What advice would you have for newly elected Pope Francis?
– Gautam Dutta
What advice would you have for newly elected Pope Francis?
– Gautam Dutta
I’ve written for years about how the polarizing culture of politics has a dual-direction relationship with GOP Chritians. The article “The coming evangelical collapse” succinctly summarizes my very same view.
To repeat what’s been forgotten, polarizing is bad for religion & politics because:
Are these not worrisome? Lack of comments suggests so. Are we that unthinking?
– Richard Chen
In case you missed it because mainstream media can’t make much profit off anti-racism, Colleen Hanabusa (disclaimer: she was an AAA-Fund endorsed candidate). It’s lovely to hear O’Reilly enforce the usual but politically vetted talking points that hard-working is only for conservatives then to use another engineered stereotype, the model minority, to claim Asian-Americans should be conservative. Cheap degrading politics. The definition of conservative is:
Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion.
Unfortunately, not only is O’Reilly re-defining conservative to mean racist and other conservative traits I listed before, but he’ll make racist attacks and sweeping generalizations even half lies to advance his for-profit media politics. Disgusting. He’ll have to do a show on fellow nutbag Jack Wu of Westboro Baptist Church who practices the same racism except uses religion not politics to justify his racism.
To remind conservatives of what we here at the AAA-Fund live, believe & practice, Asians are not the new Jews, we are an entire community which is not homogenous and has distinct histories/circumstances. Younger generations tend to see themselves more as “Asian-American” probably because their experience growing up here is far more similar to one another then that of their parents who immigrated here from varying circumstances, something conservatives rather erase or ignore.
In contrast to India, our government recognizes only one religious holiday: Christmas. Should we also recognize holidays such as Hanukkah, Diwali, or Eid?
– Gautam Dutta
One of the billion reactions to today’s sickening news, I skip that Huckabee junk which is self-explainatory & focus on what feces my Christian friends have been throwing into the instantly reignited debate over gun policy.
One said evil will always reign & that means whether gun policy or not won’t really matter. While evil will always be around in some form, that argument doesn’t preclude more intelligent gun policy. That assumes guns are equivalents of knives which is a medieval, unintelligenced & primitive thought. We can do better as human beings. Lack of thought is why the US is primitive. I prefer to leave such uneducated, unintelligent & unthinking people behind as their ignorance & simplistic thought literally threatens us all, allowing killing. They practice the same kind of fearmongering and ignorance that permeates both their religion and their politics. Dispicable.
Such people probably enjoy the American exceptionalism as they think we should always be exceptional from religious fervor to standards system to gun-loving fanaticism, but I don’t care for their grabbing for identity & wish they’d just stick to their religion instead of others topics like politics. More guns, more deaths. Even a homeschooled Christian kid can understand that right? They practice the same kind of divisiveness that their religion promotes (with Jesus or Hellbound is their worldview) and their politics. Dispicable.
Other went the good old evil is always here so let’s love route which sounds cute until you read such articles and realize it’s just another excuse to prosyletize. Excuse me, but that smacks of extreme insensitivity when you use an opportune moment to shove one’s beliefs onto temporarily weak others, though this favored technique has worked well for Christians, inviting crazies who’ll take evangelicalism to the next level of fervor and adherent loyalty. They practice the same kind of blind thoughtless loyalty that permeates both their religion and their politics (that, to the GOP). Dispicable.
Then there were those who went to defend their hunting rifles and being weekend warriors with their weapons because they live in areas where that’s the highest form of recreation. If that’s your gig, great, just don’t let your personal persuits force dumb, imprecise, lethal-promoting policy. They practice the same kind of shoving their beliefs down others throats in both their religion and their politics. Discpicable, again.
You can see why progressivism, the blend of politics which our blog’s parent, the AAA-Fund organization, daily works to support & advance. I don’t think that our work here at the blog which is meant to advance the parent organization’s work, is merely theoretical, hopeful or remote. It has very real implications & I think that is what I can add to the flood of reactions on this very difficult day.
On a personal note, God bless the souls of the lost. As Obama’s quoted press briefing yesterday:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Those who know me know I am all about details, precision planning, credible details with proof & reality checks. That said, here’s why I’m voting as I will:
For measure, some things I don’t are about:
Editor’s Note: The good stuff continues as the BGEA missed a reference.
