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Mike Rivage-Seul

                 
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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 36 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs at
http://mikerivageseul.wordpress.com/

OpEdNews Member for 227 week(s) and 6 day(s)

82 Articles, 0 Quick Links, 310 Comments, 2 Diaries, 1 Series, 0 Polls

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Sunday, August 17, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily) Jesus Comes Very Close to Rejecting a Palestinian Woman as an Unworthy "B_tch"
(8 comments) Were Jesus in Gaza today, millions of Palestinian parents could echo the petition of the poor mother in today's' gospel selection, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." And the demon in Gaza's case would be the State of Israel itself.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, August 10, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily)Dear Pope Francis: Gaza Needs More than Tears; Please "Walk on Water" for Gazan Children!
(16 comments) Peter's refusal to follow Jesus as he walks on water is a summons to Pope Francis to do better -- to get out of the boat, walk on the waves and confront the demons and monsters represented by Netanyahu and Obama.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Saturday, August 2, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily) Water and Food Are Not Commodities, but Human Rights
(12 comments) Today's readings teach that the commodification of Nature's free gifts of water and food is incompatible with the divine Gift Economy dramatized by Jesus in the "miracle" of loaves & fishes.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Wednesday, July 30, 2014     

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The Siege of Gaza: A Palestinian Liberation Theology Perspective
(1 comments) According to liberation theologians in Palestine, there are four types of violence at work in the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. Three of them are employed by Israel's leadership against the Palestinians. In fact, only one level of violence can ever be excused. And that happens to be the very type our media uniformly designates as "terroristic" -- the violence of Palestinian self-defense.

Sunday, July 27, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily) Liberation Theology, BRICS and the Untelevised Revolution
(4 comments) I'm not saying that the Kingdom has arrived in BRICS 2014. However at the BRICS Conference a power emerged which actually prioritizes benefitting the poor instead of the elite 1%. And that's the direction liberation theologians (and so many of us) have been praying for.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, July 20, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily) Zionists Are Weeds in the Garden of Palestine
(6 comments) Today's liturgy of the word implores the Zionists to abandon their butchery. It also challenges Christians to denounce such ethnic cleansing and to withdraw the last vestiges of support for a group that more resembles their former Nazi persecutors than the "People of God" celebrated in the Hebrew Bible.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, July 13, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily) The Encouragement We Need: Pete Seeger on Seeds & Sand
(5 comments) Pete Seeger reminds us that the stories Jesus made up were intended for ordinary people -- for peasants and unschooled farmers. They were meant to encourage the belief that each of us can do our part to change the world -- to bring in God's Kingdom. Doing so is as simple as sowing seeds.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, July 6, 2014     

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"Standing up for War" (a July 4th homily inspired by this Sunday's lectionary)
(9 comments) What do you do when the voice on the loudspeaker asks you to stand for the National Anthem or to applaud a veteran returned from a criminal war?
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, June 29, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Pope Francis & St. Peter -- Throwing Rocks at Empire Then and Now
(16 comments) Three weeks ago, Pope Francis reaffirmed what has become a theme of his papacy. Without mentioning the United States by name, he condemned the economic system "America" and its European partners champion. The pope's words put him on the same page with Jesus' rock-throwing friend, Simon Peter -- but not in the way you might think.

Monday, June 2, 2014     

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Cuba: the Most Important Country in the World
(20 comments) As the most prominent center of resistance to U.S. empire, Cuba is the most important country in the world. Its tourist attraction surpasses Costa Rica. It has already surpassed the United States in quality of life.

Sunday, May 4, 2014     

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What You Don't Know About Cuba Tells You About YOUR Future
(68 comments) I'm leaving for Cuba tomorrow. After many trips there, I've come to realize that Cuba's way of life and adjustments to the realities of Peak Oil and climate change describe the path that the rest of us must travel in the near future. Either that or perish!

