Saturday, December 20, 2008

Anglican true believers and Fahrenheit 451

Whenever you see an Episcopal church or what used to be an Episcopal Church in the United States calling itself "Anglican," you can bet it's a fundamentalist version of the historic Anglican tradition, and has broken with that tradition over issues such as biblical inerrancy and/or abortion and/or homosexuality.

Christ Church Anglican in Jacksonville, Florida is one of those and is now affiliated with a homophobic Anglican outfit in Rwanda.

A fledgling congregation, they have purchased land in Jacksonville upon which formerly rested a drive-in theater. Plans are underway to build a new church building on that land.

But, there was a slight problem, according to Fr. Mark Eldridge.

When they went into the old building on the site, they stumbled upon "Just stacks and stacks of old pornographic movies."

Yup. Right there. On that old drive-in's site. What pornographic movies would be doing at a drive-in theater is anybody's guess.

How did the Rev know they were "pornographic"? you ask. He put it this way: "...we didn't actually have to look at the films to know -- the titles on the outside of the cases gave it away."

Hmmm. Titles like "Solomon and his Concubines"? Or "David and Jonathan"? Or "Sampson and Delicious Delilah"? Or "Lot and His Daughters in the Cave"? or "Mary Magdalene in the Garden"?

Anyway, Eldridge and his parishioners knew they had to rid themselves of this trash. And what better way than to burn them? So a bunch of church members gathered to set them ablaze with the local fire department standing by just in case the whole damn neighborhood went up in flames.

Eldridge, being a good Christian, said, "I prayed and asked God to bless the water and the truck to make it holy water, and then jokingly called it the 'holy hose down.' And they just sprayed the land down again symbolically cleansing it and claiming it for God's glory."

Of course. What a sense of humor!

As silly and inane as all this might seem, it still bothers me. Burning? Bonfire? Doth such doings not reek of fear and paranoia?

The burning of books ( & movies) has a long history of nastiness. Often it was done by those in authority out of fear their minions might be subjected to information deemed harmful by the poohbahs.

Worse than that, though, is that burning of books quite frequently led to the burning of the people who wrote the books and then to those who dared read the books.

The Christian church burned books, their writers, their readers, witches, heretics, so-called criminals, and others who they viewed as a threat for hundreds of years. The Nazis burned lots of books.

All of which reminds me of the classic movie, Fahrenheit 451, based on Ray Bradbury's novel. It tells of a totalitarian society in which books are forbidden. The fire department exists, not to put out fires, but to burn "threats" to society, like books. Thus the title: Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which a book will burn.

Maybe the good folks at Christ Church Anglican ought to watch the movie.

Here's a clip.

Ancient Mythic Origins of Christmas

[Image from]

For an excellent summary as to the origin of the Christmas mythology, click here.

Valerie Tarico interviews Dr. Tony Nugent, scholar of world religions. Dr. Nugent is a symbologist, an expert in ancient symbols. He taught at Seattle University for fifteen years in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Thanks to Debunking Christianity.

BarlowGirl's Excellent Christmas Adventure

[BarlowGirl in concert - Image from Wikimedia Commons]

BarlowGirl is a Christian rock group consisting of three sisters, Alyssa, Becca and Lauren. They've been around for several years, and have had several hits songs on the Christian radio and Christian rock charts.

They represent fundamentalist Christianism and their songs reflect that particular theological bent. It's mostly "me and Jesus" stuff.

Obviously, some folks think they're pretty good Christian rockers.

Ignite Your Faith is a fundamentalist Christianist magazine affiliated with the magazine, Christianity Today. Ignite Your Faith is for teenagers. Ignite Your Faith sometimes takes Christian musical artists and turns them into "cartoons for the magazine's 'Heroes of Rock!'animated online series." For more on that, click here.

Now Ignite Your Faith has made BarlowGirl into cartoon figures who appear in a new video called BarlowGirl's Excellent Christmas Adventure. Here's the story line, such as it is: "When the evil doctor sends BarlowGirl to the past, they use the opportunity to Christmas carol through time."

I don't know why I posted this. It's just plain awful and has to be one of the worst pieces of religious junk I've ever seen!

What the hell. Happy Hanukah!

More here. And here.

The real Bush legacy

Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz have a piece appearing in the January 2009 issue of Harper's titled, "The $10 Trillion Hangover - Paying the price for eight years of Bush."

Here are a couple of excerpts:

"In the eight years since George W. Bush took office, nearly every component of the U.S. economy has deteriorated. The nation's budget deficit, trade deficits, and debt have reached record levels. Unemployment and inflation are up, and household savings are down. Nearly 4 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared and, not coincidentally, 5 million more Americans have no health insurance. Consumer debt has almost doubled, and nearly one fifth of American homeowners are likely to owe more in mortgage debt than their homes are actually worth. Meanwhile ... the final price for the war in Iraq is expected to reach at least $3 trillion.

As bad as things are, though, this is just the beginning. The Bush administration not only has depressed the economy and racked up unprecedented debt; it also has made expensive new commitments to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, to disability compensation and education benefits for veterans, to replenishing the military equipment consumed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and simply to paying the interest of the debt itself."

Bilmes and Stiglitz don't lay all of the blame on Bush, noting how Congress passed "inequitable tax cuts" and went on "spending binges." The housing collapse they lay at the door of the Federal Reserve and other regulators, the mortgage industry and greedy consumers.

"Nonetheless," they say, "the outgoing administration has made a series of unwise economic choices that together will add up to a burdensome legacy."

That's putting it mildly. The situation deserves curses.

In their summary, Bilmes and Stiglitz note that:

"The worst legacy of the past eight years is that despite colossal government spending, most Americans are worse off than they were in 2001. This is because money was squandered in Iraq and given as a tax windfall to America's richest individuals and corporations, rather than spent on such programs as education, infrastructure, and energy independence ... "

What's amazing to me is how the Repugnicans have the gall to suggest that they better serve the common folks than Democrats when history has so clearly confirmed the Repugnican Party is the official organ of the rich and powerful and the corporations they serve.

Bilmes and Stiglitz note that while "...Bush did manage, by way of deficit spending, to grow the economy by 20 percent during his tenure" ... those who benefited were the rich. "Between 2002 and 2006, the wealthiest 10 percent of households saw more than 95 percent of the gains in income. And even within those rarefied strata, the gains tended to be concentrated at the very top. ... And in that same period, corporate profits shot up by 68 percent--more than five times the growth seen in the overall economy."

It was the people at the "center of the income spectrum" that experienced a 1 percent shrinkage in their incomes." The net worth of these people has withered away "as a result of falling home values, higher personal debt, and shrinking savings--factors now being exacerbated by the collapsing stock markets."

Thanks to Bush, the middle income folks will continue to be screwed in the years ahead. Here's why:

"The extraordinary transfer of wealth that has taken place from ordinary households to the super-rich has been made possible by another transfer: borrowing money from future prosperity to pay for current consumption. For example, President Bush provided a much heralded $600 tax rebate to most families in 2001. But once interest rates return to more normal levels, simply servicing the new debt from the Bush years will require those same families to spend more than $2,000 a year, year after year, forever."

All of which brings to mind the irony of McCain and Palin, out on the campaign trail, touting their concern for "Joe the plumber" as if that concern for the middle class represents Republican economic policy. Such is the stuff of Vaudeville - farcical comedy. Nothing, history has proven, over and over again, could be further from the truth!

The truth, which speaks of economic desolation, despair and destitution, is the real Bush legacy!

