October 29, 2005

The religious right's reputation? Shot

Or shorter Religious Right: Remember, WWJD.
  • We don't care about lying and cheating as long as we do it.
  • Support Tom Delay and Karl Rove against godless liberals
  • Torture is fine when we do it.
  • Give us a judge who hates gays and aborters as much as we do or we will pray for your vacancy.
  • Poverty? Cut taxes and shut up!

    As Massachusetts Liberal writes:

    And the questionable morality of the Religious Right has never been more thoroughly exposed. This is a nation fighting a war predicated on a lie (and whose leaders lied to perpetuate that lie). We are a nation where the rift between rich and poor was washed into the open by floodwaters in New Orleans. We are a nation where health care costs are soaring and its elected officials seek to balance the budget by cutting food stamps and health care benefits for the very people washed out of their homes.


    The moral leadership exemplified by James Dobson and Pat Robertson and their ilk has said not one word about the carnage in Iraq (a war Islam certainly sees as a religious one). They have been silent about the lies upon which our leaders based this crusade and the are silent still about the lies used to hide the fact that the amoral Bush administration would risk the life of a CIA agent to win its political fight.
  • Right wing spin

    Watched Bill Maher last night--or part of it anyway. Tony Snow was on to defend the right, and his spin on the Libby indictments was kind of what we expected. He kept saying things like he was "indicted for talking to reporters." Luckily, the other guests went after him for that.

    But his other repeated spin was that Joe Wilson had been proven to be a liar, and that Valerie Plame had, in fact, urged that her husband be sent to Niger. Huh?

    Ok, I may not know the details on all of Wilson's veracity, but it strikes me that this is a right wing feint. Say that Wilson is an idiot and a liar. The White House still orchestrated an effort to intimidate and discredit Wilson by outing his wife. Snow said she wasn't really an agent and hadn't been for years. Yet, the memo that circulated on Air Force One clearly identified her as a covert agent. Maybe she shouldn't have been, I don't know, but she was.

    Ultimately none of it matters. The right seems to have forgotten that our behavior is not determined by others. The fact that terrorists like to torture doesn't mean we do. The fact that others might lie and cheat does not make it ok for us. Just more proof that this white house is Christian in name only, and so are their most visible supporters.

    October 28, 2005


    As the news of Scooter's indictment hits, I feel a mix of "I told you so," happiness, and sadness. I did predict that this administration was corrupt. I did warn you that Bush had surrounded himself with immoral and corrupt leaders even as he shrouded himself in Christian speak. And, after the arrogance of this administration, I am glad to see some justice. The same people who talked piously about "the rule of law" when Clinton was impeached for sex now are scrambling to make sense of a man who lied over a war. As the t-shirt says, "When Clinton lied, no one died."

    But I am also saddened. Make no mistake about it. This is a bad day for our democracy. The Chief of Staff for the Vice President lied to numerous people. And he lied to cover up a concerted campaign to use his power to ruin the career of people who dared speak out against this White House. It smacks of arrogance and ruthless leadership. But I am sad. I am sad that we have this kind of leadership. As a neighbor of mine just said, it would be funny if it weren't so deadly serious. A poorly executed invasion, the gutting of our democracy, and many, many dead people.

    Of camels and rich Americanos

    Natalie has not blogged much lately. She has been busy studying abroad and keeping up with her school work. But this essay on global poverty and American responsibility is really good. She calls us "bruised camels." What a great line. Anyway, in her words:

    We Christians in the US have a special challenge when it comes to living a Christlike life. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Let’s face it, we’re rich—although sometimes we may not feel like it. When I was at home the other day, I got to go to Snowhill, where we were reminded again and again of our wealth. If we condensed the world down to 100 people, one would have a college education, and one out of the 100 would have a computer! So we’re bruised camels, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. At least that’s what I’m going through right now.

    October 26, 2005

    Well, what do you know?

    Remember Bush's decision to remove wage protection from workers rebuilding the Gulf Coast? Well, the Bush administration--that's right, the Bush administration has decided to reverse itself. Representative George Miller writes:

    It was announced today that the President will overturn his Gulf Coast wage cut on November 8. This was a direct result of intense pressure from Democrats and labor and religious leaders.

