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Well, won’t somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Won’t somebody tell me, just what is the soul of a man?

It’s NOT Illegal For Weirdos To Serve

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 22, 2020

It’s a good thing that American Presidents don’t nominate weirdos or extremists for the Supreme Court.

Amy Coney Barrett as Hannibal Lector, the psychotic, psychopathic weirdo in the movie series “Silence of the Lambs.”

People who have 7 kids – adopted, or not – are certainly outside the norm.

As is forbidding the use of birth control – and that’s almost exclusively a religious matter.

And now that businesses can have religion, which god do they worship – Mammon? Was it the Commerce Clause that Jesus died for? Or, was it people?

But after all, “businesses are people, my friend.”

And since money is free speech, what’s next?

To be frank, being outside the norm is not illegal in the United States.

It’s not illegal to be a weirdo.

Goodness knows, there are plenty of them in all 50 states.

Belonging to a weird religious cult shouldn’t disqualify one for service – at least according to the Constitution, which has a renown “no religious test” clause.

I mean, we could have, and there is no legal compunction forbidding, Moonies to serve us in our government – any government, federal, state, or local – and, that’s perfectly A-okay according to the Constitution – as it should be.

People who believe the Earth is flat could serve us in government – and while there’s not a “no scientific test” clause in our Constitution, I would imagine that most reasonable people would agree that, like the Moonies, those who believe the Earth is flat are weirdos, and extremists.

People who believe in alchemy – the fraudulent and disproven notion that gold can be made from lead, various ores, or things that do not contain elemental gold – could be elected, or appointed, and serve us in our government.

Why, even those who have belonged to the Ku Klux Klan have served on the Supreme Court – Hugo Black, an Alabamian.

And the virulently infamous racist George C. Wallace was elected as Alabama’s governor FOUR times.

Stranger things have happened.

May they never happen again.


theguardian.com

Revealed: Ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse

by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, in Washington, D.C.
Wednesday 21 Oct 2020, 0500 EDT
Last modified on Wednesday 21 Oct 2020, 2337 EDT


Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.

In the wake of the allegations, the Guardian has learned that the charismatic Christian organization, which is based in Indiana, has hired the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to conduct an “independent investigation” into sexual abuse claims on behalf of People of Praise.

The historic sexual abuse allegations and claims of emotional trauma do not pertain specifically to Barrett, who has been a lifelong member of the charismatic group, or her family.

But some former members who spoke to the Guardian said they were deeply concerned that too little was understood about the “community” of People of Praise ahead of Barrett’s expected confirmation by the Senate next week, after which she will hold the seat formerly held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Two people familiar with the matter say that more than two dozen former members of the faith group, many of whom say they felt “triggered” by Barrett’s nomination, are participating in a support group to discuss how the faith group affected their lives.

“The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

Barrett was not asked about her involvement in People of Praise during her confirmation hearings last week, and has never included her involvement with the group in Senate disclosure forms, but has in the past emphasized that her religious faith as a devout Catholic would not interfere with her impartiality.

People of Praise is rooted in the rise of charismatic Christian communities in the late 1960s and 1970s, which Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett Served On Gay-Hating Schools’ Board

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This is what the soft hatred of bigotry cloaked in religious garb looks like.

This revelation should come as no surprise, that a radicalized right-wing religious zealot should serve at a high level on the Board of Directors for three schools in three separate states under a common umbrella would discriminate.

Below her image are three more images of the same type thing.

This person must NOT be confirmed to the nation’s highest court!

And toward that end, perhaps it may alarm you to know that a Ku Klux Klansman has been seated on the nation’s highest court.

No, it’s not any of the current members.

It was Hugo Black, of Alabama.

https://timeline.com/hugo-black-justice-klan-4877fcf6ac75

You can read Matt Reimann’s excellently succinct August 15, 2017 article via the link above. Of note, Mr. Justice Black was also a “textualist” on matters of interpretation of the Constitution – the same thing late Justice Scalia said he was, and which Judge Barrett says she is.

The primary problem with that alleged “style” of interpretation, is that it’s nonsensical. Here’s a succinctly brief statement why from Chicago, IL Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

“CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is preparing for when Amy Coney Barrett takes her seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was asked to share her thoughts Tuesday on the judge and minced no words.

“Mayor Lightfoot was first asked if she views the U.S. Constitution as Judge Barrett does, as an “originalist.”

“Originalists firmly believe all statements in the U.S. Constitution must be strictly interpreted based on the original understanding at the time the Constitution was adopted. They do not believe in the concept of a “Living Constitution” that can be interpreted in the context of current times.

““You ask a gay, black woman if she is an originalist? No, ma’am, I am not,” Lightfoot laughed.

““That the Constitution didn’t consider me a person in any way, shape or form because I’m a woman, because I’m black, because I’m gay? I am not an originalist. I believe in the Constitution. I believe that it is a document that the founders intended to evolve and what they did was set the framework for how our country was going to be different from any other.

““But originalists say that, ‘Let’s go back to 1776 and whatever was there in the original language, that’s it.’ That language excluded, now, over 50 percent of the country. So, no I’m not an originalist.”

“Mayor Lightfoot said she’s deeply worried about some of Judge Barrett’s stated views, for instance, being against gay marriage.

““I deeply worry about this woman’s stated views. She’s on the record on a number of different things, not the least of which is thinking that gay marriage is something that shouldn’t be countenanced. And she’s got soulmates in Justice Thomas and others, who think that the decision by the Supreme Court…should somehow be rolled back,” Lightfoot said.

““What should I tell my daughter — that somehow now my wife and I are no longer married? That we’re no longer legitimately recognized in the eyes of the law? That is dangerous, dangerous territory. And what about a woman’s right to choose? We’re gonna keep re-litigating this issue, and we’re gonna make abortion illegal, as Amy Coney Barrett thinks it should be?

“The Mayor also called Republicans “hypocrites” for pushing the Barrett nomination when they put off taking up the Merrick Garland nomination by President Obama.

“”The hypocrisy is something that is a bitter pill for me to swallow,” Lightfoot said.”

Here’s an excerpt introduction from the article “A U.S. Supreme Court justice was in the Ku Klux Klan—and he remained on the bench for 34 years. Hugo Black was exposed just after his confirmation, but it made no difference.“:

The September 13, 1937 front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed an image of Black’s KKK resignation letter.

“Hugo Black had been associate justice of the Supreme Court for less than a month when the news broke. In September of 1937, an exposé by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found proof of Black’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan. He had joined in September of 1923, and resigned in July, 1925, as one of his first moves before running for one of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat. Ironically, the smoking gun was Black’s resignation letter, written in legible longhand on Klan stationery, which appeared on the paper’s front page.

“Franklin Roosevelt, who nominated Hugo Black, was implicated in the scandal, which threatened to have far-reaching consequences for the president’s New Deal image. What was once seen as shrewd politics — the New Deal-friendly textualist was confirmed with a 63–16 vote — had become a disgrace. “Millions of Americans,” wrote one Indiana newspaper, “will not forget this sole tangible accomplishment of President Roosevelt’s attempted ‘liberalization’ of the Supreme Court.”

“When asked by the press to remark on the scandal, Roosevelt brushed questions aside, saying, “I only know what I have read in the newspapers. I know that the stories are appearing serially and their publication is not complete. Mr. Justice Black is in Europe where, undoubtedly, he cannot get the full text of these articles. Until such time as he returns, there is no further comment to be made.”


apnews.com

Barrett Was Trustee At Private School With Anti-Gay Policies

By Michelle R. Smith and Michael Biesecker
October 21, 2020 at 10:51:08 AM CDT

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.

The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served.

The three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia, are affiliated with People of Praise, an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible, of which Barrett and her husband have been longtime members. At least three of the couple’s seven children have attended the Trinity School at Greenlawn, in South Bend, Indiana.

The AP spoke with more than two dozen people who attended or worked at Trinity Schools, or former members of People of Praise. They said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades: Homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage, and marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Interviewees told the AP that Trinity’s leadership communicated anti-LGBTQ policies and positions in meetings, one-on-one conversations, enrollment agreements, employment agreements, handbooks and written policies — including those in place when Barrett was an active member of the board.

