Mass Shootings Are a Mammon Problem: Money and its role in our political system is a tool of sinful division

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.

Source: Mass Shootings Are a Mammon Problem | Sojourners

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People of faith have a choice to make

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.

Source: Why Evangelicals Support Trump, Despite His Immorality | Time

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Neither Trump’s vitriol nor the corporate liberals and multicultural elite challenges the exploitation and oppression of immigrants and migrant workers

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.

Source: Why Corporate Democrats Do Not Support Immigrant Justice | Alternet

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Stoneman Douglas student slams Trump for blaming Democrats on gun control failure

“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, Florida

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Marco Rubio called out for NRA money after tweeting about Florida shooting

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The Greatest Showman Is The Wake Up Call That the Church Needs

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.

Source: The Greatest Showman Is The Wake Up Call That the Church Needs – RELEVANT Magazine

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Politicians funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS

“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.

Source: Florida high school shooting survivor to Trump: “Shame on you.” – Vox

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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

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.

Source: A pastor helps revive MLK’s most radical campaign – CNN

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War and poverty form a kind of toxic symbiotic relationship

“Beloved, war and poverty form a kind of toxic symbiotic relationship with each component contributing to the other. The more we wage war, and the war economy, the more poor young men and women die on the battlefield and die at home from the lack of healthcare. And at the same time we’re draining away more and more resources to the war economy, thus creating even more poverty. And when the current situation of escalating war and poverty is seen from another standpoint, from the standpoint of the military industrial political elites who make billions of dollars off of war it is easy for them to justify more war in order to take more resources of other nations and to give crumbs to the impoverished masses in this nation to blind us and keep us from seeing the truth. And that if we saw the truth, we would turn against them. And so we are in this cycle of perpetual war.”— Rev. Nelson Johnson

Rev. Nelson Johnson of the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, North Carolina speaks at The Gathering. Learn more and take action at breachrepairers.org.

Nelson Johnson has been active in the movement for social and economic justice since high school in the late 1950’s. Though involved in a myriad of initiatives, Rev. Johnson centers his efforts on facilitating a process of comprehensive community building, which include a convergence of racial and ethnic diversity, social and economic justice, and genuine participatory democracy. He is is actively building relationships with and providing leadership within organized labor, faith groups and other public and private community organizations.

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Falwell’s family legacy and public platform allow him to perpetuate the illusion that he speaks for all evangelicals

Falwell, like many members of the old-guard evangelical right, have made the idea that Christian ethics should permeate government a central element of their lobbying work. While Jesus may have encouraged his followers to pay their taxes, “turn the other cheek” was also a mandate. Falwell is revealing that there’s more nationalism than Christianity in his Christian nationalism. Falwell’s family legacy, as well as his public platform, allows him to perpetuate the illusion that he is speaking for all evangelicals. Jesus was ultimately crucified by Roman authorities as a threat to the state on the understanding that his message was radical, subversive, and, yes, dangerous to the imperial status quo.

Source: Evangelical Jerry Falwell Jr. defends Trump: Jesus “never told Caesar how to run Rome” – Vox

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Christian nationalism, a belief supported by Dominion theology, wants an American Christian theocracy

Christian nationalism is the false belief that America is a Christian nation, a belief supported by Dominion theology. It is a radical right wing movement composed of Christian extremists that want to rewrite American history, and replace the secular values upon which this nation was founded with a Christian theocracy.

Source: Trump Promotes Christian Nationalism At National Prayer Breakfast

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Trump’s rhetoric matters: His defenders either revel in his outbursts or say they don’t matter

Trump’s rhetoric matters. Our public debate is polluted when President Trump denigrates the FBI as “corrupt” or suggests that all immigrants are MS-13 murderers. Trump and his crass team demean the offices they hold. Worse, they lower the standard of discourse. Trump’s defenders either revel in his outbursts or say that they do not matter.

Source: Trump’s rhetoric matters – The Washington Post

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Robert Jeffress doesn’t care if Trump believes the positions he’s advocating

“I can’t look into the president’s heart to know if he really personally believes these positions he’s advocating, or whether he thinks it’s smart politics to embrace them because of the strong evangelical influence in the country. But frankly, I don’t care. As a Christian, I’m seeing these policies embraced and enacted, and he’s doing that.”—Robert Jeffress

Robert Jeffress is a Texas megachurch pastor and one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers.