Bob Lutz of GM - a total crock

[Photo from]

Bob Lutz, 76, the vice chairman of General Motors, has a reputation for saying what he thinks even if what he thinks is a "total crock."

I suppose if you've worked as a high mucky-muck for General Motors for lots of years, you have to feel at least a little bit responsible for the clouds of impending doom hanging over the GM banner. But Lutz still isn't ready to accept the fact that maybe, perhaps, what's good for GM isn't necessarily good for the country.

When Lutz is not telling Toyota to "bring it on," he's pontificating about global warming. Not too long ago, he called global warming "a total crock of shit." He's excited about GM's new electric Volt, not because he's concerned about global warming, but because the Volt may help rid our country of dependence upon foreign oil.

Lutz, for some reason, walks with the flat-earth people relative to global warming. He calls the Union of Concerned Scientists a "joke group," claiming that almost none of them have a science degree.

So what does cause global warming? Sierra magazine writes that Lutz believes it is caused by "sunspots or some other cosmic juju.

"'I accept that the planet is heated," said Lutz, "but I, like many noted scientists, don't believe in the CO2 theory." As to his claim that humanmade global warming is a "total crock," he also claimed that "32,000 of the world's leading scientists" agree with him.

Oh boy. What a crock that is!

Bob Lutz provides a good example as to why General Motors is sliding down the slippery slope of irrelevance to oblivion.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your government at work (BUT NOT FOR YOU!)

Ronald Reagan, once when he was awake, said something snide about government not being the solution to our problems, but rather that government was the problem.

Maybe he was right. Or maybe he was speaking of a government controlled by the Republican Party. That must be it. Government run by Republicans is always a problem. Especially of late. Hell, there isn't much government left. Bush and company have pretty well decimated it!

What follows, then, isn't surprising as the people responsible are Republicans working for the criminal Bush/Cheney regime.

1) According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is just fine that 20 million Americans are drinking water that has been contaminated with a rocket fuel ingredient. No problemo.

2) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has "ignored more than 100 scientific studies to declare the chemical bisphenol-A safe enough for babies, in whose plastic bottles and sippy cups it often appears." Hey, the Bushites always say science is for wusses. Ya gotta have FAITH!

3) The FDA again. Although "Women's exposure to phthalates, another common additive to plastics, was linked in Environmental Research to GENITAL DEFORMITIES IN THEIR BABY BOYS ... The FDA doesn't consider phthalates a safety risk. FAITH, baby!

4) More FDA. No need to label genetically engineered meat and other animal products, either, 'cause they pose no risk. More FAITH, baby!

5) The FDA says same is true of canned tuna, in spite of the fact that "CANNED TUNA IS HIGHLY CONTAMINATED WITH MERCURY. One out of five U.S. women of childbearing age has excessive amounts of the toxic element in her bloodstream." Show us your FAITH, ladies!

Methinks FAITH is gonna get you killed nowadays.

[Thanks to Sierra magazine, January/February 2009, p. 19]

The Department of the Interior - Party Animals

This from Dashka Slater, writing in Sierra magazine:

"Sex, Drugs, and Royalties - Congress entrusts expanded coastal drilling to the Interior Department's party animals.

"Was it the cocaine, the drunken parties, the ski getaways, or the sex? Whatever tipped the balance, last September Department of the Interior inspector general Earl E. Mevaney blasted the Minerals Management Service (MMS) for it 'culture of ethical failure.' Devaney found that employees of the agency's Royalty in Kind program, which collects billions of dollars in oil revenues, were in the habit of partying and occasionally sleeping with oil company representatives with whom they were doing business. Program staff also allowed energy companies to rewrite bids after being awarded leases, depriving the government of millions of dollars in revenue.

"Two weeks after Devaney's report came out, Congress offered its own gift to the oil industry by allowing the 27-year-old offshore-drilling moratorium to expire. The agency responsible for awarding new drilling leases? The MMS."

As Slater points out, however, "oil won't flow anytime soon." For a variety of reasons. Leases can't be sold until they are made part of a new five-year plan which is expected to at least two years. Drilling wouldn't start for another 5 - 10 years.

And, who knows, maybe the Dems can get the moratorium reinstated.

In other words, lots of things have to happen before anyone sees a drop of oil. And all of that takes time.

Slater sees another positive: "That might give MMS staff extra time to peruse their new pocket-size, laminated ethics guides, which won an award from the Office of Government Ethics--two days before the sex, drugs, and royalties scandal hit the papers."

I wonder if the MSM people involved in these shenanigans have been fired. Or maybe Bush gave them a special presidential medal for innovation in developing corporate relationships.

The end times on GOD TV

When fundamentalist christianists talk about the "end-times," they refer to perverted biblical interpretations of prophetic nonsense which they insist provide insight into what will happen at the end of the world.

It's all bullshit, but end-times "experts" make a hell of a lot of money picking the pockets of the foolish and naive.

If you've never heard of GOD TV, and need a real laugh, click here. It doesn't have anything to do with the biblical god, but it's hilarious to see what religious dickheads can come up with.

At the beginning of this month, GOD TV instituted a "special season of programming dealing with Bible prophecy and how it relates to current events."

Happy Holidays!

Oh, and the programming will include truly informative events such as "GOD TV founders Rory & Wendy Alec and End-Time experts" asking questions like:

* Are we really living in the Last Days of life, as we know it, on Planet Earth?

* Is the current economic meltdown setting the stage for a new global currency?

* Is there a secret elite at work behind the scenes to usher in a new world order?

* How is this linked to the much-anticipated return of Jesus Christ to the earth?"

Now, you've gotta admit that is terrific stuff! And GOD TV will bring out the "End-Time experts" to guide you through it. And I'll bet you'll find out that these are indeed, the "Last Days of Life," because somewhere in the Hebrew bible there's a passage that says, "Lo, you worms, the Last Days of Life will happen in 2008 just before Xmas; beware, be safe, use Trojans."

You'll also learn about the new global currency, also forecast in the Hebrew Bible, the use of which indicates the LAST DAYS ARE UPON US! Only Rory & Wendy Alec know about this verse: "Global currency is evil and tainted with corruption by the house of Nebuchadrezzar and Napoleon and lo, my man Madoff will relieve you of all cash so you are not tempted to enter the house of Neb and Nap. When that happens, look up into the sky where you will see a dollar bill burning and as it is devoured by the flames, it is replaced by the Euro. Run like hell and jump in a well, for the LAST DAYS ARE HERE!"

The secret elite I cannot tell you about. It's so secret, not even Rory and Wendy know the prophetic passage. It has to do with Bill Clinton though. And Caroline Kennedy. And maybe Pelosi. Definitely Hagee. Not Obama!

Now when you put all this together, it's immediately obvious it has to do with the "much-anticipated return of Jesus Christ to the Earth." Sort of. In the book of the Revelatory of Juanita, Chapter 7, verse 7, paragraph 7, beginning at the 7th word, it becomes clear: "The Apostle Paul spoke of Haysus coming all the way down from the 7th heaven to the first heaven. But I say to you, 'Lo, in the LAST DAYS, Haysus, aka Jesus, aka Joshua, aka Yeshua, will jump from the 1st heaven to the earth and upon landing will smash all EVILDOERS, like Bush and Cheney and all un-completed Jews, and liberal Xtians and non-believers, especially Sam Harris, and liberal bloggers like Ariana Huffington, and DistributorcapNY and Tommy Korioth and Jacob!'"

* * * *

Actually, GOD TV, in spite of its claims, is not connected to heaven, so you're not going to get the TRUTH as laid out above. Nah. And the month is almost gone, so you've missed out on a lot of good stuff already.