In a presidential campaign filled with exagerrations, lies and nasty personal attacks against President Obama, you would assume that a politician would be responsible for the lowest blow to date. Not so, at least in my book.
Yesterday Mitt Romney met with legendary evangelist Billy Graham, who issued this public quasi-endorsement statement along with a photo op: “It was a privilege to pray with Governor Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”
Before I explain my extreme displeasure with this latest turn of events, let me provide some personal background. I grew up in a Baptist household in Maryland. My dad made sure I rarely missed Sunday school or service. When my parents divorced I was in junior high, and with my dad no longer home, I slowly drifted away from church.
After college, I moved to Dallas, and bounced back and forth between attending and avoiding church. But I did become a Christian, then moved to San Diego in 1998. By this time I was becoming politically aware, and this started to cause a conflict between my faith and my politics.
It all came to a head in early 2003 when I received a lengthy e-mail forwarded by someone in my bible study group. The e-mail, written by one or more national church leaders, used numerous Bible verses to explain why Christians shouldn’t be concerned about or opposed to the impending invasion of Iraq. Reading this e-mail literally made me sick to my stomach. This was not the Christianity that I knew, advocating a war against a country that never attacked us.
I disassociated myself from that church, and after a few more visits to other churches, stopped going altogether for 9 years. The fact that Christian leaders almost universally failed to speak out against the Iraq War, and then supported George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004, made me realize that the Christian church of my childhood that taught compassion, peace, and tolerance had been swallowed up by the likes of Jerry Falwell using religion to promote right wing politics.
It was this realization, and Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, that spurred me to Democratic political activism which I expect to continue for as long as I can still type or walk. Due to very recent personal tragedies, I’ve decided to give church another chance, but no matter the result, I will always vigorously support Democratic campaigns in one way or another.
Now, back to Mr. Graham. In February, Billy’s son Franklin (the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association or BGEA) said on MSNBC, “Islam sees (Obama) as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, great grandfather was a Mulsim and so under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim. I can’t say categorically [that Obama is not a Muslim] because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama,” he said.
And now we have Billy Graham himself issuing what amounts to a quasi-endorsement of Mitt Romney, who is currently the world’s most famous Mormon. The quasi-endorsement is bad enough, considering that Romney hardly seems to be remotely familiar with what Jesus preached in the New Testament. Romney’s tax policy favors the very richest Americans, he’s wishy-washy at best at providing health coverage to the poor, and — oh yeah, he’s a MORMON.
To those of you who aren’t religious, Mormons may seem to be just another flavor of Christianity. Not really. It’s actually a cult. If you don’t believe me, believe Billy Graham’s website, which until today had this posted:
“A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect.
There are some features common to most cults:
- They do not adhere solely to the sixty-six books of the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They add their “special revelations” to the Bible and view them as equally authoritative.
- They do not accept that our relationship to Jesus Christ is a reality “by grace through faith” alone, but promote instead a salvation by works.
- They do not give Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, full recognition as the second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesses, MORMONS, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.”
You see, after issuing his statement in support of Romney, as reported by the Daily Kos, someone at BGEA decided to scrub this entire page from the website.
Which brings up some questions. Was it just a coincidence that this page got scrubbed only hours after Graham met Romney? I think not. So did Graham and Romney are brand new BFF and Graham decided he didn’t want to insult his new buddy by calling his religion a cult. Even though he had been doing exactly that for . . . more than 2 years. But surely there is more to this story than that.
Oh yes. Money. Cash. Moolah. Dough. So, it’s been reported that Franklin Graham pulled in well over $1 million in annual salary in 2008.
And Billy Graham? One website reports his net worth as $25 million.
Perhaps most damning of all, MinistryWatch.com gives the BGEA a 2 out of 5 stars rating for “financial efficiency,” which is a fancy term that essentially refers to what percentage of donations go to evangelism vs. overhead (including Franklin’s bloated salary).
So connect the dots and … voila! Could it be that Billy and Franklin Graham support Romney and oppose Obama simply because they’re filthy rich? Why else would they support a cult member over a Christian? Under Romney, their taxes would either stay the same or drop. Under Obama, their taxes might increase a little. God forbid that multimilliionaire televangelists actually have to pay taxes, that must be anti-Christianity, right?
