Friday, May 25, 2018

Talk About Tragic, Hypocritical, and Contrary to Its Founder's Wise Words


Look at the tragic selfish, unkind, unjust, and immoral position that White Evangelical Christians hold toward accepting refugees:


These devout Christians claim that they follow Jesus who told the Parable of the Good Samaritan and who spoke the Sermon on the Mount,
YET
they strongly refuse accepting and helping refugees.

Notice that these U.S. Evangelical Christians are the most opposed of any group to helping the abused, the impoverished, the persecuted, the helpless!!


Don't look to their selfish and fallacious religion for truth, justice, or hope.

Instead, consider these wise words:









In the LIGHT of kindness, compassion, generosity, help, and rescuing,

Daniel Wilcox



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

From Abandoned to Hope: An Undocumented Immigrant Teen


Abandoned when he was only 5 years old, Daniel Morales lived and somehow managed to survive on the streets in a Latin American country despite all the crime, poverty, and other dangers.

Finally, as a teen when faced with threats to join a gang, Daniel did what so many refugees have done, he rode the "beast"--on top of trains up through Mexico to the U.S., a very dangerous journey.

Yes, there are horrific stories, too, of the criminals that Daniel managed to avoid. Some of the latter also enter the United States illegally and get lots of front page news because of their immoral actions including rape and murder. But they are a minority.

It's time that we Americans focus on the HOPE stories, the innocent Dreamers whose only crime is sneaking across a border in order to escape crime, poverty, and injustice.

Daniel is one such incredible narrative of hope.

How he managed to get into the U.S. is unknown, but it can be imagined from reading daily news of arrests of illegal immigrants every week along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Hannah Eash-Gates, Daniel's legal representative and former member of Mennonite Voluntary Service, said, Daniel "is relentlessly positive." According to her, Daniel is "incredibly bright. Even without a formal education, taught himself to read and write."

Daniel and Hannah met at the Refuge and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) in San Antonio, Texas where Hannah worked for MVS.

"In the two years it took for Eash-Gates to help Morales achieve legal permanent residency status, he made it on the honor roll and learned two languages!"

Read more about helping undocumented immigrants and others in the Mennonite magazines, Extending Beyond, Beyond Ourselves, and the websites of Mennonite Central Committee.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Part #4: Do Animals Have Worth?

Why does the human species seek meaning and purpose?
Why do humans study nature, the cosmos, reality?
Why are we curious, creative, doubtful, rational?

Why do many of us seek to preserve other species, in danger of extinction?

CONSIDER THIS AMAZING OTHER CREATURE IN NATURE which shows the incredible creativity and intelligent potential in life and existence:

It gives new contrary meaning to the negative term: bird brain.

"A red knot’s incredible journey"
by Jeremy Taylor

"Imagine flying the equivalent of the distance from the earth to the moon and partway back. Now imagine doing this if you weighed only four ounces! Sounds incredible, but this is exactly what one bird has done over the last two decades."

"The red knot (Calidris canutus) has one of the longest migrations of any bird, travelling nearly 10,000 miles each spring and fall between its summer breeding range in the Arctic to the winter range in southern Chile and Argentina.

"...this trip has successfully been made twice a year for at least 21 years in a row by a male red knot, dubbed “Moonbird” due to the cumulative
distance he has flown.
"First banded at two years of age in 1995 in Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, Moonbird...B95...has become a celebrity of sorts.
Read the rest at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/0415moonbird.pdf
And read, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird...by Deborah Cramer

How do the young Red Knots do this?! When they are born, they have never been from the Arctic to the bottom of Argentina.

They leave separately later than the adult Red Knots and have no guide. As the science writer Chet Raymo points out, how do the young on their own "make their way along a route they have never traveled to a destination they have never seen?"

According to scientists their DNA contains "...the map of the migration route and the skills to follow it...The red knot's brain is a flexible organ, capable of wiring itself by experience." p.25, Raymo, Skeptics and True Believers

Factually amazing things about nature, astronomy, animals, etc. intrigued me as a kid, and still do as a retired oldster. When I was in 4th grade our teacher had us do bird studies, find feathers and nests, and do so many other interesting activities.
And as an aging learner, I was astounded to find out that now scientists think that crows have the intelligence of a 7-year-old human!!

So I don't understand those human leaders who have a demeaning attitude toward existence, to those who state that live species are "just chemicals," or only atoms, or many others who take a predatory approach to animals, denying they have any inherent worth.

Yes, I know that nature is often 'tooth and claw.' Especially when our cat Smoke brings us a gift of a small bird. And I used to be a hunter, had a Remington shotgun and a rifle (given to me at 12 by my grandfather).
BUT
we humans are more than instinct. We have a sense of transcendence, a sense of ought, and a rational understanding that reality isn't only survival, isn't only about us, but that reality has the real potential for creativity, beauty, and truth.

Animals didn't come into existence for us humans. The sentient ones have their own worth and value.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Nature of Religion--Best of Ways and Worst of Ways


Journalist Christopher Hitchens: “If you gave Falwell [a Christian leader] an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.”

Hitchen also wrote that religion "poisons everything."

On the other hand,even some religious leaders realize the dangers/contradictions/oddities of their systems.

Take these jokes, such as this sharp satire from Jews themselves poking ironic fun at themselves, at the contradictory branches of Judaism:

“At an Orthodox wedding, the bride’s mother is pregnant; at a Conservative wedding, the rabbi is pregnant;

at a Reform wedding, the bride is pregnant; and at a Reconstructionist wedding, both brides are pregnant.”
from God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero, p. 271
--
Here's one from liberal versus conservative Christianity:

A Unitarian-Universalist minister walked across a road after being accosted by an irate Southern Baptist leader who had shouted at the UU leader:
"Your church is a joke! You reject all the creeds!"

Finally, the Southern Baptist ran across the road yelling sputtering,
"YOU, YOU...!"

And the Unitarian Universalist turned back and very politely said, "Yes?"
--




Religion is another one of those 'empty-bucket' words which are so semantically wiggly and slimy that it means many different things to many different people.

One way to systematize it is to distill the central focus of various religions.
(Some of the following is an adaption and expansion from a list in God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero.)

