Saturday, April 16, 2005

Linda R.

I am a proud Christian Democrat

I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ

I believe in feeding the poor

I believe in helping the elderly

I believe in going after the one lamb gone astray

I believe in not using the name of God for gain

I believe in the prodigal Son

I believe Jesus was right when he taught:
  • Seek your own salvation with fear and trembling
  • Take the moot out of your own eye
  • Love Thy neighbor
  • Render unto Caesar what is Caesars
  • Pride goeth before the fall
  • Love of money is the root of all evil
  • You will know a tree by the fruit it bears


I believe the Democrats understand these values, we don't cut benefits of the:
  • Elderly (social security)
  • Poor (Medicare/Medicaid)
  • Homeless(HUD)
  • Defenseless(COPS program,aid for mentally ill)
  • Sick (Drug rehab program)
  • Many other programs that help the old,sick,young and tillers of the soil.


"For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 (KJV)


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Peter W.

My name is Peter Wallace and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I was born and reared in the loving home of a United Methodist pastor and his wife, good mainline liberals. To my regret now, I rebelled against my parents' values by moving rightward politically and religiously, ending up at a conservative independent seminary (home of much of the Left Behind rapture-style theology) and graduating with honors. I worked for an evangelical Christian organization after that for several years, until it began dawning on me that many of these folks don't really practice what they preach. To many of them, it's all about power, not service.

God led me to return to my roots and I ended up a good, liberal episcopalian. I now work in religious media trying to give voice to the progressive mainline protestant church. I have have written books--using Scripture to focus on the grace and freedom God gives us so liberally.

I affirm faith in all its forms. The Jesus I believe is one who reaches out to all, no matter what. The Jesus I believe accepts all with unending love. The Jesus I believe tells me not to judge but to love God and to love others.

That's why I find the increasingly shrill, negative, hateful, judgmental, and narrow views of the Christian and Republican right to be precisely opposite of what Jesus would say and do. This latest effort to turn the judicial branch into their theocratic rubber stamp is simply wrong. It is antagonistic to the gospel.

This is America, land of liberty, of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to congregate in whatever ways you want. I believe it is time to get back to real righteousness. Namely, to accept one another, to live and let live, to stop living solely for ourselves and live like we believed in the golden rule. To love and serve and reach out and accept others.

I hope and pray that the partisan divisions that are tearing our country's soul apart will be dissolved by the tears of humility, of repentance, and ultimately of joy, love, and reconciliation.


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Amy M.

I am Amy Machado. I am an evangelical Christian, and I am not hostile faith. I live in Raynham, MA, with my husband and my step-son.

How can I be hostile to faith when I posses it in my soul? How can I be hostile to faith when it brings me wisdom, when it guides my actions, when it calls out my sin, when it cleanses my heart? How can I be hostile to faith after my parents shared this wonderful gift with me and my brother? How can I be hostile to faith when the husband I love needs Christ as much as I do?

When I accepted Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon me, just as it does with every one who asks Christ into their heart. My faith is mine, and no one has the right to question it. The Spirit is there with me every day, and He makes me understand some amazing things. The Spirit is a part of my deep feelings and passion for justice, and it compels me to fight against evil. Evils such as war and violence, oppression of the poor, misogyny, greed, usury, judgment in the spirit of the Pharisees, and racism. The Spirit is there with me when I step into the voting booth and proudly vote Democratic, and I do it so that my government might also fight against those evils. When people use the name of Christ to divide our nation by using tactics of hatred and greed, the Holy Spirit in me stirs, and I must speak out.

I am a follower of Christ, and I don't need a fundraising, lobbyist group to help me focus on my family. I don't need distractions about "filth on television" and FCC fines when I need to be focused on genocide in Sudan. I don't need distractions about judicial nominees and the filibuster when I need to be focused on health care for all Americans.

What we do need is Americans of faith standing up to say the simple-minded, ignorant politics of fear are no longer acceptable. We need politicians who are thoughtful and free-thinking, not beholden to greedy, corrupt leadership.

I am one of those Americans of faith who IS standing up. I am a liberal, and I want my country back.


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Frank D.

My name is Frank Downey. I am a liberal democrat and I am not hostile to faith.

What I am hostile to is attempts to give only certain expressions of
faith primacy in our system of laws.

I am a Unitarian-Universalist. Our church was formed in 1961 by the
merger of the Unitarian and Universalist churches in America, but both
of our 'father' churches have a long and illustrious history in the
USA.

A number of distinguished Americans from the years of our Nation's
birth were either Unitarians or Universalists. These include John
Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, and Daniel
Webster. Unitarians and Universalists are present throughout our
history.

UUism is a minority faith, and one which has been considered
'heretical' by many more 'mainstream'' churches for centuries.
Nowadays, my church honors the right of all people to form a life
relationship with whomever they choose, and we affirm the right for
women of reproductive freedom. Since I live in MA, my minister has
performed, and very happily, same-sex marriages. UU ministers in the
other 49 states are not allowed to do that. That is a restriction of
*our* faith.

UUism has a long history of social justice. We donate money, time, to
the poor and hurting everywhere. We are a safe haven for those who
have been persecuted for their sexuality, their transgenderism, their
race, their gender. We open our doors to the poor and afflicted. UUs
always have.

I am proud to be a UU. It is not for everyone. Since it is a
non-dogmatic faith, it takes an incredible amount of involvement and
self-reflection. It takes a willingness to work through a lot of
messages. It's not a faith for those who sit idly by, or for those who
need a road map.

But it's a legitimate faith, one with deep roots in our country. UUs
had a hand in writing our constitution, including the Bill of Rights.
That was no accident. Jefferson knew he was a member of a minority
religion.

The First Amendment of this country was written to honor all
faiths--and no faiths. I revere the Bill of Rights and feel that what
we are as a country stems, in a great way, from them.

The attempt to encode a particular expression of a particular faith,
Christianity, into the laws and judiciary of this country is what
makes me hostile. That is an infringement on *my* faith. That is
particularly contrary to what Jefferson and his cohorts had in mind.

That's what I'm hostile to--the attempt to subvert the Constitution.
There should be no religious test for members of our government or
Judiciary. That's un-American. And I value my country even more than I
value my faith.

--Frank Downey
Peabody, MA


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LMK

I am Lee Mathew Kiessel. I am a member Bethel Lutheran Church in
Madison Wisconsin, a leader of a weekly Bible study, and I am not
hostile to the Christian faith.

I do however object to the politicization of my faith.

I do not agree with the Republican agenda for America but that does
not make me any less of a Christian. As Christians we should working
together to find the areas that unite us as God's people; working to
end social end economic injustice; and working to ease the suffering
of those less fortunate than us. Only then will America truely be
great.

In Christ's name, Amen.


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Jim N.

My name is Jim Nepstad. I live in Washburn, Wisconsin. And I strong support the Democratic party.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

That said, I am friendly to ALL faiths.

One of the grievances listed in our nation's Declaration of Independence, addressed to King George III, states:

"He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries."

Our Founding Fathers found such an arrangement intolerable. I share their belief.

I believe that people of all faiths should be working cooperatively to bring about the form of social justice preached by Jesus Christ.

I ask you all to join me in that noble cause.


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Sandra

My name is Sandra, I live in a small village in Upstate New York.

I am a Democrat and a person of faith.

I support religious freedom for all people. I support the Constitution of the United States. I see no contradiction here, but apparently some people do.

While I would never try to force others into bending their souls to fit my beliefs there are some who would try to force mine into a shape more pleasing to them.

What stops them is the law of this land.

This frustrates them, they rant and rage and spew hatred at the ideals that have made this country great and threaten to tear it down and rebuild it in the mode of Iran. A theocracy, not a democracy.

But they can not touch my soul. They can not break it, bend it, mutilate it.
I won't let them.

They can't make me believe that torture is moral, that war is pleasing to the Creator, that love is an abomination.

They can't make me believe that to speak the truth is unpatriotic or irreligious.
I believe in liberty and justice for all, not for one sect or one creed but for all.
Fanatical bigots and the Republicans who pick their pockets want to kill that ideal.

We can't let them.

This is a country of great promise, of great compassion. The heart and soul of this country are too big, too grand to be circumscribed by hatred and fear.


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Magenta G.

I am Magenta Griffith, of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I am a woman of faith, a leader and elder in my community. I am a Witch and a priestess of the Goddess. My coven, Prodea, is one of the oldest in the area.

