Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday News in October 20, 2017.

We live in unique times. Since WWII, we (as in America) have developed our technologies, expanded social movements, and witness monumental changes. Now, we are in an uncertain future. Many people are overtly showing bigotry from racism to old school xenophobic nativism. Many people are now showing paranoia and believe in the sick view of austerity. That is why we believe in promoting democracy and human freedoms. Promoting our rights deals with grassroots collaborations, consistent activism, and constant research about the diverse aspects of how our world functions. When one man in the White House spews vile rhetoric about a diversity of human beings, we will always take seriously the principles of love, human dignity, and a cogent foreign policy. In the midst of economic inequality and record profits from select wealthy corporations, we believe in the focused goals of living wages and progressive economic solutions to complications. Also, we recognize the beauty of immigration as immigration is a direct contributor to innovation, cultural development, and this diversity is part and parcel of the American identity. We recognize that compassion isn't just shown to those of us in America, but to the refugees and all peoples internationally. The precisely means that bigotry of any form is evil and totally antithetical to the creeds of equality and human justice. That is why we are committed for justice for black people and the rest of humanity. We are in a special time and we have the opportunity to help the poor, to assist the sick, and to be a shining example of true egalitarianism in our age of the 21st century.

In our age, we deal with many controversies. Trump has repeated the claim that Congresswoman Frederica Wilson lied about his condolence call to the widow of a fallen U.S. soldier. Once again, Trump is insecure and scared of a black woman. The truth is that grieving families have every right to grieve in their own way. Anyone has to be careful to be sensitive to the emotional needs of any family who lose a loved one. Trump also lied about Obama and said that he didn't call families who lose their family members. John Kelly gave his take on the issue. Congresswoman Wilson knew the family of the soldier for years, so she is not a stranger to the family. So, this attack against Wilson is totally unwarranted and disrespectful. Therefore, we must keep our eyes on the prize. Trump is known to disrespect military families and people of a diversity of backgrounds. He has no moral authority to lecture anyone on dignity and compassion. We stand with truth.

Burgess Owens is a coward and a liar. First, black people have protested for justice and opposed police brutality long before the birth of the BET Network. Some of the greatest lovers of America have been black people even when America hasn't shown love to black people (via Jim Crow, slavery, restriction of rights, etc.). A peaceful kneel has nothing to do with hating a flag and being anti-America. It is about being pro-justice and raising the real issue that police brutality still exists in the world (and police terrorism against people must end). Critique that is legitimate has nothing to with with abhorring patriotism. It is the nativist, bigoted attitudes of Trump supporters which is against democratic principles of social tolerance, egalitarianism, and human respect. Kaepernick has the right to do it. In our generation, we can't be naive. We have racism, police brutality, pollution, sexism, and other evils. Grassroots efforts by a wide spectrum of people historically have inspired the conscience of the world. Colin Kaepernick has done a peaceful action in standing up for racial justice and to make aware that we must continue to fight in order for police brutality to be eradicated.

Days ago was Birthday of Brother Wynton Marsalis. He is 55 years old. He is one of the greatest jazz musicians of his generation. He is a composer, teacher, a trumpeter, a music educator, and an artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. He has a life long love of music, which is truly inspirational. He was born in New Orleans, which is home to blues and jazz music. Many of his relatives are musicians. He played musical instruments at his church when he was 8. He graduated with a 3.98 GPA from Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans. As early as 1980, Marsalis performed with legends like Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets Edison, Clark Terry, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and countless other jazz musicians. He worked with PBS to show the world about the cultural richness of jazz music since the 1990's. He has won 9 Grammy Awards. One of Wynton Marsalis' greatest contributions is that he brought more young people in this generation in America to embrace jazz more so than any other person that I know. He bridged the generation gap in promoting music and he has shown incredible determination to promote the truth that musical expression has manifold benefits for humankind. I wish Brother Wynton Marsalis more blessings.

Here are my views on Russiagate. There is an investigation by Mueller and others about what happened during the 2016 election. First, there should continue to be an independent investigation about what happened. If extensive voting fraud occurred by some Russians, then that should be known, fully shown, and those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. Also, we should realize that voting fraud is not new. Black people were denied the right to vote for decades and centuries. Many people in America used tactics to prevent people of color and progressives from voting in America too. So, voting suppression is an international affair. Also, we have to make a distinction between the vast majority of Russian people who just want to live their lives and the Russian oligarchs who are documented to have been involved in corruption. Some people want to exploit the nefarious actions of a few, evil oligarchs as an excuse to be Russia-phobic and blame every Russian for hacking. That is wrong. We shouldn't glamorize Putin as a hero. Putin recently said that people shouldn't disrespect Trump and Trump is a legitimate President. Basically, Putin ignores how the First Amendment gives people the right to disagree with Trump in passionate terms. Trump is a callous bigot. Putin is a right wing nationalist (with ties to oligarchs) who has executed anti-civil liberty policies. He is not a hero of freedom. Likewise, I don't believe that we should provoke some military confrontation with Russia (as advocated by Republicans and even some neo-liberal Democrats. I reject militarism and imperialism). The only way to solve this problem is by a through investigation, those responsible being held accountable, and in the long term hoping that Russia transforms into an independent, truly democratic nation not ruled by authoritarian nationalists like Putin.

By Timothy

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Polish My Writing.

Black Agenda Radio, Week of October 16, 2017

Afro-Colombians Defend Collective Land Rights

Real Information in our time.

The athletes protesting by a kneel has been historic. It has been going on for months now. Colin Kaepernick has recently filed a collusion suit against the NFL for their actions of preventing him from joining any team. Also, many people talk about how they believe that protesters are not advocating solutions. That is very false because of many reasons. First, people for decades have talked about solutions from laws being changed, actions of self determination, demands for change, and to outright convictions of cops who do police brutality in a legitimate manner. The problem is that the people in power don't want the real solutions that folks have been advocating for so long. The powers that be don't want federal laws banning racial profiling or massive investments to rebuild poor, struggling communities. Many police unions definitely don't want real accountability involving police terrorism. Therefore, people have no choice but to protest and organize anti-racist grassroots movements in fighting back. Some NFL owners like Jerry Jones wants to ban players from kneeling during a national anthem whose original words condoned slavery (and whose author was a racist slave owner). We live in unique times when Trump lies about Obama, restricts legitimate environmental regulations, harms health care benefits, threatens to attack North Korea, and disagrees with Kaepernick (when American colonists centuries ago did much more drastic actions in disagreeing with the British Empire). Republicans and even some Democrats have promoted a war hawk philosophy instead of a cogent, sober minded foreign policy agenda. Attacks on free speech on the Internet has accelerated when Google said that they will restrict what they deem as "alternative sources" in their searches. Also, leaders of Facebook are submitting to the NSA and more policies of censorship could exist in Facebook. The attacks on net neutrality continues to exist by many corporations. Therefore, activism is not a spectator sport. It requires all of us to do our part in order for progressive change to exist.

One of the greatest unsung heroes of the civil rights movement was Sister Autherine Lucy Foster. She is a civil rights activist who helped to end Jim Crow apartheid once and for all. Back in 1956, she was the first African American to attend the University of Alabama. This was long before Vivian Malone and James Hood (both heroes in their own rights) came into the University of Alabama back in 1963. Autherine Lucy Foster was in risk of death. She was expelled by the University unjustly. Later, her expulsion was annulled in 1988. Then, Autherine Lucy Foster came back into the University of Alabama to earn a master’s degree in elementary education in 1991 and she participated in the graduation ceremony in May 1992 with her daughter, a corporate finance major. In the year of 2017, the Autherine Lucy Foster Historical Marker was unveiled on the Tuscaloosa campus near where the mob gathered to protest her presence at the university decades ago. She was there in the ceremony (in 2017) to speak about the cause of freedom. It is a historical time. She has displayed a gracious, humble spirit. She continues to inspire our generation and future generations to keep the faith in order for us to carry the torch, so justice can be made into a triumphant reality. We all congratulate Sister Autherine Lucy Foster on her accomplishments.

