaders like Nzimbi and Akinola at the helm, it is not surprising that bishops and clergy might feel free to perpetuate ideas such as gays and lesbians being unfit to live, and that they could be assaulted because they caused 9/11.

    I think that the leaders giving either explicit or implicit permission for such rhetorical violence is a big part of the problem. But I think there is something more to it than that. In the Boston Globe article, the Primate of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, know as one of the more careful voices among the extremists, points us towards that “something more”:

    …”Sadly, the sexuality issue isn’t the issue – it’s about Scripture,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Venables, the primate of South America. “What’s happened in the States is that they’ve moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture, and they’re rewriting that with post-modernity relativism”…

    The erroneous accusation that “the States” have “moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture” might sound like nonsense to us. Most Episcopalians that I know, including myself, affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be regarded as divine revelation, which completes natural revelation. Our difference of opinion is over the matter of how we interpret this revelation.

    And, it is on this point that the Global South extremists find allies among some North Americans.

    This causes some problems in the current discussions regarding rhetorical violence, and gives us reason to seek further explanations regarding some of the condemnations of Bp. Orama’s remarks. Anglican Scotist offers us a good explanation of why this supposed stance rooted in “biblical authority” is problematic:

    …When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

    Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

    Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

    Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You’d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

    The reality, which most thoughtful people accept without a second thought, is that scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, but also includes lots of other stuff as well. The argument has never been “The bible said it, I believe it, that ends it.” Otherwise, we’d be executing disobedient children, to give but one bizarre example of the biblical mandate. The debate has been over how to define what exactly is “necessary for salvation,” and what is “other stuff.”

    Apparently, there are some bishops, such as Orama, who have not been informed of this particular nuance in the discussion regarding scripture. That is a rather frightening realization, it seems to me.

    Regarding our continued discussion of this topic, I want to draw your attention to a recent reflection from Elizabeth Kaeton entitled What the Anglican Communion Can Learn from Dog Fights. Elizabeth affirms what the Anglican Scotist has pointed out:

    …People like Fred Phelps don’t make up the hateful words on the signs they hold up during the funerals of people with AIDS or soldiers who have died in Iraq. That self-proclaimed but unlicensed minister of God takes them right out of “The Good Book.”

    It is Levitical logic, of course, almost pristine in its purity and simplicity. Indeed, some of us in the LGBT community have said to our orthodox and conservative sisters and brothers that if they really believe every literal thing in Scripture, then they are compelled to pick up a rock and stone every last LGBT person to death…

    But then Elizabeth continues with some thoughts that I think it is important for us all to hear:

    …The worst thing we mongrel dogs can do is to allow ourselves to be baited into a blood-sport by those who glorify and are entertained by violence.

    We must resist that temptation with every thing that is in us. This is not about us. It is not about homosexuality or even scriptural interpretation.

    This is about power and violence and we who claim the high calling of Christ Jesus must be about peace and justice, mercy and compassion, and walking humbly with God.

    This is neither our fight nor our sport. Let’s not dignify it with our blood. Let us not insult the blood that was shed for our salvation.

    Let us, instead, like our Samaritan sisters and brothers in Christ, use our wit and our intelligence.

    The Samaritan woman, that mongrel dog, said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Mt. 15:27)

    And Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Mt 15:28)

    May it be so for us in our day and time.

    And may God have mercy on us all.

    I understand that some will need to express their outrage and indignation. But let’s not allow ourselves to be baited into pointless arguments that just may tempt us to toss out our own forms of rhetorical violence.

    This is not some kind of rhetorical game. We must stand against violence and oppression. But let us make our stand with intelligence, wit and dignity.

    J.

     


    Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

    krystallnacht.jpg

    Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
    The Beginning of The Holocaust

    auschwitz-birkenau_memorial-copyb.jpg

    arbeit-macht-frei.jpg

    Work Makes You Free …

    buchenwald.jpg

    A Survivor from Buchenwald

    _41265550_8vadveshrtrs416.jpg

    Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

     

    capttok10206280145new_zealand_world_heritage_auschwitz_renamed_tok102.jpg

    Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

    ****************************************

    Red Ribbon

    The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

    Pride Flag

    The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

    250px-aids_quilt.jpg

    The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
    My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…

    yellow_star_of_david.jpg

    The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
    **********************************

    You who live safe
    In your warm houses,
    You who find, returning in the evening,
    Hot food and friendly faces:
    Consider if this is a man
    Who works in the mud
    Who does not know peace
    Who fights for a scrap of bread
    Who dies because of a yes and a no.
    Consider if this is a woman,
    Without hair and without name
    With no more strength to remember,
    Her eyes empty and her womb cold
    Like a frog in winter

    Meditate that this came about:
    I commend these words to you.
    Carve them in your hearts
    At Home, in the street,
    Going to bed, rising;
    Repeat them to your children,

    Or may your house fall apart,
    May illness impede you,
    May your children turn their faces from you.

