Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Finding Forgiveness:

If you’ve suffered a great injustice, coming to forgiveness may include a long process of grief and outrage and sadness and loss and pain. Forgiveness is a deep process, which is repeated over and over and over again in our hearts. It honors the grief and it honors the betrayal. And in its own time, it ripens into the freedom to truly forgive.

—Gina Sharpe, "The Power of Forgiveness"

Monday, January 30, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba / Flower of the Day: 01/30/17

“The compulsive mind is the source of stress and consequently many diseases and difficulties we face in life. However, the mind is also a great power that needs to be used to our advantage. It is like a vehicle that can be guided by unconscious, destructive impulses such as jealousy, envy, competition, revenge or fear. However, it can be guided by conscious and constructive impulses. The first step to take is to occupy our vehicle and be present. This is synonymous with being conscious of everything that passes through our minds. The cultivation of silence is fundamental to the anchoring of presence. We become silent and gradually, silence transforms itself into meditation. Meditation is presence. When the minds quiets down, the Being that inhabits us manifests.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Improvise and Inquire

In the Tibetan Buddhist lojong teachings, one of the instructions for practice is “Don’t be so predictable.” As spiritual practitioners we need to have some curiosity about the unknown. When unexplored territory frightens us, we need to ask ourselves, “Where’s our sense of adventure?”

—Elizabeth Mattis, "Open Stillness"

Sunday, January 29, 2017

One Small Voice - Carole King

Stephen Lewis: Week in Review 144 — At a loss for words

Via Ram Dass

The first kind of love we are familiar with is the bio-chemical love, the, ‘Let’s make love.’ The second kind is romantic love, ‘Mary loves John and John loves Mary.’ This second kind of love, the romantic love and the need for love, has a polarity, which is hate and which involves jealousy and possessiveness. This kind of love is based on the fact that you don’t yet know who you are. And that the other person involved allows you to meet your true self by turning you on to the place inside yourself where you are love.

So you say “he and I” or “she and I are in love,” meaning we connect each other to the place in ourselves where we are love. This is needful love, because you need your connection, and if he or she splits, you can’t find the place in you where you are love. So you get frightened that you’re going to lose your connection.

The third quality of love is conscious love, where you have found that place in yourself and you become it. And you ‘are’ a statement of that love. And your every action is not consciously designed to assert that you love everyone, and everyone loves you, because you ‘are’ love.

Then, there is no more need for anyone to love you. All you experience is a feeling of present flow with everyone in the universe. You are in love with the universe. You are not actively loving, but you are ‘in’ love; you exist in the space of conscious love, which is Christ love. That’s what this whole game is about.

Via Engage the Enraged / FB:

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love // Flower of the Day: 01/29/17

“If we are putting into practice the instructions received, if we are able to put love in movement and stay present, even if we are in the midst of a great crisis and a whirlwind of negative thoughts and feelings that it generates, perhaps we can help the other, there by our side, suffering without any hope of a way out. We help the other by seeing the beauty and good that they have. We help by activating the qualities of the soul of the other. At this stage of the journey, it is important for us to focus on what is good in the other and in ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we close our eyes to the shadow, but we stop feeding it. We have already identified doubt and the lack of trust, so now we have to remove any energy that reinforces it. We put all of our attention into the trust we have gained.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Differently Abled Dharma:

Who is the one that sees? What is mind? I think with something like deafness or blindness—or specifically deaf-blindness, where you are so within yourself—it’s almost its own wisdom tradition.

—Oshin Liam Jennings, "This Buddhist Life"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba

“How to go beyond fear to create a new, happier and more prosperous reality? We all receive instructions on how to do this. The instructions come from the higher planes and manifest themselves in various ways; through intuition, from insights, dreams, and even through knowledge and intellect. However, I have seen many avoiding this information. Some pretend that they don’t see or hear what they are receiving and put the instructions aside. Thus, they wind up closing the channel of connection with higher intelligence. When we don’t put into movement that which we receive, we close the channel and stop receiving. But when we put the guidance we receive into practice, each time we receive even more. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and our trust grows to such an extent that any vestige of fear disappears.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Investigating Ourselves

Rather than accusing others of being the source of our misfortune, we need to investigate our situation well and see that we are being slain by the weapons we created through the force of our own self-grasping ignorance and the afflictions it nourishes.

