Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Religion and Politics

Religion, like salt, best serves its purpose in small and measured doses - too much, and the whole soup is spoiled.

The Huck ("addicted to money" a friend from Arkansas says) and Mitt Romney are now in a tight run for who "has more faith."

Huckabee is flat-out dangerous. Smooth, smarmy, unctuous, and totally utilitarian, like the preacher he was, he knows how to play the crowds and deliver sweetness laced with arsenic.

When it comes to "freedom requires religion, religion requires freedom," Romney couldn't be further from reality.

England and Holland are free without religion, and Saudia Arabia has plenty of religion without freedom - so what does Romney mean?

He's means nothing - he's throwing words around with a "religious" cachet to catch the ears of the sheep.

Jefferson's wall of separation deserves another hearing, and if America is going to be a great nation once again, one of the first rules: disentangle religion and politics so that both can survive intact. Marry them to one another, and both are lost, and their children are malicious idiots who pull wings off flies and torment the neighbor's dog.

Is the American public smart enough to see through the fog of religious rhetoric?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

California Auto Emissions

Excuse me.

California can't impose it's own standards on auto emissions because this would cause confusion among the states?

I see.

But states acting alone on the matter of abortion is just fine! Because it fits the hyper-evangelical strategy to divide and conquer.


Why does the RP speak out of both sides of its mouth - touting states' rights for one thing and denying them for another?

I don't think I have to answer that.

Everyone knows already how bankrupt is the RP leadership under Cheny and gang! What with its diabolical arrangement with hyper-evangelical Christianity and its devotion, never to people, not even to this nation, but only to corporate profits and power.

Enough already.

It's time to put them out to pasture, and I don't care who the Dems nominate ... whoever they put forth, she or he is likely to embrace a larger vision and a far richer compassion! It's time for the United States to shed the shackles of Scrooge's greed and reclaim its greatness!

May it be so, and it can't be soon enough!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tony Blair

Tony Blair is now a Roman Catholic.

All of this under the radar screen ... as he put it recently, "Folks in England don't talk about their faith for fear of being perceived a nutter."

How right he is.

And we've a bevy of nutters and have had them front and center for too long.

These nutters are big scams - using the language of faith to promote their political agenda.

We need a return to a non-religious political climate where issues are examined and positions taken on the merits of the issue and the best possible solutions. We need political leaders who lead with intelligence rather than hiding their lack of political savvy behind faith, who are knowledgeable about international trade and the history of nations, who may well be persons of faith within, and may well go to church, mosque or synagogue, but will refuse to use their faith as a wedge issue.

Time and again, we've learned that "faith" gives no one a leg up on the issues; what religion does, I'm afraid, is define ideological borders, dividing folks against one another, and positioning some on the high moral ground while relegating others to the realms of the morally bankrupt.

I'm a Christian ... and my love of Christ informs my view of the world, but no one, no matter how thoroughly informed by faith, can say with any certainty how faith interfaces with the world, and surely by now we should have all learned how uncertain the process is.

Sadly, faith is too often called upon to squelch opposition and to sanctify violence, and that, perhaps, is the most curious question of all: Why is religion so often called upon to sanction violence?

The linkage between faith and violence is a long and twisted story, and in spite of knowing its grim details, we continue to believe that "our violence" is good and the "other guy's violence" is bad.

Let's tell the nutters to shut up about their faith and deliver intelligent and intelligible opinions on the world-challenging matters: a degraded environment, children and war, malnutrition and economic inequality, the need for a national health-care program, a revised and morally responsible tax system, and a thousand lesser or greater needs afflicting and affecting humanity.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Holidays

I'm a Christian ... and I really don't care if folks say "Happy Holidays" - because there's more than one holiday, or holy day, for lots of different folks.

And more power to 'em all.

"Our enemy," a very wise man once said to me, "is never a person of another faith, but the acids of a raging secularism that saps the human spirit of meaning and anything remotely resembling real hope."

I'm tired, really tired, of the Christian Wrong setting the terms of the so-called "culture wars" - nonsense. These folks relish a fight and are likely to see a demon behind every newscast and under ever pulpit not signed up and rightly aligned with their silly little world.

And, by he way, the "X" in Xmas is a Christian invention, being the first Greek letter of the name of Christ ... Christians invented the symbol long before the world picked up on it.

