A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Hero...The Honorable John Lewis

Everyone knows the figurehead of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., but do you know The Honorable John Lewis?

In a day and age when our elected officials disappoint and let us down, John Lewis has emerged as one of our nations true moral leaders - never ceasing to fight the good fight against injustices here in the United States and abroad. He is a genuine American hero.

For over 40 years, John Lewis has led with courage as both a key player in the Civil Rights Movement and as a member of Congress representing Georgia's 5th district. Congressman Lewis' incredible life can't be summed up in a paragraph or two. Please read this three page biography and if you have the time - read his account of the Civil Rights Movement in Walking With The Wind (1998)

All of this leads to our main topic of discussion - the "National Conference on the Voting Rights Act of 1965" held just a couple of days ago hosted by, my favorite former employer, Congressman John Lewis. While this Conference celebrated policymakers and activists who helped to make the 1965 Act possible - the future of the Voting Rights Act was the main item of discussion. In 2007, key provisions of the Act will expire.

However, it appears that Republican support for the reauthorization of the VRA is growing. Prominent Republicans including the chairman of the judiciary committee in the House, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, have come out in favor of extending the VRA as was done in '68, '72, and '82. Congressman Lewis plans to introduce a resolution within the next week to get lawmakers on record supporting reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.

For more info on the Voting Rights Act - check out the National Commission on the VRA!

Monday, July 25, 2005

SBC, Roberts, and the BWA

Have you heard any outcry by Southern Baptist leaders about the proposed new Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts? Sure, Roberts is very much a conservative. But Bush didn't give any assurance with his nomination that Roberts would one day vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Exactly the opposite. Bush said he had no litmus test. But can Southern Baptists get behind and support someone that they don't completely agree with on one issue? Sure they can.

I guess its OK for the SBC to compromise in political arenas but it's not OK to work (and thus compromise themselves) with the CBF! I guess that's why the SBC isn't in Birmingham England for the 100th anniversary of the Baptist World Alliance. They can't compromise their faith.

Well, let's see if they are consistent if Roberts doesn't toe their line.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Roberts on the First Amendment

Here's an excerpt from Americans United's latest weblog.
The Religious Right's endorsement comes as no surprise. Roberts has long supported the far Right's ongoing efforts to dismantle privacy rights and the church-state wall. As Americans United reported yesterday, Roberts has held political jobs in the Reagan and Bush (One) administrations, where he had a hand in crafting policy aimed at curbing privacy and religious liberty rights.

For example, he co-authored a brief for the first Bush administration that called for allowing clergy-led prayers at public school events. In that 1990 brief, Roberts maintained that religious ceremonies should be permitted not only at public school graduation ceremonies but in all aspects of "our public life" in proper recognition of our "Nation's religious heritage." The brief sounds as if it could have been authored by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who spent years trying to keep a hulking Ten Commandments display within the state Judicial Building. Moore argued unsuccessfully before a string of federal courts using an almost identical argument to that of Roberts.

In Lee v. Weisman, the high court on a 5-4 vote ruled that public schools could not sponsor prayer at school events, such as graduations. In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy stated that Roberts' sweeping arguments favoring prayer at public school events (and other forms of government-sponsored religion) "turns conventional First Amendment analysis on its head."

For the past week I've watched countless hours of news programming dealing with Roberts. I've watched everything from the O'Reilly Factor to Hardball to Tucker Carlson's new show - but yet no mention of Robert's Church-State views. Nothing but Roe Roe Roe...but Robert's views on church-state seem just a bit too accomodationist-friendly.

Most of the time Americans United hits the nail on the head - but I hope they're wrong about Roberts. As far as Church-State relations go - we need another Sandra Day not someone who will slowly chip away at our religious freedoms. Like the former director of the Baptist Joint Committee James Dunn once said, we need a "barbed-wire fence" to ensure the separation of church and state not a flimsy cardboard wall. We need more allies on the Court!

Roberts definately has some tough questions to answer in the upcoming weeks!

Bomb Mecca!

Bomb Mecca! Yep, that's what Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo called for just last week. During a radio interview, Tancredo boasted that the United States "could take out" Islamic Holy Sites if terrorists were to ever launch a nuclear weapon our way. Of course he later claimed his comments were taken out of context but REFUSED to apologize.

Just another crazie you say? Well, according to this article, Tom "Bomb Mecca" Tancredo might be running for President in just a few years. He's already making the rounds in New Hampshire. His views on immigration and bilingual education are almost as scary as his foreign policy!

Gay Seminary Student to Pay Baylor 77K

I happened to be searching Yahoo for another article on Baylor and stumbled upon this one...I'm sure many of you remember this story. My comments are below.

Baylor Student Expelled for Being Gay Ordered to Pay Back $77k Tuition 07.21.05

By Ross von Metzke

(Waco, TX) - A former Baylor University theology student who had his scholarship yanked after he announced he was gay to school officials was ordered to repay the school $77,000 in tuition money and lawyers fees. In February 2003, the Waco, Texas Baptist school withdrew James Matthew Bass' financial aid package after he came out.

According to the school’s student handbook, the punishment for any misconduct — including homosexuality, drinking alcohol and engaging in premarital sex — carries a maximum penalty of expulsion. Bass said the administrators initially told him he could keep his scholarship if he would agree to be admitted to counseling, but he refused.

The lack of financial aid forced Bass, who was enrolled in Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, to quit school. In March 2003, hundreds of students formed a protest and maligned the administration for stripping Bass of his scholarship.

