Go down to the palace of the king and declare, “Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” —Jeremiah 22:1, 3
The primary role of religion and spirituality is to reconnect, the very meaning of the Latin word religio. The Greek word polis—which led to the word politics—simply means city or public forum, where people come together. Why have religion and politics become so antagonistic when they have similar goals?
The Hebrew prophets and Jesus clearly modeled engagement with both faith and the public forum. However, unlike its Jewish forbears, in its first two thousand years Christianity has kept its morality mostly private, personal, and heaven-bound with very few direct implications for our collective economic, social, or political life. Politics and religion remained in two different realms, unless religion was uniting with empires. Christianity looked to Rome and Constantinople for imperial protection; little did we realize the price we would eventually pay for such a compromise with Gospel values.
“Separation of church and state” is important to safeguard freedom of religion and ensure that governments are not dominated by a single religion’s interests. But that does not mean people of faith should not participate in politics. Today many believe that “inner work” is the purview of spirituality and that we should leave the “outer world” to politicians, scientists, businesses, and workers. Most of the negative feedback I receive is “Don’t get political!”
Yet how can I read the Bible and stay out of politics? Again and again (approximately 2,000 times!) Scripture calls for justice for the poor. The Gospel is rather “socialist” in its emphasis on sharing resources and caring for those in need.
Like it or not, politics (civic engagement) is one of our primary means of addressing poverty and other justice issues. I am not talking about partisan politics here, but simply connecting the inner world with the outer world. As a result of our dualistic thinking, the word “partisan” has come to be synonymous with the word “political.” And so many church-goers do not want to hear the Gospel preached—as it might sound political!
To be a faith leader is to connect the inner and outer worlds. In the United States’ not-so-distant-past, Christians were at the forefront of political and justice movements to abolish slavery, support women’s suffrage, protect civil rights, and establish and maintain Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Today I am encouraged to see many of my Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist brothers and sisters actively engaged with the political realm, speaking truth to power, and holding our political leaders accountable. Being political is a basic civic, human, and spiritual duty!
‘An elite network of white dudes changing the world.’ -Samantha Bee
Ian Millhiser, a legal policy analyst at the progressive Center for American Progress: noted. The movement simply continues to build up new talent in the off-years.
“What the Federalist Society does really well, is it identifies that really really right-wing kid at Harvard Law School who is legitimately talented and who will do horrible things to the law but will do it very competently because they’re a very talented lawyer,” added Millhiser. “And they identify those people, and from the beginning of their career, give them opportunities, help them find those clerkships, help them network.”
The Federalist Society is one of the most powerful and unique organizations in the conservative orbit, describing itself as “a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order.”
Throughout its history, the group, founded in 1982 at Yale Law School, has prided itself on not explicitly taking policy positions on issues but rather creating the conditions in which conservative legal ideas can be debated and thrive. This year, the conference takes place in an environment that is perhaps more amenable to these ideas than at any time in recent years.
The Federalist Society will soon have a 5–4 stranglehold on the Supreme Court.
[Slate, Lawrence Baum & Neal Devins]
In appointing a Federalist justice, DT will be sealing a deal between Republican presidents and the conservative legal movement. In effect, that deal began in 1985. Under the leadership of Attorney General Edwin Meese, the Department of Justice in Ronald Reagan’s second term sought aggressively to advance conservative goals in the judiciary. By hiring staffers on the basis of ideological commitment, Meese sought to groom young conservative lawyers who would later become federal court judges. The Federalist Society—established as a law student group in 1982—was an important component of this strategy; it enabled Meese and others in the administration to identify promising candidates for significant government posts. Meese hired the society’s founders as special assistants and tapped Stephen Markman, who headed the Washington chapter of the Federalist Society, to become the assistant attorney general in charge of judicial selection.
Unlike DT’s finalists, Kennedy was not associated with the Federalist Society or the conservative legal movement. His voting record bears this out. Kennedy took moderate to liberal positions on some highly visible issues. He voted to reaffirm Roe v. Wade in 1992 and ruled against Texas’ stringent abortion regulations in 2016.
With the appointment of a new justice, the Republican majority on the court will be composed of justices who have risen through the ranks of the conservative legal movement and who are committed to the ideals of that movement. It will truly be the Federalist Society’s court.
How Mister Rogers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Identical Triplets Became Box Office Stars
“This summer has been especially rewarding for documentaries. ‘Three Identical Strangers’ comes on the heels of a pair of sleeper hits, ‘RBG’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.'”
“It’s a rare summer where one documentary has already crossed the $10 million mark and a second non-fiction film is close behind. It’s even possible ‘Three Identical Strangers’ could complete the trifecta.”
Why it matters: “In a news cycle that seems to be perpetually depressing, all signs point to escapism in explaining the box office surge. These films focus on a different kind of counterprogramming, one where hope, sincerity, and reassurance are at the forefront.
And I dreamed I was dying And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly And looking back down at me Smiled reassuringly And I dreamed I was flying And high up above my eyes could clearly see The Statue of Liberty Sailing away to sea And I dreamed I was flying We come on the ship they call the Mayflower We come on the ship that sailed the moon We come in the age’s most uncertain hour and sing an American tune But it’s all right, it’s all right You can’t be forever blessed Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day And I’m trying to get some rest That’s all I’m trying to get some rest.
