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Tilting at Windmills

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July 29, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CHURCH AND STATE....The New York Times reports that at least a few evangelical preachers are starting to figure out the danger of being co-opted by the Republican Party:

There is a lot of discontent brewing, said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the emerging church, which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

More and more people are saying this has gone too far the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right, Mr. McLaren said. You cannot say the word Jesus in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You cant say the word Christian, and you certainly cant say the word evangelical without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

Because people think, Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about activist judges.

Preach it, brother. Evangelicals should keep in mind that the separation of church and state wasn't intended to protect the state, it was intended to protect the church. In the long run, becoming a bought-and-paid-for subsidiary of Karl Rove Inc. comes at a steep price.

More here from Steve Waldman in the April issue of the Monthly.

Kevin Drum 3:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (98)

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Comments

Kevin,

Separation of church and state was intended to protect the state from exactly what we see in the Middle East.

Posted by: cld on July 29, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The rats are leaving the sinking ship.

Posted by: Jack Nasty on July 29, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Great point, Kevin. The spinmeisters on the Right have tried to frame the church/state separation issue as an attempt by godless heathens to suppress religion. In fact, the separation of church and state was devised by the founding fathers explicitly to protect the free exercise of religion.

Posted by: guido sarducci on July 29, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

People of faith naturally side with the party that isn't hostile to religion.

Barack Obama knows the score:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/28/AR2006062800281.html

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama chastised fellow Democrats on Wednesday for failing to "acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people," and said the party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans.

"Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters," the Illinois Democrat said in remarks to a conference of Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty.

Until lefties stop hating Christianity, they deserve to not get those votes.

Posted by: American Hawk on July 29, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the Religious Right...

Mel Gibson's been a veiled Jew-hater for a while - but now the cops have it tape.

Posted by: F'in Librul on July 29, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Evangelicals should keep in mind that the separation of church and state wasn't intended to protect the state, it was intended to protect the church.

Bad history Kevin. Historically there never was any separation of church and state in America. The puritans and pilgrims left decadent Europe to come to America and create a Christian nation. The idea of the separation of church and state is nothing more than a invention of the liberal Warren Court in the 50's and 60's. America has historically always preferred Judeo Christian values and Judeo Christian individuals over the other decadent values and people. And that is the way it should always be.

Posted by: Al on July 29, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I wish I could take more encouragment from this, but 1) it's mainly about one megachurch in Minnesota, and 2) the guy lost 20% of his congregation for daring to suggest that President Fuckwit isn't Jesus' chosen representative. What about the flock of yahoos in the Southern Baptist cult? I'll feel a lot better when they start turning away from their collective mental illness.

Posted by: sglover on July 29, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I missed it: Al, you're a fucking moron, shut the hell up already.

Posted by: sglover on July 29, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Collective mental illness" being Christianity or registered as Republican?

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

reap what you sow, motherfuckers..

Posted by: linda on July 29, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK
Because people think, Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about activist judges.

I have yet to see the day where Christians of any amount of fervor and brimstone get bashed. Sorry. If they feel they have to watch what they say, it's to avoid an uncomfortable glance or comment, and *not* being lit on fire, punched, dragged from a truck, drowned, raped, or other useful terroristic methods employed by members of our society, many of whom identify as Christian.

Posted by: sheila anderson on July 29, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Collective mental illness" being Christianity or registered as Republican?

Today, in the year 2006 AD, both -- anti-Enlightenment Rapturist fantasy-thinking, and the doublethink-addicted authoritarian cult that the Republican Party now embodies.

Posted by: sglover on July 29, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

Becoming a bought-and-paid-for subsidiary of Karl Rove Inc. comes at a steep price.

Sure it does. But not to evangelists. Whether it's religion or politics or media or science or education or any of their marketing schemes, it's just a bunch of roadshow barkers hawking their useless wares with prepared spiels and other lies. But this has become what passes for respected establishment. The discontent of some little pastor in Maryland is about as effective as your voice at stopping totalitarianism. And if he (or you) should break through more loudly, he would immediately be labeled anti-Christian, anti-American and pro-terrorist. Ironically, in order to do anything about it, those are exactly what he and millions of others would have to become.

Posted by: george on July 29, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

The idea of the separation of church and state is nothing more than a invention of the liberal Warren Court in the 50's and 60's.

Al proves his ignorance once and for all. The Establishment clause, my friend, makes plain -- there shall be no state-sanctioned religion.

It dates to 1789, dimwit, not the 1960s.

Posted by: Harpo on July 29, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Al proves his ignorance once and for all. The Establishment clause, my friend, makes plain -- there shall be no state-sanctioned religion.

I violated it myself, but isn't there an emerging consensus in this site's comment thread that Al is simply too hopelessly ignorant to merit a reply?

Posted by: sglover on July 29, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Because people think, Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about activist judges.

