THE “LIBERTY COUNCIL” : hatred in America

“The Liberty Counsel was founded by conservative activists Mathew (“Mat”) Staver – an attorney and former dean at Liberty University School of Law – and his wife Anita. The Counsel bills itself as a non-profit litigation, education and policy organization that provides legal counsel and pro bono assistance in cases dealing with religious liberty, “the sanctity of human life” and the family. Mat Staver chairs the Counsel; his wife Anita is the president. The Liberty Counsel shares a close affiliation with Liberty University (founded by the late Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Va.) , especially the university’s school of law. The partnership includes the Washington, D.C.-based Liberty Center for Law and Policy, which conducts legal research and writes about current legislation and policies.”

liberty council

splc file

“Now [the group will] allow homosexual young boys in the Scouts and allow homosexual leaders in the Scouts, and what are you going to have? You are going to have all kinds of sexual molestation. This is a playground for pedophiles to go and have all these boys as objects of their lust.” – Mat Staver, “Faith and Freedom Radio,” August 2015

 

I am convinced that it is futile to argue the propaganda set forth in the above statement relating to the  Boy Scouts of America.  An enlightened, discerning America knows this is absolute hogwash.  Those who wholeheartedly support this claim by Staver will always choose to live in their darkness and homophobia.  But, let’s talk about hypocrisy.  Those of us who are familiar with the writings of the Bible and the words which have been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, know that Jesus strongly and frequently condemned the Jewish religious hierarchy of his day.  He referred often to the hypocrisy which had taken an ancient faith based on one’s personal trek with God to a ritualistic cult of animal sacrifice and human oppression.  The commoners of Jesus’ contemporary society were in bondage not only to the Roman overlords but also to the Jewish elite.  Only a few references are made to the oppression of government while most of the writings focus on the oppression inflicted by religion.

John 8:7  He said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Mark 12:30-31  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 7:3  “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to see the log in your own eye?”

Matthew 23:28  “So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”                                                                                                                         

Do your own research of the LIBERTY COUNCIL through the links provided above and their own website which proclaims on the opening page:

“Liberty Counsel is Restoring the Culture by Advancing Religious Freedom, the Sanctity of Human Life and the Family”                                                                               liberty council

Yes, they are promoting freedom if it is their very narrow and intolerant interpretation. Fundamentalist religious persuasions tend to take this route.   However, what is most disturbing about its agenda is their need to legislate their brand of morality and to attack a minority of American society which has historically been marginalized by a homophobic society intent on promoting hatred and distrust rather than acceptance and inclusion.

The opening quote from Mat Staver is just a sampling of the outrageously uninformed and unsubstantiated misinformation coming from this non-profit organization posing as a legal refuge for the victims of religious persecution.

Anyone -believer, agnostic or atheist- who has read the Gospels of the Bible with an open mind can only interpret the message of the great mystic, Jesus the Christ, as a message of love, tolerance, compassion and inclusion.  Anything other than this is religious heresy and hypocrisy.

                                                                                                                                  

 

 

REALITY

scan0034Many years ago I found myself at a crossroads in my spiritual life. Having been sober for several years I began searching for an extension of the entity I called HP. Believing that sobriety had cleared my mind sufficiently to venture into the world of theology, I found what I believed to be a true path to a better understanding of God. Sincerity and fervor was not an issue; I wanted to be one of those ‘normal’ people who worshipped in churches.

A local community church promised to be the answer to my searching; it offered to me the ‘black and white’ of every issue which life raised; there were no gray areas. Promoting itself as inerrant, literal and true to the Word of God, this fellowship of Godly believers covered me with their version of righteousness.

Unfortunately, it did not accept the recovery program of AA as Biblical and I was encouraged to abandon the AA fellowship. They told me the AA program was an unacceptable theology for a true believer. In retrospect I know today that it was only by the grace of God that I continued to stay sober while worshipping in their version of godliness.

The dilemma of breaking away from AA and then leaving the church was not part of the sobriety script. It left me with a foot in both doors; neither fellowship fulfilled my need to fellowship or worship. I learned from this experience that theology, religion, and spirituality are not interchangeable words.

Theology is knowing about God or a God-belief system; religion is a personal walk with God; spirituality is the inner change as a result of that walk. Thirty years after that near fatal encounter with the inerrant literalists I joyously practice religion, graciously accept spiritual blessings, and warily keep an eye on theologians.

This evolution leads to the gist of my post: gaining knowledge about varying theologies is important to discernment, practicing religion is soul food, cherishing spiritual gifts from differing sources honors God’s inherent intelligence.

My self-identity as a Jesus follower does not ascribe me to any particular faith or theology. This journey I am undertaking has led me to revere and trust the historical Jesus as presented by numerous non-religious sources as well as the writings of early Jesus followers. It is my personal belief that when Rome established Christianity as its state religion, theology overshadowed religion and spirituality; thus resulting in the loss of the true message of Jesus Christ and the 1st century disciples.

My quest for spiritual sanity demands that I learn about other faiths and their messengers who have presented the truth of God to an unbelieving world; the God of my understanding, my HP, is universal and omnipotent using differing avenues to approach the unbelieving world.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14:2 kjv

The author is not speaking in terms of the physical world, rather in the spiritual realm which in essence is what all scriptures are about. It is the spiritual manifestation of our desire for God. This verse speaks to me very clearly that my HP has room for differing religious persuasions, that there are many differing relationships with the Supreme Being.

