Whatever He said. . . .I Say the Opposite

This is the GOP mantra, and has been since the day after the 2008 election. Whatever the President says or does or doesn’t do, they immediately say the opposite. It’s the last part that keeps getting them in trouble.

Latest case in point:

Newty (the garden slug) Gingrich just can’t make up his mind on what to do about Libya. When we were doing nothing, he was for the US to step in. When we did, he was against it.

He said we could take care of the whole problem with air-power. Until we used air-power then he said it was a typical politician’s error to think that air power solves all problems.

In the end, Newt admits that his answers to these questions are simply “responses to what the President does.”

Ya see Newt, when the president doesn’t do something, and you say he should, it’s really bad form to then say he shouldn’t have. And then before he has done something, don’t tell him how he should do it, because when he does it, and does it that way, you end up saying he should know better not to do it that way.

Is this an Alzheimer’s moment Newt? Or are you just the hateful vindictive, wannabe that we really think you are?

Help! Infection alert!

Decontamination areas are being set up all over Iowa in anticipation of the likely bacterial infection set to enter the state.

Tomorrow gadzillions (make that a few dozen) really creepy and crazy people are set to have a day-long conference in Des Moines about who should be the GOP candidate. All manner of sleaze is attending, including M. Bachmann (crazy eyes), H. Barbour (racism is behind me), H. Cain (uncle Tom’s cousin), N. Gingrich (garden slug), R. Santorum (wontcha love me again?), J. Bolton (the stash is my cash), and well others.

All rational humans are urged to get a shower and take the recommended dosage of Tylenol to forestall bouts of insanity. Symptoms include itchy skin, double vision and the uncanny feeling that you’ve been hijacked by aliens. See a veterinarian immediately if you have any of the above.

I just love ‘strict constructionists. You know who I mean, those folks that want our country returned to its Founding Father principles, the C O N S T I T U T I O N. Now what they actually mean by this is something you might not quite get, if you ain’t one of them.

Cases in point:

Bryan Fischer, AFA leader and all around hater of everything not white and fundamentalist, claims that the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion, does not include any rights for Muslims, since the FF could not have had them in mind. Why we don’t know, but he says that we give them rights as a “courtesy” only.

David Barton, pseudo-historian and all around wacko nutjob who shleps for the GOP and it’s business elites, has explained that the Declaration of Independence is “nothing more than a list of sermons” which might surprise Thomas Jefferson. Further the Constitution was written directly out of the Bible, and that all leads up to the fact that Jesus was and IS against the minimum wage and well anything that corporate America doesn’t find conducive to racking up profits.

Sadly, people actually get in their cars, travel to auditoriums, sit their skinny butts in chairs, and listen to this drivel, rather than say, pop popcorn and watch Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I kid you not.

Texas has been in the business of late in revising the history of the US of A, to reflect whatever it wants to be the truth. This is not news. Bill Zedler, Texas Rethuglian legislator, introduces a bill to make it “illegal to discriminate against creationists.” Yes, and next he plans to introduce one that makes it illegal to discriminate against stupid people. In both cases that would be him.  [h/t to Crooks and Liars]

Discover Magazine has an interesting article, entitled “Does the Universe Need God?” This is an excerpt from a larger article, and there is a link to that. This is a thoughtful reasoned argument, not the usual atheistic meanness that we’ve come to see from to many. I don’t agree with the argument, but I find it cogent and worth considering.

Ever heard of William Cronon? I hadn’t. No reason I should. He’s a university professor at Wisconsin, and well-respected by his peers in his area of expertise, that being history. He recently did an op-ed piece in the NYTimes on the recent union issues in Wisconsin, and was critical of the Governor and Republicans who would try to take away long-standing collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin citizens.

Well, that pissed off the GOP, and it, the state GOP that is, has launched a legal action to get to his e-mails to uncover whether they can prove that he’s been active in protests. This all aimed to of course intimidate and discredit him. This is what I guess the GOP calls democracy. We call it Joe McCarthyism. How low can you limbo Wisconsin GOP? [h/t to Daily Dish]

I know you all read Moe at Whatever Works, and I’m stealing this “entire” post, but she posts usually several a day, so please don’t miss her stuff. She does a great job of keeping us all aware of all the nefarious goings on, everywhere. But this is precious and so true:

“Other than telling us how to live, think, marry, pray, vote, invest, educate our children and, now, die, Republicans have done a fine job of getting government out of our personal lives.”
                                                         – Editorial Page, Portland Oregonian 

 ♦

It’s leftovers today!

