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​The Week in Review. The Bad, the Ugly and the Good.
— Republicans are gunning for healthcare yet again. They slipped a provision into their tax bill that took the fine for the individual mandate down to zero. Then a group of Republican governors and AGs filed suit against it. They knew it would likely cause a judge to declare the ACA ‘unconstitutional.’ They undoubtedly planned and colluded with one another to come up with this strategy. That decision made by a Texas judge could easily land in the Supreme Court where two fresh, illegitimate, right-wing extremist justices (Federalist Society puppets) stand ready to strike it down. If the case lands on their bench they won’t let their puppet-masters down.
In the 2018 midterm elections healthcare was the number one area of concern among voters, even above the economy. If conservatives pull off this coup against the American people don’t be fooled by their empty promises about ‘protecting preexisting conditions.’ They’ll find a way to gut that provision. They’ll allow states to ‘set it up themselves,’ and the red states won’t. Or they’ll allow insurance companies to price ‘high-risk’ people out of the market. The ACA already protects people with preexisting conditions. Republican have sabotaged it from the beginning. It’s not perfect but it’s a big step in the right direction. Allowing Republicans to get rid of it will be a giant leap backwards. It will probably take decades to get back to this point.
If all the Republican governors had allowed the Medicaid expansion, and if traitor Joe Lieberman hadn’t stripped out the Medicare at age 55 provision, the coverage would have been even better and less expensive. Again, Republicans have been sabotaging the ACA from the beginning, because “Obama,” and because “abortion.”

— After the Blue Tsunami made the wishes of the American people clear lame-duck Republican state legislatures are carrying out relentless power grabs against the will of their citizens, crippling the power in incoming Democrats.

— Widespread Republican election fraud was uncovered in North Carolina following the mid-terms where it’s such a mess both parties are planning another campaign.

— In Florida voters passed a bill restoring the voting rights of released felons. Republicans are dragging their feet and throwing up roadblocks against the will of the people.

— The Republican dismantling of the Obama Recovery continues with the federal deficit and debt skyrocketing at record pace following massive Republican tax cuts. They claim ‘Entitlement Reform’ is the only way to fix the fiasco they’ve created which is code for unprecedented cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Meanwhile the stock market continues its downward spiral.

Funny meme was but we didn't design it. No "white Jesus" chiding please.

​— Indictments, plea deals, prison sentences, and newly discovered Russian spy networks swirl around the most corrupt administration in US history. Every rock a reporter or investigator turns over reveals another level of seemingly unending corruption.
Girl gets around. Makes one wonder if she's a "Red Sparrow."

— Immigration reform is an ugly mess with immigrant children dying in US custody while Trump threatens to shut down the government over the wasteful and unnecessary political stunt known as ‘the wall.’

— Despite campaign promises to the contrary nothing is being done to relieve American college students of staggering and debilitating debt burying graduates so deep they’ll never get ahead. The problem is just being ignored and made worse by the incompetent and unqualified wife of an Amway (ScamWay) Billionaire donor, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Ms. Devos is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater private mercenary force.  The stink runs thick in that swamp.
— Our reputation worldwide couldn’t be worse as Trump coddles murdering dictators who chop up reporters. This while he tries to cover up a $50 million bribe he wanted to give Vladimir Putin in the form of a top floor penthouse in a proposed Moscow Trump Tower. Meanwhile he chides our European allies like France to the point where they tweet back at him to ‘leave our country alone.’

Have you heard enough yet because we could keep going?

The one positive aspect to our otherwise depressing national nightmare is the new congress! Thank God for the Blue Tsunami, the biggest mid-term gain for the house in US history! We will finally have some oversight and real congressional investigations!

We can propose the things we want to accomplish legislatively as well but we all know McConnell won’t go along with any of it. He’s already broken the Senate and the Supreme Court. He’s not about to stop now. Anything that would make Democrats look good in any way he’ll be against. It’s not about the country for him. It’s about personal ambition, power, greed, and the party. He’s a traitor in every sense of the word. He’s quite possibly the worst politician in our nation’s history as far as the damage he’s done. History will agree. We’ve had our finger on its pulse every day for a decade.

In the long-term, even though it’s sad to have to point out, this old, white, racist generation is dying off. There’s a young, vibrant, progressive generation of leaders bursting at the seams and waiting in the wings. They aren’t going to put up with any of this crap.

