Mormon Discipline and Radical American Nuns

A civil and fair-minded site for Mormons who want to discuss their religion,, is at the center of a political controversy. From The Daily Beast…

David Twede, 47, a scientist, novelist, and fifth-generation Mormon, is managing editor of, an online magazine produced largely by members of the Mormon Church that welcomes scholarly debate about the religion’s history from both critics and true believers.

A Mormon in good standing, Twede has never been disciplined by Latter Day Saints leadership. But it now appears his days as a Mormon may be numbered because of a series of articles he wrote this past week that were critical of Mitt Romney.

On Sunday, Twede says his bishop, stake president, and two church executives brought him into Florida Mormon church offices in Orlando and interrogated him for nearly an hour about his writings, telling him, “Cease and desist, Brother Twede.”

Mormon leaders have scheduled an excommunication “for apostasy” on Sept. 30. A spokesman for the church told The Daily Beast that the church would not be commenting for this story.

If David Twede wants some support, he should email the nuns…

A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns group said it was “stunned” that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.

In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been “silent on the right to life” and had failed to make the “Biblical view of family life and human sexuality” a central plank in its agenda. It accused the group of promoting “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

It also reprimanded American nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by American bishops. Public disagreement with the bishops — “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals” — is unacceptable, the report said.

It’s tough for believers when their church organizations become so politically entangled that they find themselves on the defensive for not voting or campaigning for the approved candidates.

Collusion between Church and State has gotten a lot of people killed, quite a few in our own New England, founded by exiles who were the wrong type of Christian. The Puritans did not take a lesson in the evils of intolerance, and went on to do stuff like hang Mary Dyer in Boston Common for the crime of Quakerism.

Mary Dyer was a tough case– continually defying the authorities and returning to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to support her faith. Religion is like that– uncompromising. Politics, on the other hand, is the art of the possible. Democracy depends on majority rule, tempered by laws that protect the individual. Rarely an uncompromising politician can do great good in the world. More often they just put up a front and make deals in the back room. Let them be what they are– they’re not spiritual leaders– they’re attention junkies who love power.

Separation of church and state is freedom’s best friend. Church and State are two great powers and the individual needs some space between them. Ask Roger Williams about that.

Job of Work

I was stuck waiting in my car yesterday evening so I improved my mind by listening to live coverage of the Republican National Convention.

There were politicians talking about how their parents, their grandparents, their families started small businesses. We love small businesses no matter what party we vote for. The big businesses and multi corporations that both parties answer to for the big bucks were staying discretely in the background. That’s always the way. McDonalds hides behind the Mom and Pop diner and Walmart wipes out the corner store. Good luck, small businesses, you are minnows in the shark pool.

Anyway, I am sick of this phrase, ‘Job Creators’. If you are religious, there is only one Creator, and His name is not Donald Trump. If you are scientific you know that Einstein said you can’t make something from nothing. Since when have some of our population assumed Godlike powers? This couldn’t be Evolution, could it? Wouldn’t that be problematic with the base?

With all this self-congratulation about being the party of Job Creators, the politicians I heard seldom used the word ‘work’. Perhaps because ‘workers’ has a slightly discomforting sound, as if perhaps the workers might start organizing. It’s better to focus on the Job Creators, who bestow employment on the deserving if we just give them enough tax breaks and deregulation.

I think we are all, Republicans and Democrats, looking in the wrong direction. A job is a task. You can get a job digging holes and filling them in, but that would not be meaningful or dignified work. Anyone with their eyes open knows that there is abundant opportunity for work that needs doing. Construction and rehabilitation of our cities, roads and bridges, creative problem solving, service work for our growing elderly population to name a few obvious crying needs. There are qualified people ready to do this work.

We still use construction almost 80 years old from the WPA. I wish the Obama Administration had called it that. ‘Stimulus’ doesn’t have the historical connection that would have made it clear how we got the job done in the Great Depression.

Beyond that, we are in a new millenium. No one has to spend forty years kicking a foot press in a stifling mill. It’s all automated. The human being, who is capable of so much more than being used as industrial machinery could make her contribution though meaningful work, or be discarded and despised for her unemployment.

It’s been said that ‘workfare’ only makes sense when the government is committed to 100% employment. You don’t shove someone out of the plane without a parachute. There are not enough jobs. There is more than enough work. To balance the real needs and resources will require both private and public institutions in coordination, with some commitment to the good of our country.

There was a phrase I first heard at Occupy Providence, ‘solidarity economy’. An economy that takes into account mutual aid and the public good, independence and free enterprise, equal representation for all regardless of social class. If we get too fixated on ‘jobs’ we are not aiming high enough. If we don’t recognize that we all built it, we are deluding ourselves.

It’s like a game of mis-direction. No matter which side is talking, don’t watch their mouths, watch their hands.

Tom Sgouros has an analysis of job destruction in North Kingstown at Rhode Island’s Future.