Recently, the FBI issued a document that slandered pro-black activists as "Black Identity Extremists." We know how the FBI works. Decades ago, they did COINTELPRO to divide progressive organizations. They lied about Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. The truth is that a black man or a black woman has every right to stand up for black liberation without apology. We have the right to stand up for our freedom using intelligence, militancy in the quest for justice, and social activism. You have every right to use any legitimate means necessary to put a halt to injustice. It is precisely logical to deduce that a government run by an extremist (who brags about committing sexual assault and calls neo-Confederates "fine people") is an administration that I don't respect. Therefore, we are justified in continuously fighting for our liberation. In my state of Virginia, there is a governor's race between Northam and Gillespie. Gillespie (who I remember with his ties to the Bush administration) is known for his ties to the corporate power structure. When I found out that he endorses to keep confederate statues on public lands (funded by our tax dollars), then it is clear what his agenda is. Gillespie should be ashamed of himself by glamorizing the statues of traitors and racist deceivers. Confederates are traitors and they deserve no glamorization. Northam is a Democratic candidate who is more progressive and more reasonable on issues than Gillespie. So, November is coming up and I will vote. I will not vote for Gillespie. Politically, Virginia is more progressive politically than even 15 years ago, so hopefully the new Governor of Virginia will reflect the real values of voting rights and civil rights.

Many years ago, I found out about many similarities between ancient Rome and America today. First, ancient Rome claimed to be work as a Republic and then it became an empire. America was claimed by many to be founded as a Republic, but on many events of history, America didn't act as a Republic to all of its residents (and America expanded its power as an Empire especially by the turn of the 20th century). Ancient Rome has the logo of an eagle. America has a logo as an eagle. Ancient Rome had a disgraceful history with its involvement of slavery. America has a disgraceful history with its involvement in slavery. Ancient Rome had 2 major parties of the Optimits and the Popularis (during its later Roman Republic era). America has the 2 major political parties of the Republicans and the Democrats. Ancient Rome has a known history of Christians being persecuted by Roman emperors. America has a population of majority Christian (back then and today) and many Christians came into early America to escape European religious persecution. Ancient Rome had a diversity of ethnic groups who lived in its territories. America is the most diverse nation in human history culturally, socially, politically, and ethnically. The Roman government from ancient times were based on the 12 tables and the American government is based on the U.S. Constitution. America copied ancient Greco-Roman architecture and ancient Egyptian architecture in especially Washington, D.C. Many revolts happened throughout the Roman empire for the purpose of many fighting for human rights. Revolts and rebellions happened all over American history for the purpose of many fighting for human rights too. Sports were found in both ancient Rome and in modern day America. So, the lesson here is that there is nothing new under the sun. We have to use discernment to not only know what's going on in the world. We have to apply what we know to help ourselves and our neighbors.

One of the heroes of our age is Sister Mae Jemison. Yesterday was her Birthday. She is 61 years old today. Her wisdom is magnificent. For example, she has advanced intellectual curiosity, STEM field ingenuity, and inspiration for girls plus women who desire to explore space (and explore the beauty of the sciences in general). She is a hero to any girl and to any woman (and to anyone in general) who wants to discover more of the wonders and the mysteries of the sciences (from biology to physics). She was born in Decatur, Alabama. She moved into Chicago at the age of 3. Ever since she was a child, she wanted to travel into space. She pursued science since she loved science with a deep passion. She was inspired by the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King in order for her to work towards her dreams. She experienced adversity, but she didn't give up. She refuted the naysayers. She loved the arts and dancing too. She came into Sanford University in 1973 at 16. She worked in the Peace Corps and NASA. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992. She conducted many experiments in space too. She has nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. Mae Jemison is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization. To this very day, she has been involved in programs to give people of color and women opportunities to pursue STEM field related careers. Additionally, she has written numerous books. As a fan of Star Trek, she appeared on the show as Uhura. She has been on many other TV shows. Mae Jemison always want science and technology to enrich human life. Her legacy is about to never stop advancing inquiry and that the love of mathematics, technology, science, and engineering is not limited to a few people. It ought to be cherished by everyone in an inclusive fashion. I wish Sister Mae Jemison more blessings in her life.

By Timothy

Monday, October 16, 2017

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL over alleged collusion

50 years since the murder of Che Guevara

Monday News in Late October 2017

The long, unsung history of St. Louis’ Civil Rights Movement shows the inspirational power of black Americans. Since the founding of St. Louis in 1764, many people of black African descent were in St. Louis. Many were slaves and many were free black people. Back during French and Spanish colonial rule, black people lived in St. Louis. Many black settlers defended St. Louis from the British during the Revolutionary War during the Battle of Fort San Carlos. This took place on the Gateway Arch grounds. There were 10,000 slaves in Missouri by 1820. Many people opposed the disgraceful 1821 Missouri Compromise. There was a protest among free black people and white people against Missouri being a slave state back in 1819 (according to Judge Nathan B. Young). It is also very important to mention that Dred Scott lived in St. Louis. His wife stood by him and he was free before he passed away in September of 1858. His wife Harriet Scott lived to the time of June 17, 1876. Rev. John Berry Meachum helped to educate black children during the 19th century. One Freedom School teacher was a black woman named Elizabeth Keckley. She purchased her freedom in 1854. She wrote about her experiences in her book entitled, “Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slaves, and Four Years in the White House.” She was a seamstress in the White House, who created dresses for Mary Todd Lincoln (or Abraham Lincoln’s wife). Many black people owned land in St. Louis throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Ester was a black woman who owned land. James Milton Turner was born a slave in St. Louis and freed as a child with his mother in 1843. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio and, after the Civil War, became secretary of the Missouri Equal Rights League, campaigning to give blacks the right to vote. In 1870, Missouri accepted the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing the right to vote. Turner died in 1915 and is buried in Father Dickson Cemetery in Crestwood. Josephine Baker was born in St. Louis and she fought for civil rights throughout her life. She was raised in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood of St. Louis.

The African American-based St. Louis American newspaper was created by Judge Nathan B. Young and other African American businessmen (including Homer G. Phillips). It dealt with black issues and it was first published in 1928. It has won many awards in excellence involving journalism, design, and commitment to the community. There werethe white terrorists who murdered and brutalized black people in the 1917 East St. Louis riots. Many black people fled into St. Louis via the bridges. The riot caused 39 black people to die and 9 whites to die too. In 1930, the St. Louis American newspaper started a "Buy Where You Can Work" campaign. This campaign was about both boycotting businesses that discriminated against black people and forming more economic empowerment in the African American community. Judge Nathan B. Young edited issues in the newspaper for decades. The newspaper gave people great information about African American contributions in St. Louis and the contributions of non-black people in the freedom struggle. During the 1930’s, black people in the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters fought for labor rights. One African American union organizer and politicians involved in this effort was Theodore McNeal. He was the first elected African American to be in the Missouri Senate after he defeated Edward Hogan. He led the passage of the Fair Employment Practices Act in 1962. He supported the creation of the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1964 and he helped to establish the passage of the state Civil Rights Code in 1965. He worked in the University of Missouri and received many honors and honorary degrees (from the University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and Lindenwood University). He lived and passed away on October 25, 1982. He or McNeal said the following words decades ago at the Kiel Auditorium rally: “We resent the Jim Crow setup in the armed forces and war industry, and treatment branding us as second-class citizens,”

The Civil Rights Movement in St. Louis involved heavily grassroots activism. It involved men, women, and children who wanted an end to racial discrimination, Jim Crow, housing discrimination, and economic exploitation. They wanted black people to have adequate, fair job opportunities, so people can pursue their happiness in the most effective way possible. Many important civil rights cases were reality to the city of St. Louis. The Missouri History Museum documents the African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis. The civil rights movement was very active in St. Louis. The 1938 Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada Supreme Court decision stated that states that provide a school to whites must also provide in state education to black people too. The Supreme Court said that this can occur by either allowing black people and white people to attend the same school or create a second school for African Americans. Lloyd Gaines was a black man who wanted to go into law school. He was refused to do so in Missouri. So, Gaines cited the Fourteenth Amendment as evidence to why his preventing of going into a law school was a violation of his constitutional rights. He’s right. The decision did not quite strike down separate but equal facilities, upheld in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Instead, it provided that if there was only one school, students of all races could be admitted. It struck down segregation by exclusion if the government provided just one school. That was a precursor to Brown v. Board of Education (1954). This case was the beginning of the end of the Plessy decision. Despite the initial victory claimed by the NAACP, after the Supreme Court had ruled in Gaines' favor and ordered the Missouri Supreme Court to reconsider the case, Gaines was nowhere to be found. When the University of Missouri soon after moved to dismiss the case, the NAACP did not oppose the motion. The historic Shelley v. Kraemer (of 1948) case was a landmark Supreme Court case that ruled that courts could not enforce racial covenants on real estate. Louis and Fern Kraemer were white neighbors who wanted to keep the black couple (J.D. and Ethel Shelley) from owning a home in the area. George L. Vaughn was a black attorney who represented J.D. Shelley at the Supreme Court of the United States. The attorneys who argued the case for the McGhees (as part of the companion case McGhee v. Sipes from Detroit, Michigan, where the McGhees purchased land that was subject to a similar restrictive covenant)were Thurgood Marshall and Loren Miller. Later, the St. Louis City Hall was integrated and a swimming pool was integrated in Fairground Park. The June 21, 1949 Fairground Park riot involve white racists hating the fact that St. Louis integrated its public swimming pools. Robert Gammon & J.C. Tobias  are black people who were chased by white racist gangs back then during the Fairgound Park riots (they were much younger back then).  During that 1949 riot, about 4,000 to 5,000 whites roamed the grounds of the Fairground Park and assaulted any and every African American that crossed their path. In 1959, sit-ins took place at Pope’s Cafeteria downtown, the Woolworth’s in midtown and the Howard Johnson’s at 3501 North Kings highway. Many restaurants had conceded to integrate by 1961, when the Board of Aldermen banned discrimination in public places. The historic Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case, which held that Congress could regulate the sale of private property to prevent racial discrimination. The Supreme Court decision of Shelley v. Kraemer banned all racial discrimination, private as well as public, in the sale or rental of property, and that the statute, thus construed, is a valid exercise of the power of Congress to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment. In May of 1942, the Booker T. Washington Technical vocational school wanted to help promote the war effort during WWII.

