Sunday, December 28, 2008
RNC Rivals Discuss Racial Song
Would-Be Chairman Who Sent CD With Parody Blames Media
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 28, 2008; Page A05
Republicans who are vying to lead the national party offered a mix of reactions yesterday to the decision by one candidate for the job to mail out a music CD including the song "Barack the Magic Negro."
Chip Saltsman defended his actions, telling the Hill newspaper that the song -- and others on the CD, which was mailed to party members -- was nothing more than a lighthearted parody. But his rivals in the contest to chair the Republican National Committee said it carried an inaccurate message about what the GOP stands for.
"In my opinion, this isn't funny and it's in bad taste," said Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis. "Just as important, anything that paints the GOP as being motivated in our criticism of President-elect Obama by anything other than a difference in philosophy does a disservice to our party."
Here is a case of stupid, and stupider.
Anyone who knows anything about this song would not make these idiotic comments about it. Perhaps this is why the “Good Old Party” - which should perhaps be renamed the “GOSP” (put ‘stupid’ in there) - can’t win an election.
“Barack the Magic Negro” is based on a comment by a Los Angeles Times writer who was trying to say that Obama was a not ‘truly’ black man who could make white voters feel comfortable. This alleged quality, according to this writer, is what makes Barack ‘magic.’
This song pokes fun at this claim, and those who make this claim. The paraody song is funny, and all these self-righteous Republican idiots apparently have no idea what the song is really all about. They have simply seen the title, turned tail, and run as fast as possible from what they stupidly think is some kind of racial slur.
But nobody ever said Republicans are the sharpest boys on the political block these days.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Rick Warren Not Satisfied with Making Abortions 'Rare'
The Christian Post reports that megachurch pastor Rick Warren may be on good terms with President-elect Barack Obama, but does not support Obama's policy of making abortions "rare." In an interview with Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman, Warren said, "Of course I want to reduce the number of abortions... But to me it is kind of a charade in that people say 'We believe abortions should be safe and rare." He continued, "Don't tell me it should be rare. That's like saying on the Holocaust, 'Well, maybe we could save 20 percent of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out and we should be satisfied with that,'" Warren said. "I'm not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended."
I have disagreed with Rick often in the past. But - credit where credit is due - he is ‘right on the money’ this time.
I have heard this same kind of talk - from our ‘thug-from-Chicago-elect’ Obama as well as from some ‘on the other side of the aisle.’ Some have talked about abortion being dead as a political issue because there are now fewer abortions than there used to be. How 'rare' would you like murder to be?
Warren’s Holocaust analogy is good. Others come to mind also. If the sexual exploitation of children is statistically decreased, should we all just breath a great sigh of relief because the problem is ‘solved’? If drive-by shootings are less frequent this year than last, is the police force no longer necessary?
The abortion debate comes down to this: is there a ‘someone’ in the womb of a pregnant woman, or just a ‘something’? That is not a question that can be decided solely by empirical data. There are some biological matters-of-fact about it that are worthy of careful consideration. But that alone cannot decide the matter.
The identification of personhood is, in the end, a theological matter. Thus, clashes over the matter of abortion are ultimately clashes of conflicting theologies.
Our culture does not like such debates. We would like science to have the final say in all matters. But in some matters, like this one, it is simply incapable of saying all that must be said.
As long as we tolerate the intentional killing of any innocent persons, we are an uncivilized society. Growing - but not yet born - babies are persons, persons who deserve the same protection as all innocent persons. But the reasoning as to whether or not the unborn are persons is a matter that must end up in theology. And the faulty conclusion that the unborn are not persons is just as theological as the conclusion that they are.
Rick is right about this, and Barack is wrong. Rick is right because of good theology. Barack is wrong because of bad theology.
Unfortunately for the millions of unborn babies that might have been born in the next four years, Barack is soon to be President.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Faith a "Private Eccentricity" in England, Says Catholic Cleric
Religion News Service reports that the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales warns that liberalism has turned Britain into a nation where religious belief is seen as a "private eccentricity" and atheism is becoming increasingly more "vocal and aggressive." Writing in a book released this week, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor came down hard on what he said was Britain's growing degeneration into a land free of morals and hostile to Christian values.
For some time ‘religion’ has been herded, by those either hostile to it or just unsure what to do with it, into the category of the private and personal. While you might think this was just the work of sinister forces opposed to any religion, that is not the complete case.
For some time now, at least within Christendom, there has been an assumption that faith is a personal attitude or decision for which there is no compelling evidence. As the old phrase goes, faith is ‘believing what you know ain’t so.”
There is a long historical-theological story behind this move. Assuming people who might read a blog don’t like long historical-theological stories, I won’t even attempt to outline it here. (There are plenty of good books about this that will explain it much better than I could, anyway!)
This view of faith is very different from that of historic Christianity. If you are interested in seeing the contrast, study Mark 2 sometime.
But moving to the ‘faith-without-evidence’ view allowed Christians to avoid the task of presenting a reasonable case for their faith. With reason discounted as it often is in our culture, presenting a reasoned case for anything sometimes seemed pointless anyway.
But evidence-less faith did something else too. It made religion completely personal, nothing more than a matter of individual preference or taste. This is as true in the U.S. as the report above suggests that it is in Britain.
