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

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Word From The Preacher - Listen Up Mr. President

One Baptist pastor in the District of Columbia has declared that ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

On her blog and in an article at EthicsDaily.com, Amy Butler of Calvary Baptist Church has posted a letter to President Bush concerning his recent decision to commute Scooter Libby's prison sentence. Butler writes...
Dear Mr. Bush:

Happy birthday to us, and all that.

Truthfully, I'm rather wary of this holiday, as it seems more and more to me that we're celebrating a distant dream rather than a hopeful reality. You know what I mean?

I didn't think so.

I have to tell you, I know being a leader is not the easiest task, especially when effective leadership means bucking the status quo, challenging current systems and ushering in new hope for the future.

I feel for you, really I do.

I know it's not easy, but I must ask: is there really a need to up-end democracy in such a flagrant manner as you have repeatedly, consistently done during your time in office?

We must take responsibility, I know, for putting you there (twice). Although I myself did not contribute to that effort either time, I'm wondering if I didn't sit by too idle and uninvolved while others did?

This most recent decision of yours, to make sure Scooter Libby escapes a prison term, while not surprising, seems to be the last straw for me. I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines while you destroy our country's international reputation, alienate our neighbors, and slowly chip away at the freedoms that have made our country great.

Maybe you feel you're protected enough to behave in whatever manner you want, to leave democracy and the American people in the dust while you keep your friends happy, but I want you to know I'm tired of it all. For the first time in my adult life I am genuinely alarmed about the kind of country I will be handing off to my kids.

I'm not hoping, of course, that you will see the light, change your ways, fix the damage you've done … it's, frankly, far too extensive by now. I just wanted to say: I am disappointed in you ... disappointed that you don't have the courage to be a visionary leader to a country with such promise. You missed the boat, but I, for one, will not stand by anymore while you leave democracy in the dust.

Happy birthday, America. May the world remember the promise of this country and stand by us as we try to pick up the dream, dust it off, and reinvent it for the future.
Amen, Preacher!

Allow me to end this post with a word from my favorite xenophobe and MSNBC guest - Patrick Buchanan.....

"Will the student deferments for these fellows never end? The act reeks of cronyism. The perception is that Scooter Libby got preferential treatment, a get-out-of-jail-free card because he was chief of staff to Cheney and assistant to Bush. That perception is correct. Because of whom he knew, Scooter got preferential treatment, big-time. The Godfather took care of the consigliere.

Nothing new. After all, one recalls that the attorney who rustled up a pardon for Marc Rich from Bill Clinton was also a Beltway hustler by the name of Scooter Libby. The insiders take care of their own. And that is how the game is played in the big city."

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Blogger Jim Paslay said...

big daddy,

Who is Amy Butler? And for that matter, who cares? She is nothing more than a political hack in religious garb. She is a partisan. She reminds me of a female Bruce Prescott. Must have been a slow day on the blogisphere, huh?

Are we to be impressed that a woman preacher from Washington with CBF ties is mad at President Bush? The sky is falling! We have come to expect this from the Bush-hating crowd. Tell me when the score is even with Slick Willey!

I wonder if we heard any "amens" when President Bill Clinton was selling pardons at the 11th hour for library donations? Was there any outrage over President Clinton's utter disregard for the truth and marriage vows? It seems that your outrage is selective.

In regards to Ms. Butler, one only has to read her article about the Dixie Chicks to know where she comes from. Since when is it called being courageous by acting like ditsy blondes?

12:31 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Apparently you care Jim Paslay since you obviously have read the Rev. Butler's blog.

Read my whole post. I quoted Pat Buchanan - whose comment was quite critical of Clinton as well. I put up the comment because I agreed.

Jim, what is your job again? I hope you're on your lunch break. I doubt your employer is paying you to be a jerk.

You seem to have a very selective memory when it comes to history...

1:19 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

One more thing,

Are you the Jim Paslay who pastors Henryetta First Baptist Church of Oklahoma?

And you dare call another pastor a partisan/political hack?

Jim Jim Jim. You need to do a little self-reflection.

