… seek justice …

Justice is blind. – iustitia caeca est.

… towards the end of the 15th century, “justice” has been portrayed as ‘blind,’ but is it?  was it ever?  what does “justice is blind” even mean?

… according to Webster’s Dictionary;  justice* means “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments” and just** means “what is morally upright and good.”  now that “maintenance” and “administration” is primarily, in the world we live in, conducted through courts of law and wars, administered by lawyers, judges, politicians, police and military personnel.  the determination of what is “just” has been primarily regulated to our governments who make laws based on what they view as justice.

… this legal system determines a just, proper, fitting reward or punishment based on adherence to these laws.

… the state wants to be worshiped.  it want you to believe that “they” are who is responsible for justice, the final authority over “what is morally upright and good” in a society.  they build armies and police forces to enforce their ideas of ‘what is morally upright and good.’

When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers, I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil, learn to do good;
seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the
Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”” Isaiah 1:15–20, ESV

… we live in a world where >21,000 children starve to death DAILY ..  where billionaires spend $61,000,000 to launch their $250,000 cars into space just for fun…

.. justice .. the quality of being just, impartial, or fair..

… is there any justice left on the planet Earth?

… until the smallest child born into slavery in every country is set free,
there is no justice …

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’” Matthew 25:34–36, ESV

Poverty – Jason Upton

There’s a power in poverty that breaks principalities
And brings the authority’s down to their knees
There’s a brewing frustration and ageless temptation
To fight for control by some manipulation

But the God of the kingdoms and the God of the Nations
The God of creation sends his revelation
Thru the homeless and penniless Jesus the son
The poor will inherit the Kingdom to come

Where will we turn when our world falls apart
And all of the treasures we’ve stored in our barns
Can’t buy the Kingdom of God?

Who will we praise when we’ve praised all our lives
men who build Kingdoms and men who build fame
What will we fear when all that remains
Is God on His throne, with a child in his arms,
and love in his eyes
And the sound of his heart cries.

*jus•tice \ˈjəs-təs\ noun
[Middle English, from Anglo-French justise, from Latin justitia, from justus] 12th century
1      a: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
b: JUDGE
c: the administration of law especially: the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
2      a: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
b      (1): the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action
(2): conformity to this principle or ideal: RIGHTEOUSNESS
c: the quality of conforming to law
3:      conformity to truth, fact, or reason: CORRECTNESS

**just \ˈjəst\ adjective
[Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French juste, from Latin justus, from jus right, law; akin to Sanskrit yos welfare] 14th century
1      a: having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason: REASONABLE 〈a just but not a generous decision〉
b archaic: faithful to an original
c: conforming to a standard of correctness: PROPER 〈just proportions〉
2      a      (1): acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good: RIGHTEOUS 〈a just war〉
(2): being what is merited: DESERVED 〈a just punishment〉
b: legally correct: LAWFUL 〈just title to an estate〉 synonym see FAIR, UPRIGHT—just•ly adverb—just•ness \ˈjəs(t)-nəs\ noun

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

… how long oh LORD?…

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hill and sat down. His followers came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
“They are blessed who realize their spiritual poverty,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
They are blessed who grieve,
for God will comfort them.
They are blessed who are humble,
for the whole earth will be theirs.
They are blessed who hunger and thirst after justice,
for they will be satisfied.
They are blessed who show mercy to others,
for God will show mercy to them.
They are blessed whose thoughts are pure,
for they will see God.
They are blessed who work for peace,
for they will be called God’s children.
They are blessed who are persecuted for doing good,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
“People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you.

(Matthew 5:1–12, NCV)

θλῖψις μεγάλη …
great affliction … great tribulation..

“ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.” (Mark 13:19, SBLGNT)

“For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.” (Mark 13:19, ESV)


“καὶ κατὰ τὴν ὥραν ἐκείνην παρελεύσεται Μιχαηλ ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ μέγας ὁ ἑστηκὼς ἐπὶ τοὺςυἱοὺς τοῦ λαοῦ σου, ἐκείνηἡ ἡμέρα θλίψεως, οἵα οὐκ ἐγενήθη ἀφʼ οὗ ἐγενήθησαν ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης, καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὑψωθήσεται πᾶς ὁ λαός, ὃς ἂνεὑρεθῇ ἐγγεγραμμένος ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ.”(Daniel 12:1, LLXXI)

“And at that time Michael the great prince shall stand up, that stands over the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of tribulation, such tribulation as has not been from the time that there was a nation on the earth until that time: at that time thy people shall be delivered, even every one that is written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1, Brenton LXX En)


“ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν οὐδʼ οὐ μὴ γένηται.” (Matthew 24:21, SBLGNT)

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matthew 24:21, ESV)


“καὶ ζητήσετε ἐκεῖ Κύριον τὸν θεὸν ἡμῶν, καὶ εὑρήσετε, ὅταν ἐκζητήσητε αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου ἐν τῇ θλίψει σου· (Deuteronomy 4:29, Lexham LXX Int Swete)

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” (Deuteronomy 4:29–31, ESV)


“καὶ εἴρηκα αὐτῷ· Κύριέ μου, σὺ οἶδας. καὶ εἶπέν μοι· Οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐρχόμενοι ἐκ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς μεγάλης, καὶ ἔπλυναν τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐλεύκαναν αὐτὰς ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ ἀρνίου.” (Revelation 7:14, SBLGNT)

“I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14, ESV)


“καὶ ἐγένετο θλῖψις μεγάλη ἐν τῷ Ισραηλ, ἥτις οὐκ ἐγένετο ἀφʼ ἧς ἡμέρας οὐκ ὤφθη προφήτης αὐτοῖς.” (1 Maccabees 9:27, LLXXI)

“So was there a great affliction in Israel, the like whereof was not since the time that a prophet was not seen among them.” (1 Maccabees 9:27, Brenton LXX En)


“ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ εἰρήνην ἔχητε· ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ θλῖψιν ἔχετε, ἀλλὰ θαρσεῖτε, ἐγὼ νενίκηκα τὸν κόσμον.” (John 16:33, SBLGNT)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33, ESV)


θλῖψις, εως, (s. θλίβω; on the accent s. B-D-F §13; W-S. §6, 3c; Mlt-H. 57.—KLipsius, Grammat. Untersuchungen über d. bibl. Gräz. 1863, 34f, prefers to write θλίψις; so also W-H.) rare in extra-Biblical Gk., and there lit., ‘pressing, pressure’ (Aristot., Meterol. 4, 4, 383a, 13; Epicurus p. 45, 9 Us.; Ps.-Aristot., De Mundo 4, 394a, 29; Strabo, Galen).

