Friday, September 28, 2007


I am reposting this message, something Michael posted on his blog, so that some of my other friends might read it. Fred Phelps and the WBC are planning a protest at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, so I just wanted to show them how some others had protested the WBC in the past!

Dear Friends,
Please take a moment before reading this to visualize hate.
The Holocaust.
The Virginia Tech massacre.
I would imagine that none of you defined hate in a very positive way. Merriam-Webster defines hate as a feeling of extreme enmity or hostility towards someone, or something. Hatred is also used to describe feelings of prejudice, bigotry or condemnation against a person or group of people, such as racism, and intense religious or political prejudice. The term "hate crime" is used to designate crimes committed out of hatred in this sense.
Did anyone picture Fred Phelps when I asked you to visualize hate? Who is Fred Phelps? He is a man that does not use the word 'hate' casually. He intentionally spreads a message of hatred wherever he goes. You may have seen one of the many stories in the national news or magazines about the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Fred Phelps is the pastor at this church. Phelps and the 71 confirmed members of his church (63 of whom are family members) travel the country to "warn" the rest of us. According to Phelps, homosexuality and its acceptance have doomed most of the world to eternal damnation.
The members of the WBC, an independent Baptist church, are known for preaching with slogans and banners denoting phrases such as "God hates fags", "AIDS cures fags", and "Fags Die, God Laughs", and they claim that God will punish homosexuals as well as people such as Bill O'Reilly, Coretta Scott King and Howard Dean, whom their church considers "fag-enablers." Phelps has also held up signs thanking God for the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Phelps subscribes to John Calvin's doctrine of Unconditional Election, the belief that God elected certain people for salvation before birth. Phelps says that almost nobody is a member of the elect, and furthermore that he and the members of his congregation (mostly his family) are the only members of the elect, because they are the only ones unafraid to publish the current relevant application of the Word of God – in particular, that "God hates fags."
Phelps and his followers frequently picket various events, especially military funerals, gay pride gatherings, and high-profile political gatherings. Phelps stated political views and activities are primarily driven by his view that the United States of America is "a sodomite nation of flag-worshipping idolaters."
Gay rights activists, as well as Christians of virtually every denomination, have denounced him as a producer of anti-gay propaganda and violence-inspiring hate speech. The Westboro Baptist Church is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an American, non-profit, legal organization whose stated purpose is to combat racism and promote civil rights through research, education and litigation.
Fred Phelps and the WBC will be right here in Lexington, Kentucky this weekend, protesting the University of Kentucky. Just seven days ago, the UK board of trustees overwhelmingly approved a new benefits package that will take effect on July 1, and will extend its employer paid benefits to university employee's domestic partners, including same-gender partners. The WBC will be protesting this recent action at the UK graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 6, at Rupp Arena.
When asked about the upcoming protest, a Westboro Baptist representative, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said that "we are trying to help this nation connect back. These children have been taught defiance against God, and now these children are dying. That's why the shooting at Virginia Tech happened."
The same group was in Kentucky in December, protesting a military funeral in Stanton. Before protesting UK, the group plans to picket the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. "We've had a lot of dealings with Kentucky as of late, and we know they're in some trouble," Phelps-Roper said.
The group will have a designated area outside of Rupp Arena where it can protest out of the way of pedestrian traffic.
We must let this group know that their message is not welcome in our state any day, but especially on a day when the focus should be on the 2007 graduates and their accomplishments. Please join me and others outside of Rupp Arena at 12:30 on Sunday, May 6, to peacefully protest the message of hate brought into the Bluegrass state by this group of extremists. In order to keep the focus away from hate, I ask that you do NOT come to attack Fred Phelps. Instead, we should convey a message of acceptance and equality for the groups that the WBC will be targeting, namely the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. Furthermore, we MUST come with a message of congratulations for the 2007 graduates of the Univ. of Kentucky and their families.
I hope to see some familiar faces outside of Rupp Arena on Sunday.
Many thanks,
Michael Jordan


