Archives for the month of: August, 2014

by Harold M. Frost IV

Abortion is indeed a horrible evil, and it must end, in America and around the world. Those who are pro-life must effectively bear witness to the reality of what abortion is (the killing of an unborn human being) and must lovingly lead society away from this heinous practice. Part of being both effective and loving is to avoid being meanspirited, and to be consistently pro-life. People must embrace the Consistent Life Ethic- that is, to be against not only abortion and euthanasia, but also to be against unjust war, capital punishment, and the destruction of our planet Earth, and to be for helping the poor and upholding the dignity of every human being, born and unborn, without exception. The pro-life movement, in order to appeal to a broader base of people, needs to abandon radical right-wing extremism. Pro-lifers should follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught love and compassion, instead of the teachings of Ayn Rand, who advocated a mean philosophy of selfishness. We pro-lifers can’t with integrity tell women not to have abortions, while at the same time trying to cut programs woman need to give birth to their babies and to raise them and care for them. Above all, we must be loving. Our churches must really be communities of love (see Acts) and must proselytize the message of love, to help people and to transform our society from being an unloving Culture of Death, to being a loving Culture of Life. We must all pray, for mercy, for an end to the Culture of Death, and for love to prevail in our troubled country. Also, we should fast from time to time for these things. Pro-lifers must not be hateful or meanspirited towards anyone- not prisoners, not gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people, not the homeless, not alcoholics and other addicts, not anyone. We all must practice love in all of our affairs. If we pro-lifers really practice love, and love God above all things, and love ALL our brothers and sisters in the human family, then will the terrible juggernaut of the Culture of Death be ended in America. Love! Pray! Fast!

by Harold M. Frost IV

The Eucharist is not merely symbolic
It is splendorously and really real
Dwelling in the sacred consecrated Host
Is our King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ
Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity
At that Last Supper, on that very first
Magnificent Maundy Thursday
Our Lord made it brilliantly be
That the Bread and Wine
Could become the Body and Blood
When the priest says “This is My Body”
The Host becomes Jesus Christ
Transubstantiation- that wonderful process
That spiritual mechanism by which
The Bread and Wine become
The Body and Precious Blood
Transubstantiation- the heart of Holy Mass
The Supreme Sacrifice Itself
On the holy altar
One Great Sacrifice for us sinners
Many Masses but one Sacrifice
Like many sunrises but one sun
One Great Sacrifice for us all
Propagating through time and space
How wondrous it is that Jesus
Made it be that His Sacrifice
Be present to us in this way
Yes, through the depths of time and through space
By the Power the bread and wine
Become the Body and the Precious Blood!

By Susan Wilcox, CSJ

Today, I spoke with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries in front of the Shirley Chisolm Post Office at his “Congress on Your Corner” event. My congressman votes pretty much in line with my politics in the limited way that politics operates, except on the issue of aid to Israel.

I’m in agreement with the United Nations and most of the world community that Israel has violated international law and committed war crimes with its siege on Gaza. I referenced a speech that he gave at a pro-Israel rally held in New York this week in which he announced, “Brooklyn is for Israel!” I told him I took issue with his statement because I have spent time at Brooklyn For Peace’s 10+ day vigil at a park in my neighborhood. And as I talked with people, they don’t seem to be “for Israel.” They are mostly either horrified at the atrocities committed by the Israeli Defense Forces, or they are ambivalent, stating that they don’t really know the facts. Brooklyn for Peace, many of whom are Jews themselves, have helped with this educational deficit and have collected over 1,500 signatures from neighbors asking the US government to de-fund the over-$3 billion aid package to Israel.

I also reported to Congressman Jeffries that when Israel-Palestine is framed in terms of a giant gentrification project, people, “get it” in relation to their own lives. They “get it” because Brooklynites are laying seize to massive displacement under gentrification especially in neighborhoods of color backed by NYPD’s “Broken Windows” and Stop, Question, Frisk policies. He responded that he had not been exposed to that framing of the issue and did find it interesting. However, his policy decisions were based on that fact that he represented a large section of Russian Jews in Brooklyn who are in support of Israel; that Hamas was a terrorist organization incapable of negotiation toward a two-state solution; and that Israel had a right to protect itself. I took issue with his analysis that all of the most knowledgeable experts in the region advocate for a two-state solution, of which he did not argue further — but asked me, what would I suggest?

