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

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Prayer Request

In the upcoming days, my posts will not be daily. To those who read and comment, sorry in advance.

Today, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.

Two months ago, my dad and I were in a serious car accident which I'm still recoverring from. Now cancer.

Kinda hard to stomach. Needless to say, I'm a little blue.

Please pray for my dad.


Aaron Weaver

America's Dumbest Congressmen

Radar Magazine ranks the 10 biggest fools on Capitol Hill...

This list of America's Dumbest Congressmen even includes 3 Democrats.

My favorite quote from #10 Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)...
Bunning is a Hall of Fame pitcher who, during his eight years in office, has shown "little interest in legislation that doesn't concern baseball," writes Time magazine. And Kentucky doesn't even have a major-league baseball team.

And perhaps the most oddest quote from #3 Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)...

And then there was the recent debate over the latest constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, when Inhofe assured Senate colleagues of his own virility and that of his manly forbearers. "My wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or a homosexual relationship." It's the same flawless gene pool that produced a man who thinks our situation in Iraq is "nothing short of a miracle."

Finally, from #1 Katherine Harris (R-FL)...

If dumb Congress members were the X-Men, Harris would be their Wolverine—a mutant possessing fearsome skills, the product of a demented government experiment gone horribly wrong.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why I Am Still A Baptist

In the latest newsletter of the Baptist Heritage Counsel of Georgia, Bill Wilson contributed an essay entitled, Why I am still a Baptist. Bill Wilson serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church, Dalton, Georgia.

Below is the portion of his article which I found most interesting...

Second, as grateful as I feel for our past, I must tell you I am concerned about where we are today.

The plateau we find ourselves on, the waning energy I sense around the moderate world, the concretization of institutions and methodologies, the devotion to vehicles over vision has me worried. Too many of us have "married" our young institutions and organizations, to the detriment of being able to envision a new and more expansive future. I believe it is time for us to refocus our attention on vision and give less of our attention to vehicles.

While the vision of a positive, authentically Baptist alternative to fundamentalism is alive and well, I do not believe we have fully arrived at what God intends us to be or do as we enter the 21st century. It is quite possible that the best vehicle for carrying us down the road of being authentic Baptist has not been created yet.

I recognize many think that feeling this way and saying this aloud is akin to disloyalty to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, but I say this as one who is committed to and grateful for the ministry of CBF. I believe the future vehicle for moderate Baptist life is yet to be revealed and that if it is to be a viable future, we must be pliable and flexible with regard to structures and organizations.

I believe CBF will play a key role in whatever that network or organization is, but that "IT" is still in the incubation stage...and probably always will be. I hope and pray that we will be willing to see ourselves as a forerunner of what could be, rather than a finished product...even willing to diminish ourselves if something greater emerges. that takes a level of maturity and a big-picture approach thinking that is lacking too often among us. My concern is that we simply continue to do what we are doing and that our impact wanes and our plateaued status turns into one of retreat. Some of us have not given up on the idea of a growing,expanding, broadeing moderate Baptist/Christian movement in America and beyond.

What is IT? If not the CBF, then what? A merger of sorts with ??

It's okay to criticize, but Wilson could have elaborated on his own vision and what this future "vehicle" might be....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Does John Kerry Deserve A Second Chance?

He sure seems to think so...
The AP reports: "The Massachusetts Democrat, who lost to President Bush in 2004, said it is a basic principle that 'Americans give people a second chance. And if you learn something and prove you've learned something, maybe even more so. Now, I don't know what I'm going to do yet. We'll make that decision down the road.'"

Transcript here.

I'll support the Democratic nominee but I'm not the least bit excited about John Kerry in '08.

If not Kerry, then who?

I was interested in the possibility of a Mark Warner Presidency...but apparently he's not running.

To my conservative readers, who do you like? Mitt Romney? Will Southern Baptists vote a member of the worlds largest "cult" into the Oval Office? Newt? Allen? Guliani?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saving Sudan Sunday's

Why Save the Darfur Region of Sudan?

Read these new articles below. Let's help end Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur!

Q&A: Your questions about Darfur
The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Karen Allen, answers your questions about Darfur, the war-torn region in western Sudan.