Saturday, April 26, 2014     

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(Sunday Homily) Christianity Is Communism! Jesus Was a Communist!
(38 comments) This week's readings show that communism originated in Christianity. It doesn't come from Marx and Engels.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, April 20, 2014     

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(Easter Homily) Pope Francis: Of Course Jesus Arose; Resurrection Is a Law of the Universe!
(6 comments) Did he really rise from the dead? Or is that doctrine simply a remnant of childhood like belief in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus? And for those of us concerned with social justice, what can the Bible's resurrection stories possibly mean? Here's what Pope Francis says.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, April 13, 2014     

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Palm Sunday Homily:A Recipe for Parish Renewal Inspired by Pope Francis
(15 comments) During Lent, as we've studied "The Joy of the Gospel," I and my fellow parishioners have marveled at Pope Francis' courage, boldness and audacity. Almost from the beginning, our group has asked, "But what should we do in this parish in response to the pope's general directions?" Here's my modest proposal.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, April 6, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Lazarus come forth! Pope Francis Brings Jesus Back to Life
(8 comments) Paul Ryan and the pope are on completely different pages. While conservatives have buried the Jesus of the gospels, Pope Francis calls him back to life. He stands before the grave and shouts " Jesus, come forth!" The tomb opens. And the one who has been buried more than three decades stumbles out. Even Fortune Magazine has recognized the resulting miracle.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, March 23, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Pope Francis to Women: The Next Pope Should Be One of You!
(34 comments) Commentators say that Francis has simply endorsed the position of his two conservative predecessors by excluding women from the priesthood. But there's more to what the pope says about women -- lots more.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, March 16, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Is Liberation Theology Obsolete? Insights of the Enlightened Jesus
(32 comments) Lately I've been wondering if in my thinking, teaching and writing I'm too concerned with politics, economics, and issues of oppression and liberation -- too influenced, perhaps, by liberation theology.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, March 9, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Academy Awards, 'Gravity,' Lent and Rebirth
(1 comments) Both "Gravity" and Jesus' vision quest in the desert summon us to either grow up here and now or suffer the consequences.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, March 2, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Jesus Rejects Money and Work: He Embraces 'Back to Nature' Abundance
(3 comments) Republicans today would clearly regard Jesus and his apostles as examples of the idle undeserving poor – not to say bums – living off the donations of hard working people. But in denigrating money and work Jesus was insisting: in God's order, there is abundance for everyone -- or as Gandhi said, enough for everyone's need, but not for their greed.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Saturday, February 22, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Join Pope Francis: Take Back the Church and Say No to War!
(9 comments) It's time for "fallen-aways" to join Pope Francis in taking back the church from the war mongers and oppressors who have distorted Jesus' compassionate and loving Parent God. Church services offer the opportunity for an instant peace rally every Sunday.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, February 9, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: The Hypocrisy of Reagan's 'City on a Hill'
(13 comments) The horrors of the “Reagan Revolution” have nothing to do with Jesus’ vision of a "City on a Hill." Rather policies based on Reagan's vision fly directly in the face of Jesus' teachings.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, February 2, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: The Enlightened Jesus (Like Us) Rejects the Religion of His Childhood
(32 comments) This week a "poetic" reflection rather than a "sermon."
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, January 26, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Pope Francis, Jesus and David Brooks on Wealth Redistribution
(14 comments) In 1998, a UN Development Report said that a tax of 4% on the world's richest 225 people(6% less than the traditional tithe) would provide enough resources to feed, clothe, house, cure and educate the entire Third World. To the wealthy, such taxation is unthinkable. As a result, 30,000 children die of absolutely preventable starvation each day. Pro-life anyone?
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, January 19, 2014     

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Sunday Homily: Pope Francis' New Song -- Seven Things You May Have Missed in 'The Joy of the Gospel'
(9 comments) Like Jesus, Francis has made a "preferential option for the poor." He's signaled justice for the oppressed as the overriding theme of his papacy. He has completely rejected war as a solution to any of the world's problems. This pope is no hawk or friend of hawks -- or of the rich who advocate free market solutions to problems of poverty and its attendant hunger and disease. For him, terrorism is blowback for injustice.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, January 12, 2014     

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Jesus Decides to Redeem His Wasted Life (Sunday Homily)
(11 comments) Today's liturgy of the word summons us to hear God's voice calling us from what has been so far wasted in our lives. Jesus' example reminds us that it's not too late to change our commitments and way of life. After all tradition says that Jesus redeemed the insignificance of his own life in a single year -- or maybe it was three . . .
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Saturday, January 11, 2014     

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Taking Pope Francis to the Movies: The Wolf of Wall Street (Film Review)
(10 comments) The over-the-top excesses of the Stratton-Oakmont investment firm amount to a send-up of the American Way of Life in general. At one point the film's main protagonist, Jordan Belfort correctly makes Scorsese's point, "Stratton-Oakmont is America" he proclaims. By this Belfort means his firm represents a vehicle of salvation for the poor. The film's narrative and Pope Francis' "Evangelii Gaudium" suggest otherwise.

