We Americans at any one time has focused our disrespect and even hatred upon various groups. Historically this includes Indians; Irish; Chinese; communists; Japanese-Americans; German-Americans; Africans; Jews and Muslims. For example our United States Constitution declared that for representation and taxation five Africans were to be counted as three whites .American women have traditionally been considered second-class citizens without the rights of full citizenship such as voting.

Homosexuals have been singled out for particular scorn. They have been ridiculed and abused since biblical times. My church which sponsored me for Ordination is committed to recognizing these brothers and sisters into full participation in our church and in our lives. After profound deliberation and in opposition to some of our church policy we voted to authorize our Pastor to allow same sex marriages in our church.

Our Bishop who we both respect and love summarizes the issue in this Email:

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Baltimore-Washington Conference,

On Sunday, September 26, the congregation of Foundry United Methodist Church voted (377 to 8) to adopt a policy that allows the church building to be used for wedding ceremonies for gays and lesbians. The lay leadership requested that the district superintendent be present for this vote, which was taken at a church conference. To ensure the denomination was represented, I instructed the superintendent to be present and to insure that the United Methodist position was communicated during the meeting.

The policy was developed and presented by the laity of the church after months of study and discernment. It states that the congregation is committed to being United Methodist and working within the denomination to change The Book of Discipline. Performing same-gender marriages has become increasingly discussed by congregations in Washington, D.C. since the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in March of 2010.

We in The United Methodist Church are divided over the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church. Since 1972, every General Conference has debated full inclusion. There are passionate arguments using Scripture, tradition, reason and experience from those who are opposed to the church fully including gays and lesbians and from those who are calling for full inclusion. I recognize that good people of faith will disagree about the church's position on matters of faith, theology, ecclesiology, culture, and polity. I grieve when our differences divide us and set group against group and people against people. I mourn that sometimes differences are turned into anger and even hatred.

In the midst of differences, United Methodists are guided by the Book of Discipline. The Discipline is clear that we "do not condone the practice of homosexuality (Book of Discipline paragraph 161F) and it is a chargeable offense for a clergyperson to conduct a holy union or marriage for gays and lesbians (Book of Discipline paragraph 2702.1.b). We also "implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons" (Book of Discipline paragraph 161F).

Foundry members report they based their actions on the church's constitution, which states that "in the United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the church may be structured to exclude any member because of race, color, national origin, status or economic condition."

As your bishop, I serve the whole church and I commit to work with all people. In the midst of these difficult matters of the church, I will do all I can to be fair and compassionate as I work to maintain the unity and witness of the church. As a bishop of the church I am responsible for upholding our Book of Discipline and will process and follow through with any complaint or charge against a United Methodist clergyperson of the Baltimore-Washington Conference who performs a same gender wedding or holy union.

I call upon all of our clergy and laity to pray for one another in the midst of our differences. I encourage you to be bridge builders within our conference, churches and communities so that differences may be expressed and we continue to live and minister together as the body of Christ. I call upon you also to practice the discipline of holy conversation with someone you disagree with about any issue in the church. I believe holy conversation about differences strengthens the body of Christ.

I pray for you daily as we make disciples for the transformation of the world. Thank you for being a United Methodist during some of the most challenging times within the church. Your faithfulness in the midst of the church's struggle to make disciples, serve the poor, and proclaim righteousness and justice is a testimony to the power of God at work through you.

Peace and grace be yours in the name of Jesus Christ,

John R. Schol, Bishop
The United Methodist Church
Baltimore-Washington Conference

In conclusion I am very proud and pleased to be an Elder in our Methodist Church. It was founded in America at almost the exact time that the United States of America came into being. Our Church has been in the forefront of removing the hatred associated with groups that have been marginalized in our country. We welcome a fresh opportunity to lead. It is the right thing to do.

Rev. Bernard F. Hillenbrand

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The last crazy Jones was Jim Jones the religious leader of ‘‘Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple” in Guyana who lead 900 of his followers to commit mass suicide The new Crazy Jones is Rev Terry Jones. He is pastor of a very tiny church in Gainesville Florida. He is not affiliated with any Christian denomination. He is getting his 15 minutes of notoriety with his pledge to celebrate the anniversary of the 9/11Bombings by the burning the Koran, the holy book of our brother Muslims. We can wonder if he will also burn his Christian Bible. It contains the Old and New Testaments which are also holy to Muslims. His timing is interesting. We are in the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days leading to Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement on September 18. It is highly probable that in their worship service our Jewish brothers and sisters might recall “Crystal Night” and the Nazi book burnings and the ultimate consequence.

