Restoring Sanity

There’s definitely something rotten in Denmark, denizens. But don’t say that to these TEA baggers. They’ll start lecturing you about how Denmark is one of those evil Socialist countries. And Socialism starts with an S…just like Satan. Who is obviously Obama, because he is trying to turn America into a Socialist country by wanting things like universal health care so that American families don’t go through the horrors like my family has gone through at the hands of Capitalist doctors who, when they no longer saw the profit in treating my mother, sent her home with the instructions to my father that he should “let nature take its course.”

Obviously, this is a touchy subject for me. But I think it should be a touchy subject for anyone possessing even a shred of reason. Think about what happened here in D.C., denizens. On the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we witnessed what could quite possibly be considered a nail in the coffin of that dream. And I’m speaking about both rallies, which were each divisive in their own ways. Beck and his predominantly White followers versus Al Sharpton and his slightly more diverse but still predominantly Black opposing rally (and neither side seeming to get the sad irony of the situation at all). How could anyone look at these events and for an instant believe that King’s dream could be anything but close to DOA at the feet of Abraham Lincoln’s monument? His vision was for a blending of colors, a coming together of beliefs, opinions, ideas. Judge me on the content of my character, not the color of my skin.

Somewhere along the way, we became incredibly derailed.

Beyond the issues of race, however, is the offensiveness of the wording of Beck’s clarion call to his brainwashed masses. Restore America. Restore Honor. Turn America back toward God.

What does all of this mean? Making certain that you’re allowed to continue to make second-class citizens of fellow Americans for the “crime” of not conforming to the questionably translated beliefs of your unproven god? Or that you be allowed to deny something as basic and deserved as good health to those who cannot afford it…not because they’re not trying but because they can’t find the work they need to give them access to health care. And why is that? Because politicians have unilaterally, and in many instances bipartisanly, sold out the American blue-collar worker by allowing corporations to outsource jobs to the lowest bidder. Whatever it takes to make sure they win the most at playing this Capitalist game, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. Damn the blue-collar workers as well.

So stand around like little sheep, spewing your Beck-prepared and Palin-approved jingo dingo lingo while wearing your Communist Chinese-made American flag shirts and hats and fanny packs, waving your Communist Chinese-made American flags, sitting in your Communist Chinese-made American flag folding chairs (but keep damning Cuba for its evil, evil Communist ways!). Wrap yourself in Old Glory and hide your true purpose behind the stacks of dead soldiers you conjure in your liturgy, never once mentioning the erroneous and debatably felonious war (started by your last president to hold office…you know, the same president that drop-kicked us into the middle of this ever-widening sea of debt with his “fiscal conservative” spending sprees and his unending wars) for which they were killed. Stand up and spout the Pledge of Allegiance when the lemming call comes for you to do so.

Never mind that the pledge was written by a self-acclaimed Christian Socialist. See? There’s that evil “S” word again. The pledge’s author, Francis Bellamy, believed that the tenets of Christianity and Socialism were interrelated philosophies. I wonder how long Bellamy could have stood on stage at yesterday’s rally before Dreck’s…sorry, I mean Beck’s bleating hordes booed him off.

I bet they would be more forgiving of Bellamy, however, if they were allowed to do his original salute for the pledge. The original salute wasn’t placing your hand over your heart. It was instead quite similar to what would soon enough become famous as the Nazi salute. Ironic, isn’t it? Okay, probably not. It’s all good, though, just as long as you slap in “under God” thanks to all that jingoistic McCarthy panic of the 1950s. And click your heels together while you say it. Then you’ll be back home in your Communist Chinese-made Republican utopia.

I wish I could give this more thought. Wait. No, I don’t. I still don’t quite understand what has happened to us as a country. But I must admit that I am losing a great deal of respect and hope for us all. And it has nothing to do with restoring honor, whatever on earth that is code for this time. It’s about my continued wish for restoring intelligence, reason, and integrity, traits that have become almost completely extinct on both sides of the fence, both among the politicians and the people.

