November 30, 2004

Back

I haven't blogged for a while. Thanksgiving, classes, family stuff, etc. Alafair is fine, btw, for those who wondered. She has recovered from her fight with another jerk dog, and now only has the shaved surgery area to show for her misadventures. We all had a nice Thanksgiving week. We stayed here and enjoyed great food and conversations with thoughtful and wonderful friends.

I have some more to blog about later. Many of our conversations centered around the nature of our democracy and religious experience. Those are worth thinking about, but I don't have it in me today.

Though I am feeling a bit down today, let me post this link with a dual purpose. One is the very cool rechargeable backpack, but the other is the cool website for those of us who care about our environment. Anyway, enjoy. Treehugger: Voltaic Solar/Electronic Backpack

November 22, 2004

"Thank you Jesus!

Houston Texan qb David Carr said as his wide receiver turned a 10 pass into a 50 yarder. "Thank you Jesus?" WTF? Maybe this is why the world is falling apart before our very eyes. Jesus is busy helping rich-ass football stars complete passes.

Oh, and btw, 39 million working poor.

39 million Americans live in families that work, but can't get out of poverty. 39 Million! I am sure we can blame gay people for this one too, right?

November 20, 2004

What do Conservatives stand for?

This story is really disturbing. I have read and used this book. It is an interesting look at American culture. It hasn't stopped me from eating fast food, though I don't do it very much. How do conservatives boycott either Schlosser or his book? How do you say you are conservative and oppose information? Has corporate America become so entangled with conservative politics that nationalism and support for capitalism are confused?

Life and Deatherage: : "Nonetheless, three years later, Schlosser still needs extra security to speak on college campuses, and the Young Thugs Clubs try to block kids from hearing the message of his best-selling book by - I'm not making this up - shouting 'choice.' They're in favor of your choice to eat fast food, but not to know the truth about it. Read what happened at Ball State University this week:

'It's kind of embarrassing that I have to have security,' Schlosser told The Star Press. 'To me, it's a symptom of what's wrong with this country at the moment. My book has inspired some people to call me a socialist or communist or un-American. Wehad a Civil War in this country, and when you look at how other countries fly apart, it's because people start being called traitors, un-American, and demonizing one another. That's very, very dangerous.'

[…] Amanda Carpenter and several other conservative student protesters handed out free McDonald's burgers and fries at the front doors of Emens Auditorium on Thursday night before Schlosser's speech to hundreds of students, faculty and townspeople. The protesters also distributed pamphlets, one of which depicted Uncle Sam in his 'I Want You' pose. 'Eric Schlosser told me you were too fat!' the pamphlet read. 'Put down tha tchicken tender, fatty!'"

November 18, 2004

Search words

Just found that someone found my blog by searching for "mission accomplished satanists." Little too long for a good band name, but might make an album?

Evangelical shite Books

If I have never plugged Sojourners on this site, let me do so now, especially for those liberal/progressive Christians who find Jerry Falwell vomit-inducing. Here you will find people who are less concerned with their gay neighbors and much more concerned about global poverty and justice. This month's issue is a books issue and is especially good. So go read it, dammit. Or subscribe.

Over at the Parish, Greg is taking on Hank Hanegraaff (self-proclaimed Bible Answer man) and I wish him well. After reading this review in Sojourners last night, I realized that one of the things that leaves me most disheartened by contemporary evangelical "thought" is the crap that is sold by the bales at Bible "book" stores.

The author takes on the big sellers, like Bruce Wilkinson's Prayer of Jabez: "It may seem selfish, even un-Christian, to ask blessings for oneself. But Wilkinson thinks we’re just being priggish and unbiblical; God actually has blessings stacked up for us in heaven that tragically go ungiven if we fail to ask for them."

Or Laurie Beth Jones's book on Jesus as Life Coach: "My favorite example from this collection of campy, patronizing readings of scripture: "Even from the cross he was delegating: ‘Mary, this is your new son, John.’"

Gawd. WWJD? Powerpoint?

