Friday, December 31, 2004

oh, barf.

Welcome to!

this is google's cache of countess von aryan's home page (it's been changed since.)

let's hear it for google!


perhaps it doesn't make sense for a christian to make resolutions (i remember a sermon of my father's that mocked the idea) but so what? here are mine:

  • cultivate more introspection. i wasn't very good this past year at self-reflection - it was all yelling, screeding, jeremiad-ing.
  • be more humble. it's so hard when you think everyone around you is woefully wrong and ignorant.
  • be more honest.
  • be less selfish. grumble, grumble.
  • be a better steward of money. grumble grumble.
  • go to church more, especially now that you're going to be a deacon. sigh.
  • don't just pray when you're in trouble. sigh. sigh.
  • cut down the profanity to a more managable level. shit.
  • practice forgiveness. george w bush, i forgive you for being a tool.

i think that's an ok list, right? i have a resolution left over from last year - be kinder to people - and don't know if i actually achieved that, sad to say. so it's back on the list. there could be others (don't think about sex so much, be less snarky, be more respectful of authority) but then i think that would just reduce me to a lump of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

rave on, jesus Life | Christian party animals (you'll need a day pass to read the whole thing.)

i saw this a few weeks ago and thought i'd link to it.

here's a confession. i used to be a circuit girl. gosh i loved it. the music, the dark, the lights, the attention. there is something about being pulled from a mass of dancing flesh to dance on a box while a thousand strobes flash all over your body. next to getting my tattoo, it was almost the most erotic thing to happen to me (going to circuit parties, that is.) won't go into what i saw there or who i was with (not that you can't really imagine all that) but let's just say that, after a while, the affects of it began to pall. there came a moment when the beats weren't hard enough, the lights weren't working for me and, whatever i had just swallowed with a bottle of water in the men's room, just wasn't hitting it anymore.

so that's all over now.

not that there isn't a little flicker when i remember some party (the black & blue party, the hearts party, pumpkin head or sandblast) and remember the wow of it.

nowadays, the only circuit i do is in my local slim & tone.

tsunami relief: some ways to help

should you be thinking about sending money, this is a list of the relief
organizations providing aid to the families of the 60,000 dead and to the one million men, women and children left homeless by this natural disaster.

let's make a difference. because we can.


South Asia Tsunami Relief

AFSC Crisis Fund

International Response Fund
PO Box 37243
Washington, D.C. 20013


Tsunami Emergency
PO Box 17090
Baltimore, Md. 21203-7090


PO Box 2247
New York, New York 10116-2247



Earthquake/Tsunami Relief

Asia Disaster Response

Southeast Asia Earthquake Emergency

Southeast Asia Earthquake Response


Asia Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief Fund


sell outs: Democratic Leadership Rethinking Abortion

Screed: sell outs: Democratic Leadership Rethinking Abortion

gee, who could this be?

read it anyway and get mad.

what are we going to do about it?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

so much to catch up on...

this, for starters. so you want the guy who created the FUBAR situation in iraq dickering with your social security? be my guest.

oh, and how's this for gutless wonders? it may be time to switch my party affiliation to independent. maybe they'd start paying attention to me then.

other than that, i had a wonderful holiday celebrating the birth of the Lord. hope you did, too.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

the memory hole

The Gadflyer: Tear Down the Cross

i remember posting about this earlier this year - and here's another!

how's this for irony: conservatives fight to 'save christmas' yet belly up (along with our president, it seems) with a moonie cult telling mostly black churches to tear down their crosses.


it's a puzzlement.

anger floats

James Wolcott: Wanted: Less Sorrow, More Anger

a friend once described me to another friend: ding's anger floats UP.

gay matt was never more correct. unlike my fellow progressives and democrats, i don't dither with blame. i know exactly whom to give the finger. not the hapless man or woman scraping to get by; not the clueless teenager who makes me fear for the future. my anger is aimed a little higher than that. i don't shuffle and hem and haw and qualify my anger (unless i'm at a work function and then, usually, a few glasses of wine overcomes that little restraint.)

but i failed in my anger the other night and i have my fellow presbyterians to blame. i unfortunately entered into a discussion of walmart and labor practices at a cocktail party at a local pub and it soon gained the attention of two conservative grad students. one i've already scrapped with, arguing over the failure of abstinence-only sex education. the other one looked like a perfectly charming, inocuous, church girl from texas.

until she shrugged, took a bite of her portabello sandwich and said, 'i don't care all that much about walmart. i mean, what else are those people going to do?'

i blinked. 80 different responses blazed on the tip of my tongue. and then i remembered that these were fellow church people, we were at a holiday cocktail party and i didn't know this woman at all. the financial analyst across from me was nervously looking at my face as i squinted at texas barbie and then deliberately turned away and joined another conversation.

my anger, instead of floating into a blazing fury right in her face, festered in my belly and gave me gas.

so here's a new year's resolution for dems and progs: for the sake of your lower GI, let fly the darts and arrows of your fury. get red in the face, spew some bile. get dirty with rage. let your anger float in the air and singe the heavens.

when in doubt...

Brian McLaren: "Doubt: The Tides of Faith" Written for Christian Single Magazine

found this great essay by brian mclaren, another writer i'll have to explore. maybe i'll send a copy of his new book to my father.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

the day is dark and cold and i want to run the clock backwards, back to the time i was curled in my dark soft lumpy bed and everything was perfect. it's advent on our church calendar and we lurch to another christmas. the christians among us celebrate the birth of christ but i admit to feeling decidedly not christ-like or christmassy.

we have lost the war in the middle east, our soldiers are fodder for missiles and bombs; our president still has the ability to rouse hatred and induce vomiting in at least half the populace (oh, for a freakish cosmic accident that will show our POTUS bursting into flame as he touches the bible during his inauguration, the first recorded human combustible); every conversation i have with a conservative brings up bile and contempt and if i am ever to exercise control over my temper i will have to shun them - or resign myself to immediate ad hominem attacks and call them vile, deceitful cramps who would rather lick the brown boot of karl rove than help their fellow man. and where is my side of political spectrum? (crickets, crickets)

there is much to celebrate - life, family, friends, liberty and straight teeth. there is the new boy, who haltingly told me the story of his divorce last night while we sat in a red and green lit tiki room in river grove; he spread his hands, shrugged, and said all he ever wanted was to be loved and isn't that what this life is about? and i could only nod and crunch another pretzel. there is the story of the woman and the carved out baby, but there is also the mini-skirted octogenarian woman in the river grove bowling alley who slowly walked her ball down the lane, dropped it with a thud and watched as it rolled to a strike, as if by a magnet; then she'd turn, shuffle back to her table and flick a smile at her equally shriveled husband who just watched her roll strike after strike after strike. it could have been sad (two old people bowling on a tuesday night) but it looked sweet to me.

there's doesn't seem to be time for reflection this time of year. i suppose that's what the church is for - to slow us down and make us see the world a little differently - it's a world worth saving, with tiny people shuffling to...something.

but, in the words of my roommate, why does everyone who goes to church suck so much?

Rapture Ready


the rapture index is especially keen.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Revealer: A Misunderstanding Between Friends

you'd think that since this is my church, i'd know more about what was happening. but no. all the committees in the presbyterian church sort of make me zone out.

they like meeting more than baptists...

VOA News - Cuban Authorities Retaliate Against US Christmas Display

we can file this under pot calling kettle, glass houses or whatever aphorism is appropriate.

thanks to my friend, jp, for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, December 17, 2004

care of the poor

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Buying Into Failure

one of my earliest sunday school memories is learning the beatitudes. the southern baptist convention sent us teaching materials and included paper jesus' and apostles and pharisees who would all stick to felt watercolor-washed backgrounds. so here's jesus, stuck to a felt landscape, and there are the random people, also stuck to the felt, floating at his feet. and that's how i learned the beatitudes, with the picture of jesus teaching others to care for the sick, the elderly, the infirm, the defenseless.

when did that picture get replaced with a muscular and callous portrait of christianity stomping all over the poor?

defenders of this callous disregard soberly recite, "the poor will be with you always", as if this exuses us from action. we'll also always have disease, death and stupid people. to acknowledge a deficit isn't action. we must do more than just say, hey there's poor people! how about helping poor people?

or did jesus not say anything about that?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

morning commute

there was a woman on the bus monday night, the #66. she sat at the front of the bus and was in the middle of testifying to the rest of the bus. all the other riders were scrunched to the back, avoiding her eyes. she said, 'i used to be a liar, a thief, verbally abusive, and stressed out and now the love of jesus has redeemed me and i just want to tell you about the love of jesus. he can give you a new spirit, a good spirit. he can make your life whole again. all you have to do is cast your trust on him and give your life to him.' and so on.

when a passenger de-bused, she'd stop her story to smile and say, 'god bless.' they'd either smile nervously or say it back.

