Sunday, September 12, 2021

Send us anywhere you would have us go

John Shelby Spong 1931 -2021

Send us anywhere you would have us go … only go there with us.
Place upon us any burden you desire … only stand by us to sustain us.
Break any tie that binds us … except the tie that binds us to you.

This is a blessing I love … one I give whenever I have the chance. There has rarely been a Sunday in the 20 years I’ve been at All Saints Church that someone hasn’t asked me for a copy of it -- so that tells me I’m not the only one it touches in a very deep way ... including Grammy award winning composer Bruce Babcock who turned the text into a choral anthem a few years back.

It is a blessing I inherited from +Liz Habecker-- the priest who sponsored me for ordination. She herself inherited it from the bishop who ordained her back in 1977 in the Diocese of Newark: the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong … AKA Jack ... who left this realm today at the age of 90.

To say that Jack Spong was a controversial figure in the Episcopal Church is to perfect the art of understatement. Over the years I’ve read most of what Jack written – agree with some of it, disagree with lots of it and frankly don’t quite get a great deal of it. But I love that we’re part of a church that gives us – all of us – you and me and Jack Spong and everyone in-between -- the freedom to think things out, to imagine things through, to risk being wrong.

And that’s what I love about Jack’s blessing: I love its focus on the freedom of knowing that wherever we go, God goes with us. Whatever burden we bear, God stands by us to sustain us. Whatever ties bind us or restrain us or restricts us pales in comparison with the tie that binds us to the God who created us in love and then sent us out to love one another in return.

Send us anywhere you would have us go … out of our comfort zone – out of our context – out of what is safe and familiar and “home” … into this school year, program year, election year … confident that no matter where we go, you go with us.

Place upon us any burden you desire … and help us remember that you will stand by us to sustain us through even the burdens that come from not from you but from the brokenness of this world that has failed to live up to your dream for it. 

Break any tie that binds us … ties to “how we’ve always done it” … ties to living in safety rather than reaching out in risk … ties to the fears that persuade us to build walls rather than bridges.

To claim that blessing as our own is to claim the freedom it promises: to claim the power of God’s love to transform even the fear in our hearts into strength for the journey – the journey we make together with Jesus and with all the saints who have gone before us and now cheer us on from that balcony in another realm ... including the inimitable Jack Spong.

Rest in peace and power, +Jack. We are so much better for the courage of your work and witness.

Monday, August 02, 2021

It Is Never Just A Joke

It is always just a joke -- and if you don't "get it" then you're the one with the problem.

It is also a foundational skill required to pass Gaslighting 101: Fundamentals in Perpetuating Patriarchy.

And it is one of the most frequently used tools in the toolbelt of those who use insults to undermine confidence and credibility in an ongoing effort to perpetuate the dominance and control which are essential components of the DNA of toxic patriarchy holding our democracy in a death grip.

So no. It is never just a joke. 

And it is long past time for all of us stand up and say so when the toolbelt comes out and the gaslight gets lit.

The most recent paradigmatic example is of course the one currently trending on social media: Kevin McCarthy's recent Gold Medal in Gaslighting. 

ICYMI, in a fundraising speech before an estimated 1,400 Republicans in Tennessee, he told the crowd that if the Republicans win the House in the midterms he wants everyone to come down because "I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel" ... and then added: "It will be hard not to hit her with it."

The "It will be hard not to hit her with it" was of course (wait for it) ... "a joke." 

And those of us who didn't think it was funny are the problem. 
  • Those of us who remember that McCarthy voted against the Violence Against Women Act are over-reacting.
  • Those of us who have watched him undermine the investigation into the January 6 attack by insurrectionist terrorists on our Capitol targeting our democracy in general and Speaker Pelosi in specific are the snowflakes.
  • Those of us who find this yet-another example of unexamined white male privilege are the problem because we can't take a joke. 
Except it is never just a joke. It is variant of the viruses of sexism and misogyny that infect our body politic and it is what has for too long made sexual harassment and violence against women team sports in our nation.

And it is time for it to stop. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Women Who Proclaim the Good News are a Great Army

A Sermon for the Feast of Mary Magdalene:
The Women Who Proclaim the Good News are a Great Army

Sunday, July 18 [transferred] All Saints Church, Pasadena 
Year W | Psalm 68:4-11, John 20:1-2; 11-18

Today we celebrate The Feast of Mary of Magdalene – which is officially July 22nd and falls on a Thursday this year -- but here at All Saints Church we’ve been transferring her feast to an adjacent Sunday for many, many, many, years now.

