The Least, First

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Are they less than dogs?

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Why is it that good kids get prison for pot, but wicked presidents go free after ordering torture?

Why is it that “just following orders” was no excuse at Nuremberg, but the Obama justice department finds it adequate for military abusers in the USA?

clipped from takeaction.amnestyusa.org

Take Action On This Issue

Prosecute torturers

The recent release of memos has made all the more clear what we had previously heard about the last administration’s torture policies. Forced nudity. Slamming detainees into walls. Forced sleep deprivation for days of shackled prisoners, standing in diapers in excruciating pain and filth. Although Attorney General Holder, on April 16, suggested that the Obama administration would not prosecute intelligence agents who carried out interrogations following legal advice, both those who authored the policy and those who executed it must be held accountable. Press your representatives to help establish or support a non-partisan independent commission and urge them to help expose and prosecute those responsible for abuses. Background Information

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As the Michael Vick case demonstrates, we don’t allow most Americans to practice this level of cruelty against dogs. What reason is there for excusing it against fellow human beings?

Is it because they are Muslims that torturing them has no penalty?  Is it because they are not white?  Is it because they are not US citizens?  Is a Muslim life worth less than a Christian or a Jewish or an atheist life? Is a Pakistani or a Uighur less than a dog under American law?

Is it because we don’t really expect presidents to respect the Constitution they swear to defend?  But what good is constitutional government if the privileged are not equally restrained by it?

This ruin of innocent lives will never be addressed unless Americans demand it.  It can be demanded by following the “take action” link, where there is a simple way to email Senators and Representatives.

No life can be trashed at will by lawless government.  Write.  Write until the least influential have equal justice with privileged politicians.

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When the fur flies

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OK, let’s take a break from heavy stuff.

Got a woolly mammal in your house? You may have just found your winter project. Authors say: “Better a sweater from a dog you know and love than from a sheep you’ll never meet.”

clipped from ifitshipitshere.blogspot.com

These aren’t just lovely portraits of people posing with their pets, but look a little closely and you’ll see that the owners are wearing sweaters and vests that resemble the fur of their dogs. And they should because they were literally made from them.

Below is a series of photographs (an ongoing project) by photographer Erwan Fichou of people posing with their beautiful dogs, sporting canine couture… actual sweaters and vests made from the hair (fur?) of their own pet dogs.

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Written by Monte

October 24, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Posted in Politics

Out from bigotry (sermon for August 17, 08)

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And a bit about white privilege …

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

1 This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.[…]

Something’s about to happen – what is it [a revelation of God], and so what do we do? Maintain justice,” Isaiah has God saying, “and do what is right.”

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.

Who’s this about now? Foreigners. And those who will follow God from any land (though following God is described here in Jewish terms, of course), gain a rich welcome to the presence of God.  Watch:

Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

I love it!  “A house of prayer for all nations.”  Is this just about white middle-class Americans like me?  Nope. Read the rest of this entry »

Changed from the inside out (readings for Aug 24, 2008)

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will my wife think it's hot?

The look: will my wife think it hot?

I’ve started shaving again.  Regrets.

Found out I had sleep apnea a few weeks ago, and have began using a CPAP at night.  It’s like sleeping with  a cool breeze (up your nostrils, anyway).  And my, sleep is delicious!  I’m awake!

I had to shave because the mask sits atop the whiskers under my nose, and that made that whisker-skin sore by morning.  Which woke me up, defeating the purpose.  So I shave.  And they grow back.  And I shave.

Friends of mine have had laser hair removal.  Something about the laser so zaps the whisker that, in many cases, it never comes back.  Something happens down in the follicle, inside your skin.  And there you are, smooth as a baby’s bottom.  No more stinky after-shave.

Shaving works outside-inIt’s never over.  Laser hair removal, I suppose you could say, works inside-out.  When it works, that one hair is gone for good.

The religious conservatives of Jesus’ day thought that God worked outside in.  You conform to the rules, God likes you better, good things happen.  But Jesus – and later, Paul – said “Uh, no!” about that.  Grace works – as an old fellow I knew used to say – “slow but fine:” inside out.  Watch how Paul says it in this Sunday’s Bible readings, just below.

I’ve got to go shave.

Proper 16 (21) August 24, 2008
Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Romans 12:1-8

Place Your Life Before God

1So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

August 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Politics

You know the Voice [sermon for April 13, 2008]

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His Masters VoiceFourth Sunday of Easter

April 13, 2008—Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10

Let’s say you breed beautiful, valuable hunting dogs. You have new puppies. You keep them in your fenced yard.

One afternoon, you come home early, walk into the house, look out the kitchen window. You’re watch the puppies play – when a stranger pops his head up beyond the fence, looks around, throws one leg over, and rolls over into the yard. Read the rest of this entry »