Trolls have been out hot and heavy trolling us about anything we post related to 'Pride Month.' Their favorite thing to do is post a bunch of scriptures about 'pride' in comments.
As usual, they miss the point entirely.
LBBTQA+ people have been bullied, beat up, burned in ovens (Hitler), put in camps (Hitler and others), and discriminated against in every conceivable way since the beginning of time. It's a very recent phenomena in the US that they've gained any measure of equality and acceptance.
Jesus himself admonished us as his followers that we are to 'Love God and love our neighbors as we do ourselves.' No exceptions. This being the case he gave us permission to 'love ourselves.' Loving ourselves in a healthy way is a good thing. If people hate themselves they will treat others poorly. That's just a fact.
Scriptures that point out pride being a bad thing do not refer to pride that comes from loving God, loving our neighbors, and loving ourselves. There is good and bad pride. Pride as it relates to 'Pride Month' is a good pride. It's the kind of pride that says 'I accept myself and I love myself the way God created me to be.' Further, 'I accept and love you as my neighbor because I am able to accept and love myself.' It's a healthy thing all the way around. It's win/win/win in the God-Self-Neighbor relationship.
Now, here's the kicker for the trolls who troll us over this. The pride they are acting out by lecturing us about Pride Month is the bad kind of pride God warns us about. They feel they need to come to a page they obviously don't relate to and lecture us and judge us with scriptures they don't understand. THAT is pride being a sin, but they will never accept that coming from us. They're blinded by pride and self-righteousness.
We pray for the Holy Spirit to open their eyes one day. We don't bother telling them here because we know they won't listen. We used to try to reason with right-wing, "Christian" trolls. We were never able to change a single one of their minds. They will literally argue for hundreds of hours and then go get their friends to join in.
LGBTQA+ people have every reason to love themselves and express pride in the newfound bit of acceptance they've garnered in modern western society. God made them the way they are. The 'clobber scriptures' in the Bible (like all other scriptures) must be studied from a historical and a contextual perspective.
Most of the clobber scriptures were written by Paul for various reasons like warning about temple desecration. The scriptures in the Old Testament were ancient Jewish civil law based on what they perceived as cleanliness. That's why eating shrimp and wearing mixed fibers are lumped in the same scriptures as admonishments about same-sex sexual activity.
'Don't rape your guests' was one of the the issues God had with Sodom. Then there's the scripture many ignore: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." - Ezekiel 16:49. It always comes down to how we treat the poor, needy and oppressed with God. That doesn't fit well with modern Capitalism so folks ignore it and pick on gays, women, immigrants, minorities ... and the poor. A great deal of study has been carried out on this topic by Bible scholars. It's out there.
In terms of Jesus himself speaking about marriage law he also mentioned exceptions to the law, namely to 'born eunuchs.' He said that 'some eunuchs were made that way by other people,' AND some were 'born that way from their mother's wombs.' There is a respectable amount of Bible scholarship that says Jesus was referring to LGBTQA+ people. To us it seems obvious. It's worth pointing out that Jesus never said one more word about it. Not one word. To us that speaks volumes.
-- The Christian Left
Make no mistake about it. We're going to have to fight this fight all over again. We're all going to have to make our voices heard yet again. We're going to have to tell them once again that they don't get to make laws about a woman's private medical choices. They don't get to legislate a woman's body.
We're doing our part to provide you with the fodder you'll need to take to the streets. Here's what we've come up with so far. Each of the sentiments can be selected for a variety of applications, whether it's on a canvas, as a sticker, or on a shirt or hoodie sweatshirt. Take your pick. The links to each are provided below the graphic. Just scroll down inside each link to view all the available items.
Let's get to it!
01) Women's Rights: https://bit.ly/tcl-womens-rights
02) Pro-Women, Pro Family: https://bit.ly/pro-women-pro-family
03) Pro-Women, Pro-Choice: https://bit.ly/tcl-pro-women
04) Pro Roe: https://bit.ly/tcl-pro-roe
05) My Body, My Choice: https://bit.ly/tcl-my-body
06) Women's Bodies: https://bit.ly/women-s-bodies-more
07) Bans Off: https://bit.ly/tcl-bans-off
08) Mind Your Own: https://bit.ly/your-own-uterus
09) Mind Your Own Two: https://bit.ly/tcl-your-own-uterus
Go out there equipped with knowledge! Being pro-choice is consistent with following Jesus. Being pro-choice respects women and acknowledges their full and complete autonomy as human beings. They alone are endowed with freedom over their own bodies and their own medical and family planning decisions. No one has the right to make laws to the contrary.