Why Saving Darfur Matters (TPM Cafe)

Unless we do help, we risk the sort of abandonment scenario we've seen in other places and at other times that have only emboldened the evildoers. This is why saving Darfuris matters and why it's important to find some way –- and there are no pat answers –- to tell Bashir he does not have a green light to kill. It may just stop him and his killers in their tracks, and it may just preempt the next great genocidal maniacs from trying the same thing.
Students fast for Darfur Benefit (Stanford Daily)
More than 2,000 Stanford students pledged to fast yesterday in a show of solidarity with the victims of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, raising $27,000 in the process.

Letter: Student speaks out on Darfur

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared that in memory of the Holocaust, "we must forge an unshakeable oath with all civilized people that never again will the world stand silent, never again will the world fail to act in time to prevent this terrible crime of genocide."

Every year students in the public school system are taught the horrors of the Holocaust, but what about the genocide happening right now? What about the lives of the Darfurian people today, as the Jews during the days of the Holocaust, the Armenians when the Turks systematically slaughtered them, the Kurds in Iraq under the genocidal regime of Saddam Hussein, the Rwandan Tutsis suffering under the Hutus and the Croat and Muslim "ethnic cleansing" operated by the Serbs in the newly formed Bosnia.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Frank Page on Keith Olbermann's Countdown

SBC President Frank Page makes a brief appearance on Keith Olbermann's Countdown.

Part 2 of Olbermann's series on David Kuo's explosive book Tempting Faith...

Have Evangelicals Been Duped by Bush???

In his new "tell-all" book, the former deputy director of President Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, David Kuo, alleges that the office was essentially a tax-payer funded political campaign for Republicans, and the White House used evangelical Christians for their voters, while giving them nothing in return.

From EthicsDaily.com...

Tempting Faith by David Kuo, a veteran of the Religious Right, is scheduled for release on Monday, after the author appears Sunday on "60 Minutes." But MSBNC's "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann obtained an embargoed copy, offering the first glimpses of Kuo's story of disillusionment with politics and the Bush White House on Wednesday and Thursday night.

According to MSNBC, the White House placated politically ambitious religious leaders with trinkets like cufflinks and weekly conference calls, while adviser Karl Rove derisively called them "nuts" behind their backs.

Kuo says the administration broke promises for faith-based funding and tax credits year after year, while turning the bipartisan faith-based initiative into a political operation. The office not only discriminated against non-Christians, he says, but in 2002 decided to hold "roundtable events" that were supposed to be non-partisan but in reality were targeted to help vulnerable incumbents win favor with faith and community leaders. Kuo claims the White House devised a cover-up for the operation, running it from congressional offices instead of campaigns, so it wouldn't look too political. The president, meanwhile, Kuo claims, lied to evangelicals about pouring new money into faith-based programs, viewing their potential to "evangelize" voters.

Kuo left the White House in 2003, according to MSNBC, after concluding "it was mocking the millions of faithful Christians who had put their trust and hope in the president and his administration."

Read the rest HERE.

Now check out this short clip from The Chris Matthews show where Tucker Carlson claims that the evangelicals have been duped by the elites in the GOP.

Is anyone actually surprised??

HT: Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action and Dr. Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptist.

Update on the pulled firetruck post in comment section.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Democrats, Morality, & Anti-Terrorism

Yes, Democrats are now the official party of Morality and Anti-Terrorism

Fresh from the blog of Mother Jones...

Yep, it’s official. In the span of a week, the Democratic Party has gone from being the party of dissolute, weak-kneed peaceniks to being the party of morally upstanding security men—according to, of all people, Americans.

A Newsweek poll released Saturday found that more Americans trust Democrats to “do a better job of handling moral values” than trust Republicans—42 percent vs 36 percent. And a USA Today poll gave Democrats a 5-point edge on fighting terrorism, which is astonishing considering the so-called War on Terror as been the heart of GOP’s campaign.

The lead could evaporate as Republicans dump their huge war chests into attack ads, but for the moment one could be forgiven for feeling a sense of awe: not since well before 9/11 have the Democrats so thorougly socked it to Republicans on the GOP's home turf.

How about that?

With November just around the corner, I'm encouraged and excited.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Thoughts and Adventures of Don Hinkle

Meet Don Hinkle.

