Archive for the ‘Political Statements 2020’ Category

Feast of St. Alexander Schmorell (July 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Cathedral of Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Munich, Germany, Site of the Shrine of Saint Alexander Schmorell

Image Source = Google Earth

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SAINT ALEXANDER SCHMORELL (SEPTEMBER 16, 1917-JULY 13, 1943)

Russian-German Orthodox Anti-Nazi Activist and Martyr, 1943

Also known as Aleksandr Gugovich Shmorel and Saint Alexander of Munich

St. Alexander Schmorell comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the U.S.A. (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).

Schmorell held dual German and Russian citizenship.  He, born in Orenburg, Russian Empire, on September 16, 1917, debuted during revolutionary times.  Hugo Schmorell, a dual German and Russian citizen, was a physician.  Nataliya Vvedenstkaya was a daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest.  Hugo and Nataliya had to leave Moscow because of anti-German hysteria during World War I.  Hugo had vital medical skills, though, so he practiced medicine in Orenburg, where Alexander debuted.  Nataliya died of typhoid fever when our saint was a year old.  Hugo married Elizabeth Hoffman, a nurse and a Roman Catholic, in 1920.

The family fled Russia and moved to Munich in 1921.  That city served as the geographical center of Schmorell’s life for the rest of his life.  Our young saint did experience difficulty adjusting to life in Germany.  For example, his teacher in the mandatory religion course at school told him to cross himself in the Roman Catholic manner (left to right), not in the Eastern Orthodox way (right to left.)  Schmorell disobeyed.

The Third Reich put Schmorell in some difficult situations.  Our saint always opposed Nazism.  He did not pretend that some Nazis were, to quote Donald Trump, speaking of violent American Neo-Nazis in 2017,

very fine people.

No, Schmorell understood that the “good Nazi” was an oxymoron.  Nazis, our saint knew, were deplorable.  He condemned evil plainly.  He could not complete his medical studies (begun in 1939) at the University of Hamburg because of the German military draft.  Schmorell entered the German Army as a medic.  Somehow, he got out of having to swear loyalty to Adolf Hitler.  The Army sent our saint to France, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union.

Schmorell was a German patriot; he opposed the Third Reich and worked for the destruction of that government.  In the summer of 1942, our saint and Hans Scholl (1918-1943) founded the White Rose, an anti-Nazi organization, in Munich.  They wrote, printed, and distributed leaflets encouraging people to rise up against the government.  Schmorell wrote of the Holocaust in one leaflet.  Another member of the White Rose was Sophie Scholl (1921-1943), sister of Hans.  Members of the White Rose, after having initially focused on Munich, spread out across the Third Reich in January 1943.  That February 18, Nazi authorities arrested the Scholls, executed four days later.  Schmorell, arrested in Munich on February 24, 1943, received the crown of martyrdom on July 13, 1943.  He was 25 years old.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia glorified (canonized) Schmorell in 2012.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2020 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us [like your servant Saint Alexander Schmorell]

to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Disenfranchisement in District 6 of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

The State of Georgia has disenfranchised the residents of District 6 of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.

Until a few weeks ago, my councilman was Jerry NeSmith.  He ran for a third term, and I voted for him.  Why not?  NeSmith was a man who did much to build up the community, especially vulnerable members thereof.  He was, according to his colleagues, a bridge-builder.  And NeSmith was responsive to his constituents.  He even sent out nightly emails about COVID-19/Coronavirus, including the most recent numbers for Athens-Clarke County.  NeSmith died suddenly at home on the weekend before the election.

I understand that a dead man cannot be my representative.  However, I insist the fair course of action after a dead candidate has won an election is to hold a new election, not to do what state law specifies:  declaring the losing candidate the winner.  Per state law, the votes of the majority who voted for NeSmith are void.  The losing candidate will join the council forthwith and start his full term in January.  There will be a special election for the last two months of NeSmith’s second term this November.

