Like a Beverly: The Weight

Click HERE for Part One or Click HERE for Part TWO

The plane touched down shortly before midnight.  Or maybe it was a little after 11pm? I’m not sure– I was exhausted and everything felt blurry after my 20 minute cat nap on my 60 minute flight.

All that aside, I was in Atlanta!

Peace up A town down!

Beverly had insisted that I give her a ring upon arriving at the airport despite my repeated protestation that it would be SUPER late by the time my plane touched down.   I called her and her excitement was not only audible but it gave me the little boost I needed to make my way over to baggage claim (lack of overheard storage space resulted in my carry on– which lacked adequate black girl hair products– to be stowed away beneath the plane presumably next to other bags that carried way more than 3.4 FL ounces of leave in conditioner.)

Bag in hand, I started walking in the direction of the rental car hub located at the other side of the airport.  After about 20 minutes of walking — and the sinking realization that I had quite a ways to go — I promptly boarded the nearest shuttle to help expedite the process.  I’d find out later that the airport was 3 miles across and that the shuttle wasn’t just decoration.

20 hours later- on the shuttle!

Once I had the keys to the rental car it occurred to me that I didn’t have directions to the hotel. (Did I mention the part where I’m not exactly good at traveling and that my “smart” phone is so smart that I don’t know how to use its GPS system?)   Mike helped me navigate my way to Decatur, Georgia where our hotel was located, via the magic of the telephone and the ability to drive while on speaker phone.

Estimated Time: Super, duper late.

I was up early the next day to meet Beverly at church.  She gave me the address for the church she regularly frequents– a small establishment that she sometimes performs at– with a service that started at 11:30am.

I gave myself ample time to pull together a church appropriate outfit and to– given my poor sense of navigational direction– get lost a few times with some time to spare.

Church appropriate?

I got into the car, cell phone GPS in hand, and punched in the address of the church only to find that the location didn’t register on the GPS.

No big deal! The street did! Plus, I had the church name!

I googled the church name only to find that the church didn’t exist on the internet.  Beverly had mentioned that it was a small church but I guess my 21st Century brain didn’t consider the possibility that, small church or not, it wouldn’t have a website and a corresponding twitter and instagram account.

On top of that Beverly didn’t have a cell phone and since I’d checked in with her right before she left for church I knew she wasn’t home to receive calls on her home phone either.

I punched the street name into the GPS and proceeded to spend the next three hours following a whim hoping to strike gold.

No dice.

So much for my magic cellphone…

I thought back on some of our initial conversations from a few months earlier. Church had always been a cornerstone of Beverly’s upbringing in Commerce, Georgia.  When I asked her who introduced her to the blues she answered definitively:

Jesus.

She told me about going to church with her own family “back in them days”– and getting there via a horse pulled wagon just like Little House on the Prairie.

Maud was the name of her family’s Sunday horse.

Beverly recalled Her Grandmother’s dinners on the first Sundays of August and how her Granddaddy would take some straw out to the horses to keep them occupied during service. Church, family and music were all central to her childhood.  In fact music was introduced to her by her Aunts who played together and called themselves The Hayes Sisters. Her aunt Mary Margette gifted her her first guitar when she was 8 years old. It was a toy guitar– a far stretch from the Fender Mustang “Red Mama” that she’d come to write a song about decades later.

You’ve gotta start somewhere and Beverly started young.  It’d be years still before her Aunt Bishie would buy her a trumpet so she could play in the school band at Archer High School.  Beverly would tell me

I’ll never forget she paid 90 dollars for it.

Beverly went on to play third trumpet and learn the fundamentals of music from her teacher, Clark Taylor.  She’d acknowledge that this foundation proved helpful once the time came to hit the road with Piano Red:

I knew how to play all different types of chords; sharps, majors minors and just on and on.

Beverly knows her guitar inside and out– and beyond that she loves her guitars.  Not only does she name them all– but on the road, if she so happens to find herself in a motel room with two beds, without hesitation one of those beds goes to her guitars.

On the road myself– driving aimlessly throughout Atlanta, rounding my third hour of trying to find Beverly’s church– I started feeling disheartened.

