Saturday, August 26, 2017

More on the snake in the White House

Hard to say whether the White House is a rats nest, hornets nest, or den of thieves.

Thank God that Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Anthony Scaramucci, Mike Flynn, and others have been kicked out.

But we have one more who needs to go: Ralph Drollinger, the wolf in pastor's clothing who prays with our leaders one minute and tells them mothers should not work outside the home the next minute.

He preys on them as well as with them.

See this article by Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times on August 3, 2017:

Halper quotes Judy Chu, then state senator from Monterey Park, as saying 
“I was a member of the California Assembly [ in 2004] when Mr. Drollinger told the women legislators with children at home that they were sinners...."

Check out this report by Halpern and Jordan Rau on May 21, 2004, when Drollinger's admonitions toward women lawmakers in Sacramento with young children was first making headlines.

Thank you to my new friend Kathy Barbini for citing the LA Times stories about this guy on her Facebook page, Baptizing Feminism.

She points out that his credentials as a pastor come from Master's Seminary, a one-building affair next to Grace Community Church, which sits on Roscoe Blvd. near I-5 in the San Fernando Valley.

This mini-seminary has all of 19 instructors--compare nearby Fuller Seminary with 100 full-time professors and many adjunct and part-timers, or Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas with 91 professors.

The seminary's main distinction is that it forbids women to study there or to become pastors--a hard line not found in the ministry and teaching of Jesus.

Some of the profs at Master's Seminary are not even full-time--such as John MacArthur, whose main job is preaching and managing his 8,000-member church.  

So how does a guy who comes from such a diddly-squat religious education make it into the White House to lead Bible studies with the staff there?

He leans on his history as a basketball player for UCLA--that's how Kathy Barbini explains it.  The old boys club likes athletes.  

And boys' clubs naturally like to keep girls out of things.

It's bad enough to have a sexual predator as our president--we don't need this misogynist convincing those surrounding dt that the Bible sanctions oppression of women.

First of all, the Bible doesn't approve of sexism.  See the FAQs at my favorite Christian feminist website,

Secondly, men have used religion around the world for millennia to keep women away from education, political rights, business opportunities, and economic equality.

Men like Ralph Drollinger have to be stopped.  I'm not sure how to do it, but using the dreaded Media is one method.

Progressive evangelicals and ex-evangelicals on Twitter are onto him.  @dianabutlerbass  @ julieingersoll @pastordan @slacktivistFred @antheabutler @annelinstatter.

In addition to the LA Times, The Huffington PostThe Independent (UK), Capitol Weekly, Politicus USA, and others have exposed his presence in the White House.

Shining light on evil is one way of exposing it.  

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it," we read in the first lines of the Gospel of John.

In Mourning for Women's Equality Day

I can't find anything to celebrate today, August 26, 2017, nearly 100 years after women gained the right to vote in the United States of America.

I can only mourn: 

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton should be our president.  
  • dt should have gone back to his golf and crooked real estate deals funded by his Russian buddies.
  • Heather Heyer should be alive.
  • ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio should be in jail in Arizona.
  • Muslim refugees should be here, hosted by the churches and NGOs reaching out to them.
  • Mexican and Central American immigrants fleeing gun violence and poverty should be respected for their contributions.
  • The Dar al-Farook mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, should still be standing as a house of worship.
  • US participation in the Paris Accords to fight global warming should be making progress.

And more.  But no, we have to endure horror after horror since the pseudo-election of dt to the presidency.

Hillary would have been a competent, experienced president from Day One.  dt still doesn't have the sense or interest or compassion to be president at Day 218.

Every president since Nixon has honored Women's Equality Day, but dt, the man who proclaimed "No one respects women more than I do," didn't get around to it until Friday afternoon.  Guess he was too busy firing Seb Gorka, pardoning Arpaio, and worrying about the people in Texas facing Hurricane Harvey.

While every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama has proclaimed Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day, the law does not require the president do so. This differentiates the day from official federal holidays, which are designated by Congress.

There's a She Persisted March in downtown Los Angeles today at noon to mark this day and keep up our fighting spirit, but I don't have the heart to go.

It feels pointless.  

Nauseating News

If you want to vomit, listen to this White House "Bible study," actually a propaganda session to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

Thank you to Kathy Barbini on her Facebook page Baptizing Feminism for letting me know about this problem and providing the link.

Thanks also to the Los Angeles Times for a glimpse of who Drollinger is and how he got started at John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles--article by Evan Halper.

See also an earlier LA Times article by Halper with Jordan Ran.

And this report in The Huffington Post:

In Memoriam: Virginia K. Hearn 1930-2017

A sad end to a long life: my friend Ginny Hearn died last Saturday, August 19, at age 87.  She had suffered pneumonia and also a stroke.

Ginny was a member of the SF Bay Area Chapter of Evangelical Women's Caucus back in the 1970s and 1980s and attended several national conferences.  See I believe she also edited the EWC Update, a newsletter, for a few years.  

