An Ethical Future

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

It’s the Labor Day weekend, a time when we anticipate the best retail deals since Black Friday. No, wait. That’s not it, that’s just what we’ve made of it in this century. Prior to that, it was a holiday to reflect the end of summer and return to school, football season at hand, celebrated with cook-outs and the best retail sales since … ummm. No.

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Labor Day was designated a federal holiday in 1894, on the heels of the Pullman strike that ended badly, with then-President Grover Cleveland ordering military intervention in favor of the railroad. At the time, the country was struggling to unionize under the leadership of Eugene Debs, who was found guilty of conspiring to stop the mail (trains). Debs was sent to prison for six months, only to emerge a confirmed socialist and energized to become the father of the growing union movement. The history of unionization in this country is fascinating, and echoes our current struggle against income inequality and diminished working rights.

The holiday was meant to be a tribute to the laboring class, offering them a sop in the wake of the deaths of their fellow workers and defeat of their union attempt. Remember, eight-hour work days and five-day work weeks were unheard of then. Sick leave, overtime and child-labor protections were non-existent. A day off to honor the average worker’s contribution to the nation’s prosperity was a real concession, nothing to sneeze at.

A hundred and twenty years later you’d be hard pressed to find either a parade to attend this weekend, or someone who knows the history of the labor movement. With twenty-some states having passed Right To Work legislation, you’d be challenged to find a union member, which is reflected in the crumbling middle class neighborhoods everywhere we look. And, insult to injury, some of us feel we have a right NOT to work while we continue to collect a fat paycheck

Four-times-married Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, took on the federal government this week by disregarding a U.S. District Judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay applicants. The elected public official had refused to issue marriage licenses of any kind since the Supreme Court ruling in June. A class action lawsuit, brought by the ACLU on behalf of four couples — two gay, two straight — resulted in court orders that Mrs. Davis has defied.

Kim Davis, an Apostolic Christian, believes that marriage must be between a woman and a man — and, it appears, another man and another and another, in her patchwork of serial monogamy — although, to be fair, Davis has only been a convert for the last four years. Leaving behind a permissive past that would put a Days Of Our Lives script to shame, Kim’s Old Testament ardor proves once again that no one is as zealous as the newly reformed. And, let me add, few so useful to the Christian corporatocracy as the newly recruited.

Now, thanks to the liberal bias of the Roberts court [sic] her $80,000 a year job has brought her to a knee-shaking, soul-crunching “Heaven or Hell decision” that she refuses to make. And although Davis swore an oath to perform the duties of her job description, her ability to make same-sex marriage possible has come under “God’s authority,” violating the teachings of “Jesus himself.” She claims that to do so would “violate her conscience” (which, once again, her earlier divorces seemed unable to do).

Apostolic Christians are also known as primitives, embracing a mix of Amish, Mennonite, Nazarene and Baptist liturgy. Asked if he had advice to offer Davis, a spokesman for the GLBT Chamber of Commerce quipped, “Girl, take off that romper.” Indeed, Mrs. Davis presents herself in shapeless dresses, sans makeup, long hair hanging loose — the epitome of, to use the Quaker inference, ‘plain,’ which is a tenet of this very small religious sect.

So is strict adherence to the Bible as the literal word of God. Those looking on have suggested that Kim and her supporters are proponents of a Christian version of Sharia Law: a law of theological absolutes, piggybacked onto the Judeo-Christian traditions that inform the Republic. It’s that ‘literal’ business that has split us into camps.

I watched a black comedian talk about FOX News on Comedy Central this week. He took a poke at the dust-up last Christmas that had a very blonde commentator insisting that Santa Claus was white. “No, bitch,” he commented, shaking his head. “Santa Claus isn’t real.” It struck me that a good percentage of Americans feel the same way about Kim’s crusade to serve her tribal god of antiquity.

Found guilty on charges of contempt and jailed, Mrs. Davis will be released when she pledges to do the job she was elected to do. Meanwhile, rule of law has returned to Rowan County, as her deputy-clerks — many of whom disagreed with her stand but were afraid to cross her — have begun to issue licenses to all comers. There was one hold-out, by the way: Kim’s son. Evidently nepotism isn’t frowned upon in the Old Testament.

All of this could have been avoided if Kim Davis had simply submitted her resignation rather than do something that offended her sensibilities, but the Almighty is evidently in need of defenders. Mike Huckabee points to this incident to prove that there IS a war on Christianity, that true believers and their freedom are in the cross-hairs. This is the kind of martyrdom that thrills Christocrats, making Davis a poster child for the victimization of fundamentalist believers by the hellhounds of secularism. Almost all of the conservative candidates have jumped on board to support this cause, which is calculated to energize the base and put stars in their crown.

We are once again gnawing on the bones of an old sociological carcass that arrived on these shores with the Pilgrims: can Davis exercise her religious preference, conceptualized as religious ‘freedom’ in this circumstance, without denying the public their own spiritual belief or constitutional right to marry whomever they please? Does her distaste for her responsibilities supercede the rights of others? And importantly, is a literal interpretation of Christian theology the final authority here, or is that the purview of our secular government?

