As the climate crisis intensifies and crystallizes, the tangible effects of climate change today are disproportionately dispersed on both the national and global scale. Communities and entire nations who do the least to contribute to rising greenhouse gas emissions bear the enormous burden of climate disaster first and worst on their bodies and their livelihoods.
Interestingly, the ambit of 'flashbulb memory' provides insight into cases where courts have failed to prosecute crimes of sexual violence — those hearings took place years after the actual event. In those years, memories we thought to be foolproof had deteriorated as survivors battled trauma, tragedy, and time. As testimonies were vetted for reliability, misconceptions around memory articulated through each step of the legal processn and increased the probability of a miscarriage of justice.
When the U.S. Capitol Police issued three warnings for us to disperse, most of those gathered stepped back behind the police line, but five stepped forward and laid down in the shape of a cross in the center of the rotunda. A cross of human bodies. Dozens more formed a eucharistic circle around this cross.
From July 16-18, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosted the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, which is touted as the “the largest religious freedom event of its kind in the world.” More than a thousand attendees representing delegations from 106 countries arrived in Washington D.C. to discuss challenges to religious liberty and how to collectively address the threats facing people of faith worldwide.
Numerous reports, including Dana Milbank’s “President Trump actually is making us crazy,” have pointed out that since the 2016 election there has been an increase in mental health challenges including depression, stress, grief, anxiety, and sadness.
Though I was never a missionary in the standard sense of the word, never proselytized or attempted to save souls, the engine driving me was the white savior complex. I thought the dark bodies living in the developing world needed us white, Western, Christians. The other Westerners I worked with believed we had it all pretty much figured out. We had the right theology. We had the right answers. We had the expertise. We were the so called “whole” condescending to help the “broken.”
A few days ago, I gathered with my two Potawatomi sons on our couch to watch Molly of Denali, a cartoon that recently premiered on PBS starring a young girl named Molly who is an Alaska Native (specifically, Gwich’in/Koyukon/Dena’ina Athabascan). This show is the first of its kind in the history of the United States.
The water that gives life mixes
With the blood and the tears
From the gas, the bullets
Donald Trump’s tweeted and spoken racial assaults on the four members of Congress — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib — are a public sin that must be called out.
What I did not tell my friend, even as I thanked her, is that just as Christopher has become less churchy, so have the rest of us. I did not say that I’m not quite comfortable with religious jewelry in general, and in this case, don’t even wear the medal for safe passage. Instead, St. Christopher is a reminder of beautiful imperfection and radical acceptance — the patron saint of just right.
If we hear silence from white people of faith, we are in deep spiritual trouble. Christian moral objection to the president’s racist language must grow every day and from many quarters, but so farno word at all from the president’s most prominent evangelical supporters. Those Trump supporters have other issues and moral concerns, including differences with Democrats on abortion (as others of us do too); but will they call out the President on racism? That has now become an urgent moral and theological test.
Though much of the trip was spent studying the past, at no point was the connection to present day more striking than when the group returned to their hotel after Auschwitz and turned on CNN. The news segment featured the detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border and the deplorable conditions there.
How can someone who claims to stand on family values possibly support a policy of family separation that, in many cases, leaves no possibility for future reunification? How can someone who claims to follow a man who taught us to love our enemies possibly support an administration that refuses to provide children with basic necessities like soap, toothbrushes, or even a decent night’s sleep? It doesn’t add up, and it’s time Christians stood up and took notice because the religiously unaffiliated already have.
The president of the United States has recently unleashed a barrage of racist and anti-immigrant tweets that are, in my opinion, in perfect alignment with who we have known him to be. While outrage is the appropriate societal response to such childish and harmful behavior, I do not believe that focusing our attention on tweets and xenophobic rhetoric is what will move us forward as a nation. What will move us forward as a nation is for everyone in this country to begin to understand the role that race plays in our white-dominated society, and the many ways in which most of us are complicit with this system of domination.
In some ways, that conversation continues to change as we work through issues of inequality. In a world in which the U.S. women’s team wins the World Cup, we still fight for equal pay, for recognition. In the church, it’s a constant uphill battle to get people to respect women as much as men, and while the conversation makes a lot of people uncomfortable, we are still having it. I wouldn’t know how to begin these conversations if I hadn’t encountered the leadership of women in the church.
When I heard that Rev. Butler was appointed the first woman pastor of Riverside, I thought she broke the stained-glass ceiling. Instead, the church threw her off the stained-glass cliff. The phenomenon of the glass cliff is one documented throughout the working world. Women are invited into senior-level leadership only at times of crisis, when intractable problems, often caused by male predecessors, cannot be solved. There’s nothing to lose because things have hit rock bottom.
In the United States, we count drug overdoses per 100,000, not per million. The comparable numbers are 6 per million in Portugal, 21.3 per million for the European Union, and 217 per million in the United States.
A Univision poll found that millennial (ages 18-33) Latinx voters believed that Julián Castro did the best among all presidential candidates in the first Democratic primary debate. This demographic is important because nearly half of all Latinx voters in the U.S. are millennials. Castro is connecting with this emerging generation because of his shared experiences and shared convictions.