① in our lit. (as in LXX, En, Test12Patr, JosAs cod. A; Just., D. 116, 2; Mel.) freq. and in the metaph. sense trouble that inflicts distress, oppression, affliction, tribulation (so Vett. Val. 71, 16; Cat. Cod. Astr. VIII/3 p. 175, 5; 178, 8; pl. 169, 2 [s. Boll 134f]; OGI 444, 15 [II or I b.c.] διὰ τὰς τ. πόλεων θλίψεις; BGU 1139, 4 [I b.c.]; POxy 939, 13; PAmh 144, 18). Of distress that is brought about by outward circumstances (Jos., Ant. 4, 108; En, PsSol, Mel.; Did., Gen. 116, 10), in sg. and pl. Ac 11:19; Ro 5:3b; 12:12; 2 Cor 1:8; 6:4; 8:2; Rv 1:9; 2:9, 22; 1 Cl 22:7 (Ps 33:18); 59:4; 2 Cl 11:4 (quot. of unknown orig.); Hs 7:4ff. ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θ. ἡμῶν 2 Cor 1:4a; 7:4; 1 Th 3:7; ἐν πάσῃ θ. (TestGad 4:4) 2 Cor 1:4b; ἐν (τ.) θ. Ro 5:3a; Eph 3:13; 1 Th 1:6; 3:3. ἐν πολλαῖς θ. καὶ ποικίλαις Hs 7, 4. θ. μεγάλη great tribulation (SibOr 3, 186) Mt 24:21 (1 Macc 9:27); Ac 7:11; Hv 4, 2, 4. Plural Hv 3, 2, 1. ἡ θ. ἡ μεγάλη the great tribulation Rv 7:14; τὸ ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θ. slight affliction 2 Cor 4:17. ἀνταποδοῦναί τινι θλῖψιν repay someone w. affliction 2 Th 1:6. W. ἀνάγκη (q.v. 2) 1 Th 3:7. W. διωγμός Mt 13:21; Mk 4:17; Ac 8:1 D; 13:50 D; pl. 2 Th 1:4. W. δεσμά (TestJos 2:4) Ac 20:23. W. ὀνειδισμός Hb 10:33. W. στενοχωρία (q.v.) Ro 2:9. W. στενοχωρία and διωγμός 8:35 (w. λιμός and στενοχωρία Hippol., Ref. 5, 26, 12).—On the catalogue of hardships (peristasis) cp. 1 Cor 4:9–13; 2 Cor 4:8f; 6:4–10; 11:23–28; 12:10; Phil 4:11; s. FDanker, Augsburg Comm. 2 Cor ’89, 89–91; 180f; idem, The Endangered Benefactor in Luke-Acts: SBLSP ’81, 39–48; JFitzgerald, Cracks in an Earthen Vessel ’88; MFerrari, Die Sprache des Leids in den paulinischen Persistasen-katalogen ’91; MEbner, Leidenslisten u. Apostelbrief ’91.—ἡμέρα θλίψεως day of affliction (Gen 35:3; 2 Km 22:19; cp. En 103:9; TestLevi 5:5) 1 Cl 52:3 (Ps 49:15).—Of the tribulations of the last days (as Da 12:1) Mt 24:21, 29; Mk 13:19, 24. ἡ θ. ἡ ἐρχομένη ἡ μεγάλη the great tribulation to come Hv 2, 2, 7; cp. 2, 3, 4; 4, 1, 1; 4, 2, 5; 4, 3, 6.—Distress caused by war 1 Cl 57:4 (Pr 1:27). θ. θανάτου affliction of death B 12:5. Difficult circumstances 2 Cor 8:13; Js 1:27; συγκοινωνεῖν τῇ θ. show an interest in (someone’s) distress Phil 4:14. Of a woman’s birth-pangs J 16:21.—ὅταν γένηται θ. when persecution comes Hv 3, 6, 5. θλῖψιν ἀκούειν hear of persecution Hs 9, 21, 3. θλῖψιν ἔχειν J 16:33; 1 Cor 7:28; Rv 2:10; Hv 2, 3, 1; Hs 7:3. ἐὰν ὑπενέγκῃ τὰς θλίψεις τὰς ἐπερχομένας αὐτῷ Hs 7:4; cp. 7:6. ἐξείλατο αὐτὸν ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτοῦ Ac 7:10. διὰ πολλῶν θ. εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τ. βασιλείαν 14:22. τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν Mt 24:9; cp. B 12:5. ἀποστήσεται πᾶσα θ. ἀπὸ σοῦ … ἀπὸ πάντων ἀποστήσεται ἡ θ. Hs 7, 7.—Of the sufferings of Christ θλίψεις τοῦ Χριστοῦ Col 1:24 (s. on ἀνταναπληρόω and πάθημα 1).

inward experience of distress, affliction, trouble (Gen 35:3; 42:21 θ. τῆς ψυχῆς) θ. καὶ συνοχὴ καρδίας trouble and anguish of heart 2 Cor 2:4. θλῖψιν ἐγείρειν τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου cause trouble for me in my imprisonment Phil 1:17. Ἅννα … περιείλατο πᾶσαν θλῖψιν ἀπʼ αὐτῆς GJs 2:4 (cod. A, not pap; s. περιαιρέω 1).—DELG s.v. θλίβω. M-M. TW.

 

B-D-F B-D-F = FBlass, ADebrunner, RFunk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature—List 6

W-S. W-S. = GWiner, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms, ed. PSchmiedel—List 6

Mlt-H. Mlt-H. = JMoulton/WHoward, A Grammar of NT Greek II: Accidence and Word-formation—List 6

W-H. W-H. = BWestcott/FHort—List 1, beg.

Gk. Gk. = Greek

lit. lit. = literal(ly); literature (refererences to [scholarly] literature)

Aristot Aristot , various works, IV b.c.—List 5

Epicurus Epicurus , IV–III b.c.—List 5

Ps.-Aristot Ps.-Aristot , s. Aristot.—List 5

Strabo Strabo , I b.c.–I a.d.—List 5

Galen Galen , II a.d.—List 5

lit. lit. = literal(ly); literature (refererences to [scholarly] literature)

LXX LXX = Septuaginta, ed. ARahlfs, unless otherwise specified—Lists 2, beg.

En En = I Enoch—List 2

Test12Patr Test12Patr = Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, with interpolations II b.c.–III a.d.—List 2

JosAs JosAs = Joseph and Aseneth—Lists 2, 5

Just. Just(in) , II a.d.—List 5

D D = Didache, except that in a list of manuscripts or as textual variant D refers to Codex Bezae—List 1

Mel. Mel. = Melito of Sardis, II a.d.—List 5

freq. freq. = frequent(ly)

metaph. metaph. = metaphor(ically)

  1. pl. = plural

Boll Boll = FB., Aus der Offenb. Johannis—List 6

OGI OGI = Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae—List 3

BGU BGU = Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunden—List 4

POxy POxy = Oxyrhynchus Papyri—List 4

PAmh PAmh = The Amherst Papyri I–II—List 4

Jos. Jos. = Josephus. This abbr. used when follow by title; I a.d.—Lists 5

En En = I Enoch—List 2

Mel. Mel. = Melito of Sardis, II a.d.—List 5

Did. Did. = Didymus Caecus (the Blind), commentator on OT books, IV a.d.—List 5

  1. sg. = singular
  2. pl. = plural

1 Cl 1 Cl = 1 Clement—List 1

2 Cl 2 Cl = 2 Clement—List 1

quot. quot. = quotation

orig. orig. = original(ly)

Hs Hs = Similitudes

TestGad TestGad = Testament of Gad, s. Test12Patr—List 2

Hs Hs = Similitudes

SibOr SibOr = Oracula Sibyllina, II–III a.d.—List 5

Hv Hv = Visions

Hv Hv = Visions

  1. w. = with

q.v. q.v. = quod vide (which see, see that which has just been mentioned)

D D = Didache, except that in a list of manuscripts or as textual variant D refers to Codex Bezae—List 1

D D = Didache, except that in a list of manuscripts or as textual variant D refers to Codex Bezae—List 1

  1. pl. = plural

TestJos TestJos = Testament of Joseph, s. Test12Patr—List 2

q.v. q.v. = quod vide (which see, see that which has just been mentioned)