Friday, September 21, 2007

ann coulter

Ann Coulter is a mystery to me. For the most part, I think it would be safe to say that I disagree with just about everything she's ever said, but there are moments that she sometimes makes sense. This morning she wrote on her website about...wait for it...wait for it.... how liberals are ruining the world. Wow, what a novel idea Ann, I don't think anyone has ever done that... Could you do it some more? Ok, return from sarcasm, she writes about how one of the largest problems with our medical system is how much doctor's have to pay in malpractice insurance in fear of being sued. And surprisingly, I agree with her. (My skin is trying to crawl off my body for saying I agree with Ann Coulter) I understand that these people are doctors, and that there are certain extenuating circumstances in which they need to be sued for blatant malpractice, but at the same time, when is our country ever going to stop trying to earn that quick buck at someone else's expense? Because it really isn't at someONE else's expense, it's at everyone's expense. The more people sue, the more doctor's have to spend on malpractice insurance, and the more everyone has to pay just to go see the doctor. So in this one sentence, I agree with her.... (shudder) Coulter says...

"Doctors graduate at the top of their classes at college and then spend nearly a decade in grueling work at medical schools. Most doctors don't make a dime until they're in their early 30s, just in time to start paying off their six-figure student loans by saving people's lives. They have 10 times the IQ of trial lawyers and 1,000 times the character. Yeah, let's go after those guys. On to nuns next!"

How about on to the ministers next Ann, ever remember us? We have comparable amounts of student loans and most of us don't start school until after we're 30, because our culture doesn't support people who are going to follow their heart and their calling simply because no one understands why you would want to work and never make a dime. We don't listen to our calling because we grow up in a consumerist society that doesn't support that, because our calling won't make us rich. So we work in corporate america, and when we finally decide to follow God's calling on our life, we end up NEVER making a dime because whatever we make goes to those same student loans to put us through school. (Or at least those of us who aren't out to work at a mega-church with theology which disgraces God and God's will for justice of all, and a mega-church which is disgracing the radical political message of Jesus' life)

Ann, have you ever heard of a liberal minister? Oh that's right, someone, actually a very close, long time friend, told me once that they don't exist. Again, my skin is crawling off my body... I AM A LIBERAL MINISTER. I EXIST. So how can you say Ann, that the church of liberalism is Godless? Granted, I haven't read your book Ann, because I refuse to give you any of my limited disposable income, I'd rather buy crack cocaine, but I would just like to respond to the title of your book.... The church of liberalism.... is "the church." Jesus' message was a radical message of love, which calls on us to respond to God's calling on our life, not the calling most of us hear of our capitalist society. God calls us to fight for and stand in solidarity with those in the margins of society. The individualism that conservatism is calling our society to live in, is killing us. The church of liberalism is one of community, which is what we are called to live in. We are not called to live as a group of individuals who claim community simply because of proximity, but we are called, by God, in our liberalism and all, to live in community, and I believe that is what this dreaded word, liberalism is calling us to do. So how is liberalism Godless? Capitalism is supporting this growth in modernity and individualism, and it is killing us.

Larry Rasmussen says...

“More precisely, [modernity] remains powerful and active though badly hurt, like a wounded giant floundering about on a series of realities we have only begun to recognize as interlinked: capitalist and socialist economies so totally out of sync with nature’s requirements for regeneration as to quietly threaten ecocide; the destruction of indigenous cultures and peoples; the breakdown of close community and organic traditions; the disintegrative effects for society, psyche, and nature of living out the image of mastery and control as the primary image for humanity itself; the development of weapons of apocalyptic destruction; the mountain of debt incurred by maintaining civilization and paying for its debris, costs far exceeding those needed to build it in the first place; the immiseration of the growing urban poor and the evacuation of many rural areas in the manner of “Appalachias”; the recognition that while different, the forms of oppression of women, many minorities, Third World, and indigenous peoples are linked and arise from forces that oppress land and nature as well; and the onset, amid self abundance itself, of frazzled nerves, addiction, stress, rootlessness, chronic fatigue, and depression as serious diseases of a scattered soul and a restless, impoverished spirit.”

Individualistic society is not serving a large portion of the population well, and something must be changed. What must be changed, is that we must commit to living in community, standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the margins, and we must commit to listening to the God that calls for radical liberal change. Being a Christian, listening to the God I know exists is what calls me to be a liberal....So I ask you Ann Coulter, how is liberalism Godless?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Graduate School

So.... let's say you are a law student, going to law school... or maybe you are a med student, going to be a doctor.... So you're in graduate school right? Hey... so am I!! Hmmm... but I'm just in seminary... right? That can't be near as hard? All you do is sit around and pray... right?

