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    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      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
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      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! ]]
      Obie Holmen
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    • No Other Time, No Other Place December 9, 2016
      I recently came across the following reflection in William and Nancy Martin's book The Caregiver's Tao Te Ching: Compassionate Caring for Your Loved Ones and Yourself. It seems somewhat appropriate for the season of Advent, a time of "active waiting" for that which is already within and around us; a season, therefore, of "blessed par […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Quote of the Day December 6, 2016
      You can often see where a president-elect is going by his nominations to high positions in his forthcoming administration. Across over a dozen crucial posts, Mr. Trump has chosen war hawks, Wall Streeters (with a former Goldman Sachs partner, Steven Mnuchin, as his pick for Treasury Secretary) and clenched teeth corporatists determined to jettison life-savin […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
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    • Had One of My Church Dreams Last Night: An Advent Meditation December 3, 2016
      Had one of my church dreams last night. Church dreams are, for me, often painful ones involving tears (the impossibly distant altar I can see from high in the eyrie at the back of the church to which I've been consigned, but which I cannot reach at communion time). Or, they are the opposite, ecstatic ones involving singing and a gladdened heart.Last nig […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • #NotNormal: Choosing Normalcy As the Not-Normal Prevails December 2, 2016
      This is what the end of democracy looks like pic.twitter.com/MmnUHE56AE— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) December 1, 2016In what is becoming an increasingly dark moment of global history, due to the determination of economic elites to pick one last time over the carcass of a defunct late-capitalist economic system built on the exploitation of the many to put more […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
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    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
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    • Not Our President November 16, 2016
      To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken.Those in st […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • President Trump November 10, 2016
      A very short reflection:Still absorbing the shock of the recent US elections - reflecting, meditating, praying for light and inspiration. Dark days ahead for Gay people in the US? Not to mention people of color, Muslims, Latinos?However, a number of commentators whom I respect have set some of my fears to rest.For any who are interested, here is Russ Baker a […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
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    • RIP: Greg Lake and John Glenn December 9, 2016
      - Greg Lake —founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer — dies at 69II like this ELM song best ....- John Glenn, American Hero of the Space Age, Dies at 95One of my favorite glimpses of John Glenn was when he was on an episode of the tv series Frasier as himself. Roz, Frasier's friend and producer of his radio show, had the chance to d […]
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Clinton: A More Formidable Opponent of the Pope Than Trump

Most of us are familiar with the exchange between Trump and Pope Francis in February regarding the pope’s trip to Mexico. Trump said “Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is.” The pope said “a person who thinks about building walls … is not Christian.” Trump responded, “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”

But Hillary Clinton courageously challenged a pope about his organization’s grievous denial of women’s rights. Continue reading

Pope Francis Kowtows to Xi Jinping

Pope Francis and Xi Jinping came to power at the same time – March 13 and March 14, 2013, respectively.

In every year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, China is identified as a government which has “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom” defined as “including torture, degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, abduction or clandestine detention, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons,” according to the U.S. State Department’s annual Religious Freedom report.

A case against China, filed in 2013 with an international tribunal, was settled on July 12. “The ruling paints a picture of an environmentally destructive, dangerously aggressive government that has no legal jurisdiction for its actions.”

“In the Chinese imagination, this is not subjugation of neighbors but simply restoration of the normal order … a return to the traditional concept of tianxia, with barbarians benefiting from Chinese civilization.”

Pope Francis told Xi Jinping, “The world looks to this great wisdom of yours.” He repeats that “the world looks to China’s wisdom and civilization,” in a February 2016 interview. The pope also “described the excitement he felt when he was about to enter Chinese airspace on the flight from Seoul to Rome in August 2014.”

During that in-flight news conference, the pope said, “I think of the great Chinese sages, theirs is a history of knowledge, of wisdom” and that he wanted to go to China “Tomorrow! Oh, yes!”

The next month, Pope Francis issued an invitation to Xi to come to the Vatican and said he was willing to go to China.

Pope Francis rejected a meeting requested by the Dalai Lama in December 2014 because Vatican negotiations with China were in a “delicate” phase. “China describes the Dalai Lama as a separatist and reacts angrily when foreign dignitaries meet him.”

Afterwards the pope repeated: “[The Chinese] know I’m available either to receive someone, or to go to China. They know.”

When the pope was in the U.S. in September 2015, he and Xi were in New York the same day. “The pope wanted to meet Xi and this message was communicated clearly to China.”

