By Charles Toy
I don't know when this was. It was over 15 years ago. I was watching Charlie Rose on PBS. He was talking to the President of Hospice, who was a women but I don't know her name.
Charlie asked her what were the things people most often wish they had said to a loved one before they died but never had the chance. She said that studies had actually been done on that question and there is a definitive answer.
There are five things people most often regret they didn't get a chance to say to their departed loved one, and they are:
2. I forgive you, for anything and everything.
3. Please forgive me, for anything and everything.
4. I love you
Number one depends on the person you are talking to. If it's your mother it would be thank you for being my mother and all the things you've done for me.
I've shared this knowledge with some of my close friends over the years. Now I've shared it with you. Don't regret that you never told your loved ones these things. Tell them as soon as you possibly can, and if you're holding on to a grudge let it go. Life is way too short and we all do stupid things.
15 years ago my Mom vanished from this earth, overnight. One day there. Next day gone. She was 56, slim and trim, and in perfect health as far as any of us knew.
DTV that turned in to a pulmonary embolism. Boom. Gone. None of us had ever heard of any of that before then.
I had frequently told her I loved her so I was good in that area. I had told her at some point in the year prior that she and my Dad were the best parents I could have hoped for. I think that counts as Thank-you.
I told her the other things explicitly about 15 minutes after her heart stopped, at the hospital.
I believe she heard them.
How many prophets do we need?
We’ve been playing this ridiculous game since 1981. Republicans destroy the economy by passing tax cuts, but they keep right on spending on the things they want which causes budget deficits and skyrocketing debt. Then they blame the Democrats for “spending too much on social programs.”
It really is time for everyone to get educated about what's going on and educate others. This isn't politics. These are the facts. Trickle-down economics is a giant farce. It’s never worked and it never will. It has gutted our economy over the last 34 years and it will continue to do so. Yet, it’s the only strategy the Republicans have. They have nothing else. Look in between the lines of everything they say in the run up to 2016. It’s all code for Reaganomics, and it’s a failed strategy.
If Mitt Romney would have won the last election he vowed to do more of the same. He was going to issue a 20% across the board tax cut, defund the Afforable Care Act, give the pentagon more money than they were asking for, and cut "everything else we would "have to borrow from China to pay for," including Sesame Street on public television. Then he would have proceeded to enact the Ryan Budget. Reaganomics all the way.
In the following video Bernie Sanders shows us in no uncertain terms how Reagan helped destroy the middle class and how "Trickle Down Economics" is a scam. And guess what folks? Again, it's ALL the Republicans have! Everything they say and do is in support of this failed policy. What will it take to for the masses to see what's going on here?
Below are the links to a three part in depth series of articles regarding Reaganomics. We've never heard of the site before but the data contained in the articles is extensive and accurate. After you read the articles spend some time researching what they have say on your own.
The Incredible Hoax of Reaganomics- David Stockman 1/3
The Incredible Hoax of Reaganomics- Trickle-Down 2/3
The Incredible Hoax of Reaganomics- The General Electrifying of the President 3/3
The evidence is endless. As the following article explains:
“The wealthiest people spend maybe 30% of their income. Poor people spend 100%, working people spend 98%, so as we move money away from working families towards very wealthy families, we take more and more consumption out of the economy, means slower and slower growth, means higher and higher an extended unemployment.”
Another Major Advisor to President Reagan Admits Trickle-Down Economics Doesn’t Work
In 2012, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) conducted a study and concluded the following:
"The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.
However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities."
Republicans of course tried to suppress the study. Trickle down economics is the central tenet of conservative economic theory. Again, they have nothing else to offer.
So now, after 34 years of fiscal mismanagement on the part of Republicans, via voodoo economics whereby they cut taxes but spend like drunken sailors on their pet projects (wars, big new Federal bureaucracies like the Department of Homeland Security, planes that don’t fly, etc.), they want to “balance the budget” ... on the backs of the poor, the young, the old, the weak, the hungry, the unemployed, the uninsured, the sick, and the disabled. Because we “just can’t afford all these silly social programs.”
This has been the plan all along folks, and that’s exactly what they’ll do if they get the White House. They’ll call any win, no matter how slim, a “mandate.” They’ll say “the American people have spoken, and they’ve assigned us the task of getting our fiscal house in order.” Then they’ll pass The Ryan Budget.
But, but, they’re “God’s Own Party!” Yeah, God help us all if they get that kind of power again, and the Koch Brothers are going to drop a Billion by themselves to try to pull it off. Look at Kansas and Wisconsin right now. That’s the blueprint.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the few people in Washington who makes any sense any longer, had this to say related to what we're explaining here:
President Carter is correct, and contrary to what you've been taught homosexuality is not a sin.
