Archive for May, 2018


Back in the late nineties, when I was exploring candidacy for ordination, I was active in a rural Methodist church in Montgomery County, Texas.

One of the most active, generous and outspoken members of the church was a retired brigadier general. Every Memorial Day weekend he would remind parishioners who greeted him with a “Happy Memorial Day” that Memorial Day is not a happy holiday.

I learned this early growing up in my hometown Navasota, Texas, where it was understood that Memorial Day is different from the celebratory Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day. At some point Americans lost sight of this fact.

Sadly, the current occupant of the White House had to make this solemn day all about him, complete with a happy greeting.

And I’m sure, being the student of history that he’s definitely not, he knows nothing about the roots of Memorial Day.

Most Americans don’t.*

*Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865, in Charleston, SC, to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp.

They dug up the bodies and worked for two weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom.

They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

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Yes it is. And HYPER patriotism bought and paid for by a corrupt U.S. military that will stop at nothing to get more recruits for more senseless wars and military interventions was a national scandal that got precious little press.

I invite you to click onto this link of a story of a Military-Sports scandal from 2015, when Veterans Day was approaching.

The piece is from the Sun Sentinel in South Florida and is a relevant story this week.

It’s a story about how feel-good patriotism at professional and college sports events, was secretly paid for with my tax dollars and yours for years.

The shadowy government/Big Sports deal was finally exposed to the light of truth, thank God. Two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, had the moral fortitude and courage to press the issue and demand accountability from the Defense Department and shameless a significant number of pro sports owners and colleges.

As Christ Jesus himself said, the truth always and inevitably comes out and gets shouted from the rooftops.

And Samuel Johnson, a mere mortal but incisive thinker who had a hard time abiding hypocrisy, said this way back in 1775 with his usual piercing wit:

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

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Respect for the flag in Jasper, Alabama. To win back good will with football fans, protesters could come out waving Dixie. That would get a standing ovation in a lot of American football arenas.

There they go again.

The NFL arbiters of what is respectful behavior in the land of the free and the home of the brave have drawn the line in the sand.

The National Football League owners and their “fixer” Roger Goodall warned players who “take a knee” during the National Anthem that they can be fined for quietly protesting the abuse and murdering of blacks by bad police.

The line’s been drawn and the warning to the black football players and the few whites who join them in protest is: “don’t be stepping across the line, boy.”

I’m not going to tell anybody in this country who has a legitimate beef with the government how they need to protest, especially if they want to do it in a quiet way in which no fellow humans get hurt.

But since so many want to make the protest about disrespect for the flag, maybe the black protesters could win back good will and standing ovations if they ran out on the field waving Confederate flags.

Just a thought.

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, back when America loved him for his athletic prowess as well as his academic achievements, his philanthropy and good works in inner cities, and his willingness to speak openly about his faith in God.

See here for my prior take on the reactions to protesters, back when Colin K. was America’s Golden Boy.

And see this news, which coincidentally happened the same day the NFL owners tried to thread the needle on protests, for another reason NFL protesters raised the issue of abuse by bad police.

And finally, here was my first reaction to the news yesterday on Facebook, where I can be found as Paul David McKay. Friend me up.

    Regarding the NFL’s new, contradictory policy on taking a knee before kickoff (and never mind if protesters decide to raise fists instead, as two Olympic American athletes were crucified for doing and who are lauded as courageous civil rights heroes today):

    You can be a hard-drinking, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal and rough up women and others and still play pro football or maybe, sit out a few games in suspension.

    But quietly take a knee in protest during the National Anthem on game day and the man (Roger Goodall) will fine you and set you up for ridicule and political pandering by the current occupant of the White House for disrespecting a flag that represents freedom, among other things, to protest, any way you see fit, as long as you don’t hurt anybody.

    (God help you if you disrespect the Dixie flag in the South.)

    If all Americans had the high moral standards of the POTUS, Roger Goodall, and NFL owners like Jerry Jones (now there’s an inspiring role model for you, graduates), America would be great again.

    Is anybody else disturbed by this massively hypocritical moralizing about respect?

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One of the children of slaves is marrying a royal whose forerunners sanctioned slavery; the lion is lying down with the lamb. I just want to be here to observe the changing of the guard and the changing of the British Empire. Today is a day that history will never forget.”

— Denise Crawford, a court stenographer from Brooklyn, quoted in The New York Times.

Forget the cost in dollars of the royal wedding: the celebration of these two lovebirds Princess Harry and Meghan Markle was worth every gold coin spent in spreading the gospel way of love. (Credit: Pool photo by Ben Birchall)

It was an ostentatious (i.e., over-the-top, obscene) display of wealth and power.

And by God, it was wonderful!

I know the cynics will say that the $45 million price tag — the kazillions spent on flowers and on clothes and jewelry worn for a few hours — was an obscene display of wealth and power in a world where billions are starving.