As Byassee put it: "I wish such uses of scripture were self-evidently ridiculous, but Jones’ sales success suggests they are not. Suffice it to say that an American business person whose "Individualized Education Plan" for himself included such "positive confrontation" with authorities that he and his "staff" wound up summarily excluded by their co-religionists and tortured to death by the state for high treason would not likely unearth the desire to go and do likewise from many "customers." Never mind how Jesus and his disciples wound up; Jones is doing swimmingly."

My personal favorite in this John Eldredge's Wild at Heart, which I have actually read. Well, parts of it anyway. It not so much sucked, as it totally sucked. The thing that annoyed me the most was Eldredge's ignorance of how many Americans have argued this same stuff. The Boy Scouts comes out of this fear that urban America was sucking the masculinity right out of men. More recently, as Susan Faludi articulates quite well in Stiffed, we have multiple examples of this masculine anxiety--from militia types, to guys beating on drums, to Promise Keepers practicing their latent homosexuality in stadiums, to people like Eldredge. I can deal with that. What bugs me is the blatant sexism implied in his work. Here is an example:

"That strength is so essential to men is also what makes them heroes," Eldredge writes. "If a neighborhood is safe, it’s because of the strength of men. Slavery was stopped by the strength of men, at a terrible price to them and their families. The Nazis were stopped by men. Apartheid wasn’t defeated by women.... And have we forgotten - it was a Man who let himself be nailed to Calvary’s cross."


Byassee notes how dangerous it is to see this masculinity as something to be worshiped. What bugs me is the blatant historical ignorance of it all. Slavery stopped by men? Maybe. What about the Grimke sisters and hundreds of other women who either actively campaigned against slavery and often framed the moral debate? As a man, I find Eldredge's arguments offensive and stupid. Really stupid. I understand that one of his books is ok, but this one sucks.

November 16, 2004

Garrison Keillor makes a joke, now Land's End has to pay!

I was reading over at Carlos's blog again today, and noticed an angry comment on the story about Garrison Keillor. Keillor joked, "I am now the chairman of a national campaign to pass a constitutional amendment to take the right to vote away from born-again Christians. Just a little project of mine."

But conservative Christians are not amused. Dave, evidently, found this offensive, and decided to boycott Land's End for sponsoring Prairie Home Companion. Dave says, "Regardless of one's political persuasion, to make comments, even in jest, of disenfranchising an element of society is not funny at all. If the term Christian were to be replaced with "African-American" or "Jew"- the bigotry would be immediately evident. It is an outrage that Land's End should be sponsoring shows that promote this prejudice."

Couple of things wrong with Dave's little rant here. First, I don't think he understands the real issue of bigotry and prejudice. As I have written elsewhere, it is really hard for me to take American conservative evangelicals when they play the victim card. You control all three branches of government and still think you are disenfranchised and victims of the system. You are the goddamned system! You have just helped reelect the most incompetent president in American history, and now you are mad that someone might make fun of you. I am trying to find the pity for you, but can't.

Second, you can't tell the difference between sarcasm and prejudice, then you are really in trouble. There is a HUGE difference between joking about a constitutional amendment on Christians voting and people joking about disenfranchising minorities. Here is a news flash! We have disenfranchised (and worse) minorities in this country. That is why that joke would be offensive and not funny. If you think that anyone would seriously consider banning Christian voting, then you are more stupid than you appear.

Third, your outrage might hold a little more water if you were consistent. Tom Coburn tells stories about lesbianism rampant in OK schools, says that African Americans are genetically predisposed to shorter lives (see, Dave, real prejudice!), and of course considers the death penalty for abortion doctors. Outrage from the conservative evangelical community? Not a wit. Instead, Coburn is elected the United States Fucking Senate! Senator Santorum compares gay sex to incest (that means having sex with relatives, Dave) and again the Christian evangelical community remains silent. Jerry Falwell blames liberals, gays and feminists for allowing 9-11 to happen, and Pat Robertson says that feminism encourages "women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Dave, can I be assured that you will be writing their sponsors with equally angry boycotting language? Didn't think so. Consistency would help you a great deal, Mr. Conservative evangelical. It would help if you were as equally outraged at the 100,000 Iraqi dead (thanks to your favorite God's own President Bush) as you rightfully are about the dead Christians in the Sudan.

