Don’t Cry for Him Judge Scalia? Conversations and Conflicts of a Judicial Tyrant

Sitting at my computer I got a notification on my phone.  I opened it and said, “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead in His Home.”  The moment was surreal.  Kind of like the moment I learned Natalie Cole had died.  For me it just came out of nowhere.  Mouth wide opened I took my phone to where my wife was sitting and just showed her the screen.  She hesitated as well with a look of, “like for real?”  

The next thing I told her that as the members of the GOP find out what we just learned, they will be scrambling as hard as they ever have in order to come up with a talking point about the open position on the court that President Obama has 11 months to fill.  “Make no mistake.  There are emergency meetings and conference calls being set up we sit here to orchestrate a plan.  For them the timing couldn’t be worse.  They are going to block whomever he nominates.

Within minutes my wife and I went to dinner.  By the time we started to eat I saw that Mitch McConnell had demanded that the POTUS not nominate anyone in Scalia’s seat and that if he did, they would block the nomination.  By the time the GOP debate in South Carolina began, the message had been repeated a thousand times.  I started posting my own views on social media.

You know how after every mass shooting republicans never want to talk about gun control?  They say things like, “We haven’t even had the funerals yet and here you are trying to politicize this tragic experience.”  It’s not like they ever want to talk about it regardless of how much time goes by.  But I digress.  I expressed that the man’s body isn’t even cold yet and here they are politicizing his death.  I expressed that right wing conservatives don’t care anything about Scalia.  They only care about what he stood for and what he represented.  They cared that he reinforced their beliefs and helped solidify laws that crushed black people, poor people, gay people, and women.  Their court appointed ace in the hole, their god who brought vengeance on anything that wasn’t rich, Christian and Caucasian was suddenly and without warning taken.  And now just a few hours from him being put in a morgue, the right wing establishment is devouring their god like he’s high priced steak and lobster.

In the midst of this I became fascinated with my own response to finding out Scalia was dead.  Unlike Natalie Cole death, I wasn’t at all sad.  I felt some kind of joy about it.  I’ve had a secret list of 3 people who I’ve said to myself, ” I won’t wish death upon them.  But if they die, I won’t be mad.”  Scalia happened to be on that list.  And no I won’t write the others.  98% of me rejoiced that this tyrant of a man won’t be able to ruin anymore lives, or do any more damage than he’s done beyond previous judgments that the rest of us will have to live with.  2% of me felt kinda bad for the 98%.  Because I am a person who is full of love and compassion, it seemed a tad bit unsettling that I rejoiced.  I could never see Scalia, a man who loved himself perhaps more than any other Supreme Court judge in history actually retiring.  Death was the only way out.

mitch

As I posted short commentaries on Scalia’s court decisions and the GOP’s hateful responses to Obama’s presidency once again, I waited for reactions from people who may agree or disagree with my observations and opinions.  I wondered especially if any of my African-American friends were experiencing the same inward duality that I was.  Black folk in general are raised not to celebrate ones death.  No matter how evil that person is or was.  My guess is that’s related our faith and history in Christianity. It hasn’t been often in my lifetime that a significant oppressive figure had passed on.  I know well the history of assassinations against progressives.  I know of state sponsored murders of people who fought for freedom for me and those who look like me. But when was the last time a figure whose name is so polarizing for black people been so suddenly and permanently removed… even naturally?

I sent text messages to a few friends of mine.  “Dude, Scalia is dead!”  One wrote back, “I see.  Sad.” I responded,  “Sad for who? Not us!”  He responded that loss of live is loss of life.  He did not agree with Scalia judicially or politically.  We exchanged a few more sentences and phrases.  But one of the things I mentioned is that if I did not grieve for Osama Bin Laden when he met his end, how could I grieve a man who has spent his life’s work attempting to destroy every piece of equality and progress we’ve fought to achieve?  It was only a couple months ago when Scalia said in open court that black people needed to go to lesser and slower schools because we were too stupid to function in the ‘big ones.’

As custom, it’s natural to speak good of any figure who holds such a prestigious position.  People have described him as brilliant, colorful, a legal giant.  I wouldn’t use those words.  But I’m not the only one.

Tim Wise put it this way: While I revel in the death of no one, I cannot abide the hagiographic nonsense that is presently being offered by persons across the spectrum about how Scalia was “passionate” and brilliant, ad infinitum. There is nothing brilliant about putrescence, nothing insightful and worthwhile about venality posing as insight. To say that there is nothing unconstitutional about executing innocent people (as he did in fact say), or that it’s OK to imprison persons for “gay sex,” among other things, is never the work of a genius no matter the big words and poetic flair with which they might say it. Those opinions are evil, vile and worthy of utter derision. They are not the work of a genius, but a fetid little man whose moral calibration slouched towards those of Torquemada and the Inquisitors. I feel for his family and mourn their personal loss. And that is the extent of my mourning, as it is the only type of which one such as this is deserving.

