Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Task Teenagers Can Do Better Than Anyone

Christian Youthworker friends,
As reports of post-election hate speech, harassment, intimidation and violence against racial, religious and sexual minorities continue to roll in — and given that more than a few of those reports involve school children and teenagers — there's much that youth workers can do to guide their groups to a fresh understanding that there is nothing Christian (nothing authentically American for that matter) about hate speech, intimidation, vandalism, or personal violence.
Going a step farther, if the biblical text is to be believed, there's something profoundly Christian about defending the weak, the poor, the sick, the broken, the captive, foreigners, widows, orphans, strangers....
You know that the teenagers you serve are better positioned to see and respond quickly to hate speech, harassment, intimidation, and student-on-student violence than anyone else.
If you don't have a better idea, do something with safety pins.
Put a largish safety pin on your shirt, dress, or jacket, and offer one to anybody willing to identify himself or herself as a safe person at school and in the neighborhood for friends and neighbors who feel unsafe because of the present turmoil ... in particular: Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, immigrants, pretty much anyone with dark skin, women and girls, sexual minorities - whoever in your community feels at risk ... in some communities it may be Trump supporters who feel at greater risk this week than before the election.
Safety Pin people will protect anyone who needs protecting by 
  • standing with them
  • eating with them
  • walking with them
  • sharing a ride with them
  • dialing 911 for them
  • recording video of anyone who threatens them
  • taking screen shots of anything that expresses violent intentions towards them online
  • standing up to online bullies and trolls
  • not allowing them to be physically isolated or cornered by anyone who means to harm them 
At the end of the day - whoever they are - if people who need help can't get it from folks who say they know a little something about God, then where exactly are they supposed to turn in your community?
There may never be a more teachable time to help your group understand and embrace this sort of proactive peacemaking than the space between now and the weekend of Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.
Consider doing something to engage your group in caring about and speaking up for our dispossessed neighbors:

  • this week, to strike while the iron is hot
  • during Advent as we anticipate the coming of God with us
  • at Christmastide as we explore the meaning of God's intervention on our behalf
  • as we celebrate Martin Luther King, jr. Day, just before the Presidential Inauguration
  • the week, or weekend of the Inauguration
IMHO, sooner is better than later. And from now on, would be best of all.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Stop It | meanness + violence are not free speech

Michael Vadon cc
Two weeks ago, the President of the United State took pains# to correct Hillary Clinton supporters who were jeering at a Donald Trump supporter at a Clinton campaign rally. President Obama told the crowd to  respect the man as an apparent veteran, as an elder, and because we live live in a society that respects free speech.

Last night, President-Elect Donald J. Trump looked directly into a 60 Minutes camera and addressed supporters who have treated the outcome of the election as a license to harass, threaten, and even assault brown-skinned Americans, religious and sexual  minorities. He said, "Stop it!"

 That should take care of it, right? We're in this together.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Speaking Up | a burden we bear for each other

I'm deep in conversation the last couple of days with white friends who are deeply aggrieved that anyone would suggest they should, could, would, disavow the racism embodied in the one they voted for, and the acts of otherizing, intimidation, and violence committed by people who openly invoke his name and the violent, racist, sexist, chauvinist, classist signs and symbols he employed in gaining the election. They are hurt and seem angry that anyone asks them to account for any of that.

Now, I'm about to tell a true story. If you twist this story to say I am calling Donald Trump a terrorist, you will be consciously and deliberately misrepresenting what I'm saying and what I mean by what I'm saying. (For the record, the president-elect has threatened terrorist acts - e.g. killing the families of terrorists <http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428719/kill-terrorists-families-gangsta-trump> and torturing prisoners, "even if it doesn't work" <http://theweek.com/speedreads/590700/trump-bet-ass-approve-waterboarding--even-doesnt-work> - so that makes him someone to keep an eye on, but he is not alleged to have carried out acts of terrorism.) Anyway, reading further constitutes agreement that you will not represent me to have called Donald Trump a terrorist.