Reform is coming whether the old guard likes it or not.
Young people are just up and walking away from the right-wing, cult religion the Republicans hijacked, distorted and ruined. Not to worry though, they aren’t walking away from Jesus or his teachings. They’re rejecting the apostasy known as The “Christian” Right. They know it’s a scam and a sham and they aren’t having it. The faith will evolve back to what it once was, a spiritual framework with Jesus at the center.

The next two years are going to be interesting to say the least. We’ll be here every day to keep you informed and plugged in to the largest gathering of Christian progressives (and their allies) in the world. The Christian Left admin team has been the hardest working admin team on Facebook for 10 years.
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Jackson Browne - The Rebel Jesus(original-HD + lyrics) - YouTube
​Rebel Jesus - Jackson Browne
Lyrics

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus
Christ in the Breadline, by artist Fritz Eichenberg (1901-1990)
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by Naomi Hanvey
Tonight, as part of my annual holiday tradition, I watched the 1983 movie, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, for the umpteenth time. This movie, based on the book by Barbara Robinson, explores the story of a group of poor children who hear the Christmas story for the first time when they decide to take part in a church Christmas pageant. There's a lot about this story worth talking about - the classism and judgmental superiority of being shocked by poverty and its consequences, or the very depiction of the Herdmans, written to make suburban white readers in the 1970s gasp and shake their heads in dismay, but which kids today hardly bat an eye at because it's so familiar. But I'm not going to talk about that. I'm going to talk about something the Herdmans noticed when they heard the story of the nativity for the first time: where is Herod?

In the book, the Herdmans are really captivated by the role Herod plays in the Christmas story, attempting to manipulate the Magi into revealing Jesus' location so he can murder the child. In fact, in the book, they're so interested in Herod that they end up going to the library and doing research on the notorious life and reign of Herod the Great. They begin to plan a sequel to the Christmas pageant in which the Wise Men and Joseph get revenge on Herod, much to the dismay of the narrator's brother Charlie, who fears they are going to make him play Herod so they can beat him up.

It's kind of obvious why we don't usually see Herod in the Christmas story. We don't want to complicate the pure, sacred narrative with this subplot of murder and intrigue, right? The image of the nativity creche isn't quite as picturesque when you add a paranoid king slaughtering children in the periphery.

And yet, Matthew spends a significant portion of his nativity account focusing on Herod. And in fact, from both a narrative and a theological standpoint, Herod is essential to the story of Christmas.

A few of my friends have written wonderful things this season about the Magnificat, the song Mary sings when she visits her cousin Elizabeth while they are both miraculously pregnant. In it, Mary praises God for overturning the power structures that have kept people like her oppressed and downtrodden, celebrating the revolutionary new kingdom that God will usher in with the birth of God's Son - of her son. This, my friends have emphasized, is the good news of Christmas: the promise of liberation for the oppressed by God's conquering the oppressor.

What are these power structures? Who is the oppressor in the nativity story? Well at this point in time, it's Rome, of course, the occupying pagan government. But apart from Augustus ordering a census that sets the events of the story in motion, Rome is pretty absent from the narrative we read in the gospels. Instead, we see Herod as the story’s antagonist. Herod was a puppet ruler, subservient to Rome. The story of his rise to power is as convoluted and full of intrigue as is Octavian's - full of assassination plots, strategic marriages, and political maneuvering. Herod represents power at its worst, power that exists for no other purpose than to increase, and which will stop at nothing to maintain itself.

Herod became the tetrarch of a small chunk of Palestine called Judea. The whole region of Palestine seems to have been perennially problematic, constantly at war with whoever was occupying it at any given time (this was one of the reasons it was broken into separate jurisdictions under Roman rule). Herod's job, presumably, was to keep the Judeans from revolting against Rome - in other words, to maintain "law and order." Herod was Jewish (ish) himself, and he went to some great lengths to build good PR with his province by rebuilding and expanding the temple in Jerusalem. It was Roman policy to allow conquered peoples the right to practice their religious and cultural traditions. So really, all Herod had to do was to maintain the status quo.

It's into this situation that Mary proclaims:

"He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty." (Luke 1:51-53 ESV)

This describes a complete overturning of the status quo. Mary's song depicts God aggressively - dare I say, violently - tearing down existing power structures in order to lift up the humble and lowly. God is, in short, a revolutionary, the very opposite of what Herod represents.