I am a lifelong Democrat. One of my early memories was "helping" my mother vote for John F. Kennedy. My first campaign was McGovern's. I’ve been active ever since. I have served in the local party as a delegate, a precinct chair, and a central committee member. I spent the night before Paul Wellstone was elected putting flyers on cars, despite freezing temperatures.

My beliefs have always shaped my political participation. First, because I believe the Earth is our Mother, I have always been active in environmental causes. We are doing a dreadful job taking care of our planet, our home. We are also doing a dreadful job of taking care of one another. I believe we are all family, all living beings. I am concerned with other humans, animals, plants, the web of life.

I also am a staunch feminist. This ties in with my Witchcraft: when you see the Divine as female, you change your attitude about women. I think that much of the problem with some branches of Christianity relates to their seeing the Divine as male, and thinking if God is male, then males are god. I have worked to balance the shared consciousness of humanity away from the male image that has dominated for so very long.

Connected with this is my strong support for women's reproductive rights. I had a paid job at Planned Parenthood for four years, until I burned out. This is not only about the rights of women to have control over their own bodies. It also ties in with the environmental and ecological problems we have. Many of these originate in overpopulation. I feel it is far kinder to control our population through birth control, and when necessary, abortion, than through disease, war, famine and disaster as we seem to be doing at present.

I believe in what I call the natural virtues of honesty, fairness and kindness. This world may not be intrinsically fair, but it is our duty as conscious beings to do what we can to make it more fair, and to help those around us.

I see this great country of ours being divided by religious disputes. This is not the way it is supposed to be. Our Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a place where all religions are respected, and where none dominate. It is unfortunate that a small group of people are trying to overthrow the principles of this country. I believe that many faiths are valid – but not all. We are given intelligence to use, to be able to tell good from evil, true from false. I call upon all people of faith to shun those who would overthrow the Constitution and establish theocracy.

I also want to state that I support people of all faiths and none at all. I believe the way I do because of direct experiences of the Divine. My experience is private, my own. I cannot know what experiences have shaped other peoples' paths. What is important, for me, is how you live your life, whether you relieve the suffering of the world, or add to it.

Unfortunately, those in political power right now seem bent on causing more suffering to the great majority of the world, in order to benefit a very small group. I call on the Goddess to reveal their true nature and true motivations, and I call on all people of faith to see them for what they are.


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Creede L.

Hello. My name is Creede Lambard. I live in Seattle, Washington.

I am a man of faith.

I have faith in God, but my God is apparently not the same god
worshipped by many in this country.

Their god teaches his followers to hate. My God teaches us to love one
another -- even our enemies.

Their god teaches his followers that wealth and power are an end unto
themselves. My God says the poor shall see His Kingdom, and that one
cannot serve both Him and the gods of wealth and power.

Their god must like widows and orphans, because his followers are
creating more of them every day. Yet they do little to help the
helpless. My God says to help the widow and the orphan and those who
cannot help themselves.

Their god has followers who want to run the country as an extension of
their worship of him. My God says to give the government those things
that are the government's, and give Him those things which are His.

Their god seems to think it's all right to lie, cheat, steal and kill
to achieve your goals. My God has harsh words for people like these.
One of those words is "hypocrite." He also likens them to freshly
painted tombs, which look pleasant but contain death and decay.

I have faith in my God, but not in theirs.

I have faith in America. I do not have faith in those who have
hijacked its government for their own ends and to serve their false
God.

And I have faith in Americans. I have faith that Americans will do the
right thing and wrest their country from the grip of those who would
hijack it for their own selfish ends. God bless us all. Thank you.


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Lee N.

My name is Lee Nelson. I live In Wyndmoor Pa with my husband,15 year
old daughter and our dog Gabbie. I am a Jew that is not hostile to faith.

I do not want to live in a theocracy being pushed down my throat
by a group of people: one of whom appears to be running for President
in 2008. I oppose politizing faith.

I object to Mullah Bill Frists attempt to overthrow Senate tradition.



I object to a war built on deceptions.

I object to attempts to dismantle social security. I especially object to using tax payers money to do so.

I object to an administration that is piling up debt that will be
passed on to my daughter.

I am a woman who cannot and will not stay silenced.

Instead I choose to continue to work for an America that includes everyone. Even those who are not Christians or do not believe in God.

Baruch HaShem!


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Scott G.

I am a scientist.

I am a Bostonian.

I am a Democrat.

I am an American of strong and still deepening faith.

Baptized at 17 years, born Jewish.

Because many Christians will always see me as a Jew for all the wrong reasons,
I still call myself a born Jew for all the right reasons.

I am a Christian, a highly imperfect servant of Christ.

I am a Democrat because the goals of today's Democrats align with the spirit of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Our relationship with God is for us to try to walk with God.

Our relationship to each other is for us to build each other up, according to our abilities.

I am a Democrat because every time the Apostle Paul cites a sin of the flesh, he also cites a sin of the spirit, such as hate and selfishness.

To him, they are equally evil.

And we are all guilty of such evils.

So in the Christian view, we turn to Christ to help perfect us, not by our own actions, but God's.

And through that change, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

I am a Democrat because the Democratic party of today is a natural home for the fruits of the Spirit. It is an imperfect home. It seeks to be better. It does not boast.

One day, when the Republican party returns to its honorable roots of its anti-slavery days, then it will not matter which party is embraced by a person of faith.

Until then, I remain a strong and proud Democrat with faith in Christ.


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Roberta K.

My name is Roberta Kelm.

I am a Christian.

I am a Democrat.

These two statements are not contradictory.

I was baptised in the Lutheran Church in 1959. I formed a personal relationship with Christ in 1976. I now am a member, with my husband, of the Episcopal Church.

The Christ I know and love bears little resemblance to the one that most Republicans acknowledge.

I do not appreciate that the Republicans have co-opted Christianity for Republicans only.

Nor do I appreciate that the Republicans have co-opted America for Christians only.

The Flag flies not only for Republicans or Christians. It flies for everyone, including Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, and Greens. And it flies for everyone, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, agnostics, and atheists.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty. I believe in Jesus Christ, his Only Son. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Giver of Life.

I also believe in the Constitution of the United States, in the Bill of Rights, and in the Amendments.

I especially believe in an independent judiciary, that is not subject to the wills and whims of popular opinion, but is free to evaluate laws under the aegis of the Constitution.

As a Democrat, and as a Christian, I will, with God's help, continue to follow the precepts of the Episcopal Baptismal Covenant: to continue in the apostles' teaching, in the breaking of bread and the prayers; to resist evil and to repent of any sin; to proclaim Christ by word and example; to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself; and to work for justice and peace, respecting the dignity of every human being.

And as an American, I will continue to honor and respect the Declaration of Independence, which states that "all men are created equal" (which includes women as well) and the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the Amendments, which codify that equality.


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Jerry S.

I am Jerry Soucy. I am a registered nurse who has supported Democratic
candidates and ellected officials since 1976. I practice and support
spirituality, religion, religious freedom, tolerance, and actions based on faith
and compassion.

I strongly object to any attempts by voters, elected officials, and others to
politicize faith and matters of faith.

I oppose all attempts to overthrow Senate rules for partisan political gain.
These rules preserve the rights of minorities of all kinds, in keeping with the
Founding Fathers' beliefs. I oppose Senate approval of several radical judicial
nominees whom I believe will be harmful to American justice system. Any attempts to link religious faith and practice with the agenda of any political party are
cynical, dishonest, and wrong.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who feed the
hungry.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who give water
to the thirsty.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who welcome the stranger.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who clothe the
naked.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who care for the
sick.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who visit the
prisoner.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who seek equity
for the poor and an end to racial prejudice.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who seek to end
political oppression of those who hold unpopular views, including views
regarding sexuality and religious beliefs.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to follow those who seek peace
at home and in the world.

My spiritual and religious heritage requires me to help those who hunger and
thirst for justice, that it might roll down like mighty waters, and
righteousness like a mighty stream.

My spiritual and religious heritage will not be intimidated or silenced. I will
not be intimidated or silenced by those who cannot accept my political
affiliations. I will not be intimidated or silenced by those who cannot accept
my personal spiritual and religious beliefs.

I will not be intimidated or silenced by those who would pervert my faith, or
anyone's faith, for their partisan political ends.

I believe in, and will fight for, an America where justice, compassion, and
diversity flourish, and where all of us can reach for our highest potential.
I extend my hand in love and compassion.

