Saturday, June 27, 2015

(6/27) OBITUARY TO A GOOD MAN





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Charleston, S.C., Mourns a Beloved Leader

Charleston, S.C., Mourns a Beloved Leader

CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times
CHARLESTON, S.C. — In one of his presidency’s most impassioned reflections on race, President Obama eulogized the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney on Friday by calling on the nation to emulate the grace that he displayed in his work and that the people of South Carolina demonstrated after the massacre of nine worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Before nearly 6,000 mourners and a worldwide television audience, Mr. Obama, who met Mr. Pinckney during his first presidential campaign, placed the shootings in the context of America’s long history of violence against African-Americans. He also reiterated his plea to restrict the availability of firearms and called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House in Columbia.
Mr. Obama thrilled the mostly African-American audience by preaching with revivalist cadences, and by closing his 40-minute address by singing, in solo, the opening refrain of “Amazing Grace.” The crowd came to its feet and joined in, leading the Rev. Norvel Goff, a presiding elder in the A.M.E. church, to later “thank the Reverend President.”
 
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Obama Delivers Eulogy in Charleston

The president delivered the eulogy for Reverend Clementa C. Pickney, a victim of the mass shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C.
 By AP on Publish DateJune 26, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.
“Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it,” Mr. Obama said as Mr. Pinckney’s coffin, draped in a blanket of red roses, sat before him. “So that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview, but not Jamal. So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote.” By treating every child as important regardless of skin color and by opening up opportunities for all Americans, Mr. Obama said, “We express God’s grace.”
As the nation’s first African-American president, Mr. Obama has often struggled to find the proper balance of timing, words and place to speak about America’s racial divisions. Intent on being seen as a president for all and confronted with what he saw as the more urgent economic crisis, he approached racially charged disputes cautiously in his first term.
But politically unfettered after his re-election in 2012, and angered by the racially motivated killings in Charleston and the deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers, the president on Friday dispensed with his usual reticence, rediscovered the soaring rhetoric that inspired his supporters in 2008, and spoke with unusual — and occasionally acerbic — directness. “For too long,” Mr. Obama said, “we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.”
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A mourner at the service, which drew nearly 6,000 people. CreditWin Mcnamee/Getty Images
As he spoke, Mr. Obama was backed by a stage filled with African Methodist Episcopal preachers, cloaked in the purple vestments of their church, and a black-robed gospel choir.
Mr. Obama joined with others paying tribute in stressing that the 21-year-old white man charged in the killings had failed to achieve his stated goal of inciting racial conflagration. Rather, he said, the killings had the opposite effect, generating an unprecedented show of racial unity and inspiring a nationwide revolt against Confederate symbols.
“It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches,” Mr. Obama said, “not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress, an act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.”
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Mr. Pinckney's wife, Jennifer Benjamin Pinckney, held their daughter Malana during the service, which was attended by President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times
He paused for effect. “Oh, but God works in mysterious ways,” Mr. Obama said. “God has different ideas. He didn’t know he was being used by God.” The crowd erupted in applause as women waved their hands toward the ceiling.
Mr. Obama commended South Carolina’s Republican governor, Nikki R. Haley, for her call this week to bring down the Confederate flag in Columbia, saying it would be “a meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.”
“Removing the flag from this state’s Capitol would not be an act of political correctness,” Mr. Obama said. “It would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong. The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people, was wrong.”
 
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Obama’s Responses to Mass Shootings

A look back at the public responses President Obama has made to mass shootings during the six years of his presidency.
 Publish DateJune 26, 2015. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.
The service lasted more than four hours as speaker after speaker, first legislators, then church leaders, then cousins and friends, and finally the president, took the podium to pay homage to Mr. Pinckney, who was both a respected state senator and a pastor in the most prestigious A.M.E. pulpit in South Carolina.
TD Arena in Charleston, just steps from the historic whitewashed church where the killings took place on June 17 during a Wednesday night Bible study, was packed with pastors in their black robes and collars, women in flowered hats and parents eager to expose their children to a moment of history. An estimated 5,000 people were turned away because of a lack of space. Members of Emanuel, where Mr. Pinckney had been pastor for five years, were given prime seating on the arena floor.
The dignitaries in attendance included the first lady, Michelle Obama; Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden; House Speaker John A. Boehner, who traveled on Air Force One for the first time during the Obama presidency; Ms. Haley; Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate; Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina; Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston; dozens of members of Congress and the South Carolina Legislature; and civil rights leaders like the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Martin Luther King III.
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Recurring Sorrow: President Obama’s Remarks After Gun Violence

President Obama has delivered remarks after previous mass shootings.
“Sister Jennifer and the girls,” Mr. Goff said, addressing Mr. Pinckney’s wife and two daughters, “I want you to know that the world has come to you.”
After the service, the Obamas and the Bidens met with the families of those killed as well as the survivors of the massacre.
Mr. Obama, who acknowledged that he did not know Mr. Pinckney well, said that friends of the pastor’s had remarked “that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived; that even from a young age, folks knew he was special, anointed.”
 
