Friday, July 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 51 Comments
The Legacy of the Civil War is a little book that I cannot recommend too highly. It only runs a hundred pages or so (normal readers can polish it off in an hour, give or take) and in it, author Robert Penn Warren states that the North’s prize for siding with the angels during That War was what he called the Treasury of Virtue.
That is, if your ancestors fought on the Right Side, every single thing that you do hereafter is forever justified and right. QED, everybody whose ancestors fought on the Wrong Side is eternally damned:
Which, forcefully argues Thomas J. Sugrue in The Washington Post, of all places, is complete and utter crap:
Most predictably, pundits have renewed their characterization of Southern states as the ball and chain of America. If all those backward rednecks weren’t pulling us down, the story goes, the United States would be a progressive utopia, a bastion of economic and racial equality. “Much of what sets the United States apart from other countries today is actually Southern exceptionalism,” Politico contributor Michael Lind wrote this month in an essay called “How the South Skews America.” “I don’t mean this in a good way.”
“The South as national cesspool” idea basically got started in April, 1865 and, thanks to the Treasury of Virtue, has been going strong ever since.
This argument recapitulates an old, tired motif in American journalism that the South is the source of our nation’s social ills. It has been blamed for our obesity problem (“Why Are Southerners So Fat? ” Time asked in 2009), persistent poverty (“The South Is Essentially A Solid, Grim Block Of Poverty,” the Huffington Post asserted in 2014) and general stupidity (“What’s Wrong with the South?” the Atlantic scoffed in 2009). This time, in the wake of the church shooting, the states of the old Confederacy have become a national scapegoat for the racism that underpinned the massacre. If only they would secede again, Lind and others suggest, the nation would largely be free from endemic prejudice, zealotry and racist violence.
Look at it this way. Resurrecting the CSA wouldn’t change much.
Not even close. These crude regional stereotypes ignore the deep roots such social ills have in our shared national history and culture. If, somehow, the South became its own country, the Northeast would still be a hub of racially segregated housing and schooling, the West would still be a bastion of prejudicial laws that put immigrants and black residents behind bars at higher rates than their white neighbors and the Midwest would still be full of urban neighborhoods devastated by unemployment, poverty and crime. How our social problems manifest regionally is a matter of degree, not kind — they infect every region of the country.
Except maybe increase African-American emigration to the new nation.
In fact, many of the racial injustices we associate with the South are actually worse in the North. Housing segregation between black and white residents, for instance, is most pervasive above the Mason-Dixon line. Of America’s 25 most racially segregated metropolitan areas, just five are in the South; Northern cities — Detroit, Milwaukee and New York — top the list. Segregation in Northern metro areas has declined a bit since 1990, but an analysis of 2010 census data found that Detroit’s level of segregation, for instance, is nearly twice as high as Charleston’s.
News flash, leftists. American racism was never EVER regional.
The division between black and white neighborhoods in the North is a result of a poisonous mix of racist public policies and real estate practices that reigned unchecked for decades. Until the mid-20th century, federal homeownership programs made it difficult for black Americans to get mortgages and fueled the massive growth of whites-only suburbs. Real estate agents openly discriminated against black aspiring homeowners, refusing to show them houses in predominately white communities.
What about all the Southern violence against blacks? What about all the Northern violence against blacks?
When all else failed, white Northerners attacked blacks who attempted to cross the color line, using tactics we typically associate with the Jim Crow South. They threw bricks through the windows of their black neighbors’ homes, firebombed an integrated apartment building and beat black residents in the streets. In Detroit, to name one example, whites launched more than 200 attacks on black homeowners between 1945 and 1965. In Levittown, Pa., hundreds of angry whites gathered in front of the home of the first black family to move there and threw rocks through the windows. Racists burned crosses in the yards of the few white neighbors who welcomed the new family. That violence occurred in 1957, the same year whites in Little Rock attacked black students integrating Central High School, yet it’s that story — of racial bias in the South — that dominates our narrative of America’s civil rights struggle.
So, you know, motes, beams and all that.