i went out the back door. i was uncomfortable. i couldn't help it. i've always been uncomfortable with public testimony - especially when it looks crazy. when i was a teenager, my youth group would get together every so often to do some witnessing role play. total nightmare. one day, a church leader told me i needed to be more of an example to the younger girls who needed to see me witness more. i just nodded and moved away from him.

there is no performance fear; i've given conference papers, taught and led presentations. i've given speeches to labor organizations, reports to university administration and hectored an english department. like my preacher father, all i need is a soapbox.

but all of these things make sense to me. testifying or witnessing? this makes no sense. my own conversion is barely understandable to myself, let alone to a complete stranger. my own wobbly christian faith is barely sustainable to me, much less some bored guy on a bus who just wants to get home in the cold night and have a beer. and the weird logic of witnessing - someone else's faith depends on hearing the story of my faith - creeps me out.

it's like the guy who told me once that i had a christian duty to tell all my gay friends they were going to hell. when i asked him why, what will change spiritually for either one of us, he had nothing to say except that i'm supposed to.

perhaps we've won a little heavenly gold star; we've shared our wretched tale of sin and redemption, forced it on a stranger and then we say, you too could live the life of grace i'm living now! we look crazy, like the man on those commercials for enhanced erections. ("look at bob! he used to be limp and lifeless - a vienna sausage. but now! he's got wood!") whether someone responds to us seems to be beside the point. the point is the telling. i think. what's the point again? honestly. i've forgotten.

the woman from the bus monday night was on my bus again this morning (the # 65); i couldn't believe it. i sank behind the person in front of me and watched her tuck her bus card inside her shirt, settle in, take a look around and announce, 'good morning everybody. i just want to share a little of my testimony with you all. i've made a change in my life and i need to share it. jesus saved me from a life of sin...'

when my stop came, i left out the back door.
if i see her again i will freak. out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

hey, what about me??!!

who the hell is star parker??

apparently, according to the worldview festival bio sheet, she has turned her back on a life of welfare, abortions and waitress fraud. oh, and she's black!

hey how come no one at worldview fest wants to talk to me?? i've never had an abortion, i've never been on welfare, i've never even been a waitress and i'm black!! and asian!! (two ethnicities for the price of one!) i even sang in the choir!

i'm a fecking inspiration, too! praise god!

(thanks, badchristian!)

just this once

so churchgal had a date sunday afternoon. hate to say it, but all the politicking has been bumped off the radar the past couple days by a 37-yr old divorced guy who likes wearing leather pants and directs the choir (and the community orchestra) at a catholic church on the north side.


churchgal may be smitten.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

i wanted to write about the whole full quiver movement, but it was too upsetting.

instead i've been caught up in a discussion at the new democratic network about the direction of the party and there's a guy on there who thinks reproductive 'choice' is a public relations nightmare that should be eradicated if dems want to win.

i think my head is about to explode.
(in fact, this explosive rage i've been feeling whenever i run across jackasses is getting to be a problem.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

and while i'm on the topic...

Deliberate Childlessness: Moral Rebellion With a New Face

i want to write about this later.
when i'm not full of rebellion against the natural order of my ovaries.

no. way.

QuiverFull .com

speechless. utterly speechless.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


This is a good collection of all the ways the right is moving against women's reproductive choice.

(as in choosing to reproduce... geez.)

the magnitude of anti-woman (misogynist) thinking behind this net of legislation is stunning. poor women, single women, young girls and overburdened married women are eventually going to be funneled into a narrow channel of patriarchal laws that define female sexuality in only one way: married and not her own.

i'm also stunned at the lack of action in the women around me. these are laws that affect all of us and yet we haven't become angry enough to demand that our rights are protected. just think - women have enjoyed reproductive freedom for only 31 years. that's just my lifetime (give or take 5 years.) if all of these laws pass, i could possibly see a MAN take away my right to make decisions about my body and what i do with it. yet, my sisters are worried about 'what if he's just not that into you?'

what bullshit.


a smoking gun of sorts.

if you're not exhausted by the war on terror or the many machinations of this, our blighted administration, then feast your eyes on this report. take a close look at pp 22 and 43.

of course, this report is totally unmentioned in our press. sigh.

Monday, December 06, 2004

really?!? (pt 2) Life | Frist backs review of abstinence programs

you can almost smell his reluctance, can't you?

i can't recall if i've written about this before but two months ago, i found myself in the middle of cru wine bar having a very LOUD discussion with a slightly more conservative fellow churchgoer about sex ed while the rest of our committee looked on in bemusement.

me: studies have shown that kids who go through abstinence only sex ed programs not only end up ignorant about the basics of sex, they are the ones who contract sexually transmitted diseases!
him: then they shouldn't have sex until they're married!
me: marriage isn't a prophylactic against being ignorant about the basics of sex or stds!
him: what are you talking about?
me: uh, marriage isn't a cure-all for sexual responsibility?
him: i don't know what you're talking about.
me: what? sexual responsibility. (i repeat a few more times)
him: (blank blinking.)
me: sex ed isn't just about condoms. it's about how to make healthy choices about your sexuality, your body.
him: that's the most selfish thing i've ever heard. why would a woman in a marriage need to know about 'healthy sexuality'?

sigh. there's almost no point when the conversation is so lopsided, is there?


The New York Times > National > A Question of Faith for a Holiday Parade

i can see it now, holiday parades across the country turning into religous v. secular melees, pastors and mayors hurling songs, invective and the little baby jesus crashing to the street, only to be stampeded by the local high school band.

get a grip, people. it's a fecking parade.

slightly off topic, i remember caroling when i was growing up in los angeles. imagine a small south central choir, driving all over compton and crenshaw, rushing out a few carols ('come on, hurry up before the gangsters see us!') in the cold dark wanting just to get back to my family's house where hot chocolate and cider waited for us.

surreal and possibly the best urban christmas ever. that was when i loved the church. now the church disappoints me in practically all aspects.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says (

i think this is my favorite part of the article:

One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."

so it's not enough that these programs are teaching kids that you can get pregnant through casual touching; they're also telling girls that a boy's confidence is more important than their own.

what the hell?


James Wolcott: Pointers

he's a little harsh on jesus as a deficient philosopher, but i don't think jesus was here to be a philospher anyway.

in other religious news, i've been nominated to be a deacon at my very large beautiful church. i laughed my ass off when i got the phone call. then, when i told my father, he actually cried.

a friend told me of a thing they call intercessory prayer; most deacons avoid this duty because it may require them to actually pray with someone in crisis. (oh, presbyterians. so in touch with your emotions.) i actually look forward to it.

what else...what else? ah. the UCC tried to air a commercial on their church's tolerance for everyone (ahem) and CBS and NBC refuse to air it because of its controversial stance on...tolerance.

this world is absurd and we are so stupid to follow it, we deserve whatever horrid comeuppance is out there.

Monday, November 22, 2004

it's like the thorn birds...

...but more disturbing.

i'm no catholic, but i'm sensing a celndar of hot italian priests would open the door to all sorts of, um, inappropriate thoughts.

the year of compassion - FBI: More than 7,400 hate crimes last year - Nov 22, 2004

well, that takes care of race. let's start a pool on how long it'll take for gender specific crime to spike now that it's federally banned for women to receive information about abortion.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

well. suckage.

thanks, president bush, for slashing domestic spending to anemic levels.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

what we're forced to do

Shooting Spurs Iraqi Uproar, U.S. Inquiry

long story short:

faking death (i.e, living) forces marine to kill unarmed insurgent (who'd already been shot and taken prisoner).

i don't know if the word 'absurdity' quite describes what is happening over there.

in the final calculation of history (here below and before God) who will answer for this? who will bear the blame for this huge loss of human life and humanity? who will answer for this outrage against decency?

i'm going to hell

and all because of this.

my tattoo is over my right shoulder blade. it's a cute little salamander winding down the curve of my upper blade. i named it jake.

the summer i successfully defended my dissertation plan and passed my prelims, i decided to mark the moment. so, with some friends, i picked a clean tattoo salon on sunset blvd, ruched up my skirt, took off my shirt and straddled the back of a chair while tony, the ex-con from east la, etched a tattoo into my skin with black ink.

rebellion? whatever.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

article update

so the article i've been working on for the past week and a half has changed in direction. at first it was about how progressives need to get with the god program and start talking jesus. then i started to refine that position.

the issue isn't that progressives aren't churchy enough - it's that we honestly don't know how to maneuver in this new 'faith and values battleground.' it's my opinion that faith is a linguistic cover for class, urbanization, gender and race. in other words, the anxiety (or certitude) people are showing over the values/faith debate is actually the byproduct of good old-fashioned isms. so i've also expanded my focus to talk aboutpeople of color and women, as well (write what you know, after all). to find the way out, we progressives are going to have to remember what it's like to be activists again.

i want to have this done done done by the weekend.
now it's old ladies.

when did being a christian mean losing all common sense? when did being a pastor mean that all sense of boundaries and civility could be totally forgotten?

hey, here's a heads up for all those pastors out there: when you make elderly women call the police you have officially become scary.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


The New Republic Online: The Elect

i differ in intensity with this article (i think the left must engage in this faith fetish if it wants to put some fire in its movement) but i agree wholeheartedly with the idea that morality and virtue aren't the same thing.