More on Scalia’s legacy in this link:

Perhaps some may think my Bin Laden comparison was a stretch.  Though I could argue judicial terrorism on blacks, women, gays and poor people, I can bring it closer to home.  If I lived during The Civil War, would I mourn the death of Robert E. Lee?  How about Jefferson Davis?  These people fought to keep my people in bondage.  If Scalia had the wherewith while he was here, whose to say he wouldn’t bring back slavery?  I can easily see him saying, “If the Founding Fathers wanted slavery to end, they would have indicated this in the text.  Since they didn’t, I don’t see anything unconstitutional about it remaining in tact.”

scalia

I discussed some of this on social media with a very well respected minister Traci Blackmon.  She is as progressive and courageous as Christians go.  She expressed via her Facebook page; “Tonight I offer prayers for the family of Justice Scalia. He was not a friend to me or my people. But he is still God’s child.”   As I write this it has 430 likes.  Some talked about his children and the devastation they must be feeling.  Others were less than sympathetic.  One person’s response in particular touched on my earlier thoughts:  “Yes I know. I felt guilty and unChristian like to have no sadness in his passing, almost a glimmer of happiness. I checked myself and voiced it. But there it is.”  Another responded, “What an example of God’s grace. Thank you for helping me check my own internal feelings. I did not wish him ill, but I am delighted he’s no longer on the bench. I pray that our next justice will have more compassion and understanding.”

Ahhh see where I’m coming from? What is to say the original sentiments were wrong?  Is it possible that it’s natural to delight in the death of your oppressor and not at all unrighteous?  If it is righteous, would I care to pray for the family now that he’s dead?  Does it matter what his family thought of his work?  Did the Jews say prayers for Adolph Hitler’s family members after he died? Did my Christian parents and grandparents believe it properly pious to pray for the family of Alabama Governor George Wallace after he died?  I understand that THEY were not the ones siccing vicious attack dogs on us and spraying us with water hoses while authorizing police to savagely beat us in the public streets.

Where exactly is the line of demarcation?  As I told Traci, I just don’t know.  Proverbs 11:10 says, When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

Regardless, I know what the right wing establishment feel.  Not only will they hold Scalia up as a hero of epic proportions, they want to do everything in their power to replace him with one just like him if not worse.  Someone who hates me, my wife, my mother, my kids, my grand kids. Hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen is not something I am conflicted about at all.

SCOTUS Blog on Recess Appointments to the Supreme Court

 

 

Religious Hypocrisy Strikes Again, …or The Dog Fighter’s Advocate

“I wouldn’t have taken him.  Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. …It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’ – Tony Dungy

Let me start by saying I know where Tony Dungy is coming from.  I know because I used to run in the same circles he runs in.  I worshiped and congregated in the same churches, listening to the same preachers, fellow-shipped with the same men who attended Promise Keepers when it was in town.  Dungy, an author of 7 faith based books including one on marriage has never been shy about promoting his brand of Christian faith.  He raised money for the Indiana Family Institute to ban same sex marriage.  A champion for ‘conservative values’ he’s parlayed his image to be the NFL’s edition of  Billy Graham meets Cliff Huxtable.

Dungy displayed his Huxtable mentoring talents with Michael Vick.  After Vick was released from federal prison for the abuse and killing of dogs, he tutored Vick to become the calm voice in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room, and a protege to other potentially troubled NFL players.  On NBC’s Sunday Night NFL Football show, Dungy is the most vanilla/least polarizing of any football analyst.  That it until yesterday’s quote from the Tampa Bay Tribune.

Cliff-Huxtable

Dungy is living a double life, trapped between two conflicting worlds.  His Christian values teaches him that being gay is a sin.  He hears on any given Sunday that there is a ‘gay agenda’ promoted by Satan himself to subject god-fearing men to accept an abomination.  He’s also made a life playing, coaching, and now commentating in a brutal sport that destroys the body and cause brain damage.  Players in the NFL are generally not saints, but sinners.  They are young, brash, carnal, full of testosterone, trained killers who even if only briefly hold the world by their finger tips.  Generally, they live promiscuously and their idea of fun is making it rain in strip clubs.

