Sunday, November 14, 2004

Invoking the "L" Word or What Would Jesus Think?

Now that the hurley burley of the election is over, I intend to return to the general theme of this blog -- writing. However, I do reserve the right to make comments re: politics, etc. as I see fit. This is one blog I've felt required to write and so I'll get it out of the way.

I am finding the current radicalized of Christianity a very disturbing trend. A prime example is the following, a congratulatory letter penned by Bob Jones III to Pres. Bush (full text of letter can be found here - It pretty much states what Evangelical Conservatives expect in the next four years.

In your re-election, God has graciously granted America though she doesn't deserve it a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You have been given a mandate. We the people expect your voice to be like the clear and certain sound of a trumpet. Because you seek the Lord daily, we who know the Lord will follow that kind of voice eagerly.

Don't equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ. Honor the Lord, and He will honor you. ...It is easy to rejoice today, because Christ has allowed you to be His servant in this nation for another presidential term. Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government. You have four years—a brief time only—to leave an imprint for righteousness upon this nation that brings with it the blessings of Almighty God.

...Pull out all the stops and make a difference. If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them. Conservative Americans would love to see one president who doesn't care whether he is liked, but cares infinitely that he does right.


I found particular phrases (those in bold) very disturbing. Liberals supposedly "despise" Christ so it's okay to demonize them? I can imagine a few of my religiously observant so-called Liberal friends being rather offended by that. "Biblical norm" is now the standard for religious freedom, freedom of speech? Who decides what is and isn't Biblical norm? Is blasphemy soon to be punishable by death like it is in other parts of the world? And how do you define blasphemy?

Folks, does this sound familiar? Remove the word "Biblical" and add "Koranic" and you got it. Radical religious groups only see their own righteous agenda and anyone who gets in their way are expendable. Yes, you are right to argue that Bob Jones doesn't represent all of the Christian Right. That would be true. But he's not the only one calling on Mr. Bush to pay the bill for his re-election. That's what makes me nervous.

So I propose a homework assignment -- go get your Bible, dust it off if you haven't read it recently and reread the New Testament. In particular, read the words of Jesus. The man was, to use the modern term, a liberal. He challenged the establishment and preached a humane approach toward his fellow man. He scorned the hidebound Sadducees and tried to teach his fellow Jews about love, turning the other cheek, helping the poor and about justice.

I see nothing in Bob Jones' letter that speaks of justice or caring for the poor. Turning the other cheek is noticeably absent. Since he and his fellows are so causal in evoking Jesus, let me ask this -- what would the prophet of Nazareth think if this bunch?

I leave it to you to do the homework and decide for yourself.

May Peace Reign...


Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'm Weirdly at Peace

Somewhere Osama is smiling and giving a thumbs up at his television set. His best recruiter just got re-elected. Allah has been merciful.

And perhaps that's the point. Perhaps G*d in His/Her wisdom knows that Dubya needs to be in office four more years, for whatever reason. Where that unnerves me to no end given the erosion of freedom in this country (all in the name of national security) I just have to trust the Almighty has a plan. So in that respect, I agree with the evangelical Christians on this one --- Bush is in this office for a reason. I suspect that my theory won't be the same as theirs, however. Often the purpose of one's life is soley to serve as a warning to others. Perhaps it is G*d's intention to have us understand how incredibly bad it can get before we wake up and stop taking democracy for granted.

The bigger questions are -- will democracy as we know (knew) it survive four more years of the Patriot Act, the under-the-radar dealings of the White House and our foreign involvement in Iraq (Iran/Syria -- insert name of Muslim country)? Only time will tell.

I suspect the next four years are going to be, in short, damned ugly. There is every indication we're going to veer closer to a religious theocracy, renouncing our heritage as a nation of the many with tolerance toward all. We all know how well religious theocracies work -- we only need look at the radical Islamic model for proof.

And perhaps that's the Almighty's point -- walk your own religious path, but do not impose it on others against their will. All in all, maybe Dubya is doing us a favor.

I hope that's the case. Any other scenario won't let me sleep at night.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

One Person, One Vote -- Democracy in Action

It's a wonderful feeling -- the opportunity to walk into a voting booth and either fiddle with a handful of paper or play with a touchscreen and cast your vote. Outside there isn't the sound of gunfire, the sound of explosions nor is someone handing you a ballet with a menacing glare that indicates your choice better be the 'official' party line or life could get very nasty.

Democracy only works when its people care enough to vote. Obviously, Americans care enough as record turnout is in progress even as I type. Good. That's the way it should be. Losing one's ability to vote is the first step in the downhill slide toward a totalitarian regime. And if don't think we can go that way, well, you shoulda paid attention during history class.

This election has been damned ugly. No other way to put it. I found myself wishing Clinton was a candidate on more than one occasion. But he's done his bit and now can watch from the sidelines.

What will the next four years hold for America? No clue. I did find Osama's recent video tape annoying. He's still thumbing his nose at us, draining our bank account and rhapsodizing about how the tragic souls in the Twin Towers were probably thinking about failed American policy as they perished. That's bull. They probably had no clue what was happening to them. And if they did, my final moments on earth would not be thinking of OBL (other than wishing him a speedy trip to Hell), but rather my family and all the things I didn't get to achieve.

And that's the worst thing about indiscriminate death -- it robs us of our future. May the next four years help us find a way in this murky and dangerous world, with allies at our side.

Good luck, Mr. President... you're going to need it.