“God grant that America will be true to her dream”

As the United States celebrates the Fourth of July (just another day here in southern Mexico!), I find myself reflecting on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. I love the way that King saw the deeper promise of those classic words of slave holder Thomas Jefferson from the Declaration of Independence. As King put it in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech:

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men [and women, I would add!], would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading ““God grant that America will be true to her dream””

No More Deaths desert aid camp closing down for now

I have some sad news to report: Because of the Border Patrol raid on June 15, the No More Deaths desert aid camp will be closed down for now. They will probably continue to use the camp as an distribution base to bring water and food out to aid stations on the desert trails, but the camp is no longer safe for migrants to enter. This means that No More Deaths will no longer be able to provide medical care—which means more people will suffer and die.

I don’t know what this will mean regarding my volunteering. I haven’t heard from them about that yet. Presumably they still need volunteers to distribute water and food on the trails. I’m not a doctor or EMT, so I wouldn’t be doing medical treatment anyway. I’ll keep everyone posted.

I hate “hate”

Okay, the title of this post is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but it refers to a phenomenon I think is all too common: the tendency among activists to use the word “hate” to describe the stance of those who disagree with them. I see this on the right in instances such as their absurdly calling Black Lives Matter a “hate group.” But I see it on my own progressive side as well. Indeed, hardly a day goes by without new messages in my e-mail box imploring me to stand up for particular positions because the people who disagree with those positions are promoting “hate.” I am to “deport hate,” “stand up to hate,” “stop hate,” “say no to hate,” etc. Continue reading “I hate “hate””

No More Deaths desert aid camp raided by Border Patrol

Since I’ll be volunteering for No More Deaths, I wanted to report some disturbing news. On Thursday, June 15, the Border Patrol raided the No More Deaths desert aid camp in southern Arizona—the very camp I will be working at. They sent a massive force of about 30 armed agents, 15 trucks, and even a helicopter to apprehend four migrants who were receiving urgent medical care at the camp. Continue reading “No More Deaths desert aid camp raided by Border Patrol”

A more constructive approach to problem solving: “How can I help?”

When it comes to problems, people love to focus on other people’s responsibility as a way of avoiding their own. This happens in every area of life; it’s the human condition. We all like to blame problems on someone else, don’t we? Well, here I want to suggest a perspective on problems and our responsibility for solving them that I think is much more conducive to finding truly helpful solutions. Continue reading “A more constructive approach to problem solving: “How can I help?””

Address the situation but love the child of God

The big political news this week, of course, was former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before the US Senate on questions about the Trump administration’s ties with Russia and possible obstruction of the investigation into those ties. But I’m not going to get into the details of that here. Rather, I want to talk about thoughts that this event sparked in me: thoughts about the relationship between the quest to uncover and address uncomfortable facts about people’s actions—especially the actions of people in power—and the commitment of those of us on the spiritual path to love those people no matter what. Continue reading “Address the situation but love the child of God”

The darkness and the light in Portland

An incident that shocked the nation took place on Friday in Portland, Oregon. On a light-rail commuter train, a man stabbed two men to death and seriously injured a third when the three victims intervened to stop the man’s racist and Islamophobic rant directed at two teenage women in the train. The man, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was apprehended by police, and will now face trial for aggravated murder, among other felony charges. My loving thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been impacted by this horrific event. Continue reading “The darkness and the light in Portland”

Manchester reflections: Applying the Golden Rule to terrorism

Earlier this week, the world was saddened with news of yet another terrorist attack, this time in Manchester, England. A suicide bomber struck at a concert venue in the center of town, killing 22 and wounding 64. ISIS once again claimed responsibility, though no one really knows if they had any direct involvement. My heart and my loving thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this horrific event, and my thanks go out to the first responders and police who dealt courageously with the aftermath of the attack. Continue reading “Manchester reflections: Applying the Golden Rule to terrorism”

Should I work with angry activists?

I wrestle with this issue a lot, and perhaps you do as well. My dilemma is this: I follow a spiritual path of love, and I want my activism to be a reflection of that. I’m therefore committed to doing everything I can to be loving and nonviolent in thought, word, and deed, even when I firmly stand up for something that is important to me. Yet we all know that anger often comes with the territory in activist groups. Even people committed to physical nonviolence are all too often violent to one degree or another in their words and attitudes toward those whose positions they oppose. So, should I work with people like that? Continue reading “Should I work with angry activists?”