I do all of this based on my understanding and belief in the teachings of Jesus
Christ, Mohammed, the Buddha, Abraham, and all who have led by their word and their example.


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Christopher E.

My name is Christopher Eshelman. I am a United Methodist lay speaker from Wichita, KS.

My faith journey has been a long and winding one. Baptized Lutheran, raised Episcopalian after my parents divorce. Seriously studied Catholicism as a teen, spent a few months being very dogmatic then abandoned the church once I realized I just could not buy the whole package . Spent some time in a Unitarian Universalist setting, tried to ignore it all, but kept finding God in nature and humanity. Challenged and called through a series of events in which I encountered the divine in a Native American Drum ceremony where I believe God was present, but that was obviously not my path.

I was ultimately attracted to the UMC by my encounter with what's called the Wesley Quadrilateral - his teaching that Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason are all equally valid and necessary ways of considering our relationship with God. Having found a home in a progressive, thinking and always challenging UMC congregation, my faith and my passion for ministry have grown to the point that I am seriously looking at way to go to Seminary and become an ordained minister within this tradition.

I view my varied background as a gift. Very early on I figured out that my grandparents - one set Lutheran one set Catholic, disagreed about many things - but were all wonderful, god-fearing people. I could not accept the rhetoric I heard from the extremes of either camp and I learned that God - the creator of all life - values diversity. We see it all around us - in animals, in plants, in the myriad rock and earth formations, and in the universe.

I learned that over the centuries, various groups have controlled parts of the church so rigidly that men like Copernicus and Galileo were persecuted for violating the teaching of the church by observing and reporting the universe around them. I learned that neither science nor faith are really about easy certainty, but about exploring God's creation. I learned that when we focus more on persecuting each other than growing in our relationship with God, that we lose sight of the true Gospel message.

In recent years, I've met and developed friendships with people from a number of other traditions, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist - as well as people who have been deeply hurt by the Church and now rejected religion altogether. I have learned that we all have some insight into ultimate truth and that any of us who claim to fully know God and God's will are likely guilty of the worst form of idolatry.

I have learned that true religion is not about enforcing our view of God's will on others, but surrendering control of our will to God. I claim as my path the Christian tradition, I value it's insights and love it's stories - but one of the most profoundly true things I've ever encountered is Sura 5:48 of the Koran (translated). "If Allah had so desired, He would have made us all one congregation. To test us, He chose not to and we are to compete with one another in good works. In the the end, all will return to Allah, and then that which we have disagreed on will be made plain to us.

Senator Frist, the Family Research Council, and this debacle they are calling Justice Sunday - do not speak for all people of faith, let alone all Christians. Opposition to this handful of judges has nothing to do with faith and it is a deep insult to people like myself that they would make such a claim. The cold fact is that more of Clinton's appointees were blocked than have even been seriously challenged, let alone blocked by this Congress. What these people want is absolute power. The irony is that if they got their Constitution shredding Theocracy - they would soon disintegrate into a series of purges - for they have deep disagreements on their beliefs that are masked by their current craze to achieve power.

Our nation's founders looked out on a dangerous and threatening world. They realized that each of the colonies had been founded by different groups with different religious ideas. Groups which had fled religious persecution elsewhere, only to fall into the trap of practicing it in the new world. Groups which had deep disagreements. Our founders came together in a common dream of Liberty and Justice - and created a nation which honored religious freedom while explicitly rejecting the establishment of a state church. For almost 230 years, what these wise men did has been a model for the rest of the world. Now a handful of religious extremist seek to end that and impose their will, their understanding, on our entire society. I don't say these words lightly, but that is both un-American and un-christian.

As a person of faith I reject their attempt and I rebuke them for it.
They are fools, blind guides, vipers. They make a great show of their religion for worldly gain. They ignore the beam in their own eye. They forget that the greatest commandment is plain - to love our neighbor as ourself.

Today I stand with people from many faiths, and with all those, religious or not, who honor our nations ideals - to reject the "far right's" foolish, shortsighted plans and I call on every person of faith to demand an apology for and a retraction of their arrogant claims.


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Mary C

My spiritual beliefs inform my values and are totally aligned with the democratic ideals of my beloved country.

I was raised Catholic, and while I no longer consider myself a member of a particular religion (too much misogyny to make me feel like a whole human being), the teachings of Jesus Christ have guided my spirituality to this day.

I cannot imagine Jesus supporting the war against Iraq, killing 100,000 or more innocent people (including untold numbers of unborn children, though so-called "pro-life" people won't admit it, perhaps because they are Iraqi, rather than American, fetuses?) Jesus taught love, turning the other cheek - things today's right-wing consider "liberal", and therefore, to be despised. I think today's right wing really hates what Jesus taught. They simply exploit his name for political power.

I cannot imagine Jesus supporting increasing the wealth of the rich and placing the burden of taxation on the poor and middle class for generations to come. Jesus had some very specific words about the ability of the rich to ascend to heaven. Or not. Jesus asked us to love the poor, not coddle the rich.

I cannot imagine Jesus accepting more mercury and asbestos and all the other chemical poisons and wastes from greedy and irresponsible corporations. I cannot imagine Jesus accepting pollution's devastation on the unborn, the children, all of life, as simply a way to protect and improve corporate profits for the few.

Yes, I have faith. I am a Democrat BECAUSE I have faith!! The Democratic Party holds positions far closer to those of Jesus than the Republicans. The Republicans are the party of greed and power who do nothing but offer gratuitous lip service to the teachings of Jesus Christ, dividing our nation and contributing to its eventual fall if we do not stop them.


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John M.

My name is John McLaren. I am a Christian Democrat
who believes that our faith is a source of strength
and inspiration, guidance and comfort. It is not to
be used as a political club. It is not to be used for
intimidation or empire-building. I believe that our
faith is a beautiful tool for building and healing
lives. But when it is used as an implement of
political power it is poisoned and degraded.

As a Christian, I am offended and angered by the
attempts of political operators to turn my faith into
a weapon. We need the separation of church and
state, and need it badly. The politicization of
religion can only poison our politics and corrupt our
religion. We can, and must, preserve the blessings of
faith against this.


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C.B. Ford

I am a Democrat of faith.

I am a Christian.

I am a patriotic American.

I believe in the seperation of church and state.

I believe it is my duty as a Christian to oppose hatred, corruption and war-mongering.

Opposing radical, right-wing judicial nominees is my duty as an American and a Christian.

The Republican Party's attempt to claim my faith as their own is dangerous to both.

God is not spelled GOP.

Christians believe in feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, comforting the afflicted.

Christians believe in peace.

Christians oppose bearing false witness.

I will speak out against those who attempt to pervert my faith for political gain.

I will continue to seek to please God -- not the GOP.


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CK

I am a Democrat of faith. I am a baptized, confirmed Irish-American Catholic. My heritage has taught me the perils of religious intolerance. Just as in Ireland, God is neither Catholic nor Protestant, in America, God is neither Republican nor Democrat. As a Catholic and as a Democrat, I endeavor to emulate Pope John Paul II, a man who was not only devout, but also generous, a man who could disagree with people without judging them. This, I believe, is holiness. I endeavor to do right by my sisters and brothers of every faith, including those whose faith resides in something other than God as I know him.

I believe in loving my neighbor even when we can agree on almost nothing.

I believe in feeding the hungry.

I believe in caring for the sick.

I believe in welcoming the outcast, the exile, the persecuted, and the disenfranchised.

I believe in forgiving those who have hurt me.

I believe that one people should never prosper at the expense of another people’s pain.

I believe in building a peaceful, just, equitable world.

I believe that no voice should be silenced, for such silencing is a product of fear.

I believe that love is stronger than fear.


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Craig S.

I am a Democrat of faith. My name is Craig Smalley. I am 18 years old, and reside in the city of Louisville Kentucky. I am a Catholic from a strong Catholic family. Our faith is very important to us. So is our country.

That is one of many reasons why we oppose the current Republican leadership. Republicans are trying to define Christian to mean only the way they see it. They are trying to define equality as intolerance and theocracy as freedom. There is no attack on Christianity. Only an attack on religious fundamentalists who wish to remake this great nation into a dictatorial theocracy.

Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers. Republicans call peacemakers weak and enemy sympathizers.

Jesus said blessed are the meek. President Bush and the republicans proudly claim to be the sole vessels of goodness and truth.

Jesus said blessed are the poor. Republicans say the poor are lazy.

