Interview with Maya Shaffer

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Last week, we had friend of the show, Maya Shaffer, writer for Critical Mass news, came on the show to talk about transparency in media and the OT scandal in Massachusetts. Finally the show is available online to listen. Enjoy a great show.

Click here for Theology in Action 4/7/19

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Announcement About the Show

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I guess this would technically be a letter of resignation, but it is definitely an announcement: on April 14, Activate Media will broadcast the final original episode of Theology in Action. We have three original shows airing starting March 31, but after April 14, there will be no more original broadcasts.

There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one for me is self-care. If you’ve been a regular listener or reader, you know I’ve made no secret of my own problems with mental illness and how that has hampered my own efforts to achieve not only life long goals, but often day-to-day goals as well. Lately my own brain and I have been sabotaging my own efforts to keep the show going smoothly and consistently. Now that I’ve gotten older and more worn down, multitasking has become harder and harder to do and/or manage. When I started doing the show in 2011, I had help from a friend who served as a producer for me to help run the show. When she left, I carried on by myself and did okay. Later it’s been harder to do just okay, and now it’s become too hard to do the show by myself any longer. We are a small volunteer run online station. There are plenty of shows on the roster that have great staff and messages that serve the station well, so I know the station is very well off even as I leave it.

I would love to say Trump didn’t make me run for the hills, but that’s not true. What the current administration has done is increase the burden that activists have to carry. It’s impossible to keep up with his regulatory rollbacks, the executive power grabs, the flagrant and all-encompassing corruption, nepotism and racism, and everything coming out of the cesspool tat is the White House every day. Many activists have manged to stay safe by focusing on their core issues and assisting others when there is an overlap. Maybe my mind doesn’t work that way, but I can’t focus on one issue what I see it intersecting in everything being done. Even the scope of he show includes dealing with a lot of all of this. I tried to hold out as long as I could to still be a voice among the masses speaking up, but I can no longer do so without hurting myself. I’m no good to anyone burned out, and I have remained in that state longer than I should have. So now is the time to back out and take care of myself before I hurt myself any further.

It’s hard to let go of this as I’ve been doing this show on and off for 8 years, but it’s for the best. I’ve always said if I can’t do the show at a decent quality that it would be better to close up shop. Unfortunately that time has come. While the radio show and Facebook page will go dark after the 14th, the blog will remain open. I can still write so every so often I will have something to say that fits the forum. But the show has been on a good run and it is time for things to end. There will be plenty of people to thank on air so I will leave it for then, but I do want to thank everyone who has read this blog and listened in from all over the world. You have made it easy to try to continue and hard to leave the show, and I thank you all for that. Hopefully I’ll hear from most of you in the future.

David Concepcion

Two Good NGO Interviews

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This fall we had some really good interviews on the show, and I’m proud of them because they took a while to set up and I’m glad they came to fruition. First we had Cynthia Parker, Senior Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change. The IISC does diversity training for other organizations and their teams in order to further their mission work. I was very happy to have her on the show and highlight their organization. To listen to the interview with Cynthia Parker, click here to download.  To learn more about the IISC, check out their website here.

Second was Elizabeth Grady-Harper, the Executive Director of the Boston Faith & Justice Network. Early in the show’s history, I interviewed a couple of people from the BFJN, a group that connects other Christian activists to other organizations. So it was a pleasure to interview the new BFJN Executive Director. To listen to the interview with Elizabeth Grady-Harper, click here to download. To learn more about the BFJN, check out their website here.

Damn the Intimidation

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There is something I wanted to say on my last broadcast talking about the upcoming election. I think I did but I wasn’t blatant enough. Basically this is it: DON’T give into fear. I’m sure I said something like that on Sunday, but it felt a little more like don’t give into cynicism, which is also very important and true but not what I needed to say. Not letting fear get us is essential now because all of the effort to scare people away from the polls, and scare all Americans, has gone into overdrive.

While there are pipe bombs and racist shooters coming from the right, the administration has put the onus of that violence on the media (nee the “Left”) and doubled down on on hatred of immigrants by deploying 15,000 troops to the southern border to “protect” us from a group of 7,000 asylum seekers that are headed towards the US yet are 1,000 miles. Trump has ordered the troops to treat any rock thrown by the “caravan” like a gun–thus firing upon mostly Spanish men, women, and children, whom he says are MS-13 murderers and ISIS members with smallpox, TB, and Ebola. Trump has also insinuated there would be “violence” if the Democrats won the midterms, stoking violence against people who don’t like/follow Trump’s agenda. All of this is to stoke his base and heighten the fear in everyone else.