Until then, as another commenter from Jesus's Politics said--you should read your own words and punch yourself in the mouth.
For once, a nice story about Oklahoma

From Holy Weblog, this nice story about a gay teen in Oklahoma. If you have followed this series, you will not be surprised that Fred Phelps and his hatemongers might attack. Well, they did. And the community from conservative Oklahoma where Bush won 60% of the vote responded in a way that I would have not predicted. Read the story. It made my dreary Tuesday a little brighter. Maybe there is hope after all. Maybe.

November 15, 2004

James Dobson is a Mullah

Ok, I did that simply to see what happens to my hits. I think it is an accurate statement, mind you, but I don't want to talk about it now.

As I told you recently, I have been involved in a comment fight over at Jesus Politics with a couple of fundies. One, who calls himself DSH, has moments of clarity and reason, and then jumps off the ledge. The other one, Chameleon3, has no reason or clarity. Here is one of my favorite exchanges. A new commenter--The Athiest--joined us and responded to the Chameleon3's claim that "**It is not that I want the Left to be wrong, it simply is.**"

The Athiest responds:


Right. I shouldn`t even have to say anything about this; you should just read your own words and then want to hit yourself in the mouth."


Beautiful.

November 14, 2004

Heh heh

I also like that Josh Marshall refers to Dobson as a "radical cleric!" Power corrupts even the originator of the University of Minnesota Spankological Protocol.

Another interesting point, btw, comes from Thomas Frank's book "What is the matter with Kansas." He argues that the right actually doesn't want to win the abortion or gay battle because it would remove their big selling point with conservative evangelicals. I don't know about that. Sounds a little like the right's complaint that the left likes keeping people poor so they will vote democratic. Of course, no need for the left to do that, the repubs do a good job of keeping the numbers of poor up. Unfortunately, thanks to people like Dobson, those same people vote for Bush and push for the tax cuts for the rich.

James Dobson - The religious right's new kingmaker. By Michael Crowley: "Perhaps more damaging is the possibility that Dobson gets what he wants. Maybe the GOP will establish an anti-abortion Supreme Court, overturn Roe v. Wade, stamp out gay rights, ban stem-cell research forever, and shut down MTV and cancel The Bachelor. Voters may not be so pleased with the Republican Party after that. Despite the qualms they showed about gay marriage this year, there's no reason to think they want anything like Dobson's Utopia, and they could see a replay of, say, 1998, when the perception that angry culture warriors were running the GOP damaged the party at the polls. In one of his books, Dobson has written of the gay-rights movement that '[e]vil has a way of overreaching.' So does the far right."

Oy!

It has been a tough weekend here at Streak's blog. Our friend Alafair was bitten by another dog yesterday and had to have stitches. She is doing much better today, but you can imagine it was rough on all of us. Sure reminded us how quickly life can turn on you. One minute you are planning your day and the next you are at the vet's and the day is shot. This one turned out ok, we think. She is sleeping now and will be better tomorrow, I am sure.

But yesterday, I was reading some blogs and read Jesus Politics. Carlos does a great job of grabbing the news as it relates to Christianity and politics. Given my stressful afternoon, I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but some of the comments at his blog really set me off. People lambasting the left for moral relativism, for slaughtering the unborn, for, and this was my favorite, encouraging laziness. I thought about that when I read about immigrant workers losing hands in meatpacking plants. Lazy bastards. Other idiots rambling about how God chose GWB in this time--kind of aping the letter from Bob Jones to GWB (google it, I won't link to that crap)--and draping their Bible in the American flag.

Or worse:

Jesus Politics: The Cross of Jesus and the United States of America

Check this one out. Warning. If you actually think that God is not an American, you might find the following shit really offensive!

Ok, temper, temper. I am going to check on Alafair.

November 12, 2004

Are Christians supposed to be Humble?

>

Reading Bruce Prescott's blog this morning, I found this story about how the SBC was, as he put it, "hardwired" to the Bush reelection campaign. Perhaps this is all perfectly ok. After all, certainly a democratic white house would consult with unions and supporters around the country. What is troubling, to me, is the apparent power hungry nature of the Southern Baptists, an organization I used to know quite well. Perhaps I should not be surprised. But I lament the change from an organization that could be primarily worried about the welfare of people rather than the accumulation of power. Christianity used to be about service. Undoubtedly that service was often problematic (thinking about missionaries to reservations, for example) but it was concerned with the welfare of others. Now, it is about cementing power and lording (no pun intended) that power over others. Bruce has another post on Jerry Falwell's goals for glory and power (and more donuts, no doubt!) that just reaffirms this fear.