”…it’s about caring for our shared world, lest we let it sleep away through inattention and neglect. […] The active threats to that world have multiplied many times over. There’s a new urgency about paying attention and responding to what we see. The Powers that Be are intent on ‘disappearing’ so much that million of Americans care about—pristine wilderness, clean air and water, affordable health care for all, the social safety net, and mutual respect in the midst of diversity.”
Parker Palmer/On Being
What can a person do to help bring back the world?
We have to watch it and then look at a each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully save it, like a bubble that can disappear
Reclaiming this nation starts with reclaiming our attention.
The next time you open up the newspaper or sit down in front of your computer or open an app on your phone to inform yourself about the day’s news, take a moment to set an intention of reading majority non-DT-related news. If you do read a piece related to him, attempt to privilege the information that is about his actions, not his style. When you are in a conversation with someone and it veers down the path of deconstructing something DT has said, intentionally steer it away. Take something you learned while de-prioritizing him and offer it up to your conversation partner. Be part of the solution — highlighting the world around us that has been deeply and poisonously overshadowed by the political climate of the last year and more.
Media obviously has a role to play here, but so do all of us. Our consumption patterns determine what media producers focus on during the next cycle. What we talk about with our friends, neighbors, families all contribute to either feeding or starving this obsession with big politics, as opposed to science, art, our communities, and so much more.
I’m not advocating for disengagement. There’s never been a more important time, at least in my lifespan, for citizens to lean in hard to our duty — to be aware, to be awake, to take action. But obsessing over tweets doesn’t count as civic duty. It’s rubbernecking, not awareness building, and it’s making us feel more disconnected than ever before. Reclaiming this nation starts with reclaiming our attention, our daily media practices, our everyday conversations.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (age 99) and a chat with the San Francisco Chronicle
Q: What’s the last poem you wrote?
A: It was published in the Nation magazine. It’s called “Trump’s Trojan Horse”: “Homer didn’t live long enough/ To tell of Trump’s Trojan Horse/ From which all the president’s men/ Burst out in the White House to destroy democracy/ And institute absolute rule by corporations/ Bow down, oh Common Man/ Bow down!”
Ferlinghetti’s activist voice has not softened. When speaking about President Trump, he is unequivocal: “Trump is an evil man,” he says. “He’s so dangerous. I think you’ve got to take this man seriously. I think he’s out to destroy democracy.”
Q: Why San Francisco?
A: The first thing I realized, there was no bookstore to become the locus for the literary community. It’s really important if you’re going to have a literary community, it has to have a locus. It just can’t be out there in the air. So, from the very beginning, when we started City Lights in June 1953, the idea was to make it a locus for the new literary community that had developed out of the Berkeley Renaissance, so called, and it proved to be true. People just flocked to it because there had been no locus for the literary life.
“This is the often-quoted phrase engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. For more than a century, the statue with its inscription has been a beacon of hope for immigrants — many without “merit” — who have fled to our shores, seeking a better life in our country.
We would do well to reflect on what this inscription means to us and what the Statue of Liberty represents before we give our assent to building walls, limiting immigration to favored foreigners and kicking Dreamers out of our country.”
The times in which we’re living are dramatic and unstable, yet pregnant with new possibilities for a future released from the shackles of fear.
At a time when fear and hatred have been turned into a political force, is it possible to harness the powers of love and decency for political purposes as well?
Our task is to create a new, whole-person politics, breaking free of a paradigm based on a decidedly outdated view of the world and embracing a more enlightened understanding of our relation to the universe. We need a deeper, multi-dimensional understanding of our national story: where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go now.
As with other extraordinary times in our history — from our Founding to Abolition to Women’s Suffrage to the Civil Rights era — it is time once again to break free of an old way of being and embrace a new story going forward. As in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “… we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
I will be touring the country this year, discussing how a revolution in consciousness paves the way to both personal and national renewal. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” Let’s embrace the possibility of both.
Full Moon is Sunday, December 3 at 8:46AM Mountain Standard Time (MST).
‘This Super Moon is an opportunity for a good reality check and a time to tell the truth about what you know to be true, not what someone else tells you is true, but what you, yourself know. It is a good day to discuss and share dreams of the future, intentions, solutions to problems, and everything you can imagine for yourself. A full moon is always expansive. Use the expansiveness to fuel your imagination and creativity but do not get scattered.
As the theme for December is UPGRADE, this is also a good time to make an inventory of what you wish to upgrade. The decisions to change something in your life will use this full moon energy to take hold and begin the process. Try not to spend time in frustration or disappointment in self or others as you make your list. Be neutral. Negative feelings about what needs to change are never useful. Think instead about how fabulous the upgrade will be. Spend some time in nature today and begin putting some practices in place to open your senses.
Mercury has gone retrograde and it is best if you are fairly well organized with your schedule for the next three weeks (with room for flexibility of course).’
The theme for this new moon is creating positive change out of challenging circumstances.
Anything that has been a hardship for you, and can be seen as a negative experience, can be used as a powerful agent to shift into something new. This is a new moon and will support anything new. Take the pieces of the old, whether an old dream, an old life, or challenging lesson, and use the power of those experiences to fuel what wants to emerge from the ashes.
It is a time where healing that comes from a shift in attitude and reaction is on the table. We may be triggered again, the same way were were during the time of the eclipse (actual trigger point on November 20). So take advantage of the opportunity to reset what needs it. As you turn the soil of our life, focus more on the gifts and inspiration you are discovering that what you regret or feel bad about. Do a practice every day from now until the solicit on December 21st of dreaming an improved life.