Church was definitely over and given my propensity to perpetually think that people are mad at me (this is a thing that I do) I felt terrible knowing that I’d come all this way to hang out with Beverly and I’d inadvertently left her hanging at the altar.

I hesitated to give up.

There are churches every other block in Atlanta– and despite knowing it was a long shot, I pulled over to a man selling pumpkin pies on the street and asked him for help.

He effusively ticked off about a half a dozen other churches I should check out with more joy than seemed necessary.  It occurred to me that this perfect stranger was not only willing but eager to help me for no other reason than I was someone to be helped. I bought a HUGE and delicious slice of pie from him for $2 and finally came to appreciate that church wasn’t in the cards that day.

Solid way to spend 2 dollars

At that point I felt tired and a little defeated. I stopped by a coffee shop called Kavarna and figured I’d spend some time writing and getting caffeinated.

It was only after about an hour that I realized that this venue specialized in musical acts and that this whole time I had in fact been sitting on a stage.

Later that afternoon I made my way to a pizza shop for a super awesome slice of pineapple and bacon and red pepper pizza and a beer.

Pizza!

I finally reached Beverly after periodically contacting her throughout the afternoon well after 6pm.

She was bummed I missed a good service but she wasn’t mad at me (phew) and we made new plans to meet at the hospital the next morning.

While sitting in the pizza shop, my favorite song from The BandThe Weight– came on blaring through the stereo system:

Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

I’ll never forget watching Levon Helm, The Band’s drummer, sing this song during my first viewing of The Last Waltz (I’ve since watched it a zillion times) and thinking “Man, I want to be able to do that.”

He sang lead vocals behind his kit and his performance was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

I took up drums shortly thereafter.

Beyond being an epic song that changed my life– and beyond Mavis Staples’ chill inducing rendition of the second verse– I loved the words.

I love the sense of being bombarded with really smart words that simultaneously mean something and manage to say all of the things.

Take a load off, Fanny.

It sure made sense to me.

Teamwork makes the dream work and yet for some reason while we philosophize about the American dream — and insist that we’re only as strong as the weakest among us — we rarely offer to carry Fanny’s load.  Shared struggle means actually sharing in the struggle, showing up and being there.

I’d only known Beverly for about 6 months when she told me she was having a procedure to remove her brain aneurysm.  Upon hearing this I immediately knew I wanted to be there if only to help carry the load.

There’s little I could do beside show up and hope that it was enough to help. I hear, back in them days, it used to be more like this.  In fact, Beverly told me so:

What would happen is they would get together and they would help each other.  See, in the country it’s still like that.  If one person got sick in the house or something they would go and help that person. It’s not like that, this generation, these times it’s not like that.  I still go back.  I think back in my times.

Take a load off, Fanny.

I was up thinking pretty late that night feeling all the emotions.  Nervous and scared, sure, but mostly optimistic and grateful.

We’ve all been Fanny at some point in our lives– and for today, Beverly was someone to be helped and I was in a position be there to say: Put the load right on me.

 

Previous Entries: 

Like a Beverly: Starting Somewhere

Like a Beverly: Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Let’s Go to Charlotte! 

Priests: Santeria is Rx to Heal Hugo Chavez

Santeria is pretty awesome. Santeria and other West Africa Diasporic Religions, also called ATR (African Traditional Religion), are fluid, adaptable, and from my perspective, effective, so Hugo Chavez might do well to heed the words of the Cuban babalawo (priests) who in their annual New Year “Letter of the Year” recommended that the Venezuelan President seek them out. Lazaro Cuesta, one of the babalawo said their priests are willing:

Whichever house he knocks upon, I expect he will receive the help he requires.

From the perspective of Santeria, Cuesta was referring not only to physical domiciles of the priests, but also to the casas (houses or worship) of the orisha, the Afro-Cuban gods, and the various lineages within each orisha’s worship, with their own initiated priest.

Chavez is currently in Cuba recovering from surgery for cancer; the type of cancer has not been reported. The babalawo will not perform a healing ritual for Chavez unless they are asked. Technically, someone aside from Chavez could ask for his healing, in the same way that Masses can be offered for someone by another.