That may be somewhat of a shock to you but if you consider yourself a serious disciple of Jesus you owe if to yourself to explore and discover the truth.
Our favorite essay, hands down, is "Clobbering Biblical Gay Bashing," by co-founder of The Christian Left, Rev. Mark Sandlin.
In the essay Mark makes the following assertion and proceeds to back it up with Biblical scholarship.
"If you want to call homosexuality a sin, go ahead. But you are going to have to admit that it is not Biblically a sin. Which means you are also going to have to admit that you are calling it a sin simply because that’s what you want to do. Because of that, you are going to have to admit that you are a sinner for using God’s name for false pretenses (it’s a little thing we like to call using God’s name in vain). And then, Paul has something to tell you, “…you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.” (Romans 2:1)."
The next step we recommend you take in your journey of discipleship is to read the book by Matthew Vines called "God and The Gay Christian."
Matthew Vines (born March 9, 1990) is an openly gay Christian LGBT activist, known for the viral YouTube video "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality" and his related 2014 book, "God and the Gay Christian".
Vines grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where he attended an evangelical Presbyterian church with his family. Upon graduation from high school, he was accepted into Harvard, where he studied for two years during 2008-2010, focusing on philosophy. He then quit Harvard in order to pursue a full-time study of the Bible's statements on homosexuality in response to widespread belief that homosexual expression is disapproved by God - a belief held at the time by his own parents and their family church. The book is the summary of his detailed research.
The Matthew Vines Viral Video: "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality"
The above two resources will give you a well-rounded foundation in the truth about what the Bible does and doesn't say. If you want to be a master on the topic we recommend reading, "A Time to Embrace: Same-Sex Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics," By William Stacy Johnson.
The Christian Century calls it: "Nothing less than a tour de force. . . . This is a book for everyone in the church, from those completely new to the debates about same-sex relationships to those who have long been in the thicket of the controversy."
William Stacy Johnson is the pen name for Arthur M. Adams, Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he is also an attorney-at-law and was a member of the PCUSA's Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity.
If you're a gay Christian, or an ally, and all of this is new to you, there are many, many resources out there for you. Believe Out Loud is a wonderful organization and there are a lot more like it. Soulforce and Human Rights Campaign (secular) are two more. Open and affirming churches are everywhere. Here's a list of LGBT-affirming Christian denominations from Wikipedia.
The one thing you need to know right now is that Jesus loves you just the way you are, and he always has.
Friend of The Christian Left, Rev. Roger Wolsey has written a great article about how to find open and affirming churches.
If you'd like to watch some uplifting videos of Christians who affirm their gay brothers and sisters we recommend the NALT Christians, which stands for we're "Not All Like That," i.e., bigots.
Gay people deserve every right that every other citizen of the United States has, and that includes the right to marry. We will not rest until that becomes a reality. Turning back the clock is not an option.
--- The Christian Left
A video from the NALT Christians Website
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." ~ Mark 16:16
We’re not affiliated with any denomination but we fully agree with the theology of The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Here's how Wikipedia describes it:
“For modern Disciples the one essential is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and obedience to him in baptism. There is no requirement to give assent to any other statement of belief or creed, nor is there any ‘official’ interpretation of the Bible. Hierarchical doctrine was traditionally rejected by Disciples as human-made and divisive, and subsequently, freedom of belief and scriptural interpretation allows many Disciples to question or even deny beliefs common in doctrinal churches.
Members and seekers are encouraged to take being disciples seriously, meaning that they are student followers of Jesus. Often the best teaching comes in the form, ‘I'll tell you what I think, but read the Bible for yourself, and then study and pray about it. Decide in what ways God is calling you to be a follower of Jesus.’
Modern Disciples reject the use of creeds as ‘tests of faith,’ that is, as required beliefs necessary to be accepted as a follower of Jesus. Although Disciples respect the great creeds of the church as informative affirmations of faith, they are never seen as binding.”
This of course raises the question, what about people who never had the chance to get baptized? We believe baptism is a good idea for one reason: Jesus said to do it. He was himself baptized. Does that mean people who never had the opportunity to get baptized are going to hell? No. And “hell” is a very complex topic anyway, which deserves its own blog post. Most of the references in the Bible to “hell” refer to the grave, or a valley outside Jerusalem.
Then there’s The Thief on the Cross, who was never baptized but was promised eternal life by Jesus himself.
The bottom line is that if we are serious about following Jesus, we should make an effort to do the things he asked of us. Baptism is one of them. For those who have experienced it in adulthood it’s a wonderful ritual of obedience to Christ and a significant act marking that you have given your life to the Lord. Many of us have experienced a very strong feeling of the presence of the Holy Spirit when we were baptized. A personal experience that is beyond words.