Friday, November 12, 2004

t r u t h o u t - Evangelical Leader: 'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked'

t r u t h o u t - Evangelical Leader: 'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked'

i've been writing about this and i'll respond to this later, once my latest draft is finished. (if i can't find a place to submit it, i'll post it here because i'm afraid like that.)

fool me once...

t r u t h o u t - MultiMedia

i wanted to put the whole ohio thing behind me. it made us look like babies. whiners.

but now, it looks like perhaps we were right. again.

why, oh WHY did we concede before every vote was counted??

Thursday, November 11, 2004

it's just too easy Life | Tex ed

banal sex ed books. highest teen birth rate in the nation.
think there's a connection?


the corruption of christianity?

Michael Feingold | Our Vanished Values

money quote:

"For make no mistake, this is the election in which American Christianity destroyed itself. Today the church is no longer a religion but a tacky political lobby, with an obsessive concentration on a minuscule number of social topics so irrelevant to questions of governance that they barely constitute political issues at all. These are the points of contention tied into what are blurrily referred to as "moral values," though they have almost nothing to do with the larger moral question of how one lives one's life, and everything to do with the fundamentally un-Christian and un-American idea of forcing others to live the way you believe they should. The displacement of faith involved is eerie, almost psychotic: Here are people willing to vote against their own well-being and their own children's future, just so they can compel someone else's daughter to bear an unwanted child and deprive someone else's son of the right to file a joint income tax return with his male partner."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004



follow the links and read the originals carefully.
then ask yourself a few questions:

what's christian about this?

(ok, ask yourself just one question.)

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson

another great mind. read and get inspired.

Body and Soul: Onward, Christianist soldiers

Body and Soul: Onward, Christianist soldiers

i'm writing an article about this now. but this is a good post about some of the things i'm concerned with: the new heavily reactionist, anti-rational wing of the right. if this is the face of christianity, then we have a problem.

sorry i've been absent. the election knocked me for a loop.
but now i'm back.

i'm quitting my cushy job to fight for the left. so if you thought i was militant before, wait until i really get warmed up.

Friday, October 29, 2004

They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts

They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts

i'm so sticking with this one. go read him! it's funny!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bush Relatives for Kerry

Bush Relatives for Kerry

i almost choked on my own spit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

bush born again?

American Prospect Online - ViewWeb

for all of us who had to make a public confession in front of the congregation, receive the right hand of fellowship and wear a white gown before being dunked in an algae-infested baptismal pool.

for those of us who came to jesus because the thought of being left behind after the rapture scared the crap out of us.

for all of us who, when smoking, drinking a beer (or doing other, cough, stuff) still feel like jesus is standing on our shoulders.

Monday, October 18, 2004

abstinent in africa

KtB - Prime Time in Kampala

good for them.

the back of the bus...again

The New York Times > National > Study Says White Families' Wealth Advantage Has Grown

i'd really like to know why african americans are voting for bush. i really would.

Friday, October 15, 2004

it's amy!

The Politics Of Piety, Sojourners Magazine/November 2004

new mag for me!

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace

can't wait to start digging around.


The Revealer: Yeah, I Said Misogynist

check out the comments. things get heated.

bush increases abortion

Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.

who knew??

not alone

Daily Kos :: An Open Letter to American Catholics:

daily kos is a web community of avid dems - dems who span the spectrum from moderate to flaming. i'm linking to a couple of worthwhile diaries about choice and religious faith.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

let's try that again

Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor�s Perspective

thank you, mario cuomo

a more articulate response to the question of religious belief and public morality i haven't read yet.

(thanks, XXblog.)


The Preacher's Story in 4 Parts

Monday, October 11, 2004

Perhaps because of a comment below, and some flak I’ve taken recently because of my religious and political belief, I’ve been asking myself what I really believe in. And so I’m going to set down my creed.

I believe in Christ and that He came and died for the redemption of sins.
I believe in a physical heaven and hell.
I believe in the existence of evil; I believe in the existence of Satan.
I believe in the existence of truth. (I also believe in cultural anthropology that says that most cultural ‘truths’ are constructs.)
I believe in life after death.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the body of the church here on earth.
I believe Christ will come again (to judge the living and the dead and that He will sit on the right hand of the Father.)
I believe in sin. (That it does exist and that there are things as sins.)
I believe in social justice for all.
I believe in peace.
I believe in humility before God. (I fail at this constantly.)
I believe in social action.
I believe in dissent.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
I believe in the separation of church and state (the better to protect the church from the arm of the state)
I believe that life does not begin at conception.
I believe in a woman’s right to make her own moral decisions without the aid of the state.
I believe in the beatitudes.
I believe that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (which I haven’t really done because I truly think Republicans and evangelicals are tyrannical and bizarre. I’ll get better at this.)
I believe that Paul wrote beautiful scripture but that his views on women aren’t necessarily applicable to women today (especially women with an education or those who won’t marry.)
I believe that faith and doubt go hand in hand. (I don’t believe that doubt is heresy or blasphemy. After all, was Thomas’ skepticism wrong?)
I believe that an embryo is not the same thing as a fetus.
I believe in Christ’s redemption.
I believe in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
I believe in the power of confession and prayer.

And I believe, as we struggle and fail in aspects of our faith every day, that God’s grace is everlasting.

and this one, too...

Wormwood's Doxy

it's good to know there are others out there.

Real Live Preacher

Real Live Preacher

hm. just found this site through feminary.



a new blog from a politically progressive, religiously conservative woman going through seminary.

check it out.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Revealer: Kerry Wins God Points

The Revealer: Kerry Wins God Points

think what you will about reproductive rights and john kerry, but i thought his answer to the woman about abortion and faith was brilliant.

let me repeat again: separation of church and state.

Friday, October 08, 2004

post debate spin

kerry didn't give an inch.
bush was hysterical.
bush needs to bone up on history - dred scott was not about property rights - scott's race predicated his status as property. (and is it really a good idea to use a case from the 19th century to score a point today?)

Thursday, October 07, 2004


AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Keeping the Color Line

we want change for our communities?
then we need to do somethin.'

told ya

AlterNet: Election 2004: By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

the debates last night gave me gas.

edwards, as always, looked fabulous. cheney, as ever, looked like he had put a lump of coal in your stocking and if you complained he'd get out his walking stick and give you a good thrashing about your head and shoulders.

as for winning, does it matter? it's easy to memorize talking points, but how about argument and mastery of a subject? much better to administer an essay (always my forte.)

anyway, not much going on. just a minor crisis of faith over whether it's unchristian to rebel against authority and whether my college education makes me closer to a godless agnostic than a traditional christian. (i don't think so, but apparently my non-problem with facilitated discussion makes me a dupe of the New World Order...or so according to some new friends of my dad.)

whatever. conservative old (white) guys are typically paranoid about everything.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Campaign 2004 > Clergy: Black Pastors Backing Bush Are Rare, but Not Alone

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Clergy: Black Pastors Backing Bush Are Rare, but Not Alone

thanks to The Revealer for noticing that this article doesn't actually talk to anyone who's doing the voting - just the political operatives. nice.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Top 10 Reasons to Get Out of Iraq

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Top 10 Reasons to Get Out of Iraq

i'll have to remember this list when i go home and start arguing politics with my family.

AlterNet: Election 2004: What Women Want

AlterNet: Election 2004: What Women Want

but the question is will we vote?
oprah had a disturbing show yesterday - a building full of women who have not registered to vote and have no intention of doing so. an african-american woman in her forties shrugged and said that if she lost her right to vote, she wouldn't care.


so disturbing. our educational system in this country stinks if ordinary citizens aren't compelled to vote.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

happy birthday to me.

we're just a month or so out from the elections and things are getting tight. i'll be travelling up to wisconsin next month to rally the troops and talk to a bunch of rifle carrying mid-westerners, but whatever.

anything to swing a state kerry's way.

ralph reed was on the daily show last night and lied in front of millions of people. somehow that doesn't surprise me when he's a guy taking money from all sorts of people he shouldn't.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

the buck stops...over there

First Draft - More on DeLay-Related Indictments

well, if you've been too depressed by all the polls showing shrub either with a gazillion point lead or just a mere 2, here's something to distract you.

remember when there was a possibility that tom 'the hammer' delay was going to be investigated for ethics breaches concerning his PAC Texans for a Republican Majority? well, while the ethics com'tee stopped the investigation (insuring he won't get nailed) delay's associates have not escaped the hammer of justice.

god they stink.

brainy wednesday, cont'd

Informed Comment : 09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004

let's play a game. what if america had to live under the same conditions iraqis are living in now? what would we look like?

read it if you dare.

brainy wednesday: iraq & the philippines

ZNet Commentary: The Philippine Model

thanks to an good grad school chum, here's an article from last october about our colonial intervention in the philippines and how it foreshadows our actions in iraq today.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

right to refusal clauses

right to refusal clauses

more on this total breach of medical ethics.