It’s reassuring for Northerners to think that the country’s problems are rooted down South. But pointing our fingers at Dixie — and, by implication, reinforcing the myth of Northern innocence — comes at a cost. As federal troops and Supreme Court decisions forced social change in the states of the old Confederacy during the 20th century, injustices in the North were allowed to fester. That trend continues, as Northerners seek to absolve themselves of responsibility for their own sins by holding aloft an outdated and inaccurate caricature of a socially stunted South. In 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Another group with a vital role to play in the struggle for racial justice and equality is the white northern liberals. The racial issue that we confront in America is not a sectional but a national problem.” That holds true for most of America’s troubles today. Enough finger-wagging at Dixie. Change begins at home.
What’s badly needed is a comprehensive history of the relationship between the northern United States and the southern United States from colonial times down to the present day. If you want to understand this country, realize that the Civil War, not the Revolutionary War, is the single most important event in this country’s history, one that we botched back then and that we’re still fighting today.
Because the “winners” managed to completely squander their “victory.”
Monday, July 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments
The recent revelation that Murder, Inc. harvests aborted fetuses for fetal organs (or, to use the Rev. Katherine Ragsdale’s nomenclature, hors d’oeuvres) has hit MI a lot harder than it wants to admit. Cici Richards gets to the heart of the matter (so to speak):
The president of Planned Parenthood on Thursday apologized for the “tone and statements” of its chief medical officer, whose candid comments about fetal organ removal have generated heavy attacks against the organization.
“Our top priority is the passionate care that we provide. In our video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion,” president Cecile Richards said in a video statement released Thursday afternoon.
“This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements,” she said.
Yeah, that’s exactly what was wrong with that story, Cici. The tone. In the meantime, here’s Jon O’Brien, president of something called “Catholics For Choice,” with an article entitled “Planned Parenthood Attack Campaign: Not Letting the Facts Get in the Way of Your Story.”
In response to an attack video released earlier this week by an extreme group of anti-abortion activists, Christopher Hale penned a piece that tries to deceive the reader by claiming that Planned Parenthood did something wrong. In reality, his article is just part of an elaborate smokescreen that the antiabortion movement is using to distract the media and politicians.
Hale’s organization, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, is part of an effort to defund and discredit Planned Parenthood. In fact, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is so hell-bent on making abortion illegal they went so far as to equate a woman’s abortion decision with torture and war. Considering this is his organization’s starting position, it’s hard to believe anything that Hale tells us is objective.
Fascinating stuff, Jon, but nowhere near those “facts” that you believe that this hit piece got wrong.
Planned Parenthood provides critical reproductive healthcare services for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our American society–traditionally underserved populations. It is an organization that epitomizes the social good. As Catholics, we have an obligation to stand up for the conscience rights of all individuals when it comes to personal, private decisions such as abortion. That he seeks to undermine and deny those choices for some of the most vulnerable American women is downright despicable.
Not according to your own church, you don’t.
The Center for Medical Progress has the same end goal as Hale’s organization–and everyone in the rabid antiabortion movement. The Center for Medical Progress made the misleading video in the most explosive manner possible to ensure Planned Parenthood will be targeted by all of the antiabortion candidates as we move towards the next presidential election. The goal is deeply political, and it’s not grounded in reality. The truth is: nowhere in the video does a staff member from Planned Parenthood discuss “selling” fetal tissue. Claiming that they did does not make it so, and certainly does not make it truthful. In fact, as a Catholic who cares about the common good, I think it’s critical that tissue is donated to help find cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. I believe it’s moral, ethical–and downright necessary–when done as part of a patient’s wishes and within the legal guidelines.
Still waiting on those “facts” of yours, Jon.
Saturday, July 18th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments
MCJ fun fact: I may be one the last people on Earth whose Internet access is dial-up. Shocked the hell out of my brother when I told him that several months back. “We’ll have to do something about that,” he told me.
Not sure what big bro can do about it considering my finances. And I’m not sure that it matters much since President Claus wants to buy me high-speed home Web access:
Calling the Internet a 21st century necessity, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a program to bring faster Internet connections to more low-income households, particularly to help students living in public and assisted housing stay ahead in school.
Under ConnectHome, the public, private and nonprofit sectors have pledged to work together to provide high-speed connections and digital devices to more families at lower cost.
More than 90 percent of households headed by a college graduate have Internet access, Obama said. But fewer than half of low-income households have similar access.
