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shrike3's Journal
shrike3's Journal
October 24, 2023

6-year-old boy killed, mother seriously wounded in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say


The boy’s paternal uncle, Yousef Hannon, spoke at a news conference Sunday hosted by the Chicago chapter Council on American-Islamic Relations. The organization identified the other victim as the boy’s mother.

"We are not animals, we are humans. We want people to see us as humans, to feel us as humans, to deal with us as humans, because this is what we are," said Hannon, a Palestinian-American who emigrated to the U.S. in 1999 to work, including as a public school teacher.

The Muslim civil liberties organization called the crime "our worst nightmare," and part of a disturbing spike in hate calls and emails since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. The group cited text messages exchanged among family members that showed the attacker had made disparaging remarks about Muslims.

"He knocked on the door, attempted to choke her and said ‘Muslims must die,’" said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago's executive director.

"Palestinians basically, again, with their hearts broken over what’s happening to their people," Rehab said, "have to also worry about the immediate safety of life and limb living here in this most free of democracies in the world."

I had a discussion with someone I respect, re Islam, she is a liberal Democrat. She had quite a lot to say; at times, she sounded like a Trumpie on this issue, repeating the words "sharia law" over and over again. I kept telling her that whatever she felt about the faith, we have to keep the temperature down in this country. Even if we do, keep the temps down, incidents like this can happen.
October 19, 2023

Please pray for my husband

Currently in the hospital, multiple issues. Kind of a rollercoaster right now. Prayers appreciated.

October 16, 2023

Patriarch of Jerusalem offers himself up in exchange for child hostages held by Hamas


The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pope Francis' representative in the Holy Land, said on Monday that he would be willing to exchange himself for the child hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa made the comment during a video conference with journalists in Italy, according to Reuters.

He told the press: "I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home."

"There is total willingness on my part," he added.

August 27, 2023

"Can I forgive myself for my daughter's death?" Shocking, heartbreaking.


It’s been two years since my daughter, Martha, died in hospital, just before her 14th birthday. I divide my life into before her death, and after: nothing is the same and the change is permanent. Alongside Merope, Martha’s mum, I’m grappling with how to live. Consciously or not, we adjust a little more each day to our new reality, wondering: can we manage to appear “normal”? Is it possible to keep being friends with families and not be flayed by envy?

If grief can be defined as learning to be in the world without a person you love, I have a lot of learning still to do. As things stand, my thoughts revolve around two questions – they dominate my days. The first is: can I forgive the doctors and the hospital who so badly let her down? (Martha’s was a preventable death.) And second, at the core of everything: can I forgive myself for failing to save her?

When you raise a child for 14 years, the line where you end and they begin gets blurred; the cliché is that they become part of you, with all your instincts and priorities transformed. From the time Martha was born in 2007, I saw myself, first and foremost, as a dad; from 2009, I was the father of two daughters and it gave me a huge sense of self-worth and fulfilment. I did what parents do everywhere – the bathtimes, the picture books on repeat, the school run. It felt right; it was a lot of fun.


My primal, existential role was to protect my child, to keep her alive – and I failed. Most bereaved parents know a version of this feeling. It’s one of the reasons losing a child can be different from other types of grief. Not only is such a death an inversion of the natural order. And not only was Martha denied anything that resembled a full life (“She had so many plans,” her sister, Lottie, said.) But I was responsible for her welfare during all of her short life. So when I went to see Martha’s body, post-autopsy, at the undertakers, what I howled was: “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

Written by the child's mother a year earlier:

August 16, 2023

Christian nationalism's opponents are getting organized


Many mobilization campaigns against Christian nationalism, including some mentioned in the report, draw strength from projects that predate Jan. 6. The Poor People's Campaign, launched in 2017 by Theoharis and the Rev. William Barber II, rebooted the last campaign of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who organized the original in 1968 as a way to resist what he described as three "evils" of society — racism, poverty and war. The campaign's recent iteration added two more to that list: ecological devastation and the "distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism," which includes Christian nationalism.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Faithful America has organized clergy and other faith leaders to stage protests across the country criticizing events that feature Christian nationalists — particularly the ReAwaken America Tour, a right-wing traveling roadshow typically headlined by Christian nationalist influencer and former Trump adviser Michael Flynn.

Faithful America protesters are often joined by leaders associated with groups such as Interfaith Alliance, which convened a briefing on Christian nationalism on Capitol Hill in September, or Christians Against Christian Nationalism, an effort led by Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, who recently condemned Christian nationalism in a testimony before Congress.

