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  1. #1
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    I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    Interesting...and so true.
    **********************************

    "I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days."


    The Lyceum Lecture

    August 6, 2006

    Given at: First Unitarian Church, Peterborough, New Hampshire

    By Robin Meyers is a Congregationalist minister in Oklahoma City.

    WHY THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS NEITHER

    I am grateful for the high honor of this invitation, and find it to be a remarkable coincidence, if there are such things, that in my book I speak of Henry David Thoreau, who once gave this lecture, as embodying the spirit and the courage that we must recover in our time if we are to survive.

    Not only his call to simplify, and to be introspective, but to refuse to participate in madness if one is living in a time of madness.

    Thoreau was keenly aware that idolatry and boredom were a toxic combination, and that the "entitlement mentality" could have apocalyptic consequences. Those who are not comfortable "alone with themselves" and their "pretty toys" he wrote, can be the most lonely and dangerous people on earth.

    It was Thoreau who foreshadowed our current ecological crisis when he wrote: "If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."

    And then, in a line the mocks the true religion of our time (which is our fervent belief that the marketplace can solve all the problems of life), Thoreau said, "To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle."

    So, although it is utterly presumptuous of me to say so, I wish to stand before you this morning in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, to remind you that of all his keenest insights, his true genius was to understand that the way a nation loses its soul is when her people, amused and distracted (kept busy with trivia and fed patriotic propaganda), come slowly, but surely to accept the unacceptable.

    So that instead of a mounting rage, which these times call for, there is merely a growing indifference, born of the ability of those in power to divide and conquer, and of the images of war and suffering to numb us, rather than move us to act.

    It was Thoreau, after all, who gave us the essential definition of civil disobedience, and whose lessons were an inspiration to Gandhi: "If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."

    And when he went to jail rather than pay a tax to, or recognize the authority of, the state "which buys and sells men, women, and children like cattle, at the door of its senate house," he was visited by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, who is reported to have said to Thoreau, "Henry, what are you doing in there?" To which Thoreau responded, "Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?"

    I have come all the way from Oklahoma, and I have a written this book, to ask exactly the same question: why it is that we are still "out there" going about our daily lives as if this beloved republic is not perishing? I therefore ask of you, what I ask of myself: why are we not all in jail?

    In the book, I discuss what I believe are the two kinds of time in which human being live: organic time, when things unfold naturally and history seems to be moving us toward stability and peace, and critical time, when the fate of the future hangs in the balance and we are called upon to seize history and turn it in another direction.

    In critical time, we forfeit the luxury of indecision and apathy, and we are forced to be mindful of the cost of doing nothing, as well as the necessity to be politically informed, active, and incredulous. Critical time puts critical choices before us and then judges inaction or mindless acquiescence as a form of complicity.

    These are critical times. They are dangerous times. And yet, the greatest danger of all may be that most of us have no idea what is really going on. We live in the age of wall-to-wall corporate mass media—24 hour a day propaganda machines like CNBC and FOX news, whose claim to being "fair and balanced" is as patently pathetic as that banner reading MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

    If Thoreau was right when he said that "to have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle," then what would he make of news outlets which run the Dow Jones Industrials as a crawler under every story, and speculate on how war may be affecting the market? And here I thought all along that ethical human beings were supposed to worried about how war affected children?

    Or if Eisenhower was genuinely concerned about the military- industrial complex (a warning that came on his last day in office), he could at least still feel confident that those two words ought to be separated by a hyphen.

    Now that dash, which held together, but distinguished the word military from the word industrial is gone. We can now invade a country under false pretenses, destroy it, and then provide a no-bid contract to a company run by one of the invaders to fix what we have broken, even if that company engages in massive fraud. And apparently no one has the nerve anymore to call this what it is: economic treason.

    For eight years now, I have written a syndicated newspaper column for The Oklahoma Gazette, called Rhetoric and Reality-- because this is my life's passion--to think about and write about the relationship between what we say and what we do--between the linguistically constituted world, and the real world.

