President Obama Is Between a Roman Rock and a Republican Hard Place

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I am not much of a political writer.  I don’t really like arguing about politics, because I feel ill-informed most of the time.  I feel like I am ill-informed, because much of the information in our “news” media is biased (most likely for the purpose of stirring controversy in order to boost ratings and advertising revenue – but, that’s another rant).  I feel like the available information regarding politics and politicians is biased, because politics is an industry that puts some in control and makes many wealthy.  Oh, for Pete’s sake, I think you get the point – I digress.

 

In any case, however, I am occasionally stirred to write about political goings on.  Today, I have finally been agitated enough that I need to pose a question to the public, just to make sure I understand the facts (And you, out there in cyber-space, are as public as it gets – a well kept secret that someone should let the general population under the age of 25 in on some time).  I am talking about the recent brouhaha surrounding the Obama administration’s determination that health insurance plans ought to cover birth control – this, of course, includes health insurance plans provided by charities, hospitals, and universities.  This, of course, sets off the Roman Catholic Church (and probably others), because they run many charities, hospitals, and universities – institutions that belong to the church and employ Christians under the spiritual jurisdiction of the church.  Necessary qualifications should probably be made.  For instance, I am sure these institutions employ non-Christians.  However, I am too lazy to go looking for all such qualifications on a Thursday afternoon.  This is why I have you.

 

As I understand things, the Republican field of presidential candidates smells blood in the water, and has lunged at the opportunity to snatch up the Conservative Christian vote in the primaries.  They have spent a couple of days now relentlessly attempting to draw a mental association between President Obama and religious intolerance.  They are declaring that another term under the Obama administration will herald an age of Christian persecution at the hands of the federal government.  They intimate that another term will mean that more babies will be aborted, more people will be on welfare, and that the quality of life that all Americans experience will be diminished – all because the Obama administration wants Catholic (nay, ALL) women to have access to free birth control.

 

All of this causes me to gape stupidly.  First, I might be mistaken here, but where are all of these Roman Catholics that actually follow the church’s instruction not to use birth control?  Second, I might be mistaken, but doesn’t this equation follow logic: more birth control = fewer pregnancies; fewer pregnancies = fewer abortions; fewer abortions = better lives for women and the country as a whole?  So, somehow more birth control equals more abortions, and an open attack on religious freedom.  Third, doesn’t the following equation also follow logic: Fewer unwanted children = women that are healthier, happier, more productive; women that are healthier, happier, more productive = half of our nation being a more positive influence than when they are saddled with unwanted children;  preventing the conception of unwanted children = a better alternative to people being irresponsible (and in some cases criminal) and having an abortion as a way to deal with irresponsibility (or criminal behavior)?  Last, I am an educator at a private institution, and we get to set the agenda for our mission.  As some of the American Bishops have complained, the new rule violates their ability to decide what their instititions are “about.”  Well, point of order here, when private institutions accept federal money, they are giving up the right to call the shots exclusively – federal government’s money = federal government’s rules.  Are these institutions taking federal money?  I don’t know about all of these questions, so I am asking you, the people of the internets.  Help a brother out.

 

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An Unexpected Fourth of July Reflection

Tony SigI was born in Milwaukee. But I only lived there ’till I was five, so my memories of it are vague and fleeting. When we moved, it was for my father to take up a senior pastor’s position in a small Wisconsin town, Boscobel. Which is, if I recall, the wild turkey hunting capital of the world. At the time, it was in many ways, an iconic small American town. We had an A&W, a Dairy Queen, a movie theatre with a single screen; it bordered the Wisconsin river, and a small creek ran through town and flooded every Spring. In it, I used to catch crayfish. One time a friend and I caught one about the size of a small lobster and were able to sell it to the local pet store. We had a single public elementary school and there wasn’t much of a public middle school, we just moved to the public high school building when we hit the 7th grade.