It’s been a very long time since I felt anything more than apathetic disdain toward the downward spiral of stupidity being propagated in this country. I have to say, though, that this rally has sparked within me a great deal of anger and disgust. And fear. Fear that we are locked into goose-stepping toward utter brainless chaos, led to the slaughter by our emotions since it’s obvious that we sacrificed our intelligence a long, long time ago. Does anyone else feel the same as I do? Could there possibly be as many people as me, as equally upset and afraid at how easily we as a country can be manipulated by those who have motives far more sinister and ulterior than the patriotic pabulum that they spoon-feed their followers? What if we all got together and rallied in Washington? Could we make a difference?

The Face of Modern Sedition

SEDITION: Incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.

During a recent visit to see my father, we had an interesting conversation concerning politics (as we are wont to do; I don’t think I’ve ever had a prolonged conversation with him in which politics didn’t become part of the discussion). He pointed out something concerning recent attitudes within the Republican party, especially these darned TEA baggers, that he believes is cause for concern. It’s one of those “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it” scenarios that he believes isn’t being taken as seriously as it should be taken, especially by the politicians in power right now.

He reminded me about my own country’s history (which I admittedly don’t pay as much attention to as I should) by pointing out that one of the leading instigators behind the American Civil War was Abraham Lincoln’s election as president. Before Lincoln was even sworn in, 11 Southern states declared they were seceding from the Union to form the Confederate States of America. Outgoing president James Buchanan and Lincoln both declared this secession to be a rebellion.

Sedition.

That moment in our history led to the pitting of American against American, and ended with more than 600,000 dead and more than 400,000 wounded. Hard to believe that fewer than 200 years ago, we were “refreshing the tree of liberty” with the blood of our own.

Ah, there’s a frightening quote being bantered about by Republicans. Back in 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

[Loba Tangent: I wonder how these “Moral Majority” Christian conservatives within the Republican party feel about Jefferson’s stance on religion. He is, after all, the same person who wrote things like, “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear,” and “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.” Ooh, or how about this one: “If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise than as if it had happened in a fair or market.”]

So we have people like William Kostric, the gentleman pictured to the right. In 2009, he attended a protest outside a town hall meeting on health care reform in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He carried a sign that read “It is time to water the tree of liberty.” In the center of this sign is visible the snake graphic from the Gadsden flag, which stated beneath the snake, “Don’t Tread On Me.” Kostric had a loaded 9mm gun visibly strapped to his leg. President Obama was in attendance at this meeting.

When interviewed by Chris Matthews, Kostric didn’t think it was “a relevant question” to be asked why he brought a loaded gun to a presidential meeting. I’m not going to post a link to this interview, because I honestly found Matthews’ combative interviewing style to be appalling, but I do find Kostric’s response disturbing. As a former student of literary analysis, I was taught to look for meaning in many forms, including symbolism. And I have to say, there is pretty clear meaning in the image of someone strapped with weaponry holding a sign about watering the tree of liberty (especially knowing how that quote ends in bloodshed), standing outside a location where the President of the United States is in attendance.

Regardless of what I think of Obama as President, I find this kind of behavior frightening. I find the feigned innocence, like Kostric’s comment that Matthews was asking irrelevant questions about his gun-toting antics, to be even more frightening.

Especially when similar sentiments surface in the speeches of people running for political positions. People like Sharron Angle. I’ve been keeping tabs on her for a while. She is a TEA Bagger currently trying to unseat Harry Reid as one of Nevada’s U.S. Senators. She’s said some pretty…interesting things throughout her run for Reid’s seat.

Things like she’d like to see the complete elimination of the U.S. Department of Education. Or that the separation of church and state is unconstitutional. Or that unemployment benefits have spoiled Americans from wanting to go and find real work (although she’s also on record as stating that it would not be her responsibility as a U.S. Senator to bring jobs to Nevada, which currently is the state with the highest unemployment rate, at more than 14 percent).

However, it’s her stance on the Second Amendment of the Constitution that worries me the most. During an interview with Lars Larson, Angle is quoted as saying the following:

Our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason, and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.

Second Amendment remedies? It’s time to water the tree of liberty?

I don’t care how much Angle backpedals regarding her Second Amendment remedies. I don’t care how irrelevant Kostric thinks Matthews’ questions about him toting a loaded weapon outside a presidential town hall meeting might be. Both of these people have put forward imagery and ideas that translate to one thing: armed uprising against the government. Bloodshed.

Sedition.