    By far the most controversial column I ever written was published four years ago, entitled "Using the f-Word." In that column, I made the case that something I call Christian Fascism is already far advanced in this country, and if you doubt this, then you should read the concise list of 14 characteristics that political scientist Lawrence Britt claims are unmistakable signs that any nation is moving in a fascist direction.

    Believe me, I know what an ugly word the f-word is. My academic life is given over to study of rhetoric. I am, after the fashion of George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist—and so I care very much what words are used to accomplish what ends. And yet I also believe that the most urgent warning came from George Orwell, when he wrote that language becomes evil when it becomes a tool of insincerity, the full-blown manifestation of which is outright deception.

    So while fascism raises the specter of Nazis, and the Holocaust--their seamless propaganda, and their absolute intolerance for dissent, I ask only that you listen to these 14 brief indicators that a country is moving in the direction of fascism, and then make up your own mind:

    1) powerful and continuing nationalism, 2) disdain for the recognition of human rights, 3) identification of enemies and scapegoats as a unifying cause, 4) supremacy of the military, 5) rampant sexism, 6) controlled mass media, 7) obsession with national security, 8) religion and government intertwined, 9) protection of corporate power, 10) suppression of labor power, 11) disdain for intellectuals and the arts, 12) obsession with crime and punishment, 13) rampant cronyism and corruption, and 14) fraudulent elections.

    It is hard for me to imagine that in this audience, there would be a single person who does not recognize that each and every one of these indicators is both evident and ascendant in American society--all fourteen.

    A gaudy, knee-jerk patriotism is back, flags are everywhere, and they are huge. People look the other way when we torture prisoners, or send them to other countries to be tortured, convinced than the threat of terrorism justifies the suspension of our own legal standards, and lying to our own citizens.

    Talk radio, which is one of the most dangerous purveyors of outright propaganda in America, fills the air with hatred against "enemies" within and without--and the enemy is anyone who disagrees with the Right. Ann Coulter has written a new book calling liberalism a "godless religion."

    Someone needs to tell Ms. Coulter that the little black dress notwithstanding; she should not practice theology without a license!

    Besides the most "godless" behavior around these days comes from the so-called "God fearing." Military spending soars, social spending dwindles, and the cult of soldier worship is a national pastime. Yet macho intransigence has not made better men of out our boys. According to its own internal study, the Air Force Academy admitted that 12 percent of its female cadets reported being raped in 2003, and in many institutions, gays are the new scapegoat.

    Meanwhile, corporate media continues to rail against a non- existent "liberal media bias" while engaging in unapologetic right- wing propaganda. A color-coded system of "threat-levels" keeps the civilian population in constant fear--fear being a fascist's best friend.

    cont...
    Last edited by sojustask; 08-22-2006 at 02:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    All the while, this government wears Christianity on its sleeve while ignoring, or reversing, the fundamental teachings of Jesus. I'll speak more of this in a moment.

    Big business now supplies government leaders in a revolving door of mutual favors. Labor unions are vilified, and so- called "right-to-work" legislation weakens them under the guise of attracting new industry.

    Intellectual acumen is belittled as a form of elitism, and artists are portrayed as dangerous, unpatriotic, and subversive (which is precisely the reason we need them so badly), and in this administration in particular, personal friends are rewarded with government jobs, no matter how unqualified or inept they may be ("You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie").

    Meanwhile the machinery of democracy itself, the system by which we cast our votes, gradually disintegrates into confusion, allegations of fraud, and partisan manipulation to suppress voter turnout or disqualify votes that threaten the status quo.

    So I use the f-word without apology, but only because those who seek an American Theocracy, as Kevin Phillips has so forceful argued in his new book by the same title--have made no bones about what they want, nor about what they will do to get it--including declaring war on the judiciary.

    Kevin Phillips, a moderate Republican who once served the Nixon administration, and pioneered what is commonly called the "southern strategy" (by which disaffected white males in particular were wooed away from the Democratic party after the civil rights movement)--is absolutely right when he makes the claim that the current Republican Party is "America's first religious party."