Some of my earliest memories are from the elementary school. In second grade, Mrs. Waters taught me math and in music class I learned the fifty states song, which I still know by heart. I was in children’s plays on a stage that was part of the gymnasium; they didn’t have a separate auditorium so all large events happened in the gym. In the fifth grade, I started band. I desperately wanted to be a percussionist but Mr. Barrens said I didn’t have any rhythm, so he recommended I take up the trumpet. Three years later I was his first chair trumpeter…and the drummer for his jazz band – the other percussionists were only good enough to bang on a bass drum at pep rallies.

I didn’t pursue sports for very long, so most of my memories from school revolve around band. In 7th and 8th grade, I would stay after school for at least an hour every day and bang away on the drum kit in the practice room. No doubt I sounded terrible and drove Mr. Barrens crazy, himself being quite an accomplished drummer. Some years later, after moving to Minnesota, Mr. Miller had to put up with me learning guitar. Lord knows I’m still terrible at that instrument. When state competitions came around, Mr. Barrens would give me special lessons so that I could play the highest level pieces. Mr. Miller even let me compete on the snare drum (I was his jazz drummer too). I’ve got more than a handful gold, silver and bronze medals from years of State competition. Music still plays an important part in my life, and I owe it to the public school system, to Mr. Barrens and Mr. Miller as well as to my choir director, Mrs. Halverson

During the summer, I would spend at least five days a week at the public swimming pool – my family had unlimited summer passes. I would hop on my bike and ride down the public roads, over public bridges (I told you that creek ran right through town) and spend countless hours there. It had a high dive, a low dive, and very few rules. By the end of my time in Boscobel I could do a pretty rad ganor and even a double front flip. It was the same public pool where I first learned to swim.

Just down the road was a huge public park with tennis courts, playgrounds, a hill that in winter was the town sledding hill and from which we launched fireworks every fourth of July, a grove of pine trees and freshly built public softball diamonds. It bumped right up against the public school running track, football field and baseball diamond. I played tee-ball on that diamond and little league at the new softball diamonds. When I wasn’t swimming, I was often at those diamonds. You see we had a very competitive public softball league and even though I was too young to play, my dad, a pentecostal pastor and volunteer fire fighter, played alongside all the town’s men – despite the fact that all that beer made us uncomfortable. So I would buy sodas and watch, or take my BMX with my buddy and jump the piles of dirt left from the construction. Town parades often ended here and sometimes we had big tractor pulls. But mostly I remember the softball and the bike jumping.

We never had much money. If it wasn’t for the frequent generosity of my grandfather, things could’ve been fairly rough. To help make ends meet, my mom ran a day care out of our parsonage. This was made easier because of the public WIC program that provides food and/or vouchers for those in need. You might say that, in an indirect way, the government helped to serve Boscobel Assemblies of God, since that faithful and lovely church couldn’t afford to pay my parents much.

In the winter, I still played with public water, but of the frozen variety. Just a couple blocks down from the house, across from the mysterious Catholic parish (we heard they had beer at their gatherings) was a public ice rink with a quaint little warming house where I would come in for a little respite from Wisconsin winters and frozen toes to buy a pack of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. The town kids and I left one half of the rink open for “free skaters” but as for us, we set up two oil barrels and played hockey. Sometimes a truck would come out to plow but when we were impatient, the kids and I would just bust out some shovels and clear the ice for ourselves. Those piles of snow sure did get hard. Some of the kids who had parents with a little money had helmets and pads, but most of us just needed a stick and some hockey skates. Once, a kid who often bullied me challenged me to a 1 on 1 game in which I resoundingly whomped him. Often, I would come home from school and skate until dinner time.

This pattern remained much the same when once we moved to Monticello, MN. Though the town was still larger than Boscobel, it still had the same small town feel. (Though many places I once knew as fields are now filled with big box stores) I still played in the school band and was in two musicals, Bye Bye Birdie and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I even gave sports another shot, joining the Cross Country team my junior year to spend more time with my close friend.