Let me propose a little scenario... You are a law student. You feel like something in your life has finally pushed you or prodded you to go to this school, put your life on hold and pay all sorts of money to go to graduate school. So you go. And at first, everything is hunky dorey (sp? whatever....) And your classes are insanely interesting, they make you think, they make you excited about what you're doing. Then you get to your second semester. Now the classes are different. Now you are learning about the origins of law in this country, in wherever you grew up, but you're learning about a different kind of law than you are used to. You are learning about the laws in such a way that they no longer feel like they apply to you, like maybe they don't have any value to you any more, because how are the even relevant to today's society? So then you also start learning about other systems of law around the world. And those seem to also work nicely, but some of them also seem to suck beyond all belief. But all of them seem valid. All of them also seem like they are useful, and could apply to society around the world. And some of them also seem to say that they are the ONLY way to run a country's system of laws, or otherwise your country doesn't even deserve to exist.

Now you're to the point that you are questioning the existence of laws anywhere. Do they really exist? Who teaches them to us? What makes them important? Meanwhile, why you are questioning them, you realize you are questioning the very reason you even came to law school. If you believed in this country's system of laws so much, then why would you even be thinking these things? Or why are you thinking these things now that you know all of this about the rest of the world, and the rest of these systems of thinking.

But in the mean time, you also have a full-time job that they label as only a "student" position. Which the pay still puts you under the poverty level, could qualify you for section 8 housing, and can qualify you for food stamps, but you also worry about "working the system" so you don't take advantage of any of them, you just take a second job. But in this first job, this first "student" position, you are expected to act as if you are a full-time lawyer. You are expected to know everything that someone who has passed the bar exam would know, while at the same tim still learning those same things. You are also expected to guide your clients in the right direction, giving them advice on how to follow the law, on what to do when they are in trouble, and to defend them, well because they ARE your clients. But this is in only one type of law. You are only practicing one kind of law, but are expected to be gaining experience in all types of law, through something... maybe your dreams?

So... somehow, you manage to make it through school, through your school work. You try to separate your personal feelings about the law, whether or not you even believe in it any more, from the academic side, and also be a law scholar. So you manage that... all while still wondering if "laws" even exist. What's the point... what do laws actually do? People break them all the time, and never pay attention. They half-ass pay attention, like when they put a seat belt on, just because they pass a copy.... but you are still supposed to interpret, understand, uphold, and teach this law to your clients when they come to you.

Now.... let's say you are studying for the Bar. Granted, that is a hard task. But on top of that, you've also been going through an interview process that has taken up the entire time you are in graduate school. A group of 5 - 15 people have been selected, pretty much at random, and are going to determine whether or not you are going to be a good lawyer, and reflect what they understand your job to be. Never mind what you think your job should be, even if you intend to explain it to them.... even if you pass the Bar.... these people are going to determine whether or not you receive your license to practice law. But instead of them being just random people, they are your "clients." They are going to "partake" of your services, of all kinds. They expect you to know all about their specific needs and to answer those needs at some point in this three year interview process. And all in all, whether or not you become a lawyer, is dependent on them. They have a final interview. Some of them may be professional mothers who don't understand constitutional law from Nemo, their son's favorite cartoon. But they care about you, and your journey... so you are expected to relate that to them. Some could also be lawyers themselves, or maybe they've taken a few law classes, or maybe they are professors of law at a different school. Or maybe they are the wife or husband of a lawyer, so their view of lawyers is a little jaded. Or maybe they know something about law, somewhere in the middle. But all in all... THEY determine whether or not they will support you and "recommend" you to be a lawyer. It doesn't matter how much or how little THEY actually understand law... but they determine if you are capable of doing that for others. They determine if you actually understand it, even though they might not.... think they do, or have no idea one way or another.

Now you graduate.... and you are going to be paid less than 15% of what most people around the world, who also have a graduate degree are making. Yet, you also worked this other ridiculous second job while you were in graduate school, and you most likely have the most student loans out of anyone you know who went to graduate school.

So YES, we do pray.... A LOT.... but welcome to a little of my experience.... :)