God only knows what life is like for Democrats in your congregation...

1:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Weave,

I look forward to reading your blog on a regular basis. It's nice to see some Baptists remember their heritage, as well as take some progressive stands. Waco is quite a change from Athens, eh? Check out Dayspring BC if you haven't had the chance.

Rev. M

3:12 PM

Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-Whit said...

This was good, but I had to wonder that Amy was only NOW worrying about the nation we're handing our children. I've been worried ever since the passage of the Patriot Act. When Bush's approval rating was at 90% plus and we invaded Iraq on false pretenses, I seriously considered packing the car with wife and kids and just moving to Canada--I had never felt like that (and hate cold weather).

Bush got into office in '00 through crooked means. But I became deeply depressed in '04 when he won the popular vote--it was like Americans were validating Abu Ghraib! THIS, a relatively minor law breaking, was Amy's last straw? Not the Gitmo gulag? Not suspension of Habeas Corpus? Not the neglect of New Orleans?


6:35 PM

Anonymous Lee said...

I think that perhaps, because we have the opportunity to change our chief executive every four years if we want to, we tend to think in terms of those segments, and that we can endure anything for four, or even eight years. So when we're in the second term of a presidency that we got mainly because the president's brother controlled the vote counting in Florida, it gets tiresome. You'd think that a President who didn't get the majority of votes cast the first time, and barely eked out half of them the second time, would eventually realize how polarized the country was, and work toward being a "uniter, not a divider." But then, you have to give Bush credit. He has united the country against him.

Until I read this blog, I didn't know who Amy Butler was. But then, I didn't know who Jim Pasley was either. It's not that I didn't care, though. It's just that I never bumped into either of them.

Bill Clinton was a politician, no doubt about it. He certainly wasn't perfect, he did make mistakes, and his pardon list was rather dubious. I do think it is fair, though, if you are going to make that an issue, you need to bring in the pardons of his two predecessors, which, while not quite as numerous, were equally as political. At least Clinton didn't pardon someone who committed treason.

But there's no comparison at all of Clinton and Bush in terms of presidential leadership. Clinton was his own man, didn't always follow the party line, learned not only how to "work with" a Congress dominated by the other party, but how to manage them to accomplish his objectives. In spite of detractions that the other side tried to use to derail him, he moved forward like a locomotive, captured re-election following a mid-term disaster, and finished his presidency with a job approval rating higher than anyone leaving the office since WWII. Bush is the name and face recognition the corporate hacks and cronies under Dick Cheney needed to capture the White House. He's taking the fall for their attempt at control, and continues doing their bidding by gutting the constitution and spending money on wasteful ventures which have done nothing but enrich the wealthiest of the wealthy. You would think he would have enough self respect as a man not to want to see his name dragged through the mud, or to prevent his being used by corporate interests and the Vice-President. Scooter Libby was one of the cronies, and Bush rushed to bail him out before his foot touched the door of a jail threshold. In a nutshell, that characterizes his presidency.

Just for the sake of discussion, let me reverse Jim Paslay's argument here, for a minute:

Who is Jim Paslay, and for that matter, who cares? He's nothing more than a political hack in religious garb. He's a partisan. He reminds me of a male Ann Coulter. Must have been a slow day in the church office, huh? Are we to be impressed that some backwoods okie supports Bush in spite of his complete and utter incompetence? That's a predictable response from the Clinton-hating, fundamentalist right wing extremists, and who cares about that?"

Even though it was quite concise and to the point, Amy Butler's letter was consistent with the Bible's instructions to Christians to behave with gentleness and respect when encountering others who do not necessarily share your faith or interpretation of it. I don't think I can say the same for Jim Paslay's response.

8:47 AM

Blogger Jim Paslay said...

To Lee:

Not a bad comeback, although I'm not sure Ann Coulter would appreciate being linked with Bruce Prescott. I was just wondering if I am the "backwoods okie" on this blog or "the Southern Baptist pastor" on Amy's blog? My use of the term "political hack" was overboard but I stand behind the partisan observation.

