November 17, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. ET
CLICK HERE to Register
As we are faced with challenges, uncertainty, and division, we turn to God for guidance, counsel, and encouragement. Our foundation as individuals, families, and as a country have been tested mightily, and we know our strength starts with a solid core. Let’s reflect on God’s example, His grace and love for others, and recognize that we are all a part of His higher plan.
Join Dr. Evans as he illustrates how living the biblical principles of stewardship within the realm of God’s kingdom is key to strengthening each other and healing our communities. Through His gifts of time, talent, and treasure, God empowers us to spread His love, light, and hope. As we serve others, we serve and honor the Lord.
In her convention sermon to the Episcopal Church of Vermont, Bishop Shannon preached on Matthew 14:22-34. “Now is the time for us in the Diocese of Vermont to step out of the boat and go closer to Jesus,” she said. “I pray that we will allow Jesus to terrify us with his power working in you! May we feel the water undulating under our feet and lapping around our ankles. May we feel the wind blowing in our faces and causing us to feel unsteady, and when this happens, I pray that we will reach out, call out to Jesus to steady us. His hand is always there, ready to hold us up.”
During the summer months, I was fortunate to spend a few weeks of vacation at our family cottage on the coast of Maine. I say “fortunate” because I realize that for all kinds of reasons, most especially the Covid-19 pandemic, many were unable to have anything resembling a vacation this year. Indeed, some of you see the idea of a vacation as wishful thinking even in the best of times. So, I am truly fortunate for having my time away.
In many ways, my summer vacation was no different than any other year: The beach was the same, the Maine water was still a bit chilly, and the daily patterns of vacation were pretty much like any other year.
But in other ways, it was very different. I found myself talking to neighbors and friends “across the hedge,” maintaining safe social distancing, especially with my elderly friends. The vegetables I brought from my garden were left at the backdoor with a knock and wave and hurried conversation at a distance. The next day I got a text from the same neighbor telling me a blueberry pie was on my porch and to hurry and get it before the chipmunks did.
A few times, we gathered outside for an early evening happy hour, each in our safely distanced chair with our own glass of wine, catching up on all of the news we missed since last summer.
Whenever anyone would make their masked and gloved way to the supermarket there was a shout-out to the neighbors, “Does anyone need anything at the store?” Life went on, although not the same. Even in a time of social distancing and quarantine, friendship and community were maintained.
The same is true for the Church here in Vermont. While many things are different because of the pandemic, many things are the same. We adapt, we compromise, we think creatively, and we try new ways of being who we are as a people of Christian faith. Even in time of social distancing and quarantine, fellowship and communion are maintained.
— Bishop Christopher Coyne,
Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement on the 2020 presidential election:
We thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election. Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good. As Catholics and Americans, our priorities and mission are clear. We are here to follow Jesus Christ, to bear witness to His love in our lives, and to build His Kingdom on earth. I believe that at this moment in American history, Catholics have a special duty to be peacemakers, to promote fraternity and mutual trust, and to pray for a renewed spirit of true patriotism in our country. Democracy requires that all of us conduct ourselves as people of virtue and self-discipline. It requires that we respect the free expression of opinions and that we treat one another with charity and civility, even as we might disagree deeply in our debates on matters of law and public policy. As we do this, we recognize that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States. We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith. We also congratulate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president. We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of this great nation, to intercede for us. May she help us to work together to fulfill the beautiful vision of America’s missionaries and founders — one nation under God, where the sanctity of every human life is defended and freedom of conscience and religion are guaranteed.
VT Christian Music is NOW holding a monthly Christian Music Online Concert Series.
2nd Wednesday Night of the Month – 7pm via Zoom — LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE
ZOOM link will be sent out via email a few days before the show.
Tickets will be on sale through 6pm Oct 14, 2020 or until we run out of Zoom seats.
October 14, 2020 – featuring
The Green Mountain Christian Film Festival stars off the 2020 festival in downtown Randolph at the Randolph Community Church.
Admission is free, films will run all day starting at 11am with the last film starting around 9pm
18 N Main St
Randolph, VT 05060
This year has been unbelievable for films, so many fantastic films. If you were not
nominated it does not mean your film was not fantastic as most this year were.