I first noted this workplace anomaly early in George W.’s tenure. It began when pharmacy employees refused to fill prescriptions for morning after pills, and It didn’t take long for their boycott on ALL contraceptives to follow. This was my first red flag indicating the political clout of the right’s fundamentalist coup, protected by a sympathetic administration.

Then — as now — I thought those people unwilling to fulfill the duties of their job description should either resign or be fired. Responding to push-back from secular America, WalMart solved its problem by careful scheduling of ¬†pharmacy personnel, assuring that someone would be available to wait on those customers. Lesser facilities had to make a choice between which medications, therefore which customers, to serve, which I considered an assault on the separation of church and state, and still do.

Those who realize how often we repeat patterns won’t be shocked that this Labor Day weekend, already resonant with the energies of the coming super moon and eclipse, we are still sorting out the ethics of our working lives, still engaged in the kind of infighting that delights the plutocracy and weakens our collective power by pitting us against one another. That has been the weakness of this epoch, according to channelers.

Around the same time that Eugene Debs was organizing his railroad strike, a Theosophist named Rudolf Steiner was plumbing the depths of Christian mysticism. We are living in the “fifth post-Atlantean epoch,” wrote Steiner, a time of “Christ mind and spiritualization toward an ethical future.” The goal, said he, was to “overcome Luciferic-Ahrimanic forms of community with rigid belief.”

Seems Mr. Steiner is describing the clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, doesn’t it? And so to Mrs. Davis, who is hostage to powerful political influences, I would simply suggest that if the god she believes in requires her defense of hate-speak and homophobia, he ain’t worth his salt. She might also benefit from studying up a bit. Jesus, the one she has proclaimed devotion to, never mentioned the issue, one way or the other.

While she spends Labor Day martyred to a losing cause, she might consider the dark unforgiving tongue her religion speaks, as opposed to other more loving and inclusive religious messages out there, although it will be harder, now that she’s a hero of the radical right. She will not hear the truth from them: that she is a useful sacrifice to the culture wars, a convenient tool for the plutocracy — or that Santa, bless his little heart, isn’t real.

One last mention that my Fix The Computer project still needs a little love. If you’re able to throw something in the hat, please go to PayPal and contribute to judeshere@yahoo.com, or write me there for a snail-mail option, and with thanks.

6 thoughts on “An Ethical Future

  1. Barbara Koehler

    Labor Day’s inception in 1894, 3 years after the Neptune-Pluto conjunction, the start of a cycle we are still in and will be for some time, brings home the thrust of what that cycle’s purpose is. The Sun in Leo, a sign very much about the Creative Individual, is conjunct Mars and Chiron who sextile the Neptune-Pluto position which is conjunct the U.S natal (Sibly) Uranus at 8+ Gemini.

    Pluto and Neptune joined in the sign that symbolizes thinking, speaking, reading, writing, short distance travel, data production, early learning, relatives. . . . and it was only 5 degrees from the North Node, the Path Forward. The north and south nodes were squared by Mercury in Virgo, ruler of Gemini and Virgo (in the north bending), the sign of service. In a nutshell, it’s about the Individual’s right to think and speak while in service to others. That cycle began as Saturn and Jupiter were half-way through their own cycle, a period when, like a Full Moon, provides a time of illumination and evaluation.

    Of course the Saturn-Jupiter cycle is renewed every 20 years, unlike the Neptune-Pluto cycle which encompasses more than a single lifetime. That this loooong cycle chose to come into consciousness at a point when social values were being tested (Saturn opposite Jupiter) globally, and that it chose to join the natal Uranus (shockin!) of the USA when it did so, speaks volumes for this Labor Day weekend. Even Kim Davis serves a purpose in this effort.

    Okay, okay, so I speak from Kentucky, the State that brought you Kim Davis, as well as Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. We also just transitioned 200 people from visitors-in-a-foreign-land (they come from 30 different countries) to U.S citizens, so don’t judge us Kaintuck’s, please!

    Seriously, thank you Jude for this historical perspective of a national holiday; what it meant then and what it’s come to mean. We are at a turning point though (and I’m aware you know that), and they say it’s always darkest just before dawn, right? Multiple charts for long-term cycles seem focused on present and upcoming transits that will bring on crisis of consciousness. The refugee crisis in Europe is indicative of this as well.

    I hope the weather is pleasant for all who plan special outings for this holiday, but hang on for the next few months as our emotions will be pushed to the breaking point as humanity prepares to make one giant leap (forward) for mankind.
    be

    1. Pisces Sun

      Wow, 8 degrees Gemini? I looked up the modern Sabian symbol for that event in time (Elsie Wheeling, in a blind test of random blank cards saw the visions not knowing the degrees to which they were assigned, and this activity was conducted decades later). The symbol is: AROUND A CLOSED-DOWN FACTORY STRIKERS MILL DEFIANTLY.

      Thank you Jude for reminding us of the purpose behind Labor Day and BE for the historical and current astrological US references.

  2. Amy Elliott

    Thank you for the education, Jude, from a grateful Brit. We have the equivalent public holiday in early May. The influence of unions here has steadily declined since Thatcher, and we are now facing the prospect of yet more stringent anti-union laws. This, coupled with a similar phenomenon to the one you describe: people seem to be losing their memories.

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