Oct 26, 2011

Addendum to Stuart Walker Case

I'm continuing to follow the Stuart Walker case, posted previously. Unfortunately, the unfolding revelations have only gotten worse, but I decided in the interests of decency not to report them. The good news is that the local police have 'every available officer on the force' at work on this high profile case. Part of the shock of the case is that the community is so close knit and intimate, in which everyone knows everyone else. By all accounts, Stuart was warmly liked and equally warmly accepted for his sexuality. This is what has particularly shocked this (by all accounts) decent community, that homophobia was not in evidence. Yet the police and community are convinced it was not a random crime. If there is any blessing at all in this horrific event, it is the outpouring of love and support from his community, and their insistence that their love and respect for him were not conditioned or lessened by his sexuality, which they considered to be incidental.

Strathclyde Police
“We are still working towards identifying a motive for this murder.  I am aware of all the speculation in the media regarding Mr Walker and his death.  At this time we have nothing to indicate that this is a homophobic crime.  Until we know the exact circumstances surrounding this murder, we will not rule anything out and will keep an open mind on any possible motive for his terrible crime.

“There have also been reports that Mr Walker was tied to a post, this is not the case.  He was found lying on the roadside and although we are not going to go into specific details on the cause of death, it was an extremely violent crime and our focus at this time is finding those responsible and bringing them to justice.

Oct 24, 2011

Another Gay Ritual Slaying?

Has another young gay man been sacrificed and martyred on the altar of homophobic hate, in a ritual slaying that mirrors the death of Matthew Shephard in the US? Too early to tell, but the suspicion must remain high that his horrific death by burning is linked to his sexuality. The case is already being referred to as "The Lamp Post Murder," since he was tied to a lamp post, beaten, and then set on fire. Clearly this is more than a simple murder, but a calculated slaying designed to make a point. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

From The Daily Record UK

Family of 'gay slaying' lamppost murder victim Stuart Walker tell of shock at his brutal death

stuart walker cumnock murder Image 2
A Gran had her 80th birthday party - unaware her grandson had been murdered and set alight while tied to a lamppost.

Stuart Walker's family only heard of his horrific death after Margaret McMeekin's party.

The barman's beaten and scorched body had been found at an industrial estate on the outskirts of his home town, Cumnock in Ayrshire.

Last night, the 28-year-old's cousin John Mullen spoke of the family's heartbreak.

John said: "We knew something was wrong because he was really close to his gran and wouldn't have missed her party for anything.

"He was close to everyone who knew him. He was everyone's best pal.

"Stuart was the best guy ever. Everyone knew Stuart - he was one of the best known boys in Cumnock and the surrounding area.

"If you were to walk down the street, no one would have a bad word to say about him." Police last night said Stuart, who was gay, may have been targeted after a house party in the town where he spent most of his life.

They were trying to piece together his final hours.

He is believed to have gone to a party in the town's Netherthird housing estate in the early hours of Saturday after a night out with pals.
stuart walker death scene Image 1
Stuart's friends last saw him alive near the fire station in Glaisnock Street at about 2.30am. His scorched and beaten body was found tied to a lamppost just before 5am on the Caponacre industrial estate on the outskirts of town.

Detective Inspector John Hogg, of Ayr CID, said yesterday: "It is imperative that we find out where he was between 2.30am and 4.50am, who he was with and why this happened to him.
"We understand that there may have been a number of house parties in the nearby Netherthird housing estate in the early hours of the morning - between 2am and 3am.

"At this time we do not know if these parties are linked to our investigation or not, so again, any information on that is important. Officers are checking CCTV and carrying out door-todoor inquiries in the area and we would encourage anyone with information to approach them or to call."

Yesterday, flowers were laid near the murder scene. One left by his gran read: "Miss + Love you always our dear grandson. Sleep tight, Gran and Papa."

Another said: "There are so many words going through my mind at the moment. One is Why. Why our Stuart? The whole family has been ripped apart.

"Life will never be the same again - or any party! We are all so devastated and heartbroken.
Lov n miss you so much, from Keri, Ryan and kids. XXXX."

Stuart's cousin John said he had been "the kind of guy that everyone who met him loved".

John added: "He was the life and soul of the party. He loved music and clubbing.
"Whoever has done this has ripped our family apart and broke everyone's heart.
"If anyone knows what happened, we would plead with them to come forward."

Stuart started work in the First Edition bar, in Kilmarnock, days before his murder. Manager Gareth Alberts, 25, said: "He gave the whole place a real buzz."

Here is the Guardian's muted coverage of the story. The only hint that Stuart was gay was the mention that "Officers are not ruling out the possibility that the attack was motivated by homophobia."

And the Telegraph's more explicit coverage. 