How does Dungy navigate these two worlds?  It’s not hard.  His ‘values’ are not in peril because most of his Christian brethren love football.  They love the position he’s in.  They love to rub shoulders with NFL royalty.  And most of all, his presence on television brings credibility to their beliefs.  Which is why they don’t have a problem with his comments about Michael Sam.  Sam is gay.  As for what the straight players do and the lifestyles they live, it’s accepted par for the course.  Dungy and his sycophants don’t see promiscuity, materialism and making it rain as a ‘distraction’ to be dealt with.  Heck, if they weeded out the colonies from the strongest and fastest to the most chaste, the NFL would cease to exist. Make no mistake, these Christians want their football.

Some people are calling for Dungy to clarity or make some additional statement so as to not come off as bigoted against gay people. Sam is at least for now a member of the NFL’s family.  While he’s certainly not the only gay player, he is the only publicly acknowledged one.  Dungy, just the fourth black head coach in the NFL’s modern era post Fritz Pollard already had the path paved and smoothed  for him.  His Super Bowl victory makes him teflon.  His clean cut image made it so that he didn’t need to touch the Sam situation. But he just couldn’t help himself.  His Christian Agenda pricked him which prompted a statement for the boys in the congregation.  Veiled in the theme of ‘distraction’, he poked at Sam’s career potential saying he wouldn’t ‘want to deal with’ the baggage.  That same baggage that Branch Ricky dealt with for the media, social and player side show endured by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.   There are no sermons for womanizing, smoking weed and making it rain.  But the anti-gay message is weekly.

No, I don’t want Dungy to clarify a word.  If anything, he should keep it all the way 100 and own hypocrite that he and his Christian brethren are; instead of this passive aggressive ‘not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play’ BS.

Yea… Dungy wants Sam to have a chance….  just not on HIS team.

Message to the ‘Bitter’ Black Man

Let me begin with a little background: I love justice, equality and the celebration/respect of diversity.  As such I celebrate the accomplishments of Martin King, Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party movement, Dick Gregory, and Paul Rusesabagina to name a few.  I have marched with Al Sharpton and was friends with the late great Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.  As a matter of fact, I was blessed and privileged to spend a week with Shuttlesworth in his home recording his perspective of his life’s work.  If you don’t know who the man is, dammit Google him! Further I’ve identified with the rap lyrics of Public Enemy!  You might hear me blasting “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” on any given day.  It’s an anthem as far as I’m concerned.

I’m a vivacious reader so I am up on politics, the economy, the incarceration rates of minorities and the very common lack of justice people who look like me receive every day. I saw all this to clarify that I am a free and progressively strong black man.

PE

With that… this is something that I read that I came across on social media regarding the 4th of July: I don’t understand why so many Black people in the United States are wishing so many other Black people in the United State a happy Independence day. Is it just stupidity? Have we really bought into the idea that we should be proud Americans? Now I think that anytime that you are able to spend with family is a good thing, fireworks are pretty and I personally like barbecued chicken. But to believe in the spirit of the 4th of July? You are joking, right?   The author of this text is Runoko Rashidi.  I don’t know Mr. Rashidi.  But this was my response to my friend who posted it.

Naw we ain’t joking Mr. Rashidi. No one is going to disagree with you that black folk were not afforded freedom or ‘independence’ in 1776. Nor are we where we need to be now. YET, I am an American. No one gets to take my part of what I give to this nation nor that of my ancestors. We built this country. We persevered, survived, and advanced through the fire and through the wall. Yes we will have a long way to go, and yet any black person who does not recognize the blessing that it is to live in a country that regardless of the racism and injustice that I fervently fight EVERYDAY has probably not visited many other countries. EVERY nation and every society has it’s issues and challenges. I don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater to enjoy MY piece of this pie. Perspective is everything Mr. Rashidi. Extremes and accusations of stupidity are unnecessary and counterproductive to the larger struggle. Dammit ‘not’ celebrating the 4th of July is the LEAST of ‘solving’ black folks problems in the US of A!

Again, I don’t know Mr. Rashidi.  I am sure he is a positive and loving person who loves black people.  Thus I am not attacking  him.  However, what I have noticed among some of my Black American contemporaries is a bitter disposition on life, America, our roles and responsibilities.  The above is an example.  Another example is what I see from some other Black folk who have no love or respect for President Obama.  I’ve seen in social media phrases like, “f#@! Obama and the United States,’ or other references to the effect of, “I don’t know why people are worshiping Obama.  The country is going to hell.  He hasn’t done nothing for you.”  Some even brag about not voting as if that’s makes one ‘above the system.”  Excuse me? Let’s let’s step away from the microphone for a minute. Here are a few things you need to know about politics:

1) Everything you love and hate about America is the result of politics.  Whether local, regional or national; access to clean water, food, gas/oil, utilities, roads/highways, trash pick up/disposal, the internet, wages, education, technology and so on. Politics is about power and power decides everything!  People spend millions of dollars in order to be in a position to make power moves.  Some do it by running for political positions.  Others spend money to influence those who will hold the positions.

