Thursday, December 23, 2010

On Patience, Persistence & Pat Robertson

We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing you know they've got 10 years -- they've got mandatory sentences and these judges, they throw up their hand and say "What can we do? It's mandatory sentences." We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes, and that's one of 'em. I mean, I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong. But I just believe criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of just a few ounces of pot, and that kind of thing, I mean it's costing us a fortune, and it's ruining young people. The young people go into prisons, they go in as youths, and they come out as hardened criminals, and it's not a good thing.
Pat Robertson, December 22, 2010

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes, I, Too

We woke up to a whole new world this morning, one which provided a moment of solidarity between EasyYolk and Pat Robertson. Truly, if that can happen, anything can. Confusion reigns in my head, overcome with the shock that Robertson not only is placing himself on the right side of history on this issue, but actually displaying some rare empathy for an extremely vulnerable and marginalized people group (young people who make some bad choices). Perhaps its his connection with "prison ministries" or perhaps he's got someone in his family hittin' the bong, but at least he appears to have a strong conviction about it and he's saying it on air. Of course, he's not really afraid to say anything on air--here are some highlights:

Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.

On "Gay-Days" at Disneyworld:
I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate -- this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.

On the Jan 2010 earthquake in Haiti
It may be a blessing in disguise. ... Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other.

It would have been nice if Pat would have "come out" with this 2 months ago, before California's vote on Proposition 19. We could have used those tens of thousands of 700 Club votes from Fresno to Bakersfield. But better late than never. After 80 years on this planet, Pat has finally seen the light. We are looking forward to working with him on other "family values" issues in the future.
In other news, during President Obama's pre-vacation, post-legislative press conference, he was asked about his convictions on gay marriage. Despite our deep frustration with the snail's pace of Obama's actions on LGBT issues, we sense a depth of honesty, humility and empathy in these remarks. His "evolving" stance on the issue is currently at "strong civil union" (not quite "marriage") with ALL the same rights as married heteros (this would, of course, mean that the Defense of Marriage Act and most state anti-same-sex-marriage laws would not meet his approval and we implore him to fight for their repeal as well). His personal convictions, shared openly with the public, should be noted as far more progressive than any of his predecessors and most political leaders in the US at this moment in time.

It took almost 2 full years for Obama & Congress to finally repeal the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and, in hindsight, we should be tremendously gracious for both the strength of that eventual repeal (as opposed to an executive order or higher court decision) and how it unveiled the utter lunacy of GOP political leadership more than any other issue (with the possible exception of their logic on tax cuts for the wealthy) after even the Pentagon strongly supported repeal after a year of intensive surveys within the military (and their families) on the issue. We progressive Christians want justice NOW, but Obama is a politician and his patience and persistence are paying off slowly, but surely.

Lastly, the President called the failure of the DREAM Act his "greatest disappointment" during this legislative term and spoke boldly and candidly about how the DREAM Act should be the very least we can all agree (Republicans included) on for obviously needed immigration reform. The Obama Administration, apparently pursuing "bipartisanship," has broken records for the deportation of undocumented immigrants in these past two years and has funded and resourced the border far more than Bush before him. Five Democratic Senators voted against the DREAM Act and if they didn't, it would have passed. They are an obstacle to justice and we hope and pray (and organize and mobilize) for this to change in the coming year.

Ending the Drug War, deportations and unequal marriage laws are vital for America to embrace real "family values." One of the non-negotiable roles of government is to stop the violence (physical & emotional) pounding our youth, gays, lesbians and the immigrant community. As Brother Martin reminded a previous generation, "A law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me." When justice finally rolls down this continent, these issues (in hindsight) will be clear-cut. Until then, let us pursue an imaginative strategy of patience and persistence. In this exciting world, we never know when someone like Pat Robertson will join our side.

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