Jesus said it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Republicans bless the rich.

I am a Christian. I am a Democrat. I believe in the goodness and worth of ALL people. I believe in a world where problems are solved with words, not bombs. I believe in a world where people are more important than wealth. I believe in a world where people help one another. I believe in a world where we protect God's precious gift of creation. Most importantly, I believe.

I will not allow Republicans to claim a monopoly on faith. I will not allow them to pick and choose which biblical verses to follow while calling themselves righteous. I believe pride is punished and humility and love rewarded. Let all of us, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, pagan, agnostic, and atheist stand together as Americans and embrace that which we have in common, rather than focus upon our disagreements. May God bless.


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Matthew K.

My name is Matthew Krell, and I am a Southern Jew from Hattiesburg, MS. My family is of the priestly line of Aaron, and I work every day to live up to my heritage.

I am a Democrat. I have been a Democrat since 2000. I am proud to be a Democrat, and I will be forever proud to be associated with the Democratic Party.

My Jewish heritage teaches me that the mixing of church and state is dangerous.

My Jewish heritage teaches me that the pogroms are never more than a few miles away.

My Jewish heritage teaches me that G-d is present in everything - even the laws of His own creation.

My Jewish heritage teaches me that G-d can be present and act without ever being seen or heard.

My Jewish heritage teaches me that I, too, was once a stranger - which gives me the burden to care for the stranger near me.

My Jewish heritage teaches me that a choice exists in our lives - and that, to be holy, we must choose life - but each of us must choose it ourselves.

My Jewish heritage teaches me to defend those without power using whatever mechanism is available.

My Jewish heritage teaches me to say that G-d sees us all the same, no matter what we may be on earth.

And my Jewish heritage teaches me that to go down any road because you think G-d told you to is dangerous. What if you're wrong? Best to not invoke the name of G-d in your politics, lest you one day stand before Him, and He say, "I never knew ye."

You may call me any name you please - liberal, idiot, elite, Jew, or any variation on these or any other you can think of. That's fine. My job, as I see it, is to live up to "three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax." G-d willing, I must do that the best way I know how, and that is as a Democrat.


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Maggie H.

My name is Maggie Halowell.

I am a child of God.

I am a human being.

I am a woman.

I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, friend.

I am a Christian of faith.

I was raised in faith. My father was my Sunday School teacher. My
parents both volunteered time at our church, cleaning, doing floral
arrangements for the alter, participating in pot-lucks, serving as
mentors in our youth organization, helping at church camp. My father
not only read his five children Bible stories every night, but we were
asked questions about what we had learned, and we discussed these
stories, as a family.

The values we were raised with have served me my entire life. I cherish
those values, and have instilled them in my children. Here is a partial
list of those values:

  • Follow the Golden Rule
  • Follow the Tem Commandments
  • Follow the example set by Jesus Christ and his followers, by performing these types of humble works:
    • Feed the hungry
    • Care for the sick
    • Give a hand up to the less fortunate
    • Visit the infirm and imprisoned
    • Seek to end prejudice regardless of what form it takes
    • Seek to end hatred, for hatred is nothing more than fear in disguise
    • Seek out the good, and the God, in each of us.
    • Seek peace in your own heart, in your family, in your community, in your
    • country, in your world.
    • Be patient, kind, understanding, generous in your service.

Here is how my Mother summed up faith- Live a Christian life, and you
won't need to talk a Christian life. It will radiate from you like the
sun, and others will want to know your secret. There is no secret-just
live a life filled with the love of God, and carry him in your heart. My
cup runneth over.

When I serve God, I do not first ask my fellow human beings; What color
is your skin? What God to do pray to? What political party do you belong
to? Who do you sleep with behind closed doors? How much money have you
tithed? "What is your income bracket?

Those are petty human concerns. God is not concerned with the petty.
God expects much greater things of us.

Alas, it seems we mere mortals must now concerned ourselves with this
pettiness of man. There are those who are perverting the Christian faith
to achieve a very specific political means to an end.

My values will not permit me to ignore my great responsibility, to speak
up when I see God's word twisted and misrepresented for petty political
purposes, and monetary gain. The pilgrims came to this country to escape
religious persecution. For 200 years the document produced by our best
great minds through heated debate, discussion, and deliberation, has
served this country. Insuring, among other liberties, freedom from
persecution. I sense a move afoot regarding persecution of those who
don't think a particular way, vote a particular way, or support a
particular agenda. I must now speak out. As a person of great faith,
love of God, and country, I must speak:

My political freedom lies in not being silenced. My religious freedom
lies in not being silenced. All freedom lies in not being silenced.

As such:

I will seek to insure no one is silenced by those who cannot accept
other points of view or affiliation.

I will seek to insure that those with the smallest, weakest voices are
heard.

I will seek to insure I am allowed to accept the message of the gospel
of Jesus Christ as I have heard it, not as other wish me to believe.
I will seek to insure I am not silenced by those who would pervert my
faith for political ends.

I will seek to insure I am not silenced. Thereby insuring that you are
not silenced.

I will seek the greatness expected, by God, of everyone in this great
country. A country where justice, compassion, diversity, and the peace
of God are honored and allowed to flourish. Where everyone can join
together to reach our highest potential, rather than our lowest common
denominator, separated by ideology and mean-spiritedness.

I extend my hand in friendship and with Christ's' love to all who will
accept it, and call upon them to walk away from this petty man made
"culture war" by seeking that which unites us, rather than that which
will divide us. Let us truly beat swords of disrespect into
ploughshares of brotherhood.

A humble servant,
Maggie Halowell


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Peggy J.

I am a liberal democrat and a person of faith. About thirteen years ago, my faith in God was rebord in a powerful way. That experience transformed me, and today it continues to guide me and allows me to meet the world with wonder and gratitude. I am deeply indebted to friends in the faith community who nurtured me through that journey. I hope that I can be a beacon of faith and hope to others.

Since I had and continue to have such a strong experience with faith, I feel a special kinship with others who are moved by the power of God, whatever their denomination. I certainly do not wish to stand against them, and I don't want my government to stand against them, since I know that the power of God compels many of us to be forces of good in our community. I pray that those in the Conservative Evangelical Christian Community can come to recognize that we are kindred in our love and faith. I pray that some day soon they will be willing to join in dialog with other people of faith, and with all Americans who love freedom and justice, to figure out what we can do -- what Jesus would want us to do -- to make this a better world for all.

Peggy Jenkins


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Kristi T.

My name is Kirsti Thomas. I am an evangelical Christian who lives in
Tacoma, Washington with my husband of 10 years, and my 2-year old
daughter. I am also a proud Democrat and card-carrying member of the
ACLU.

As a Christian, I believe that the government has no business, at any
level, promoting Christianity. History has shown time and time again
that state-sponsorship of religion only weakens and cheapens belief in
the long run.

As a Christian, I believe that the place for my daughter to experience
our faith is in our house, not the public school system.

As a Christian, I believe that my Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, Buddhist, and
Jewish friends have the right to be free from Christian proselytizing
when using government services their tax money has paid for.

As a Christian, I believe that feeding the poor is more important than
giving tax breaks to billionaires.

As a Christian, I believe that available contraception, living wages,
paid maternity leave, and affordable daycare will do more to end
abortion than criminalizing it ever will.

As a Christian, I believe that God is neither a Republican, nor a
Democrat.

I am a liberal and a Christian. Here I stand. I can do no other.


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Kelly B.

My name is Kelly Brickner and I am a Democrat of faith.

I live in Portland, Oregon. My grandfather was a Methodist minister and my father was a United Methodist minister.

On that long night of Democratic Self-evaluation that was the evening of last November 3rd I realized many things:

I am a Democrat because of the teachings of the religion in which I was raised.

I am a Democrat because I believe in doing unto others as I would have done unto me.

I am a Democrat because I truly *am* my brother's and my sister's keeper.

I am a Democrat because Jesus told us to "Love one another."

I am a Democrat because I have been called upon to love my neighbor as I love myself.

I am a Democrat because I believe that the peacemakers really are blessed.

I am a Democrat because God entrusted the stewardship of the earth to humankind.

I am a Democrat because I know that God has many names, speaks many languages, takes many forms.

I am a Democrat because I know that although I believe these things because of my religious upbringing, others believe them for reasons wholly unrelated to God.

I am a Democrat because I respect their worldview and whatever form of spirituality it takes.