There were "riveting feature films, interview programs and extensive coverage from events such as the 25th International Prophecy Conference from Florida hosted by Dr Joe VanKoervering." You would have learned "How the Middle East Conflict is Preparing the World for the End-Times with Dr. Randall Price and you would have been given help in "Discerning the Signs of the Times' by Donald Perkins.

Isn't that exciting?

Rory and Wendy are hosting "a new End-Time series on Fridays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 9pm entitled 'Apocalypse and the End Times." I'd say skip it. Hell, they don't know nuttin. I've already given you everything you need to know.

Now the month may be almost over, but you still might be able to catch programs that deal with the Second Coming, the Rapture, the Illuminati, the antichrist, the mark of the beast, "as well as such issues as UFOs and Aliens, bird flue and the current economic meltdown."

What can I say? In the world of fundamentalist christianists, the morons rule! What's sad is they continue to pump out their unadulterated bullshit and millions of ignorant, frightened, needy and stupid people lap it up!

[The photo came from this site.]

Chaos - sign of the times

[Time photo by Benjamin Lowy/Corbis]

Madoff couldn't meet his $10 million bond. The judge let him go anyway so the evil sonofabitch is soothing his pain in his $7 million Park Avenue penthouse.

Southern Republican senators are waging war against the economic interests of the country by stopping the auto industry bailout. If they can bring Detroit to its knees, all the better for them and the foreign (non-union) companies in their states.

The Bushites hand out $700 billion to Wall Street with no restrictions or oversight. Bush will lend Detroit $17 billion so long as the car makers ensure reductions in worker pay.

Many corporations are using bankruptcy to rid themselves of pension obligations, leaving innumerable seniors swimming without a life preserver.

Fed Ex makes a profit and cuts salaries.

The criminal, Dick Cheney, believes torture is a good thing.

Today the criminal operation known as Bush/Cheney is busy selling off our treasured public land at auction to the highest bidder.

Foreclosures continue to increase.

The war rages on.

Afghanistan was lost a long time ago but the powers that be are sending 20,000 more US troops into harms way.

The military is taking just about anyone, including morons, felons and Nazis.

The ice is melting.

Happy Friday the 19th!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paul Weyrich, christianist theocrat, dead at 66

The Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition are two of the most despicable organizations in our nation's history. Paul Weyrich was instrumental in getting both of them off the ground.

He died today at age 66.

Republican conservative wingnuts are effusive in their praise of this nogoodnik. Lee Edwards of the right-wing Heritage Foundation (which Weyrich founded) called Weyrich "a dedicated conservative and patriot, an excellent strategist."

Hah! He was a dyed-in-the-wool ultra-conservative who filtered everything through his horrendous christianist theocratic ideology.

Pareene at the Gawker pulled no punches in an article titled "Paul Weyrich, Architect of Everything Bad About the Last 30 Years."

He was not a nice man. He was a "hateful bastard, unpleasant bigot." Weyrich was responsible, in one way or another, for everything nasty that is found in the contemporary conservative movement. "He started the Heritage Foundation, the most influential think tank of the Reagan era, with money from the miserable Coors family back in 1973."

He was a "supply-side" economist, and involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. His participation with Jerry Falwell in the Moral Majority enshrined "cheerful hate in mainstream politics for another generation. By the time he went completely mad in the '90s, he was calling for the return of the House Un-American Activities Committee."

He won't be missed.

Read the entire article here.

Proof of Heaven and more

[Peter Powell's Paradise. And I'll bet you thought there were streets paved with gold.]

There is a very "good" example of christianist wingnut stupidity at Peter Powell's website,

On the first page of an essay that runs about 26 pages, Peter scribbles this message, evidence of his great intellect:

"I suggest that the fact that animals do not sin and have no knowledge of evil, and people do, is proof of the existence of God and substatiates (sic) all the (sic) he has said, including the existence of heaven, and hell, and life after death."

Powell is full of crap. Hell's bells, my golden retriever knows right from wrong. So I guess that invalidates God, the existence of heaven, hell and the whole notion of immortality!

You can read it all here. Or skim it. I'd guess that you'll either be bored to tears, laughing uproariously or tearing your hair out.

Where do these morons come from?

h/t to

Jerusalem as it was - before 66 CE

This is a model of Jerusalem as it was prior to 66 CE, the year in which the Great Revolt against the Romans erupted. It was recently added to the permanent exhibit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. A visit to the site serves as a time tunnel, carrying the visitor far into A.D. 66, before Jerusalem was ransacked by the Romans. The site is built to a 1:50 scale with authentic construction materials - Jerusalem stone, Marmor, Steel all based upon historical reports - the Mishna, the Gmara, Josephus Flavius accounts, and more, all meticulously carried out.

More details here and here.

FDR and Obama's chance

Once upon a time, I had a friend. I thought he was a good friend. We didn't talk much about politics.

We moved on. He, in fact, moved to Obama's birth state. I moved all over the place. We continued to correspond at Christmas.

At some point down the road he discovered my blog. He didn't like it. Turns out he was so far on the right he made Limbaugh look like a liberal and O'Reilly like a saint. Our country's problems are all due to the Democrats he said. Social Security and Medicare were programs devised by the Democrats to give a license for people to steal from the government.

Everywhere he looked, he saw liberal pinko commie fellow travelers. He decided I was one of them.

End of friendship.

Adam Cohen has written a book called Nothing to Fear (Penquin Press, $30 -- $22.46 at Barnes & Noble). John H. Richardson has a brief but brilliant review in the latest Esquire.

Here's Richardson's intro: "During the Great Depression, when 16 million people were out of work and 1.5 million were living in shantytowns, President Herbert Hoover insisted that the free market was the only engine of prosperity, that the poor were lazy, and the wealth would trickle down eventually--and the nation slid further and further into despair."

Phil Gramm, anybody?

Adam Cohen describes how FDR "turned that despair--and Hoover's failure--into hope." In the first 100 days, Franklin Delano Roosevelt "declared a national bank holiday, inspired the nation with the first of his famous fireside chats, and cut the federal budget by $500 million. ... one revolutionary new law followed another. With blinding speed, as one observer put it, 'a new standard of public decency was being set.'"

It wasn't easy. Cohen's description of Republicans is reminiscent of my friend and the Republican Party today. Republicans in the 1930s fought FDR tooth and nail trying to derail every single one of his attempts to put the nation back on track.

"They said famine relief would turn America into a nation of freeloaders, that capitalism would die without the gold standard. They called child-labor laws an intolerable intrusion on states' rights. During the debate over the Tennessee Valley Authority, so many power company executives denounced the 'socialist plan' that Congress had to schedule an extra day of hearings."

Cohen tells of a "remarkable group of social reformers," focusing on Frances Perkins who became FDR's secretary of labor.

In her earlier years, Perkins "lived in Hell's Kitchen settlement houses, where she saw women and children working 16-hour days in sweatshops and witnessed the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist fire. To her we owe the fire escape, the eight-hour day, the five-day week, and Social Security -- liberal innovations that helped save capitalism from itself, the last time liberals had to save it."

The names have changed. The Republican Party has not. Unfortunately, the Democrat Party has become a mere shell of what it used to be and is beholden now, like most Repugs, to lobbyists and their corporate bosses.

But out situation today is eerily familiar to anyone who lived through the Great Depression. Hope is fleeting. And it's going to get worse.

Obama has the chance to be this century's Franklin Delano Roosevelt. There is no question he's brilliant enough. The question is whether he has the requisite steel in the back and the requisite fire in his belly.