    Primo Levi

    Survival in Auschwitz

     

    pink-triangle-3.gif

    The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

    fateless_240.jpg

    A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy –
    From Fateless, the Motion Picture

    dach-id.jpg

    The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
    the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
    Identify people…
    Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation

     

    There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

    silencedeath.png

    The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

    jc.jpg

    What Would Jesus Do???

    diploma1a1.jpg

    This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…

    pride-arm2.jpg

    We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…

    THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!


    Crazy – Servant of the Bones…

    b-down-gobo-copy.jpg

    Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…

    I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…

    He wept.

    Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…

    So it began…

    At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Bosch would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.

    The rule was set…

    You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!

    Yes Sir…

    I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.

    This is your life we are talking about…

    The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.

    Angry Larry…

    When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

    People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

    For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

    I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

    Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Master Todd. When the word was spoken, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men. Especially me…

    We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

    Let’s get it on…

    Shift was begun at eight. The wells were filled the beer was stocked and the ice bins were full. Put your money in the drawer and let’s get the music thumping. Like clockwork at the strike of eight bells the first note hit the turntables. They were lined up around the building. Cars were parked all over the place. The temple worship had begun. Heaven was found amid the souls of suffering men who knew they were all marked for death, but for tonight, whatever you desired was fulfilled. You could drown away your sorrow and dip into the well of living water if you wished as well. You have never lived until you party like your dying with crowds of undulating flesh as far as they eye can see. The ghosts of those men now inhabit the fantasies and dreams I have still to this day.

    One by one, two by two, they died in our arms. We held them until they took their last breaths. Memorialized in the careful and blood soaked threads of quilts, as the years went by, they started collecting by the dozen, then by the hundreds. If you’ve ever seen the entire quilt unfurled, all the men who were part of my life in those first years of my epidemic life, they are all together in death, as they were in life. Memorialized until the end of time. And we remember each of their names.

    So many young boys torn from life before they knew what hit them. Men who infected them had died as well. Many of my friends were taken on trips that were detrimental to them, and just robbed them of life that was still left to live.

    Todd saw to it that I would never go there…

    You come to work, dress as you will, you obey me and do not waver from my eye, for I know your carnal desires and you are too young to tempt the devil with his dance. Because I surely did not know what could befall me if the right charmer enticed me into his web of desire, and they all knew I was fair bait. But in order to dine from my buffet, you needed explicit permission of my Master, who never allowed any man to defile me like many had been. I was off limits. I never crossed the line provided because that meant disrespect and I could never bear to break my Master’s heart with disobedience.

    I loved Him, and He loved me – I had many problems. I was depressed and angry and resentful. I had the scars of traumatic visions of my dead lovers corpse in my head, and the words of his mother still ring in my ear today “I hope that every night until you die, that you see the corpse of my dead son in your field of vision.” That curse still lives with me and will go with me to the grave. Five day old corpses are not pretty. I had to identify the remains when all was said and done. Save that he was wearing jewelry that I could identify and part of him was still recognizable – God forgive me…

    I remember that day, it was early afternoon the morgue called me from work to come and do the deed. I drove in and looked upon him in that room, I wept tears that burned into my soul forever. I just could not imagine – the pain was so hard to bear. I drove over to the bar. Bill was working behind the bar. I drank until I could not stand up on my own. I drank for a week, straight…

    Todd and Bill needed to find me a solution and quick, because I was on the outs.

    I started suicide therapy in a group setting that lasted 32 weeks. Nothing like rehashing death week after week, until the pain was purged from your soul, but is it ever? Months went by until I got my news.

    But they cared for me in all my brokenness. A young angel would earn his wings back. Come hell or high water. In the end, when all was said and done, at the end of the day I survived, but so many did not. And each night I offer them prayers in hope that when I meet my death that all of them will be waiting for me in the Temple Of Earthly Desire in the promised land of the Kingdom of God, where the sacred and profane are mingled with the blood of the Almighty and the blood of my friends who have gone before me, on that day we will be cleansed of our sins.