And why do people think that? Because that is so often what comes next. I've listened to it for decades. And I'm not talking about evangelicals who are not smart. I'm talking about engineers, college professors, etc..

The degree of closed-minded hostility never fails to grab my attention and amaze me a little bit. I guess that once you convince yourself that God is on your side, your opponents look a little evil.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on July 29, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

...bought-and-paid-for subsidiary of Karl Rove...

I read that Karl, way back when George Herbert Walker Bush was running for President, took GWB around to many an evangelical church on campaigning missions and that GWB realized that he had learned what works with them politically. I've always wondered if he really got the spirit about that time, or if he just realized he could take political advantage.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on July 29, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. (Thomas Jefferson, in his Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802).

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on July 29, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

linda and sglover:

reap what you sow, motherfuckers . . . Christians AND Republicans have "Collective mental illness" . . .

Given how nice you are about them, it's such a wonder why they don't vote for you!

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

More on Mel Gibson, froot cake,

http://www.tmz.com/2006/07/28/gibsons-anti-semitic-tirade-alleged-cover-up/

Posted by: cld on July 29, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Quaker in the Basement:

Jefferson also raped his slaves.

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Were any of you who read the piece as apalled as I was a the sentiments of one woman parishoner who attacked her minister because he wasn't doing what the Church should be doing....supporting Republican causes.

Simply nothing more I can add to that as any kind of commentary without screaming....and realizing once more how precious and fragile are the tenents of our democracy and how easily discarded by folks like this.

Posted by: dweb on July 29, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Jefferson wrote regarding miscegenation (not sure if this one was to the Nadbury Baptists though): "The amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent," a subject of considerable controversy since Jefferson's time is whether he was the father of any of the children of his slave Sally Hemings. This allegation first gained widespread public attention in 1802, when journalist James T. Callender, wrote in a Richmond newspaper that Hemings had been Jefferson's "concubine" for many years, and had "several children" by her. Jefferson never responded publicly about this issue but is said to have denied it in his private correspondence. In his will, he freed Hemings' sons Madison and Eston, who later claimed that Jefferson was their father.

A 1998 DNA study concluded that there was a DNA link between some of Hemings descendants and the Jefferson family, but did not conclusively prove that Jefferson himself was their ancestor. Three studies were released in the early 2000s, following the publication of the DNA evidence. In 2000, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which runs Monticello, appointed a multi-disciplinary, 9-member in-house research committee of Ph.D.s and an M.D. to study the matter of the paternity of Hemings's children. The committee concluded "it is very unlikely that any Jefferson other than Thomas Jefferson was the father of [Hemings's six] children." In 2001, the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society [42] commissioned a study by an independent 13-member Scholars Commission. The commission concluded that the Jefferson paternity thesis was not persuasive. However, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly then published articles reviewing the evidence from a genealogical perspective and concluded that the link between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings was valid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_DNA_Data

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

dweb:

Do you think the Church should be denouncing abortion?

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Evangelicals should keep in mind that the separation of church and state wasn't intended to protect the state, it was intended to protect the church

Well, and to protect the people from religious tyranny in general, but I guess that's splitting hairs.

Posted by: Charlie Bucket on July 29, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Most of my friends are believers, said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, and they think if youre a believer, youll vote for Bush.

You don't have to read What's the Matter with Kansas to know that this attitude is the triumph of the right-wing machine, from Rove to Rush. One way to counter this is to hammer the hypocrisy of their actual behavior. There is nothing Christian about opposing the minimum wage, cutting benefits for veterans, gutting environmental regulations for profit, using Homeland Security appropriations as a political slush fund, rampant corruption of the GOP (that infamous Abramoff email about the gullible fundies), ad nauseum. At the same time, supporting a livable wage, Social Security, national healthcare and so on are all based on values shared by Christians. The best aspects of our society are rooted in liberal traditions that come in large part from Christian (and Catholic) activism, and the should be pointed out wherever possible. The abject cynicism of the GOP elitists declaiming kinship with "working families" is obscene to say the least, and it's about time they were called on it.

Posted by: R.Porrofatto on July 29, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

I violated it myself, but isn't there an emerging consensus in this site's comment thread that Al is simply too hopelessly ignorant to merit a reply?

Does anyone believe that Al is a genuine individual and not whoever happens to be the first person to impersonate a dumb conservative on that thread?

Posted by: Brittain33 on July 29, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas,

Sally Heminges was Jefferson's wife's sister, his sister-in-law. Even if he did have a relationship with her it was of a quantifiably different order than that of most slaves of that era.

A more likely candidate is Jefferson's cousin, who's name I can't recall, who had a reputation for staying at people's houses and impregnating the staff.

But, why can't they just dig up Jefferson's body and get a dna sample?


But, by your attempt at distracting the thread, is it your view that the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the paper it's written on?