There was something of a shift, though, because the larger youth group, plus our newfound independence on account of our driver’s licenses meant that school had less the social role it once had, nevertheless I’ve always been a public school boy.

I hope by now a pattern is emerging. Time fails me to mention all the times, simply of those which I am able to remember, that public spaces and services have been there for me. My family has taken vacations to national parks; my wife and I too had WIC for a while and even now are a part of the state health care service for poor folk; I am in my senior year at the University of Minnesota – schooling which I will put to use in the Church; come Winter I’ll be taking public transportation to school; and I take my girls down to the public parks several times a week. In looking back, I find myself exceedingly grateful for all that the public has given me and enabled me to do.

The thing is, it has only been in the last few years that I’ve ever gotten into politics. Though now it seems odd, my dad was never very political, he certainly didn’t think any party was closest to God’s will for “this Christian nation.” And indeed, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you anything about the politics of the towns I was raised in. Whatever anyone’s political inclinations, it was apparently taken simply for granted that a healthy town needed healthy public services. I shudder to think what my life would be like had there been multiple “private” swimming pools or parks charging admission like a golf course or something. Do you ever see poor people at a golf course? As much as I hear about it “not being government’s job” to provide health care, there aren’t any Churches prepared to provide insurance for my family. Instead, the egalitarian nature of public space meant that I swam and learned with kids who had lots more than our family. Yet, I never got the impression that anyone perceived my family as lazy or selfish, or my teachers as greedy and ungrateful, or that these were indulgent luxuries.

But the landscape seems to have changed. Now even the idea of public schooling is viewed either as some utilitarian good meant to be used in the service of private capital (which somehow will be for the greater social good) or a “bulky and inefficient luxury” that should probably be done away with in favor of “competitive” private schools. Do you ever see poor people at private schools? Or, at least at ones that don’t have huge funds available to meet minority quotas?

I mention schools so often because at my age it’s been one of the most significant and long lasting public institutions that I’ve been a part of. But as I’ve already made clear, the influence is much, much wider. I owe the very kind of existence I have to “big government.” In fact, I’d venture to say that taxes aren’t even something the public should be lucky to have out of me, as if it was ever mine in the first place. It’s more appropriate, I think, to consider taxes as something I never owned, because I’m not a self-made man.

So whatever else is true about the tragic and unfortunate affects of nationalism in the Church, and whatever can rightly be leveled against America and her war mongering expansionism for global capital, the threat of a dissolution of a public space, a recognized place where people of disparate ideologies and income brackets can work together toward a common, public good because of an honest assessment of our interdependence, frightens me as well.  I may not be a patriot, and I won’t be singing any patriotic songs today, but I just might raise a glass to the Boscobel Public Swimming Pool.

Some Notes on Bulgakov’s Political Theology

Tony SigI’m taking a survey course this semester on the history and culture of Eastern Orthodoxy.  A fair amount of time has been spent on Russia and I used it as an opportunity to read up on some Sergii Bulgakov, though I’ve not read as much as I would’ve liked yet, and I’ll certainly need some help with his massive trilogy, The Lamb of God, The Comforter & The Bride of the Lamb, which is so far above my skill level it’s insane.

The primary book I worked with is +Rowan Williams’ book introducing Bulgakov’s political theology.  It consists in a group of texts edited and translated by +Williams himself and his own introductions to each reading.  The total effort is a minor intellectual biography focused more on politics than his larger works in theology.  In a large part this introduction is already out of date since the publication of many works of Bulkagov in English in the last few years, thanks in no small part to the effort of Eerdmans and the tireless labor of the translator, Boris Jakim.  But the introductions by +Williams are worth the price of the book.

Bulgakov, the son of a priest, went to seminary but dropped out and became an atheist Marxist.  But during his time working on his doctoral thesis about “Capitalism and Agriculture,” he found himself shifting from received Marxist orthodoxy.  This was eventually to put him in deep water and Lenin eventually shipped him and over a hundred other “rogue academics” out of Russia.  What’s the point of having an authoritarian state without using it to excommunicate heretics and political dissidents?