I suggest moving away from this very black-and-white, binary point of view to a deeper and longer point of view. An example of a deeper analysis is that Hamas is essentially a creation of Israel, just as most of what we in the US term “terrorists” are creations of the entities that oppose them. He actually agreed with me on this. By this, I mean that when circumstances are created by powerful authorities whose stated goals are to displace or eradicate a people based on race and/or religion, one can expect organized, uncompromising anger as one form of resistance. Also, importantly, international law allows that people under “foreign and colonial domination” have the right to armed resistance. We should expect that the creator of this situation bears a larger burden of responsibility in terms of a creative non-aggressive response. I indicated that automatic support for the Israeli occupation was waning among young people, and I that I personally would work to stretch that binary view.

The longer view I suggest is one of putting this issue within the context of the Global Climate Crisis. This region of the planet is already a desert and research shows is going to get hotter with less and less access to water. None of the historical arguments for rights to the region are going to matter if it’s inhabitable. And does anyone dispute in this future scenario, that poor people of color will be left with the mess while wealthy white people will find a homeland elsewhere?

by Harold M. Frost IV

In this essay I will propose a communistic system for society, but although it is communistic, it is NOT atheistic, as was old-style Soviet communism. And I do not propose to force it on people against their desires; what I envision is instead for society and its people to evolve towards being more and more loving and compassionate, and more loving of God, so that eventually a communistic system would be established, by the free choice of the people.

The ideal society would have an economy based on Love instead of money, and the principles of “one for all and all for one” and “from each according to his/her abilities and to each according to his/her need” are the best principles for society to be based on. In this essay I will propose and outline a socio-economic system that I call jubileeism, which would be based on Love, which would eventually have no money, and which would operate based on the above principles. Basically it would be Christian communism- an alternative to capitalism, fascism, and atheistic communism. Although it would be based on Christian principles of mercy, love, compassion, charity, and goodness, IT WOULD NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OR EXCLUDE NON-CHRISTIANS; all people of all faiths should love each other and work together for the common good. Capitalism is a system based on scarcity, exploitation, inequality, injustice, and excess consumption. Excess consumption is proving to be very bad for our planet Earth, and our society is poisoned by greed, materialism, and injustice. The world may not be quite ready for a moneyless economy, but the day may be coming when scarcity and exploitation will be as out of date as feudalism is today. Scarcity may become a thing of the past, especially if advanced nanotechnology (assemblers, replicators, etc.) is developed. Proper development of existing and to-be-developed technologies has the potential to usher in an age of plenty for all humankind. Science and technology will continue to advance. The question then becomes: Will all people benefit fairly and equitably, or will wealth continue to be concentrated in the hands of exploiters while a great many people suffer in poverty? Jubileeism offers a way for all people to live well. When I say “moneyless economy,” I do not mean merely a cashless economy; I mean no money of any sort, not even RFID-based electronic accounting of funds (that would be very dangerous for freedom). And I do not mean a barter system.

