Tornade d’Oklahoma: Attention: une leçon peut en cacher une autre! (I will have mercy and not sacrifice: CNN gets its age-old teachable moment)

https://i2.wp.com/patdollard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/previewImage31-600x350.jpgNo religious affiliation in America has grown to 19.6%Je hais, je méprise vos fêtes, Je ne puis sentir vos assemblées. (…) Mais que la droiture soit comme un courant d’eau, Et la justice comme un torrent qui jamais ne tarit. Amos 5: 21-24
J’aime la piété et non les sacrifices, Et la connaissance de Dieu plus que les holocaustes. Osée 6: 6
Allez, et apprenez ce que signifie: Je prends plaisir à la miséricorde, et non aux sacrifices. Car je ne suis pas venu appeler des justes, mais des pécheurs. Jésus (Matthieu 9: 13)
Notre monde est de plus en plus imprégné par cette vérité évangélique de l’innocence des victimes. L’attention qu’on porte aux victimes a commencé au Moyen Age, avec l’invention de l’hôpital. L’Hôtel-Dieu, comme on disait, accueillait toutes les victimes, indépendamment de leur origine. Les sociétés primitives n’étaient pas inhumaines, mais elles n’avaient d’attention que pour leurs membres. Le monde moderne a inventé la « victime inconnue », comme on dirait aujourd’hui le « soldat inconnu ». Le christianisme peut maintenant continuer à s’étendre même sans la loi, car ses grandes percées intellectuelles et morales, notre souci des victimes et notre attention à ne pas nous fabriquer de boucs émissaires, ont fait de nous des chrétiens qui s’ignorent. René Girard
I have never been shy in mentioning my relationship with what I call God, a Spirit, and there certainly have been times over the years that I have called on him — or her, if you wish — in public. I deeply believe that there is a Supreme Being that sees us through. Myrlie Evers-Williams
I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived. Barack Obama (2004)
The vague spirituality (and the nod to collectivism) is reminiscent of the ’60s counterculture and their rejection of organized religion. It brings to mind Norman Greenbaum’s hippie folk anthem “Spirit in the Sky.” Greenbaum, a practicing Jew at the time he wrote the song, said cowboy movies inspired him to write it, explaining that: “even though I’m a bad guy, I want to redeem myself and go to heaven. I just chose the spirit in the sky. The part about Jesus was just a natural part when I put it all together.” He has also said, “It wasn’t like a Christian song of praise it was just a simple song. I had to use Christianity because I had to use something. But more important it wasn’t the Jesus part, it was the spirit in the sky.” (…) There was a sense when listening to Evers-Williams’s speech-prayer that she “just had to use something.” We get the same feeling when we listen to President Obama’s uncomfortable religious explanations. In Evers-Williams’s prayer, just like in Greenbaum’s song, Jesus makes a token appearance: In Jesus’ name and the name of all who are holy and right we pray. Amen. Fortunately, the names of “all who are holy and right” are left to our imagination and we don’t have to suffer through a list of Evers-Williams’s choices. Those of us who are Bible-believing Christians take particular offense at a civil-rights-leader-turned-pontiff adding Jesus, who was given “the name that is above every name,” to a shopping list of afterthoughts at the end of a motivational speech. I understand that we live in a diverse land with Americans of many different faiths. No legal obligation requires the president to represent my faith or any faith on the podium at the inauguration. However, I think it’s important to stop for a moment and note this moment in history when we first witnessed a distinct change in the nature of the inaugural prayers. Read through the modern presidential prayers and see the difference. Read the religious content of the inaugural speeches of the Founders and compare them to President Obama’s speech and you will see the stark contrast. When considering this in the context of Louie Giglio’s removal from the inaugural prayer and the many attacks on religious liberties in Obama’s first term, we must ask if our country has crossed the spiritual Rubicon. Paula Bolyard
“I guess, you gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord?” Wolf Blitzer (CNN)
I’m actually an atheist. (…) We are here, and I don’t blame anyone for thanking the Lord. Rebecca Vitsmun (Oklahoma tornado survivor)
Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state. This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. (…) I hope today marks the beginning of a new era in which Arizona’s non-believers can feel as welcome and valued here as believers. Juan Mendez (Arizona Democrat state Rep. when asked to deliver the opening prayer for the afternoon’s session of the House of Representatives)
Carl Sagan once wrote, ‘For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love. Juan Mendez
In a nation in which the divide between believers and non-believers can be great and truly ugly – one of “militant atheism” on one side and unbearably ignorant religious conservatism on the other — with just a few words, Rebecca Vitsmun and Juan Mendez showed that the ideals of being respectful and compassionate belong to all of us. Whatever our personal views, we can give others space to have theirs and to express them with dignity. We can challenge assumptions, but we can conduct ourselves with kindness. Because what matters most in life isn’t what we believe in our hearts, it’s how we practice those beliefs with each other. Mary Elizabeth Williams

Attention: une leçon peut en cacher une autre!