#1 Judaism: the problem is exile—solution is return
[my own view: problem is rebellion/disobedience—solution is repentance and Torah]

2. Islam: the problem is pride—solution is submission

3. Christianity: the problem is sin—solution is salvation

4. Confucianism: the problem is chaos—solution is social order/propriety

5. Hinduism: the problem is samsara cycle of reincarnation/karma/impurity/–solution is spiritual release via devotion/ritual/duty
[my own view—solution is cleansing/separateness]

6. Buddhism: the problem is suffering—solution is awakening
[my view: problem is suffering--solution is complete negation]

7. Taoism: the problem is lifelessness—solution is natural flourishing and freedom
--

8. Paganism: the problem is disconnection from nature--solution is reverence of the natural world

9. Atheism: the problem is superstition/faith/religion—solution is atheistic reason

10. Deism/Enlightenment: the problem is injustice/oppression/superstition--
solution is theistic reason and democracy
--

11. Humanism: the problem is delusion or meaninglessness--solution is affirmation of the good/worth/flourishing













12. Religious non-religious Ideology: the problem is bourgeoisie capitalism--solution is dictatorship of the proletariat
This odd animal is secularism that adopts many of the trappings and behaviors of religion including ritual, reverence of dead leaders, heresy trials for those who deviate from dogma, etc...

Prime examples: U.S.S.R. Communist Party: the preserved bodies of Lenin and Stalin lying in state in a mausoleum in Red Square based upon a religious building from humanity's past. And for over 70 years many millions of people have gone to view the two famous communist leaders of the Russian revolution, and millions have been spent on displaying and preserving the corpses.

A lesser example--civil religion in nations such as the U.S. where the American flag is treated with reverence like a sacred object and people pledge themselves to the flag, where myths are believed about their most revered dead leaders.

And the leaders are venerated with huge monuments including Washington's monumental tower and Lincoln's Memorial based upon a a Greek temple!

13. Heresy: One EXTREMELY odd fact about religion is that various aberrant versions of official religions are often closer to other religions or ideologies than the specific religion they are listed under!

For instance liberal Quakerism is far closer to Humanism than to creedal Christianity. Heck, some Quakers claim to be Pagans or Nontheists, some Jews are closer to Atheism than any religion, a few Muslims closer to Deism/Enlightenment than orthodox Islam.

And consider the bottomless chasm between many Arminiam Christians
versus
most Reformed/Augustinian Christians!

The former think that the God of Christianity infinitely loves and seeks to save every single human and that God created all humans with infinite worth, and for eternal communion and fellowship.

VERSUS

Reformed/Augustinians wno believe that the God of Christianity chooses to only loves a limited number of humans who have no choice, that all humans are conceived/born totally depraved because of God's hidden will.
And that from before the foundation of the cosmos, God foreordained most humans, billions of us, to eternal damnation/torture for his own glory.

Not a molecule moves in reality, according to Reformed Christianity, but that God moves it. God is the cause of all natural disasters, all disease, all evil.
In this sense,
the Reformed are MUCH closer to the total determinism of orthodox Islam, where whatever happens is Allah's will. And the Reformed are much closer to the versions of Atheism which believe in hard determinism than some forms of Arminiam Christianity which emphasize free will.
--

OTHERS--

Jainism: the problem is ? solution is

Sikhism: the problem is solution is

Zoroastrianism: the problem is solution is

Shintoism: the problem is solution is

Baha’i: the problem is solution is




TO BE CONTINUED--




In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox



1 Some of these are adapted from GOD Is Not ONE by Stephen Prothero

Saturday, May 12, 2018

"Science...Skeptical...Yet Drop-Jawed Amazement"


According to the science writer, Chet Raymo, and many other scientists,
“Science is founded on twin cornerstones of skepticism and astonishment.”


“The thoughtful person will try to walk the line between drop-jawed amazement...and cautious skepticism about the correctness of our knowledge."

Science, is "A story of sublime dimension. Tentative, evolving, and not always comfortable, carrying us in our imaginations to the farthest reaches of space and time..."

"Scientific knowledge enlivens our every experience and tunes us to the deepest mysteries...to the world that evades our limited senses. Science cannot nor should not be a religion, but it can be the basis for...” wonder and awe.
From Skeptics and True Believers
by Chet Raymo, p. 252, 254 Raymo, a professor of physics and astronomy, has received commendations for his science writing from evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould and other scientists and the general reading public.

According to the Jewish thinker Martin Buber, all of us humans, to one degree or another, live in both the I-examine-the-it and the I-experience-the-'other'.
--

My thoughts: It’s only when these 2 very different categories get confused, mixed up, and muddled that bad trouble results.

Science is we-it, the impersonal objective study of the cosmos, nature, life, and human primates.

However, I, as an amateur, an enthusiast of science, and most professional scientists, first got into science itself because of WONDER AND ASKING AND SEEKING--the we-experiential...

When young, we science-lovers felt jolted over by little creepies and/or big animals, dandelions and tall trees, by the natural world, the ocean and the mountains, the stars and the UNKNOWN.

So before we formally studied anthropology or astronomy, etc., we first encountered the I-experience of awareness, life, relationship--whether between 2 individuals, between a human and an animal, or even the impersonal experienced as a fascinating rock or sea shell, a scenic vista, or the awe-inspiring falling meteors, distant planets, stars, galaxies and Existence itself.

For example, a professional scientist studies and writes about human primate behavior such as kissing. That’s we-it.

But when the scientist gets home and kisses his/her sweetheart, the scientist isn’t thinking about biology, physiology, matter, molecules, atoms, but experiencing passion, joy, intent, commitment, sharing, etc. That’s I-personal-experiential.

Imagine him coming home, and when his wife kisses him, he pulls back and says, 'let's discuss the molecular structure of your primate vermillion border.'

LOL;-)

The experiential encounter is lost. Maybe he will have to sleep on the couch...

But if she suddenly feels wracking pain in her lips, the scientist, especially if he is a physician or medical specialist, will quickly switch to the I-examine it.

Only when we humans confuse study with personal experience, and vice versa, do we get into all sorts of trouble.
Would anyone choose to give up the wonder of the star-spangled sky, and choose to relate his/her spouse via a test tube and statistics?

I wouldn’t.

But, tragically, billions of humans now (and in the past) choose to reject healthy skepticism and the scientific method in order to keep what they feel is true based on their own experiences, which are actually illusions and delusions.

I wouldn’t.

ONLY when humans are balanced using both the scientific method AND personal experience—are we whole, having both a mind and a heart.


In the LIGHT--we-experience and we-study and we-relate,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Part #3: Animal Rights--The Case Against A. R. Activist Peter Singer by Stella Young


The case against Peter Singer
The Drum By Stella Young

"Australian bioethicist and philosopher Peter Singer has argued the case for selective infanticide.