The Repugs will fight him every step of the way. That's why those of us who know a little history, laughed at McCain's campaign slogan, "Country First." The Republican Party didn't give a damn about the country in 1929 and most don't give a damn now.

But, as Obama knows, putting the country back on track has been done before and can be done again. It's his time and his chance.

Why we don't like Sarah Palin

Media Matters relates a comment made by Brian Sussman when he guest-hosted The Lee Rodgers Show.

Sussman said: "I'm noticing this -- pictures of Sarah Palin. No getting around it: She's a babe. She really is an attractive woman. And the left loathes her for that."

Oh, stop laughing. That's what he said. Really.

Nah, Brian, the left doesn't loathe her for being a "babe." Heck, we'll even admit we kinda like to look at her - sometimes; when she's not winking.

Actually, we don't loathe her at all, Brian -- and you might want to write this down -- but we heartily dislike her and find her repellent because she's ignorant, a liar, a cheat, deceptive, muddle-headed, nasty, snarky, self-centered, egotistic, ethically impaired, a fundamentalist dominionist theocratic christianist, among other things.

And Brian, the next time you open your mouth, make sure your brain is in gear. You've already made it quite clear that there is a much bigger difference between "brian" and "brain" than the arrangement of two letters.

A death wish?

[Photo from Hawgheavenhearse]

Carver Ranches is a mostly black enclave tucked into the southern part of Broward County, Florida.

In the good old days, I taught many students from Carver Ranches.

McClatchy picked up an article in the Miami Herald describing how yesterday morning, at a funeral being held at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in Carver Ranches, a young man stole a hearse.

How would you feel about that? You're laying there dead, in a coffin, wondering when the godawful boring service is gonna end, and some clown steals your ride to Valhalla.

Johnny Silfrain, 18, was the culprit. Evidently, he felt the need to do a little joyriding. The hearse was sitting right there, not being used at the moment, so what the hell; borrow it!

Which he did. The coppers chased him. By the time it ended, Silfrain was in custody with a bullet hole in his leg.

I really don't think he had a death wish. I really think he's just stupid.

"Joyriding" in a hearse?

Maybe he had too much to drink and put the quart before the hearse.

[Thanks to my mother, who first coined that phrase, which you may have seen on one of those Burma Shave signs.]

Rick Warren & Joseph Lowery - Playing both ends against the middle

[Photo by Daniel geek at Flickr]

Pretty much everywhere on the left side of the blogosphere Obama's pick of Rick Warren to invocate his inauguration is being criticized - heartily criticized mostly. And rightly so.

Warren is not only homophobic, but a creationist, believes that pro-choice people are "holocaust deniers," and as an article in The Nation put it, "...thinks his AIDS relief efforts represent an elevated form of Christianity over those non-evangelical do-gooders whom he compares to Marxists because they're more interested in good works than salvation."

Obama seems to have another "pastor problem."

Maybe he should rid himself of all pastor hangers-on.

It appears Obama is playing both ends against the middle. Or trying to mollify the middle. At the beginning, Warren will call upon god to bless the event, and Obama's asked The Rev. Joseph Lowery to thank god for doing the will of Rick when it's all over.

Lowery, 87, former pastor of Atlanta's Cascade United Methodist Church, is "a stalwart of the civil rights movement and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

Lowery is also a supporter of same-sex marriage.

Lowery is grateful for the opportunity to benedict at Obama's inauguration.

But Obama screwed up. Playing both ends against the middle has already pissed off both ends and got the middle confused.

And why do we need these nods to god at a secular inauguration of a secular nation, anyway? How about a nice welcome, some music, celebrity posings, the oath of office and finish it up with Obama saying, "Let's do it!"

The war on Xmas ain't over yet!

[Photo from The No Sin Zone]

You may not have heard of the Pacific Justice Institute. Bill O'Reilly has, and he endorses it! Which ought to tell you what kind of an outfit it is. More or less. The PJI claims to be interested in justice for people who find themselves in the clutches of evil liberals or commies or lefties or judges that rewrite the Constitution.

They are about protecting Home Schooling. They want to protect the rights of Christian union members so said members don't have to pay dues.

That kinda stuff.

Would you believe they have been getting lots of complaints about pagans trying to censor good Christians from celebrating Xmas in their usual way? These censorship reports, according to an article by wingnut, Charlie Butts, at onenewsnow, have "been coming in from government, schools, and businesses."


Here's an example: At one school some kiddos chose songs for an Xmas program. But, poor things, "they were told they could not sing any songs that mentioned Christmas or Christ or anything with the actual origins of Christmas."

Whew! The "actual origins of Christmas" are pretty murky and cluttered up with a lot of pagan stuff. Wouldn't want the kiddos to know about that!

Oh, wait. They're talking about the mythical birth of Jesus.

I don't believe they were told they couldn't sing a song that mentioned Christmas. All kinds of non-religious Xmas songs mention Xmas; most of them have the word in their title. No biggie. Somebody's lying.

Not to worry. The Pacific Justice Institute, working 24/7 for God, is "acting quickly on the complaints to 'remedy potential First Amendment violations.'"

Now, I'll bet you sleep better tonight.

If you really have to know more about PJI, click here.

Otherwise, have a Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. Have two. Put a log on the fire, think of the "good old days," and sing, in as maudlin a voice as possible, "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

Calling all sinners! God's gonna get you!

How would you like to hear "The most powerful sermon ever preached on American soil"?

Ah, C'mon. Maybe?

"What would that 'most powerful sermon' be?" you ask.

Ah, you remember. It's called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by none other than the loving, kind, angry, hateful, spiteful, somewhat perverted, weirdo, wacko, nutcase, religious freak, the wingnut of the 18th Century, Jonathan Edwards!

All you have to do is click here and you can download this wonderful sermon, narrated by Max McLean.

It was first preached on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut.

If you decide to listen, and you are a rotten, no-good, politician, or someone like that, or if you just know for damn sure that you are a sinner, you'll want to be careful and should probably listen to it sitting down, because "Many who heard it [on July 8, 1741] trembled and cried out for mercy. Others fainted."Add Image

Wouldn't do you a lot of good to faint, hit your head and end up in the hands of an angry God before you'd even had a chance to repent.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If Jesus ran for president

This is a provocative little video...a conversation starter, perhaps...

Thanks 1 2 3 Religious Comics.

Billy Graham's Rapid Response Team

[Jewish volunteers helping build houses after Katrina]

[Southern Baptist Volunteers serving food after Katrina]

People do need comforting in times of crisis. They need hope.

Let's say your house is blown away in a tornado. You have two choices from which to receive comfort and hope: a government program that would provide temporary quarters and money to rebuild; or the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. Which would you choose?

The Billy Graham Association has developed the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. It is a "crisis chaplaincy" program. According to an article at christiannewswire, 2008 has "brought more tragedy -- and thus more deployments -- than any prior year in the ministry's history."

The Rapid Response Team "has offered hope and comfort in 30 different locations ... During the course of 2008, 433 chaplains have prayed with more than 17,000 people."

So far as I can tell, the Rapid Response Team offers nothing more than prayer and Christian-type counseling.''

Jack Munday, who directs the team, said "We've seen so much pain and heart-rending agony this year, but we've also seen hope and resilience in the eyes of people who are in the darkest days of their lives. We've witnessed the triumphs of neighbors joining together in love to confront their worst fears, and we've prayed with people who have wept in thanksgiving for the blessings they have when everything else has been taken from them."

