March 21, 2007


And wondering just when Al Gonzales will want to spend more time with his family. When we arrived last night, we heard Bush talking tough--wanting Rove and Miers to meet with congressional oversight, but in private, with no transcript, and not under oath.

President Jesus indeed.


Speaking of that, "Entire Field Of Credible Dem Candidates Has Gotten Fewer Divorces Than Rudy Alone" yet it is the Republican party that cares about family, right? Of course.

And less we forget, there is this:
"George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states. More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates."
In fact, the Bible Belt has the hightest divorce rates of anyone.


Speaking of Bible Belt madness, we drove past the subtleCROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST MINISTRIES outside Groom, Texas. Everytime I see one of these ginormous crosses, I wonder if these evangelical conservatives have ever read the story of the Tower of Babel? But then again, I wonder if those putting up Ten Commandment monuments have ever read the part about worshiping idols. Or why those who display the decal of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) praying to a cross even though that is a bootleg and copyright infringement. WWJD?


steve s said...

Interesting. Do most evangelicals really make that big of a deal about divorce in regards to candidates? I know some must. I belong to what what many would call an evangelical church, and I can honestly say that I have never heard anyone make that big of a deal about this. We have plenty of divorced and remarried people.

I wonder if this is more due to the candidates making a big deal of this and trying to show how "family" oriented they are.

As for the divorce data, I did some extensive research on divorce 2 years ago and don't remember reading anything reliable about a correlation between religious beliefs and divorce rates. Census data can be very unreliable in some areas, so I am interested if they used any other studies.

It also looks like Gonzales is on his way out. Bush said he is doing a good job, which sounds an awful lot like, "hey Brownie, you're doing a heckava job."

Streak said...

Many conservative evangelicals do, and have pushed for restrictions on divorce or the "covenant marriage" idea. What puzzles me the most, however, is the assumption that those outside the conservative evangelical church are anti-family--which I think is clearly pushed by people like James Dobson.

Tony said...

I see Streak's point about anti-family--Dobson clearly believes that liberals are out to destroy families and they have no idea what a true family is.

Yet John Edwards, who Dobson would put in the liberal category, has been happily married for years and his marriage has survived the loss of a child and he's had two more since; plus, his wife has had breast cancer and he has stood beside her through it. Doesn't look like Edwards is anti-family.

And also Massachusetts having the lowest divorce rate in the country, yet they are probably one of the most liberal; have to be blind or foolish not to see the correlation.

One of the most heart-wrenching things I see as a minister of the Gospel is people betraying their marriage vows yet touting that "I'm born again."

This is definitely an area where the religious right needs to get the plank out of their own eye first.

Streak said...

Yeah, Tony, and despire my personal dislike of Hillary Clinton, she and Bill have maintained a marriage through some pretty intense pressures. Yet, for the right, they are the anti-christ on family issues.

Bootleg Blogger said...

I think it would be fun to REALLY explore "biblical" marriage sometime. I think there are lots of assumptions about what marriage entails, especially what it means to "get married" and how much of it is cultural vs biblical. We've heard alot about "Protecting" marriage lately- I wonder what version of marriage they are talking about. I see many religious folk getting all up-tight about protecting the civil definition of marriage- kind of funny if you think about it. Not much about protecting committed, loving relationships. A devotional I read recently used the passage on Jacob meeting Esau as he returned home with his family after having run for his life years earlier. The concubines were up in front of the line and the TWO wives were further back. Funny how fundamentalists embrace so much old testament stuff literally when convenient e.g. when coming up with positions on homosexuality or war, but conveniently write other passages off with deference to culture e.g. polygamy, concubines, etc... Like you say so often, I don't mind their inconsistency so much as long as they aren't blind to it and using it to moralize something down our throats like preemptive war. I'll stop there. Later-BB

steve s said...

Personally, I could care less what kind of marriage our president has, at has no bearing on how they lead. I know that some make a big deal about this, but I would rather have a president that was faithful to the Constitution, though I am not suggesting that you can't be faithful to both the Con. and your spouse.

There is plenty of hypocricy in politics and this is certainly an example of some on the part of republicans and evangelicals. I think there are plenty of elements of society that are anti-family, though I think it is unfair to categorize Democrats as being anti-family without pointing out what specifically they are promoting as anti-family.

Streak said...

Steve, I agree. I think we should focus on leadership and decisions. And I also agree that there are many elements going against family--and some of them are Republican and some of them are in leadership. And yes, some of them are in Hollywood and in the DNC.

steve s said...

Many of those elements are outside of the control of the gov't, such as the entertainment industry.

Tony said...

There is a large segment of the American population, and not just the RR, that thinks that a leader's morality ought to transcend his ability to lead or interpret law or the Constitution.

I do not think that the two are mutually exclusive but his or her morality will affect leadership capabilities and we have the empirical evidence to back that up.

For the president, a nationally elected leader, though his primary thrust should NOT be to lead a moral life, he is an important example in this area.

A case in point is Clinton. His "deed" in the Oval Office persuaded kids like never before that illicit oral sex is perfectly acceptable. People, especially kids, learn by example. Clinton's encounter with Lewinsky was the talk of the Sunday School halls for months, even years, afterward.

