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With G-d on our Side: The Doctrine of Discovery, unHoly Roman Empire & other matters...

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

UPDATED: 8/22/23


The facts and comments about them contained herein DO NOT apply to the WHOLE class of religious organizations of all types. However, they DO apply to all those in every corner of our shared world that invoke THEIR version of G-d to justify ANY injustice toward ANY other fellow human being.

Why I'm learning and writing about this topic and other forms of racism

A few years ago, Eileen and I had the good fortune to be introduced to Multicultural Solidarity of Long Island and their Friendship Circles. During one of these meetings, we were invited to sit in circle with members of the Shinnecock Nation at their home on the East End of LI. This face-to-face encounter began a heart-opening awareness of a chapter of our American history that I was never taught. And this led me to become a student - so I could learn and pass along the stories of what really happened as a result of colonization.

This same heart transformation is occurring through our participation with members of Long Island's Baha'i Fellowship. We met this wonderful group of people through the Multicultural folks. As I've written in other posts, our Baha'i gatherings in peoples' homes and at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park enable us to meet with members of other races who have been and still are mistreated because people with white skin think they that their white skin pigmentation makes them superior.

For me, the biggest impact is happening as I share space with my fellow human travelers...hear their personal stories...share a meal with them...laugh and cry with them...These close encounters are much more powerful than simply reading a book or watching a documentary about the various forms of discrimination.

Come join us...


At the recent (Jan. 9, 2023) Town of Hempstead public hearing on the proposed redistricting maps (i.e., gerrymandering), an older black woman began her remarks by stating how communities of color are weakened and impoverished by filling them with churches and liquor stores…

Several who spoke talked about how this redrawing of boundary lines is yet another "land grab" which would move profitable commercial areas from their current districts into new ones.

  • Only have 14 minutes? Click here for an animated discovery of facts that most of us were never told and still aren't being told to many of our young, as a grandfather tells his young grandson facts about how our country took lands that belonged to others, justifying these thefts by the Doctrine of Discovery...

  • Prefer to listen to music that speaks to these matters? Scroll down to the end of this post...

313 A.D. Creation of an Unholy Alliance of Religion & Power…of G-d & Money…

I first learned about the Doctrine of Discovery from my Franciscan teacher Richard Rohr. In order to understand how it was created and justified, Richard described a necessary preliminary step: the alliance in 313 A.D. between the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire - when Emperor Constantine decreed that the Catholic Church was the official religion of the Empire.

“Convert or die!”..."Your land in now our land"... now had enforcement powers.

And, most importantly, the Church’s perspective switched from a view from the bottom to a view from the top.

Intro to the Doctrine of Discovery (1 minute read)

"We were planting corn and they were planting crosses." ~ Faithkeeper Oren Lyons

(from the article) The Doctrines of Christian Discovery (DoCD) originate with 15th century Papal Bulls that were issued by the Vatican and implemented by Monarchies, sanctioning the brutal Conquest and Colonization of non-Christians who were deemed “enemies of Christ” in Africa and the Americas. These Papal Bulls were a continuation of what had been going on since at least the 8th century from Charlemagne, through the Crusades, the Inquisition, the war on witches, to the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1823, the “Doctrine of Discovery” was first articulated as a legal formulation in U.S. Supreme Court case, Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. As this case fundamentally defines international property law today, it continues to be used by multi-national corporations and Nation-States in their extraction of resources in indigenous territories around the world. The global scale with which the DoCD expressed itself in the “Age of Discovery”—first in Africa, then the Americas, and beyond—created a unified Christendom, which became the opposing force against the great global plurality of cultures. This Doctrine governs United States and international law today and has been cited as recently as 2005 in the decision City Of Sherrill V. Oneida Indian Nation Of N.Y.

Indigenous Views of our Natural World

The following short reflection from the Center for Action and Contemplation, presents an indigenous view of nature, includes words from Sarah Augustine, a Tewa woman from New Mexico. She is the author of

The Land Is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery (Herald Press: 2021), 190, 192.

Briefly looking around, I noticed that the aforementioned Sarah Augustine is the Executive Director of this organization.