These two articles provide a rich history to back up the actions we take together.
- The Real Origins of the Religious Right (Politico)
- The Surprising Role of Clergy in the Abortion Fight Before Roe v. Wade (TIME)
We'll see you out there!
-- The Christian Left
Link To Place Orders At The Bottom Of This Blog Post:
We moved our Ukrainian support designs to a new storefront that has more options in available products, colors and sizes. We can now offer items like magnets, posters, art prints, and a greater selection of apparel, such as baseball t-shirts. There's a much greater selection of colors as well. The canvases are a bit spendy. This company charges more to make them, but posters and art prints are available at a reasonable price as well as tapestries.
It makes accounting easier when we have these designs by themselves in their own storefront. We can route funds to artists and our chosen charity in a more efficient manner. The charity we donate proceeds to is the 'Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund,' by Global Giving.
It's a better situation all the way around. As indicated in our individual listings, most of the designs have been purchased from artists living in Ukraine right now. We don't disclose their names for obvious reasons. They're living in the middle of a brutal, bloody war. God only knows what the Russian troops are capable of based on reports we've all heard.
This is what one of the artists said:
"A few weeks ago I started creating a new collection. Now I shudder and hide from explosions, cry for murdered children and pray for Ukraine. My heart is bursting with pain, but I decided that I have no right to give up when my people are fighting! I will use the money you pay to help those who are really in need. By purchasing this design you are supporting UKRAINE. Thank you for your prayers and support. It's very important to us now. May God keep us!"
This is a tragic and heartbreaking situation. We couldn't stand by and not do something to try to help.
This storefront will be up for a limited time only.
You can find all available items on the left column of the storefront.
When you open an individual design you can find all available items for that design by scrolling down.
That's about it in terms of explaining the new storefront. We've added two new designs created by Ukrainian artists. We're really happy to have discovered them. We're happy we were able to get them some cash in what is a tenuous situation to say the least. We hope and pray that all of this ends quickly. The Ukrainian people have been very brave. We hope they drive the Russian dictator out of their country and back to his own.
Here's the link to our new storefront.
-- The Christian Left
Lawrence O'Donnell said it better than anyone we've heard so far this evening on "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell."
"Donald Trump did something that no one-term president has ever done before. He appointed 3 Supreme Court justices. The last president to appoint 3 Supreme Court Justices was Ronald Reagan and it took him 8 years to do it.
Donald Trump, the president least capable in our history of evaluating candidates for the United States Supreme Court got to appoint three of them and all three of them are voting to revoke a constitutional right.
70% of the country is opposed to what the Supreme Court is doing and in a democracy this could never happen, but we do not live in a democracy because of the Electoral College and the United States Senate.
The only way the Alito opinion can get a majority vote in the Supreme Court now is thanks to the Electoral College installing two Republican presidents who came in second with the voters. Al Gore got more votes than George W. Bush but George W. Bush got the presidency thanks to the Electoral College. Donald Trump came in 2nd with the voters by a wide margin but was installed in the presidency by the Electoral College.
Democrats in the United States Senate represent far more people than the Republicans represent but both parties have the same number of seats in the United States Senate because of the profoundly anti-democratic formula that each state gets two senators.
The 44 million people of California get 2 senators and the 1.6 million people of the Dakotas get 4. That is not democracy. That can never be democracy and so 70% of the country is living tonight under the anguish and the weight of minority rule. 70% of the country is losing a constitutional right against their will. 70% of the country has had the constitutional right for their entire lives, but for Samuel Alito that is not deeply rooted in our nation’s history.
There is one president in our history who was impeached twice, and never won a majority vote in a presidential election and he got to appoint the same number of justices as Ronald Reagan, who won 49 states in his reelection campaign. There is one president in our history who provoked serious public discussions of using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, and he got to appoint 3 Supreme Court justices.
The first public discussion of using the 25th Amendment with Donald Trump that I’m aware of to remove him from office was on this program during the first month of the Trump presidency and we now know that in the last month of the Trump presidency, in the last days of the Trump presidency there were serious discussions about removing Donald Trump using the 25th Amendment and those discussions were taking place among congressional leadership in both parties.
Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House Republicans participated in discussions about removing Donald Trump using the 25th Amendment after the January 6th attack on the capital. Today the authors of the new titled book, “This Will Not Pass,” released audio tape of Kevin McCarthy in a meeting with House Republican leadership discussing the possible impeachment of Donald Trump and the possibility of removing him from office using the 25th Amendment.