Yahoo! News - GOP Mailing Warns Liberals Will Ban Bibles

Yahoo! News - GOP Mailing Warns Liberals Will Ban Bibles

a friend read this story and became enraged; it smacked of dirty politics to her. but i understood it.

the time of universal persecution, of christian martyrdom, before the rapture and before the second coming, is central to a certain segment of christian faith. churches will close, bibles will burned, god will be publicly denounced; it will be a second inquisition. all christians will be forced to go underground. this eschatological desire is the center of our religious belief.

we (i include myself because this was my religious culture) tolerate this world and this life only for the reward that is to come. christian history is meant to move inexorably toward this moment of revelation - anything that deviates from this timeline is ignored.

it's strange to build a faith system that pivots on the idea of catastrophe and martyrdom (when Christ shall ultimately be revealed and defeat evil at last), but that's what really lies beneath the evangelical movement.

this is the apocalyptic heart of fundamentalism. with our eyes ever on the End, we eschew everything else. it explains why social problems don't matter; why poverty doesn't matter; why the war in iraq is holy; why crumbling civil rights don't matter; why the hijacking of our culture by terror doesn't matter. it all fits into the timeline.

why should church folk in west virginia care about better environmental laws, jobs, health care and civil rights when all that matters is their final reckoning before God?

unfortunately, democrats have never been able to answer that.

(more on that answer later)

Doug Grow: Political calling put religion into the mix

Doug Grow: Political calling put religion into the mix

republican=god loving
democrat=god hating

not only is this a perfect example of evangelical binary thinking, it's also a lesson about what happens when a texan moves in. News | "Voter terrorism" News | "Voter terrorism"

The sad fact is that voter-intimidation efforts aimed at minorities have been carried out in just about every major election over the past 20 years. The campaigns are almost always mounted by Republicans who aim to reduce the turnout of overwhelmingly Democratic minority voters at the polls.

what about this says republicans look out for minority interests?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

BBC NEWS | Americas | Pill propelled into abortion debate

BBC NEWS | Americas | Pill propelled into abortion debate

"Which is counter-intuitive because if you're against abortion in the least you'd think you would see the value in enhancing access birth control, the very means women look to preventing pregnancy and the need for abortion."

this time i'm hard pressed to say 'i told you so.' alas, our side rather underestimates the hardcore fundamentalism of the christian right and social conservatives. why should the pro-lifers stop at just restricting access to abortion? why NOT go all the way to controlling a woman's basic ability to control her own body?

we're only women.

a note on the chemical abortion argument as grounds for refusing the Pill: to be pregnant, the egg must implant first; you can't abort if the egg doesn't implant. therefore, anything that stops the egg from implanting is NOT an abortifacient. it's a prophylactic.

what liberals don't get about church folk

MSNBC - Altercation

the end discussion about religious fundamentalism trumping social concerns is a good one. and a true one:

"Exposure to religious passion is not something yankee liberals get much of. It's essential knowledge in Karachi and Kansas City."

unfortunately since it's almost 2 am, i'll write about it later.

Friday, September 17, 2004

ugh. more.

Doctors object on moral grounds - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - September 17, 2004

it sucks to be a woman, sometimes.

The Gadflyer: Uncle Sam Wants You to Get Married

The Gadflyer: Uncle Sam Wants You to Get Married

i have a girl friend who works for the dept of health and human services; she flipped out when she was told 4 years ago that she'd have to start counseling her clients to stay married - or get married in order to continue their benefits or receive them.

she said, what does marriage have to do with this girl getting her high school diploma and finding a job?

absolutely nothing, i told her.

the republican mindset is amazing to me. solutions are often so easy, so band-aid like. poor? get married. too many kids? get married. no job? get married. hate the ghetto? get married.

the placebos make us feel better about charity but allow us to ignore real material conditions that have real, adverse affects on a poor family. we'd rather a woman be married to another poor man who can't support his family rather than think of ways to get them help to lead them out of poverty.

let's say it together: poor people need not to be poor anymore.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

we're dumber than i thought


i'd give my right ovary to discover what those people, who seem to be living in a lead-lined tank, are doing with their time that they can walk around blissfully unaware.

on a more serious note, what george barna calls moral relativism i'd like to call privacy. while most conservative christians seem to be comforted by the thought that we could legislate private behavior (in other words, make private actions and thoughts answer to a public authority), most others are uncomfortable with it. for good reason.

theocratic rules make us squeamish. it goes against our history, our grain, our personalities. in a pluralistic society such as ours, to impose one rigid legalistic faith (and the consequences for breaking with that faith) would be disastrous. we'd all move to canada!

however, if the main goal is to examine the reasons for the gap between a christian's faith declaration ('i'm against gay marriage') and practice ('but what you do in your own bedroom is up to you'), then the question is interesting.

is that moral relativism or is it just minding your own business?


who hates bush?
blacks, atheists and democrats.

i'm sorry but i think that's funny.

who's holier than thou?


more from barna (apparently my new addiction)

well, this explains it...

from the barna evangelical christian survey:

66% of evangelicals describe themselves as “mostly conservative” when it comes to political and social issues (compared to 32% of adults nationwide), 25% describe themselves as somewhere in between (compared to 49% of adults nationwide), and none call themselves liberal (compared to 13% of adults nationwide). (2004)

[emphasis mine]


Welcome to The Barna Group!

well, according to the study the barna group conducted, african americans self-identify as 'stressed out.' (scroll all the way down)


christian stats!

The Third Coming of George Barna - Christianity Today Magazine

utterly fascinating. his findings on the state of the church today are riveting. go here.
Welcome to The Barna Group!

i'm leaving the office right now but this article from george barna's group about ethnicity and faith is really really really good. numbers! research!

it's a smart girl's catnip - i can't wait to read more. (insert dorky music here.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

women's studies, 101

8. Birth Control�A Parents� Problem or Woman�s?. Sanger, Margaret. 1920. Woman and the New Race

tuesday was margaret sanger's 125th birthday. i'd almost forgotten about her - and how her activities changed the material realities of most women.

birth control and reproductive autonomy seems to be my latest bug - an obssession supported by the latest news from the department of labor saying that women spend twice as much time raising the kids as their male counterparts (while men spend twice as much time at work or at leisure.)

a natural way of the world? not by my estimation. (nor the estimation of a few fem blogs who picked this up)


like this says, a little perspective is needed on the whole CBS forgery story.

rather, some perspective on the response to this story is needed. where was the outrage when the white house used forgeries to make their case for the war? where was the outrage when ALL of the media turned on the clintons and gore with stupid rumors and unproven allegations (remember vince foster, anyone?)?

let's not forget the merits of the story: bush ducked out of duty. period.

what's the lesson here? if you actively lie about a democrat, you get a pass. if you're a republican who has only passing familiarity with FACTS you get a pass. if you smear a republican with (cough) less than totally vetted materials (cough) be prepared for a can of whup-ass to be opened all over your backside.

black like me?

The Gadflyer: Blacker Than Thou

a very good piece on identity politics and the illinois senate race. taken with the news of the republican targeting of black congregations, it asks a sharp question about which party (and which candidate) really advocates black interests.

as for alan keyes, i think it's sad that the man can't even acknowledge how he's being used.

(let's say the word together: minstrel.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

when i grow up

i want to be like these women.

i could probably take more care of this little blog - be less ranty, more researched, less snarky - but who has the time? these women have the time.

if you like your feminists smarter than you are and aggressive with it, then they're the ones for you:

bitter shack of resentment
xx blog
pinko feminist hellcat
i'm not alone.

i've been ranting recently about women's issues - particularly reproductive issues.

here's a new blog i discovered that doesn't make me retch. cogent. smart. reasoned. right.

Church Folks for a Better America

Church Folks for a Better America

not all church folk are for the war...

Monday, September 13, 2004

shake it like a...oh, forget it

The New York Times > Arts > Music > Rappers Are Raising Their Churches' Roofs

i have a confession to make:
i used to listen to christian music. not what people listen to now: lots of guitar-y praise stuff or big huge gospel choirs.

i mean, the old stuff. the archers, ken medema, dallas holme, keith green, amy grant, the imperials, russ taff, evie turnquist, the winans (before the cultural cache of homophobia).

once russ taff won a grammy and crossed over, i stopped. actually, i can blame my own crossover on amy grant. she crossed over, made lame videos they showed on mtv (which just showed how uncoool she was - and by extension, how uncool i was), had an affair with her next door neighbor vince gill, divorced her nice frizzy headed husband phil and in the middle of all that, sung a horrific duet with peter cetera.

how could christian music survive that?

but i must confess once more: i want my father to burn a cd of all those old records and send them to me.

i miss them.