  1. w. = with

Hippol Hippol , II–III a.d.—List 5

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

idem idem = the same (in ref. to the person just mentioned)

SBLSP SBLSP = Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers—List 6

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

En En = I Enoch—List 2

TestLevi TestLevi = Testament of Levi, s. Test12Patr—List 2

1 Cl 1 Cl = 1 Clement—List 1

Hv Hv = Visions

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

1 Cl 1 Cl = 1 Clement—List 1

B B = Barnabas (the Letter of), II a.d., except in series of uncial witnesses, in which case B refers to Codex Vaticanus (s. also Vat.). When the abbrv. B would ambiguous, Vat. is used for the codex.—List 1

Hv Hv = Visions

Hs Hs = Similitudes

Hv Hv = Visions

Hs Hs = Similitudes

Hs Hs = Similitudes

  1. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts
  2. cp. = compare, freq. in ref. to citation fr. ancient texts

B B = Barnabas (the Letter of), II a.d., except in series of uncial witnesses, in which case B refers to Codex Vaticanus (s. also Vat.). When the abbrv. B would ambiguous, Vat. is used for the codex.—List 1

Hs Hs = Similitudes

GJs GJs = Gospel of James (Protevangelium Jacobi), II a.d.—List 1

pap pap = papyrus, -yri

DELG DELG = PChantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque—List 6

s.v. s.v. = sub voce (under the word, look up the word)

M-M M-M = JMoulton/GMilligan, Vocabulary of Greek Testament—Lists 4, 6

TW TW = Theologisches Wörterbuch zum NT; tr. GBromiley, Theological Dictionary of the NT—List 6

 

A War on Homelessness, or a War on the Homeless?

A War on Homelessness, or a War on the Homeless?

by Nick Cooper, nick@nickcooper.com •  originally printed in Free Press Houston (freepresshouston.com), April, 2012

On March 2, Hank Rush, the CEO of Star of Hope Mission, who makes a quarter-million dollar salary for his work with the poor, joined several other homeless service leaders in signing a commentary in the Houston Chronicle.  They gave their support to a new law that would impose a $2,000 fine on unpaid volunteers for sharing home-cooked food with the needy in public.

Going so far as to criminalize bringing a box of fruit into one’s house, to keep it out of a hot car for a few hours before going to share it, the law would have been laughable if it weren’t a threat to the food supply of a vulnerable population.

Wondering why homeless service providers might consider supporting a law that was so potentially devastating to Houston’s homeless population, activists began researching Star of Hope.  The first news item that came up, was that Mayor Annise Parker had announced a massive public / private partnership with the Star of Hope, just four days before the commentary was published.  $3 million initially, and $1.5 million per year thereafter, was planned for a “Sobering Center” for people found drunk in public.  Touted as a cheaper and less punitive alternative to incarceration, the project would benefit Rush and other signatories to the commentary.

    The Mayor, ‘Balance,’ and Her ‘Emergency’

    The Mayor and Council Member James Rodriguez began promoting the new ’emergency’ law, though the nature of the emergency seemed to be constantly in flux.  First, council members were told there was a crisis of food poisoning of the homeless, but the Mayor dropped that argument after being forced in open session to admit that there was no info to back up her claims.  Next, they switched to talking about trash being left by organizations feeding the homeless, but apparently there was no study of that either.  Eventually, Parker and Rodriguez seemed to settle on the main issue at stake here: the property rights of downtown business owners.

“I perceive this ordinance as trying to balance the rights and the needs of different groups of people,” said the Mayor.  Apparently, for her, the homeless are the ones holding the upper-hand in this imbalance, and the victims, the downtown business owners, require the City’s emergency help.  The ‘need’ of property owners is being trampled by the need of the homeless to eat, sleep, and excrete.

She compelled city council to act urgently to control trash and excrement, not by putting out more receptacles and toilets, but by policing the food supply.

“While the Mayor professes to try to help the homeless,” said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, “she’s done nothing to put in sanitary facilities that the homeless might be able to use.”

After years of ‘civility’ ordinances which criminalize homeless people for lying down, Houston City Council moved quickly towards enacting this new level of oppression.

The open secret here is that the only urgent matter is the opening of the new Dynamo soccer stadium.  With homeless sleeping nearby, the Mayor wanted one more tool to evict the homeless encampments.  As if to confirm this, City Council passed another urgent measure in March: drinking alcohol in public would be legalized in lots owned by, and at times set by sports venues.  Without even an acknowledgement of the irony and scandalous timing of these two amendments, the City granted sports fans an exemption to an anti-homeless law that had been on the books for almost 20 years.

While of course, ‘property rights’ doesn’t seem like an ’emergency’ issue, the Mayor didn’t let that slow her down. She ramped up pressure on the council to pass this law to force volunteers to show police specific prior written permission to share food.  Coalition for the Homeless President / CEO Marilyn Brown supported the law as “a good first step,” despite the fact that she had just personally conducted a Faith Initiative focus group in which every single participant opposed mandatory requirements for those sharing food in public.  Any council member considering voting for the law had to ignore the opinions of the hundreds of homeless and others who came to speak against the law over three sessions of City Council.

The public pressure forced the Mayor to change the law, stripping it of the important details.  It no longer explicitly criminalized things like the sharing of home made food, but since the process for obtaining permission was never disclosed, it was anyone’s guess what the criteria she or subsequent Mayors might choose to use for granting permission.  Home made food might be illegal, it might not, it just depended on the unwritten criteria of whatever agency has the job of granting permission.  The new version of the law temporarily hid the most egregious details, and the Mayor falsely and unilaterally declared that a compromise had been struck.

Some of the most important voices against the law were those of the homeless themselves who arrived to speak to City Council on April 3, the day before the vote.  The Mayor and the majority of City Council instead favored a small group of downtown business representatives, bumping them to the front of the queue to speak.  A few Council Members lobbed soft-ball questions to their powerful friends, filibustering until the news cameras and many City Council members had left the room.  One homeless man waiting for his turn to speak was so frustrated that he yelled out and was escorted from the chambers.

When it was finally their turn to speak, the homeless opened up their hearts to a City Council that had probably already made up their minds.

“If it weren’t for these truly gracious people, I would not eat,” 58 year old James Lira told City Council.

“I’ve been homeless 15 years due to my mental illness… If they make it more difficult for me to get food, then I would be starving,” were the words sent to City Council via the Voice of the Homeless Awareness Project from Alfred White, 51.

“I would like to see you in our shoes for one week and not have anything,” said Michael Horn.

“When has America stopped being the land of the free and the home of the brave, and become the land of the oppressed, and the home of the economic slave?” asked Maurice Samuel O’Neal, who identified as being on and off the streets for the last 40 years.  Many in the audience were affected, hearing the comparison to slavery by an older Southern African American man.

The most devastating critiques of the Mayor’s proposed law came from the kids.

“If I see one, or five, or twenty people in need, I should be able to help them without fearing punishment,” said an 11 year old girl, Makota Ashé.

Next, the Mayor’s entire argument was deflated in two short questions by 13 year old Dylan Cash.

“Mayor Parker, did you eat breakfast this morning?” he asked.  “Did you have to get permission from the City?”

    Why Don’t you Just Shut Up and Get a Permit, It’s Easy!

    Requiring permission for groups to serve has precedent. In San Francisco in 1988, the permit requirement was used to criminalize and arrest hundreds of food sharing volunteers. The Mayor then, like Annise Parker now, described the process as easy, but that was not the experience of volunteers in San Francisco.

