Saturday, April 16, 2005

Debbie B.

I am Jewish and the proud mother of a smart, beautiful 13-year-old who has recently taken her place in the Jewish community as a Bat Mitzvah, a daughter of the faith. I am a librarian, an educator. I am a volunteer in my community in San Francisco, California. I am not hostile to faith.

I am a long-time registered Democrat who believes wholeheartedly in the U.S. Constitution. I am dismayed to witness the divisiveness, hate, scapegoating, and lies fostered by our present Republican leadership in the name of "values"and "faith".

The cornerstone of my faith is loving one another. Some call it "the Golden Rule." There is a very famous old Jewish story about Rabbi Hillel of Babylonia who, when approached by an unbeliever who requested that the rabbi teach him the whole of the Torah while he stood on one foot, responded: "What you find hateful do not do to another. This is the whole of the Law. Everything else is commentary. Now go and study it."

In the name of loving one another, the richest nation in the history of the world should lead the world in feeding, clothing, and educating the hungry and poor at home and abroad. In the name of loving one another, our highest and best calling is to promote peace and justice at home and throughout the world. In the name of loving one another, the most powerful nation in the history of the world should lead in healing the earth so all can enjoy its fruit now and tomorrow. May it be so.

At 1:47 AM, Blogger blueenclave said...

Mazel tov!

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

I am a lifelong Democrat and an ordained minister. I am more spiritual than I am religious and believe that the 5 major world faiths have more in common than differences so we need to unite and come together in love.

I walk in Spirit and know in the deepest regions of my being that we have been given a great national treasure and it is called the United States Constitution.

In the next 10 days the Republicans will try to use the "nuclear option" to seize absolute power to appoint judges who will roll back decades of progress in protecting worker rights, the environment, and privacy. The "nuclear option" is a parliamentary trick to eliminate the filibuster - the right to extend debate on controversial judicial nominations. Today our democracy is hanging by a few threads and if the "nuclear option" is successful then our democracy as we know it is gone.

One of the first judges the "nuclear option" would force through is Janice Rodgers Brown of California, who is nominated for the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals, a common stepping stone to the Supreme Court.

Judge Brown follows an extremist judicial philosophy that calls for the courts to block Congress from guaranteeing such things as the 40 hour work week, the minimum wage, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

If a federal judgcial nominee cannot gain the approval of both Democratic and Republican legislators, as our Constitution requires to ensure a fair court, then they have no business being considered for a lifetime judicial appointment.

I strongly oppose rolling back the filibuster in the Senate because the Democratic Senators represent more than than half the population of this country and these "minority" voices have the right to speak and exercise their power. The Republican leadership is behaving like power-drunk tyrants. Our founding fathers never intended for one political party to run this entire country. Indeed, it is our brilliantly vital system of checks and balances that has enabled America to survive 229 years.

I consider the Republican theocratic platform repugnant, arrogant, mean-spirited and a threat to the survival of America. The Christian right believes they know what is best for everyone, defines Christianity in a stifling way while catering to our lowest moral common denominator which is a puritanical zealotry. The Christian right's allies are corporate America (companies like Walmart) which care about little except furthering their capitalistic, short-sighted agenda.

My God is about love, unity, faith, choice, hope, grace, courage, redemption, wisdom and the circle. All are One and always will be.

From the minute Bush and the Christian right stole their way onto the national political stage in 2000, he has sought to tear this country apart based on war, a cynical use of race, homophobia, class warfare and pettiness used as distractions. Due to a reckless, dishonest and dangerous leadership of the past four years, America is now in a downward spiral.

The good news is that all is in divine order and this is what America must go through in order to reclaim our system of checks and balances, remember what it means to truly participate in American democracy as citizens beyond simply voting, heal our relationship with the rest of the World and begin the process of spiritually cleansing ourselves.

I am 38 years old and was born and raised in America. Up until I discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I took a lot of things for granted, such as the assumption that Democratic and Republican politicians would always respect the US Constitution's separation between church and state, checks and balances, privilege logic over emotion, operate based on moderation and respecting the United Nations as the greatest hope and source of international unity. No more.

There comes a time when decent, reasonable Americans must take a stand and speak on their terms and organize and fight for the heart and soul of America and, by extension, the World. A grimy evil has come brazenly to the fore for all to see on American television during the Terri Schiavo televised tragedy and it must be rebuked by any means necessary.

As an ordained minister, my divine path is the fusion of spirituality and politics. The day is gone when we expect that it is enough to simply vote. We must fully participate in all aspects of democracy (organize, protest, lobby, write, run for office and inspire reform from the outside and inside our political system) as was done during the Civil Rights Movement which was the last great fusion of spirituality and politics. The time is here again.

By the end of George W. Bush's reign, America will no longer be a Superpower - and perhaps that is not a bad thing. For America's greatest promise and strength is the ability to inspire hope with our Constitution, humility and bridge-building. At our best, we inspire possibilities, healing, justice, wise moderation and choice.

We must commit to fight to retain the best parts of our American identity grounded in a progressive faith and politics of balance and love.

At 3:54 AM, Blogger Infidel In Exile said...

An acute problem is posed here, Dan. Is there another position between "affirm faith" and "hate faith?"

It comes back, of course, to the structural features of Christianity, its (1) worship of authority and (2) missionary effort. Those of us who are non-Christian and would like to stay that way don't believe we hate "faith"; rather, it is Christianity that hates us. We don't have a problem with none proselytizing creeds, and we don't have a problem with those who don't worship Authority.

But Dan, those of us who view your "faith" with skepticism and alarm are not "haters." Quite the other way around; it is Christianity with the missionary effort and the drive to include every single human under its dominion that seeks to eradicate our faith. It is your "faith" that hates. Hates us, and Judaism, and Islam, and every other Belief under the sun. Those of us who oppose that are not "faith-haters." We are the freedom-lovers, the stainless-steel rats in the wainscotting of the Tower of Bible, the dissenters from creed and cross. We don't hate your faith, Dan. What we hate is that it seeks relentlessly to snuff us out. What we hate is that it will never rest until there is not a single adherent of another belief stance left. And you, Dan, serve that drive, simply by calling yourself Christian, and claiming that you have "faith." You pose a problem for us. How can good people identify with that, and how should we deal with them?

The fact is that I am a person of "faith." One who has faith in people, not fictional gods. One who has faith in the methods of reason, evidence, argument, and persuasion. One who has faith in the future. One who has faith in himself. One who loves, and does not need a fetishized savior figure as a focus for that loving. One who does not see Jesus in the Other because he sees the Other in himself. That's faith.

So fuck off, Dan.

Infidel in Exile
progressive, RPCV, activist


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