Oct 14, 2011

The Murdered and Forgotten Pope: Martyr to Reform

Papa Luciani
Pope John Paul I

I've posted below a rather gentle reminiscence about this holy pope, long forgotten by history in the wake of John Paul II's reign, which swept his memory away like a pebble on the shore. His coffin, in the underground crypt of St. Peters, has been placed in the ignominious central aisle, reserved for the 'insignificants,' a few meters away from the spectacular niche reserved for his successor, JPII, with it's permanent guard and eternal flame.   Whenever I visit, I always bring a bouquet of flowers and place it on the casket. It is the only one. He has indeed long been forgotten, and that fact in itself says much about the present state of the Church he intended to reform in much the same spirit as Pope John XXIII. The article itself makes no mention of the controversy surrounding his death, as he was most likely assassinated by elements within the Italian mafia with colluding forces within the Vatican. Both of the doctors involved in the case, his personal physician and the residing doctor who signed the death certificate ("for the safety of my grandchildren") were convinced he had been poisoned, a 'fact' only made public by them when they broke their 25 year silence for interviews with the Italian media in 2002. The Vatican, unsurprisingly, made no comment in response to the interviews. 


(Taken from America Magazine. Thanks to William Lindsey for sending me this.)

Why Albino Luciani's holiness should be celebrated

On the Second Sunday of Easter, Pope Benedict XVI declared John Paul II “blessed,” a milestone in the late pope’s journey to sainthood. The speed at which Karol Wojtyla’s cause for canonization has progressed is singular. Under the church’s rules, the process cannot begin until a candidate has been deceased at least five years, but Pope Benedict dispensed with that requirement in this instance.

Not so with John Paul’s namesake and immediate predecessor, Albino Luciani, whose own cause, initiated nearly eight years ago, still sluggishly wends its way through the labyrinthine Vatican bureaucracy, its ultimate resolution still in doubt.

For those whose faith was rekindled by that gentle pope, the lingering uncertainty about his canonization is disheartening. Albino Luciani’s life was so exemplary that it could inspire a world grown weary and cynical and yearning for the “greater gifts” and a “more excellent way.”

“He passed as a meteor which unexpectedly lights up the heavens and then disappears, leaving us amazed and astonished,” Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri aptly observed at the pope’s funeral Mass in 1978.



It is consoling to remember this holy man. Hundreds of millions, however, have no such consolation, for Luciani’s fleeting 33-day papacy has been eclipsed by that of John Paul II, whose illustrious 27-year tenure was of impressive duration and historical consequence. But papal longevity itself is no criterion for sainthood, and it is wrong to conclude that Luciani left no legacy of import to succeeding generations.

In just a month Pope John Paul I captured the hearts of people worldwide, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who witnessed in him the welcome but unexpected triumph of humility. Many of us intuitively recognized in the flash of his benign grin, the gentleness of his manner and the compassion at the core of his public talks a beacon of hope. That Luciani transfixed the world during his abbreviated pontificate is no exaggeration: he was a radiant man who taught us how to live and love.

Luciani picked “Humilitas” as his episcopal motto, an appropriate choice for a prince of the church who regarded himself as “poor dust.” “We must feel small before God,” he preached; and he lived that conviction faithfully, often describing himself publicly as “a poor man accustomed to small things and silence.”

Oct 4, 2011

God is not a Christian, Nor a Muslim, Nor a Hindu: Are religions Becoming Obsolete?

        The visit of St. Francis of Assisi to Sultan Malik al-Kamil.

 The following posting is in honor of St. Francis and his spirit of reconciliation.

I have just started a provocative book by Bishop Carlton Pearson, author of The Gospel of Inclusion. 

 His newest endeavor is entitled: God is not a Christian, nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu: God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around Us, as Us. The color coding is part of the book's title.

This remarkable book is on "the cutting edge" of contemporary spirituality and religious culture and provides the perfect antidote for those too fixated on the institutional forms of any one branch of Christianity.

Some passages from the preface:

Religion is a faith journey into the mystery of God and things considered both divine and worldly or experienced in this world. Institutional or organized religion is a system of doctrines, dogmas and human-constructed disciplines that has become idolotrous and has begun to die and perhaps lie. Theism is not God. God is not a religion. Religion is a human construct and involves a definition of God that assumes that God is a being or a person that can be known, rather than simply or even profoundly experienced. Most have assumed this God to be a "Supreme Being": supernatural in power, dwelling outside the world, and occasionally invading it to answer prayers or to effectuate Divine will. I was raised to believe in that God and believe about that God. ...