In this day and age, Obama said the “digital divide” puts these individuals at a disadvantage by limiting their educational and economic opportunities because the Internet is increasingly needed to find a job, finish homework or keep in touch with family and friends.
“In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills … with a tap of your phone, the Internet is not a luxury. It’s a necessity,” Obama said in Durant, Oklahoma, on the first day of a two-day visit to the state.
Friday, July 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments
I started doing this in on various platforms back in July, 2001. Don’t bother looking for the old stuff; prior to what’s here now, it’s all pretty much gone forever, which is no great loss, believe me.
I guess that my daily visit count averaged around 300 or so and a fair amount of that was me. That was until 2003 when Robbie got his pointy hat and hooked stick, the Anglican controversy fired up, I began focusing almost exclusively on the Anglican story and other assorted pseudo-Christian weirdness, people like Kathy Shaidle and Binky began linking to my stuff and I began to get traction, leading to whatever Web reputation that I have today.
But here’s the problem with covering a story like this for as long as I have. Do this sort of thing long enough and nothing, and I literally mean nothing, shocks or angers you any more. Case in point courtesy of Rod Dreher.
I’m not going to post it here because that might just be the single most offensive image ever deliberately offered by an allegedly “Christian” school, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite’s Chicago Theological Seminary, so click on the link if you want to. But I genuinely can’t get all that worked up about it. I wish I still could.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 63 Comments
Initially, I wasn’t particularly shocked by this story:
An undercover video shot last summer by a new pro-life organization called Center for Medical Progress purports to show the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of America talking on camera about how to abort a child intact so the child’s body parts can be transferred for medical and scientific research.
The video was shot by a team led by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress posing as representatives of a start up biotech firm in the business of buying fetal body parts for medical and scientific research. Daleiden told Breitbart News, “It as remarkably easy to make contact with Planned Parenthood” to discuss procurement of fetal tissue.
I mean, it’s Murder, Inc., it’s what they do. But the truly scary thing about this story is that the more you think about it and the deeper you dig, the more horrifying this all eventually becomes. Satan, and I’m not being at all figurative here, is in the details. Like these.
The video purports to show, between bites of lunch and sips of wine, Dr. Deborah Nucatola saying, “A lot of people want intact hearts these days, because they are looking for specific nodes.”
She adds: “Yesterday was the first time she said people wanted lungs. And then, like I said, always as many intact livers as possible. People just want…some people want lower extremities, too. I mean that’s easy. I don’t know what they’re doing with it, I guess they want muscle.”
[Nucatola] talks about pricing. “You know, I would throw a number out, and I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $100 [per specimen] depending on the facility and what’s involved.”
In the video, Nucatola goes into great detail about ordering specific body parts and how the abortionist goes about ensuring those parts are not damaged in the abortion. She says the abortionist uses “ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”
And then she talks about the baby’s head. “The kind of rate-limiting step is procedure is calvarium.
Know what a calvarium is? There should be one on top of your neck.
Calvarium — the head — is basically the biggest part. Most of the other stuff can come out intact.”
Nucatola says the doctor has to be “just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, and I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
Nucatola explains how the position of the baby can be changed so that she can be extracted up to the head and then collapse the head so that all the other body parts can be extracted without damage.
Think about that for a second. The “chief medical officer” of Murder, Inc. doesn’t want it’s accredited teppanyaki chefs to go in there and just start indiscriminately slicing and dicing. MI has a bottom line to think about.
They’re harvesting them. The bastards are harvesting them.
But they’re “harvesting them” for medical research. They’re trying to save lives.
Oh, come on now, Johnson. You’ve just been diagnosed with some kind of terminal illness; the doctors tell you that you have 3 to 5 years left. Optimistically.
But there’s this treatment deriving from the research on or the direct use of fetal tissue that could extend your life be decades or even cure you. Are you seriously claiming that you would refuse such treatment if you knew where it came from?
Yeah, pretty much. Prolonging my existence is not a high, personal priority right now. And if it necessitates killing other human beings, it’s far too high a price to pay anyway.
Will this story have legs? The Washington Post has picked it up so we’ll see.
