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Sunday Discussion: Alabama Prayer Controversy / The Fast Food Protests

Geek Alabama Discussion

This week, Alabama was in the national spotlight again.  A prayer at a Alabama Public Service Commission meeting stirred the hornet’s nest because the pastor was controversial.  Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh introduced pastor John Jordan from East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, AL., who is also a member of the Alabama Tea Party.  In my opinion, anytime someone is associated with the Tea Party, it leads up to no good.

Jordan began his prayer session imploring the meeting attendees to hold their hand up if they “believe in the power of prayer.”  And at the end of the four-minute prayer, it saw a turn from the theological to the political, with Jordan lamenting aloud: “God, we’ve taken you out of our schools, we’ve taken you out of our prayers, we’ve murdered your children, we’ve said it’s OK to have same-sex marriage.  God, we have sinned.  And we ask once again that you’ll forgive us of our sins.”  Here’s video of that prayer if you want to watch it.

Cavanaugh responded to the controversy by saying to the Huffington Post, “My Christian faith guides me in everything that I do, and I’m proud that the Alabama Public Service Commission opens each meeting seeking His divine guidance and thanking God for the blessings He has given us,” she writes. “I make no apologies as a Christian elected into public service by the people of Alabama. Without a doubt, our nation needs more prayer, not less.”  Look, I have no problem with a public prayer, it is something most people looks forward too when they go to public events.

But when you inject politics into a prayer, that goes too far my friends!  In the last 10-20 years, I have witnessed more pastors and religious leaders injecting more politics and current events into their prayers, services, and sermons.  Yes, I am different.  I have Asperger’s Syndrome, I believe same-sex couples should have the chance to get married.  I believe people and churches should not discriminate against certain groups of people.  It does not take a genius to figure out that some churches have gone to far and have strayed away from the true message of God and Jesus Christ.

In keeping with the religion talk.  Lately, many Millennials (born between 1980-2000) are leaving the church.  Why?  It’s simple.  Many churches today have become fighting grounds over today’s society.  For example, I went to one church where church members passed out small cards urging people to call their Congressman to ban same-sex marriage.  I thought church was supposed to be about God and Jesus Christ?  Not bashing certain groups of people because they are different.  So far, I have not found a church home because many churches have become politicized.   I don’t want to hear a pastor talking about politics and President Obama.  I want to hear about God and Jesus Christ!  I found a great opinion article from Rachel Held Evans talking about why Millennials are leaving the church.  She nailed everything!

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.

I wish churches and the religious community would get off their political brainwashing and get back to the real purpose of the church.  To learn about GOD!  It should not be that hard to do!

Also this week, there were fast-food workers protesting outside restaurants in several states.  Workers protesting are demanding to be paid $15 an hour.  And they are wanting to form unions and have better working conditions.  This news was very popular on Fox News this week.  Many analysts on the channel were attacking the protesting workers and were saying that these jobs are not designed to be permanent and the people working in fast-food jobs should better their skills.  Excuse me?  With our economy still in a recession in my opinion, some workers have no choice but to take fast-food jobs.  Some workers in fast-food don’t have the money to learn new skills because of the rampant greed.  This clip from The Daily Show with John Oliver nailed it perfectly.  Watch the first segment!

Over the last few years, the gap between the rich and poor has grown to epic levels.  Wages for many workers have not gone up and costs for things have gone up.  So what to do?  The CEO’s and top people needs to pass along some of their earnings to the other workers.  The minimum wage today in most states is $7.25 / hour which is not enough.  The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.56 today when adjusted for inflation.  So something is really wrong here.  At the same time, some people, especially conservatives are wanting to slash safety nets like SNAP / Food Stamps that are helping people like me to survive.  I have been unemployed for 25 months now and looking for my 14th job in over seven years.  Yes, I have filled out over 425 job applications and been to 14 job fairs and nothing has happened.  Corporate America needs to give everyone a fair chance to succeed.  If you have not seen this video yet, please watch it.

The US Congress needs to get off of this whining, baby, finger-pointing ship and get to work making sure people can get fair pay and protecting small businesses with tax breaks so they can pay their workers more.  Instead, Congress is off on a 5 week vacation to do some campaigning.  One last point, I do not trust any of the mainstream sources in America like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.  Why, because all three news outlets are way too biased.  Instead, I get most of my news sources from news channels like the BBC, Russia Today, and soon, the new Al-Jazeera America.  I believe those news sources tells the news straight up without the bias inserted.  More Americans needs to quit watching the cable news like Fox News and CNN and think for a minute.  But I am afraid that will never happen because some Americans and most Alabamians are loyal to their Fox News, sad.

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