After we first publish this blog post one our readers made some good points about the content. Here are his thoughts:
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. ~ Titus 1:16
Churches used to be liberal throughout the modern history of Christianity in the United States, with notable periods of exception of course. Then came Ronald Reagan and Paul Weyrich among others.
Weyrich, the late religious conservative political activist, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, and Godfather of The “Christian” Right, literally peddled various issues trying to galvanize a conservative “Christian” movement:
His hypothetical “Moral Majority” needed a catalyst—a standard around which to rally. For nearly two decades, Weyrich, by his own account, had been trying out different issues, hoping one might pique evangelical interest: pornography, prayer in schools, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, even abortion. “I was trying to get these people interested in those issues and I utterly failed,” Weyrich recalled at a conference in 1990.
The 1978 Senate races demonstrated to Weyrich and others that abortion might motivate conservatives where it hadn’t in the past. He saw his opening and he never looked back.
Abortion is a made up issue designed to coalesce a right-wing political movement. It isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. When you get a chance, check out our related article on abortion.
Prior to the efforts of con-man Paul Weyrich, a 1968 a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing 'individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility' as justifications for ending a pregnancy.
This article in Politico explains the entire early history of The "Christian" Right in great detail. It is a must read. ... As you will learn, abortion was just a ploy to rally a herd mentality. Bigotry was the real motivation behind the madness of Paul Weyrich.
There are many other facets to this story. Frank Schaeffer picks up where Politico left off in his book:
"Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back."
Frank's book is another "must read" for seekers of the Truth.
Fast forward 35 years to the present. The “Christian” Right has a billion dollar messaging empire that would make Joseph Goebbels envious.
They have nationwide radio networks (Salem Communications and others), worldwide television networks (TBN, home of John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, and many others), publishers, mega-churches, political pundits, best-selling authors, media personalities, celebrity pastors, a vast number of wealthy donors, branded media empires (Focus on The Family, The 700 Club, etc.), Political Action Organizations (The Heritage Foundation, The Christian Coalition, etc.), on and on. The Christian Coalition actually produces "non-partisan" Voter's Guides that it distributes to churches nationwide. The guides are anything but "non-partisan." The fact that they even try to pass them off as "non-partisan" reveals the true nature of the organization, deceit.
The "Christian" Right has an agenda, a ton of money, and they're continuously seeking the power to impose their vision on the entire country via public policy. Some of us have watched the hijacking of our faith over the last 35 years with shock and horror. The agenda of the right has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. In truth, the two sets of values are opposites in nature.
Most conservative political and religious leaders will deny it, but upon close examination their agenda is best summarized as Objectivism. Some of them will come right out and admit this fact and lavish the tenets of Objectivism with high praise. Others, aware of problems of being associated with Objectivism, will come up with complex rationalizations trying to avoid association. For instance, Paul Ryan says that because he's a Catholic, he rejects Objectivism. Then he turns right around and says that Ayn Rand's books are the basis of his economic and political philosophy. We're not sure how that works given that every page of her books drip with Objectivism. We're not sure how he avoids some pretty harsh cognitive dissonance.
Again, most conservatives will deny this association until the cows come home. Examine the similarities for yourself. Don't take their word for it. Google Objectivism and do some research on it. Look at how closely it match Republican policy. What you'll discover, if you didn't already know, is that the tenets of Objectivism, no matter how they try to spin them, are polar opposites from everything Jesus taught.
5 years ago we decided to sound the alarm and start speaking up about all this. Honestly, it feels a bit like the story of David and Goliath. If someone doesn’t expose what’s happening with a counter narrative, The "Christian" Right and their political bedfellows will achieve their goals. Their financial backers have almost unlimited resources and vast networks of political connections to power. There's not much standing in their way right now given that 79% of white evangelicals vote Republican. Most of them have been taught that Christians have no choice in the matter. There is only one political option for them: "God's Own Party!"
"The unholy alliance of the Political Right and the Religious Right threatens to destroy the America we love. It also threatens to generate a revulsion against God and religion by identifying them with militarism, ecological irresponsibility, fundamentalist antagonism to science and rational thought, and insensitivity to the needs of the poor and the powerless." -- Rabbi Michael Lerner
Back To The Christian Left Facebook Page
Back To The Christian Left Website
By Patrick McCarthy
The USA ranks 51st in the World in infant mortality rate with 6.1 babies per 1,000.
The USA ranks 39th in the World in maternal mortality rate with 16.7 mothers per 100,000 live births.
In the United States a baby is nearly three times as likely to die during its first year as one born in Finland or Japan, and about twice as likely to die before his first birthday as one in Spain or South Korea.
Social class (That elephant in the living room nobody wants to talk about on liberal facebook Pages) is a major factor in infant mortality, both historically and today. Who'da Thunk?