St. Louis was very central in the development of the black freedom struggle. Many of the unsung heroes of this struggle include Billie Teneau, Frankie Freeman, Hedy Epstein, Percy Green II, and Jamala Rogers. By 1947, CORE or the Congress on Racial Equality was formed in its St. Louis chapter. CORE’s original goal was to end injustice and establish true equality for all people. Billie Teneau was a founding member of the local CORE chapter. CORE back then held interracial picnics in Forest Park to show a message for justice. They made peaceful demonstrations throughout the city. During this time, the NAACP was already a powerful force in St. Louis. Its leadership was strong. NAACP worked heavily in the courts to fight for equal educational opportunities, racial equality, and fair housing. On 1949, NAACP civil rights lawyer Frankie Muse Freeman was involving the Brewton v. the Board of Education of St. Louis case. This was years before the Brown v. Board of Education decision that banned racial segregation in public schools back in 1954. Hedy Epstein worked with the Freedom of Residence to fight for housing rights. Percy Green II fought for direct action in St. Louis. He was part of CORE and found the ACTION organization to continue in nonviolent resistance. Jamala Rogers is a known activist who fought for freedom in St. Louis for decades and in our time with the Ferguson movement. One of the most important parts of St. Louis history was the Jefferson Bank demonstration. On August 30, 1963, black protesters desired changes in the hiring practices at Jefferson Bank. Working class people, physicians, and business professionals marched in favor of economic justice. Civil rights groups wanted the bank to hire more black people since the bank only had two black employees. Not to mention that St. Louis is a black mecca of culture. The protesters sang, “We shall not be moved.” On that day of August 30, 1963, nine people were arrested. Bank executives were stubborn as they refused to change originally. CORE supported the movement against Jefferson Bank at 2600 Washington Avenue (just west of downtown). CORE chairman back then, Robert B. Curtis, wanted the bank to do the right thing. CORE and the NAACP worked together in the endeavor. The protest continued. On March 2, 1964, Jefferson Bank hired six more African Americans. The protests represented the influence of St. Louis in the modern civil rights movement.

The St. Louis city Alderman William Clay would go into Congress. Raymond Howard and Louis Ford would be Missouri legislators. Hundreds of people went into jail during the 1960’s in St. Louis for demonstrating against Jefferson Bank. To this very day, protests involving the Jefferson Bank continue. They also wanted many businesses to hire more black people as well. Many people were arrested during the 1960's after the court in St. Louis issued an injunction which would try to restrict demonstrations. Attorneys like Margaret Bush Wilson were involved in the movement involving the Jefferson Bank demonstrations too. She was a civil rights activist throughout her life and she was a courageous black woman. Norman Seay continues to speak out against discrimination and bank hiring practices. On July 14, 1964, civil rights protesters including Percy Green climbed up the unfinished Gateway in 1964 to fight for job opportunities for African Americans. Percy Green also rightfully opposed economic discrimination and he wanted to fight the Veiled Prophet parade (starting in 1965) because of its racist overtones. With the Black Power movement, Black Panthers and other groups were readily involved in St. Louis. One of the greatest civil rights leaders was Dick Gregory, who was born and raised in St. Louis. he lived for 84 years from 1932 to 2017. He supported Dr. King and Malcolm X. He marched, protested, gave sacrifice to the cause of freedom, and was a strong health plus peace activist. Dick Gregory opposed the Vietnam War and he was always outspoken on critically important issues. He was a social analyst, comedian, and great elder. The Black Panthers was a progressive, revolutionary group who desired black liberation and Third World international solidarity. They believed in socialist principles and desired all power to the people. In April of 1968, Dr. King was assassinated. In that month, 30,000 people marched peacefully to Forest Park. There was no rebellion in St. Louis. Also, on April 4, 1969, ACTION members raised their clinched fists in endorsing a rent strike in St. Louis.

The 1969 rent strike in St. Louis public housing brought fair, affordable housing more into the discussion among the national civil rights agenda. Gwen B. Giles was the first African American woman elected to the Missouri Senate. Giles was a civil rights activist and got involved in Democratic politics while trying to improve the lives of Blacks living in and around St. Louis. She broke down barriers for black people and women in Missouri.  As co-chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, she looked at discrimination in hiring practices. Giles sponsored bills including endorsing the Equal Rights Amendment, eliminating blue laws, processing personal-injury claims, making public assistance easier to deposit for citizens, and increasing aid to dependent children of unemployed parents. Under her leadership, the West End Community Conference in St. Louis addressed local school desegregation and received $30 million dollars to address housing in the area. She was a member of the Order of Women Legislators, NAACP, the International Consultation on Human Rights, and the National Council of Negro Women. She co-founded the Missouri Black Leadership Conference. She passed away in 1986 as a product of lung cancer. She was 53. Dr. Joe Williams was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement in the city during the 1960's. He passed away on March 16, 2013 at the age of 87. Curt Flood was an African American baseball player who fought for free agency. As time went on, more black people migrated into the suburbs of St. Louis County including Ferguson from 1970 to the present. St. Louis is the fifth most segregated state in the Union today. Housing discrimination and unregulated suburban development continues in the St. Louis region to this very day. In Missouri, racial and class tensions exist and we have a long way to go. Yet, we have faith that the future will be better than the past via discussions, social activism, and the development of our power. Decades later since 1968, the Black Lives Matter movement would fight against racial oppression and police brutality during the 21st century. We are still fighting poverty, gentrification, and corporate exploitation worldwide. The events of Ferguson (with Michael Brown being killed by Darren Wilson in August of 2014) and St. Louis, involving the opposition to the police killing unarmed black people, has inspired a new generation of activism.

By Timothy

Saturday, October 14, 2017

African American athletes.

Stealth Combat

Civil Rights Activist Autherine Lucy Foster Honored with Historical Marker at University of Alabama

We know which side they're on

The Reformation (500 Years Later)

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The Reformation (500 Years Later)

One of the most important parts of religious and human history was the Reformation. It was a revolutionary change in Christianity. From the time of the 95 Theses to the beginnings of the 18th century, early Reformation events greatly influence our modern world. The Reformation inspired more inquires or the questioning of the authoritarianism of medieval Roman Catholic ecclesiastical authority. It established the modern existence of Protestant and Baptist religious groups. Also, the Reformation made the Catholic Church to create their Counter-Reformation. Part of the Counter-Reformation was the invention of the Jesuits during the 16th century. The Jesuit founder Ignatius Loyola desired the suppression of the vibrant, growing Protestant movement. The Jesuits had been banned in numerous nations. Not to mention that the corruption and theological errors of the Roman Catholic Church were massive factors on why the Reformation commenced in the first place. The evil practice of indulgences (of the Catholic Church) harmed the poor and exploited human lives. Martin Luther of Germany was one of the many early Reformers who sought not only the promotion of sola fide (or faith alone). Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others wanted the Bible to be translated into their own tongues as the Catholic hierarchy back then forbid Bible translations to be in languages other than Latin. Bloodshed followed the Reformation. This included religious wars among Protestants and Catholics. Independent Anabaptists (who were autonomous in their structures, they believed in the believer’s baptism, and they followed the separation of church and state) existed back then as well. Anabaptists were also persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants.

