December 14, 2007

Electricity on--allows me to read news--updated

Is that a good thing?

Not when I see this:
On Tuesday, our brave US House passed HR 847 by a count of 327-9 recognizing 'the importance of Christmas and the Christian Faith', because - really, these days - what else possibly deserves more of their attention?
The sponsor was Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who - as Think Progress reported - voted against similar legislation honoring holidays of other faiths. He then appeared on Fox News to explain the real reasoning behind this - I suppose - innocuous, if annoying bill. His actual intentions are of course far more expansive....

In more of a speech than an interview, King explained that his motivation was to uphold America's status as a 'Christian nation.'

"It's time we stood up and said so, and said to the rest of America, Be who you are and be confident. And let's worship Christ and let's celebrate Christmas for the right reasons."

Yes, what a great use of our House of Representatives--to defend Christmas. And how obnoxious for a sitting congressman to say that American has to worship Christ. Tony also posted on this and suggests that the King's legislation was a rather spiteful response to other equally useless resolutions recognizing other religions. No doubt that Congress could find other things to spend more time on, right? Energy legislation, Iraq, actual oversight?



Speaking of obnoxious, during our ice storm (or right before) some deranged person shot up two religious establishments in Colorado. I am sure you saw this. A horrible tragedy, and I am so sorry for those who lost family and friends. I am also sorry for the deranged individual who clearly was mentally disturbed.

So how did the Family Research Council respond?
If you are Tony Perkins, this is a time to whine, portray yourself as a victim and make utterly tactless comparisons between the shooting and alleged "hostility" toward Christians in the media.
In a statement e-mailed to supporters yesterday, this is what Perkins had to say: "It is hard not to draw a line between the hostility that is being fomented in our culture from some in the secular media toward Christians and evangelicals in particular and the acts of violence that took place in Colorado yesterday. But I will say no more for now other than that our friends at New Life Church and YWAM are in our thoughts and prayers."
So any criticisms of people like Tony Perkins fuels this kind of violence? Talk To Action reports that the shooter grew up in a deeply religious Christian family. As the blog notes, it would be irresponsible and offensive to blame that upbringing for the shooting, but Tony Perkins sees no problem in blaming it on liberals and secularists.


Eugene Robinson (one of my favorite writers right now) suggests that Huckabee is truly the scariest of the frontrunners on the Republican side. I think he is far too soft on Giuliani, who, as far as I can tell, would take Bush's policies and double them--but I agree with his take on Huckagee as essentially "anti-reason."
I guess I worry even more about clear signs that he's simply not up to the job and that he's also not the nice guy he seems to be.

It matters that Huckabee seems to have been the last person in the country to learn that U.S. intelligence agencies now believe Iran ended its nuclear weapons program four years ago. And it matters that so much of his gorgeous rhetoric is devoid of actual meaning.

In the debate Wednesday, for example, he answered a question about education with an eloquent, and apparently learned, disquisition on left-brain and right-brain thinking and the need to teach art and music so that going to school isn't just a boring grind. That sounds great, until you recall that it's in the boring, grind-it-out subjects where American students are lagging. Did he mean that our schools should teach less math and science? Or was it just a bunch of words designed to convey a certain sophistication in his thinking?

Even more troubling is the way he deals with questions about Romney's Mormon faith. Huckabee studied theology as a seminarian, yet when asked about Mormonism he becomes a country bumpkin who doesn't know anything beyond the rumors he has heard. He apologizes later -- as he did this week for his false suggestion that Mormons believe Satan is Jesus's brother -- but by then, of course, the damage is done. Huckabee could easily allay fundamentalist voters' qualms about Romney's beliefs, or at least put them in context. He chooses not to.

Huckabee is quick on his feet and funny. He, for all his religious posturing, loves to take cheap shots at liberals, and likes to credit God for his poll numbers (Jesus evidently doesn't love Hillary). And, as I have said before, the most troubling thing for me is his desire to use his faith for votes, but then claim that he doesn't actually have to think about how that faith might, just maybe, question how he treats other people, and maybe, just maybe, stop him from pulling the same crass political stunts that his opponents do.


Ok, enough. The heat is back on and just in time. We are expecting snow tonight.

Updated Just saw Hitting Bedrock: Hagee: God is an unreliable vending machine and remembered the old days when I used to watch John Hagee out of some kind of perverse entertainment. He strikes me as one of the worst of the bunch--horrible theology, and seemingly a worse person. I still remember one of his sermons where he bragged about how badly he hurt another football player in high school. I don't remember the theology, but remember thinking that I didn't like this person.


steves said...

I thought the media response to the shootings was surprisingly even handed. There were a few mentions of Ted Haggard being the former pastor at the New Life Church, but I didn't sense any hostility towards Christianity from anyone except the person that shot all these people.

I am sure that more information will come out on the killer. He was obviously deranged. There are some copies of messages he posted on an anti-Christian website that show he had a great deal of rage. There have already been a variety of groups trying to exploit this tragedy and I expect there will be more.

Tony said...

I'm with Steve here--the media coverage has seemed pretty fair. But why should we expect better from Perkins? He has gotten to where he makes Dobson look tame.

Perkins sees all criticism as an attack and never legitimate. Then he telescopes it onto Christianity in general--an "attack" against him is against the name of Jesus Himself. Sad, really.

May the Murray family see especially God's blessings during this critical time.

Tony said...

About to hit the sack and I remembered I said something stupid. May God bless all the families affected--not just the Murray family. My apologies!

Rob said...

That's one of the most distressing things about the Christian Conservative bloc. They're essentially laying claim to the entirety of the religion, simply by being organized and rich and loud.

My mother is an intern pastor at a small protestant church in Missouri -- she's newly out of seminary, and working towards her first associate pastor gig -- and she's said more than once that it's hard to introduce some of the more progressive ideas of Christ to a congregation inured to feeling indignant and persecuted by "mainstream secular society." Whatever the eff that is.

So some of that is that particular congregation, of course, but some of it is also the discourse that Senators like Steve King and pastors like Tony Perkins perpetuate. Which is to say, discourse that allows them to keep laying claim to the whole legacy of Christ.

So my question is, where are the progressive churchmembers and pastors, and why aren't they yelling louder?