    And forgiven by God…

    Amen

    Goodnight angels of men


    ACLU Charges TSA Official and JetBlue With Racial Profiling

    tshirt_wwnbs-copy.jpg

    Website link and story here: 

    JetBlue and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script. Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.'” The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the TSA official and JetBlue Airways.

    It is a dangerous and slippery slope when we allow our government to take away a person’s rights because of his speech or ethnic background,” said Reginald Shuford, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “Racial profiling is illegal and ineffective and has no place in a democratic society.”

    asset_upload_file664_31290.jpg

    Learn More >>

    I’ve had this blogger on my read list for some time, along with Baghdad Burning, since the war in Iraq began. I happened upon Raed’s blog today and saw this latest entry and I thought I’d share it with you, since it is relevant and appropriate. You can click on the link above and find out more.


    Churches That Won't Bury Gays?

     082007oped.jpg

    Let’s Hold A Funeral For Misguided Principles

    by Rev. Lea Brown 

    [BACKGROUND: In August 2007, a fundamentalist mega-church in Texas refused to conduct funeral services when it found out the deceased man was gay. Rev. Lea Brown, the openly lesbian pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church (Texas) and a veteran of the U.S. Army, has a few thoughts about that.]

    Whew. I don’t know about you, but I sure sleep better at night knowing the Christian churches in Texas are standing by their principles.

    Take the High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, led by Rev. Gary Simons (brother-in-law of mega-church pastor Joel Osteen). The church believes that homosexuality is a sin. When they recently found out that they had inadvertently (according to their version) agreed to provide a funeral for a gay man, they withdrew their invitation 24 hours before the event on the principle that they didn’t want to appear to be endorsing “that lifestyle.” Sure, the grieving family was left scrambling to find an appropriate venue in which to say goodbye to their loved one, and then contact 100 expected guests about the change of location in their time of sorrow. But hey, principles are principles.

    Aren’t you glad that at least in Texas there are church folks who are willing to risk looking like heartless bigots rather than betray what they believe to be their “Christian” beliefs?

    I mean, let’s give credit where credit is due. They chose one principle that they believe is true (homosexuality and homosexuals must be rejected), when there are so many principles that they could have chosen instead. Let’s review a few, shall we?

    First, there is the principle of compassion, which dictates that we seek to understand the suffering of others, and do what we can through kindness to help in times of need. Cecil Howard Sinclair, the gay man who died at the age of 46 from an infection prior to heart surgery, didn’t really need to have the funeral at High Point Church. But his mentally challenged brother probably did. Mr. Sinclair’s brother works as a High Point janitor, cleaning the toilets, dusting the pews, and sweeping the floors that church members soil each week. Perhaps saying goodbye to his brother in a familiar place would have been comforting to him, and would have given him some peace as he returned to work each day in the weeks and months after his brother’s passing. Perhaps all of Mr. Sinclair’s family, including his partner, might have been comforted by the knowledge that the 5,000-member church actually cared about them at such a difficult time.

    We could say that the church acted with compassion when it offered to pay for a community center space for the funeral, and provide food and a video presentation for those attending the service. In fact, we could even say they came dangerously close to violating their principle by these actions. But thank goodness they didn’t offer to find another church space for the funeral. That would imply homosexuals and their loved ones actually deserve to grieve in a sacred place, as if God was actually with them in their pain. And we could probably agree that feeding homosexuals and their families is acceptable, but for heaven’s sake – don’t pray with them or stand with them at the graveside! Because that would certainly imply endorsement of two people of the same gender being in love with each other, wouldn’t it?

    Then there is the principle of gratitude. Cecil Howard Sinclair was a veteran of the United States Navy, and he served in the first Gulf War. He was willing to risk his life for our country, and for principles like “freedom of religion” that High Point members enjoy each day. Perhaps their willingness to make a video presentation of Mr. Sinclair’s life for the funeral was the way they chose to express their gratitude. Thankfully, we can again be assured that they didn’t compromise their principles though, because they edited out the images that showed Cecil being affectionate with his partner. After all, we wouldn’t want a veteran’s image to be tarnished with pictures like that.

    Finally, there is the principle of hospitality. In the Bible, in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 10 Jesus instructs his followers to shake the dust from their feet from any town that does not welcome them warmly and listen to what they have to say. It seems that hospitality was rather important to Jesus, because he said that any such town would actually be worse off than Sodom and Gomorrah at the day of judgment. (Funny, he never mentioned homosexuality as being the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah – just their lack of hospitality). How courageous of High Point Church (which has a larger population than many towns in Texas) to risk fire and brimstone. They could have considered entertaining the notion that perhaps being a Christian is more about love than about unbending principles, but they didn’t. Jesus would be so proud!