Christianity, like most other institutional religions, tends to...claim the superficial as substance. Christianity has gotten so far from the accurate realities of the Christ Principle that even Jesus would probably distance Himself from it.  Jesus was a mystic operating in the Christ Presence and Principle. who was in touch with His divine nature and taught us to be in touch with our spiritual center, our pre-incarnate self. This is Christ Consciousness, something much more potent, plausible, and viable than the religion bearing the name. The same of true of all religions.....

For the first time in my life, I don't feel an obligation to literally know God. In a sense, I'm getting in touch with the God I perceive to be with me, for me, in me, and perhaps as me. Mind you, I've already encouraged people to know God for themselves personally. I also felt for many years that the only way you could know God was through Jesus Christ as your professed Lord and Savior. As difficult as it is for me to confess it, I no longer believe such religious non-sense, though I love and believe in God and feel as close as ever to Christ as a person and a principle. I also love Jesus as much as I ever have and consider myself an honest and earnest follower of him, at least in principle. However, I am, for the first time in my life, willing to admit that the most certain thing I can say about God is that I don't know much about Him, Her, or It, at all. ...

We all came from the center and will all return there. The edge is an unstable place, full of artificial assumptions, all of them artifacts of a contrived religious past that no longer fits or feels relevant. Sadly, many refuse to acknowledge this and insist on living in denial. They seem afraid of the spiritual center. In fact, most people are completely unaware of that place, except in the deepest recesses of their spiritual memory. ...

In a colossal irony, I submit that Christianity and the other world faiths, which in theory were created in order to serve as conduits between the human and the Divine, have devolved to the point where they now serve only as barriers between humanity and the divine reality of God within us. Consequently, religion as we practice it today is in fact becoming irrelevant and obsolete. As a result, religion as we know it today could dissipate and perhaps disappear altogether over the next hundred years or so. Faith in God or the transcendent will never go away, but the varying brands of religion are becoming increasingly irrelevant in these modern, mystical, spiritual and more scientific times....

(The traditional) image of God has been mortally wounded by the evolving consciousness and experiences of millions of people of all religions who seem to have awakened to a broader awareness of self, soul, and inner divinity. There is a new perception of the concept of God emerging as a global shift in religious sensibilities. This shift is causing many to rethink God and Divinity. Religion is being shoved to the backseat, and "New Thought" is emerging on the largest scale in recent history....

I am for the first time in my life, enjoying knowing/being the God (and good) that I am. It is wonderfully renewing to feel and perceive the creative and intuitive gifts of God within myself and others. It's fun being God.

Highly recommended. 

Oct 2, 2011

We are Egypt: The Occupation of Wall Street

Still can't believe how few people know about this. If the Tea party were demonstrating on Wall Street for a single day (instead of 3 weeks), they would be receiving 24 hour coverage. And if you're looking for Jesus, you won't find him in the Cathedrals. He's occupying Liberty Park. 

Superb article at Ampedstatus which fills in the historical context. Posting it whole at request.

How Anonymous, AmpedStatus, the NYC General Assembly, US Day of Rage, Adbusters and Thousands of Individual Actions Led to the Occupation of Liberty Park and the Birth of a Movement

As the occupation of Wall Street moves into its third week, there are many questions about the organizers behind the ongoing protests and the origins of the 99% Movement. As one of the many people who actively supported the effort, and helped launch the 99% Movement, I will give my perspective on the events leading up to the occupation of Liberty Park.
As I understand it, the #OccuppyWallStreet 99% Movement is a decentralized non-violent rebellion against economic tyranny. It is a leaderless movement that has been dependent upon tens of thousands of individuals taking it upon themselves to take action and fight back against their own personal financial hardships, and in defense of their family and friends who are desperately struggling to make ends meets.
The road that led to the successful occupation has been a long, hard and winding one. When you go to Liberty Park, into the heart of the occupation, you will see a very diverse group of people with opinions across the entire political spectrum. It is the very essence of a ground-up grassroots decentralized movement. Everyone there has their own individual story on what brought them to take such a strong and inspiring stand in support this action. I urge members of the press and people interested in the movement to begin a dialogue with any one of the people taking part. There are many fascinating stories to be heard and a deeper understanding of what’s happening is impossible without hearing from a plurality of voices.

To give some background information, the following is a timeline of my 19-month long personal experience within the movement:

The Birth of the 99% Movement
On February 15th, 2010, AmpedStatus.com published the first-part of an extensive six-part series that I wrote detailing the financial destruction of the US economy. The report is entitled, “The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States.” The first sentence reads:
“It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.”
The introduction goes on to say:
“It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system are now blatantly rigged against us.

Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep… and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.”
The report quickly went viral and many popular websites picked it up and published it. AlterNet.org featured an adapted excerpt from the report with the headline, “The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class.” It became one of the most popular reports that they have ever published. In aggregate, across many websites that have publish sections of the report, it has received an estimated five million page views.