"Singer, who is arguably better known for his views on animal rights, has views about disability that have been discussed far less here in Australia than they have in the US where he lives and works. I am open about not being a fan of Singer's work, a statement that's often met with confusion among friends and colleagues. "But he does such great things for animal liberation!" they exclaim.

While that may be true, animal liberation is not the only subject of Singer's work. He also believes that parents should be given the choice to have their disabled babies killed after they are born.
His argument is not about the right to terminate pregnancy based on the presence of a disabled foetus, although he does believe this as well, but the active killing of babies born with particular disabilities.

I was once one of these babies.
[emphasis added]

Let me be clear: Singer does not object to my life as it exists now. I am now what he considers to be a person with a right to life. But I, along with all other babies, was not born this way. All babies are born without the capacity to make conscious choices about their preference for life, and so Singer does not consider that they have a right to life in the same way as humans who are capable of this choice. This is especially true, he says, where the infant has a disability.

In his book Practical Ethics, Singer argues the case for selective infanticide. He deems it unfair that "At present parents can choose to keep or destroy their disabled offspring only if the disability happens to be detected during pregnancy. There is no logical basis for restricting parents' choice to these particular disabilities.

If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant's condition than is possible before birth."

FROM Stella Young is a comedian, television presenter, disability advocate and was formerly editor of ABC's Ramp Up website. She is an ambassador for Our Watch.

READ THE REST OF THIS POWERFUL ARTICLE AT:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-15/young-case-against-peter-singer/4199120

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM PREVIOUS SECTIONS OF THIS SERIES:
I didn't post this "case against Peter Singer" because I am opposed to animal rights. On the contrary, Singer makes some good points. Furthermore, I think all humans ought to NOT eat or enslave sentient animals!

Furthermore, I think that animals, besides the human primates, homo sapiens, do have inherent worth.

Furthermore, no animals ought to be caused to suffer as an 'end justifies the means' by humans.

HOWEVER, what is problematic is that some animal rights activists including Peter Singer demean humans--such as his claim that infants AREN'T "PERSONS"!--and claim that all animals are equal to the human species.


Related Questions



In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Liberal Religion and Humanism Are Kissin' Neighbors While Reductionistic Nonreligion and Fundamentalism Are a Bad Couple

Religion Versus Non-Religion, Christianity Versus Atheism and many similar such debates usually make for intriguing mental and verbal jousting and philosophical wrestling.

They are fascinating, especially because, often, both of the debaters are brilliant, highly educated, well-prepared with extensive reasonings and plausible evidence. Yet they hold totally opposite life-stances and worldviews.

One particularly fascinating though somewhat irritating debate on YouTube is:
THE GREAT DEBATE: MARSHALL VERSUS ZUCKERMAN--CHRISTIANITY VERSUS SECULAR HUMANISM




Probably the most baffling aspect of this debate is that both individuals aren't arguing contrary views!

Marshall states he is presenting 7 central truths of the Christian religion, BUT then instead of arguing for 7 key points of creedal Christianity, he presents fallacious and distorted historical claims that were only partially true of some tiny heretical Christian groups.

These he contrasts with the worst of non-Christian ideologies such as the Vikings' worldview of raiding, rape, and slaughter.

And, oddly, Zuckerman contrasts Secular Humanism NOT to liberal religions including Liberal Christianity but the worst of Fundamentalistic, Creedal Christianity!
For instance, he contrasts the modern successful society of Denmark, very secular, to the modern dysfunctional and violent society of Mississippi and other southern U.S. states, very fundamentalistic.

Actually, a more accurate historical and contemporary comparison would show how similar Secular Humanism is to Liberal Christianity.

And how similar Reductionistic Nonreligion is to Fundamentalism.

Examples abound of the latter especially. Here are two central ones:

#1 Reductionism and Fundamentalism both emphasize that humans have no inherent worth.

And Reductionism and Fundamentalism, this bad odd couple, often use demeaning terms when speaking of the Human Species.
Negative examples of this include for Reductionism: All humans are "just complex chemicals," "puppets," "jumped-up apes," "wet robots," etc.

For Fundamentalism: All humans at conception/birth are "totally depraved," "in essence, evil", are "clay pots;" and some humans God created as "toilets and spittoons," etc.

#2 Reductionistic nonreligion and Fundamentalism also are very deterministic emphasizing that all humans have no choice.

Everything is determined (in the case of Reductionism) by the "Laws of Physics," or the "Cosmos," or "Evolution," etc.
Everything is determined (in Fundamentalism) by Yahweh or Allah, etc.

To be continued--


Say No to a Bad Couple--Reductionism and Fundamentalism

Say Yes to Kissin' Neighbors--Liberalism and Humanism.



In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, May 3, 2018

American Race, Poverty, Social Dysfunction, and Ethics


"The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent...But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940"??!!
Walter E. Williams, Black Economist

Below is a very powerful article worth reading again, and again. I don't agree with all of the points, especially not the dubious right-wing ones, BUT Williams raises many important issues about poverty, race, government, social dysfunction, and ethics.

First, let me emphasize that I don't think getting out of poverty is nearly as easy as successful leaders such as Williams claim.

Many poor people work very hard. Many of them don't have the 'good life' that Williams' statistics claim.

I spent most of my adult life working with teens from poor and/or dysfunctional single parent families (usually the mom; the deadbeat dad gone:-( .

Here's one powerful example.
A nice teen had fallen behind on his homework. I put pressure on him, required a meeting with his parents.

As it turned out, the teen had gotten behind on his homework because every day he watched his little brothers because his mom (dad missing) was having to work 2 jobs just to make ends meet at a basic poverty level.

Have you ever tried to make ends me on minimum wage?!

And work 2 jobs?

And care for 1 teen and 2 children--all of them boys?

I've worked minimum wage before (though as a single), too. It wasn't easy, couldn't make ends meet even by myself.

So while we need to encourage all people to work their way out of poverty as Williams emphasizes, we need to be compassionate and help!

There are many poor people doing the best they can, such as that very hard-working poor mother that I met.

My hat goes off to her.

Think about what former President Jimmy Carter has to say:

from Dependency, Not Poverty by Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

"There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor" (http://tinyurl.com/448flj8), report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers."

"Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives...The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent....why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940?"

"...A statistic that one doesn't hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it's 5 percent.

"Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?"

"...census data "going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery ... showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940"? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

"No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault."

