Happy St. Patrick’s Day! From Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In 2008, just before the historic U.S. elections, I was in Ireland. The Irish were crazy for “Barack O’Bama,” including the craze that developed around this song by Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys. (To read more about that Irish drive through Obama’s ancestral home in County Offaly, go here.) So enjoy the original 2008 video of “There’s No One as Irish as Barack O’Bama.” There have been lots of variations since this one.

And here’s a little history on why everyone should be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick’s Day had occasionally been a forum for social protest prior to the famine, but strong emotions aroused by the effects of starvation and mass emigration, together with the crystallization of nationalist sentiment, engendered a situation where 17 March became a regular focus for claims about a separatist Irish identity. On St Patrick’s Day, 1846, two ships, the Thatis and the Borneo, harbored in Limerick, illegally hoisted the green flag of Ireland in ‘honor of the national festival.’ The flags were quickly removed on orders of the British war steamer, the Pinto, but not before ‘the feelings of the multittude’ watching and cheering the flag from the harbour wall, ‘were desperately excited.’ This demonstration, while illegal, was ultimately an unimportant affair but it did demonstrate how nationalist feelings could find a voice on 17 March.

During the 1850s, the expression of such sentiments become far more vocal, and, for the British authorities in Ireland, increasingly threatening. This related, largely, to the vexed issue of land ownership in Ireland. In the wake of the famine, the Tenant Right Movement emerged to champion the cause of the tenant and to campaign against high rents, insecure tenure of land and summary eviction. The movement held its key public meetings on St. Patrick’s Day: it was an occasion on which many people were granted a holiday by their employers in honor of the day’s religious significance, so were free to attend. On St Patrick’s Day in 1859 the Tenant Right Movement staged mass meetings in Donhill, County Tipperary and Castlecomber, County Kilkenny, which attracted crowds of some 30,000 and 20,000 people respectively.”– Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair (from The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day)

 

Video: Ash Wednesday

 ash wed

Ash Wednesday “It’s very intimate, and yet in a hugely public setting, to say ‘God loves you.'” (Posted by Sojourners on Wednesday, February 10, 2016)

Also see Kelsey Dallas’ piece Turning Inward on Ash Wednesday (Deseret News):

“We don’t take ashes on because we want to be marked as holy. We want to remind one another that we are a community of sinners,” said Rose Berger, senior associate editor of Sojourners magazine. “We want to remind ourselves how to return to our true calling.”

Video: The Real Homeland Security Defends Pennsylvania Watersheds


On Jan, 20,2016, people from Pennsylvania were forced to break into a “business as usual” meeting of representatives from fossil fuel corporations and state government in order to defend their land and advance the goals of the Paris Climate Conference to keep fossil fuels in the ground and enact an immediate transition to renewable energy.

As Christian activist Nathan Sooy of Dillsburg, PA, says in this video, “When civil discourse is finally closed off or ignored it leaves only the option for uncivil discourse.”

This is a 10 minute video of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Pipeline Task Force meeting the People’s Task Force for the Protection of Pennsylvania (EDGE, BXE, and Pennsylvania fractivists) in Harrisburg, Pa. The industry had their time to talk at the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force meetings. This video tells the people’s story, featuring public comment from Pennsylvania residents and public health advocates that were dismissed, silenced, and ignored after sacrificing to be at every meeting.

Seven people were arrested. None of them were the government or corporate representatives.

#StayWoke White Folk

Anne Braden and Rosa Parks, 1950s
Anne Braden and Rosa Parks, 1950s

Our friends over at #StayWokeAdvent are providing explosive Christian analysis on the Black Lives Matter uprisings in the context of Advent.

In that spirit, I invite you–especially if you are a “white” American Christian–to commit to two study sessions this Advent.

1. Read the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), then watch this video of a woman in Indianapolis (5 minutes) addressing a community panel in October 2014. Read the Magnificat again. Compare and contrast the two addresses. What story would you tell if you were in her place?

2. Listen to Lauryn Hill’s “Black Rage” and read “Most White People in America Are Completely Oblivious,” by Tim Wise (published November 25, 2014 on Alternet). This is a long article and parts of it are hard to read and will likely make you very uncomfortable. That’s okay. Just sit with it. Then read Malachi 3 in The Message version. When did you first realize you were white?