“Trinity Schools does not unlawfully discriminate with respect to race, color, gender, national origin, age, disability, or other legally protected classifications under applicable law, with respect to the administration of its programs,” said Jon Balsbaugh, president of Trinity Schools Inc., which runs the three campuses, in an email.

The actions are probably legal, experts said. Scholars said the school’s and organization’s teachings on homosexuality and treatment of LGBTQ people are harsher than those of the mainstream Catholic church. In a documentary released Wednesday, Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for the first time as pope, and said in an interview for the film that, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

Barrett’s views on whether LGBTQ people should have the same constitutional rights as other Americans became a focus last week in her Senate confirmation hearing. But her longtime membership in People of Praise and her leadership position at Trinity Schools were not discussed, even though most of the people the AP spoke with said her deep and decades-long involvement in the community signals she would be hostile to gay rights if confirmed.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies sexuality and gender law, said private schools have wide legal latitude to set admissions criteria. And, she said, Trinity probably isn’t covered by recent Supreme Court rulings outlawing employment discrimination against LGBTQ people because of its affiliation with a religious community. But, she added, cases addressing those questions are likely to come before the high court in the near future, and Barrett’s past oversight of Trinity’s discriminatory policies raises concerns.

“When any member of the judiciary affiliates themselves with an institution that is committed to discrimination on any ground, it is important to look more closely at how that affects the individual’s ability to give all cases a fair hearing,” Goldberg said.

The AP sent detailed questions for Barrett to the White House press office. Rather than providing direct answers, White House spokesman Judd Deere instead accused AP of attacking the nominee.

“Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack Judge Barrett’s sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children’s Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment,” Deere said in an email.

Nearly all the people interviewed for this story are gay or said they have gay family members. They used words such as “terrified,” “petrified” and “frightening” to describe the prospect of Barrett on the high court. Some of them know Barrett, have mutual friends with her or even have been in her home dozens of times. They describe her as “nice” or “a kind person,” but told the AP they feared others would suffer if Barrett tries to implement People of Praise’s views on homosexuality on the Supreme Court.

About half of the people asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation against themselves or their families from other members of People of Praise, or because they had not come out to everyone in their lives. Among those interviewed were people who attended all three of its schools and who had been active in several of its 22 branches. Their experiences stretched back as far as the 1970s, and as recently as 2020.

NOT WELCOME

Tom Henry was a senior at Trinity School in Eagan, Minnesota, serving as a student ambassador, providing tours to prospective families, when Barrett was an active member of the board.

In early 2017, a lesbian parent asked him whether Trinity was open to gay people and expressed concern about how her child would be treated.

Henry, who is gay, said he didn’t know what to say. He had been instructed not to answer questions about People of Praise or Trinity’s “politics.”

The next day, Henry recalled, he asked the school’s then-headmaster, Jon Balsbaugh, how he should have answered. Henry said Balsbaugh pulled a document out of his desk drawer that condemned gay marriage, and explained it was a new policy from People of Praise that was going into the handbook.

“He looked me right in the eye and said, the next time that happens, you tell them they would not be welcome here,” Henry recounted. “And he said to me that trans families, gay families, gay students, trans students would not feel welcome at Trinity Schools. And then he said, ‘Do we understand each other?’ And I said, yes. And I left. And then I quit the student ambassadors that day.”

Balsbaugh, who has since been promoted to president of Trinity Schools Inc., says his recollection of the conversation “differs considerably,” but declined Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett And Radicalism – Religious & Political

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of the sad and tragic news out of France, that recently, Samuel Paty, a 47-year old male teacher was brutally decapitated by a radicalized 18-year old, Russian-born male Muslim student. Though one committed the heinous act, at least 10 students have been arrested for participation in the plot. The prime suspect is a Chechen refugee.

According to Reuters, the episode began when several Muslim parents were angered earlier this month after Paty taught a mandatory “moral and civil education” class on freedom of expression, and had shown to his pupils 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which were originally published in a Danish newspaper before republication in Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical publication renown for their anti-establishment satire poking fun at the far right, and aspects of Catholicism, Judaism and Islam.

The Guardian reported that a parent of one of the students in Paty’s class had posted a response to an angry video complaining about the class. The respondent wrote: “I am a parent of a student at this college. The teacher just showed caricatures from Charlie Hebdo as part of a history lesson on freedom of expression. He asked the Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished, out of respect … He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage the critical spirit of his students, always with respect and intelligence. This evening, I am sad, for my daughter, but also for teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without being afraid of being killed?”

The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo recently republished for a second time the same cartoons (also seen here) the day before the beginning of a French trial of Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett’s Forced Hearings Are Political Rape, And She Likes It

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 17, 2020

I have enumerated several reasons why Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett should be rejected for a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

Amy Coney Barrett: Will she follow the law of recusal? – October 15

Day 1: Judge Amy Coney Barrett Brings 6 Little Human Shields To Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing – October 12

Why Amy Coney Barrett Is Unqualified – October 6

Potential Supreme Court Nominee: Right Turn Only? – September 21

Here’s another one which points out the utter hypocrisy of the GOP and the religious right wing community in moving her nomination forward shoving her nomination down American’s throat.

Think of it as a form of political rape.

As I’ve written previously – she’s allowing herself to be used.

And apparently, she likes it.


ReligionDispatches.org
Why Amy Coney Barrett’s Religion is Fair Game
By John Stoehr October 14, 2020

On Monday the Senate Democrats [avoided and ignored] the subject of religion. During the first day of Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, they focused on health care and how Donald Trump’s third nominee might rule after the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments next month on the Affordable Care Act. Avoiding religion was probably wise given the Republicans’ level of fake outrage over fake “religious bigotry.” The rest of us, however, don’t need to play along. Barrett’s Catholicism is fair game.

Yes, I know. Highly influential liberal pundits, and some liberal pundits striving mightily to become influential, argue that religion should be off limits. First, they say, because a person of sincerely held religious beliefs can adjudicate impartially. Second, there’s enough to talk about without bringing up Barrett’s faith. While I presume these liberals mean well (to be clear, in presuming this, I’m being generous), they’re wrong.

They assume, for one thing, that religion and politics can be disentangled. Sometimes they can be. Sometimes they can’t. For another, these liberals behave as if politics is somehow taking religion hostage. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote Monday night: “When politicians use faith as an excuse to pass and uphold laws that seize control of people’s bodies but not guarantee them healthcare, feed the poor, shelter the homeless, or welcome the stranger, you have to wonder if it’s really about faith at all.”

No, you don’t have to wonder. It’s about their faith, full stop. Millions in this country—white evangelical Protestants and conservative white Catholics chief among them—root their genuinely held religious beliefs in opposition to modernity, which is to say, in politics. There is, therefore, no appreciable difference between them. The more our society moves in the direction of greater freedom, equity and justice for all people, the more these revanchists believe their faith is under siege; and the more they feel their faith is under siege, the more prepared they are to go to war over “religious freedom.”

I don’t know if Barrett intends to help reverse Roe any more than you do. I do know—and you know—that that’s why Donald Trump picked her. That’s why she accepted his illegitimate nomination. Overturning Roe, or at least gutting it in order to Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Amy Coney Barrett Is Unqualified

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 8, 2020

True to form, radicalized, far right-wing political extremists are portraying Judge A.C. Barrett as a victim. The “poor, pitiful me” routine has taken hold in the GOP, Tea Party and other such ilk. Self loathing has never been more popular, it seems. But it does seem rather peculiar that it should find residence in the right, when for years we’ve been told that it is the political left who are such whiners and crybabies.

Aaaah… the political hypocrisy! You can smell the stench of its cooking all the way from the banks of the Potomac in Washington, D.C.

And the blindly vicious ambition! Its unmitigated violence permeates the miasmatic ether surrounding the city, all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, and beyond.

They’re both forms of pollution which Congress continues to ignore, and which are far more damaging than even dirty water, or air. For their poison, while not permanent like PFOS or PFAS, the man-made “forever chemicals” used in making non-stick coatings which are found even in newborns’ blood, there are few, if any, filters to remove such contaminants from the necessary processes we employ to govern ourselves.