Craziness in an individual when it is inflamed by hatred and a passion for revenge is unfortunately very highly contagious. We see this in the great artificial New York City Ground Zero Mosque controversy. The highly respected ecumenical leader Iman Feisa wants to build a Muslim oriented spiritual center a few blocks from ground zero. The center is planned to be almost identical to our thousands of Christian Young Men’s (and Women’s) Christian Associations. I am firmly on his side. If I were still a pastor I would try to organize my congregation to bus to New York City to lend our hands and money to help the Iman build his dream.

Jones’s fire designed to foster Anti Muslim hatred can do immediate American political harm. The “Always Vote No” Republican Anti Obama campaign is based in part on hinting that the President is a foreign born, a dangerous socialist and secret Muslim. It is working. How else could a large percent of Americans see a copy of Present Obama’s birth certificate, read his immensely popular two books on his childhood, and hear him denounced by his long time Christian Pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright then announce that they believe he is not a native born American, is a Muslim and a mystery to the American public?

However the threat of burning of the Korans impact on the coming Congressional elections while unfortunate it is nothing compared to what can easily arouse the hated and fury of I, 500, 000, 000 Muslims world wide. We have been dealing very ineffectively with a tiny number of Muslim terrorist extremists in our endless bloody twin wars in Muslim Iraq and Afghanistan. It therefore seems prudent to pay attention to General David Petraeus our anti-terrorist Military Commander. He warns of the devastating military consequences of burning the Koran and making the entire Muslim world our sworn enemies.If this seems alarmists consider recent history. Bin Laden and a handful of Muslim extremist hiding in Afghan caves and with no military resources hijacked civilian planes and destroyed the Trade Center and part of the Pentagon. That was nine years ago tomorrow.


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Lisa Hillenbrand on Billie Jean King 

Lisa Hillenbrand Director of Global Marketing at Proctor and Gamble with her dog Biscuit.

The Cincinati Inquirer ran this story on May 9, 2010.We share it because she is our daughter and because it has a poweerful message. Here is the story.

We had standout figures in the community write letters on how Billie Jean King inspired them. This is Lisa Hillenbrand's story. Hillenbrand is director of global marketing at P&G.

Competing in sports I learned the life lessons that I've used to succeed in business. As a competitive swimmer and tennis player growing up, I learned success comes from focused effort, learning the components of each sport and moving forward even after losing. And I learned that women could be successful in formerly male worlds - whether they be tennis courts or corporate board rooms.
One of my role models was Billie Jean King. I grew up in Washington D.C. and watched her, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova play in local tournaments and on TV. It's hard to imagine today, but it was the early '70s and there were few avenues for women to compete. Tennis was one of the few professional women's sports and even there women earned far less than men. It wasn't until 1972 that the US Title IX law forced universities to fund women's athletics.
I saw King and Bobby Riggs' famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, where King demolished vocally chauvinistic former Wimbledon champion Riggs on the court. I was happy she won, but embarrassed by the theatrical antics that went with the match. It had the quality of some of today's bad reality TV and deflected attention from the real drama - that women were coming into their own in domains previously considered men's.
What I remember about King was the strength of her game and her character - her aggressive serve and volley, her focus and her many come-from-behind victories which were fun to watch. She proved that women's tennis could be every bit as interesting and competitive as men's tennis.
And off the court she fought for bigger purses for female players, founded the Women's Tennis Association and coached the U.S. Olympic team. In all, she was the voice for women's sports and athleticism.
And I remember the strength of her character - powerful on the court and off, fearless in using her voice and influence to help other women succeed, dignified when her personal life became tabloid news and compassionate as she worked to help other players succeed.
Today, I'm Director of Global Marketing at Procter & Gamble and I use those lessons I learned from sports every day - figure out the goal, harness efforts of a diverse team, tackle projects as a series of matches - relishing small victories along the way, and keep sharpening skills working toward that goal. Billie Jean King showed us how to do it. And all that work paid off for generations of women who came after her and are now achieving success in sports and in professional life.