It was because "the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team [has become] a welcome and relied upon presence during times of tragedy," said Munday who was invited to address the Department of Homeland Security's Faith Based and Community Initiatives Emergency Preparedness Workshop in Dallas.

Munday thinks the Team is a wonderful thing, naturally. "Pain is everywhere," he said, "and it's important for Christians to be prepared to respond with the love and hope of Christ."

There's a clue as to what this is really all about. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is about evangelism. It is about getting people to, as they say, made a decision for Christ. It's about altar calls, and rallies and broken people crying out, "Yes, I want to accept Jesus as my personal savior."

What the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team provides is a presence in time of trouble, and that can be a good thing, but ultimately it boils down to conversion.

I know a fine Christian woman in Wisconsin, who in the aftermath of Katrina, left her cozy home to travel to the Gulf Coast where she worked for a month preparing meals, sorting and giving away clothing to people who had lost everything. During that month, she slept on the floor of a store and did without most of her usual conveniences. So far as I know, she didn't wear her faith on her sleeve and didn't try to convert a soul.

There were many thousands of other volunteers who did exactly the same thing; some faith-based, others not.

That, it seems to me is more to the point.

Robert A. Schuller to compete with Daddy's Crystal Cathedral

[Photo by eFlux Media]

There's a crack in California's Crystal Cathedral.

Robert H. Schuller, 82, of the Reformed Church in America, started his ministry preaching in a drive-in theater. In 1970, he went on the air with the TV program, "Hour of Power. Ten years later, he founded the now famous Crystal Cathedral. Three years ago, Robert H. turned over "Hour of Power" to his son.

In October, he booted his son off "Hour of Power" due to a lack of "shared vision."

Robert A. Schuller, ze son, 39 years old, didn't want to let other preachers to have a turn at the pulpit. "It's MY pulpit, get outta here!

There are 25 preachers lined up awaiting a chance to preach.

So Bob the younger went off on to preach in Brazil. When he came back, Daddy said he could remain at the Crystal Cathedral, but he couldn't hog the pulpit on "Hour of Power."

Sonny said, no way. Robert A. Schuller resigned as "senior pastor at the Crystal Cathedral and plans to open his own ministry." He'll probably call it Bobby's Basillica.

Damn kids! They never do what you tell 'em. And then they get too big for their britches.

Methinks there's more to this story about which we shall never hear.

Homophobic Rick Warren to invoke at Obama's inauguration

[Photo from]

Now, I'm really pissed!

What the hell is Obama thinking?

If he feels he has to have someone give an invocation to a deity at his inauguration, he can certainly do better than the homophobic Rick Warren! There are any number of extremely gifted and highly-respected religious leaders in the mainstream Protestant denominations, in the Roman Catholic Church and in Reform and Conservative Judaism.

Rick Warren is a right wing, fundamentalist wingnut!

This sends absolutely the wrong message!!!

God help us!

I would write much more, but Americablog has an excellent post here. Just be prepared to run for the Pepto-Bismol.

Jim Ramstad as drug czar? NO! NO! NO!

John Tierney at The New York Times, the Boston Globe, and most of the more liberal blogsphere, do not want Jim Ramstad (R-MN) to be Obama's new drug czar - director of the ofice of National Drug Control Policy. The noise they've made has stirred the waters, and now, according to Maia Szalavitz at the Huffington Post, Ramstad is signaling he really wants to become the head honcho of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This should not happen.

Ramstad's retiring from Congress after serving 9 terms.

Ramstad's name may have come up for consideration because he is a recovering alcoholic, and thought to be a "moderate," but in truth he is, for the most part, just another Repugnican driven by ideology and not science. And that is why, according to Mr. Tierney, "In a joint letter to President-elect Barack Obama, coordinated by Andrew Tatarsky, the past president of the division of addictions of the New York State Psychological Associations, dozens of academics and other professionals in substance-abuse treatment" said Ramstad is not the man for the job.

Ramstad has voted to make permanent the ban on using federal funding for syringe exchange. He has opposed syringe exchange programs on several different occasions, "despite decades of research showing that syringe exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, save lives, save money, and do not increase drug use."

To better understand where Ramstad is coming from, consider his link to Teen Challenge. The Minnesota Independent wrote that "Earlier this year, Ramstad sponsored a $235,000 earmark for the Minnesota Teen Challenge ... an Assemblies of God drug treatment center with a history of controversial therapies and overt religious indoctrination."

Teen Challenge is a fundamentalist Christian outfit dedicated to helping Gentile young people abstain from using drugs by converting to Jesus and helping Jewish teens by becoming "completed," that is to say, Christians!

While Ramstad is said to be pro-choice, to support stem cell research as well as gay rights [but opposed to gay marriage], he is with his Republican cohorts on just about every other issue. His reputation as a "moderate" hangs on those few things, but one cannot forget that in the current Congress he voted with the Republicans 81 percent of the time.

The Obama administration can do better!

Here is an excellent article on Minnesota's Teen Challenge. More on Ramstad's values and votes here.

God and Santa and love

Creative Minority Report is a "Catholic" blog, or maybe it would be better to say a blog written by a Roman Catholic.

Yesterday, CMR posted a fascinating article called "Yes Virginia, Fr. Made Me Mad Because..."

"Fr." refers to a priest known as Father Look At ME, or LAME, for short. Father LAME is a pain-in-the-ass priest who visits the parish in question on occasion and who the writer faults for a variety of antics... "including ad libbing Eucharistic prayers, interrupting the liturgy to tell a story, walking all over the church during his ridiculously long and pointless homilies, and making a John & Yoko lovefest out of the Sign of Peace," all of which "scream Look At Me rather than look to Jesus."

But what really got the CMR writer in a mass-ive snit was when LAME told the congregation about the rumor that there is no Santa Claus. CMR's writer has two young children who still believe!

LAME told "the story of a boy who was questioning Santa Claus. All his friends had stopped believing so the troubled boy went to his Gramma to find out the truth. Gramma always tells the truth you see. like when she says her cookies are world famous, they must be because Gramma says so. ...

"Gramma tells the little boy that there is a Santa. Santa is when we show love and charity to our neighbor. She illustrates it by having the little boy buy a coat for a needy boy in his class. See, Bobby, there is a Santa Claus. Santa Claus is every time we love a neighbor."

Our writer is having none of this. "Bah Humbug," saith he. "Sorry Gramma. Sorry Fr. LAME. Santa is a fat bearded guy that comes down my chimney on Christmas Eve to deliver presents to good boys and girls. That is what I have been telling my kids. What gives you the right to ruin it?"

We could have a lot of fun with this. As youngsters, many of us could not, in a million years, have differentiated God from Santa Claus, other than Santa came by at Christmas time and God, well, we never really caught a glimpse of him except in old photos in old bibles.

And, like Santa, those old photos pictured God as a fat, bearded guy who lived "up" in heaven somewhere and for damn sure knew when you were naughty or nice!

But then we grew up. Many of us dumped Santa, but kept God. Mostly because that's what our parents had done. And parents know best. But occasionally, we questioned whether Santa ... oops, God, was real.

It was a question that, among the more rigid and fundamentalist cultic expressions of Christianity, would often be addressed by an expression of horror, and a further question: "How can you even ask such a thing?" "You gotta have faith," would be another response. "Faith is a leap." "Just believe and you'll know in your heart." "Because we say so!" was quite common.

Among the more liberal Christians, when asked how one could be certain of the existence of God, they would say quite the same thing as did Fr. LAME about Santa. You can see God in the love people have for one another. Acts of love are how God works in the world. Jesus took it a step further suggesting to his disciples that people would know they loved him if they loved one another.