From a November post that seems to provide a visual for my opening remarks…

(from this Nov. 27, 2022 post) Don't fall into the trap of believing your religion is the only way to the Creator. Religion can be quite a trap. Rituals, rites, and rules enable people to feel spiritual, when they really are not. They can, in fact, limit the growth of consciousness, quenching the spirit.

Creator is bigger than any religion and cannot be contained in a building nor by the commandments of men.

We were all humans until race disconnected us, until politics divided us, until wealth classified us, and until religion separated us.

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." - Seneca

Unitarian Universalist: the Doctrine of Discovery

Here is a UU link to understanding the Doctrine of Discovery. It includes a 14-minute explanatory video and links for further "discovery"...This is the same link that was included at the top of this post.

Richard Rohr’s July 2022 Meeting with Pope Francis

(from the article) Sitting across from each other, I shared with him about what God has done in my life – from my beginning as a charismatic learning the healing power of heart-based devotional prayer, to confronting the social justice issues of our time through my travels around the world, to founding an organization for the teaching of action and contemplation. I consider putting those two back together to be the historic and singular opportunity we have in this moment.”

Of course, most of my own teaching years are now behind me. I am in the twilight of my own life. Yet I remain utterly convinced of the message that led me to found the Center for Action and Contemplation nearly 35 years ago: the rediscovery of the contemplative roots of Christianity is the key to the future of our faith.

The teaching of the contemplative mind gets to the heart of the matter because it changes consciousness, and thus transforms how we relate to ourselves, each other, and God. I believe it is the key to experiencing what Jesus calls “metanoia” and St. Paul refers to as the “new mind.” Jesus modeled it, and the desert mothers and fathers in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Cappadocia understood and cultivated it. It was taught systematically in monasteries for centuries. It is a treasure of our Christian tradition.

Want to Learn More?

--They are a local resource and can help you find groups

Town of Islip Baha'i Fellowship

Eileen and I have been participating in these wonderful multicultural, multi-ethnic gatherings - a few where we sat in circle at Long Island's Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in Great River. We meet and often eat together to consider how WE can do more than merely coexist...HOW we can flourish, as we join our diverse backgrounds into the melting pot others have envisioned. IT IS POSSIBLE!!!

If you're curious about either of these opportunities, please email me:


I'm now wondering where these musical prophets learned these lessons "so long ago"...

--includes historical footage of what we've justified because we claimed G-d was on OUR side...

--you may remember Robbie from his time with The Band

--video contains memorable photographs of these noble people along with the injustices they suffered because they didn't have OUR G-d on THEIR side...

--Buffy Sainte-Marie performing "My Country Tis of Thy People You're Dying" as Pete Seeger watches her mournful and powerful tale of theft and murder (From Pete's Rainbow Quest)

Reflections and lyrics below...

Ghost Dance

(the words are in RED letters)

Crow has brought the message

to the children of the sun

or the return of the buffalo

and for a better day to come

You can kill my body

You can damn my soul

for not believing in your god

and some world down below

You don't stand a chance

against my prayers

You don't stand a chance

against my love

They outlawed the Ghost Dance

but we shall live again,

we shall live again

My sister above

She has red paint

She died at Wounded Knee

like a later day saint

You got the big drum in the distance

blackbird in the sky

That's the sound that you hear

when the buffalo cry

You don't stand a chance

against my prayers

You don't stand a chance

against my love

They outlawed the Ghost Dance

but we shall live again,

we shall live again

Crazy Horse was a mystic

He knew the secret of the trance

And Sitting Bull the great apostle

of the Ghost Dance

Come on Comanche

Come on Blackfoot

Come on Shoshone

Come on Cheyenne

We shall live again

Come on Arapaho

Come on Cherokee

Come on Paiute

Come on Sioux

We shall live again

My Country ’tis of Thy People You’re Dying: Buffy Sainte-Marie

(footnotes are in the "" link below

Article also contains the words in the Plains Cree language)

(the words are in RED letters)

[1] Now that your big eyes are finally opened. (2)

Now that you’re wondering, “How must they feel?”

meaning them that you’ve chased across Canada’s movie screens.

