A Prayer for America and fight racism

My blogger buddy Walter Ayres posted in his Times Union blog an excerpt from a piece by Mark Wingfield. Wingfield is the executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global. “’The Jesus of the Gospels allows no room for being a racist or enabling racism.’

“In a column published last month, he wrote, ‘This is not about whether you identify as a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent. It is about whether you actually believe the red letters of the Gospels, where Jesus gave us the law of love, and taught us that God loves all people equally. No favoritism. No caste system. No pecking order. No legacy admission status.'”

Walter called his article “Baptists and racism.” but a better title might be “Christians and racism”. Or “people of faith and racism.” He ends the piece, “If the clergy at your house of worship have not yet spoken out on these issues, perhaps it is time to ask them to do so.

“#racism #BlackLivesMatter”

A friend has a friend with, let’s say, has a different POV, and they are struggling with that. I’ve pointed out that Wingfield article. Actually, the piece would also apply to someone who won’t speak to me anymore.

“If you are a Trump supporter, you have a special opportunity — indeed, a special duty — to call him out for his racism. Otherwise, on an issue of this urgency, you are complicit with his virulent white supremacist views and the racism of those around him.”

Progressive revelation

Periodically, I receive the US Baha’i News. I know a bit about the faith because my ex the Okie converted to it in late 1972. In the latest edition, there was a Prayer for America. It was delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Baha ‘in Chicago in 1912. He was “the eldest son of Baháʼu’lláh and served as head of the Baháʼí Faith from 1892 until 1921.

“‘Abdu’l-Bahá was later canonized as the last of three ‘central figures’ of the religion, along with Baháʼu’lláh and the Báb, and his writings and authenticated talks are regarded as a source of Baháʼí sacred literature.”

Here’s the prayer:

“O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious.

“Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.”

I found both readings to be aspirational. We’re not there yet. But we COULD be…


QAnon: The Dangerous Movement Making Waves In 2020 Election



B is for Baha’i

The Okie and I saw Seals and Crofts perform in NYC on November 12, 1971 – Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday!

bahaiA few months after I married my college sweetheart, the Okie, in 1972, she decided to become a Baha’i. She said that I ought not to have been surprised, since she had been thinking about it for seven years. This I did know.

In Persia, modern-day Iran, there was a guy named The Báb (1819-1850), who was a John the Baptist-like herald of the faith. “In the middle of the 19th century, He announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform humanity’s spiritual life.” That second messenger was Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the “Glory of God”, “the Promised One foretold by the Báb and all of the Divine Messengers of the past. Bahá’u’lláh delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity.”

Indeed, I was intrigued with the notion of “progressive revelation,” among them Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh, who were Manifestations of God” for different times.

“In His will, Bahá’u’lláh appointed His oldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844-1921), as the authorized interpreter of His teachings and Head of the Faith. Throughout the East and West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became known as an ambassador of peace, an exemplary human being, and the leading exponent of a new Faith.

“Appointed Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), spent 36 years systematically nurturing the development, deepening the understanding, and strengthening the unity of the Bahá’í community, as it increasingly grew to reflect the diversity of the entire human race.”

The most famous Baha’is you might have heard of was the singing duo Seals and Crofts, who the Okie and I saw perform on November 12, 1971 – Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday! – in New York City, with the then-unknown group Boz Scaggs opening for them.

Seals & Crofts put out several albums, with many of their songs – notably Year of Sunday [LISTEN] mentioning the Baha’i teachings. Interestingly, proselytizing was antithetical to Baha’i beliefs, but the duo had found a way to both make popular music and share their faith.

Well, until they released the song Unborn Child, which was both commercially toxic and, though the faith discouraged abortion, was chastened by some Baha’i body – the Universal House of Justice, perhaps – since this song was too preachy; the faith allows for abortion in VERY limited circumstances.

Ultimately, I never became a Baha’i, primarily because the Okie was proselytizing to ME. As an isolated member of the faith, she’d missed that lesson. I MIGHT have spent more time looking at this iteration of faith. Instead, I moved to an even more agnostic state of mind.