2) There has been an ongoing movement for more than a century to deny, cheat and suppress the vote from people of color.  Regardless of the imperfections within the system, for me to voluntarily divorce myself from having at least some say is beyond dumb!   You have never heard any other group of people say, “I’m not voting because it doesn’t make a difference…”  Hell if it didn’t make a difference we wouldn’t have cases argued in courts all over America!

3) One of the greatest tricks politicians use is to get a group of people in the bad predicament to vote against their own interest because of racism, and rhetoric as to who the real enemies are.  So while we waddle in the mud over small and insignificant  bigotries, the power brokers are fleecing the nation and swinging every conceivable and possible option towards their advantage.  And yet some of us stand ignorantly, pontificating from on high about how we don’t participate in any political processes.   Ask Eric Cantor if black folk’s votes don’t make a difference! To quote the Miami Heat President we need to, “Get a grip!”

If you have F-U money like Prince you can afford to talk that, “I don’t participate in politics”, BS. (…and even HE is pissing on his ancestors who spilled blood to provide a platform for him)  But the majority of us?  Not so much!

republican-john-boehner-jobs-meme-gop1_zps735dcedf

Sure the system ain’t perfect.  But the IDEAS of system are pretty damn good.  It’s people who are corrupted.  And it’s up to people to hold people in political power accountable.   It’s up to us to become part of the solution in all areas of our lives. We can’t be out here majoring on minors; allowing stupid thinking to stand in the way of us doing what we need to do in order to be the very best we can be…which includes being a vital part of every process that can possibly affect us. We have a right to be angry.  I have personally experienced damn near every basic negative effect of racism known to a black man in America;  Employment discrimination, police brutality, and so forth.

Equally true is some of my most trusted friends, allies, and working relationships are with white men, and black and otherwise.  It’s not our skin that draw us together, but our respective states of mind. We have a right to be angry.   And sometimes anger is good. It can provoke action which can provoke changes. We don’t have to agree with everyone on everything in order to do some things together.  Martin King wasn’t universally beloved.  *many black folks despised him in the midst of the civil rights movement* Neither was Malcolm.  Neither was Mandela.  Also, they were not PERFECT men.  If you dig deep enough there are several things within their philosophies, actions and inaction’s that you would quibble with them on. That doesn’t diminish their worth.  You know why they are praised now?  Because they’re dead!  Being dead excuses one from being judged based on current events, discussions and actions.  The longer they are dead, the more they tend to be immortalized and perfected.  The larger point is that people are flawed, even great people.  And so are you!

So why are black folk so hard on the POTUS.  I’m willing to venture most of his Black critics don’t know a damn thing about his presidency, what he has managed to accomplish in spite of the GOP’s racist resentfulness of his occupation of the White House.

And it ain’t like our sh#! don’t stink.  In spite of our introduction to the Americas via the slave trade, we were not in Africa singing Kumbaya when whitey came along to pluck us from utopia.  We had already done our own share of manipulating, dominating and deceiving one another too.   We fought wars among ourselves, took land and so forth.   So have the Spanish, the Polish, The Irish, Germans, Catholics, Protestants, and so forth.  It’s in man’s nature to desire power, use power, and exert power over others.   Give some of us some extra power now and see what we do with it! It’s up to us to bitch about the problems alone or become the part of the solution.

I’m challenging you bitter black man.  Be a part of the solution.  Otherwise you may want to visit places like The Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Haiti, Honduras, Syria, etc.  THEN tell me as you sit on your computer using the internet for Facebook and Twitter in your clean clothes after taking a hot shower eating the food you bought from the local store with the car you drove me how bad it really is.

I am an American.  This is my damn country too.  It’s only 238 years old.  Check your historical geography and you’ll realize that’s pretty damn young.  I am going to work to make the best out of it for myself, my family and my friends!  I hope you bitter black man will participate with me.  The problems may not have started with you, but you still have to own a major part of the solutions.