Don Hinkle is the Editor of the Missouri Baptist Convention's publication, The Pathway.

In his latest post at Thoughts & Adventures, Hinkle in typical fashion misrepresents both Americans United and the Baptist Joint Committee as radical leftist organizations "committeed to the eradication of Christianity from the public square and the promotion of secular humanism as America's national religion."


Here's a snippet...

Junk. I cannot think of a better description for the letter Missouri clergy are getting from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), a radical leftist organization committed to the eradication of Christianity from the public square and the promotion of secular humanism as America’s national religion.

In recent days, pastors throughout Missouri have received a letter reminding them not to endorse candidates in the Nov. 7 election, lest they become a target of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The letter, filled with ominous language, is nothing but an attempt to intimidate Christians from voting their values, including the rejection of the clone-to-kill initiative called Amendment 2. AU mailed 117,000 pieces of this junk mail in mid-September to clergy in 11 states, including Missouri, in response to evangelicals grassroots efforts to help advance pro-life, pro-family issues and candidates.

And more...
AU’s letter is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate conservative Christian values voters.

“Any activity designed to influence the outcome of a partisan election can be construed as intervention,” Lynn writes in the letter. “If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institution’s tax-exempt status or levy significant fines on the house of worship or its leaders.”

After several paragraphs with menacing language Lynn finally gets around to acknowledging what the law says: “Houses of worship and other non-profit groups may sponsor voter registration drives and candidate forums if they are truly non-partisan, and issue advocacy (like Amendment 2) is broadly protected.”

Why is AU so interested in harassing conservative evangelicals? Because it has its own partisan political agenda and a worldview that is antithetical to Scripture.

Hinkle fails to point out that Americans United sent letters warning against electioneering to EVERY House of Worship in Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and of course Missouri.

Harassment?? Don't make me laugh. You be the judge. Read the AU Letter.

Hinkle's portrayal of the BJC as a "leftist organization" comes as no surprise. Hinkle is no fan of the First Amendment. On numerous occasions, Hinkle has expressed his belief that the "Wall of Separation" is nothing but a mere myth. Like fellow Missouri Baptist Roger Moran, Hinkle is skilled at the game of guilt-by-association. Hinkle also seems to be obssessed with homosexuality and the so-called "homosexual agenda," but we'll leave that to another post....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dilday to Serve as Pastor of FBC Richmond

Upon the retirement of Dr. Peter James Flamming, Dr. Russell Dilday will serve as Interim Pastor of FBC Richmond from January 14th through Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007.
From FBC Richmond's website...

Dr. Dilday is currently Chancellor of the B.H. Caroll Theological Institute in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. He served as President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth from 1978 to 1994...

In recent years, Dr. Dilday has served as interim pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas; First Baptist in Arlington, Texas; and First Baptist in Plano Texas.Before his election as President of Southwestern Seminary, he was Pastor of Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta. Dr. Dilday was the founding Pastor of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston.

Among his many honors and recognitions, Dr. Dilday was named Texas Baptist Elder Statesman in June, 2000 and was the recipient of Baylor University's George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award in 2004.

Many remember Dr. Russell Dilday as the enormously popular, longtime President of SWBTS who was fired and locked out of his own office only a day after receiving the highest possible job evaluation from the fundamentalist Board of Trustees. Dilday's unChrist-like firing marked perhaps the lowest moment in the history of the Fundamentalist Takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Be Submissive...Be Be Submissive!!!

According to a new study by the Church of England, bad theology concerning the roles of men and women may contribute to domestic abuse.

Bob Allen of EthicsDaily.com covers the report HERE.

"Domestic abuse is not simply an isolated series of events between a perpetrator and a victim but reflects the wider factors influencing their relationship," says a lengthy report titled Responding to Domestic Abuse. "It is a tragic fact that bad theology, in this case a faulty understanding of God and human beings in relationship, can have the effect--whether intended or not--of betraying victims of domestic abuse and encouraging the actions of perpetrators," it says.