    Now, it is true that not all churches in Texas are so principled. Right here in my own town of Wichita Falls there is a church that would have gladly received the family of Cecil Howard Sinclair. At Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), we celebrate the lives of all of God’s people of all sexual orientations. In fact, we would even lovingly welcome anyone from High Point Church into our sanctuary. Lest we forget, even Jesus reached out with compassion to those who were the oppressors of his day, just as he did when he healed the Roman centurion’s son. The fundamental principle we live by is this one: Love your neighbor as yourself. We think that means loving all of our neighbors – straight, bisexual, transgender, Baptist, Muslim, lesbian, HIV+, poor, Latino, queer, disabled, Republican, veteran, peace-activist, immigrant, and gay.

    So, I guess we could say that High Point Church doesn’t have the corner on principles – just on their particular principle, which does indeed put them at great risk of looking like heartless bigots. But like many others on a spiritual path, those of us at Wichita Falls MCC will love and pray for them anyway. We will pray, “Forgive them, God, for they know not what they do.” We will pray for their healing, that they might change their ways. We will pray that God will bless them and be with them, and that our actions would truly show that we desire to love those at High Point Church just as we love ourselves.

    I guess we just have different principles.

    Rev. Lea Brown is the openly lesbian pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church, Wichita Falls, Texas, and a veteran of the U.S. Army

    ©365Gay.com 2007


    Churches That Won’t Bury Gays?

     082007oped.jpg

    Let’s Hold A Funeral For Misguided Principles

    by Rev. Lea Brown 

    [BACKGROUND: In August 2007, a fundamentalist mega-church in Texas refused to conduct funeral services when it found out the deceased man was gay. Rev. Lea Brown, the openly lesbian pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church (Texas) and a veteran of the U.S. Army, has a few thoughts about that.]

    Whew. I don’t know about you, but I sure sleep better at night knowing the Christian churches in Texas are standing by their principles.

    Take the High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, led by Rev. Gary Simons (brother-in-law of mega-church pastor Joel Osteen). The church believes that homosexuality is a sin. When they recently found out that they had inadvertently (according to their version) agreed to provide a funeral for a gay man, they withdrew their invitation 24 hours before the event on the principle that they didn’t want to appear to be endorsing “that lifestyle.” Sure, the grieving family was left scrambling to find an appropriate venue in which to say goodbye to their loved one, and then contact 100 expected guests about the change of location in their time of sorrow. But hey, principles are principles.

    Aren’t you glad that at least in Texas there are church folks who are willing to risk looking like heartless bigots rather than betray what they believe to be their “Christian” beliefs?

    I mean, let’s give credit where credit is due. They chose one principle that they believe is true (homosexuality and homosexuals must be rejected), when there are so many principles that they could have chosen instead. Let’s review a few, shall we?

    First, there is the principle of compassion, which dictates that we seek to understand the suffering of others, and do what we can through kindness to help in times of need. Cecil Howard Sinclair, the gay man who died at the age of 46 from an infection prior to heart surgery, didn’t really need to have the funeral at High Point Church. But his mentally challenged brother probably did. Mr. Sinclair’s brother works as a High Point janitor, cleaning the toilets, dusting the pews, and sweeping the floors that church members soil each week. Perhaps saying goodbye to his brother in a familiar place would have been comforting to him, and would have given him some peace as he returned to work each day in the weeks and months after his brother’s passing. Perhaps all of Mr. Sinclair’s family, including his partner, might have been comforted by the knowledge that the 5,000-member church actually cared about them at such a difficult time.

    We could say that the church acted with compassion when it offered to pay for a community center space for the funeral, and provide food and a video presentation for those attending the service. In fact, we could even say they came dangerously close to violating their principle by these actions. But thank goodness they didn’t offer to find another church space for the funeral. That would imply homosexuals and their loved ones actually deserve to grieve in a sacred place, as if God was actually with them in their pain. And we could probably agree that feeding homosexuals and their families is acceptable, but for heaven’s sake – don’t pray with them or stand with them at the graveside! Because that would certainly imply endorsement of two people of the same gender being in love with each other, wouldn’t it?