Divine Transcendence and the Culture of Change

Let me first thank Eerdmans Publishing Company for sending along a copy of David H. Hopper’s Divine Transcendence and the Culture of Change, for review.

David Hopper has set out an interesting premise in his latest book: Namely have we gone too far in tolerance? He essentially argues that statements such as “It doesn’t matter what a person believes just so long as he/she is sincere,” are the product of ill-educated minds who know very little of theological matters. In other words, it’s one thing to be tolerant in a prudent sort of way, but it is wrong to have no standards at all.

He argues that the divine transcendence of God has been lost in this thoughtless attempt to not step on toes.

Many have perhaps come to the same conclusion, but they have done so by laying the blame on the “scientific revolution,” and its concommitant inference that nothing is beyond the mind of mankind.

Hopper argues that the Reformation, in the guise of Luther, Calvin and others of the same persuasion also played a part, perhaps unknowingly, in fostering this climate.

He starts with the model set out by H. Richard Niebuhr in his Christ and Culture.  In it Niebuhr posited five expressions of Jesus and culture:

  1. Christ against culture
  2. Christ of culture
  3. Christ above culture
  4. Christ of culture
  5. Christ the transformer of culture.

He places various movements, the monastic, Calvin, Mainstream Protestant, Catholic, Feminist, and so forth within this model at their most agreeing points.

Hopper sees in the Reformation movement and the following Enlightenment, a movement away from a “religious church-dominated culture” to one predominately secular, and one that has largely discarded its timeless orientation to the changeless and divine.

Luther addressed a church largely caught in the medieval concepts of Christ both above and against culture. The Church controlled the life of people by its claim to control their entrance into heaven. Luther of course had no intent to found a new sect, but rather intended to reform from within. And he of course failed, as the Church, seemingly receptive at first, recoiled at his more “heretical” thinking.

Heretical only in the sense that Rome rejected it, and so labeled it. Martin Luther’s “justification by faith” eliminated the idea that salvation was controlled by the Church. Indeed, Luther shockingly argued that it was faith in and adherence to the Scriptures, available to all of God’s people that was above the Church, and where mankind’s salvation was found. Free gift of grace.

Along with Calvin, others joined in and began to see Christ and the scriptures as calling for a salvation that was deeply imbedded within culture. In fact Calvin claimed that each person’s vocation was his opportunity to live out the Gospel message in service to neighbor.

While Luther did not extend his “Christ in Culture” to include much in the way of serious revamping of political institutions, Calvin did.

What is really new in Hopper’s analysis is that he brings Francis Bacon and the English reformation also into the mix. Bacon, in his “idols of the mind” laid the groundwork for a new way of looking at nature. In fact Bacon saw this as God’s will, that man was untruthful to God in leaving all things as mystery in God.

Bacon freed the mind of all the preconceived notions and “worldviews” and brought forth inductive thinking, pursuing a method of critical thinking. He claimed there were “attainable” truths “hidden by God” in nature, and these were open to being discovered.

Whereas Luther’s holy grail was 1Corinthians 1:18-23. The folly of the cross was God’s foolishness, wiser than that of men, Bacon believes that God has created man to discover the secrets of nature and to use them for the betterment of mankind.

Once married to American pragmatism and work ethic, scientific exploration exploded, and as our grip on a transcendent God seems to have slipped away.

In the end, Hopper argues for a return to a solid foundation in that transcendence. We are mired in our “consumerism” spirituality. We are driven by change for its own sake, and no longer see the limits of our own abilities. Only with a return to this foundation in the transcendent he argues, can we realistically address the common problems in our global world.

This is an interesting book, one for the more serious reader of theology and culture. But one that will seriously re-orient your thinking about progress and the price we are paying for it.

Room For All in Lent

Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried po...