"Of course, we know it was a broken heart," writes her step-daughter, Christine Hearn.  Ginny's husband Walter had died on April 11, four months earlier.  He was four years older, born in 1926.

Ginny wrote and/or edited several books, including Our Struggle To Serve: The Stories of 15 Evangelical Women in 1979.  Reta Finger, Ruth Schmidt, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott and I are among those who wrote about the problems of trying to use our gifts in the church.

She was an adjunct professor of communications at New College, Berkeley, for 10-20 years; teaching journal writing was her specialty.  See the tribute on the New College site:
She also worked as an editor at His Magazine (InterVarsity Press), the Christian Medical Society, and Tyndale House Publishers before launching a book editing business with her husband.

I visited Ginny on July 11-12 in Berkeley when I was in town briefly to deliver my daughter's dog to her in Oakland (after caring for it while my daughter was traveling). 

Ginny repeated, "I am disconsolate.  I am broken-hearted.  Walter was the best of men."  She hadn't left her home more than a few times since April.  Food was brought to her.  Friends from First Pres Berkeley came (one per day), to check up on her, as organized by Christine, her step-daughter, who spent most of Saturdays and Sundays with her.

Ginny also said, "I just don't know what to do with my life."  "The future is a blank."  "Why am I still living?  God could have taken us both."

I argued with her, "That would be hard for God to do.  I don't think God could really do that."

"Yes, he could," she argued.

I asked her what the Westminster Catechism says about what we are supposed to do with our lives.

She answered correctly "We're to glorify God and enjoy him forever."



Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him [sic] forever.[2]

Thus she still had her long-term memory even though she had gotten confused about some things and had very weak short-term memory.  Her sister Millie (b. 1932) had died of Alzheimer's a few years ago in a care center in Colorado.

Nevertheless, Ginny was seriously depressed and could not summon up enough energy to carry on in a new phase of her life.  I did pray with her and tried to point out small steps she could take.

When I asked her to name things she was grateful for, she said, "This sister K.J." [Katherine] and "51 years with Walt."

The service will be at First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, in a few weeks.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Grieving over the 10 young sailors...

The news broke on Monday night: ten sailors missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker near Singapore.

Ten sailors missing.

They had been sleeping in their bunks while others managed the ship.  I thought about them, mourned their loss all week. Then on Thursday their names were released and one body was found in the flooded interior of the ship.

Today the Wall Street Journal printed their photos on the front page and gave them this headline, taken from the hymn "Eternal Father, strong to save":  

".... calm amidst its rage didst sleep."

The second verse is about Jesus sleeping in a boat during a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  His followers wakened him, and he stilled the sea (Luke 8:22-25).

Other sailors tell about waking and evacuating their flooding room, trying to find others injured or not able to get to the ladder.

I stare at the sweet faces of these young men who suddenly, unexpectedly lost their lives.  

Amidst the constant hullaballoo over dt, these young men did not get enough credit this week.

May their remains be found.  May the their souls rest in peace.  May their families recover.

My nephew just completed about seven years in the Navy, serving in the Seventh Fleet and for several years on the USS John S. McCain.  He slept in about the same area as these men slept.  He survived his service in the Navy and now works as a recruiter in Orange County, CA.

Trinity Hymnal

Eternal Father, strong to save — Melita

Original Trinity Hymnal, #629

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Saviour, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep
And calm amid its rage didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Sacred Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
Who badd'st its angry tumult cease,
And gavest light and life and peace:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow'r,
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Randall Balmer: Fiction & Family Values

Religious? And right? Really?

I've been puzzled over the way evangelical Christians have supported Trump since a year ago.

Randall Balmer shares my anguish and explains part of the truth in his op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times: "Evangelicals show their true colors."

"The 2016 presidential election, then, allowed the religious right finally to dispense with the fiction that theirs was a movement about family values."

I'm so grateful for his incisive words, especially the quotation above.

Professor Balmer teaches in the religion department at Dartmouth College. His website is

 I have his book Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.  Very important.  I wrote a pro-choice book on abortion in 1994, so I have been interested in how evangelicals suddenly swung from divorce as their issue to abortion--when they wanted to elect a divorced president, Ronald Reagan.

I've also read Franky Schaeffer's book on the subject:

It used to be that evangelicals didn't support divorced men running for president of the USA.

They didn't oppose abortion in 1973. They were okay with women making their own choices in he case of an unplanned pregnancy.

Balmer explains how and why evangelicals have come so far as to support a sexual predator and liar.

He notes that the members of economic advisory boards have abandoned dt, but members of the Evangelical Advisory Board have not stepped down.

We all have to work together to expose the indecency of born-again Christian support for dt.

Not just one "heritage"

It was great to hear Karen Finney speak on MSNBC today about her biracial heritage and her op-ed piece in the Washington Post on Aug. 15:

Also her follow-up on Aug. 17:

dt talks about defending "our heritage," but there are many heritages in the South and in the US.  Some need to be cherished.  

Others need to be pilloried and studied to correct our course today.

Thank you, Karen, for adding your voice to the chorus.