Sometimes I think we mistake peace for the status quo. Especially for those of us whose lives are pretty good, who are neither poor nor oppressed, it's easy to think that "peace" simply means "the continuation of things as they are, without any interruption to myself." That's certainly what peace meant for Herod. And yet, as Mary's song indicates, the arrival of Jesus - the Prince of Peace - represents a direct threat to Herod and to everything he stands for. Herod probably didn't care if Jesus actually was the promised Messiah; it was enough for him that he might be seen as a Messiah, a figure for people to rally around and support over himself. Remember, as the instrument of Rome, Herod's power depended on keeping the Judeans in line, and the Judeans had a habit of rising up around charismatic leaders and revolting against the powers that be. Herod's job security depended on nothing changing in Judea - politically, economically, socially, or theologically - so this rumor needed to be squashed. And so Jesus had to die.

For those like Mary who do actually live in poverty, hunger, or oppression, peace means the opposite of the status quo. It means an end to things as they are so they can be as they ought to be. It means bringing down the people in power - not to put new people in power, but to replace the entire structure of power. Peace requires radical, absolute, irrevocable change, change that threatens the rich and the powerful and the comfortable.

This year, let's put Herod back in Christmas. Let's remember that there are people and forces in the world to whom Jesus is a threat, and who will do anything they can, often in the very name of "peace," to prevent him from enacting his radical agenda. But Jesus didn't come into the world so things could stay as they are; he came to turn the world upside-down. He came to bring true peace, the kind of peace Herod feared but Mary longed for. Let's take a hard look at the structures of power in our world that keep many people perpetually locked in powerlessness, in poverty, in hunger, in danger, in fear, in want - and let's enter into the work of Christ, which is to undo those structures. Let's be willing to risk losing the comfort that comes with maintaining our current way of life, in order to usher in the reign of peace foretold by Mary so long ago.

Merry Christmas, all.
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You can hang out with 370,000 Christian progressives and their allies any time you want, wherever you live, in real time. Our community is available 24/7/365 right here on social media. That’s worth your support.

We’re stable. We’ve been here a long time. We were one of the first Facebook pages ever created. We discuss daily news, elections, cultural events, politics and religion from a Christian progressive perspective. The next two years are going to be interesting to say the least.

If our sponsored posts are the only posts you see Google “How to receive all updates from my favorite Facebook pages.”

We post articles every hour, every day. Every article has a discussion thread you can participate in. We continuously search the internet for articles that will likely be of interest to you. We moderate all discussions and keep the conservative trolls and Russian bots away.

The only way we keep all this going is through your support. There’s nothing out there like this community and ministry. Make a contribution to our 2018 Fall Fundraiser if you have any extra. Here’s how to make a donation (Click Here).

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The Christian Left
2001 NW Aloclek Dr. Box #108
Hillsboro, OR 97124
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Most people don't really know the extent to which The "Christian" Right's power and influence has grown exponentially over the past 40 years. It is truly frightening.
We've been monitoring them for 10 years. Here is one small example of a "ministry" with immense power:

Ralph Drollinger and Capitol Ministries has way, way too much power in DC and around the world. Read their list of viewpoints.

Among them is that "Liberal Christians aren’t really Christians, they’re simpletons," "Catholicism is one of the primary false religions in the world,” "People with government positions should not 'compromise Biblical absolutes' and should hire only other 'righteous' people," and "Christian public servants are required to support the death penalty and oppose marriage equality."

Also, "entitlement programs (like Social Security) have no biblical authority," and "God is a capitalist."

After you read the below article please come back to this blog article and help us combat this insanity.

Group That Runs Fundamentalist Bible Studies For Cabinet & Congress Growing ‘Beyond Our Wildest Imaginings’ Globally

We try to think of a creative way to put it each week-end but The Christian Left is a user sustained internet ministry and community. Contributions have been down lately. We are one of the few counternarratives to The "Christian" Right in existence.

Without user support we would have to fold in less than a month. If having TCL around matters to you, make a contribution and be a frequent supporter. We understand some don't have extra. If you do, please chip in to keep TCL alive.

This is the kind of feedback we see every day:

“I thank God for this page & all the members who promote the love & acceptance of Jesus Christ. I live in a rural area of the South where Christian bigotry runs rampant. It does my heart good to come here and read encouraging & uplifting words.” -- Rebecca P., member of The Christian Left

Frankly, that’s why we started this ministry and also why we’ve kept coming back every day for close to 10 years. We knew we were not alone. We knew the voice of Christian progressives was being suppressed. Christianity Inc. had become a powerful force. They had become the religion of wealth and empire. They had forgotten about the teachings of Jesus.

