Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney wins Green nomination for the Presidency

Reuters: Green Party names McKinney as presidential pick

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Green Party, which captured far less than 1 percent of the vote in the last presidential election, chose former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney as its 2008 presidential candidate on Saturday.

McKinney, 53, will be joined on the ticket for the November election by vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, a hip-hop artist and activist.

McKinney received 313 out of 532 votes cast at the party’s nominating convention in Chicago, party spokesman Scott McLarty said. . .

CNN: McKinney running for president as Green candidate

Big congratulations go out to the McKinney campaign (I also must say that I was impressed with the campaign of Kat Swift of Texas).

I’m glad we have choices nationally, even if we don’t in Oklahoma, and I hope that Cynthia’s presence will bring issues to the table that will otherwise be ignored. I know that many will say that she could be a spoiler this year, but I think that Obama has nothing to worry about IF he stays true to progressive values. We must end the war, now! We must fight poverty. We must ensure that the constitution is protected. I’m still an Obama supporter, but if he keeps making compromises like the horrid FISA vote, I may end up supporting McKinney instead.

Also, I’m proud to see the GP have an female ticket this year. David Cobb committed in 2004 to wanting to see a female GP presidential candidate in ’08, and I’m glad his wishes came true. And not only that, but the GP has an ALL female ticket at the top. I think, unless, I’m mistaken that this is a first in US history.

On a sidenote, I haven’t yet figured out how the Oklahoma GP delegates voted. I appreciate the value of proportional and ranked voting systems, but I wish the GP could do a better job of explaining election results.

Churches should follow what Jesus taught us! – We should provide sanctuary to all of the so-called “illegal” immigrants!

I’m speaking to the Christian faith community in this post, so my language and verbage is directed to that community.

MSNBC/AP: Immigration treats church sanctuary delicately — Avoiding churches remains unofficial policy, former federal official says

CHICAGO – Everyone knows where Flor Crisostomo lives, even the federal immigration officials who have ordered her deported to Mexico. The reason they haven’t detained her is her address — Adalberto United Methodist Church.

Another woman famously took refuge in that church as she championed immigration reform, and at least 13 other illegal immigrants are doing the same at churches around the country. So far, they have little to fear.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have arrested illegal immigrants by the hundreds in raids at factories, restaurants, malls, farms and meat packing plants, but they have handled cases involving churches delicately.

. . . Since the 1970s the unwritten rule has been “no churches, no playgrounds, no schools,” said Meissner, now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.

Critics say making exceptions for churches, where immigrants openly — and in Crisostomo’s case, very publicly — defy deportation, makes the agency look lax.

“These are people who deliberately violated the law,” said Dave Gorak, executive director of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration. “We can’t even enforce the laws without being criticized as Gestapo.”

I got a laugh out of the last line (the quote by Dave Gorak), and he is right. Busting into churches, schools, playgrounds, community centers, any place like that, would be something the Gestapo would do.

Churches should break the law. They should do thoughtfully, conscientiously, but at the end of the day, if the demands of conscience go against the laws of the state, then churches should break the law.

I do respect the law, at least those that are good, but if a law is destructive of basic human dignity, then it should be defied. I’m glad that there are some churches, like Adalberto United Methodist Church, that have the courage to do so. I wish more did.

I encourage my readers who are members of faith communities to look at the website for The New Sanctuary Movement, and then consider what your conscience is saying. If we are claiming to follow the radical inclusive message of Christ, we must remember that no one is unwelcome, and no person is “illegal” (the ultimate label of dehumanization in today’s America).

Jesus reached and love the “illegals” and unwelcomes of his day, he reached in love to the lepers who were ostracized in his society. He reached across the lines of racial prejudice to show love to the Samaritans and to the people in Decapolis. He reached across political dividing lines (his own band of apostles, contained members of different political sects). He reached out in love to women and to the “undesirables” and “sinners” of his society (prostitutes, Roman tax collectors, you name it)

So, what would Jesus have us do today?

I wonder about State Rep. Randy Terrill‘s church, South Gate Baptist Church in Moore. I wonder why they haven’t spoken out against their member’s hateful stands to bar followers of Christ to provide the works of mercy and love to undocumented migrants? How can his church stay silent when their member has made it a felony to show love to those in need.