    My books explores a different question altogether, however— namely, not whether the Christian Right has taken over the country. They have. But what gospel are they reading, and how can anyone, whether he or she is religious or not, remain silent when both religion and politics have been so fundamentally corrupted in the pursuit of power?

    A year and a half ago (the verdict regarding exactly what went on in Ohio notwithstanding) we apparently re-elected a president who had already confessed that the premise of this misbegotten war in Iraq, this horrific downward spiral that has already killed or maimed tens of thousands, was false. No WMD's, no imminent threat, no connection whatsoever to Al Qaeda, or 9/11.

    This president, who said that Jesus is the philosopher who has had the most influence on his life, went on to mock this deception he helped to engineer by crawling around under his desk and joking that perhaps he would find the WMD's there--this as American soldiers were being blown to bits—and innocent Iraqi's watched their nation slide into outright civil war.

    Now we have what I called from the beginning, in my pulpit, "a war in search of a reason." Constantly being retrofitted to conform to the latest attempt to find some noble reason why so many are dying--the latest, and most maddeningly abstract of which is that we are "spreading freedom and democracy in the troubled Middle East." What we are actually spreading is murder and mayhem-- and this apparently requires that we systematically destroy the democracy at home that we are reputedly spreading around the world!

    If the president, who admits to not being a reader, were only to read some basic history, he would know that no successful, autonomous democracy has ever been established in the history of the world through invasion, occupation, and the installation of puppet governments—democracy, in other words, has never succeeded as a colonial project.

    One can only wonder how one president can be impeached for lying about an affair in the White House (exceeding stupid as it was), while another can remain in office after lying the whole nation into war? The dominoes that are falling in the Middle East are not the last vestiges of Islamic fundamentalism, but all remaining hope the Arab moderates could win the day.

    Perhaps the American people are in a forgiving mood because this president promised to "restore honesty and integrity to the White House?" There are, after all, still people saying that while they don't always agree with the president, he's a "straight shooter," and we "know where he stands."

    In fact, the national media reported, just after the election, that exit polls indicated voters named so-called "moral values" as having played the decisive role in their decision to give the president a second term.

    This to me was the most astonishing disconnect of all. I have some considerable interest in moral values, having been an ordained minister for almost 30 years. But I could not, for the life of me, figure out what moral values people were talking about?

    Because whether we are liberal or conservative, or like most Americans, someplace anxiously in-between, we don't get to make up moral values as we go along, or claim Jesus is on our side regardless of what side we are on.

    In fact, although many of us are committed to tolerance as a kind of uncritical virtue, it is patently absurd to assume that simply pronouncing oneself moral makes one moral. Kierkegaard understood this as the difference between concept and capacity.

    Those of us still in the church now see insult added to injury. Because it is equally absurd to surrender Jesus to all possible moral positions without objection--as if the gospel itself had no essence, no real message—but is rather like a lump of play dough--a kind of infinitely malleable form of neutral energy. Fragrant and harmless—even edible!

    Now, you may be thinking at this point: Well of course you would say these things Robin--you are a liberal. But in fact I wrote this book for more than just liberal Christians. I wrote it for all Americans who can recognize the theft of both their country, and the church if they will just open their eyes.

    Because there have always been arguments about matters of faith and doctrine, even though I happen to reject completely the idea that Christianity has anything to do with doctrine. I refuse, as I have my whole life, to believe that faith has anything to do with pretending to believe things you know are not true.

    Things like the virgin birth, the miracles as suspension of natural law, the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection, and the second coming--none of which I believe. I don't have to believe those things because I believe Christianity is a way of life, a way of being in the world--not a set of creeds or doctrines demanding total agreement.