ABC Wednesday – Round 18

Religion compare and contrast, and Old Silvertooth

Maybe I could have been one of Gladys Knight’s Pips.


Chris, with whom I have been having an interesting dialogue on Facebook about human nature, wants to know:

What do you think about other religions? Is it just “different strokes for different folks,” or are some religions better than others, or a mix? Where do you think other religions belong in Christianity?

A lot of how I view other religions is based on the bias I have seen within Christianity, including by myself. When I was growing up, I wouldn’t say anything, but I thought those Catholics who had “dirt” on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday looked silly. As a bit of cosmic comeuppance, in my last two (Protestant) churches, we now apply ashes on our foreheads on the first day of Lent.

I recall the first time I was allowed to take Communion at a Roman Catholic Church, on some important anniversary of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, back in the 1990s. Interestingly, some of my Protestant friends refused to take the Eucharist because of being denied for so long, which I thought was CRAZY; they let you in, you gotta walk through the door.

Did I ever tell you about the Coptic who told me I was going to hell because Protestants didn’t believe in literal transubstantiation?

So I have enough problem sorting out my own religion that the assessment of other faiths tends to be secondary considerations.

For instance, the Texas Republican platform condemns homosexuality and invokes God. People are boycotting Oreo cookies because the brand is “violating God’s law.” I disagree with these “thought” processes, of course, but it remains my struggle to find common ground with other Christians, first and foremost, if possible. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, Mohandas K. Gandhi said he’d consider becoming a Christian if he had ever met one.

All of that said, I’m also influenced greatly by the Baha’i faith, the religion of a former Significant Other. Basically, it said that many of the major religious leaders, such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, and Zoroaster, were part of a “progressive revelation”, with Christianity revealed for the city-state, Islam for the nation-state, and Baha’ism for the world-state. I never embraced it, but I accepted it as a way to respect other faiths.

Now from a purely comfort level, there seem to be far fewer jerks who claim to be Buddhists, for instance, than jerks purporting to be Christians or Muslims. And there are commonalities in many religions that suggest that at least PARTS of their doctrines are universal. Doesn’t everyone have some variation on the Golden Rule? I will admit, too, that I’m really not all that into proselytizing, at least by words.

When you fantasized about running away as a kid (I assume most people did), what did you fantasize about doing?

I liked watching or playing baseball. Or maybe I could have been one of Gladys Knight’s Pips.

If money were no issue – you were set for life, although you couldn’t just give it all away – what would you be doing?

I would get on trains and go to every Major League Baseball ballpark pretty much every season. I’d go see lots of live theater and a lot of movies in the colder part of the year, especially in New York City and in my region. I’d go visit friends. I’d read a lot more, write more. I’d love to have a companion with whom I could play racquetball wherever I went.

Steve writes:

Not sure if this is the appropriate post to put this on, but how did you chip your sister’s tooth?


When I was a kid, I was a bit of a loner, even in my own family structure. I liked to read in my tiny little room or play with my baseball cards. I played with my sisters, too, who were 16 months, and five years younger than I – mostly kickball or with their dolls – but I needed my own time.

The middle child sometimes would bug me. She knew about the parents’ “no hitting girls” rule, and she took advantage by poking me. I’d do my Garbo best: “I vant to be alone!” But eventually, I’d go chase her away.

On one of these occasions, when I was about 10 or 11, I was trying to catch her – wasn’t sure what I’d do if I did, since I couldn’t hit her – and I stepped on the back of her bathrobe. She went straight down, hit the floor, and started crying loudly. She had chipped one of her front top, permanent teeth.

Ultimately, the dental folks put some silver-gray epoxy on it. The specifics of it now escape me, but what was clear is that she had this discolored item right in the middle of her mouth for months. People would say to her, “Hi, yo, Silver!” or “Old Silvertooth.” She was mortified.

The good outcomes (for me) were these: I didn’t get in trouble, presumably because my narrative rang true to my parents; and my sister left me alone for quite a while. More bizarre to me is that my sister had, apparently for years, until I corrected her in the past few months, attributed her ugly silver tooth to actions taken by our baby sister rather than by me.

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