"Christian nationalism strikes at the heart of the foundational ideas of what religious freedom means and how it's protected in this country, and that is with the institution of separation of church and state," Tyler told the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in December.

Tyler and others have also partnered with groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, with the Baptist committee and the Freedom From Religion Foundation producing a joint report on the role Christian nationalism played in the Jan. 6 attack.
August 15, 2023

A throng of interfaith leaders to focus on combating authoritarianism at global gathering in Chicago


More than 6,000 people representing scores of religions and belief systems are expected to convene in Chicago starting August 14 for what organizers bill as the world’s largest gathering of interfaith leaders.

For the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the week-long event marks a return to its roots – the organization was founded in Chicago in 1893. In the past 30 years, it has convened six times, most recently in Toronto in 2018.

Past gatherings have drawn participants from more than 80 nations. This week’s speakers and presenters will represent Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha’i, Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Indigenous religions, paganism and other beliefs.

This year’s theme is "A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights," with a focus on combating authoritarianism around the world. Topics on the agenda include climate change, human rights, food insecurity, racism and women’s rights.

Scheduled speakers include U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and actor Rainn Wilson, a member of the Baha’i faith. The keynote speaker will be Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Illustrative of the parliament’s diversity, its program chair for this week’s event is Phyllis Curott, a Wiccan priestess who as an author and lawyer has advocated for the legal rights of witches.
August 13, 2023

Pope Francis to 1.5 million youth in Portugal: Be 'beacons of hope in dark times'


With war raging in Europe and ever increasing polarization throughout the world, Pope Francis on Aug. 6 told a massive gathering of more than 1.5 million young people to choose dialogue over isolation and to be "beacons of hope in dark times."

Christians, the pope said, are called "to love our neighbors as they are, not only when they agree with us, but also when they are unkind or disagreeable."

The pope's remarks came during the closing Mass for the World Youth Day celebrations, which drew hundreds of thousands of young people from more than 200 countries here to the Portuguese capital for the weeklong festivities.

In what local authorities were describing as the largest event in the history of the nation, young people slept out all night along the banks of the Tagus River to be present with the 86-year-old pope, who consistently used the week's events to underscore the importance of intergenerational relationships.

Non-Catholics, please observe our safe haven rules.
June 29, 2023

Supreme Court says a conviction for online threats violated 1st Amendment


The Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed the conviction of a man who made extensive online threats to a stranger, saying free speech protections require prosecutors to prove the stalker was aware of the threatening nature of his communications.

In a 7-2 ruling with Justice Elena Kagan writing for the majority, the court emphasized that true threats of violence are not protected by the First Amendment. But to guard against a chilling effect on non-threatening speech, the majority said, states must prove that a criminal defendant has acted recklessly, meaning that he “disregarded a substantial risk that his communications would be viewed as threatening violence.”

The case concerned a Colorado law used to convict Billy Raymond Counterman of stalking and causing “emotional distress” to Coles Whalen, a singer-songwriter he had never met. Counterman, who had previously been convicted of making threats to others, served four years in prison in the Whalen case.

Whalen testified at Counterman’s trial, and told The Washington Post in an interview, that she was terrified by Counterman’s relentless pursuit. She said she never knew whether her stalker would be in the crowd at her performances. The worry affected her mental health, caused her to cancel concerts and hampered her career and even caused her for a time to give up performing, she said.

Sorry if this has already been posted.
June 15, 2023

Pride month at Holy Trinity parish in Washington D.C.

Non-Catholics are MORE than welcome to comment, so long as they observe our rules. (Pinned at the top.)


The ministry was founded thanks to “a commitment by the Jesuit order to make sure that the spiritual needs of all marginalized community are being met,” said Ernie Raskauskas, 71, who has been a Holy Trinity parishioner for decades.

He went to Gonzaga College High School, Holy Cross College, Catholic University. He’s got the Catholic bona fides. In Georgetown, he finally found a place to be Catholic and gay after the Jesuits “decided that the LGBTQIA communities were very marginalized, that our spiritual needs weren’t being met, and that they were going to make a special effort on this.”

The parishioners are all deeply Catholic and found a place at Holy Trinity — and nearly everyone I spoke with said this explicitly — where they can be fully themselves.

“It may be difficult to be queer in Catholic spaces,” said Cerissa Cafasso, 40. “But it can also be a challenge to be Catholic in progressive spaces.”

She’s a lawyer and bisexual and never gave up on practicing Catholicism but wasn’t totally comfortable until she came to Holy Trinity. “I can be myself, my full person, with no throat clearing.”
April 5, 2023

Happy Holy Week

I actually enjoy the Triduum. Hope you do, too.

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