So, rather than the silly "Put Christ back into Xmas," I say, "Keep X in Christmas," or more appropriately, in our hearts and in our actions.

For 300 years, the Christian family did just fine under persecution and whatnot, without the support of either state or culture, and only when those two got on board to save their own necks, did the church become a power-monger and invent such delicacies as the inquisition to coerce a confession out of so-called heretics so that when they were killed by the church and state, their soul, at least, would flit off to heaven, or more likely, purgatory.

There is no culture war, there is no danger of the church losing any battles, and surely the church is not under attack - these are the imaginings of little minds who can only think in military terms about their faith, who love to scare folks, because scared folks are easily manipulated into giving big bucks to the cause and doing and saying as they're told.

So, Happy Holidays, whatever your holiday might be.

We're all in this together, and together, we welcome God, as we know God, as we understand God, into our world.

Yes, I'm a Christian, full-blown and delighted, but I'll stand beside folks of other persuasions, and beside folks of no persuasion at all, because only as we walk arm-in-arm can we make this a better world.

Friday, December 7, 2007

CIA Tapes

How far we've sunk under this "righteous" president and his right-wing cronies - taking us for fools and belligerently telling the rest of the civilized world to stuff it.

At every turn of the hour, new revelations of corruption and failure - how about Blackwater, how about the billion dollars worth of lost equipment in Iraq, secret prisons, Halliburton - the failure to rebuild New Orleans, 40 million uninsured Americans, and Carl Rove, one of the meanest men in all of God's creation.

Who could care if Bush and gang would just be their corrupt selves, but hiding behind flag and faith compounds their crimes against the Republic.

And the greatest sadness of all (though Rove understood this): millions of unthinking religious folk who buy the language, think no further than the words of faith, and continue to vote for and support these corrupt people who use the abortion and homosexual issues to pull the wool over their eyes.

I fault Rove, but more, I fault the millions of pew-sitting Americans who confuse their faith with the square footage of their home and Jesus with the flag-waving rhetoric of their narrow-minded leaders.

God's people, informed by the prophetic traditions of Isaiah and Hosea, ought to know better ... God's people should know and understand how government works, how power corrupts, and how to recognize the signs.

I take no delight in any one's death, but the passing of Falwell and Kennedy has cleansed the airwaves of their toxic preaching. Their sanctimonious pronouncements, and for Kennedy, all dressed up in his doctoral robes and pseudo-intellectual style, created a spirit of ill-will and even hatred in the hearts of millions of Americans.

As the days and months unfold, the record of corruption and deceit will grow longer. This presidency will go down in history as our worst, and it's likely that many of its hirelings will go to jail.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More lies?

While our best intelligence folk were hard at work determining the shut-down status of Iran's nuclear bomb program, our president was rattling the saber and talkin' Texas tough.

More lies?

As with Saddam's WMDs?

What's up with Bush? Does he ache for war? Does he and his gang get some kind of a rush with all of this?

Or is he just a Texas schoolyard bully who knows only how to intimidate?

I don't get it.

More lies?

I think so!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Teacher Freed

The teacher is freed!

Good News on all fronts.

Though many in the Islamic world feel put upon by Western values, and rightly so, the voice of sanity has prevailed, and that will make Islam even stronger in its relationship to the West.

Strength is flexibility ... the greatest of all weaknesses, intransigence!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Islamic Progress

20 British Muslims protested in front of the Sudanese Embassy in London demanding the immediate release of Gillian Gibbons.

Not many, but a good beginning.

A contrast to the Sudanese fundamentalists n Khartoum who called for her execution.

Somewhere along the line, Islam has to create a climate wherein Muslims can raise serious questions about the historicity of the Koran and all the other related intellectual issues that have driven much of Judaism and Christianity in the last 200 years.

Christianity and Judaism have their own brands of fundamentalists, and interestingly enough, these fundamentalist movements all generate violence - from attacking Palestinians to bombing abortion clinics.

Jesus raised serious questions about the Roman Empire, but firmly eschewed all forms of violence.

Violence begets violence, as the United States learns again and again, and its true for religons as well.

Fundamentalists forget that the best weapon with the greatest influence over the long haul of history is still the pen.