“It was clear that the purpose of the permit process was to make it impossible for Food Not Bombs to share food and information in public,” said Keith McHenry, the co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement.

In November of 2011, a U.S. District Judge denied the city of Dallas’ motion for summary judgment and ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a similar law there.  On the basis that spontaneous and unregulated feeding is part of their religious freedom, a church has a good chance to demonstrate that these permitting laws violate the Texas Religious Freedom Act.

“There are also Constitutional concerns about not requiring property owners to give notice by posting “no-trespassing” signs,” said Daphne Silverman with National Lawyers Guild.   “It’s my position that this law also violates other first amendment rights of expression, religion, and assembly.”

   Cashing In

    On April 4, the amendment passed 11 – 6.  Council Member Bradford joined the five Republican-leaning Council Members (Brown, Pennington, Sullivan, Christie, and Hoang) to oppose the hastily written, vague, punitive, and repressive law.  Not only did the ‘progressive’ Council Members vote with the Mayor, but even Wanda Adams joined in.  Though Adams repeats often that homelessness is an extremely personal issue for her, she is in need of support for her candidacy in the race for Texas House District 131.

“Mayor Parker is very well connected and supported in the local Democratic party scene,” explains local political activist and Democratic state delegate Benjamin Franklin.  “Wanda Adams’ chances of advancing to the State House require many of the same institutional supporters, and thus she needs to demonstrate that she’s a team player.  She can work to mitigate or soften the impact of a policy she disagrees with, but can’t openly defy and vote ‘no’ to what’s apparently a core priority for the Mayor.”

Adams was taken aside for several arm-twisting sessions to vote for the anti-homeless law.  Though unable to stop the law from passing, and apparently incapable of standing up to even vote against it herself, she was able to pass an amendment to give volunteers a three month reprieve before the law went into effect.

Council Members need money to be re-elected, and non-profits need grants.  Star of Hope wasn’t the only agency to benefit from new funding, and wasn’t the only organization whose leader signed onto the Houston Chronicle commentary to support the original extremely draconian version of the law.  The Coalition for the Homeless is at the center of an influx of cash to Houston that is so big that it makes the millions involved in the Sobering Center look like chump change.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) channels 1.5 billion dollars a year into programs and non-profits.  This month, Houston and eight other cities with large homeless populations begin getting big Obama dollars for the express purpose of “ending homelessness” in a few years through “Rapid Rehousing.”

Sam Tsemberis, CEO and Founder to Pathways to Housing, who helped to create the Housing First model, which is similar to Rapid Rehousing, points out that “Housing First is not really about housing.  It’s about listening to the person who is homeless.  The way we invented HF was by listening to people in the street.  When you ask what do you want most urgently, people say ‘housing first.’  It’s not about buildings or structures, it’s about listening to people.”

Nick Flynn, U of H professor, and author of the book which inspired the film “Being Flynn” starring Robert De Niro, has been a long time supporter of the Housing First model, but questions the nature of the program coming to Houston, asking, “is it driven by listening to the homeless, or listening to the powerful interests downtown?”

To kick off this program, the Coalition for the Homeless, launched a series of breakfasts for Houston’s homeless providers.  Titled “Take Your Seat at the Table,” the participants were welcomed to carve their pieces of the pie of all this funding coming to Houston.  Participants in the breakfasts were told that along with the money comes an entirely new system.  Houston’s homeless services are being rapidly transformed into a system with centralized intake for all homeless, a new authority that links funding with performance evaluations, and a constantly expanding database called the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).

    Just Follow the Bacon and Eggs

    “The Coalition for the Homeless has friendly political ties to the agencies who will end up with the HUD money,” said Jeff Lyons from Houston Solutions for Housing.  “It’s all political. The City founded Coalition for the Homeless, and appoints the people to the Board.  As the designated agent for the national programs like HMIS, they decide where HUD money goes when it comes to Houston.”

Shockingly, the underwriter for the first of the two Coalition for the Homeless breakfasts was Brookfield Office Properties, which, owns twelve skyscrapers downtown.  Paul Layne, the regional head for Brookfield Properties’ Houston operations also sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for the Homeless.  As the largest commercial real estate owner in Houston’s downtown, Brookfield is notorious for its central role in perpetuating the below poverty wages among downtown custodial workers, who make an average of $8,600 a year.

“It’s ironic,” said Laura Perez-Boston, director of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center.  “Instead of investing their money in promoting a breakfast, they should be investing in ensuring that human rights are upheld for the janitors in their buildings…”

Brookfield also happens to own Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street activists were encamped for months (the park is named for Brookfield co-chairman John E. Zuccotti).  In October, Brookfield wrote to New York Police Commissioner Kelly demanding the eviction of the activists.  This connection seemed to confirm the suspicions of many involved with Occupy Houston that the law was intended to target them.

“This whole issue may have never been about ‘feeding the homeless’,” said longtime community activist and Democratic State Rep. candidate Ray Hill.  “It may have been about shutting down the Occupy movement that has done more than anything else to put a light on the injustice and excesses of big business greed.”

Many Houston activists who assume that Brookfield doesn’t value the needs of the homeless any more than the custodians working in their own buildings, are outraged to discover their participation in Coalition for the Homeless programs.

“Now it comes to light that there are big bucks in the pipeline from the federal government around homelessness,” Hill continued.  “The poor and the powerless are not players in the passing out of public funds into the private hands of the real players.”

    And Meanwhile… What About the Volunteers About to Be Criminalized?

    Food sharing volunteers like myself sit in these meetings a bit baffled.  On July 1, the volunteer work of dozens of organizations in the streets of Houston will become a crime.  We don’t have salaries, budgets, or pieces of the pie.  We don’t need money, bureaucracy, and we certainly don’t need to be permitted.  We do want to see homelessness eliminated, but not by punitive measures.

We found ourselves sitting at the Coalition for the Homeless breakfast table with others who were urging us to get iPads so that we could log all of the homeless, every time we serve, into the HMIS database in order to increase funding for the groups that need it.  Long time friends and allies within the homeless services sector seem to have been convinced by the power structure of absurd scenarios — people we had trusted explained to us their sincere belief that the homeless downtown are practically drowning in healthy food and need less not more.

My group, Food Not Bombs was the first group sharing food with the homeless after Ike, Rita, and Katrina.  FEMA referred people to us.  If this law is enacted in July, and by late August a hurricane comes through, even under emergency conditions, it will still be a crime for us to go out and share food.  Even if police were willing to look the other way during a hurricane aftermath, we might no longer have the intact relationships, food supply, and internal structure to resume our operations after months of being criminalized.  We rely on an influx of new high school volunteers, and parents might think twice about having their children participate in a group that might be illegal.  Making volunteerism a crime will damage Houston’s infrastructure.  Volunteers are a vital part of a system that helps nourish a vulnerable population, that without our efforts, would turn to increasingly to shoplifting, dumpster diving, and panhandling.

There are over sixty local groups speaking out against these laws. From the conservative Houston Area Pastors Council to the Catholic Worker Movement, from Occupy Houston to the Tea Party, from the Harris County Republican Party to the Green Party, from the Nation of Islam to the Hare Krishnas, the diversity of this loose coalition may well be unprecedented.

… politics disguised as prayer..