It was announced on August 5, 2016, that after more than two years of negotiations, the Vatican and Beijing reached a preliminary agreement whereby a government-controlled organization would prepare a list of candidates for bishop and the pope would choose from among them. No other civil government in the world has been granted this authority.

The pope has not been invited to China. He has not met Xi Jinping. He has never mentioned China’s aggression, “egregious violations” of religious freedom or any other human right for the Chinese. Beijing has made no concessions. Continue reading

Pope Francis at Auschwitz But Not Where Catholics Slaughtered 700,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma in WWII

From the barbarity in Croatia during World War II there is a direct historical link to the atrocities committed in Argentina’s Dirty War, and certainty of the Catholic Church’s collusion. It’s time for Pope Francis to open his secret archives and make amends. Continue reading

A Fox News Alumnus and Anarchy in the Vatican: A Timely Convergence

Pope Francis appointed Greg Burke director of the Vatican Press Office on July 11. Burke was a Fox News correspondent from 2001 until he was hired as a senior communications adviser in the Vatican in 2012.

Burke is an Opus Dei numerary, i.e. an avowed celibate. On July 13, Pope Francis appointed another American close to Opus Dei, Kim Daniels, to the Secretariat of Communications. Daniels was “Sarah Palin’s personal domestic policy czar” in 2010. Daniels is a co-founder and director of the U.S. branch of Catholic Voices. Right-wing National Review editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, is the other co-founder and director. Lopez regularly lectures at  Opus Dei‘s  Catholic Information Center on K Street, Washington D.C. Jack Valero, co-founder of the worldwide Catholic Voices, is also Press Officer for Opus Dei in the UK.

“In recent weeks in the Vatican chaos reigns supreme … The infinite war between factions, the continuous clashes between the leaders of the Roman Curia, the strategies for the replacement of the president of the Vatican Bank,” Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote in a July 14 article titled “Santa Anarchia” in the prominent Italian weekly news magazine, l’Espresso.  

The Vatileaks trial that ended on July 7, “was a total debacle: strategic, communicative, political,” concluded Fittipaldi, one of the five defendants tried for leaking Vatican secrets that were published. Not only because the trial publicized “the financial obscenities” during the reign of Pope Francis exposed in Fittipaldi’s book, Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church, “but also because the management of the scandal showed a surprising internal disorganization and an inability to build winning communication strategies” in addition to exposing “new struggles between opposing factions,” Fittipaldi wrote.

These opposing factions, according to Fittipaldi, “are likely to pass sleepless nights to the new head of communications, Greg Burke.”  Continue reading

“Vatileaks 2” Trial: Pope Francis’ Folly

The new pope enacted a law criminalizing leaks of detrimental information to the press. Nevertheless, two books were going to be published exposing pervasive corruption during Pope Francis’ pontificate. The pope had two of his employees arrested and then put on trial along with a third employee and the authors of the two books.

The result was months of free publicity for the books. Additionally, the public came to learn that no crime – not sodomizing children or fraud – is considered as grave as exposing the pope’s secrets. No physical evidence was produced proving the defendants’ guilt during the trial. Nevertheless, the prosecution recommended that the only woman among the five defendants receive the harshest penalty for “instigating” and “conspiring.” Continue reading

Cardinals Disputing the Pope

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At least a score of cardinals have openly disagreed with Pope Francis in the past nine months. This is unheard of in recent history, not because churchmen don’t disagree with the pontiff, but because Princes of Church aren’t supposed to do it publicly. Continue reading

Religious Liberty: It’s About Money

Tomorrow, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will complete their annual “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign, a call-to-arms in defense of their “freedom” to deny women and LGBT persons theirs.

As they so often do, the bishops tell us, “We are dedicated … to remain free to provide education, to care for the sick, the poor, and the migrant,” in a paid advertisement for this year’s campaign.  The USCCB is selling a four minute video “featuring stories of the importance of religious freedom for institutions that perform the works of mercy – educating children, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick.”

Their last meeting open to the press ended with USCCB president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, “highlighting the bishops’ push for religious exemptions for charities, schools and individual for-profit business owners who oppose gay marriage and other laws and regulations.”

On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced a new multimedia platform that “will reach Catholics and non-Catholics alike about the good works in the parishes, schools and ministries not only in the archdiocese, but around the world.”

The bishops would have us believe that Catholic charity has an enormous impact on the well-being of our society. While it’s true that many Catholics are generous with their time and money – as are many Americans – the funding coming from the bishops is very small in proportion to their wealth and minuscule in proportion to total U.S. charity. Continue reading