—Thubten Chodron, "Brief Teachings"


Friday, January 27, 2017

Via Bilerico Report / FB: 5 things Trump did in his first week to make us fear for LGBT rights

Trump might not sound like a typical religious wingnut. He might have (actual) gay friends. But he showed this week that he will attempt to dismantle as many LGBT rights and protections as he can.

If it wasn’t totally obvious from his history of homophobic and transphobic remarks and his promises on policy during the campaign, he’s sending as strong of a signal as he can that he will do whatever he can to roll back LGBT rights now that he’s president.

Here are five things that happened in his first week in office that show that he opposes LGBT rights.

5. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he didn’t know if Trump would overturn Obama’s bans on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination

What happened: Trump has made overturning Barack Obama‘s executive orders one of his main campaign promises. The Press Secretary was asked if that included Obama’s executive orders that banned discrimination against LGBT people in the federal workforce and federal contractors, and he said he didn’t know.

Why this is a bad sign: The only correct answer to “Do you plan to allow discrimination in your workforce?” is “No.” Spicer couldn’t say that.

If this happened because of a lack of preparation – Trump has had plenty of time to decide which executive orders he wants to repeal – expect the worst. Trump has already shown that on issues that aren’t important to him he’s just going to implement policies that please the far-right.

4. Trump’s Attorney General nominee seems really excited to let people use religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people

What happened: In confirmation hearings this week, Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions talked about the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), a bill that Trump promised to sign that would allow people to discriminate against LGBT people if they claim they’re doing it for religious reasons. 
Sessions brought up an example of private colleges denying LGBT employees and students equal rights as a sign that the FADA is needed, saying that requiring institutions that receive federal money to follow federal law is “discriminatory” on the basis of religion.

In response to a separate question about his opposition to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) in 2013, which included a ban on discrimination against LGBT homeless youth in services paid for by the government, Sessions said the protections would have “discriminated against faith-based organizations.”

Why this is a bad sign: Sessions, of course, doesn’t much care about freedom of religion. He defended Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration in 2015, and even this week said that he wanted an immigrant’s religion to be a factor in the vetting process.

What he cares about is one religion’s freedom to impose its beliefs on other people. Sessions’s examples of “religious freedom” were about institutions that receive federal money being able to discriminate against LGBT people, even though federal funds are limited (especially for homeless youth) and no one is forcing religious organizations to take the money.

Sessions will have a lot of power to direct government resources when it comes to actually enforcing anti-discrimination rules. He appears much more excited to find creative ways to use those resources to promote discrimination.

3. Trump brought back the global gag rule (but more bigly this time)

What happened: Trump signed a presidential memorandum prohibiting global health organizations that receive US aid money from discussing abortion with their clients, even if the programs where abortion is discussed are funded separately. This is an old Republican policy, except Trump’s version applies to 15 times more funds than George W. Bush’s or Ronald Reagan’s gag rules.

Why this is a bad sign: If anyone thought that a thrice-married reality TV star from Manhattan wouldn’t pursue the religious right’s policy goals, then they have been proven wrong. Whether Trump is a true believer or is just using policies like this to appease his base, he’s signaling that his administration will give the likes of Focus on the Family whatever they want, and do so in such an extreme way that Bush and Reagan will look like free-love hippies next to him.

2. John Gore was appointed to lead the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice

What happened: John Gore, a lawyer who defended the anti-LGBT HB2 in North Carolina from claims that it violates the Constitution, has been appointed to lead the office in charge of upholding civil rights laws. Gore also has experience in defending voter suppression at the state level.

Why this is a bad sign: A lot of Trump’s appointees have been comically inappropriate for the roles they were chosen for. For example, Trump nominated a man who can’t remember that he wants to eliminate the Department of Energy to head the Department of Energy, and he nominated a CEO who wants to exploit his workers more to head the Department of Labor.

Gore’s appointment shows that civil rights will be no exception. The Office of Civil Rights is currently involved in a case about the federal ban on LGBT discrimination in health care plans and is charged with prosecuting hate crimes in accordance with the Matthew Shepard Act. Instead, the Office could move resources from defending civil rights to defending the right to discriminate, according to Lambda Legal.

1. The 3 people on Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court all have a history of rightwing extremism on social issues in their rulings

What happened: Politico reported earlier in the week that Trump has narrowed down the list of people to replace Antonin Scalia to three men: Neil Gorsuch, Thomas Hardiman, and William Pryor.

