What is wrong with this picture?

Orange County’s latest project cost $35 million and is located on a ten-acre campus with state-of-the-art housing for up to four hundred homeless occupants. Each separate area is entirely soundproof and temperature-controlled. The five-star facility is two stories and over thirty thousand square feet. It features a large reception area with friendly greeters, large outdoor recreational areas, well-marked drop-off locations, outstanding medical facilities, and classrooms for educational activities.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors is extremely proud of this facility, and one of the county supervisors has publicly stated that this huge expenditure serves a critical need in the county.

Did I mention that this facility, built on former a Marine Corps air station, is a shelter for dogs, cats, and other animals?

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Right and Wrong Times and Places

Those who believe there is a right and wrong time and place to protest injustices are those whose privilege keeps them from the injustices. Those who with Rev. Dr. M.L. King, Jr., live by the principle that the right time to do the right thing is now, privileged or not, remind us of the immorality of acquiescence, apathy, indifference, denial, negligence, and procrastination in confronting injustice and evil.

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Affordable Health Care: Why It’s a Right for Everyone

The debate continues on whether or not healthcare is a right for everyone or only for the privileged. Often people ask if healthcare is an act of charity or a luxury. No matter which side you take on this issue, we should all agree that everyone should be taken care of, especially in times of sickness. Healthcare can be expensive and finding the right affordable resource for you and your family is vital. Here are a few reasons why affordable healthcare should be available to all families, no matter what their faith is.

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Celebrate and Defend Real Religious Freedom

Every day at my job, I witness and celebrate America’s religious freedom in action. Through our Office of Religious Life, over 70 religious clubs from all the world’s faiths, including a secular humanist club, practice their traditions in harmony with each other. They compete with each other openly in the “marketplace” of ideas and practices on campus, with respect for each other and gratitude for the liberty they all enjoy. None of them complain to us that they are in any way oppressed or stifled. We’re a private campus, so we could impose all sorts of restrictions on them that would not be possible in the wider public sphere. But they have all the rights they’d have at a publicly-owned university, as well as many extra benefits for all of them – without any one faith tradition getting special privileges. What happens at the University Religious Center at USC is what real religious freedom looks like in America, and it’s a beautiful thing.

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Suppose it was like this…

Jesus was a man born in the usual way. Mary and Joseph were his parents, and he had some brothers and sisters. His home town, Nazareth, was a small hamlet occupied mostly by poor peasants who eked out a living on small plots of land that were increasingly appropriated by the wealthy. Four miles away, the city of Sepphoris was a bustling scene of government projects that provided day labor for the peasantry, and often Joseph took Jesus with him to the city as they sought to support the family.

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“We’re a Nation of Laws…”

I often hear the retort “we’re a nation of laws.” Usually, it is given by someone justifying the exclusion of immigrants and a lack of compassion for their very difficult, often mind-numbingly horrific circumstances.

But what these folks probably don’t realize is that they are saying more about who they are than about immigrants. When you say “we’re a nation of laws,” you are setting a standard for yourself–and a good one.

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The Economics of Happiness

The happiness of Americans peaked in 1956 and has been going downhill ever since. People around the world are now taking matters into their own hands to forge a different future from the one governments and big businesses want. Find out how.

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Presbyterian Church USA takes stand on political issues

A denomination not known for controversy is taking stances on issues such as assault weapons, universal health care and President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a declaration during a meeting of the denominations leaders in St. Louis to stake out positions on several social issues, leaving it up to the church’s 10,000 congregations and 1.7 million members to decide whether to stand behind the declaration.

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It is obviously and indisputably true that “all lives matter.” However, this statement of the obvious, and its cousin, “blue lives matter,” are used to dismiss, shout down, or reject the “black lives matter” movement. No heterosexual ever had to pretend to be gay in order to be accepted at family gatherings, job interviews, or as school. We have gay pride weekends because every weekend is a heterosexual pride weekend. We have a Black History month because every month is a white history month. Black people are trying to explain what it means to be black in America in the 21st century and before we offer any replies at all, we white folks probably need to just shut up and listen.

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Responding to Those Who Persecute

What if I simply do my job, even if it requires abhorrent treatment of asylum-seekers and their children, because I am told that law or a new policy requires it. What if I make statements to the press or in court that I know are false because superiors have ordered me to do it? What if I am near retirement and stand to lose my pension by refusing to knowingly traumatize children. Choosing to follow Jesus by refusing to participate in acts of persecution calls for extraordinary heroism in Trump’s America.

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In This Life

While hiding in the failed hope of evading murder at the hands of the Nazis, Ann Frank was able to write in her diary that she believed that people were basically good and that peace would return to the world. This is a helpful statement of faith now that we are living through a dangerously turbulent time that threatens to see a return to fascism in countries that have formerly loved democracy. This season of history will pass and perhaps, if we are patient and compassionate, we can help it to pass a bit more quickly.

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Nationalism, World Cup and Jesus

What does it mean to be a patriot?

Does it mean wearing a jersey with your favorite team’s colors? Does it mean waving the flag? Does it mean painting your face? Or hanging it from your front porch?

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Discrimination or Discernment in the name of Religious Expression

Postscript of an Independence Day Observance

What happens when the discernment of one citizen’s religious beliefs are deemed to be discriminatory; infringing upon the civil liberties and rights of another citizen? In fact, what constitutes any set of beliefs as “religious,” with the constitutional protections accorded it?

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Christians need be Christian and the Church to be The Church

No argument: the Christian church was complacent about standing up to Hitler and the holocaust. But … in the United States, it also failed to stand up to Vietnam. It has tolerated racism, slavery, lynching, torture, and the death penalty. It is substantially failing to stand up to climate change. And now, it is failing to stand up to Trump’s immorality, enrichment of the wealthy, military buildup, and trashing of the environment. What should our expectations be? I’m not convinced that saying “thank you” to God is adequate.

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On Being Awake

The Christian life is a call to a discipline. It is an undertaking. Sometimes it takes us where we do not want to go, to do difficult things while we are there, and then sometimes to suffer. The alternative is to remain asleep, to persist in indifference, to surrender hope. We can still do that, we can still abdicate our moral and spiritual responsibilities and call ourselves Americans. Many today are doing just that. But if we do that, what we cannot call ourselves are followers of Jesus.

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An American Creed

There have been visionary voices in America throughout our history (Jefferson, Paine, Whitman, Emerson, Sojourner Truth, Douglas, Thoreau) who described America in terms of equality, freedom, justice, and civil rights, and even though the vision has never been entirely realized we have made a lot of progress on many fronts, progress that is, very regrettably, presently at grave risk of being lost. Now is no time for progressive thinkers to consider international escape or domestic surrender. Now is a time when people who are spiritually awake must stand and fight (through voting, demonstrations, protests, and possibly . . . revolution) to defend a vision of America about which we can be honestly patriotic.

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Secure Borders in a Christian Contest

Jesus commanded us to “love one another.” A lot of Christians today talk about having “secure borders” in response to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

Loving one another and having secure borders are not necessarily opposites—but they can be.

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Central America and the U.S. Immigration Mess

Many Christians like to think of themselves as political realists, people who separate their religious beliefs from their political positions. Religion is about salvation. Politics is about attaining economic and ideological gains.

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