The Greek Textus Receptus (or a Greek translation of the New Testament) were used heavily during the Reformation period. William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible in English relied on the Textus Receptus. William Tyndale would be murdered, because of his support of the Reformation and because of his theological views. In fact, many Protestants would be murdered by political and religious authorities because of their faith. The Reformation was facilitated by the printing press (which accelerated pro-Reformers’ literature rapidly. In Europe, Gutenberg modernized the printing press). Not to mention that many poor and working class people in Europe agreed with some of the principles of the Reformation. The Waldensians, John Wycliffe, John Huss, Erasmus, and other people were predecessors of the historic Reformation movement. Many people, who claimed to support the Reformation, would be involved in many evils like slavery, racism, and sexism. Others, who supported the teachings of the Reformation (back then and today), would go on to advance religious tolerance, human freedom, the freedom of press, an end to slavery, and justice. So, the Reformation was a world changing event whose legacy is diverse and whose influence is extremely powerful.

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Predecessors Before the Reformation

In terms of religious antecedents, the Reformation is no exception. Since the days of Jesus Christ (when he was physically in the Earth) and the early Apostles, many Christians have advanced a simplistic, culturally enriching, and powerful Gospel. The early Christian church had no purgatory, no adoration of the host, no Inquisition, no mandatory celibacy for priests, no absolution, no Lent, no Syllabus Errorum [Syllabus of Errors], and no infallibility of the Pope. So, we have to follow real history and the truth in order for us to grow spiritually. Cyprian was a religious leader during the 200’s A.D. He was a bishop of Carthage. He wrote much literature about spiritual matters ranging from theological debates to history. He was the person who wrote that no man should act as “bishop of bishops” in saying that no bishop from Rome or anyone else should act as the primary leader of Christendom. As time went on, the Catholic Church, as we see it, would be invented and false doctrines from purgatory to the veneration of saints would be part of its foundational doctrines. Vigilantius of the 5th century A.D. spoke out against many errors that were spread in Europe. Jerome criticized Virgilantius harshly, because Vigilantius continued to oppose the vigils in basilicas or churches. Jovianius also criticized the myth that virgin is better than a wife in the sight of God. I don’t agree with Jovanius on every issue, but he is right to question plus oppose authoritarian institutions and false doctrines.

After the Roman Empire ended, the Germanic tribes (like the Franks, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Visigoths) conquered much of Western Europe and even parts of Northern Africa. They later became part of the many kings of Europe. The Pope continued to work with the kings in dominating European politics, religion, and culture. Still, independent Christians flourished. During the early Carolingian Empire of the 800’s (in France), many religious scholars questioned transubstantiation (or the belief that the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is present during communion ceremony, which is blasphemous and illogical). These scholars included Ratrammnus of Corbie, John Scotus Eriugena, (an Irish theologian), and others (from the 840’s A.D.). Claudius of Turin rejected the cult of images during the 820’s A.D. Gottscahlk questioned many Catholic doctrines too. Many people in their positions risked imprisonment, their books burned, and some even experienced death. Many religious people, who disagreed with Romanism back then, were in fact killed by political authorities because of their religious views.

By the 1100’s, Peter of Bruys was a French religious leader who criticized infant baptism, opposed the erecting of churches and the veneration of crosses, opposed the doctrine of transubstantiation, and denied the efficacy of prayers for the dead. He’s right on all of those accounts except for the opposition of the erecting of churches. I disagree with him on some issues, but his followers called the Petrobrusians opposed mandatory clerical celibacy. He was killed by a mob later by 1131 A.D.

One of the most influential predecessors of the Reformation was Peter Waldo. He lived from 1140 to 1205 A.D. He was a leader of the Waldensians. He opposed purgatory and transubstantiation. His followers preached around Europe, promoted a translation of the New Testament into the vernacular (or the Franco-Provençal language), and he believed in the universal priesthood. His followers existed for centuries in northern Italy to escape suppression. Many Waldensians would ally with the Reformers centuries later. By the 1300’s, John Wycliffe was born. He is called the Morning Star of the Reformation because of his views, which were very similar to the Reformation’s ideologies. John Wycliffe was an English scholar, theologian, Bible translator, and seminary professor at Oxford. He attacked the greed among some of the clergy in the United Kingdom. He helped to create the Wycliffe Bible of 1382 (it was in the English language). He criticized indulgences, wanted to promote anti-simony (or he was against religious bribes), and he desired more progressive changes in the church. His views were condemned in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI. John Wycliffe focused on helping the poor.

Wycliffe rejected transubstantiation. He wrote literature and passed away in 1384 at the age of 64. His followers were the Lollards which expressed his doctrines throughout England. The Catholic Church condemned him, excommunicated him, and burned his bones (and his ashes were thrown into the River Swift, which flows through Lutterworth). William Thorpe of the 1400’s followed the views of Wycliffe too.  Jon Huss also disagreed with the Roman Catholic Church on many issues. He lived in Prague and was a Czech priest. He was murdered in 1415. It is said that when he was about to expire, he cried out, "Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on us!" Hus' ashes were later thrown into the Rhine River. The religious freedom that we take for granted in America was brutally suppressed in many areas of the world centuries ago. The Hussites were his followers. Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples believed in justification by faith and he believed in the authority of the Scriptures. Erasmus wanted reform in the Catholic Church and he resisted greed and excess found in many parts of the Catholic Church. He promoted study of theology and he was from the Netherlands. Much of his research contributed to the Reformation Bibles of Europe.  Erasmus published Novum Instrumentum that deals with the Greek New Testament.

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The Problems

The Reformation was created, because of many factors. The Roman Catholic Church dominated the lives of Northern and Western Europe. It didn’t have universal approval too. Many of the church leaders wanted more worldly recognition and power than spiritual enlightenment. These realities caused dissenters to increase their voices more forcefully. People criticized the Vatican as not going far enough in establishing far reaching reforms. By 1500, the Renaissance took total flight in Europe. It caused more people to question reality and the doctrines of the Vatican. The Renaissance was a large artistic movement that focused on the creative expression of the human mind. The printing press spread diverse ideas rapidly including ideas that challenged the Catholic Church’s political power (as church and state are unified in the Vatican back then in most of Europe). Many Popes were overtly corrupt. Some organized wars and lived extravagantly. One example is how Pope John XII (955–964) gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.  Pope Alexander VI admitted that he fathered several children and had mistresses. In 1500, Pope Alexander VI called for a crusade against Turkish peoples (who were mostly Muslims back then).

The world’s population reaches about 400 million while 100 million live in Europe and Russia. Powerful monarchs challenged the Vatican as the supreme power in Europe. Many leaders viewed the pope as a foreign ruler with too much power. European princes and Kings fought over wealth. Merchants and others hated paying taxes to the Catholic Church. The sale of indulgences was not only repugnant, but it was opposed by many. Some priests were illiterate and poorly educated, so they couldn’t teach the people greatly. Some were using alcohol into excess and some gambled. Some were married and I have no problem with clergymen or clergywomen being married. Humanists like Erasmus and Thomas More promoted reform within Catholicism, but soon the Reformation existed.

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Martin Luther

The leader of the modern Reformation was Martin Luther. Martin Luther had strengthens and weaknesses. To describe both, we must start from the beginning. He lived from 1483 to 1546. He lived in Germany. Ironically, many of his views not only opposed Catholic teachings. Some of his views are in fact very similar to Catholicism. To begin, he was born in Eisleben, Saxony (then apart of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany). His father was Hans Luder and his mother was Margarethe. He had many brothers and sisters and he was close to one brother named Jacob. Martin Luther went to Latin schools in Mansfeld and then Magdeburg in 1497. He was educated in another school on grammar, rhetoric, and logic by 1498. Martin Luther entered the University of Erfurt in Germany at the age of 19 in 1501. Luther did learning and spiritual exercises there. He received the Masters of Arts in philosophy by the year of 1505. Later, he was almost struck by a lightning bolt. He left law school, sold his books, and entered St. Augustine’s Monastery in Erfurt on July 17, 1505. He became an Augustinian monk during the autumn of 1506. He was ordained a priest at Erfurt Cathedral on April 3, 1507. His family wanted him to be a lawyer, but he decided to be a monk. He taught religion at the University of Wittenburg from 1512 to his passing. He received a Doctor of Theology on October 19, 1512.

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The 95 Theses

The Vatican wanted indulgences to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The friar Johann Tetzel supported the promotion of indulgences (or money sent to the church which causes a church to pardon someone of sins). Tetzel’s antics were wrong. Martin Luther opposed and protested the sale of Indulgences. So, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. He invited other scholars to debate him. The 95 theses was a letter sent to Albert of Mainz. The full title of it was “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences.” Back then, Martin Luther had no intention of splitting with the church, but an objection with one church policy. Thesis 86 asks rightfully that: "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?" When word spread of the 95 Theses, Luther became well known throughout Germany. Luther later said that forgiveness was God’s alone to grant and buying salvation via indulgences was a huge error.