It may not have been a big deal overall and I agree it was not. It has been blown (no pun intended) way out of proportion. My point though is that though Clinton may have been good leader, the generation of teenagers during his era remember him as the president who got a BJ. Bush has done a lot more dastardly things and I am not at all trying to defend him.

Many think morality is important, which is one reason we dislike Bush so much, correct?

But Streak, as we have already agreed, the Clintons', marriage survived and that is more than admirable. But what about three Repub presidential candidates who have multiple marriages between the three of them that exceed all those of the DNC candidates three to one?

Something is out of whack.

steve s said...

Tony, you raise a good point and I guess I wasn't trying to say that the morality of a leader didn't matter at all. Your example makes a good point and I certainly thinks it matters when a leader lies.

As for divorce, I just do see this as a major issue. Honestly, if Hillary divorced Bill after BJgate, I would have respected her and I think many people would have understood. OTOH, staying with him is her choice and not really any of my business.

I am saying that over-focusing (I am not sure this is even a word) tends to distract from the real issues. I know people that are voting for Hillary because she is a woman and have no clue what her stance is on any issue. I know people that are voting republican because they have always voted republican and don't even bother to understand the candidates.

As for why some voters will ignore the multiple marriages of some candidates, do you really think this is the only example of inconsistency? It is not like we have a whole lot of choices when it comes to candidates. I can honestly say I don't like any of the top 2 in either party right now. At this point, I will be voting for someone I do not want to be president.

Tony said...


over-focusing tends to distract from the real issues

In a convoluted way this was my point. A few digressions in morality can be excused, but when practices of immorality become habitual, I think a leader's effectiveness is compromised. It certainly was in Clinton's case.

Honestly, I don't know how Bush sleeps at night.

do you really think this is the only example of inconsistency?

No way. You cannot trumpet human rights and torture; justify preemptive war; throw out habeas; refuse to acknowledge mistakes or admit fault; and so the list goes.

Immorality tends to beget immorality. Honestly, I am not excited about any of the candidates either, esp none from the GOP. McCain will probably fall asleep at the wheel, Newt will abandon ship, and Huckabee and Brownback just seem to toe the RR line. With Rudy I just wonder why?

The only one that I even raise an eyebrow over is Obama, but the opinion is his experience will hinder him, even though he may be the best qualified. In the same way because some will vote for Hillary because she is a woman, some would vote for Obama because of his race.

But, I am digressing from the point; divorce certainly isn't the only issue that we should look at, but, if it degenerates into serial monogamy, something is horribly wrong at home or with the candidate, and we ought to take that into consideration.

Streak said...

Honestly, I don't know how Bush sleeps at night.

I think self-delusion is a pretty good sleep aid.

As for Obama, I must say that 7 years of Cheney's vaunted experience makes me doubt "experience" as an issue. If Obama can hire good people instead of soul-less borgs, then we will be fine.

steve s said...

What about Bill Richardson? I have heard people speak highly of him. I know a lot of republicans that would vote for him over Guiliani or Romney.

Streak said...

I would vote for Richardson without much concern. He has great experience as well as good ideas. I like him a lot. I would not be surprised to see him either make a push in the next 6 months to get some traction, or end up as a VP candidate.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- Alwayss something good over at your place. For me, I think sometimes breaking it down to the basics can help me in cutting through the fog that is our political system. If we are going to "over-focus" perhaps it should be on job performance. Granted, alot goes into that, but for the most part, clergy excepted, "moral" failings don't really come into our professional evaluations unless we allow them to affect our job performance, i.e. accomplishing the tasks for which we were hired. Exceptions to this are moral failings that are at the same time illegal, dishonest, or otherwise affect the work environment adversely. I'd love for the moral issues to get purged from our political system altogether. If ANYBODY gets blown by an aide in their office and then lies about it either in court or to their employers, they're going to be history. As president I'm thinking your job is to participate in budgetary oversight, commander in chief of the military, in charge of making sure the law is obeyed, represent our country internationally, and other "read between the lines" responsibilities not explicit in the constitution. If then, you consistently overspend the budget, get the country mired into a war with poor management and bad pretenses, lie about it, protect those that might not corroborate your lies, disregard the law, etc... then you should be history- out of a job. You suck at what you do. Move on. Too many times have I been in conversations with people who will even agree with me that Bush is professionally incompetant, but support him because of his "faith". In a given 4-8 year period there are going to be moral failings in individuals. If it looks like there haven't been it's just because it hasn't been made public. Did the person do the job they were hired to do within the laws and guidelines laid out for them? Of course it would be great if they were examples of character and integrity in everything they do- I'm not knocking someone having great character. However, I've fired people before who had pretty good character but couldn't do the job. Conversely, I've had some great employees whose personal lives were a disaster. As Americans we've gotten a little too comfortable as armchair psychologists who draw general character conclusions from moral failings e.g. "If you've been married three times then that tells me..... " Truth is, it probably doesn't tell you anything about the person's ability to perform her/his job. FWIW (not much)- BB