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Today begins the annual time of penance and preparation for the glory of Easter. Yet, even our atheistic friends can benefit from the challenges posed by the season of Lent.

As children, we all probably recall friends who observed the time. One heard, “what are you giving up for Lent?” I recall many a friend of mine in childhood who blanched suddenly, eyes growing big as saucers. “What’s wrong?” we would ask. And there would be a mumbled “I gave up french fries for Lent” as the offending food slid down the throat unwillingly.

While we still do “give up” things, some of them even food items, we also “give up” old ways that have proven untenable, harmful, or hurtful. We often “add” practices that are designed to bring us in a  more constant “present moment” with the divine.

It is a poor Christian who arrives at Lent, and then decides what practices will be adhered to during the 40 days. It requires a certain amount of thought and prayer. We spend the time in the last weeks and days before Lent in preparing. We contemplate, we uncover, we decide what needs fixing, where we have failed, how we can correct wrongs done.

But even if we give no thought until today, we can still do this. I don’t think God is concerned if we only get in 39 days or 38. It’s the sincerity that counts.

For those who are not in faith, why, Lent provides that same incentive to better ourselves, to end bad habits, to acquire new ones. Indeed it’s ever so much better than New Year’s resolutions. They mostly fail, because the great maw of “forever” brings us to a halt almost before we begin. Observing Lent only requires a commitment to stick with it for 40 days, (more actually since weekends aren’t counted), and that is doable.

Who among us is perfect? Who can’t stand a bit of tweaking around the edges? Who doesn’t want to repair a broken friendship or family relationship? Who doesn’t want to start a new creative endeavor, read more, or engage in more hands-on volunteer work? Now’s the time to make that commitment to stick with it for a few weeks.

Time for a new habit to become a tried and true one. Time to evaluate and institute a change here or there. Time to uncover something more deeply seeded in one’s psyche.

For the faithful, Lent is a time to mourn our failings and offer small penances to God (really to ourselves), attaching consequences to our wrongs. It is our opportunity to grow close to our Lord in his suffering as He chose to show his followers the depths of his belief in the path that  he shows us is  true communion with our Creator. It is our time to work at our sainthood, distant and unlikely as it may well be.

It is odd that we remember the old question: “What are you giving up for Lent?” for in Matthew, Jesus told his disciples the exact opposite. Don’t let the left hand know what the right is doing. Don’t pray in public, nor lament over your fasting. Don’t make a public display of your “righteousness”. (Matt 6: 1-6)

There is no righteousness in shouting to the world all you are doing in Lent. If you are sincere, then keeping those things between you and God are all that is necessary. If your chosen practices are truly meant to improve you, then, no one need be aware.

Take a moment and think whether you might benefit from some changing act or practice during the next few weeks, safely aware that it need not last forever, but just might, if you don’t impose a forever commitment. You might be surprised at the wonders that come your way.

Blessings my dear friends.

 

Wisdom Wisps

I think about wisdom. Perhaps more than the average person. It’s hard to tell. It’s not something that is a great conversation item.

Some years ago, I realized that perhaps more than anything else, I’d like to be wise. Wise in the sense that people wanted to listen to me.

But I’m not wise, nor, I suspect, will I ever be so. You see, the people who I consider to be wise listen more than they speak. And I’m the antithesis of that.

I’m convinced that wise people become wise because they listen. They absorb the wisdom nuggets of others. They also read a lot. I read a good deal, but not a lot. Not as much as I should.

I consider Socrates wise. But he was wise in realizing that he didn’t know much. His wisdom was, through questioning, showing others that they didn’t know very much either. In some sense, he invented the idea of true serious thought, deeper than the surface–probing, winding, turning, backing up, circling.

It’s hard not to think of Buddhist monks and Indian yogis as wise. They sound wise. Perhaps it’s because they say things that I don’t quite get, and I equate wisdom with statements that puzzle me. So, I’m not sure.

Lots of people, mostly dead, seem wise to me. Henry David Thoreau for instance. He said two things I never forgot:

“Most men live lives  of quiet desperation.”

I think that is one of the truest and saddest things I’ve ever read. We all live encased in armor, a total mask. Presenting ourselves as “normal” when inside I suspect most of us are very unsure of most everything. And that frightens us.

