Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother’s Day!

Women’s rights are part of being human. Rights are natural. Why is it that we have to “fight” for our rights? The organization for civilization has not been civil. Please look at this view of history for herstory.

Julian of Norwich
Julian was born in 1342, a contemporary of Chaucer and believed to be the first woman to write a book in Middle English, Revelations of Divine Love. She lived well into her seventies, experiencing the turmoil of the Hundred Years’ War, three outbreaks of the Black Plague, the Peasants’ Revolt, the Great Western Schism and gale winds of hurricane force.”

“When she was thirty, Julian experienced a desperate illness during which she witnessed dramatic, mystical visions which healed her and radically changed her. She wrote extensively of these “showings” for the rest of her life. Thomas Merton proclaimed her the “greatest theologian for our time.””


Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) lived after the Norman Conquest. It was during the Hundred Years’ War, when the kings of England were fighting to claim the crown for France.  It was a time of turmoil, but the competition for the claim was not explicitly religious. It was largely economic.
It was after the consolidation of the Church with papal authority in the west. It was before the Protestant reformation of the sixteenth century, but the Lollard movement was gaining force. The Lollards grew in size with the work of John Wycliffe.

The movement opposed a number of practices of the Roman Catholic Church. It was prompted by the translation of the bible into English. It was characterized by anti-ritual and anti-clerical postures that were supported by John of Gaunt, father to Henry IV; Henry deposed Richard II Gaunt’s nephew. Monastic holdings were being viewed as a source of revenue for the selection of the next “suitable war.”

Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches still oppose the claim to papal supremacy that is ascribed to Gregory the Great (540-604).  The “first phase” of the claim is based on his debate with Eutychius, as patriarch of Constantinople. It is claimed [without substantiation] that Eutychius had argued that the resurrected body of Christ would no longer be “palpable.”  Gregory argued for palpability.

Gregory’s papacy (590-604) included a period where the papal office claimed public authority in government. It was during a period when the Lombards were attacking Rome. Constantinople refused to send military support. He established alms for the people.  
Papal supremacy claims authority over secular power and other Christian leadership. It was used to orchestrate the crusades and the inquisition. Opposition to papal supremacy [and the yet to be added infallibility] is comparable to that of manifest destiny.

Free government cannot be imposed by military force. When military force is used, government is not elected by the people. Faith in a loving God cannot be forced by claims to supremacy or infallibility. War, violence, cruelty and usury impair free will.
The Avignon papacy had been instituted in 1309 after the crowning of Louis X as King of France in 1305.

There was Gallican opposition to papal supremacy in France. The Gallican articles would eventually declare that the pope did not have authority over secular power; that ecclesiastical power supersedes papal authority; the papacy must defer to regional custom and papal decrees must be adopted by the church for recognition.

Julian of Norwich was not a princess. She was not of noble birth according to aristocratic claim to the throne. She was a layperson; an anchorite; who devoted her life to prayer and simple living. While she described herself as “unlettered” her writing about the revelations to her shows evidence of having read or heard some influential written works.
Julian had written:  “And in this dying was brought to my mind the words of Christ: I thirst.
For I saw in Christ a double thirst: one bodily; another spiritual...”

The “bodily” dimension for Christ is the role that religion plays in politics. People do not have to belong to the same religion as the political leader. People of religion however have a voice in representing what decisions are made in civil authority. Freedom of religion then allows free exercise and prohibits the establishment of a state religion by government.

 Ultimately, civil and human rights are the driving force for government. Rights are the common concern for religion and government.  Debate is necessary for forming the best decisions.  Debate has to be reasonable however in order to be functional.

Knowledge of history has often been used to repeat errors from the past. Karl Popper, a professor of philosophy at the London School for Economics, called this use of knowledge “historicism.” The elitist model for the economy, agriculture, politics and education has been used to impose dictatorship on society with tyranny.

The establishment of religion by the state was an intricate part of the brain washing of people into compliance. The basic assertion that God rules creation for the peace and benefit of all was twisted to mean that the dictator is the Creator by means of destruction and oppression.

The threat of attack by alien agents had been used to elicit alliance to fight against the “enemy” with war. Some empires had used war and genocide in an effort to destroy the “threat” of opposition. Support from people had been coerced by the claim that war is necessary for peace and security (for the alliance of kingdoms known as empire “under” the king of kings).