I resent the State of Georgia for disenfranchising all of us in the majority of voters of District 6 who supported NeSmith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Remaining Positive and Focused on the Morally Justifiable   Leave a comment

Above:  The View from the Camera Built Into a Computer on my Desk, June 14, 2020

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We live in times of rapid social and political change.  Change–even that which is morally proper–causes disorientation and disturbance.  Sometimes we ought to be disturbed.  Injustice ought to disturb us. The root word of “conservative” is “conserve.”  Whether one’s conservatism is morally defensible depends on what one seeks to conserve.  Sometimes one should conserve x.  In certain times, reform is proper.  On other occasions, however, only a revolution is morally defensible.  Yet, even in those cases, nobility must extend beyond the cause and encompass the methods, also.

Call me politically correct, if you wish, O reader.  Or call me a radical or a fool.  If you call me a radical and a revolutionary for justice, I will accept the compliment.  I support what Martin Luther King, Jr., called

a moral revolution of values.

I favor the building of a society in which people matter more than money and property.  I favor social and political standards that brook no discrimination and bigotry while granting violators of those standards the opportunity to repent.  I favor altering society and institutions, inculcating in them the awareness that keeping some people “in their place,” that is, subordinate, underpaid, poorly educated, et cetera, harms society as a whole.  I support building up the whole, and individuals in that context.  I oppose celebrating slavery, discrimination, racism, and hatred, whether past or present.  I stand (socially distanced and wearing a mask, of course) with all those, especially of the younger generations, who are rising up peacefully for justice.  The young will, overall, have an easier time adapting to morally necessary change than many members of the older generations will, no matter how devout and well-intentioned many older people may be.  To quote a cliché,

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

St. Paul the Apostle offered timeless advice for confronting evil:

Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

–Romans 12:21 (The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985)

May all who seek a more just society pursue that goal with shrewdness, courage, and goodness.  To create a better society without incorporating goodness into methodology is impossible, after all.  May all who reshape society remain positive and focused on the morally justifiable.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELLERTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARL HEINRICH VON BOGATSKY, HUNGARIAN-GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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To Be Clear   Leave a comment

Shalom in Hebrew

Above:  Shalom in Hebrew

Image in the Public Domain

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Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

–The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Riverside Church, New York, New York, April 4, 1967

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To be clear, I stand, without reservation, against police brutality, systemic racism, individual racism, the militarization of police forces, needless violence, and all excuses that cover up for not opposing and correcting these offenses against human dignity.  I also oppose all political dog whistles (mainly, appeals to law and order) that distract while they favor unjust order over social justice.  Furthermore, I oppose the use of force against peaceful protesters.  That unjust, oppressive, and repressive law-and-order “desert called peace” (as Tacitus referred to the Pax Romana) is NOT shalom.  It is not, in civil rights terms, beloved community.

I also understand that institutions infected with injustice change only when people force them to do so.  Society is people.  It shapes its members, who have the power to change it.

I favor a just social order.  I favor wise and necessary systemic reform.  I favor spiritual renewal, which must go hand-in-hand with the first two points.  I recognize that sin, guilt, reward, and punishment are both individual and collective.

I, as a self-respecting white liberal, also refuse to tell my brothers and sisters of color how they should feel regarding any matter related to racism.  I do not know how they feel.  I have not experienced what have experience and continue to experience.  I refuse to lecture them.  Instead, I listen to them and learn from them.  I respect them so much that I refuse to do otherwise.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 9, 2020 COMMON ERA

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This is post #2100 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Human Dignity   Leave a comment

Above:  A Yard Sign in Athens, Georgia, June 6, 2020

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Celebrant:  Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

People:  I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant:  Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

People:  I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant:  Will you strive for justice and peace among all people , and respect the dignity of every human being?

People:  I will, with God’s help.

–From the Baptismal Covenant, The Book of Common Prayer (1979), 305

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Below:  A Yard Sign in Athens, Georgia, June 6, 2020

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Political Empathy and Wisdom (and the Absence Thereof)   2 comments

On the Duty of a President of the United States to Be the Consoler-in-Chief

May we praise those elected officials and candidates for elective office who act wisely and with empathy as we condemn those who act to the contrary.  And, when the time to decide for whom to vote arrives, may we reckon wisdom and empathy as credit to those who possess them, just as we properly lambaste and vote against those who lack them.