Am I reading too much into these instances? I don’t think so. I think these things were said or performed in the hopes that people would analyze them and find meaning in the inferences. Do I think there are enough people in this country willing to answer the call for an uprising? I honestly don’t know anymore. I recently read a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center on a group that calls itself the “Sovereign Citizens.” Begun back in the 1970s, now more than 300,000 people claim to be members. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Sovereign Citizens movement is:

…a loosely organized collection of groups and individuals who have adopted a right-wing anarchist ideology originating in the theories of a group called the Posse Comitatus in the 1970s. Its adherents believe that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate and they seek to “restore” an idealized, minimalist government that never actually existed. To this end, sovereign citizens wage war against the government and other forms of authority using “paper terrorism” harassment and intimidation tactics, and occasionally resorting to violence.

“Occasionally resorting to violence.” Such as when father and son Sovereign Citizens killed two police officers during a traffic stop in May of this year.

Perhaps this is the ultimate way to destroy America. Terrorists need do nothing more than sit back and watch us destroy ourselves. Seems like we’re already on the way there. I can only hope that reason is still strong enough to prevail. Admittedly, though, I’m really beginning to wonder…

Country Music is So…Gay?

I’ve been keeping a secret from you, denizens, but now it’s time I come out.

I used to be a major country music fan.

I know, I know. That statement just sparks WTFery, right? I am the one, after all, who often reminisces quite fondly about my metal hair days and I even recently expressed my still-bright love for old school rap and go-go. But there was a period of time in my life when I traded in my metal cred and my go-go bounce for the love of a little slide guitar and fiddle.

How did this happen? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I know it involved patient but persistent prodding from a very good friend whose veins ran hot for country. It was her ultimate goal, I think, to convert as many of her friends as possible. And, for a brief moment in time, she succeeded in convincing me that country music was worth my time.

Then, however, came the Bush administration and all the über-jingoistic insanity that went with it. And there went my love for country. Music, that is (don’t think I don’t know what you jingo dingoes say about my traitorous liberal bleeding heart commie kind being America haters).

Here, in fact, is the original blog post I made on September 9, 2006, to ring the death knell for my country music love:

It’s been over for a while now. We were just going through the motions because…well, we’d been together for more than 10 years and we were comfortable together, even in our mutual unhappiness. We had changed so much, especially in the past few tumultuous years, that there really was no more common ground on which we could agree. So we met for one more time last night. It seemed at times to be as great as it had been when we first met. But there was the taint of change still there, still reminding me that it will never be truly that great again. At the end of the evening, we parted ways, perhaps not for good but at least for a while.

And so comes to an end my love affair with country music. It couldn’t have been a better ending though – third row seats for Terri Clark. In the words of Wayne Campbell, she wails. I’ve always loved her voice and her lyrics as well as how, throughout her career, she has remained different among the bevy of Nashville Barbies. It was a strength that added to her allure. I think right now though, even she is relenting to the deluge of jingoism roiling through the country camp. Though she’s not draping herself in red, white, and blue, she has definitely undergone a shift that has dimmed her uniqueness just enough to be noticeable by long-time fans.

I will continue to listen to Terri Clark’s CDs, as I will continue to listen to the country CDs that I have purchased over the years. It’s a small collection, to be sure, but truly representative of why I loved country music in the first place. I was drawn to it for its simplicity, its honesty, its honky tonk chords and whiskey-soaked vocals. Now, however, there has been a pervasive attitude shift, and the simplicity has been replaced by simple-mindedness. And that’s my stop.

I think what sealed the fate of my love affair was last night, staring at the no-neck beer keg two rows in front of me who was wearing a T-Shirt that posed the following philosophical question: “What do deer and women have in common?” From the drawing of a mounted deer head with large antlers next to a buxom blonde wearing a camouflage bikini, I figured the answer would have to include the word “rack.” But no, it wasn’t even that clever. He leaned forward and I saw the answer: “The hornier the better.”

At that moment, I understood: These were not my people and I was not their people. I don’t want to listen to the music of a people who so blatantly debase women. This included the no-neck beer keg two seats down from Mr. Buck-and-Fuck, who constantly yelled out lewd comments to Terri Clark whenever she would engage the audience in friendly stage banter. Interestingly, he never made a peep when the male opening act talked to the audience. Disturbingly, his wife never made a peep when he was harassing Terri Clark. She and others around him simply laughed at his ribald shouts encouraging the singer to strip on stage. Had I paid for a striptease accompanied by the blathering of a bellicose redneck, perhaps I would have been more inclined to be amused as well.

