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« January 2013 | Main | March 2013 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » February 2013

By Angelo Lopez on February 25, 2013

When one looks at the great social movements that have changed America for the better, one of the things that becomes apparent is the diversity of viewpoints that are found among the various activists fighting for social change. Some activists are reformers who work within the political system to try to change laws and to elect political leaders who are sympathetic to their just cause. Some activists are more radical, who try to organize the marginalized and disenfranchised to empower them and bypass the existing political institutions to create more egalitarian systems of achieving justice. These radicals and reformers frequently disagree in their tactics and philosophies. Social change, though, is not possible without both radicals and reformers. A great example of this can be found in the civil rights movement.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on February 22, 2013

Recently, I was interviewed by a young journalist, Katherine Joyce, who writes for Religion Dispatches, a liberal religious blog. She was interested in hearing from some of us in the pro-choice movement, particularly during the 1990s and early 2000s in Wichita, Kansas. As anyone who knows anything about that era, Wichita was the center of protests by Operation Rescue, then under the leadership of Randall Terry.

A lot of water has gone under, over, and around the bridge since those days of counter-demonstrating and clinic support that my pro-choice friends and I took part in. After Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church by Scott Roeder, Troy Newman, who taken the Operation Rescue name for his anti-choice group, turned his attention to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Missouri, hoping to continue to fatten his bank account, something that he had been able to do in the past by using Dr. Tiller as the big, bad, bogeyman of abortion. Now that Julie Burkhart, Dr. Tiller’s former spokesperson, is now opening a clinic, we in Wichita once again face the prospect of antis harassing and threatening abortion providers and anyone connected with the clinic. The Kansas State Legislature is already hard at work on bills that if passed will target abortion providers and make abortion access difficult for women.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 21, 2013

Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one's own despised and unwanted feelings. -Alice Miller, psychologist and author (1923-2010)

Is this what we hear, when we listen to people talk about elected officials and how none of them are any good? Contempt is quite evident, when we see statistics showing poor ratings for all branches of our government. People have declared themselves to be weak and defenseless even in the election process. My one little vote leaves me weak and defenseless, so my contempt for the winning candidate is my answer?

Is the idea that everyone needs powerful weapons to defend themselves from government intrusion into their everyday lives a showing of contempt? Do those people advocating preparation to shoot anyone who crosses their path a contempt of life for anyone but themselves?

We, as a nation, claim to be a Christian nation. Aren’t we lucky that God doesn’t just show contempt toward us all? We are doing a very poor job of following the example of the gospel presented in our New Testament account of Jesus ministry and the teachings and practices of the early church. Man began showing contempt for anyone who didn’t pay homage to their superior knowledge of God’s intentions for worship and service. How was this showing contempt for the weak and defenseless? They first convinced the masses of people that they had the power to withhold God’s love and blessings. That put fear into the masses of people and their only defense then was to ignore their religious leaders. In today’s situation, masses of people are showing contempt for religion and especially for a branch of religion that is perceived to have allowed their leaders to abuse the weak and defenseless.

Is refusal to negotiate and compromise our defense? If we compromise we are weak, thus we refuse to compromise in order to prove we are not weak. How’s that working for everyone? Are we going to be stronger if we collapse our economy? Is blaming the other side for all our problems strengthening us? Or, is it just showing contempt for anyone we fear as being in control? And, in the end, we show contempt for ourselves.

Contempt is like hate, it doesn’t benefit anyone.

By Ken Poland on February 17, 2013

Incomes are flat in recovery, but not for the 1%. Incomes rose more than 11 percent for the top 1 percent of earners during the economic recovery, but not at all for everybody else, according to new data.

I'm not a research economist and I don't pretend to say the above is accurate to the nth degree. But as I observe the situation around me, I'm inclined to put a little trust in those figures.

The big farmers have gotten bigger, the small farmers have pretty much folded and become 'hobby' farmers. The total number of economic farm units have steadily decreased. Is that decrease an indication that the middle farm income units are losing while the biggest units are gaining? When will this trend end?

The 'mom & pop' entrepreneurs have, essentualy, dissappeared in the business world. Small companies have been swallowed up by bigger companies and those bigger companies have been forced to merge with conglomerate holding corporations. The compensation for the top level management of those merged entities have steadily increased while the floor level management and line workers have even been decreased in total compensation and benefits. Those decreases may not be reflected in paychecks, but the essentials those paychecks are expected to cover have increased.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on February 16, 2013

This February we celebrate Black History Month, a time when we can celebrate the significant contributions of African Americans to our history. According to wikipedia, Black History Month had its beginnings in 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week". This week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. This idea grew in popularity over the decades, and in 1969, the Black United Students at Kent State University expanded the celebration of Black History from a week to a month. The first celebration of Black History Month occurred at Kent State in February of 1970. In 1976, the federal government recognized Black History Month. The United Kingdom first celebrated Black History Month in the month of October in 1987, with Canada recognizing February as Black History Month in 1995.

Here are some book suggestions that I found in the library for Black History Month. If possible, I tried to find youtube videos of the book.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 15, 2013

Is it ‘separation of church & state’, ‘separation of Christian & state’, or is it ‘separation of religion and state’? None of those phrases are in the Constitution, but they are all three very much insinuated.