I realize that empathy is not a constitutional requirement for Presidents of the United States, but I also argue that voters the right to insist upon it.  Presidents with whom I have generally agreed with with whom I have generally disagreed have mastered the role of Consoler-in-Chief.  In the wake of a hurricane in New Orleans, Louisiana, Lyndon Baines Johnson carried a flash light one night and knocked on doors, to greet his fellow citizens in distress.  Ronald Reagan consoled the nation after the explosion of the Challenger.  He used Peggy Noonan’s words, of course, but he had empathy.  Besides, Presidents have had speech writers for a long time.  Bill Clinton was a fine Consoler-in-Chief after the terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Barack Obama led the congregation in “Amazing Grace” at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina, after the racist shooting there.  Excelling as Consoler-in-Chief used to be a standard part of being the President of the United States.

Donald Trump is a self-absorbed and immature little man.  He should think about the country and the world first, not about himself.  The contrast between he and Joseph Biden is stark.  Biden, who has buried his first wife and some of this children, understands grief.  When he says he knows grief, he speaks accurately.  He also speaks with empathy.  Biden looks presidential.  He is already the Consoler-in-Chief.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 28, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Grow a Thick Skin   2 comments

One of my favorite scenes comes from Aaron Sorkin‘s The American President (1995).  After environmental lobbyist Syndey Ellen Wade, sitting in the West Wing of the White House, condemns the environmental policies of President Andrew Shepherd as weak, she discovers, to her dismay, that his standing behind her.  Then Shepherd invites Wade into the Oval Office.  She begins to apologize.  Then the President asks her,

Are you under the impression that I’m angry with you?

He is not angry with her.  He has a thick skin.

I have noticed that thin skins seem increasingly commonplace across the spectrum.  One may find thin-skinned people in positions of obscurity, in high offices, and in positions in-between at concentrations either greater or more obvious than in olden times in my memory.

Thin-skinned people have always been with us.  Why not?  Human psychology offers many constant factors.  I have offended people by politely disagreeing with them.  I did so in Sunday School in Sumner, Georgia, in the autumn of 1991, for example.  Those who took offense were to my right.  They probably spent much of their time upset, given their low threshold for taking offense.  I have also offended people to my right by dispassionately reciting facts of ancient comparative religion without offering any subjective content.  Those offended students were listening more to what they thought I was saying, not what I was saying.  On the other hand, years ago, when I went through a similar litany of objectively accurate information about ancient comparative religion in an article I wrote for an online publication considerably to my right, I seemed to have caused no offense.  The editor read what I wrote, after all.  It passed a fact-check.

I have also offended people to my left by using pronouns such as “he,” “his,” “her,” and “she.”  People need to get over taking offense at accurate pronouns.  Besides, I respect the difference between the singular and the plural.  In my lexicon, “they,” “them,” their” and “themselves” are always plural.  One can speak and write inclusively in singular language, as well as in plural language, while respecting the distinction between the singular and the plural.  One can, for example, use “one,” “one’s,”, and “oneself” in the singular.

Topics that expose one’s thin skin need not be political, religious, or gender-related.  All of them are psychological, however.  Some of them pertain to entertainment.  I state without apology that modern Star Trek, beginning with Discovery and extending through Picard, so far, is a steaming pile of garbage.  I make no secret of this opinion on this weblog.  This opinion offends some people.  Why not?  Increasingly, I hear Robert Meyer Burnett (one of my favorite people, with whom I agree frequently and disagree strongly much of the rest of the time) repeat on YouTube that not liking a movie, series, or episode someone else likes is acceptable.  Of course it is.  Why would it not be?  Obviously, many people have thin skins about their entertainment.  Burnett should not have to keep repeating that liking or disliking something is okay.

The following thought is accurate and not original.  Identity is frequently a cause of a thin skin.  To be precise, insecurity in one’s identity is often a cause of a thin skin.  I despise 2017f Star Trek.  This opinion has no bearing on my ego, however.  If John Doe thinks that Star Trek:  Picard is a work of compelling storytelling, he may watch that series all he wants, in my absence.  His opinion has no effect on me.