Yesterday, we wrote of the Anglican Archbishop, Rowan Williams, who said at Auschwitz that "Our faiths speak of God through telling the stories of specific people in actual places; it is in these particulars that we learn of God." God, said the Archbishop, was "discerned in acts of solidarity and love."

Maybe Fr. LAME was right. For many, Santa is a metaphor for God. Maybe, for many, that's the only "god" they will ever know -- the one perceived when people carry out acts of charity.

But isn't that what the Church has has been saying for years: God is Love?

Methinks it's a little nuts for our writer to complain about Fr. LAME tearing down the Santa fantasy cherished by his 7- and 8-year old children. Give it up. Tell them it's a nice story but Santa isn't real. Tell them that the Santa story teaches us the importance of giving, of having fun, of sharing. But tell them there is NO Santa Claus.

At the same time, I can see why he finds that hard to do. He's still clinging to his own fantasy, which, while shed of the "old fat man with a white beard" trapping, yet carries the promises of heaven and hell (naughty or nice). That's why he goes to mass on Sundays. When he dies, he wants to go to the North Pole or Paradise or wherever his god/Santa lives to receive his heavenly/Christmas reward.

So, I'd suggest he stop beating on Father LAME and suggest to his kids they trade one fantasy for another. Like he did.

You can read the entire article here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Star Parker, the RNC and Republican losers

Star Parker, columnist and pundit for the christianist operation, OneNewsNow, writes that the Republican National Committee needs a leader who, in the wake of Republican defeat, can shake up the troops and get the party back on track, "someone to transform a loser into a winner."

Being a christianist, Parker is most concerned, of course about "traditional values," and/or "a traditional family life."

So, back to the drawing board. But, not really. The RNC must get involved in "positive marketing of its platform of traditional values, limited government, free enterprise, and strong national defense."


Oh, and the RNC must reach out to blacks and Latinos. Why, a Republican "unseated William Jefferson, a Democratic Congressional black caucus member for almost 20 years." So, it can be done! What she didn't mention was that Jefferson was so tainted with corruption that Mickey Mouse could have beat him. His defeat had nothing to do with Republican values!

Being as obtuse as a stone, she insists that the Repugnicans have to tell Americans "how more freedom and less government will deliver better education, healthcare, jobs, and security. And why the preservation of the integrity of traditional family life provides a critical foundation for our country."

Well, been there, done that. Didn't work. In a recession, heading down. Republicans in control of Congress for years, and in control of the White House the last eight years, have damn near destroyed our country with their "more freedom and less government." We don't have better education, it's worse. We don't have better healthcare, we have much worse healthcare. We have fewer jobs with millions disappearing by the hour! Security? Hell, we're much less secure than we were before 9/11 because of Republican military adventures in the Middle East.

And when she speaks "of the integrity of traditional family life," that's code for no same-sex marriage. Well, it isn't the gays who are destroying "traditional family life." Over 50% of all marriages (between one man and one woman!) end in divorce, and the greatest number of divorces occur among the Republican base -- fundamentalist Christians!

Maybe Ms. Parker could get a job at Faux News. They never worry about facts, truth, honesty, or common sense.

The full article is here.

A rabbi, an archbishop, Auschwitz and God

November. The Chief Rabbi of United Hebrew Congregations in the U.K., along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, traveled to the Auschwitz-Berkenau death camp in Poland along with 180 students and teachers, as well as representatives of various other faiths.

The trip was a pilgrimage to mark the 20th anniversary of the Holocaust Education Trust, which arranges for school children to make similar visits.

The full story is told by Ruth Gledhill at her Times Online blog here.

Both the rabbi and the archbishop prepared speeches which were given at Auschwitz.

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks spoke of the horror that was Auschwitz. "For years," he said, "I could not bring myself to visit Auschwitz. There was an evil about it that, even at a distance, chilled my soul."

The rabbi talked of madness, of a civilization and a culture, which "in the heart of enlightened Europe," became a grotesque, twisted caricature of itself.

He spoke of the lingering hate, war, violence and terror that continues to plague our world. He mentioned God only in passing, as an image that "lives in every human being" and must be honored by fighting for "tolerance, respect and human decency."

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was not so circumspect. The stories told by "our faiths," he said reflect God, and it is these stories "of specific people in actual places" that we learn of God.

Not only so, but the opposite. "...[W]e learn the horror of evil and godlessness also by hearing and telling particular stories."

"Auschwitz," said the Archbishop, "... reduces us to silence." Except it doesn't. For we must speak of it in order to "understand and imagine" ... to "read the signs of the times, the indications that evil is gathering force once again and societies are slipping towards the same collective corruption and moral sickness that made the Shoah possible."

All of the forces of darkness -- "Distorted religion, fear of the stranger, the reduction of humans to functions and numbers ... " that led to Auschwitz "are still at work in our world."

Without intention, perhaps, he defined the root of the problem of contemporary religion: Auschwitz, he said, was "a place where the name of God was profaned because the image of God in human beings was abused and disfigured. For many the name of God has become something that cannot be uttered or taken seriously because of what was done here." [My emphasis]

The Chief Rabbi understood that. The Archbishop, even as he speaks the words, somehow doesn't.

In fact, he says that looking at the horror that was Auschwitz will hopefully help us as we "travel towards the God who binds us together in protest and grief at this profanation -- and the God who even here was discerned in acts of solidarity and love ... And if there were people who spoke and lived for God here, this too is something we and our world need to hear and to learn."

But the Archbishop cannot go where his words lead him. Thus, he concludes that God was somehow present in the very place that cries out his absence! Acts of solidarity and love, such as they were, did not speak of divine concern, but human compassion. The divine was utterly and completely missing!

What Auschwitz teaches is not that God was present and to be discerned in "acts of solidarity and love," but that he was incomprehensibly absent.

Auschwitz teaches us that if God exists, he is as culpable as the Nazis for he, all-powerful and all-knowing, did nothing to stop the murder of 6 million of his "chosen" people, and millions more.

Auschwitz teaches us that, if we speak of God at all, we must wrap his name in question marks and call up a faith that is ultimately incomprehensible.

The salvation in "Salvation Boulevard"

Larry Beinhart, of Wag the Dog fame, has a new novel out, Salvation Boulevard. It's a tangled, messy, brilliant, sexy tale of a murdered atheist college professor; a Muslim college student, who after being tortured, confesses to the crime; a TV evangelist busy "reclaiming America for Christ" and building a complex of church and city to safely ensconce the saved; a Jewish lawyer who dies but doesn't go away; and the lawyer's investigator who was once saved by the evangelist, but in the course of events, loses his faith, only to find himself and faith once again.

But all of that is the wrapping. The gift inside the wrapping is a delightful and delicate romp through all those God questions with which humans struggle, the biggest of which has to do with the co-existence of evil and a beneficent diety.

Here's a taste.

Nate, the college professor, introduced his students to theodicy [how can we reconcile a loving god with all the evil in the world] by telling a story:

"A man is sitting beside a pool, enjoying his cigar and a mojito. A woman and her child are nearby. A stone falls out of the sky and knocks the woman out. Unattended, the child falls into the pool. It's only three feet deep, so it would be easy for the man to get up and rescue the toddler, but he sits by and watches the child drown. When the woman wakes up, she finds her baby dead. She screams and weeps. She yells at the man smoking his cigar, 'Why didn't you save my baby?' The man tells her she should be grateful for this great chance to experience grief and loss. Furthermore, she should love and adore him for giving her that opportunity."