This reminds me of the original Die Hard movie starring Bruce Willis. A cop who wanders into what appears to be international terrorists holding hostages. Except they’re actually sophisticated robbers posing as terrorists as a diversion. In this case, it seems Graham & Son are using religion as a diversion to pad their own pockets. Supporting Romney boosts the BGEA’s standing with the low information Christian conservatives who foolishly contribute to their rich lifestyles.
To me, the Billy and Franklin Graham represent the worst kind of hypocrites. They preach the word of Jesus but enrich themselves by fooling people (including the poor) into sending them checks. They state unequivocally that Mormonism is a cult . . . until a presidential candidate who promises to preserve their massive wealth comes along, and then suddenly Mormonism is A-OK.
Make no mistake: Mitt Romney, one of the greatest vulture capitalists in American history, is one of the modern day “money changers” that Jesus warned of in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Billy and Franklin Graham ought to be ashamed of their association with Romney, but apparently sheer greed can make a minor detail like cult membership go away. At least in this world.
Religion’s role in the election isn’t as important to me as the generally corrupting effect of mixing religion with politics. My interest in this topic includes:
but all that fancy thinking flew out the window when I read an acquaintance posted on Facebook with a “desire for … a politician to speak out against homosexuals” which didn’t earn strong enough of a rebuke from her fellow churchgoers, her primary acquaintances. I however deliver the rebuke myself. There’re a few high roads to take but they won’t change another’s opinion, so forget about
How do you talk to someone who hates? Using politics and religion to justify each other makes the issue even more toxic. This person wishes politics to increase her religiousness and also that religiousness informs her politics. In either direction, it takes neither a politician nor a theologian to see that this person has the personal flaw of hating homosexuals. Finding some Biblical or politician to agree with you doesn’t mean you’re somehow a better person for it.
Consider this person as a useful warning about the type of person not to become as we all work hard in this political environment. Our readers are generally educated, accountable, and involved enough to not become worser human beings over time because of either politics or religion. Don’t give me any more fodder (to write about) than already exists.
– Richard Chen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2012
Washington, DC – Today, 88 Members of Congress, including 34 Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), introduced House Resolution 785, taking a stand against discrimination targeting Sikh Americans. The resolution was originally authored by Congressman Joe Crowley of New York, an Associate Member of CAPAC.
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair: “Sikh Americans have contributed to the strength and diversity of the United States for over 130 years, starting businesses, serving in our military, and becoming active leaders in our local communities. But in the aftermath of September 11th, Sikh Americans have also experienced a sharp rise in incidents of hate crimes, profiling, and bullying. From the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi to the recent tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we must combat the growing wave of violence and intolerance that threatens the safety and civil liberties of the Sikh American community. Today, by introducing this resolution, we reaffirm the principles of religious freedom and acceptance that make our nation great.”
Congressman Joseph Crowley (NY-07): “This resolution recognizes that America is proud of the Sikh-American community, their hundred year history in this country and their countless achievements and contributions to the nation. Tragically, the brutal attack in Oak Creek and attacks over the previous year shed light on the ongoing threats faced by Sikh-Americans in the United States. Unfortunately, this was not a one-time event and what’s clear is that there is a disturbing and violent trend that must be confronted and brought to an end. While there is much more that must be done, this measure sends a strong signal that Congress stands behind the Sikh-American community and that we must take greater strides in working to prevent crimes against Sikhs. That includes documenting hate crimes against Sikhs, something which has not happened in the past.”
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I have been proud to work closely with the Sikh-American community throughout my career in Congress. This is why I was horrified by the senseless violence directed at this peace-loving community last month in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. No community should have to be faced with such terrible violence, especially one that takes place in a serene and peaceful place like a house of worship. Yet, last month’s events were just a microcosm of a larger trend that has continued to develop against Sikh-Americans since September 11th, 2001. The community has been disproportionately affected by hate crimes and often suffer the brunt of political unrest targeted against other groups. It is unconscionable to me that despite this clear and prevailing trend, neither the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nor the Department of Justice tracks Sikh-specific hate crimes data. The FBI should be the most authoritative source of hate crimes data for all targeted groups. I call on Director Mueller and Attorney General Holder to remedy this glaring issue in our data collection, which will allow our nation’s law enforcement the ability to properly study and respond to these trends. From authoring a resolution condemning crimes against Sikh-Americans after 9/11 to adamantly oppose government sponsored discrimination in all its forms, the issues important to the community are a priority for me. I will continue to champion anti-bullying and anti-violence policies in Congress, and advocate for better data collection of hate crimes perpetrated against all communities, regardless of creed, race, gender, sexuality, country of origin, and immigration status.”