Posted by: cld on July 29, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

America is a Christian (well, OK, Judeo-Christian) nation and the all the rest of you Mohammedans, pagans, tree-worshippers, and idol lovers can convert, get out of the country, or DIE! It's your choice.

Remember, Jesus died for your sins because of his love for white Northern Europeans everywhere.

Posted by: Conserva-troll on July 29, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

All religions (including African American ones) should stay as far away as possible from the state. What difference does it make if your "god" is liberal or fascist? It's all the same and "other" directed. God wasn't mentioned in the Constitution for a good reason. The founding fathers remembered all too well the recent European history and what happened when religion and state were indivisible.

Posted by: exjeb on July 29, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

The ignorance on both sides of this debate is appalling. The Puritans, Pilgrims, and especially the Baptists (see Roger Williams)-came to America not to "leave decadent Europe" and "create a Christian nation", but to escape persecution from a "Christian nation" where church and state were so strongly linked that people who called themselves Christians, but resisted some doctrines of the Established church, were persecuted, and prosecuted, by both the State, and the Establised church. It was the insistence on separation of church and state which these seekers of religious freedom sought in the 1600's that the framers of the Constitution found persusasive in the 1770's.

Posted by: wstander on July 29, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

"becoming a bought-and-paid-for subsidiary of Karl Rove Inc. comes at a steep price."

Amen...sing it Kevin

Posted by: yowzer on July 29, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Mclaren really puts the whole thing very well, especially about the "cringe factor" -- or, here, we could call it the "Al effect". (Shudder)

It feels like at least a significant number of evangelicals, and conservatives in general, are waking up to the fact that they are being used in a permanent divide-and-conquer strategy and that maybe their first obligation, as Americans, is to other Americans, without all the fear-factor litmus tests they've been encouraged to apply to all fellow citizens.

Shouldn't this, by the way, be the main positive message of the Dems from here on in? You know, time to pull together, people? It'll be hard to argue with that, and we need to offer some certainties to stanch the relentless flow of bullshit from the other side.

Posted by: Kenji on July 29, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be careful about relying on McLaren as a faithful barometer of evangelical mood. The righty evangelicals (ie, most of them) don't care for McLaren or for the emerging church movement generally.

McLaren talking about how the GOP and the righty evangelicals should get along is a bit like NRO giving advice to democrats on how to recapture the congress.

Posted by: jpe on July 29, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

forgot to mention that many evangelicals consider McLaren liberal. I don't know about his politics, but his theology is liberal, and I don't think most righty evangelicals make the distinction between liberal politics and liberal theology.

Posted by: jpe on July 29, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

So I can only assume that it is acceptable that black evangelicals do what white evangelicals cannot do. Double standard, anyone?

If you've been huffing paint, I guess I could you could see a double standard. Let me spell this out for you while avoiding as many big words as possible:

McLaren's concern is that making the GOP and Christianity synonomous is that people that aren't republicans won't become Christian. This frustrates the church's ability to carry out the Great Commission (which is that every Christian has an obligation to spread the word and win converts).

Posted by: jpe on July 29, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Black churches have been completely co-opted by the Democrat party and nowhere have I read about the "danger" this presents to anyone.

thanks for immediately identifying yourself as a braindead Republican drone by using the term "Democrat party". Democrat isn't an adjective, moron.

Everyone can now place mhr on their ignore list. "mjr" stands for moronic homophobic republitard.

Posted by: haha on July 29, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal religious guy criticizes conservative churches' alignment with Republicans -- Not much of a headline there, Kevin Drum.

Kinda dog bites man.

Google is our friend.

Posted by: Birkel on July 29, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Crediting American evangelicals as automatic supporters of Bush rather lets any talk of prejudice die because the proponent reeks of it too.
The sport of arguing about things impossible to sense ( or make verifiable sense of ) rather lets intelligent conversation die no matter which direction it comes from.
The only position I'll agree with is one which states that there is no valid religious injunction to beat one's brother over the head with one's pet prejudices because he is an incompetent nincompoop incapable of rational thought.

Posted by: opit on July 29, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Although I tend to agree with Kevin's point, I disagree with this comment:

separation of church and state wasn't intended to protect the state, it was intended to protect the church.

In fact, separation of church and state wasn't intended at all. The Constitution prohibited the federal government from "an establishment of religion" -- that is having an official US religion like Anglican in England or Greek Orthodox in Greece. It didn't require SOCAS. It didn't even prohibit individual states from having their own state religion.

In recent decades court decision have modified the original meaning of the Establishemnt Clause into something close to separation of church and state.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 29, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Given how nice you are about them, it's such a wonder why they don't vote for you!