    And yet it is not my liberalism that drove me to write this book--as if only liberals can recognize the hijacking of the Christian moral tradition. Indeed, I believe that whatever one's position on the virgin birth, for example, most Christians would find it strange to enlist Jesus of Nazareth in the cause of an unjust war wrapped up in an elaborate and choreographed deception. He was, and is, the Prince of Peace. And as for bearing false witness, he said, "Let your speech be a simple yes or no, for all comes from evil."

    cont...
    Last edited by sojustask; 08-22-2006 at 02:12 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    I think it's safe to say, especially in a room full of Unitarians, who are nothing if not rational, that regardless of one's position on the miracles reported to us in the Bible (that is, whether they are supernatural events, or merely the loving and well- intentioned exaggerations of disciples who were loved Jesus so much, and believed so deeply that he had opened the heavens for them), there is not a single one of you that could read the Sermon on the Mount and misunderstand Jesus so completely that you could conclude that he really didn't mean to say we should pray for our enemies. Rather, we are supposed to taunt them.

    If George W. Bush is truly a student of the philosopher Jesus, then the teacher needs to recall the student--issue a kind of spiritual stop work order. I mean this is an emergency.

    Because although he bragged once about being a C- student at Yale, (an institution founded along with Harvard by my Congregational ancestors), it is more than just an embarrassment when you mangle the gospel beyond recognition. It's dangerous.

    In a complete reversal of the time-honored principles of leadership, we now have a leader who encourages his followers, by word and deed, not to think too deeply, or critically, about anything!

    As for acting on the wisdom of Jesus--this is like picking Shakespeare to endorse a campaign against reading. Just imagine a true disciple of Jesus saying to the enemy: "Bring 'em on!"

    Or since simple-mindedness is the enemy of both common sense and compassion, what excuse has any disciple of Christ to peddle dangerous false dichotomies in the name of Jesus?

    As if the world were a kind a ripe watermelon that can be sliced neatly in half by dropping the rhetorical machete of ignorance on top of it. . .Ca thump!. . .One side is the axis of evil, the other the axis of good? I don't think so.

    I don't care what your theology is, or what your religious beliefs might be, any thinking person who is alive and paying attention knows that we don't live in a bipolar moral universe. If we did, Jesus of Nazareth would probably have stood on the banks of the Sea and Galilee and said, "Either you're with us, or you're with the Gentiles!"

    And by the way, if I believed in such a world, I'd be standing squarely, and blindly behind Israel right now--and I refuse to do so. Blind allegiance to any nation, including one's own, is a recipe for disaster. My country, right or wrong, is a tragic distortion of the idea of patriotism.

    Just imagine for a moment, what it is like for me to be a liberal minister in Oklahoma, where apparently the biggest threat facing the church is a movie called The Da Vinci Code. Not poverty, not hunger, not AIDS, not continued second-class citizenship for women, not homophobia, or the destruction of the environment, or the way we have chosen to fight a losing battle against terrorism--but a second-class movie based on an entertaining, but half-baked novel! That's the "real threat," say my evangelical brethren.

    Why? Because someone might get the impression that Jesus was human, which he was of course, and may have fallen in love with Mary Magdalene and had a baby.

    And this would be a bad thing? Sounds to me like the greatest boom to the idea of marriage and family values since Ozzie and Harriet!

    I have a very strange way of looking at Jesus, I suppose. I'm interested in what he taught, and how he lived, not whether he is an alien who can be safely worshipped from a distance.

    Every Easter, all over this country, thoughtful people in the church struggle to understand what it means to say, "He is Risen!" But while there has always been, and will always be, differences of opinion about it, most people would agree (inside the church or out), that you can't dress up greed, plain old-fashioned avarice as a Christian virtue, instead of one of the Seven Deadly Sins!

    So that any administration that pours all its energy into trying to completely eliminate the estate tax on billionaires while failing to raise the minimum wage now for nearly a decade, cannot call itself either moral or Christian.

    Jesus was a friend of the poor—not because you see it that way, or I see it that way, or Jim Wallis sees it that way--but because he was!

    People are always running around these days saying that we ought to live a more "biblical" ethic. But that's a dangerous thing to say. Not only because none of us wish to go back to slavery, or exorcism as medicine, or the ability to buy and sell one's daughter to the highest bidder. But because in the Bible, the ultimate ethical test is how the strong treat the weak.