While “organic,” such contaminants are far from resembling a healthy backyard compost pile where grass clippings, leaves, eggshells, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, and other such items begin their transformation process to become rich humus, fertile soil for vegetable and plant growth. Their forms, while neither ephemeral, nor impermanent, per se, are causative of other illnesses and diseases transmitted even to the 3rd and 4th generations, and beyond – all preventable – and must be guarded against by every generation.

The only difference being, is that disorders caused by those infections are preventable by conscience, not by manufacture. And the inoculation against such infection and affliction is love.

“Contrary to the impression many have of Barrett, what is most striking about her record is not the looming specter of theocracy, but her enduring opposition to what many Christians believe justice and mercy demand, presented under the aspect of originalism — an ersatz catechism, written in the pages of her judicial opinions, that fuses the political aims of the religious right with the constitutional theories of the late Antonin Scalia.”

There is NO “war” against religious faith in this nation, nor has there ever been. Neither has there ever been any alleged “war against Christmas” by our government, nor by its elected officials and administrators… like Federal judges, and other lifetime appointees. Although, it is curious how an officially non-sectarian, non-religious government sponsors a Federal holiday acknowledging a deity, thereby giving deference, homage and support to the same.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Rather, our Founders, not all of whom were religious-minded, were cognizant of others’ desires to express themselves through the practice of a privately-held conviction of faith – if they so chose – collectively and individually, according to the dictates of their conscience, and allowed to the greatest extent possible the practice of the same, without impingement upon the practices of government, and without obtruding upon others, who might, or not, agree with them. The Founders thought that aspect of individual liberty was so inherent, so inviolable, so sacrosanct to the public good, that they ensconced it, along with a few others, and made it and them First, and foremost among all others which followed.

Our fundamental foundational governing document, the Constitution, ensures and guarantees rights to Read the rest of this entry »

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The Pornographer and The Preacher

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Jerry Falwell, Jr. in the Bahamas July 2019, Instagram post

If “the farmer and the cowman should be friends,” then the pornographer and the preacher should be too.

Turns out, they did become friends.

By now, if you’ve not heard the name Jerry Falwell, some might wonder what cave in Tora Bora you’ve been hiding in for the last 40 years, or so.

And, if you enjoy any late-night teevee humorists – such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Bill Maher, etc., Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien are ancient history – you should continue reading.

And if you don’t, you should STILL continue reading.

Why?

Freedom.

Because you do like it that way, don’t you?

Publisher Larry Flynt with the parody ad mocking Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr., which initiated Falwell’s lawsuit against the magazine Hustler, and Flynt, its publisher. The case wound its way to the Supreme Court, and enjoyed a rare unanimous decision in Flynt’s favor.

First, some background:

There are now three men who’ve been named Jerry Falwell:
1.) The Reverend Jerry Falwell, Sr. (1933-2007)

2.) Jerry Falwell, Jr., (b.1962) an attorney/real estate developer who is the first born, and son of Jerry Falwell

3.) Jerry “Trey” Falwell, III (b.), the first born and son of Jerry Falwell, Jr.

It’s all your fault.

The Reverend started it all.

He started Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

He started the now-long-defunct religious political action group called the “Moral Majority.”

And, he started Liberty University.

He handed the keys of Liberty University to Jerry, Jr., while he handed the keys of the Thomas Road Baptist Church to son Jonathan.

The parody/satire ad in Hustler magazine that started it all. The parody is clearly marked as such at the center bottom, and is listed in the contents section as parody/satire, and states “not to be taken seriously.”

Good ol’ country boys

Like Falwell, Larry Flynt was good Southern boy, having been born in the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky in Lakeville, Magoffin County, while Falwell was born in Lynchburg, Virginia – about 216 miles from each other as the crow flies… or a 6+/- hours drive not-so directly East-West from each other. There’s hills and hollers throughout the area, you know. They happen to be called the Appalachians, for short. It’s hard to have a straight road in those mountainous areas.

Like Father, Not Like Son

Part of the greater underlying irony of the matter involving the Rev. Falwell, Sr., is that Read the rest of this entry »

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How Jerry Falwell, Jr. Influenced Trump’s Election

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 31, 2020

Predictions sometimes come true.

And paybacks aren’t always hell.

The NY Times and other news agencies are reporting that Liberty University is in the process of a forensic audit to examine the school’s operations during Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tenure as its President.

You had to have known (i.e., strongly suspected) that it would happen.

Falwell, Jr. is a real estate attorney-developer whose father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr. founded the school, and was founding pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. As well, he founded the long-defunct “Moral Majority” – a right-wing Christian religious political action group which was extensively involved in Republican politics, and was predominately concerned with social and cultural matters, and vehemently opposed Civil Rights for anyone but heterosexuals.

Others in the same era include James Dobson, a psychologist and founder of “Focus on the Family” who frequently pointed to Judeo-Christian holy writ to support his theories, the Rev. Don Wildmon, a United Methodist pastor and founder of the Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association, and the American Family Radio network which began as Low-Power FM stations in small communities and neighborhoods throughout the nation, and numerous other predominately White Protestant religious figures, including many in the so-called “blab-it-and-grab-it” heterodox pseudo-faith movement also known as the “prosperity gospel” preachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Jerry Savelle, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Hagin, Sr., T.L. and Daisy Osborne, and John and “Dodie” Osteen, whose son Joel, with his wife, now occupies their former positions in the church they founded.

Perhaps now you can better understand the basis for some, if not much, of the shenanigans with the Republican party’s fawning obeisance to Evangelicals. Simply put, it’s payback, because they put them in power. You’ll see that theme emerge again, later in the article.

But back to the matter at hand.

And that is concerning Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tenure as Liberty University President and Chancellor.

NOTE: For sake of simplicity, and ease of understanding, the junior Falwell will be referred to simply as “Jerry Falwell,” except for instances in which it is pertinent to mention his father, the late “Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr.”

Liberty University today (Monday, August 31, 2020) released a statement regarding their objectives, which also mentioned that they would be pursuing an investigation of Falwell’s time as President. Their statement read in part that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Money, Sex, and Politics: Is Jerry Falwell, Jr. A Closeted Bisexual?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Editor’s Note: The point of the headline of this entry is to expose what appears to be the presence of blatant hypocrisy in Falwell, and in the greater Evangelical community, if not the practical entirety of the Christian religion, in its long-standing intolerance toward, and abhorrence of same-sex attraction, and their continual denial of civil rights, and even basic human rights to that community.

By now, you’ve probably heard of, or read about, the escapades and/or exploits – sexual, and otherwise – of Jerry Falwell, Jr., the once-and-soon-to-be former President of Liberty University, the Lynchburg, VA-based private Christian school founded by his late Baptist pastor father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr.


UPDATE: As the article was being written, Falwell had not resigned. By press time, he had.


Most recently (Monday, August 24, 2020), Reuters News posted a news report in which Jerry Falwell Jr., the President of Liberty University, whom is an attorney by education and real-estate developer by experience, was named by a Miami-based long-time sexual play friend of his, and wife Becki, in which Falwell Jr. played the cuckold role. Of course, in an official statement to the Washington Examiner, a well-known right-wing sympathetic D.C. Beltway news group, Falwell has denied all culpability, claimed he was being blackmailed and pointed the finger of sexual blame at his wife. Exclusive: Falwell says Fatal Attraction threat led to depression & STATEMENT BY JERRY FALWELL, JR.

Giancarlo Granda, who was befriended by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and wife Rebecca “Becki,” while working as a pool attendant at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, a renown luxury hotel, and was later backed by them in a business venture involving an area gay youth hostel, poses for a portrait in Washington, U.S., August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Falwell’s relationship with Giancarlo Granda – the 29-year-old man claiming to have had 6 years of cuckolding sexual liaisons with Jerry and Becki Falwell – goes back several years, and Falwell claims that Granda was attempting to blackmail him.