Oh go fuck yourself. Your basic Rapturist Christian denounces some bogeyman called evolution (of course s/he knows nothing -- less than nothing -- about it), and simultaneously expects limitless access to such useful modern products as antibiotics. This is peasant-level superstition, and no amount of empirical evidence and good-faith persuasion can sway it. It's a lot like reasoning with a schizophrenic -- they can put rogether pretty elaborate belief systems, too. And if you can honestly claim that you don't know what I'm talking about, if you honestly haven't encountered the jaw-dropping obtuseness of fundamentalists, you really need to get out more.

Posted by: sglover on July 29, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

In recent decades court decision have modified the original meaning of the Establishemnt Clause into something close to separation of church and state.

When you say "recent decades," does that encompass 1899?:

If we were to assume, for the purpose of this question only, that under this appropriation an agreement with a religious corporation of the tenor of this agreement would be invalid, as resulting indirectly in the passage of an act respecting an establishment of religion, we are unable to see that the complainant in his bill shows that the corporation is of the kind described, but on the contrary he has clearly shown that it is not. [Emphasis mine.]

Clearly, some moonbat liberal activist put the notion of the separation of church and state into the mind of Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller. Sheesh.

Posted by: Andrew Wyatt on July 29, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

No liberal put any idea into the head of any conservative.

THEY have never listened to what any person of the liberal side. They have figured out for themselves that the religious movement was hijacked by the ones they trusted. I am a man of faith, what faith does not matter. Anyone can see that the republican party has adopted self serving ends and not that of the Salus Populi.

Posted by: Tau on July 29, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

YOU would have to be a complete fool to believe anything that Karl Rove says.

And even a bigger Fool to read or listen to the Rove Operatives at Pajamas media [Hired Bloggers]

Posted by: Tau on July 29, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Real estate and god, now go kill something for it..

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on July 29, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting cite, Andrew. I was unaware that this line of decisions went so far back.

How do you make a link here?

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 29, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a Christian (not a very good one, I must admit) who's a Democrat, and I quit going to church because I got so sick of hearing Republican talking points all the time. I even did a Sunday School lesson snarkily titled "Can Democrats be Christian?" I agree BTW with Obama. Democrats need to acknowledge that there are Christians in the party. I'm from John P. Murtha's district which is red, red, red. I wish to God I could find a more liberal church.

Posted by: kgb on July 29, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, I'm so sick and tired of your lying crap about "leftists" (in your definition, all Democrats) who supposedly "hate" Christianity. My sister is a minister. She has devoted her life to the works and words of Christ more than any person I know. And she is an ardent Democrat, who would rather cut off her right arm than vote for any of the right wing fanatics that you worship so much. (Yes, I said worship.) She has given her life to the service of God and especially the service of the poor and those struck by natural disaster. She has LIVED the Gospel. She doesn't shoot her mouth off about it like the fanatic rightwingers who shout about their holiness and then commit every kind of atrocity imaginable, from lying us into war to torture to thievery to corruption of every kind. She has been married to the same wonderful man for almost 39 years, and has never had multiple affairs/marriages like Gingrich or Limbaugh. She is a model of right behavior and a proud liberal. She's too Christian and decent and loving to tell you what you need to be told, but I'm not. American Hawk, go blow it out your ass.

Posted by: Joe on July 29, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Joe:

Does she support abortion?

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

No. She supports adoption. I can't speak for her on the fine points (we don't talk about this particular issue much) but I suspect she thinks that an outright ban on abortion would fail, and that moral suasion is a far more effective tool against abortion than government interference.

Posted by: Joe on July 29, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Does she support abortion?

Posted by: Thomas

If only your mother would have Charlie.

Posted by: MLuther on July 29, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Joe:

I consider myself a member of the religious left and trust me, I am far from the only one. Most of the people I know who are truly living a Christian life - devoting their time, talents and treasure to helping make the world a better place - are liberals. Some conservatives I know, on the other hand, who profess piety are some of the most unChristian people I know. Liars, cheating on their wives, cheating on their taxes, leaving nothing in the collection plate at church, mocking the poor and minorities. Not all conservatives, of course, but a fair percentage. Talk is cheap. "By their actions ye shall know them", as Christ said.

Thomas:

No one "supports" abortion. Don't be so one-dimensional and simplistic - the world isn't.

Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 29, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

the sepearatiuon of church and state is correct and how politics is meant to be , ...and yeah i agree with joe. i disagree with american hawk becouse its as if he/she is trying to say that liberals are of little faith and no moral , and this is completely wrong! I am a fullblown liberal and have incredible faith in god!

SO "AMERICAN HAWK", I SEE THAT THOSE "right wing fanatics that you worship" ARE ALL CLOSED MINDED ASSHOLES!!! THER ARE REALY THE ONES THAT DONT DESERVE TO GET THOSE VOTES!