We have the really hard decision of picking only 5 entries into each category, and it was very difficult. Many we had more than one vote on as there were many ties. The winners were even more difficult with some not yet decided!
Congratulations and good luck to ALL our wonderful nominees!!! Tune in Saturday Oct 17th around 11pm as the winners are announced right here on Facebook.
Thinking Outside the Box
– Pat McKittrick, SP
Have you ever wondered why our Church is in the state it’s in? Maybe the old solutions don’t work in today’s world. What can we do? How can we help build our Church communities? Do we know our Church History well enough? Where were the women in earlier days? How are they called to use their God given gifts/talents today? How can we support them?
I’d like to suggest a recent article by St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk “Let’s use the title ‘co-worker’ for laypeople in parish leadership”. Sounds like equity.
Be sure to follow the links that are included in the article. You’ll find them enlightening.
Also, since we’re staying home more during these Covid times. Why not check out Future Church? https://www.futurechurch.org/
Last week, I participated in a prayer service for the Feast of St. Phoebe. It was life-giving. Also, if you’re interested in Faith Sharing you can participate on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 7PM.
I’ll be participating in the “Making Sense of 2020: Being Church Today.” Hope you’ll join me. See details below.
MAKING SENSE OF 2020: BEING CHURCH TODAY – Tickets to FutureChurch’s 30th Fall Event are now available!!!
Please join us as FutureChurch commemorates 30 years of inspiring work, boldly confronts new challenges, and embraces emerging opportunities with hope as we work together for a more just, more inclusive Church and world. Our VIRTUAL event will feature resentations from:
- Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu, Ph.D.
- Professor Bryan Massingale, and
- Professor Doris (Wagner) Reisinger,
… all charismatic activist-scholars who will help us “make sense of 2020” and look forward toward a brighter, more just, more inclusive future for all.
We want you to know just how deeply grateful we are for your past support of and participation in the work and mission of FutureChurch. Together we are making a difference! And we hope you’ll join us as we host our 30th Annual Fall Event online via Zoom across two remarkable evenings — October 22nd and October 27th at 7pm Eastern Time.
We are Catholics who embrace the ministry of deacons, witness the gifts of women for this ministry, hope that our Church receives these women.
WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD CARE
The “War on Drugs” has been a bi-partisan effort spanning several decades that is one of the key components of “systemic racism” and anti-blackness in the United States and elsewhere. The roots of the War on Drugs lie in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration and the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, but it did not become a comprehensive program until Richard Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act of 1971. This War then led to the mass incarceration of many Americans, but disproportionately black males through the strict enforcement and sentencing requirements of the Reagan administration, as well as Joe Biden and Bill Clinton’s “Crime Bill” in the 1990s. Incarceration rates doubled between 1980 (501,800) and 1990 (1,148,700) and doubled again by the year 2000 (1,937,400).
Mass incarceration, however, is not the point of this essay. Rather, I wish to focus here on how Christian values are directly opposed to the motives for the War on Drugs. First, it should be noted that strict “Prohibition” of mind-altering substances is not an Orthodox position. Indeed, we use alcohol, the substance rated as the most dangerous in terms of cumulative personal and social harm, as part of our most sacred rite, the Eucharist. And Orthodox paschal celebrations are typically full to the brim not only with beer and wine, but also vodka, ouzo, and arak, all of which have their origins in predominantly Orthodox cultures. Strict prohibition has its origins in Protestant temperance movements, many of which had strong anti-Catholic and anti-Orthodox biases.
And where America’s failed experiment in alcohol prohibition ends, the War on Drugs, and its racist and un-Christian underpinnings, begins.
Cannabis was for the first time made a federally regulated substance in the United States in 1937 due to the efforts of Harry Anslinger, the first “drug czar” in the history of the U.S. government under FDR. Anslinger had three primary motives for making cannabis regulated (and nearly illegal). The first reason is because he had been the head of alcohol prohibition enforcement, and the repeal of alcohol prohibition meant he was out of a job unless there were new prohibited substances. The second reason is because he teamed up with corporate interests (namely the Hearst media corporation and DuPont) in order to propagandize against hemp in order to aid synthetic fibers like nylon coming into manufacturing dominance.
