Remember you were once strangers in Egypt! by Marc Batko

Christians remember and live out the exodus narrative by resisting domination and fascism! Resistance and courage as lifelong challenges must be learned as the US must learn to acknowledge the bestiality of slavery and colonialism that was even practiced by Jefferson and other founding fathers.

Those far away were brought near in Jesus Christ. “There is no longer male or female, slave or free or Jew or Greek for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3,13)

Fathers and mothers are the true heroes

In a world meant to be shared, it is not enough to stand and stare. We’re just two lost fish in the same fishbowl year after year. Have we found the same old fear? (Pink Floyd) All wars are caused by fear, as Eugen Drewermann patiently explains. All wars have two losers, said the poet William Stafford.

We can only speak indirectly and metaphorically of God the infinite and transcendent God who created all things out of nothing. Jesus’ passion was describing the reign of God as a lost coin, a lost son or lost sheep, an intrepid widow, the smallest mustard seed that becomes the tallest sheltering tree.

Jesus made fun of our untrustworthy economic system. The lilies of the field are arrayed more gloriously than Solomon and neither toil nor spin. Behold, the sparrows trust in their Creator and neither hunger nor thirst. Housing is a creative challenge for humans since unlike clams we lack built-in housing. Humans are filled with hubris and survive on credits and debts like the financial markets kept alive by monthly FED financial injections of hundreds of billions of dollars. The US now spends $1 trillion a year on interests on its $33 trillion debt.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?” Jesus asked. Americans cannot build an affordable child care system or even discuss the water crisis in Mexico City much less catch and sell sparrows as a new economic engine!

In his two 2017 tax heists, Trump gave $8 trillion of our tax money to corporations and households with over one million dollars. Unlike all previous tax bills, there were no hearings. No women, environmentalists, lawyers or friends of immigrants could testify. The doors were locked and lobbyists took over. Have we become a paralyzed and polarized country of fear bewitched by the right-wing?

Citizens don’t feel represented when their congressional representatives zealously defend the interests of BlackRock and Wall Street banks. In our elite democracy or democracy for the rich, the poor are overlooked and made invisible. The Electoral College should be disbanded since two recent presidents (Bush Jr and Trump) were elected without a majority popular vote. The irrational Citizens United decision should be overturned to prevent elections becoming undemocratic auctions.

Hearts of stone can become hearts of flesh. As God changed his mind in the sacrifice of Isaac, capitalism must be radically changed to survive. The rich must pay their fair share. Corruption must not be rewarded as in the current US tax law and in the Citizens United debacle. Immigration is a human right; there has always been labor immigration in agriculture and nursing. 130 million refugees are victims of wars or climate disasters.

The UN Criminal Court has denounced Netanyahu’s genocide of 30K in Gaza and ordered a ceasefire. Ending that 9-month massacre and ending the slaughter in Ukraine (500K dead soldiers in Ukraine and Russia) should be no-brainers if the UN prohibition of war still has ultimate authority. States must accept the higher law and authority of the US so reconciliation and a future of peace are possible and imperative.

Times Have Changed in 2024 by Marc Batko

Times Have Changed in 2024!

by Marc Batko

Times have changed in 2024!  The global South (BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) has passed the G7 in GDP (gross domestic product) and population.  The neoconservative counter-revolution and unfettered capitalism decried regulation as inimical to profit-maximization.  The common interest was captured and distorted as a special interest.  Education was downplayed as if the self-healing market would automatically remedy its needs.  Financial markets made themselves independent and took vital resources from the real economy.  Can we mend the holes in our own pockets?  Will we ever admit that “man cannot live by bread alone,” that a spiritless future makes life inhuman, that the Sabbath is the crown of creation, that grace supersedes the law and that the work-religion and nonstop advertising are deceits?

How do we move from consumerism to sacramental spirituality?  How can the poor become creative and be given resources and not only empty words and promises?  How can a counter-culture alliance arise where community centers are encouraged (as in the 26 centers in Vancouver B.C.) and everyone can be creative?  Everyone who has a vision can be a teacher and a healer!