I am a Democrat because I believe that the Unseen Hand is open to *all.*

I am a Democrat because God is Love.

I am a Democrat.

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

By wording these assertions this way, I hope to have someone say, "Oh yeah? Well those things are why I'm a Republican!!!" And there we will find ourselves, on that most elusive terra: common ground.


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Jeffrey S.

I am a Christian, a man of faith. I am apalled at the actions and intent of the right wing of the Christian faith these days. Never have I seen a group so willing to distort the facts to force their opinions on the rest of the country.

I am deeply ashamed of these people who I would wish to call brehtren. But I cannot agree with their efforts to impose a distinctly non-Biblical set of precepts upon me. Jesus said help the poor, be humble, turn the other cheek, seek the kingdom of heaven, and love thy neighbor. In all honesty, I can't reconcile the positions of the current crop of Christian Nationalists with the obvious intent of Jesus' teachings. They are truly the modern day equivalent of the Pharisees and Saduccees of yesteryear. One wonders who they talk to when they pray.

Please help protect us from these advocates of martial Christianity, and bring common sense back into our political process.

Yours in Christ,

Jeffrey P. Stivers, PE


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Steve A.

I am a Democrat of faith.

I am Steve Adams of Grand Prairie, Texas.

Democrats do not own God, but neither do the Republicans. This is why we need an independent judiciary. To protect us from each other, as well as our own fallible selves.


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Brian S.

My name is Brian K. Staihr, and I am a person of faith.

Actually, I am a person of great faith.

I live in Kansas City, Missouri.

I pray to God daily.

I thank him for everything he's given me.

I follow the teaching of "Love the Lord God with all thy heart and soul, and love they neighbor as thyself."

I am a Democrat.

I'm a businessman.

I'm a part-time teacher.

I'm a dog-lover.

I am a person of great, great faith.


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Bob S.

My name is Bob Stapp.

I am 57 years old.

I am the father of three grown children and two young grandsons.

I am a liberal, a humanist, and a spiritual person. I choose not to label myself with political party or religious affiliation because I believe those labels are too confining and, in the larger scheme of things, transitory.

My very life is a testament to my higher power and the existence of miracles. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I have been looked after in this life by someone or something, guardian angel, higher power, spirit guide, call it what you will. This realization has steadily grown as I've tapped into the enormous gratitude I feel for all the events which have shaped my life and that only now do I dare call miraculous as opposed to merely fortuitous.

I believe that we in the U.S. carry a heavy burden of responsibility. We partake of the riches and blessings of this world like no other nation in history. We have a foundation of law and government that has seen us through the worst of times, times that would have obliterated a weaker nation. Our citizens come from every corner of the globe and add their richness to daily life in ways immeasurable. Because of this great power and privilege, we have the obligation to set the tone for civilized, compassionate, and creative discourse and to take the lead in positive action both within our borders and around the world. Anything less would be squandering an opportunity.

We are squandering that opportunity.

We are victims of a terrible delusion in the U.S. We believe that God has favored us because we are somehow better and more deserving than other nations. We believe that the deep Christian tradition of our country somehow gives that tradition pre-eminence. We believe that this pre-eminence justifies any actions taken in its name and that it can stand before the even deeper tradition of the common good. The longer we insist on adhering to that mistaken notion, the more our country runs the risk of being permanently divided. Establishing a religious rule under the Christian flag, no matter how well intended, can only serve to divide and alienate, not bring
together.

The U.S., as envisioned by our forefathers, must be a country where everyone can find his or her place, where everyone can make a decent living, where everyone can choose to raise a family free of the religious dictates of others, where everyone can live a life of dignity, and where everyone can grow old, secure in the knowledge that a lifetime of good citizenship will not go unrewarded.

As I travel around the world, I am often asked if I am an American. I want to be proud to say yes. I want my country to be seen as the shining example of how the world could be, the model for the peoples of the world to point to and say, "How can I make MY country like that!" It's not too late.

Bob Stapp
Reno, Nevada


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Erik N.

My name is Erik Nelson. I'm a Christian and a Democrat.

I attend services every Sunday and am active in many of my church's community outreach projects.

I'm politically liberal because of my faith in Jesus Christ. My understanding of Jesus' message is to strive to uplift the poor, the needy, the outcast in our communities.

Jesus railed against greed and materialism. Jesus told us to let our actions proclaim our faith and to not go around bragging about how devout he think we are.

I believe Jesus was a liberal. I see the typical message and actions of the Christian Conservative movement as precisely the opposite of how Jesus would have his followers behave.

As a liberal person of faith striving each day to put my faith into action in my life, I am deeply offended by crass attempts to claim that the Democrats or liberals in general are hostile to people of faith. I strongly and respectfully request this practice be stopped immediately.

I absolutely believe that the principle of separation of church and state was very much purposefully and wisely enshrined in our constitution by our founding fathers. I believe it's critical for our country to respect this separation. As a person of faith, I am adamantly opposed to the so-called "nuclear option" taking away the right of the minority to filibuster in the Senate.


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Leah B.

I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and am affiliated with Aish Hatorah, an organization which should be familiar to Republicans since they sponsor HonestReporting.com on the Middle East. I have signed the messages to the President from Brit Tzedek v'Shalom. (I am not sure about putting myself behind continuing the appropriation to the Palestinian Authority.) There is a close relationship between our synagogue and the local outpost of Agudas Israel.

My father said very eloquently to the Southern Baptist Commission, "Religion is a sacred trust. Religious conflict harms the social fabric". To protect religion in our country, it is very important to maintain the separation of church and state. The best guarantors of religious values are strong and caring religious communities. Most of the moral issues which conservative Christians are worried about can be argued as moral issues and not as religious issues. Being on the opposite side of a moral issue such as abortion does not mean that one is against G-d. For example, Jewish law does not support "abortion on demand", but it has never outlawed abortion altogether. I agree that to say, "So-and-so is Catholic, so so-and-so should not get an appointment because so-and-so will rule against abortion" (for example) is bigotry and has no place in America. But the judges who are likely to be filibustered have highly conservative views in many more areas than a few socially conservative issues. Bush is trying to bias the courts in a conservative direction, which is just as objectionable as trying to pack the courts with liberal judges.

Micah asks us to "do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your G-d". Our country needs to pay more attention to providing health care and giving dignity to the poor and middle class. It needs to pay more attention to protecting our environment. The environment should be more of a central issue in our politics, because otherwise we have a politics of selfishness and vanity. Our president should be more careful about the accuracy of his public statements and the real consequences of his policies. In Iraq, we should not excuse our evil by saying, "Well, we are better than what they had before". We are still responsible for every torture victim and every civilian death caused by our fire. The poor economy there is also partly our fault. I do not know what our country can do to push the internal Israeli political situation. Appropriations to the Palestinians are useful because it gives us leverage to get the Palestinians to start acting like a partner to some of the more cynical Israelis.


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Bert B.

I am a person of faith. I am a Unitarian Universalist. I am moved by the divine presence when and as I experience it and honor that experience and its interpretation in others. In my church we search for the truth in general but most importantly the truths about our existence and our religious experience. And yet we agree that in this search we will not always agree, if only because we start from different places and have had different experiences.

Clearly we Unitarian Universalists along with Religious Liberals of all faiths are more respectful of faith than those who contend that those whose faiths are different than their own have either no faith or faith that is inferior. Who is more hostle to faith, those who reject the faiths of most of mankind in favor of their own or those who see the diversity of faiths as a resource for their own spiritual growth? I know that most people who are Hindu have the right faith for themselves, and that the same is true for Taoists, Buddhists, Jews, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians of whatever denomination, Bahais, Animists and Pagans. There are of course some who are not in the faith that will work best for them , but hopefully they will find the one that suits them sooner rather than later.

There is one religious attitude of which I am not very tolerant. That is the belief held by some that they have the correct answer and that those who hold otherwise are wrong and even evil. History teaches that this is a source of a good portion of the evil that people do to each other.

Personally I am moved by what I find in Buddhism and it aids me in my Unitarian Universalist faith. The experience of meditation which helps to experience -- at least relatively speaking -- an ego-less state. I am convinced that I am part of the Universe, nothing more nor less so such meditation brings me closer to a true understanding of what is true but ineffable. I feel that we could all use a bit more of the contemplative approach to life, whether in prayer, meditation or certain meditative practices and religious rituals.