It has taken thousands of person-hours to build and maintain this ministry. Our effort continues daily. We set up and maintain a website, a blog, a Twitter page, a store, an Instagram page, a Facebook page and a broadcast mailing list. During the 2012 election season we formed a super-PAC (which is now dismantled due to lack of support).

Here’s how to make a donation: click here.

If you prefer mail our address is:

The Christian Left
2001 NW Aloclek Dr., Box #108
Hillsboro, OR 97124
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Taking Back Christianity From The Religious Right

"Very little in the actual teaching put forward by Jesus here would support the political philosophy of the Christian right, with its worship of military might or its obsession with capital punishment. But it’s probably too much to ask them to consider what Jesus actually said."
The death of Christianity in the U.S.

"Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence.

The Evangelicals’ Jesus is satanic, and those who hustle this demon are “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Cor. 11:13-15, NIV)
The Last Temptation

"The moral convictions of many evangelical leaders have become a function of their partisan identification. This is not mere gullibility; it is utter corruption. Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives. Little remains of a distinctly Christian public witness."
The Real Origins of the Religious Right

(Four Page Must Read On How It All Went Down)

"Today, evangelicals make up the backbone of the pro-life movement, but it hasn’t always been so. Both before and for several years after Roe, evangelicals were overwhelmingly indifferent to the subject, which they considered a 'Catholic issue.'

it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism."
How Corporate America Invented Christian America

At a gathering in 1940 Reverend James W. Fifield Jr. told industrialists that clergymen would be crucial in regaining the upper hand in their war with Roosevelt. As men of God, ministers could voice the same conservative complaints as business leaders, but without any suspicion that they were motivated solely by self-interest. They could push back against claims, made often by Roosevelt and his allies, that business had somehow sinned and the welfare state was doing God’s work. The assembled industrialists gave a rousing amen. “When he had finished,” a journalist noted, “rumors report that the N.A.M. applause could be heard in Hoboken.”

It was a watershed moment—the beginning of a movement that would advance over the 1940s and early 1950s a new blend of conservative religion, economics and politics that one observer aptly anointed “Christian libertarianism.” Fifield and like-minded ministers saw Christianity and capitalism as inextricably intertwined, and argued that spreading the gospel of one required spreading the gospel of the other.
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Every now and then an article comes along that speaks the truth in no uncertain terms. When we spot such an article we like to preserve it on our blog. This article doesn't candy-coat the truth.

We were saying what the author says back in 2009. It was too much for most people to process. They weren't ready to hear it. Many accused us of hyperbole.

Below are a couple of excerpts from the article and then a link to the entire piece. Please don't just read the excerpts. Read the whole article as well. It's important to understand what has happened. The author is Miguel De La Torre, professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO.

"Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence.

The Evangelicals’ Jesus is satanic, and those who hustle this demon are “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Cor. 11:13-15, NIV)


When he speaks of "the Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence" he is referring to the takeover of Christianity in the US by far-right extremists. They used the fake issue of abortion to hoodwink Christians into believing they had to be Republicans. Politico did a very well-researched, 4-page article meticulously documenting the history of how this was pulled off and by who. Click here to go to that article: "The Real Origins of the Religious Right"

This blog post will make the most sense if you read the whole blog and then go to the links contained within.

Here's the link to Mr. De La Torre's piece: The death of Christianity in the U.S

Trolls will descend on our Facebook page and inevitably quote this scripture and others like it:

"Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you'..." (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

As author Joyce Arthur points out:

"This passage is specific to one, very special person—Jeremiah the prophet, whom God has called to provide miraculous powers and authority to the world. Since we are not all destined to be divine prophets, this verse cannot be construed as applying to any fetus except the unborn Jeremiah."

The same is true for Psalm 139:13-16.

"All this passage states is that God is directly involved in the creation of a fetus and knows its future. This is useless for the anti-choice position, since God creates all living things, including trees and bugs. Plus, just because God is supposedly omniscient doesn't give fetuses any special status—it simply means God already knows whether they will live or die. It is dishonest to conclude from this verse that a fetus is a human being deserving of more protection than women. The passage is poetic prose that anti-choicers have twisted and trivialized by giving it a literal, objective meaning where there is none."

When they run out of arguments people usually resort to: "What about 'Thou shall not kill?'"

A fetus is not a 'baby.' A fetus becomes a person when it draws its first breath.

One last fact that most people are unaware of: Before the far right's takeover of Christianity in the US it was the clergy who advocated for universal access to safe, legal abortions.

We know most followers of the right-wing, political cult will scoff at all of this. Their brainwashing is complete. We're going to speak the truth anyway.

“Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

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