MY OWN INSERTION: MAYBE, MAYBE NOT.

"Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage."

"And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000."

MY COMMENT: TRY LIVING ON $30,000 IN THE U.S.! I WONDER IF WILLIAMS HAS TRIED TO DO THIS YEAR AFTER YEAR?

READ the rest of his debatable, thought-provoking article at:
https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams/02/14/dependency-not-poverty

Please rescue the impoverished, the persecuted, the abused.

Live in the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Christianity and Abuse


Religion gets even worse:
Christian leader Paige Patterson, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and head of one of its seminaries tells a woman to accept abuse from her husband!

So she got black eyes this time.

What did Patterson then say?

Paige Patterson said, "And sure enough, he [husband] did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black.

And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.”

And Patterson said, “Yes ma’am, I am...I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy.”
--

Patterson was happy because he saw the abusive husband in the back of the church!

This is so immoral and revolting--for him to tell her to accept abuse! Oh but a happy ending NOT. Contrary to what Patterson claims, the end doesn't justify the means...accept abuse so that eventually your husband will change.

We've heard this before in human relations: Waterboard (or other forms of torture) and you will rescue innocent people from terrorists...bomb hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, and you will rescue others in the future...refuse equal treatment toward others and you will be blessed by God, ETC. ad nauseam....

American Christians often go off the deep end into unethical, unjust, unequal beliefs and behaviors, BUT Patterson's speech has definitely reached an abyss, a low below low.

How hellish to state that some forms of abuse aren't that bad, and that a woman ought to submit to abuse and obey such a husband and stay in the same house with him.

This sounds like the Muslim university professor here in California who defended the Quran's statement that husbands ought to beat their wives.

When I strongly protested, he explained, ah, but the beating is only a "light" beating, not a harmful one.

Good grief. More and more religion is showing its toxic character. Of course, it has in the past...it's only repeating.

Even a little abuse is far too much!


Stand up against toxic, abusive religion...

And seek the Good, the True, and the Just,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Helping Displaced Families Despite 10 Nations Warring in the Killing Fields of Syria


For 7 years, at least 10 nations have been warring in the killing fields of Syria, each side claiming to be the just and good, and that their bombing, shooting, and destruction are necessary in order to bring peace!

Because of these warring nations over 460,000 humans have been slaughtered, untold millions wounded, over 11 million displaced from their homes. Think of that--over 11 million individuals; over 6 million have become refugees in other parts of Syria, and over 5 million have become refugees in other countries.

Almost 70 % of the population of the nation is in extreme poverty.

What is the answer to all of this?
Rama, 10 lives in a center for Syrian refugees. Photo by Suzy Sainovski

According to the U.S. government for the last several years, it has been to bomb more, shoot more missiles, send more special forces troops, give more weapons and money to Islamic rebels, etc.

And now since there is some evidence that Bashar Hafez al-Assad, the leader of Syria, dropped chlorine gas on fanatical rebels to force them out of their hiding places in cities on the edge of his capital, the U.S. President calls President Assad an "animal," and bombs again Syria, again.

A few months ago, the U.S. "accidentally" bombed civilians, too, BUT of course we aren't "animals."

The folly and absurdity of war.

HOWEVER IN THE MIDST OF THESE KILLING FIELDS, SOME HUMANS ARE BRINGING HOPE:

MCC of the U.S. and Canada are providing food for impoverished Syrians through the Syrian Orthodox Church in Homs, Syria, in Allepo, and elsewhere. "Young adults with the Charity Society for Sustainable Development in Damascus are responding to the needs of displaced families and other vulnerable people."

"If MCC's partners in Syria are not growing weary of doing good, how can we?"
from A Common Place magazine, J. Ron Byler
--

World Vision is also involved in helping the refugees.
Rami, 3 years old, WV photo by Jon Warren

Key points on this new killing field and horrific debacle in the Middle East:

"So the dance goes on. Everyone pretends to have the moral high ground when no one actually does. Everyone pretends to want peace when no one does, while threatening war, which no one wants."

from "Let’s All Do the Cruise Missile Mambo
APRIL 15, 2018 BY ED BRAYTON

"If it was really about saving Syrians from the government killing them, why is the focus only on chemical weapons? A few thousand people have been killed by chemical weapons in that civil war, while hundreds of thousands have been killed by conventional weaponry and we’ve raised not a peep of protest."

"In fact, it was only a few days ago that Trump was saying we were pulling out, leaving the rebels at the mercy of Assad. And if he actually gave a damn about Syrian victims, he would admit them as refugees to this country..."

"Russia and Iran: They both get to pretend to be outraged by this unprecedented attack on Syrian sovereignty when neither one has ever given a damn about sovereignty when it suits their interests (just like us, of course). But in truth, they’re both thrilled that we only bombed a few facilities with almost no one in them."
--

"Russia is backing Assad because they are not willing to give up their warm water naval base there. Iran is backing Assad because of their business dealings and religious affiliation with him. Neither is going to withdraw that support and we know that. And we aren’t willing, nor should we be willing, to go to war over it and make them leave...So it’s all a big standoff where we all pretend to want to fix it but know we can’t."

"So the dance goes on. Everyone pretends to have the moral high ground when no one actually does. Everyone pretends to want peace when no one does, while threatening war, which no one wants. And Americans still need to figure out that we can’t just snap our fingers and make the world the way we want. And when we try to do that, the result is usually a disaster...We don’t need to participate in this dance at all."
by Ed Brayton

Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2018/04/15/lets-all-do-the-cruise-misssile-mambo/#7CjXsCrtiXvuiPz2.99
--

Please write your congressperson to advocate for refugees, and to oppose U.S. money and weapons going to the killing fields. Especially oppose their being given to Islamic rebels.

And donate money to help these precious people of Syria.

Shine the Light Against the Darkness of 10 nations Destroying in the name of Justice.

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, April 16, 2018

11 Ways to Follow the LIGHT


Follow the LIGHT

1. Cherish the Good, the True, and the Just with all of your emotion, all of your intellect and reasoning, and all of your strength.

2. Never make some finite thing or idea or group a central ought and duty for which you harm others.

3. Be courteous and respectful in your words and thoughts. Don’t ridicule or profane what is of value and worth.

4. Take at least one day and evening a week for mindfulness, recreation, and reflection.

5. Show caring and concern for the elderly, including your own parents.

6. Protect and esteem others. Don’t kill or do violence to them in thought, word, or deed.

7. Commit to one other person for life, in an ultimate sense through intellectual, emotional, and physical union. Be steadfast and loyal.