Jesus commanded all people to love God and to love each other; He commanded all people to love all other people unconditionally and without exception. And He commanded all people to not make an idol out of wealth and money. Jesus said to a rich man “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven” (Matthew 19:21). Yes, we need clothes, household furnishings, and maybe a car in order to live, but as long as there are people in dire need, we should not have excess wealth. Whatever wealth and possessions a person does have should inasmuch as is practical be shared with others. As long as there are people in need, it is wrong for the super-rich to have multiple mansions. Those who do should sell all of them except their principle residence, and give the money to charity, or otherwise make them available for good purposes. As long as there is need, those who are able should let the poor and homeless stay with them. As for myself: I risked eviction from a small apartment I lived in from 2004 to 2010 to let homeless alcoholics stay with me. And I let needy people stay with me on other occasions. However, justice and decency requires me to tell about an instance in which I uncharitably and obstinately refused to allow a needy person to stay with me, even though it was a bitterly cold Vermont winter night; I was following the advice of a person who prior to that occasion told me that I should tell the needy person to leave my apartment (I had let him stay with me before for a short time). Looking back I see with a broken heart that this person may actually have been trying to be my friend. But I was so used to over a long period of time being taken advantage of, that I interpreted his begging me to let him in as just another instance of someone trying to take advantage of me. I am very, very sorry for this. B.K.L., please forgive me. I tell this to you now lest B.K.L. come forward and accuse me of my terrible meanness, causing me to lose all credibility as an advocate of love and compassion. I really want someday to personally apologize to B.K.L., and to be reconciled with him. And I grieve over all the times I have been hurtful to other people: To all of you out there whom I have hurt in any way, know that I am very sorry and desire reconciliation with you. And to all of those who have hurt me in any way, know that I forgive you and desire to be your friend.

The early Christians shared everything and gave to the poor. See Acts 4:32-35: “The community of believers was of one heart and one mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.” Think of how much better things would be if everyone shared what they had, so that no one lacked for a necessity! Think of how much better things would be if everyone loved each other and there was no hatred, indifference, cruelty, or war! But for things to get better, people must turn to God, reform their lives, and pray for love and mercy. With God all things are possible, but without God nothing good is possible. And as long as there is sin, there will be suffering. Justice demands it.

Just imagine- a society with no money. If there was no money there would be no debt; there would be no banks, insurance companies, or stock markets. There would be no hedge funds. There would be no need for bill collecting, accountants, cashiers, etc. There would be no casinos or taxes. And there would be no advertising or annoying calls from telemarketers, and less wasteful “junk mail.” There would be no more scams and no more ripoffs. Think of all the work regulating the flow of money that would be eliminated! The people now engaged in this sort of work could instead be put to work doing more productive and beneficial things. This would include the production of goods and services that people actually need and want, such as public works projects, teaching and mentoring, caring for the elderly and disabled, and engineering and scientific endeavors. More could be done with less person-hours worked, so people wouldn’t have to work as much as they do now under our current money-based system. Without money, life would be much better; many would be freed from living a rat race. To those of you now engaged in activities relating to the handling of money, do not think your work has been wasted. In the grand scheme of things, all work that is well done is rewarded spiritually, if one is open to spiritual graces.

But how could this be? How could it be possible to have a society without money? I think that it is possible, if society evolves towards being more loving and socially responsible. It would all be based on a great social contract, enforced by Love and civic values that would flow therefrom, in which people give of their talents as they are able, for the production of goods and services and for doing necessary tasks, and in return receive whatever they need or reasonably want for free. Some system would be needed for matching people with jobs, based both on peoples’ talents and the need for work to be done. While there might be some bums who will take advantage of this system, I believe that most people, as a matter of personal pride and for self-actualization, want to be productively employed, so I think this jubileeist system could work, at least if people turn to God and pray and become more loving; this would lead to the civic-mindedness that would lead the vast majority of people to do their fair share and to not overconsume. Having a few bums who abuse the system would not be anywhere near as bad for society as the current situation with our money-based system in which a wealthy few exploit the masses while the poor suffer and the middle-class struggles, and in which there are people who are destitute and/or who lack access to health care. A big part of our current money-based economy consists of monetary manipulation that benefits no one except for a wealthy few, at the expense of everyone else. Mostly, everything would be freely distributed without restriction, but the distribution of goods and services that remain scarce and/or difficult to produce may have to be restricted. Whatever bureaucracy would be required for this surely would be much less burdensome on society than what prevails under a money-based system.