The report draws attention to "misguided or distorted versions of Christian belief" which it says "have contributed to the problem of domestic abuse." Anglican leaders in particular fault theology that views gender roles primarily in terms of dominance and submission. The report suggests dropping the bride's promise to "obey" her husband from the wedding vow, saying it is a vestige from a time when society did not view men and women as equal.

Perhaps, ALL denominations which view gender roles in terms of "dominance and submission" could learn a thing or two from this Anglican study...

Speaker Hastert and the Truth

It appears that Speaker Hastert might have a hard time with the TRUTH.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff confronted then-Rep. Mark Foley about his inappropriate social contact with male pages well before the speaker said aides in his office took any action, a current congressional staff member with personal knowledge of Foley and his behavior with pages said yesterday.

The staff member said Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, met with the Florida Republican at the Capitol to discuss complaints about Foley's behavior toward pages. The alleged meeting occurred long before Hastert says aides in his office dispatched Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.) and the clerk of the House in November 2005 to confront Foley about troubling e-mails he had sent to a Louisiana boy.

The staff member's account buttresses the position of Foley's onetime chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, who said earlier this week that he had appealed to Palmer in 2003 or earlier to intervene, after Fordham's own efforts to stop Foley's behavior had failed. Fordham said Foley and Palmer, one of the most powerful figures in the House of Representatives, met within days to discuss the allegations.

Apparently, Foley's chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, is prepared to testify under oath that he arranged a meeting between Foley and Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, and that the meeting took place.

Need more evidence that Speaker Hastert has a TRUTH problem?

Hastert maintains that he knew nothing of Foley's actions until last week, when the story first broke and Foley resigned. His stance contradicts that of House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), both of whom said they had informed Hastert this spring.
Why does the Republican Party seem to have a Sleazy-Speaker problem?

MySpace.com to Raise $$$ for Sudan Relief

NEW YORK - The online hangout MySpace.com will organize 20 concerts featuring bands promoted on its site as part of a campaign to raise awareness and money for humanitarian relief in Sudan.
The site, which grew in popularity thanks to its early adoption by emerging bands and their fans, has in recent months taken a more active role in promoting social causes, such as environmental awareness and voter registration.

"The crisis in Darfur is a global concern and as a global community we have a responsibility to take action," Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's chief executive, said in a statement. "MySpace's reach gives us an extraordinary opportunity to spread the word and empower individuals to help address the horrors in Darfur."

Some 2.5 million people have been made homeless by three years of fighting between the Sudanese government and rebel groups in the vast, arid Darfur region of western Sudan. At least another 200,000 people have been killed since hostilities erupted.

Kudos to MySpace! Click HERE for the full article.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Chit Chat About Family Values With Leonard Pitts

In yesterday's Miami Herald, Leonard Pitts lashes out at the GOP...

So, anybody up for a chat about family values?

The term has been a registered trademark of the GOP -- the self-styled Morals Party -- for years, a bludgeon against Democrats who, by implication, oppose families and have no values. Like most political language, it's a code, intended to be understood by those with ears to hear. ''Family values'' means the pol in question has God on speed dial and can be counted upon to oppose gun control, the so-called ''homosexual agenda'' and abortion, while pushing schools to teach, as Tina Fey once put it, that Adam and Eve rode to church on dinosaurs.

For all its policy implications, though, ''family values'' has always had a larger meaning. It was an implicit promise to white, non-ethnic, rural or suburban-dwelling, church-going Christian moms and dads that the party would -- pun intended -- always do the right thing.


It was an assurance to Ward and June Cleaver that GOP was the brand name of a certain fundamental decency. Unless, it turns out, Ward and June were foolish enough to let Wally and the Beav sign up as congressional pages. In that case, kiss decency goodbye.....

Check out the entire article HERE.

Government Employees & Excessive Indulgences

Turns out Mark Foley wasn't the only public servant using his taxpayer-funded Internet access for a bit of extracurricular activity. "Excessive Indulgences," a new report [PDF] from the Interior Department (with a cover that screams "stock photography of illicit activity"—Bare midrift! Slot machines! Grocery shopping! Chess!), reveals that in a single week, DOI employees accesed thousands of sex sites, sometimes up to an hour at a stretch. A couple even got busted for surfing child porn at work. DOI staff is also really into online auctions and gambling: The report calculates that they spend 104,000 hours a year bidding and betting. C'mon, House Republicans! You gonna let a bunch of pencil pushing bureaucrats show you up like that?