It is in faith communities that we have a chance to take care of each other. If we do a good enough job of this we will be motivated to take care of people in the wider community and work toward a more just, compassionate and equitable world.

I am not hostile to faith.


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Jennifer B.

My name is Jennifer Brewer and I am a lifelong Christian. I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and converted to the Roman Catholic faith. The following was the sole reason for my conversion:

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. [They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial.] This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
(from The Catechism of the Catholic Church)


I am a lesbian Christian. I can change neither of these conditions. But I can change our legacy to future gays and lesbians, and I can help guarantee that we will leave an inhabitable planet for them and their straight brothers and sisters, and I can help to ensure their security in old age or illness, their right to affordable quality healthcare, their safety from illegal search and seizure, and the opportunity to come to their own understanding of God of their own free will, unhindered by the clumsy attempts of the state to chart that very personal journey for them. I can do all of these things, but I cannot stand by and allow those who are my brothers and sisters in Christ to say that by wanting this I am hostile to faith. I want this because I have faith, faith that human morality does not need human law to continue to exist. I have faith that marriage is the natural order of the human family, and thus can never be threatened as it is hard-wired into our nature and would continue to thrive even if it were outlawed altogether by civil authorities. I have faith that humans who have broken the law may have done so out of desperation or disorder, and that they might judge me as mercifully as I would judge them if our positions were reversed. I have faith in God's love and faith that in embracing that love we will eventually see that there is nothing for us to do except embrace each other.


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Christie S.

My name is Christie. I'm a 42 year old married woman with one child. My husband, Larry, received the grace of Christ about five years ago. And what a wonderful, amazing thing THAT was! We are raising our child in the love of Christ. We are members of the same church, Disciples of Christ, where my family has worshipped for 30 years. We are also Democrats.

My husband cleans boats for a living as a commercial diver. I am a bookkeeper. We're not pretentious people. We live our lives the best we can; trying to keep the precepts of Jesus' love and tolerance in the forefront at all times. We're not rich, we work hard to provide our child and ourselves with everything we need and some of the things we want. We struggle and juggle to pay the bills on time. We stress over paying for childcare. We worry over the cost of healthcare. We wonder if our tax money is being spent on the right priorities. We hope our jobs are going to be there next week. In short, we're just like almost everyone else in America.

I am no theologian, but I just don't understand what part of Love is the Law the (un)Religious Right doesn't get. In the few forms of the Bibles that I have here in the house, (KJ2, NVA, St Joseph's Catholic, Living Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, Lamsa's translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta, NAS Ryrie Study) I haven't found ANYWHERE in them where Jesus advocates intolerance towards anyone to the point of calling out religious warfare. In my understanding, Jesus came right out and said that intolerance is not to be accepted from, nor given by, any goodly person. This following passage sums up my personal belief:

Matt 22:37-40
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
I read this to mean that these two are the supermajority commandments. They supercede the Ten. Jesus said that these laws overrode any other that had come before.

My political beliefs are consistent with my personal faith. I respect my fellow man, regardless of what his faith may be. The only thing I have ever requested is that my fellow man not try to force his belief on me. I don't want to interfere with any other person's right to worship. It's none of my business how a person finds God. I don't hate anyone because they believe differently than me. I don't believe in telling someone they're going to hell if they don't follow my personal path. I much prefer the Beatitudes as a life path rather than the Ten Commandments. In order for me to fulfill my beliefs, I have to try to alleviate suffering rather than inflict it.

I strongly resent the accusations from some overly agitated groups that I am trying to destroy their religion and their right to worship. I am not. I don't care what you believe in. I also don't try to take over the country using these false assumptions that someone is out to "take away my right to worship".

I am firmly of the opinion that neither my religious beliefs, nor anyone else's, should form the law of the land of ANY nation; much less the United States of America. I don't believe that ANY religion has the "god-given" right to set the laws of my country. How can we possibly live up to the faith of our founding fathers if we let this happen?

This country was founded and settled by people of many different cultures and walks of life. Our founding fathers themselves were an amazing hodgepodge of faiths. How can we, as modern Americans, show any less respect for another's religion than they did themselves? America is not now, nor has it ever been, a Theocratic State. God willing, it will never be. Let your beliefs form your religion. Let your spirituality guide your actions. But keep your religious tenets out of my laws. They don't belong there.


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Dennis H.

My name is Dennis Higbee. I am a registered Democrat and a practicing
Catholic. I am not hostile to faith.

If anything, it is the modern-day Pharisees of the right wing, who fatten
their own coffers and those of their megarich supporters while showing no
compassion for the poor, the downtrodden, and the helpless, who are
hostile to faith.

Jesus was on the side of the poor. The Republicans, even those who claim
to me of faith, are on the side of the powerful.


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Valerie W.

I was baptized into the Episcopal Church in Columbia, South Carolina as a toddler. I spent most of my childhood attending church and Sunday School with my grandparents in the Methodist church but at the age of 25 returned to the Episcopal church to study and take confirmation as a fully aware adult.

I am not hostile to faith and most especially not hostile to those who commit the best of their abilities and recognizing their own humanity, their life and ideology to both the promise of Christ's sacrifice and his teachings.

I *am* hostile to anyone who thinks that they can use that same sacrifice and those teachings to bludgeon, intimidate, and hurt people with a constricted and contorted ideology.

I am no less Christian for being open-minded, I am no less faithful for being liberal or for thinking that compassion and charity are the cornerstones of Christian faith rather than the self-righteousness and intolerance of the radical right-wing religious conservatives of *any* faith.

I am no less Christian for thinking Sen. Bill Frist is using "Faith" like a weapon to undermine the effectiveness of our Senate by trying to abolish dissent.

I am no less Christian for opposing openly biased and radical judicial nominees who have demonstrated an inability to see that all people are created equal as far as the law is concerned.

As a Christian, I find the Republican party and the far right religious conservatives to have more in common with the Taliban than they do with the teachings and life of Christ I have studied and known.

My Christian faith taught me to extend my hand to the poor and the hungry, to clothe the naked, offer hospitality to the stranger and give comfort to the sick.

My Christian faith taught me to honor my father and mother which I did unto the ends of their lives.

My Christian faith taught me that to love others, to recognize all people as God's people and not just a few -- God makes that choice; we do not.

My Christian faith taught me to work for an end to prejudice based on race, on nationality, on sexual identity, on economics and even prejudice based on faith itself.

My Christian faith gives me strength when I would be afraid.

My political freedom lies in not being silenced, but it is my faith that gives me voice to speak.

Bill Frist does not speak for me, as a person of faith, on the senate floor. James Dobson of Focus on Family and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council do not speak for me, as a person of faith, with their rhetoric of hatred and intolerance. Jerry Falwell and the strident voices of the far religious right do not speak for me, as a person of faith, from their pulpits.

I will not be silenced by those oppose me. I will not be silenced by those who falsely claim to speak for God. I will not be silenced by those who would deny me my own faith in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

This country has many voices, many faces, many opinions -- it always has -- and God willing, it always will. In those differences we find strength and inspiration. In the weakest and poorest among us we find our own weakness and poverty of spirit -- when we can successfully lift the least among us up, we are truly God's people. But to do so we must do it as human beings, as a people, not as a political stance. Faith should rule our hearts, not our government. Our prayers are for God's ears, not to increase television ratings.

My Christian faith gives me strength when I would be afraid. As a woman of faith, I will not be silenced or misrepresented.

Valerie Watts

Duluth, GA


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Mary F.

My name is Mary J. Fahey. I live in Syracuse, New York. I am Catholic. As such, I am clearly not hostile to faith.


I oppose the use of faith to advance the Republican agenda. I remember the dilemma of John F. Kennedy, in 1960, when it was feared that as a Roman Catholic, he would take instruction from the Pope as to how to govern this country.


This was his response:

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials -- and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
I believe in that America. I believe in the history of the Senate, and the right to filibuster. My fealty in faith belongs to God, my politics are with the America envisioned by President Kennedy.


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Dina M.

Sometimes I am baffled by Jesus, and sometimes I have been embarrassed to know him. Sometimes he holds my hand and leads me, sometimes he craddles me in his arms. Sometimes I am on fire with his presence and sometimes I am at peace with his grace. In all of this - I am a disciple of Christ.

Lately I am angry with his righteous anger. God is an awesome God, a just God, a kind and loving God, a Holy Spirit which unites and binds us and Jesus who inspires us and treats us as brothers and sisters - the children of God.