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS): “With this resolution, we condemn anything which seeks to tear apart the common thread of freedom that binds together all Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs. Sikh-Americans, like Americans from every other religious background, are an integral part of the fabric of our country. Hate crimes such as the brutal attack which took the lives of six innocent Sikh-Americans in Oak Creek, Wisconsin cannot be tolerated. We must build from this tragic event knowing there is much more work to be done to bring an end to such senseless acts of violence.”
Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05): “The tragic shooting earlier this year in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the murder of two elderly Sikh-Americans in Sacramento, California last year, and other senseless acts of violence against the Sikh community have no place in our society. These acts are typically driven by blind prejudice and blatant discrimination. We must come together as a nation to support the Sikh community, and work to stamp out hate wherever it may appear.”
Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11): “It is important for the Sikh community in the United States and across the world to know that we stand with them. This resolution is an important step in the process, though we have more work to do, including reforming the process of chronicling hate crime statistics.” Congressman Howard L. Berman (CA-28): “We owe it to the victims of the Oak Creek tragedy and the over 500,000 members of the Sikh community living in the United States to ensure that such acts do not occur in the future, and to monitor and maintain comprehensive statistics on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans.”
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14): “One of our country’s greatest strengths is our diversity. We attract the best and the brightest from all over the world – people who cross oceans and cultures to come to America to build a better life for themselves and their families – and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Sikh community. The hallmarks of the Sikh faith –compassion, hard work, generosity, and service to one’s country- are qualities that all Americans should aspire to. No community in this country should feel scrutinized for practicing their faith and I am truly appalled that the Sikh community has been a target of hate crimes.”
Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-27): “I am pleased to join my colleagues to introduce a resolution honoring the contributions of the Sikh-American community to the United States, condemning the string of attacks against Sikhs and their religious institutions, and calling for more urgent action to prevent such hate crimes. I was deeply saddened by the attack in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August. I condemned this senseless act of violence against the Sikh community in the strongest terms. Sikhs are a very peaceful and tolerant community, but violence against Sikh-Americans has, sadly, risen dramatically since 9/11. I have always backed stronger U.S. government action to protect Sikhs and prosecute hate crimes. I urge the Department of Justice to direct the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect specific data on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans and respond with urgency against threats to this peaceful community.”
Congressman Pete Stark (CA-13): “I am proud to represent many Sikh families in the East Bay, and I was deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin. It is my hope that this resolution will help end the persistent discrimination against the Sikh community. Religious intolerance and discrimination have no place in our society. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution.”
Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-08): “I am pleased to co-sponsor this important resolution, which recognizes the contributions of the Sikh-American community to our nation and urges continued outreach. It also condemns the recent string of hate crimes that have targeted Sikh-Americans and calls for the Department of Justice to start collection of comprehensive data on this important problem. I hope my colleagues will support this important resolution to reaffirm our commitment to this valued community.”
Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with 500,000 followers in the United States and over 25 million world-wide. In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Sikh American advocacy groups have reported a sharp rise in discrimination against their community. The Associated Press reports that more than 700 anti-Sikh crimes have taken place in the U.S. over the last decade, and surveys have found that up to three out of every four Sikh boys in the United States are bullied due to their appearance. H. Res 785 pushes educators to work towards preventing the bullying of Sikh American children and urges the U.S. Department of Justice to begin documenting and quantifying hate crimes perpetrated against Sikh Americans. The resolution also expresses strong support for the right of the Sikh American community to live in peace, free from discrimination, hate crimes, bullying and all forms of violence. The full text of the resolution is provided below.
