Sunday, October 21, 2012


There's a great article on the CNN site that asks the question, "Is Obama the 'Wrong' Kind of Christian?" This is a very nuanced and well reported story, and well worth reading. A few thoughts:

  • What right does anyone have to question someone else's religious beliefs? If Obama says he's a Christian, we should respect his beliefs. Do you want someone else questioning whether you really believe what you believe?
  • This, unfortunately, shines a spotlight on many fundamentalist Christians who think it's their way or the highway, that anyone who doesn't believe exactly as they do are just wrong, wrong, wrong. (And probably going to hell.) This, dear readers, is why religion has a bad reputation among many.
  • The article does a great job, IMHO, of pointing out the difference between the contemporary Protestantism of the Social Gospel, prevalent in the first half of the 20th century, with the revived fundamentalist movement, which has been around since the early 20th century (remember the Scopes Monkey Trial?) but has come on strong in the past few decades.
  • Where mainstream Protestants tend to be a bit more inclusive and certainly more socially conscious, the fundamentalists seem to view everyone else as heretics and dismiss social responsibility. For example, Rev. Gary Cass, the conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, goes as far as to say that Christians who talk about “social justice” are often practicing “warmed-over Marxism." Really. That's what he thinks. (I guess this means Jesus was a Marxist. Who knew?)
  • Speaking of extreme viewpoints, Rev. Steven Andrew is quoted in the article as saying that President Obama is trying to change the national motto from “In God we Trust” to “Out of Many, One,” and that the president has ordered the Pentagon to remove biblical verses from its daily report. (Really? I hadn't heard that one.) The Reverend also says, and I quote, "I think he’s an anti-Christ." Of course he is.

So is the rise of the Christian fundamentalist movement the end of progressive Christianity as we know it? Or are these just a bunch of extremists who'll bark their way to oblivion soon enough?

I'd like to hope it's the latter, but the numbers say it could be the former. God help us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


There's a difference between aggressively defending your position (and calling out lies and half-truths) and bullying. In last night's second presidential debate, the president acted... well, Presidential, while his opponent acted like an entitled, boorish brat. Mitt Romney bullied the moderator, he bullied the president, his position seemed to be "Of course it'll work. I'm doing it." Plus he lied a lot, and got called on it. Romney is a man who will do and say anything to get what he wants, because he believes he's entitled to it.

To me, the most telling moment was when Obama addressed the killings in Libya, taking full responsibility and calling Romney's politicization of the affair "offensive." It was a very Presidential (with a large P) moment, and Romney should have stopped there. But instead, showing no respect whatsoever, Romney harped on a minor point about whether Obama had called it a terrorist attack. It wasn't so much that Romney was wrong (which the president and the moderator both pointed out, and which is getting the most press afterwards), but rather that he argued the point at all. A better man would have let it drop; only a self-important boor like Romney would try to have the last word on such a somber issue.

There's no way we should entrust our country to such an out-of-touch, blustering, entitled egotist. Not that Obama's perfect, but at least he thinks of others besides himself, and has some semblance of decency. Romney doesn't. He's a rich, self-centered bastard. We don't need more of them running things.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


What's wrong with capitalism? The same thing that led to the downfall of small-c communism: greed. In fact, greed is the downfall of just about every economic system so far envisioned. 

Greed is what makes communism fail; if just one person covets more than he needs, the entire system falls apart. Greed is also the corrosive exterior of capitalism, and why regulation is necessary; without adequate regulation, greedy capitalists do whatever they can to exploit the system to get more for themselves. 

Because of that very human failing, neither economic system is perfect, but at least regulated capitalism is known to work okay. Unregulated capitalism, however, is a bitch to deal with -- as we continue to recognize. (You'd think we'd remember and learn from our mistakes, wouldn't you?)

So I'm not a communist, in spite of what some of my friends on the right might think. I'm also not blindly capitalistic. To combat unmitigated greed and all the damage it can do, we need regulated capitalism. Proper regulations don't inhibit, they protect -- and everyone, at one time or another, needs that protection.

Friday, October 12, 2012


One of my friends suggested that I'm a bit frustrated by the political system today. Yeah, I am.

I'm frustrated by a group of politicians whose sole intent over the past four years was making the president seem like a failure by blocking every item proposed by the opposition.

I'm frustrated by a group of politicians, led by Misters R & R, who worship the Orwellian playbook by lying (excuse me: "misspeaking") about every point that can be lied about; if the sky were blue, they'd call it red today and orange tomorrow and then deny all of it.

I'm frustrated by a group of politicians who worship the rich and powerful and pay lip service to the hardworking men and women of this country, who are intent on enriching the already enriched and dismantling the middle class as we know it.

I'm frustrated by media, including the so-called mainstream media, who repeat the lies of the reactionary conservatives in the guise of presenting "both sides" of the story, and who fail in the most basic task of informing the populace.

I'm frustrated by a political system that is ruled by big-money donors and lobbyists, and by the aforementioned media that benefits from all that money, in the form of campaign advertising.

And ultimately I'm frustrated by a willfully ignorant populace that accepts these failures and refuses to even vote in its own self interest. So yeah, I'm frustrated. Sue me.

Old Joe Speaks

This was the telling point in last night's vice presidential debate, IMHO, by the one politician today who respects and cares for the working men and women of this country. Take it away, Joe Biden:

These people are my mom and dad — the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, “not paying any tax.”

I’ve had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent — it’s about time they take some responsibility here. And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we’re going to level the playing field; we’re going to give you a fair shot again; we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street, making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy.

I couldn't have said it any better myself.