Eleggua is the road opener and the messenger of the gods, and is syncreticized with Jesus, especially in the aspect of  the Infant of Atocha, and thus his altars often are decorated with toys and games, as well as the traditional rum and cigars. San Lazaro/St. Lazarus represents Babalú-Ayé, the orisha in charge of health and disease, especially epidemics, cancer, HIV/AIDS.

Tripp Palin Would Make Perfect Chick-fil-A Spokesperson. And There’s a Same-Sex Kiss-In. Oh Heck, Make a Chicken Fritter Sammie at Home

Sarah Palin’s only grandson–the spawn of failing reality television arriviste Bristol Palin and fellow Wasillabilly fame-scrambler Levi Johnston–three-and-a half year old Tripp Palin called his Aunt Willow a word beginning with F  (either a usually pejorative term for gay men, from the English schoolboy slang for a younger boy who does errands for older students; or the Anglo-Saxon verb for copulation. A production exec who claims he was in the room and watching the video feed pre-bleep claims the latter). Tripp also says

I hate you.

A lot.

With his pedigree and language skills, the adorable, yet poorly disciplined tot would be the perfect replacement for the Muppets who have stepped away from their gig as Chick-fil-A spokespmodels in light of the corporate fowl fryer’s ‘tude. CEO Dan Cathy said:

But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”

(Jesus was never quoted in the Gospels as calling LGBT sinners, or defining how people should behave in the privacy of their bedrooms. Jesus overturned all the Old Testament rules–except the Ten Commandments, one could argue–allowing those who believe in him to wear blended fabrics, get tattoos and eat bacon. Paul, who came along after Jesus ascended to Heaven and never knew him, as those to whom Gospels are attributed did, is an interpreter and evangelical rather than a firsthand-ish reporter whose stories where compiled after the fact.)

Burt and Ernie’s pals are standing up for everyone, gay and straight, who is appalled by Chick-fil-A, and not just because of the utterly vile, sub-literate spelling of

filet.

While the word may sound like a sexualized pun rhyming with gay

fill-lay

spelling it

fil-A

is neither cute nor clever. Just stupid.

The company’s dumbing of America continues with their economic war on LGBT via the Chick-fil-A charitable arm WinShape (as if dining on Chick-fil-A  gives you a winning shape) donating close to $2million to anti-LGBT groups, beyond the marriage equality battles:

In 2009 alone, WinShape donated $1,733,699 to multiple anti-gay groups:

  • Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $240,000
  • Focus On The Family: $12,500
  • Eagle Forum: $5,000
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000

[Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Mike Huckabee–who has been beating his breast about the abuse  Chick-fil-A has suffered at the hands of the media and the Muppets while ignoring the loathing and lack of equality funded by the food chain–has declared August 1st “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and via Facebook his media onslaught is encouraging people to eat the cholesterol-dense, high-sodium, sugared, MSG-laden fast food. Because he loves America.

There’s also a push to make August 3 National Same-Sex Kiss-In Day at Chick-fil-A, which has some pros and cons. First of all, same sex couples would have to go inside a Chick-fil-A. And all us straight people can do is either find a willing co-kisser, enter a Chick-fil-A to applaud the kiss-in, or keep boycotting some place where we’d never eat anyway.

And if you’ve been wondering what you might be missing by never sampling a gay-hating, heart and soul destroying fast food sammich, here are two chemical-free versions you can try at home,  very gay friendly. But still fried after being battered with  sugar and salt. Part of me thinks natural ice cream might be healthier.

Johnny Depp Puts Jesus Back in Xmas, Conservative Christians Angry

Conservative Christians should be  in the throes of religious ecstasy, tongues aflame with glossolalia in praise of Johnny Depp for putting the Christ back in Christmas with a new song hitting the charts just in time to celebrate the virgin birth of God Incarnate.

“Jesus Stag Night Club,” which Depp performs with Babybird is  a touching rock ballad about finding Jesus. In a strip club. While drinking. And stealing a car. Before dying on top of a church steeple tied to the weather vane by one ankle.

