Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Tweets by @JGibsonDem
Posts tagged "Religion"

h/t: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress Election

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW 

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW


There was no tear gas Thursday in Ferguson, Mo. There was no smoke. There weren’t even any significant clashes between protesters and police. It was peaceful, and that was in no small part due to presence of clergy.

The protests over the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown had their most peaceful day Thursday, with only six arrests and no police effort to drive the crowds away. In large part, law enforcement didn’t need to; after a day of oppressive heat followed by a brief but intense downpour, the gathering all but fizzled out on its own.

But smaller numbers didn’t mean there weren’t potential flash points. Early in the evening, a crowd gathered when supporters of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown, showed up. Later, tensions flared again when police took a man into custody.

The night was peppered with incidents like these, but the protest ended peacefully anyway. And that’s despite the fact that police haven’t made the concessions — indicting Wilson, providing the incident report about the shooting, etc. — that protesters are demanding.

Instead, one of the big differences has been a larger, more active role on the part of a growing group of clergy. Here’s how those religious leaders soothed the conflicts that ripped through the community for a week and a half.

Elder Cornelius Moore (left), of Battle Horn Lighthouse Ministries, and Dr. Glenn Haymon, of Ministry of Reconciliation. Jim Dalrymple II

“We’re promoting peace and love. That’s what Jesus is all about.” —Elder Cornelius Moore

One of the big impacts of having clergy on the scene is that there are more peaceful bodies at the protest. Elder Cornelius Moore, of Battle Horn Lighthouse Ministries in St. Louis, had been out for a week by Wednesday, and was among a group passing out flyers about Jesus. He wore a hat Wednesday that looked like an old veteran’s cap — except that it was embroidered with the words “God’s Army.”

“The Bible says to go out into the highways and byways,” Moore explained of his decision to come to the protests, “and compel them to come unto Christ.”

Members of the Nation of Islam speak with protesters on Aug. 11. Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images

“Our job is to be the softer hand.” —Pastor Tremaine Combs

To some extent, the police and the clergy at the protests have an overlapping mission: to keep the gathering peaceful. For a week and a half, that goal eluded officers as they pursued it with tear gas, smoke bombs, and rubber bullets.

Pastor Tremaine Combs said Wednesday the clergy is on scene to offer an alternative. In practice, that has meant speaking with protesters who become agitated until they calm down. It has meant acting as intermediaries between the crowds and police. At times, it has meant doing crowd control and helping keep people within designated areas. “We’re doing all that we can to keep law enforcement at bay,” Combs explained. “We’re doing the best we can to keep ourselves in order.”

That strategy had been deployed at the protests previously — the Nation of Islam has been a recurring presence for days at the protests — but the numbers of clergy have surged in recent days. Several different clergy who spoke with BuzzFeed Wednesday estimated their numbers were nearing 100 people, with some religious leaders arriving from far-flung cities and states.

Combs and other clergy around him Wednesday weren’t marching or chanting with protesters, but their presence and conservations did seem to have a calming influence.

Reverend Jeff Hood, of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, arrived in Ferguson this week. Jim Dalrymple II

“We’re treating them like they’re our kids.” —Bishop Giovanni Johnson

The protesters have consistently expressed anger at systemic problems: mostly white government in a mostly black community, racial biases in police practices, etc. The clergy at the protests consequently seem to have made headway by treating the protesters with respect. Johnson said many of the protesters may have had little to no positive reinforcement in their lives, so simply treating them differently can pay off. “Let me talk to you like a man,” he explained. “Not like a thug. Not like a gang member.”

Bishop Timothy Woods, of the First Free Will Baptist Church of St. Louis, said he used to be a gang member himself, and understands the anger some people in Ferguson may feel. That has helped him empathize. “I can identify with it,” he explained. “And I know a lot of people didn’t get the break that I got, which was having somebody in their life to drag them out.”

Pastor Doug Hollis Jim Dalrymple II

“If they start getting into a riot, we can contain the crowd.” —Pastor Doug Hollis

If all else failed — especially Wednesday, but also Tuesday — the clergy stepped in as a physical barrier between protesters and the police. When a man was arrested Wednesday, for example, several clergy members, including Reverend Michael Kinman, of Christ Church Cathedral, jumped in as a human barrier to prevent protesters from getting too close to police.

At times, that barrier becomes a wall. Pastor Doug Hollis, of Clergy United, said that at one point on Wednesday he and other religious leaders formed a line, interlocked their arms, and wouldn’t let anyone pass. The strategy evidently worked. “The atmosphere has been different ever since the clergy been out here,” he said. “Ever since we’ve been doing the clergy thing, it’s been great. The crowd has been peaceful.”

Source: Jim Dalrymple II for Buzzfeed News

h/t: Tobin Grant at Religion News Service

h/t: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress

H/T: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress World

Today in Bryan Fischer stupidity: On both his radio show and his OneNewsNow column, he DEFENDS ISIS’s reasoning that the Yazidis are “devil worshippers.”

The Raw Story:

Christian radio host Bryan Fischer is in agreement with the Muslim extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) that a minority religion in Iraq is made up of “devil worshippers.” And he’s irate that Presdient Barack Obama is authorizing a humanitarian mission to help the Yazidi people, who are stranded and dying of thirst after ISIS launched an attack on them, Right Wing Watch reported.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Yazidis were not allowed the option given to Iraqi Christians of converting or paying a “tax” for practicing their faith. Instead, ISIS condemned the group to death.

“They consider us infidels so they are killing us and taking away the women,” Iraqi Parliament member Vian Dakhil, herself a Yazidi, was quoted as saying. Fischer apparently shared ISIS’ belief that the Yazidi religion’s emphasis on seven angels, including one who refused to bow to Adam, is an allusion to the devil.

Besides criticizing Obama on his radio show, Fischer also wrote an online column blasting the Yazidi faith.

Justin’s Political Corner, via Right Wing Watch:
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is outraged that the U.S. is intervening in Iraq to stop ISIS, who has been attacking Christians and other Muslims throughout the country.

Fischer believes that President Obama only intervened to stop the extermination of the Yazidis, who practice an ancient religion yet are considered by ISIS fighters and others to be “devil worshipers.” He began today’s edition of “Focal Point” by railing against Obama, saying the president only decided to launch airstrikes in Iraq in order to defend “devil worshipers.”

“They go after devil worshipers and all of the sudden the entire weight of the United States government is sent in there to relieve them and to avenge them,”he said. “Those are the Yazidis.”
“In a rare point of theological accord, both Muslims and Christians agree that the archangel revered by the Yazidis is in fact the Prince of Darkness,” he writes in his column today. “The New Testament describes him this way,” “Satan (who) disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), eager to deceive the gullible into believing that he is good rather than evil. The Yazidis have fallen for his lies.”

Brandon Stephens (@iamredsky) says what needs to be said about Fischer and folks like him:

From the 08.08.2014 edition of AFR’s Focal Point:

See Also: Justin’s Political Corner: Bryan Fischer Agrees With ISIS That Yazidis Are Devil Worshipers And That’s Why Obama Defends Them

(cross-posted from JGibson at Daily Kos


h/t: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress World

h/t: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress LGBT

H/T: Scientistocrat at Daily Kos

h/t: Philip Francis and Mark Longhurst at The Atlantic

h/t: Jack Jenkins at Think Progress Health

h/t: Michael Sherrard at TPM

h/t:  Kyle Mantyla at RWW