This Administration which professes to act according to Christian principles is more concerned with fear-mongering and the morals imposed by an angry God.

But God calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. Let us forgive one another as we hope to be forgiven. Let us lift each other up to be our better selves.

The spirit of community is how our spirituality should work in a democracy.


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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.


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Friday, April 15, 2005

Announcing the Affirmation Project

With the latest twist in Bill Frist's campaign to overturn hundreds of years of Senate tradition, I have to agree with the conclusion of Armando's front-page post on Daily Kos:

It is time that moderate Democrats of good faith understand that war has been declared and shots are being fired. It is time they recognized the threat to our national institutions and that the time for half measures has passed. It is time for Democrats to stand up.



Of particular concern to me are these passages from the New York Times article that broke the story:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.


Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."


...


The telecast also signals an escalation of the campaign for the rule change by Christian conservatives who see the current court battle as the climax of a 30-year culture war, a chance to reverse decades of legal decisions about abortion, religion in public life, gay rights and marriage.


"As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group's Web site. "For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms."


Democrats accused Dr. Frist of exploiting religious faith for political ends by joining the telecast. "No party has a monopoly on faith, and for Senator Frist to participate in this kind of telecast just throws more oil on the partisan flames," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.


But Mr. Perkins stood by the characterization of Democrats as hostile to faith. "What they have done is, they have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position," he said, referring to Democratic criticisms of nominees over their views of cases about abortion rights or public religious expressions.


"The issue of the judiciary is really something that has been veiled by this 'judicial mystique' so our folks don't really understand it, but they are beginning to connect the dots," Mr. Perkins said in an interview, reciting a string of court decisions about prayer or displays of religion.


"They were all brought about by the courts," he said.


I don't know about you, but I've had enough. It's time Dr. Frist, Tom DeLay, James Dobson, the Family Research Council, and anyone else who would make adherence to political goals a literal article of faith heard from another side of the country. To that end, and for the time being, I am suspending the regular business of this blog and giving it over to a single project.


It is time for us to state, simply and directly, that we can affirm faith while disagreeing with the Republican legislative agenda. By "we," I mean anyone who can get under that statement. You don't have to be religious yourself. You don't even have to be a Democrat. You just have to be willing to say that you are willing to affirm faith, but you don't believe that it should be used as a weapon in a partisan campaign to increase the political power of a single party in the American commonwealth.


What if you really do hate faith? Well then, frankly, you can fuck off. I know there are some who will say those words are far too strong. I don't agree. I'm happy to speak up for the rights of non-believers, but I have no time for hatred, from the left or the right, from the religious or the a-religious, and I'll catch you another time.


In any case, perhaps by the time this video comes out on the 25th, we'll have quite a few testimonials to let Frist and DeLay and their friends know that the radical right wing isn't the only branch of faith in this country. (I'll also work on a link to contact your Senators to let them know where you stand.)


It's a work in progress. Here's some general guidelines, and my own statement.


  • Give as much of the following information as you feel comfortable sharing: your name, your hometown, and whatever religious affiliation you may have. Include a picture of yourself if you're brave enough.


  • State, in the simplest possible terms, that you affirm faith, but you disagree with the Republican agenda to impose the nuclear option and appoint radical right judges. Tell them why.


  • Conclude with a positive statement of your vision of what this nation could become, minus the fear, selfishness, arrogance, and general recklessness we have experienced in the past four years.


  • In your statements above, try to avoid profanity if at all possible. This is for public consumption.


Isn't that easy?


You can do it.


Here's mine:

I am the Rev. Daniel Schultz. I have been an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ since 1999, and a registered Democrat since 1988. I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I am a person of faith and a progressive.


I am no less a Christian for being a progressive.


I am no less a Christian for opposing Sen. Bill Frist's attempt to overthrow hundreds of years of Senate tradition for partisan gain.


I am no less a Christian for opposing a handful of radical right-wing judicial nominees whom I believe will be harmful to American jurisprudence.


The attempt to identify Christian faith and practice with the agenda of the Republican party is disgusting politics and even worse faith.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have fed the hungry.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have given water to the thirsty.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have welcomed the stranger.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have clothed the naked.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have cared for the sick.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have visited the prisoner.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have sought to end racial prejudice.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have sought to end political oppression of those with unpopular views, or whose sexuality challenges perceived norms of one segment of the population.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have sought equity for the poor.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have sought peace at home and in the world.


My Christian heritage rests in those Americans who have hungered and thirsted for justice, that it might roll down like mighty waters.


And my political freedom rests in not being silenced.


I will not be silenced by those who cannot accept my political affiliations.


I will not be silenced by those who cannot accept the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ as I have heard it.


I will not be silenced by those who would pervert my faith for political ends.


I will not be silenced.


I will look, instead, to an America where justice, compassion, diversity, and the peace of God are allowed to live and flourish, and where we as a community can reach for our highest potential together, rather than our lowest common denominator, separated by ideology and mean-spiritedness.


I extend my hand in friendship and brotherhood to all those who will accept it, and call upon them to walk away from the so-called "culture war" by seeking that which unites us, rather than that which will divide us.


I do this in the name of Jesus Christ, who dreamed of us all "being as one," and of whom I am proud to declare myself a servant.


In his name, Amen.


You don't have to use the same Christian rhetoric I've used here. That's just where I'm from, and I want the Christianists to know I'm proud of it. Tell them where you're from, wherever that is. Say it loud and say it proud.


Think you can do it?


You can do it.


Post your statement in the comments below, or e- it to me at: faithforward at verizon dot net.


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Thursday, April 14, 2005

More religious fervor--or at least, spirited debate...

Two or three people have told me about this piece by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll. I can take a hint.
The following is the first communique from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad. It was sent to me at The Chronicle via an anonymous spam remailer. I have no idea whether other news organizations have received this communique, and, if so, why they have not chosen to print it. Perhaps they fear starting a panic. I feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or disgusting, must always be told. I am pleased to report that the words below are at least not disgusting:
Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.


There's more past the link.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

So many books, so little time

Apparently musing85 thinks I'm worthy of gassing on about books, because he's nominated me to keep a meme alive. I'll try to answer the questions as best I'm able:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
    musing says that in Bradbury's novel, where all books are banned, people memorize a work of literature and "become" that book. Thanks for the reminder; I think the last time I read Fahrenheit 451 was in middle school, 25 years ago.

    I'm going to go with Tropic of Capricorn, or really any Henry Miller novel. I've got something of a potty mouth; might as well put it to good use.


Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
    Yeah...Nancy Drew...

    Sigh.


The last book you bought is?
    Damned if I can remember. Something about secular society. I buy 'em, and half the time, they pile up on a little desk in the blogcave. I'll mention a few of the recent good buys, though: Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, which has to be one of America's greatest overlooked masterpieces. Anything by Vonnegut is, really.

    The Complete Tintin Companion is a marvelous work that takes you through Herge's comic book tours-de-force one by one, explaining their background and their revisions over the years. Fascinating stuff, and a must-have for any serious comic addict like myself.

    Claudius the God is the second half of Robert Graves' I, Claudius. For some intangible reason, it falls flat, not quite reaching the peaks of the first part of the story. But I'll dare anyone who read that first novel to hold back from wanting to know the rest of the story. Poor Claudius.


What are you currently reading?
    Again, it's more like what are you not reading? So: I haven't finished the Tintin Companion mentioned above. I'm also supposed to be reading a biography of Frances Freeborn Pauley, a pioneer of integration and other social justice causes in Atlanta.

    What I'm actually reading: Jughead Double Digest.

    Is there a problem?


Five books you would take to a deserted island?
  • I'll go with Musing and take my breviary. Mine's only two volumes to his four, so I'll cheat a little and throw in a missal for good luck.

  • Krazy Kat: The Art of George Herriman. Because if you're going to get stuck on a desert island, you might as well have the company of a saint and a genius, all rolled into one.

  • The Brothers Karamazov. Ditto.

  • Good and Evil by Martin Buber. It's a short book, actually a collection of his essays, but I could read it again and again. It'd probably take me from here to eternity to feel like I had a handle on what Buber's talking about, and from eternity on to exhaust all its possibilities.

  • More cheating: the collected works of Will Cuppy: How To Be A Hermit, How to Tell Your Friends From The Hairy Apes, How To Attract The Wombat, The Decline And Fall Of Practically Everybody, and others. You gotta have a larf on a desert island, and Cuppy's a stone genius. Or did you feel like doing voluminous research for a short, humorous essay on bees?