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The Washington Post on April 28 reported that Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry while jogging killed a coyote with single shot from his laser sighted pistol. He says he shot because the coyote was attacking his daughter’s dog.

The story goes on to report that in Texas you are allowed to have concealed weapons and that the governor has such a concealed weapon permit. He carries a .380 Ruger which is a very powerful revolver. He says he carries the pistol because he fears snakes. To add to its power the governor uses high powered hollow point ammunition. Unlike regular bullets that passed through the victim the soft point spreads open and tears away huge portions of flesh and bone. It is selected by some gun buffs because this ammunition is highly lethal. It is designed to kill.

The Hague Convention in 1899 outlawed the use of soft pointed bullets called dum-dum. In World War I some soldiers filed the tip of their ammunition which gave the same soft point capacity. These altered cartridges s were also called dum-dum. . They were considered inhuman. For this reason soldiers on either side who were caught with this tampered ammunition were often shot on the spot.

It is clear that Texans and other hand gun worshipers are different. The rest of us are
interested in self protection devices that do not kill attackers or innocent bystanders.
More and more people and most police departments now use a high volt eclectic charged
pistols called Tasers . They discharge a high voltage shot of electricity that instantly
subdues dangerous people. They do not kill or seriously injure but very definitely will
quickly and temporarily control any attacker

I wonder what would be the consequence if in this case on that morning a jogger came from the opposite direction from Governor Perry and who could not see that the governor had legal a concealed lethal weapon under his jacket. They both might at the same time spot the coyote approach the dog. Assuming that the other jogger was an animal lover he jumps to save both the dog and the coyote. The Governor fires and misses the coyote but hits and instantly kills the other jogger.

Most people in the civilized world prohibit or very seriously control handguns. Even in the gun happy Wild West no one was allowed to carry a concealed weapon. This American hand gun loving hysteria also extends to the preposterous idea that we should not prohibit or regulate AK-47s and other machine gun type weapons.

The rationale is that we should be able to both protect our homes and have the right to hunt animals. Anyone can have a hunting rifle. In 50 years of ownership of our farm we have allowed responsible hunting and never saw a hunter hunt with a hand pistol or an AK-47.

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Slavery particularly as it was practiced in the United States was brutal and humiliating for the slaves and we now know it was degrading for the enslavers. Our nation paid a terrible price in blood and treasure in our Civil War. The consequences persist to this day. It has been suggested that there be compensation for the ancestors of the slaves. The question is who was responsible for slavery and who should provide the reparations? The usual conclusion is that whites were solely responsible and therefore the ancestors of the white slave master should compensate the ancestors of the black slaves. The idea encourages racial animosities.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. the Harvard University authority on African American Studies in a New York Times piece (op ad Friday, April 23, 2010) makes a compelling case that it was both whites and blacks who are responsible for the carnage of slavery. He points out that the European colonizers were established along the coasts of western Africa and it was black man who penetrated the interior and enslaves their fellow blacks. It has been estimated that 90% of the slaves shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. He says that,”it is a sad truth that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible or at least on the scale it occurred”.

Dr. Gates cites the transatlantic slave trade database directed by Davis Etis of Emory University which reports that more than 450,000 of African ancestors were shipped to the United States from 1514 to 1866. It adds that 16% of the United States slaves came from eastern Nigeria while 24% came from the Congo. The conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time.

Gates concludes “Fortunately, in Pres. Obama, the child of an African and an American, we finally have a leader who is uniquely positioned to bridge the great reparations divide. He is uniquely placed to publicly attribute responsibility and culpability where they truly belong, to white people and black people, on both sides of the Atlantic complicit alike in one of the greatest evils in the history of civilization.”

Spiritual Implications: faith groups proclaim that the sins of the fathers should not be visited on their children. They affirm the necessity to “love thy neighbor”. They also caution of the destructiveness of individual and group resentments. It is little noted but of great importance that nation of South Africa is a pioneer in its forgiveness effort. When those whites who were responsible for the past injustices to blacks appear in court and admit their guilt and express genuine remorse they are formally forgiven and returned as potentially productive members of a now racially an integrated society. We should also find encouragement is that fact that the two bitterest U.S. enemies in WWII the Germans and the Japanese are now our closest friends. These developments mark the move from “man’s inhumanity to man” to a new era of “the brotherhood of man”.

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