Both of those reasons are bad enough and are related to systemic racism in both the economy and law enforcement. But his third reason, the one that concerns the subject of this article, was that he was a committed racist and eugenicist. A true opponent of “pro-life” causes, he ardently supported forced sterilization of “undesirables” to prevent their reproduction. Directly related to this, he was also a proponent of the “white genocide” conspiracy theory, believing that measures must be taken to enforce white racial purity.
Completely missing from Anslinger’s motivations was public health—the main reason many Christians were successfully propagandized to believe was the purpose of the war on drugs. This is evident in that he (1) is on record saying that cannabis was harmless, until alcohol prohibition ended (see above), and (2) he consulted 30 pharmacists on the subject and 29 out of 30 told him there was no public health risk. (It is worth noting that the 29 represent a 97% consensus, the same percentage as the consensus on anthropogenic climate change). Anslinger destroyed the records of the 29 and kept only the one dissenter in his files.
Anslinger then rebranded cannabis with the term “marijuana” in government documents in order to portray cannabis as a scary Mexican substance coming over the border to corrupt American (specifically white American) youth. He also argued that prohibitions on cannabis were essential to maintaining white supremacy and racial “purity.” Here is Anslinger in his own horrifying words:
Reefers make darkies think they’re as good as white men.
There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the USA, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.
Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy. . . . Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.
Despite Harry Anslinger’s racist mania leading to the regulation of cannabis, the United States (and the world at large) did not attempt to heavily criminalize substances for decades after Anslinger’s Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. Harvard professor Timothy Leary (despite his personal failings, which were many) became an ambassador for the ways many so-called “drugs” could be genuine medicines for a host of diseases and disorders resistant to conventional therapies. Leary even succeeded in getting the Marihuana Tax Act declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1969.
In response to Leary’s victory, the deeply racist and extremely paranoid Richard Nixon. began the War on Drugs by lobbying for and signing into law the “Controlled Substances Act” of 1970. Through political pressure, the implications of this legislation was forced on most of the world in 1971.
Nixon’s racism is well documented, but I will focus on one harsh truth about him that should be especially relevant to pro-life Christians. When the Roe vs. Wade ruling was handed down about by the Supreme Court, Nixon was indeed disturbed and voiced his opposition to abortion both publicly and privately. However, Nixon did believe that there were some instances where abortion was necessary. Most Christians in the pro-life movement would not be deeply scandalized to hear that rape, incest, or the mother’s life might be considered as one of these exceptions. But Nixon’s privately expressed primary reason was driven by a similar concern for racial purity like Anslinger’s. In Nixon’s own words, abortion was sometimes necessary, “for example, when you have a white and a black.” (Nixon is recorded saying this behind the scenes on the infamous “Nixon tapes.”)
Did Nixon’s racism tie into the “War on Drugs” and the Controlled Substances Act? His disgraced advisor John Ehrlichman (who spent time in prison for the Watergate break-in) had this to say to a reporter in the 1990s:
You want to know what [the War on Drugs] was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
(It should be noted that Ehrlichman’s family has disputed this quote arguing that their father wasn’t himself racist. This is an odd objection, however, given that Ehrlichman is clearly disgusted with having been a part of the administrations actions.)
The War on Drugs was created and perpetuated for explicitly racist reasons. It has undeniably played a prominent role in propagating a systemically racist society with astronomical and disproportionate incarceration rates and felony convictions (and felons are stripped of core constitutional rights!). It is not based in the science of public health. And it is incumbent on we Christians who are concerned with the perils of substance abuse to put forward alternatives to mass incarceration rooted in genuine Christian values and restorative justice.
Rico Monge is an associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego.
VT Christian Music is initiating a monthly Christian Music Online Series.
2nd Wednesday Night of the Month – 7pm via Zoom
First show will be August 12, 2020 – featuring Hannah Dawber – https://hannahdawber.com/https://www.facebook.com/events/912416545920039