In The Economic Ideal, Bulgakov is critical of notions of the human being reduced to a homo economicus.  For him, it is fundamentally necessary to speak of the larger goals of wealth creation and distribution, that for which spirit is working.  There are two errors that theorists can fall into, according to Bulgakov.  The one is a hedonism, which he saw reflected in the bourgeoise pseudo-capitalism of Sombart.  “Naive hedonism is always allied to a conscious or unconscious economic philosophy, in so far as wealth and high consumption or demand are ultimately taken to be the absolute good” (31)  The other is a social asceticism as reflected in certain kinds of buddhism.  “asceticism strives for its complete liberation from matter…All pleasure is slavery for the spirit.  Life is a mirage, a malign deception, an illusion.” (35)  For Bulgakov, the historical task is one of labor, indeed the centrality of labor to his work is pervasive.  At the same time, he remains strident that freedom from poverty is the fundamental foundation for entrance into the moral life, the life of spirit.  Without it, one remains subject to the elemental powers of the world.  The fall was for him a sort of reversal; in the beginning humanity was the “master” of matter and nature, and the post-lapsarian condition is a kind of enslavement to nature.  Labor and creation, freedom from sheer survival, is the move toward salvation, the imitation and realization of the divine Logos/Sophia in the human and created sophia.  What here is mostly political commentary, eventually flowers into his full fledged work on the Divine-Humanity.

In fact I got the impression that Bulgakov’s dogmatic work was in a way an attempt to give a solid christological and dogmatic foundation to an understanding of human poetics, to supplant his former Marxism with a Christian vision of the world as a household.  (The whole series of works based on oikos is relevant)  There’s a lot of unworked potential in conversation with Bulgakov, and his hasty denouncement by the Russian patriarchate and men like Vladimir Lossky and Georges Florovsky, and the only very recent translation of his works into English, has pronounced this.  I for one can’t wait to read some more.

Memorial Day and the Christian Crisis of Doctrinal Imagination

Tony Sig

It is perhaps predictable for readers of this blog that at least one of us should write about Memorial Day.  We are not often shy in our youthful enthusiasm and naivity about our conflicted loyalties as American citizens and also of the Church; and of the necessity of radical discipleship in the face of what we, or I at least, perceive as a nation state who has hijacked a Christian soteriology.

I am an American.  My life is pretty good.  I am grateful for the gifts and opportunities that I have had throughout my life, some of which I would not have had in some other countries.  It would be dishonest of me not to note this.  I often hear that these benefits are only possible because of the sacrifices of soldiers who have bravely fought and willingly sacrificed for the United States.  That may in part be true, but it also points to a larger picture that I should like to address.

It would be easy to blame Constantinianism, blame the Enlightenment, blame the rise of atomistic politics for war, but the old adage about pointing your finger seems to ring true: “If you point your finger, you’ve three fingers pointing back at you.”  My life is what it is with reference to these things.  I cannot transcend the history in which my identity is tied up.  So a simple blame game can only implicate myself in those things which I blame.  I am not an island unto myself:  who I am is only as it is in relation to other people and to the past which we narrate into our identities.

I’d like to think through this with reference to a few Christian doctrines:

It is common to hear Augustine blamed for the doctrine of “Original Sin.”  This is, as most such “blame the fathers for a doctrine” schemes are, reductionistic and crude.  Whatever the case though, we can thank Foucault for making the doctrine much more plausible in the contemporary scene.  There seem to be structures of power and violence in place before I even come to be in the world.  They are things over which I have little to no control and are fundamental to my existence, so much so that for most of my life they are invisible.  I am born into a world already organized politically, economically, sociologically, religiously.  This is essentially the doctrine of Original Sin: that structures of oppression, violence and rebellion against God are ‘already in place’ and work to form us as people before we are able to understand  or critically resist them.