The President and Gay Marriage

A few words on President Obama and same sex marriage:

First I don’t think it should be necessary for any president to have to speak on something so polarizing unless he/she plans on pursuing policy to either push for or fight against said topic. George W. pursued legislation against gay marriage.  So his personal opinion mattered.  Unless President Obama plans to push legislation, (and so far he hasn’t indicated that he would) I don’t find it necessary that he had to speak on it. 

That said the most important thing is how voters will respond.

I’ve heard much about how his stance one way or the other will affect the election.  Here is my opinion:

If a person were to make a decision to vote for a president or not for the sake of one or two social issues alone, that person is stupid.  First of all, it’s not a president’s primary job to lead social change, but to lead the country in terms of protection, preservation and advancement of the nation he/she leads.  If there are social issues that directly or indirectly affect the economy, our security, or prevent us from our best chance as Americans then the President should lead on those.  This is not to say that the gay rights issue doesn’t fit those criteria.  But again, it will only make a difference if The President pursues policy, not simply his opinion.  President Obama said he would turn back DADT in his campaign.  It wouldn’t have mattered if LBJ thought Black Americans should have a civil rights bill in his heart but refused to press the power of his bully-pulpit.

I’ve heard comments from Black Christian folk who say that they are either going to vote Republican this November or not vote at all simply because of this issue.   Again, that is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

Number one, regardless of how you feel about gay marriage, there are just too many variables that will affect everyone’s lives whoever becomes president.   Whether gays are allowed to get married or not, it’s only going to change the life of the gay community.  It won’t prevent a straight person’s ability to marry whom they want.  Meanwhile we still have the economy to deal with,  Supreme Court justices, foreign policy etc.  All of which will have a bigger impact on the country.  Gays getting married will not help nor prevent you from getting a job.

Number two,   I saw Roland Martin say on CNN last night that it will be interesting to see whether black conservative preachers will lean towards their “political or prophetic voices” when speaking to their congregations.  (Martin is an ordained Baptist minister)  I thought to myself, “WTF was that supposed to mean?  You mean to tell me that if the president is for gay marriage alone that is a deal breaker?

For all the biblical talk about Adam and Steve, Mitt Romney is a Mormon.  According to the Institute for religious research, Christianity and Mormonism differ on several central core doctrinal beliefs concerning the person of Jesus Christ. 

http://www.irr.org/mit/is-mormonism-christian.html

By their standards, this should trump anything above one moral issue. 

Also Romney was for gay marriage not long ago. He’s only changed his public opinion since courting the Republican nomination.

Does that mean that Christians should stay home and not vote for anybody?  Again that would be stupid.

Regardless of who you choose to vote for, you need to vote for someone as opposed to not participating in the process.  And it would be wise to not isolate anything in particular, but to look at the totality of the policies the candidate would pursue and based on those policies if the nation as a whole is going to be better off.

I challenge you not to be fooled by this idiocy no matter what a preacher says.  I mean what the hell is Eddie Long going to say about it?

Things of Faith, Man and the Search for Universal Truth

My faith journey has come a long way.

From a theological perspective, I was raised in the Judaea Christian traditions within various denominations. Through the years I have been taught by the church, inspired, motivated, fooled, disillusioned, angry, resentful, ashamed of, and even restored.

Regardless of my personal experiences with dogma and the organization of religion my faith in the Supreme has never diminished. My belief system is simple and complicated, spiritual and natural, scientific and unexplained.

I could never subscribe to the atheist belief that there is no Supreme Being. To me atheistic thinking dismisses a serious explanation for the origin for life. In other words, I haven’t seen evidence of any life form without their first being life to reproduce itself after its kind. Even if creationism from a religious perspective is not a viable option, just a look at the sun, moon and the stars, all of the living creatures, the way the cycles of the earth rotates, lives, nurtures, replenishes and sustain itself with its inhabitants; I find it illogical that all of that which we behold and witness is without thought, planning and design. In this way I don’t judge the concept of atheism. What I can say is that I don’t get it.

galaxy-1

As much as I like Bill Mahr and admire his political satire, I think he sounds like a fool when he arrogantly dismisses any possibility of a higher power. His brain is so creative, that he can actually talk himself out of acknowledging his own lack of having anything to do with it. He depends on air he breathes to live, and yet it does not keep him alive. Think about it. Oxygen is all around those dying every day. At some point everyone will take in their last breath. And all the oxygen on the earth can’t give you another breath once that last one has been exhaled. With all the riches, wealth and resources in the world one cannot give him more life. Nor does anyone have the power to ask and receive it initially at the beginning of a natural life.