.. this morning, another ‘good christian friend’ on Facebook ‘copied and pasted” a post about a ‘prayer’ given in the Kansas State Senate,on January 23rd, 1996.  this ‘prayer’ has been shared over and over again by many, many people who are terribly deceived.  this was political posturing disguised as prayer and is biblically inaccurate.

… we only need to read what has been recorded that the Christ said to see that the original intent was not prayer at all, but a demonstration of pure hypocrisy.

“And when you pray, YOU MUST NOT be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Jesus (Matthew 6:5–8, ESV)

… if we do something that Jesus specifically said “you must not” do, then we ARE what He said we are “hypocrites.”

… and then Jesus spoke about judging when it is recorded that He said,

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:42, ESV)

… even if we ignore what the Bible specifically says that Jesus said, what about the content itself?

… of course, the political rhetoric is disguised as a plea for God to forgive us.  pastor Joe wasn’t actually seeking forgiveness but was going through a list of items with the intent of shaming anyone who voted for the things he is against.   when he says “We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.” he does not mean we but they, unless he is blaming himself for ridiculing the Bible, which i am pretty sure he is not doing.

“We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.”

… Pastor Joe thinks things like food stamps and medicaid are ‘rewarding’ people for being lazy, regardless of the fact that 70% of SNAP households have children, and MOST people on any type of ‘welfare’ already have jobs.

… and then there is what Jesus said again,

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. – Jesus (Luke 6:30–31, ESV)

… i am writing this on a Sunday morning when thousand upon thousands of ‘good christians’ will put on their diamonds and gold decorations, adorn their designer suits and dresses and jump in their luxury automobiles to go listen to pastors, many who are on their second or third marriages, who live in mansions tell them what the Bible says.

… what does the Apostle Paul say?

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”” (1 Corinthians 5:9–13, NLT)

.. this wasn’t a prayer it was an attempt to publicly shame people into doing what the pastor wanted.  it wasn’t a cry for forgiveness, but an attempt to intimidate people into supporting a political agenda and is shameful, at the least…

… ‘Screw You! I’m with god’ …

… i don’t know where you are at, but here in Richmond, VA, our temperatures went from a record high of 81°F (27ºC) on March 1st, to a low of 27°F (-3°C) last night, March 11th, and a forecast of snow on Tuesday.  to put this in perspective, all of our peach trees have already put out their flowers and are covered in green leaves.  the plum trees have bloomed as have the pear and apple trees.

… also, during the last week, wildfires consumed over 1,000,000 acres of land, killing 7 people and thousands of head of livestock.  this is on the heels of almost 60 confirmed tornadoes on February 28th.

“In addition to the tornadoes, there were roughly 686 reports of thunderstorm wind damage or high thunderstorm winds, and another 257 reports of large hail.”  Weather Channel

… this is neither normal nor good.

“What’s happening?”

… i do believe in the God of the Bible.  i believe that the promises of the Bible are true, and i know that the Bible says that the LORD is the One Who is responsible for the weather and that if His people, the people who claim His name, if they are doing right, then He will provide good weather and plentiful crops as well as other ‘good’ things, like peace and safety.

I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land. “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land.” (Leviticus 26:4–6, NLT)

… so that tells me that the LORD says that the people who call themselves His followers are ‘not doing right’ and so i look to see what the pastors are saying.  i ran across this from a sermon delivered last week.

“The second angel is announcing to the world that Babylon has fallen.  Now, there’s a controversy as to whether Babylon is Rome, or whether Babylon is going to be revealed, I really don’t care, we’re going to be in heaven, those of you that are there can watch it from the balcony, those of you that are here can watch it on television at night, if you still are alive.  Happy trails.” John Hagee

.. or in other words, “Screw you!  I’m with god.”

.. this man boasts of a congregation of over 20,000 people in San Antonio, TX, the same state that many of these disasters have been happening in.  it is reported that he has a $2.1 million dollar 7,969 acre ranch with not one, but FIVE lodges, a managers house, a gun locker, a smoke house, a skeet range and three barns and in 2001, he received $842,000 in salary and $414,485 in benefits making him one of the best paid men on earth in ANY field.

.. in 1975 he had an affair with a younger woman in the congregation that he pastored then, and divorced the mother of his two children to marry the younger woman.  he promptly left that church to become the pastor of the church he is currently at.

.. this man says the world is going to hell, and he is going to watch it ‘from the balcony’ of heaven. “Happy trails.”

.. without touching his theology, it should be obvious that he doesn’t know the homeless Man Jesus of the Bible who taught love and compassion.  it was Jesus Who said,

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19–21, NLT)

.. earlier in the same ‘sermon’, this man talked about the ‘Islamic hoards’ that will take over the nation that took the name of Israel.  he has advocated for a preemptive strike against Iran for this reason.  and again, Jesus said,

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:27–28, NLT)

.. anyways, i believe that the Bible tells me that the reason the weather is as crazy as it is, is because of men like this who twist the words of hope and love into something completely different, where his god makes ‘the good people’ rich and will transport them to heaven while they flip the world off and watch it go through tremendous tribulation.  according to Amos, the LORD causes these things so that people who claim to know Him, will change their minds and do what He asked them to do.

… Jesus taught that the entire world, including His true followers, will all go through a ‘great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now.’ (Matt 24:21) and that AFTER that tribulation, He would come to take all those who changed their mind and decided to truly give up their lives and follow Him (Matt 24:29) to safety while the earth gets burned up.

.. as a follower of Christ, my ‘job’ is to “let my light shine before others, so that they may see my good works and give glory to my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:16)  even if what this man said was true (and it is way, way off base) then shouldn’t the response be to mourn for those who will be lost?  to pray for them?  to do whatever it takes to show them the love of God so that they will be saved too?

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3–4, ESV)

… every day more than 12,000 children die of starvation on this planet.  and every day hundreds of thousands of children wake up to their slavery.  in this country alone, there are over 1,000,000 school children who wake up homeless.

… and every day, there are thousands of false teachers who are only concerned with themselves – who bring shame on the name of Christ for their greedy selfish ways.  it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.  we were told it would be like this… and they must be silenced…

For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” (Titus 1:10–16, NLT)

 

False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction. Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!” (2 Peter 2:1–3, GNB)

So what are we supposed to do?

… one-thousand eight-hundred ten …

1,810

.. in March of 2016, Forbes published ‘The World’s Billionaires, a list of the wealthiest people on the planet, with an article entitled, ‘Forbes 2016 World’s Billionaires: Meet The Richest People On The Planet.

“For our 30th annual guide to the world’s richest people we found a total of 1,810 billionaires, down from a record 1,826 a year ago. Their aggregate net worth: $6.5 trillion, $570 million less than last year.” – Forbes

… the article says that these are ‘the world’s richest people’, and indeed they are certainly most of the world’s richest people, but the list does not include the majority of the Rothschild Family (estimated net worth: $350 billion – $2 trillion), the House of Saud (estimated net worth: $1.4 trillion), Vladimir Putin (estimated net worth: $70 billion), Paul Kagame (estimated net worth: $1 billion), and a number of others that are known or not known.

… on the Forbes website, you can click on a tab that changes the list from it’s publication date to a ‘Real Time’ look at today’s list.  for instance, with a click of the mouse, i can see that Mr Bill Gates, Mr #1 on the list, i can see that from March of 2016 till January of 2017, ten months, Mr Gates has increased his personal wealth from $75 billion to $84.1 billion.  for those of you without a calculator, that would be an estimated increase of  $9,100,000,000 or $910,000,000 per month, $30,333,333 per day, a mere $1,263,888 per hour- 24hrs per day.