Advanced nanotechnology, and other technologies, could end scarcity for ordinary goods and services (even with current technology, all people could have their needs met). It would make no sense to restrict distribution of goods and services that are easily produced by machines, microscopic or otherwise. But what about intellectual property (patents, copyrights, etc.)? Intellectual property rights must not be used as an excuse to deny people a need. A glaring example of this is the many people in poor countries who have died and are dying of AIDS, because they can’t afford to pay for patented antiretroviral HIV drugs. The powers-that-be who are responsible for this situation are going to have a lot to answer for! As long as capitalism continues, owners of intellectual property have a right to reasonable monetary reward, but this right does not include the right to deny anyone something that is an essential need because of inability to pay. Those who can pay should pay; if someone is unable to pay, the owner of a patent isn’t going to get any money anyway, so the person in need who is unable to pay should have their need met, as in the example of an HIV/AIDS patient in Africa or elsewhere in need of antiretroviral therapy. Under jubileeism, everyone would get what they need and reasonably want, anyway, so there would be no need to have copyrights and patents.

Think of the advantage of all health care (including mental health and developmental services, dental and eye care, etc.) being totally free. Think of all the unnecessary and wasteful work that would be eliminated by virtue of it being free. There would be no billing or claims processing, and no wasteful bureaucracy, and doctors could spend more time taking care of their patients instead of dealing with insurance companies. The private insurance company and Medicaid and Medicare bloated bureaucracies could be eliminated!

Jubileeism would be a system in which all people who wanted to would be liberated from lovelessness, and life would be a constant Jubilee and love-fest. Imagine everyone loving each other, there being no lovelessness or unloved people. Life would be so much better! If life revolved around God and love, instead of money, the desire for excess consumption would go away. For jubileeism to work, people would have to turn to God and trust in Him. People would have to repent of their consumerism, materialism, godlessness, and other sins, and pray for forgiveness, and for the graces of living good lives and doing God’s will. Christians must have a personal relationship through prayer with the Lord Jesus Christ, and non-Christians who believe in God must have a personal relationship through prayer with God as they know Him. People who do not believe in God must repent of their unbelief. If people were open to God and had a prayer life and tried to do God’s will, then jubileeism would work. Let us all love God and each other!

How would the production of goods and services be regulated? Presently under capitalism the “free market” regulates the production and distribution of goods and services. Some mechanism would be needed to replace this. Perhaps it could work like this: People would order what they needed through the Internet or through other means, or just go to a store and take what they need, or go to a restaurant, bar, movie theatre, etc. and receive whatever services they wanted. The businesses would order from factories and suppliers, who would provide the goods to them. Remember, everyone would be working for free, in exchange for getting whatever they reasonably want for free. Goods, services, and labor all would be free. This would be the beauty of jubileeism.

Some other principles of jubileeism: All forms of cruelty must stop, including capital punishment and cruelty to prisoners and animals. Society must stop using mass incarceration as an instrument of social policy. The whole criminal justice and correctional system must be thoroughly overhauled and oriented toward rehabilitation where possible, instead of cruel retribution. The manner in which trials (both civil and criminal) are conducted must change. As it is now, guilty people go free, while the innocent are incarcerated, or even executed. The adversarial system needs to be modified to make it fairer, and discrimination against minorities and the poor in arrests and prosecutions must stop. Society does definitely have a right to sequester dangerous criminals, but this must be done in a thoroughly humane way. Marijuana must be legalized, and in general the drug issue should be dealt with as a public health matter instead of a criminal justice matter. War is evil and must be stopped. Nations must wage peace instead of war. Wealthy countries must do what they reasonably can to help poor countries. The Earth’s environment must be carefully and diligently protected, and in particular, action is urgently needed with regard to the issue of global warming; whatever needs to be done must be done by all countries: greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation must be curtailed drastically, absolutely as soon as possible. Abortion is a terrible evil; it is the killing of an unborn human being, and it must stop. Human life starts at conception. It is indeed unfortunate that at this time in America the pro-life movement is dominated by mean and hypocritical right-wingers. But there are more progressive-minded pro-life organizations — there is an organization called Consistent Life, which advocates for the Consistent Life Ethic (their website is www.consistent-life.org ) and there is even a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered pro-life organization called PLAGAL (Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians; their website is www.plagal.org). Under jubileeism, women and their babies, along with everyone else, would have their needs taken care of, unlike the situation that prevails under our current money-based system.