The Daily Show ran a clip last night of an interview between George Stephanopoulos and James "spank em if you got em" Dobson. This is what spurred the title of this post.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Dobson, you also have a problem with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy. I want to show something that was reported in "The Daily Oklahoman" during the campaign. In the "Daily Oklahoman," it quoted you saying, "Patrick Leahy is a God's people hater. I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's people." Now, Dr. Dobson, that doesn't sound like a particularly Christian thing to say. Do you think you owe Senator Leahy an apology?

DR JAMES DOBSON: George, you think you ought to lecture me on what a Christian is all about?


Dobson is above reproach. If you have the ear of God, you do not bother with the puny criticisms of mere mortals. Balls. Humility, dear Dr. Jackass Dobson, is a Christian value. You might want to look it up!

Are Republicans conservative? Or Radical?

Reading a few blogs this morning, I read about how Republicans like to talk about how radical leftists have ruined the Democratic party. Michael Moore is often the target of this attack, and then Al Franken. But what about the right?

These critics conveniently forget Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. But the real ommission is the radical agenda presented by elected and appointed officials. Think about that when GWB gets Alberto Gonzales confirmed as AG--the same Gonzales who not only committed some kind of legal fraud when working for Bush as God's Governor, but as WH counsel has: supported torture and said the Geneva Convention was outdated and quaint; argued that we can hold American citizens as "enemy combatants" without legal assistance or trial, and that means indefinitely; and let's not forget when the WH was asked to produce some evidence on the outing of Valerie Plame (remember, this white house exposed a CIA operative working on WMD for political gain--this is the type of administration you reelected, one who would put political gain over good policy every time!!!!) Gonzales asked for additional time before announcing the probe officially.

In other words, he requested additional time before announcing the investigation and at that point making destruction of documents related to the case illegal. He gave everyone extra time to shred their documents. How is this allowed in todays world? Oh, that is right. GWB gets his marching orders from God and the American people like it that way. They like justice and "rule of law" when it relates to blow jobs, but god forbid it be applied to their Jesus quoting president. What a crock! I don't think my conservative friends have any idea how much this administration has undermined our system. Put it this way. If Clinton had done a tenth of this, he would have been impeached again! Outed a CIA operative! One of our people! And the American sheep reelected him! good god!

Anyway, I am off topic. I started talking about the wing nuts in the Republican party that actually have power unlike Moore and Franken. Bill Frist refers to the gay marriage ban as the "ultimate homeland security." Tom Coburn, our own new senator from Oklahoma not only complained about rampant lesbianism in SE Oklahoma, and suggested that African Americans were genetically predisposed to a shorter life expectancy AND suggested that the death penalty might be used against abortion doctors. Jim DeMint, the new Senator from South Carolina, thinks that single pregnant women shouldn't be allowed to teach in public schools. These are all people who are in positions of power. People like Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert run our government. Al Franken has a radio show. You tell me who has more power.

November 11, 2004

Is this our America?

From Boing Boing, this story about a woman who went to her pharmacy to get her birth control refilled only to have the pharmacist decline because she didn't believe in birth control. The story goes on to note the growing trend in conserative states of passing laws to allow pharmacists to exercise their own moral choices even when they conflict with the patient and physician. I can see how a pharmacist might object to giving out pills that they thought could be used to purposefully OD, but to deny birth control is really, really scary.

Is this our America? Will we have a pro-Torturer AG and conservative religious values enforced throughout the country? I hope that moderate reasonable conservatives will speak out and object when they see what this administration and the Tom Delay congress really want to do.

November 10, 2004

What constitutes morality? Good news and Bad

Couple of ongoing discussions about morality and evil at bad christian and the parish. I have blogged about this before--in how we discuss morality and evil. GWB's discussion of evil has always left me cold--as if he is stuck in junior high and cannot see the world with any nuance. Not that I don't believe in evil, nor that people flying planes into buildings aren't examples of it. But as we have seen, the face of evil is not always what we think.