Posted by: CERES on July 29, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Memo to Mel Gibson:

I'm Jewish, and I'm sick of hiding. Let me tell you the REAL truthity truth truth:
1) We DO run everything. Banks, universities, think tanks, police departments, libraries, corporations, we even have double agents on the payroll of YOUR CHURCH.
2) We meet once a week, usually Thursday evenings, to plan the downfall of everyone who isn't Jewish. Ever wonder why we're never home between 7:30 and 10?
3) While it's true that we don't exactly NEED the blood of newborn Christian children to bake our matzos, it does give them an extra zing! that nothing else quite provides.

There, I feel better.

Posted by: jprichva on July 29, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

jprichva:

Do you (or anybody) have a link to the Gibson kerfuffle? There was an AP wirestory today about his DUI bust, but tantalizingly, it refused to quote the egregious drunken spew that apparently shot forth from his lips -- though Gibson was falling all over himself apologizing for it ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Bob
Fame doesn't make people more worthy of emulation ( or less, admittedly ) or wiser ( that got rather obvious, hm ? ). Who cares ?

Posted by: opit on July 30, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, jprichva, I thought Thursday evenings were reserved for perfecting Montreal-style smoked meat (for novices... it is a Jewish-Canuckastani delicacy of GALACTIC proportions). Where do you find the time?! :)

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on July 30, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

opit:

Because it's amusing :)

jprichva:

Hey -- wasn't it you Jews who -- in a nefarious attempt to undermine the Catholic Church through consumer culture -- invented the EuchaRisp wafer and its companion Jeez Whiz aerosol spread?

It's EuchaRispy!
It's EuchaRunchy!

Have a little Jeez Whiz on that wafer, boy! The Body of Christ, amen!

Mmmm ... its SacreLicious !

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

It's a wonder that Kevin, or his employers, don't just shut off the comments section of this blog, since the amount of actual thoughtful conversation comprises about 2% of these threads, while the remaining 98% is the equivalent of projectile vomiting.

Posted by: Craig on July 30, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

*wiping off Craig's residue*

What was your point again?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

So --has watcher posted anything since Mel Gibson was busted?

Posted by: cld on July 30, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK
cld 4:05 PM:Separation of church and state was intended to protect the state from exactly what we see in the Middle East.
American Hawk 4:07 PM:...Until lefties stop hating Christianity, they deserve to not get those votes. Al 4:16 PM The idea of the separation of church and state is nothing more than a invention of the liberal Warren Court in the 50's and 60's....
Massachusetts was the last State to disestablish its church in 1833. There are other countries with established state supported religions: Scandinavia, England to name a couple. American evangelicals however, are a fundamentalist persuasion. It has been my experience that with the fundamentalist mentality, the religious doctrine is less important than the fundamentalism. I think that Afghanistan under the Taliban would be a close fit to the political aspirations of the Republican Christo-Fundamentalist orthodoxy. Posted by: Mike on July 30, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a practising Christian, I object to much of the right-wing, religious agenda not so much because of my first amendment beliefs as because of my religious beliefs ( Render under Caesar that which is Ceasar's. Render unto God that which is God, etc.)

I frankly find much of the rightwing "God Bless America crowd to be regliously dubious if not outright blashpemous. Invoking the name of the Lord on behalf of one's politics is a fearsome thing to do, IMHO.

And there has been a lot of Christian-bashing. Take the negative comments about "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," for example. It was just a movie. And if you think C. S. Lewis' mid-20th century Anglo-Catholicism has much to do with Jerry Fallwall-type evangelicism, then you really do need to learn a lot more about Christianity. (Lewis actually was much closer to J.R.R. Tolkien. And how much "Lord of the Rings" bashing has there been?)

Posted by: Thinker on July 30, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

"The ignorance on both sides of this debate is appalling. The Puritans, Pilgrims, and especially the Baptists (see Roger Williams)-came to America not to "leave decadent Europe" and "create a Christian nation", but to escape persecution from a "Christian nation" . . . It was the insistence on separation of church and state which these seekers of religious freedom sought in the 1600's . . ."

I'm not a historian, but I had gotten the impression that most of the Puritans happily set up a little theocracy (and executed a few Quakers), having no objection to the idea - as long, that is, that it could be their theo doing the cracy - and that folks like (Baptist) Roger Williams were the (very impressive) exceptions.

Frankly, I think there are quite a number of people who want to carry on the Puritan tradition, rather than the one represented by Roger Williams or William Penn. See, for example, Sussex Co., Delaware, where they drove out the local Jewish family after they complained (and eventually sued) about school-sponsored religion . . .

"We have a way of doing things here, and its not going to change to accommodate a very small minority, said Kenneth R. Stevens, 41, a businessman sitting in the Georgetown Diner. If they feel singled out, they should find another school or excuse themselves from those functions. Its our way of life.

Posted by: Dan S. on July 30, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

With the number of people in any country, a fair percentage will be willing to oppress a minority.
The wonder is that any civil order exists at all.
Conserving one's ire to allow freedom to propagate doesn't seem popular. How then can democracy flourish ?