Chick out the report HERE or at MoJo Blog.

Devout Democrats and Coach Dean Smith

Check out Devout Democrats, a new interfaith grassroots organization. They even have University of North Carolina Basketball Legend - Coach Dean Smith - as a supporter!
Devout Democrats is an interfaith, grassroots group dedicated to showing why religious Americans vote for Democrats. Our main mission is to use mass media to improve the Democratic Party’s image among religious Americans. We run a website, run traditional ads in print media and have a journalist-education effort, as well. We are nonprofit and depend on your contributions to get our message out. We are based in North Carolina and are focusing on North Carolina legislative races for this election cycle.

American Baptist and Devout Democrat???

Dean Smith is my kinda guy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wade Burleson Takes On Russell Moore

In his latest post, Can We All Agree to Disagree And Remain Friends?, Southern Baptist pastor and popular blogger, Wade Burleson, takes on Russell Moore. Moore serves as the Dean of Theology at Al Mohler's Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Burleson takes exception to Moore's inflammatory rhetoric towards fellow bloggers. At one point during a lecture to SBTS students, Moore refers to some bloggers as "immature jerks" and others as "blogofascists."

Blogofascists? Sheesh.

So, who is Russell Moore?

"I wonder how many churches recruit older women to teach our girls that the greatest success they can find is not to be the first Southern Baptist female President of the United States or to tithe more money as a monied Southern Baptist bank executive but to be a wife and mother?"
"Let's outbreed the Mormons and out-preach the Pentecostals."
"I am not seeking to raise sons who are violent in the amoral, pagan sense of contemporary teenagers playing Grand Theft Auto video games or carjacking motorists. I want them to be more violent than that."

That's Russell Moore.

Burleson's post is definitely worth a read.

But, can Southern Baptists Agree to Disagree and Remain Friends? Is that a serious question? It hasn't worked in the past - what's changed?

Wade needs to remember that the ONLY way to cooperate with a Fundamentalist is to obey HIM.

Read Moore's articles in full HERE and HERE.

Steve Harvey Introduces Jesus!

I'm a Steve Harvey fan. The Kings of Comedy crack me up and I'm addicted to TBS re-runs of The Steve Harvey Show. If you're also a fan, check out this clip of a more "serious" Steve Harvey at T.D. Jakes' 2005 Mega Fest in Altanta as he tells the crowd how he would introduce the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ if he had the chance to do so...

Scientists Issue Global Warming Report!

The conservative Christian Post has run a story entitled Scientists Issue Global Warming Report.

"Top-tier" Scientists have issued a report which warns that Global Warming could strain the Northeast's power grid, farms, forests, and marine fisheries by the next century unless carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 3 percent each year.

The climate in the nine states — from New Jersey and Pennsylvania up to Maine — could become like that of the South with longer, much hotter summers and warmer winters with less snow, the report by the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

"This has enormous implications for human health. It puts a lot of stress on the energy system. It could lead to blackouts," said Katherine Hayhoe, an associate professor of geosciences at Texas Tech University and a lead author of the two-year study.

If power plant and auto emissions of carbon dioxide — considered the main culprit in global warming — continue unabated, average temperatures in the Northeast could rise between 6.5 degrees and 12.5 degrees by the end of the century, she said. A shift to cleaner, renewable energy sources would cut that increase in half, she said.

The study said Boston could see its number of 90-degree-plus summer days jump from one to 40 if no changes are made. New York City could have 70. Doug Inkley, senior science adviser at the National Wildlife Federation, said the report was done by top-tier scientists and backs up his group's research showing a warmer climate in the Northeast will push out temperature-sensitive species from sugar maple and northern pine trees to songbirds and trout.

"This report is yet another wake-up call we cannot ignore," Inkley said.

Hopefully, a Democrat controlled 110th Congress will not ignore these issues unlike their Republican predecessors.

Forbes on AirAmerica

From CrossLeft, Stephen Rockwell reports that the Rev. Dr. James Forbes will be hosting a new national radio show once a week on Air America.
“One of the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world.”