Jubileeism is a much more just, loving, humane, and compassionate, as well as more efficient system than the haphazard and callously unjust and cruel capitalist money-based system we live under today. I believe that jubileeism is the wave of the future. Love God! Love one another!

by Harold M. Frost IV

God is love, and all love ultimately comes from God. Love is the divine essence, and it is an emanation of God. God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and as such, in spite of all the evils that exist in the world as a result of humanity’s rejection of God’s way of love, God’s love is destined to completely prevail, and ultimately the world, and indeed the entire Universe, will be completely transformed by love. All of us must live according to God’s way of love, and love God and each other; in doing thus we will help usher in a new age of universal love.

What is love, this divine essence? It is a spiritual substance that takes various forms. In its purest and most concentrated form, it is the substance of God, and it gives rise in God to all of the divine attributes- infinite love for all people, infinite mercy, infinite knowledge, infinite wisdom, and infinite power. Yes, love is very powerful. Only in God is this power infinite, but love does also give us humans a great degree of power to bring joy and happiness to each other, and to make the world better. If only all of us loved God and each other fully- then the world would be a paradise. God showers all of us with love; we all must love God in return and be channels of that love by loving all our fellow human beings. The love that we give and receive between us humans is a spiritual substance that brings joy and that gives rise to good intentions; when we love someone, we want what is best for them- we want them to be happy in this world as well as in the next. Love conquers fear, hatred, and indifference.

Love is a transforming force for people and for society, if only we will accept it and cooperate with it. By being open to God’s love for us we can overcome our sin and our selfishness, and we can become more loving. Part of loving each other is forgiveness; we are called to forgive each other. We must forgive each other, because all of us have failings and need forgiveness and mercy from God. If all of us become more loving and forgiving, and sincerely turn to God, Who is the source of all love, then will the world be transformed! There will then be no more hatred, meanness, or indifference, and all people will be loved, and the world will become a Jubilee of Love!

If all of us truly loved each other, we would collectively see to it that all people have their basic needs met- their needs for food, housing, healthcare, and love. And we would be concerned about each other’s spiritual needs- we would pray for each other. And we would stop destroying our Earth, which we all depend on for our material sustenance, and we would properly address the problem of global warming. And, here in America, we would end mass incarceration as an instrument of social policy, and end all cruel treatment of prisoners. And, we would include the unborn among those we love; abortion is a profoundly unloving practice, and it must stop. We cannot call ourselves truly loving if we kill our unborn babies.

Our society, including our churches, needs to be totally transformed by a peaceful Revolution of Love. Here in America this Revolution of Love must be within the law and within the Constitution. This Revolution of Love must start in many individual hearts; we must turn to God and live according to His way of love, and that means in part to try to avoid sinning. (I have sinned, and I have hurt and offended people, as well as God, and I beg forgiveness from God and all whom I have hurt or offended; I am sorry). We all must pray to become more loving and virtuous, and we must pray for each other. We must reach out in love to the suffering, the lonely, and the marginalized.

People should form groups committed to love and spreading love and promoting the cause of love. I suggest that each group have no more than fifteen people in it, loving each other, praying for each other, bearing witness to love by advocating good and loving policies to their elected representatives and others, and reaching out in love and helping people in need, and spreading the Gospel message of love, forgiveness, and salvation through Jesus Christ. People in these love groups should contact everyone they know and encourage them to start love groups, and people in those groups should contact the people they know, etc., so that there will be a vast proliferation of these groups in our country, so that there will be a total transformation of American society. If millions of people participate in this transformation and stand for love, then the politicians on both the left and the right, and the rich and powerful, will have to conform to love in their public acts and policies, and America will be renewed, and there will be love and fairness for all. But remember, God is love and is the source of all love; with God all things are possible, but without God nothing good is possible. The love movement in our country must be centered on God and on godly principles if it is to succeed.

Spread the word! Forward, copy, and distribute this brief essay, so that people will take initiative in doing their part to start love groups, so that a tsunami of love will wash over our great country! If you receive this message, turn to God and try to start a love group, and encourage others to do the same! Let us all love each other and make a transformation of American society!