In October 2019, the Miami Herald published an account that detailed an undisclosed financial settlement Falwell made in Federal court with Read the rest of this entry »

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Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 13, 2020

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Since before our nation’s founding, the framers of the Constitution had very powerful feelings about religion. Not that they were religious men and women, per se – some were, some weren’t – but that they didn’t want the government to tell them how they ought to worship, if they so chose to do.

In fact, they despised the idea so much that some folks (think “pilgrims”) traveled across an ocean in a small wooden sailboat which was little more than an over-sized primitive row-boat, to a far-away land, where literally no one knew them, just in order to escape the overbearing behavior of the ruler of the government (a king), who also just so happened to also be the head of the officially-recognized, governmentally-supported and approved state-sponsored religion – The Church of England.

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

“Supported” as in “took tax money to give to the church” – the state-sponsored church… the one of which the king was the head – the chief priest, if you prefer.

Yeah.

THAT church.

So, they got so sick and tired of the “long arm of the law” reaching into their pockets and Read the rest of this entry »

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What is Democratic Socialism?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 15, 2020

Bernie Sanders has continually explained and made the case why he calls himself a democratic socialist, and corrects those who decry his self-described identity as a democratic socialist. Opponents from within, and without the party have viciously maligned him for that.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – I , official portrait

In essence, it’s caring for your fellow citizen just like they’re your family. And that includes being humanitarian, and caring for others, treating them with the dignity, honor, and respect inherently and rightly due every human being.

Listening to him speak of the principles he addresses, for those with a Christian, or religious knowledge, or background, it reminds me of the principles mentioned following Judeo-Christian Scripture verses. Oh, for those who consider Jews as God’s special, or chosen people… Bernie is a Jew. Could his voice be that of a prophet, of one crying in the wilderness?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”¹

“The laborer is worthy of their hire.”²

“Do not muzzle the ox that treads the grain.”³

“‘Administer true justice. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.'”⁴

“You must not oppress, or defraud your neighbor nor rob him. The wages due a hired hand must not remain with you until morning.”⁵

“Do not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.”⁶

“Now if your countryman becomes destitute and cannot support himself among you, then you are to help him as you would a foreigner or stranger, so that he can continue to live among you.”⁷

“You must not exploit or oppress a foreign resident, for you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt. You must not mistreat any widow or orphan.”⁸

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”⁹

“But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.”¹⁰

¹Proverbs 29:18
²1 Timothy 5:18
³Deuteronomy 25:4
⁴ Zechariah 7:9,10
⁵ Leviticus 19:3
⁶ Deuteronomy 24:14
⁷ Leviticus 25:35
⁸ Exodus 22:21,22
⁹ Deuteronomy 10:18
¹⁰Jeremiah 7:5

––//––

Bernie Sanders fires back at Trump over socialism
CNN Sanders Town Hall
Feb 25, 2019
During a CNN town hall, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explains the programs he’d like to implement if he were elected president, which have been criticized by President Trump as akin to socialism.
https://youtu.be/tJ9j_JT9Lhg

In response to a question asked by an audience member, Bernie Sanders said in part…

“We have political rights… freedom of religion – and all of that is enormously important. But you know what we don’t have? We don’t have guarantees regarding economic rights. And way back in 1944, and in a little-known, little-publicized State of The Union speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said something, and – I’m paraphrasing him – but he said, ‘you know, when we talk about human freedom, and rights, we’ve got to understand that everybody needs a decent-paying job, that people need healthcare, that people need education.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Everything Old Is New Again

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Diane Ravitch is a name known to some, to few, and to many.

It depends upon what circles one travels in to determine who knows whom.

If it’s educational circles, then one is certainly well aware of her stature and renown. One wouldn’t suppose that bricklayers, stonemasons, heavy equipment operators, or welders would recognize her name. But, they could. One never knows.

However, Ms. Ravitch is a well-respected, and highly-regarded education historian, policy analyst, and author, who also blogs on her personal website DianeRavitch.net, and for many years, has advocated for improvements in Public Education.

She was appointed by POTUSes Clinton and George W. Bush to public service, served as Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991-93 to Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander. From there, she was appointed membership to the National Assessment Governing Board, which supervises the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and served in that capacity from 1997-2004. She earned her PhD from Columbia University, and undergraduate from Wellesley College.

And ardent education reformer who opposes Common Core and the seemingly incessant testing to which students are subjected, she has said that the only sure way to stop corporations’ efforts to undermine taxpayer-funded Public Education is to “build a political movement so united and clear in its purpose, that it would be heard in every state Capitol, and even in Washington, D.C.”

Caricature of James Russell Lowell, by Théobald Chartran published in Vanity Fair, 21 August 1880.

Whereas formerly, she supported the school voucher system, she now opposes it, and in her 2010 book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” which NPR described as a “terrific and timely book,” she explains why she did so, citing an abundance of “new evidence.”

In a January 22, 2020 entry in her blog, she recently posted a poem from late American poet Read the rest of this entry »

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Politics, Religion, And Sex

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 10, 2020

https://www.statesman.com/news/20200109/court-rejects-appeal-arguing-that-latex-clad-dancers-are-nude-under-texas-law

PPL can be so stupid.

I think we’re living in an extraordinarily stupid era.

Sure, there are ~some~ smart folks, and some genuinely genius things have been, and are being done. But, on the whole, this age is small-minded, and inordinately consumed with a desire to make, by force of law, others behave according to the privately-held sacrosanct tenets of select individuals or groups who are, in effect, writing private law, instead of public law.

Most such individuals and groups are ultra right-wing religious radicals, zealots of the First Order, who, legally mandate others to behave according to their private principles. The ostensible effect is impressing casual observers that the adherent/practitioner believes, because their behavior demonstrates adherence and obedience to those rules and regulations. It also thereby gives automatic imprimatur to them. In such tenets, they see themselves as performing the will of their god/ess, and by extension, being pleasing to the same. It is a form of wholesale cultural appropriation and subjugation.

It is, in effect, a hypocrisy, a type of lip service which has been ridiculed and mocked via memes such as “Jesus is coming. Quick! Look busy!,” and others similarly.

In essence, in its simplest, purest form, it boils down to one group of people wanting to control another group of people, and to force them into submitting to their privately held beliefs, most of which are religiously motivated, and often predicated upon a “thou shalt not” type law.

However, the highest, if not entire, notion of religion is not only freedom, but of self-improvement and self-regulation. Religion ostensibly seeks the betterment of the individual, and by natural extension, the whole, the collective, the corporate, the community.

By working on an Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Should Churches Should Be Taxed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Ownership of these churches in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was transferred to the parishes. As a result, the churches are excluded from the bankruptcy estate available to clergy abuse victims. [Photographer: William LeGoullon for Bloomberg Businessweek]

Tax churches because they’re businesses, plain and simple. The product or service they provide is religion and/or spirituality.

Bloomberg Business News published the findings of their most recent financial investigation, which showed that – as expected – like any nominally competent business organization, or conglomerated international corporation, the Catholic Church in the United States has moved to protect its assets from being considered part of any potential judgments/settlements arising from individual or Class Action lawsuits initiated by individuals (plaintiffs) who as children were abused by priests, and now are adults.

From a business perspective, one could think of it as the Church opposing members who may be potential or prospective “creditors” in any liability arising from sex abuse cases.

The Federal Government needs to RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) them, because they’re clearly corrupt as evidenced by:
• Perpetrating, and perpetuating, sexual abuse, by;
• Deliberately hiding and shuffling perpetrator priests, and by;
• Deliberately shifting and hiding assets in response to lawsuits.

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-01-08/the-catholic-church-s-strategy-to-limit-payouts-to-abuse-victims

“In many cases, churches precede bankruptcy by transferring and reclassifying assets.

The effect is to shrink the pot of money available to clergy abuse victims.

“That and Chapter 11’s [bankruptcy] universal settle­ments and protections from further claims have been an effective Read the rest of this entry »

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Mandatory Death Penalty For Pedophile Priests

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 28, 2019

In this Dec. 18, 2019 photo, Joey Covino poses for a photo at his home in Saugus, Mass., with a photo of himself as a 9-year-old boy. Covino was abused by Rev. Richard J. McCormick at a summer camp in Massachusetts in 1981. Covino said the entirety of his adult life had been altered by McCormick’s abuse – failed relationships, his decisions to join the military and later the police, nightmares that plagued him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Hundreds of

accused clergy

left off church’s

sex abuse lists

apnews.com/f6238fe6724bdf4f30a42ff7d11a327e

Can anyone think of any legitimate reason why child sex offenders should not get a mandatory Death Penalty – with no possibility for appeals?