Gorsuch and Hardiman are solid conservatives without much of a record on LGBT cases . Gorsuch is best known for a very expansive definition of “religious freedom” in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, where he ruled that even requiring employers to say that they oppose contraception is a violation of their religious freedom. Hardiman once allowed a gay man to sue for discrimination, but is better known for his doctrinaire conservative approach to guns and to civil rights.

Pryor has a history of anti-gay legal activity. He filed a brief in 2003 arguing in favor of sodomy laws, equating homosexuality with “polygamy, incest, pedophilia, prostitution, and adultery.” In 2005 Lambda Legal called him “the most demonstrably antigay judicial nominee in recent memory” when he was nominated to the 11th Circuit Court.

Why this is a bad sign: The court system has been extremely important to advancing LGBT rights, on issues like sodomy laws and marriage rights, and the Supreme Court will probably be hearing LGBT cases for the next few decades.

Trump can nominate one Supreme Court Justice right off the bat, and he says he’ll announce the nominee next week. This is because Senate Republicans refused to confirm Obama’s nominee last year.

This could become worse over Trump’s term, setting back LGBT rights for decades. Three reliably pro-LGBT Supreme Court Justices are, well, old: Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 83 (and a pancreatic cancer survivor), Stephen Breyer is 78, and Anthony Kennedy is 80. If Trump has a chance to replace at least one of them, then the Supreme Court will shift to a 5-4 balance against LGBT rights.

Make the jump here to read the original and much more

A Couple Proves That Loves Conquers All

Via Black on Black

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Learning to Live Together

To me the really defining question of our humanity and of our civil society right now is not can we agree. That’s kind of idealistic, and it’s not helping us. It’s more about how can we live together while we disagree about these things that are so personal. This requires much more of us spiritually and practically than the illusion that we’ll force agreement.

—Krista Tippett, "Talking with the Other Side"

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Via Patheos: Leading Candidate For Supreme Court Would Criminalize Gay Sex

Trump’s shortlist for the Supreme Court includes Judge William Pryor, a vehemently anti-gay Christian extremist.
According to multiple reports President Donald Trump has narrowed his choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia to three potential nominees: Judge William Pryor of Alabama, Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado, and Judge Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania. All of them are federal appeals court judges.

On that short list is William Pryor, who is considered to be “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory” by the legal advocacy group Lambda Legal.

In the past, Pryor, who now sits on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, has made the deplorable argument that consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners should be criminalized.

Raw Story reports that in a 2003 legal brief Pryor argued in favor of a Texas law criminalizing consensual LGBT sex. Comparing consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners to “polygamy, incest, pedophilia, prostitution, and adultery,” Pryor argued that states should prosecute gay people as criminals, arguing that the rights of LGBT people as a group are not protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Pryor wrote:
This Court [the Supreme Court] has never recognized a fundamental right to engage in sexual activity outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage, let alone to engage in homosexual sodomy. Such a right would be antithetical to the ‘traditional relation of the family’ that is ‘as old and as fundamental as our entire civilization.
Pryor also argued that being lesbian or gay is harmful and that Texans needed protection from “homosexual sodomy”:
Texas is hardly alone in concluding that homosexual sodomy may have severe physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences, which do not necessarily attend heterosexual sodomy, and from which Texas’s citizens need to be protected.
Pryor concluded:
(there is) no fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy just because it is done behind closed doors… Because homosexual sodomy has not historically been recognized in this country as a right — to the contrary, it has historically been recognized as a wrong — it is not a fundamental right.
People for the American Way (PFAW) has condemned Judge Pryor’s record, noting that Pryor has used the power of his office in an effort to push the law in an extreme far right direction harmful to the rights and interests of ordinary Americans.

Citing an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed, PFAW highlights Pryor’s anti-gay religious extremism:
Pryor would deny gay men and lesbians the equal protection of the laws. He believes that it is constitutional to imprison gay men and lesbians for expressing their sexuality in the privacy of their own homes and has voluntarily filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold a Texas law that criminalizes such private consensual activity.
PFAW also notes Pryor is a staunch opponent of a woman’s right to choose. He has called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history” and has supported efforts to erect unconstitutional barriers to the exercise of reproductive freedom.

In addition to openly advocating for the criminalization of gay sex, and his refusal to recognize a woman’s right to abortion, Pryor is also an advocate for prayer in school, and rejects the separation of church and state.