The president they were talking about got to appoint 3 Supreme Court justices after coming in 2nd with the voters and after Mitch McConnell defied the Constitution and refused to bring President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee to a vote in the Senate so that Donald Trump could choose one of the names on Mitch McConnell’s list to fill the seat on the Supreme Court that the Constitution said should have been filled by President Obama.
Such is the Constitutional treachery of Republican minority rule in the 21st century which is well on its way to being deeply rooted in this country’s history."
[We wanted to get this up as quickly as possible so people can begin considering this information sooner rather than later. We didn't have a second pair of eyes tonight so please email us if you notice any typos. TCL@TheChristianLeft.org We don't read hate mail. We just close it and delete it.]
A concern troll chimed in today and informed us that our usage of the term ‘concern troll’ wasn’t correct. As we’ve explained over the years, we have our own house definition. Other online forums use the same policy and it is defined by sites like 'Urban Dictionary,' but it's usually like the third definition down and most people don't read that far.
See, the thing is, with a community this large it simply isn’t possible to please everyone all the time, especially when discussing religion and politics from a progressive point of view.
The Christian Left ministry and community is for people who truly WANT to be here. The key word being 'want.' We are not a drive-by page. We aren't a debate page. We're a page and a forum for Christian progressives and their allies. We are a haven for people who have been beat up by The "Christian" Right. Our community is a safe place for people who have had to read those stupid emails all there lives that insult liberals and any politician that isn't a Republican.
All of this being the case, for our purposes a ‘concern troll’ is someone who engages behavior similar to the following example, "I really love your page BUT, I’m really concerned about (blah, blah, blah, blah) that you are doing," or, "(blah, blah, blah, blah) that you are not doing the way I think it should be done." It then devolves into something along the lines of, "You need to take down this post," or "You need to stop doing that. It isn’t very Christian." We could continue with the variants of concern troll statements ad nauseam.
Some critics would call what we have an 'echo chamber.' So be it. We are what we are, and we make no apologies. There are many echo chambers out there these days. Fox "News" is one big one. Besides, everyone has a right to have a haven. Lecturing us is like an abusive partner busting into a battered women's shelter and proclaiming, "This place is nothing but an echo chamber!"
We don't mind if someone imparts friendly knowledge to us about something in a civil manner. There's a big difference between that and concern trolling. If something is a matter of opinion, correcting someone about it is probably concern trolling. People are welcome to share their opinion on any topic as long as they are civil and polite. After that they should move on to the next topic. Their opinion will be noted for everyone to see. We must emphasize this point again, we aren't a debate forum.
Some may not find this policy agreeable to them. They have feel like they are in charge of what we do and we must run the page the way they see fit. Sorry, that isn't going to happen. No one is forced to be here. If our policy isn't agreeable to you, you are invited to go in peace.
Concern trolling is disruptive to the community and ends up crippling online forums to the point of being catatonic and ineffective, basically disabling them carrying out their mission. We’re not going to let that happen here. That’s why we initiated our trolling policy 13 years ago and included our variant of concern trolling. We ask that if you don’t like a post or something we say or do, please scroll on by to the next post. Again, there’s no way we can please all people, all the time. Thanks.
Gestures obscured because social media companies are random and unpredictable with regard to what they will sanction you over. You just never know.
Last week we posted an article from Politico titled, “Barbershop Confrontations, Profane Signs and Despair: Pro-Biden and Alone in Rural America" (Politico.com)
"Rural Democrats suffer in silence, abandoned by a party that they fear has stopped fighting to win the places where they live."
It’s no surprise to us that it hit home with a large segment of The Christian Left community. We’ve known people described in the article have been underserved for decades. We felt isolated and underserved ourselves. It’s one of the biggest reasons we started this ministry 13 years ago.
One of our members posted a lengthy comment in the thread below the article. It spoke to us and many others because it describes so well what so many of us go through on a regular basis. We obtained permission from the author of the comment to repost it on our blog withholding the person’s name for obvious reasons. Here it is:
[Beginning Of Member Comment]
"I live in what I refer to as the ‘reddest neck of the woods’ in rural Alabama. This article hit home with me. I am a full-time caregiver for my ill and disabled parents. Sometimes we think we’re the only Democrats in this town and the only liberal Christians who live here.
