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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,179

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The Weight

The Weight
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Tuesday 25 April 2012

I pulled into Nazareth,
Feelin' 'bout half-past dead,
Just need to find a place,
Where I can lay my head.
"Mister, can you tell me
Where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand,
"No," was all he said...

- The Band

It is brutally hard to be a Christian in America these days.

Yeah, I said it. It's true.

I'm a Christian. I was born and baptized, and then given First Confession and First Communion wearing my little white suit with the little gold buckles on my little white shoes. I learned the Bible at my grandmother's knee - her way of teaching me to read - and went out into the world thinking do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-do-unto-you and that-which-you-do-to-the-least-of-my-brothers-you-do-unto-me was the proper way of things.

In Bible study, I remember being impressed by a specific command from Jesus from Matthew 6:5-6. Not a request, not a suggestion, not a hint, but a flat-out command: "Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you."

And my Father, who sees in secret, will reward me. Well, thanks a lot, Dad, for rewarding me with this hideous, necrotic 21st century version of Christianity...you know, the version that has little if anything to do with what You tried to tell us in those four friendly books at the beginning of the New Testament. Do Unto Others has been replaced with Do Others In The Throat, and as far as prayer in secret so as not to be a hypocrite, well...have You seen CNN and Fox lately? They're praying all over the place, all the time, around the clock...but for war, death, punishment, and the castigation and flagellation of anyone who dares to, as You said in John 13:34, "Love one another, as I have loved you."

Yup, I'm talking about the "hommasexchulls" among us, the ones deprived of The Light Of American Jesus because of their sinful, sodomic ways. I can quote Exodus and Leviticus at you until your eyes bleed, two books that are wildly popular with this country's curious breed of Jesus-shouter...except Jesus came along to make sure four new books got written, right? The ones with all the loving lessons I learned at my grandmother's knee, right?

Those were the stories I was raised with. Maybe I missed a chapter.

Long-time Truthout readers know that I am a survivor of bullying. Well, it turns out that some of the stars of modern American Christianity have gathered their forces to blunt any state or local push to stop bullying in schools. Some of these festering, pestiferous frauds have even gone so far as to craft a prayer to God, so that He will intercede on their behalf to thwart laws that would keep LGBTQI kids from being harried to such an extreme degree that they commit suicide rather than face another day in the warm bath of American Christianity. Those kids kill themselves all the time nowadays, thanks to the endless and barbaric harassment they endure from Christians...just as Jesus intended?


The prayer:

May God help us to not to "bully" anyone, but to graciously yet urgently speak the truth in love to young people who are hurting themselves with the "LGBT" lifestyle. May believers across America not be "bullied" by our government's efforts to promote harmful and sinful sexual practices among our youth and instead determine to stand courageously against these misguided efforts which can only lead to God's judgment!

My favorite part of that is the way they put "bully" in quotation marks, as if crucifying Matthew Shepard on a fence in Wyoming was only kinda-sorta "bullying," instead of flat-out assault and murder. According to those who crafted that abomination of a prayer, Shepard's killers were just American Christians attempting to save a soul...oh, and the exclamation point after "God's judgment" at the end of that so-called prayer is just a nudge in the...um...proper direction. Direction? I should have said Way.

It is brutally hard to be a Christian in America these days. Some of us Christians take that bit about doing unto the least of us deeply, deeply seriously. Some of us Christians think that it is wrong, sinful, and in fact a brazen form of Apartheid to deny certain Americans the rights enjoyed by other Americans based upon who they love. Mostly, some of us think Christianity in America has gone barking-mad insane.

I am a Christian. I make no apologies for it. I'm not sure if I believe that Jesus turned that water into wine, or if He raised up Lazarus, or even if He rose from the dead. That all sounds like a lot of magic nonsense from two thousand years ago when you think about it, which is why they call it The Mystery of Faith.

But I believe that I am my brother's keeper, that I should worship without bragging about it, that the poor will God-damned-right inherit the Earth, and that what you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me. I believe that the first four books of the New Testament are a wonderful blueprint for being a decent person on this planet, and that's what I live by, as best I can.

I am an American Christian, and it is a burden to bear.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to drink some new wine, hang out with a familiar whore, and listen to the dead.



Now THIS, friends and neighbors, is how you write an obituary.

Levon Helm of The Band: Obituary
Helm got his first guitar when he was 6; he is best remembered for The Band.

By Malcolm Jones

The death of Levon Helm from throat cancer on April 19 has silenced one of the great voices in American music.