I’m not blind. I know that country music is a genre geared toward people with a completely different mindset from mine. For more than 10 years I was an East Coast Yankee in the Confederacy’s Court. It wasn’t until last night that I truly felt like an outsider. I guess our differences are now just too deep a chasm at this point. Does that make me a fairweather friend? I guess it does. So be it.

So Terri Clark sang the swan song of my love affair. I couldn’t have asked for a better farewell.

I keep trying to imagine what “Mr. Buck-and-Fuck” from the above blog post is probably saying right now about Chely Wright. Not one thing I’m imagining is kind.

A lot of people don’t know who Wright is, so a brief Loba rundown. She debuted on the country scene back in the mid-90s, won some awards, had some big hits (hits, you pervs…hits) like “Shut Up and Drive,” “Single White Female,” and “Jezebel.” Though never hitting the dizzying heights of fellow country songstresses like Martina McBride, Faith Hill, or Shania Twain, she had a solid career and a solid following. Toward the end of my waning interest in the genre, I remember that she was also climbing onto the “Love This Country or We’ll Burn You Alive” patriotism bandwagon (led, of course, by Mr. “Boot to the Ass” himself, Toby Keith) that I think many country artists felt they needed to ride in order to survive in the genre, with some song about a “Support Our Troops” bumper sticker on her SUV.

[Yeah, is it any wonder I stopped listening to country music? Like any true traitorous liberal, overt expressions of patriotism that involve the acronym “SUV” make my soul frown. What can I say? In many ways, I’m still blue through and through.]

Because of my distinct disdain for Bush-era country music, I really had no idea that Wright had fallen off the radar in recent years. She came out with a few more CDs, but never really hit the levels of popularity that she had in the 90s. Then, poof, she disappeared completely for several years. During this period of solitude, she reached a point in which, tired of praying and wrangling and hiding, she stuck a 9mm in her mouth and nearly ended it all.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The thought of no more Chely Wright in this world also makes my soul frown, for distinctly different reasons. Whatever stopped her from pulling that trigger, I’m so glad she made it through that darkness.

Now, I’ve read some comments from people who think that Wright has made this announcement about her sexuality as a means of re-igniting her career and kicking up promotion for her new CD and her book. In watching the above clip, I can see a certain truth in that. Maybe it’s because I’ve written speeches and advertising materials before, but I can immediately detect the “pull quotes” from her comments, those little lines that she’s probably going to repeat so many times over the next several weeks that she’ll be saying them in her sleep. Regardless of anything else, Wright is an entertainer, and just like all others in the entertainment industry, she must market herself to audiences as part of her chosen career. This, like everything else, is another part of her pursuit of her celebrity. All part of the business…

I also see a woman who nearly ended it all because of what she was hiding from the world, and still seems quite fragile and uncertain as she struggles with what this will do to her place in a genre that, in her own words, is composed of conservative mindsets that are not readily known for kickin’ it rainbow-style at the annual gay pride parades. True, kd lang has been out for years, but she’s also been outside the country realm for years as well. Although lang won a Grammy for her country debut, she was never accepted by the Nashville elite and soon walked away from the mainstream genre completely.

And then there is the fact that even something as supposedly important to country music fans as enjoying those almighty American freedoms can get you in serious trouble. Isn’t that right, Natalie, Emily, and Martie? The Dixie Chicks know all too well how quickly country fans will turn on you. I still remember all the newsreels showing former fans burning their Dixie Chicks merchandise and running over their CDs with tractors. Why? Because Natalie Maines dared to speak her mind. And she and her bandmates paid for it, with radio stations refusing to play their music (I suspect some still would rather drink roadkill-infused moonshine than play a Dixie Chicks song) and people aiming death threats toward them and their families. All for Maines’s simple sin of exercising her right to free speech, which apparently many country fans believe is only extended to those who toe the same lines they do.

So, yeah. This is not the announcement you make when you’re trying to get country fans to buy your stuff. This is the kind of announcement you make when you want country fans to fire up the bonfires and the tractors and make death threats toward you and your family.