    Every single House Democrat has been on record since September in opposition to the President's wage cut. I recently wrote on this site about an unprecedented Joint Resolution I introduced last week that would have forced a vote in Congress to overturn the President's wage cut. That vote would have had to happen - you guessed it - not later than the week of November 7. With the support of every House Democrat and 37 House Republicans, we would have won that vote. Boxed in by that embarrassing scenario, the White House chose to reverse itself.

    GOP acts on budget--Just like Jesus would do, right?

    Planned GOP Budget Cuts Target Programs Such as Foster Care "Republicans began targeting key programs for budget cuts yesterday, from student loans and health care to food stamps and foster care. But the tough measures immediately drew staunch opposition from anti-poverty groups, businesses and moderate Republicans."

    I keep noting that there are Grownup Republicans and Grownup Christian conservatives. They need to stand up.

    October 24, 2005

    One more comment for tonight

    I am tired of the political blogging. If you can watch this president at this time--torture defending, war hawking, crony hiring, etc.--and still see him as a good Christian or even good President, then I don't know what to say.

    But on the way home, I listened to NPR, and heard this story on the National parks and their effort to attract private donations. Some congressman said that it needed to happen. After all, the government couldn't afford it, so the private sector would have to be recruited.

    Reminds me of what we have been saying all along. Cut taxes, expand the debt and then shrug about some government expenditure. "Environmental cleanup? Love to, but we don't have any money." "National parks as national legacy? Love to, but see we spent all this money on Halliburton and invading Iraq--to say nothing of the tax breaks for the hard working people at Enron. Can't afford it, sorry. Have to sell Old Faithful to Shell Oil."

    The Republicans really, really suck.

    RIP: An American Hero

    ABC News: Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dead at Age 92

    October 21, 2005

    Thinking about evolution

    I was reading about the original monkey trial the other day. What a ride that trial must have been. A couple of points, however, on the difference between the opposition to evolution then, and the opposition now.

    William Jennings Bryan was one of the most vocal anti-evolutionists of his time, and one of the most articulate men of that period. But we forget, sometimes, that he opposed evolution for multiple reasons. Yes, one was that it contradicted a literal Bible. (We should note, here, that Bryan and most mainstream Protestants of his time did not believe in a Young Earth or even in a literal 7 day creation. In fact, that view was predominately held by Seventh Day Adventists.) But Bryan also opposed evolution because he feared that it was a justification for war (survival of the fittest) and Bryan was a strong peace advocate. Third, he knew that Social Darwinism had been used to oppose serious economic reforms, and he feared that trend would continue.

    Look how far we have come. The opposition to evolution is still, in many ways, as uninformed as it was in Bryan's day (evolution is just a theory). But the conservative church has lost the opposition to war and the push for social and economic justice. The contemporary opposition to evolution just sounds stubborn and self-centered.

    October 18, 2005

    So last night, we venture out to eat

    It was SOF's birthday, so we went to the Outback Steak House for the blooming onion and assorted other features. While we were there, a few minor events happened that were blogworthy (at least in my mind). One annoying, and one cute.

    For the annoying, let me set the scene. Anyone who has eaten at Outback (or any other big chain restaurant, for that matter) knows that they are loud and approaching louder. No baffling on the ceilings or walls--I guess they want the place to always sound full. Anyway, we are in our booth, enjoying the deep fried onion (or whatever the hell it is) and the woman behind SOF receives a call on her cell. No big deal, it is a common occurrence now days. Hell, later that meal, SOF got a birthday call on hers. But back to the woman in the booth. Again, remembering that it is loud, this woman cranks up her own (quite impressive) volume and starts to share her phone conversation with everyone around her. Especially us. Imagine how loud she had to be to disrupt us and the people around us.

    So, SOF stands up on her seat, faces the woman and says very firmly, "if you don't quiet down, that cell phone will be your desert!"

    No she didn't. She threw our blooming onion at her. No, she didn't. Actually, she turned around and asked her nicely to tone it down. I do believe the woman was shocked. How dare we interrupt her private phone conversation like that?


    Now for the better story. Or at least the one I like better. Our waitress was quite nice and she was breaking in a trainee named Chris. Nice guy. She had him trained well to crouch down at our table to take our orders. I understand given how loud it is, but it must take a toll on their quads by the end of the night. I ordered the ribs or something, and they came with "Aussie chips." Evidently those are fries, but they have to call them "Aussie chips," even though people like me ask what the hell are "Aussie chips?"