I want to remind the churches that remain silent about this sin, of what Jesus said in Matthew 25:37-40:

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”

If we refuse to give a drink of water to the undocumented migrant (and yes, this is now a felony according to Oklahoma law) or to provide clothing, or lodging, or food to an undocumented migrant, then we are not seeing the Christ in the migrant, and as such are denying (in a metaphorical/spiritual sense) that love to Jesus himself.

We must be willing to extend a hand in friendship to those on the other side of the border, and if they are suffering we should welcome them to our nation as friends and neighbors. We (as US citizens) have no right to enjoy our life of relative luxury while others don’t have enough. We must do all we can to those who are risking their lives to cross the border.

If we do not do this, then we have no right to call ourselves Christian.

“Our way or the highway” is not a good approach to ecunemical dialogue

Sky News (UK): Vatican ‘Regrets’ Bishop Decision — The Vatican has said it “regrets” the decision by the Church of England to allow the ordination of women bishops. (thanks to Oklahoma Lefty for this link)

CNN: Vatican ‘regrets’ female bishops decision

(CNN) — The Vatican said Tuesday it regrets the decision by the Church of England’s governing body to allow the ordination of women as bishops.

The move by the Anglican Church’s General Synod “is a rift to the apostolic tradition” of ordaining only men as bishops, the Vatican said in a statement, and is another obstacle to reconciliation between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

“This decision will have consequences on the dialogue which had brought good fruits,” the Vatican statement said. . .

MSNBC/AP: England church backs women bishops — Move risks split in Church of England as some traditionalists oppose idea
I respectfully disagree with the traditionalist point of view on this issue. Women did perform significant roles in the life of the early church (including the possibility of the female apostle Junia (see the Wikipedia article about her) mentioned in Romans 16:7), but were hampered by the hyper-sexist attitudes of the time. If the Biblical texts were read in the context of their times, I would say that Paul’s writings are pretty conflicted (with both proto-feminist and sexist leanings), while the Gospel accounts of Jesus are very pro-female and could be seen as even feminist.

So, if the early Christian movement was birthed in the midst of a horribly sexist time and culture, but still managed to push the boundaries in its early days, then doesn’t it make sense that followers of Christ today would take the lead in pushing the boundaries our culture and proclaiming the truth that HUMAN BEINGS, both male and female, are made in the Image of God, and that any kind of theology that puts women down is putting down part of the Image of God.

But that’s not the main point I want to argue in this post. I’m glad to see the Church of England take a pro-female leadership stand (a bit late, but at least it is happening. The US has had female Episcopal bishops for some time, and the head of the US church is a woman), but my beef now is with the Roman Catholic Church.

Now, before I launch into my criticisms, let me make it very clear that I love the RC church and my brothers and sisters there. Many of my dearest friends and partners in peace and justice work in Oklahoma are RC’s, and I myself am increasingly seeing myself as a participant in the Catholic Worker movement. So, please hear my criticisms as coming from a lover and friend of the RC church.

I find it hard to take seriously the RC Church’s concerns over ecumenical progress, when they are taking such extreme positions. Surely the RC Church understands that many (if not most) of the rest of Christendom is open to the idea of women being in leadership roles in the church. There is still lots of more subtle sexism at play (i.e. just because a denomination will allow female ministers, doesn’t mean that female ministers will be hired), but the move around the world is towards greater inclusion, not less.

The RC Church certainly has the right to take very strong traditional stances if it so chooses, but trying to bind those stances on others (or requiring agreement to be able to commune together) is I think wrong-headed. In many ways, this reminds me of one of points of strongest disagreements with my childhood religious tradition, the Churches of Christ. The Churches of Christ (who I still love dearly, even though I no longer am one of them), believe it is wrong to use instrumental music in worship, and do all of their worship with accapella singing only. I understand their arguments in favor of this tradition (and disagree with them), but the more troubling concern for me is that they believe that others who use instrumental music are sinning and they refuse to fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ if they refuse to hold the same views.

“Our way or the highway” is not a good approach to ecumenical dialogue. I understand that members of the Church of Christ and a group that uses instruments may not be able to hold worship services together (unless they all agree to do it acapella), and I understand that the RC’s and the Episcopalians may not want to merge (which they weren’t anyway), if one group allows female bishops and the other one doesn’t. But why can’t brothers and sisters who disagree, seek to find common ground and work together when they can?

I don’t understand this. Why can’t churches focus on what they have in common (with each other, and with other faiths) that with what they disagree about??