    Then there is the principle of gratitude. Cecil Howard Sinclair was a veteran of the United States Navy, and he served in the first Gulf War. He was willing to risk his life for our country, and for principles like “freedom of religion” that High Point members enjoy each day. Perhaps their willingness to make a video presentation of Mr. Sinclair’s life for the funeral was the way they chose to express their gratitude. Thankfully, we can again be assured that they didn’t compromise their principles though, because they edited out the images that showed Cecil being affectionate with his partner. After all, we wouldn’t want a veteran’s image to be tarnished with pictures like that.

    Finally, there is the principle of hospitality. In the Bible, in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 10 Jesus instructs his followers to shake the dust from their feet from any town that does not welcome them warmly and listen to what they have to say. It seems that hospitality was rather important to Jesus, because he said that any such town would actually be worse off than Sodom and Gomorrah at the day of judgment. (Funny, he never mentioned homosexuality as being the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah – just their lack of hospitality). How courageous of High Point Church (which has a larger population than many towns in Texas) to risk fire and brimstone. They could have considered entertaining the notion that perhaps being a Christian is more about love than about unbending principles, but they didn’t. Jesus would be so proud!

    Now, it is true that not all churches in Texas are so principled. Right here in my own town of Wichita Falls there is a church that would have gladly received the family of Cecil Howard Sinclair. At Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), we celebrate the lives of all of God’s people of all sexual orientations. In fact, we would even lovingly welcome anyone from High Point Church into our sanctuary. Lest we forget, even Jesus reached out with compassion to those who were the oppressors of his day, just as he did when he healed the Roman centurion’s son. The fundamental principle we live by is this one: Love your neighbor as yourself. We think that means loving all of our neighbors – straight, bisexual, transgender, Baptist, Muslim, lesbian, HIV+, poor, Latino, queer, disabled, Republican, veteran, peace-activist, immigrant, and gay.

    So, I guess we could say that High Point Church doesn’t have the corner on principles – just on their particular principle, which does indeed put them at great risk of looking like heartless bigots. But like many others on a spiritual path, those of us at Wichita Falls MCC will love and pray for them anyway. We will pray, “Forgive them, God, for they know not what they do.” We will pray for their healing, that they might change their ways. We will pray that God will bless them and be with them, and that our actions would truly show that we desire to love those at High Point Church just as we love ourselves.

    I guess we just have different principles.

    Rev. Lea Brown is the openly lesbian pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church, Wichita Falls, Texas, and a veteran of the U.S. Army

    ©365Gay.com 2007


    China frees 3 Canadian activists after Tibet protest

    CBC.ca

    Canadians, all from British Columbia, were demanding China pull out of Tibet

    Three Canadians arrested by Chinese police following a protest at the Great Wall against China’s presence in Tibet have been released.

    Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.

    Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.
    (Courtesy of Freya Putt)

    The British Columbian activists — Lhadon Tethong, Sam Price and Melanie Raoul — left China after their release on Wednesday and flew into Hong Kong.

    “It was draining, exhausting, psychologically traumatizing, although we weren’t physically hurt,” Raoul, 25, told CBC News from Hong Kong.
    bc-070807-tibet-sign.jpg

    Raoul and Price, both of Vancouver, were arrested Tuesday after they unfurled a 42-square-metre banner reading “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008” in English and Chinese from the Great Wall.

    The banner adds three words — “Free Tibet 2008” — to the official slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which began their one-year countdown on Tuesday.

    Tethong, 31, was arrested Wednesday. She was not involved in the Great Wall protest, but she spent her time in China writing a blog and posting videos and photos online about what the group calls China’s “propaganda campaign” leading up to next year’s Olympic Games.

    Five other activists — two from the U.K and three from the United States — were also arrested and released.

    All the activists are part of Students for a Free Tibet, a New York-based group for which Tethong serves as executive director.

    Tethong said the group knew their actions on the Great Wall weren’t legal and that arrests were a possibility.

    Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.

    Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.
    (Beijing Wide Open/Canadian Press)

    “We knew that was the most likely scenario, but it’s not like it was the goal of what we were doing,” said Tethong, a Tibetan-Canadian who was born and raised in Victoria, but now lives in New York.

    “The goal was to raise the issue.”

    “Some people might think that’s sort of extreme, but we would say China violating the fundamental human rights of Tibetans and their own people and the cultural genocide of Tibet is extreme.”

    Police surrounded Tethong in front of an Olympic merchandise store in Beijing and demanded to see her passport. They brought her into a police station, where they showed her printouts of her blog.