“I went to the woods to live deliberately.”

I don’t think you have to go to the woods, but every hermit, every monk, everyone who is serious about their spiritual journey knows that isolation is essential, if only for a few minutes a day.

Thomas Merton was wise I believe, but perhaps in some sense what we define as wise is that which we believe is true. For the same reason I think Lakota healer and visionary, Nicholas Black Elk was wise.

The bible speaks a lot about wisdom, and addresses wisdom as female. Sophia. That’s a nice thought, wisdom being the female aspect of God. Yet, I don’t think of God as having “aspects.” I see God as an integrated whole, a singleness, not a duality or triad. These are human constructs designed to help our minds understand the transcendent quality of the Godhead. At least so I believe.

The dictionary suggests that wisdom is the ability to discern what is right and true. Philosophically it is defined as the “best use of knowledge.” The problem with this, is that again, it seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

A Cameroon proverb says of wisdom:

The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water.

That seems to confirm that wise people aren’t big talkers.

We watch a television show called An Idiot Abroad. It’s produced by Ricky Gervais, a real favorite of mine, and is about the travels of his friend “Karl”. Ricky refers to Karl as a moron, an idiot. We were unsure of watching, since we surely had no desire to laugh at the goings on a person who had mental defects.

That was not the case. Karl is completely normal mentally. He’s just a simple home town boy, sent a travel across the globe. And he says rather funny, but often quite wise things.

“It’s better to be an ugly person and to look at good-looking people, than to be good looking and have to look at ugly people. “

Isn’t that true? Karl drops little pearls like that. Yet, Karl is not wise by any standard I know.

Which means that even rather simple average people can drop a wise bomb from time to time.

Sometimes people refer to a young child as a “very old soul.” I’ve never met one myself, but I assume that they mean that the child says things that are wise “beyond his years.”

The Contrarian is wise a good deal of the time, about a lot of things. He’s worth listening to. He once met a kid, still a teenager who had quit school. He found it worthless. He left home, and made his way as best he could. Most of his time he spent in the library, reading. He was probably wise then, and no doubt is even wiser today.

I know a couple of my Internet friends, one I’ve known a long time, another I’ve just “met.” Both write exquisitely. Tim, many of you know, from Straight-Friendly. The other is Paul and many of you may not yet visit his blog. You should it’s called Cafe Philos. They make me think, more than I want to sometimes.

I think wise people have an open mind. About everything. Nothing is sacred, so to speak. Everything is up for grabs. Some things, over time, are probably true, but the door is always a bit ajar, just in case something new comes along that causes a need to re-evaluate.

I’m good at this too.

Now if I could only shut up long enough to work on that listening thing. With Lent approaching, I guess perhaps I’ve found at least one of my Lenten practices. How about you?

The Human Faces of God

Seldom have I anticipated a book more than Thom Stark’s The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When it Gets God wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries to Hide It) . I can tell you, that the book does not disappoint.

Stark takes on the biblical inerrantists and simply demolishes them. Inerrantists, (fundamentalists) insist that “the Bible is inspired by God, without error in everything it affirms historically, scientifically and theologically.” Stark begins with their own founding document: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, formulated in 1978. In it is found its hermeneutic tool: the historical-grammatical method. Stark shows how this method is used, except when it is not used. In other words, inerrantists profess it, and use it, until it doesn’t accomplish their result: an inerrant text. Stark calls their actual practice one of the “hermeneutics of convenience.”

A series of methodologies are alternated, all directed to reach the result that the bible does not err. This at times involves plain meaning, literalism, scripture defining scripture, fuller meaning, and in the end a resort to throwing up one’s hands and declaring that “God has not as yet seen fit to reveal the meaning to us.”

Stark moves through the troubling passages that allude to a belief in a pantheon of gods. Anyone familiar with the Hebrew scriptures knows that there are odd pieces here and there that seem to suggest that there were other gods than Yahweh. The Psalms are replete with such sayings such as God being mightier than the other gods. Exodus and Genesis make such references as well, as well as mention of the “council of the gods.”