I'm friends with an American imam who patiently and graciously bears the burden of being lumped in with terrorists - who faces, and has faced for 15 years, constant demands that he disavow terrorists and terrorism. He has repeatedly, consistently, and passionately disavowed terrorism and terrorists with his spoken and written words, and by his actions as a Muslim and as an American. He never cast a vote for a terrorist, and he never would. But people outside his community still demand that he account for the demonstrable truth that people whose skin is brown like his, and who use religious language that, on the surface, sounds like the religious language he uses, have done, and say they intend to continue committing, acts that are commonly referred to as crimes against humanity. So the imam keeps disavowing the philosophy and practices of these people he never voted for and never would, because he sees how frightened the people outside his community are, and because he values the truth, and I suppose because he knows not everyone is going to read the Qur'an carefully enough and engage practicing Muslim neighbors deeply enough to find out what faithful Muslims value and what sort of people observant Muslims truly are. So he puts himself on the hook to speak out against wrongdoers for whom he did not vote, who he does not support, and, in fact has opposed since before 9/11. It's a burden he bears for others.

In that spirit - a burden lifted and carried for the sake of others - I'm asking my friends in the white majority who voted for Donald Trump to do just once what people demand of my Muslim friends all the time: Reassure us that, though your skin is the same color and you use religious language that sounds on the surface like the language of wrongdoers who presently feel empowered to harm people of color and religious and sexual minorities, that you disavow, clearly and unambiguously, the misogyny, racism, religious hate speech, classism, cultural chauvinism, and violence that seem to have come with the package - and in some cases seem to BE the package - your candidate and some of his supporters sold in this election ... because, while I'm not afraid of you personally, I am afraid that, if push comes to shove, you might not defend some people I love as much as I love you.

Friday, November 11, 2016

working for the common good | or not

ANARCHY IS NOT PROGRESSIVE.

Sorry, I didn't mean to shout but, 
if you practice 
hate speech, 
intimidation, 
vandalism, or 
personal violence, 
you are not my protester.

Youth Workers may never see a more teachable moment than this weekend to talk about Christian behavior toward classmates, friends + neighbors

Youthworker friends - this weekend is your clearest shot at guiding your group to a fresh understanding that there is nothing Christian (nothing authentically American for that matter) about hate speech, intimidation, vandalism, or personal violence. Going a step farther, if the biblical text is to be believed, there's something profoundly Christian about defending the weak, the poor, the sick, the broken, the captive, foreigners, widows, orphans, strangers.... If you don't have a better idea, call it Safety Pin Sunday. Put a largish safety pin on your shirt, dress, or jacket, and offer one to anybody willing to identify himself or herself as a safe person at school and in the neighborhood for friends and neighbors who feel unsafe because of the present turmoil ... in particular: Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, immigrants, pretty much anyone with dark skin, women and girls, sexual minorities - whoever in your community feels at risk ... in some communities it may be Trump supporters who feel at greater risk this week than before the election.

Safety Pin people will protect anyone who needs protecting by 
  • standing with them
  • eating with them
  • walking with them
  • sharing a ride with them
  • dialing 911 for them
  • recording video of anyone who threatens them
  • taking screen shots of anything that expresses violent intentions towards them online
  • standing up to online bullies and trolls
  • not allowing them to be physically isolated or cornered by anyone who means to harm them
At the end of the day - whoever they are - if people who need help can't get it from folks who say they know a little something about God, then where exactly are they supposed to turn in your community? There may never be a more teachable moment than this weekend to help your group understand and embrace this sort of proactive peacemaking right where they live.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Keep It To Yourself | Blind White Theologizing



My FaceBook feed is awash in, I presume well-meaning, platitudes from White people about just how all right everything is going to turn out in the wake of the 2016 elections. This strikes me as a particularly unfortunate form of whitesplaining.

Daniel Lee at Fuller Seminary posted overnight:
If your basic humanity is not threatened by Trump, does it make sense to invoke Christ's Lordship at this moment? Theological truth misused becomes a lie.
Wisdom for those with ears to hear.

It seems to me that any authentically Christian theology is necessarily incarnational - it's baked right into the word, "Christian," isn't it.... 

I don't see how any White - especially male - Christian who will not do everything possible to enter into the anguish of everyone who perceives the President Elect as an existential threat has any standing to speak theologically in this moment. And I think such people may forfeit that standing perpetually until the lessons of incarnation are internalized and subsequently expressed as compassion, and solidarity with those who suffer today.

To extend Daniel Lee's construct, "If you can't say something genuinely true, please don't say anything at all until you can." And I'll add that I'm pretty sure the promise of pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by is cold comfort to people who hunger to see the self-described followers of Jesus embody the values and practices of God's kingdom right here and right now for the common good. Pie in the sky is junk food.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Friends + Neighbors in the Age of Trump | Vote

Jim Henderson | Imam Kamil Mufti | Rabbi Daniel Bogard | Pastor Jim Powell in Peoria IL October 30, 2016
Just back from Peoria, Illinois, where we premiered selected clips from the forthcoming No Joke documentary, in which a rabbi, an imam, and a preacher find out what it means to live together in peace as neighbors and Honest-to-God friends for life.