Life is too short to go through it with a thin skin.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

“The Buck Stops Here.”   Leave a comment

Above:  Former President Harry Truman Posing with His Famous Sign

Image in the Public Domain

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Who remembers when Presidents of the United States accepted responsibility for the actions of their administrations?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

Posted May 18, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2020

Tagged with ,

Blogging Update–May 15, 2020   Leave a comment

Above:  The View from My Desk, May 14, 2020, According to One of My Laptop Computers

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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BLOGGING MY WAY THROUGH SHELTERING IN PLACE

A consistent theme in my life since 2016 has been being either well-informed or well-adjusted.  I have chosen the latter.  I have reaffirmed my choice since the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic began.  While reckless politicians (many of whom mockingly identify as pro-life) on all levels of government place our lives in danger in the name of the Almighty Dollar (their deity), I opt not to turn into General George C. Patton‘s ideal man, one who can swear consistently for three minutes without repeating a word.  The Almighty God will render a verdict in a court beyond any human jurisdiction.  May voters render the proper verdict in elections and otherwise hold those who risk their lives recklessly accountable, constitutionally.  Regardless of whether voting is a feasible option, may government officials in a position to ensure responsible government for the common good do so.  As the Law of Moses teaches, we are all responsible to and for each other, and we all depend on each other, as well as entirely on God.

I seldom venture out among people.  (I do, however, enjoy walking alone in the nearby woods.)  When I do venture out among people, I wear a mask and stay as far away from them as possible.  I have used a hair trimmer to give myself one buzz cut.  I have decided to do that again, whenever I will need another haircut, indefinitely.  I also feel nervous as I strive to behave in a socially responsible and moral manner.  Just as what I do affects others, what others do affects me.

I have been spending much time blogging.  As of today, I have scheduled 50 posts to publish here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  I have scheduled new posts about saints to publish through June 6.  I have decided to give the saints a rest until after July.  (I do plan, however, to revise the July calendar of saints very soon, create its reset mode, and make a list of people to consider adding for the time I will return to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.)  I have also scheduled the transfer of material from the former PUNS BLOG to continue daily through June 12.  Furthermore, I have written and published lectionary-based devotions for church year 2020-2021 at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, and LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS.  I had already published the first set of these devotions at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS.

The Chronicle Title

Above:  The Title Card of The Chronicle:  News from the Edge

A Screen Capture

I have also decided to begin a new project at this weblog.  The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002) was a series the Sci-Fi Channel aired for one season.  I delighted to find all 22 episodes at archive.org then to binge-watch the series as I took mental notes.  I have decided to blog my way through the series, episode by episode, and to consider each episode in the context of the other 21 episodes.  The setting of The Chronicle was the World Chronicle, based somewhat on the Weekly World News.  The premise of the series was that the stories were true.  I watched some episodes from 2001 and 2002, but missed many of them at the time.  My memory of the series was vague; I remembered isolated scenes and pieces of dialogue, however.  After watching the series from beginning to end recently, I have concluded that it was a combination of Kolchak:  The Night Stalker, The X Files, and Northern Exposure, tonally.

Writing about The Chronicle should be fun and wonderfully distracting.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Samuel and Henrietta Barnett (June 17)   3 comments

Above:  Portrait of Samuel and Henrietta Barnett, by Hubert von Herkoner

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL AUGUSTUS BARNETT (FEBRUARY 8, 1844-JUNE 17, 1913)

Anglican Canon of Westminster, and Social Reformer

husband and partner of

HENRIETTA OCTAVIA WESTON ROWLAND BARNETT (MAY 4, 1851-JUNE 10, 1936)

Social Reformer

June 17 is the feast day of the Barnetts in The Church of England.