Trump is expected to announce his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

(Large portions of this post were previously published here: Trump Supreme Court Pick Would Criminalize Gay Sex)

Judge William Pryor (Image via Wikipedia)
Judge William Pryor (Image via Wikipedia)

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Concise Advice

Live a simple life with an affluent spirit.

—Ayako Isayama, "A Yen For Cleaning"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Moonlight | Official Trailer HD | A24

Via Wicked:  http://www.wicked.online/article-post/moonlight-nominated-historic-eight-academy-awards/

Via Ram Dass

At a certain point, you realize that you see only the projections of your own mind. The play of phenomena is a projection of the spirit. The projections are your karma, your curriculum for this incarnation. Everything that’s happening to you is a teaching designed to burn out your stuff, your attachments. Your humanity and all your desires are not some kind of error. They’re integral parts of the journey.

- Ram Dass

Via LGBTq Nation: Donald Trump pledges to sign anti-LGBTQ ‘First Amendment Defense Act’

Donald Trump AP Photo/Cheryl Senter

Donald Trump has been courting the LGBTQ vote throughout this presidential election, claiming he would be the better choice for the community than opponent Hillary Clinton and promising to protect us from terrorism in his Republican National Convention speech.

That argument gets harder to believe by the week, as he gives speeches at anti-LGBTQ events, sticks up for homophobic and transphobic legislation and surrounds himself with bigoted politicians and advisers. Now we have a new offense to add to the list.

Trump has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), if passed by congress. It was first introduced in the House on June 17, 2015 and would effectively legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination across the board, including among employers, businesses, landlords and healthcare providers, as long as they claim to be motivated by a firmly held religious beliefs.

The statement, added to Trump’s website on Thursday under the title “Issues Of Importance To Catholics” and the subtitle “Religious Liberty,” reads:
Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is our first liberty and provides the most important protection in that it protects our right of conscience. Activist judges and executive orders issued by Presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy. If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths. The Little Sisters of the Poor, or any religious order for that matter, will always have their religious liberty protected on my watch and will not have to face bullying from the government because of their religious beliefs.
Prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
Defines “discriminatory action” as any federal government action to discriminate against a person with such beliefs or convictions, including a federal government action to:
  • alter the federal tax treatment of, cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, or deny, delay, or revoke certain tax exemptions of any such person;
  • disallow a deduction of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;
  • withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or similar position or status from or to such person; or
  • withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any benefit under a federal benefit program.
Requires the federal government to consider to be accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of federal law any person who would be accredited, licensed, or certified for such purposes but for a determination that the person believes or acts in accordance with such a religious belief or moral conviction.
Permits a person to assert an actual or threatened violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and to obtain compensatory damages or other appropriate relief against the federal government.
Authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action to enforce this Act against the Government Accountability Office or an establishment in the executive branch, other than the U.S. Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, that is not an executive department, military department, or government corporation.
Defines “person” as any person regardless of religious affiliation, including corporations and other entities regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / On Personal Space:

Space isn’t really divided into “me space” and “not-me space.” It’s all one space, and it flows through us. Space is just borrowed. We can’t own it.

—Bodhipaksa, "What You’re Made Of"


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / Love Your Enemies

We may fear that if we’re too good-hearted, we will be ignored or taken advantage of, and the political crisis will continue unchallenged. But there is a big difference between loving our enemies and letting them get away with their wrongdoing.

—Diana Winston, "Seven Reasons Why It’s Better Not to Hate Them"

Monday, January 23, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Anger and Fear

It’s important to note that anger is a form of fear. Someone does something, and suddenly the mind feels ungrounded and reacts with anger, trying to reestablish a firm ground by reaffirming one’s narrow sense of self. Anger’s aim is to establish safety in that deluded way.

—John Makransky, "Aren’t We Right to Be Angry?"

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Via Girl Du Jour / FB:· November 16, 2016 · The internet never forgets.

And here is where we come to suffering, because what suffering tells you is where the mind is clinging. Now, I am talking about your suffering. I am not talking about somebody else’s suffering. Let’s just deal with us. For me, suffering is telling me where my mind is clinging. If I experience suffering because I am getting old, it’s because I have a model of myself that’s other than what this is. This is what this is, including dying, pain, loss, all of it.

The models in our heads about it, and the way we cling to it, is where the root of suffering is. So when you wanna get free badly enough, you begin to experience your own suffering as grace. You don’t ask for it. You don’t say, “Give me suffering,” but when it comes you see it as something that’s showing you a place where you are holding. The place to release.