My words to you: Damn the intimidation! Get out and vote!

For too long, fear and threats of violence have been used to suppress the vote–be it against Blacks, women, Latinos, or any other marginalized community. The way communities handled that fear was simple: stand up to the violence, fight the oppression, and demand the one true American right we have to vote. It is a right, not a privilege; and with the stakes as high as they are right now, you MUST use that right. If you think your vote doesn’t count, answer this: why do the GOP spend so much money, time, and effort gerrymandering districts, creating voter ID laws, and throwing obstacles in the way to keep you from voting?

My advice to all of you is this: ignore the vitriol and noise from the right. As Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth  “It is a tale told by an idiot, of sound and fury signifying nothing.” To stop this insanity, vote! To curb the idiocy, vote! To make yourself heard, vote! Do what you need to do: get out to the polls and vote on Tuesday!

Yes on 3 (Massachusetts) Rally and Radio Download

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On September– 50 days before election day– there was a rally at Copley Square to start the push for the Massachusetts Yes on 3 campaign. The focus is Question 3 on the election ballot; if passed, the result will take the laws for statewide Transgender right/protections off of the books. Yes on 3 is the campaign to keep Transgender rights as law where they should stay.

The photos below are from the rally. Election day is 5 days away and I have been remiss in not getting these up sooner, but if you care about human rights, learn more about Yes on 3 by going to their site freedommassachusetts.org. Earlier in the month, I hosted a talk on the show with Taj Smith, Faith Organizing Director at Yes on 3, and Maya Shaffer, Director of Critical Mass News. To listen to the discussion, click here to download and listen to the show. Check it out and tell your friends in Massachusetts to vote, and vote Yes on 3.

 

Back on the Air

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“Theology in Action” will air a new show tomorrow Sunday September 30, at 8:00 AM EST streaming live from the Activate Media website (www.activatemedia.org). It’s our first new show in several months and the first day Activate Radio is back and running on the net! Please tune in at 8am EST on Sunday to hear us on again. Thanks!

Open Letter to the United States Senate

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Senators

I am writing you not just as a concerned citizen, but also as a concerned father of an almost 16 year old daughter. I shouldn’t admit I write out of desperation, but because of the choice you are charged to make will determine my daughter’s future—whether it be one of justice and cohesion or relegating her to second class citizenry. Soon the full Senate will be asked to vote whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should or should not sit on the Supreme Court. If you see him fit to serve on the highest court in the land, my daughter will not have a future of hope and choice, but one of fear and instability. I say this not to stoke fear but to truly speak about the consequences of having Judge Kavanaugh on the bench.

Recently Judge Kavanaugh told Senators (most notably Sen. Susan Collins of Maine) during visits on the Hill that he considered Roe v Wade the settled law of the land. I believe he also said that under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This testimony contradicts his actions evidenced in a declassified email, as well as the case of an immigrant teen seeking an abortion, and his own testimony under oath.

The emails by Judge Kavanaugh in 2003, then as a lawyer in the Bush II administration, said “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent.” This directly contradicts his testimony to the Judiciary Committee, and gives a clear indication that he would be one of the justices to help overturn Roe. His current actions show this as well. As a Judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh bent over backwards to deny an undocumented immigrant teen access to an abortion she wanted—and which was granted by a lower court’s ruling. If he is willing to violate the rights of an immigrant—partly because of his views on abortion and partly she’s a non-citizen—to what ends will he go against the US citizenry for his beliefs? Especially when he will be on the highest court that shapes the laws of our country?

The Supreme Court affects us all and their rulings have impact beyond a Justice’s tenure on the bench. The Dred Scott decision was considered to be the “worst decision ever rendered by the court” and it took the Civil War and a constitutional amendment to correct it. It can be argued that Plessy v. Ferguson (“separate but equal”) still harms us today despite Brown v. Board of Education 60 years later and the Civil Rights act of 1965 after that. And we are still suffering from the Citizens United case in 2010 which has allowed money to rule over the body politic, in effect poisoning it and us in the process. Bad case decisions by the court could take decades (even generations) to correct leaving untold numbers hurt in its wake. Many of these decisions start with an underappreciated appointment to the Supreme Court by the Senate.

The evidence shown by Senate testimony—past and present—shows that Judge Kavanaugh perjured himself, so much so that there is a movement to impeach him from his current judicial position on the Court of Appeals. The fact that the Judiciary Committee has been denied access to thousands of documents showing Judge Kavanaugh’s past interpretation of current law is serious cause for alarm, as well as a corruption of the nomination process. As such he does not deserve your vote of approval to sit on the Supreme Court.

