How did “throw-away,” “disposable” and “planned obsolescence” become part of product design and marketing? It was deliberate. Wars are effective at getting economies moving. But how can a war-based economy continue in peacetime? One way is to continue hostilities, another way is consumption. Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, wrote in 1776, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.” Retailing analyst Victor Lebow famously proclaimed in 1955: “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life… We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate.”
The NRA has poured millions into congressional campaigns, particularly the campaigns of Republicans in battleground states and districts. Gun advocates’ true wickedness is in how they use lofty goals of freedom and justice to mask their profit-making motives. [The NRA] engages in a fearmongering strategy to mislead responsible gun owners into believing their rights are threatened whenever the public calls for commonsense regulations on firearms. The firearms industry is awash with related symptoms of brokenness masquerading as the cause of the problem — from the faux-absence of God from civic life to mental illness and violent people. It is time for us to recognize the sin in allowing ourselves to not view money and its role in our political system as a tool of sinful division in our communities and our churches.
In America’s Gilded Age, slaveholder religion went national, blessing an alliance between industrial capital and white nationalism. “One Nation Under God” promised to save America from the “immorality” of the New Deal, Communism and the Civil Rights movement. Writing in the 19th century, when slaveholder religion was still taking root in white Americans’ consciousness, Frederick Douglass said, “Between the Christianity of the slaveholder and the Christianity of Christ, I see the widest possible difference.” People of faith have a choice to make.
It is absolutely vital to denounce the brutal legacy of colonialist plunder that set the capitalist system in motion over 500 years ago. Neither Trump’s explicitly racist vitriol nor the paternalistic “pro-immigrant” discourse of corporate liberals and the multicultural elite challenges the structures allowing for the exploitation and oppression of immigrants and migrant workers. [Capitalists’] ability to earn a profit is literally dependent on an endless supply of highly racialized and deportable bodies. A structural crisis of the global capitalist system reduces human beings to the commodities they either produce, consume, or — in the case of their labor power — are forced to sell. The systematic repression of racialized surplus populations is clearly an attempt to keep a lid on growing discontent among the most socially marginalized, who come to serve as scapegoats for the system’s growing instability. Moral pleas and strident denunciations of xenophobia and hate that are not simultaneously buttressed by an anti-capitalist critique practically invite co-optation by the multicultural corporate elite.
“In response to President Trump I would say this: In response to your most recent tweet where you said that the Democrats had not been able to get anything done when they controlled the House and the Senate and the presidential executive branch. How dare you? You are in that exact position right now and you want to look back on our history and blame the Democrats? That’s disgusting! You’re the president! You’re supposed to bring this nation together not divide us! How dare you? Children are dying and their blood is on your hands because of that. Please! Take action! Stop going on vacation in Mar-a-Lago, take action, work with Congress. Your party controls both the House and Senate. Take action, get some bills passed, and for God’s sake let’s save some lives.”—David Hogg
David Hogg is a student journalist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida0
Every weapon that a US Army soldier uses has the express purpose of killing human beings. The choice rifle for years has been some variant of what civilians are sold as an AR-15. These are not deer rifles. They are not target rifles. They are people killing rifles. Let’s stop pretending they’re not. In addition to cars, we manage drugs, alcohol, exotic animals, and fireworks. We restrict what types of businesses can operate in which zones. Gun ownership is the one thing our country collectively refuses to manage, and the result is a lot of dead people. We can enact gun control without infringing on the right to bear arms. You can have your deer rifle.
.@marcorubio received $90,205 in campaign donations from gun rights groups during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle and received an "A+" grade from the NRA. Rubio has received $3,303,355 over the course of his career as an elected official. https://t.co/Y8EJPrCR5V #thoughtsandprayers https://t.co/OKBHuajKeT
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 14, 2018
Racial discrimination? Check. Gender inequality? Check. Class warfare? Check. Prejudice based on physical ability and differences? Check. The choice between family values and power? Check. The undying pursuit of the American dream at all costs? Check. The Greatest Showman is an allegory about what the church should be. If we don’t address the fissure currently dividing the church now, we will never put out the fire currently raging through our halls and hearts. Like Barnum, we have forgotten to love. To love people who look, sound, think and feel differently to us. To love other Christians who didn’t vote the same way we did.