Strong Words from Mitt Romney

An officer and a citizen were killed in the latest random assault weapon murder, but let’s get our priorities straight…

MIAMI (AP) — Mitt Romney says gun laws are not the answer to the recent string of mass shootings.

Romney says it’s not about the weapons used in the attacks, but about the individuals who choose to commit violence against others.

The Republican presidential candidate spoke hours after a police officer, a gunman and a third person were killed in a shooting near Texas A&M University.

Romney says “thoughtful consideration” is needed about what can be done to prevent violent attacks. But he says he isn’t calling for any particular legislation.

Rest in peace, County Constable Brian Bachmann. No one has your back.

Redcoats Insult Utah

In a brilliant diplomatic move, presidential candidate Mitt Romney got British Prime Minister David Cameron to admit how he really feels about one of our United States…

In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10, he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games. One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”

David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

Cameron’s remarks were intended to be a light-hearted jibe at Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

‘Middle of nowhere???’ Romney skillfully maneuvered Cameron into revealing his simmering resentment at our historic anti-colonialism. Romney could have just used this trip to advance his campaign, but instead he is taking the lead in ferreting out potential enemies among those we thought were friends. Imagine what he would do as president. David Cameron owes Utah a public apology. And even though Utah is far away from Rhode Island, they don’t call us ‘United’ for nothing. I’m calling for a boycott of English muffins. Let’s hit them where it hurts.

Anglo-Saxon Spoken Here

Arrghh!!! That’s Anglo-Saxon for ‘I’d better get off this laptop and be at work on time if I want to stay employed.’

I love being surrounded by history. My church, First Unitarian, has a bell forged by Paul Revere and Sons.

We all remember the famous poem about Paul Revere’s midnight ride. He bravely raced to warn the Redcoats that anti-colonialist insurgents were massing in the towns planning to overturn the legitimate Anglo-Saxon reign of, God bless him, King George.

Sadly, the loyalists failed, and instead of just being chill, like Canada, we had an American Revolution. This is a deep national embarrassment, and we never finish apologizing for it when one of our candidates goes to solicit the English vote.

What? They can’t vote here? Even the Anglo-Saxons? Well, they can send some of those British pounds to the campaign. That counts more than votes anyway. And lots of their people have dual citizenship, like that really big person, Newscorp.

There’s lots of history nerds in Britain, and The Guardian gets all technical about the successive invasions that hit their isles through history.

Speaking of invasions, I’m not sure I can really get into the Anglo Saxon thing– my ancestors having emmigrated to escape starvation during the Irish Famine. But I’m not holding a grudge. Don’t push it, though. And the Saxons? Weren’t a lot of them Germans? The US has strong connections to Germany, so maybe that country is next on the campaign trail.

What confuses me is why brilliant thinkers like Dinesh D’Souza and Newt Gingrich and that guy on the Romney campaign talk like anti-colonialism is a bad thing. And like we never had issues with the British.

Next summer should we have a pageant where the Redcoats rescue the Gaspee from burning and throw the insurgents in Guantanamo? It’s not like history hasn’t been re-written before.

A Heartbeat Away

Early guess at who Mitt Romney will choose for a running mate from The Daily Beast…

The Bachelor, Republican vice-presidential edition? Mitt Romney is meeting with several top vice-presidential favorites this weekend while on a private retreat with top fundraisers in Utah. At the retreat: former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Paul Ryan, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal—and they will be joined by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Is Marco Rubio totally out of the picture?

Question for Mitt Romney

The Numbers

Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly reports that the Romney campaign has a new slogan, “Obama Isn’t Working”.

Job loss and a weak economy are affecting almost all of us. We who feel fairly secure in our jobs have children, friends, relatives who are out of work.

I am one of those who wanted President Obama to start a new WPA, to make the banks accountable, to break up monopolies so that in future we will not be held hostage by private corporations that have grown ‘too big to fail’.

NYT columnist Gail Collins said that Barack Obama promised to bring us together, but he didn’t promise to bring us together in left field. Clearly we elected a moderate.

Given that, I have never in my lifetime seen such hostility to a president. That includes Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Barack Obama had to show his birth certificate. He is constantly accused of being socialist and faces a divided Congress. The economic recession is worldwide– as you will notice if you watch the stock market freak every time something happens in Greece or China. Even if Barack Obama had inherited a surplus and a peace dividend, we would be facing some rocky times.

Of course, that was not the case.

President Obama inherited an economic crisis, two foreign wars, and a Congress with a slim Democratic majority formed by coalitions of widely differing constituencies.

We do not have the job growth we need, but the graph shows what we were up against after 8 years of President Bush.

My question for Mitt Romney– ‘Republicans held the White House for 8 years. Clearly their economic policies weren’t working. What would a President Romney do differently from President George W. Bush?’

That is the question to ask.