Now, for the good news. A friend of mine who tolerates my rantings on this subject sent me this link, noting that it sounded very similar to my arguments on the subject. Very interesting to hear a Baptist suggesting that morality includes more than sexual issues.

Now for the bad news


Yahoo! News - Gonzales Named to Succeed Ashcroft as Attorney General


"Many conservatives interpreted the Gonzales appointment as a sign that Bush is preparing to nominate a more ideological figure to the Supreme Court.

'I find it reassuring,' said Jeffrey Bell, a consultant with ties to religious conservatives. 'It shows that Bush is a loyal person, which on a different level assures people who care about the Supreme Court.'"

A) the fact that religious conservatives like this candidate makes me very nervous. Loyalty is a good thing, but when it is blindly extended to people who do bad things (thinking now of appointing Kissinger to the 9-11 commission) then it is simply stupidity. Not loyalty. B) this is the same guy that suggested that Bush should be able to both torture people and incarcerate American citizens as "enemy combatants" for as long as the government decides. That's right, Alberto the Torturer. Appointed by GWB the Christian. Yay.

November 9, 2004

Oh man this is funny!!!!!

Please don't go to this link if you have a problem with the f-word. It will make sense in a minute. Oh, and if you are a Bush fan or a huge defender of the South, be warned.
Gary Hart says it well

I have argued for sometime that religious people would eventually regret the intrusion of faith into the electoral process. It absolutely invites rank hipocrasy--ala a Tom Delay wearing his faith on his sleeve while he brags about his power and ruthless ability to get his way.

Thanks to Carlos at Jesus Politics

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: When the Personal Shouldn't Be Political: "Declarations of 'faith' are abstractions that permit both voters and candidates to fill in the blanks with their own religious beliefs. There are two dangers here. One is the merging of church and state. The other is rank hypocrisy."

November 7, 2004

But I thought Iraq was doing fine?


Yahoo! News - 52 Killed In Spate Of Attacks In Iraq


That doesn't sound good.


Yahoo! News - Iraq Claims Emergency As Insurgency Flares


Hmm. Shouldn't there be a special place in hell reserved for Karl Rove?

November 6, 2004

In case you don't read Fafblog

I don't have much to add to this. Read the entire thing.

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.: "FB: I'll form a neighborhood watch group! But I still feel so powerless before the gay menace! What can the government do, Rev. Falwell?
FALWELL: We've gotta get more proactive! 9/11 changed everything, Fafnir - we have to strike at homosexuals before they strike at us! Use the full powers of the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security, detain 'em in Guantanamo Bay and interrogate 'em until we know the full extent of their Gay Agenda!
JESUS: [bursting in] Stop, stop! This is obscene!
FB: Jesus, please. We already did your interview.
JESUS: [overturning interview tables] I told you to love your neighbors as yourselves, not withhold their civil rights! I said blessed are the peacemakers, not the warmongers! I said my kingdom was not of this earth, not to make laws and bribe officials and overrun governments in my name!
DOBSON: Can you please have security remove this man?"
Bush supporters think Iraq going well. In other news, Bush says he will reach out to Democrats. Swampland reputedly selling exceptionally well.

So this isn't news really today. We have known that Bush supporters don't like gays and seem to not know what is going on in the war on terror. After all, if you think that Iraq was involved in 9-11, then you are misinformed, period. How do you look at what is happening in Iraq and think, "hey, things are going great!"

"Sure, they are concerned about terrorism. But they are more concerned about 'moral values.'

Most think things are going well for the United States in Iraq (news - web sites), and that the war has made America more secure.

They are satisfied with the Republican Bush administration; many are enthusiastic."


I am starting to repeat myself, but if you look at this administration, and this particular President and think morality, then I don't know what to say to you. I asked some supporters the other day, and they said Bush was moral because he kept talking about his faith. Exactly. That seems to be it.

