The Cure For All The Ills And Wrongs

 Culture, Deep Thoughts, Religion  Comments Off on The Cure For All The Ills And Wrongs
Apr 292006
 

The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows, and the crimes of humanity, all lie in the one word ‘love’. It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life. –Lydia Maria Child

It really just can’t get any more obvious than this. Ms. Child is reminding that if we approach life and the people in our world from a place of love, then all the bad things in life really would go away.

For those of us of the Christian persuasion, Jesus was absolutely clear about this. In the 22nd Chapter of the Book of Matthew. Jesus was challenged by the Pharisee?s to define the Greatest Commandment. In verse 34 he responded, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment.? Jesus didn?t stop there. Without missing a beat he went on to say in verse 39, And the second is like it: ?Love your neighbor as yourself.

In verse 40, just to be sure the dense Pharisees of that time (and maybe for some people of today) got the message, Jesus goes on to say, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

While we like to get all wrapped around the spokes over theology and biblical interpretation, I think that we could do away with all that, and all the rest of the Bible, and if we all just devoted our lives to trying to live out those two commandments, we’d stay busy.

Lutheran Church Denies Services To Transgendered Person

 Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Lutheran Church Denies Services To Transgendered Person
Apr 122006
 

Hat tip to Pam’s House Blend for this story. It appeared in Agape Press.

Officials in one Minnesota county are punishing a church for taking a stand against sexual deviance. A report from Associated Press says Anoka County officials are refusing to send any more clients to a church that denied day care to a trans-sexual client. The county’s social services department has been sending disabled senior citizens and other vulnerable adults who need care during the day to Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Francis.

Photo of John Maxfield, Assoc. PastorBut the conservative Missouri Synod church turned away a client who had undergone surgery to be changed from a man into a woman. Associate pastor John Maxfield says the man’s decision is “contrary to God’s revealed will” — and now his church is paying the price for its stand. “The county has basically said that if we would like to continue the contract with new clients,” the pastor explains, “we would have to sign a non-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation — and that would violate our theological beliefs.” Maxfield notes that although the church is losing a lot of money by taking this stand, obedience to God’s Word is more important. He also believes other churches involved with government-funded programs will face similar challenges.

(Maybe it’s just me, but in the photo of the Assoc. Pastor, it sure looks like he has something shoved up his butt.)

I’m also trying to figure out this whole thing of how the church is “losing a lot of money by taking this stand.” I assume that means the Church was making money before on this program. To me, “making money” means profit. So what kind of scam has this church been running? Are they enjoying tax exempt status, even though they may be operating as a profit making business. Hummm…maybe there’s a call to the IRS in all this. A little scrutiny never hurt anyone.

I wrote Mr. Maxfield the following email. If he happens to respond, I’ll post his response.

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Katrina: Republican Excuse to Continue Regressive Agenda

 Congress, Corruption, Politics, Society  Comments Off on Katrina: Republican Excuse to Continue Regressive Agenda
Sep 222005
 
  • A nice little tax cut for your wealthy friends – $327 billion
  • Some corporate welfare for your campaign contributors in the oil business – $8.5 Billion
  • Having a king-sized natural disaster to help you try to cut the programs you don’t like for the old and poor – Priceless
  • For everything else, there’s the queers.

With great fanfare, and recalling the "Gingrich Revolution" of the 1990s, House conservatives yesterday proposed a broad set of spending cuts they said would help offset the costs of the Katrina reconstruction effort. Their plan reduces the budget by $500 billion over 10 years, and does so in large part by dismantling programs that invest in middle- and working-class Americans. Progressives can do better. It’s possible to cut far more unnecessary federal spending, accomplish it in half the time, and do so while upholding the principles of fiscal responsibility and concern for the common good.

The proposal announced yesterday cuts substantial funding from several "long-standing targets of conservative scorn," like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the foreign operations budget. The largest proposed cuts are targeted at Medicaid, "the health care safety net for low-income children, elderly, disabled, pregnant women and parents." The plan cuts $225 billion by converting the federal share of certain Medicaid payments into a block grant, and $8 billion more by increasing Medicaid co-payments. Eliminating subsidized loans to graduate students slices off an additional $8.5 billion. $11 billion more is saved by passing restrictive new rules for federal retiree health care and federal pension programs.

A progressive approach to trimming the budget could result in greater savings over a shorter period of time. For example, rolling back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans would save $327 billion over five years. Cracking down on offshore tax shelters would save $65 billion over the same time period. Simply allowing Medicare recipients to purchase drugs through the mail would save $43 billion over five years. Repealing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry contained in the recent energy bill would save $8.5 billion. Shelving costly and unnecessary weapons systems would save $200 billion. Getting rid of counterproductive agricultural export subsidies would save $30 billion over the first five years along. Giving up half of the 6,371 special earmarked projects of the 2005 transportation bill would save an additional $12 billion. A progressive approach to trimming the budget could cut $688 billion in federal spending over just five years.