Sunday, January 5, 2014     

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Celebrating the International Jesus
(3 comments) Epiphany calls us to wake up -- to grow up and to return home as the Magi did "by another way" that was not the way of ethno-centrism, wealth, power-over or cooperation with kings, priests and empire. Rather, the Magi's was the way of finding God in the poor and sharing wealth with them.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Tuesday, December 31, 2013     

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New Year's Resolutions in the light of Jesus' "Nobodiness"(Sunday Homily)
(3 comments) For 97% of his life, Jesus did absolutely nothing that we know of. I somehow find comfort in that "nobodiness" of Jesus. In the end, we're all nobodies. But that doesn't mean we're powerless.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, December 22, 2013     

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Mary's "Virginity" and the Problem of Military Rape (Sunday Homily)
(7 comments) Historically speaking, rape is a much more likely explanation of Jesus' conception than intervention by the Holy Spirit. Think about it. That's simply a fact. Nevertheless Mary's unvarnished story has much to teach about misogyny, unwed mothers, teenage pregnancy, divorce and the Christian vocation to non-violent resistance -- especially during this Christmas season.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, December 15, 2013     

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The Hypocrisy of Treating Jesus with "Tough Love": Here's a Riddle for You . . . (Sunday Homily)
(4 comments) The "tough love" concept of the Christian right is actually a slap in the face to Jesus himself. That's because (once again) in today's readings, the recipients of God's special concern turn out to be (in Jesus' words in our gospel reading) not only "the least," but in their collectivity, the very Jesus whom our sisters and brothers on the right aspire to accept as their personal Lord and Savior.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, December 8, 2013     

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Pope Francis' Revolutionary Vision: What Progressives Have Been Waiting for (Sunday Homily)
(9 comments) It's time for progressives to follow the lead of Pope Francis. He's calling us to set aside our pseudo-sophistication that has intellectuals rejecting the Bible's power to mobilize huge masses of people. We must reclaim the powerful mythology of the Bible and lay aside our practical disdain for story, myth and symbol. That's where we'll find our missing "vision and direction."
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Tuesday, December 3, 2013     

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Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium and the Catholic Vote
(11 comments) For the last 30 years the religious right (both Protestant and Catholic) has been telling us that Christian values should influence the way we vote. What will they say now that Pope Francis has called 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to move beyond obsessions with sex -- abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage?
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, December 1, 2013     

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The Advent Project of Pope Francis (and Jesus): A World without War by Christmas! (Sunday Homily)
(23 comments) If Catholic Christians were to embrace the pope's message, history's door would suddenly fling itself open to truly radical change. It would mean for the first time since the 4th century Catholics would embrace "the way" of Jesus as opposed to that of Caesar, Constantine and their Euro-American successors. A world at peace would at last be possible. Today's liturgy of the word invites us to envision such a utopia.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, November 24, 2013     

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The Church's Disastrous Domestication of Jesus as King (Sunday Homily)
(27 comments) Through 4th century sleight of hand, the Jesus who sided with the poor and was executed as a terrorist by Rome was kicked upstairs into the royal class. He became not only a patron of the Roman Empire, but a "king" complete with crown, purple robes, scepter and fawning courtiers. In this way the poor and oppressed lost their leader, example, and advocate. Jesus became instead a key part of the apparatus oppressing them.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, November 17, 2013     

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If the Rich Won't Work, Let Them Starve! (Sunday Homily)
(4 comments) 2 Thessalonians 3: 10 is a favorite of the Christian right. North Dakota congressman, Kevin Cramer, used it recently to justify his vote to cut nearly $40 billion from the Food Stamp program that keeps the children of poor families from starvation, along with the elderly and disabled. Tea Party darling, Michelle Bachman, did the same thing. But it's really the rich, not the poor who refuse to work.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Friday, November 15, 2013     

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Good Snowden/Bad Snowden? Not So Fast
(8 comments) Edward Snowden's revelations about foreign espionage are even more laudable than his domestic disclosures

Tuesday, November 12, 2013     

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Respecting Hard Evidence: 9/11, Pearl Harbor, JFK, and Edward Snowden
(68 comments) Imagine if the proof against Saddam Hussein or al-Assad had risen to the level of that advanced by 9/11 scientists and other scholars. In that case, I'd wager there's not a person in the world who wouldn't recognize the guilt of Washington's designated enemies. The proof would be so overwhelming. But no war in recent memory has been based on anything like the evidence and reasoning marshaled in "9/11: The New Pearl Harbor."