Now that you’re wondering, “How can it be real?”

that the ones you’ve called colorful, noble and proud

in your school propaganda,

They starve in their splendor.

You ask for our comment, I simply will render:


My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

[2] Now that the longhouses "breed superstition" (3)

you force us to send our children away

to your schools where they’re taught to despise their traditions. (4)

Forbid them their languages; (5)

then further say that

Canada’s history really began

when explorers set sail out of Europe (6)

and stress that the nations of leeches who conquered these lands

were the biggest, and bravest, and boldest, and best.


My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

[3] And yet where in your history books is the tale

of the genocide7 basic to this country’s birth?

Of the preachers who lied?

And the people who died?

How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?(8)

And where does it tell of the starvation hell

as the children were herded,

and raped and converted? (9)

And how do we rescue the missing and murdered? (10)


My country ‘tis of thy people you’re dying.

[4] A few of the conquered have somehow survived

Their blood runs the redder though genes have been paled.

From Arctic Inuvik to Niagara Falls

the wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.

From Vancouver Island to the Labrador Sea

the white nations fattened while others grew lean. (11)

Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean: (12)


My country ‘tis of thy people you’re dying.

[5] The past it just crumbled; the future just threatens

Our life blood is shut up in your papers and banks, (13)

And now here you come, bill of sale in your hand

and surprise in your eyes, that we’re lacking in thanks

for the blessings of civilization you brought us.

The lessons you’ve taught us.

The ruin you’ve wrought us.

Oh see what our trust in O Canada got us.


My country ‘tis of thy people you’re dying.

[6] Now that the rivers are dumps for your chemicals

Now that the forests are dead like the moon

Now that my life’s to be known as your heritage.

Now that even the graves have been robbed.

Now that our own sacred way is your novelty (14)

Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory:

Choke on your true white and scarlet hypocrisy.

Pity your blindness – how you never see

that the eagles of war whose wings lend you glory

are never no more than buzzards and crows:

Push some wrens from their nest;

steal their eggs; change their story.

The mockingbird sings it: It’s all that she knows.

“Aw what could I do?” say a powerful few

with a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye: (15)

Can’t you see that their poverty’s profiting you?


My country ‘tis of thy people you’re dying.

(from this article) The legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote this song during the civil rights movement in the 60s. She has called it, “Indian 101 for people who’ve been denied the real history.” It’s an anthem to decolonization, and its razor-sharp words describe an Indigenous reality that has changed remarkably little in over half a century since. This single, powerful song, packs a whole master class in Indigenous Awareness.

With God on Our Side

Written by: Bob Dylan

Oh my name it is nothin’ My age it means less The country I come from Is called the Midwest I’s taught and brought up there The laws to abide And that the land that I live in Has God on its side Oh the history books tell it They tell it so well The cavalries charged The Indians fell The cavalries charged The Indians died Oh the country was young With God on its side Oh the Spanish-American War had its day And the Civil War too Was soon laid away And the names of the heroes l’s made to memorize With guns in their hands And God on their side Oh the First World War, boys It closed out its fate The reason for fighting I never got straight But I learned to accept it Accept it with pride For you don’t count the dead When God’s on your side When the Second World War Came to an end We forgave the Germans And we were friends Though they murdered six million In the ovens they fried The Germans now too Have God on their side I’ve learned to hate Russians All through my whole life If another war starts It’s them we must fight To hate them and fear them To run and to hide And accept it all bravely With God on my side But now we got weapons Of the chemical dust If fire them we’re forced to Then fire them we must One push of the button And a shot the world wide And you never ask questions When God’s on your side Through many dark hour I’ve been thinkin’ about this That Jesus Christ Was betrayed by a kiss But I can’t think for you You’ll have to decide Whether Judas Iscariot Had God on his side So now as I’m leavin’ I’m weary as Hell The confusion I’m feelin’ Ain’t no tongue can tell The words fill my head And fall to the floor If God’s on our side

He’ll stop the next war

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