Sex offenders who prey upon children are incorrigible. They are literally incapable of reform. It would be easier to ask a leopard to change its spots.

In this Monday, Aug. 10, 2015 file photo, Judge Timothy Feeley, left, addresses the former Rev. Richard J. McCormick, 74, in Salem Superior Court in Boston after his conviction of raping Joey Covino as a child, for which he was sentenced up to 10 years. Joey Covino said the entirety of his adult life had been altered by McCormick’s abuse over two summers at a Salesian camp – failed relationships, his decisions to join the military and later the police, nightmares that plagued him. His decision to come forward led to McCormick’s conviction of rape in 2014. McCormick has since plead guilty to assaulting another boy. (Faith Ninivaggi/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

No form of treatment – not even chemical castration – has ever “cured” or eliminated child sex abusers’ compulsion to harm children. Professionals acknowledge that, “no cure exists for pedophilia.” As one organization put it, “No one has been able to find a way to change pedophiles into nonpedophiles.” It is splitting hairs to argue that the term “pedophile” is somehow inapplicable because sexual attraction to, and sexual abuse of, children aged 11 to 14 is categorized as “hebephilia.”

Currently-accepted thought is that child sexual abusers are born with a predilection for being sexually aroused by children. And while that inordinate unhealthy desire can be “cultivated,” per se, it needn’t be acted upon – it needn’t be cultivated.

Sexual preference for children (as in normal, healthy, youthful sexual desire) doesn’t have to result in actual sexual behaviors being demonstrated toward or upon children, and is differentiated from acting upon one’s thoughts – including differentiating between fantasy and reality.

It is differentiated from habitual sexual abuse of children, especially by adult males in a religious order (in this case), who exercised some degree of authority, or control over the children and teens in their “flock” of believers.

How common is sexual abuse of children?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 4 girls (25%), and 1 in 6 boys (16.6%) are sexually abused before age 18, with the average age of first abuse between ages 9 and 10. The typical pattern is abuse by an adult male acquaintance (60%), which continues for at least 4 years.

As of March 31, 2016, there were 805,781 registered sex offenders in the United States. Many offenders evade detection and their offenses are unknown, along with the actual number of child molesters, which also remains unknown. As well, the root cause(s) of their impulses are largely unknown.

The Catholic Church has not helped to expose or stop such horrific wrong-doing, and instead, has conspired to Read the rest of this entry »

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Merry F’n Christmas

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 8, 2019

Pregnant by someone to whom she is not married… unwed, refugees, homeless… foreigners in a foreign land.

Yeah.

What a story, eh?

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Yeahbut… Jesus, when did we see you as a thief, child molester or murderer in prison, eh?

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

That’s just tough shit for some, eh?

Church nativity depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph as family separated at border

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/church-nativity-depicts-jesus-mary-joseph-family-separated-border-n1097891

Repulsed by report of staff raping women at Florida federal prison, Rubio demands inquiry

Read the rest of this entry »

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Believing The Lie

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 24, 2019

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to hear some right-wing nutjob talk about “god.” Which one that is, I have no idea. They rarely say. It’s just “god.”

But those same ones, who most often align themselves with the GOP (NOTE: GOP does not stand for “Party Of God”) hold themselves out, or so it seems, as not only paragons of virtue, but morally superior to all others.

What’s especially problematic, is that they purport to know what’s good best for you, and for everyone else. In other words, if you live your life according to their precepts, and dictates, everything’ll be hunky dory, and peachy keen. All will be well in La-La Land.

But please… what ever you do, DO NOT attempt to tell them what to do! You know… because they’re right, and you’re not. You’re an evil Liberal Atheist Democrat, and you need “god.” They are the ONLY ones who’re right, or correct. They’re god’s frozen chosen. And besides, you shouldn’t eat babies. Not even veal.

And Trump… Trump is “god’s man.”

According to them, he’s been “chosen by god for such a time as this,” despite the fact that he’s an habitually chronic liar, sexual abuser, serial divorcer, philanderer, tax cheat, and all-around scumbag.

But again… you know, he’s “god’s man.”

To which I say… well, goddamn.

The Evangelical community in large part perceives this to be a struggle between good, and evil, and their god is in the GOP since they’re right, and no one else is correct. They have an exclusive corner on the truth. They’re doing god’s work, and what they do is god’s will.

Again, all is well in La-La Land.

It just so happens that Read the rest of this entry »

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To Trump, or Not To Trump: Religion, Politics, and Voting

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 28, 2019

As I pondered how to begin this entry, numerous thoughts occurred to me about the possible pathway it could take. But the bottom line (Already? Yes, already.) is that what I really want to do is talk about politics and religion.

Sure, almost everyone has heard the adage and encouragements to avoid talking about those two subjects, and almost always to avoid them at holiday family get-togethers. And then, there’s “polite company,” in which one doesn’t want to appear controversial, start a quarrel, or possibly offend someone.

But this is none of the above, and you’ve read this far, so here we go.

Globally, within the last 50 years, and more so since the 1990’s in this nation (the United States), there has emerged a politically active religious movement which has innervated the halls of government at the national and state levels. Local politics has some effect, but nowhere is it more seen and felt than at those two levels.

We have seen the emergence of right-wing extremism in almost all religions, and it’s certainly most visible in the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – three sects of a common religion from the same family which essentially share the same god.

In recent history, we have seen it demonstrated as a revolt against liberalism (which is properly defined as “freedom”) in Iran in 1979, in which right-wing religious extremists of the Islamic religion, led by the Ayatollah Ruholla Kohmeni (1902-1989) overthrew the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980). Since that time, the nation has remained under the oppressive religious regime of the Islamic Republican Party.

We have also witnessed events such as the rise of radical Islam in the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS, or ISIL), and numerous sects in other Middle Eastern nations, many of which were formerly free from religious influence in government.

While there are many other complicating features of those nations’ internal struggles, such as governmental oppression, totalitarianism, involvement by foreign governments in propping up leaders seen as useful to those same governments, etc., suffice it to say, it is true that the revolutionary forces were almost exclusively religiously motivated by fear of losing their religion at the hand of the existing governmental state.

In the United States, led in large part by the Reverend Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), founder of Liberty University, and supported by Evangelicals such as Pat Robertson (b.1930) and his 700 Club and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) led by Paul (1924-2013) and Jan Crouch (1939-2016), and a veritable host of other high-profile religious leaders who used television, such as Oral Roberts (1918-2009), Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), Kenneth Copeland (b.1936), Jerry Savelle (b.1946), Marilyn Hickey (b.1931), Jimmy Swaggart (b.1935), et al., have exercised significant political sway upon a large portion of the American voting public, which in turn, elected officials and politicians who would do their political bidding in Washington, and in states’ capitols nationwide.

Once described as “values voters” who measured candidates on high moral character, Evangelicals now unify behind an unholy trinity of nativism, xenophobia and White grievance. They have exchanged ethics of accountability principles, to thinking “the end justifies the means,” and have stopped searching for personal character and leadership quality in political leaders, and instead have accepted the actions and morality of their chosen candidates if their election objectives are met.

Such actions are problematic not only for religion, but for government as well. Because if religion has become a tool used by government, it has lost its own internal moral compass, and its influence and usefulness as a force for public virtue, private morality, and social unification has become worthless. And even if that is true (and increasingly, it seems so), then America has lost its own unique character of adherence to principles of tolerance, seeking peaceful resolution to problems, and its own commitment to equality under law.

All those groups and people have one thing in common: they constrain freedom in people by using religion to manipulate government. And yet, as evidenced by numerous hind-sight observations in the 2016 General Election, the irony – and disturbingly eerie parallel – of the matter, is that Evangelicals are no longer adherent to orthodoxy, or traditional “old time religion,” which has become as equally a motivating religious fear factor for them, as much as it is for radical Islam.