How is faith in the bodily resurrection of Christ supposed to deal with this historicism? Civic government has to be civil in order to achieve civility in building civilization. The role for religion then is NOT to endorse concession to the force of tyranny as perpetuated by elitism (this ascribes absolute power to an individual human being).

Religion is to teach morality so each citizen can choose to live ethically (like your mother taught you). How is that different from concession to forced compliance? Opposition to war, genocide, murder, violence, cruelty, usury and oppression is required. The commandment against killing is a categorical imperative against evil action. While opposition to evil is a condition for loving others, it is the external proof for love.
Has the US with the bill of rights been a bastion for civility? Experientially, the great society was an exercise in corrective action. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy had extended the claim to civil rights, the proper province for manifest destiny, to “the people.”

President Lyndon Johnson had directed the nation into a greater concern for civility with the plan for the great society, but there was a concession to disrespect for human rights in the escalation of involvement of US forces with “boots on the ground” in Viet Nam.
The extension of concern for civility increased the amount of investment that was placed into social security and education, but it was an investment that was beneficial for society, not just the elite. Why question a nation that has the goal of government by the people as a constitutional element?

Look at this aspect of American history. Consider what Sen. Calhoun of SC had to say about manifest destiny in 1848.
"W]e have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race. To incorporate Mexico, would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the Government of a white race.... We are anxious to force free government on all; and I see that it has been urged … that it is the mission of this country to spread civil and religious liberty over all the world, and especially over this continent. It is a great mistake."

Calhoun's definition of the US is racist, but his protest against the use of military force in imposing manifest destiny was valid. It also has to be noted that the bill of rights for that time was racist AND sexist. Only white male landowners could vote.
White women and people of color could not. Children were defined as slaves. Slavery was still legal. The argument against forcing free government on others however is something western expansionists have to use to re-think what had been regarded as acceptable in coalition alliance.

Compare the percentage of native Americans to native Mexicans to get an idea of how racist the development of the USA has been.

It is estimated that only 0.9% of the US population is indigenous. That is less than 1%!

Native Mexicans weigh in at 13% of the population.

Calhoun's estimate of "Indians" in the Mexican population was probably overstated, but the contrast of US and Mexican populations for natives puts the US to shame.

Our record of respect for civil and human rights is disgraceful. It took Lyndon Johnson's great society to bring about a change in respect. It is a change that needs to be reinstituted for our society, but sending the military anywhere on the planet to force regime change for violations of human rights is exactly what the world does not need.
The ideals expressed in the bible hold a vital potency for civility anywhere. Opposition to cruelty has to be regarded as a part of “doing no harm” for the benefit of civilization in the world.

The following re-write expresses faith that the Creator has invested goodness into the design for nature. Our job is to find the design.

from Psalm 97
Let the earth rejoice.
Let the islands be glad.
Let the waters be happy.

The LORD shines.
The clouds tremble.
The sea sends out her sound.
Clouds echo with radiance for justice.
The ocean hugs shores for comfort.
The islands sing silence to the pounding pulse
of her surging down.

Star fire burns without extinction.
Goodness consumes shadows of substance;
deliberately expressing statements to be found.
Lightning lights the earth.
The world hides under darkness.
The thunder rumbles around.

Mountains melt like wax as radiant rays
blast trees standing their ground.
Shadows follow to unify forest.
The heavens declare righteousness.
People see glory with light.
The world understands nothing without sight.

Let the earth rejoice.
Let the islands be glad.
Let the waters be happy.
Zion feels sadness.
The cities praise civility.
Your judgments stand out in time.

You are the LORD most high.
You shine over all the earth.
You are exalted from the heavens.
You love those who respect others.
You preserve those who live with respect for life.
You abhor war, violence, cruelty,
killing, destruction and usury.

Light shines for the righteous.
Joyful gladness radiates from hearts for love.
The LORD shines from the heights
so our light may shine for others
like islands of sight for the sky.
Let the earth rejoice.
Let the islands be glad.
Let the waters be happy.

Rejoice in the LORD for being.
Give thanks for your thinking with singing
to his holy Name.  ;-)

“Gaunt granite climbs where gulls wheel and glide
Mournfully glide o'er my island…”

“Islands join hands
'Neathe heaven's sea.”

Stand united for love.
Steve K.


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