The 95 Theses was translated in Latin and German by his friends in January of 1518. He later believed in justification by faith alone. He believed that justification is the work of God, which is true. He promoted his views by citing the verses from the books of Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. The salvation by God alone via grace through faith is one core belief of the Reformation. Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz and Magdeburg did not reply to Luther's letter containing the Ninety-five Theses. He had the theses checked for heresy and in December 1517 forwarded them to Rome. Luther believed that church teachings should be based on the words of the Bible. He rejected the authority of the Pope and Church tradition. He believed that priests don’t necessarily need to interpret the Bible for people since all people with faith are equal. His ideals spread quickly. The Vatican at first tolerated him as a rebellious monk. By 1518, Luther denied that the popes had an exclusive right to interpret scripture. He didn’t view the Pope nor church councils as infallible. The theologian Johann Eck later wanted Luther to be defeated because of his views. In 1518, Luther appeared before Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg and appealed to the General Council while refusing to recant. In 1519, Luther and Johann Eck debated in the Leipzig Debate. In June 15, 1520, Pope Leo X threatened Luther with excommunication via his papal bull or edict Exsurge Domine. The pope wanted him to recant 41 sentences drawn from his writings including the 95 Theses in 60 days. Luther refused and publicly set fire the bull and the decretals on December 10, 1520. He wrote about this in his "Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles." As a consequence, Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X on January 3, 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. Martin Luther continued in his religious views.

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The Reformation Expands

After Martin Luther was excommunicated, his life was certainly in danger. As late as the 1500’s, anyone disagreeing with the Vatican in public (in Europe) risked death. Devout Catholic and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V opposed Luther’s teachings. Charles V controlled a lot of lands and had great power. So, Charles V summoned Luther to the town of Worms. He stood trial. Luther refused to recant or take back his statements. This event is called the Diet of Worms (which is found on the Rhine). Prince Frederick III or the Elector of Saxony protected Luther’s life literally. Later, the Emperor Charles V showed his final draft of the Edict of Worms on May 25, 1521. It declared Luther an outlaw, it banned his literature, and wanted his arrest. It said that: "We want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic." It also made it a crime for anyone in Germany to give Luther food or shelter. It permitted anyone to kill Luther without legal consequence. Prince Frederick the Wise of Saxony protected Luther’s life. In one of his castles (in the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach), Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German. He created many writings. He attacked with literature Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz. He worked with his friend Melanchthon.  Luther came back into Wittenburg in 1522. He had his own separate religious group called the Lutherans. Immediately by 1524, the heroic Peasants’ Revolt existed. This revolt was against the injustices of feudalism and economic exploitation by the wealthy elites.

The German peasants believed that Luther’s views can inspire change. Luther opposed the revolt and called for the princes in Germany to stop it without mercy. The German princes killed as many as 100,000 people. The peasants rejected Luther’s religious leadership, because they felt betrayed by him. Northern German princes supported Luther. They became the Protestants. In two of his later works, Luther expressed anti-Semitic views, writing that Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed. There is no excuse for anti-Semitism as it is racist and evil period. Today, every Lutheran denomination has condemned those views and anti-Semitism in general. Later, Protestants included those who disagreed with Roman Catholicism in Western and Northern Europe. Charles V of Germany fought against the Protestant princes. Charles V won the war, but the movement of the Reformation grew. The Peace of Augsburg of 1555 allowed princes in Germany to decide for themselves their own religion.

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The Diversity of the Reformers (in the Reformation)

While the Reformation grew, England had many people that started to embrace Protestantism during the 1500’s. The Catholic Church’s stronghold in England started to end. The Lollard movement existed in England for a while. King Henry VIII of England wanted a son to control his empire. He wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon. The Pope refused to do so. So, he decided to end the marriage himself. In 1529, he asked the Parliament to end the pope’s power over his government in England. By 1533, Henry secretly married Anne Boleyn and the Parliament allowed the divorce of his first marriage. In 1553, the Parliament promoted the Act of Supremacy which ends the Pope’s control over England politically. This policy wanted King Henry VIII, not the pope, to rule the Church of England (or the Anglican Church). Thomas More was an English Catholic who criticized policies of the Vatican, but refused to break away from the Catholic Church. He refused to obey the Act of Supremacy. So, King Henry VIII had him arrested and executed. Anne Boleyn had a child named Elizabeth. She was beheaded in 1536 for not giving birth to a son.  King Henry VIII died in 1547. He had a son named Edward, who was born in 1537. Edward’s mother was Jane Seymour. Edward VI was advised by Protestant adult advisers. He ruled for six years. Later, Mary or the daughter of Catherine of Aragon was on the throne in 1553. She was a Catholic and supported the Pope. She had many Protestants executed. That is why she was nicknamed "Bloody Mary." She died in 1558. Elizabeth or the famous Queen Elizabeth (daughter of Anne Boleyn) inherited the throne. In 1559, Queen Elizabeth I modernized the Church of England or Anglicanism with the help of Parliament. She tried to please both Protestants and Catholics by: allowing priests to marry to please Protestants and to allow trappings of Catholic services to please the Catholics. Elizabeth I faced economic problems, many Catholics trying to kill her since she was a Protestant, and other Protestants viewed her as not going far enough in reforms.

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William Tyndale was a famous English scholar and a translator of the Bible. He lived from c. 1494 to October 6, 1536. He was one of the most heroic people of religious freedom. He was born in Gloucestershire, England. He graduated from Oxford to get his B.A. and Masters of Arts. He was a gifted linguist and became fluent over the years in French, Greek, Hebrew, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, in addition to English. Between 1517 and 1521, he went to the University of Cambridge. Erasmus had been the leading teacher of Greek there from August 1511 to January 1512, but not during Tyndale's time at the university. Tyndale was sub deacon too. He became a chaplain and translated the Bible into English. He studied religion in Germany and worked in Antwerp. Tyndale denounced the practice of prayer to saints. He taught justification by faith, the return of Christ, and mortality of the soul. Eventually, Tyndale was betrayed by Henry Phillips  to the imperial authorities. He was seized in Antwerp in 1535, and held in the castle of Vilvoorde (Filford) near Brussels. He was tried on a charge of heresy in 1536 and was condemned to be burned to death, despite Thomas Cromwell's intercession on his behalf. Tyndale was strangled to death while tied at the stake, and then his dead body was burned. His final words, spoken "at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice", were reported as "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes." William Tyndale's Bible was influential and contributed many words to the English language. His work contributed heavily to future English translations of the Bible. William Tyndale was heroic in promoting his views.

Other forms of Protestantism existed in Europe too. Huldrych Zwingli was influenced by Erasmus and Luther. By 1520, Zwingli criticized the abuses of the Vatican. He wanted the people to control the church in a simplistic fashion.  His reforms existed in Zurich, Switzerland. Protestants and Catholics fought it out in Switzerland and soon Zwingli died in 1531. John Calvin was a young person. He was 8 when the 95 Theses existed. John Calvin gave additional structure to the doctrines of the Reformation. By 1536, Calvin wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion. It talked about God, salvation, and human nature. Calvin was correct that humans can’t earn salvation by works alone since only God grants that. Yet, Calvin promoted a very rigid, exaggerated form of predestination. He believed that since the beginning of time, God preordained a select group of people to be saved called the elect. Calvinism is his founding teaching. He formed a theocracy or a religious government in Europe. He formed it in 1541 in Geneva, Switzerland. His theocracy had extreme rules. Everyone was forced to attend religious classes. No one played card games or wore bright clothes. Anyone who broke those rules risked excommunication or expulsion from Geneva (which had 200,000 people back then). John Knox admired Calvin’s views and promoted his Presbyterian movement in Scotland. He organized laymen or presbyters to work in a church by 1559.

Calvin revolutionized the Protestant reformation. His views influenced those in France, the Netherlands, and Scotland. Huguenots were the French followers of Calvinism. Many of them suffered the murder in Paris on August 24, 1572 (which is called the Bartholomew Day Massacre). This was when many Catholics executed Protestants. Over 12,000 Huguenots were murdered in cold blood. So, there is diversity in the Reformation. All of these Protestant groups agreed that believers can interpret the Bible for themselves, that preaching and service is important, that the Bible is the sole source of revealed truth, they rejected purgatory, they rejected the pope being infallible, and they rejected indulgences. Anglicans and Lutherans retained more Roman Catholic beliefs than Calvinism. Lutherans believe in the sacramental union. Anglicanism is sense as a hybrid between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism too. Also, Protestants back then believed in an union of church and state (which would be rejected by the Anabaptists and early Baptist groups. They believed in the separation of church and state).  Also, Anabaptists and early Baptists believed that adults should be baptized as they can make a conscious decision to do it (while Protestants back then believed that infants can be baptized). Diversity in Protestantism continues to this day.