Having been made completely personal, faith became completely meaningless in the public arena. Of course opponents of faith welcomed this development. But people of faith did this to themselves.
While it would be possible to recover the historic meaning of the Christian faith, for one example, most of those who claim that faith seem to have little interest in that project. We are too busy deferring to other views and being careful not to offend anyone with presentations of anything we claim to be ‘the truth.’ The mere mention of such a thing is enough to get you kicked out of most forums today.
So it appears that most of the ‘faithful’ will stumble forward with this evidence-less approach to faith. While some will ‘personally value’ faith, others will not, and we can just leave it at that.
Meanwhile, the atheists can tell everyone the way things ‘really’ are. We Christians, not wanting to offend anyone’s sensibilities, will sit quietly by with our ‘private eccentricity’ and watch.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Pick up the morning newspaper or turn on the evening newscast and the story that you’re bound to see is that America is facing an economic recession of historic proportions. Consumer spending is down and unemployment is up, but there is one item that Americans are rushing to buy -- guns.
Why? Well, as NRA-certified instructor Joel Rosenberg told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “It’s the Obama effect.”
Gun sales have skyrocketed ever since it became clear that Barack Obama was going to win the White House and be able to govern with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.
Interesting, isn’t it? But apart from the details of all this, a question comes to my mind. Before the question, a bit of background.
Throughout my life I have heard pundits urging people to exercise their rights. We are encouraged to exercise our right to vote. We could debate whether or not this is a right, but leave that aside for now.
We are told to exercise our right to free expression. This category of rights is cataloged in the First Amendment.
But why do most of these same people never encourage us to exercise the right to be armed? That right is also cataloged in the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court has even recently ruled that - a very obvious conclusion - it is an individual right.
When we ‘exercise our right to vote’ we get those stupid little ‘I voted’ stickers and the applause of almost everyone. Why not a parallel congratulation for those who exercise that just-as-important right to be armed?
People will line up to drive us to the polling place. Why not drive people to the gun shop?
Schools worry themselves silly about teaching students ‘civic responsibility’ and praising involvement in political expression. Why not teach students how to select, use, and maintain those instruments of Second Amendment expression?
Of course, I know what will be said about all this. “Guns are dangerous. In the hands of the irresponsible, they can do great harm to others.”
This is true, of course. But what about the danger, for example, of voting? A gun ill-used can kill someone. But consider this: votes ill-used can kill many people.
How many people have died from the CAFÉ standards? Those standards are met by making cars smaller, and less safe. Thousands upon thousands have died because of this, and it all came to be by those who vote irresponsibly.
The FDA prohibits people in the United States from obtaining certain medications that could save lives. Though this is bureaucracy, it is in place and remains in place because of irresponsible voting.
Examples could abound. But the point is that we have a kind of ‘rights myopia’ that has developed in our culture. Good citizens should be armed, in the same way good citizens should express political views and vote.
And one more thing: those who don’t understand the many reasons why good citizens should be armed probably don’t understand enough to cast informed votes.
Friday, December 5, 2008
[The News & Observer]
Published: Dec 05, 2008 12:30 AM Modified: Dec 05, 2008 08:03 AM
UNC-CH libraries leave Christmas trees in storage
ERIC FERRERI, Staff Writer
CHAPEL HILL - For as long as anyone can remember, Christmas trees adorned with lights and ornaments have greeted holiday season visitors to UNC-Chapel Hill's two main libraries.
They aren't there this year.
The trees, which have stood in the lobby areas of Wilson and Davis libraries each December, were kept in storage this year at the behest of Sarah Michalak, the university's associate provost for university libraries.
Michalak's decision followed several years of queries and complaints from library employees and patrons bothered by the Christian display, Michalak said this week . . .
Aside from the fact that a UNC-CH library is a public facility, Michalak said, libraries are places where information from all corners of the world and all belief systems is offered without judgment. Displaying Christian symbols is antithetical to that philosophy, she said.
"We strive in our collection to have a wide variety of ideas," she said. "It doesn't seem right to celebrate one particular set of customs."
So the ‘Christmas wars’ rage on. I thought I sensed that there was perhaps a bit of a cease-fire this year. It appears I was wrong.
Yes, the dreaded Christmas tree. “For as long as anyone can remember” this library has displayed a Christmas tree. But suddenly, this year, a Christmas tree would mean ‘judgment’ on other ‘belief systems.’
We certainly wouldn’t want any patrons of the UNC-CH library to start evaluating ‘belief systems’ would we?
I wonder if this library ever puts up displays on any topic? My guess is that this happens. Why are these not matters of ‘judgment’?
If you take the Christmas tree to symbolize Christianity, then you are dealing with a way of thinking that claims a connection to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
But, as a matter of fact, every single patron of the UNC-CH library comes with a set of assumptions and conclusions which are used to evaluate everything in the library. Without that kind of starting point, all the ‘information’ would be nothing more than a meaningless jumble of raw data.
And is it not a bit amusing that Sarah Michalak, the university's associate provost for university libraries, has made a judgment in her decision about all this? Her judgement is that judgements should not be made.
Do associate provosts study logic? Probably not. They are too busy fighting those dreaded Christmas trees.