    Given the blooming onion and salads, I couldn't finish my ribs, so we asked for a box. While Chris was fixing our "togo plate" for us, she asked if I wanted any of my "ff, er Aussie Chips?"

    I grinned and said, "You are required to call them that, aren't you?" She smiled and nodded. I asked if she called them that when she ate at other restaurants. She said no, but that she did have a habit of calling out "corner" (as they are trained at Outback so they don't run into each other) when she shops at Walmart. She said she gets a lot of funny looks.

    Ok, let's review

    Bush cuts taxes originally because we had a surplus. Then 9-11 happened, and he cuts taxes because the country was sinking into a deficit and the economy is threatened. Now we have a 200 billion dollar war (Bush's war, btw) and another 100-200 billion rebuilding in the Gulf Coast. What is the response?

    Well, glad you asked. Republicans are evidently split about how to cut spending, but all agree we have to cut spending. Fine. But those cuts seem to be aimed at the poor.

    The tension between moderate and conservative Republicans has been on display in the Finance Committee, where Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who heads the panel, is trying to negotiate an approach to satisfy the two factions by balancing $10 billion in cuts between Medicare and Medicaid.

    At the White House, the spokesman, Scott McClellan, encouraged Congress to act on extending tax cuts enacted for President Bush and paring spending.

    "It's important to keep the tax cuts in place, because that keeps our economy growing," Mr. McClellan said.

    Nice. Nice to know where Republican priorities are.

    October 17, 2005

    Light blogging

    Obviously. I have been a little distracted with work, and am working on a home improvement project as well. That's right, I am building a deck my very own self--for good or for ill. And those "friends" of mine who knew my intentions and did nothing to stop me will hear from me very soon. Friends Don't Let Friends Build Decks--especially when they have the carpentry experience that I do.

    Oh well. I hope to have it finished soon and will post some pictures. Until then, the tools and expletives will fly!

    October 13, 2005

    This is not good. And it is very related to this creation stuff. Wouldn't that be ironic? American Christians who think that God has blessed our country because of our wealth and technology undermining the very science that creates much of that?

    October 12, 2005

    Oh this is just too much!

    Thanks to CIL, we have a story about a creation "science" person debating a philosophy professor at the University of Wyoming. Read the entire story for the full "debate," but a couple of things caught my eye--mostly for their total lack of logic or sense. My favorite was Hovind's (the Creationist) call for us to exercise our common sense, as we only see "dogs give birth to dogs." This, I believe, is supposed to rebut cross-species evolution, but assumes that such cross-species evolution might just happen.... overnight. One day your dog is giving birth and after a few puppies come out---whoa, that looks like a duck.

    But my other favorite was the faulty reasoning for why teaching evolution is bad:

    "Hovind believes that if you teach schoolchildren that they evolved from apes, they will start acting like them. He thinks drug use, sexually transmitted diseases and an increased crime rate among teens is partly based on the exclusive teaching of evolution. When Griesmaier countered that European countries have a lower violent crime rate and a lower rate of church attendance than the United States, Hovind took issue with the countries (which included England, France, and the Netherlands) in his opponent's example.

    "Those decreased murder rates were all from countries with socialistic governments and total gun control," said Hovind. "I'll take my gun, thank you."

    Hmm. Evidently when prudent gun control actually leads to reduced crime, that is a bad thing. And, of course, Hovind ignores that these supposedly socialist countries teach evolution. Wouldn't, under his logic, the bad crime and kids "acting like apes" happen regardless of the gun control laws?

    The other part that I wish Griesmaer would have brought out is that countries that are more attuned to science and teach science to their students have less of the other kinds of social ills that Hovind could not blame on socialism or gun control. Fewer abortions, stds, etc.

    Oh well.

    Harriet Miers as church/state test

    This Miers' nomination is a puzzler. Democrats and liberals like myself find themselves wondering what to do. Do we oppose this nomination? Certainly on the merits she seems way out of her league, and having had a President who is out of his league seems enough. Say what we will about John Roberts, the man seems to have been genetically made in a laboratory to fit exactly a Supreme Court justice. Miers seems like a nice person and decent lawyer, but hardly equipped to address the huge constitutional issues of our day. Neither am I, of course, but then again, I wasn't nominated.

    But do liberals oppose this nomination and risk what is behind door number 2? A Patricia Owens would be someone certainly qualified, but in my estimation, a horrible jurist. I actually think that Al Gonzales would be a decent judge--but then again, there is his entire support of Bush's torture policy.

