Friday, June 17, 2016


A second handout for June..... narrow margins, two columns, back-to-back, and divided vertically down the middle.



JUNE 2016, 2nd edition


I’m sure all of you are well aware of the tragedy in Orlando, Florida: the worst mass murder in our nation’s history.


Politicians, theologians, political scientists, rhetoricians—professionals of all kinds—are talking about the various ways discussion of this event can be framed. I am certainly none of these. But I am a United Methodist woman of some years of age and Methodism, and this I know: Our Christian mandate is always to show love to our neighbors. We may disagree with them vehemently, but our charge is to love them anyway.


I also know that, inasmuch as none of us can know the heart of another, we need always guard our own hearts and seek to stay in love with God. So we of the UMW join thousands around the world in mourning the senseless and violent deaths of so

many people and the untold grief and pain of their families and the survivors.


It seems clear that one of the motives in this tragedy was hate of “the other.” Regardless of our personal opinions about the LGBTQ lifestyle, I’m certain all of us understand our faith and our Biblical command to love one another… and certainly our very clear commandment of “Thou shalt not kill.”


I understand that our General Conference has decided to study the issue of homosexuality further. We can rest assured that the result will be in line with our avowed position of loving one another and “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.”


In addition to the hate-filled prejudice evident in the killing, we still have the issue of gun accessibility. One of the guns in this event was an AR-15, an automatic assault rifle. According to lawyer Josh Koskoff, the AR-15 "was designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did this morning: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease. That is why the AR-15 has remained the weapon of choice for the United States military for over 50 years. It is the gold standard for killing the enemy in battle, just as it has become the gold standard for mass murder of innocent civilians."

The AR-15 is the same style of weapon used to slaughter 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Earlier that year, James Holmes used an AR-15 to murder 12 people and wound 70 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.


The CEO of Sturm, Ruger, and Co., one of the nation's leading manufacturers of firearms for the commercial sporting market, assured shareholders a month ago that, although demand for their product was “easing,” they should anticipate higher gun sales during the election season, as the “rhetoric from both sides” will “[keep] consumers aware and thinking about their firearm rights.” He added that “If the political environment in this election year causes one or more strong spikes in demand, we may stretch our capital expenditures budget to take advantage of the opportunities presented.” In other words: Yes, words matter. They raise fears—and they help to increase profits! 


Semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 were, at one time, banned nationwide. The 1994 federal assault-weapons ban prohibited most versions of the rifle from being sold in the U.S. The gun re-entered circulation after Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004. Subsequent efforts to renew the ban, or create other legislation that would limit assault weapons, have been unsuccessful.

Surely we need to re-evaluate the process for buying at least assault weapons like this.

And it may be that the Orlando event concerns mental health issues. At the UMW Legislative Event of 2016, an issue of our final Agenda included “mental health and preventive health services.” We need to be proactive and urge our state and national legislators to move aggressively in all areas of health care.

Contact your legislators to let them know of your concern in these areas: hate crimes, gun accessi-bility, and wholistic health care.


Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation regulating payday lending to some degree. I’m sorry I don’t have details. I hope the legislation is close to the resolution introduced by the CFPB, that I mentioned in my last handout. Contact your senators to urge them to pass this legislation when it goes to that body.                       *************


This is another post designed for narrow margins, two columns, back-to-back, and divided vertically down the middle.



June 2016


We all know of the continued rains and the flooding in Texas. We need to continue funding and/or preparing UMCOR kits to help those who have lost so much—if not everything.


And mentioning UMCOR reminds me: General Conference renamed the traditional One Great Hour of Sharing. The day of special offering (traditionally the fourth Sunday of Lent, but can be observed as a church decides) will now be known as UMCOR Sunday. UMCOR has no source of revenue for administration except from One Great Hour of Sharing (now UMCOR Sunday). One hundred percent of gifts designated to UMCOR go to the cause stipulated. UMCOR receives no money from the apportionments paid to the general church by congregations. Other denominations will continue to use the name One Great Hour of Sharing.. 


The UMW was able to make some very small changes in the Texas law regarding payday lending. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has within the last several days released a proposal that will regulate payday lenders at a federal level for the first time. Many borrowers end up paying an effective annual interest rate over 300%. “Too many borrowers seeking a short-term cash fix are saddled with loans they cannot afford and sink into long-term debt,” said the Bureau’s director, Richard Cordray. “The harm done to consumers by these business models needs to be addressed.”

The long-awaited proposal includes provisions that would (1) require lenders to determine that borrowers can repay their debt by assessing their credit history and means. (2) It would restrict the number of short-term rollover loans borrowers can take in succession to prevent what’s known as a “debt spiral.” (3) It would also require borrowers to be notified when a lender plans to deduct funds from their bank account and rein in a lender’s ability to repeatedly attempt to deduct those funds.

The rule is an attempt to address what many regard as an exploitative industry that has arisen to provide credit to people unable to get traditional loans, but it


doesn’t do much to address the underlying issue. Payday lending is, after all, an ugly and costly symptom of a much larger and more systemic problem—the financial disenfranchisement of America’s poor. It’s estimated that 12 million Americans use payday-loan products, and most of them earn less than $30,000 per year.

The CFPB has tried to keep the need for small-dollar, shorter term loans in mind in the creation of their rule. “We recognize that consumers may need to borrow money to meet unexpected drops in income or unexpected expenses,” Cordray said in his statement. “We recognize too that some lenders serving this market are committed to making loans that consumers can in fact afford to repay.” To that end, the new rule encourages options for longer-term loans that would mirror credit unions’ payday alternatives, such as an interest rate capped at below 30 percent with application fees of only $20. Some advocates of the new federal curbs criticized the rules, saying the complexity and tight strings would discourage banks and others from entering the market.

Contact your US legislators and ask them to support this proposal.



HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR MISSION U? You may do so online at Remember: it’s at Faith UMC in Denton, 6060 Teasley Lane, July 15-16.


In the June issue of The Atlantic magazine. a huge commercial company sponsored an ad which contains this line referring to infants being cared for in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit: “our most fragile, precious patients.” If an entity whose very existence depends on ‘the bottom line’—read ‘dollars’—recognizes our children at this tenuous stage of their lives as our most precious patients, surely we and our elected officials can acknowledge that evaluation—and do everything in our power to give them a good start and provide reasonable and faithful support for their development.