I probably need to let this go for my own sanity. But I won't. I am posting here some remarks by my friend P:

I really don't know how to start a national movement, and I have not been very politically active, but what the heck here it goes:  I am asking everyone who opposed George W. Bush and his policies in the 2004 election to make it known that we will not be silenced and that we will be watching the administration's every move and action.  A victory by a margin of 2% in the popular vote can hardly be considered a mandate.  I propose that all of us, hopefully all 55 million of us, wear the slogan "We Will Be Heard!" on armbands, hats, shirts (preferably blue), or whatever on inauguration day.  Hopefully, such a peaceful exercise of our freedom of speech will be accompanied by public gatherings and discussions on inauguration day that will forge a united and responsible opposition.  Please pass this on to your friends, list-serves, whatever it takes to get the word out.  The future of America’s freedom depends on us.


Exactly.

November 4, 2004

Must be poetry an music day

From Jesus Politics a great poem.

"A poem from Calvin Trillin:

He can't remember one mistake.
He'll stay on course till Hades freezes.
How can he be so certain still?
Because he's got the word from Jesus.

In meetings of his White House staff,
Unquestioning commitment pleases,
Since human doubts mean nothing to
A man who's got the word from Jesus.

He treats his critics in the press
As if they're yapping Pekingeses.
Reporters deal in mundane facts;
This man has got the word from Jesus.

He can't believe that you'd support
The sort of man who eats French cheeses,
When you can vote to keep in place
A man who's got the word from Jesus."

America, love it or leave it--or get bombed when you do leave!

Found this great quote at Boing Boing:

Someone once told a story about an American friend of his who complained about the USA. When told, "well, if you don't like it then move somewhere else" the friend's reply would be, "What? And become a victim of our foreign policy?"
Dr. Omed has a guest blogger poet

"America Awakens to Moral Values November 2004

America awakens to moral values
and reaches around
to pat its backside

I am amazed at this clarity
like discovering the sun after
nearly three score
years of life

Like awaking in a strange skin
or a strange bedroom
where the ceiling light
blazes one from sleep

And one sees a stranger's
reflection in the mirror
on an unknown wall

War does not matter
illness does not matter
hunger or hopelessness
rusting factories
crumbling hopes"

read the rest here.

A Request!

First ever here at Streak's Blog, a friend has asked that I post something. My good friend Jape is starting a mix-tape to perhaps massage the pain of this election.

The frustration and sadness was palpable here yesterday, especially on campus at UW-Madison.  We were still talking about it this morning, and Adrienne and I came up with an idea in the car for a post-election mixtape.  So, I am taking nominations for a song cycle beginning where we're at (wherever that is) and ending in some sort of hopeful way (Supreme Court aside)

 Adrienne came up with Tears for Fears 'Sowing the Seeds of Love', which I think needs to be either the closing song or the song immediately preceeding Steve Earle's 'The Revolution Starts Now', which could be a nice closer as well. 

 For the opener, I like 'Shout' (hmm, more Tears for Fears following an election where more people were apparently motivated by fear than hope, seems appropo, no?).

 In honor of my sis, we need some Leonard Cohen.  I think Everybody Knows works perfectly. (Lyrics here http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/leonard-cohen/82809.html)

We might need some World Party in there, probably 'Way Down Now,' because the line 'Inside my future eye/what I see just makes me cry' fits so well.

 Madness' 'Shut Up' ('pass the blame and don't blame me') would go well as might Julian Cope's 'World Shut Your Mouth,' (even if it does resemble Repub voter suppression strategies in some way.) 

 Elvis' (because every good mix has some Elvis) 'What's So Funny 'bout Peace Love and Understanding'

Because Milwaukee's own The Promise Ring gives good advice ('make me a mixtape/ don't forget Husker Du'), I am considering 'In a Free Land' but fear that "Dead Set on Destruction' or "You're a Soldier' might be more appropriate.

 This admin's environmental policies have me thinking of Dave Matthews Band -- what's that Don't Drink the Water song called?

 I'm trying to get my mojo working again, so please help.  Let's shoot for 20 songs or so.  Please pass this on to others who might be interested in contributing and I'll send the final song list to anyone interested. 

Or maybe Streak could post it in his blog?  Good dog, Streak.


done and done!