Newsweek Once a week, Jim Forbes asks the hard questions with the most inspired names in art, politics, activism and faith. Guests have included veteran journalists Bill Moyers and Helen Thomas, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, nuclear non-proliferation activist Helen Caldicott, best-selling author James Carroll, Enron film director Alex Gibney, and others.

Check your local station at www.airamerica.com/stations.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Forbes preach at the Washington Cathedral. He was amazing. Forbes is indeed exciting, dynamic, and effective. If Air America is not available in your area, you can also tune in on XM Satellite Radio or download the Podcast via iTunes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who Would Jesus Torture?

Joe Phelps, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky reflects on this question at EthicsDaily.com.
Where is the outcry from those who read their Bible every day before or after they read the newspaper reports that Congress approved this torture? What interpretation of Jesus' words, "Love your enemies," encourages legislating torture? WWJT: Who would Jesus torture?

U.S. churches of all denominations are embroiled over what constitutes a faithful response to a variety of social issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Meanwhile, the soul of our country drifts further afield from the clarion message of the church's Leader: be healers, blessers, reconcilers, lovers, agents of peace.

Jesus' message is belittled as naive by many politicians and patriots. Instead, they advocate an "all's fair in war" strategy that temporarily shelves values they would normally hold dear. This is to be expected, for many politicians and patriots hold different values and see life from a different vantage point than Jesus' followers. My only question for them is, in the words of TV counselor Dr. Phil, how's that working out for you? Has fighting fire with fire been an effective way to contend against hatred?

But to those committed to following Jesus I ask: Where are you? Why aren't you waving your Bibles, quoting chapter and verse, holding protests on the Capitol steps, demanding a hearing?

Earlier this week, I posted excerpts from Randall Balmer's recent article on torture, entitled Where's the Outrage?

One commenter affirmed torture with an "end justifies the means" attitude.

I disagree. Torture is morally reprehensible. Plain and simple, torture can never be justified

In his book, Thy Kingdom Come, Randall Balmer provides one example of how screwed-up the Bush Administration's pro-torture policy known as "extraordinary rendition" is....

Consider the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria. On September 26, 2002, U.S. authorities took him into custody at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. He was chained and shacked and accused of being "a member of a known terrorist organization." Under the administration's policy of "extraordinary rendition," Arar was shipped off to Syia by way of Jordan, where he was confined to an underground, gravelike, rat-infested cell. He was tortured by his captors for ten months. "Not even animals could withstand it," Arar said later. The U.S. government could find no evidence to support its charge that Arar was a member of a terrorist organization. No charges were ever filed, and he was finally released, without so much as an apology. (173-174)
I echo Pastor Phelps - Who Would Jesus Torture???

The Washington Times Finds Its Voice

Regarded as the most conservative newspaper in the country, the editors of the Washington Times are calling for the resignation of Dennis Hastert, the Republican Speaker of the House.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once. Either he was grossly negligent for not taking the red flags fully into account and ordering a swift investigation, for not even remembering the order of events leading up to last week's revelations -- or he deliberately looked the other way in hopes that a brewing scandal would simply blow away. He gave phony answers Friday to the old and ever-relevant questions of what did he know and when did he know it? Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance.

You know the poop has hit the fan when "The Moonie Paper" goes after the most powerful Republican in the Lower Chamber...

Westboro to Picket Amish Funerals

The Westboro Church of Hate plans to picket the funerals of the Amish girls killed this week in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Westboro family says the girls were "killed by a madman in punishment for Governor Ed Rendell's blasphemous sins against Westboro Baptist Church."

How sick is that?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Abortion Myth of the Religious Right

Randall Balmer discusses the popular Abortion Myth created and propagated by leaders of the Religious Right in his latest work, "Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America." Balmer writes....
In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.

Read the rest of the excerpt HERE at Faith in Public Life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

An Attack On The First Amendment....

Just a few short days ago, the House of Representatives passed the so-called "Public Expression of Religion Act." According to Rob Marus of the Associated Baptist Press, H.R. 2679 would (in cases involving the First Amendment's Establishment Clause) "prevent federal courts from requiring government entities to reimburse the legal costs of the individual or group that sued the government agency - even though the agency was found in violation of the Constitution."