Monday, July 13th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 65 Comments
Sorry for the extended absence. Last week, I did something, and I have no idea what, to my left elbow that basically rendered my entire left arm even more than I useless than I am. How bad was it? Well, it deprived me of several days’ sleep since it was impossible for me to find a position to put my left arm that wasn’t extremely painful.
And how to put this delicately? Let’s just say that going to the bathroom, realizing that you normally hold your toilet paper in your left hand and that any activity at all involving your left arm is absolute agony when you’re trying to finish things up on the porcelain throne, as they say…well, you do the math. (My kingdom for a bidet) Let’s just say that I took more than my share of short baths last week.
How’s the wing? It’s not completely back but it’s getting there. Last night, I had my first good night’s sleep in quite a while.
Moving on, who do you like in 2016, Johnson? I’d love for Ted Cruz to get the nomination just to see leftist heads explode at the prospect of the Glenn Beck/Ted Cruz post-election victory interview. I could vote for Marco Rubio. I wouldn’t be happy about it but if I had no other choice, he’s the way I’d go.
Jeb Bush? If the GOP establishment wants to rub my nose in it, I’m going third party. Ben Carson? He’s already a great man and should stay that way. Lindsey Graham? What are you, high? Trump? What are you, on crack? Chris Christie? Vice-president maybe, president no. Rick Perry? Yeah but I don’t think he has a chance. Bobby Jindal? Very long shot.
But I have to tell you, I’m liking Carly Fiorina more and more.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Big economic speech coming tomorrow from Hillary Clinton. She’s going to address what she calls the defining challenge of our time, the wage gap, the fact that Americans are working harder than ever before, but their wages are not going up. Do you agree with the way that she’s defined the problem? And if her ideas aren’t the best way to address it, which ones are?
FIORINA: Well, I think income inequality is a huge problem. And let’s look to the state of California where I lived for 12 years, liberal policies have been in place for decades, and yet 111 billionaires, good for them, the highest poverty rates in the nation, the exodus of the middle class, the destruction of industry after industry. Now they’re destroying agriculture in California.
The truth is, Hillary Clinton’s ideas create more income inequality. Why? Because bigger government creates crony capitalism. When you have a 70,000 page tax code, you’ve got to be very wealthy, very powerful, very well connected to dig your way through that tax code. So, she made to cry income inequality, what I will continue to point out is the fact that every policy she is pursuing will make income inequality worse, not better, crony capitalism even worse, not better. And meanwhile, we will continue to crush the businesses that create jobs and middle class families.
Why? Because if Hillary Clinton takes down the Democratic pot, Fiorina, if present performance is indicative of future results, seems to be the only Republican presidential candidate who will take on the Hillbilly and take her on hard.
What about the social issues, Johnson? Let’s be realistic. From Reagan on down to Bush II, “conservative presidents” have promised to do something about them and have failed. Why? Because this country isn’t ruled by an autocrat; presidents have had to work with Congresses and those Congresses haven’t been there.
Do I think that social issues are no longer important? Far from it. They basically determine how I vote.
Considering the current make-up of the Supreme Court and the Congress, “homosexual marriage” isn’t going away any time soon. Neither is abortion.
But as long as there is a substantial conservative social issue vote in the Congress, neither will go any further.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 117 Comments
Why aren’t Lois Lerner and John Koskinen already in jail?
Newly obtained documents from the conservative educational foundation Judicial Watch detail an official memo from October 2010 of a meeting between Lois Lerner and officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI to plan for the prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations.
A lawsuit filed under the Freedom of Information Act produced the documents which included the memo as well as revelations that the Justice Department wanted IRS employees to turn over sensitive documents before giving them to Congress, Judicial Watch said in a press release Tuesday.
In a letter from Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, then-House Oversight Committee Chairman said “this revelation likely means that the IRS—including possibly Lois Lerner—violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”
An IRS document confirms that the organization supplied the FBI with 21 computer disks containing 1.25 million pages of confidential information from more than 113,000 tax returns.
“The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama’s opponents in jail before his reelection, and this abuse resulted in the FBI’s illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in the release.
Answer: because this is Barack I’s Personal Rule.