Friday, September 10, 2004

bush vs. jesus

yes, it's a little irreverent, but i think the point is salient.
(it's satire, everyone.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

a modern beatitude

AT LAST the full *shocking* story of how BUSH LIED to us about DISOBEYING A DIRECT ORDER and GOING AWOL, and generally GIVING THE FINGER to his superiours while SHIRKING HIS RESPONSIBILITY to serve during the Vietnam war.

AT LAST karma came back and bit the administration in the ass.

children, what did we learn this week?
when you lie, someone will find out. you may not think they will, but they will.

it's the rule of the universe: what goes around, comes around.
it's our unspoken judeo-christian ethic.


it's all my fault

MSN Money - Why we're not having enough babies

multiple choice: which event doomed the world to economic death?:

the education of women
the entrance of women into the workforce
the industrial revolution
the use of birth controll
the unruly and rampant masculinist practices of capitalism
the cynicism of generation x

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

it explains so much...

Political Victory: From Here to Maternity (

money quote:
"Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts."

if ever a national policy on family planning was needed...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

dumb men, pt 3

The Revealer: L'il Ol' Me

will it ever end?

follow the links in the summary.

news about stupidity controlling women's lives is just so depressing.

dumb men, pt 3

The Revealer: L'il Ol' Me

will it ever end?

follow the links in the summary.

news about stupidity controlling women's lives is just so depressing.

Monday, August 30, 2004

top 10 conservative idiots!

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots, No. 168 - Democratic Underground

it made me laugh. (and it's well documented, to boot! says the girl who thinks everything should have a footnote!)

why are people voting for this man?

WorkingForChange-Still unreported: The pay-off in the Air Guard fix

do a google search on 'ben barnes' and you get the story (the long-suppressed story) of how quid pro quo shrub's stint in the texas air national guard really was.

and yet - we still have the swifties out there. what a joke our press is.

let the hearburn begin

Let the heartburn begin. The Repub convention kicks off tonight and already the coverage has burned a hole in my chest.

Taking a break from painting yesterday, I caught some GOP congresswomen from the south (including a rep from Kentucky) talking about why the GOP is so bad with single women. The Kentucky rep’s comments came down to this:
Single women don’t have a man to discuss these matters with, so they’re vulnerable to the Democrats’ fear tactics. Married women, on the other hand (their numbers are much better with this demographic), care a lot about safety and discuss these things with their husbands and look to the party that will keep them safer.

I almost had a stroke. Those statements, paraphrased as they are, exemplify all that is wrong with the Republican party. They don’t get it. They don’t get me, they don’t get my friends, they don’t get any of us.

AND they couldn't respond to the questions from Chris Matthews or the cute black chick on CNN about what the GOP had to offer women like me. They just said safety. That's what their policy is about. Safety.

Like we care.

Friday, August 27, 2004

the swifty effect

The Gadflyer: The Poll Miner

so how much did the swift boat crapola really mess up our candidate? a breakdown here.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

we're winning

improve your mind; read a big report by a reputable foundation that says kerry's in the lead.

(smart numbers, people, smart numbers!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

keyes on faith

a profile of the illinois senate GOP candidate; it's rather thoughtful but at the end crops up the confidence (arrogance, whatever) that his brand of faith is the only one that serves.

there is no doubt keyes is a smart, well-read man. he's thoughtful about his faith and his political beliefs (let's ignore the flip-floppiness). but for those of us who are of a quieter faith (a faith that doesn't necessarily want to label women who get abortions 'terrorists') the conflation of religious and political rhetoric is problematic and even a little skeevey.

history has proven that it's never a good idea.

the sudan

in the circus surrounding the elections, the war, our boob of a president and emerging scandals surrounding his cabinet, we forget about this:

FURBURANGA, Sudan - In the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, the killers pray toward Mecca. The million displaced people do as well. Marauding men on horseback, the women raped by them, the rebels who incited the fighting and the politicians, soldiers and police officers who have failed to control it, nearly all are Muslim.

ouch - krugman

read it here.

(i love this guy; his brain is so huge. and i think 4 major papers have come out saying the swift boat vets are liars - new york times, washington post, chicago trib and la times. isn't time we started asking why they lied? and why the same scrutiny isn't being applied to a president whose national guard records mysteriously keep disappearing?)

dumb men, pt 2

say what you will about the practice, but again, the issue is whether or not a woman has reproductive freedom. her moral choices are her own.

and, please, keyes - shut up. you're embarrassing.

Monday, August 23, 2004

stem cells

(you'll need a subscription to read)

again, the difference between an embryo and fetus...

Friday, August 20, 2004


How a Philosophy Professor With a Checkered Past Became the Most Influential Catholic Layman in George W. Bush's Washington

a couple of weeks ago, the dems had to grimly bear the brunt of governor mcgreevey's resignation and coming out party in new jersey.

now it's the conservatives' turn.

and it's sad that both these scandals turned on sexual dishonesty.

smoke and fire

HungryBlues - A Lynching In Tuskegee

ben from hungryblues picked up this story yesterday about a lynching in tuskegee. (or questionable suicide.)

we'd all like to think that times are different. but i think sometimes we know better.

another Good book

The Revealer - On a Shaky Wall

say it with me, people: SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

the title's sardonic...

KtB - Bible Porn

not that this is exactly the same thing, but i used to do the same thing: in sunday services when jake was preaching, i'd open the bible and find the 'naughty' stories. it looked like i was being studious, but i was reading for naughtiness.

i was 10. i was curious. and if you can't giggle at the song of solomon, then what can you?! News %7C Church says girl%27s communion not valid

since i'm a protestant, i really don't have strong opinions on what catholics do with their wafers, but this seems a bit much.

what's the logic here? faith is a matter of glutin? no wonder people find religion to be ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

school's back in

yeah, i guess vacation's over.

why dumb men are a danger to women

El Paso Times Online

reason #1 why sex ed needs to happen in schools. any woman can tell you that birth control pills isn't an abortifacient. birth control pills prevent ovulation, thereby preventing sperm from fertilizing the egg -- because the egg hasn't been released!!

gaah! dumb men who know NOTHING about women's bodies are making decisions for them.

this is how it starts. one's position on abortion is one thing - on birth control is another. reproductive control over one's body is absolutely necessary for a woman to be independent and autonomous.

for if she can't make decisions about when she wants to have children and how many children to have, then whose decision is it? it's incredibly short-sighted to prevent women access to medically safe and legal birth control--what about family planning? i can't tell you the problems in the black community that could be solved if only someone knew how to wear a condom or take birth control.

but this is how it starts - if abortion rights are knocked down, then the right's next move will be to limit access to birth control (birth control pills, iuds, depo provera, the ring, condoms, tubal ligation, etc.) until a woman's choice regarding her reproductive future belongs to someone else. if she can't get birth control pills, then how will she prevent pregnancy? if she can't buy condoms, then how will she protect herself against disease? and this isn't just about single women or teenage girls - married women also need birth control (or do men think that women will give birth until they die?) do they know that the largest number of women who ask for tubal ligation are married women?

and the predictable response from the conservative right will be 'ah, but then she shouldn't have sex unless she's married, should she?'

let's trace the argument: if a woman is sexually active and gets pregnant, she can't get an abortion because that's murder; but neither could she have prevented pregnancy because that's against judeo-christian ethics, so her sexual activity should never have happened in the first place. or if it did, only in a church/state sanctioned relationship so that the fruits of it will be legitimate.

so we come full circle - basically every law restricting a woman's right to practice safe sex and/or control her reproductive destiny is in the interest of a man (or a masculine institution) controlling her sexuality and her body.

feminism 101, people: if this isn't mysogyny and patriarchy at work then i don't know what is.