Sunday, November 10, 2013     

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What "Terrorists" Think while Being Tortured (Sunday Homily)
(5 comments) This morning's first reading invites us inside the heads of tortured "terrorists." It raises the question, who are the real terrorists -- the forces of empire or those who resist them? In doing so, the reading from Second Maccabees sheds light on the contemporary debate about torture in service of empire.

Sunday, November 3, 2013     

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Reparations: How Cuba Became "the Envy of the Third World" (Sunday Homily)
(12 comments) Isn't it ironic that Cuba and Russia, our country's designated enemies for all those years -- communists and atheists at that (!)-- end up demonstrating how to respond to the gospel call to restorative justice?
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, October 27, 2013     

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A Pope and a Pimp Went into St. Peter's to Pray (Sunday Homily)
(12 comments) The focus of Jesus' story is not pride vs. humility. It's about rejecting the Pharisee's conventional morality. The parable even calls us to scrap conventional wisdom about pride and humility. More positively, the story is a summons to enter God's Kingdom by identifying with the poor and despised. It also explains why the conventionally good simply cannot enter the Kingdom of God
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Sunday, October 20, 2013     

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The Prayers of Powerful Men and the Women Who Oppose Them -- like M. Benjamin, E. Warren, and A. Goodman (Sunday Homily)
(7 comments) Our readings today raise the issue of prayer, and what it means to "pray always without ceasing." The widow in today's gospel "prays" by confronting the power structure of her day in the name of justice. She exemplifies the way women in Jesus' day and our own confront men in power. They simply wear them down. That's the way of courageous, hard-working activists today like Medea Benjamin, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Goodman.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Saturday, October 12, 2013     

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Tracking the Footsteps of the Enlightened Jesus through India (Sunday Homily)
(2 comments) Why has Life brought me to India -- to what many consider the "Soul of the World?" I've concluded that Life is telling me I need to grow and break away from patterns of living and thought that have become too comfortable and even stifling. That's the message of today's liturgy of the world as well.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Friday, October 4, 2013     

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The End of U.S. Empire Is a Matter of Time: A Question of Faith (Sunday Homily)
(43 comments) From its highest levels, United States' policy is entirely controlled by power-lust, money and by the personal, class and national interests of its so-called "leaders." They laugh at popes and believers with their silly prayers and naïve talk of forgiveness, reconciliation, dialog, diplomacy, and beating swords into plowshares. Power and money rule their world. Karma awaits. . .
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Wednesday, October 2, 2013     

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Going to the Movies in Bangalore: "Elysium" and the Surveillance State
(1 comments) "Elysium" played out in comic-book fashion the battle of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and other information "criminals" against the overpowering state apparatus of a militarized, out-of-control, and venal federal government.

Saturday, September 28, 2013     

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Dives & Lazarus: a catechism of liberation theology (Sunday Homily)
(5 comments) Liberation theology is Christianity's most important theological development in the last 1500 years, and the West's most important social movement of the last 150 years.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Friday, September 27, 2013     

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Who Will "Punish" Us? Photographs and Testimony about United States' Use of Chemical and Radiation Weapons
(3 comments) Obama's logic is inescapable. Use of chemical weapons and the wanton killing of children must be "punished."