It’s a great witness for Jesus who hung out with criminals and prostitutes and whose gospel stresses the importance of finding Christ and accepting him as Lord and Savior before death.  But party-pooping Protestants (the Papists have yet to weigh in) are offended that  Jesus pairs up with the song’s narrator–a stone cold sinner in conservative terms–and sticks with him until the guy dies. The guy finds Christ in a bar! And is saved! Say hallelujah, another soul for Jesus.

But no! Focus on the Family said:

We are sickened by Mr Depp’s behaviour. Why did he need to record this song? It is a slap in the face to Christians all over the world.

What the Bible say about getting slapped in the face? (Hint: It’s in two of the gospels, Luke and Matthew).

And the Christian Coalition offered up this Christmas wish for goodwill to all:

I’m sure he thinks he’s being very funny but he’s simply a disgrace. One day, Johnny Depp and his cronies will face the judgment of our Lord and they will burn in hell for this filth.

Here’s a sampling of the lyrics. What’s so offensive?

Saw a man in a bar with his hair like a lady
Bloody thorns ’round his ears like he was a crazy
He had holes in his hands and a cross for a spine
Crushed a berry in his Perrier and called it wine

He said, “There’s great sadness in life, but don’t sit there and blub:
Here’s some tickets for your friends to the Jesus Stag Night Club!”…

Turn a bird upside down and it lies in your fingers like a dead man

When you throw it in the air it’s resurrected from your hand
We went to a motel, he showed me his Bible
I said, “Tell me the truth,” while he looked me in the eyeball

He said, “There’s great happiness in life but don’t just sit there in love:
Here’s some tickets for your friends to the Jesus Stag Night Club!”…

I can’t remember where I was last night
Think I was hanging naked off a church spire
Tied by my ankles to a weathervane
Felt like I was Jesus on fire
Cuffed to the bumper of a big truck
I begged my dad to take me to a strip bar
Drank kerosene slammers through my eyeballs
Drove myself home in a stolen car

Saw a man in the street lying on the floor beaten up
He had a fish finger sandwich and a yellow M coffee cup
I bent down drunk and tried to pick him up
But when I turned around I could see it was Jesus…

I can’t remember where I was last night
Think I was getting on a night bus
Lyin’ on the laps of my good friends
Judas Priest and Lazarus
I’m getting married in the big bad morning
But it feels like I’m giving birth
I feel so happy I could scream
This is my last few seconds on Earth!

 

August 6: A Day of Debauchery & Gluttony

Rick Perry,  the American Family Association, International House of Prayer, John Hagee, and other evangelicals declared August 6 a Day of Prayer and Fasting. The internets, doing what we do best, are rallying back, proclaiming today as a Day of Debauchery & Gluttony.

Perry’s purportedly unpolitical un-party will be at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Yours can be anywhere!

And as you celebrate with cake, sex, and beverages of you choice, moan

Oh god! Oh my god!

a few times–with some thoughtful fasting between bites–just so Perry can feel the burn, since only 8,000 people have RSVP’ed to the stadium which holds 71, 500. Even though it’s free. Because staying home and watching  Scarface and The Godfather on AMC or A Serbian Film on DVD, feasting and fornicating, once in while occasionally thinking

Golly, I hope our country’s problems get solved fast, so everyone can have this much fun all the time. Heck, I wish that for the whole world! I am just so darn grateful!

makes much more sense for America. Plus then there’s no need to shell out $15 for parking at Reliant Stadium. Here’s Perry’s proclamation:

Given the trials that have beset our country and world – from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and wars that endanger our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and theaters of conflict around the globe, and the decline of our culture in the context of the demise of families – it seems imperative that the people of our nation should once again join together for a solemn day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation.

Oh come, come, Rick! What this country needs is more can-do spirit! And there’s no better way to express that fundamental desire than the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Which is what the Day of Debauchery and Glutton is really all about.


Painting: José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros Torch Song Trilogy, from Disenchanted exhibition at La Luz de Jesus Gallery.