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments
Friday, July 3rd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 56 Comments
In a move that surprised absolutely no one who’s been paying attention for the last twelve years, the Episcopal religion, at its recent General
Coven Convention has decided to allow “homosexual marriage” ceremonies to take place inside its temples:
Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, solidifying the church’s embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago with the pioneering election of the first openly gay bishop.
The vote came in Salt Lake City at the Episcopal General Convention, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide. It passed in the House of Deputies, the voting body of clergy and lay participants at the meeting. The House of Bishops had approved the resolution Tuesday by 129-26 with five abstaining.
The vote eliminates gender-specific language from church laws on marriage so that same-sex couples could have religious weddings. Instead of “husband” and “wife,” for example, the new church law will refer to “the couple.” Under the new rules, clergy can decline to perform the ceremonies. The changes were approved 173-27. The deputies also approved a gender-neutral prayer service for marriage on a 184-23 vote.
Considering the margin of those votes, I give that “conscience clause” no more than three years or the next Gen
CovCon. But I don’t know why people think this story is newsworthy (the Washington Post also picked it up). This was the single most inevitable event in the world.
And we have this from What’s-His-Name, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop of Canterbury today expressed deep concern about the stress for the Anglican Communion following the US Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ resolution to change the definition of marriage in the canons so that any reference to marriage as between a man and a woman is removed.
While recognising the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.
Oh, sweet mother of…
As far as “traditionalist” Anglicans are concerned, wherever they happen to live, I don’t know what’s beyond “We’re not laughing with you, we’re laughing at you.” Complete, total and utter scorn and contempt? But whatever’s there, I passed it a long time ago.
Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments
For those who deny the “slippery slope” meme, and swear on the soul of their sainted grandmother (bless her soul) that the LGBT+54 movement is simply about fairness for LGBT’s – well, I freakin’ well DID tell you so:
Bill (not IB)
Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 45 Comments
Yeah, I’m running a little low on material at the moment. But my foot’s bothering me again so hopefully there will be better stuff up tomorrow:
(1) Sweet potatoes/Yams - Indescribably repulsive tubers like these sometimes make me doubt the wisdom of God. But then I think that this is one of those mysteries that we will not learn the meaning of until Christ returns. In the meantime, nothing can make these things palatable, even adding miniature versions of the following.
(2) Marshmallows – I wasn’t a big smores fan when I was a kid because of these things. I began to prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate fairly early on in my life, mainly because I began to feel that sweetness was a quality that should be employed sparingly, not excessively trowelled on like these disgusting things had.
(3) Seinfeld – The most overrated television show in American history for two reasons. (A) It wasn’t funny. (B) Every great American sitcom, from I Love Lucy down to The Dick Van Dyke Show down to Friends down to quirky recent sitcoms like Community had one thing in common.
At the end of the day, their characters liked each other. Push came to shove, they had each other’s backs.
I never got that from Seinfeld. Indeed, as I saw it, the four main characters really didn’t know each other at all and never interacted with each other in any meaningful way; they might have been four strangers mindlessly repeating their stupid, unfunny lines.
But in order to be fair, here are three things that I love but that normal people, inexplicably, hate:
(1) Anchovies - No finer proof of the truth of Calivnism exists than this. God created anchovies because he preordained from the foundation of the universe that man would create pizza.
(2) Marmite/Vegimite – I’m sorry but you have to respect any culture that thinks that spreading spent brewer’s yeast on its morning toast is a good idea.
(3) Braunschweiger/Liverwurst – I’m sorry but I LOVE the stuff even though it’s one of the single worst things that you can put in your body.
Have at me.
Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 113 Comments
In view of the Supreme Court’s second major intervention against the legislative processes of the several states by declaring Same-Sex Marriage as a “constitutional right” (as was done with abortion in “Roe v. Wade”) I’d like to hear from our commenters as to their opinions on the following:
1) How long will it be before a gay couple files the first lawsuit against a church for discrimination, based on the refusal of the church to perform same-sex marriages?
2) What church (RC, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, etc.) will be the target?
3) What “progressive” churches will file “amicus curiae” briefs supporting the plaintiffs?
4) What are the odds that the lawsuit will be filed in the Ninth Circuit Court in California (so near and dear to all of us?)