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Obama Sings ‘Amazing Grace’

The president broke into the spiritual after delivering the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the slain South Carolina state senator and former pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. Church.
 By Associated Press on Publish DateJune 26, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.
While the service centered on paeans to Mr. Pinckney, some speakers took the opportunity to address the nature of his death and its remarkable political aftermath. “Someone should have told the young man,” said the Right Rev. John Richard Bryant, senior bishop of the A.M.E. church, referring to the suspect in the killings, Dylann Roof. “He wanted to start a race war but he came to the wrong place.” The audience rose in a thunderous ovation, punctuated by an organist’s wailing exclamations.
A sign on an easel to the left of the stage declared: “Wrong church! Wrong people! Wrong day!”
State Senator Gerald Malloy, one of Mr. Pinckney’s closest friends, spoke of Mr. Pinckney’s support for often unsuccessful legislative efforts to expandMedicaid coverage, regulate discriminatory lending practices and block voter identification requirements. “He answered life’s most pervasive question, and that is what are you doing for others,” Mr. Malloy said.
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Mourners waiting at TD Arena, where thousands were turned away because of a lack of space. CreditWin Mcnamee/Getty Images
The pastor’s funeral was the third in a series of nine that is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday. Three others are planned for Saturday, one each on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Mr. Pinckney’s burial in Marion, S.C., home to his mother’s family, concluded a three-day tour that took his coffin first to Columbia, where he lay in state beneath the State House rotunda, then to his simple childhood church in Ridgeland, S.C., and, on Thursday night, to Emanuel itself. Thousands of dark-suited mourners waited in line for hours to walk through the church, peer into Mr. Pinckney’s open coffin and pay respects to his devastated family.
Ushers handed out a glossy program filled with photographs of Mr. Pinckney, from childhood through his pastorate. In one, he was dressed in blue hospital scrubs holding one of his newborn daughters. Others showed him as a boy, dressed in his uniform of a vested suit and necktie.
The program included letters to Mr. Pinckney from his family, their first public comments since the shootings.
“You promised me you would never leave me!” Jennifer Benjamin Pinckney wrote to her husband. “You promised me we would be together for years to come! You promised me we would watch our children grow, get married and have children of their own. You promised me that we would grow old together and spend our latter years without the demands of the Church or the State. I feel robbed, cheated, and cut short.”
Mr. Pinckney’s eldest daughter, Eliana, 11, observed that “when someone loves you, they care even if they are not there.” Her sister, Malana, 6, wrote: “Dear Daddy: I know you were shot at the Church and you went to Heaven. I love you so much! I know you love me and I know that you know that I love you too.” She signed it, “Your baby girl and grasshopper.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

(6/20) POPE FRANCIS ENCYCLICAL ON ENVIRONMENT, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND DIVINE IMPERATIVE

Below is an article I got from the New York Times.  I considered myself as an engineer, technologist, with an interest in energy policies an environmentalism.  I got into housing only by serendipity after I became a Freedom West board director.  So now I addressed myself as a housing activist to help less financially endowed people, such as people in Freedom West, be able to stay in the community where they live at present.  It is well-known that market forces (such as real estate development) would favor those with the financial means and people who have no money or power will get displaced.  I don't believe that should be the case because like Pope Francis, I firmly believe economic development has to take people and environment into account, not just making money.

Fortunately, the forefront of government and business policies making is the Triple Bottom Lines approach.  That is, any kind of economical development project should be financially viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially equitable.  This integrated line of thinking is entirely in sync with Pope Francis encyclical which I whole-heartedly embrace and the line of thinking all Freedom West resident should understanding in order for us to be able to stay as a community here.  Otherwise we're be just like any other disorganized low income neighborhoods and destroyed by economic forces.  So educating Freedom West residents on triple bottom lines is important because understanding it will empower us and get us organized to be a community to be reckon with.  The "Rebirth Plan" I submitted to HUD is taking this integrated holistic approach to overcome challenges facing us.  Educating and organizing residents and shareholders is key to this plan because it's all PEOPLE POWER.