Stoneman Douglas students are organizing The March For Our Lives, scheduled to take place on March 24 in Washington, DC. It isn’t grownups speaking to other grownups. It’s teenagers, speaking without filters, to lawmakers who someday will need their votes, not to mention their expertise in every field. Student activism has been a force to be reckoned with through the past 60 some years of American history. These high school students are among a new generation, born from 1996 onward, that is alternatively called Generation Z.
“To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you. This isn’t just a mental health issue. He wouldn’t have harmed that many students with a knife. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this. We call BS. They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.”—Emma Gonzalez
Emma Gonzalez is a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.0
None of his assurances can be counted upon. His talent is bluffing, not delivering results. The president who disingenuously promised to end carnage isn’t going to deliver elsewhere either. He won’t end the opiate crisis. He isn’t going to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. He makes lots of promises that he cannot possibly keep. Often, he’s not even trying.
The evidence is stronger than ever that Trump’s remaining supporters are never coming back. Most of the people who love Trump are exulting in making liberals angry, and they are not going to be convinced to change their minds. The people who peddle the idea that rural whites are all in Trump’s corner are wrong. Those voters are not insulted by coastal condescension but by the attempts to reduce them to stereotypes who do not — and can never — know any better. What matters is that more and more people are seeing Trump for what he is, not that some core group of people refuses to do so.
“You cannot find an issue on which there is more agreement. The trouble is, we have a stalemate in congress. Too many lawmakers get their funding from the NRA (National Rifle Association) and they block changes that would help stop this. Everyone approves of greater gun regulation. The only people who don’t want this are the people who want to sell more guns.—Kristin Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
The gun violence epidemic has not led to reforms that create a healthier, safer world. We accept the regular slaughter of innocents as the price we pay for the right to own assault rifles and bring them wherever we want, no matter how troubled we may be. As long as we are unable to muster an effective, humane response at the legislative level, the killing will continue.
Guns are a religion now. And too many of our fellow citizens — including evangelical Christians, of all people — will continue to heedlessly worship at this altar, despite the dead children, the dead teachers, the dead concertgoers and the innocent bystanders who must sacrifice their lives for others’ overriding faith in their weapons. It is safe to say that nobody in the cult of guns listens to Jesus. None of this will stop unless the cult of guns is curbed. This won’t be easy; the cult has a lot of money behind it.
Christ has no body now but yours,
no hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which He sees,
Yours are the feet with which He walks,
Yours are the hands with which
He blesses all the world:
Yours are the hands.
In June 2017, musicians, pastors, writers, and scholars from around the country gathered together in NYC to collaborate on a series of worship songs for a new worship record themed around faith and vocation. The lyrics are from a prayer by Teresa of Avila circa 1571. Music by David Ogden and published by The Royal School of Church Music (admin. by GIA Publications, Inc.). Used by permission. Filmed, recorded, and mixed by Mason Jar Music.0
Oh great mammon of form and function; careless consumerist consumption; dangerous dysfunction, disguised as expensive taste. I’m a people disgraced by what I claim I need and what I want to waste. I take no account for nothing if it’s not mine. It’s a misappropriation of funds; protect my ninety percent with my guns. Whose side am I on? Well who’s winning?
My kingdom’s built with the blood of slaves, orphans, widows, and homeless graves. I sold their souls just to build my private mansion. Some people say that my time is coming: Kingdom come is the justice running down, down, down on me. I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son; I refuse to give my love to anyone, fight for the truth, or help the weaker ones, because I love my Babylon. I am a slave, I was never free. I betrayed you for blood money. Oh I bought the world, all its vanity. Oh my Lord I’m your enemy.—Josh Garrels, Zion & Babylon
Josh Garrels has spent more than a decade crafting music that cuts clean through. Resting in the space between accessibility and honesty, Garrels’ songs wrestle with and celebrate the mystery of faith with authenticity and heart. Cultivating a genre-blending mix of folk and hip hop, Garrels’ music explores themes of compassion, hope, longing, and liberation.0
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. died trying to beat the trick. The trick is when white politicians persuade poor white working class people that the source of their pain is people of color, immigrants and other scapegoats. King recruited impoverished white residents of Appalachia, Latino farm workers from California and impoverished blacks from Mississippi. It was a Rainbow Coalition before the term was even coined. Organizers for a “new Poor People’s Campaign” and the Fight for $15 movement will launch rallies across the mid-South to raise awareness of the plight of the nation’s poor. The campaign is calling for thousands of cooks and cashiers to walk off their jobs Monday and join protests in two dozen cities.