Indeed, Stark’s claim that polytheism was the order of the day in ancient Israel, is nothing new. Yet he explains it to the lay reader perhaps better than anywhere else I have seen. The same can be said of his hard-hitting analysis of the  God of genocide, found in and throughout Deuteronomy, and the God who at least condones and accepts human sacrifice. These difficult and troubling texts are explained, carefully, and patiently with excellent reference to archaeology, other relevant texts of the time, and good literary critical exegesis.

Perhaps the area that will cause the most concern is his claim that Jesus, while many things, was most certainly an apocalyptic prophet. Stark points out that his prophecies regarding the end times were accurate, until the last one, the imminent return of himself, ushering in the full kingdom of God. In this Stark claims that Jesus was simply wrong.

This is hard to swallow, but Mr. Stark makes a very convincing argument, one well worth the time to read carefully and seriously. I suspect that if you get to that point in the book, you are trusting of  Stark’s careful analysis and will listen with an open ear and heart.

What is accomplished here, in this book, is more than just showing the errors and contradictions of the bible. There have surely been dozens that have done that already. Rather, Stark, explains how the “book” we call the bible, came into existence. Understanding it as a collection of documents written over more than 1000 years, and containing within disparate, and contradictory voices, helps us to see it for what it is: a people’s walk with God.

It is most singularly a human document, written over a long period and containing oral traditions that span even greater times. There are voices within it that argue for opposite things. In some cases, even some of the Hebrew writers attempted to reconcile difficult passages that were at odds. (The stories of David and Goliath are instructional here, and Stark lays out a wonderful explanation for the two different explanations for Goliath’s death, and why another writer, the Chronicler, tried to cover up the contradiction.)

Stark convinces, I think, that having to face up to the difficult and ugly passages in the bible is worthwhile and has much to teach us on their own. Rather than shrug, as inerrantists often do, or try to twist and warp them into some apparent sense, it is much better to accept them as human failings in living and in understanding of their God.

Better to allow God to speak through the hateful and unacceptable passages to us today and allow them to inform us as to our own shortcomings and roads to growth.

Stark is a believing Christian, one who has struggled with scripture and found that facing the unpleasant realities allows one to grow into a mature faith. In fact, he claims, and I tend to agree, that fundamentalism is an adolescent and immature view,  clinging to a world that one would prefer, but which simple does not exist.

We would all like certainty. But certainty doesn’t exist. The Bible cannot give us that, no matter how much we might wish it. We can pretend otherwise, but that leaves us mired in a fantasy world and helps us not at all in addressing the troubles of our world.

The last chapter is delightful, giving Mr. Stark’s own reflections on what these hard passages can offer us today.

Speaking of the problematic stories of Abraham and Isaac, of Jephthah and his daughter, and King Mesha and his son, Thom Stark reflects:

Today we denounce such practices as inhuman and reject as irrational the belief that the spilling of innocent blood literally affected the outcome of harvests and military battles. Yet we continue to offer our own children on the altar of homeland security, sending them off to die in ambiguous wars, based on the irrational belief that by being violent we can protect ourselves from violence. We refer to our children’s deaths as “sacrifices” which are necessary for the preservation of democracy and free trade. The market is our temple and it must be protected at all costs. Thus, like King Mesha, we make “sacrifices” in order to ensure the victory of capitalism over socialism, the victory of consumerism over terrorism.

If you would learn to understand the bible, and actually get the most out of it, then do read this book. It is about the best I’ve seen at showing us the dangers of inerrancy, and how we can grow in our faith through a truthful, honest and courageous examination of our sacred books.

* I am indebted to WIPF & Stock Publishers for sending this book free of charge for review. The only agreement is an implicit promise on my part to read, review and publish the results.

Coping With Being Human

In the wake of the horror in Tucson, introspection forces me to ask the question: why hope?  That, and seeing the question posed in a couple of other places in the last few days. I figure God is nudging me, so I ponder.

I don’t have much new to add I suspect to the mix. I’ve always been shocked and amazed at the lengths the human person will go to survive; well beyond what might seem rational at times.

One can say, well, animals do as much. And indeed they do. Every animal will fight to live until the bitter end. But of course, they don’t have the fine ability to assess their chances, they have no idea of consequences, they cannot reflect on a life lived and conclude that enough is enough.