Photo 1: Screen shot from Electric Daisy Carnival Experience, dir. Kevin Kerslake

Photo 2: Lisa Derrick (wedding of Beth Moriarty & Ted Barrial)


Sarah Palin and Dominionism: Webinar Today

Today at 2pm PST, author Leah Burton launches her Webinar series discussing the infiltration of right-wing Christians into American politics and culture, and in the rise of Dominionist theology.  Dominionists believe that God gave man dominion over earth, and from there extrapolate that they can warp the Bible itot justification for all sorts of Constitutional violations, ‘cuz God sez so. Neener.

Burton has long studied fundamentalists and Sarah Plain, and her insight into God’s Own Party (also the title of her upcoming book) gives insight into a growing group of religious nutters who give believers and Americans a bad name as they attempt to force their narrow doctrines on to the populace.

Burton explains:

The goal of Christian Dominionism is to abolish Separation of Church and State and to establish the United States as a distinctively Christian Nation based upon Old Testament Mosaic Law. Dominionism is an umbrella term that harbors many divergent groups claiming a foundation in Christianity. You must be “born again”…accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour…and profess your personal relationship with Christ.” All Christians are not Dominionist, but all Dominionists claim Christianity.

The illogical concept  with Dominionism is that in the New Testament Jesus said to listen to him, not follow the old book, but hey, Dominionists think they know better, so they mix and match whatever works for them in order to try and get their repressive way.

Hope you can tune in for what looks to be a lively series!

Late Night: Altar-ed States, Pastors and Pot

While one Colorado clergyman is fighting his arrest for possession of pot (claiming his status as clergy in the Ministry of THC allows for sacramental reefer use), a pastor in California is up in arms over the NAACP’s support of the November ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Rev. Jason Wimler is claiming the cannabis found in his car by Colorado State Troopers late last year was for sacramental use for a ceremony he hoped to perform during the Christmas holiday. His attorney Daneyl Joffe was granted the right to file a brief on jury instructions specific to religious use of cannabis. Joffe’s point is that the Colorado Constitution allows for

the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination

though some might argue that Wimler’s pot possession fall under this part of the law:

but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the state. (emphasis mine)

Meanwhile the NAACP in California has come out in support of the legalization of marijuana because as  Alice Huffman, the state NAACP president, says:

There is a strong racial component that must be considered when we investigate how marijuana laws are applied to people of color. The burden has fallen disproportionately on people of color and young black men in particular.

Sacramento minister Ron Allen–bishop of the Greater Solomon Temple Community Church in Oak Park and  president of the International Faith-Based Coalition, a Sacramento group representing 3,600 congregations–is not too happy about this:

Most African American pastors are disappointed, absolutely disappointed with the decision. If anyone should know the effects of illicit drugs in the black community, it should be one of our most respected civil rights organizations.

Yes, Bishop Allen, but if pot were legal, then it wouldn’t be illicit, no would it? Maybe Bishop Allen should check out the ministry of THC, which claims both Jesus and Moses used cannabis oil as for holy anointing. Hallelujah!

Evangelicals Violently Disrupt Haitian Religious Ceremony

Full disclosure: I practice an African Diasporic religion, and after the Haitian earthquake, along with a donation to the Red Cross, I gave a small sum to help the voudou community. In other words, I have a religious opinion; and like Brit Hume, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, the right to express it in the media.

Tuesday, Evangelicals violently disrupted a traditional religious ceremony in the Cite Soleil slum, located just outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. According to AFP:

Police said a pastor urged followers to attack the ceremony, resulting in a crowd of people throwing rocks at the voodoo followers.

Throwing rocks? WTF?! Is this anyway for Christians to act? Are they all so sinless?

Today the Washington Post reported that a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights.

While our foreign policy at a governmental level may be “handicapped” by secularism, the private sector is screwing up by pushing their religious agendas, retarding efforts to actually do a greater good.

In the wake of January 12 earthquake, hundreds of religious groups headed to Haiti bringing food, water and aid, some including solar powered Protestant bibles and their own religious tracts in their care packages. Some called themselves “Volunteer Ministers” and interfered with medical personnel in attempts to recruit.  It’s a huge dog pile as minsters of God ply  Haitians with various versions of salvation.