5) How long will it take before the lawsuit works its way through the system to the Supreme Court, and how will the Supremes respond to the question of religious liberty versus gay rights?
Let’s hear from you, boys & girls! (And yes, that is meant to be a politically incorrect assessment of gender!!!!!)
Bill (not IB)
Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments
Saturday, June 27th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments
The Episcopal Organization’s GenCon 2015 is officially under way in Salt Lake City. Back when I was exclusively an Anglican blogger, this used to be a particularly exciting time for me. I started blogging in 2001 but never got any national or international traction at all until Binky started linking to my stuff.
I realized that the Episcopalians were a comedy gold mine even back when they were making international headlines (2003 and 2006) because of all the goofy resolutions TEO kept voting on. Like this one. Considering the “right” the US Supreme Court just invented, you can kiss off any “conscience clause” TEO might provide its ministers:
Resolved, the House of _________ concurring, That the 78th General Convention declares that the terms “man and woman” and “husband and wife” in the services of The Book of Common Prayer, “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage,” “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage,” and “An Order for Marriage,” shall be equally applicable to two persons of the same gender, and that those terms may be modified when used in these services to be gender neutral.
People with a lot of money should pay more taxes, says a church with a single parish that’s richer than most countries.
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church support efforts to reduce economic disparities in the United States by:
Calling for a reversal of federal tax cuts, such as decreased taxes for the highest tax brackets, for inheritances, and on capital gains; and tax cuts that have increased the wealth gap and reduced budget revenue for domestic needs; and
Calling for a reversal of the recent erosion of progressivity in federal tax rates, as highly progressive tax rates were a means of building a strong middle class in the past, and must be an important means of reducing severe inequalities of income and wealth in the future.
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the following sites be considered for the 80th General Convention: Anaheim, California (Diocese of Los Angeles), Baltimore, Maryland (Diocese of Maryland), Louisville, Kentucky (Diocese of Kentucky), Minneapolis, Minnesota (Diocese of Minnesota), and St. Louis, Missouri (Diocese of Missouri).
Keep your fingers crossed. FER-GU-SON, FER-GU-SON, FER-GU-SON!! TEO is conflicted about drones and stuff.
Our work reviewing the implications of drones during this last triennium has concluded that remotely operated weapons are significant as tactical weapons that in many circumstances permit more proportionate applications of force than alternatives and are, in that respect, fully consistent with the principles of the Just War tradition. Further, given the dependence of drone operations on tactical and logistical support in their theaters of operation, the moral issues posed by drones are fundamentally quite similar to the issues posed by covert warfare generally. These issues generally reflect the challenges posed by the changed nature of threats from violent extremists, compared with threats from nation states, and by the capabilities for networked terrorist recruitment and violence created by globalized social media.
The resolution further acknowledges that the greater capability created by drones for monitoring at high resolution the activities of intended targets for extended periods of time, including the interactions of targets with their families, can cause experiences of moral dissonance that are qualitatively different from those experienced by soldiers on conventional battlefields, albeit with similarities in some circumstances. There is a role for pastoral ministry in supporting operators, their families, and others involved in this new kind of warfare that needs concerted support from the Church.
The impacts of targeted killings for further recruitments in “revenge cultures” are clearly a concern, but the Commission is likewise mindful that the devastation being experienced in traditional societies is not exclusively a consequence of remotely directed targeted killings. Violent religious extremists have targeted and executed tribal elders to project their power in the lands where drones are operating, with the result that the tribal structures that previously maintained order have been severely weakened, perhaps beyond the point of revival. This is largely a consequence of murders by terrorists.
That it is. Moving on to vastly more important matters, TEO wants to go all Real African Word on the Middle East.
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 78th General Convention call upon members of The Episcopal Church to engage in an intentional process of “Ubuntu” and of peaceful, mutual discernment regarding the policy approaches of TEC toward advocacy, economic investment or divestment, humanitarian mission, and peacemaking in Palestine and Israel; and be it further
Resolved, That the Office of the Presiding Bishop, the Office of Government Relations, the Episcopal Public Policy Network, and a broad range of advocacy groups and ministries within the Church be tasked with collaboratively defining and facilitating such a process, to be enacted at all levels of the Church — community, congregational, diocesan, national, and international; and be it further
Resolved, That this collaborative group collect and disseminate a wide range of educational resources, and collaborate with a wide range of policy experts, humanitarian aid organizations, and ecumenical and interfaith groups to inform and enliven a process of listening and conversation among those of differing convictions; and be it further
Resolved, That methods of peacemaking and mediation be applied so that The Episcopal Church in its deliberations and advocacy efforts might model the love of God and the possibility of civil dialog over controversial and confounding issues of global conflict.