A study of the massive sophistication and depth of DNA alone should prompt one to believe that this world, this universe, even our humanity was intentional. This is why I believe the atheist argument comes up horribly short. There is just too much genius around us that we had nothing to do with to call it all random.

What Mahr and I share along with others who believe as he does however, is the disdain for those seeking to validate and promote ‘God’ only as they see Him in such a fashion that it boxes his breadth and scope down to moral, theological and geo-political bents. I too scoff at the limitations and lack of critical thinking skills people subject themselves to in order to follow a bunch of laws and standards written by mortal, flawed, and often agenda driven men. I can resonate with his frustration of people who refuse to observe and work through critical issues with a reality based point of view as opposed to choosing to hide head-in-sand and quote scripture so as to eliminate the need of such deeper or even more simplistic considerations.

I get it. But that doesn’t answer the questions of life, the potential and capabilities of the human mind and body, the spirit world, and the universe. The fact that in the wild a lion and a deer will drink from the same water brook and if the lion is not hungry, not only will he not so much as bother the deer, but that the deer instinctively knows it. Man, in all of his ingenuity, intellect, skill and passion have only learned and understood so much of it. He certainly hasn’t been able to define it.

My basic understanding of myself, my surroundings, my instincts, makes me curious, and awestruck on the subject of the Supreme Being. Though I have identified my beliefs through Christian lenses most of my life, I have studied various religions and beliefs among men. Lessons from Christianity as well as other faiths have helped me greatly. Still I’ve rejected many pieces of doctrines. Through it all here I stand; still seeking, still desiring, and still stretching to find the source of my own significance.

black-jesus

As of now I don’t really claim any specific religion. Though if you pushed me, I would still lean towards a very loose and selective portion of Christianity. Not for any special reason. This is simply the environment I was brought up in and therefore most familiar with. It’s second nature. I love gospel music and can often find myself blissfully swept away in its messages of worship, submission and hope. One of my mentors the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was a Christian man who lived the most dedicated and faithful life I have ever seen in a human. Yet I admire and respect the life of Malcolm X especially after he split from The Nation of Islam and went in a direction that he believed was more beneficial to his perspective of the way he saw his Creator. Am I to say that Shuttlesworth knew God because he called him Jesus or that Malcolm’s aligning himself with Allah did not? There is hardly no religious sect that does not have within it members who believe and have evidence that their prayers have been answered. There are unexplained ‘miracles’ happening everyday regardless of faith type. Thing begs to question, “Does the Supreme have an exclusive name?” Only religious people think so. Or is He so awesome and self-assured that He is not hung up on and limited by that kind of thing? – Man actually giving Him a name that will sum Him up. Even as I write this I only say ‘Him’ as a reference point. I don’t know that The Supreme has a gender.

This proves that the biggest hindrance to understanding The Supreme is defining the revelation of His presence and purpose solely through a religious bent.

I have learned to settle in and take what I believe one step at a time; one lesson at a time; one experience at a time. And with those I focus on that which I am comfortable with. Which are a basic set of principles that I live by. (At least try to live by most of the time.)

Faith

Faith is first just an acknowledgment and recognition of a centralized presence. I don’t believe He/She/It needs to be called Jesus or any other religious or secular name. I believe in this Power that is so brilliant beyond measure, beautiful, and peaceful. The Universe has been created in such a way that it would take perhaps a million lifetimes just to scratch the surface of what is really going on out there. Names are too limited to describe The Ultimate. That is about as far as I am willing to take it as of now.

Do I believe this Universal entity cares about what happens to me personally? Yes. This is because I don’t believe all of this is by chance. If I’m correct then there has to be a purpose. Anyone who is aware of his purpose cares about fulfilling that purpose. With that I am able to give thanks and blessings many times per day to The Supreme for all that I am blessed to behold.  Sometimes, I even submit a few prayer request along the way.

Personal Purpose/Destiny

This is a tough one. Because most people either believe that they have a specific purpose on earth that a higher power has in mind or they don’t. Others believe we make our own decisions no matter what. I fall in the middle of both world views. For example, none of us had anything to do with us being here. That includes when we were born, where we were born, or to what family. We couldn’t decide what color we were going to be, whether male or female, and so forth. There are so many things that were not in our original control.

And yet as the species on earth we call mankind, we have the ability to create, build, reproduce, expand, grow, and it goes on and on. Our decisions shape the direction of not only our lives, but those around us as well as those who come after us. Decisions made by only a few throughout history have led to generational worldwide rewards and consequences.

