Clinton And Trump Debate On Bitter Ayotzinapa Anniversary

By Ted Lewis, Director of Human Rights programs for Global Exchange (from BPFNA/ Bautistas por la Paz):

The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is taking place on the anniversary of the September night, two years ago, when 43 Mexican students were violently attacked and “disappeared” by police, military and criminal gangs in Iguala, Mexico.

That’s important, because whether or not the candidates even talk about Mexico on Monday night, the complex relationship between the United States and Mexico has become a high profile electoral issue. But the Ayotzinapa tragedy — so emblematic of the toxic mixture of political repression and impunity that has accompanied drug war militarization and free trade neo-liberalism — has not been part of the debate.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

Being Inter-religiously Baptist

Currently in the United States: Muslims and mosques all over the country report an increased rate of assault and vandalism. Many people from Muslim nations are being refused entry visas for pursuit of legitimate and meritorious endeavors in the U.S. Similarly, many foreign Muslims are being detained in this country for technical visa violations that are not being uniformly enforced. Persons of Middle Eastern descent and those belonging to other faith traditions, e.g. Sikhs, are mistaken for Muslims and subject to increased incidences of prejudice and discrimination. An increased number of Muslim women, whose dress makes them easily recognizable as belonging to a non-majority faith, are fearful of venturing outside their homes even for simple errands or to attend worship services for fear of the prejudice they encounter outside their doors. Strident voices make increasingly inflammatory public statements and unfounded verbal attacks. Continue reading Being Inter-religiously Baptist

Versie & Karen: Happiness, Health And A Homecooked Meal

From Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco:

Versie and Karen on their porchAs anyone far enough from the San Francisco Bay can tell you, summer days can get hot – even those tacked onto the front of an early autumn. But sitting in the shade of Miss Versie Williams’s East Palo Alto home, you can escape the heat and allow your mind to wander to more important things.

Like, for example, your stomach.

“Every morning, she invents a new breakfast,” explains Versie’s oldest daughter, Karen. “My favorite is the grits with shrimp and chicken and jalapeno peppers….From the time she wakes up, she always in the kitchen. She’s a kitchen person.” Continue reading Versie & Karen: Happiness, Health And A Homecooked Meal

In the World: Anti-Immigrant Walls and Racist Tweets

Migrants in Europe
Migrants are increasingly attempting to enter Europe overland from the East. EPA/Nake Batev

Anti-Immigrant Walls And Racist Tweets: The Refugee Crisis In Central Europe

Jan Culik

While many citizens of Western Europe don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about taking in the refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, the crisis has provoked a remarkably strong wave of xenophobia and Islamophobia in the countries of Central Europe.

Hungary is planning to build a four metre-high wall along its border with Serbia in a bid to keep immigrants from crossing. This follows comments from Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who denounced an EU plan to resettle some of the refugees across member states as “mad”.

Continue reading In the World: Anti-Immigrant Walls and Racist Tweets

Bearing Witness, But Never Finding Justice

RIP Alton

The Problem We All Live With: Bearing Witness, but Never Finding Justice

Emilie Townes

We do not love ourselves. We have become cavalier with each other’s lives and we, as a nation, have not yet decided that we have reached the point where we will now practice willful and strategic eradication of the complex character that makes us an unloving society.

Let me be clear, the kind of love I am talking about is not romantic. It is a love forged out of the gospel call to dig deep into our innards and find the spaces of compassion sequestered there, to pull them out into our social and political lives to create a society that values the great diversity of folks that shape us into a nation. The kind of love we tend to practice is not this kind of love—it is hoarding. It is protecting what we have, protecting who we are, circling the wagons around our ideas and beliefs, failing to look up and out into the faces of the many-ness of this country. Continue reading Bearing Witness, But Never Finding Justice

OGHS Relief for Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugeesVALLEY FORGE, PA (9/17/15)—The Board of Directors of IM officially expressed its long-term commitment to supporting Syrian refugee and IDP communities in the recent International Ministries Resolution on Syrian Refugees. The resolution paves the way for a focused mobilization of human and financial resources to pray for, meet the needs of and prepare to receive Syrian refugees.