    Evidently the Bush is annoyed that his base is weakening. Part of that is understandable. Part of that--well, I don't care. About time that the base learned what the rest of us have known from day one. This is a very arrogant and insular man. He doesn't like his choices being challenged--perhaps a product of being a spoiled rich kid. Perhaps it is constantly telling him that he was God's choice for President. People don't usually question God's choice.

    In any case, the Prez is pissed off and trying to assure the wingbat section of his party (though it is odd, the battiest people--Dobson and Robertson are on board) that Harriet is a good choice. Today, he assured people that Harriet Miers is a good Christian.

    Fine. Whatever. But is this really a good step for our public policy? The same Prez who assured us there is no litmus test, now says that her faith is the reason to support her? So she has faith. I have no problem with that. It relates to her qualifications about as much as the silly comments people make about her appearance. Bush is supposedly a man of faith (though that is still in doubt in my mind) but is still one of, if not THE, worst presidents in our history. She could be a very nice person. She could be a great person of faith--a virtual "prayer warrior" (whatever that means), but that doesn't mean she will make a good SC justice. And if her base supports her for that reason, then I think they really don't understand this country's history very well.

    October 11, 2005

    Buck the Badger sends this

    Kind of speechless.
    As Bucky said, "who buys this shit for their kids?" I guess it makes sense in that kids are inundated with this stuff too. But it is still creepy. Maybe next we get the terrorist training camp for kids? Complete with commando raiders?

    From the book of Bush, 500th chapter, verse 50, and 51

    50 And the Lord sayeth verily that torturing your enemies is right and just when you speak for God. Those who oppose deserve the ancient veetoe response. Verily. 51. And Jesus looked upon the flooded, and the rich and the poor and he said this: cut taxes for the rich and cut programs for the poor. In the flooded lands shall you make your friends rich.

    You don't have to be a biblical scholar to see how wrong this is, right?

    October 10, 2005

    assorted NPR stories

    So, I am picking up some stuff and dropping off the bike for some maintenance, and listening to the NPR (instead of the alternatives). Couple of stories that caught my ear. Note: both of these deal with women's issues and may get me in trouble.

    1) the first one was on SIDS and how to prevent it. I remember reading several years ago that many of the SIDS instances were not SIDS at all, but were maternal homicides. One celebrated case where a doctor wrote up the unprecedented SIDS of one mother turned out to all be bogus. Of course, it is a serious issue and one that demands attention. The part that actually caught my ear was that some of the recomendations were that pacifiers actually help, and that sleeping with the mother doesn't. What do I know, not having kids, but the recomendations made sense. But the part that really tickled me was the response of the "breast feeding advocates." Man was she pissed off, and I wondered why all the breast feeding advocates are so much like religious fundamentalists? I remember (and Bucky will too) a really funny argument with a friend of ours who's mother was a La Leche member. For some reason, she always made me think of a Che Guevara poster with breasts instead of guns. Same lack of humor, though....

    2) Connecticut has mandated that health insurance companies cover infertility treatments. Please remember, I consider myself a feminist and want more health insurance rather than less. But this one kind of struck me wrong. Is it the state's role to mandate that a corporation cover the costs of infertility treatments? Am I being insensitive? As someone who knows the reality of childless-ness, I don't think I have to apologize, but I really wonder about this one. As compassionate as I can be to people in this situation, I kept thinking of the adoption-option. But in Connecticut and other states, insurance companies are mandated to provide in-vitro and other similar treatments. Am I way off here? (Please tell me in the comments if so. I am willing to admit my ignorance.)

    3) One more essay and this one was on PBS. A great essay from Richard Rodriguez on the complexity of religion. Three desert faiths worshiping the same God--all willing to blow each other up. It was good. I hope you caught it.

    October 9, 2005

    More on rationality

    I listened to NPR today and heard an interview with Thomas Frank and some other guy. Both were discussing the need for a clarified Democratic message. Frank said Dems should emphasize one word: "Security." Not just national security or even security from terror. Security from hurricanes and epidemics. Security from economic upheaval and a lack of healthcare.

    SOF and I thought that was a pretty good message. Have to see if the Dems could pull it off.

    In the meantime, I have been toying with a new party: The Rationals. Instead, I am thinking that the Democrats simply incorporate that into the party platform. The Democratic Party: The Party for Rational People.