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The Counter Reformation (and the Jesuits)

While millions of people turned into Protestants, the Catholic Church didn’t remain silent about this development. They developed their Counter Reformation whose goal was to promote their religion and end the spread of the Reformation. Millions in Europe remained loyal to Catholicism. Some Catholics wanted to reform themselves without leaving and some Catholics wanted to end the Reformation once and for all (yet, that didn’t occur). Popes Paul III and Paul IV were in league with the Counter Reformation. Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuit Order. The Jesuit Order, since its inception, was created to fight against Protestantism and promote Catholicism. Loyola grew up in Spain. He fought in a war where he injured his leg in 1521. He wanted comfort during his recovery. He thought about his past sins and about Jesus. He had daily devotions and almost a mystical belief system that he claimed would cleanse his soul, but even the NT has stated that all of our works alone are as filthy rages. Works alone can never save us. You have to have faith, do work, and ultimately God’s power saves us. Ignatius wrote his daily views in his Spiritual Exercises. It is made of a repetition of meditation, prayer, and study. It dealt with spiritual and physical exercise. Ignatius’ followers grew.

The Pope sanctioned the Jesuit Order in 1540. The Jesuits wanted to stop the spread of Protestantism period. They formed schools to promote their religion, they sent missionaries to try to convert people to Catholicism, and Jesuits were trained in theology. Later, Pope III promoted the evil Inquisition that harmed religious freedom and civil liberty, he investigated Catholic corruption, and he wanted to form a council to deal with religious issues. Jesuits have been involved in theological source. The Jesuit theologian from Spain named Luis del Alcázar, for example, was the modern day founder of Preterist thought (as outlined in his literature entitled, "Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi." It was published in 1614). Preterism is the belief that nearly all (or all) prophecies of the Bible have been fulfilled by 70 A.D. Many of them believe that many prophecies found in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelations have already been fulfilled. Preterism holds that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Of course, tons of Christians disagree with Preterism because of many reasons from the Gospel not being preached into all of the world and too many prophecies referring to future events.

Jesus Christ is rather clear according to Matthew 24:29-31 , when he has explicitly said in prophetic terms that: "...Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they (the angels) shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other..."

The Council of Trent lasted from 1545 to 1563. It was made up of bishops and cardinals. The Council of Trent was strict and authoritarian. It made the Catholic’s church’s interpretation of the Bible final. It said that Christians must have faith and good works for salvation. They believed that church tradition is equal to the Bible. They supported indulgences, but not the false selling of them. The next Pope, Paul IV, supported the Council of Trent. He went a step further to violate the freedom of speech by allowing the burning of the Index of Forbidden Books (which were critical of the Catholic Church). Protestant Bibles were burned too. Thousands of books were burned in Europe.

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Conflicts involving Religious Views

Protestants and Catholics fought each other in wars for the hegemony of Europe. Spain with Philip II and his empire wanted to promoted Catholicism in Spain and the rest of Europe. Spain was not new to religious wars. Catholics and Muslims fought each other in Spain for a long time before the Reformation. Also, Isabella and Ferdinand supported the evil Inquisition which brutalized people who were non-Catholics. Philip believed that it was his mission to defeat the influences of Protestants and Muslims of the Ottoman Empire. In 1571, Philip and many Catholics fought the Ottoman Turkish peoples. The Spanish Armada in 1588 wanted to attack England, whose leader was Queen Elizabeth I. The Spanish Armada was defeated by the British and this caused the British Empire to grow in strength. By 1598, Henry of Navarre promoted the Edict of Nantes, which promoted religious freedom among Catholics and Protestants in France. This caused a Catholic fanatic to assassinate him. In 1610, Henry Of Navarre was murdered by a sword. Later, Cardinal Richelieu had a big influence in France. He allowed Protestant to worship, but he restricted many of their rights like not having their cities to have walls. He increased the power of the Roman Catholic Church and sought to grow France.

The Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1649 was about Protestants and Catholics (including royal families) fighting over territories and political power. It started with the dispute of Protestants among Hapsburg Ferdinand II closing down Protestant churches (in Bohemia, Germany) and Protestant revolting. In the beginning, the Hapsburg forces were defeating the Protestants in the first 12 years of the war. Germany areas were destroyed by Hapsburg armies. Ferdinand II had an army of 125,000 men. By 1630, the tide of the war changed when the forces of the Protestant Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden numbering 23,000 people. He was killed in battle in 1632. Ironically, Catholics Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin of France joined the German and Swedish Protestant. The reason is that they didn't want the Hapsburg to get more powerful than the French king. So, they fought against the Hapsburg armies. Germany's population dropped from 20 to 16 million during the war. Germany wasn't unified until the 1800's. The Peace of Wesphalia in 1648 ended the war. The treaty weakened the Hapsburg states of Spain and Austria. It increased France power by giving France French territory. German princes became independent of the Holy Roman empire. Religious wars ended in Europe among Protestants and Catholics by 1648. More peace negotiations exist where many people negotiated to end conflicts. An Catholic empire ruling Europe ended with the 1648 Treaty of Wesphalia. The modern state system in Europe developed.



The Anabaptists evolved from the Protestant views. The difference was that the Anabaptists went further in their reform than even what the Protestants viewed. In their earliest years, many of the Anabaptists were followers of Zwingli in Zurich. Memmo Simons was a Catholic priest. Later, he converted to Anabaptism. He was one leader of the Memmonites. Around 1526 or 1527, questions surrounding the doctrine of transubstantiation caused Menno Simons to begin a serious and in-depth search of the Holy Scriptures, which he confessed he had not previously studied, even being a priest.  From 1536, he was a committed Anabaptist believer. He didn't find anywhere in the scriptures supporting mandatory infant baptism, so he followed his conscience. His wife was Geertruydt Jansdochter and they had 3 children together. He worked in the Netherlands vigorously to advance his creed. Some Memmonites traveled into Ukraine, Poland, the Netherlands, America, and other places to escape religious persecution. Many Anabaptists would express neutrality during wars.

While many Anapatists baptized people who believed in adult age, Protestants back then readily baptized babies. While many Protestants had a union of church and state, Anabaptists believed in the separation of church and state. The Anabaptists believed that a state churches is totally antithetical to the simplistic model of true bodies of believers in communities. They wanted holiness in their lives with earnest and zeal. Anabaptists wanted people old enough to decide for his or herself before getting baptized. Anabaptist came from a Greek word meaning "baptize again." The Anabaptists also believed in not fighting in any wars, because of the words in the New Testament about not being involved of the things of the world (and our kingdom is not of this world). They shared possessions too. Both Protestants and Catholics persecuted Anabaptists viciously. Anabaptists evolved into the Mennonites and the Amish today. Also, the Quakers and the Baptists (who came out of the Anglican Church) would be influenced greatly by Anabaptist teachings.

Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock and Felix Manz were famous Anabaptists of Switzerland. Felix Manz was a martyr at the age of 30, because he wanted to peacefully express his religious views. He was the first Swiss Anabaptist to be martyred at the hands of the Protestant followers of Zwingli. Manz was influential to led hundreds and even thousands to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. During his lifetime, he suffered much persecution and numerous imprisonments. He was drowned to death on January 5, 1527 (in Zurich, Switzerland).  His last words were, "Into thy hands, O God, I commend my spirit."

During the early years of the Reformation, women had a prominent role. One example is how the sister of King Francis I (she is Marguertie of Navarre) protected John Calvin from in executed because of religious beliefs in France. Many noblewomen protected reformers. Katherina on Bora played a behind the scenes role as Luther's wife. Women fought for equality during the reformation including Luther's wife. Unfortunately, it would take long years and centuries for women to get massive leadership roles in clergy.

