I am continuing to share curated items. Today, I bring a Facebook post from friend, Eric Atcheson. He gave me permission to republish it here. He is from Kansas and his father is an appellate court judge. Eric is also a pastor in Washington. Brownback was nominated our "Religious Freedom Ambassador." This position advocates for international religious freedom. You got that right. The dude who is trying to make everyone Christian is now in charge of international religious freedom. I'll get out of the way and let Eric tell it. You can find Eric at his blog: http://revericatcheson.blogspot.com/
I held my fire on Governor Brownback being appointed to Religious Freedom Ambassador to Hogwarts because the Gold Cup final was about to start and I didn't think the world needed my thoughts so badly that I had to miss soccer for it, but I want and need to add a few more bullet points from the perspective of someone whose appellate judge dad has seen Brownback repeatedly try to eliminate his job:
Religious freedom is, at its core, a lot like many other freedoms. It is why it gets lumped in with the freedom of speech, assembly, press, and redress of grievances in the First Amendment. It is predicated on freedom of thought, expression, and philosophy. It is a necessary component to democratic governance, and the only way I know I can legally preach and teach as I believe God has called me is if my colleague down the road or across town is able to do so as well.
Brownback may champion religious freedom, but he has shown little patience as senator and especially as governor for other forms of independence of thought that a) intersect with religious freedom, and b) are prerequisites to protecting religious freedom. He led a multiyear assault on an independent state judiciary that included multiple plans between him and his cronies in the Kansas state legislature to de facto eliminate the Court of Appeals, or at least force in an entirely new slate of judges. When that failed, coordinated campaigns poured tens of thousands of dollars into (unsuccessfully) ousting these judges out of office last November.
An independent judiciary, though, has historically been necessary to protect religious freedom--the very cause Brownback claims to champion, and what he has been appointed to champion. It was the U.S. Supreme Court that instituted the Lemon test, which sets a particularly high bar for invalidating religious expression, and it was likewise the SCOTUS that went to bat repeatedly in the mid-20th century for the religious rights of Jehovah's Witnesses amid the knee-jerk "God bless America and capitalism" ethos of World War II and the Red Scare.
I've seen what takes place when someone like Sam Brownback decides that you are his enemy. Which is ironic, because my dad, as a matter of both jurisprudence and conscience, is a fierce civil libertarian, repeatedly going to the mat in his opinions and dissents for the rights of people against the intrusion of governmental coercion. I have no doubt he takes the Establishment Clause's protections against inhibiting the free exercise of religion as seriously as he takes the rest of the body of constitutional law.
Yet, here we are. My dad is still a judge in spite of Governor Brownback, and even with Brownback moving on to be the Religious Freedom Ambassador to Candyland, I think that on balance, it will be judges just like my dad who do more for the protection of religious freedom--and civil liberties in general--than yet another Christian leader who wears their faith on their sleeve and sold out for the promises of a con man Caesar like Donald Trump.
Where will you find freedom today?
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
“Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes.”
― George Carlin
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For the countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. For the countries of ________________________
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for ________________________
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for ________________________
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen.
So mote it be.