Remember, “whiteness” is a social construct resulting from the Fall. It’s part of what John Kinney refers to as “snakeology” –lies our culture tells us. Each one of you, however, is God’s beloved. Nothing takes that away. You are strong enough and courageous enough to look at hard truths. You are not “white.” You are Christian. Shedding our “whiteness” means looking at hard truths of  unconscious bias and unearned privilege. That’s okay. That’s what we are here on earth for — to look at hard things in ourselves and allow God to make them new in us. Jesus is always with us, always making all things new. God is with us in this. Emanuel. God has our backs. Be not afraid.–Rose Marie Berger

 

Video: Prayer Circle in front of John Kerry’s House Against KXL Pipeline

As we celebrate the final defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, I’ll repost some of the spiritual power that led to this day.

**

[Originally posted April 28, 2014.]

Chief Rueben George, Sundance Chief and Member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in northern Vancouver, BC, speaks at a Prayer Ceremony and Round Dance in front of Secretary John Kerry’s house on April 25th, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

I led the “Catholic prayer” and am in the background in the purple shirt. Ponka leader Casey Camp is also shown, as well as #PrayNoKXL member Brian Webb, and Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb.

This video was produced by Idle No More, which stands in solidarity with the mass mobilization Reject and Protect happening in Washington, Deceit, as well as the Moccasins on the Ground blockade training in Red Shirt, South Dakota, and the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe Spiritual Encampment in Green Grass, South Dakota, and recognizes the words of Protect the Sacred spokesperson, Faith Spotted Eagle, “These three encampments represent the physical, spiritual, and political manifestations of our movement.”

Poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner: Art v. Climate Tyranny

Twenty-six year old poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands, addressed the Opening Ceremony of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit last year. She performed this video poem entitled “Dear Matafele Peinem,” written to her daughter. The poem received a standing ovation. Kathy is also a teacher, journalist and founder of the environmental NGO, Jo-jikum.

Art is the only thing that can stand in the way of tyranny.

Twelve Pacific Climate Warriors walked from Assisi to Rome last week and are praying in St. Peter’s Square. The Peoples’ Pilgrimage will then continue their walk to Paris in time for the UN climate talks.

Video: The Martyrs of Charleston’s Emanuel AME

Last night nine Christians were massacred while at Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. The dead include Sen. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, senior pastor and state senator, and his sister.

The suspect, Dylann Roof, is 21 years old. He sat for an hour with the pastor and others gathered for Wednesday night Bible study, then open fired. Reportedly, he reloaded as many as five times while church members tried to talk him down. He said he “had to do it.” This was a racialized hate crime.

This video is about the history of this Christian community. This attack, while it may have been the responsibility of one disturbed young white man, is all of our responsibility. This was one young white man who was absorbing the racist fear instilled him him by extremists who use a false faith as a cover for hatred. It is not the case of “one bad apple” and don’t let the media spin it that way.

In the narrative of white supremacy in the U.S., assassination of “Mother Emmanuel” takes on huge spiritual and social significance. At the Sojourners Summit last night I heard civil rights leader C.T. Vivian say, “The violence comes and goes, but the victory is ours, the victory is already won.”

As we look at the bodies of our loved ones, our sisters and brothers, borne forth from the body of their Mother, we say, though our throats are choked with anger and our tears flow in grief: The victory is won.

Here are some key news stories:
For Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church, shooting is another painful chapter in rich history (Washington Post)

Charleston church massacre: The violence white America must answer for

Who Is Denmark Vesey? Charleston Church Founder Was A Slave Rebellion Leader, African-American Hero

Video: An Interview with CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

(27 minute video)

E. Ethelbert Miller has launched “The Scholars,” a television interview series that explores contemporary scholarship. John Kiriakou is the author of Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror. He worked at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1990 to 2004. He is currently an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies.

Kiriakou was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer that connected the covert operative to a specific operation. He was the first person to pass classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 25, 2013, and served his term from February 28, 2013 until 3 February 2015 at the low-security Federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

John Kiriakou is a member of a Greek Orthodox Church in Northern Virginia.

Rose Berger: D.C. Tenants Town Hall Meeting

Such a great way to spend a Saturday! Thank you to the tenants at 2724 11th Street for all their great work.

Sixty percent of D.C. residents are renters. Proud to stand with them to demand fair and affordable housing for tenants and folks who are currently unhoused. Housing is a human right. #tenantsrightsmatter

Thank you to Latino Economic Development Center, Housing for All, and One DC.

Thank you to Naila Goodwin-Early  and the women living at DC General shelter for coming out and for their documentary film Unsettled.

Thank you to Council members Elisa Silverman and Mary Cheh for showing up, for the good work you are doing, and for keeping an open door policy with the citizens of D.C. Where were the rest of the Council members and all the heads of housing agencies? Where was the head of DCRA?

“Parent to orphans, defender of the vulnerable, is GOD in God’s holy house. God makes a home for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom, but leaves those who rebel against God’s covenant to rot in hell.”–Psalm 68:6