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / Reckoning with Inequality

Inequality cannot stand in the real and true knowledge of human love. Fear evaporates in the face of recognition and connection.

—Hanuman Goleman, "Checking My Inner World"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Via Huffington / QUEER VOICES: The Mike Pence (Donald Trump) Assault On LGBTQ Equality Is Already Underway

Spencer Platt via Getty Images
I’m not going to sugarcoat this at all. We are in for a full-blown assault on LGBTQ rights the likes of which many, particularly younger LGBTQ people, have not seen. Progress will most certainly be halted completely, likely rolled back. And it’s already underway.
First, forget any of your thinking that Donald Trump is from New York City, probably has gay friends, sent Elton John a congratulatory note on his civil union in 2005, used the term “LGBTQ” (in pitting gays against Muslims at the Republican National Convention, when he vowed only to protect us from a “hateful foreign ideology”) or any other superficial things you may have read or heard.
Ronald Reagan was from Hollywood, and he, too, had many gay friends, including legendary actor Rock Hudson. Reagan even came out against an anti-gay state initiative while he was governor of California. But once Reagan made his pact with the religious right leaders in his 1980 successful run for the presidency ― for him, among them was Jerry Falwell, Sr., for Trump it’s Jerry Falwell Jr.― he had to bow to them if he wanted to get re-elected in 1984. 

That meant letting thousands of gay men, transgender women, African-Americans and members other affected groups die from AIDS (including his friend Hudson) without even saying the word “AIDS” until years into the plague, let alone take leadership on fighting the epidemic with government dollars and research.
That was then, and this is now: Earlier in the year, before Mike Pence was chosen as Donald Trump’s running mate, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, using Trump’s analogy of running a business to explain how he’d run the country, told HuffPost’s Howard Fineman that the vice president of the Trump administration would really be the “CEO” or “COO” ― or, the president of the company ― while Trump would be more like the “chairman of the board”:
“He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO...There is a long list of who that person could be.”
That person turned out to be Pence, and, before and after the election, there’s been some analysis and commentary suggesting that Mike Pence could be “the most powerful vice president ever.” 