    So you simply cannot go around claiming that this Friend of the Poor is the Lord of your life, and then do everything in your power to make the rich richer, while the poor get poorer--without someone getting up and saying, "The Emperor has no clothes. The Emperor is naked!"

    And yet, to my way of thinking, one the saddest legacies of this reputedly Christian administration is the way it has used gays and lesbians as political scapegoats. Knowing that issues of human sexuality operate at the most visceral level for human beings, homophobia as a political strategy, works in the dark mind of Karl Rove.

    Playing the anti-gay marriage card, and then putting it back on the shelf until the next election, hardly strikes me as either moral or Christian. That is, unless you believe that politically motivated hysteria is now a Christian virtue.

    And by the way, this so-called "threat" to the institution of marriage that gay marriage represents--it's a threat that nobody can find or describe. I'm waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to tell me how my marriage of 30 years to my wife is threatened if two gay people I don't even know decide to elevate the status of their relationship to the level of sacred covenant. This is a bad thing? What's the matter with us?

    But now that I'm onto things I don't understand, let me confess another: that it does not seem to me to be particularly moral to accelerate the destruction of the only planet we have by being both the world's largest polluter, and its most recalcitrant player in the international effort to turn back global warming--just so that born-again bandits can make more money than they can ever spend--even if they have to steal their worker's pensions.

    Dirty air, poison water, and toxic vegetables--this is pro- life?

    Nor does it seem right to put the giant millstone of debt around our children's necks, when Jesus seemed to care so much about little ones—and Republicans seem so enamored of the idea of family values. It's a strange way to love your kids when you think about it--by mortgaging their future.

    So I have begun to wonder what people can possibly be expected the think a follower of Jesus should look like, act like, sound like? When I close my eyes and imagine a disciple, I see a humble person, not an arrogant one. I see someone who resists the idea that God is their co-pilot, but rather remembers the wisdom of the Tao: that when you think you know, that is when you do not know; but when you know that you do not know, that is when you know.

    People who are petulant, impatient, suspicious of their critics, and paranoia to the point that they will destroy their enemies instead of praying for them may call themselves Machiavellians, or Neoconservatives or Tories, or whatever seems right to them, but they should just leave Jesus out of it.

    When the president says, "We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here, he has introduced a truly extraordinary new approach to dealing with the enemy: preemptive killing. You're not likely to find this in the Sermon on the Mount.

    And what are all of us in the church, and I do mean all of us, to make of the public comments of high-profile televangelists like the Rev. Pat Robertson--calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez?

    Or James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family and the nation's most powerful Christian Right lobbyist describing elected federal judges, most of them Republicans, as "vermin in black robes?"

    Or the Pentecostal preacher Jimmy Swaggart's line in a recent sermon, in which he told his congregation that if a gay man looked at him the wrong way, he'd kill him, and "tell God he died."

    With friends like this in the church, who needs enemies? With the nation's first fundamentalist Christian unrecovered alcoholic in the White House, who needs a real leader?

    We do. We all do. In a country that was founded on the magnificent wisdom of the separation of church and state, which leaders of the Christian Right are now calling a myth, we need to face what Bill Moyers calls the "fiercesome" truth:

    "One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime," he wrote, "is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress."

    We need the truth now, because whether you're in the church, out of the church, or just in therapy (which covers most Americans), you know that without confession there is no recovery. Without an end to deception, whether your own, or the collective deceptions of the nation, there is no healing, no hope, no reconciliation.

    The fiercesome truth is that we have set in motion terrible forces that threaten all life on the planet. In the name of religion, of all things, we are pursuing the anti-gospel, the most irreligious of all ideas—that violence saves--when in fact, as Dr. King tried to tell us, violence is a downward spiral.

    Now without a draft like we had during Vietnam, rich old men can protect their own children while cheering poor young boys on their way to the killing fields to preserve their way of life, an then refuse to let the rest of us see their flag-draped coffins. Look away, they say. . .and keep on shopping!

    cont...
    Last edited by sojustask; 08-22-2006 at 04:20 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    I do not disparage anyone their faith, even if it is configured very differently than mine, but what person of faith in this country would ever have dreamed that we would actually be having a debate in this country about whether we ought to torture people? Or leave a president in office who has spied on us without judicial warrant—and who daily reveals that he considers himself above the Constitution and above the law?

