This is an encore podcast of my conversation with Matthew Fox that I previously released in November 2016.
Matthew Fox. Silenced by the Vatican for his views, left the Catholic priesthood in the early 1980s. Matthew Fox is a theologian and activist who has written over 30 books. He has introduced millions of people to Creation Spirituality. His latest book, published in 2016 is called A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey. According to Fox, Merton was assassinated by the CIA. We will talk more about that as well as have a candid conversation about ecology, human rights, capitalism, and resistance.
Politicians like to misquote Jesus to slash programs for the poor. Republican congressman, Roger Marshall of Kansas misused a quote from Jesus to support his program to reduce healthcare benefits for the poor. This is from the article on Stat from March 3rd, 2017:
“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
Did Jesus really say, “The poor will always be with us?” What is the exact quote? What is the context? What did Jesus really mean? How do we respond to politicians who use the Bible and Jesus to cut aid to those most in need?
Liz Theoharis is fighting back. She is the founder and co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and coordinator of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Theoharis has spent the last two decades organizing among the poor in the United States and worldwide. She is the author of Always with us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor.
The good citizen defends his castle. Punks, thieves, thugs, and rapists don’t stand a chance against a 44 Magnum in the hands of the good guy who stands his ground. That is the myth. The reality is that America’s love affair with guns and lethal self-defense has not made America safer, just more violent and more afraid.
Harvard Professor Caroline Light explores the development of the American right to self-defense and reveals how the original “duty to retreat” from threat was transformed into a selective right to kill. In her book, Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense, Professor Light traces white America’s attachment to racialized, lethal self-defense by unearthing its complex legal and social histories—from the original “castle laws” of the 1600s, which gave white men the right to protect their homes, to the brutal lynching of “criminal” Black bodies during the Jim Crow era and the radicalization of the NRA as it transitioned from a sporting organization to one of our country’s most powerful lobbying forces.
Unlike the mythology of Dirty Harry and redemptive violence, America’s stand your ground culture and laws that accompany it do not protect the vulnerable against Mr. Stranger Danger. Just the opposite.
Professor Light exposes a history hidden in plain sight, showing how violent self-defense has been legalized for the most privileged and used as a weapon against the most vulnerable.
But a few years ago, the edifice began to crack. He realized he no longer could believe the things he needed to believe in order to be a minister. Now he no longer holds belief in God or Jesus or the church. He is now a humanist coach and is the president of The Clergy Project. The Clergy Project is online community for former and active religious professionals who no longer hold supernatural beliefs.
In many ways Drew is still a minister at heart. He is a caring, thoughtful person who wants to help people overcome stereotypes and to understand each other even when they might not agree. In particular, he wants atheists and Christians to talk to each other.
We discuss his journey and his new mission that he outlines in his book, The Rise and Fall of Faith: A God-to-Godless Story for Christians and Atheists.
Justin Dillon is a former musician turned filmmaker and social entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Made in A Free World, a platform that brings together consumers, organizations, and businesses to dismantle the 150 billion dollar business of human trafficking. His latest book is titled A Selfish Plan to Change the World: Finding Big Purpose in Big Problems. His message to all of us, Find Your Riot.