8. Show generosity; share with other humans in need; don’t take what belongs to others.

9. Speak the truth always in caring and altruism. Be honest and forthright.

10. Simplify; be content with what is good, necessary, and enjoyable; don’t fixate on and long for what others have.

And another commandment: Care for all other humans as much as yourself including those different from you and even your enemies.
And care for other sentient creatures.


--a theistic humanistic version of Jewish ethical commandments in modern language


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox



Guest Post: Freedom Fighter Against Modern Slavery


from Freedom Fighter
A slaving society and an abolitionist’s crusade

by Alexis Okeowo


Photograph by Emiliano Granado

Alexis Okeowo
"Biram Dah Abeid is from the country’s traditional slave caste, the Haratin.
Two springs ago, Biram Dah Abeid arrived home in Nouakchott, the desert capital of Mauritania. At the airport, he was welcomed by hundreds of supporters, along with his wife and children.

Abeid, the founder of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement, is the most prominent antislavery activist in Mauritania, which is said to have the highest incidence of slavery in the world. It was Friday, the holiest day of the week, and Abeid, returning from a trip to Berlin and Dakar, was enraged. Recently, he had helped force the government to put a slave owner in prison, and he had learned that the man was released after less than two months.
--

In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery, while making no provision for punishing slave owners. In 2007, under international pressure, it passed a law that allowed slaveholders to be prosecuted. Yet slavery persists there... even as the government and religious leaders deny it.

Although definitive numbers are difficult to find, the Global Slavery Index estimates that at least 140,000 people are enslaved in Mauritania, out of a population of 3.8 million. Bruce Hall, a professor of African history at Duke University, said that people endure slavelike conditions in other countries in the region, but that the problem in Mauritania is unusually severe:
“Some proximate form of slavery has continued to be a foundation of the social structure and the division of labor within households, so there are many more people who are willing to support it as an institution.”

While Abeid was travelling, a well-known imam had given a televised interview. A journalist asked whether slavery existed in Mauritania, and the imam said no. Then why, the journalist asked, had the imam recently given the journalist’s boss a slave girl as a gift? The imam simply smiled.

Mauritania is an avowedly Muslim country...Imams who defend slavery often refer to a set of interpretive texts that date back as far as the eighth century. One prominent example is a mukhtasar, or handbook of Islamic law, written by the fourteenth-century Egyptian scholar Khalil ibn Ishaq. According to its precepts, a slave cannot marry without her master’s permission, nor does she have any right to her children...

At Abeid’s public prayer...An imam spoke against slavery and inequity. Another man called for a Haiti-style slave revolt.

As they spoke, a plainclothes policeman jumped up and shouted, “Allahu Akbar! What you are saying is wrong!”

One of Abeid’s bodyguards dropped the [Islamic] books into a cardboard box and doused them in lighter fluid. The crowd was on its feet, peering at the spectacle. No one had expected this. Defacing the holy books of Islam is a crime of apostasy, punishable by death. Abeid set the books on fire."

Abeid: “These books justify selling people, they justify raping people,” he said. “We will purify the religion, the faith, and the hearts of Mauritanians.” He held up a red hardcover with intricate embossing. “What the Prophet says was hidden by these books, which are not real words from God,” he said. “These old books give a bad image of Islam. We have no choice but to take this step.”
--
By eight o’clock on the evening of the book burning, local news Web sites had begun calling Abeid a heretic. “When I went to bed, I was satisfied,” he told me. “But I had a feeling something would happen tomorrow. When I woke up, it was a war—in the media, in the mosques.” Newspapers were calling for his death.

President Aziz appeared onscreen and promised to administer the death penalty."

By Alexis Okeowo

READ the rest of this powerful ethical article by Alexis Okeowo at:
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/08/freedom-fighter
--


Work for Human Rights, Equality, and Justice,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The TRAGEDY OF HOPE


Remember this heart-warming news photo of a Black boy named Devonte hugging and being hugged by an Oregon police officer during these troubling, divisive, demeaning times?

Photo: Johnny Nguyen, AP

In the midst of tragedy and loss and despair, came contrary acts and words of loving hope.

His adoptive parent Jennifer Hart:
“We are all ripples. There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. What may be small or simple to you, might mean the world to someone else. In some cases, these simple acts of touch the lives of countless people, often times in ways we can never fully grasp. Our family is still riding waves of the aftermath of Devonte’s hug.”

Jennifer: “My son has a heart of gold, compassion beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, yet struggles with living fearlessly when it comes to the police. … He wonders if someday when he no longer wears a `Free Hugs’ sign around his neck, when he’s a full-grown black male, if his life will be in danger for simply being.”

ONLY ONE MONTH AGO, Jennifer wrote: And “9 years ago, the adoption of these three humans was finalized. ‘Finalized’ the terminology seems so unfitting for the situation. It was just the beginning. A new beginning of an expansion of my(our) understanding of love. I am a better human in every possible way for knowing these children. They have been my greatest teachers. Contrary to the common notion that we can’t choose our family, we absolutely can. We choose by loving – and that’s worth celebrating every damn day.”

Friends called Jen and Sarah “Hart Attacks” because of how loving they were.


YET 2 WEEKS AGO, IT APPEARS THAT JENNIFER INTENTIONALLY MURDERED HER ADOPTED SON DEVONTE, HER SPOUSE OF 18 YEARS, AND THEIR OTHER 5 TEENS!

After receiving a knock on the door from Children’s Protective Services which she didn’t answer, she and Sarah loaded their teens in their car and drove off down through Oregon to the California coast of Mendocino; then suddenly Jennifer stopped at a pull-out, started again, and drove very fast off a 100 foot cliff!:-(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

The horrific tragedy of hope.

How could this possibly have occurred?

Could all of the “HOPE,” social activism, and funny photos by Jennifer and Sarah have all have been a sham, covering a ruthless sociopathology?

Could all of the seeming joy, hope, and fun for these formerly abused, neglected kids have been real, but because the kids often acted out and misbehaved, (how abused children often do) then Jennifer lashed out, abused?
I used to be a child care worker at a hospital for emotionally disturbed children, and taught at-risk teens for many years.
It take a HUGE amount of time, and unending patience to help children and teens from dysfunctional, drug-infested, abusive backgrounds.