I say that no amount of money could buy the celebration of love and beauty that brought so much joy to 2 billion people around this bloody world Saturday with the royal wedding.

A picture of modern love, complete with racial harmony.

I look at it this way: nobody got killed.

Unlike in Santa Fe in my beloved Texas, where an act of hate the day before the wedding has caused so many of us heartache and so much suffering of those directly affected.

For a few much-needed hours Saturday, the royal wedding was one of those “God moments” that the world desperately needed.

Concerning the concern for the billions of poor and powerless of the world, this younger generation of royals — including Prince Harry and the Meghan Markle — were working overtime in their lives to make this world a better place long before they met.

One of the multiple reasons that Harry and Meghan connected and promptly fell in love was that they both were humanitarians with a shared vision of a more loving, peaceful and grace-filled world.

They were two people who, like a groundbreaking young princess bride named Diana, put love, compassion and money into action.

Like the famous South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, American Episcopal Church Bishop Michael Curry is a World Anglican Communion priest. (As was, by the way, Methodist co-founder John Wesley.)

There’s a reason the royal couple picked a Christlike social justice fighter, the American Episcopal Church leader Michael Curry, to give the sermon.

And Holy God, the African-American bishop, a member of the world Anglican Communion, delivered with a universally acclaimed 13-minute sermon that instantly made his name as universally known as an Anglican bishop from Africa named Tutu.

Bishop Curry was already on his way to becoming the best-known social justice and civil right warrior (along with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber of North Carolina) in America.

As an advocate for the poor and powerless of the world, I have to say that all the beauty, all the soulful American music as well as classical music, all the messages spoken, and all racial harmony and inclusiveness and good will fostered at such a peaceful event, was worth every gold coin invested in it.

Everything about it, no matter how modern or how ancient and traditional, was done in perfectly good taste.

And good taste, like love and peace and harmony, has been declining for quite a long time in America and the world.

Now THAT was a crowd the likes of which no one in American politics or TV evangelism could ever draw.

Here’s something Bishop Curry had to say in his perfectly crafted and powerfully delivered sermon about “the way of love”:

    “Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial. And in so doing, becomes redemptive, and that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love, changes lives.

    “And it can change this world. If you don’t believe me, just stop and think or imagine. Think and imagine, well, think and imagine a world where love is the way.

    “Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way.

    Princess Charles and Meghan Markle’s mum Doria: Two people from two vastly different worlds and cultures.

    “Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way, unselfish, sacrificial redemptive.

    “When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an everflowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history.

    “When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down, down by the riverside to study war no more.

    “When love is the way, there’s plenty good room, plenty good room, for all of God’s children.

    “Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family.

    “When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all and we are brothers and sisters, children of God.

    “My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family. And let me tell you something, old Solomon was right in the Old Testament, that’s fire.”

    Please do yourself a favor and read or watch the whole sermon here.

Glory be!

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“If you come here (to New York City) and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you’re one of the people who we want in this city. You’re somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being a fugitive.”

— Then Mayor Rudy Giuliana, 1994

[SOURCE: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News, Sept. 5, 2007]

“If you come here (to New York City) and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you’re one of the people who we want in this city.” Then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 1994 (PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city (New York City) are undocumented aliens. If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you’re one of the people who we want in this city. You’re somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being like a fugitive.”

— Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 1994, in interview with The New York Times

[SOURCE: New York Times Archives]

“In April 2006, Giuliani went on the record as favoring the Senate’s comprehensive immigration plan which includes a path to citizenship and a guest worker plan.”

New York Times, 2006


“What I would do with the people that are here, when you had a good system in place — and I believe my plan is the best plan for doing that, and these are the kinds of things I achieved in the other jobs that I’ve had in my life, as mayor and associate attorney general — I think what you would do then is, you would say to the 12 million people that are here, Come forward, get a tamper-proof I.D. card, get fingerprinted, get photographed.

“If they don’t come forward, then you throw them out of the country. The ones who do come forward would have to pay taxes. They’d have to pay fines. If you pay fines, it is not amnesty. They would not get ahead of anybody else. They’d be at the back of the line.

“But then they could eventually become citizens, so long as they could read English, write English and speak English.

[SOURCE: NH Republican primary debate, Jan 5, 2006 (Fox News)]


“People that come in illegally we gotta stop. You stop illegal immigration by building a fence, a physical fence and then a technological fence. You then hire enough Border Patrol so they can respond in a timely way.

“And then, if anybody becomes a citizen, we should make certain that they can read English, write English and speak English, because this is an English speaking country.”

— GOP Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani in 2007 in radio & TV campaign ads

[SOURCE: FactCheck’s AdWatch of 2007 campaign ad, “Fences,” Aug. 20, 2007]

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My parents Deanie & Goldie, two great ones.

I hate to sound like a Hallmark Party pooper, but it seems to me we’ve gone overboard with Mother’s Day.

For no less than 20 years I’ve observed this creeping commercialism that has tainted the integrity of it.

Back in the day, Mother’s Day was pretty much a one-day special event. We honored our wonderful Mum by serving her breakfast in bed. We showered her with flowers. We took her out to dinner on Saturday night and to lunch on Sunday.

The Christian churches and other of God’s houses recognized mothers on the Sabbath day by having them stand up for special recognition.

For one day or maybe a two-day weekend at most, we treated Mom like she was Queen For a Day. (Those of a certain advanced age will remember the great TV show of that name; my mother never missed it.)

Now, Mother’s Day commercials start running continually for no less than two full weeks ahead of the weekend event. Restaurants start offering special meals for mothers long in advance of the Big Day. The Floral Shops cash in big for days on end.

Personally, I was richly blessed to have two of the greatest parents who, in my estimation, ever lived. My folks worked and scraped not only to have a comfortable life for themselves as a couple, but to make sure that their three sons would have every opportunity for the best lives possible.

Of two parents, mothers are special because of that nurturing womb thing that fathers can’t relate to. We all have this nine months of special connecting with our mothers that men just don’t have.

So I’m all for Mother’s Day Weekend. And my gnawing problem with it isn’t that these long, extended Hosannahs aren’t fully deserved and heartwarming. A good mother can’t be honored and recognized enough.

The problem is that this weekend extended over weeks is painful for so many millions of people grieving over an absent mom, or the mom who will be absent in the not-too-distant future because of the ravages of disease or old age or both.

It’s painful for the millions of childless women who dreamed of their children to be, and for those who never found the right man to marry and have a child with.

Then there’s the flip side. Mother’s Day is painful, sometimes to the point of excruciating, for the millions of people who had The Mother From Hell — the abusive or neglectful mother, or the one who abandoned soon after birth.

When I was in active ministry as a hospital chaplain, I worked the Sunday swing shift from 2:30 to midnight. For obvious reasons, Mother’s Day was one of those extra-grueling days for one whose job was to give spiritual care to those laid low by illness, injury, impending death and the aftermath of death.

I also served two full, grueling years as a hospice chaplain. I think pastors, and certainly hospital and hospice chaplains, know better than most how complicated and dysfunctional relationships with mothers and fathers and families can be.

Of course, I’ve often noted here that complicated or dysfunctional family relationships aren’t new. This we know because the book of Genesis and so many other parts of the Bible tell us so.

Hell hath no fury like a family member’s or members’ grudge.

By all means, let’s honor and thank God for our good Mothers today.

And allow me to send a great big hug to all of you amazing Moms — and first and foremost to all those great mothers in my own family!

You are amazing indeed, Moms!

But how about we take a minute to pray for and remember those who aren’t having a Hallmark Card day. For many, it’s a long day — or a long two weeks now.

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The Fox & Friends trio gleefully trashed the New York Times in their Friday morning show. In the process, they made utter fools of themselves.

The popularity of “Fox & Friends,” a TV program that consistently has the highest ratings in daytime broadcast journalism, underscores the fact that high ratings are not a measure of high quality.

On the Friday morning edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Pete Hegseth took the lead in trashing the New York Times for allegedly failing to cover the capture of five ISIS leaders.

Flipping through a print edition of the Times, Hegseth gleefully noted, “I’ve looked for the five ISIS leaders captured in the failing New York Times, and in the print edition today, I have not seen it yet!”

That’s because the allegedly failing New York Times had reported the story of the capture of five ISIS leaders two days earlier, on Wednesday.

The day before, on Thursday, Hegseth’s own Fox News reported the story of the capture, catching up to the New York Times scoop.

Maybe the guys at Fox & Friends should watch their own Fox network for news. I would highly recommend they watch Shep Smith’s program at lunchtime. It’s the one network news program I try to watch every day for its excellent news coverage and smart, hard-hitting commentary.

In addition, Hegseth and his two co-hosts at Fox & Friends could read the always great New York Times every day rather than scanning it on Fridays. And read it along with the great Washington Post.

Not that the Times and Post are perfect.

But the two papers are two great American institutions. And great American institutions — in journalism as in religion as in business as in sports as in the military and as any other big institution — make mistakes.

In fact, big, great institutions sometimes make whopping big huge mistakes.

Have you seen the latest news about that great American business institution AT&T?

That great business institution had to admit to making a whopping big mistake in hiring Donald Trump’s personal “fixer” Michael Cohen in a whopping big case of influence peddling.

It’s doubtful that Hegseth won’t be manning up and admitting his mistake in trashing the New York Times with a blatantly false accusation about its excellent coverage of the capture of ISIS leaders — a story that informed people around the world read on Wednesday in the world’s best paper.

Feel free to rate this blog post.

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