    “They definitely took jabs at me for being Tibetan,” Tethong said. “They were saying I have an an accent like a Chinese and I have blood from China.”

    We were scared for her
    Tethong’s sister, Deyden Tethong, told CBC News that she and her family were scared while Tethong was in custody.

    “It was nerve-racking for us,” Deyden said at 12:15 ET, about 15 minutes after learning that her sister had boarded a plane out of Beijing.

    “We were very scared for her, but at the same time she keeps saying, ‘I have a Canadian passport, so I know people are looking out for me.'”

    Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.

    Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.
    (Courtesy of Freya Putt)

    Deyden said she was surprised her sister was detained, since she was not part of the group of activists on the Great Wall.

    “The activists that were taken off the Great Wall, that made sense,” Deyden said. “It was pushing the boundaries and it was illegal, but my sister, all she was doing was blogging about her feelings … and talking about what she saw and what she felt.”

    Raoul’s mother, Valerie, said she is excited to see her daughter again.

    “We don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Vancouver, but they know they’ll get a really big welcome,” she said.

    Harper Promised to Help
    The incident drew international attention, with videos of the Great Wall protest posted on YouTube. Prior to news of the activists release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday that his government was working to gather information.

    “We’ll be doing everything we can do to help and of course pointing out to the Chinese government — as we’re entitled to do — that such expressions of opinion are a natural part of the human rights that Canadians do expect in this country,” Harper said.

    The Students for a Free Tibet group wants Tibet freed from China and say the Chinese government is using the Games to gain international acceptance.

    The group also wants the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to push the case for Tibetan freedom.

    China invaded Tibet in 1950, and in 1999 declared it to be an “inseparable part of China.” In 2004, a government policy paper said Tibet had always been part of China, and before the Chinese imposed direct rule, Tibet was “even darker and more backward than medieval Europe.”

    With files from the Canadian Press


    To Boycott or Not ???

    beijing-2008boycott.jpg

    Tonight CBC News started a series of reports on the 1 year celebration in Beijing beginning today – the 8th of August. What will the world say to Beijing over the next year? We know that China’s record on Human Rights violations is something that can not be ignored.

    Secondly, China’s support of the Sudanese government and the fact that China could make serious progress in helping the Darfur region conflicts. That China could save lives and chooses not to, just speaks volumes of how it sees the world not only in Darfur, but in their own back yards, and in Tibet. I think a release of Tibet and the acknowledgment of this sacred land would be monumental on China’s attitude towards the world. The widget will remain on my blog for the next year as we discuss this question in greater depth.

    Our question today
    and for the next year will be simple
    Should we go to Beijing
    Or should we Boycott
    The Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China???
    08-08-08

    One World One Dream
    From the Beijing Olympic site


    *************************************

    The Official Beijing Olympic Website

    “One World One Dream” fully reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit — Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind. In spite of the differences in colors, languages and races, we share the charm and joy of the Olympic Games, and together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace. We belong to the same world and we share the same aspirations and dreams.

    “One World One Dream” is a profound manifestation of the core concepts of the Beijing Olympic Games. It reflects the values of harmony connoted in the concept of “People’s Olympics”, the core and soul of the three concepts — “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”. While “Harmony of Man with Nature” and “Peace Enjoys Priority” are the philosophies and ideals of the Chinese people since ancient times in their pursuit of the harmony between Man and Nature and the harmony among people, building up a harmonious society and achieving harmonious development are the dream and aspirations of ours. It is our belief that peace and progress, harmonious development, living in amity, cooperation and mutual benefit, and enjoying a happy life are the common ideals of the people throughout the world.

    “One World, One Dream” is simple in expressions, but profound in meaning. It is of China, and also of the world. It conveys the lofty ideal of the people in Beijing as well as in China to share the global community and civilization and to create a bright future hand in hand with the people from the rest of the world. It expresses the firm belief of a great nation, with a long history of 5,000 years and on its way towards modernization, that is committed to peaceful development, harmonious society and people’s happiness. It voices the aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people to contribute to the establishment of a peaceful and bright world.

    The English translation of the slogan is distinctive in sentence structure. The two “One”s are perfectly used in parallel, and the words “World” and “Dream” form a good match. The slogan is simple, meaningful, inspiring, and easy to remember, read and spread.

    In Chinese, the word “tongyi”, which means “the same”, is used for the English word “One”. It highlights the theme of “the whole Mankind lives in the same world and seeks for the same dream and ideal”.