There was something oracular about that voice, something that sounded as old as time itself. Even when Levon Helm was young, he had a voice that spoke to you with the authority of something graven in stone. But it was a voice that could also tease, and cut up, and sound as full of mischief as a 10-year-old boy on the first day of summer vacation. It was, in other words, the perfect voice for a rock and roll singer, maybe even the voice of rock and roll itself.


Levon’s father gave his son a guitar when he was nine, and Levon built his sister a washtub bass. Together they killed on the 4-H circuit. When he wasn’t playing, he was listening, and he was in the perfect spot to get one of the greatest educations in American music that anyone has ever received. Blues, jazz, country, rhythm and blues and a baby called rock and roll were all right there, intermingling like crazy in the Mississippi Delta, the Arkansas cotton fields, the dives of Beale Street in Memphis, and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, from whose stage the Grand Ole Opry broadcast its Saturday night show every Saturday night. When he was 14, Helm attended a show headlined by Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, with a very young Elvis Presley further down on the bill. Most days, when he wasn’t in school, he could be found at KFFA in Helena, Ark., where he watched bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson do his King Biscuit Time radio show.


He would go on to a solo career full of Grammys and other accolades. He would weather a bout with throat cancer and bounce back for one last round of great music making in the first decade of this century, before cancer claimed him at last. But the through-line to it all is that marvelous voice, an utterly American sound that somehow for five decades embodied the field hollers, Delta blues, minstrel shows, rockabilly, mountain ballads, and country crooners all in one exhilarating package. If you want to hear what American music sounds like at its best, listen to what Levon Helm left behind.

The rest: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/19/levon-helm-of-the-band-obituary.html?fb_ref=article&fb_source=home_multiline

The entire thing is very very very much worth your time.

Levon Helm has died.

This one's for you, sir. Thank you so much.

Cindy Sheehan is the reason America finally woke up to the horror of the Iraq war.

For two reasons.

1. She was brave enough to do what she did in Crawford. I was there, and it took no small amount of courage for her to do what she did. On three separate occasions, the Secret Service and the local police did high-speed night-time runs through the encampment, and if you don't think that was meant to intimidate, well, you weren't there.

2. A large contingent of the mainstream DC political press were stuck in Crawford with Bush at that time, because there always has to be press wherever the president is. They didn't have jack shit to report on down there except mud and fire ants, so their attention turned to Cindy and her action. Almost overnight, those bored national reporters turned her into a household name, and in doing so, put a face filled with anguish on a war that had, to that point, been little more than a TV show to most Americans.

August 2005 is when the worm turned on the Iraq occupation, and all our marches and protests and letters to the editor didn't do as much as that one woman and her decision to demand an explanation for the death of her son.

Whatever has happened to her activism in the intervening years - and I do not disagree with the contention that her activism went off the rails at some point - she will stand forever in my mind as one of the most important people in the fight against Bush and his splendid little war.

Cindy Sheehan is a hero. Period, end of file.

Period. End of file.

"Male congressmen now being inundated with handmade vaginas" <--- actual headline

In the latest brilliant counterstrike against the GOP's Vag Offensive, The Snatchel Project is encouraging craftswomen to send their congressmen knit and crocheted bags, pouches and decorations in the shape of their favorite ladyparts. Nothing scares a gynophobic congressman like when they open a box and discover what they think is a constituent's lovely knit hat or scarf, only to pick it up and realize they've touched their hands upon the filthy, evil uterus they've been fighting so hard to destroy. The site includes patterns and links to teach you how to use your knitting needles to make your own womb (while knitting needles are still used for just knitting).

The rest: http://www.happyplace.com/14939/male-congressmen-now-being-inundated-with-knit-and-crocheted-vaginas

I love everyone.

After that Zimmerman presser, I think we need a new theme song for the man. May I suggest...

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area that I can afford and in which I would want to live.

3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

6. When I am told about our national heritage or about civilization, I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.

10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

12. I can swear, or dress in second-hand clothes or not answer letters without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color, who constitute the worlds' majority, without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

18. I can be sure that if I ask to talk to "the person in charge" I will be facing a person of my race.

19. If a traffic cop pulls me over, or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children's magazines featuring people of my race.

21. I can go home from most meetings or organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in rather than isolated, out of place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.

22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.

23. I can choose public accommodations without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.

25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.

26. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color that more or less matches my skin.

The rest: http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html

Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered 44 years ago today.

You know what I think about you fucking people? What I **really** think?

...is what I really think.

Yeah, I said it.

Take a spin through the Help & Meta forum if you need to share your "DU sucks because..." experience with someone of like mind.


Seems like the same place I've spent the last ten years.

What do I think of you fucking people?

...is what I think.

Definitely not the hip, happening opinion.

Never been good at those anyway.


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