We humans can do all those things. And the fact that we don’t hurl ourselves off cliffs with regularity suggests that something more is at work. It is something in our DNA undoubtedly, something that drives us, regardless of common sense, to hope, to struggle until we breathe our last.

Some would argue no doubt that it is part of our evolutionary primitive brain. Like animals, the urge to live and procreate overwhelms our senses and we never give in to simple acceptance of our fate. Our atheist friends would argue that our belief in a god is but another attempt to forestall the inevitable death, by promoting a concept of eternal life in the Creator.

That may be true, or not. We each will learn that at the appropriate time. But I find it hard to believe why there is such a strong desire to live at all costs, that is simply evolutionary in nature. Why and how does such a thing come about? One can claim that those with stronger drives to survive, survive in greater numbers and procreate, and thus dominate the landscape. So what? Why need this be so?

No, an equally cogent claim can be that our God has placed within us this urge to live, that it pleases our Creator that we live and grow, hopefully in relationship with each other and with the Godhead.

Yet this doesn’t explain why WE hope, or why I hope. Surely I can point to various times in history, and to places today, where life is mean and harsh. Where life is cheap, short-lived, and brutal. Where life doesn’t seem worth the living frankly.

In contemplating that, I can place my own anger and hopelessness at the state of our country and of some within it, in some perspective.

Still, that is no answer, for we are all, in the end, products of our own time and place. Empathize as I do, as I can, cannot supplant the reality of the only world I know, my own. And so my afflictions are the medical problems, however minor, that I suffer, the political intransigence that I witness, the pigheadedness I engage with regarding all manner of issues, and the carelessness toward Mother Earth that I endure.

And yet I remain hopeful.

Somehow, in the cold and snow of another miserable winter, I arise with some measure of hope, even though the day will proceed nearly the same as yesterday. It will be mundane, with small points of laughter, but as many of anger, and angst, of frustration, with smatterings of relaxation, satiety, and peace.

I can look at the events of Tucson and see bravery amid the blood. I can see selflessness amidst the carnage. I can see messages of hope that spring like spring flowers from the asphalt of a red spattered parking lot.

I read this yesterday:

“Last week we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, and this all was eulogized by our African-American President.” ~ Mark Shields,

I witnessed tributes to  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., yesterday that I would not have witnessed twenty years ago, certainly not thirty. I see the numbers rising in support of the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Women in positions of power and authority are commonplace, hardly remarkable any more.

I can watch television shows and movies that push the envelope, making us see gay families, transgenders, immigrants, and all the “others” in our society as simple people like ourselves, who hope, dream, love, desire, work, play, laugh and cry just as we do. Make no mistake, media has great power to help us along here.

We watched GLEE for the first time, last night. Yeah I know, late to the party. We thought it was a teen show, and we learned something quite different. Gays, physically impaired, emotionally scarred, the dangers of penal institutions to our youth, the realities of so much of life that we sweep under rugs in our minds. They showed it all in frankness, in honesty, but lovingly with hope.

This is why I hope. We have the capacity to each day be a bit better than the day before. And by the grace of God, or by our own genetic  where with all, we seem to do it. I trust we will.

I hope.

Just Wiggly with Wampum

Have you noticed that talking to a GOPer is pretty much the same as conversing with a psychotic or paranoid schizophrenic? I have. Actually, I think I prefer the latter. At least their theories are more interesting. With GOPers, one continually tries to make sense of their words. This is a mistake, but one we continue to make. With the insane, we expect exactly what we get. It’s not so confusing.

I could give you examples but you undoubtedly have examples of your own.

Me, I like a world that has room for foil-capped flying-saucer nuts. Everyone knows the guv’ment is prone to lie, is it so outrageous to think that they lie about alien visitation? See? You can have a good time with these conspiracy theorists, and only realize that something is not quite right when you find an alarm clock in the freezer. You make allowances.

