Criminalizing compassion

criminalizing compassionI recently came across this Common Dreams article, ‘Criminalizing Compassion’: Trial Begins for Humanitarian Facing 20 Years in Prison for Giving Water to Migrants in Arizona Desert.

Human rights advocates accused the U.S. Justice Department of “criminalizing compassion” as a federal trial began in Arizona Wednesday for activist Scott Warren, who faces up to 20 years in prison for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert.

I think the prosecution is terrible, of course. But it DOES reassure me that we’re not a Christian nation, despite protestations to the contrary. A Christian nation would follow these familiar tenets of Matthew 25:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Or the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10:

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

This regime targets trans health care protections, has IRS audit poor taxpayers at the same rate as richest One Percent and other things too numerous to mention here.

Rev. Franklin Graham, among other “Christian leaders”, is asking “followers of Christ across our nation to set aside June 2 as a special day of national prayer” for the regime. He said, “In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. The lies and the deceptions rage on.” The irony is striking.

I do agree with part of Graham’s call, that the regime “will know and understand the power of God in a new way.” But for me, it is different than what we’ve experienced the past 28 months.

“God is a capitalist” and other heresy

‘May all Members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle.’

While I tend to believe in the broad diversity of expression within the Christian church, and honor it as a good thing, occasionally I find a version so utterly toxic that it irritates me greatly.

Such was the case when I read about weekly Bible studies held by members of the regime’s Cabinet.

“Ralph Drollinger’s own ministry declared him ‘not biblically qualified for spiritual leadership.’ And yet, he leads the… study group, organized by Vice President Pence and faithfully attended by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, CIA Director [now Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among others.”

The Message is that
Governments and leaders “must send a constant message that sin will be punished”
Entitlement programs have no “biblical authority”
Liberal Christians aren’t really Christians, they’re “simpletons”
Catholicism is “one of the primary false religions in the world”
“Radical environmentalism” is a “false religion”
“God only hears the prayers of leaders and citizens who are upright, who live righteously through faith in Jesus Christ”
“God is a capitalist” and because of excessive environmental regulations in the U.S. “the economic benefits God intends from private property ownership have been greatly diminished”
“Righteous” people with government positions should not “compromise Biblical absolutes” and should hire only other “righteous” people

I could argue against each of these, some on First Amendment grounds, others as gross distortions of Biblical scholarship, but suffice to say that the exclusivity of this mindset of the faith I find disturbing.

Oh, and Franklin Graham states that Trump stopped sinning when he became President. I was looking up the Ten Commandments. There’s one that reads: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Given his propensity for prevarication, one must assume that he has sinned at LEAST once in the last 15 months.

Meanwhile, lame-duck Speaker of the House Paul Ryan forced out House chaplain Patrick Conroy, though he was soon reinstated. Daily Kos cheekily wrote, it was reportedly for being way too Christian, unprecedented in House history in the middle of a session.

“In the prayer he gave back in November on the first day of the mark-up of the tax scam bill [he] gently nudged members to think about the meek.

“‘May all Members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle. May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.'”

Speaking truth to power – wasn’t that part of Jesus’ message? On this day of Pentecost, which makes the church the church, it will be interesting to watch which strains of the faith are considered genuine over time. I certainly have MY theories.

May rambling #3: A Steampunk Opera

“Nearly 400,000 views later, reflections on a viral post”

2011: the Daughter, niece Alex, niece Rebecca

Antarctica’s ice sheet may be approaching an unstoppable collapse

John Oliver Goes For Blood To Rip Dialysis Companies

An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

On Memorial Day we ought to remember the dead, not celebrate the Empire

New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments

The complicated origin of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington? What the Video Shows

Frank Deford, who wrote about sports with panache and insight, dies at 78

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of

AMONGST THE STARS by Kelly Sedinger is now available for purchase

Mamet Threatens Fines Over Post-Show Discussion of His Play

Why I Stopped Going to Movie Theatres: The Death of Etiquette

Jaquandor: The Force will be with you always

Uncle Sam’s gonna want my apples

I divorced my husband but forged a lasting bond with his ex-wife

The Sad History of Hydrox Cookies

Elaborate senior photos allow students to live out their fantasies in yearbook

Now I Know: The Kitchen Utensil that Woofed and The Mexican Art Tax and Room for Two

From Dan – Hebdomadal: “Spell checker likes it. Means something that happens once a week every seven days, used especially for organizations. It’s not considered archaic, although usage was more common in the 1800s. Saw it in a (paper) book first published in 1986 that I am currently reading, used without a trace of irony.” Wouldn’t “weekly” do?