Running in parallel with the good-natured, often joyous, exchanges between the Rabbi Daniel Bogard,  Imam Kamil Mufti, and Pastor Jim Powell, I found a distressing thread of apprehension among American Muslims and Jews I talked with at the end of the evening: They are afraid for their safety from followers of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and they are afraid for their wellbeing should Mr. Trump be elected.

And why wouldn't they be afraid?

On January 6, 1941, in his State of the Union Address to the 77th Congress, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. 
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. 
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world. 
The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the world. 
The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world. 
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.
Donald Trump has pledged to selectively dismantle each of these freedoms at the expense of all who are not White Christian Americans.

And so, it is White Christian Americans who must stand against Mr. Trump on Election Day to protect our fellow citizens of every race, every religion, and every economic condition from the assaults we would never, in a thousand millennia, wish on ourselves or our children.

If Rabbi Bogard and Imam Mufti are not, explicitly, my neighbors, then I have misunderstood, or distorted, what it means to be a Christian.

I can — and perhaps should — express this commitment to every Black American, every Native American, every Asian American, every Latin American, every Pacific Islander; and to people of every religion and no religion ... to every one among us ... but this is not a list-making exercise. I think the idea is reasonably clear.

If I do not stand up for the rights and protections of my neighbors as vigorously as I stand up for my own rights and protections, then I'm afraid I am a sorry excuse for an American.

Standing for the four freedoms — applied equally to every one of us — begins with the ballot I cast. My vote is not everything, but it is the first thing that makes protecting and advancing the four freedoms easier, or harder, in 21st-century America.

Friday, September 16, 2016

voting is one crap I do not care to give | umm....

A few years back — long past the time anything could be done about that year's elections — someone I prize a great deal wisecracked, "I'm not registered to vote, so I don't give a crap."

Without much thought, but I hope not too ungenerously, I cracked back: "Should that be, 'I don't give a crap, so I'm not registered to vote?'"

I get it that some people don't believe their vote can make a difference in the kind of world (or neighborhood) where we conduct our lives, raise children and hope for the best. But I'm still surprised when the young, and parents, and would-be parents, and youth workers and anyone else who cares about the young, don't force their way to the front of the voting line — just in case it should turn out they're wrong ... just in case it should turn out their vote is the one that tips an important race one way or the other.

And for what it's worth ... as it turns out, "I thought I was registered ... oops," isn't a convincing anything. Here's a secure website sponsored by Rock the Vote where you can check your status while there's still time to fix a problem if there is one.

And here's a secure site where you can register.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Congressional Republicans' Christmas Tiff

The Obamas

Obama Message: "We Celebrate the Birth of Jesus this Christmas"

Republicans vow to celebrate Kwanzaa

(Washington, DC)

In a sharp rebuke to President Barack Obama, Republicans from both Houses of Congress pledged in a statement to: "uphold the quiet dignity and communal values of Kwanzaa.

"We will redouble our efforts to avoid the implicit endorsement of religion for which this administration has become famous in eight long years of war against the Constitution," the statement read.

Asked for his reaction, Vice President Joe Biden, a self-described Catholic who may have become radicalized during his Scranton, Pennsylvania childhood, said, "Republicans in Congress couldn't tell you how many A's there are in Kwanzaa — go ahead, ask Paul Ryan to spell it for you — buncha knuckleheads...."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

"Not so fast," say Republicans | there are rules

McConnell

OBAMA MOVES TO WITHDRAW MERRICK GARLAND SUPREME COURT NOMINATION

"NOT SO FAST" SAY REPUBLICAN SENATE LEADERS

(Washington, D.C)

In an unexpected move, President Barack Obama moved to withdraw his nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Merrick Garland. The move apparently took Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, by surprise. McConnell issued a tersely worded statement, promising to get to the bottom of whether a president in the last year of his term has the authority to withdraw the nomination of a, "highly qualified jurist who is universally applauded for the evenness of his rulings and the steadiness of his judicial temperament." Reached for comment, a White House spokesman said, "While Senator McConnell is entitled to his opinion, the President does not believe he is entitled interrupt the orderly proceedings of two of our three branches of government." Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as President of the Senate by virtue of his office, said, "I think Mitch should push, or pull, or go back to his day job in Kentucky."