In other words, we don’t want to actually propose anything substantive but we want you to think that we did. And then there’s the ligbits.
According to Amnesty International, “legal rights are diminishing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people across the African continent.” In Uganda, where it was already illegal to be gay, the Anti-Homosexuality Act passed by the parliament lengthened sentences for consensual homosexual sex and made it illegal to “promote” homosexuality. In Nigeria, “the conditions of imprisonment have become wider, and the punishment much harsher, when Nigeria’s president passed amendments to existing laws in January 2014.” A similarly harsh bill has been proposed in Kenya’s parliament.
Too often, the Bible is cited as a text that justifies these draconian punishments and the violence and discrimination that accompany them. But across Anglican Africa, an increasingly active network of church leaders, scholars, and activists is working to change ways of interpreting the Bible’s teachings on human sexuality and to use those new, more generous understandings to oppose draconian anti-gay laws and violence against LGBTI people.
Church-wide offices and Episcopal parishes and dioceses with companion relationships in Anglican Africa can form relationships with these African leaders and scholars who are working to change the Church’s legacy of anti-gay teaching.
The Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns, its successor, or a task force pursuant to Joint Rule of Order IX.22 can compile information and resources about this work happening in African Anglican contexts. These resources will help church-wide offices, parishes, dioceses, and advocates develop and facilitate relationships among people in different contexts working to stop-anti gay violence across the Anglican Communion.
While we’re here, we might as well work in guns and stuff
In 2013, guns killed more than 33,000 Americans and almost 90%of the firearms used in these deaths were handguns. A proven and effective way to prevent gun violence is to require handgun purchasers to obtain a license from law enforcement officials following a background check. Studies show that licensing is a particularly effective way to achieve comprehensive background checks and deter illegal straw purchasers of handguns. Recent new research by top national experts strongly supports the effectiveness of handgun purchaser licensing. For example, Missouri’s repeal of its handgun purchaser licensing law led to a 25% increase in firearm homicide rates while Connecticut’s adoption of its handgun purchaser licensing law led to a 40% decrease in firearm homicide rates. (See: http://taleoftwostates.com) In addition, national polling shows that 72% of Americans, including 59% of gun owners, support licensing for gun purchasers (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25998881) Handgun purchaser licensing is fully consistent with the 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms as defined by the US Supreme Court in the Heller decision. This resolution aligns The Episcopal Church with a national movement calling for handgun purchaser licensing as advanced by Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. (See: http://faithsagainstgunviolence.org).
Also, did you know that the Episcopal Organization is officially on record as supporting compassion? As Paul Harvey used to put it, ITTTTTTTTTT’s true.
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 78th General Convention affirms the Charter for Compassion and its encouragement of respectful and compassionate conversation while honoring full expression of differences, and encourages its study and a prayerful response; and be it further
Resolved, That the 78th General Convention asserts the importance of joining with other partners to further the understanding of the principles of compassion and how we might live more intentionally, putting compassion at the center of our daily lives and relationships within the Episcopal Church and beyond, in ecumenical and interreligious contexts, within our cities and towns, and in the world; and be it further
Resolved, That the 78th General Convention encourages all dioceses to study the Charter for Compassion and to participate in its call to action.
If you want to support compassion on your own time, click here.
Thursday, June 25th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 30 Comments
As long as we’re banning the public display of certain flags, says the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri, here are fifty more that need to go. No argument about Missouri, one of this country’s worst. But Kansas? I love you and you know that I do. My paternal family is all from there, I’d retire to western Kansas if I had the resources and the chance to visit Ness City, where my grandmother was born, with my father shortly before he died is one of the highlights of my life. But if you feel the need to prominently feature the name of your state on your state flag then your state flag sucks.
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