    If this truth is painful, so be it. It is our own hope. "You shall know the truth, said Jesus of Nazareth, and the truth shall make you free."

    To put it in the language of the 12-step program, we need to do an intervention on ourselves!

    As for these United States of America, the most important quote I've read in a long time came from Kurt Tucholsky, quoted in Harpers a few months ago in that magnificent article by Lewis Lampham called, The Case for Impeachment: Why America Can No Longer Afford George W. Bush, Tucholsky said: "A country is not only what it does, it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates."

    So, my dear friends, to make a long story short, I wrote this book because I find this present situation intolerable.

    I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days.

    We live in what one author called "crazy-making times." Paul Krugman recently wrote in the NYT's that we voted to return to the White House, a man whose entire domestic agenda was "to save us from gay married terrorists."

    So how, I wondered, how on earth did these men, and this administration persuade so many Americans that a vote for them was a vote for moral values?

    That was the question that was on mind when I sat down in a coffee shop in Norman Oklahoma, to write a brief speech that might rally like-minded students at the University of Oklahoma to start thinking differently, to stop believing the lies they were being told. To start asking the question, "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" as something more than just a rhetorical exercise.

    That speech, only ten minutes, and just over 1,400 words long was the beginning of something whose ending has yet to be written, and whose arc was, and is, entirely a mystery to me.

    That speech is the reason that I'm here talking to you--in this pulpit where Thoreau, Emerson, and Whitman all held forth.

    A speech given on a rainy Sunday evening to about 150 people in a college town in one of America's most conservative states ended up becoming an internet phenomenon, a speech heard round the world.

    After I had given the speech, a couple of students, bless their hearts, came up and asked for a copy of my remarks. I gave them my notes, and they must have taken them back to their dorm rooms and typed them up on their computers and started sending out the speech as an email attachment to their family, friends, professors--anyone they thought might need a second opinion on the state of the world from, of all things--a minister in Oklahoma!

    I did not know this was happening, until after a few weeks, I started getting e-mail letters from people all over the country. At first it was five letters a day, then ten a day, then 20, then 50, and finally, I was receiving a 100 a day--so many that the university set up an automated response mechanism to keep their server from crashing!

    I ended up receiving letters from every state in the union and dozens of foreign countries--and I printed them all out and started filling boxes in my office. All from strangers who said, in one way or the other, "Thanks for putting what I have been feeling into words. Now I know I'm not crazy."

    Then the phone rang one night, and an elderly woman with a wonderful Jewish accent asked me if I was the minister from Oklahoma who wrote what she referred to as "the speech." I said yes. And she asked me again if I was really a minister. I said yes, and then she said, "And are you really from Oklahoma?"

    She said, "You don't know me, but I'm the literary agent for Barbara Kingsolver, and everywhere I go in New York City people are talking about "the speech." Then she told me that she had taken a copy of the speech to visit a death row inmate, and read it to him through the bars, and he kept interrupting her to say, "Amen!"

    Then she said, "you need to do something more with the speech--like turn it into a book." Just draw up a proposal and we'll shop it around.

    So I did, and then by this mysterious process that continues to amaze me, and was never under my control (which is how the best things seem to happen), a young editor from San Francisco named Julianna Gustafson saw the proposal, believed passionately in what the book was about, and sold it to her publisher, Jossey Bass, a division of Wiley and Sons.

    I signed the contract a year ago—agreeing to write a 240- page book and have a completed rough draft done in 14 weeks—so that the book could come out in time for the crucial mid-term elections.

    It is my dissent over both the theft of the essence of the gospel to which I've given my life, and the dangerous redefinition of America's role in the world based on West Texas rhetoric, neo- conservative fantasies, and the most irreligious of all ideas—that you frighten the world into submission by killing more terrorists than you are creating--all in the name of Jesus.