And now, just days after the election, his power has increased tenfold as he is replacing Chris Christie as chairman of Trump’s transition team, filling all the major positions in the incoming Trump administration.
Mike Pence is perhaps one of the most anti-LGBTQ evangelical Christian political crusaders to serve in Congress and as governor of a state. Long before he signed the draconian anti-LGBTQ “religious liberty” law in Indiana last year, he supported “conversion therapy” as a member of Congress, and later, as a columnist and radio host, he gave a speech in which he said that marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse,” and called homosexuality “a choice.” Stopping gays from marrying wasn’t biased, he said, but was rather about compelling “God’s idea.”
Ben Carson, who compared homosexuality to pedophilia and incest, is a vice chairman of the transition team and so is Newt Gingrich, who has attacked what he called “gay fascism” and, in 2014, “the new fascism” around LGBTQ rights.
And right on cue, already appointed to lead domestic policy on the transition team is Ken Blackwell, formerly the Ohio secretary of state. Blackwell has compared homosexuality to arson and kleptomania, which he called “compulsions.” In an interview with me at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in 2008, he explained:
“Well, the fact is, you can choose to restrain that compulsion. And so I think in fact you don’t have to give in to the compulsion to be homosexual. I think that’s been proven in case after case after case...I believe homosexuality is a compulsion that can be contained, repressed or changed…[T]hat is what I’m saying in the clearest of terms.”
Expect each of these individuals and more religous bigots to have prominent positions in the Trump administration.
As I‘ve written over and over again throughout the election campaign ― as the media had bizarrely and irresponsibly portrayed Trump as “more accepting on gay issues” ― Trump met with religious extremists, and made promises to them. He promised he would put justices on the Supreme Court who would overturn marriage equality (and the list of 20 candidates he has offered, certainly fit the bill), which he’s consistently opposed himself since 2000. He promised that he would sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow for discrimination against LGBT people by government employees and others.
It may or may not be difficult or unrealistic to overturn marriage equality over time, though the anti-equality National Organization for Marriage, which backed Trump in the election, has sent Trump a plan. But by passing bills like FADA ― already introduced in the Republican-controlled Senate and House ― and others yet to come, gay marriage can be made into a kind of second-class marriage. 
Clerks like Kim Davis can be given exemptions from giving marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Federal employees would be able to decline interactions with gay and lesbian married couples. Businesses such as bakers and florists, who’ve become flash points in some states where they refused to serve gays, could be granted the ability to turn away gays under federal law, and all that could head to a much more conservative Supreme Court if challenged.
Trump has said he would overturn what he saw as President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, and those could include Obama’s orders on LGBTQ rights, such as banning employment discrimination among federal contractors.
Mike Pence, as Dominic Holden at Buzzfeed points out, has already said that he and Trump plan to withdraw federal guidance to the states issued by the Obama administration protecting transgender students:
 “Donald Trump and I simply believe that all of these issues are best resolved at the state level,” he said in an October radio show with Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. “Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools.”
No one should take solace in the fact that gay billionaire Peter Thiel, who spoke at the GOP convention, is on the transition team. Thiel has never been a champion of LGBTQ rights, and is now most noted for bankrolling a lawsuit against Gawker -– shutting it down ― in an act of revenge because the site reported the widely-known fact that he is gay.
If Trump treats the presidency the same way he treated the GOP convention in Cleveland, he’ll make gestures ― like giving Thiel a role in his administration or using the initialism “LGBTQ”― that will feed the media notion that he is somewhat pro-LGBTQ, while giving the nuts and bolts of halting or rolling back progress on LGBTQ rights to others. While Trump was onstage at the convention uttering  “LGBTQ” (and had used Thiel’s speaking slot as a bit of window dressing too), the platform committee of the RNC had just hammered out the most anti-LGBTQ platform in history in the basement of the convention center. Tony Perkins, head of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, told me at the RNC that he was “very happy” with the platform, which, as a member of the committee, he made sure included the promotion of “conversion therapy.”
Trump was hands-off on the platform when it came to queer issues (unlike on the issue of trade or, in what seemed like deference to Russia, on aid to Ukraine), letting people like Perkins push an extreme agenda, and knowing he needed to court them. He spoke at the FRC’s Values Voter Summit in September, promising to uphold “religious liberty,” and a large majority of white evangelicals did turn out to vote for him on Tuesday ― comparable to, or greater than, every other GOP presidential candidate in recent years. He will need them if he wants to get re-elected, and that means he’ll have to give them some big things now. And evangelical leaders told The New York Times this week they expect him to deliver
[W]ith Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, an evangelical with a record of legislating against abortion and same-sex marriage, as vice president, Christian leaders say they feel reassured they will have access to the White House and a seat at the table. “I am confident he will do as president what he said he would do as a candidate,” said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, who helped mobilize Christian voters for Mr. Trump.
If Trump is thus as hands-off on LGBTQ issues as president as he was at the RNC, letting people like Pence ― again, possibly the most powerful vice president ever ― get his way, along with people like Carson, Blackwell, Gingrich and likely many others, you can bet that the assault on LGBTQ rights is already underway. It’s only a matter of time before we know the full magnitude. And that’s why we must pull ourselves out of grief, get fired up, and begin the fight right now.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the location of the 2016 Republican National Convention. This has been fixed.

Via Tricycle: Five Yoga Practices for Surviving Inauguration Day

As a yoga teacher I often see an influx of students around the New Year. Many students are honoring fresh resolutions and commitments to return to the body, hoping to heal, nourish, or strengthen it in some way.

In times of significant change or transition—such as a new year or a presidential inauguration—decisions to support the body can be very useful. What many practitioners may be pleased to discover is how the body can support them in return. The five yoga postures and practices described below remind us what it’s like to experience groundedness and balance in the body. And, if we practice these postures regularly, they may also help instill more equanimity and tranquility in the mind.

Mountain pose (Tadasana)
In mountain pose we stand as upright as possible. When we align the joints and actively engage the leg and core muscles to support the standing body, we can experience our innate stability.

To stand in mountain pose, separate the feet six to eight inches apart. Contract the muscles in the front of the thighs and draw the abdominal muscles in. Reach the arms down along the sides the body. Lift the chest forward and up and pull the shoulders back. Raise the chin so that it is parallel to the ground. As you breathe, rest your gaze—strong, but soft—on an unmoving point in front of you.

Mountain pose can help us discover balance and poise by teaching us to reach in opposite directions. We root down into the ground through the feet while simultaneously lifting up through the top of the head. If you close the eyes when you’re in mountain pose, you may notice how muscles in the toes, feet, and ankles make micro-movements to steady the body. This can be a useful reminder that no matter what kind of change is going on around us, the body intuitively knows how to steady itself.