Ardent supporter of church-state separation and MY Congressman, Chet Edwards (D-TX) courageously challenged the sponsors of this bill during the floor debate...

"Mr. Speaker, let's be clear -- there's nothing benign about this bill. This bill makes it more difficult to enforce the First Amendment to the Constitution and the very words thereof designed to protect the religious freedom of every American," said Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas).

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United had this to say...

“This bill is a sop to the Religious Right, but even worse a dangerous attack on the First Amendment,” Lynn said. “The House leadership is openly hostile to federal courts for upholding church-state separation and this bill reflects that motivation. The bill seeks to slam the courthouse doors on citizens who challenge government-sponsored religious activities. It is a repugnant affront to the civil rights of all Americans.”

However, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission chose to play the ACLU-card...

If you agree that groups like the ACLU should not be permitted to recover attorneys’ fees from municipalities in cases where a court rules that a public religious symbol violates the Establishment Clause, then please call or email your senators and tell them to vote for the Public Expression of Religion Act (S. 3696/H.R. 2679).

Thankfully, Richard Land is not the only Baptist voice in Washington D.C.. On the 27th, K. Hollyn Hollman of the Baptist Joint Committee FOR Religious Liberty published an article entitled, "Inopportune time for bill attacking the Establishment Clause." Hollman writes...

With religious wars raging around the globe, it seems an especially inopportune time to take the religious freedom Americans enjoy for granted. Yet some members of Congress are doing just that. With only a few legislative days left, the leadership of the House of Representatives this week made room on its calendar to debate and vote on a measure that it knew would not be taken up by the Senate, but that they bargained would gain them popularity with voters this fall....
The big picture is lost on many of the bill's proponents. By citing the cases they don't like and some of interest groups that bring them, they inflame passions and threaten far greater damage to religious freedom than any particular case could do. Governmental officials should be encouraged to uphold constitutional values, not invited to ignore them. Yet this legislation, like the floor debate this week, would give tacit encouragement to government officials to put politics above principle whenever they find it politically advantageous to do so.

Read Hollman's op-ed published in the Minneapolis Star.

Also check out Erwin Chemerinsky's Washington Post op-ed.

Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action has great coverage of the Senate version of the bill which he dubbs "The Christian Supremacy Act."

Why the Silence? Where's the Outrage?

Having just finishing reading Randall Balmer's "Thy Kingdom Come," I found this article quite interesting. Here's a snippet...

Similarly, the religious right has been silent on the matter of torture, conducted either by American personnel in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay or by proxy in places like Egypt and Syria under a cynical policy known as "extraordinary rendition."

Several months ago, I canvassed eight prominent religious right organizations, including the Moral Majority Coalition, Falwell's group, for their views on torture. My query was straightforward: Please send me, I asked, a copy of your organization's position on the use of torture.

These are groups that have detailed position papers on everything, including stem-cell research and same-sex unions, yet only two answered my query. Both of them defended the Bush administration's policies on torture. No organization associated with the religious right has yet, to my knowledge, summoned the will to issue a statement of unequivocal opposition to the use of torture. These are people who claim to be "pro-life" and who profess to hear a "fetal scream." Yet they turn a deaf ear to the very real screams of fully formed human beings who are tortured in our name.

The religious right's indifference toward the ethical issues surrounding war and torture is hardly befitting those who designate themselves the moral arbiters of our society. If my fellow evangelicals aspire to be the conscience of America, they had better liberate themselves from their captivity to the Republican Party and to the morally bankrupt policies of the Bush administration.

HT: Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action

Baptists and Alcohol: WWJD??

Miguel De La Torre on Bradley Reynolds of SEBTS.

A Must Read Sarcastic Smack-Down!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 — Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

House Majority Leader John Boehner knew as did House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Two of the most powerful Republicans in the United States.

Instead of taking measures to protect future children, both men sat on their thumbs and wiggled their piggy toes. I am disturbed.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to live on Capitol Hill and intern with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Many interns resided in my apartment building. One of the guys who lived across the hall from me was an intern for Rep. Mark Foley. He was merely 18.

I wonder just how many teens have been victimized by Mark Foley?

Please check out Moral Contradictions on Family Values & FoleyGate.

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