Category: Religion

The most disturbing segment of the radical right

For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. Naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prThe problem my friends is that the lunatic fringe is hardly a fringe when it numbers 40% of the voting population.  It seems that every slimeball, every conspiracy buff, closet racist and disgruntled redneck has found his or her hero.

Once they were restrained by a culture that was built of the idea that such things, like toilet paper hanging from the back of one’s drawers, was sort of unmentionable in polite society.  Ideas that usually were only blurted out late Thanksgiving evening after too many beers had loosened tongues and released pent-up inhibitions are now being tossed about with gay abandon. They seem to enjoy being able to shout out obscenities in public and have their photo taken while verbally taking a crap on the living room rug.

Now during my lifetime I have met and dealt with that kind of people, most often when stationed with a bunch of locals on ships homeported in the defeated formally rebel states. But usually, they kept their real feelings among shipmates of a kindred spirit. In other places, I also know that there were people whose idea of Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty was really quite suspect, but at least they knew enough to control most of their ugly thoughts. most of the time.

With the rise of a fascist wannabe the rocks have been overturned and instead of slithering creatures shunning the bright sunlight, he has given them an open forum to express some of the ugliest thoughts and ideas ever promoted by civilized men.

Perhaps the most disturbing segment of the radical right is the support from what are supposed to be Evangelical Christians who have abandoned the principles of Christianity to support the neo-nazis, the racists and the plainly disgusting members of the vocal right-wing mob. Why, because they apparently are consciously ignorant of the meaning of the well-known observation of Martin Niemöller:

” ….First, they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak out for me…..”

And they do it to advance one specific theological doctrine, dear to them, which they seek to impose on the rest of our social order of diverse philosophies. They have refused to speak out and now find themselves in a conjugal political bed with people for whom the essential Christian principle;

“….  For I was  hungry, and you gave me food, 

I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.

I was a stranger, and you took me in.

Naked, and you clothed me, 

I was sick, and you visited me,

I was in prison, and you came unto me. 

In as much as you have done this unto one of the least of these my brethren,

you have done it unto me ….”

It has become a meaningless phrase. A token of base metal.

What a shame it is.

Charlie Jensen

Copyright Foc’sle Chatter, 2018, All Rights Reserved

Three Senses of “FAITH”

In casual discussions, and even often in formal dissertations, the word “Faith” is often used, somewhat loosely. It should be understood that it can be meant in one of three senses.

Faith as in Tenacity, as a belief despite evidence to the contrary.

Faith as in the Will to Believe, a belief in the absence of evidence either way.

Faith as Expectation, a belief based on previously observed evidence in the expectation that that evidence will continue.

The first is what sells Lotto tickets to people who know that the chances of winning are usually astronomically bad. In fact, I am quite sure that the majority who purchase Lotto tickets do so because they know that most weeks someone, somewhere, will win and just maybe one day the Gods will smile on them.

The second fills the pews at the corner church despite the failure of there being a shred of evidence that prayers will increase the chances of a favorable result to their requested outcome. Note the selective memory that is displayed when what they prayed for occurs. “God was looking after me.” But they never accept the logical conclusion for all the times their desired outcome failed to materialize; “God sure had it in for me when the tornado went through town.”

The last sense in which people have faith is what gets the seed corn planted in the springtime.

Because I might buy a Lotto ticket on occasion should never be confused with a belief in some imaginary good buddy in the sky who will bless the numbers I have chosen as long as I promise to tithe the local church, give up chocolate ice cream or mumble through the sixty odd rosary prayers every night for a week..

Nor should my plans to take my children on a picnic next Sunday be confused with anything deeper than that, for all my life Sunday has followed Saturday and the weather in Florida is usually quite amenable to such outdoor activity. It is reasonable for me to act upon that expectation without implying some metaphysical belief that Amun-Ra is personally interested in my tan lines.

Confusing the usage of one with an example of the other is careless if unintended and deceptive if intentional. It often makes logical discussion between well-meaning friends difficult or even impossible.

Substituting a contrived construct like “pre-supposition” for one sense or the other can be acceptable, but the intention of the user will still determine which of the three diverse senses controls the intended meaning. Conflation either way still leads to misunderstanding and confusion. That leads to debaters talking past one another and eliminates any possibility of compromise and agreement.

© 2014, Charlie Jensen, All Rights Reserved


Proclaim Liberty throughout the land

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Some seventy-five years ago a mid-sized cruise ship sailed from Hamburg, bound for Havana, Cuba. Aboard were almost 1,000 passengers who had proper visas to allow them to land in Cuba where they would have sought asylum from the growing Nazi mayhem that had developed in Germany.

The vessel arrived in Havana harbor, to find that some laws had been changed and their visas were no longer valid. When pleadings and appeals were ignored Captain Schroder took the ship to a point near Miami. The passengers were refused entry to the land of the free. They sailed slowly up the east coast while people ashore all the way to Ottawa tried to arrange a refuge for these Jews from the then impending holocaust.

But no, and finally the MV St Louis returned to Europe. The passengers were distributed among several countries, about 300 to Britain, some to Holland and Belgium, a few to Switzerland and the rest safely to France. Safe, that is, until May of 1940 when the Nazi war machine burst forth onto Western Europe.

Most of the refugees trapped there were eventually rounded up and sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. Thank you very much America.

Can you imagine the raw brainpower of these refugees and their descendants that we lost when they were sent back to Nazi Europe?  How many doctors, scientists, educators and successful entrepreneurs, that could have enriched our nation were denied the simple asylum that international law and common Christian decency demands.

And now we are presented with a very large number of men, women and young children, fleeing violence, murder and mayhem have arrived seeking some of that loudly proclaimed Christian charity. And who are these people? They are the survivors of an even larger group who actually set forth to reach the modern promised land. The survivors who are most likely to become a productive member of our society.  The same hypocrites who have been complaining that the President has been ignoring the laws that many of them voted for and were signed with some fanfare during the last administration are now demanding that President Obama ignore those laws and immediately send these people who risked so much and endured so many dangers be sent back to a modern holocaust while they bloviate in the Senate and House chambers, contributing nothing to any solution.

If only there were some way to ship some Congressmen to these destitute Central American nations for a week or two so they had the time to rest and read their bibles and learn what suffering and physical danger there is to the people living there.

As our good Christian Congressmen are aware, their Bible demands;

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

Psalms 82:3-4

© 2014, Charlie Jensen, All Rights Reserved