Here’s how former All Saints staff member Anne Peterson told the story of how that came to be in a piece from our archives written in 2006:

The celebration of Mary Magdalene at All Saints began years ago when task forces exploring inclusive language and images of God were at work. Women’s Council went looking for women in the New Testament.

Not many were to be found, but there was Mary -- a leader of women who supported Jesus’ ministry out from their resources, a faithful disciple who stood at the cross when others had vanished, and the first to experience the risen Christ.

We celebrated this amazing woman starting out with an evening service. The fact her feast day, July 22, was in the summer months when the liturgical calendar encouraged experimentation, was helpful.

The first services, sponsored by Women’s Council, experimented with inclusive language and feminine images of God. Anne Howard and I composed a Eucharistic prayer for these occasions. We invited a variety of women priests to preside.

After the services participants were invited to gather and talk about what it felt like to be in such a service. Having this opportunity to focus on a woman in our traditionally patriarchal church was back in those days highly unusual – and moving to men and women alike
. And eventually the celebration made its way to Sunday morning.

And so here we are – all those years later – and once again we hear the story of Mary’s encounter with the Risen Lord. And once again, I feel honor bound to contextualize her story in the resurrection narratives. So here we go:

Mary's is the first resurrection story in John’s Gospel. The second is when Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room when Thomas is out running an errand.

The third is when Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room when Thomas is BACK in the room.

The fourth is when Jesus appears to the disciples on the lakeshore.

And yet the conclusion of the lakeshore story reads: “This was now the third time Jesus appeared after he was raised from the dead.”

So either John couldn’t count … or the appearance to Mary -- the woman known in the first century church as the “apostle of the apostles” -- didn’t count because she was a woman.

I’ll let you do the math.

It is an irrefutable data point that the biblical stories we inherit as our scriptural family album came to us predominately from our male spiritual ancestors who too-often ignored the work and witness of women because for them … they didn’t count.

 Historically that is how the voices of women have been silenced, marginalized, and devalued not only in our church but in our world.

It is a story as ancient as the disciples who dismissed the women who first proclaimed the resurrection and as recent as a conversation I had with a male colleague about unexamined male privilege.

It was a conversation that ended with him saying defensively: “I’m not privileged. My parents were working class people.”

That is how privilege works to maintain its power: abusing the power of that privilege by refusing to acknowledge that privilege exists. And of course it doesn’t stop with sexism.

It is a process as old as the sin of racism that has been part of our DNA even before we were a nation.

It is as current as the blog posts and twitter feeds tearing down those who dare to speak the truth that Black Lives Matter and those who remind us that unless we are indigenous Americans we are ALL immigrants – or descended from them.

And most recently, it is being used by those who are attacking what scholars call “critical race theory” because it dares to challenge us to teach our children all of their history – not just the parts that make their white ancestors look good.

All of this is at least part of the reason here at All Saints Church we have been using Dr. Wil Gaffney's “Year W” lectionary … a churchy word for “schedule of lessons” … this year: because it centers the often-neglected stories of the women in our biblical family album and gives us all a chance to hear them in a new way.

For as the words of the Psalm appointed for today reminds us:

The AUTHOR OF LIFE gave the word;
          the women who proclaim the good news are a great army.

We stand this morning here at All Saints Church in Pasadena on the shoulders of a great army of truth telling, justice seeking, Jesus following women whose stories bear telling and re-telling lest we lose them to the mists of time.

One of those women is Margaret Sedenquist of blessed memory, who we lost in February to COVID-19. In the 1970's Margaret began keeping track of gender-oriented words in the sermons and liturgy here at All Saints. During her first recording period, 100 gender-oriented words were used; 97 were male oriented and the 3 female terms used were mother, daughter and wife. Her persistence in sending these tallies to then rector George Regas -- and having meetings with him to discuss them -- led to changes in our liturgies that put All Saints in the forefront of the inclusive language movement.

 Margaret was also a delegate to our Diocesan Convention, and it came to her attention that the Canons of the time were made up of exclusively hierarchical male language.

In 1976, Margaret took the microphone on the floor of convention to move that the Canons be rewritten to give equal consideration to women. The logistics of the undertaking would be massive, but Bill Rodiger, then Chair of the Commission on Canons, promised that his committee would work over the next year to have a recommended version ready for adoption at the next convention.