As a first step in this next stage of response, IM has sent an additional $10,000 in OGHS emergency funding to provide immediate relief for Syrian refugees and IDPs. Of this grant, IM partners Hungarian Baptist Aid and the Union of Baptist Churches of Serbia have each been given $5,000. The aid will be used to supply food and water, clothing, shelter and medical clinics. Future OGHS grants will support the efforts of all IM partners who are providing relief to Syrian IDPs and refugees.

Read more at ABC/USA

Baptist churches should emulate Black Lives Matter movement, says advocate

Michelle Higgins (Photo/CBF)
Michelle Higgins (Photo/CBF)

Baptist News Global, Blake Tommey, June 28, 2016

A Black Lives Matter advocate fired a shot across the bow of Baptist churches, challenging them and other Christians to embrace Christ’s calling to care for society’s most oppressed.

“The story of the church in recent years is that that we have failed to be the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Michelle Higgins, director of worship and outreach at South City Church in St. Louis. “So we must bear the reproach of confessing to people on the margins that we care more about building new buildings, moving out of dangerous neighborhoods, creating state-of-the-art children’s centers — that the people of God have abandoned God’s covenant. …” Continue reading Baptist churches should emulate Black Lives Matter movement, says advocate

Alliance of Baptists Grieving with Orlando

Candles lit in remembrance at congregational partner, Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.
Photo: Candles lit in remembrance at congregational partner, Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.

The Alliance of Baptists expresses our profound sadness and cries out in lament in response to the tragic shooting in Orlando. We are horrified yet once again by a mass shooting and an act of domestic terror.

We offer our prayers of care and support for all the families and friends of the ones who have been senselessly murdered and traumatically affected by this heinous act. We offer our best sense of God, rooted in our followership of Jesus, and expressed across the world’s enduring religions, that God is love and that God’s love embraces all with great care and compassion. Continue reading Alliance of Baptists Grieving with Orlando

Gun violence: An interview with Lorraine

Gun violence: An interview with Lorraine

Paula_DempseyIt began as a normal day. After finishing breakfast Lorraine placed a peck on the cheek of her husband, uttered a quick “I love you,” before heading out to the grocery story to purchase milk to replenish the jug emptied at breakfast.  Other family members had already left when she picked up her four-year old granddaughter to deliver her to preschool. What she encountered when she returned home turned her normal day into a life-shattering one.

The day was eleven years ago, but the memory was just as fresh as if it were yesterday’s as Lorraine told me of descending the basement steps, approaching the refrigerator, and seeing her husband’s lifeless body. Utterly shocked, she ran screaming into the yard where neighboring business owners and passersby on the busy street flocked to her side.

Read more at Baptist News Global…

In the World

Alan Plessinger shared this poem by the great American Quaker poet to inspire us as we go to the polls on Tuesday. We realize that many of you have already voted by mail and also that the masculine language is from a different century, but the sentiment may speak to you as you consider candidates and issues in this primary as well as in the general election in the fall.

 The Poor Voter on Election Day

By John Greenleaf Whittier

The proudest now is but my peer,
The highest not more high;
To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people’s hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
Who serves to-day upon the list
Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,
The gloved and dainty hand!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man’s common sense
Against the pedant’s pride.
To-day shall simple manhood try
The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!
While there’s a grief to seek redress,
Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less
Than Mammon’s vilest dust, —
While there’s a right to need my vote,
A wrong to sweep away,
Up! clouted knee and ragged coat!
A man’s a man to-day!

To quote last Sunday’s sermon, “Peace Now!”: “I can hear you. Honestly, I can hear me. This is hard work [peacemaking.] I don’t know if I can live into it, loving from the center of my being and practicing the things that make for peace. The issues of peace and justice are so much larger than I. I don’t even know where to begin. Well, we can start with the ballot we cast next Tuesday and ask ourselves to be cognizant of concerns for peace and justice, compassion and love, as we mark our ballots. We might even pray over them.”