MAYBE the documented cases of abuse by the Hartss--of hard spanking, food withdrawal, etc. were done by Jennifer (and maybe Sarah) because they—like most dysfunctional parents, despite their care for their kids--didn’t have the patience, fortitude, and professional distance to deal with 6 misbehaving kids and teens!
Heck, I remember medical staff at the children's mental hospital who sometimes “LOST IT,” (not hitting, but definitely angrily losing their temper and using the isolation room as punishment, rather than hopeful help).

BUT that still wouldn't explain why Hart decided to murder the kids she claimed to love. Also, why did she and Sarah keep them away from others, except when they attended public gatherings? This sounds like cultish control, not genuine caring.

Or there's the bizarre, highly unlikely but possible, claims of a conservative Christian commentator that the two parents were very dysfunctional “liberals” who took their anger over Hillary’s loss to Donald Trump out on their kids (who they had USED as social props)!?:-(

What a Gross political demeaning charge!


Regardless, of Jennifer Hart’s horrific actions, especially murdering her kids and her spouse, and her unknown motivations--
the Hart Family is a glaring example of the tragedy of hope at present, where the supposed "Good News" of Christianity in the U.S. is centered on selfishness, inequality, injustice, threats of war attacks, verbal put-downs and demeaning speech, immoral actions...all in the name of Christ, of God. And many of these conservative Christian leaders also claim that God has foreordained most of the billions of humans to eternal torture for their God's glory!

Shameful and despairing…

Reject this!

Seek the Light, seek Hope



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Defend Ezzat Ghoniem, Egyptian Human Rights Co-founder



From Amnesty International:
URGENT ACTION: EGYPTIAN DEFENDERS AND JOURNALISTS DETAINED (EGYPT: UA 69.18)
Ezzat Ghoniem is a human rights defender and co-founder and director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms.

He has been detained for almost a month over unfounded charges along with journalists Mostafa al- Aassar, Hassan al-Banna and Moataz Wadnan, and lawyer Azzoz Mahgoub.

1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

Calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ezzat Ghoniem, Mostafa al-Aassar, Hassan al-Banna Mubarak, Moataz Wadnan, Hisham Genena and Azzoz Mahgoub as they are detained solely for their peaceful human rights work and the exercise of their right to freedom of expression;
Urging them to investigate all reports of enforced disappearance, including of Ezzat Ghoniem, Mostafa al-Assar, and Hassan al-Bana, make the results public and bring those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice.
Contact these two officials by 14 May, 2018:

Public Prosecutor
Nabil Sadek
Office of the Public Prosecutor, Dar al-Qada al-Ali, Down Town
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +20 2257 74716
Salutation: Dear Counselor

Ambassador Yasser Reda, Embassy of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400
Fax: 202 244 4319 -OR- 202 244 5131
Email: embassy@egyptembassy.net
Contact Form: http://www.egyptembassy.net/the-embassy/ambassadors-corner/
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-egyptian-defenders-and-journalists-detained-egypt-ua-69-18/

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Part 2: Do Animals Have Rights?


It seems that sentient animals do have inherent worth.
(Only some religious and atheistic leaders deny that.)

But do such animals have rights?

First, one needs to carefully define what "rights" are.

Second, one needs to clarify, why do many think that humans have rights?
After all, humans are one type of primate, which is one sort of ‘animal.’

Third, there is the question of whether any inanimate matter has worth and rights. Does it?

Do rocks, gravel, seas, waterfalls, mountains, tectonic plates, copper, oxygen, hydrogen, planets, stars?

4. How about animate matter--weeds, wheat fields, strawberries, shrubs, trees, and so forth?

5. How about basic life forms? Do termites, ants, mosquitoes, clams, shrimp, salmon, cod, lizards, turtles?
Some of those are sentient, able to feel, and appear to have rudimentary consciousness.

6. What about more intelligent animals--dolphins, squid, whales, some birds?




7. One way of considering this question is to ask,
when do animals reach a point of aware consciousness?

8. When do they gain the sense of “ought,” of right and wrong, good and bad?

9. When do they become ethical beings who struggle with decisions?

10. When do they become rational, or at least able to reason a little, able to make plans, rather than only respond in instinct to circumstances?

11. When do they have a sense of life, of existence, of the cosmos?

12. When do they begin to ask, why do we exist?

13. Why do those questions make a difference?

14. Or do they?

Please share your own perspective, thoughts, questions, and ruminations
(chewing the human cud of philosophy, biology, and ethics).

To be continued--

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


Finding the Way Forward


It seems that real growth in ethics, justice, and other sorts of human advancement comes like a forest fire. First there’s an initial spark--not more stirring of cold, dead ashes of past events and forms--

and then a patch of ethical flames, and finally, a roaring forest fire of change--of a new movement toward truth.

To whimsy this profound reality versus the conservative tendency to hideout in past achievements:
That was then,
zen is now:-)

Consider this adapted Zen story:

A well-known professor from George Fox University went to visit a Quaker human rights activist. As the friendly activist got out a bottle of spiced rum2 and a large glass for the tired traveler, the brilliant Professor Kno described his ideas of what Quakerism was,
is,
and ought to be. He explained its treasured historical forms, committees, and meetings. But then rung his hands, as he spoke, because Friends as a movement was seriously declining in attenders, and experiencing a severe loss of adherents. Kno pulled out charts and statistical analyses and waved them, considerably upset.

Yet the activist remained quiet so Professor Kno spoke on and on with more erudition and vast knowledge. Meanwhile, the activist poured more liquor into Kno’s untouched glass.

Even when rum reached the brim of the Professor's glass, the activist kept pouring. Alcohol overflowed, spilling onto the tray, table, and down onto the carpet and their shoes, until the professor could no longer stand it.

“Stop!” Kno almost shouted. “Can’t you see my glass is too full?”

“This is you,” said the activist. “How can you find new insights, new truths, until you first decant some of that glut and surfeit in your glass--your own excessive assumed opinions, speculations, and conclusions?

“How can we find new ethical insight, more clarity and Light unless we first clear our rigid forms from our glutted, surfeited, stained glass?”



Side Note: 2See the video: Quaker Speaks
Did the early Quakers drink alcohol?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ2kPDjojPE


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review of The Big Picture by Theoretical Physicist Sean Carroll


What a good read--this powerful book on the nature of reality from the perspective of a famous physicist. Professor Sean Carroll writes so well, lucidly, explaining very difficult concepts in astrophysics—so that we non-scientists can gain a basic understanding of cosmology. And his prose is so user-friendly that even a few parts' hardest points, still made a little sense!