In Middle Eastern nations, it has been more violent, but the objectives are the same: Wrest control of the existing government away from its leaders, and install religious extremists in power; curtail personal freedoms; subjugate and limit women to child-rearing and housekeeping roles; deny women education – keep them illiterate; deny women access to contraceptives or abortion services, thereby forcing them to become pregnant and give birth; deny women – and others – voting rights; deny women and others freedom of movement by forbidding them to drive automobiles; force everyone to adhere to the state religion, or face harsh punishment or execution for disobeying, or speaking against it.

While in the United States such drastic measures have not all occurred, little by little, led largely by Republicans, states and the Federal government are enacting laws limiting hard-won civil rights, such as 18-year-olds’ Right to Vote; denying women access to contraception, and limiting therapeutic abortion.

While the argument has changed in tenor and is now couched as a “right to life” (a phrase not found in the Constitution, but only in the Declaration of Independence – “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”), its beginning is unmistakably religious in origin, having first been promulgated by the Catholic Church, and later adopted by Evangelical Protestants as a tenet of their faith, as well.

But, because many don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on that subject, those who would restrict others’ freedoms, instead, take a circuitous, surreptitious route to force their beliefs upon others, ultimately, by making voting more difficult, and hoping they’ll stay away from polls on Election Day. Because when voters don’t vote, freedom is the ultimate loser. And sadly, that is how some want it – because they think there’s just too much freedom – and wrongly claim that responsibility is absent from freedom.

This Spring, the Republican-dominated Texas State Legislature enacted legislation which forbids any early voting polling place from being open less than the full 12 days of the early voting period. The net effect is that 9 sites on college and university campuses in the state – as well as 6 campus polling locations in Fort Worth, 2 in Brownsville, and others throughout the state – will be forced to close, effectively disenfranchising very nearly 14,000 full-time student voters.

In Wisconsin, despite the fact that there has never been a case of deliberate student voter fraud in state history, the Republican-led state legislature passed legislation that requires poll workers to check signatures ONLY on student IDs, even though many schools have removed signatures from them because it’s a security risk, since the IDs are also used as debit cards, and room keys. As well, that same law mandates that IDs used for voting purposes must expire in 2 years, while most Student IDs are valid for 4 years. Not only that, but students with acceptable IDs must also show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote. While the state’s colleges and universities have diligently tried to meet all ID requirements for the students to use school IDs to exercise their voting rights, the end result has been statewide student voter chaos.

In New Hampshire, a Republican-led effort which became law now requires newly-registered voters who also drive, to establish “domicile” there by obtaining a New Hampshire Driver License and automobile registration, which can cost hundreds of dollars annually. The catch is, it affects students almost exclusively, because 60% of the state’s students come from outside the state. That too, was a Republican-led effort by the former Republican Speaker of the House, William O’Brien, who in 2011 promised to restrict student voting and said they are “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”

In Texas, which ranks dead last in voter turnout, the state’s Republican legislators have restricted student voter pre-registration to 2 months before the student’s 18th birthday, excludes use of college and university-issued ID cards, mandates that state driver licenses be used -and- only if they sign a form swearing that they could not reasonably obtain an “accepted” voter ID, and explain why.

Tennessee isn’t too far behind. That state’s Republican legislators use a convenient loophole in the law requiring election officials to help register high school students to avoid fulfilling their obligation, do not accept student IDs as valid for voting purposes, and have excluded out-of-state Driver Licenses as forms of valid Voter ID. The state’s 4 most populous cities – Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Chattanooga – also have significant student populations, and no on-campus early voting polling locations. However, a recent law requires those who would – for pay – register voters, to take a 30 minute course offered by the Secretary of State, while those who would – not for hire – register voters out of a sense of civil service, are not required to take the course. Although, the state’s General Assembly does allow expired IDs such as United States Passport, military photo ID, TN driver license, and TN handgun carry permit with photo, and photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, to be used as valid forms of Voter ID.

Sunny Florida doesn’t fare so well, either. That state’s Republican Secretary of State outlawed on-campus early voting sites in 2014, but following a Federal court challenge, the decision was overturned and 60,000 votes were cast on campuses statewide in the 2018 election. Not to be outdone, the state’s legislators re-enacted the ban and required all early voting sites to have “sufficient non-permitted parking,” which is often difficult to find.

The Tarheel State hasn’t been very friendly to student voters, either. North Carolina’s Republican legislators passed a Voter ID law in 2018 that accepted student IDs as valid for voting purposes, albeit with caveats so burdensome that even major state universities couldn’t comply. While the law was relaxed somewhat, confusion still exists, and consequently, less than half of the state’s 180 accredited institutions have sought Voter ID certification for their students’ IDs.

Aside from the common denominator of student status, the single greatest factor in all these cases is that students reliably vote for Democratic candidates.

Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government found in a March 2019 poll that Read the rest of this entry »

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Love Is Not Like That

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 6, 2019

(Previously titled: Thoughts on Religious “Free Will”)

Recently, in conversation with friends over the evening meal (supper) at a nearby restaurant, a comment was made observing something to the effect of recent global events, specifically, Iraqi uprisings in that nation, which in turn quickly segued into a remark by that same one, which was something to the effect of “the LORD is doing wonderful things in that nation,” or very similar.

About two days later, in conversation with another different friend, I shared that experience, and the remarks, and commented that, “You know, it’s as if the people who say things like that are proud of their god, as it like they trained it. ‘Attaboy, god! You go! You’re doing such a good job! We’re proud of you!’ It’s as if they’re praising a child for doing something good, proper, or right.”

Additional remarks might be something like, ‘There you go, god! You’re doing a good job! Keep up the good work! You’re doing SO MUCH BETTER! Earlier, you weren’t worth a shit… but NOW!?! You’re doing FANTASTIC work!’

You see how absurd that is?

If a person has a god which is an omniscient, omnipotent being, why would that one need praise? It’s wholly, entirely, and totally absurd. People only praise those whom are doing things they approve of, and who have some semblance of commonality – who share an often-unifying common bond – either by sharing national origin, or some other similar factor.

Praise the astronauts who were the volunteer human subjects who sat atop rockets destined (hopefully) for outer space, for their heroic actions, and intestinal fortitude. But, they were mere men, as well. It’s the same thing for firefighters, who, instead of running out of a burning building, rush headlong INTO it.

It’s totally contrary to what our natural instincts (the preservation of life) are.

And yet, some even died in those processes – of space exploration, and saving others’ lives and property.

And if they survive, all of them age, and eventually later die.

And by golly, if a god is all that and a bag of chips, what’s the point?

Seriously.

Heaping praise for an omniscient, omnipotent being from those who are utterly the epitome of stupidity?

C’mon…

If that’s not a case of putting the cart before the horse, I don’t know what is.

It’d be like having a child heaping praise upon Albert Einstein (1879-1955) for developing the Theory of Relativity, or praising Robert Boyle (1627-1691) for discovering Boyle’s Law, or congratulating Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856) for discovering Avogadro’s number/constant.

It’s utterly inconsistent with the idea of praise for congratulations, adulation, or adoration to come from below. Properly, praise comes from above. Your boss, or supervisor praises you. Or, even a colleague praises you. But hardly ever does an inferior praise a superior. While it does, and has happened, it’s certainly not the norm.

But again, I digress.

The point I had hoped to express was about the idea of “free will” as often expressed by Baptists, and other right-wing extremist Christian faith traditions.

Over supper, I expressed my thoughts to the friend, that I Read the rest of this entry »

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Do We Own Relationships?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 4, 2019

In an email exchange with a long-time friend about human sexuality and religion, I expressed an idea which I’ve been developing for quite some time, but had never written it. Though I’d talked about it with others, I’d never written it.

The idea concerns itself with the proposal that our sexuality has been, and largely continues to be, a tool by which we are controlled for others’ purposes, most notably religious and political.

Christendom, and other religions – including the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, and Islam – have continually said “no” to the expression of human sexuality, even though sexual response and the orgasm itself is but a mere function of the autonomic nervous system, which is but one of many in a collection of bodily functions over which we have no control, including pupillary response, digestion, rate of respiration and heart rate, blood pressure, and micturition (the creation of urine), most notably.

