Sunday, April 4, 2010

An alternative (?) blog against theocracy

Today on Interstate 10 in El Paso, I spotted a billboard that read simply: Mayor's Prayer Breakfast May 10 and a phone number.

That may be commonly accepted, but it's not appropriate.

Here's what a local evangelical group said about Mayor Cook's event last year:

The El Paso Mayor's Prayer Luncheon drew more than 1500 people in May. Mayor John Cook is a committed follower of Jesus, having committed his mayorship and the City of El Paso to the Lordship of Jesus. The Loving Our Communities to Christ city leader in El Paso, Barney Field, meets with him weekly, and pastors and intercessors meet monthly with the mayor to pray for the Communities of El Paso and nearby Juarez, Mexico. The El Paso / Juarez / Las Cruces region is an LC2C partner. [emphasis mine]
To which I say: "Yuck!"

And I grew up Christian. How would I feel as a Muslim? As a Jew? Buddhist? Pagan?

Everyone should feel included under the mayor's leadership. Not an inner circle of similarly-persuaded believers.

The Alternative Part?

Influenced by liberation theology, I believe that one's spirituality, the lived out expression of one's religious faith, ought to infuse meaning in every aspect of one's life. And that includes one's civic life.

I say a person has a right to work for political change that will advance greater humanness for all of us. I say our political agendas ought to place a priority commitment on bettering the lives of those less advantaged--the ones who have gotten the short end of the stick through no fault of their own.

So as a Christian, I work politically and don't sit on my (ahem) waiting for pie-in-the-sky to right the karma and reward those who have patiently accepted the status quo.

Whatever your spirituality is, I hope it is authentically other-centered. I hope it affects your entire being.

Including your civic life.

But keep your religion out of it. Please.
This is my first submission to this blogging event. Your comments are welcome. Am I alternative in my thinking? Let me know. Thanks.


Fran said...

Brava! So well put!

Jan said...

I echo Fran. Excellent!

Border Explorer said...

Thanks very much, Fran and Jan...for stopping by and for your encouraging words. Maybe I'm not so out-of-it after all!! :-)

Spadoman said...

No way you are out of it. You are right on. And I'm happy to see you participate in this event, (I did too!, come see, scroll down, it's there).
I don't know of any religion that says any of us are to treat other people like crap. We manifest our spirituality in how we act towards people, the environment, life itself, but not a quote for quote mimic of testimony for others to follow.
We do untomothers as you would have them do unto you is not religious, it is common sense.

Good job Billie.


Utah Savage said...

Very nicely done. Politicians who claim Jesus is on their side need to lose and lose big. Sadly I'm afraid we have become a theocracy and a really stupid theocracy at that. (possible a redundancy)

claire said...

I could not agree more, Billie. There is ethnocentric, religio-centric, all extremely limiting. Puts enormous blinders.
The Kingdom is among ALL of us and for ALL of us...
But then your Mayor is probably doing his best and never gave a thought to Godde's inclusiveness...

Your blog is a great idea :-)

Batocchio said...

But - but - how can we all be free if the Mayor can't impose his religion on others?

Border Explorer said...

@Spadoman You were my inspiration. Well, you...and the billboard.

@Utah You're wonderful. Thanks for commenting here. So right on. [Sorry you have to live in Utah!]

@Claire: This is the first time I've participated in this. Maybe next year you will too! Thanks.

@Batocchio Welcome! and LOL.

okjimm said...

Of course..... the benefit of a prayer breakfast with Jesus is that you never run out of pancakes &orange juice...... he can feed multitudes!

An... I respect ALL religions.... but feel very comfortable having lost mine. I think it is still in the green parking lot at Lambeau Field.

Bumps Stump said...

Hi Ms Border . . You said it well. Very well. If the mayor of my town did it . . I'd petition for a recall. Like you, I am a Christian. In my case, a very tolerant, open minded and skeptical Christian.

My Kiwanis Club sponsors an annual Prayer Breakfast that welcomes any and all denominations and other religions. It is not intended to be divisive or political.

We rotate the speaker of the day. One year it's a Jewish Rabbi. The next year, a Catholic Priest, Buddist Monk, Muslim, or Protestant Minister. The opening and closing prayer are both presented by a similar rotation of speakers.

I think our community's Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast covers all bases and still manages to bring people together. It has been said many times that a variety of religions have more in common than disagreements. Perhaps that's true.


TomCat said...

Influenced by liberation theology, I believe that one's spirituality, the lived out expression of one's religious faith, ought to infuse meaning in every aspect of one's life.

Although my background is not Catholic, I lave studied liberation theology, and it had a profound influence on my faith.

Dada said...

Thanks BE for the great post. I have had issues with this mayor when he was just a city councilman - MY city councilman. It was over the issue of preserving the mountain wilderness on my side of town.

Then councilman Cook claimed to represent the best interests of us all by preserving the mountain, with the exception of the business interests of a few he chose to represent even better!

When I called him on it with a letter to the editor, he immediately called ME on it the morning it published, apparently just before going to his weekly communion with Jesus (it was a Sunday morning).

But, being his constituent, he had no interest in hearing me out. Instead, realizing this on that Sunday morning, I gave up trying, accepting instead his self-righteous sermon of indignation.

Maithri said...

You rock my world!

How awesome it is to call you friend...

Mauigirl said...

Well said indeed. I too agree that people's beliefs in justice and good should influence their actions, but it is not appropriate to force their religion on others.

伯函 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vicente Duque said...

AP : Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony on Arizona : German Nazi or Soviet Communist Repression, Children turning in parents, neighbors prying into private lives to report to the State.

The Catholic Church fighting for Human Decency and against Racist Holocausts and Progroms :

Associated Press
Los Angeles Cardinal: Nazism in Arizona immigration bill
April 20, 2010

Los Angeles Cardinal: Nazism in Arizona immigration bill

Some excerpts :

LOS ANGELES — The head of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese has condemned a proposed Arizona crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying it encourages people to turn on each other in Nazi- and Soviet-style repression.

The measure wrongly assumes that Arizonans "will now shift their total attention to guessing which Latino-looking or foreign-looking person may or may not have proper documents," Cardinal Roger Mahony said in his blog Sunday — a day before Arizona's Legislature sent the immigration enforcement measure to the Republican governor.

Gov. Jan Brewer has not indicated whether she will sign the bill, which creates a new state misdemeanor of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document. It would also require officers to determine people's immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally.

But Mahony, whose archdiocese has a huge Hispanic immigrant population, said the Arizona Legislature was passing "the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law."

Similar laws that were previously passed in other states have been repealed or struck down in the courts, he said.

"The tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources," Mahony said.

"I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation," the cardinal said. "Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers? Are family members and neighbors now supposed to spy on one another, create total distrust across neighborhoods and communities, and report people because of suspicions based upon appearance?"

Vicente Duque