767,000,000

… also in 2016, the World Bank came out with it’s report titled ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016‘, which tells us that on this planet that we live on, there are 767,000,000 people who live on less than $1.90 a day.  again, for those of you without a calculator, that is <$693.50 per year, <$57.79 per month, a whopping <$0.08 per hour – 24hrs per day.

… the purpose of this report is to show the world how successful the World Bank programs are at bringing people out of extreme poverty.  the ‘magical’ PPP or purchasing power parity of USD$1.90 a day, is the mark to rise above.  in 1990 there were 1,850,000,000 people or 35% of the world population in extreme poverty, but thanks to the World Bank, now only 10.7% of the world lives on less than $1.90 per day.

… except for the percentage of people who have died, the vast majority of the people who have ‘been raised’ out of extreme poverty are now part of the 3,000,000,000 people who live on less than $2.50 per day, <$912.50 per year, <$76.04 per month, an incredible <$0.11 per hour.

5

… this week the leadership of the country with the worlds most powerful military, with it’s own annual GDP of $16 trillion (>twice the size of China’s entire GDP), are meeting for confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s picks for his cabinet.  of the positions that he has chosen people, 4 of those picks are billionaires like the President-elect, bringing the total to 5 billionaires who are planned to run this country, with a total annual budget >$3,800,000,000,000, about $12,000 per US citizen.

… President-elect Trump has a net worth somewhere between $3.7 billion (Forbes) and >$10 billion (Trump).  the President-elect has filed bankruptcy on six different occasions;

1) Trump Taj Mahal (1991) $3 billion where the President-elect had to give up 50% share and the courts agreed on a bank-set personal spending limit for the President-elect.

2)&3) Trump’s Castle and Trump Plaza Casinos (1992) $550 million & $338 million respectively where the President-elect had to give up 50% share.

4) Trump Plaza Hotel (1992) >$550 million where the President-elect had to give up 49% share.

5) Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts (2004) $1.8 billion where the courts reduced his share from 47% to 27% and

6) Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009) $1.2 billion where the President-elect reduced his share to 10% and resignation as chairman of the board.

… Mr. Todd Ricketts, the pick for deputy commerce secretary, has an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion primarily from the brokerage service, Ameritrade, founded by Todd’s father.  Todd is the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and is CEO of Ending Spending, an organization “dedicated to educating and engaging American taxpayers about wasteful and excessive government spending,” according to its site.

… Mrs. Betsy DeVos, the pick for education secretary, is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the security firm Blackwater with >$1 billion in government contracts as of 2006, has an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion primarily from an organization many call a ‘pyramid-scheme’ the Amway Corporation with $9.5 billion in 2015 revenues, is an advocate for charter schools, an independently operated public school started by citizens and for-profit companies financed by tax dollars and private tax deductible donations.

… Mr. Wilbur Ross, the pick for commerce secretary, is chairman and chief strategist of WL Ross & Co. LLC, a company “founded in 1997 by professionals then at Rothschild, Inc., who were among the leaders in advising various constituencies in bankruptcies and workouts around the world, assisting in restructuring more than $200 billion of liabilities,” a wholly owned subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.  Wilbur has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion and is best known as the owner of the WV Sago coal Mine, where a dozen miners lost their lives in a 2006 explosion.

… and finally, Mrs. Linda McMahon, the pick for Small Business Administration, who is the former CEO of WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., and is the wife of promoter Vince McMahon.  Linda has an estimated $1.16 billion and donated $7 million earlier this year to a pro-Trump super PAC.

43,215,557

… on January 6th of this year, the USDA released it’s latest SNAP numbers which showed that 43,215,557 people received some form of government assistance to purchase food.  in order to qualify for food assistance, you must have an gross income of less than $26,000 a year for a family of 3.  so before they will even consider whether or not you can receive any assistance, a two-parent, one-child family can not make more than $2,166.67 per month, $500 per week, $12.50 per hour for a 40 hour work week for both adults combined.

… as we are talking about Gross income, so to figure out what Net income is you have to take out taxes.  for our purposes, let’s use this online calculator.  i currently reside in Virginia, so to qualify in my state, as a married father of 1 child making $26,000 per year, my take-home Net pay per week can be no more than $431.27 if i wish to even be considered for government food assistance.

  27

… in March of 2016, USA Today published an article called 27 giant profitable companies paid no taxesthis report shows that GM received a tax credit of $1,897,000,000 in 2015 even though they made >$7,718,000,000 in earnings over the same period.

… this list includes household names such as; United Continental $4.2 billion earnings, American Airlines $4.6 billion earnings, Hewlett-Packard $1.5 billion earnings, E*Trade $91 million earnings, Xerox $547 millions earnings, to name a few.

1,360,747

… in September of 2015 (the most current i could find), the government released a report that shows a reported 1,360,747 children in the public school system that are were “legally” homeless in this country in the 2013-2014 school year.

4

… according to Christianity Today, there will be 6 people of faith providing prayers for President-elect Trump’s inauguration.  in no particular order, they are;

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center which has net assets of $58,678,280 according to Charity Navigator.

… the owner and operator of the Impact Network is Bishop Wayne Jackson who reportedly lives in a 9.68-acre estate with 6-bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms, 1 par-3 golf hole, 1 bowling alley, and 1 wine tasting room.  the not-for-profit Impact Network reported $1,590,000 in revenues but $2,600,000 in expenditures during 2014 after reporting $1,600,000 in revenues but $2,030,000 in expenditures during 2013 – for a net loss of $1,400,000 for just those two years alone.

… Televangelist Paula White who is on her 3rd marriage to Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player for the rock band Journey, who is on his 4th marriage, has an estimated net worth of $5,000,000.

… son of famed evangelist, Billy Graham who has an estimated net worth in excess of $25,000,000, the Reverend Franklin Graham was reported to have received annual compensation of $880,000 in August of 2015, is the President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, a not-for-profit corporation with $304,563,557 in net assets.

… New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan with an estimated net worth of $5,000,000, lives in a 15,000 square foot mansion on Madison Avenue in Manhattan valued at $30,000,000.

… and the Reverend Dr. Samuel Rodriguez is the executive director of the Sacramento-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)  which the NHCLC website brags it is “”America’s largest Hispanic Evangelical organization.” CNN and Fox News named Rodriguez, “The leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement” and  NBC/Telemundo called him “America’s most influential Latino Evangelical leader

243,301,460

… according to a Gallup poll released in December of 2015, 75% of all 324,401,947 Americans identify themselves as “Christian.”

1

… the number of children who die every 4 seconds, 14 per minute, 21,000 per day, 7,600,000 every year …

… what are we doing?

 

… what are we supposed to do? …

… i have a confession to make.  for the last 8 years or so, i have been embarrassed to call myself a Christian and that i believe in the Bible.  it has nothing to do with how i believe a true follower of Christ should conduct their life and everything to do with how the people who loudly claim that they are Christians conduct their lives.  and it seems to be getting worse …

… let me explain …

… it was just about forty years ago that my 12-yr old mind understood and accepted the message of the gospel in it’s simplest of terms and i made a sincere commitment to study the message of the Bible and the teachings of the Man called Jesus the Christ.  over those years i have failed many, many times to keep that commitment, but i was sincere when i made it none the less.