In the discussion that follows, the professor says, "Here's the question, the real question. We all agree that the man was evil. How is it that we hold ourselves to a higher moral standard than we hold God?"

Toward the end of the story, the detective, a born-again, "evangelical" Christian, saved by the power of God through the TV evangelist's laying on of hands, has lost his faith:

"It wasn't a matter of finding some other church, maybe one less dogmatic and certain. Or some other pastor, one less powerful and less of a sinner. The lesson of the parable, for me, was that belief, in and of itself, was neither good nor evil. It wasn't even a guide to good and evil. They existed independently of faith, came from a different source and resided in a different place."

At the end of the story, the detective has found "salvation" more or less. It's not what you might think.

There's more here.

While Nero, er Bush, fiddled...the world drowned

For the past eight years, global warming scientists working anywhere near the Bush administration have been forced to alter their reports to conform to the Bush ideology which promoted the notion that 1) there was no such thing, 2) if there was, humans had nothing to do with it, and 3) it wasn't a serious problem.

It was all bushit, of course, and we've reported in depth previously on not only how serious the problem is, but how the exponential growth of global warming portends the devastation of coastal areas around the world. We've noted that today, certain areas of downtown Miami are flooding at high tide!

A new study, informed by data from NASA satellites, shows that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003.

The Greenland ice melt is accelerating.

Jay Zwally, a NASA scientist, said "It's [melting ice from global warming] not getting better; it's continuing to show strong signs of warming and amplification. There's no reversal taking place."

Let's see, what happened in 2003? Oh, that's right, our prezident, George W. Bush, decided he needed to play "War President." His daddy had played that game before and Georgie wanted to beat his daddy. Unfortunately, there was no such game available at PlayStation, so he invaded Iraq.

For the next five years:

He laughed at all those fools who worried about global warming.

He went to Texas and cut brush on his "ranchero." The MSM, trailing along, took pictures as he pretended to be a cowboy.

Meanwhile, behind the curtain of delusion, the play went on: God spoke to Bush, soldiers died, Iraq was devastated, Afghanistan became a bad joke, financial institutions went berserk, the Constitution was shredded, christianist organizations received tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for faith-based something or other, more people fell below the poverty line, more children and elderly went without health care, war veterans were mistreated if treated at all, former allies around the world mocked us for electing the Chimp, TV evangelists got top billing at the White House to insist on bombing Iran to instigate the Rapture, oil companies reaped insane profits, the really rich were gifted with tax breaks, the middle class began to disappear ...

The ice melted. Those who dared point this out were told to revise their minds.

The country fell apart.

The world began to drown.

At a meeting of world leaders, no one would shake his hand. In a final, secret trip to Iraq, a journalist (not one of ours) threw shoes at him - the ultimate insult.

Not good enough.

Impeachment, anyone?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Churches and the recession

Some pastors, from what I've read, are waxing ecstatic that their churches are filling to overflowing on Sunday mornings. It's the recession, they say. The economy. The fear. People are frightened. Worried. Looking for answers.

So, they go to church, hopeful that somewhere between the bindings of their books of prose and books of praise, and the orations of their clergy, they will find rest for their souls and respite from the daily grind of putting food on the table and gas in their cars.

These are only anecdotal accounts, of course, so it is impossible to extrapolate generalizations about all churches everywhere. And, an uptick in pew people may derive from other factors, also, such as the reason for the season.

Ironically, I did see a survey somewhere indicating that the economic recession is being felt by the churches in other, less beneficial ways. Offerings are down about 8 percent. For people involved in the mega-churches with multiple income streams, that may not seem like a big deal.

But there are myriads of small congregations that live from week to week and a sudden 8 percent drop in the collection plate could be the grinch that killed their Christmas. It could mean the difference between paying the light bill or paying the pastor.

But maybe as more and more people pull themselves out of bed and drag themselves to church on Sunday morning, the income differential will be mitigated.

You would think, however, God would ensure the opportunity for his people to worship him. Actually, you'd think God would ensure that his people would fail to feel the effects of the recession at all; kind of a financial reward thing. Like Joel Osteen preaches. And that clown from the Dallas area, Kenneth Copeland.

Oh, wait a minute. They're the ones supposed to get rich. The rest of us are to watch and enjoy them enjoying their riches.

Then I remember that passage where Jesus suggests that God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

I never did understand that. Why be good?

Oh, yeah, 2 choices: 1) You'll get your reward in heaven, or 2) be good for goodness sake!

More ammo for the war on Christmas

Here's an Xmas conversation starter. Or maybe we can keep the war on Xmas going a little longer by riling up the fundys.

The Santa vs. God comparison chart comes from here.

Who is Charlie Crist, anyway?

Charlie Crist, Republican governor of Florida, was married last Friday to Carole Rome, a wealthy "socialite," owner of a company that makes Halloween costumes and masks.

Both have been married before. Rome has two daughters from her previous marriage.

Crist said he was very happy, and that his new bride made a "beautiful first lady." Senator Mel Martinez said everyone could see Charlie and Carole were "elated."

Charlie Crist is a conservative Christian and a member of the United Methodist Church. Carole Rome Crist is Jewish. They were married at the First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Some folks insist that Crist is gay and Carole is a beard. A group of gay activists made their presence known at the wedding in St. Petersburg to protest Crist's opposition to gay marriage. One held up a sign asking "Can I get married now, Charlie?"

When Charlie Crist was elected Florida Education Commissioner in 2000, I was dismayed. From all I had heard, he was a hard-core, extremist on the Christian right who favored educational vouchers.

Lately, it seems he has become more moderate. I'm not so sure. It's hard to tell.

Who is Charlie Crist, anyway?

Charlie's father emigrated to the U.S. from Cyprus in 1912. He was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Charlie's mother, however, of Scots-Irish descent, was a Methodist, and Charlie was raised in the Methodist Church.

Charlie's father's name was Christodoulos, which he changed in 1949. He was a doctor. In 1960, the Crist family, consisting of three daughters and one son, moved from Atlanta to St. Petersburg, where Dr. Crist had obtained a job with the Bayfront Medical Center. In 1966, the doctor won election to the Pinellas County School Board.

Charlie, meanwhile, played football for his high school team, a "starring" quarterback, according to some reports. In 1974, he left home to attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina. While his official biography says he played quarterback for Wake Forest, he had suffered a knee injury while in his last year in high school, and was sidelined to the junior varsity, never taking "a snap in a varsity contest."

His military record appears to be non-existent. At the end of his sophomore year, Charlie transferred to Florida State University in Tallahassee, and graduated from that school in 1978. He then headed to Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.

And that's where he married Amanda Morrow. Not a good idea. He filed for divorce after six months and it was "dissolved" in February of 1980. Amanda Morrow is a lesbian and has been living with another woman for many years.

Crist failed the bar examination twice. Passed the third time around.

In 1986, he began to dabble in politics, running an unsuccessful campaign for the state senate. In 1992, he ran again and was successful. Charlie must have taken 1997 off, but in 1998 he challenged Bob Graham for Graham's seat in the U.S. Senate to no avail. Jeb Bush appointed him Deputy Director for the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation in 1999. A year late he won election as Florida Education Commissioner.

From January 2003, Crist served as Florida's Attorney General. He was elected governor in 2006, moving into the governor's manson on January 2, 2007.

Personally, I don't care if he is gay or not. He has always insisted he is not. He is now married. It doesn't matter, unless he's in the closet. Then, as they say, "Houston, we've got a problem." While one's sexual preference should have no bearing on one's capacity to serve in an official position, to carry on a deception by pretending to be what you're not, speaks to integrity and honesty and transparency.