“Does that satisfy you, Mrs. Sedenquist?” Bill Rodiger asked from the podium.

 “I’m not seeking satisfaction, Mr. Rodiger” Margaret famously said. “I’m seeking justice.”

The AUTHOR OF LIFE gave the word;
          the women who proclaim the good news are a great army.

Another of those women was Lydia Wilkins ... long time member of All Saints and a feisty voice for inclusion and equity until her death at the age of 106 in 2010. As an African American woman born in 1904 when women couldn’t vote, and it was difficult or impossible for black men to cast a ballot, Lydia saw momentous changes in her lifetime ... and was a dogged participant in being an agent of those changes.  Until she was 101 she drove herself to the polls -- finally giving in and letting daughter Marjorie drive her to cast her vote for the first African American President in 2008.

 A life-long Episcopalian, Lydia was also an agent of change in the church she loved -- telling this story in a video interview in 2006:

"In 1946 Bishop Stephens called a meeting and so I said “Bishop Stevens, what about our girls going to that camp you're starting up?” And after that meeting my friend called me and said “Lyd, when you asked the bishop about our girls going to camp he just about swallowed his cigar!” But I'll tell you what -- the next year those little girls went to camp. All four of them. And he was at that camp that year to see to it they were taken care of properly."

The AUTHOR OF LIFE gave the word;
          the women who proclaim the good news are a great army.

Today we celebrate the Feast of Mary Magdalene. But every day we have the opportunity celebrate the great army of truth telling, justice seeking, Jesus following women whose stories bear telling and re-telling lest we lose them to the mists of time.

And we have arguably never needed their inspiration more. as we face challenges in our polarized and divided nation moving out of a global pandemic back to a future we have yet to imagine in a world simultaneously threatened by the climate crisis attacking our planet and the rise of authoritarian oligarchies attacking our democracy.

So in conclusion, here are some words of wisdom and inspiration from Bishop Steven Charleston -- words that spoke to me the minute I read them as the marching orders for that great army called to proclaim that good news:

Those who need hope cannot see us if we are bent over with worry.

They cannot find us if we are hiding from conflict.

They cannot join us if they cannot see what we are doing.

As people of faith, we must take the risk of being visible.

Even if our hearts are heavy we must stand and be counted.

Each one of us is a sign someone else is searching for.

We are the inspiration they have been needing.

Our role is often nothing more than being present,

visibly, actively present in reality.

Not offering sympathy from a distance

but offering a hand up close and personal.

It is not always easy for us to do.

It takes courage and commitment, but consider this:

Who do you remember seeing standing tall that touched you in your own life?

And who moved you by doing nothing more than being seen to do the right thing?

THE AUTHOR OF LIFE gave the word; 
the women who proclaim the good news are a great army.

Mary Magdalene was part of that great army.

So was Anne Peterson and the women who worked to bring her story out of the shadows into our Sunday worship; 
So was Margaret Sedenquist who was not seeking satisfaction but justice for the women of our diocese;
and so was Lydia Wilkins whose feisty challenge to Bishop Stevens just about made him swallow his cigar -- and opened the way for integration at our diocesan camp.

And so are all those who labor today to dismantle oppression in all its forms as beacons of God’s love, justice, and compassion in our beautiful and broken world.

And so on this Feast of Mary Magdalene – the first to witness the resurrection, whether John counted her or not – let us give thanks for that great army of women who have proclaimed the good news down through the centuries.

And let all of us – no matter where we fall on the continuum of gender identity – continue to be part of the good work of amplifying their voices and telling their stories as we take our place on their shoulders – proclaiming in our generation as they did in theirs the good news of the indestructible power of God’s inexhaustible love.  Amen.


A Woman's Lectionary for the Whole Church: Year W by Dr. Wilda C. Gafney

Cartoon by Naked Pastor; used with permission

Friday, July 02, 2021

On Integrity and Wineskins and the Choices We Make

This is the time of year when the "memories" on my Facebook page are full of the ghosts of General Conventions past. Among those "ghosts" are the years when working with Integrity -- for many years the Episcopal Church's most effective and influential LGBTQ advocacy organization -- took a major part of my time, energy and attention ... not to mention blood, sweat and tears.

And I begrudge not a minute, not an ounce, not an iota. It was some of the most challenging, rewarding and fulfilling work I've ever been called to do. It was a privilege to have even a small part in calling this church I love and serve to live more fully into its commitment to make the full and equal claim promised "homosexual persons" back in 1976 a reality for LGBTQ+ people moving forward into God's future.