 Republican Offsets      Progressive Offsets  
 Title III Program Cuts  $307B    Rollback Tax Cuts for the Wealthy  $327B
Other including DoD and DHS  $333B    Eliminate Offshore Tax Shelters  $  65B
 Cut Federal Share of Medicaid  $225B    Repeal Oil Industry Subsidies  $    8.5B
 Increase Medicaid Copayments  $    8B    Allow Medicare Mail Order Drug Purchases  $  43B
 Eliminate Loans To Graduate Students  $    8.5B    Shelve unnecessary Defense Systems  $200B
 Restriction on Federal Retiree Healthcare and Pensions  $   11B    Eliminate Agricultural Export Subsidies  $  30B
 Foreign Operations Budget  $   37B    Eliminate 1/2 of 6,371 Transportation Bill Projects  $  12B

 TOTAL After 10 Years

 $929B  

 TOTAL Savings after only five years

 $685.5B

Let’s take a special look at some of the cuts included in the Republican Plan. I think most agregious is their call to eliminate "Corporate Welfare." This from a Congress that gave the oil companies, already experiencing windfall profits, huge subsidies in the just passed energy bill. Take a look at a partial list and see if you notice any patterns:

  • Eliminate the Applied Research for Renewable Energy Sources Program
  • Eliminate the Clean Coal Technology Program
  • Eliminate the FreedomCAR Program
  • Eliminate the ITA’s Trade Promotion Activates
  • Eliminate the Advanced Technology Program
  • Repeal the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act
  • Eliminate the Foreign Market Development Program
  • Eliminate the Market Access Program
  • Eliminate the Export Enhancement Program
  • Eliminate the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative

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Ralph Reed And James Dobson Helping Gambling Interests

 Politics, Religion  Comments Off on Ralph Reed And James Dobson Helping Gambling Interests
Mar 142005
 

Without a doubt, Tom Delay is most likely one of the most corrupt politicians to ever walk the halls of the Capital. I’d been wondering why the Republicans had been going out of their way to protect him, but now the light is dawning. This story about Mr. Delay’s gambling connections and his dealings with Republican Lobbyists, Jack Abramoff is beginning to get some legs.

Please read the story by Susan Schmidt from the front page Washington Post story about the sordid tale of the Abramoff/Scanlon/DeLay/Reed Indian gambling scandal. Interestingly, the Post is devoting Watergate length coverage to this unfolding saga that apparently involves the entire Republican establishment, and that may be why the congressional repubs are trying to protect this scoundrel.

Sunday’s installment focuses on Abramoff’s battle against the Jena tribe’s effort to open a casino that would be a competitor to his Coushatta tribe client in Louisiana. Caught in Abramoff’s lobbying web is a key Bush appointee at the Interior Department, J. Steven Griles.

But what really gets my attention is Righteous Ralph’s (candidate for the #2 job in Georgia) recruitment of the ever so holy James Dobson in the effort to help Abramoff’s gambling client.

Jack Abramoff, one of Washington’s most prominent Republican lobbyists, tapped into the gambling riches of a rival tribe to orchestrate a far-reaching campaign against the Jena Band of Choctaws — calling on senior U.S. senators and congressmen, the deputy secretary of the interior and evangelical leaders James Dobson and Ralph Reed.

Of course, naive Ralph claims that he was only the piano player in the bordello and he was shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, that Abramoff was paying him on behalf of his gaming clients.

Meanwhile, Abramoff opened a second front to bring outside pressure on Interior against the Jenas.

He looked to Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader who operated several consulting companies. Reed has acknowledged receiving as much as $4 million from Abramoff and his associate, Scanlon, to organize grass-roots anti-gambling campaigns in Louisiana and Texas. The money came from casino-rich Indian tribes, including the Coushattas, but Reed said that although he knew of Abramoff’s connection to the tribes, he did not know until media accounts surfaced last summer that his fees came from gambling proceeds.

Reed then turned to Dobson to marshal his vast network of evangelicals, Abramoff’s e-mails show.

Abramoff wrote to Scanlon in a Feb. 20, 2002, e-mail that Dobson would make radio ads against gambling. Reed “may finally have scored for us! Dobson goes up on the radio on this next week!” He suggested giving Reed $60,000 for the ads to run in Louisiana and Texas. We’ll then play it in the WH [White House] and Interior,” he told Scanlon.”

Isn’t it so great to have these moral values Christians in charge of things?