I know I may sound as partisan as I warned about earlier; this is not lost on me. However that isn’t what motivated me to write. As I said it is out of wanting to protect my only daughter from what a bad decision from the US Senate may hold this forces me to communicate with you. I have tried to raise her to be kind to everyone no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love. I’ve always told her that the world isn’t fair, but it’s important to be fair to others. To see that girl potentially cast into a world where her country only cares for the millions of fetuses yet to be born and disdainful (at best) to half the population already born and cares even less for the truth is more than I can stand. She deserves far better; we as Americans all do.

The American government once stood for the rule of law; one party claims to be the party of law and order above all else. To appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the bench after flagrantly violating his oath to Congress and his office would continue the downward spiral of our government and be the final nail in the coffin for a once grand old party. Please prove that you are above the partisan rancor, prove that you will protect the most vulnerable people in our country, and please stand up for the rule of law by rejecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. An already injured nation is counting on you to do the right thing.

Sincerely,

David Concepcion

Show Updates

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I know I haven’t been on the air with an original show since February (I think), and I apologize for that. I was hoping to do a couple shows to signify a hiatus, but that never happened. My move to a new apartment took over my life and then the show (if you want more details of that ordeal, click here). Still the move needed to ended, yet no new shows. I kept saying to myself I wanted to do a show explaining the whole move and use it to talk about other societal issues that it touched upon, but it never happened. I was even debating whether or not to restart the show again; just leave it as whatever the legacy was back in February. However something happened that stopped that idea in its tracks: Activate Media went down.

For a time, the company that hosts Activate Media stream and shows were accidentally double billing for their services. When it was first brought to their attention, they corrected the problem. But the double billing started again and now our site is down until Activate Media pays the amount due (which we don’t owe). So the only way for us to fix this is to rebuild the out library and start over again. Activate Media hopes to be streaming again sometime in October.

For a minute, I thought this was an easy out. I could stop making shows and move on with my life. However it turns out to be a blessing. This down time to rebuild is an opportunity to catch up on the show. I took a hiatus last year to refocus the the show from becoming a topical news show with a religious base, to a longer ethical view of society at large. While some of that worked, it was also easy for me to backslide and try to keep up with the news of the day (this administration almost makes it a necessity). Then I felt like I was falling behind and had no way to catch up. With having to rebuild the network, I’m in the same boat as everyone else, which means I can catch up again. It also gives me a chance to update the blog. I know I have readers from around the world wondering where I am; I should probably tell them, if I haven’t lost any.

I still need help getting the show together (asking for a co-producer or an intern didn’t bear any fruit) and I have my own organizational issues to deal with (hard to research shows with anxiety attacks in the way). But at least now I get a chance to help our parent group rebuild and make up for lost time.

Fourth of July

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With all that has happened in the last few months, this 4th of July doesn’t seem to be a time of celebration. It’s not exactly a time for mourning, but it is close. That which we thought was the promise of America has disappeared in the worst bait-and-switch act ever in our history. The oligarchy we were becoming has morphed into the fascism we once fought against; worse yet, a large part of the population have embraced it, and to the rest it is becoming normal. It is not a birthday worth the candles.

However there are strange glimpses of hope. When conspiracy radio talk host Alex Jones said the liberals will be launching a second Civil War today, people took to Twitter in the best satirical fashion to create notes from the front as “Second Civil War Letters” (I urge you to search #secondcivilwarletters on Twitter and laugh your ass off; I also created my own letter on another blog here). I also took to reading Frederick Douglass’ speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July.” Written 166 years ago, it is amazingly prescient today and can help to inspire most of us. If we can come out of those darkest times, we can again.

For today’s 4th of July, I present you with one of America’s greatest treasures with one of America’s great speeches: James Earl Jones reading excerpts from Douglass’ “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July.” This was presented as part of Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of the United States.”

 

 

The speech itself is worth reading in its entirety, and you can here.

March for Our Lives 2018

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On April 24 of this year, cities across the US held sister marches with the March for Our Lives rally organized by the student survivors of the Parkland High School shooting in Florida. Millions across the country marched against the NRA and gun violence, an estimated 800,000 alone in Washington DC. I marched in Boston where I could not tell you the exact numbers. I will say it had the same kind of energy as the counterprotest to the “Free Speech” rally last summer.  As usual my daughter was with me taking photos. Our collection on the web is late but timely: there was another school shooting earlier this week in Santa Fe, TX that left 10 dead and 10 others wounded.  There seems to be no shortage of mass shootings in this country which is why we marched in April, and we will probably have to march a lot more before sensible gun laws can be enacted and enforced as a nationwide standard. Here are the photos from April’s march: