Archive for the ‘Native Americans’ Category

Today, a PDF document (3 p.) is described discussing Federal legislation that provides necessary legal protections for people of faith who seek to live out their spiritual commitments in daily life.  Nearly unanimous bipartisan support was garnered within both houses of Congress for this law addressing restoration of religious liberty.  A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (called Employment Division v. Smith) made it more difficult for religious believers to challenge laws that constrained their ability to live out their faith.  In that case, Native Americans were fired from their jobs because they used peyote as part of their religion.  The RFRA was intended to affirm and buttress the First Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees the free exercise of religion.  Twenty states are reported as having adopted their own versions of RFRA, and another eleven states have similar provisions in place provided by state court decisions.  RFRA is reported as supplying a balancing test when the government attempts to restrict the free exercise of religion.  In general, RFRAs help people of minority faiths who cannot secure legislative exemptions for specific practices maintained among themselves.

 

THE KINGS SPEAR:  I am continuing to review documents posted in the “Bishop’s Advocacy Activity on Religious Liberty” page at the Internet site of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).  The Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty has published a “must read” PDF document on the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) [http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Why-the-Religious-Freedom-Restoration-Act-Works.pdf].

The Federal law enacted in 1993 under Bill Clinton is described using a Q&A format that presents the following six questions:

1. Does RFRA provide a “license to discriminate” against gay people?

2. What are the safeguards built into RFRA?

3. Why is any RFRA necessary at all?

4. Since there is already a federal RFRA, why do states need their own?

5. Who really benefits from RFRAs?

6. What is the impact of RFRA on current debates over “same-sex marriage” and laws prohibiting “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”
discrimination?

See Why the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Works/The Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, April 07, 2015.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together:  and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.  Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.  But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.  For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you:  because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.  And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.  But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest:  for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.  (Acts 28:  17-24, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Human Law, Divine Favor? (03/23/2015); The American Covenant? (03/03/2015); On Christians Being Inclusive? (07/16/2014); War and Peace (07/17/2014); Separation of Church and State (07/04/2014); The Point of Wisdom? (07/05/2014); Holiday Displays? (12/07/2012); An Attack Upon Creation? (12/08/2012); The Crux of the Matter (10/26/2012); Women Ordained to Minister? (10/27/2012)

 

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually understood.  (For example, members of minority faiths in the U. S. (e.g., Baha’i, Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs) and those operating family-owned businesses must have further protection through the law when their beliefs continue and promote practices in opposition to state or local antidiscrimination laws.  Their legitimate conscientious objections may appear as expressions of “unjust discrimination,” yet, are exactly what is intend when America speaks of religious freedom protected by strong law.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Topics, today, include corporate identity, Native Americans, racism, and slander.  I expand upon a comment I shared in response to a television news report where a Federal agency having oversight on trademarks announced a ruling on the legitimacy of a name used among professional athletes.  The following statement was posted on my Facebook page (06/18/2014):

 

REDSKINS family, What’s In a Name? Given the issue is racism, it is vain (a waste of time; pointless idolatry; bollix, BS, and talking smack) to quarrel about the name of an athletic team, and offer no solutions that include dialog; learning, living, sharing, and working together; or correctly identifying goals, consequences, and opportunities for change. Invite team members to live among the peoples during off season; have team members open their homes and teepees. Offer space for training camps, sponsor education programs, however, do not keep promoting sanctimonious drivel. Lead by example and hard work in projects for genuine change. Offer a vision of the future, instead of continuing to rue the past. Just like Federal copyright registration is only ONE way to establish and protect ones ownership of patents and other intellectual property, trademark registration is not the only way to validate ones lawful ownership of logos and similar material. At best, those insisting they have a “cause” have missed the mark by choosing the wrong target. Be encouraged!