    The DNC: Where spirits are not blamed for hurricanes or tragedy.


    The DNC: Where evidence is valued, and faith is respected.

    Any others?

    GOP split looming

    And I think the first skirmish is in Alabama where incumbent Governor Bob Riley (conservative Christian Republican) will go against Roy Moore (conservative nutjob-Christian Republican). Alabama is a great example already of the horrors of Conservative Christian rule. When Riley tried to revamp the most regressive and unfair tax code in the country, he was defeated by none other than the conservative Christians--who instead of speaking up for the poor decided to help the rich. Christians in Alabama, and the rest of the nation, should hang their head about that.

    But now Riley, who at least shows a rational head about him, will face the least rational candidate in the country (and that is saying something). We are looking at the future split in our country--at least in my opinion. Instead of being between rich and poor or religious and irreligious, it will be between the rationals and the irrationals. Rationals will at least recognize evidence and facts--see science for what it is, and keep their faith applied to those areas that it makes sense. Irrationals will look to God to tell them how to manage taxes, reproduction, science (that should be in quotes) and everything in between. Candidates from the irrational side will repeatedly tell the voters that God has told them to do certain things--including running for office.

    I have no idea how this will come out, except when it comes down to it, I think more Americans are essentially rational than irrational. Most go to Doctors instead of relying solely on prayer. Most get vaccinations and wear their seatbelts. Maybe those people will recognize that Roy Moore's divine voice is his own ego.

    Is this a failed IQ test?

    I saw one of these last spring, but it still caught my eye. Coming home from coffee this morning, we saw a car with a "W" sticker over the cyclops light. I really don't mean to imply that Bush supporters are unintelligent, but it doesn't help your case when I see more W stickers on huge SUVs and then covering some morons brake light.

    I know you are taught to believe that global warming doesn't exist and that evolution is wrong, but do you really think a sticker will function the same way as a brake light and keep you from getting rear-ended?

    October 8, 2005

    My issue with faith and reason

    RLP had a great essay on being a skeptic. This is one of his early essays (I think it is in the book too) where he is explaining his journey.

    These were the Christian people who nurtured me and taught me my faith.

    There was a leeetle problem though. Early on it became apparent that something was different about me. I couldn't make myself believe some parts of the bible. I was a natural born skeptic.

    When told the Noah and the Ark story in Sunday School, I quickly figured out that two of every kind of animal would not fit on one boat. No one else seemed to be doing the math. I could no more believe the ark story than I could believe the sky was green. I wanted to believe. Believing seemed nice, but I couldn't. I COULD NOT.

    I can really relate to that. In my recent conversations with my buddy from Texas, it occurs to me that I am a very rational person. That doesn't mean smarter than him, or anyone, for that matter. But I am a skeptical person. And have been for some time. I don't think that is a bad thing.

    The Preacher discovered that faith was an action, not a feeling. He chooses to believe despite the voices of doubt in his head. I respect the hell out of that. And I try very hard to do that myself.

    I watched Bill Maher last night. Normally I avoid because even though he is funny, his guests usually bug me and I find myself angrier than before. Last night, his guests were Andrew Sullivan, Ben Afleck and Salman Rushdie. The conservative Andrew Sullivan was more angry with Bush than anyone. That was entertaining.

    But in the middle of that conversation, Maher (as he often does) blamed religion for Bush. All religion. He thinks that people of faith are stupid for believing "nonsense." I think Bootleg Blogger has had the very same reaction. It frustrates us that he would dismiss all people of faith. And Sullivan and Afleck jumped him for it.

    But Maher raises an interesting point and helps me clarify my own skepticism and struggle with faith. I respect faith, because it is asking questions about those things we cannot know for sure. We cannot, as flawed human beings, know for sure that God even exists. We don't know why there is suffering and death or why we are even here. Faith is that conversation of trying to figure out meaning and hope and understanding. It is a good thing.

    But my conservative evangelical friends want me to apply that faith in other areas--other areas where there are other "ways of knowing." For example, I don't need faith to study history. I need documents and a keen mind. I can speculate on what those people believed and thought, but I don't need faith for that. Likewise with science. I don't need faith to understand evolution or cell biology. I need empirical evidence.