To be a cynic, I might suggest the entire Jayhawks album "Sound of Lies" but that probably isn't going to make us feel better. Neither would James McMurtry's "Too Long in the Wasteland" or Alejandro Escovedo's "Pissed off at 2 a.m." or Ryan Adam's "Starting to Hurt."

I think the mix-tape would have to have Neil Young's "Rocking in the Free World" and REM's "It's the End of the World as we know it" or U2's "Pride". I also suggest Wilco's "Ashes of American Flags." I will continue to think about it. Post some suggestions!
A moderate Republican is found--not extinct as feared

and he makse great points. Not just because I have been making the same argument, but because they are good points, dammit!

Mark A. R. Kleiman: Some thoughts from a moderate Republican: "Kerry lost for many reasons, but here are the two at the top of my list:


1) Democrats are cowards. 'Moral issues' is just crazy-ass right-wing Republican talk for bigotry. Democrats need to call them on it and capture the moral high ground again. Preventing women from exercising control over their bodies and gay couples from enjoying the same basic rights as everyone else is not moral, it's wrong. Hideously wrong. Rosa Parks-level wrong. And helping poor kids get an education and basic medical care is not 'big government.' It's the right thing to do, especially when you live in the world's richest country."
slacktivist: Who made Steve?

Great Question!

November 3, 2004

One of my darkest days, (PS. American Christianity sucks!)

I have been wandering around in a grief-stricken funk--as if I have lost someone close to me. It feels like death. I have been close to tears today (for the Repubs who want to mock me, I say "fuck you!") and still cannot believe that this has happened. It is slowly sinking in, that we are doomed to 4 more years of this jerk and his Rovian politics. I lament this and grieve over what my nation has become.

I am not that disappointed with Rove and his antics. Rove and Karen Hughes are soul-less evil--the types that in a different neighborhood peddle crack to kids. Rove took Bush to South Carolina in 2000 and thought, hey, what would these fine upstanding southerners think about race issues? If presenting John McCain as a racist would have sold, he would have done that. Instead, he spread the rumor that McCain had committed adultery with a black woman. And Bush stood by and profited. I guess that would make him the pimp. But I am not surprised that Rove did what he did. He used the deep-seated fear of gay people that American Christianity has become, and profited yet again off that fear. He did what he did.

I am deeply disappointed with my former faith. I grew up a conservative evangelical. I knew I was supposed to read the Bible literally--spread the glorious word of Christ, and keep myself virtuous and clean. I was to hand out tracts to unsuspecting people, do cold witnessing in public places, and bring as many people "to Christ" as I could. I even did that. I witnessed to my friend Stuart in college. He was smarter than I gave him credit for. He knew I was shucking and jiving--handing out stuff I had been told to hand out. I grieve over that conversation now. Not that there isn't something good about a belief in Christ, but that I did it with such fucking arrogance. I knew better than him. Balls.

But under all that, I learned about Jesus feeding the 5,000. I learned about the evils of worshiping money, and the responsibility that living well in America meant. I owe a debt to my parents for that. They never made decisions solely on money, and they never pursued wealth. I value that.

And then I look at the faith now. With all due respect to my Anglican friends, the world is being taken over by McChurch. Some of them are Baptist, some are non-denoms. They are all selling a fucked-up version of the faith I was raised with. Witness, witness witness--but that only means proselytize. It doesn't mean demonstrate. And God only knows that greed is dead--instead it is replaced with consume thy faith. Consume with Max Lucado and Charles Stanley. Consume that faith that feeds your inner soul. The environment? Not a moral issue. Should be left out of churches. The issue of poverty? Not a moral issue. Fuck that!

I say to my conservative evangelical friends that I am deeply disappointed with you. That you could look at this man Bush and proclaim morality and Christianity befuddles me. Where is your compassion? Only with words? Are you so inured to the plight of the poor that you could confuse this administration with compassion? Are you so scared of my gay friends that you would lose your love? Are you so enamored with the life of the fetus that you ignore the 2 year old living in squalor? Or amidst toxic chemicals? Or the 5 year old pressed into service overseas to manufacture toys? Are you so consumed with your own wealth that you ignore God's creation? Are you so scared of terrorists that you ignore 100,000 dead Iraqis? Shame! Shame! Shame!

