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The Church was fighting for Juneteenth – Before it was cool

The Church has been fighting for Juneteenth before it was cool – it has been advocating social justice since it was founded. By establishing the New Covenant, Jesus formed a new and everlasting family of God, bound not by ethnicity but by grace and the Holy Spirit. But as is usually the case, corporate greed takes over, such as building casinos in the Reservation or enabling the Russian Invasion of Ukraine or human rights abuses in China.  “Wherever there is power, greed and money, there is corruption”-  Ken Poirot 

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr

Throughout, the New Testament stressed equality of all mankind.  For example:   Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Romans 2:11: For God shows no partiality. John 13:16:  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Acts 17:26: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, Acts 10:34:  So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,. Romans 10:12: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 

The first missionaries of the Gospel, were Jewish, from a country where slavery existed, but under a very different from the Romans. The Mosaic Law was merciful to the slave (Exodus 21; Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 15:21) and carefully secured his fair wage to the laborer (Deuteronomy 24:15).  Christianity accepts society as it is, influencing it for its transformation through, and only through, individual souls. What it demands in the first place from masters and from slaves is, to live as brethren, commanding with equity, without threatening, remembering that God is the master of all, obeying with fear, but without, in simplicity of heart, as they would obey Christ (cf. Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:22-4; 4:1).

While initially the Church’s influence over culture was limited, gradually it was able to take a fierce stance against any form of slavery: From 1435 to 1890, there are numerous bulls and encyclicals from several popes written to many bishops and the whole Christian faithful condemning both slavery and the slave trade . In 1453 Pope Eugene IV issued a fierce order against Portuguese slave traders in the Canary Islands to release all men & women at once. Pope Eugene IV was clear in his intentions both to condemn the enslavement of the residents of the Canary Islands, and to demand correction of the injustice within 15 days. Those who did not restore the enslaved to their liberty in that time were to incur the sentence of excommunication ipso facto. The date 1435, is very significant. Nearly 60 years before the Europeans were to find the New World, there was already papal condemnation of slavery as soon as this crime was discovered in one of the first of the Portuguese geographical discoveries 

In 1462 Pope Pius II declared slavery an “enormous crime” (magnum scelus). In 1537 (Sublimis Deus) Pope Paul III forbade the enslavement of native people in the New World. – Sublimis Deus, is regarded as the most important papal pronouncement on the human condition of the Indians, advanced the cause of social justice. 

Two other bulls were published to implement the teaching of Sublimis, one to impose penalties on those who failed to abide by the teaching against slavery, and a second to specify the sacramental consequences of the teaching that the Indians are true men. Pope Urban VIII forbade slavery again in 1639.  In 1741, with slave owners being slow to heed the advice, Pope Benedict XIV condemned slavery in the New World again. In 1815 Pope Pius VII demanded the Congress of Vienna suppress the slave trade in 1815. In 1839 Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade.In 1888, In the bull canonizing Jesuit St. Peter Claver, Pope Pius IX reviled slavery globally calling it  summum nefas or “supreme villainy.” . Saint Peter Claver, patron of slaves spent his life ministering to Africans in the filthy hulls of the slave ships traveling to South America. In 1888 Pope Leo XIII sent out the encyclical In Plurimism on the abolition of slavery in 1888, ordering Brazilian bishops to abolish slavery.

Sadly corporate greed has been more powerful than the Church: Aubrey Henderson writes that  some black people,  not only participated in the slave trade but who often profited greatly from it. They owned slaves as property in order to enhance their own economical well-being by having free labor for their plantations.. Some were considered slave magnates, for owning more than 50 slaves 

While major public universities pay top diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) employees  massive six-figure salaries, more than tenured professors, for leading initiatives for enforcing a political orthodoxy.  The universities of Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Illinois, plus Virginia Tech, boast some of the highest-paid DEI staffers at public universities. Fox News reports these institutions’ top diversity employees earn salaries ranging from $329,000 to $430,000 – vastly eclipsing the average pay for the schools’ full-time tenured professors.

Regarding the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, German corporations do far more business than any other country in the world.  Why Germany Inc. and Corporate America could end the war today by cutting off Russia & China funding. Instead, like the NBA, their silence is an endorsement. Since 24 February, nearly 12.8 million people  have been displaced in Ukraine. 7.7 million people are internally displaced as a result of the conflict, which is equivalent to 17.5 percent of the entire population  Germany paid for the Russian oil pipeline and  refuses to pay her allocated dues to NATO.  Some say a war of attrition is better than nuclear war.  I say nuclear war is a red herring: Putin is anything but stupid.  And a War of attrition works for those not being killed! Pope Francis told the  Editors of European Jesuit Journals “What we are seeing is the brutality and ferocity with which this war is being carried out by the troops, generally mercenaries, used by the Russians. The Russians prefer to send in Chechen and Syrian mercenaries. But the danger is that we only see this, which is monstrous, and we do not see the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented. And note the interest in testing and selling weapons. It is very sad, but at the end of the day that is what is at stake.

In the post-pandemic era, corporation like Meta boast of teir work-from-anywhere polices.  Yet the only options for Native Americans tribal leaders and politicians alike promote is to build more casinos in the Reservation:  Douglas M. Walkera  and Peter T. Calcagno studied casinos and political corruption in the United States using a causality analysis to conclude that there is “evidence that predicted casino adoptions Granger cause corruption convictions. This finding is suggestive of a scenario of regulatory capture and may help explain why state-level gaming regulatory agencies have a history of softening gaming regulations after the initial introduction of casinos. Our study provides the first empirical evidence linking casinos to political corruption.” 

Writing for NBC News, Keisha N. Blain writes: “Juneteenth was made a federal holiday in 2021, and since then, American companies have quickly moved to make a profit by selling new goods and services targeted to Black consumers. While those businesses look to make money, the newly recognized federal holiday ought to serve as an opportunity for all Americans to acknowledge — and pursue redress for — the centuries of economic exploitation of Black people and the continuing impact of economic inequality. Reparations are a way to break this cycle.” 

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