So it seems more than odd that we should be punished by religions for something over which we largely have little-to-no control. And yet, within many religions, it is precisely that sort of thing which (the attempt to control one’s uncontrollable functions) has innervated religions for eons. We see it in the flagellation associated with the Passion of the Christ in annual displays worldwide. We see it in the writings of the Desert Fathers whose asceticism is renown. We see it even in the daily functions of Abrahamic religions. It is pervasive.

Raquel Welch, in Los Angeles, on a cross; 1970 photograph by British photographer Terry O’Neill; wearing a fur bikini from the 1966 motion picture “One Million Years B.C.,” in which she starred, which was a remake of the original 1940 “One Million B.C.”

As well, a sense of shame and guilt is brought with it in order to continue to subdue others. None of it makes any sense. And yet, amidst it all, faithful adherents are told to become “more Christlike,” or “godly” by taming other genuinely negative behaviors and expressions such as selfishness, anger, hatred, lying, and numerous other unbecoming attitudes.

However, the root cause of it all has largely, to date, undefined – though it has been touched upon in numerous homilies, sermons, and teachings.

And so, while it is largely unrefined, per se, the core of the idea which I have been long considering is expressed here below, and is excerpted from an email to a long-time friend.

––//––

The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that: Read the rest of this entry »

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Dreams, and Surviving As An Empath

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 3, 2019

Bob Hayden is a fellow whom I met several years ago in Birmingham, AL at a Dreams Interpretation Workshop, which I attended as part of my own personal, spiritual growth and development.

Bob is a retired Episcopal priest who founded the institute which bears his name in Asheville, NC, which in the years since, has grown significantly in size, scope, and outreach, and now has a presence in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Carl Jung in his study.

It was after attending that workshop that I began to understand the significant genius that Swiss psychiatrist/psychologist Carl Jung Read the rest of this entry »

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Jesus Christ Is A Bastard

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Bastardy is defined as being the offspring (most often as male) of a woman who became pregnant by a man to whom she was not married. It refers to any child born to women not married to the child’s father.

More commonly, it is referred to as a child born out of wedlock. That is, a bastard is any child born to an unmarried woman.

Marriage confers legitimacy. Legitimacy, as the law is concerned, refers to right of inheritance.

In other words, bastardy is characterized by being born to parents whom are not married to each other. It also refers to any child born to a married woman whom is pregnant with, bearing, or having borne or birthed a child fathered by a man who was not her spouse. Those children are also considered bastard.

Simply put, a married woman who is pregnant by another man whom is not her husband is carrying a bastard child.

Accordingly, the Apostle’s Creed states in part, “Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…”

The Roman Catholic Church says “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.”

The account as rendered in the Scripture (Matthew 1:18, 19, 20, 21 – NIV) states that “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.“”

Clearly, the account states that Mary, while married to Joseph, was pregnant, but NOT by him.

So, there you have it.

Jesus is a bastard.

It’s fairly cut-and-dried.

As far as becoming pregnant or born without sexual union, the term to describe that natural phenomenon is Read the rest of this entry »

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Bittersweet

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Perhaps you know that I read, and do so widely.

Yesterday, I read something that I found utterly BRILLIANT!

This is but one thought from it.

“To avoid being mistaken for gay, these days many self-proclaimed straight people—men especially—settle for superficial associations with their comrades and reserve the sort of costly intimacy that once characterized such chaste same-sex relationships for their romantic partners alone. Their ostensibly normal sexual orientation cheats them out of an essential aspect of human flourishing: deep friendship.”

As I am now writing these words, another thought came to mind, and it was that I learned a new word recently.

The word is “alexithymia,” and refers to the inability to describe emotions.

The word it self is a fairly new one having emerged circa 1970’s, and examining its component parts, tells us something about its meaning. The prefix “a” means the negation or absence of something, “lexi” means speech, and by extension communication, and “thymia” refers to a noun form meaning a condition being related to the mind and will.

I learned that word after viewing a brief TEDx presentation given by a gent who was presenting the case against the social, colloquial phrase “be a man” – and most all ideas associated with it, which also flow from it – and which as he shared, has significantly contributed to the alienation and isolation of emotions from boys, and the social retardation of the full development of personality and character which otherwise might be more fully developed were they “in tune with” their emotions, and able to describe them.

He made a much better case for emotional support than I’m able to explain here in a few words, but suffice it to say, that the impetus of his idea was that boys’ emotional development is largely (or, at least has been historically, most notably in modernity) socially squelched, and they have not been encouraged to express their emotions, save perhaps, except in sports, which itself is a very narrow expression.

But it was the story and motion picture “Brian’s Song,” about Read the rest of this entry »

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Achoo!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 7, 2019

An orgasm is the moral equivalent of a sneeze. It’s part of the autonomic nervous system and thus, largely cannot be controlled.

A sneeze is much ado about nothing.

Or, at least it is now.

It was once thought to portend poor health, sickness and disease, which is why many will say “bless you,” or “gesundheit!” after one sneezes.

Again, because a sneeze is a function of the autonomic nervous system, there’s largely nothing we can do to prevent it from occurring.

The autonomic nervous system regulates such bodily functions as digestion, breathing rate, heart rate, urination, pupillary response (response of the pupils to light), and sexual arousal.

So many make much ado about sexuality, but most of today’s ideas about sexuality are Read the rest of this entry »

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 4, 2019

The yearbook photo ruckus with the Virginia Governor is, in my estimation, totally blown out of proportion, and this Op-Ed succinctly expresses what’s being overlooked, which is the PRESENT -and- the TRACK RECORD.

Wallace and Dr. James Hood admire Hood’s University of Alabama, Ph.D in Higher Education Administration diploma at Wallace’s Montgomery, Ala., home May 19, 1997. Wallace denied Hood admission to the University of Alabama in 1963.

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, right, is shown at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery with a meeting between presidential hopeful Rev. Jesse Jackson in this July 21, 1987 photo. In the 1980s he renounced his segregationist views, and he won his last term as governor (1983-87) with support from black voters.


There’s a significantly vast difference between the photo under question, and the matter of Iowa Representative Steve King, whose words and actions are not merely oblique, but blatantly white supremacist / racist.

I think also about late former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, who remains the only four-term Governor that State has ever had.

An August 26, 1994 photo of Wallace in an emotional moment as he shares a hug with friend Connie Harper at a celebration of his 75th birthday.

Several years following the 1972 assassination attempt upon him in Maryland, he campaigned for, and won re-election to an unprecedented fourth and final term in 1982 while wheelchair bound… and with the broad support of the African American voting community in the state, without whose support Read the rest of this entry »

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World’s Oldest Man

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 21, 2019

Methuselah lived 900 years,” says the partial lyric in one song.

The account to which the song refers, is found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, chapter 5, verse 27, which states that, “Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.” (NIV)

But more recently, the World’s Oldest Man, Masazo Nonaka, who was aged 113, has died overnight. That according to his family, granddaughter Yuko Nonaka, who called the family doctor, who in turn, officially pronounced his death.

Of her grandfather’s death Yuko said in part that, “We feel shocked at the loss of this big figure. He didn’t have any health problem. He went peacefully and that’s at least our consolation.”

In April 2018, the Guinness World Records certified Masazo Nonaka, then aged 112 years and 259 days, as being the World’s Oldest Living Man.

Masazo Nonaka was certified by Guinness World Records as the Oldest Living Man April 2018.

Born July 25, 1905, he grew up in a large family – six brothers, one sister – in his youth was a lumberjack and farmer, married in 1931, and fathered five children. He succeeded his parents in owning and operating Yado Nonaka Onsen, a hot springs inn at the foot of Read the rest of this entry »

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 4, 2019

“I will pray,” says one.

“I will act,” says another.

The hillbilly common-sense version of that is “Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

“Thoughts and prayers” alone won’t cut it.

Action is required.

Even the many school shooting victims speak from their graves, though the voices we hear are our own, telling us “thoughts and prayers” alone won’t cut it.