(update: the hormones in birth control pills can also change the chemistry of the mucal lining of the cervix, making it 'inhospitable' to sperm - again, preventing sperm from even making it to an egg.)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

holiday aborted because of *this* : S. Carolina Targeted for Christian State

where to begin?

a christian-only state built on religoius law. i guess if the amish can do it, so can you. but wait - the amish don't have a separate state.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

taking a break

the convention exhausted me.
politics and my outrage being constantly on High is just too tiring.

the last month of summer is here and i haven't had any significant fun in months.

so now i'm concentrating on boys. politics for boys. and barbecue. and laying out in the sun. and more barbecue. that movie about metallica. dancing. and live music by the lake and the park and the fountain and the seurat exhibit at the art institute.

i live in chicago, the best city in the country! i need to have fun.

so yeah, no politics until the republican convention. then it all starts again. heh heh heh.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

and another thing

the desire to acquire barak obama as their ideological son also shows how incredibly ignorant they are of african american intellectual history.

there isn't one thing he said last night that wasn't said first by W.E.B. DuBois.


last night barak obama (illinois st. senator running for senate) gave the keynote at the dnc convention. i watched it at home with A-- on msnbc (my roommate loves chris matthews; i don't know why).

it was wonderful - that is, until the pundits got to it. their main complaint: that he gave a speech full of conservative ideas. they've actually commented that self-reliance, responsibility, a good work ethic, faith and hope are all conservative ideals.

i think republicans are out of step with democrats. the old picture they've painted of democrats is far more suitable for the 60s or 70s than now. while we may be supportive of those conservative targets (affirmative action, welfare, multi-culturalism) we recognize the nuances and limitations of these ideas and practices.

for instance, wouldn't affirmative action achieve its goals better if it focused on class, rather than ethnicity? educational access is really about who can afford it. and if my african american community is afraid to release our grip on affirmative action because we're afraid of losing that privilege, i think we need to look beyond our skin color and realize that so many of our issues are at the intersection of race and class.

we need to realize that our interests lie in the empowerment of our urban poor, our rural poor, our working brothers and sisters whatever their color.

the conservative insistence that only conservatives can talk about faith, equality, responsibility and hope exposes the conservative's inability to take on complexity, which is itself an inherent and crucial conservative characteristic. they are talented at narrowing a discourse to a few signifiers, but complicate them, add color to those floating signs, and they get lost in the tall grass.

suddenly, their discourse becomes petulant - 'we said that first!'

actually, they haven't. progressives have always expressed deep faith - but they've also realized that government is not in the business of imposing it on the majority. progressives have always espoused self-reliance - but they've also realized that government is also responsible for the basic needs of its citizenry. progressives have always believed in responsibility - but they've also thought that responsibility belongs to everyone, especially to those in power. progressives have always fought for equality - but equality in the interest of those on the margin, not those already enjoying the fruits of privilege.

obama's performance was thrilling, moving and strategic in laying out how this party is the embodiment of traditional american values. best of all it put conservatives on the defensive, forcing an attempt to co-opt our language (and even our candidate)in order to blur the real differences between democrats and republicans.

Friday, July 23, 2004

bush can't dance

BET/CBS News Poll of African Americans Finds Mistrust, Disen... - Jul. 21, 2004

according to this latest poll, bush is an election-stealing dweeb who can't dance.



Marriage Protection Act passed in the States | Headlines | News | UK

There's something wrong with a law when it hearkens back to the 19th century:

The last time such a "court-stripping" measure passed was in 1868, during the nation's reconstruction after the Civil War. Other such measures considered since then rarely made it out of committee because they were considered unconstitutional.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

black conservative=oxymoron?

The Gadflyer: Blackwashing


it's interesting what you turn up when you follow the money.

our stupid war

Informed Comment

i hate thinking about the war so much - not because i'm such a girl that war is icky. i just hate stupidity and this war is the epitome of stupid.

(stupid: slow to learn or understand; tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes; marked by a lack of intelligence or care; pointless; worthless.)

and now it seems like the stupidity will spread to iran. who couldn't see this coming?


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

it's basic, people

t r u t h o u t - Clerics Resist Bush Strategy to Seek Aid of Churchgoers

when i talk to people about why i don't agree with allowing prayer in public schools or why including religious language into a federal document skeeves me out, my answer is always the same: the separation of church and state, people.

this separation is not just to protect a state from undue influence from one particular religious movement (though you really wouldn't be able to tell that with this administration) it's mainly in existence to protect the church from the rather fickle and punitive arm of the state.

if a church participates in partisan electioneering, it's in violation of their tax-exempt status. (and no, inviting someone to speak doesn't count as electioneering; actively giving fiscal or organizational support to a candidate does.)

totalitarian countries endorse state sanctioned religion. do we really want to fall in the same group?

our holy war rolls on...

t r u t h o u t - William Rivers Pitt | Torturing Children

slowly, the news about the children imprisoned in abu ghraib leaks out - mainly from international sources, not our own media (the cowardly weasles they are.)

typical that governor arnold's 'girly men' comment (which isn't really a surprise coming from a semi-literate actor, come on) gets more coverage than our abuse of children in a badly conceived and horrifically executed war.

if there is a decaying moral center to our country, its origin isn't gay marriage, feminism, secular humanism or even darwinism. it's the seed within us that allows us to do things like this to people in the hollow name of freedom and christianity.

Monday, July 19, 2004

who knew?

The New York Times > National > Single Evangelical in Need of Advice? Books Have Plenty

quote of the day -

"I once got a letter from a reader that said, `I know that even if I were stranded on an island, God would send me a mate,' " Ms. Courtney said. "I wanted to write back and say, `If you're stranded on an island, you shouldn't be worried about a husband, you should be thinking about a boat.' "

who knew the current divorce rate among christians was 33%? that's really stunning.

huh. so much for traditional marriage...

Friday, July 16, 2004

election or evangelism?

the recent email conversation with evangelist paul in comments to the fma post brought forth an argument about whether or not i should tell my gay friends they're going to hell. 
(note:  i am not telling my gay friends they are going to hell.)
the argument follows thusly:
1.  God does not condone sin A.
2.  Person indulges in sin A.
3.  Friend of Person indulging in sin A is a Christian.
4.  Friend, therefore, should clue in Person indulging in sin A.
5.  Person/Sinner will...
and here's where the argument breaks down.  Person/Sinner will...what?  So far, we have a pretty straight line of cause and effect.  But until this point, when the ball is thrown back in Person/Sinner's court, the game fails; it becomes a flow chart leading to the same zero-sum conclusion.
1.  Person/Sinner, told he is bound for hell, will either:
a.  Agree.
b.  Tell you to perform a physically impossible act upon yourself.
c.  Tell you to mind your own business.
d.  Tell you he doesn't believe in God, so there.
most evangelicals hope for (a).  but since this almost never happens (and i dare anyone to prove otherwise) let's think about options (b-d).  in all of these reactions, you've polarized the situation and each of you are entrenched.  no one's moving, there's no effect - except that now you feel really good that you've done what you were told to do.  you've just spread God's word.
but what about the doctrine of election
(thanks, dad.)

'ligion and the press

The Revealer: Re-Branding Revolution

just found this new site. it's mainly just a collection of media stories about religion (all of them) and how religion is covered in the media (both mainstream and not).

the highlighted article is about an image overhaul to the evangelical movement. (re-branding is what we call it in the pr field.)

the war...

The Revealer: Don't Forget the Bodies

it's summertime. nights are warm. days are awash with light. yesterday, after work, i sat outside with coworkers at a farewell party for one of our own. we sat in the gallery and restaurant district in chicago. the sun was still high in the sky and we all wore sunglasses to block the light.

our glasses of wine sweat in the heat. we laughed, told ridiculous stories and made plans for later in the evening. we ended up singing karaoke in a dive bar, performing really bad covers of aretha franklin and the doors.

meanwhile, on the other side of the world, there's war.

just in case any of us forgot.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

whither marriage?

marriage, like the times, are a'changin'.

apples, meet oranges

in a comment to my FMA post, a reader (!!) wanted to know what i didn't understand about the prohibition in the bible against homosexuality.
my answer:  nothing.  i understand everything.  (let's not forget i'm a smart preacher's daughter who probably knows as much as you about the bible.)
but here's a different question:  what does the prohibition against homosexuality in the bible have to do with letting joe and steve share a joint checking account?
just asking. 

values in action

there have been blogland rumors of this for a while; it's been reported in the european press (der spiegel) and the irc and unicef have released reports about children imprisoned in iraq and not having access to them.

there was even a hint of this when the photos at abu ghraib first emerged and senators, along with rumsfeld, vaguely alluded to 'unmentionable crimes.' well, now we know what these unmentionable crimes were.

there's nothing in our corporate press (other than hersh's reporting) to follow up on this story. our silence is our shame.

the christian community should be in arms over this violation of the innocent. but where is the outcry? where is the outrage that should greet news of what we have become over there? instead, we repeat empty words like 'freedom,' 'war on terror,' and 'support our troops.' our values mean nothing if we can't face, and take responsibility for, what we've done for the sake of this president's war.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

FMA - dead on the floor News | Senate scuttles gay marriage amendment

the Constitution is safe for now.
what will the GOP think of next?

Monday, July 12, 2004

the federal marriage amendment

A vote approaches about the Federal Marriage Amendment. This is important to me, not just because of my gay friends and how this affects their daily lives (because let’s face it, this will impact a gay person’s life more than a straight person’s.) I think we’re being horribly ahistorical about marriage (there’s that word again.) It’s also important because ultimately the argument is about values – the things that define us.

As a Christian I believe that our greatest commandment is to love Christ and be a representative, a carrier, of His love to the world. This amendment is not about love or embracing our brother. (Yes, the gay sitting next to you is your brother.) This amendment isn’t even about marriage. There are two types of marriage in our society – civic and religious. It so happens that the civic and religious faces of our marriages usually unite – because of mutual faith backgrounds of those marrying, but mostly because of convention. But throughout Western history, daresay much of history itself, marriage has not been merely a religious rite, but a social rite, as well.