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Blessed are the peacemakers:  for they shall be called the children of God.  (Matthew 5:  9, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Understanding Peace? (11/20/2013); Adversary or Servant? (11/21/2013); Unseen Sin? (06/18/2013); Bible Authors and Truth? (06/19/2013); Unless You Repent (03/05/2013); The Childhood of Jesus? (03/06/2013); Will GOD Bless My Team? (12/31/2012); Put Every Man His Sword By His Side (01/01/2013); Escape from Racism (10/24/2012); Christians Who Ignore GOD’s Laws (10/25/2012)

 

For many years now, my life has been hidden in Christ; and I have been working to be known as a full-time Christian writer.  Sanctified, and set apart by the work I do, I can not now say that I personally know a single entertainer, government official, head of state, politician, college or professional athlete, corporate executive, or television evangelist anywhere in the world.  I do not have Jewish friends with whom I study Siddur, Torah, or observe the Sabbath.  Nor may I say, I personally have friends who are Native Americans.  Even so, it has been my duty to humbly offer intercession and prayer on all their behalf, on behalf of Jerusalem, on behalf of all Israel, on behalf of Washington, DC, and on behalf of all America.  With this in view, and saying what’s been said another way, I share the following counsel as one who is impartial and unengaged:

The Great Spirit, who is maker and keeper of the buffalo, who wears a rainbow about his shoulders, who hides his laughter in the rivulets and streams, the One who is Father of all pure waters, is not pleased to see new war being made upon the basis of old wounds.  Some youth who have not truly known the battles whereby they have been brought forth accuse him of their hunger and thirsts that are not yet quenched.  They grumble and moan as though the earth now shrinks and wastes away because He no longer marks a trail for justice and for truth.  The One who marked a path for the rain, the thunder, the lightning, and the hail, also is He who marks the path for peace.

Do not be deceived.  Corporations do not operate as sovereign states, or nations; and are not living entities or peoples.  Renegades and outlaws often infest them, who seek little more than 30 pieces of silver (in Bible days, the price of a dog, and the price of a whore).  Just as the NBA showed itself absurd in response to recent events (racism will not be ended by the sale of a team, and the change of its ownership), the NFL will show itself inept.  Arguments made on the basis of emotion and feeling are not the same as those rooted in law, principle and vision.  Response by the American games establishment has become as predictable as the attitude of Congress against the President of the United States whenever the Chief Executive responds to any domestic or international crisis.

Historically, racism is a disease that plagues both those operating as though superior as well as those who see themselves as victims.  The symptoms of racism always appear as denial of accountability, denial of ones involvement, and denial of gain and any continuing benefit from negative conditions.  There is no genuine grasp or understanding of the work that must be done for correction, for the victims recovery, or for the continued survival of all.  There is always refusal to respect the integrity and value for the culture, lives, and traditions of others.  Therefore, racism spreads as a poison of discontent, hate crimes, ignorance, indifference, false claims of innocence, and, finally, violence.

Genuine nobility and peace will never come through short-sighted protests.  They must come by all who live drawing closer, not by their moving far apart.  Because it is not yet truly in their spirit, neither “Hail to the Redskins,” nor “Hail to the Oneida” will be the same as “Hail to the Peacemakers.”  The echo and the whisper are cousin to the shout; what was taken as a slogan was not to be forgotten:  Blessed are the peacemakers.  The wisdom of the eagle is not to fight the currents of the air, or to seek to lift himself by his own power and strength.  The air will do the lifting where the eagle will yield and turn according to its prompting.  What he wants is not forbidden, or withheld from him.  He must know, he will never soar to see the fruits within the valley, or serve as spirit guide to those who wear the feather, by beating against the power of the winds.

So far, arguments against the continued use of “REDSKINS” seem all on the level of “common sense.”  As a result, what we have heard up to this point seems no different than the complaint that “Mother F…er,” “SOB” and similar invective are libel and slander against all women, and must be expunged from our language.  Where arguments against the team name go to the level of law enforcement, judicial action, and public tribunal, the community correctly expects a clear and detailed presentation of evidence for accountability and involvement in direct damage, for criminal intent as well as for malice and motive.

There is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, the cry of the eagle is followed by silence.  Many are still listening to hear invitations to cooperative action.  Could there be peace and a broken arrow through proposals and requests for support to the national Native American museum in Washington, DC; for grant programs to develop curriculum and research in anthropology, Native American studies, history, etc.; or for funding action programs like those of the Peace Corp to ensure resources and services for Native American communities?  Clearly, few are now upon the proper path that leads to peace, and until we walk again in brighter light, all America will keep drinking shame like water.).  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.  (Matthew 13:  51-52, KJV)

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC