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      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
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      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
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      For reasons that I won't get into here, I've been thinking a lot about love lately.And so it was that one recent sleepless night I found myself leafing through bell hook's book All About Love: New Visions. I first read this insightful book shortly after it came out in 2000. I remember being very intentional in reflecting and journaling about i […]
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      Been neglecting this blog of late, since I'm running two other blogs at the same time, but that doesn't mean I haven't kept a keen eye on all things gay and LGBT, including the historic vote in Ireland, which was so uplifting - whether you agree or not that human rights issues should be decided by vote. A close gay friend, history teacher of m […]
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      What I listened to today as I walked was a Screen Actors Guild Foundation interview with Colin Farrell, who is most recently acting in True Detective. I haven't seen him in a lot of movies, but I especially liked him in Minority Report and The New World. After listening to the interview I was inspired to sign up for some of his films I haven't seen […]
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Pope Francis and His Men Urge Expansion of War in the Middle East

Citing the deaths and suffering of Christians, in the past six months Pope Francis:
• called for “concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and our sisters.”
• urged the international community to “take action” in the face of “unacceptable” crimes against religious minorities, particularly Christians.
• said the international community would be justified in stopping Islamist militants in Iraq.

In contrast, the commercial media widely reported that Pope Francis said, “People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian.” He further criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.” And the New York Times reported: “The sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks in the Middle East have created a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business.” Continue reading

Pope Francis Means Business in Cuba

“For the umpteenth time, Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega shows his corruption and iniquity. And for the corresponding umpteenth time, the Vatican and the Pope (current and past) will do absolutely nothing about it,” noted Alberto de la Cruz who tweets and blogs “Reports from Cuba.”

Pope Francis will be visiting the Pearl of the Antilles – as Cuba is known for her natural beauty – September 19-22. Pope Benedict XVI went in 2012 and Pope John Paul II in 1998.

De la Cruz was referring to an incident this past 4th of July at a celebration hosted by the head of the US Interests Section in Havana. Officials from the U.S. and accredited diplomats were in attendance. When two members of the opposition to Castro approached Ortega to deliver a list of 51 political prisoners compiled by the Forum for Rights and Liberties, the cardinal claimed that there were no political prisoners on the island and that “the information all of you [the opposition] receive comes from ‘worm-infested’ Miami.” Continue reading

Pope Francis and the Latino Vote

“A measure calling for the statue of Father Junipero Serra in the U.S. Capitol to be replaced with one of NASA astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was shelved in the Legislature on July 2. [Ride] would be the first woman to represent California in the collection and the first known gay person.” State legislatures have the authority to decide which two statues will represent their state at the U.S. Capitol.

The measure to replace Serra’s statue had already passed the California Senate in April. The Assembly vote was postponed because of the pope’s visit to the U.S. “Our concerns are mostly due to the timing of this legislative debate,” Sandra Palacios, associate director of governmental affairs at the California Catholic Conference, said at an Assembly committee hearing this week.” The U.S. bishops’ paid lobbyists in every state are called “Catholic Conferences.” Continue reading

Opus Dei Prepares America for Pope’s Visit

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 was supposed to be a debacle. Richard Dawkins reportedly was planning on making a citizen’s arrest of the pope because of the clerical sex abuse scandals. A mock memo suggesting the launch of “Benedict” condoms, his blessing same-sex unions, opening an abortion ward and ordaining women was widely published. Protestors wanted his “state visit” downgraded to a “pastoral visit” so the cost would be paid by the Catholic Church. Arguments for this rested on whether the Vatican counted as an actual state, and even so, state visits are for political reasons.

But by the time the pope arrived, the wind had shifted significantly. Catholic Voices, a project founded by [Opus Dei] specifically for the pope’s visit, had stepped in and provided media training to faithful Catholics who wanted to convey the joy of the Gospel through the media.”

Opus Dei, an official institution of the Catholic Church, at the top is a secret society of international bankers, financiers, businessmen and their supporters. Their goal is the same as other plutocrats – unbridled power – except they use the influence of the Catholic Church and its worldwide network of institutions exempt from both taxes and financial reporting requirements to advance right-wing parties and governments. Continue reading

Dear Pope Francis: Women’s Lives Matter

Annually:
47,000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion.
8.5 million women experience complications from unsafe abortion that require medical attention, and three million do not receive the care they need.”
If every woman who wanted birth control had access to it, there would be
150,000 fewer maternal deaths
640,000 fewer newborn deaths
600,000 fewer children becoming motherless

In his encyclical on the environment, “Pope Francis stated the protection of nature is ‘incompatible with the justification of abortion … How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?’ he asked. He cautioned against seeking to exercise ‘absolute power’ over our bodies as if they were something that we own.” Continue reading

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