As healers, you know that’s true, because Read the rest of this entry »

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Dream A Little Dream Of Me: How Dreams Reflect, And Guide Our Waking Lives

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dreams are a world of surreality, where anything can, and does, happen.

In our dreams, pigs can fly, cats bark, and trees can speak. But more importantly than the seeming peculiarities such as talking telephone poles, or growing houses, is the symbolism of the objects in the dreams. One thing stands for another.

In our dreams, snakes might not necessarily represent the animal, but may represent deception, or danger. Conversely, depending upon the context of the dream, snakes may represent sexuality, or even money. It is the combination of the context of the elements in the dream, their setting, and actions, in conjunction with the events of our waking lives, that may provide useful information, even unique insight, into our waking lives.

Dreams can be thought of a type of guide to our waking lives, because they often reflect what is occurring, sometimes even with imperceptible events occurring behind the scenes, of which we are naturally unaware.

And, our dreams may also forewarn us of events. For example, in the Scriptural account in the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi, popularly called the “Three Wise Men” (though no translation of the story specifies how many there were) who had come to visit the exiled Holy Couple – Joseph, Mary, and the newborn Jesus, who had similarly been warned in a dream to flee their homeland before the child’s birth – returned to their homeland after their visit, because they were warned in a dream to do so. In chapter 2, verse 12 it states that, “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (NIV)

The narrative doesn’t say what they dreamed, or the elements those dreams contained, it merely states that they used perceptive insight (were cognizant of significance) given to them while (presumably) in a state of unconsciousness – sleep. In other words, their dreams, as they interpreted, provided useful information to give them, giving meaning (and safety) to their lives at a time of unknown peril.

Cover of the First Edition of the book which introduced the Buck Rogers character by author Philip Francis Nowlan.

Knowing what we do about dreams, about how they present themselves to us as Read the rest of this entry »

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Merry F’n Christmas… there’s not enough love on the borderline, or anywhere else.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Musicians and artists are the voices of the prophets.

They ARE our prophets.

Their consciences are often our nation’s collective voice of conscience. For many radio stations, the only profit they care about is traded on Wall Street, and their consciences are not tethered to trouble, or pricked by care for others’ problems. Their profit is all that matters, for their god is green and cold, and easily fits into any wallet. It has crowded out natural love in the calculi of their now-inhuman hearts.

And, for one reason, or another, it seems that these days, there are very few voices “crying in the wilderness,” or elsewhere, about social injustice.

But three years ago – in 2015 – musician/artist Chip Taylor wrote a song entitled “Refugee Children.” It should be heard by everyone, though it certainly hasn’t.

Whether one is a believer in the story of the virgin birth, or any god, the basic fundamental element of that ageless story is that a small family with a young pregnant bride were refugees, homeless, with only the clothes on their backs.

Any well-read person, regardless of any religious belief, or not, should be familiar with the story told in Read the rest of this entry »

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Saying Ciao to Chau

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 3, 2018

Increasingly, it seems highly unlikely that the mortal remains of John Alan Chau will ever be repatriated to the United States.

Chau was the 26-year-old missionary who illegally invaded North Sentinel Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Island chain east of India in the Bay of Bengal, then was killed while trespassing by the Stone Age tribe members who are thought to have resided there for 60,000 years.

John Allen Chau

So far, police have arrested 7 people, including the 6 fishermen who ferried him to North Sentinel Island.

Chau still didn’t act alone.

Dependra Pathak, Andaman Director General of Police, said “We are investigating the role of at least two Americans, a man and a woman, who met with the man who went to the island. These other two, who have since left the country, were reportedly into evangelical activities and encouraged him to visit the island.”

Though he neither identified them or their organization by name, Police Director Pathak said the two Americans who had Read the rest of this entry »

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Law Is Good, Love Is Better

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2018

It seemed like such a good idea at the time: Carve the law of the nation in stone. We citizens of another land and millennia can appreciate how final the Ten Commandments must have felt — and yet Read the rest of this entry »

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Many Years, Countless Tears… But Joy Comes With The Morning.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 27, 2018

Tapestry of Saint Monica of Hippo, by John Nava (b.1947).

For many, many years Saint Monica of Hippo wept during her ceaselessly tireless prayers for her husband Patricius – a pagan whom lived in her hometown of Tagast in North Africa, to whom her parents gave her in marriage, even though she was a Christian – their son Augustine, and her mother-in-law who lived with them, to become Christians. Patricius was known for his violent temper and licentiousness, while Monica’s mother-in-law was similarly ornery and cantankerous. Her dedication and devotion to Read the rest of this entry »

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Love Is Bigger Than Hurt

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 13, 2018

Joseph had it tough as the second youngest in a family of 12 brothers. Picked on and hated because he was his dad Jacob’s favorite, Joseph ended up sold into slavery by his brothers. After many years of separation from his family, he again met his brothers, only this time the tables were turned: Joseph was in a position of power, and his brothers were the vulnerable ones. It wouldn’t have taken much for Joseph to Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of Forgiveness

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 6, 2018

The story of Maria Goretti, the young virgin and martyr whose feast is celebrated today, is one that generations have read with a mixture of horror and fascination.Maria was only 11 years old when she was attacked and shortly died from injuries inflicted –murdered – by a would-be rapist. That’s the horrific part of her story. The fascinating part is Read the rest of this entry »

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From Pain to Gain

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 5, 2018

“What a life of bitterness I am leading,” said Saint Elizabeth of Portugal (1271-1336). “On whom but God can I depend?” Those anguished words came from a woman who, aged 12 was Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t Fan The Flames

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 30, 2018

In the summer of A.D. 64 a terrible fire swept through the city of Rome. Emperor Nero found himself praised for his efforts to help the victims, and accused of setting the fire. To deflect the criticism, he Read the rest of this entry »

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Shouldering Responsibility

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 29, 2018

The pallium is an ancient liturgical vestment worn only by the pope and a very few other high-level church officials upon whom the pope bestows it as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them. In honor of Saints Peter and Paul, today is the day of Read the rest of this entry »

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Think Before You Act

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 28, 2018

The church calendar identifies the second-century saint Irenaeus as a “bishop and martyr.” He was certainly a bishop (of Lyons in France), but his martyrdom may be more legendary. He is remembered primarily, however, not for his death but for Read the rest of this entry »

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The Mother Of All Role Models

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (c. 374-444) was a scholar, writer and bishop who promoted the use of the title Theotokos (“God-bearer”) for Read the rest of this entry »

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Discover The Mystery of You

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 24, 2018

Each newborn child is a mystery about to unfold in the world. And there is always the potential for joy and pain, great good or tremendous misery. To a great extent, much of what the child becomes is contained in the context of the family: Its resources, stability, and Read the rest of this entry »

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How well do we see ourselves?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 22, 2018

Self-knowledge isn’t always welcome. We prefer to think well of ourselves, so if that requires a little trip to “the land of denial” now and again, it can’t be helped. Or can it? In the fourth century, when Read the rest of this entry »

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You Are The Salt Of The Earth

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Salt is such an ordinary, inexpensive, and easily found substance in most cases nowadays that you can fail to fully grasp the profound meaning of Jesus’ famous metaphor. Consider these facts about salt: While it was once known as “white gold,” salt is necessary for human life. It preserves, purifies, and enhances the flavor of food. It made civilization possible. Wars have been waged over supplies of salt; it has been taxed, hoarded, traded, and Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Do We Hide?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 10, 2018

A psychologist explained something fascinating about shame: No one can put it inside us without our consent. Shame doesn’t enter from the outside but responds from within. Those who Read the rest of this entry »

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Love With No Strings Attached

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 10, 2018

What would it be like to have an “immaculate heart”? Could it be to have a heart that loved unconditionally? When we are honest about it, much of what we call “love” is actually a sort of quid pro quo, a Read the rest of this entry »

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Is that you?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 7, 2018

“That’s me!,” said one 10-year-old insistently to another as they watched an action movie, and chose to be the character who was the most powerful, the most beautiful, or even the goofiest.

A good storyteller knows that listeners need to identify with the characters, but it can be Read the rest of this entry »

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