Posted by: opit on July 30, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Because people think, Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about activist judges.

Huh. Why would anyone jump to that conclusion?

Posted by: craigie on July 30, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone ever seen watcher and Mel Gibson in the same room? Well, have they?

Meanwhile: "Does she support abortion?" (Posted by: Thomas)

"If only your mother would have Charlie."

But that would make Charlie his brother. What fun would that be?

Posted by: Kenji on July 30, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

God is dead. Killed by the religious right.

Posted by: ecoboz on July 30, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

What would Ned Flanders say?

Posted by: Kenji on July 30, 2006 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Although it give me no pleasure to do so, here is a link to Mel Gibsons anti-Semitic tirade, when he got popped for DUI. Mel gives practicing Catholics like me a bad name.

SK

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 30, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting cite, Andrew. I was unaware that this line of decisions went so far back. How do you make a link here?

Here's a helpful guide.

Note that in the case, Bradfield v. Roberts, the party alleging the EC violation lost. The case involved a Washington D.C. hospital incorporated by an act of Congress and funded by federal taxes, but owned and run by an order of Catholic nuns. Bradfield claimed that public founding and funding of this hospital was an EC violation, and brought the suit as a citizen of the District. The Court--rightly, I believe--regarded the narrow focus of the hospital's articles of incorporation as a significant check on the hospital and the Church, and that federal funding to a religious entity that provides a secular service to the public does not ipso facto create an EC violation.

It's an interesting case, however, in that the Court did not regard it as unreasonable that government funding of a religious institution could be an EC violation. The Court's decision rests on examining the hospital's charter and deterimining whether the hospital's purpose and activities are secular and properly delineated.

Posted by: Andrew Wyatt on July 30, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Reading these comments makes me wonder what Amy Sullivan's take on this is. Oh wait, what the fuck ... nevermind. I actually don't care at all what her take on this is, or her opinions on basketball, either. Michigan is the Alabama of the Midwest.

Posted by: Pat on July 30, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Back in 1964, a priest who'd gotten wind of my adolescent politics (Goldwater supporter) informed me that "Catholics can't be Republicans."

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 30, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Although it give me no pleasure to do so, here is a link to Mel Gibsons anti-Semitic tirade, when he got popped for DUI. Mel gives practicing Catholics like me a bad name.

Luke 6:37

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 30, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Are the evil Nazi Jews still massacring woman and children in Lebanon?

Posted by: pal on July 30, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Are any disgusting "Christians" supporting the evil Nazi Jews as they massacre woman and children in Lebanon?

Posted by: pal on July 30, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Well, are there any "Christians" here who support the evil Jews in their murdering of woman and children in Lebanon.

Posted by: pal on July 30, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Davis:

Hmm. My Mom and Dad were both Republican Catholic Goldwaterites (my Dad more because he hated Johnson). I don't believe either of them voted for JFK -- which is suprising, considering their ethnicity -- and though my Dad's political disease was in remission by '72, my Mom was a staunch Nixonite (my Dad actually had to lie to her about voting for McGovern to prevent a huge argument over it in front of the children). And this is in the Northeast, too.

Stephen Kriz:

Well then, experts agree: Mel Gibson is a frothing anti-semite -- as if, you know, anyone needed further proof after The Passion of the Christ.

So-called Traditional Catholicism is an utter embarrassment (what's next, a revival of self-flagellation?), but overall as an agnostic I have more respect for Catholic moral doctrine than I do for the conservative Protestant variety. A fervent Catholic pro-lifer is much more likely to have severe doubts about the Iraq war and the death penalty, for instance. Catholics also aren't so whacked-out obsessed with innocence; Original Sin makes the concept problematic even for newborns, and the less likely one is to fetishize innocence, the less likely one is to pass all sorts of moral judgments on their fellow human beings.

All in all, Catholics more value the virtue of humility than born-again Prots. In a weird way, by rejecting the doctrine of Works, they made Grace a ticket to self-reinvention that, with the crypto-antinomianism of "saved" Prots who then are free to manipulate politics in the most egregious of ways for a "higher" end, almost makes the selling of indulgences look preferable by comparison.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

pal = Mel Gibson

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Pal baits. Cue the crickets.

Posted by: Pat on July 30, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

How many "Christians" here support the evil Nazi Jews in their murdering of woman and children in Lebanon.

Put forward your names as supporters of the murderers, so that we know what type of people you are.

Tell us clearly that you support the actions of the evil Nazi Jews, so we know who, and what, you are.

Posted by: pal on July 30, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

pal:

What is this, you're looking for signatures on a Loyalty Oath?

Sorry, dude -- that's even *more* Fascistic.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

pal:

We already know who and what *you* are -- so believe us, the feeling's mutual.

Are you, like, *trying* to make it difficult to criticize the recent Israeli bombing of civilians?