***

I’m not buying the “explanations” about what is going on in Arkansas. Plain and simple, I put this down as a guv’ment cover-up, no matter what they have induced its residents to claim. Proof is in the pudding as they say, or in the Arkansas Family Council which is hosting a 2-day seminar starring the pseudo-historian David Barton. This is all for the benefit of the state’s legislature, to teach ‘em about how our country was founded on “Christian principles.” Oh, and while they are at it, bein’ Christian and all, would they mind making sure no gays are allowed to pollute the environs with any of that equal rights crap?

The obsessiveness with which the far religious right attacks homosexuality, suggests that for some reason closet homophobes tend to gravitate to such organizations in droves. “NO, NOT ME. NO, I’M STRAIGHT AS AN ARROW!” Yeah tell us.

***

I’m beginning to think that Sarah Palin’s troubles with “what books do you read” is pretty indicative of the GOP in general. Jon Stewart mentioned that the candidates for the GOP leadership were asked this and Michael Steele, said “War and Peace,” and then quoted from it: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Tolstoy and Dickens exchanged graves at this point. Another lady chairperson wanna be, said, “the kitchen table.”

Now we learn the Michele Bachmann, that bastion of educational superiority, notes that she was a Democrat but was so incensed by Gore Vidal’s hatred of the founding fathers in Burr that she instantly became a Republican. Make any sense? Of course not. We said Michele Bachmann didn’t we?

The full article at Salon is actually very good, and well worth your link up.

***

Atheists believe,  but cannot prove that empiricism is the only basis for discovering truth. Hawking claims that philosophy is dead, fallen to the god, science. Now I revere science as much as the next gal, but I think First Things (a publication I normally don’t much cotton to) makes a very excellent point. Hawking in the end just “kicks the can” further down the street, by positing an empiricism that is subjective to the model used. Sorta like multiple realities emanating from rationally generated multiple models. Or, philosophy?

***

Of all the new teabuggers in Congress, Alan West (R-FL) may be the wackiest. Now he’s claiming that sharia law is just infesting our systems! Yikes, get out the bug spray. I am guessing that most of those fine Florida voters must have been ironing the wrinkles from their skin every time West opened his mouth, and missed just how insane the man is. Or perhaps they misheard–Adam West? Thought they were electing Batman?

***

Biologos does a great review of Conor Cunningham’s book, Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and the Creationists Both Get it Wrong. In the end, we learn what many of us, most of us perhaps, have always known. There is no “issue” between Darwin and faith. From the review it seems like a most worthwhile book to pick up. Eerdmans is the publisher if that helps your assessment.

***

John McCain is getting to be a bore. Mr. Walnuts as he is called by some is just a crotchety old man who can’t get over being rejected twice for the job that he feels America owes him–the Presidency. Everything he now does is explained by that fact.

Sarah Palin is getting to be a bore. Everybody, even boring people can come up with Palin jokes. I mean you don’t have to even be witty. She’s such a huge target. Will she? Won’t she? Palin is just a woman from nowhere in particular, stuck in a backwater state, doing nothing in particular. She wanted to be rich, and she wanted to be famous. Everything she now does is explained by that fact.

I’ve decided that my new idiot par excellence is (drum roll) LINDSAY GRAHAM. The perpetual bachelor whom everyone knows is gay. He hitched his sled to Johnny, who failed. He couldn’t hide behind Johnny’s pant leg any more, so he extracted his nose from the Walnutz ass and decided to become a full-fledged wacko all by his self.

He’s a weasel, he whines, he snivels, he moans that it’s just so hard being a senator that the Democrats like to wore him out asking him to put in full days of reading and thinking during that lame ducky thing. He’s pouty. And me thinks he is running scared, since he did that whole Mavericky thing with Johnny, and now the teabuggers are none too happy with him, so he’s swung to the opposite pole, and is getting his tips from Bachmann and King, and DeMint.

Lindsay has hitched up his pants and said he will vote NO!!!! dammit to raising the debt ceiling. He is gonna play the game of brinksmanship. No statesmanlike status for him. Oh no, he prefers the buffoonery approach.

I say, let us stare the fools down. Do they really want to do that? I suspect even they will blink. Otherwise we, Obama, that is, might as well back and leave Washington and give them the entire ship of state.

***

What’s on the Stove: Venison Stroganoff, with noodles and salad with blue cheese, and rolls.