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The Later History of the Reformation

By the 17th century, the Reformation changed the world. Arminius in 1603 believed in the view that predestination is based on foreknowledge. By 1603, King James I was the leader of the Kingdom of England. He was a person raised Presbyterian in the Church of Scotland. He was a Protestant who would strongly embrace many Protestant views. Later, he would commission the creation of a new Bible. King James I has been loved and hated. The truth is between the two extreme views of the man (those views are that either he was the greatest saint in history or the other view is that he was evil incarnate). King James I did the right thing to have theological disagreements with certain doctrines of Romanism. King James I made the mistake of persecution of many Baptists and religious dissidents. He was an author who wrote the following books: Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). He tried to avoid religious wars and tried to prevent the hawkish members of the Parliament to fight Spain. He survived the Gunpowder plot when dissident Catholics like Guy Fawkes wanted to use explosives to kill him and the members of the Parliament House. The plot was led by Robert Catesby. King James I had long debates with Puritans since the Puritans wanted King James I to make reforms to eliminate certain rituals from the Church of England that they felt were too allied with Catholicism. The Separatists wanted no compromise with King James I and left England to the Netherlands and to America. The King James Version of the Bible of 1611 would be the most famous Bible of the English language. It was created by many scholars and human beings who were polyglots, experts in theology, and trained religious leaders. It took years to create the KJV and it was a compromise between Anglican views and Puritan views. It came out of the Greek Textus Receptus and it was influenced by the Tyndale Bible. As the Puritan movement grew, Calvinism responded to Arminian doctrine with the 5 Point Calvinism by 1619 (after the Synod of Dort from 1618-1619).

After King James I died, because of health issues, Charles I again disagreed with the Puritans. More Puritans go into America. Protestantism in America was filled with spiritual growth like universities being built and the Great Awakening with people like Jonathan Edwards preaching in New England. Also, many Protestants and Catholics would promote the evil of slavery in the Americas too. This evil would ruin lives, harm black people, and promote theological poison (that poison is promoting the evils that slavery is fine and racism is fine, which are lies) for many years to come. In 1685, King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) revoked the Edict of Nantes (this edict promoted religious freedom and toleration). King Louis XIV was known for his extremism and his absolutism. This caused French Protestants to exodus France and travel worldwide including into America. By the 18th century, the Methodists would exist, Princeton would be founded by Presbyterians in 1764, Brown would be founded by Baptists in 1764, and the first black Baptist church in America would be created (it is found in Silver Bluff, South Carolina). While this is going on, many Baptists were persecuted by members from the Church of England in Virginia and in other places. Baptists in Virginia grew rapidly during the 1700’s. From 1750-1777, more than forty Baptist ministers (both Regular and Separate) are imprisoned for license violations and disturbing the peace. Many other Baptists encountered critics and mobs during this same period. By 1786, General Assembly passes the Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, which effectively disestablishes the Church of England and gives dissenters full and equal legal privileges. The Baptists back then believed in the separation of church and state. This concept has been embraced by many religious people to this very day, because the government has no right to dictate the religious matters of any religious body (and vice versa). Catholics would be persecuted in many places like Maryland. Quakers and other religious dissidents would be persecuted in America. Native Americans would experience massive genocide, rape, etc. by white supremacists throughout the Americas too. So, it was a time of massive change including massive tragedies. From the 19th century and beyond, Protestantism became here to stay.

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The Legacy of the Reformation

The Reformation has a diverse legacy. First, the positive legacy of the Reformation must be shown, then the mistakes of the Reformation, and a conclusion. There were many positive results of the Reformation in Europe and throughout the world. The Reformation ended the Catholic religious and political hegemony in Europe. It allowed more people to read the Bible in their own languages. It inspired religious debate and questioning of authoritarian, ecclesiastical institutions. The Reformation formed the basis of the modern nation-state since it allows more governments to grow outside of the influence of the Catholic Church. It also inspired the Enlightenment as the Enlightenment was about a further questioning of conventions and desired the figuring out of natural laws (and other philosophical components of everyday life). The Reformation existed long before Luther. Its views were heavily inflenced from Peter Waldo (along with the Waldensians) and others who wanted a simplistic community of believers who existed peacefully without religious oppression.

Many people risked their lives to speak about the universality of believers, the symbolic nature of communion, and the right of religious freedom from William Tyndale to John Wycliffe. The Reformation also caused the Protestants ironically enough to further divide into different denominations like Methodists, Episcopalians, Reformed, Presbyterians, etc. The Reformation wasn’t perfect either. The problem with the Reformation wasn’t that it went too far. It was that it didn’t go far enough. Some in the Reformation refused to accept the separation of church and state. Like many Catholics, many Protestants were complicit in the slave trade and were involved in the brutalization of Africans, Asians, Native Americans, etc. Not everyone in Christianity is responsible for this (I want to make that perfectly clear. We know that many Christians were strong abolitionists and fighters for social justice), but these criminals (who claimed to be "Christians") exploited Christianity for nefarious purposes. Europe is more secularized than 500 years ago. Europe is having debates about the EU, immigration, refugees, and religion. The truth is that we don't have to agree with each other on every issue, but us sending authentic compassion to immigrants and to the refugees is representative of the compassionate spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, Islamophobia (i.e. demonization and hatred of Muslims because they are Muslims) and discrimination against Muslims in Europe (and anywhere in the world) is completely wrong and abhorrent.  That is why heroic men and women are continuously fighting for racial, social, gender, and environmental justice in 2017 plus beyond.

Therefore, we live in a new century and the same principle of the Golden Rule applies to humanity regardless of someone's race, color, creed, sex, and background. Ironically enough, some of the most religious Protestants and Baptists in our time are people of color (including black people, Asians, Latinos, etc.). The Catholic Church’s overt political and religious influence declined for a while as a result of the Reformation. Today, the Catholic Church is over 1 billion in membership and advances the Ecumenical movement (which promotes blatant compromise among religious bodies. Also, the Apostle Peter had a wife, which refutes the false notion that any religious bishop must not have a wife. Peter was an apostle not a Pope). Also, there are still very spiritual Protestants and Baptists living their lives in positive ways. The Reformation promoted self-analysis involving theology and a sense of transforming the lives of many people forever. The Reformation represented a new era in world history that resulted in part to the modern era of our history.

By Timothy

Friday, October 13, 2017

Interview: South African activists speak on new wave of class struggle

Choosing or refusing to take sides in an era of right-wing populism

Friday Information in Mid October 2017.

The ending of the ACA subsidies is very evil. Donald Trump is an evil person and a person who has called neo-Confederate deceivers "fine people." These subsidies help millions of poor Americans. The subsidies are worth $7 billion. They have saved lives. With the subsidies gone, many people will die. I want to emphasize that again. The policies of Trump will cause more uninsured in America and people will die. The policy of Trump will drive up the costs of premiums for many people. Like we have said for a long time, Trump is representative of the right wing counterrevolution. He is the biggest, domestic threat against America right now. He will also decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, which has worked. He will then allow Congress to approve it or not. Trump is a person without compassion. He also wants to do this on purpose before the enrollment period and he wants to shorten the enrollment period too. He is trying to target low income people, because he doesn't care about the poor. Trump is notorious for being a liar and being a coward by not speaking the truth or endorsing justice. Anyone that supports Trump (no matter their race or background) endorses white supremacy, sexism, racism, and far right wing extremism. Trump supporters should be ashamed of themselves. The truth is that social justice is what we will continue to endorse forever.

It is important to understand about South Africa too. For decades, it has suffered under apartheid. For centuries, it experienced imperialism and colonialism. Many grassroots people (including the heroes that we know like Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Steve Biko, etc.) fought so vigorously to end apartheid once and for all. This movement of social change caused South Africa to democratically elect its first black President in 1994. His name was Nelson Mandela. This came after the end of the Cold War. Western powers like the IMF has implemented neoliberal policies after 1994 too (from austerity to payments to the IMF and World Bank). Today, South Africa legitimately has social changes that ended apartheid. Many people still suffer economic inequality, lack of infrastructure, xenophobia, and anti-black racism. That is why new activists in South Africa are rising up to demand justice. People desire land, wealth redistribution, electricity, healthcare, education, and all other human rights that they are entitled to. Mthetho Xali, Alex Hotz, and others are in our generation who are opposing economic injustice and the agenda of Trump in South Africa. We want South Africa to experience its highest potential.