Yet we are in a place now where what worked then isn't working now -- and we need a new vision to continue the work. I wrote about that awhile back -- Ecclesiastes 3:1 and Integrity 2020 -- and hold now to what I wrote then: 

In this season, I am persuaded that the old wineskins of Integrity USA's organizational structure are neither adequate, sufficient nor capable of equipping us for the work we are being called to do. And, in this season, my hope and prayers are that collectively we can find a way to celebrate the accomplishments of the past while we work together to reimagine the work moving forward.

Which brings me to today -- where my dive down the rabbit hole of Integrity archives due to the current contretemps with the AWOL Integrity leadership and its utter lack of financial transparency unearthed this "Letter from the President" I wrote in 2004: a time that now feels like a long time ago in a galaxy very far, far away indeed! 

It was just after +Gene's consecration and before Windsor Reports or B033s or Lambeth Conferences or Blessings Projects or Marriage Task Forces ... much less Prop 8s or SCOTUS watches or marriage equality ... and long before any of the work now being done on transgender and nonbinary awareness and inclusion had even begun to start to gain traction. 

And yet there is part of it that still rings true. There is a part of it that still works. There is a part of it that still calls me -- and maybe will call others as well -- to make our choices count as we continue to do the work ahead of us -- an inch at a time. See what you think as la lucha continua ... the struggle continues!


A Letter from the President: January 2004

"It's our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." [Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter]

I believe it has been our choices – far more than our abilities -- that have shown what Integrity truly is as an organization and has enabled us to reach this moment in our history where we stand poised between the amazing accomplishments of the recent past and ready to move forward into God’s future.

An inventory of our abilities might lead one to the conclusion that we have bitten off far more than we can chew: dependent on the donations of supporters to keep us funded and the commitment of over-extended volunteers to keep us moving, our resources sometimes pale in comparison with the work that looms in front of us, even while we celebrate how far we have come.

Much progress has been made in realizing the dream voiced in 1976 of a church where “full and equal claim” means “full and equal claim.” And while God is not finished with us OR with the Episcopal Church yet, we do indeed have much to celebrate. New Hampshire has a fabulous new bishop, the number of dioceses creating policies to enable the blessing of same gender relationships continues to grow and (perhaps most importantly!) in many parts of the country we have a tremendous opportunity for evangelism in the LGBT community as a result of the actions of General Convention 2003.

At the same time, we are also dealing with a predictable backlash within the church as those who have made a decision for schism continue to practice a “Chicken Little” theology and insist that the Anglican Sky is Falling, despite the body of evidence to the contrary. Many who live in parts of the country where the actions of General Convention are not being embraced have a hard time imagining the day when the decisions in Minneapolis will make a difference in their congregations. 

And in this election year, we are also finding that gay and lesbian families are in danger of being scapegoated as the source of all that’s wrong with the sanctity of marriage in this country. These are but a few of the challenges to our resources and our energy, our commitment and our abilities. But once again, I believe it will be our choices that will show what we truly are.

Choices to continue to work together – as chapters, networks and congregational circles – to tell our stories, witness to our faith, bring others into conversation and conversion to our commitment to the vision that the full inclusion of LGBT people into the Body of Christ is not an issue that will split the church but an opportunity that will grow it. 

Choices to continue to be active in ministries of reconciliation and outreach to those whose perspectives differ from ours even when it’s hard – even when we’re tired of extending our hand – even when we’re sick to death of our own stories. 

Finally, the choice to continue to base our witness and our work on the firmest foundation of all: the sure and certain love, acceptance and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – the choice to bear witness to the blessing God’s love has been to us and to our relationships by being a blessing to those we encounter even as we go about the struggle for justice and inclusion.

May God continue to bless us in the struggle,

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Turning Religious Liberty Into a Weapon of Mass Discrimination

Religious liberty was once again trending on Twitter this morning — and not in a good way.

Whether the debate is about achieving marriage equality or ending employment discrimination and whether the issue is LGBTQ equality or women’s reproductive rights it seems that someone, somewhere is convinced that their religious liberty is under attack because not everyone agrees with them. This is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on since Pat Robertson launched the Culture Wars with the speech that drove me out of the Republican Party in 1992. But I digress.

The reason religious liberty was trending on Twitter this morning -- and not in a good way – was the Supreme Court decision siding with the Philadelphia Catholic foster care agency turning away gay and lesbian couples as clients.

