Monday, September 9, 2013


And as MLK moved his ministry beyond the US borders. I don't care where you hang your believer's hat as long as your work towards the dream.

If you can take the time first read this. King gave his Beyond Vietnam sermon at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. Ironically it was exactly one year later that he was killed.

Faux News produced another tempest in teapot this weekend. One of their pundits, Dana Perino, announced that she was “tired of Atheists and their attempts to ________ fill in the blank and why didn’t they just go someplace else.” The net erupted, mostly with suggestions that if Ms Perino was offended perhaps SHE should relocate.

I really have no use for “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance or of “In God We Trust” on my paper money. I realize that both are relics of the Cold War, just out of the MacCarthy era politics of the fifties. They were adopted to prove that WE were not Godless, Pinko, Atheist Communists and about as hold about as much meaning as the offerings Romans made to Emperor every year to prove they were good Romans.

Frankly, the whole shebang makes me just a little uncomfortable. As a Christian, at least the part of me that still has part of one foot on the reservation, pledging allegiance to any physical object or earthly government smacks a little of idolatry. As a pagan I believe that the earth is my home and that nations are lines on maps that do more to divide their people than unite them. Well, pledging allegiance to a flag or a nation state isn’t idolatry I guess. But it’s pretty darned useless.

And let’s face it, that “liberty and justice for all” has rung pretty hollow since I watched children on the wrong end of the leash on the police dog in the south and body bags coming home from ‘Nam back in the sixties.

And frankly, while winning a court case in your local school district may bring personal satisfaction, it’s a distraction and wastes political AND religious capital. It reinforces the idiotic persecution complexes of the fundagelicals and is about as useful as pumping gas into a burning building.

And while I sympathize with folks who claim to be atheists, good on ya mate I’m not going to try to convert you to either Jesus or Danu. There were probably atheists and agnostics in the civil rights and anti war movements of the sixties and seventies but it was  his profound religious beliefs that drove Martin Luther King first fight for the rights of the Blacks of America.

Vincent Harding describes a man who was driven by his faith in the last years of his life. Often reluctantly. He came to realize that it didn’t matter if you were black, brown, yellow, white or Native American. Poverty, bad schools (or no schools), slums, joblessness, no access to resources, living in areas written off because it's cheaper to cut off the top of a mountain and dump the waste in people's drinking water cuts across not just racial divides in this country but national divides around the world. 

It doesn't make a difference if you can't support your family because China is making the fabrics that used to be made in the southeast or if your landlord turfed you and your fellow villagers to grow crops to export to the US. Your kids are still as hungry. 

That deep, profound, prophetic faith created a prophet. A radical prophet who called for a fundamental change not only in America but around the world. A change that acknowledged the right of all of us to live fully human lives not just a few.

And if we can only live our relatively safe, comfortable lives because others are forced to live in poverty stricken, nearly subhuman condtions what does that make us. And what have we been willing to give up to hang on to that life?

Sorry, this entry is disjointed. Threads are coming together, but I’m only part way down the road. And suddenly books I put aside because I didn’t think they’d help me are shouting my name, and telling me they’re all grist for the mill.

Oh well. If I make it to ninety with a reading list that hasn’t gotten any smaller maybe the Reaper will turn aside for awhile when I point to my poor attempts to write about where I’m going and how I got there.

And you know the real irony? The novel The Fifth Sacred Thing attempts to describe a society that mirrors what King and so many fighters have worked towards. Imperfectly, perhaps but she tried. And the author is a self described pagan with the craft name of Starhawk. Faith can move mountains. As long as we work together. 

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