    But my conservative evangelical friends want to apply faith to everything. I am supposed to have faith that God wanted George Bush in office. (Bucky U. Badger sent this essay that is on point) That reminds me of a discussion regarding how the Aztecs must have seen Cortez. Previous explanations suggested that Cortez's armor and horses must have convinced the natives that he was some kind of God. But, as Al Crosby (I think) noted, they only had to spend any kind of time near them--smelling them, watching them eat, etc., to know they were not gods. I feel that way about Bush. I have seen too much stupidity to ever believe that God chose this man. Don't ask me to believe something that is so clearly wrong.

    Don't ask me to have faith about Bush, and don't ask me to have faith about science. Global warming is real, and faith won't change that. Evolution is real, and faith doesn't change that, nor is it destroyed by it.

    There is much room for faith in our world--and much need. But there is much, much room and need for reason and rationality. Christians who simply apply faith to everything are not helping us. In other words, I will work on my faith, but you all need to work on being more rational in the things that demand rational thought. Deal?

    October 6, 2005


    Today I felt a need to do something. So I called the offices of my representative and two senators. I asked both senators (well, their staffers, actually) why they chose to vote against John McCain's anti-torture amendment. Tom Coburn's office was clueless--which doesn't make me feel any better about him. I left a comment asking how a physician and supposed Christian could endorse torture. Jim Inhoffe's office had a pat answer about how the bill would publish our interrogation techniques, but the nice lady assured me that Inhofe in no way sanctioned torture. I wish I believed that.

    I called my representative to ask how he was going to respond to the Delay indictment. After talking to a clueless woman (she was new) I spoke to someone who explained that any money from Delay's PAC had already been spent, and that since my rep sits on the ethics committee, he could not comment on the indictment. I told him that I urged the congressman to take ethics very seriously and reminded him that when the Republicans took over congress, they did so with a lot of scorn at the Democratic corruption and ethics scandals. I said it seemed to me that Chris Shays was correct in noting that the Republicans had proven themselves just as corrupt--and in a faster time span.

    Oh well, it is something.

    October 5, 2005

    Dogs and smiles

    I am sure most of you read the RLP, but Gordon has a delightful post on their new dog. Surely everyone here knows how much I love dogs. Reading his post made me sad and happy all at the same time. I don't know what dogs do to us. I remember reading about early man and the domestication of dogs. Dogs were special from the beginning, because unlike the other domesticated animals, they competed with the humans for protein. And despite that competition, man still domesticated dogs. I think I understand that. I think I would share my protein with my furry friends.

    Work has gotten me down lately. Students staring at me woodenly as if I am speaking Greek. Maybe it is me. The political and religious realms are just too frustrating to talk about. And closer to home, I feel like I am in a Rashomon movie--personally, politically, globally, spiritually--where everyone else has a completely different view of the truth. I know that is a bit cryptic, but it is the best I can do right now.

    In the meantime, I will try to rest up tomorrow and work on some other projects. I will revel in the cooler weather. I will enjoy the hell out of my dogs--even though Alafair doesn't like it when I swear. (Today found me self-censoring rather than upsetting her. "Ow, my freaking ears.") I will have lunch with Anglican (if he can) and enjoy that too.

    Now I will hug my dogs and go to bed. G'night all. May you all have peace this evening--where ever you are.

    Christians respond to Delay

    Hat tip to Bruce for this litany of Conservative Christians who still support Tom Delay. I have this to say to conservative evangelicals. I didn't respect you when you supported Delay before the indictment. It is kind of like the tepid response to Pat Robertson. If you don't object when he prays for the death of a SC justice, then slapping him on the wrist when he calls for an assassination doesn't help your case. If you encourage Delay while he acts with ruthlessness--regardless of criminal behavior--then you are endorsing un-Christian behavior and even revelling in it.

    October 4, 2005

    The future of the Republican party?

    Atlantic Online has a great article on Roy Moore: The nutjob who makes Bush look like a secular humanist. He is intent on running for governor and some think President and clearly wants a theocracy. And those who think he is just a servant of God, watch carefully how he has manipulated this controversy and his own "cult of the personality" (he demands that people call him "Chief") to benefit him. Moore represents, for me, the worst of Christianity--people who confuse their failures and successes with God's design. God wants them to beat other people. No sense that his opponents might actually care about God too.

    But this is exactly what the Republican party deserves. By making Christianity a litmus test for election, you created a monster you can't control. Now we will have people who openly campaign for a theocracy and completely undermine the legacy of religious freedom that has made our society one of the most dynamic and tolerant in history.