H. Res 785
Condemning the discrimination, hate crimes, racism, bigotry, bullying and brutal violence perpetrated against Sikh-Americans, and all acts of vandalism against Sikh Gurdwaras in the United States. Whereas Sikh-Americans have frequently been stereotyped solely because of their appearance, practices and traditions; Whereas numerous Sikh temples have been defaced and Sikh-Americans attacked out of ignorance and hatred, including instances in Michigan, New York, and California; Whereas some incidents against Sikh-Americans appear to be erroneous attempts to place blame or exact retribution for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; Whereas Sikh-Americans have been murdered, including the heinous attack and killing of six persons and wounding of others in the Sikh Gurdwara of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012; Whereas Sikh-Americans are often targeted solely because of their unique dress and religious practices; Whereas surveys have found that up to three out of every four Sikh boys in the United States are bullied due to their appearance; Whereas the Sikh faith is the world’s fifth largest religion, with more than 25 million practitioners worldwide, upwards of 500,000 of whom reside in the United States; Whereas Sikh-Americans have lived in the United States for at least 100 years as pillars of American society, making invaluable contributions in business, politics, science and education; Whereas Sikh-Americans serve in all roles of American life, including as family members, business owners, elected leaders, and members of the United States military; Whereas Dalip Singh Saund served as a Sikh-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the late 1950s and early 1960s; and Whereas under successive Administrations, the Department of Justice has rightfully reached out to the Sikh community to prevent discrimination and protect its civil liberties: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives— (1) condemns the commission of hate crimes against all Americans, including Sikh-Americans; (2) condemns acts of violence, bigotry and discrimination against Sikh-Americans; (3) urges educators, counselors and others to support educational efforts to prevent the epidemic bullying of Sikh-American children and families; (4) supports outreach efforts by federal and local law enforcement leaders to prevent violence and hate crimes against Sikh-Americans; (5) urges the U.S. Department of Justice to begin documenting and quantifying hate crimes and other acts of violence perpetrated against Sikh- Americans; and (6) expresses its strong support for the right of the Sikh-American community to live in peace and free from discrimination, hate crimes, bullying and all forms of violence.
The resolution is co-sponsored by the following members: Joseph Crowley (NY-7), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-08), Howard L. Berman (CA-28), Judy Chu (CA-32), Nita M. Lowey (NY-18), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Fortney Pete Stark (CA-13), José Serrano (NY-16), Jackie Speier (CA-12), James P. Moran (VA-08), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Brad Sherman (CA-27), Laura Richardson (CA-37), Steve Israel (NY-02), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-09), Doris O. Matsui (CA-05), Michael M. Honda (CA-15), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Sam Farr (CA-17), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), Al Green (TX-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Bob Filner (CA-51), Daniel E. Lungren (CA-03), Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Martin Heinrich (NM-1), Edolphus Towns (NY-10), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Sander M. Levin (MI-12), Rush Holt (NJ-12), Tim Ryan (OH-17), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-06), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Karen Bass (CA-33), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Gary C. Peters (MI-09), Joe Wilson (SC-02), Michael E. Capuano (MA-08), Rául M. Grijalva (AZ-07), John D. Dingell (MI-15), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23), George Miller (CA-07), Jim Costa (CA-20), Sheila Jackson (TX-18), Dan Burton (IN-05), Lloyd Doggett (TX-25), Charles B. Rangel (NY-15), Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (AS), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Grace Napolitano (CA-38), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14), Steven R. Rothman (NJ-09), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04), Hansen Clarke (MI-13), Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14), Robert C. Scott (VA-03), John W. Olver (MA-01), Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), John Lewis (GA-05), Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), James P. McGovern (MA-03), Maurice D. Hinchey (NY-22), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Janice Hahn (CA-36), Pedro R. Pierluisi (PR), Ron Kind (WI-03), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Henry A. Waxman (CA-30), Adam B. Schiff (CA-29), Rep. Ed Markey (MA-7), Albio Sires (NJ-13), Hank Johnson (GA-4), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Eliot L. Engel (NY-17), Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10), Shelly Berkley (NV-01), Gary L. Ackerman (NY-05), Nikki Tsongas (MA-05), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-14), Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.
The First Lady will visit Oak Creek next Thursday, August 23rd, to meet with family members of those killed and injured in the shooting.
The White House’s Honoring the Victims of the Oak Creek Tragedy and the Dept of Ed’s “Update on the Shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin” lists actions the Administration has taken and suggests those which you can aide and join.
Contribute to The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin who setup a victims fund to which people can send donations via postal mail to Victims Memorial Fund c/o Sikh Temple, 7512 S Howell Ave, Oak Creek, WI 53154 as well as the IndieGoGo and Direct Relief‘s similar fund.
Our AAA-Fund Board member and chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus Bel Leong-Hong attended an interfaith service at the Siva Vishnu Temple with the United Hindu Jain Temples of Washington DC.
Please comment with your actions and ideas.