I could only post the Chinese translation because I know I lifted it from the New York Times Chinese language website.  I know of no Korean version.  My apology to the Korean community.

New York Times Article:

Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change

Pope Francis was greeted by crowds at St. Peter’s Square this week.
Filippo Monteforte/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Pope Francis was greeted by crowds at St. Peter’s Square this week.
 VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called Thursday for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, blending a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.
The vision that Francis outlined in a 184-page papal encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He described relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and said apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness were to blame.
The most vulnerable victims, he declared, are the world’s poorest people, who are being dislocated and disregarded.
Francis, the first pope from the developing world, used the encyclical — titled “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You” — to highlight the crisis posed by climate change. He placed most of the blame on fossil fuels and human activity, while warning of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequence for all of us” if corrective action is not taken swiftly. Developed, industrialized countries were mostly responsible, he said, and are obligated to help poorer nations confront the crisis.
“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” he wrote. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
The Vatican released the encyclical at noon on Thursday, three days after an Italian magazine posted a leaked draft online, to the fury of Vatican officials. The breach led to speculation that opponents of Francis inside the Vatican wanted to embarrass him by undermining the release.
Even so, religious figures, environmentalists, scientists, executives and elected officials around the world awaited the official release, and scheduled news conferences or issued statements afterward. News media interest was enormous, in part because of Francis’ global popularity, but also because of the intriguing coalition he is proposing between faith and science.
Governments are now developing domestic climate-change plans to prepare for a United Nations summit on the issue in Paris in December. The meeting’s goal is to achieve a sweeping accord in which every nation would commit to new policies to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Many governments have yet to present plans, including major emitters like Brazil, which has a large Catholic population. The encyclical is seen as an unsubtle nudge for action.
“It gives a lot of cover to political and economic leaders in those countries, as they make decisions on climate change policy,” said Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation.
Catholic theologians say the overarching theme of the encyclical is “integral ecology,” which links care for the environment with a notion already well developed in Catholic teaching: that economic development, to be morally good and just, must take into account people’s need for things like freedom, education and meaningful work.
“The basic idea is, in order to love God, you have to love your fellow human beings, and you have to love and care for the rest of creation,” said Vincent Miller, who holds a chair in Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton, a Catholic college in Ohio. “It gives Francis a very traditional basis to argue for the inclusion of environmental concern at the center of Christian faith.”
He added: “Critics will say the church can’t teach policy, the church can’t teach politics. And Francis is saying, ‘No, these things are at the core of the church’s teaching.’ ”
Francis tapped a wide variety of sources in his encyclical, partly to underscore the universality of his message. He cited passages from his two papal predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and drew prominently from a religious ally, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians. He also cited a Sufi Muslim mystic, Ali al-Khawas.
Central to Francis’ theme is the link between poverty and the planet’s fragility. The pope rejected the belief that technology and “current economics” would solve environmental problems, or “that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.”
“A huge indictment I see in this encyclical is that people have lost their sense of ultimate and proper goals of technology and economics,” said Christiana Z. Peppard, an assistant professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University in New York. “We are focused on short-term, consumerist patterns.”
Encyclicals are letters to the clergy and laity of the church that are considered authoritative. Catholics are expected to try to sincerely embrace their teachings. But more specific assertions in them can be categorized as “prudential judgments,” a phrase that some critics have invoked to reject Francis’ positions on issues like climate change or economic inequality.
Jim Yardley reported from Vatican City, and Laurie Goodstein from New York. Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting from Rome, Coral Davenport from Washington, and Justin Gillis from New York.