Our constitution clearly states that the Federal Government shall not favor any religious organization and that there shall not be any religious test to qualify for public office. That is in the U.S. Constitution. Does that apply to individual states within the union? Is there such a thing as the ‘supreme law of the land’? Can individual States ignore or overrule Federal law? Can individual States establish Christianity as their guiding principle in determining laws and regulations?

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 9, 2013

Angelo, those video clips are sad reminders of a period of time I well remember. I was born and raised in an all white and predominately Protestant community. There were a few negros in neighboring towns, but I never had any contact with any of them. The small school's league we were a part of had no negro students. Colby, our nearest large town wouldn't let colored folks eat in restaurants and wouldn't let them stay in the city limits over night. I had no reason to be racist, there was no one to be racist with.

When I moved to Wichita in the fall of 1953 was when I first really had any exposure to ethnic or religious minorities. The civil rights movement hadn't really taken off yet. A few bus seating and lunch counter protests were happening around the country. The Brown vs. Bd. of Education thing had not taken place yet.

When presidents Kennedy and Johnson led the Democrat party into supporting equal rights, the civil rights movement started gaining more traction. The Supreme Court made some landmark decisions in favor of equal rights. That was the beginning of the revolutionary turning of the South from solid Democrat to nearly solid Republican, today.

I never dreamt that I would have an opportunity to vote for a black man to be president of the U.S. His color has nothing to do with my voting for him. I like his positions on economics and civil rights. Economic issues play a decided role in a vast majority of people's fight for freedom to exercise equal rights in society. Race, gender, and sexual orientation should not have any bearing on an idividual's right to enjoy equal opportunity. I think President Obama has done a remarkable job in the face of bitter opposition from the conservative Republican establishment. Tea Party and Religious Right extemists have hollered louder than the Moderats of either party.

White male dominance in religion and politics is slowly being eroded away. Women's freedom of choice and both sex's freedom of orientation is slowly gaining traction. President Obama and the moderate to left of center Democratic majority are working toward an attempt to make freedom of choice a reality. Equal opportunity is still a dream for many.

By Angelo Lopez on February 9, 2013

Last month I watched the Presidential Inauguration and really enjoyed the poem of Richard Blanco and the singing of Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce. What most impressed though was the speech of President Barack Obama. I have always enjoyed listening to President Obama speak, and this particular speech is one of my favorite speeches. Many of the values that he talked about are values that I hold on to, values that I find most endearing about America. He talked about a nation that cares for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune. He talked about a free market that only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. Obama said that social safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security free us to take the risks that make this country great. I like how he mentioned that the great grassroots movements of ordinary people fighting to expand our understanding of freedom and equality, in moments like Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall, have made our American republic a greater nation.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on February 6, 2013

Ever since the November elections, immigration reform has become a top priority for President Obama and Congress as the new year has begun. This is because over 70% of the Hispanic American and Asian American voters voted for President Obama during the Presidential elections and many political commentators believe that this was a decisive factor in President Obama's victory in November. For both groups, immigration reform is an important issue, and their growing clout at the ballot box has led both the Democratic and the Republican Parties to work on an immigration reform bill.

I have been following the progress of the immigration reform talks through the Facebook pages of the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Interfaith Immigration Coalition, The Asian Pacific American Legal Center, The National Council of La Raza, and United We Dream, among many others.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 6, 2013

Mr. Dykes valiantly died in the line of duty, while protesting the cruel oppression of government. He had carefully built his bunker and stocked it with weapons, ammo, and bomb devices. He appears to have been a one man militia regulated by himself to survive in a hostile (or so he must have thought) world.

We haven't heard yet what his grievance against society, the law enforcement agency, or government was. He surely must have thought the most effective way to protest was to take another man's life, abduct a child, and ultimately give his own life.

Perhaps NRA can organize a memorial service and make him a national hero. Their contending that 'well regulated militia' means every citizen with an arsenal of weapons and the freedom to act on impulse is ridiculous.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 4, 2013

What a terrible tragedy! It is tragic that the man who tried to protect the children lost his life. It is a tragedy that the man who killed another and abducted the child thought that was the way to get what he wanted. But the most tragic thing of all is the innocent child that is a pawn in the whole game.

I don't know if Charles Poland is related to me by family decendency or not. All three of these individuals and their families are members of my family by human specie.

Do we need more religion in government? Do we need more guns in society? No one has the magic answer. I don’t have the answer for what will prevent such incidents, but I do have an opinion that more religion in government and more guns in society will not stop such atrocities. That seems to be the focus in the media and debate in public forums.

I, by my own choice, am of the Christian faith. Most certainly, I think if more people knew Christ and followed his teachings, we would live in a better society and world. You will notice I said, “by my own choice”. Government declaration does not make anyone Christian. To say we are a Christian nation does not make us so. My saying that I am a Christian does not make me one.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 1, 2013

The religious right wants to put religious majority in control of our government. The NRA wants to arm everyone so they can fight it out on the street. The religious minorities and the non religious folks need to arm themselves so they can overthrow the government that doesn't suit them. The religious majority must arm themselves so they can resist the resisters. Everybody needs a gun, and is entitled to a gun, so they can join the fracas.

That sounds like a perfect recipe to bring about conflicts like we see in the middle east.

Earlier posts in this month:

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