    I didn't think so.


Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
    I don't know. My friends are all hairy apes. I'll get back to you on that one.


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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Al Franken Gets It Wrong

from grannyhelen

I listened with great dismay today at the author of the book, "Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell", uncritically interviewing Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles on the assassiation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Why? Rev. Kyles has consistently told stories of Dr. King's assassination that are not back up by objective fact, including police surveillance taken before and during the assassination of Dr. King.


Audio of Franken's interview with Kyles is in the external link above. And yes, you can see my entry in his blog after unsuccessfully trying to email him.


The following is an excerpt of my attempted email to him on the subject of Rev. Kyles.


...What really made me very sad today was your allowing Rev. Kyles to recount his fallacious account of "spending Dr. King's last hours with him" and the tale of the three preachers, King, Kyles and Abernathy. Not only is this part of Kyles' account disputed by Ralph David Abernathy in his autobiography, it is also contradicted by police surveillance as reported in the King v Jowers trial.


Indeed, there was compelling testimony in King v Jowers that Rev. Kyles may have had some limited involvement in Dr. King's assassination. The following is an excerpt from the testimony of Captain Willie B. Richmond (retired) of the Memphis Police Department (which has also been verified by Dr. Philip Melanson earlier in the trial - http://www.thekingcenter.org/news/trial.html):


Q. (MR. PEPPER) Now, when Dr. King arrived in the city for that last visit, were you at the airport?


A. (CAPT RICHMOND) I was.


Q. Did you have a conversation with anyone connected with either his group or with the local clergy having to do with security or protection for him on that last visit?


A. I didn't, but my partner did.


Q. Your partner did. Were you present when that conversation was taking place?


A. I was there.


Q. And with whom was the conversation?


A. I believe he spoke with Reverend Kyles.


Q. Reverend Samuel Kyles?


A. Right.


Q. And what was the gist of the conversation with respect to security protection for Dr. King?


A. At that time we was told that Dr. King hadn't wanted any police protection.


Q. You were told that Dr. King didn't want any protection.


A. Police protection.


Q. Any police protection. And this was told to you in this conversation by Reverend Kyles?


A. I think it was Reverend Kyles. I'm not sure, but I believe it was Reverend Kyles. He was the one that said it I believe.


Q. He was the one who said it you believe?


A. Uh-huh.


Q. Were you familiar with what position Reverend Kyles held in Dr. King's organization?


A. No, I was not.


Q. And you didn't know he held no position in Dr. King's organization?


A. I did not.


Q. If you'll move on to page 3 of your statement, Captain Richmond, about two-thirds of the way down the page, do you notice your note? And I'll read it. "At 2:05 p.m. Reverend Samuel Kyles arrived and went to room 307 and departed at 2:23 p.m." You see that note?


A. Yes.


Q. Do you know who was in room 307 at that time?


A. Well, at that time, no, I did not.


Q. Let's move on to page 4, please.


A. (Witness complies.)


Q. The first full paragraph. Would you read the first full paragraph starting at "at approximately 5:50 p.m." to us, please?


A. Okay. It says, "Approximately 5:50 p.m., John Smith, Milton Max, Charles Cabbage and one female colored and approximately six or seven more of the Invaders [NOTE: this was a group of young people who had volunteered to provide security for Dr. King] opened the door of their rooms, and I could see them gathering their belongings. They then brought them down the stairs and placed them in the trunk of a light blue Mustang, license number BL 3750, and they left the motel. They was going west on Butler to Main."


Q. If I could just interrupt you there. So at 5:50 p.m., your eye witness recording sees the Invaders just bustling out of--hustling out of that motel, leaving the hotel?


A. They left.


Q. And that's within 11 minutes of the shooting?


A. Approximately.


Q. Would you continue reading the next paragraph, please?


A. "Immediately after the Invaders left, the Reverend Samuel Kyles came out of room 312 and went to the room where Martin Luther King was living. He knocked on the door and Martin Luther King came to the door. They said a few words between each other and Reverend Martin Luther King went back into his room closing the door behind him, and the Reverend Samuel Kyles remained on the porch."


Q. Right. So you're telling us there from your eye witness report that Reverend Kyles knocked on Martin Luther King's door at about ten minutes to six or shortly after ten minutes to six, said a few words to Dr. King after he opened the door. Then when the door was closed, Dr. King went back into his room and Reverend Kyles remained on the--you call it the porch, but on the balcony?


A. The balcony. [NOTE: for those of you who haven't been to the Lorraine Motel, this is one of those long, continuous second story "balconies" that graced motels of the period from the 1950's and 1960's]


Q. Now, a little further down in the next paragraph, you record Martin Luther King coming out onto the balcony. Do you see that reference there? And if you could read from the words "at this time the Reverend Martin Luther King returned." Do you see that?


A. I see it.


Q. Would you read that note, please? Middle of the next paragraph.


A. Okay. "At this time Reverend Martin Luther King returned from his room to the gallery and walked up to the handrail. The Reverend Kyles was standing off to his right. This was approximately 6 p.m. At this time I heard a loud sound as if it was a shot and saw Doctor Martin Luther King fall back on the handrail and put his hand up to his head.


At 6:01 p.m., April 4th, 1968, I reported this to the inspection bureau. I returned to remain there and keep surveillance. Also, here now and at the time I heard the shot, the men of the tact squad which consists of the sheriff deputy and the Memphis police department was in the fire house number four. I immediately hollered to them I believe that King has been shot.


At this time the men of the tact squad scramble out of the fire house immediately going in all different directions. Some went to the hotel. Some went down the street. Later, the fire department ambulance arrived approximately five minutes later and departed to the hospital with Reverend King."


Q. That's fine, you can stop there. These were your recollections at the time contemporaneously as you observed what was going on at the Lorraine; is that right?


A. Correct.


Q. Nowhere in these notes do you record Reverend Kyles going into Reverend King's room 45 minutes, an hour before the shooting, do you? [NOTE: Rev. Kyles has always claimed - as he did in Franken's show today - that he was in Dr. King's room with Ralph David Abernathy and Dr. King for Dr. King's "last hour on earth" before he was assassinated". This testimony puts Rev. Kyles' account of his whereabouts before the assassination in question].


A. No, I don't.


Q. And if he had done so, is it fair to say that you would have recorded this entry?


A. I recorded pretty much everything that went on. I don't have my notebook now, but we carried little small notebooks.


Q. Right.


A. And I wrote everything down as I saw it.


Q. As you saw it?


A. As I saw it.


Q. That was your duty.


A. Correct.


But really, the most shocking evidence of Rev. Kyles' involvement in the MLK assassination comes from his own mouth, on video, discussing an anniversary celebration of the assassination of Dr. King:


"...but that gave me the wonderful privilege of spending the last hour on earth. Three preachers in a room--Abernathy, King and Kyles. And we spent that last hour together in Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel.


The press is always curious and writers--what went on? What did you talk about? I say, we just talked preacher talk. What preachers talk about when they get together, revivals and all the like. About a quarter of six we walked on the balcony, and he was talking to people in the courtyard.


He stood here, and I stood there. Only as I moved away so he could have a clear shot, the shot rang out."


Rev. Kyles has never really explained this comment. You can follow the above referenced link to read his entire testimony: indeed, I encourage you to do so. It is very enlightening.


I respect your personal integrity and the efforts you have made in your show to always try to tell the truth. That's part of the reason I was so outraged when I listened to Rev. Kyles tell you the fictional account of Dr. King's assassination that I am too familiar with. I was also dismayed to see that your show consisted only of Director Beverly Robertson, Benjamin Hooks and Rev. Kyles...


In the interest of fairness and balance, I would like to encourage you to reach out to Dr. William Pepper, who has spent a lifetime investigating - and successfully litigating - the conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King. He can also speak to the current exhibits at the National Civil Rights Museum, as well as go over the Department of Justice report that was issued in response to the King v. Jowers trial verdict. Unlike me, Dr. Pepper does speak for the King family in matters pertaining to the assassination of Dr. King.


Thank you for continuing to fight the good fight in all things.


Kind regards,


[omitted]


Whenever I get this frustrated about the media - mainstream or otherwise - not getting the facts right about the assassination of Dr. King, I have to remind myself of his famous quote, "...the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."


Justice delayed may indeed be justice denied, but I know in my heart that eventually the truth of the assassination of Dr. King will become a part of the American story.


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