I will hesitate from this day forward to refer to myself as "Christian." I am not renouncing my faith, but I am now very hesitant to be linked to this administration. If Bush is a Christian, I want no part of it. If his compassion is meant to be our compassion, I would rather be known as a "lost" or "pagan" or "unchurched." I would rather be known as "secular" than to be lumped in with this gay-bashing, environment destroying, wealth rewarding machine that is Bush Country.

Harsh, I know. But real. I will survive this. I am not sure our republic will. But I ask this from my conservative friends. You seem to say that it is not nearly as bad as I think. With the exception of the homosexual issue (which you defend), you say that my concerns are not supported. Bush is not as incompetent as I say. His supporters are not as ill-informed as I say. He has not reached into the civil liberties of average Americans like I say. He has not endorsed the torture of human beings like I say.

Ok, let's put that to the test. You justify your vote for Bush because he is moral or because Kerry was ultra-liberal. Will you pledge to respond if the new administration and Republican Congress and Senate do what I fear? Will you switch and vote against your party?

If they encroach on civil rights and the voice of dissent, will you be heard?

If they worsen the environment for your kids, will you be heard?

If they invade yet another country based on faulty evidence, will you be heard?

If they make the rich richer, and the poor poorer, will you read your Bible and be heard?

America the Embarrassment

Like many other progressive liberals, I watched last night with horror as our worst fears seemed realized. Here are the lessons I take from this election:

  • Bigotry and Fear triumph over hope and thoughtfulness. Bush appealed to the worst in people and they responded in kind. Gay bashing, fear of terror, bullshit version of Christianity--all won out last night.


  • Incompetence no impediment to electoral victory. Bush created a clusterfuck of immense proportions in Iraq, doubled the price of gas, and furthered the gap between the rich and poor, and people responded by reelecting him. What does that say about America?


  • Americans don't care shit about the Environment. Bush has run the most environmentally unfriendly administration in history and this will continue, not abate. Take a breath now because clean air and water may be in short supply in 4 years.


  • America has no idea what moral values really are. This morning on NPR, they noted that people cited moral values as often as the economy and terrorism and more than Iraq. Those people voted in overwhelming margins for Bush. If you still say that Bush is moral and representative of moral values, then you are a moron. Pure and simple. If the only way you categorize moral values is with regard to homosexuals and abortion, then shame on you. And read your fucking bible!


  • Speaking of Bible, what the fuck? As if this was even possible, I have lost even more respect for conservative Christians. If you really think that my gay friends are a bigger threat than global warming then you need to read a book, or something! Jesus F. Christ! What kind of faith is this? Selfishness rules! As long as I get my tax cut, then fuck everyone else.


  • Ignorance seems to win out as well. What does it say about the America republic when 70% of Bush supporters believe false information about Iraq and the war on terror? I am not talking about debatable items like how many members of Al Qaeda have been incarcerated or killed, but the role that Iraq played in 9-11 and whether we found WMD or not. So, those of you who still think we found WMD, you are the morons who are reducing our democracy to an illiterate level. Thanks. The blind devotion to Bush reminds me unfortunately of 1930s Germany. Highly literate people looking the other way--believing bullshit and refusing to look at the truth.


  • So where does that leave me? I don't know. Obviously, I am on the outside of the mainstream. Here in Oklahoma, we elected a racist, fascist idiot to the Senate (though the alternative was only marginally better). This dickhead said that blacks were genetically more likely to have shorter life spans, and said that lesbianism was so frequent in SE Oklahoma that the schools didn't let girls go to the bathroom unattended. Hey, but he is one of your Christian brethren, preaching morality and the Bible. Congrats! This is the kind of guy that would put people in cattle cars.

    I hope you are all happy with your choice. You will get exactly the government you deserve. I hope you like poverty, because you will have more. I hope you like war, because you will have more. I hope you like environmental destruction, because....well, you know. We will be saved from the horrors of Homosexual marriage, evidently, and I hope that you are happy with that. Because your kids will have a worse life because of this election. I don't have kids. Those of you who do might want to look beyond your tax "cut" to their future. Do you really want a future where individualism is the only thing?