Because these structures are there from the beginning, they are easily taken for granted; assumed to be a natural given, something inevitable and often even good, as in being American, or at the very least ethically neutral, as in market economics.  Memorial Day fits in well here.  It is easy to assume that, because we have a relatively good life, the given social structures that we have are ‘how things are’ or ‘how the world works.’  The thought follows, that if we as Americans enjoy “freedom” and “prosperity” then the possibility of war as means to defend this freedom and prosperity are a necessity.

But no sooner is that thought out of my mouth than I realize that this implicates my own well being in a cycle and chain of violence and oppression.  We return again to the fact that our world still operates in a cycle of “Original Sin.”  My life is implicated and intertwined in the lives of others and that life is often manifested in and guaranteed by war.

This is why classical theology is so very important.  Christ enters into this world as one not implicated in this cycle.  His sinlessness means for us that by the power of the Spirit we are brought into the life of a God whose very nature from all eternity is one of perfect peace, perfect mutuality.  We are not merely shown a way to live well, as if Christ was a mere moral exemplar – which is good as we are rather bad at such imitation – rather, by virtue of our baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit, we are incorporated into that life of peace and given the means to live it.

This is why the Church is a politics and why it can and ought to challenge the givenness of Memorial Day.  In the Church, we are commanded to live reconciled lives to each other, submitting to each other, loving each other, giving to each other even as Christ gives perpetually and without reservation to the Father, a giving we are able to do only on account of the Spirit.  There is no other name by which we might be saved.

This then is what I mean by the crisis of doctrinal imagination; that we have become accustomed to imagining the Christian Gospel as one merely effecting ones personal salvation post-mortem.  Original Sin, Christ’s sinlessness, God as Trinity, the exclusivity of the Church; all of these reduced to crude propositional statements needed to fill a gap in narrative logic become worn out quickly and whither and die.  The Gospel makes a difference as to how we conceive our political allegiances.  This isn’t about some stupid “Right vs Left” thing.  This is an Isaiah 2.1-5 kind of thing:

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

3 And many people shall go and say , Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

4 And he shall judgeamong the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD

This raises the problem of the Church’s need to relearn how to read the Old Testament Christologically, but that is for another day.  For now I hope I’ve hinted however poorly at the ways in which the Christian proclamation ought to revise other stories which we tell about ourselves.  I also hope I’ve done it in a way that does not reduce to finger pointing at American soldiers as such essays as this even of mine have been prone to do.

Which Comes First, the Religio-Ethical Chicken, or the Geo-Political Egg: An Inner Dialogue

 james

What follows is a sort of dialogue with myself.  In italics you will find the words of James the citizen of the United States, and in bold (because it’s more important) you’ll find the words of James the citizen of the Kingdom of God.  This is not an attempt, of course, to speak definitively the words of the Kingdom, or even the proper opinions of a US citizen, rather this is a first attempt to disambiguate for myself where my opinions are coming from, and what foundation they ultimately have. 

One of the things I am trying to work out here is whether  my citizenship in the Kingdom of God actually determines my behavior as a citizen of the US, or whether it is the other way around.    I am working off the premise that my committment to the Christian tradition and Christian ethics SHOULD determine my behavior always and in every way, and that any allegiance to a place, or that places’ history, culture and politics is ONLY important as much as it lines up with my commitment to Christ (A more controversial corollary is that  all the things that make up the citizenship of any earthly kingdom SHOULD be held with a certain amount of detachment, if not suspicion by citizens of God’s Kingdom).    

Again,

Italics= James, Citizen of the United States

Bold= James, Citizen of the Kingdom of God

— — — — —

I can think of two reasons why I am interested in politics and engaged in political discourse.  1. Self-interest.  2. I honestly believe that following Jesus demands I speak out and act for and against certain social issues that inevitably have a political element.

If anyone wants to be a member of the Kingdom of God, they must die to self.