Over the period 1912 and 1915, the newly founded Children's Bureau* conducted a revolutionary study of infant mortality across eight US cities and nearly 23,000 live births. They discovered that lower incomes tend to correlate with higher infant mortality. If the father had no income, the rate of infant mortality was 357% more than that for the highest income earners. As well, differences between races were apparent during this time period. African-American mothers experienced an infant mortality at a rate 44% higher than average. But again this ties into poverty. Since African Americans at this time, were less likely, due to institutionalized racism, to be in gainful employment than white people.
In fact despite the multitude of medical advances that have done so much since the Children's Bureau study of 1912-1915, to decrease the rate of infant mortality, social class still dictates which medical services are available to an individual, with various levels within the socioeconomic hierarchy receiving a decreasing quality of medical services the lower down the pecking order one goes.
In lay mans terms: If you are a pro-life person who believes that the free market system should be applied to healthcare you are a baby killer...a mommy killer also. But then again if it is an unmarried mother, your "unique" sense of right and wrong dictates that she deserved whatever was coming to her. Either way your "pro-family" card is revoked until you can get to grips with the murderous irony of your moral posturing.
The United States, (the wealthiest nation to still lack a comprehensive public option in healthcare) has actually seen a dichotomization from technological advances. Leaving those living at or below the poverty line unable to afford medically advanced resources. Which leads to an increased chance of infant mortality.
In the US economic expenditures on labor, delivery and neonatal care are relatively high (by which I mean astronomical), when compared to other less wealthy Western nations, which all have a comprehensive public option. In the US a conventional birth costs on average $9,775, with a C-section costing $15,041. Preterm births in the US have been estimated to cost as much as $51,600 per child.
This is insane and it is beginning to show. In 2013 a US study was published that showed that 50% of babies born in the US in 2011 were born under Medicaid That is to say that 1 in 2 children were born to parents who could not afford to have them under the current privatized model of US healthcare. And as the gap between the rich and the poor increases so too will that number. As will the US infant mortality and maternal mortality rate. How long until things get as bad as the were in 1912-1915?
By most accounts of the origins of the Children's Bureau point to a 1903 meeting between two women, the labor-unionist Lillian Wald and the socialist Florence Kelley both of whom were members of the radical Settlement Movement and were later co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and were involved with the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) which in 1905 agreed to make the establishment of a federal children's bureau its primary legislative goal. It took them 7 years of lobbying but in 1912 the United States Children's Bureau was created. Initially more powerful then it is today with its mandate being to:
"... investigate and report to the Department of Commerce and Labor upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people, and shall especially investigate the questions of infant mortality, the birth-rate, orphanage, juvenile courts, parental desertion, dangerous occupations, accidents and diseases of children, employment, and legislation affecting children in the several states and territories."
In 1946 the Children's Bureau was folded into the Social Security Administration (SSA) by Harry (the most overrated President ever) Truman, as part of his massive postwar reorganization of the federal government that was designed to role back the reforms of New Deal and render FDR's progressive vision for the postwar United States a pipe dream.
During this reshuffle the Children's Bureau which was so instrumental in the passage of such important pieces of legislation as the Sheppard–Towner Act (1921), the "Aid to Dependent Children" section of the Social Security Act (1935) and Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) which was the final nail in the coffin of the blight of child labor in the United States, found itself stripped of its authority over all labor-related programs.
Today the Children's Bureau is a federal agency under the authority of United States Department of Health and Human Services, a shadow of its former self, it deals only with improving child abuse prevention, foster care, and adoption.
Patrick McCarthy is a native of Dublin City, Ireland and a committed Christian socialist and co-founder of the Facebook community Page 'Progressive Christian Democratic Socialism'
His hero's are: Saint Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), founder of the mendicant Order of Friars Minor. The Reverend John Ball (1338–1381), a radical cleric who was put to death for his role in the Peasants Revolt of 1381
James Connolly (1868 – 1916), Irish republican, socialist political theorist, trade-union organizer, co-founder of the worlds first trade-union defense militia and signatory of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The injuries he sustained during a failed uprising of Irish nationalists were so severe that he had to be strapped to a chair so he could be executed by a British firing squad. His last words were: "I will say a prayer for all brave men who do their duty. Forgive them for they know not what they do."
Servant of God Dorothy Day (1897–1980), founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.
Servant of God Óscar Romero (1917–1980), former Archbishop of San Salvador who was gunned down by CIA backed right wing death squads while serving mass, for speaking truth to power. His last words were: "We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us."
Tony Benn (1925–2014), Christian socialist, and first President of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) also famous for his 'Five Questions for people with Power': “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? How can we get rid of you?”
Chris Hedges (b.1956), author, activist, and plaintiff in the case Hedges v. Obama which contends that Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 allows the U.S. military the ability to imprison indefinitely journalists, activists and human-rights workers based on vague allegations.
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.