The Matthew Shepard murder revisited

With October being LGBTQ History Month it allows the LGBTQ community to look back at historical events. And Matthew Shepard’s murder is one of them.

This October 12 marks twenty years since the death of Matthew Shepard. In October 1998, Shepard, then 21, was a first-year college student at University of Wyoming. Under the guise of friendship, two men (Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson) lured Shepard from a tavern, tortured and bludgeoned him with their rifles, and then tethered him to a rough-hewn wooden fence to die – simply because he was gay.

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An Overdue Second Bill of Rights

F. D. Roosevelt recognized that the original bill of rights, that guaranteed certain political freedoms, would not be enough to make all American’s free with a similar bill of rights that would guarantee economic independence. Of the eight amendments he proposed in 1944, seven are still waiting to be implemented. The progressive movement is not dead but it has been too slow to gain ground. We really need to pick up FDR’s banner and run with it!

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A bold sharpening of the Progressive narrative and counter-narrative a must

Politics is a dirty sport. The old saying “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” rings true in the political realm—and today’s politics are, indeed, a gunfight. Civility is essential but when it’s lost, it cannot be recovered by living up to Michelle Obama’s admirable motto: “When they go low, we go high.” Too many Americans are in dire straits, and they are looking for someone they believe will fight for them, instead of taking the high road.

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“Florence” voter apathy in the American Carolinas

The state governments of the Carolinas have in the past ignored scientific evidence relating to climate change. In spite of warnings even coming from their own universities, they have refused to recognize the damage Carolinians are inflicting on our planet.

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Enough!

Beatrice Nyariara lives in Korogocho, which is widely considered to be Nairobi’s most dangerous slum. When elderly women were targeted in shocking attacks at night, the 75-year-old decided enough was enough. It was time to fight back. It was time to develop a community!

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Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear

For Christians, resistance is written right into our baptismal vows. Following Christ means resisting oppression and evil wherever we might find it. Doing that work requires us to first rise up, face our fears, and cultivate courage that can sustain us for the journey. Weaving together wisdom from sources as diverse as Reformed theology, recovery communities, social justice visionaries, and Twentieth Century history, Heath creates a way forward for those who wish to live lives of faithful, sustained, courageous resistance.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted

In a late night session on February 7, 2017, during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General, just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren after she read comments made decades earlier by Edward Kennedy and Coretta Scott King that criticized the civil rights record of Senator Sessions. Warren was censured because Senate Rule XIX prohibits ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” To silence her, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a party-line vote that forced Senator Warren to take her seat and refrain from speaking. McConnell later said “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

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The Free Press

The news media, traditionally called the “4th Estate,” is protected by the 1st Amendment because a free and uncensored press is vital to the health of a democracy. Through the years we have seen all manner of tyrants and dictators calling the media the “enemy of the people,” Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and now Trump all demonize journalists in order to make the state the only source of information given to the populace. In our day, the church and the media must step forward to give both trustworthy information and critical thinking about ethical decision making to protect the liberties and the safety of our nation.

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The End of Capitalism

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a consensus among the political and media mainstream that “There Is No Alternative” to Capitalism, particularly the form of capitalism one finds in the context of globalization. “The Free Market”, it is said, will solve all our problems, and become the organizing principle the world over. The conflation of Capitalism and freedom itself has muted any debate that would suggest otherwise. At the same time, recent economic crises coupled with a growing clarity that unlimited growth is destroying the biosphere may suggest that the Capitalist era is coming to an end.

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Inclusive Songs for Resistance & Social Action

Music empowers action fo social change. Inclusive Songs for Resistance and Social Action will contribute to gender, racial, economic, environmental and other justice movements.

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Does the GOP have a racist cut-off point?

President Donald Trump traffics in racial epithets.

Since his first year in office, Trump’s displays of xenophobic, misogynistic, LGBTQ-phobic, and racist remarks (to name just a few from his laundry list of bigotries) appear to have no cutoff point.

The Republican Party under Trump doesn’t seem to have one, either.

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A Universal Basic Income

The UBI (Universal Basic Income) is an idea that is growing in favor among economists as well as philosophers. The world is changing and as automation decreases the demand for labor our economic system must also change so that we are not squeezing human beings out of the equation as we make a few people super rich and leave millions to live in the violence of poverty. We must change our priorities so that we do not continue to push all of our real wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

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Textual Criticism: It’s Not Just for Ancient, Sacred Scripture Anymore

The congressional hearings about to begin over a Supreme Court nominee will largely hinge on the political philosophies of different elected officials; who will view the judicial record of the candidate through the lens of their separate interpretations of constitutional law, and how it should be applied. How is the task of interpretation and application different, or the same, when it comes to “sacred” scripture and constitutional law?

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Ego and Other Barriers to Community

The obvious obscenity of narcissism or bloated egos among politicians (and preachers) makes us want to turn our heads and avoid contact. However, it deserves to be considered that some of the most mean and egotistical people are simply starving for attention and affirmation. What if we chose to give others attention and approval in advance? If we all need air, water, food, and sleep, and we also need positive social contact, then it would be foolish to deprive anyone of air, water, food, or sleep and it is equally foolish to fail to give others attention and approval. We all need meaningful connections and we should have the courage to reach out and make those connections.

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Sage Advice

We are exhausted with reports of corruption in government, a judicial system that is bereft of justice, and a penal system that seems to institutionalize social revenge rather than reform. While we will never acquiesce to the injustices of our judicial and penal systems, we will not surrender to corruption in business or government, we do recognize a need to live as wisely as possible to avoid turning our fate, or the fate of our children, over to a system that has shown itself to be rife with racism, classism, and corruption. The Proverbs call to us to love wisdom and reject the temptations of a foolish and dangerous life.

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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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