Public spirit, interdependence and community could grow by expanding community centers, schools and libraries.  Education is the great transformer, said the iconoclast economist John Kenneth Galbraith.  

Why do we think tax credits and business incentives will be a cure-all for our myriad social and psychological problems? How did compromise and tolerance become weaknesses instead of strengths.  The US hegemony is over!

Countries increasingly turn away from the overbearing, arrogant and hostile US attitude.  The law of the stronger is the law of the jungle.  The UN Charter condemns war and threats of war.  A hubris marked the US empire since the end of World War II when only the US was unscathed.  The Project for the American Century conceived by neocons like Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Pearl and Paul Wolfowitz was the pitiful justification for the aggressive and illegal US war on Iraq.  “We are an empire and make our own reality to which all other nations must adjust,” they declared.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  The US should follow the example of the UK that became an interdependent republic after its stint as an empire and

hegemonic power.  The US wars in Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Nicaragua and Afghanistan were all aggressive wars justified as protecting self-determination.  The Afghanistan war lasted 20 years and squandered $2.2 trillion, $300 million a day!  The media and politics looked the other way.  All the Afghan families could have been given $44K!   “When you lose control, you reap the harvest you have sown.” Pink Floyd sing.

Enriching war corporations and mindlessly listening to retired generals have a perverse priority in the land of unrepentant self-righteous cowboys!

Gene Scott, a cable TV evangelist for over a decade, boasted knowing how many stones were used in every pyramid!  Faith is a matter of theology, not archaeology!  Faith is personal but not private and more interruption than custom. Jesus and grace relativize the law and punishment! The human sciences are different than the exact sciences as experience is a different method than experiment (cf. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 1960, 1975).  Gene Scott and the socio-pathic narcissist Donald Trump are striking examples of false teachers and false Christs in love with themselves.  Now a convicted felon, Trump amassed more debt than all US presidents combined according to MSNBC!  In his two 2017 tax heists, he gave $8 trillion to corporations and households with over one million dollars. 

Proclaiming himself “the Chosen One,” Trump said he “didn’t mind being the Nelson Mandela of our time”!  In the 2016 campaign, he slandered  different women at his different rallies, called Mexicans “rapists and murderers,” mocked handicapped persons, said paying taxes was “stupid,” castigated Obama judges, criminal Joe, crooked Hillary, the EPA, public education, migrants and the rule of law!  Trump assaulted language and democracy and divided and ruined the country! Instead of exposing embarrassing him, the compliant corporate media only gave him more and more platform!

The age of science and technology along with the increasing concentration of wealth has marginalized spirituality and intercultural learning.  Wealth, an insular jingoistic media, the digital revolution , and the rise of the global South have narrowed and isolated the US.  People in the northwest know less about O Canada than the moon!  Portlanders haven’t even heard of Seattle’s light-rail.  We are a corporate or car-oriented country where the self-healing market, the beneficent tax-avoiding corporation, the business-oriented university and atomized or commodified individuals encourage conformist and parochial worldviews.  

On the quiet, we have become servile and obsequious far distant from critical thinking and international consciousness.  Has anyone heard the warnings of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley? In my opinion, the American dystopia is characterized by a military overreach or poisoning based on the myths of xenophobia and megalomania. a fairy-tale trust in the self-healing market. a near-complete ignorance of the financial markets and financialization, a neoconservative counter-revolution rebuking regulation, public investment in education, community centers and intercultural learning.  How can we recover our memory and our resistant true nature?

Why haven’t we learned about Vancouver B.C.’s three-structure “Welcoming Center for Refugees” built in 2014 that could be a model for social integration and social peace?

A hundred years ago, Henry Thoreau urged autonomy and self-resourcefulness and said the best government was no government!  O Canada is a country without Wall Street and the Pentagon.  Vancouver B.C., blessed with snow-capped mountains, a vibrant port life and the University of British Columbia (UBC), has 26 community centers with libraries, computer opportunities, game rooms, gyms, theaters, laundries, and cafeterias.  Community centers could be a third way beyond the state and the market.  All we need is an activist counter-culture and a Marshall Plan for journalism funded by progressive philanthropists or trust funds! 

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