Category Archives: Resistance

Catching Up With The Saga of TigerSwan, Standing Rock & My Blog

This is an overdue update on my Vanished TigerSwan post:  While everyone is rightly celebrating the current success at Standing Rock, I have an obscure (but not irrelevant) footnote to fit in somewhere:

Late on Saturday, November 26, I published a blog post about TigerSwan, the mercenary “security” company started and run by ex-special forces “operators”  that was overseeing the DAPL security efforts at Standing Rock. Two days later, the post disappeared, along with my entire blog. {Spoiler: it’s now back, right here.]

The missing post had filled in information about TigerSwan, its origins among veterans of the most secretive U.S. military units, with some context about these programs and their training programs in North Carolina. Among the “Solutions to Uncertainty” TigerSwan offers is the capability of spying on cell phones, apps, social media, and more.

All the information in the post was from public sources, yet it was not widely known, and the post quickly racked up many hits. In two days the hits were over a thousand (a lot for this blog), and still climbing. Then–nothing. Continue reading Catching Up With The Saga of TigerSwan, Standing Rock & My Blog

Transphobia’s “scriptural” roots: The Bible Is Better Than That

Transphobia: The Bible Is Better Than That

North Carolina’s odious “Bathroom Bill,” HB2 has been pushed out of the spotlight for the moment, while the crazy 2016 election plays itself out.

I can understand that. But HB2 and it’s ilk will be back, and it’s still on my mind. In particular, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s at the root of the support for it. I have some idea of the politics, and the major personalities; but what’s the nub, the “bottom line”?

It isn’t the “science” cited on behalf of the law — a curdled combination of cant and charlatanry. Or the panic over predators stalking “little girls” in public restrooms, which is trumped up, and such assaults had long since been  illegal. Anyway, we already know the cultural right has big issues over a gender binary (and male dominance), so that riling up its base about sex works to boost voter turnout. But what is its basic justification? Continue reading Transphobia’s “scriptural” roots: The Bible Is Better Than That

The Original Quaker On (Authentic) Religious Liberty Day!

Religious Liberty? A New Quaker Idea, or an Old One?

Old enough to be foundational, not just for Friends, but (should be) for all for Christianity. (And NEW enough to be sending concerned people into the streets — in Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, many other states, and to the steps of Congress  & the Supreme Court.) Let’s hear the ringing endorsement it received from The Original Quaker:

He was reading aloud a passage from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1).

 But Jesus did more than that. He identified it as his mission; he finished by saying, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)

Continue reading The Original Quaker On (Authentic) Religious Liberty Day!

Religious Liberty Day: for Friends & Others

Religious Liberty Day: for Friends & Others

If I was the Quaker Pope, Fifth Month (May) 24 would be one of the biggest Quaker holidays/festivals on our [non]liturgical calendar. That’s because it is (or should be), “Religious Liberty Day.” 

It was on the 24th of Fifth Month, in 1689, that the Toleration Act, in official jargon, “received the Royal Assent,” and thus became law in England and its dominions.

Religious-Liberty-day-1

Why is this important to Quakers?

Continue reading Religious Liberty Day: for Friends & Others

Arguing With God: Quaker House & My 9-11 Story

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“No,” I said. “No thank you.”

That’s how it started.

I said no to Chris Olson-Vickers. Chris was a mild-mannered social worker in Richmond, Virginia. She was also a Quaker, who in August of 2001 had agreed, perhaps rashly, to host an impecunious co-religionist  in need of shelter during the mid-Atlantic Quakers’ regional assembly, called Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

That impecunious co-religionist was me. Laid off and low on cash, I was too strapped to stay on-campus nearby, where our sessions were underway. I was packing lunches and avoiding the cafeteria.

sgt-abe-as-god-copy

Continue reading Arguing With God: Quaker House & My 9-11 Story

“Survival & Resistance” A Message from 2006 That is Timely Again

they thought they were free

[Note: This essay was originally published in Friends Journal; but it’s now behind their paywall. It still seems timely today; maybe more so.]

Quakerism was born in a time of revolutionary upheaval. Yet it learned how to survive when the revolution failed and was followed by decades of persecution.

I sometimes hear Quakers waxing nostalgic about recovering the fire and fervor of “early Friends.”

Continue reading “Survival & Resistance” A Message from 2006 That is Timely Again

Progressive Friends & That Haunting Face In The Mirror: Hoping History Won’t Repeat — Or Rhyme Too Much

Samuel M. Janney
Samuel M. Janney, Virginia Friend

 

While reading about and “living with” Progressive Friends, I was inspired by several of the memorable personalities I walked with. I admired and learned from all of them, as well as others who interacted with them.

But there’s one Friend I identified with especially: Samuel M. Janney.

Continue reading Progressive Friends & That Haunting Face In The Mirror: Hoping History Won’t Repeat — Or Rhyme Too Much

Alone Together: Living With & Writing About Progressive Friends

Grave_Buffum_ChaceResearching and writing about Progressive Friends took up most of my time from the autumn of 2013 through the spring of 2014. Often this was a paradoxical experience: from one angle, it was a very solitary effort: from another, very crowded.

I did this research at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania, as the Cadbury research scholar in Quaker History. Most of my time at Pendle Hill was spent solo: in the Friends Historical Library at nearby Swarthmore College, poring over old letters, minutes, pamphlets and books; in my room, reading more old documents; then lots of staring into my computer screen, at the ever-growing store of texts available there.

Continue reading Alone Together: Living With & Writing About Progressive Friends