But you know what? I hope that country music fans prove me completely wrong, show me that things do change. However, I can’t really say that I’m holding my breath. I even tried to check out what country fans have been saying about Wright, but what I’ve found instead is a none-too-surprising silence coming from many of the big country representatives. County Music Television has nothing on Wright’s announcement on their Web site. Neither does the Grand Ole Opry (although they’ve got bigger problems right now, with Nashville floodwaters leaking into their home).

I was even shocked to see that our local country station, WMZQ, has fuck-all about Wright on their Web site. You’d think being located in the evil liberal empire of the D.C. area would have rubbed off even slightly onto this station. Of course, they are owned by blatantly conservative Clear Channel Communications, so there you go.

Of all the country sites I visited, the only one I found that mentions Wright’s announcement was Great American Country, with this piece on their blog.

Small step, to be sure. But even small steps get you where you need to go in time.

I also hope that country musicians surprise me, too, and embrace Wright rather than ostracize her. I know there are those within the country ranks who have it in them to do so: The Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks immediately come to mind. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I really hope for the best for Wright, regardless of her reasons for her announcement. The best and maybe a duet with Terri Clark. “Dirty Girl” maybe?

A Special Punishment

Here, then, is a statement made by Robert G. Marshall, a Republican delegate from the Commonwealth of Virginia, during a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood:

The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.

In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.

Hmm. I guess we’ve been misinterpreting that “suffer the little children” verse all this time. Of course, that’s from that pesky New Testament. True Republicans like to keep it real and kick it Old Testament.

I wonder: Will Sarah Palin be as forgiving of Marshall’s statement that a child’s handicap could be the result of God’s “special punishment” as she was of Rush Limbaugh’s “satirical” use of the word “retard”?

http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/player.swf

By the way, Sarah, “kook” is some of that inappropriate, unnecessary, time-wasting name calling you refer to. It’s also a derogatory word for the mentally ill. Guess you were being satirical, too.

Clarification of Intent

Oh, but I poked the bear this time. It’s funny how mention of certain people will bring crazy to the lair like stink brings flies.

Just an FYI: Comments about Sarah Palin bring crazy.

I received a comment through my contact tab that left me feeling a bit…agitated. I’m not going to post it here because most of it was an offensive litany of every type of insult the author could string together in a grammatically offensive way. Call me what you must, but at least do it with linguistic acumen, please.

I will, however, reprint the following line:

Your problem, like most liberal feminazies, is the fact that you hate Sarah Palin because she’s a real REPUBLICAN woman who proves you can balance career, family and faith SUCCESSFULLY.

Okay. Random capitalization issues and the misspelling of the pedantic “Feminazi” comment aside, this sentence includes quite a bit to which I would like to reply (sadly, it also includes several things that I have heard several times before). First, I don’t hate Sarah Palin. I’ll even go so far as to say that I think some of the things she accomplished as mayor of Wasilla and as governor of Alaska greatly benefited her constituents.

Some of the things. Not all. I find many of her political beliefs, statements and actions to be offensive, particularly many of her comments about “real America.” I don’t live in those little “pockets of patriotism” in the middle of the country that Palin prefers to consider more American than those bleeding-heart coastal states. Still, I pay my taxes, I obey the laws, and I enjoy my freedoms, including the ones that allow me to critically analyze what I hear…especially from those with aspirations of leading this country.

So when I hear a politician say things like that, that ostracize large swaths of the country, my spidey senses tingle. You can’t lead a country if you discredit and dismiss those parts that don’t conform to your somewhat limited ideals. And that, I think is a cornerstone of my dislike of Palin: her dismissive attitude toward things that she cannot or does not want to understand. Couple that with her ersatz folksiness and it’s a combination destined to piss me off.

And, no, I am not charmed by her “geegollygoshdarnyoubetcha” wink/wink public persona. It’s something suitable for a local sportscaster-cum-beauty-queen. It’s not suitable for someone who wanted to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. I suppose this is where I reveal myself to still be quite the erudite liberal, but I expect a certain degree of intelligence and decorum from my political leaders. I don’t buy into the idea that my representatives need to be plain-speakin’ folk I want to go hunting and drinking with.

These are people who are representing us not only on the national but on the global stage. I think that’s something that many Republicans miss. It’s not just us here. Our political leaders need to be able to interact with representatives from around the world, with intelligence, with understanding, with diplomacy…not with a fucking wink and a “You Betcha.”