Religious tensions have increased and accelerated. Dr. Christos Kioni, the Florida-based vodou expert profiled in Christine Wicker’s Not In Kansas Anymore wrote us:

The violence fundamentalists have engaged in upon the practitioners of Vodou in Haiti is fueled by a sectarian demon. It is the same spirit that spurs Muslim radicals to engage in terrorist activities in the Name of Allah, it is the same spirit that fanned the flames of the Inquisition and Crusades. Christians have long ago abandoned their faith in the authentic teachings of Christ that God is Love. They have also forgotten that Christ said to his disciples “Other sheep I have that are not of this fold.” These radical evangelicals show no religious tolerance nor the Fruit of the Spirit by their rhetoric and actions. Such acts of violence reveal just how far Christianity has backslidden.

Earlier this month, as reported in the New York Daily News Max Beauvoir, vodou’s supreme leader

believes Christians in Haiti are taking food and supplies, and not allowing them to reach needy people outside Port-au-Prince.

“They take everything they get to their own people,” he said, “and that’s a shame.”

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs recommended:

Empowering government departments and agencies to engage local and regional religious communities where they are central players in the promotion of human rights and peace, as well as the delivery of health care and other forms of assistance.

Local and regional should mean traditional and indigenous, not just the missionary groups and those they convert.

Catholicism and vodou are the Haiti’s traditional religions.  Vodou, more commonly spelled as voudou or voodoo, is a syncretic faith combining various West African religions carried by slaves with the colonizing French’s Catholicism and aspects of the Northern European folk faiths. A voudou ceremony held by escaped slave and hougan (voudou priest) Dutty Boukman was the catalyst for Haiti’s 1791  slave rebellion that led to the island’s freedom.

Pat Robertson–who later backpedaled after a public outcry–had harsh words about Haiti’s history and blamed the country’s troubles on their faith:

They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal.

That sort of intolerant thinking is what leads to actions like Tuesday’s stoning in Jesus’ name. AFP reported:

Rosemond Aristide, police inspector in Cite Soleil, said he has since spoken with the pastor, who agreed to allow voodoo ceremonies to take place there. However, Aristide could not explain why no arrests were made nor provide further details.

Beauvoir claimed hundreds of Protestant Evangelicals along with other people they hired attacked the ceremony, causing a number of injuries.

KWTX reports that the attackers were Haitian Christians.

Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols.When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum.

Christians supposedly follow the Prince of Peace; unfortunately, their hostile behavior could lead to some repercussions. Max Beauvoir  told AFP:

It will be war — open war. It’s unfortunate that at this moment where everybody’s suffering that they have to go into war. But if that is what they need, I think that is what they’ll get.

Dr. Kioni added in email:

I agree with my friend and colleague, The Supreme Servitor of Vodou, Ati Max Beauvoir, that this attack by the evangelicals is a declaration of war. These Bible Thumpers have no idea how powerful Vodou is nor how lethal it can be.

We are mobilizing our forces to meet this demonic spirit head on; bullets nor pious, hypocritical prayers have no power where Vodou is concerned. Vodou will be recognized and accepted as a valid and legitimate system of spirituality just as the Wiccan and Pagans have been accepted. Freedom of Religion is a right and no man nor religious organization has a corner on God nor salvation. There is only ONE God and His Universal Name is Yawe.

The Chicago Council’s Richard Cizik (from the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, who ought to be taking those rock tossers to task!) said:

Some parts of the world — the Middle East, China, Russia and India, for example — are particularly sensitive to the U.S. government’s emphasis on religious freedom and see it as a form of imperialism.

It’s also a form of  imperialism to proselytize and try to convert people during a disaster when they are at their most vulnerable. Note that the pastor who incited the stoning “agreed to allow” traditional religious ceremonies on native soil. WTF? Talk about imperialism.

I deplore the actions of those Evangelicals in Cite Soliel–all thinking and all loving people do–and pray that the Haitian people will not return ignorance and violence with more violence.

As an American, I ask my fellow Americans, whatever faith they may be, to act with grace and dignity, respecting the religious traditions of those to whom they bring aid.

Oh ministers and pastors and your flocks, do unto others as you would have them do unto you–and really, in a disaster aid situation, would you want someone trying convert you to say Islam or some arm of Christianity that doesn’t jive with yours? May peace prevail in Haiti.


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