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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I have been housesitting for friends this week, so I have with me only a minimal shrine, some incense to burn, tap water to offer. I decided I would write some prayers for the day and share them here, as well as say them later, perhaps with an offering of hot dogs and beans (my celebratory national holiday dinner *g*)

Prayers for Independence Day

 

To Columbia

 

Great goddess of these western lands, Columbia,

We whose ancestors came here have not always lived well.

We did not honor the gods and spirits who already dwelt here.

We were often brutal and dishonest toward the people of these lands.

We often took what was not ours and used it for our own gain and used it up.

And yet we recognized you and gave you a name, albeit the name of an invader.

 

Come to us now, Dea Columbia,

not draped in stars and stripes or wearing liberty cap,

but crowned with tobacco leaves and buds of peyote,

dressed in fine leathers or hand-woven gown,

bearing sheaves of the golden maize, heaps of tomatoes,

all the foods these lands have given the world.

Teach us to belong here as those who are born here,

teach us to eat and to drink what we find here,

teach us to use well the mind-changing plants,

teach us to speak to this land’s gods and spirits.

Make peace between us and our gods of the old lands

and the ways of this new land whose spirit you are.

On this Independence Day, hail to you, Columbia!

 

To Liberty

 

Hymned by so many poets before me, goddess Liberty,

you lift your lamp still by the door and still summon those

who seek a better way of life. Gift between allies, your noble statue

embodies the best of what we call America.

 

Mother of Exiles, shine your light on our future.

Bring greater liberty to this land of the free.

Bring greater justice to this shrine of democracy.

Bring greater wealth to the poor’s huddled masses.

Bring illumination to our understanding.

On this Independence Day, hail to you, goddess Liberty!

 

To the Founding Fathers and Mothers

 

On this anniversary of Independence Day

I call on George Washington, first President

of our nation, commander in chief, general

of the Revolutionary War, and on his wife Martha

 

I call on John Adams, second President of this nation

on his wife Abigail and on their son John Quincy,

sixth President of our nation, on their daughter Nabby,

who died of breast cancer, and on their other children,

Susanna, Charles, and Thomas.

 

I call on Thomas Jefferson, composer and signer

of the Declaration of Independence,

third President of our nation,

and on his wife Martha and his mistress Sally

and on his children, both free and slave

 

I call on all the signers of our Declaration of Independence

and on their wives, their children, their slaves,

their unrecognized, unremembered helpers, supporters, enablers.

 

I call on our Presidents from James Madison to Abraham Lincoln,

on their wives, their children, their servants, their slaves.

 

I call on the generations of Native Americans who helped European settlers,

fought with them, made treaties with them, were made war against by them.

 

I call on the Founding Fathers, the forgotten Founding Mothers,

the Native Americans and enslaved Africans,

the immigrants from Ireland and Italy, Germany and the Ukraine,

Russia, China, and lands around the world, drawn by

the torch of Liberty held aloft over New York harbor.

 

Hear me, noble ancestors, as I pray to you for help.

Help us to live out the potentials of Jefferson’s words,

that all men are created equal, that all human beings are persons,

that all persons have equal rights before the law.

Help us to keep separate church and state,

never to let one dominate the other,

never to let them join hands and become one.

Help us to treasure and conserve the lands

that were clean and wild and revered by their people

when our ancestors came to these shores.

Help us to do no more damage to our land,

no more damage to the lands of other sovereign peoples,

no more damage to the poorest among us.

Let there be liberty and justice, prosperity and peace

for all Americans.

 

Honor to the ancestors of the United States of America!

Honor and blessing to them, and may their blessing be upon us.

 

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Rarely, if ever, will my readers see me post about political issues. I don’t consider myself interested and informed enough to write intelligently about politics (and I try not to absorb too much information on political topics because I already take blood pressure medication).

But this morning I looked at my bill from the hospital for the little scare I had last month. Thanks to the health insurance I get through my employer, I only owe $100 for a visit to the emergency room, an overnight stay, and a stress test. But the total cost for which they’re billing my insurer is over four thousand dollars.

The combination of relief at owing so little and horror that an uninsured person would owe so much felt a lot like nausea. It is a grave injustice that our health care system in the United States allows some people to profit by the misfortunes of others, turns away people who need care because they have no insurance, includes some and excludes others. Rather than ranting and raving incoherently about my feelings on this issue, let me just repeat: It is a grave injustice.

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Luke 8:40-48 (Contemporary American Version)

But as he went the people thronged him.

And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

And Jesus said, “Who taxed me?”

When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, “Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who taxed me?”

And Jesus said, “Somebody hath taxed me: for I perceive that mine religious liberty hath been threatened.”

And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

And he said unto her, “Unclean slut, get thee hence, for thine womanly impurity hath constrained my religious liberty.”

Courtesy of The Slacktivist.

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It seems like a great deal of the Roman Catholic Church’s self-defense in the recent child abuse scandals has boiled down to “Neener, neener, other people do it, too!” Katha Pollitt has given the best retort to that I’ve yet seen:

To go by the news, looking at child pornography on one’s office computer is so common, it’s a wonder anyone finds the time to abuse real kids. At this late date I doubt anyone is unaware that the sexual abuse of children is a widespread phenomenon.

The difference is, when other professionals who work with children are caught out, justice takes its course. People are fired. Licenses are lost. Reputations are ruined. Sometimes jail is involved. No human institution is perfect, and it would be foolish to suggest that incidents are always investigated and that abusers who don’t happen to be priests are never protected by colleagues or superiors.

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One WW2 veteran’s views on equality in marriage and other contexts:

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If I should become pregnant, I would have an abortion. I had my share of parenthood helping to raise my stepdaughter; that’s as much motherhood as I need, want, and can handle. I don’t think abortion is ever a Good Thing, but sometimes it is the Only Right Thing, and therefore it should be legal, a decision to be made by a woman and, with her consent, the man involved, not by a government.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha, best known by his Japanese name of Jizo, is the helper of beings who suffer in the hell realms and of children who die before their parents, including those who are stillborn, miscarried, or aborted. For the past day I have been thinking that Jizo will protect Dr. Tiller, who did his best for the unborn whom Jizo helps to good rebirths. As I was reading about him this morning, I realized that Jizo will help the doctor’s murderer, too, if he wants to get out of the hell he’s in.

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–but there is no way to ignore something like this, or the rage it generates:

Report Outlines Involvement of Medical Workers in Abusive CIA Interrogations.

Mark Mansfield, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that because of the Red Cross’s confidentiality policy, he would not comment on the report….

Mr. Mansfield added, however, that Mr. Panetta “has stated repeatedly that no one who took actions based on legal guidance from the Department of Justice at the time should be investigated, let alone punished.” The C.I.A.’s interrogation methods were declared legal by the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.

Isn’t that the same argument we heard at the Nuremberg trials?

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