WHOSE TRUTH?

cropped-grand-canyon-1.jpg

“He marches to the beat of a different drummer.”

“Different strokes for different folks.”

We are a world of variety in life styles, persuasions and philosophies. What works for you may be anathema for me and your choice of music could drive me whacko. I love John Philip Sousa, Bach, and John Lennon and I have no idea what hip-hop is.

How often have you heard the above quotes used to describe someone who is not like we are? How do you react? Do you avoid, sneer, snicker, taunt, bully? Or do you love and embrace the differences? If we follow the entity which is the Higher Power in our lives, the path is clear to us. Bill W. exhorts tolerance in our AA literature. It is clearly stated in the sacred writings of all major religions and specifically cited as the greatest of commandments, after loving your God, repeatedly in New Testament writings of the Bible.

Matthew 5:43
Matthew 19:19
Matthew 22:39
Mark 12:31
Luke 10:27
Romans 13:9
Galatians 5:14
James 2:8

We have the instructions, the commandments, and the strength of Godly fellowships to guide us in our relationships with the rest of humanity which will lead to civility, tolerance, peace, and shalom (wholeness & completeness).

So, where have we gone wrong? Why are war, brutality, murders, suicide bombings, and genocide filling the screens we view every day? What we have is a far cry from what our world should be.

“The sky is blue.”

“No, stupid, the sky is green.”

Therein lies the problem. My truth may not be the same as your truth. I have been raised to equate the sky as blue. But, you may have been told that the color I see as blue is green to you. Or you could be color blind. Or one of us may have a need to be contrary.

Whatever the reason for disagreeing, it is evident that our truths are not the same even though we both call it truth. When we apply this to our religious philosophies, each of us certain that our truth is absolute and every other conviction is in error, we have created a breeding ground for hatred and discontent.

Jesus said, “I am the Way: the truth and the life.”

Obviously, a great number of his contemporaries disagreed.  It got him crucified.  Maybe he was the truth, maybe he and his followers of the Way had the answers.  But others, Jews and Romans, held to a differing truth and had no qualms about pressing their version.

So, how can I honor my truth and yet respect and uphold the faiths of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists who sincerely believe they have the way?  Answers were much easier and forthright in a previous church affiliation I experienced many years ago.  Everything was in black or white, all answers were concrete, and everyone outside our church was damned…..or at least unblessed.

And there is my answer.  I know from that church affiliation what the truth is not.  It is not narrow.  It is not exclusive.  It is not bitter.  It is not vindictive. It is not vengeful.  It is not proud.  It is not arrogant.

Truth is love.  Love is truth.  Jesus is both.  And that, short and simple, is the entirety of my religion.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells me everything I need to know about religion, about faith, about conviction, and yes, about truth.

4″ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails……”

 

HALLELUJAH

cropped-my-rock.jpg

larrypaulbrown
Krishna was there,
Yahweh and Buddha watched from above.
They saw and wept;
the Way, the great ‘I AM’, a Savior
nailed to a tree.

A man of peace,
a messenger of love,
hope for the hopeless,
life for the dead in spirit
nailed to a tree.

The heavens roared in pain,
the angels ceased singing,
the holy ones prostrated in grief,
skies thundered,
the moon and stars hid in horror.

Their Son, their beloved,
shamed and ravaged,
naked and dying,
nailed to a tree
mocked and reviled.

“No,” they bellowed,
“this shall not be the end.
Our Prince of Peace will prevail.
He will be Lord of lords
and King of kings. Forever.”

The Way – the truth and life continued,
peace, love, tolerance, justice
revealed through other lives.
Mohammed, Francis of Assisi,
Gandhi, Martin Luther King.

……….you and I.
All of God’s children united
with the spirit of the Way
living in truth and peace,
eternally joined in Spirit.

The Way will not be crushed,
the truth will not be crushed,
the life will not be crushed.
Forever and ever.
Amen

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” [Isaiah 53:3]

WERE YOU THERE?

BEACH

larrypaulbrown
Were you there,
did you see it,
the cross, the nails, the soldiers?
Were you there?
He called himself the Way:
the truth, the life.
They mocked him,
tortured him,
nailed him to a cross.

Sign said ‘King of the Jews’,
they did not believe then,
why should we believe now?
Were you there to see it?
Did you talk to Mary…..
or John or Peter,
see Jesus on the road to Emmaus,
witness his ascension?
How do you know?

Were you there?
Did you see what I saw?
In spirit we witnessed,
in spirit we collaborated
to murder God’s messenger.
We did not defend or shield
as the soldiers raised him.
Did you weep,
did your turn your head away?

Jesus – my conscience, my spirit, my soul.
The world did not know him,
does not believe him,
mocks and ridicules him,
says he doesn’t exist,
wants to crucify him.
Where will I be?
At the foot of his cross watching
or nailed with him to the crossbar?

O, Supreme God, save us from ourselves.
Give us faith,
fill us with trust,
let us revere the unseen,
show us the Way.
Nail our doubts
to the cross,
crucify our unbelief.
Let us be redeemed.

“……I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [Matthew 17:20]