The history of marriage is a history of social contracts, legal rights and civic law. Through the act of marriage property has been united, wealth consolidated, political futures secured. To see marriage in only its religious light is to be ignorant of the secular role of marriage – a role that shadowed, or stealthily followed, the church. In fact the church has worked very hard to support the needs of the state when it comes to marriage. (English history lite: What was Henry VIII’s beef? The church wouldn’t let him divorce on religious grounds. Being all hotheaded, Henry took this as a political offense – a foreign power encroaching on his sovereignty. Because of this political threat and to get what he wanted, a new church was established – the Anglican Church—and Henry was its head. He got that divorce – and many others besides. But he also got land – he confiscated Roman Catholic property and grasped their wealth for his own; it was a bold political move forged on the back of his marital dissatisfaction and religious disagreement.) Marriage can be a declaration of faith, yes, but it’s also backed by the needs of the state (I use the word ‘state’ to embody the government).

To emphasize what we’re talking about, let me repeat: We have a state power using marriage in its religious sense to further its own secular political agenda and to civically disenfranchise a segment of our population from legal rights the majority of our citizenship already enjoy – despite their marital status. It’s sleight of hand, this Federal Marriage Amendment. It’s a trick that satisfies our biases (which you have a perfect right to) and tries to write those biases into law (which is not so right.)

As a social convention marriage, and the definition thereof, also changes with the needs of society. Just as changing ideas about race and gender have contributed to severe rewritings in defining marriage (i.e., women are no longer legally defined as property and interracial marriages are no longer illegal, though some states still lag behind...) so will ideas about sexual orientation will, as well. This is part of that moment. As a social convention, marriage binds the properties and financial responsibilities of two consenting adults; why shouldn’t gay people have this civic right?

If our national values say liberty for all – and this includes the liberty of private property, private acts, association and speech – then such an amendment takes the private lives of our citizens and makes portions of it illegal. This isn’t just a law that says when two men marry it's bad – it says that union is illegal. It becomes punishable. It not only says that marriage is defined by one man and one woman (though history would prove otherwise); it says that any sort of civil bind – domestic partnerships, civil partnerships, and the benefits thereof – are void. They no longer exist. That gay couple you avoid talking to living down the street, who bought a house and have been together for years? Any legal agreements they’ve made regarding taxes, powers of attorney, benefits, and social security are void. They cannot open a joint checking account, they cannot list each other as beneficiaries of benefits, they cannot make medical decisions for one another, and they cannot share the same health coverage. The civil liberty that you enjoy, they are now forbidden to enjoy.

I know what the Bible says about homosexuality. I also know what’s in my heart when I am with my gay friends whom I love. Moreover, if opposing this cruel and disingenuous amendment (the possibility of which is already forcing two very dear people I love to move because they can’t own property in the state they’re in because they’re gay) means that I’m on the wrong side of the church, then I’ll take that chance. But I don’t think that I am; I’m on the wrong side of the state.

That gay marriage threatens or destroys the sanctity of marriage, necessitating a federal amendment, is a false argument. This amendment is not about sanctity; it’s about the relationship of the citizen to the state. Considering our long-held separation of church and state, our government is not in the business of codifying sanctity – at least it shouldn’t be. And the concept of freedom of religion is not freedom from religion; it’s the freedom to practice ones beliefs, even if that belief does not include the presence of God, without fearing censure from the state. The religious definition of marriage is therefore safe; it is unimpeachable.

If the religious value of marriage is safe, then what are we fighting for? My gay and lesbian friends are fighting for hospital visitations; they’re fighting for social security benefits; they’re fighting for inheritance rights; they’re fighting for parental rights; they’re fighting to retain their basic national identity, in all its meanings. If they already can’t fight in our armies and navies, if they already can’t be who they are in private, let alone in public, if they can’t have the right to raise children, if they can’t share benefits, property or enter into agreements recognized by the state, then what exactly is the purpose of the amendment?

Oppose homosexuality all you like. I’m not saying you don’t have to. But when the government starts taking away rights because of something that’s private (it has nothing to do with their legal status as citizens) and you support it, you’re valuing discrimination and that makes you a bigot and a homophobe.

(edited because 'unimpeachable' was the word i was going for.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Christian Principles in an Election Year

Christian Principles in an Election Year

came across this in an article on salon abou the right's move to rally conservative churches. it's just an interesting thing to read.

more on this later.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

perhaps my religious upbringing was a bit different, but in all the sermons preached to me, one of the biggest lessons was the value of thinking. thinking independently of cant and thinking logically for oneself. in other words, to be skeptical of everything. critical of everything. i don't think people think much nowadays.

frankly, i'll leave arguments about doctrine to theologues. i'll admit i have doubt about things and that's as far as i'll go. (my private struggles with some aspects of my faith are exactly that - private and no one's business.) i'm talking about how religious faith intersects with the public sphere.
every month my church's young singles adult group puts together a dinner; a few years ago, the topic was Faith & Politics. one man at my table was very...orthodox. i sensed this and kept my mouth pretty much shut; i'd had a long day and didn't want to get into a shouting match with a stranger over dinner. but when the question about prayer in public schools came up and he loudly advocated it, i put my fork down and disagreed. also loudly. my disagreement had nothing to do with whether or not children from other faith backgrounds would be offended. it was a political disagreement.

and when i said that, as a christian, i was uncomfortable with the idea of a government inserting religion where it doesn't belong, pretty much linking the state to a religious institution, that the separation of church/state primarily protects churches from government control and interference, he called me a bad christian.

whenever someone calls me a bad christian or an improper woman, or even 'twisted', i know that a rupture has just occured. a conversation dies because of an ad hominem attack. (ad hominem = arguing 'to the man', a personal attack; a rhetorical strategy that distracts you from an argument by moving attention away from the merits of that argument to the person who made it. basically, it's a cheap shot coming from someone who can't muster arguments on their own.)

though the majority of people in this country identify themselves as religious, christian or somehow faithful, the level of religious discourse, especially in some of our smaller and more urban communities, is particularly low. it shows, for one, that the religious community doesn't have much of a sense of humor about things. so someone disagrees with you - so what?

and it shows the religious community to be rather...reactionary instead of thoughtful. being thoughtful doesn't mean capitulation or even compromise. it just means, take a breath, wipe the spittle from your chin and make your argument. if your argument consists of 50 scriptures that supposedly support your view why church/state should be immediately welded together, then so be it. but expect a challenge on those merits.
at the gay pride parade this past weekend, there was a protest from local religious groups. from what i heard, there was one scuffle (not really bright to shove and spit at a group of muscular gay men in their own neighborhood) and a lot of yelling. and signs saying God loves you but you're going to burn in hell. i have to wonder at the argumentation and point of all that. leaving what they're saying aside (since i have gay friends, i have my own ideas) i wonder why they're saying it. is it to convert? is it just to make known your disapproval? is it because you are compelled to?

it makes me think of that passage in the bible where the disciples are told to go into different towns, say their message, and if their message isn't accepted, leave and shake the dust from their sandals. i don't quite recall an admonition to set up a gauntlet, write a few signs, spit at some strangers and scream they're going to hell. i don't know why i mentioned that. it just makes me mad.


Ralph Reed's Gamble

back in the 80s and early 90s the conservative right had a new poster boy, ralph reed. he was clean cut, well-spoken and just a little bit scary in his christian coalition fervor. (think smooth-faced youthful brownshirt). so straight. so narrow.

and now, so scandalous.

euww. - CitizenLink - FNIF News - Berkowitz Interview Draws Criticism

his conversion could be real, whatever.
but that's just icky.

almost as icky as accepting money from rev. moon...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

is God a republican?

Sean Hannity: God is "no Democrat"; Dennis Mill ... [Media Matters for America]

according to conservatives, yes. wow. who knew??

since i'm generation x, i'll just sit back and wait for some universal irony to kick their asses in november.

strange bedfellows, pt 2

The Gadflyer: Moon Over Washington

no way:

But now that he's forged unbreakable ties with conservative Christians, Moon has moved on to African-American ministers, and, through them, allies in the Democratic Party. This has been below the radar of the press, but not for lack of outlandishness. Moon celebrated Easter Sunday, 2003 by launching a coast to coast series of "tear down the cross/Who is Rev. Moon?" events, targeting pastors in poor neighborhoods. From the Bronx to L.A., Moon's people were convincing pastors to pull the crosses off their walls and replace them with his Family Federation flag. An old hymn was invoked: "I'll trade the old cross for a crown."

is the world going insane? first billy graham and now this? do people not remember than Moon was investigated for criminal acts about 20 yrs ago?

if it wasn't so horrifically wrong, i'd laugh my butt off. News | Army to call up retired, discharged troops News | Army to call up retired, discharged troops

wow. it really isn't ending. is the draft too far behind?

Strange Bedfellows

Better Angels: Christians and Neocons Join Forces to Drag Us Into War with North Korea

Summary: there is a quiet movement to pass a North Korean Human Rights Bill in the Senate. It's still in the planning stages but it's been in the works for about a year.

The site above is a list of the groups backing the bill. I'm only mentioning this for a couple of reasons.