President Bush was one of the worst presidents of all time.  Far from breaking with  Bush’s flawed and misguided (if not evil and totally corrupt) administration, the Obama administration seems to be a continuation of it.  The warmongering continues.  The torturing continues.  The wholesale disregard of the common good for the sake of profit and power continues.  In fact, the essence of the American presidency hasn’t fundamentally changed since…well, maybe it never has: democrat, republican, or whig, Catholic, or Protestant, the President of the United States has presided over atrocity after atrocity: the Trail of Tears, the Japanese Internment, the Atomic Bomb, wars or covert actions in the following places: Mexico, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Columbia, El Salvador, Mexico again (I’m talking about NAFTA), many other Central and South American countries, Iraq, Iraq again, Afghanistan, now Yemen, maybe Iran…and those are just the ones off the top of my head.  

Christians are not to put their trust in earthly rulers, but in God alone.  Christians do not believe in revenge.  Christians do not believe that overcoming evil with evil is even possible, much less pleasing to God. 

I almost sympathize with the Tea Party crowd.  I say almost, because, if they are successful, they are going to put into place leaders whose moral compass will not be fundamentally different than either Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or Bush I, or Reagan, or Carter, or…Nixon… or Roosevelt (take your pick)…or Jackson…or Jefferson…or…

I do not believe that any of these men had the best of interest of EVERY member of their country in mind when they made the most important and far-reaching decisions of the terms.  I believe every one of them put power and money before the common good when making many history altering decisions. 

There are ultimately several other reasons why I don’t quite line up with the Tea Party crowd.

In I Samuel 8, God warns the Israelites that if they get a king he will not have the common good of the people in mind.  Even the best Israelite kings commit atrocities. 

I, like the conservative faction of the US, am not a big fan of the healthcare bill as a matter of principle.  However, to call it socialism is ridiculous and confusing (I am suspicious and at some level, somewhere, someone desires this confusion).  The bill that creates billions of dollars in debt so that the government can subsidize millions of private insurance policies, thus enriching the very companies the politicians claim they want to change, is the essence of FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM, par excellence (to borrow Zizek’s favorite way of saying things). 

Our government is not seeking and has never sought to bring capital and the means of production under its control.  On the contrary, Capital has been in the process of bringing our government under control since the Industrial Revolution.

Jesus came and in direct defiance of Caesar Augustus claimed to be the Son of God.  His early followers defied the empire by refusing to worship the emperor, and instead giving Jesus titles that by decree were only to be used by the Roman ruler: Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

You cannot serve both God and Money.

I, like the majority of the conservative faction of the US, claim to take a PRO-LIFE ethical stance.  However, pro-life means more to me than anti-abortion.  I feel like you have to be pro-ALL-LIFE in order to use the term without becoming a hypocrite.

The Tea Party loses credibility when they a) complain about the national debt, then b) claim to be pro-life, then c) support war efforts that are costing our country 3 TRILLION dollars.

Jesus says, “Love your enemy.”

I recognize that under secular political philosophy dating back to the Greeks, a government by definition has the right and the power to violently punish crime, and violently protect its own interest. 

Paul recognizes the “power of the sword” in Romans 13.  But, how can a Christian honestly adhere to the injunctions of Romans 12–do not take revenge, overcome evil by doing good, live at peace with all people, etc.–and still participate in earthly governments as described in Romans 13?

 I’m not a Republican, or Democrat, or Independent, or a Libertarian.  I am a Distributivistic, Anarcho-Liber-Agrarian Localist.

My association with Christ and His Church is really the only one that matters.  I desire to follow Jesus in the world, awaiting His return to reconcile all Creation to Himself.  I suck at it.

— — — — —

Discussion questions:

1. Do my religious views, including my hermeneutic(s), determine my political philosophy or is it the other way around?

2. How would one go about determining which comes first political views or religious ones?

3. How are my political views in my self-interest? 

4. How are my religious views in my self-interest?

5. Whatever else anyone wants to ask or comment on.

Flobots – Stand Up

I have been listening to this album for a couple of years now, and I enjoy our music discussion – but have not heard much discussion about this genre.  The flobots (a six man group from Denver) are what I would call “social justice hip hop.”  They abandon the typical subject matter found in the hip hop culture for a more poignant (sometimes visceral) cultural critique.  It seems like a prophetic voice is rising out of our metropolitan areas.

