December 6, 2006


A few notes and then off to work. I am sure volfan will hate this, but yeah, I am annoyed at our President. And his supporters. I read over at Andrew Sullivan's blog (page not coming up right now) that Mary Cheney (Dick's gay daughter) is pregnant and living with her partner. Personally, I don't have a problem with that, but as volfan has made it clear, the administration's stance against the "gay agenda" is part of their deal. (I have no idea what the gay agenda is, btw).

It is fascinating to consider just how much evangelical conservatives fawned over Bush for his putative faith, yet said nothing about Cheney. Here is the most powerful Vice President in history (arguably) who says nothing about faith or the Bible or God or, well anything along those lines. Can you imagine James "gays are a bigger threat than poverty and the environment" Dobson's response to a gay Chelsea Clinton? I would imagine some comments about family disfunction and lack of moral guidance, blah blah blah.

Cheney gets a pass from them and it puzzles me. Perhaps while Bush can tap dance the "compassionate conservative" (whatever that means) lingo, Cheney is the real face of conservative belief. He doesn't care about the poor and makes no pretense that he does. He cares not a bit about the environment except as a way to make money. He is as unfeeling as Karl Rove, and has more power. From a basic evangelical perspective, he should not be popular, but he is.


Then this story about our President and Senator-elect Jim Webb.
At a recent White House reception, President Bush asked Sen.-elect Jim Webb (D-VA), “How’s your boy?” referring to Webb’s son Jimmy, who is serving in Iraq. Webb answered, “I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” to which Bush responded, “That’s not what I asked you.” Webb then replied, “That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President.”

The right wing has been attacking Webb for his reaction to Bush’s question. Last night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said Webb was “rude,” “inappropriate,” and “disrespectful,” because Bush was merely trying to extend a “nice gesture.” The National Review’s Corner called him “classless” and conservative columnist George Will labeled him “a boor.”

But according to Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Bush was told that Webb’s son had a recent brush with death in Iraq and was warned to be “extra sensitive” when talking to the Sen.-elect. ThinkProgress yesterday spoke with Moran’s office and confirmed the congressman’s statement, first reported by hcc in VA:

"Not only did Bush know about it, he was specifically briefed on the incident before meeting with Webb, and was cautioned to be extra sensitive in speaking with Webb about his son."

After such a briefing, Bush perhaps shouldn’t have been so surprised about Webb’s unwillingness to chit-chat about his son."

I wonder if Bush has so internalized his war President identity that he forgets the effort he took to avoid service in the 60s. Personally, I don't blame him for not wanting to go, but that should give him a sense of humility about people who actually served.


volfan007 said...

sigh, once again the bias is seen here. maybe bush heard about the near death experience and was genuinely concerned with his well being....thus, you ask the dad. good gracious! anything the man does is scrutinized to the nth degree and he is criticized for showing concern. wow!

also, about cheney...he cant help how his daughter lives. she's grown. if i had a child that chose to go gay....i would still love my child, but i would still be against making the gay lifestyle acceptable in our society...against putting gay books in the schools...against giving gay couple the same status as heterosexual know, the gay agenda.


Streak said...

Yeah, Volfan there is a bias, but it is yours. If you read the damn post clearly, the person who is snippy first is the President. Yes, he asked after Webb's son, but when Webb responded that he would like to get him home, the President said, "That's not what I asked."

He didn't have to respond that way. He could have just said, "I know you do, Senator," and moved on.

Yeah, those gay books are a problem. What happens when the lights are out?

No problems with censorship with you, right? Opposing the "gay agenda" means that you want to stop people from defending homosexuality?

volfan007 said...

homosexuality is a sin against God, and its perversion. so, of course, i am agianst it.

i do love gay people, and i would love nothing better than to see them get saved and turned strait by the power of the Lord.


Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak, good post. Any suggestion that Bush was showing concern I find laughable. It's hard to imagine what could be more contrary to his track record. I've been impressed, if not a little disappointed that you haven't been a little more Cheney-esqe in your response to the shallow drone that has recently frequented the blog. Trying not to stoop I guess :-)

Streak said...

Yeah, BB, I am trying to be good.


Do you recognize that you misread the story about Bush? Or is it you who is biased.

Second, does that mean you are for censoring books? We all know how you feel about homosexuality. But you are saying that even books about it should not be available?

Wasp Jerky said...

I don't have time to go into the questionable nature of the verses in the Bible about homosexuality. But, as I'm fond of pointing out, there are other sins that the Right has no problem with. Usury (aka charging interest) is a perfect example. Where is the Religious Right's condemnation of bankers?