    The book is a manifesto, meant to build a fire under those of us who have been silent too long, or feared that if we fought back we would begin to resemble those with whom we disagree. Its thesis is that silence is a form of complicity, and complicity with a government this corrupt would make us all accessories to a crime.

    It was Reinhold Niebuhr who said once: "Sometimes the worst evil is done by good people who do not know that they are not good."

    And it was a man I have long admired, Ramsey Clark, who captured the mood of this book perfectly when he said, "The immediate question [given the threat we are facing to our way of life and our most cherished values] is whether We, the People of the United States of America believe the future of our country is a spectator sport, or whether we will players."

    This book is my answer that to that question. It calls on us all to dare not sit out this period in American history—but to be players.

    We can play fair, and we can play hard—but we must also play to win—because in the end, this about the future we make for our children; it's about fairness, dignity, human rights, and what is become of this imperiled experiment in freedom we call the United States.

    All I want you to promise me is that if you agree with me (or even if you agree mostly with me), you will not do nothing.

    The time for doing nothing has passed. It's time to march again my friends, no matter what your age. Time to form what I call "communities of dignified indignance." Time to withdraw our compliance. Even time to commit acts of non-violence civil disobedience if you believe that you are called to do so.

    It's time, in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, to make trouble for the right reason. And to "fear not," because fear is the enemy of the moral life.

    I have it on good authority that the opposite of love is not hate. It's fear.

    If in trying to take back what belonged to us in the first place, we appear to be acting strangely, and the world begins to peer at us through the proverbial bars that have always separated those of conscience from those of mere opportunity--asking, "What are you doing in there," we can answer them now, without hesitation.

    "What are the rest of you doing out there?"

    Time to march again my friends.

    I love this country.

    Let's take it back. . .

    Thank You.

    Robin Meyers is a Congregationalist minister in Oklahoma City.

    .
    Last edited by sojustask; 08-22-2006 at 04:22 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Interesting post LM, albeit loooooooonng. :)

    I didn't want it to sink into obscurity before it had a chance to be read because it had some really good points.

    So while fascism raises the specter of Nazis, and the Holocaust--their seamless propaganda, and their absolute intolerance for dissent, I ask only that you listen to these 14 brief indicators that a country is moving in the direction of fascism, and then make up your own mind:

    1) powerful and continuing nationalism, 2) disdain for the recognition of human rights, 3) identification of enemies and scapegoats as a unifying cause, 4) supremacy of the military, 5) rampant sexism, 6) controlled mass media, 7) obsession with national security, 8) religion and government intertwined, 9) protection of corporate power, 10) suppression of labor power, 11) disdain for intellectuals and the arts, 12) obsession with crime and punishment, 13) rampant cronyism and corruption, and 14) fraudulent elections.
    This is the neo-conservative agenda to a "T". Just look at posts by Grim, he is the epitome of the first 4 indicators. Pwrone is definitely number 5 with a side order of 2 and 8. They should now be referred to neo-fascists.

    Or since simple-mindedness is the enemy of both common sense and compassion, what excuse has any disciple of Christ to peddle dangerous false dichotomies in the name of Jesus?

    As if the world were a kind a ripe watermelon that can be sliced neatly in half by dropping the rhetorical machete of ignorance on top of it. . .Ca thump!. . .One side is the axis of evil, the other the axis of good? I don't think so.
    I don't think so either. And if Bush thinks he is the "good" side, then simple-mindedness is certainly his forte. His inability to lead this country is certainly self-evident to everyone except his devout followers. I guess when it comes to simple-mindedness the old aphorism rings true...."Birds of a feather truly do flock together".

  6. #6
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Quote Originally Posted by UserName
    Interesting post LM, albeit loooooooonng. :)

    I didn't want it to sink into obscurity before it had a chance to be read because it had some really good points.



    This is the neo-conservative agenda to a "T". Just look at posts by Grim, he is the epitome of the first 4 indicators. Pwrone is definitely number 5 with a side order of 2 and 8. They should now be referred to neo-fascists.