The Anabaptists evolved from the Protestant views. The difference was that the Anabaptists went further in their reform than even what the Protestants had enacted. While many Anapatists baptized people who believed in adult age, Protestants back then readily baptized babies. While many Protestants had a union of church and state, Anabaptists believed in the separation of church and state. Anabaptists wanted people old enough to decide for his or herself before getting baptized. Anabaptist came from a Greek word meaning "baptize again." The Anabaptists also believed in not fighting in any wars, because of the words in the New Testament about not being involved of the things of the world (and our kingdom is not of this world). They shared possessions too. Both Protestants and Catholics persecuted Anabaptists viciously. Anabaptists evolved into the Mennonites and the Amish today. Also, the Quakers and the Baptists (who came out of the Anglican Church by the early 17th century) would be influenced greatly by Anabaptist teachings. During the early years of the Reformation, women had a prominent role. One example is how the sister of King Francis I (she is Marguertie of Navarre) protected John Calvin from in executed because of religious beliefs in France. Many noblewomen protected reformers. Katherina on Bora played a behind the scenes role as Luther's wife. Women fought for equality during the Reformation including Luther's wife. Unfortunately, it would take long years and centuries for women to get leadership roles in clergy on a higher level.

Sister Maya Wiley in our generation has been a life long social justice advocate. It is important to acknowledge our modern heroes. She has promoted not only democratic rights, but she has been on the front lines to defend our voting rights and to fight against police brutality. We honor her contributions and we praise her strength.  Also, it is important to not let today's events eliminate our hope and faith. Nothing in this Universe will cause me to lose my faith. Humanity experienced World War 2, and other events and we survived. Many of our ancestors defeated Nazism, defeated legalized slavery in America, and defeated Jim Crow. Therefore, we have the power to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Golden Rule is a universal principle that is not only morally right. It has worked. It has worked to advance the labor rights movement. It has worked greatly to get policies changed in our civil rights movement. It will work in order to strengthen the cause to defeat the bad policies from the Trump regime. The Golden Rule is not about compromising, condoning evil, or going along to get along. It is about fair treatment, a demanding of real social change, and human activism to positively and constructively achieve human justice.

One of the most important subjects in the world is mathematics. It deals with how we count a vast number of things, how we engineer buildings, and how we evaluate nature. Mathematics is beautiful, because it is definite in its composition. It is not ambiguous. It deals with precise calculations (from basic factorization to concepts dealing with infinity) and it's fun. Mathematics can be basic from learning about prime and composite numbers (prime numbers have only 2 factors and composite numbers have 3 or more factors. Divisibility rules involve various numbers too) to complex calculus (which is about the evaluation of how functions and derivatives operate. To learn calculus is to learn about slopes, functions, and line curves in an advanced level involving a graph). In our generation, many kids struggle with math and more people are doing their part to help children understand the purpose of mathematics as well. Math is a life learning process too. People of any age can learn and there is no shame of anyone of any age receiving guidance to improve his or her math skills. We are all here for the purpose of helping others and reaching our own goals as human beings.

By Timothy

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Abolish the debt that is drowning Puerto Rico

10 Thriving Black Towns You Didn’t Learn About In History Class – Atlanta Black Star

Black Agenda Report (and the FBI targets Black Ideology)

Donald Trump Didn't Know About The 25th Amendment & Why Aren't We Surprised

Sports & Politics: 27 Woke Athletes Who've Taken A Stand

ESPN commentator compares Jerry Jones to a slave owner


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The FBI Is Now Labeling Something Called 'Black Identity Extremists' as a Terrorist Threat

Important news in Early October 2017.

With the events going on with Jemele Hill, it is important to express solidarity with her. For a long time, many sick people equate dissent with anti-patriotism or treason. When Kaepernick, other football players, and other people knell when the National Anthem is played, they are protesting racial injustice and police brutality. They are not trying to slam the flag or disrespect Americans. Many reactionaries just don't understand that simple point, because many of them want to ignore the truth. Some want to promote the lie that athletes should just play and be silent. The truth is that athletes for decades and centuries have played sports and spoken out on political issues. Muhammad Ali was a great boxer and he spoke out on humanitarian and other political issues. Arthur Ashe was a great tennis player and he spoke out in favor of justice for black people. He's from Virginia too, which is my home state. Lebron James have spoken out on education, being against police brutality, and wanting a change. Jackie Robinson was involved in the civil rights movement. Venus and Serena Williams have spoken out in favor of pay equity regardless of sex. WNBA star Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore have publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement. John Carlos and Tommie Smith protested too during the 1968 Olympics with the fist in the air. So, there is a long history of political activism by athletes. Jemele Hill in her Tweet raised a legitimate point about Jerry Jones doing the wrong thing in restricting the rights of Cowboy athletes to protest injustice. Jones wants to bench players who refuse to stand for the anthem (which was created by a racist, slave owner and whose original lyrics condoned slavery). Jerry Jones should be ashamed of himself. Now, we will continue to fight for our rights. Jemele Hill is a heroic black woman and I support her 100 percent.
We will always Stay Woke.

One of the most important events in the 21st century revolve around the independence movement of Catalonia independence movement.  Carles Puigdemont, president of the Generalitat, the government of the autonomous region of Catalonia, supports independence of Catalonia in the Spanish peninsula. The Spanish political establishment of course opposes the independence movement. The October 1, 2017 referendum that called for independence passed by a majority of voters (in 89 percent) in Catalonia. The disputes comes since the Spanish government and the EU opposes such a move. They claim that such a referendum is illegal, but any people have the right to self-determination in the world. Many Spanish police used overreach in trying to stop the referendum by smashing polling places and being aggressive even against elderly people. The Spanish military forces has occupied the area. The Rajoy Madrid government arrested many officials from the Catalan government on September of 2017 too. Some 40,000 people gathered in the center of Barcelona to protest the Guardia Civil’s raids, filling Plaza Catalunya until well into the night. On the streets there were hundreds of Catalan independence flags (the estelada, whose design is similar to the Cuban and Puerto Rican independence flags) flying. The crowd chanted over and over, “Votarem! Votarem!” (we’re going to vote). You could also hear “Catalunya antifeixista” (Catalonia is anti-fascist) and “Occupation troops get out!”  The mobilization of the workers and the oppressed for independence is always legitimate.

We haven't forgotten about California either. Many areas of California are experiencing horrendous wildfires. Tons of homes have been destroyed and many lives have been changed forever. We send prayers and condolences to the family experiencing the fires. Also, it is important to give credit to the heroic authorities who have saved lives, warned people, are fighting the fires, and are organizing shelters to assist the victims of this natural disaster. About 200 people are missing and more than 15 people have died. More than 2,000 structures have been destroyed, and more than 115,000 acres have been destroyed as a product of the fires. While this is going on, the Trump administration is proposing to further gut the firefighting budget for 2018; these include slashing $300 million from the US Forest Service’s firefighting budget and $50 million from its fire prevention program. In addition, it is proposed that the federal budget for volunteer fire departments, often the first responders in wildfire emergencies, will face a 23 percent budget cut. Trump is just a disgrace. Like always, we are in solidarity with the people of California.

What Harvey Weinstein did is disgusting. There is no excuse for sexual harassment and rape period. There should be accountability sent to criminals who do these things regardless of wealth, political affiliation, or any other status. Also, many sick people do harass women in Facebook via stalking, vulgar words, etc.That is inexcusable too. The courageous women speaking out should be commended for their courage and strength. We are human and all of us should be treated with dignity and with respect. I haven't watched it yet, but Leah Remini is courageous in what she is doing. Scientology is one of the most bizarre groups of all time. They believe that people must use auditing to get rid of unwarranted memories. Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard was not only a science fiction writer. He was a notorious extremist who has promoted many falsehoods in his life.

Yesterday was  the Birthday of Sister Crystal Waters. She is now 53 years old. She was born in Philadelphia. She is a living legend of house music, dance music, and other great music. She is a singer and songwriter too. Her music was very popular during the early 1990's. When I was a little, I remember her music vividly. Her relatives are jazz legends. She moved into Washington, D.C. when she was young. At age eleven she began writing poetry and took her writing seriously enough to be inducted into the American Poetry Society when she was 14, the youngest person ever to receive that honor. She went into Howard University. We know that D.C. is a mecca of house music. Her song "Gypsy Woman" was an international hit and represented he cultural essence of 1990's music. Her song "100% Pure Love" is a great jam too. She continues to make music and she can dance too. I wish Sister Crystal Waters more blessings.  Yesterday was the Birthday of Sister Mya. She is 38 years old and she was born in Washington, D.C. She is a singer, actress, producer, dancer, songwriter, and designer. For over 20 years, she has been involved in the music industry to provide her audience with joy and exciting creativity as it pertains to her talent. She grew up in Suburban Maryland next to D.C. She was in BET's Teen Summit for years. Many of her albums talk about love, romance, and surviving. Her "Fear of Flying" album exemplifies her persona. She has said that she is inspired by many artists like Sade, Prince, Minnie Riperton, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, etc. She continues to express her music in a honest, powerful way. I wish Sister Mya more blessings.

By Timothy