Only the book's couple of chapters on computer simulation of physics and evolution were dry, boring. Also, the whole idea of scientists intentionally trying to show how evolution works—especially natural selection—by designing experiments seems odd! Their very intent, their complex efforts, all of that is DESIGNED by them, so how can that really show that evolution, though looking designed, is actually NOT designed?!

The Big Picture is one of the best books on the nature of physics, cosmology, and the nature of reality. I read it avidly. That is until Carroll's negative references to God kept coming up--that God isn't needed, that God can’t be real or true because God violates the nature of physics.

Of course, almost always the "God" Carroll refers to, that can't be true, is the God of fundamentalistic or creedal Christianity. He doesn't deal in depth with more scientific concepts of ultimate reality. On the contrary, he is a committed naturalist, materialist, atheist.

Even worse Carrroll rejects any meaning to this matter-energy reality, rejects human choice, and the reality of ethics. He thinks humans just make morality up:_(

I admit despite such total nihilism, Carroll's striking views need to be seriously considered, even if they are bleak. After all, he is a brilliant genius, a theoretical physicist at Cal Tech, has been award many science prizes and fellowships, and (unlike some controversial 'new atheists),' he is considerate, courteous, and engaging.

Of course, like most humans, even brilliant ones (whether atheists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus), Carroll contradicts himself. He claims all of time/space is already set and unchangeable, that humans are just “complicated collections of matter moving in patterns,” (page 295).

So, despite his efforts to appear positive and hopeful unlike some materialists who seem to glory in negativity, Carroll actually agrees with their claim that existence is bleak, that humans are only matter, that nothing has meaning:-(


But then near the end of the book Carroll tries to end on a positive upbeat note by bridging the chasm of negation with a little hope--he calls his view "poetic." He states that on the human “level” of reality, humans can make choices, only he is quick to emphasize that isn't libertarian choice. It's only in a compatibilistic sense.

Carroll asserts that the laws of physics prohibit human "choice" in the normal dictionary sense of the word--selecting among alternatives--because the “laws of physics” prohibit that.:-(

So then I feel like asking him—why write a book explaining physics since reality is set and can’t be changed in the future or the past?

I suppose he would answer, 'Yes, I am just a "complicated collection of matter moving in pattern" (page295) and part of that determinism is that it was determined that I write this book.' In other words, he would answer, not too dissimilar from how hard Reformed Christians such as Stonewall Jackson answered. As always, determinism is an endless loop, unfalsifiable.

Carroll’s asserts that most cosmologists are atheists and, basically, hold the same view as Einstein and other scientific determinists.

BUT then how do contrary astrophysicists who are theists counter such deterministic, atheistic claims?

Would they disagree about Carroll's "Big Picture" or only show that in their life-stance they are compartmentalizing?

CONSIDER the contrary outlook of famous cosmologist George Ellis who co-wrote wrote The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with Stephen Hawking. Also, contrary, to Carroll's view that ethics are made up, Ellis strongly supports the view of moral realism. He actively opposed the immoral, unjust system of Apartheid in South Africa.

Professor George Ellis: "Many scientists are strong reductionists who believe that physics alone determines outcomes in the real world, This is demonstrably untrue – for example the computer on which I am writing this could not possibly have come into being through the agency of physics alone."

"The issue is that these scientists are focusing on some strands in the web of causation that actually exist, and ignoring others that are demonstrably there – such as ideas in our minds, or algorithms embodied in computer programs."

"These demonstrably act in a top-down way to cause physical effects in the real world. All these processes and actual outcomes are contextually dependent, and this allows the effectiveness of processes such as adaptive selection that are the key to the emergence of genuine complexity."

"As I stated above, mathematical equations only represent part of reality, and should not be confused with reality. A specific related issue: there is a group of people out there writing papers based on the idea that physics is a computational process. But a physical law is not an algorithm. So who chooses the computational strategy and the algorithms that realise a specific physical law? (Finite elements perhaps?)"

"What language is it written in? (Does Nature use Java or C++? What machine code is used?) Where is the CPU? What is used for memory, and in what way are read and write commands executed? Additionally if it’s a computation, how does Nature avoid the halting problem? It’s all a very bad analogy that does not work."

Interviewer John Horgan: "Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: "If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will."
Do you believe in free will?"

Ellis: "Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up."

"This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options."

"I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say."
from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/physicist-george-ellis-knocks-physicists-for-knocking-philosophy-falsification-free-will/
The Big Picture
Scientific American
John Horgan directs the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology. His books include The End of Science and The End of War.


In conclusion, what if Carroll's "deepest" level of reality, atoms, neutrons, etc. is actually the most basic level of reality (as the cosmologist George Ellis counters), and actually the really complex, the most real level of reality is the one of ultimate reality (God), meaning, math, reason, ethics? Then down in the physical world, human consciousness wouldn't be an illusionary tag-a-long at all.

Evaluation: B+/H-

To Be Continued--


In the Light and Hope of Meaning and Choice,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Southern Whites Got Back in Control Only 5-12 Years After Being Defeated in the Civil War! How? Why?


Try to imagine other oppressive, intolerant leaders regaining total control after being severely defeated only 5-12 earlier:


Imagine the Nazi leadership taking back control of the German government in 1950-57, only 5-12 years after WWII!

Imagine the Japanese Warlords taking back control of Japan in 1950-57 after only 5-12 years!!

Didn’t happen. Probably couldn’t have happened.

So how and why were ex-Confederate leaders able to do the nigh impossible almost immediately after the Civil War where they had just been decisively defeated?

HERE’S the HOW:
Insurrection groups such as the Redeemers, Red Shirts, KKK, Knights of the White Camelia Southern ‘gun’ clubs, etc. intimidated, attacked, and often slaughtered Negroes who sought government positions, who sought to exercise their right to vote, who sought to decide when and where they would work and live.

Except for the Grant administration's crushing of the KKK in 1871, the Union didn't stop Southern violent groups from their actions.

Even the occupying Union Army in 1865-66 introduced Black Codes to try and get the Southern economy going again and to force former slaves to work.

Gone were the Union's promises of 4 acres and a mule to former slaves as promised only a few months before!

Then when Southern Political officials—former Plantation owners, slave owners, many of them former Confederate soldiers, etc. came to power, they basically, reintroduced the master-slave relationship toward Negroes, even though technically slavery was illegal.

Heck, in 1878, the U.S. government even passed "a law forbidding federal troops from intervening to protect African-American voters from harassment and intimidation."