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教皇方济各呼吁全球紧急应对气候危机

教皇方济各本周在圣彼得广场受到民众欢迎。
Filippo Monteforte/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
教皇方济各本周在圣彼得广场受到民众欢迎。
梵蒂冈城——教皇方济各(Pope Francis)周四呼吁,对政治、经济和个人生活方式进行根本性变革,以应对环境恶化和气候变化,他将对消费主义和不负责任的发展模式的尖锐批评同采取迅速且统一的全球行动的请求结合在了一起。
方济各在184页的教皇通谕中概述的愿景在其雄心程度和覆盖范围上都相当可观。他描述了对环境无情的剥削和破坏,并表示冷漠、对利润的鲁莽追求、对科技的过度信心和政治短视要对此负主要责任。
他宣称最脆弱的受害者是世界上最贫穷的人,他们的生活被扰乱并被忽视。
方济各是第一位来自发展中世界的教皇,他用题为“Laudato Si”(赞美你)的通谕来突出气候变化所带来的危机。他把大部分的责任归结于化石燃料和人类活动,同时警告称,如果不采取迅速的纠正行动,“生态系统将蒙受前所未有的破坏,并对我们所有人造成严重后果”。发达的工业化国家要负主要负责,他说,这些国家有责任帮助贫穷国家应对危机。
“气候变化是可能带来严重后果的一个全球性问题,其影响涉及环境,社会,经济,政治和物品的分配,”他写道。 “它代表了我们这个时代人类所面临的主要挑战之一。”
梵蒂冈在周四上午公布了通谕,让梵蒂冈官员愤怒的是,三天前一家意大利杂志就在网上发布了泄漏出来的草稿。此次泄漏事件导致人们猜测,梵蒂冈内部的方济各反对者希望通过破坏通谕公布来让他难堪。
即便如此,世界各地的宗教人士、环保人士、科学家、高管和民选官员都对通谕的正式发布翘首以盼,并在之后安排了新闻发布会或发表了声明。新闻媒体对此十分关注,部分原因是方济各在全球的受欢迎度,但也是因他提出的信仰和科学之间的有趣联盟。
目前各国政府正在为定于12月在巴黎举行的联合国气候大会做准备,制定各自的国内排放计划。这次会议的目标是让所有国家在实施限制温室气体排放的新政策上达成一个全面协议。很多国家还没提交自己的计划,包括一些温室气体排放大国,如有大量天主教信徒的巴西。这份教皇通谕被看成较为直白的敦促之举,要各国展开行动。
联合国基金会(United Nations Foundation)副主席蒂莫西·维尔特(Timothy Wirth)表示,“在制定气候变化政策上,这份通谕给这些国家的政治和经济领导人提供了很多由头。”
天主教神学家们表示,贯穿这份通谕的主题是“生态的不可或缺”,它将人们对环境的关心和天主教布道中一个已经被普遍接受的观念结合起来:即经济发展要想在道德层面上变得合理正当,它必须顾及到人们的其他需求,如自由、教育和有意义的工作。
“这里的基本观念是,为了爱上帝,你必须爱自己的同类,以及热爱和关心上帝其他的造物。这一观念为教皇方济各论证关心环境也是基督教信仰的核心观念打下了非常传统的根基,”文森特·米勒(Vincent Miller)说,他是俄亥俄州的天主教高校戴顿大学(University of Dayton)的天主教神学与文化教授。
他还说,“批评者会说教堂不能讲授政策,不能讨论政治。而方济各说,‘不,这些正是教堂布道的中心内容。’”
教皇方济各在这份通谕中引述甚广,部分原因是为强调他要传达的信息的普遍性。他援引了两位前任教皇约翰·保罗二世(John Paul II)和本尼迪克特十六世(Benedict XVI)之前的讲话,列举了其宗教盟友、东正教全球领袖君士坦丁堡大牧首巴塞洛缪一世(Patriarch Bartholomew I)的不少言论,此外还引用了一名苏菲派穆斯林(Sufi Muslim)神秘主义者阿里·阿尔-卡瓦斯(Ali al-Khawas)的观点。
教皇方济各的核心主旨是将贫穷和这个星球的脆弱之处联系起来。教皇反对技术和“当前的经济”能解决环境问题的观点,也不认同“全球的饥饿和贫穷问题单单依靠市场发展就可迎刃而解”。
“这份通谕强烈谴责人们失去了对科技和经济发展的终极和正确目标的认知,”纽约福特汉姆大学(Fordham University)神学、科学和伦理学助理教授克里斯蒂安娜·Z·佩帕德(Christiana Z. Peppard)说道。“我们的注意力都集中于短期发展和消费主义模式。”
教皇通谕是教皇写给天主教教职人员和俗世信徒的信,在人们眼中具有权威性。天主教徒一般要尝试真诚地接受其中的教导。但有一些更具体的观点可以被归为“审慎意见”,一些批评者借这个词汇来反对教皇方济各在气候变化和经济不平等等议题上的立场。
Jim Yardley自梵蒂冈、Laurie Goodstein自纽约报道。Gaia Pianigiani自罗马、Coral Davenport自华盛顿、Justin Gillis自纽约对本文有报道贡献。