We lost our housekeeper and all of our other home care people because they refuse to get vaccinated. My father is 78 with advanced Parkinson's, and my mother is 75 with advanced MS. My mom is totally crippled and bed/wheelchair bound. I have limited use of one hand, and although we are all vaccinated 3 times and boosted, I am the sole person caring for my parents. We can’t get safe healthcare workers here.
I could tell you plenty of horror stories about things medical staff and others have said to us. A nurse from ‘home health’ went out of her way to call and harass my mom with anti-vaccine talking points. Her doctor put us at risk for COVID by being careless about exposure. We have been called ‘demon rats’ by family members. Our concern about the pandemic in 2020 was met with, “If you have the blood of Jesus, you need not fear dying.” We’ve being called 'baby-killers' and had Q-anonsense shoved down our throats from some at local businesses. We have no friends and we are estranged from family over deep political divisions and more.
Take a guess WHY none of them will get vaccinated, and why so few in this area are. Why all the hate? Why we are shunned? Five letters, starting with a T and ending with a rump. He made it OK for them to display their thoughts and actions in full view of everyone. Confederate flags fly high on houses next to Trump 2020 and American flags. We wanted to put up a Biden sign in 2020 but we were terrified of arson or being shot if it was on our car. It is horrible.
Much of the time I am stressed beyond belief and worried about taking care of all three of us, but my faith is what keeps me going. We wish we could move but we cannot at this time. All of the churches in town are very legalistic and evangelical. I am in contact with a caring liberal-minded church in the next county, a half hour away. Right now I watch virtual services but hope I can find some like-minded connections there.
It’s a challenge for us mostly because of how the disregard for the pandemic prevents us from getting safe medical help. Most here have always viewed COVID as a 'hoax to rig the 2020 election.' Still, we stand our ground because we believe that God is Love and Christ is about being kind to others. Any form of hate will never have a place in our home. Sorry for this post being so long but this article resonated very deeply with our experience. My prayers are with anyone else dealing with this kind of situation."
[End Of Member Comment]
There's not much more to add to something like that. It touches our souls because it is so very tragic. We wish we could say it was an isolated incident but we know it's not. It's the norm in 'Red America.'
That's why this ministry is so important and why we need your support today. We need as much support as we can get so we can expand our outreach in the service of people who suffer alone with little or no support from those around them. There's a lot more we could do. This is important. We have to have the financial backing to do it. Make a contribution today and sign up to make it monthly. Be a sustaining member of this ministry. We serve people like the person who wrote about their experience above.
Click here to make a secure contribution.
-- The Christian Left
Who didn't grow up seeing these plaques someplace in your youth? Maybe it was at Grandma's house. Maybe at church. Maybe there was one in your house.
They're very hard to find these days. they haven't been made since the early 20th century. The manufacturer went out of business in the 30's.
Now you can get them as die-cut stickers! Pick a favorite for your laptop, refrigerator, bulletin board, dorm room or office! You won't find die-cut stickers like this anywhere else!
Click or tap on the pictures below to order.
We'll be adding more in the coming days so come back often if you don't see the one you may remember!
When we went looking for resources for Christian progressives like us in 2009 we found nothing but a desolate landscape ...
As it turns out there were a few random resources around but they weren't doing a very good job promoting themselves so people like us would know who they were. They were more or less isolated pockets of anonymity with cryptic names.
We decided to 'be the change we wanted to see' in the world. We had been contemplating the problem of lack of resources for some time. Circumstances lined up in a way that allowed us to proceed with the vision that was churning in our minds. We went for it.
We secured the domain name of The Christian Left dot org. Turns out it was available so we snapped it up. A recent phenomena made it easy to put the word out, social media.
Since then much has changed but there's a long way to go. Over 12 years we've built a community of Christian progressives and their allies where people of like mind can gather and discuss daily events in peace, free from any kind of harassment. They can do so regardless of where they live. That's big.
Another facet of our work is to take action. We have done so throughout the years at hotspots around the country.
In the modern world it's impossible to maintain a mission and an effort like The Christian Left without funding. We are not backed by any churches, corporations, charities, or wealthy individuals.
We are 100% user funded.
That's why we\re asking for your participation today. Will you join this effort and be a part of the change you want to see in the world? Please do. Make a contribution today and sign up to make it monthly if you can. Let's keep this going. There are tens of thousands of people who rely on this ministry as their lifeline. They tell us so.
Here's how to make a secure contribution:
-- The Christian Left
Some of the members of The Christian Left admin team had a chance to see Bruce Cockburn in Portland, Oregon before Christmas.
You have to listen to THIS song. You'll see why. You have to listen to it right now.