… the message as i understood it then, and still basically do, is that God created everything we see and everything we can’t see which included the first man ‘Adam’, and his wife ‘Eve’.  Adam disobeyed God and sin came into the world and cursed it which required regular blood sacrifices to cover the sin, but God had a plan to send His Son into the world to live a sinless life and be sacrificed as the final blood sacrifice for all time.  if we have changed our minds and believe this, then we need to live our lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus in order to reestablish our relationship with God.

… the condensed version of how He taught us to live can be found in a comment from a conversation that Jesus had with His disciples on the night that He was betrayed, that is recorded in the book of John.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”” (John 13:34–35, ESV)

… and to fulfill that one and only commandment that is recorded that Jesus ever gave, He gave us a simple test to follow.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31, ESV)

… it is the simplicity of the Gospel message that makes it so relevant to me.

… KISS (keep it simple stupid)

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:3–4, NKJV)

… the message is simple.  if you believe, then you treat others how you want to be treated.  you love them.  simple.

… but something else seems to be happening now.

… now don’t get me wrong.  although i believe the message itself is simple, following it’s message is something else altogether.  it can be difficult and full of pain.  an amazing amount of people will come out against you for defending the weak and encouraging people to share with the needy – but i would want them to do that for me if i was in their shoes.

… the message of Christ is to give up on this world and it’s systems – to walk contrary to those systems by living ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ – what Jesus prayed for, where everything is free.  the world system, a system that fosters the ‘haves and the have nots’ syndrome by supporting a ‘greed over need’ philosophy is contrary to the teaching of a Man Who taught that we are to “give to everyone who asks.”(Luke 6:30)

… and we are told in the book of Acts that the first believers did exactly as Jesus told us to do.

And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:40–47, ESV)

… and again ..

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32, ESV)

… the message is the same that is has been throughout the history of the scriptures.  the prophets of old had the same message.  we are told that the Prophet Isaiah, around the year 720 BCE or so, spoke these words,

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:16–17, ESV)

… and then the Prophet Ezekiel, around the year 580 BCE or so, spoke this warning,

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, ESV)

… and now we have people who call themselves ‘christians’ who fight against the poor – who pass laws that make it illegal to be homeless.  people that call themselves apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers that live in mansions and drive luxury cars while in this country alone we have over 1,000,000 homeless schoolchildren.

.. so what should we do?

… in the book of Luke there is a passage about this crazy guy who is out in the desert near a river ‘preaching a baptism of repentance’ wearing a camel’s hair robe with a leather belt who ate locusts and wild honey.  now, ‘repentance’ simply means to ‘change your mind’ and ‘baptism’ means  ‘immersion, submersion’ from a word meaning ‘to wash.’  so his message was to ‘change your mind’ about the way you live your life, be ‘washed’ of the old way and ‘immersed’ in the new way.

… fine and dandy, but please just make this simple.  what should i do?

The crowds asked him, “What should we do?”

He answered them, “Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who doesn’t have any. Whoever has food should share it too.”

Some tax collectors came to be baptized. They asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
He told them, “Don’t collect more money than you are ordered to collect.”

Some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He told them, “Be satisfied with your pay, and never use threats or blackmail to get money from anyone.”” (Luke 3:10–14, GW)

… same simple message as all the prophets before.

… the ‘christian’ capitalist …

… on September 19, 2013, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al. appealed to the US Supreme Court to get an exemption to the law about supplying birth control to it’s employees as part of the Affordable Care Act, because of their strong ‘christian’ beliefs.  on June 27th of 2013, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that the billionaires David and Barbara Green and their huge corporation/family business, do not have to spend money on their employees insurance that they disagree with because of their belief in the teachings of Jesus, the Man called Christ.

cap•i•tal•ist \-ist\ noun
1781
1:      a person who has capital especially invested in business broadly: a person of wealth: PLUTOCRAT
2:      a person who favors capitalism

  cap•i•tal•ism \ˈka-pə-tə-ˌliz-əm, ˈkap-tə-, Britain also kə-ˈpi-tə-\ noun
1877: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

plu•toc•ra•cy \plü-ˈtä-krə-sē\ noun
plural -cies [Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; akin to Greek plein to sail, float] 1652
1:      government by the wealthy
2:      a controlling class of the wealthy—plu•to•crat \ˈplü-tə-ˌkrat\ noun—plu•to•crat•ic \ˌplü-tə-ˈkra-tik\ adjective—plu•to•crat•i•cal•ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

… the Greens are ‘capitalists’ and they call themselves ‘christians’, but is it actually possible to be both a follower of the teachings of Jesus and a proponent of a system of private/corporate ownership of ‘capital’ regardless of need?

Mr. David Green is the 81st greediest/richest man in the United States of America.  his chain of stores is over 600 of which he owns 100% and he has a net worth of over $6.4 billion USD.  Mr. Green is very religious and will tell you that his vast wealth is because of his belief in God and he is quick to give God the praise for his vast wealth.

.. Mr. Green is currently in the process of spending $400 million USD to build a museum to house his vast collection of biblical artifacts, and will gladly take your tax deductible donations to help him build it.  this $400 million dollar museum will house the following words in those Bibles;

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”” (Mark 10:21, NLT)

… but did Jesus actually mean that people should do what He said?

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”” (Matthew 7:24–27, NLT)

… but did anyone actually do what He said?  maybe He meant something else.

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” (Acts 2:44–45, NLT)

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” (Acts 4:32–35, NLT)

… every teaching of the Bible is anti-capitalist in it’s very nature.  if you follow the teachings of Jesus, you will not be a successful Capitalist, because a Capitalist gathers capital which is privately owned and leveraged to build more capital.  Jesus said,

Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (Luke 6:30–31, NLT)

… and you can’t get more anti-capitalist than this teaching,

And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. (Luke 6:34–35, NLT)

… if you can explain to me how it is possible to “give to anyone who asks.” “do to others as you would like them to do to you.” and “lend to them without expecting to be repaid” can fit into a ‘successful’ business model, i would love to see your plan.

… so the truth is, the phrase “capitalist christian” is just another oxymoron that the ignorant believe to be true..

.. but it’s not really a surprise, the Bible said that it would happen like this…

But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13, NLT)

… > 21,000 people die daily on this planet from starvation and nutrition issues alone.  would the Man called Jesus the Christ have stored up lots of money and made Himself rich?

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”” (Luke 12:16–21, NLT)

… birthright and Human Rights Day …

“Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.” –U.N. Human Rights Day

… today is the 66th International Human Right Day commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, something that First Lady and United States First Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a major campaigner for and champion of.

.. download your own pdf copy of the UniversalDeclarationOfHumanRights from the United Nations.

.. the following is an abbreviated version of
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the
Human Rights Resource Center at the University of Minnesota

Article 1 Right to Equality
Article 2 Freedom from Discrimination
Article 3 Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security
Article 4 Freedom from Slavery
Article 5 Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
Article 6 Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law
Article 7 Right to Equality before the Law
Article 8 Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
Article 9 Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
Article 10 Right to Fair Public Hearing
Article 11 Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty
Article 12 Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence
Article 13 Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
Article 14 Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution
Article 15 Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
Article 16 Right to Marriage and Family
Article 17 Right to Own Property
Article 18 Freedom of Belief and Religion
Article 19 Freedom of Opinion and Information
Article 20 Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Article 21 Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
Article 22 Right to Social Security
Article 23 Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
Article 24 Right to Rest and Leisure
Article 25 Right to Adequate Living Standard
Article 26 Right to Education
Article 27 Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Article 28 Right to a Social Order that Articulates this Document
Article 29 Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
Article 30 Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights

.. the Theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is:

Stand up for someone’s rights today!