Sunday, September 22, 2013     

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The Rich Are Funny (Sunday Homily)
(3 comments) Jesus loved telling stories that made fun of rich people. He's at it again in this morning's gospel. Jesus' listeners would have found today's story especially entertaining. After all it featured an accountant who cheated his wealthy employer. And then the rich guy ends up appreciating the accountant's dishonesty.
Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives

Wednesday, September 18, 2013     

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Italy's Health Care System Is Much Better than Ours!
(24 comments) Bankrolled by Big Pharma and the insurance lobby, Obama's opponents in the heath care debate knew that most of us would choose a health care system like the one my family experienced in Italy over the inefficient, bureaucratic, and budget-busting monster that's ruining our economy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013     

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Who ended the Syrian Crisis, Putin or Pope Francis? Reflections on the Pope's Peace Vigil in St. Peter's Square
(8 comments) The sudden success of the "Putin Plan" to end the chemical weapons crisis in Syria has occasioned a crisis of faith for me. But even more so has the "Francis Plan" addressing the same crisis and executed last Saturday in St. Peter's Square. The plan involved Christians and others of good will fasting and praying to end the impending Syrian catastrophe. I wonder whose plan did most to resolve the crisis.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013     

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Obama Blows the Whistle on Himself: the Manning, Snowden (and Godfather) Connections
(2 comments) Obama is a more deplorable whistle-blower than he considers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning to be. That is, by confirming their revelations, he's unwittingly blowing the whistle on himself. Consider the parallels one-by-one.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013     

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War Again! What About OUR Chemical Weapons and, Our Problems?
(9 comments) Where are the millions (billions?) necessary for this intervention coming from? What has Syria to do with us? How is it connected with U.S. problems of unemployment, income gaps between the super-rich and the ever-expanding ranks of the poor, failing schools, overcrowded prisons, voter suppression, crumbling infrastructure?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013     

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President Obama Should Have Said: "George Zimmerman Could Have Been Me!"
(7 comments) Rather than identifying with Trayvon Martin, President Obama would have done better to note his similarities to George Zimmerman. Rather than wringing his hands over Stand Your Ground laws, the President should have recognized the identical logic that informs his own drone murders.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013     

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Why I'm Not Celebrating July 4th This Year
(7 comments) We've been robbed of reasons to celebrate. This year I'll do no flag waving or banner display. I'll recite no Pledges of Allegiance, nor stand for the Star Spangled Banner. Patriotic speeches and other jingoistic claptrap will draw no applause from me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013     

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A Prominent 'Christianist' Cleric Supported Montt's Genocide: Should He Be Droned Next?
(3 comments) In all the analysis of the Rios Montt trial and conviction for genocide, it is rarely even mentioned that the General was a born again Christian. He was directly and vocally supported not only by Ronald Reagan and Elliot Abrams, but by prominent clerics like Pat Robertson. Robertson's support of Montt was not casual. Nor was it ignorant of Montt's tactics. Will Robertson be the next target of U.S. drones?

Monday, May 20, 2013     

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Second Thoughts about Pope Bergoglio: A Liberation Pope or Just More Blah, Blah?
(13 comments) Last week the pontiff made some surprisingly critical remarks about capitalism and ethics to a group of new ambassadors to the Vatican. Is he showing his true colors? Or is this just more blah, blah?

Thursday, April 11, 2013     

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Run, Ashley, Run!
(8 comments) Imagine a politician needing to rethink her concept of God on a regular basis ! Ha, ha, ha!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013     

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Thug Pope?
(1 comments) Siding with the poor goes beyond simply firing one's chauffer or taking the bus to work. It goes beyond saying we're on the side of the poor. (Even Rick Santorum says that!) Instead popes and bishops have to understand critique and oppose the structures that cause and sustain oppression -- economic and political systems along with laws, customs, and institutions like those of church, government, and the military.

Saturday, March 16, 2013     

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Why the New Pope Should Resign: The Pedophilia Syndrome
(8 comments) Francis I should resign is because of what he did about the von Wernich case. Von Wernich was a police chaplain during the Dirty War. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for aiding and abetting the military in the kidnapping, torture and murder of prisoners during the brutal dictatorship of the Argentine military.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013     

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Five Issues for the New Pope to Address -- and to guide in his selection
(2 comments) If there is any hope of revitalizing the Roman Catholic Church, it resides in electing a pontiff who will directly address five issues: (1) summoning an Ecumenical Council, (2) opening priestly ordination to women, (3) abolition of mandatory celibacy for priests, (4) retraction of the prohibition of artificial contraception, and (5) practical adoption of liberation theology and its preferential option for the poor.

Friday, March 8, 2013     

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Lent and My Drinking Problem
(5 comments) Because others are hungry, I have a hunger problem as well as a drinking problem. When I abstain from overeating, I somehow establish consciousness of my solidarity with them -- and influence them in some way.

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