(Please don't give away the surprise in social media comments.)
The Christian right reveres a harsh individualism that runs directly contrary to the true meaning of Christmas.
By Michael Coren
Republished with author's permission
There’s a compelling story in the New Testament that, unusually, is included in three of the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell of a rich young man who wants to follow Jesus. The eager fellow explains that he obeys the commandments and is genuinely good. What else, he asks, should he do?
The response is exquisite. ”There is still one thing lacking”, says Jesus. ”Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young millionaire hears this “he became sad; for he was very rich”. Jesus looks at the man, with a stare we can only imagine, and explains, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Then the timeless, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
So, as we approach Christmas, what are the genuine values of the Gospels, and what should we learn from the commemoration of the birth of a baby to a teenage Jewish refugee 2000 years ago? I’m not going to indulge in apologetics here, and whether you believe or not is entirely your concern. Faith is a dialogue and anybody who claims to have every answer should probably be ignored. What I want to emphasize is the socialistic nature of Jesus, who owned no property, lived communally, chose as friends the marginalized and rejected, warned of the dangers of wealth and power, and scolded those who judged others or stood behind smugness and legalism.
He was born in an age where cruelty and confusion abounded, but born, Christians believe, the Son of God, to bathe the world in shades of grace and hope. This is the Jesus who insisted it was humility rather than pride, and peace rather than war that would change the world. This is the permanent revolution of love that inspired Keir Hardie, George Lansbury, and so many in the Labor movement. William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury during the Second World War, went so far as to say that “socialism is the economic realization of the Christian gospel”.
I recently wrote a book called The Rebel Christ, and judging by the attacks on me by the Christian right I touched a nerve, or even the entire central nervous system. There’s none so angry as a fundamentalist scorned. I wrote that the Christian right reveres a harsh individualism that runs directly contrary to the melodies of the Christian song. Jesus repeatedly told of the absolute need for community and fraternity, as did St Paul and others in the New Testament who wrote letters of instruction to the early church.
Yet since the 1960s, beginning in the US but spreading internationally, the right has edited and twisted the faith to justify its polemics. Conservative Christians have always existed, of course, but the intense organization, activism and electoral success is a new phenomenon. They obsess about abortion and homosexuality, when Jesus speaks of neither subject. Simultaneously they promote policies that directly hurt the poor and empower the military, when the Gospels are soaked in calls for peace and economic justice. Beyond the Protestant right – and 81 per cent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016 – the traditionalist wing of the Roman Catholic Church is frequently venomous on these issues, in direct reaction to the sometimes surprisingly progressive Pope Francis.
Quoting scripture has inherent challenges because it demands context but take a typical example from Matthew 25. Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” He was speaking not of himself but of all who need, all who go without. This is much more than charity, this is systemic change.
It’s extraordinarily difficult to understand how anybody could interpret the statements of Christ as anything other than politically and economically liberating; it’s why he was eventually executed, when the conservative religious leaders around him were ignored. They simply weren’t a threat to the status quo.
As for the argument that the socialist vision of Christianity is modern or “fashionable”, the Didache dates from the first century and is one of the most important documents in early church history. It tells Christians to “share all your possessions with your brother, and do not claim that anything is your own.” The Church Fathers and Mothers writing in the third and fourth centuries say similar things.
Even when Jesus performs the miracle of feeding a multitude with a limited amount of bread and fish, what we’re seeing is either a breathtaking example of mass sharing, or a literal miracle where hungry people are fed. Either way, it’s about fellowship, a joint effort, a coming-together of people who are hungry. Indeed, the New Testament is peppered with examples of the needy being fed and provided for. Luke’s Gospel: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Genuine faith is sandpaper of the soul, it hurts, it stings, but in the final analysis it should lead to a more perfect believer. It drags those who claim to follow Yeshua out of our comfort zones, calling for a great reset of the world as it was designed to be. There’s no war on Christmas but there is a war on Christmas virtues, often led by those most triggered by an absence of greetings cards without religious scenes, or a local authority removing a Christmas tree.
On 25 December it all changes. The baby who becomes a man is the living model of equality and empathy, leaving us a new template of life and conduct. Treat others as you want to be treated, understand and forgive, never ignore oppression, transform the very structures that create and maintain exploitation, and turn over those tables in the temple. Blessed are the radical for they understand Christmas. Have a good one.
Added Bonus! Check out the brilliance of John Fugelsang as he does a set for an event The Christian Left recently helped promote. This man gets it and he's hilarious!
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.