Here are the lyrics to the song that I have found myself listening to over and over again over the last several days.

Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Stand up We shall not be moved
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

We still don’t understand thunder and lightning
Flash back to when we didn’t fund the dam
Didn’t fund the dam levee? No wonder man
Now our whole damn city’s torn asunder man
Under water but we still don’t understand
We see hurricane spills overrun the land
Through gaps you couldn’t fill with a 100 tons of sand
No we still don’t understand
We’ve seen planes in the windows of buildings crumbled in
We’ve seen flames send the chills through London
And we’ve sent planes to kill them and some of them were children
But still we crumbling the building
Underfunded but we still don’t understand
Under God but we kill like the son of Sam
But if you feel like I feel like about the son of man
We will overcome

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Stand up We shall not be moved
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
Except by a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you
We shall not be moved
Except by a system thats rotten through
Neglecting the victims and ordering the cops to shoot
High treason now we need to prosecute

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
And we won’t fight a war for fossil fuel
Its times like this that you want to plot a coup
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Unless were taking a route we have not pursued
So if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up

Now shake, shake
A Polaroid dream
nightmare negatives develop on the screen
We sit back and wait for the government team
Criticize they but who the fuck are we
The people want peace but the leaders want war
Our neighbors don’t speak, peek through the front door
House representatives preach “stay the course”
Time for a leap of faith
Once More

Put your hands up high if you haven’t abandoned
Hope that the pen strokes stronger than the cannon
Balls to the wall, Nose to the grindstone
My interrogation techniques leave your mind blown
So Place your bets lets speak to the enemy
Don’t let em pretend that we seek blood
And who’s we anyways Kemo Sabe?
Mighty warlord wanna-be street thug
a threat for a threat leaves the whole world terrified
blow for blow never settles the score
word for word is time need clarify
We the people did not want war

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Unless were taking a route we have not pursued
So if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up

Glenn Beck, Jim Wallis, and Social Justice

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I was listening to the radio this morning.  I was happy, I was sipping my coffee, and I was looking forward to a leisurely day.  Then Jim Wallis came on the radio to discuss the latest antics of our national “village idiot,” Glenn Beck.  apparently, Glenn Beck has taken it upon himself to out all of those heretical Christians that are perverting the Gospel with messages of social justice.  In what has apparently become a personal vendetta against Jim Wallis and ministries like Sojourners,

“Glenn Beck recently told his listeners to leave any church that teaches social justice, and to report its pastor to church authorities.”

Clearly what the church needs is more of Beck’s feel good, watered down, Christmas sweater wearing, capitalism in a “Christian wrapper” spirituality.  My morning is shot.  I spat my coffee at the radio in disgust, leisure as been replaced with indignation at Beck’s blatant and rampant misuse of the Evangelical right, and I am now irritated at how obnoxiously misdirected Beck really is (for the record, he may have overshot his religious base on this one – I know quite a few conservative Evangelicals that hold Wallis in high esteem).

Here is how Wallis suggests we respond to Beck.  He wants you to go to his site and mail a personal message to Beck outing yourself.  It reads:

Dear Mr. Beck,

I’m a Christian who believes in the biblical call to social justice.

I stand in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets and the teachings of Jesus that demonstrate God’s will for justice in every aspect of our individual, social, and economic lives.

I hereby “report” myself to you, and promise to report myself to the appropriate church authorities. I hope you’ll be hearing from them as well.

I usually don’t get fired up about pundits, especially not provocateurs like Beck.  Nonetheless, the man is a disease infiltrating the Christian “right.”  I have signed the petition, and so should you.  Sign It, Sign It Now! (please)  :0)

Take action against Glenn  Beck