With this I believe that many, but not every aspect of my life has been fully intentional. I am thankful for my time, my space, and my opportunity to do whatever it is I am supposed to do. I am abundantly grateful for everyday believing that my universe is saying something to me and beckoning me to respond for my own benefit, and the benefit of others. I believe that if enough of us do that, we will experience even greater awakenings, recognition, and access to this Universe.

            Islam7

Morals

Morals are a very subjective from person to person. I believe that morals must come from within, not just what is taught within a society to preserve order; though order is necessary. Some people are comfortable with doing things and living by certain principals that others are not. My morals are a combination of what I have been taught as a youth, as well as what I have grown to understand as an adult. Since I am still growing, segments and pieces of my moral code are still being refined. What has remained consistent is to live by a standard in which my conscious remains clear of guilt and that my life is one of freedom and not bondage. I believe that many of the unhappy, unsatisfied and destructive people on earth are ones whom live against their own conscious. I can’t speak for those whom seem not to have a conscious at all. Still I have to live by my own. I desire that my life continues to project that which is less harmful but more liberating to me as well as my environment.

Who is The Supreme Being/God?

I absolutely don’t know the answer to that. I believe that God is spirit as I am though much greater. I don’t believe God is fixated by what we call he/she/it like most organized religions i.e. Christianity, (Jehovah, Christ) Islam (Allah) and so forth. I believe that mankind has had various reasons for wanting to segregate God into something they are comfortable with. Certainly having a book such as the bible for instance, makes following God or expressing faith more focused. For now I choose experiencing and receiving whatever it is I may learn and absorb whether it be from a religious context or not. My trust is that The Supreme knows how to get a message to me when it’s time. And that I will receive it as long as I stay open. I’m not afraid to fail at this. I embrace all of the possibilities and resources imaginable at this point.

Organized Religion

In spite of my critique, I am not down on organized religion as a whole. I believe that Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Zen, and many others has served millions well over the centuries. Organized religious morality has influenced many peaceful societies as most of them promote treating one another in a loving and civilized way. Most promote growth and spirituality. Most promote submission to a higher authority and less self-seeking. Most emphasize sacrifice and giving towards something much bigger than the individual person who claims its faith.

Most have had their downfalls as well. So many wars, forms of oppression, and crimes against humanity result from religious beliefs and zeal. This is not only true of Christianity and Islam. Human sacrifices for instance took place long before Columbus set foot on the shores of the Americas. Nobody’s hands are clean. There has been and continues to be both good and bad.

            Tian Tan Buddha

Afterlife

Since I don’t believe that our lives are our bodies, I don’t believe that life ceases without the body. I believe our bodies are Earth suits. With them we move about upon the land or the sea. The earth is our bodily home. We live here for a time and season. It is here that we eat, sleep, love, share, learn etc… Perhaps our earthly time is training for something else that has nothing to do with our bodies. I just don’t know. And I don’t know that anyone really does.

I know many people whom I trust said a relative who have died or have been released from their natural bodies visited them in a spiritual form. Perhaps those who are ‘dead’, in body, help watch over us who remain. Perhaps there are differing dimensions that continue in cycles past our earthly lives. I don’t have a clue!

But I’m OK with that right now. For now I want to concern myself with the form of life I am experiencing now. And I will have to let the other work itself out. It’s definitely outside of my pay grade. If I can make this one count for something good, then I trust things will work out in the end… well, if there is one.

In Faith, Me

 

Sports and Politics Intersect Retro Style

I was only an infant when Tommy Smith and John Carlos threw up the black fist in Mexico City; a young pup when Muhammad Ali refused to participate in the Vietnam War.  There was a time when many African-American sports figures and icons took to the streets and spoke out for social justice.  They were not afraid to lend their voices and their fame to give attention to important issues they cared about.  They were courageous enough to risk their careers if necessary to stand up for what they believed was right.

Unfortunately that was a long time ago.  Rarely do we see black superstar athletes stand up for anything having to do with more than their latest contract negotiations.  The money guys like Ali, Smith and Carlos made pales in comparison to the astronomical millions today’s athletes bank above their predecessors.

Our most successful and marketable black athletes too often stray as far away from civic issues as they can.  I will always remember Michael Jordan’s refusal to support a progressive African-American candidate Harvey Gantt for state senate in his native North Carolina.  Not because he agreed more with the politics of the infamously racist Helms, but because, “Republicans by sneakers too.”  Jordan was the symbol and poster child of the New Crossover Negro who believed it far more important to hawk product and filling his own coffers rather than possibly alienating potential buyers with moral controversy.   Tiger Woods has picked up the baton running that race with ease by denying all things black whether it be per his own heritage and identity as well as the women he chooses to marry and fool around with.  Woods is as vanilla as the ice cream in my freezer and as close to anti-black as one could be with deference to Justice Thomas.

blackpower

Whether it was the Rodney King beating, presidential races, supreme court decisions or 17 year old children with candy and a drink, sadly Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Arthur Ashe are not walking through these doors.