Source: Evangelicals, Having Backed Trump, Find White House ‘Front Door Is Open’ – The New York Times

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Trump’s comments honoring Martin Luther King Jr. “added insult to injury”

“His own comments expose him. They were elitist and blatantly racist.” Trump’s comments honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. “added insult to injury.”

A.R. Bernard is a black pastor of a 40,000-member church in New York City. He resigned from the evangelical council in August 2017 after Trump blamed “both sides” for deadly violence in Charlottesville.

Source: Some evangelical leaders continue to back Trump after his ‘shithole’ comments – The Washington Post

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Trump-speak allows open discussion of problems usually only spoken about behind closed doors

Trump’s “open source” thoughts are unprecedented in any modern politician. Trump, by breaking from the “offend no one” style of political discourse, still appeals to those Americans who share beliefs with him that are largely overlooked by the incumbent political class that the president is dismantling. His takeover of the Republican Party was a hostile one that paid lip service to most of the party’s ideological dogma. What Trump is about is remaking the American body politic. Trump-speak is a key component of that overhaul, because it allows for the open discussion of the many problems America and the world is facing but are usually only spoken about in whispers behind closed doors.

Source: How Donald Trump is retooling politics for the 21st century

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‘Poor People’s Campaign’ readies nationwide mobilization

Poor people, clergy and activists in the Poor People’s Campaign plan to deliver letters to politicians in state Capitol buildings demanding that leaders confront what they call systemic racism evidenced in voter suppression laws and poverty rates. “Our faith traditions and state and federal constitutions all testify to the immorality of an economy that leaves out the poor, yet our political discourse consistently ignores the 140 million poor and low-income people in America,” the letter states.

Source: ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ readies nationwide mobilization – ABC News

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We continue feeding the bipartisan military-industrial complex, ignoring basic needs of our people

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis deprioritizes counter-terror efforts and  aggressively pursues a massive arms race with both Russia and China. This extremely aggressive stance is exactly why law requires the Secretary of Defense to be a civilian, at least seven years removed from active duty. This law was waived for Mattis’ appointment. Shockingly, Mattis was approved in a nearly unanimous 98-1 vote and still enjoys bipartisan support. We continue feeding the bipartisan military-industrial complex, while ignoring the basic needs of our people.

Source: Bipartisan Militarism Endangers Us All

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$700 billion for what? Military expenditures provide no benefit

Many left-liberal groups ignore the Pentagon’s swollen budget even as it devours resources that could be put to much better use. Sadly, a bipartisan majority in Congress gave [Trump] all he asked for [and] then some. Beyond spending sufficient to provide reasonable defense, military expenditures provide no benefit; they fail utterly to improve our quality of life. The growth in so-called “Islamist terror groups” was largely blowback — the result of and reaction to U.S. intervention in the region. The citizenry would be far better off if our nation abandoned the role of global hegemon, led the world into multilateral disarmament negotiations and redirected billions into investments in our people and infrastructure.—Mark Haim

Mark Haim is a longtime advocate for peace, justice, sustainability and climate action. He serves as director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, a grassroots activist group.

Source: $700 Billion For What? | The Indypendent

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The war economy is killing our nation’s spirit

“When a nation has to lie, and get a lying president and actually has to put all of this money into the military to keep other people from hurting it, it’s a weak nation. A strong nation has the moral fabric that people want to be a part of and they don’t want to hurt it because you’re doing good things and you’re helping people to live good lives.”— Rev. Nelson Johnson

Rev. Nelson Johnson of the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, North Carolina speaks at The Gathering. Learn more and take action at breachrepairers.org.

Nelson Johnson has been active in the movement for social and economic justice since high school in the late 1950’s. Though involved in a myriad of initiatives, Rev. Johnson centers his efforts on facilitating a process of comprehensive community building, which include a convergence of racial and ethnic diversity, social and economic justice, and genuine participatory democracy. He is is actively building relationships with and providing leadership within organized labor, faith groups and other public and private community organizations.

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