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

No Joke | First Official Trailer

Here's the trailer for the project I'm working on in which, it seems, a rabbi, an imam and a preacher walk into each other's lives and, in spite of their differences — which are numerous and profound — they still just really like each other. Enjoy ... I'll say a few more words after the preview.



If you'd like to see the movie, read the book, or get tickets for the tour, head on over to the No Joke Project ... or drop by the No Joke Facebook page ... or own a little piece of the No Joke dream at GoFundMe.


Watch this space for more....

No Joke | First Official Trailer

Here's the trailer for the project I'm working on in which, it seems, a rabbi, an imam and a preacher walk into each other's lives and, in spite of their differences — which are numerous and profound — they still just really like each other. Enjoy ... I'll say a few more words after the preview.



If you'd like to see the movie, read the book, or get tickets for the tour, head on over to the No Joke Project ... or drop by the No Joke Facebook page ... or get a little piece of the No Joke action at GoFundMe.


Watch this space for more in the weeks ahead....

Sunday, July 17, 2016

blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God | Newt Gingrich steps in it


Imam Mufti
[Commenting on the massacre-by-truck in Nice on Bastille Day, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich uttered appalling ignorant or appallingly cynical words calling for screening of American Muslims and deportation of any Muslim unwilling to disavow sharia law. 
Mr. Gingrich, the former history and geography professor, either doesn't know or doesn't care what sharia law is in fact. Nor, apparently, does he care (surely he must know!) that his call to screen, let alone deport, American citizens for religious reasons is constitutionally crazy. This privileged man - who just a week ago acknowledged that he does not and cannot know what it's like to be an oppressed minority in America - is prosecuting a campaign of ignorance, bigotry and hate. If he misspoke, it's his duty to take it back clearly, directly and immediately. If he said what he meant, it's our duty to shame him for his unAmerican behavior. 
In Peoria, Imam Kamil Mufti, a man I know directly and trust deeply, responded to Mr. Gingrich (whom I do not know and have never found a reason to trust). - jh]
1. Nearly 80 people were killed in the Nice attack. This came after dozens of attacks in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim majority countries. Our outrage should not be based on geography, but our humanity. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and victims killed by terrorism. It is not possible to imagine what they go through!
2. Shortly after the tragedy, Mr. Gingrich said, "We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in shariah they should be deported."
3. Islamophobes call crimes in Islam "shariah"! Based on testimony of neighbors and family, the attacker was "depressed", "loner", "creepy", "used to chase girls", "nightclub hopper", "didn't pray", "didn't attend a mosque", and "previously charged with domestic violence and robbery." The irony: attacker rejected shariah as demanded by Mr. Gingrich!
4. Is shariah ‘incompatible with western civilization’? 
Shariah highlights the basic principals of Islam and its primary concern is the protection of five essentials: life, religion, intellect, property, and family. More from shariah: 
1. Pray daily. 
2. Fast Ramadan. 
3. Give charity. 
4. No compulsion in religion. 
5. Do not go to sleep while your neighbor is hungry. 
6. Smile. 
7. Give greetings of peace to those you know and do not know. 
8. Be just and honest. 
9. Do not lie. 
10. Be kind to parents. 
11. Take care of orphans. 
12. Do not harm a cat, overload an animal, or hunt for sport, let alone take life of a human being. 
13. Obey law of the land. 
14. Fight against terrorism.
5. Roughly speaking, shariah is to Muslims what the 10 commandments are to Christians and the halaka law is to the Jews!
6. While the ‘Islam is the culprit’ fits the narrative of Islamophobes so well, they ignore all facts and pander on fears and ignorance. Do you know which of his most favored countries officially endorses sharia as a legal system? Israel. Israel’s sharia courts allow more than 15% of Israel’s population (that is Muslim) to refer to them. Here are two questions for Mr. Gingrich: 
a. Does Israeli government’s paying the salaries of sharia judges cast doubt on the Jewish state’s commitment to Western values? 
b. Will Mr. Gingrich call for an inquiry of the Israeli president who in a recent ceremony quoted the Quran: “Indeed, did We send Our apostles with all evidence of truth, and through them We bestowed revelation from on high, and gave you a balance so that men might behave with equity.” He did so while welcoming the appointment of seven new shariah judges!


in the wind | tweets from the space ending 07.16.16

An opinion piece by religion historian Stephen Prothero | "Cultural politics are always a politics of nostalgia...."