Reviews on the impact of the ruling were mixed. While some conservatives were disappointed the ruling did not go further, LGBTQ advocates agreed it that this loss is another effort to use religion as a weapon of mass discrimination against members their community. As HRC President Alphonso David noted: "Our opponents are constantly looking for opportunities to challenge our rights. So this is not the end of the story."

Far from it. La lucha continua … the struggle continues. And as it does, I give thanks for these strong words from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: “My heart is with my LGBTQ siblings in light of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in Fulton v. Philadelphia,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a statement. “LGBTQ siblings, we stand with you in this moment, and we continue to affirm that you are — and have always been — a blessing to our church. But above all, you are children of God with the entire human family. The struggle does not end here; the work goes on, and we are committed to the fullness of human equality and to building a just future that is free from discrimination against LGBTQ people.”

And for these from our President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings who wrote: “Scholars can debate the broader legal implications of the decision, but as a Christian, I continue to be alarmed by the bigotry that lies at the case’s heart. Religious liberty is a bedrock of our country and a right cherished by Americans of many faiths. But disguising homophobia as religious freedom, as the plaintiffs in this case have done, is not only a dangerous legal precedent, it is a gross distortion of the teachings of Jesus.”

So one more time with the reality check: Religious liberty is NOT the liberty to impose your religion on everybody else.

The First Amendment protects us from any laws “impeding the free exercise of religion” thus guaranteeing that each and every American has the liberty to believe — or not believe — absolutely anything he or she chooses about what God wills or intends, blesses or condemns.

It also — thank God — protects the rest of us from any other American imposing those beliefs on us.
For example: A Jew has the religious liberty to keep a kosher kitchen — but not to take away your ham sandwich. A pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic had the religious liberty to abstain from meat on Friday — but not to confiscate my pot roast. And an Evangelical Christian has the right to believe that God doesn’t bless same-sex marriages - but not to deny equal protection to the marriage of the lesbian couple next door.

The First Amendment is doing its job protecting our religious liberty. And anybody who tells you otherwise needs to do a little remedial reading of the Ninth Commandment. (I'll save you having to look it up: that's the "shall not bear false witness" one.) 

This is why we need the Equality Act ... the bill already adopted by the House and waiting action by the Senate which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system -- specifically, defining and including sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.

It's long past time to end this annual SCOTUS Watch exercise where members of the LGBTQ community wait one more time to see if their full humanity and citizenship will be affirmed or diminished by the ongoing efforts to chip away at those rights by using religion as a smoke-screen for homo/transphobic bigotry. 

Bottom line: The equal protection guaranteed all Americans by the Constitution is not equal protection unless it protects all Americans equally. And we won't quit until it does.

Friday, June 04, 2021

FAQs About Jesus, the Bible & LGBTQ+ People

Here's the annual repost of the Pride Month FAQs I first wrote almost 20 years ago for the Diocese of L.A. booth at Gay Pride and have updated nearly every year since. It's a reminder that we have a chance to offer a counter-narrative to the toxic theology out there wounding precious souls by hijacking the Good News of Jesus and turning it into a weapon of mass discrimination. Happy Pride! 

1. Is being gay a sin?

No. Sins are acts that separate us from God and keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves. Being gay is not a sin. Bullying is a sin. Being hateful to other people is a sin. Putting yourself in the place of God to judge others is a sin. Being gay is not.

2. What did Jesus say about LGBTQ+ people?

Jesus said the same thing about LGBTQ+ people that he said about all people: God loves you beyond your wildest imagining and calls you to walk in love with God and with each other. He also said a whole lot about welcoming the stranger, embracing the outcast, ministering to the marginalized and loving – not judging – your neighbor.

3. Does the Bible really condemn homosexuality?

The short answer is no, it does not. The handful of passages in the Old and New Testaments that talk about God condemning specific sexual acts have nothing whatsoever to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with contexts such as cultic prostitution or gang rape. To put it another way, using the Bible as a handbook on human sexuality makes as much sense in the 21st century as using it as a handbook on astronomy did in the 16th. The church got it wrong when it misused the Bible to condemn Galileo and it gets it wrong when it misuses the Bible to condemn LGBTQ+ people.

