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.