Bass told the Atlanta Executive Network, a gay business and professional networking group, about the situation during a speech last June. He said his journey was a “difficult one” and a “worthwhile one” and he “wouldn't have done a single thing differently.”

In January 2005, the school filed suit against Bass, accusing him of sending inappropriate e-mails to Baylor employees and their family members, court documents indicate.

In its complaint to Texas' 74th District Court, Baylor alleged that Bass sent more than a thousand e-mails containing pornographic pictures, sexually explicit comments, racial slurs and a hoax obituary for a staffer who is still alive. According to the school, employees began receiving the messages in August 2004.

The e-mails were traced to the modem of an Internet service subscriber at Bass' home address. The subscriber was identified as Bass' roommate, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

Judge Alan Mayfield has now issued an order that Bass pay $47,000 in damages and $30,000 in attorneys' fees to Baylor. He also ordered Bass to stop e-mailing officials at Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university.

Bass, who was enrolled in the school's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, is now a theology student at Emory University in Atlanta.

Matthew Bass definately got screwed by Baylor and Truett Seminary. His own preacher and confidant outed him. You would think it couldn't get any worse for Bass - but it did. Many fellow Truett students came to his rescue and protested the Seminary's decision to strip Bass of his scholarship. And now this?

You've got to be a little twisted to pull a stunt like Bass. His emails were not only lewd but several were incredibly cruel including the fake obituary he sent out. Sure, he got shafted by Baylor - but his recent actions and comments speak for themself. What a waste...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Zig Zag Zell

The Huffington Post snagged this article on Zig Zag Zell from my childhood newspaper, The Macon Telegraph. According to the article, good ole Zig Zag "pocketed more than $60,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked for entertainment and other expenses at the Governor's Mansion (while Governor of Georgia)." Mr. Zag also "picked up a check for more than $20,000 for 'unused leave' - a sum to which he was not entitled to as a constitutional officer." Through a written statement prepared by his lawyer, Mr. Zag declared that he was "technically eligible" to take the mansion money since no one said that he could not!
However, in response to Mr. Zags actions, every living Georgia Governor from President Carter to Sonny Perdue stated that they did not consider the mansion money theirs nor would they have taken it. So what's the big deal? He took money that was "technically" his, right? Zell brought this upon himself when he decided to estblish himself as an "arbiter of moral behavior" in public office. Give back the money Zell. It's not yours. Follow your own advice and ask yourself - is taking this money decent?
Look at this guy. He used to be the hero of many Georgians. Most loved him for bringing HOPE (free tuition at any state school for having a B average in high school) to Georgia. Hey, I got 4 tuition-free years at the University of Georgia out of Zell. But what happened to this guy? When did he fall off his horse and bump his head? Why is he so angry? This guy has supported and endorsed many left-of-center politicians throughout the years including John Lewis. The Democrats didn't change Zell - YOU Changed!

Liberal-Leaning Centrist & Amillenialist

Kinesis pointed me to this Eschatology quiz. Pretty Neat-O. Try it out and if you know of any other similar theology or political quizzes - let me know. I found this short political quiz on Alan Colmes' website last week. Evidently, I'm a liberal-leaning Centrist.

You scored as Amillenialist. Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.

Moltmannian Eschatology












Left Behind


What's your eschatology?
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, July 08, 2005

Rehnquist to Retire? So Says Novak

Here's a link to Robert Novak's latest Op-Ed in the Chicago Sun-Times. In this piece, Novak boldly asserts that before the end of the week (which I guess is Today) Rehnquist will announce his retirement.

Two open spots on the Supreme Court at the same time? Now that's a doozy!

This should give Bush an opportunity to replace Rehnquist with another right-winger and replace O'Connor with a "mainstream conservative." Thus, the Court will be left virtually unchanged. What a victory for the Religious Right!

When will the Religious Right wake up and realize that they are being used ?

What has Bush done for them lately? What happened to those Faith-Based Initiatives? Federal Marriage Amendment?

It appears that Lip Service is all Falwell and Dobson will be getting....

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The One Campaign

In case you've been hiding under a rock lately, Live 8 concerts are being held around the world today! These concerts are being held to encourage the leaders of the G-8 countries to take a stand and make a commitment to fight AIDS and extreme poverty at the upcoming Summit.

Here's exactly what The One Campaign is urging President Bush to do:

Dear President Bush,

Because: ONE billion people around the world live on less than ONE dollar a day; The US government spends less than ONE percent on overcoming global AIDS and poverty; Citizens are uniting as ONE across political and religious divides to support action to overcome the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty.

At the G8 leaders meeting on July 6th we urge you to: Help the poorest people of the world fight poverty, AIDS and hunger at a cost equal to just ONE percent more of the US budget on a clear timetable; Cancel 100% of the debts owed by the poorest countries; Reform trade rules so poor countries can earn sustainable incomes. We urge you to lead an historic deal with other nations to help Africa and the poorest nations overcome global AIDS and extreme poverty.

Help Make Poverty History and check out this site.

While you're at it, buy one of one of their nifty bracelets. Everyone from Angelina Jolie to good ole Pat Robertson is wearing them.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Get On It!

Here's what the folks at Daily Kos are encouraging us to do!

People think that Congressmen don't read your letters or pay attention to your calls - but I guarantee you many do! Back when I worked with Congressman John Lewis - he would call every afternoon and I would read to him the letters and summarize the phone calls. So, at least give your Senator a call. Hey, I'm gonna call Cornyn and Hutchison!

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