As for the “faith” part of Palin’s masterful balancing act? I question any politician who allows their religious beliefs to color decisions they make that will impact the lives of constituents who may not live according to those same religious dictates. And I’m willing to bet every last penny in my bank account that the author of this comment would feel the same way if the religion in question was anything other than the religion they follow.

Religion is a personal choice that belongs in politics about as much as chili paste belongs in hemorrhoid cream. And if you make or support any legislation simply because of your personal religious choices, you don’t belong in politics.

All of this is a moot point anyway. Palin is out of politics, and I think that her decision to join forces with Fox News has pretty much nailed shut any option of returning to the political arena. Someone serious about a future run at the White House would probably right now be focusing inward, taking stock and improving their grasp of events and information that impacts us all on local, national, and global levels in an effort to balance out their lack of experience. Are we seeing that here? Oh no, you betcha we’re not. She’s a fame seeker, desperately latching on to anything that will keep her in the spotlight until the last vestiges of life have been drained from her seemingly interminable 15 minutes of fame.

I still don’t understand the Palin phenomenon, although I must confess that I strongly believe that she would have long ago faded into the ether if it weren’t for the fact that she’s just so darn cute. It’s the flip side of Hillary Clinton’s campaign experiences. I would describe Clinton as knowledgeable, experienced, articulate, and sensible. The media described her as having cankles. As looking frumpy in her suits. As “who wants to watch her age for the next 4 to 8 years.”

Flip the coin and you’ve got Palin, with her implications that only pampered, privileged people do things like get passports, or her attempts at solidifying her foreign policy experience by citing that she was governor of a state that rested between Russia and Canada. Because, you know, those wacky Canadians are always looking to invade Alaska and steal their polar bears.

But people took her seriously when she said these things. They took her seriously even when she failed to know why there was a North and a South Korea or when she didn’t know what was meant by “Bush Doctrine.” Uh, that’s your boy there, Sarah. Shouldn’t you kind of have an idea about what you’re campaigning to inherit? They took her seriously when she couldn’t even name a specific vote or law or action from John McCain’s political career that supported her overuse of the word “Maverick.” I swear, she used that word so many times, she almost ruined my love for Top Gun. And that really would have pissed me off.

But she looked GREAT each and every time.

Again, it’s all about celebrity and celebreality. We’re far more interested in pretty than substantive. And, yes, before you even say anything, I consider Obama to be another prime example of this phenomenon. Was he the most qualified Democratic candidate? Nope. Was he the best dressed and the most dapper? Oh, you betcha. “Brains before beauty” is so last millennium.

So, there you go. I have nothing else to say on the matter. I wonder if my commenter will feel the same…or if I’ve just poked the bear even more.

Talk About Performance Anxiety

Oh but I do love those Kiwis.

This was a billboard erected (heehee) by an Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand, for their Christmas service. According to this Guardian article, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy claimed that the billboard’s intent was to challenge the fundamentalist interpretation of Christ’s birth:

What we’re trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about. Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?

I bet this guy presides over a really fun group of parishioners. And if he doesn’t, he should.

I’m trying to envision how this billboard would go over in the States…say, in Bunnykill, Alabama. I’m not imagining anything nearly as amusing or provocative, and that’s a shame. I’d actually be very interested in hearing the sermon that goes along with this billboard. Of course, I also used to get yelled at by our high school Bible teacher all the time because I had to keep questioning him.

Silly girl…don’t you know questioning is for sinners?

Vanity of Vanititties

No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting breast implants as a Christian. I think it’s a personal decision. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn’t get breast implants.

So said Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean during a recent Q+A she did for Christianity Today.

I suppose that’s one way of interpreting the Christian’s call to stand “firm” in their convictions.

Poor Carrie. You sure do know your Bible rules when they’re spoon-fed to you. But when you’re allowed to speak based on your own knowledge of the religion you constantly profess to love, you kind of go astray, don’t you?

See, the Bible actually does say things that speak to your human vanity, your immodest apparel (I don’t think heaven has a swimsuit competition), as well as your tampering with the body you believe God gave you:

I Samuel 12:21—And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.