Because believe me -- as much as all of us are willing to condemn that action, we're even *less* willing to appear to lend support to a frothing anti-semite such as yourself.

Which is why, "pal," some of us consider you a mole for the JDL.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The Evil Nazi Jews -- aren't they that hot new band from Athens, Georgia?

Posted by: Kenji on July 30, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

In honor of pal, I think it's time for another stirring rendition of The Troll Song.

*pitchpipe*

I'M A TROLL
FEED MY GOAL
FLUSH ME DOWN THE TOILET BOWL
I HAVE SUCH AN UGLY SOUL
WRITING POSTS THAT MAKE YOU SCROLL

TROLL TROLL TROLL
TROLL TROLL TROLL

SOME MAY THINK THAT I'M A MOLE
OR THAT I LACK SELF-CONTROL
WONDER WHAT I'LL NEXT EXTOL
ARGUE BLATHER SPEW CAJOLE

TROLL TROLL TROLL
TROLL TROLL TROLL

EVER WATCHFUL ON PATROL
AS I CLIMB THE GRASSY KNOLL
STEEP ENOUGH TO FALL AND ROLL
DOWN INTO THE DRAINAGE HOLE

TROLL TROLL TROLL
TROLL TROLL TROLL

UGLY SMELLY NASTY TROLL
TOUCH ME WITH A TEN-FOOT POLE
STUFF MY STOCKINGS UP WITH COAL
JUST GIVE ME A STARRING ROLE

TROLL TROLL TROLL
TROLL TROLL TROLL

MY NAME'S NOEL
I'M A TROLL
SITTING ON THE TOILET BOWL
ALL MY BEST IDEAS I STOLE
VERBAL SPHINCTER DECONTROL

TROLL TROLL TROLL
TROLL TROLL TROLL

{rinse 'n' repeat}

-- (c)opyright 2006 Kidney Punch Music

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Bob:

I am far from being a "traditional" Catholic. I think a lot of what comes out of the Vatican is medieval nonsense. However, I do embrace the social justice teachings of the Catholic faith, which go far beyond what the so-called "evangelicals" believe. For example, I believe that when one human being is suffering or is mistreated, we are all diminished.

Mel Gibson and his ilk are from the far-right stream of the Catholic faith, which includes the Opus Dei cult. Because we are all part of the "Corpus Christi" (body of Christ), he is entitled to his beliefs, but to rant about the Jews like he did, is shameful and embarassing. Much like our friend pal/watcher, who continues to besmirch this blog. Have a wonderful day.

SK

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 30, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

See, for example, Sussex Co., Delaware, where they drove out the local Jewish family after they complained (and eventually sued) about school-sponsored religion ...

"We have a way of doing things here, and its not going to change to accommodate a very small minority, said Kenneth R. Stevens, 41, a businessman sitting in the Georgetown Diner. If they feel singled out, they should find another school or excuse themselves from those functions. Its our way of life.

Posted by: Dan S. on July 30, 2006 at 1:09 AM

Change a few words here and there, and Mr. Stevens could have been a "reputable" businessman (and member of the White Citizens Council) in the Deep South circa 1955, speaking about integrating schools. (No surprise to anyone who knows that part of Delaware; the town of Dagsboro played host to Klan rallies as recently as the '70s.)

Mel Gibson and his ilk are from the far-right stream of the Catholic faith, which includes the Opus Dei cult. Because we are all part of the "Corpus Christi" (body of Christ), he is entitled to his beliefs, but to rant about the Jews like he did, is shameful and embarassing.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 30, 2006 at 11:41 AM

Mel co-starred with Goldie Hawn in "Bird On A Wire." Since Goldie's half-Jewish (as Adam Sandler has reminded us), does that mean he'd only mildly rant against her?


Posted by: Vincent on July 30, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji:

The Evil Nazi Jews -- which of course implies that there could be such a thing as Good Nazi Germans ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on July 30, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

kgb:

"I'm a Christian (not a very good one, I must admit) who's a Democrat, and I quit going to church because I got so sick of hearing Republican talking points all the time. I even did a Sunday School lesson snarkily titled "Can Democrats be Christian?" I agree BTW with Obama. Democrats need to acknowledge that there are Christians in the party. I'm from John P. Murtha's district which is red, red, red. I wish to God I could find a more liberal church."

I, too, am a Christian and not a very good one and a Democrat. By not very good I mean that I too often sit on my butt rather than getting up and doing something about helping others, and that I sometimes do the all-too-human things like judge others harshly.

Im an Episcopalian and belong to a progressive church. They DO exist.