Neither more nor less | New report from State of Colorado finds teen marijuana use stable since legalization

What these schools are not saying in so many words is they don't think much of the quality of people who've been seeking admission | Prestigious colleges reframe what matters in life by rethinking what looks good on admission forms

ya'll | Thoughts & Prayers: The Game

Erstwhile Republican apologist  The trivializing of Christian faith | "It's like watching a man insult a mirror."

Proof that it's possible to learn + live on our home planet | "...scientists identified a problem, the public grew concerned, and politicians acted to solve it" http://buff.ly/29MLjzb

Parker Palmer on what it will take to move forward together | "We need citizens with chutzpah and humility to occupy our civic space and call American democracy back to health." http://buff.ly/29MLRFn

Jonathan Capehart, an expert in the field, writes | ..."as every African American knows, a routine traffic stop is never routine when you’re black" http://buff.ly/

A lovely + loving origin story from Stephen Colbert | the sneeze of truth

The namesake of General Robert E. Lee stakes his claim from the pulpit | "Now is the time to stand with the oppressed, to put our money where our mouths are and say, 'Enough is enough.'” http://buff.ly/29EFD9c

@commonsense offers a handy mashup of geekspeak + social media shorthand for people who weren't born digital

Anne Lamott on hard luck + bad news | “grace always bats last, it just does--and finally, when all is said and done .... Love is sovereign here.

several new adult beverages available this summer don't look like alcohol - e.g.

the world breaks everyone | midway through a heartbreaking month @youthspecialties posts this to help kids make change where they are

Monday, June 06, 2016

in the wind | tweets from the space ending 06.05.16

the mistakes of the past are the torches of the present | Col Robert G. Ingersoll, May 31 1888

Surprise... | it's the voters

read it yourself | Obesity in the Early Childhood Years

On acting like Donald Trump buff.ly/1t6Dg4I

Who's yer ... oh never mind - here are some movies with dads worth talking about #fathersday

Poor Donald | Rich*, with an asterisk http://buff.ly/1r7y3aE


Saturday, June 04, 2016

Poor Donald | Rich, with an Asterisk

Poor Donald.... He's kind've rich but, you know, with an asterisk. The asterisk reminds us he's not that rich - not compared to other Americans whose names we all know (and a bunch whose names most of us don't know).

This is an inconvenient truth for Poor Donald because the only card he has to play is his money, such as it is. If he were working class, would he would get a half percent of the vote? I don't think so. If he were working class - correct me if I'm wrong, but - would he be anything other than a verbally abusive, sexist, racist, prick?

As far as I can see, his only vaguely political asset is money ... and he has a mouth on him - so there's that.

Of course we're not talking Bill Gates money. Poor Donald doesn't have Bill Gates or Warren Buffet money ... or Michael Bloomberg money ... or Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Koch brothers, or George Soros money.... In fact, Poor Donald doesn't have the kind money that's in the hands of fifty, maybe a hundred, Americans you probably never heard of. But for some reason Poor Donald doesn't mind talking - a lot - about the money he has, and maybe it's not as much as he claims, and maybe it is, but, in any event he's mostly talking about his money to people who have a lot less of it than him. 

So, to recap, there are really wealthy people on one end, and the rest of us on the other end, and then there's Poor Donald - way above the median, yes, but somewhere in the broad middle if you average it out (which we don't do, of course, because averaging would statistically ridiculous here ... but people do it all the time to make a point, so I'm going to as well because it's my right as an American with a blog). 

The bottom line for a guy like Poor Donald, who appears to really care about this sort of posturing is straightforward: Yes, he has a lot of money compared to the rest us of us, but really not that much if we set him side by side with really rich people. 

About that mouth.... People who have done very well - don't talk much about their wealth the way Poor Donald talks about his money. Other people talk about the money really rich folks have - or, more often, they talk about what really rich folks do with their money - how they spread it around,  their visionary investments in the future, in science, technology, human rights, education, health care, ending extreme poverty.... 

Maybe people who have a lot more money than Poor Donald are motivated to pursue different ends. Observers who follow such things seem unsurprised that the really rich don't spend a lot of time calling in to talk on radio and cable tv shows. Not that there's anything wrong with that ... it's just, you know, interesting.