I Samuel 16:7—…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Psalms 26:4—I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

Proverbs 31:30—Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

I Corinthians 3:16-17—Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Philippians 2:3—Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

I Timothy 2:9-10—In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

II Timothy 2:16—But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

See? These are but a few of the examples of the guidance provided on vanity and modesty from your good ole KJV. Goes along with your own statement, made in this same interview:

If you read the Bible, it seems like everybody is trying to argue with the truth. It’s in the Bible, and if you believe in the Bible you believe it’s the truth.

From the mouth of babes, indeed.

Bottom line: Your additions to your temple are a boob boo-boo, according to what you profess to believe (unless, of course, God sent you a special permit to make those additions to His temple). After all, Yahweh has dictated, “Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the Lord.”

Now you’ve gone and broken the manufacturer’s warranty, little sheep. Whatever are you going to do?

Of course, one must keep in mind that little bit of biblical advice about how even the devil can cite Scripture for his…or her purpose. Loba has been called a little devil before…

Xenu Luncheon

lbp

This is why I love living so close to D.C. I snapped this shot of Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” on Saturday. For free. Usually, you have to pay to tour the Phillips Collection, but several museums and galleries downtown participated in a free museum day this past Saturday, including the Phillips. So we decided to stop by to see how the luncheon was going. Still looks quite colorful and vibrant, even if stuck at a bit of an odd angle in this photo. It’s a bit difficult to get a straight-on shot of this one; it’s without a doubt the most popular piece in the collection, and the room is constantly near capacity. So I snicked this shot off as quickly as I could and kept my fingers crossed that it would at least come out clear.

Unfortunately, the Phillips was the only free museum we visited. I’m in slow combat with a funky warm weather cold right now, so after touring the Phillips and stopping for a cupcake from Larry’s Ice Cream, I was ready to pack it in. I had hoped to find a little medical advice from the local church…but I think I was barking up the wrong tree on this one. They just kept saying that they wanted to audit me. All I wanted was a cough drop! And stop asking me if I believe in Xena and the Galactic Confederacy! Mixing genres like that is just not cool.

xenu

Okay, wipe up the milkshake and clean off the bowling pin. I’m definitely finished. Time to go home and sleep this one off…

Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Free Will

It is the duty of every student to respect Liberty’s Statement of Doctrine and Purpose. They may not engage in any activity on or off campus that would compromise the testimony or reputation of the University or cause disruption to Liberty’s Christian learning environment.

Guess what Liberty University now considers to be compromising to their testimony. Nope, it’s not the evangelical porn club. It’s not even the Jews for Jesus pig roast.

It’s the LU College Democrats Club. You can read the entire e-mail sent to the head of the Democrats Club at theWashington Post. Or, if you’d rather read the news from a more fundamentally approved paper, you can read the article at the Washington Times.

Am I surprised by this move? Not one bit. After all, Liberty was Jerry Falwell’s baby. And as we all know, Jerry Falwell was many things in this life…but a good Christian was not one of them. Good hypocrite, yes. Good manipulator, of course. But I refuse to believe that he correctly represented Christianity with the hatred and castigation that he spewed throughout his lifetime. Let’s just review some of his “greatest hits” in his honor:

  • AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
  • It appears that America’s anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men’s movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening.
  • The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews.
  • There is no separation of church and state. Modern U.S. Supreme Courts have raped the Constitution and raped the Christian faith and raped the churches by misinterpreting what the Founders had in mind in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
  • Good Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.

That last one I added just because it represents to me the keystone of why people like Jerry Falwell get away with peddling their hate and ignorance to misguided masses: Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you exactly what I want you to believe. And since his death, his like-minded son has been running his legacy, including Liberty University.

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster I didn’t go to this Offred Reprogramming Center like I was supposed to. I’ve changed many of my opinions since I last blogged regularly. I’ve even changed many of my opinions regarding religion. But one thing that has not changed is my absolute intolerance for this kind of manipulative mind fucking. Jerry Falwell represented everything I saw wrong with organized religion, everything that I still find vile and reprehensible. I’m so very glad that I have met others beyond the scope of Falwell’s narrow and bigoted religious views who have helped me see hope for the future of the religious finding its right path in this country.

Unfortunately, however, schools like Liberty University (or worse…let’s not forget that Bob Jones University is still pumping out its own Baptist sock puppets) continue to mold young minds into the shape of religious perversion that these fundamentalists have decided is God’s will and God’s message.

Too bad Reverend Falwell can’t give us a little sign as to what that message should really be…