Crist's religious beliefs are also confusing. While he professes to be a Christian, he doesn't quite fit in the fundamentalist camp, though the fundys would like to claim him, and he will not willingly slide into the more "liberal" group of Christian cults.

Thus, fundys remain uneasy about him, and that is no doubt one reason McCain kicked him off the VP list.

Charlie remains an enigma, as is shown clearly in an interview he gave to the Florida Baptist Witness in August of 2006.

In that interview, when asked about his "personal religious faith," Crist responded he was a United Methodist. Wrong answer! When a Baptist asks that question, what they want to know is when you were saved! They want to know the date, the time, the weather, and the clothes you were wearing!

Crist said he was a member of the First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg and that he had been very active in that congregation.

In response to other questions, Crist expressed confidence that he would spent eternity with God in heaven and if God asked him why he should be admitted to Paradise, Crist, said he would tell God he believed in Jesus and that he's lived a good life, followed the precepts of the Bible and "worked hard to be a good Christian and a man of faith."

That's not gonna do it, for the rabid fundies. He should have told God that heaven was his reward for accepting Jesus as his personal savior. The rest of that stuff--living a good life, being a man of faith," etc., just doesn't cut it.

Crist went on to say he supported faith-based initiatives in government. That's good, from the Baptist point of view. But when asked if he would support "civil rights protections on the basis of sexual preference," he jumped out on the thin ice, saying he supported "civil rights protections on the basis of people."

Oops! Not good enough! So the next question went like this: "...the homosexual lobby is pressing for civil rights on [the] basis [of] sexual preference or sexual orientation ... Do you support that agenda.

Crist: "No, it's not an agenda item that I support. But I support civil rights to fight discrimination."

Huh? Does that many any sense? Does he support civil rights for gays or not?

Crist told the Baptists that he did NOT support "repealing the ban on homosexual adoption."And with regard to homosexuals serving as foster parents, Crist said he didn't subscribe to that "rationale but it's currently the law of the land..." so, as governor, he'd have to uphold the law.

Moving on to abortion. Crist said he's "pro-life."

"Is abortion a moral evil?"

"I don't think we should have abortions."

Baptist frustration showed through: "What I'm trying to do is get to the ethical question before the public policy question. Is abortion an evil? Is it a bad thing?"

"It's a bad thing. Of course it is."


Next the Baptist asked if he would try to do what South Dakota was up to at the time, pushing the limits of abortion in order to get the abortion issue back before the U.S. Supreme Court. "Do you support that sort of an agenda in Florida to challenge Roe v. Wade?"


Crist also said he opposed the effort to keep Terri Schiavo alive. He said he favored federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. He is opposed to expanding gambling.

No wonder the fundies are fundamentally confused with regard to Charlie Crist. Is he on their side or not? Yes and no. No and yes. Perhaps. Sometimes. Maybe.

Who is Charlie Crist, anyway?

There are a few who are sure that Crist is for Christ. Well, at least they were a couple of years ago. That's when a whacko christianist preacher, O'Neal Dozier, of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, said the Lord came to him in a dream and told him Charlie Crist was going to be governor. Charlie hadn't even mentioned he was planning to run for governor! O'Neal and Jesus must be pyschic! Or something!

"The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said, 'There's something I want you to know. Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida."

At a pastor's breakfast, Crist said, "It's the most amazing thing anyone's ever told me. It's beyond overwhelming, but the reverend has a very strong faith in his heart and he's a good man. I'm very grateful for his help and his support and his belief."

Yeah, right! Didn't it occur to Charlie or any of the others attending this breakfast to ask why Jesus would appear to this kook from Pompano Beach? Why didn't Jesus appear to Charlie? Why didn't he appear to Jeb Bush, the current governor? Why didn't he appear to all the TV station managers and newspaper editors and we could have all received the word at the same time?

My god, think of all the money and trouble we could have saved ourselves. We wouldn't even have had to hold an election!

And Charlie was wrong. Dozier may have a strong faith, but that doesn't mean diddly-squat. Lots of people have strong faith and their dumber than a box of rocks! And anyone who walks around telling people that Jesus spoke to him should be taken gently away and doctors should examine his head!

Christ for Crist. Not likely. He does seem to desire some divine protection, though. Of a Jewish kind. Maybe that's why he married Carole.

Charlie went to Israel, and has gone to temple with Dan and Steve Gelber, and last year the guv "affixed a mezuzah, a sacred Jewish parchment usually kept within a case, to the frame of the door leading into his formal office at the capitol."

Is Crist renouncing Christ? Omigod!

Nah. In a statement to Jewish media outlets, he said, "Being able to display religious symbols is just as fundamental as being able to practice your religious beliefs. I am honored to display a mezuzah on my door. The freedoms and ideals that make our country great are the same ideals that people all over the world seek every day."

What the hell a mezuzah has to do with the "freedoms and ideals that make our country great" is beyond me!

A mezuzah is like a talisman. It contains within it a scroll, done exactly right, of the Shema, and is placed on a doorpost as a sign of Jewishness and a prayer for divine protection. It's magic! It's a nice tradition if you're Jewish, but for a Goyim to put up a mezuzah is crazy already!

A Miami Herald blog quotes Rabbi Schneur Oirechman, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of the Panhandle, who assisted Crist in putting up the mezuzah, as saying "Governor Crist's actions today will not only provide security inside his office, but will also serve to protect the people of Florida."

Right! Christianists are not the only delusional ones!

Who is Charlie Crist?

I'll be damned if I know!

One final note. Charlie should take down the mezuzah! Religious symbols do NOT belong in the office of a state official! He could put it in his pocket. The deity would probably be able to see it hidden in the clothing and still provide his divine protection!

Read more here. And here. Find out all about the Shema and mezuzah's here.

Note:  Click here for an update on Charlie Crist and why he should be elected governor of Florida on November 4, 2014.

Karl Rove, attack dog

Word is out that Karl Rove is back in the saddle, leading newly-charged partisan attacks against the Obama administration.

We didn't believe the Republicans when they piously prattled about the need for bi-partisanship, blah, blah, blah. We know from past experience that when Repugnicans talk bi-partisanship, they really mean the Democrats bow down, kiss their collective asses, and let the Repugs do it their way.

The WaPo says that it is none other than the attack dog, hisself, Karl Rove, who is planning to head up a partisan Republican fight against Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder; said fight to whine about Holder's role in Clinton's pardons, and they will, of course, complain they need more time.

What I don't understand is why that lying, rotten, no-good son-of-a-bitch, Karl Rove, is not in jail where he belongs!

More here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas shopping pit stop

Eleven days
And it will end
Then after Xmas
Sales begin.

So sit right down
You're not alone
Ev'ryone's got
Weary bones.

The problem is
It never ends
Too soon we'll do
It all again!

G. W. Bush - the worst of the worst

Distributorcap NY has posted a very informative article on the worst presidents ever.

In his opinion, the bottom six, in alphabetical order are:

James Buchanan
George W. Bush
Warren G. Harding
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Franklin Pierce.

Other, "really, really terrible presidents" include:

Calvin Coolidge
Millard Fillmore
Ulysses S. Grant
Andrew Jackson
James K. Polk

In a special "conundrum" category is Ronald Reagan. I'd suggest Reagan be slotted in a special "Alzheimic incompetence" category.

Guess who gets the booby prize?

DC goes into detail as to the failings of the bottom feeders, which is not only interesting but historically significant. It also provides an historical context into which we can better fit the monstrous joke currently occupying the White House.

Read the entire article, titled "Race for the Bottom," here.