1. Neocons are nuts. Overly militaristic and a little short on planning, their ideologies mired us in Iraq when we could have been concentrating on war in Afghanistan. They're heavy ideologues of the most reactionary sort.

2. I think religious groups need to be careful about the company they keep. Do some basic research, people. Ask what's to be gained for all these different groups to converge on North Korea like this. (And also ask if we can afford this kind of venture.) I also think it's a mistake to join messianic missions to military ones. Religious zealotry mixed with heavy firepower is never a good combination. (Think of every single imperial and colonial venture in Western history.)

Is this what the Bush Doctrine has brought us? Now that we're in the process of pulling out of Iraq, are we now looking at other countries to 'transform'? It reminds me of that scene in Batman when The Joker decides to 'improve' his girlfriend and mutilates her face. The word is 'transform' but the result is ' disaster.'

Will we be in a state of perpetual war until our nation in bankrupt and we become wholly isolated from other nations?

Monday, June 28, 2004

surfing during the last few minutes of the day at the office...came across this gem, said by conservative lackwit and author, ann coulter.

"God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" -- Ann Coulter, "Hannity & Colmes," Fox News, 6/20/01

why are people conservatives, again?

Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Does torture work? | Does torture work?

Earlier I posted an angry rant against a post that had shown on my father's site. One of my screeds called the original poster 'ahistorical.'

This is an article that gives a better, more measured, critique of the use of torture in battle.

And it's a fine example of using extant texts to make a point about history (yeah, it's called research.)

Monday, June 21, 2004

unbelievable - the moonies in congress

ok, i may be progressive, but there is nothing progressive enough in me to make me think that THIS is right:

June 21, 2004 | You probably imagine your congressman hard at work in the Capitol debating legislation, making laws -- you know, governing. But your newspaper probably didn't tell you that one night in March, members of Congress hosted a crowning ritual for an ex-convict and multibillionaire who dressed up in maroon robes and declared himself the Second Coming.

On March 23, the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill. Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin -- the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said. In a vision, Moon said the reformed Hitler and Stalin vouched for him, calling him "none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

To many observers, this bizarre scene would have looked like the apocalypse as depicted in "Left Behind" novels. Moon, 84, the benefactor of conservative foundations like the American Family Coalition -- who served time in the 1980s for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice -- has views somewhere to the right of the Taliban's Mullah Omar. Moon preaches that gays are "dung-eating dogs," Jews brought on the Holocaust by betraying Jesus, and the U.S. Constitution should be scrapped in favor of a system he calls "Godism" -- with him in charge. The man crowned "King of Peace" by congressmen once said, according to sermons reprinted in his church's Unification News: "Suppose I were to hit you with the baseball bat to stop you, bloodying your ear and breaking a bone or two, yet still you insisted on doing more work for Father."

What, exactly, drew at least a dozen members of Congress to Moon's coronation? (By the Unification Church's estimate, 81 congressmen attended, although that number is probably high.) The event was the grand finale of Moon's coast-to-coast "tear down the cross" Moonification tour, intended to remove Christian crosses from almost 300 churches in poor neighborhoods -- the idea being that the cross was an obstacle to uniting religions under Moon. Yet the Dirksen ceremony was sold as a celebration of world peace. According to a cheery promotional video released by Moon's International and Interreligious Federation for World Peace, the ceremony marked the dawn of "the era of the Eternal Peace Kingdom, one global family under God." Moon's coronation also cured God's pain, the announcer explains.

By all accounts, most of the congressmen in attendance didn't expect a coronation. Instead, they thought they were heading to an awards dinner honoring activists from their home states as "Ambassadors for Peace." A flier for the event claimed an impressive who's-who of organizers, including Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Charlie Black, a top Republican strategist. Democrats were named, too, like Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee, who, incidentally, claims to have not even heard of the event.

And then there was Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., the only congressman who has publicly expressed pride in the crowning ceremony, who praised Moon for bringing religious leaders together in his Ambassadors for Peace tours to Jerusalem and beyond. Davis, it was revealed this week in the Chicago Reader, took money from Moon-organized fundraisers, who also gave to a charity of his choice. Davis told an Anglican magazine that Moon's remarks were "similar to a baseball team owner telling team members that 'we are the greatest team on earth'" to get them fired up.

At the time, the surreal event went uncovered by the Washington press corps, save for Moon's own Washington Times, which ran a brief description of the festivities. The story is getting some traction only now, after it was recently reported in the online magazine The Gadflyer. But what transpired at Dirksen two months ago remains a mystery to most Americans -- and those constituents of congressmen who attended Moon's crowning.

The crowning ritual indeed began as a somewhat normal awards ceremony. Ribbons that looked like Olympic gold medals were given to Rep. Bartlett and others. But then it took an odd turn. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., whose office maintained he did not attend the event until I provided photographs of him there -- spoke beside a photograph of himself pinning an American flag on Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, back when President Bush was praising him for abandoning WMD programs and before he was suspected of trying to kill the leader of Saudi Arabia.

Then, after Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., gave a speech praising one of Moon's Ambassadors for Peace, the civil rights veteran Rev. Walter Fauntroy, an unnamed Lubovitch rabbi took the stage declaring: "I have never seen this miracle where Jews, Christians and Muslims come together for peace!" Then Moon's cleric Chung Kwak took the mic. Before his days as the commander of the UPI wire service, Kwak, Moon said in a 1997 speech, was authorized to whomp on Unification Church members who slacked off. "Particularly those who are sleeping and hiding, Reverend Kwak's baseball bat will fall upon you at any time," Moon said. Now Kwak was standing in a Senate office building declaring Moon the king of the "second and third Israel."

It might almost make sense for conservative congressmen to honor Moon in this way. After all, a writer in Moon's magazine Insight wrote in February that it's long past time for Republicans to thank the billionaire Korean preacher for his gifts. "[T]he continued refusal of Beltway conservatives publicly to acknowledge their steadfast patron is, of course, scandalous," wrote contributor Paul Gottfried. Moon has sunk an estimated $2-$4 billion into the money-losing Times, and countless other causes -- like Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

Moon has also made inroads in the Bush administration, as Salon reported last September, with plum appointments for former or present Moon VIPs, and almost half a million dollars in abstinence-only grants supporting Moon's anti-sex crusade. To teach teens that "free sex" is revolting, they're asked by Moon's followers to drink other people's spit out of a cup, and then consider how much more vigilant you must be when sharing other body fluids.

While Moon once focused his energies on anti-Communism, making him popular among Republicans in the Reagan era -- his organization gave the first $100,000 to Oliver North's Nicaraguan Freedom Fund -- he has now shifted gears, aiming left. He's planning a "Peace United Nations" entwining religions instead of countries and is trying to make friends in the Congressional Black Caucus, like Rep. Davis. No congressman, on the right or left, has publicly denounced Moon for his momentous speeches describing his "peace kingdom" as a place where "gays will be eliminated" in a "purge on God's orders" he says will be like Stalin's. And many are surprisingly comfortable around a guy known for over-the-top speeches about the holy "love organ of life" and its various fluids. In a 1994 speech, he asked: "Do you like the smell of your husband's semen? Answer to Father. Does it smell good or bad? You may not like the smell of your wife's stool, but do you smell your own? Why don't you smell your own but you smell your wife's? Because you are not totally one."

But if Moon pulled off his greatest trick on Mar. 23, fooling some unsuspecting congressmen into attending his coronation, it's not as if his stunt was new -- for more than 25 years, Moon has sought to surround himself with powerful people to gain credibility and legitimacy, including presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. If the congressmen had simply run "Ambassadors for Peace" through the Google search engine, they would have discovered the group was tied to Moon and his grand plans for the future of Christianity -- plans to "reconcile" religions by tearing the Christian cross off church walls and persuading Jews to sign apologies for giving Jesus over to the Romans.

Weldon, for one, had a long time to do that Google search. As far back as June 19, 2003, he's listed in a speech by Rep. Danny K. Davis on the floor of the House of Representatives honoring Moon: "Many of my colleagues will join me and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), co-chair, in giving tribute to some of the outstanding Americans from our districts," said Davis. "We are grateful to the founders of Ambassadors for Peace, the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung [Moon], for promoting the vision of world peace, and we commend them for their work."

As for Moon's vision of world peace, there are widespread reports, even acknowledged within Moon's church, of allegations that in 1989 he allowed brutal inquisitions to take place. The inquisitor, a man Moon apparently believed was the reincarnation of his son, was allegedly encouraged to tie people to radiators and beat them. As a result, Moon's trusted lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak, was said to have suffered minor brain damage. Wrote his daughter-in-law, Nansook Hong, in her tell-all book: "Sun Myung Moon seemed to take pleasure in the reports that filtered back to East Garden of the beatings being administered by the Black Heung Jin. He would laugh raucously if someone out of favor had been dealt an especially hard blow." Members of Congress may want to do their homework before they crown their next King of Peace.