This is what makes the tweeted photo by LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates in support of justice for Trayvon Martin an eye opener for me.  The Heat players live in South Florida.  Perhaps they feel the intensity of emotions even deeper than the rest of the country.  Perhaps some of the players have had their own issues with being pulled over for DWB (Driving While Black) with even more emphasis because they drive the finest cars money can buy.  I don’t know.  But I respect James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for being a part of a symbolic show of solidarity to Trayvon’s family as well as every other young black male in the United States.  I respect them especially because they are the faces of their franchise and the league that so many Americas pays attention to.

Former NBA players Etan Thomas and Craig Hodges were no strangers to standing up for unpopular beliefs.  Hodges so much so that he was literally blackballed from the NBA after presenting former President Bush a list of social issues he thought The President should address when the Chicago Bulls visited The White House.  If Jordan makes that move, it carries more weight and no way is the biggest revenue generating player the league had ever seen pushed out the door.

So big ups to LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat players.  You didn’t have to march like the old school.  But you did use the most powerful and significant tool given your generation which is social media.  And for me, that speaks volumes!

Miami_Heat_for_Trayvon

Penn St., Empires,and the Love of Money

The love of money is the root of all evil.  I Timothy 6:10

Looking at all of this spinning going on in College Station PA., several things come to mind.

1) The University doesn’t give a damn about the boys that were molested by their employees on their university property.  The reason they don’t want Joe Paterno speaking is because they are afraid he could say something that would open them up to paying a shitload of money in multiple lawsuits.  The lawsuits are coming so they can forget getting out of that.

Still the money is all they can think about as they decided to let JoePa finish the season.  They are so delusional it’s unreal to watch.  I still have my doubts that he will actually show up on Saturday.  While the university still wants to cover his ass giving way to his ‘legacy,’ the fact of the matter is that they lived on borrowed time years and it’s time to cash in the chips.

Look at how they are wording it this morning saying that Paterno ‘decided to retire’ at the end of the season.  What?  Is he STILL in control there deciding what the hell he wants or does not want to do?  Seriously?

2) Paterno is even more delusional as he thinks he can just zone in on football as if that will steer the attention from the heinous crimes committed on his watch.  His piss poor bullshit statement last night that we need to ‘say a little prayer for the victims,’ shows a man clearly in a bubble.  Nobody would have had to say any prayers if the most powerful man in the entire area did his moral obligation.  If he would have saw to it that Sandusky was never around the campus again but rather faced the authorities and the parents of these young boys.

3) Don’t tell me the obligations were only moral either.  You mean to tell me Sandusky didn’t take any of these kids outside of state lines to Penn State games?  He didn’t molest them in team hotels?  If he did it in the locker rooms he did it certainly across state lines on the schools dime.

4) The Penn State students who gathered at his home and at the administrative offices to show support and slob on his 84 year old nob shows the level of tribalism that is possible in this country regardless of the circumstances.  It’s utterly shameful and despicable!

5) Amateur athletics as it relates to NCAA sports is a sham.  This is yet another example of how the university, and others within the system turn their backs on innocent little boys for the sake of the estimated 50 million annual dollars that the football program brings to the school.

The NCAA silence on this matter is deafening!  I guess they are still too busy chasing after Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy or looking for guys who sell their jerseys for tattoos to fuck with JoePa!

6) How in the hell was Sandusky allowed to continue to stay around the campus with access to children?  Just answer me that!

7) Heads need to roll and roll quickly!  Mike McQueary wanted to keep a football job and get paid so bad that he didn’t say anything either.  He shouldn’t be on the sidelines either.  At the end of the day all he could think about was his own ass.  His time too is up!

Paterno knew what was up and cared only about protecting his name and his brand.  He is the Cardinal Law of Penn State University.  For me I could give a damn about all the money of fame he brought to the school.  What I see of his true legacy is that he did that at the expense of many young boys who’s lives are damaged forever because his pride and brand were on the line.  If his football legacy is more important to him or anybody else than the legacy of damaged young people who could not defend themselves then I say fuck him and his legacy!  Is the game of football more important than the lives of these children?  I’ll say a ‘prayer’ that he steps the fuck down since the university’s board of trustees still lack the stones to do it themselves!