From State of Mississippi Code, 1865:

“Section 2. Be it further enacted, that all freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes in this state over the age of eighteen years found on the second Monday in January 1866, or thereafter, with no lawful employment or business, or found unlawfully assembling themselves together either in the day- or nighttime, and all white persons so assembling with freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes, or usually associating with freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes on terms of equality, or living in adultery or fornication with a freedwoman, free Negro, or mulatto, shall be deemed vagrants; and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined in the sum of not exceeding, in the case of a freedman, free Negro, or mulatto, $150, and a white man, $200, and imprisoned at the discretion of the court, the free Negro not exceeding ten days, and the white man not exceeding six months.
Section 5. Be it further enacted, that all fines and forfeitures collected under the provisions of this act shall be paid into the county treasury for general county purposes; and in case any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto shall fail for five days after the imposition of any fine or forfeiture upon him or her for violation of any of the provisions of this act to pay the same, that it shall be, and is hereby made, the duty of the sheriff of the proper county to hire out said freedman, free Negro, or mulatto to any person who will, for the shortest period of service, pay said fine or forfeiture and all costs.”
https://www.britannica.com/topic/black-code

Historian Samuel McCall: They "established a condition but little better than that of slavery, and in one important respect far worse.”

HERE’S the WHY:

The main reason why Southern Whites so quickly got back into dominating power without changing their racist, oppressive, intolerant views is because of their CALVINIST THEOLOGY
which the large majority of Southerners subscribed to avidly!

R.L. Dabney, Southern Theologian, Chaplain to Stonewall Jackson's troops. Dabney published a book even after the Civil War which argued that slavery was the will of God, the Calvinist God.






However before explaining that, it needs to be emphasized that there are many other factors, too, as to why Southern Whites were able to create a racist social order and oppressive state governments within 5 to 12 years of the end of the Civil War.

#1 Many Northerners had only supported the invasion of the South because they wanted to force the seceding states back into the Union. Other Northerners did want to end slavery, but they didn’t want Negroes living near them, or having the same rights as Whites.

Even Abraham Lincoln as late as 1864 still supported the view that all Negroes ought leave the United States and go somewhere else—Africa or the Caribbean. Lincoln considered Negroes inferior to Whites. Only a minority of Northerners were abolitionists and for equal rights for Negroes.

#2 Since the U.S. government almost immediately rejected giving former slaves land and supplies, the Union army occupying the South thought that it must deal with the millions of freed slaves, so it introduced the Negro Codes, even though they were grossly unfair to the Negroes.

And Northern states also increased their anti-Negro Codes. Many towns and cities became anti-Negro Sundown towns. There were still at least 10,000 sundown towns even in the middle of the 20th century!

#3 Reconstruction failed, largely because of the failure of the U.S. government to radically alter the nature of Southern beliefs and society.

#4 The U.S. government pulled its troops out of the South in 1877, way too soon and because of a devil’s deal with Southern racists in order to get Benjamin Hays elected president.
-
"Southern segregation of the races began soon after the Civil War ended. Although segregation was more flexible during Reconstruction, more rigid laws were passed after federal troops withdrew from the South. These laws, which became known as Jim Crow laws after the name of a minstrel from the 1800s, prohibited African-Americans from using the same facilities and services as whites. In 1875, Congress had passed a Civil Rights Act that made racial discrimination in public places, including hotels and trains, illegal. However, in 1883 the Supreme Court declared that law unconstitutional. The court reasoned that refusing to accommodate someone because of their race was not the same as slavery, and did not violate the constitutional amendments abolishing slavery. The decision paved the way for extensive legalized segregation in the South."
https://classroom.synonym.com/happened-federal-troops-withdrew-south-1877-23217.html
--

Notice even now in the present how quickly major national events can change because of differing philosophies. Despite 8 years of fairly moderate Obama-type politics, suddenly in 2017, the opposite side of the political spectrum came to power via the Electoral College (the Democrats won the popular vote by about 3 million). Then U.S. policy has swerved to fairly extreme right-wing views, statements, and actions under President Donald Trump.

And Donald Trump got elected partially because millions of white Evangelical (at least 81%) and Calvinists voted for and continue to support President Trump, despite his many immoral, unethical, unjust statements and actions.

TO BE CONTINUED:


Let us rise against injustice and inequality,

Daniel Wilcox


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Please Write for the Release of Nonviolent Human Rights Worker Munther Amira


FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:
"An Israeli military court sentenced Palestinian human rights defender Munther Amira on 12 March 2018 to six months in prison, five years of probation and a fine. He was convicted on charges relating to his peaceful participation in protests.


"Munther Amira is currently being held in Hadarim prison in central Israel.
He was arrested by Israeli soldiers on 27 December 2017 while peacefully participating in a protest.
Munther Amira was originally charged with 13 offences relating to his participation in five separate demonstrations. He was convicted on four counts of “disturbing public order” and participating in a “march without a licence” in relation to four demonstrations that took place in November and December 2017."

Munther Amira is "...the coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC). PSCC describes itself as a community-based resistance movement that believes in the power of popular struggle, through various forms, such as strikes, peaceful protests and legal campaigns. The group also provides legal aid, communication and advocacy support to activists and seeks to encourage the emergence of new committees and initiatives in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)."

A section of Israel’s separation barrier next to the Aida refugee camp, where Munther Amira lives and works. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/AP

"Munther Amira is a Palestinian refugee from the village of Deir Aban, located south of Jerusalem. He is a resident of Aida Refugee Camp, near Bethlehem, where he works as a social worker and director of the Aida Youth Community Center...provides support to Palestinian farmers affected by Israeli settlements through his campaigning and advocacy efforts and promotes locally produced Palestinian products.

Amira is committed to a platform of non-violence in his popular struggle and regularly organizes peaceful protests against Israeli actions in the city of Bethlehem."

"1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

Immediately and unconditionally release Munther Amira as he is a prisoner of conscience and is imprisoned solely for exercising his human rights to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly;
Ensure his conviction is quashed;
Rescind Military Order 101 and fully respect the right of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Contact these two officials by 30 April, 2018:

Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan St, PO Box 187
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem 91950, Israel
Email: pm_eng@pmo.gov.il
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Ambassador Ron Dermer, Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20008
T: 202.364.5500
Email: info@washington.mfa.gov.il
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ambdermer
Twitter: @AmbDermer
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

--

Stand up for Human Rights,

Daniel Wilcox

Part 2: Scenic Photos


























































In the Light of Beauty,

Daniel Wilcox