Belle leçon, comme le rappelle le site internet Salon, de respect mutuel et de compassion au lendemain de l’une des plus tornades les plus dévastatrices de l’histoire des Etats-Unis …

Et dans un pays où la non-croyance explose (de 15 à 20% – !!! – en cinq ans) comme à l’occasion les conflits entre militants athées et conservateurs religieux …

Où,  face à un journaliste de CNN l’enjoignant lourdement de « louer le seigneur »(quoi de mieux qu’une belle leçon édifiante pour faire monter les taux d’écoute!), une survivante rappelle simplement que non seulement elle n’est pas croyante mais qu’elle n’en tient pas rigueur à ceux qui croient …

Et la journaliste de Salon, à l’instar d’un représentant démocrate d’Arizona devant ses pairs et après la prière garantie sans Dieu de l’investiture de Saint Obama, la belle et multimillénaire leçon, d’Amos, Osée et du Christ lui-même …

A savoir que ce qui compte, ce n’est pas les sacrifices (la religion) mais la miséricorde (ce qu’on fait pour les autres) …

Tornado survivor to Wolf Blitzer: Sorry, I’m an atheist. I don’t have to thank the Lord

Wolf Blitzer pushes a tornado survivor to praise the Lord. She tells him she’s an atheist, with dignity and respect

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Salon

May 22, 2013

You’d think by now CNN would have learned to stop treating its assumptions as truths. But when Wolf Blitzer made a casual comment Tuesday, it turned out to be a teachable moment both for the newsman and television viewers.

Speaking live to a survivor of the deadly tornado in Moore, Okla., Blitzer declared the woman “blessed,” her husband “blessed,” and her son “blessed.” He then asked, “You’ve gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?”

But as she held her 18-month-old son, Rebecca Vitsmun politely replied, “I’m actually an atheist.” A flummoxed Blitzer quickly lobbed back, “You are. All right. But you made the right call,” and Vitsmun graciously offered him a lifeline. “We are here,” she said, “and I don’t blame anyone for thanking the Lord.” Nicely done, Rebecca Vitsmun.

One in five American adults – and a third of Americans under age 30 — now declare no religious affiliation. We are less religious now than at any other point in our history, and our secularism is rising at a rapid pace. Get used to it, Lord thankers.

As Vitsmun pointed out, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with a statement of gratitude or even an acknowledgment of spirituality. I recently had someone tell me that she felt very “blessed” – right before adding that she was agnostic. Where Blitzer was insensitive — and just plain unthinking — was in his no-doubt well-intentioned demand that his interviewee cough up a Praise the Lord moment for the edification of CNN viewers.

And Blitzer was not the only person this week who got his expectations rocked. When Tempe, Ariz., state Rep. Juan Mendez was asked Tuesday to deliver the opening prayer for the afternoon’s session of the House of Representatives, he delivered something different. 

“Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads,” the Democratic official said. “I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.”

He went on to say, “This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences.”

It was a call to love and empathy that stands right up there next to any prayer in the book, and one that offered bonus inclusion and humanity. Afterward, he said, “I hope today marks the beginning of a new era in which Arizona’s non-believers can feel as welcome and valued here as believers.” And if the conservative state of Arizona can make it happen, there’s hope yet for the other 49, people.

In a nation in which the divide between believers and non-believers can be great and truly ugly – one of “militant atheism” on one side and unbearably ignorant religious conservatism on the other — with just a few words, Rebecca Vitsmun and Juan Mendez showed that the ideals of being respectful and compassionate belong to all of us. Whatever our personal views, we can give others space to have theirs and to express them with dignity. We can challenge assumptions, but we can conduct ourselves with kindness. Because what matters most in life isn’t what we believe in our hearts, it’s how we practice those beliefs with each other.

Voir aussi:

Atheist State Lawmaker Quotes Carl Sagan Instead of Doing Prayer Before House Session

Matthew Hendley

Phoenix new times

May 21 2013

An atheist state lawmaker tasked with delivering the opening prayer for this afternoon’s session of the House of Representatives asked that people not bow their heads.

Democratic Representative Juan Mendez, of Tempe, instead spoke about his « secular humanist tradition » and even quoted author Carl Sagan.

« Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads, » Mendez said. « I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state. »

Click here to watch the video of Mendez’s invocation.

As you can imagine — especially now, with Arizona’s legislature being controlled by religion-heavy Republicans — this is probably the first time that an invocation at the legislature took that direction.

« This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration, » Mendez said. « But this is also a room where, as my secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.

Mendez continued, « Carl Sagan once wrote, ‘For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.' »

There certainly aren’t many openly atheist politicians across the country, let alone folks bringing their lack of belief in God and/or gods to prayer time. You may remember some controversy about Democratic Congressman Kyrsten Sinema, who has been described as the only atheist in Congress, even though she rejects the label of « atheist. » (Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but many of Mendez’s constituents also call Sinema their Congresswoman.)

Mendez, in addition to his God-free invocation, also introduced members of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, sitting in the House gallery. One of the members said she was « witnessing history. »

After the invocation, Mendez called himself one of just one of 1.3 million Arizonans not affiliated with a religious tradition or organization.

« I hope today marks the beginning of a new era in which Arizona’s non believers can feel as welcome and valued here as believers, » he said.

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