Tree pose (Vrksasana)
Tree pose is a one-footed standing posture that encourages us to practice focus and balance while remaining as grounded as possible.

Begin by standing with both feet flat on the floor. Separate the feet six to eight inches apart. Raise the right knee, which will lift the right foot several inches off the ground. Turn the knee out to the side and press the sole of the foot against the inner calf, aligning the arch of the foot with the calf muscle. For additional support, you can also place the ball of the foot on the ground and press the heel of the foot into the ankle of the standing leg. Press the hands together at the center of the chest. Rest your gaze on an unmoving point in front of you. To maintain your balance, pay close attention to the breath moving in and out of the body.

Practitioners sometimes lose their balance in tree pose or find themselves wobbling despite their best efforts to remain grounded. Embrace this; it’s in the nature of trees to sway and shift.

Illustration by Megan Dailey
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
While corpse pose is typically done at the end of a yoga practice, resting in this posture at any time can teach the body how to relax and release muscle tension. It can also restore breathing to a natural, passive state, which may settle an anxious mind.

To practice corpse pose, lie on your back on a comfortable surface, such as a yoga mat or a soft carpet. Extend the arms out alongside the body. If you feel tension in the lower back, roll up a towel or blanket and place it underneath the knees. Move the arms slightly away from the body and open the palms up to the ceiling. Let the feet gently fall out to the sides.

Close the eyes. Bring your attention to your toes. Silently suggest to yourself, “toes, relax.” Then continue up the body, gradually suggesting relaxation to different muscle groups, providing extra attention and care to areas where you feel tension. When you arrive at the top of the head, let go of all suggestions. Let the breath be natural. Rest.

Some people daydream or fall asleep in corpse pose. Others may find it very difficult to rest, so they twitch and fuss about. Like all postures, corpse pose is meant to be practiced, not perfected. Offer yourself time and patience. It may take a while for the body to unwind and settle into a calm, peaceful state.

Illustration by Megan Dailey
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a classic yoga text, describes nadi shodhana as a type of pranayama (breathing practice) that activates and harmonizes the right and left energy channels in the body. This practice is said to balance the flow of energy (prana) as well as stabilize and deepen the breath as it moves through the right and left nostrils.

To begin this practice, sit upright in a comfortable way. Raise your right hand. Curl the index and middle fingers in toward the palm. Bring the hand to the face. Close the right nostril off by gently pressing the thumb against the nose. Release. Then use the ring finger to close off the left nostril. Release.

Keep the hand near the nose and release both nostrils. Take a long, deep breath in. At the peak of the inhale, press the thumb against the right nostril. Exhale through the left nostril, slowly and steadily, over three counts. Then slowly inhale through the left nostril over three counts. At the peak of the inhale, close off the left nostril and release the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril over three counts. Then, slowly inhale through the right nostril for three counts. At the end of the inhale, close off the right nostril and release the left. Exhale through the left nostril over three counts. This cycle is one round of nadi shodhana. Try completing five complete rounds. If you become lightheaded or feel like you are straining or forcing the breath, stop to rest.

Yoga philosophy associates the right energetic channel with the sun and masculine energy. The left energetic channel is associated with the moon and feminine energy. By bringing balance to the right and left energy channels, we activate the central energy channel, which is said to bring greater balance to the body and help cultivate higher levels of awareness and compassion.

Illustration by Megan Dailey

Chanting (Kirtan)
When I first started practicing yoga, I was fortunate enough to be part of a community that practiced kirtan, or call-and-response recitation of mantras. I found chanting to be both meditative and uplifting. Sometimes the melody was slow and our voices were inbued with longing. Other times I found myself clapping, swaying with the beat, and even dancing.

Chanting with others—especially mantras, prayers, or uplifting words—can be a powerful antidote to feelings of powerlessness or fear. If other people aren’t within reach, I’ve found that singing or even humming to oneself can also offer a subtle yet transformative sense of peace. Try lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu (“May all beings everywhere be happy and free”) or Om

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Via Daily Dharma / Necessary Anger

Anger toward social injustice will remain until the goal is achieved. It has to remain.

Of course. That anger is directed toward the social injustice itself, along with the struggle to correct it, so the anger should be maintained until the goal is achieved. It is necessary in order to stop social injustice and wrong destructive actions.

—His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "The (Justifiably) Angry Marxist"