Even if The Church of England had not paired the Barnetts on a feast day, I would have decided to do so anyway.  The couple was a team from the day they married in 1873 to the day Samuel Barnett died in 1913.  I have established emphasizing relationships and influences as a goal for this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Samuel Augustus Barnett, born in Bristol, England, on February 8, 1844, was a son of Mary Gilmore and iron manufacturer Francis Barnett.  Our saint, an 1867 graduate of Wadham College, Oxford, joined the ranks of Anglican clergymen that year and became the Curate of St. Mary’s, Bryanston Square, Marylebone, London.  He married Henrietta Octavia Weston Rowland in 1873.

Henrietta, born in London, England, on May 4, 1851, was a socially conscious heiress.  Her mother was Henrietta Monca Margaretta Didges.  Our saint’s father was Alexander William Rowland (d. 1869), in the oil business.  Her mother predeceased her father.  Young Henrietta, altruistic from an early age, attended a boarding school in Devon.  Starting in 1869 or so, she worked with Octavia Hill (1838-1912), active in efforts to improve slums in London.

The work in which the Barnetts engaged together, starting in 1873, flowed from their faith and their Christian Socialist ideals.  Samuel served as the Vicar of St. Jude’s, Whitechapel, London, from 1873 to 1894.  He led an congregation in a slum.  He, the founder (1869) of the Charity Organization Society, worked with Henrietta in improving the lives of people in Whitechapel.  The couple addressed housing.  Substandard housing was a major problem.  The Barnetts lobbied for building suitable residences.  They also enriched slum dwellers’ lives with art; the couple founded the Whitechapel Art Gallery.  Urban children needed countryside holidays.  The Barnetts raised funds and arranged for those holidays.  Entertainment was another need the Barnetts worked to provide.  Education was, of course, vital.  The Barnetts founded a night school for adults.  Samuel also served on school committees.  Through Toynbee Hall, of which Samuel was the first warden (1884-1906) and in which Henrietta taught, tutors from Oxford lived and taught in the slum.  Jane Addams (1860-1935) and Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940) modeled Hull House, Chicago, Illinois, on Toynbee Hall.  Henrietta’s sister, Alice Marion Rowland Hart (1848-1931) also taught at Toynbee Hall.

Above:  Toynbee Hall

Image in the Public Domain

The Barnetts wrote books together.  These included:

  1. Practicable Socialism:  Essays on Social Reform (1888, 1894),
  2. Religion and Progress (1907),
  3. Towards Social Reform (1909),
  4. Religion and Politics (1911),
  5. Worship and Work (1913), and
  6. Vision and Service (1917).

Samuel also wrote Perils of Wealth and Poverty, published posthumously in 1920.

Samuel, a Canon of Westminster (1906-1913), died in London on June 17, 1913.  He was 69 years old.

Henrietta continued in good works until 1936.  She founded Barnett House, Oxford, for the study of social sciences, in Samuel’s honor.  She wrote Canon Barnett:  His Life, Work, and Friends (1918)–Volumes I and II.  She also wrote books on topics ranging from child rearing to working for economic justice.  Our saint had formed the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust, which entailed building mixed-income housing, in 1903.  Henrietta, form 1924 a Commander of the British Empire, took up painting during her final years.  She, aged 85 years, died in London on June 10, 1936.

The Barnetts understood the Biblical mandate to help the less fortunate.  They knew that those blessed with privilege have a responsibility to aide those not blessed in that way.  Our saints accepted that the more one has, the more responsibilities one has.  They acted accordingly, for the glory of God and the benefit of many people.  They were faithful partners of God.

The poor will always be with us.  That is a fact.  Increasing numbers of the impoverished can, of course, cease to be poor.  Poverty is a function of various factors, not the least of which is institutionalized artificial scarcity.  Therefore, individual actions help alleviate the problem, but institutional revolution is necessary to make substantial dents in poverty.  The ultimate solution to institutionalized artificial scarcity resides in the purview of God, whose partners we are supposed to be.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JULIANA OF NORWICH, MYSTIC AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ACACIUS OF BYZANTIUM, MARTYR, 303

THE FEAST OF HENRI DUMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC COMPOSER AND ORGANIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAGDALENA OF CANOSSA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY AND THE SONS OF CHARITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER OF TARENTAISE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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