No Human Being is Illegal

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant delivered on June 18, 2018 at First Congregational UCC Portland.

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A Requiem for Notre Dame de Paris, The Soul of a Nation

The psychologist and genius Otto Rank, author of the classic work Art and Artist, said that if you want to know the soul of a nation go to its architecture first.  Notre Dame de Paris and the entire gothic revolution of the 12th century Renaissance that it encapsules (along with Chartres Cathedral 30 miles beyond Paris), tells us much about the soul of France.  And our own souls.

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The Future Is Calling Us To Greatness

With series host Michael Dowd + 55 Experts

A worldwide movement is emerging at the nexus of science, inspiration, and sustainability. Beliefs are secondary. What unites us is a pool of shared values and commitments—and the vision of a just and healthy future for humanity and the larger body of life. This historic series of 30-60 minute Skype interviews showcases the work of many of today’s leaders and luminaries regarding what to expect in the decades ahead, what’s being done—what still needs to be done—and how to be in action despite enormous challenges. These 55 experts represent a veritable Who’s Who of prophetic inspiration.

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Violence doesn’t create anything.

That’s a radioactive statement. When I say it in certain circles, the negative reaction is swift and unambiguous. It’s ironic that conversation about reducing violence often results in a fight. But the outcome of even that fight proves the point: violence doesn’t create anything. Except suffering, of course.

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Making The World A Better Place

Restoration of a Vision from the Christian Faith Tradition

What might constitute an adequate improvement to the world order? This commentary constitutes an exploration of this pesky, perennial question about “a better world” from the vantage point of one faith tradition, and in contemporary context. Its intention is not to offer novelty or any new revelatory insight, but rather to remember and restore a perspective that lies at the heart of a biblical gospel tradition; based on the teachings of a pre-Easter human Jesus.

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Two Reasons Government-Funded Charity Is Immoral

When it comes to charitable acts, it’s not always enough to personally help those in need, so we enlist the aid of others. If I come upon someone with serious injuries, I could give emergency first aid, but then I would most likely call for medical professionals. The same could be said for any service that others can do more effectively than I, although there’s still tremendous benefit for personally doing as much as possible because of the resulting deepened relationships.

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It’s more than taxing the rich & wealthy but an economic redesign

It is our economic design that allowed the rich to extract everyone else’s share. It is time to examine other designs that include Modern Monetary Theory which we’ve discussed before on Politics Done Right.

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We Can Stop the GOP’s Disenfranchisement of Black, Trans Voters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced opposition to making Election Day a federal holiday. However, allowing American voters a more accessible and a stress-free trip to their voting precincts should be a no-brainer. And, H.R.1 — For the People Act of 2019 would do just that.

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Justifying the Inexcusable

An economic system is nothing more than the agreed upon method of distributing resources. Any nation can change their economic system if it isn’t working for the best interests of the majority of the citizens. Our economic system has become much worse since Dorothy Day called it a “filthy rotten system” almost a century ago. We don’t have to accept it. In fact, we must not.

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Thanksgiving: The original hate crime

Thanksgiving is an excellent time to give a closer look at the rising escalation of hate crimes in America- its origin and its legacy.

America’s origin of hate crimes can be traced with the treatment of Native Americans and how America celebrates Thanksgiving. For many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is not a cause of celebration, but rather a National Day of Mourning.

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Cancers Grow from Within

Though art and movies usually portray villains as being hideous, the truth is that the most evil temptations are usually irresistibly attractive. Israeli scholar, Yuval Noah Harari, has written about how we are drifting towards fascism in the west, not by conscious decisions, but by being tempted towards tribal power and justification of prejudice. To avoid fascism, we have to be aware that we really don’t want to go down that path, even when our personal tribe might have momentary successes.

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Please tell me that I am wrong

The news headlines paint a consistent picture, and it’s frightening. From only the last few days: A mob at a Trump/Cruz rally chants “Lock him up, lock him up”, referring to Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat running for a senate seat from TX. A man on an airplane grabs a women’s body, “because President Trump said it was ok”. A Republican congressman says that George Soros is paying members of the Central American caravan heading north, and someone plants a bomb at Soros’ house. Other bombs are sent to CNN, Holder, Biden, Hillary, Obama, and more being discovered even as I write. Meanwhile the billionaires are buying land in New Zealand, preparing for the demise of the very system that created their wealth, blindly believing that the south Pacific will be exempt from the apocalypse.

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 4 of 4)

Intergenerational White Victimhood

For my last installment on the topic of ‘Confronting the Denial of American White Racism’, I humbly submit a discussion on the pervasiveness of white victimhood through generations of American history; in fact, I call it: ‘Intergenerational White Victimhood’ (a psychological theory I’m developing). The basis for my research comes from a Newsweek/Gallup Survey, August 19, 1969, one year after the death of Dr. King, revealing that 44% of whites believed that black people had a better chance than they did at obtaining employment and earning a higher wage. 88%, in the same survey, outright stated that their chances were worse, insisting that they knew this to be true, not just a mere belief. Moreover, 80% of whites said that black people already possessed equal or better educational opportunities as well; only 17% of whites said otherwise (3% were indifferent). Remember, we are talking about 1969…

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 3 of 4)

The Protests will NOT Stop!

On Tuesday evening, I joined the distressed voices of many freedom fighters protesting the brutal murder of Stephon Clark by the Sacramento Police Department. We converged upon city hall to confront SacPD, the mayor, and the city council, letting them know, in a way that we (the people) deemed necessary, we will no longer stand for the intimidation, violation, brutalization, and killing of our neighbors, especially those of color. As has been well documented, America has a history of oppressing communities of color through city, county and state police units. The citizens of Sacramento, CA want to make it abundantly clear: NO ON OUR STREETS! This ain’t Alabama; this ain’t Mississippi, or any of those other good ole’ boy, backwoods, country, down home states; this is California, and we will act by any means necessary before we allow state executions in our streets—any means necessary!

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Resisting With Our Feet

(and our hands and our hearts)

Bless the hands that vote. Ask people you meet: “With which hand will you be voting in November?” Grasp that hand, look the person in the eyes, and bless them, saying: “May love guide your hand to vote for the common good.” Voting is a ritual. By putting even more ritual into it, by getting people implicitly committing to vote, we engage them in the ritual and increase the likelihood that they’ll show up and do it.

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 2 of 4)

About five years ago, my best friends and I sat down at Leatherby’s Ice Cream one evening, and we began to discuss race relations in America. Three of us at the table recognized the fact that (systemic) racism was still a problem, while one of us was vehemently maintaining that it was not. We tried to have a conversation about this friend’s own white denial of racism, but this friend was NOT having any of that conversation. This friend became flustered, red, and angry at the entire discussion. Yes, this friend is a white male; one who in no way, shape, or form wanted to converse about American white racism. I knew, right then, this was not only a social issue, it was psychological. (It’s also spiritual, but that’s another post.)

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It’s Bumpersticker Season!

A lot of people think they know what Christians are against:  gays, lesbians, the right to an abortion, other religions – and the list goes on.

But do they know what Christians are for?

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Be Subject to the Governing Authorities

Within the last few days, Attorney General Sessions and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders each invoked biblical authority to justify the separation of parents and children seeking entry into the country. The reference was to Paul’s letter to the Jewish Christians in Rome to whom he advised “be subject to the governing authorities”, who are put there by God. Through the ages, this phrase has been used by slave owners to justify slavery, by Nazis to justify extermination, by Royalists in pre-revolution America to insist on loyalty to the king, and by just about anyone who wanted to promote dictatorship.

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