Everyone Gets a ‘Trophe

Nobody Did It Better: Thank You, Sir Roger Moore, and from Maverick: Season 4

Rowan Atkinson interviews Elton John

Weird Minor-League Strikeout by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitcher

Arthur’s household hints Continue reading “May rambling #3: A Steampunk Opera”

June rambling #1: procrastination, and tessellation

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

waltz in
When You Kill Ten Million Africans and You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’ – King Leopold II of Belgium, who “owned” the Congo.

The Dannemora Dilemma. “‘Little Siberia’ turned out to be the prison’s nickname.”

The Weekly Sift addresses the Duggars’ brand of fundamentalist Christianity and other stuff. Plus What’s So Scary About Caitlyn Jenner?

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet and The Crystal Ball‘s 2016 Electoral College ratings. I have NO idea who the Republican candidate for President will be.

If it’s not Jeb Bush, and I have my serious doubts that it will be, then one of those people from the “he/she can’t win” category could possibly emerge.

ADD on blaming the victims of today’s disastrous economy for trying to survive it.

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain.

Disunion, The Final Q&A: The New York Times’s series on the Civil War.

Franklin Graham Calls for Christian Boycott — Here Are Some Ideas for Targets.

Rachel Dolezal and minstrelsy.

David Kalish: The Fine Art of Procrastination.

THE MARVEL-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and a follow-up.

Drawing the Undrawable: An Explanation from Neil and Amanda Gaiman, re: The New Statesman and Art Spiegelman.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be available on July 29. This SHOULD mean you can update from Windows 7, and I can get rid of the dreadful Windows 8.

How to create strong passwords.

Why Pluto Is a Planet, and Eris Is, Too.

Now I Know: The Lights That Almost Led to World War III and America’s Most Wanted Coincidence and Why are there so few $2 bills?

Gouverneur is a small town of about 6,000 located in St. Lawrence County, NY. But how do you PRONOUNCE it? In English and in French.

Berowne: George Gordon. Better known as Lord Byron.

Never-before-seen film of the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart — from her last photo shoot ever, shortly before she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

The origin of that Orange Church of God sign I see on Facebook all the time. Speaking of which: 6 Facebook Statuses That Need To Stop Right Now.

Mark Evanier’s childhood Christmas chicanery.

The app that identifies plants from a picture. Seriously, I could use this.

What is a tessellation? Math, and design.

A marbles tsunami.

True: Why are the Tony Awards so afraid of the Tony Awards?

Sex Pistols credit card.

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

James Taylor’s creativity flows anew.

The Mary Lou Williams Suite, the jazz pianist and arranger. Includes the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 60-51. He also brought to mind that the birthday of Todd Rundgren is coming up, which reminded me of a 1985 album I own on vinyl that I haven’t heard in a good while. LISTEN to A Cappella, or at least the last song, a cover of the Spinners’ Mighty Love.

Bert Jansch’s Blackwaterside, first recorded in 1966. Which sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Page’s instrumental Black Mountain Side, from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut.

DJ Otzi – Burger Dance, “based on the premise that the single aspect of American culture most readily recognizable in the rest of the world is fast food.”

This list is rubbish, but hey, it has links to Beatles songs. The most skippable Beatles cuts, from “All You Need Is Love” to “Yellow Submarine”.

Muppets: Puppetman and Kermit the Frog and Grover on The Ed Sullivan Show and Grover is Special and the 1962 pilot Tales of the Tinkerdee and some other stuff.

Legendary Special-Effects Artist Rick Baker on How CGI Killed His Industry.

Actor Christopher Lee, Dracula and Nazi hunter, dies at 93. From The Guardian and BFI and the Hollywood Reporter and Bruce Hallenbeck in Diabolique and Mr. Frog and Gordon at Blog This, Pal.

Ornette Coleman, Jazz Innovator, Dies at 85.

Dustbury notes the passing of Monica Lewis, a voice, at least, you’ve heard, if you are of a certain age.

GOOGLE ALERTS (not me)

Roger and Carmen Green of Baraboo, Wisconsin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

UK: An illustrated guided walk tracing the route of the Nickey Line is being led by railway enthusiast Roger Green on Saturday, June 27.