I will quote you, "Even though it was quite concise and to the point, Amy Butler's letter was consistent with the Bible's instructions to Christians to behave with gentleness and respect when encountering others who do not necessarily share your faith or interpretation of it. I don't think I can say the same for Jim Paslay's response."

I think if you read Ms. Butler's letter you will find the ever popular dig about President Bush's lack of intelligence. I believe the Scripures say we are to pray for leaders, not deride them or make fun of them. I'll tell you what would have caused me to think. If Ms. Butler, who says she is concerned about our democracy, had mentioned the damage done by former President Bill Clinton in the same letter. Otherwise her words are mere partisan rhetoric!

It is too bad that your response is typical of those who keep their head in the sand. You strain a Bush and swallow a Clinton. Scooter Libby is the democrat's fall guy since they couldn't get Karl Rove. Their intense hatred for Bush is obsessive.

I hope you will not be offended if I lump you the in the same category as Ms. Butler. Your comment on the 2000 election speaks volumes concerning your objectivity!

7:56 PM

Blogger Jim Paslay said...

big daddy,

I quote you, "I hope you're on your lunch break. I doubt your employer is paying you to be a jerk." Have we resorted to name-calling now? Maybe you need to do some of that self-reflection you chided me about.

Yes, I am the pastor of Henryetta FBC. And I do support our President in spite of the obsessive hatred that is spewed on a daily basis. No, I do not agree with him totally, but I respect him and I pray for him.

I went to Ms. Butler's blog and not only read her letter again but I read other comments she has made in the past. Her letter was over the top with the "up-ending democracy" rant. Maybe you can answer her comments about "freedoms being chipped away." Please tell me what freedoms we have lost since President Bush has been in office? Unless Ms. Butler is a supporter for abortion rights, I don't have a clue to what she is talking about. Please enlighten me if you can.

8:23 PM

Anonymous km in co said...

I am beyond sick of hearing "but what about Bill Clinton's sins" as a counter to criticism of President Bush. Only the intellectually feeble and dishonest need to keep score of who has sinned more: Bill Clinton or George Bush. Mr. Bush's sins stand alone and deserve criticism no matter the transgressions of any President before or after him. Raising the "criticizing Bush and not Clinton is partisan rhetoric" argument is a strawman that needs to be torched and burned immediately.

All arguments about the war and Bush's complicity in the deaths of thousands of people aside, Mr. Bush and much of Congress shows up for work to advance the interests primarily for White, Christian, heterosexual, socio-economically privileged males. I'm so ready for a President who truly believes that you do not need to be ANY of those things to be a proud American.

With regards to Ms. Butler, I suspect that in the minds of many, her greatest crime is being an uppity female who dares to serve God in a way not sanctioned by people like Paige Patterson and Al Mohler.

7:49 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Sure Jim,

Here's a few to get us started:

* FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigations.

* FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records questions.

* FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

* RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

* FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

* RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

* RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.

Books have been written on the civil liberties that Bush has chipped away at. This is nothing new.

What's the breaking point for you Jim? What would it take for you to oppose our President in the manner you opposed Clinton? Another war? Corruption? Lies? I suspect Bush would need to be caught with his pants down? What would it take?

10:35 AM

Blogger Jim Paslay said...

big daddy,

Concerning your list of supposed freedoms that we have lost, I can get those talking points at the DNC website or People for the American Way too.

What would it take to oppose President Bush? I have already told you I don't agree with him on every issue. I respect the man, something you probably can't honestly say. I believe he has a good heart and sincerely has a relationship with Christ. I cannot say that about Bill Clinton.

In a nutshell, you decided to use Ms. Butler's letter to prove your own particular bias and you followed it up with the article about Hillary and her faith. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see your agenda. You have the right to do that. But I will call you on it, make no mistake.

I make no bones about it, I am a Christian who happens to be conservative and Republican. But I am not like the yellow dog democrats that are prevalent in my neck of the woods. I do have a brain and use it from time to time. No party owns my vote. And I will articulate my views and will encourage others to share them. My head is not in the sand, and I call them as I see them.

7:04 PM


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