I will say I'm a little surprised Poor Donald hasn't seen fit - as someone aspiring to lead the government of the United States of America - to invest some of what he has to acquire more sophisticated insights in domains beyond his specialties in deal-making, real estate development, brand licensing, entertainment, celebrity....  You know, there's a lot of good, fact-based, information out there in domains like statecraft, macroeconomics, constitutional law, cultural anthropology, political geography, war studies, demographics, religion, ethics.... I suppose Poor Donald has the best people advising him on these matters - and maybe this is just me ... God knows I'm no genius, but - that doesn't seem like quite enough to qualify a candidate for what I think of as world class leadership.

So, yes, Poor Donald is rich*; but he doesn't appear particularly thoughtful about what money means; what relationships mean; what trust, integrity, character, and justice mean; what empathy, collaboration, community, and e pluribus unum, really and truly mean. Perhaps these are insights that money - at least the kind of money Poor Donald has - simply can't buy.

Friday, June 03, 2016

yes ... but | on behaving like Donald Trump

My primary reaction to the candidacy of Donald Trump is revulsion.

I have found nothing praiseworthy in the arc of his life, his values, his demeanor, this ideas, his words....

Having said that — and I expect to say it again — I am also revulsed by the actions of people who express their opposition to Donald Trump by behaving like Donald Trump.

I live in a creative world where we frequently add-to and improve each other's work by saying, "Yes, and what about this...."

Watching people harass folks leaving a Trump rally — menacing and dehumanizing them, treating them very much as I imagine Donald Trump might treat people he regards with contempt (if he thought he could get away with it) — I cannot say, Yes, and ... I have to say, Yes, but....

Yes, I am revulsed in every way by Donald Trump's behavior. But, I am also revulsed by your behavior.

If you act like Donald Trump then, in that sense, you are following Donald Trump.

And that's no good at all.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

the mistakes of the past are the torches of the present | Col Robert G. Ingersoll, May 31 1888

Empty sleeves worn by veterans with scanty locks and grizzled mustaches graced the Metropolitan Opera House last night. On the breasts of their faded uniforms glittered the badges of the legions in which they had fought and suffered, and beside them sat the wives and daughters, whose hearts had ached at home while they served their country at the front.

Every seat in the great Opera House was filled, and hundreds stood, glad to And any place where they could see and hear. And the gathering and the proceedings were worthy of the occasion.

Mr. Depew upon taking the chair said that he had the chief treat of the evening to present to the audience, and that was Robert G. Ingersoll, the greatest living orator, and one of the great controversialists of the age.

Then came the orator of the occasion Col. Ingersoll, whose speech is printed herewith.

Enthusiastic cheers greeted all his points, and his audience  simply went wild at the end. It was a grand oration, and it was listened to by enthusiastic and appreciative hearers, upon whom not a single word was lost, and in whose hearts      every word awoke a responsive echo.

Nor did the enthusiasm which Col. Ingersoll created end until the very last, when the whole assemblage arose and sang "America" in a way which will never be forgotten by any one present. It was a great ending of a great evening.
New York City.
1888.
THIS is a sacred day—a day for gratitude and love. 
To-day we commemorate more than independence, more than the birth of a nation, more than the fruits of the Revolution, more than physical progress, more than the accumulation of wealth, more than national prestige and power.
We commemorate the great and blessed victory over ourselvesthe triumph of civilization, the reformation of a people, the establishment of a government consecrated to the preservation of liberty and the equal rights of man. 
Nations can win success, can be rich and powerful, can cover the earth with their armies, the seas with their fleets, and yet be selfish, small and mean. Physical progress means opportunity for doing good. It means responsibility. Wealth is the end of the despicable, victory the purpose of brutality.
But there is something nobler than all these—something that rises above wealth and power—something above lands and palaces—something above raiment and gold—it is the love of right, the cultivation of the moral nature, the desire to do justice, the inextinguishable love of human liberty.
Nothing can be nobler than a nation governed by conscience, nothing more infamous than power without pity, wealth without honor and without the sense of justice. [more]

Sunday, May 29, 2016

in the wind | tweets from the space ending 05.28.16


Read prepub copy of 'Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice'

What the U.S. government actually said to schools about equal protection for self-identified transgender students

what do we tell the children? uncoordinated laws about who may drink alcohol, where, and when

If there's not a high-involvement youth group game hidden in this story, I'll eat my Post-It pad....

does your religious body take millennials as seriously as Starbucks?

sometimes, saying yes to one thing, means saying no to another

In the US, the burden of HIV and AIDS is not evenly distributed across states and regions

Thursday, May 26, 2016

American Writers on Donald Trump

Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power; 
Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate; 
Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;
Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;
Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;
Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;
UBecause neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;
Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;
For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.
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