    I once wrote that Bush had been the worst thing for evangelicals--because their support for someone so vapid and anti-intellectual had caused me to lose respect for people I used to admire for their wisdom. If those same poeple can't recognize that Moore is a self-delusional tyrant who plays on the hysterical fears of the religious right, then they will deserve their ultimate political destruction. Say what you will, I don't really think America wants a theocracy.

    Thinking more about Delay, Bush and the Supremes

    If you read the blogs, you will see that conservatives are very angry about Bush's recent appointment of Harriet Miers. Many of them feel they were promised a Scalia-like justice and feel that they are closer to getting another Souter.

    I wonder if this might be the beginning of the end of the religious right's political power. Oh, I know, there are numerous organizations in place and James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell--to say nothing of the hoodlums who took over the SBC--will continue to be conservative supporters. The question, at least for me, are those true believers out there who might lose interest in the political system.

    Mark Shield's commentary (previous post) suggested that Tom Delay single handedly stopped a compromise in the 90s that might have saved Clinton the scandal and shame of impeachment. He did that by appealing to the religious right (Shields called them "more right than religious") and putting so much pressure on the House that they had to vote for impeachment.

    Now we have Delay indicted. And a weakened Bush. Perhaps all the true believers will simply write that off as liberal politics. No doubt that the religious right listen to mostly conservative christian radio and hear from James Dobson and others how they should think politically.

    But what about this scenario. Religious believers--and I am talking serious Christians--have since the 80s for sure believed that if they could elect more like them, they could change the political situation. They truly believed that more Christians in office would produce a more Christian society and government. And isn't their support for Bush (almost a lock-step support) their belief that he is "one of them?" Isn't Bush supposed to be an Israel-Supporting, End Times believing, homophobic and anti-abortion Christian President? (And that is the only thing that explains how so many serious Christians continue to support this guy despite a failed war and disastrous economic policy)?

    But if after all of that, the Religious right ends up with some criminal thugs representing them (Delay) or marginal and largely crazy mavericks (Coburn) or really only lip-service faith people (Frist and Bush), what will they do next? What will they do when they realize that they spent millions of dollars and prayed for the death of supreme court justices all to essentially stay in the same place? What will they do when they realize they control, or have a strong hand in all three branches of government and still have legalized abortion, gay people all around them, and a society that is over-sexualized and self-centered?

    Well, they might just drop out of the political system. They might just say that politics and faith don't mesh and decide to focus on their local church. It has happened before. All, I admit, without the fundraising and power of people like Dobson and Falwell, but it has happened before.

    Part of me hopes it happens. Mostly because I would like those sincere Christians to stop making excuses for someone like Delay. I would like people who take their faith seriously to not worship the "faith of George W. Bush." And I would like some day where politicians didn't have to bend over backwards trying to say they are good Christians and could just focus on policy.

    We will see.

    October 3, 2005

    Christian conservatives need to repudiate this guy

    CNN.com - Giving 'The Hammer' his due - Oct 3, 2005: "It could simply be that Tom Delay and Democrats bring out the worst in each other. The Texan, proudly proclaiming his Christian faith, still admits, 'I've never been able to understand that 'turn your other cheek' stuff,' while regularly questioning the patriotism of Americans on the other side of the aisle."

    Just pointing out. Tom Delay acts ruthlessly and abuses his enemies or anyone who doesn't support him. Yeah, you know, just like Jesus.

    So, religious right people. You need to remember that you are identified by your friends and enemies. When your friends are people like Delay, it is hard to speak the Christian faith with a straight face, isn't it?

    October 1, 2005

    Conservatives seek to destroy our government

    And, as Reed Hundt relates in "A true story about Bill Bennett," that most certainly includes public education.

    At any rate, since Mr. Bennett had been Secretary of Education I asked him to support the bill in the crucial stage when we needed Republican allies. He told me he would not help, because he did not want public schools to obtain new funding, new capability, new tools for success. He wanted them, he said, to fail so that they could be replaced with vouchers,charter schools, religious schools, and other forms of private education.

    This is the part that bugs me. Most conservatives I know do not hate government--nor do they hate public schools. They want effective and efficient government. They want better public schools, not the elimination of public schools. Why do all these conservatives support idiots like Bennett and Bush?