Here is a link to The Center for Progressive Christianity. You can search its list of member churches to find one in your area. Hope this helps.

http://www.tcpc.org/template/index.cfm

To others reading this, please check this website out. Note the mission. We progressive Christians dont wish the right wing Christians any harm, but we do believe that they have a restricted view of what Christ taught. We are offering an alternative way. I dont say view because we dont preach a particular view, and one of our central points is that people have the right to question their beliefs.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 30, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I followed Kevin's link to the article by Steve Waldman in the April Washington Monthly. I get the impression from reading everyone's posts here that not all of you did.

He makes a number of cogent points.

--The Founding Fathers were not monolithic in their opinions as to the role of religion in the public sphere. Some like Jefferson and Madison advocated strict separation of church and state. Others such as John Adams interpreted the 1st Amendment to mean that there would be no specific state-sanctioned official denomination, but that the Amendment supported religion, specifically Christianity, and that it was fine for government to support Christian establishments with taxes and laws, as long as no one denomination was favored.

--Evangelical churches such as the Southern Baptists, in the 18th century, were among the strongest supporters of Jefferson and Madison. And established churches, among them the Anglican Church in the South, supported Adams's views, and even were attempting to suppress other forms of Christianity.

--Evangelican churches in the 18th century were the ones most likely to be involved in social justice causes, such as food and education for the poor. Waldman's paper basically concerns itself with the 18th century and the very early 19th, but I would just like to mention the Abolitionist Movement in the 19th century. I believe that the Baptists were among the Abolitionists.

Some of the Presbyterians in the North were also. My maiden name is Lincoln. My great-great grandfather was a 7th cousin of Abe. He was also an Abolitionist, and was an itinerant preacher for the Presbyterians, the itinerancy resulting from his Abolitionist activities which were not popular with the mainstream church. My great-great grandmother met him in jail because she was jail-visiting on behalf of her church, and he was in jail at the time for his Abolitionist activities. They were active in the Underground Railroad.

As the saying goes, "Politics makes for strange bedfellows." :-)

Today, it seems that roles have been reversed. This is an oversimplification, but generally speaking, you are now see Episopalians, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, and Catholics, as greater supporters of separation, and more likely to be involved in antiwar protests, or in outreach projects such as soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity. I'm not saying that Fundmentalists aren't involved in these types of activities as well, but it isn't what they trumpet these days.

And to this liberal, people such as Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis and Sojourners, are welcome breaths of fresh air.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 30, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'll put it more bluntly, Wolfdaughter.

Anyone who wants to fly the US flag in church, and advocates waging nationalistic wars on behalf of Christ, is not really a Christian at all. Generally speaking, these people are sectarian cultists who engage in idolatry of a highly selective set of Biblical passages that reinforce redneck cultural biases, with no grasp whatsoever of actual Christian theology... let alone science, history, foreign affairs, or any of the other things that the assholes they vote for need to comprehend in order to govern the country.

There are liberal Christians, there are conservative Christians, and there are right-wing cultists. The latter set currently dominate the evangelical churches, which is a national tragedy.

Posted by: ajl on July 30, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Amen to that.

Posted by: Kenji on July 30, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji: Has anyone ever seen watcher and Mel Gibson in the same room? Well, have they?

Dead thread, I know, but I've been away. So I'll still add: Line of the week!

Posted by: shortstop on July 31, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

When I speak to a republican, or conservative, for that matter, I now say "Oh, you belong to the "religious' party". They are usually red-faced and angry or embarassed or spitting denials.
Works great and gets them thinking.
Why don't we all just start calling it the Religious Party - I think it would take care of itself and would point out to secular conservatives that they are on the wrong ship.

Posted by: rik @ work on July 31, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

What concrete, factual, empirical evidence do we have that the mix of evangelical/political power has had postive and beneficial results on the issues of war/peace, poverty, justice, respect for others and quality of life? Where's the proof that all this praying, begging, and subjagation of others has made the world a better place to live in?

Posted by: freestate on July 31, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

All in all, Catholics more value the virtue of humility than born-again Prots. In a weird way, by rejecting the doctrine of Works, they made Grace a ticket to self-reinvention that, with the crypto-antinomianism of "saved" Prots who then are free to manipulate politics in the most egregious of ways for a "higher" end, almost makes the selling of indulgences look preferable by comparison.

I don't know about Catholic humility, but I do know that it's extraordinarily rare to find a Catholic with any measure of public piety about religion. Early on I remember being instructed about the sin of Despair (Salvation was hopeless) and the sin of Presumption (Salvation was assured). This, and a sacramental approach to life, kept the dailiness of existence both bearable and paramount. Human words were seen as hollow, but God sees your heart. As a result, prayer is mostly a private devotional effort. Expansive, extemporaneous public prayer (i.e. Protestantism) was suspect.

I know Vatican II attempted to uproot the Catholic tendency to a private devotional approach to the religious life, but I'm afraid it will take the complete destruction of the clergy (well under way thanks to pedophilia and its cover-ups and a pig-headed papacy) to produce a thoroughly reformed Catholicism.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 1, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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