It's also interesting to see how often Republicans shoot themselves in the foot over things like this. There are probably a lot of homosexuals who would vote Republican. Some still do. Republicans also lost a tremendous amount of Latino voters over immigration this past election. You can't alienate large segments of the population and still win elections.

volfan007 said...

for one thing...the verses dealing with homosexuality are very clear...very clear. also, usury is charging extreme interest...its not charging interest. its like a loan shark, or someone taking advantage of someone in desperate need of money.


are you talking about my daddy's roomate? or, i have two mommies? are those the books you are talking about? if so, then yes...i am for not allowing them to be in a childrens library. if you wanna buy them to be in your home, or in the college library, then get'em. but, i would definitely not want them in a childrens library to cause such confusion about things children are not ready to deal with. no more than i would want a playboy magazine in an elementary library.


Wasp Jerky said...

I'll deal with the homosexuality verse question later, but your definition of usury is incorrect. That may be what the word means now, but it isn't what it meant at the time the Old Testament was written. Charging interest on loans was prohibited by God.

volfan007 said...


i beg to differ. i dont have my concordance and bible dictionary and other helps with me at the moment, but i will try to get you this info later. usury was excessive interest on a loan. now, the bible does say to help the poor and needy and not charge them interest, and again, i am home and not in my office. so,i cant give you chapter and verse off the top of my head.

romans 1 is enough to clearly show that homosexuality is a sin against God. there are others as well, but thats enough.


Streak said...

Well, I would suggest that however you define "usury" it is a problem in our country today, and one that the conservative Christian community ignores. Just look at the poor's access to credit and tell me that it is not usury. Those paycheck stores, credit cards, etc. All of them play on charging exorbitant rates to people who can't afford it.

If the conservative Evangelical movement ever raises a fuss about poverty, the kind of exploitation I just described, or environmental destruction that also harms the poor, then I will respect them. Until then, I await more gnashing of teeth about gay people and ten commandments statues, to say nothing of the "War on Christmas."


volfan007 said...

i....a conservative evangelical...cry out against usury...especially in the ghettos where it hurts the poor. of course, no one is holding a gun to the heads of the poor and making them go to these places, but we dont want to get bogged down in saying that people are responsible for thier behavior. its always easier to say with flip wilson...the devil made me do it. or, with curly on the three stooges....i was a victim of circumstance.

but, i stand opposed to usury.


Streak said...

That's right, screw the poor. If they are "redlined" by the banks, or cut off from government financing, then it is up to them to avoid usury.

Oh right, I forget. The playing field is level.

Anonymous said...


Hope you don't mind me weighing in on this usury discussion.

The church had a virtual 1,500 year history of prohibiting usurious lending. Usury had a pre-Reformation definition of simply lending money at interest. Period.

As the theological landscape of Europe began to change during the Reformation, so did general attitudes about usury. Imagine that, a shift in theological thinking concurrent with contemporary events?

Would anyone have a guess as to who overhauled the generally accepted practice of not charging interest?


John Calvin.

Some writers suggest that Calvin's turnabout was the result of a profound awareness of the changing world scene, while others suppose that Calvin's shift in thinking was a consequence of his desire to broach the usury question in terms of the structure of society.

However, Calvin assigned the individual believer a place of primacy within his financial ethic of usury; basically, that people have "needs" and that trumps God's law. These emphases led him to reject the church's traditional ban on usurious lending and to endorse a structured employment of the practice of usury.

But hey, John Calvin formulated the modern practice, so it must be OK, right?

In short, the church as a whole officially rejected the idea of usury from the earliest centuries of Christianity until the start of the Reformation. NO church patriarch advocated the usage of unbridled usury and the list of patriarchs, if anyone cares, that opposed lending money at interest is quite impressive:

Clement of Alexandria, Philo, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, APollinius, Lactantius, Commodianus, Hilary of Poitiers, Athanasius, basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Leo the Great.

ubub said...

So, Tony, does this mean that a Five Point Calvinist is best understood in terms of APR?
I joke, but truly appreciate the history lesson.

Thank you for your patience and willingness to lay out your understandings of these issues, both secular and theological, in a way that allows me to follow your thought process, and carefully reflect on what you are saying.

Even where we might disagree, it helps me to understand and to honor the position you have taken and the decisions that might stem from it.

Streak said...

Tony, great comment and very interesting (no pun intended).

In short, the church as a whole officially rejected the idea of usury from the earliest centuries of Christianity until the start of the Reformation.

This is intriguing as well, since the Reformation (though most of us accept it as necessary given the corruption of the church) had as an unintended consequence the unleashing of individualism. Individualism, which of course, is also necessary for the development of market capitalism.

Bootleg Blogger said...

This may be an urban legend, but wasn't the lack of intra-faith lending (along with other factors) related to the pockets of Jews established in many far flung Christian communities as ethnic minorities? My understanding is that the cross-faith lending at interest was allowed? I've heard that for years but can't actually quote a source.-BB

Anonymous said...


For the record, I am not a five pointer. :)

I appreciate the interaction and the fair hearing. Thank you. :)


Do you find it ironic that Calvin is ultimately resonsible for evangelicalism's disjointed view on usury, as do I?

Streak said...


I think it is quite funny.