Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Truth-Telling at Calvary Chapel???

In California, powerful right-wing congregations have a troubling history on truth-telling when it comes to social change.

As for me and my house, I happen to think that the church needs to tell the truth, no matter what, because our Lord is the Truth, as well as the Way and the Life.

Where truth is compromised or denied for political purposes, there is no Gospel, and Christ himself is denied.

That Calvary Chapel should use fear-inducing lies is not surprising, given the history of right-wing religious groups in SoCal - please see Darren Dochuk's monumental study:

From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism

Whatever one's persuasion may be on the questions of homosexuality, I think most folks can agree that truth-telling is a virtue, and spreading lies, especially fear-inducing lies, is reprehensible.

For years now, the LGBTQ Community has been the target of the far-right. Christians who stand against Gays and Lesbians always claim to have the Bible on their side and the weight of tradition behind them.

Yet even conservative scholars these days are inclined to admit that the Bible has been mistranslated in several key verses and poorly interpreted with other verses, mostly to suit certain social norms. The same was done, of course, to deny women ordination and to perpetuate slavery and post-emancipation Jim Crow laws - such as laws prohibiting bi-racial marriages.

Another example of fear-inducing lies regards the use of the short-handled hoe in CA agriculture - it's a fascinating story and highlights how fear-of-change grows into a monster that continues to harm. You can read about it HERE.

With regard to SB 48, it's a matter of honesty - honest history, honest teaching and honest recognition of people and causes that have contributed to the well-being of American society.

Is there anyone who doesn't want honesty in these matters?

Here's a letter from Courage Campaign.



"SB 48 will teach homosexuality to kindergarteners." That was the response my brother got this past Sunday when encountering a signature-gatherer at Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills.
We were shocked, because we know that SB 48, the FAIR Education Act, simply ensures that California schools include LGBT people and movements in our history books, and yet homophobes are collecting signatures to put the law on the ballot and repeal it. I don't know about you, but I'm not up for another Prop. 8-style campaign and loss, where the other side uses lies and scare tactics to hurt the LGBT community. We have to start NOW to frame this issue, to get the truth out.

We need your help to spread the word. Will you sign up to help make sure this measure stays off the ballot?

What we saw in church yesterday isn't the only example. Yesterday, the "Stop SB 48" campaign sent an email reinforcing the lies about teaching "homosexuality" to young children, on the heels of their video ad last week from Pastor Jack Hibbs at Calvary Chapel. Two choice quotes from Pastor Hibbs's ad:
"The indoctrination of our children regarding gay and lesbian, transgender lifestyles and practices as it relates to state history, as it relates to US history, and as it relates to our own economy...This new teaching, frankly, comes against the very ministry of Jesus Christ, the word of God, and you and I."
"If we don't stop it, this will be the indoctrination of our children, on our watch...There's no opting out for your student, they must take this course, there's no getting away from it."

All SB 48 does is to make sure that the role of LGBT people and the movement for justice are part of American history taught in schools. How many people know that gays and lesbians were jailed simply for being gays and lesbians? Who really knows that even now transgender people are beaten up for being transgender? Did you know that in his first days in office, Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order that not only banned gays and lesbians from public service, but from working for government contractors? That's our history. If we don't know what happened, we are indeed doomed to repeat it, if not for LGBT people then for other minorities.

America is made stronger by telling the story of all Americans: black, Latino, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. We are all part of the powerful fabric that builds our nation. Pretending that some of us don't exist is not the American way. I'm a proud straight ally and I support making our history more inclusive of people who deserve respect.

Arisha Hatch, National Field Director, Courage Campaign

Chip in today to fight back against the Stop SB 48 campaign!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Truth about Texas???

LA Times, 8.11.11 - Letter to the Editor:

Texas, taxes and jobs

Re "Amazon stumps outside stores," Business, Aug. 6

I am a visitor to California and a lifelong Texan. Imagine my surprise to encounter an anti-tax signature collector in San Diego arguing that California will lose jobs to Texas if taxes increase.

We Texans have already got all the minimum-wage, no-benefit jobs we can handle, along with lousy roads, a 19th century school system, a high poverty rate, hunger, lack of medical care and the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation. Our education system is declining, and much of the new jobs pay minimum wage. Texas is becoming third-world.

California has so much of what Texas lacks. Be happy to pay your taxes because you are getting so much for them. Tighten your belt and preserve the California you have while you can. Don't destroy California; you will regret it later.

Kathleen Bombach

El Paso

I don't know who Ms. Bombach is, but I'm grateful for her letter, because from other sources, as well, we're learning that the Texas "success" story is more like "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Things are going down more quickly in Texas than the proverbial goose on a June Bug. The GOP strategy for prosperity is an illusion, if not a lie. The only prosperity they have in mind is the welfare of the Royalty. 
Kathleen Bombach, whoever you are, thank you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Assigning Blame????

 I cannot in good conscience assign blame equally. The Bible doesn't either. When the prophets rail against Israel's sin, it's the Priests and the Kings who are faulted - folks with power, the power to change things for the better, but who choose to change things to suit their own interests and feed their own appetites. 

When Jesus over-turns a table or two, it's in the Temple, the bastion of religious power. Jesus clearly speaks to all, but his harshest words are directed, not to the people, but to the powerful. 

Jesus would not tell a poor single Mom living in South LA to spend a little less, and not put anything on a credit card. 

No. Jesus would speak to the system that keeps her unemployed or underemployed; a system that fails to provide public transportation; child-care; health-care; good schools; clean water and air; healthy food. A system designed and managed by the powerful during the last 50 years, for the sake of the powerful; a system sucking the life out of millions. 

To speak of an equality of responsibility is biblically impossible - Jesus said it well: "Those to whom much has been given, much is expected." Responsibility for building a just and life-inducing world belongs to the powerful. In their failure, they are condemned ("hard for a rich man to make it" - parable of rich man and Lazarus), and in their success (e.g.Zacchaeus), be blessed.