4. How do I respond when people say “God hates f–s”?

First of all, God’s nature is to love, not to hate. We believe that what God cares about is not our sexual orientation but our theological orientation — and that the question that matters is not “who do you love?” but “do you love?” Recognizing that homophobia causes some folks to project onto God their own fears, prejudices and biases against LGBTQ+ people, sometimes the best response is simply no response. It can be a challenge, but getting triggered by hate-mongers prevents us from being the change we want to see.

5. How about transgender and non-binary people? Where do they fit in?

The same place all God’s beloved children fit in: smack dab in the center of God’s care, love and desire for health and wholeness for every single human being.

6. What do I tell people when they say being gay is a sin and a choice?

Tell them that Jesus said absolutely nothing about being gay, but he said a lot of things about judging other people. Then tell them that while there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation, there is consensus that sexuality is a continuum. So the “choice” is not to be gay, straight or somewhere in between; the “choice” is to build our own healthy relationships — and give other people the grace to build theirs.

7. How do I respond when politicians condemn my sexuality, citing their belief in the Bible?

Remind them that the First Amendment protects them in believing whatever they want to about what God does or does not bless, but it also prohibits them from using those beliefs to decide who the Constitution protects or doesn’t protect. Tell them to stop confusing their theology with our democracy. And then campaign for and donate to their opponent in the next election cycle.

8. What about those who say they need “religious freedom laws” to protect their right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people because of their religion?

They are wrong. The Constitution already protects their right to exercise their religion. It does not protect their right to impose their religion. Just as using the Bible to justify racial segregation was wrong in the 1960’s, using it to justify LGBTQ+ discrimination is wrong today.

9. So I get LGBT – but I don’t understand the Q. I’ve heard it stands for “questioning” and I’ve also heard it stands for “queer.” So which one is it?

Both. Questioning means someone who is figuring out their gender identity and/or figuring out how they want to identify their sexual orientation. Queer is not specific to sexual orientation or to gender identity but is more of an umbrella term for anything that exists outside of the dominant heterocentric narrative. Originally pejorative for gay, it is now being reclaimed by some gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons as self-affirming language.

You may also see the acronym LGBTQIA. The additional "IA" is added to include those who identify as intersex/intergender and asexual. Some iterations of the acronym also add a "+" sign at the end, symbolizing the inclusion of all other identities.

Yes, it's complicated. It is also not at all surprising that as we grow in both our understanding and experience of the complicated continuum of sexual orientation and fluidity of gender identity/expression our language will grow and change as well.

Ultimately, the most important message we have to offer is that whoever you are and wherever you find yourself in the alphabet there is a place for you here.

10. Should I try to “pray away the gay”?

No. If you need to pray away something, pray away homophobia. Homosexuality doesn’t need healing. Homophobia does.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Enough Already

Today Senate Republicans added insult to the list of injuries being inflicted on our democracy by blocking the creation of a commission to investigate the January 6 Insurrection that killed one police officer and injured many others -- an action they took on the very eve of the weekend dedicated to the memories of those who have given their lives in defense of our country. They may be trying to kill democracy but they are keeping irony alive and well.

The shameless will to preserve partisan power over every other consideration has become more and more evident every day -- and the sad reality that there is literally no room for compromise of any kind in the worldview of Leader McConnell and his get-in-line-behind-the-Beloved-Leader crew of sycophants has to be faced head on by Democratic leadership.

A Facebook thread posed the question: "What are Republicans afraid of?" and I answered "Losing the power to control the economy in order to retain the power to control women, LGBTQIA people and black & brown people." AKA losing patriarchal power.

I was raised by Republicans. I was one until 1992. And there is much I now disagree with, fight against and have abandoned along the wayside of the policies and premises I was raised with.

However, as much as my GOP Daddy and I would disagree about a whole boat load of things if he were still alive today, I guarandamntee you he is not only spinning in his grave over what McConnell et al have done to his Grand Old Party: he is fixing to haunt them until their dying day for what they are doing to the democracy he held sacred as a WWII veteran and a true patriot.

If today's sad action proved anything, it proved that there is NO reasoning with this bunch; no compromise with this bunch; no choosing country over party with this bunch. The only option we have to defend our Constitution against all enemies -- foreign and domestic -- is to outnumber and out vote them in every election cycle.

If we cannot find 10 Republicans willing to choose country over party over investigating armed insurrection against our Capitol,then bipartisanship has flatlined and it's time to pull the plug on the filibuster in order to get on with the work of the people, by the people and for the people.

(And yes, Joe Manchin ... looking at you, buddy.)