    I don't think so either. And if Bush thinks he is the "good" side, then simple-mindedness is certainly his forte. His inability to lead this country is certainly self-evident to everyone except his devout followers. I guess when it comes to simple-mindedness the old aphorism rings true...."Birds of a feather truly do flock together".

    The time for talk is over. It's time to take action.

  7. #7
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    What an exelent article!!

    Yeh, up and at em :mad:

    .

  8. #8
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Thank you for that fantastic post lady mod. I didn't know whether I wanted to read it or not because of the length, but once I started I couldn't stop. Like so many others, I too am thankful that Robin Meyers put into words what I feel. I will definitely have to print it out for some of my friends to read. :)

    "In a complete reversal of the time-honored principles of leadership, we now have a leader who encourages his followers, by word and deed, not to think too deeply, or critically, about anything!"

    Does this sentence hit the nail on the head or what!

  9. #9
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Quote Originally Posted by bairdi
    Thank you for that fantastic post lady mod. I didn't know whether I wanted to read it or not because of the length, but once I started I couldn't stop. Like so many others, I too am thankful that Robin Meyers put into words what I feel. I will definitely have to print it out for some of my friends to read. :)

    "In a complete reversal of the time-honored principles of leadership, we now have a leader who encourages his followers, by word and deed, not to think too deeply, or critically, about anything!"

    Does this sentence hit the nail on the head or what!
    That is how I felt. I didn't realize it was so long until I started posting it here and I just hoped that enough people would just READ it and do some real soul searching, maybe wake up out of their coma's.

    His book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/078...687921?ie=UTF8

    I will be spreading the word.


    Lady Mod

  10. #10
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    That is how I felt. I didn't realize it was so long until I started posting it here and I just hoped that enough people would just READ it and do some real soul searching, maybe wake up out of their coma's.

    His book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/078...687921?ie=UTF8

    I will be spreading the word.


    Lady Mod

    Paranoid Wacko Delusion
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

  11. #11
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    Paranoid Wacko Delusion

    Frankie is one of those bad things that happens to good people.

    Funny thing. I wonder how he hides from his Boss at P&W long enough to spew his venom here all day. Hmmmm.....

  12. #12
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Quote Originally Posted by dchristie
    Frankie is one of those bad things that happens to good people.

    Funny thing. I wonder how he hides from his Boss at P&W long enough to spew his venom here all day. Hmmmm.....
    Night shift cleaner, no doubt. As can be clearly demonstrated by his vast knowledge of P&W projects. :D

  13. #13
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    im sorry, but what so good about this article? It leaves no conclusion and actions to be taken at all.
    Last edited by RememberMyName; 08-22-2006 at 05:05 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing ."
    - Edmund Burke 1729—1797

    "A leader is someone who ask all the questions and lead others with his own answers while a follower is someone who never ask questions and follow others with his own blindness."
    - Christian A. Fleetwood

  14. #14
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    Quote Originally Posted by RememberMyName
    im sorry, but what so good about this article? It leaves no conclusion and actions to be taken at all.
    What part of this confused you? Use your imagination. ;)

    "The time for doing nothing has passed. It's time to march again my friends, no matter what your age. Time to form what I call "communities of dignified indignance." Time to withdraw our compliance. Even time to commit acts of non-violence civil disobedience if you believe that you are called to do so.

    It's time, in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, to make trouble for the right reason. And to "fear not," because fear is the enemy of the moral life.


    I have it on good authority that the opposite of love is not hate. It's fear."

  15. #15
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these d

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    Paranoid Wacko Delusion


    Quote Originally Posted by dchristie
    Frankie is one of those bad things that happens to good people.

    Funny thing. I wonder how he hides from his Boss at P&W long enough to spew his venom here all day. Hmmmm.....
    I think he's in Love or Lust with me. He follows me from thread to thread and may ignore everyone else but singles me out. I'm rather rupulsed by it, I'm a married woman and not interested in his miserable attempts at getting my attention. :D


    Lady Mod

  16. #16
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    Re: I love my country and I love the church—but I hardly recognize either one these days

    This speech deserves a second run.

    Lady Mod

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