… i believe that this theme is something we should adopt for an everyday motto and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is something we should all continue to strive for.  it is our birthright.

birthright

■ noun a particular right of possession or privilege that a person has from birth, especially as an eldest son.
▶      a natural or moral right, possessed by everyone

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

… by simple fact that you were born you should have all the rights that are associated with sustaining that life.

Article I
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

… we continue to strive to bring the right to exist to as many people as we can.  as part of our desire to help others achieve a peaceable existence free from need, we established the Children Should NOT be Slaves and Street Children Of Pakistan websites to raise awareness of the desperate needs of others.

… through Children Should NOT be Slaves we have paid off the debts of more than 7 families, setting more than 35 people free in the last year as well as purchased many needed items for the children slaves, such as shoes and clothing as well as items like soap.  we mostly pay for these things with personal funds we save by not having things like cable tv, but there are some people who donate as well through things like our holiday campaign.

Street Children of Pakistan was set up to help support a dear friend who runs an organization called Child Care Organization Pakistan in Faisalabad, Pakistan who works with the street children.  many of these children have been abandoned by their families, left to fend for themselves on the streets. we purchase food and clothing for the children, as well as send support for medical needs, and when we can come up with the money for food and medicine, we occasionally pay for burial expenses.

… within the United States of America, where i live, there are many, many homeless with abilities and desire to prosper, but no available chance to succeed.  in support of a friend on Facebook who started a group and page called Homeless EcoVille, we designed and launched a website and a sustainable plan to end homelessness using a sustainable EcoVillage model community as out goal.

… and we also donate to our local Food Not Bombs, our local branch of the international Food Not Bombs in support of free food for any who are in want.

… if you would like to join us, you can click on the links below.  100% of all contributions will go directly towards the needy group with no money being spent on administration and or advertising.

Children Should NOT be Slaves Street Children of Pakistan






Homeless EcoVille USA Food NOT Bombs Richmond, VA






… thank you for your support. i know how much it means to these, our brothers and sisters throughout the world.  so let’s continue to support the rights of our brothers and sisters to exist in peace, in whatever part of the world they may lay their heads at night….

… the Golden Rule – or – what’s up with Standing Rock?

The Doctrine of Discovery

In fourteen-hundred and ninty-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”, so began a rhyme i learned in my childhood to remember the year that a European man, Christopher Columbus, ‘discovered’ America.  of course as an adult i learned that this is much more like an American myth than reality, but the year 1492 was full of interesting facts.

… on January 2nd of 1492, Abu `Abdallah Muhammad XII, surrendered Granada to the Catholic Monarchs of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, aka Kingdom of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, ending the Nasrids dynasty, the longest lasting Muslim dynasty in Spain, which lasted from 1212 to 1492, an event that Columbus wrote that he watched happen.

… on April 17th of 1492 Christopher Columbus signed a contract with the Kingdom of Spain to find the Indies, just 17 days after the Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand issued the Alhambra Decree which expelled all Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.

… on August 3rd of 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail with the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María from Palos de la Frontera, Spain, in search of the “Indies.”

.. on October 12th of 1492, Christopher Columbus makes landfall on a Caribbean island which he names ‘San Salvador,’ believing he had reached East Asia, 10 days after King Henry VII of England invaded France on October 2nd.

.. on October 14th of 1492, Christopher Columbus left San Salvador, arriving and naming and claiming Santa Maria of Concepcion on the 14th, Fernandina on the 16th, Isabela on the 19th, Dominican Republic on the 25th before ‘discovering’ Cuba and claiming it for Spain on October 28th, while 24 Jews were being burned at the stake by the Christians in Mecklenburg, Germany on October 24th.

.. after learning about maize (corn) on November 5th and tobacco on November 15th from the natives of Cuba, Christopher Columbus goes on to ‘discover’ Hispaniola Haiti on December 5th before running aground and sinking the Santa Maria on the 25th and establishing the 1st Spanish settlement in the ‘New World’, La Navidad on the 26th, 5 days before 100,000 Jews were expelled from Sicily on December 31st.

… when just reading through those highlights, you begin to wonder what gave Christopher Columbus the authority to ‘discover, name and claim’ lands that are already occupied?  what rights did the people who lived in those lands have to live the way that they wanted to?  how about today?

… well, in 1455, 37 years before Columbus ‘discovered’ the ‘New World’, Pope Nicholas V issued a Papal Bull which gave ‘Christians’ the right to ‘invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue’ any non-christian lands and ‘to convert them to his and their use and profit.’  and what of the people?  well those non-christians were to be placed in ‘perpetual slavery.’  this is known as the Doctrine of Discovery.

The Bull Romanus Pontifex (Nicholas V), January 8, 1455.

“We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit — ” P. de Noxeto. (Pope Nicholas V.)

… and so you might so ‘so what.  what does that have to do with us today, 2016, and what could it possibly have to do with the Hunkpapa Lakota, Sihasapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota Standing Rock Reservation in the US States of North and South Dakota?

Johnson v. M’Intosh

… the Doctrine of Discovery, which is based on Papal Bulls of the 1400’s, is part of US law, per the US Supreme Court landmark decision in the 1823 case of Johnson & Graham’s Lessee v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. 8 Wheat. 543 543.  Chief Justice John Marshall, in writing for the unanimous court, wrote on Page 21 U.S. 576-577,

“No one of the powers of Europe gave its full assent to this principle more unequivocally than England. The documents upon this subject are ample and complete. So early as the year 1496, her monarch granted a commission to the Cabots to discover countries then unknown to Christian people and to take possession of them in the name of the King of England. Two years afterwards, Cabot proceeded on this voyage and discovered the continent of North America, along which he sailed as far south as Virginia. To this discovery the English trace their title.

In this first effort made by the English government to acquire territory on this continent we perceive a complete recognition of the principle which has been mentioned. The right of discovery given by this commission is confined to countries “then unknown to all Christian people,” and of these countries Cabot was empowered to take possession in the name of the King of England. Thus asserting a right to take possession notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and at the same time admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery.

The same principle continued to be recognized. The charter granted to Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1578 authorizes him to discover and take possession of such remote, heathen, and barbarous lands as were not actually possessed by any Christian prince or people. This charter was afterwards renewed to Sir Walter Raleigh in nearly the same terms.

By the charter of 1606, under which the first permanent English settlement on this continent was made, James I granted to Sir Thomas Gates and others those territories in America lying on the seacoast between the 34th and 45th degrees of north latitude and which either belonged to that monarch or were not then possessed by any other Christian prince or people. The grantees were divided into two companies at their own request. The first or southern colony was directed to settle between the 34th and 41st degrees of north latitude, and the second or northern colony between the 38th and 45th degrees.”

… and so today, as part of US law, the land that was stolen from the natives, and then claimed by the ‘good christians’ of the US Government ‘legally’ belongs to the ‘christian government,’ and the natives are allowed to live there.  that is why the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie has never been followed, nor the 1868 Treaty resulting in the 1877 Congressional act which removed the sacred Black Hills from the reservation and the taking of Lake Oahe in 1958.

1_1851-treaty-lands

6_current-sioux-lands

.. another thing i learned as a child was the ‘Golden Rule’ which was a principle taught by the man called Christ and many others throughout time.  the way i was taught it was ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’  this is a long way from the teachings of the American christianity which says ‘the man with the most gold makes the rules.’