Why I Hate The Christian Coalition

I guess I could have been more politically correct and written "Why I Don't Appreciate the Christian Coalition", but where's the fun in that?. This post was kicked off in my head by the following clips from a news story on Yahoo news...

The coalition is finishing interviews of lawmakers for its voter guides, which national field coordinator Bill Thomson called the "B-2 bomber" in its arsenal. Combs wasn't ready to say exactly how many coalition voter guides will be printed. The group handed out 70 million in 2000.


Thomson, a former Marine, used military imagery to fire up the Christian Coalition activists to get out the vote.

"Never allow the enemy to block you," Thomson urged them. "Get around them, run over the top of them, destroy them — whatever you need to do so that God's word is the word that is being practiced in Congress, town halls and state legislatures."

So problem number one is that they exhibit a bunch of tendencies in action and words that are distinctly unChristian. The second, and my main beef, is that they purport to represent all US Christians (I'm sure in their minds there is something fundamentally wrong with foreign so-called Christians. After all, God is an American, right? But maybe that's just me being a paranoid foreigner.)

This hijacking of the Christian political voice can be traced back to Jerry Falwell and the infamous Tim LaHaye when they founded the Moral Majority around 1980. The really unfortunate part of that hijacking is that the mainstream church wasn't organized enough (and still isn't) to counter the very focused, unChristian message of the Moral Majority and later Christian Coalition. While the Newt Gingrich debacle of the mid-90s slowed down the fundamentalist (or in Jimmy Swaggart's case should that be fundamentalust?) juggernaut, they have snuck back to prominence under Dubya (whose family was Episcopalian, but he's drifted toward a fundamentalist Methodist perspective apparently.)

If it wasn't so frustrating it would be hilarious to listen to the Religious Right blather on about being persecuted when they are the perpetrators of plenty themselves (just ask the gay community, abortionists or just Godless Democrats described above by Thomson.)

One last frustration I have is that this kind of political rhetoric and activism obscures the really great work being done by other fundamentalist evangelicals as part of God’s church. Isn’t there something wrong when the “person on the street” associates the term Christian Coalition with political campaigns rather than taking care of the poor, the orphaned and the widowed?


You Just Can't Make Stuff Up Like This

Sinead O'Connor, wacky shaven-headed singer-songwriter of the early 90's took out a full page ad in an Irish newspaper to ask people to stop making fun of her. I kid you not.

O'Connor had her one big US hit in 1990 with "Nothing Compares 2 U". Not to be confused with "Nothing Compares to U2, especially Sinead O'Connor", which is not a song, merely an observation. When it comes to Irish political activism, Bono does it right, Sinead just screws up.

Bono can get heads of state to do his bidding and even managed to get the Pope to trade an autograph for a pair of trademark sunglasses. Sinead can't even get the VH1 to stop calling her crazy baldy.

Now the whole shaven-headed, Pope picture burning, wacky political activist thing is in the past. But she keeps on giving folks more and more reasons to consider her a bit off the beaten path.

In 1999 she was ordained a priest in a breakaway Catholic sect, and initially insisted on being called "Mother Bernadette Mary" but eventually she found the celibacy rule impossible to follow, so she gave that up.

Then last year she got interested in a movement called the "Death Midwives" that counsels chronically ill people. Hey, if I was chronically ill, I'm not sure I'd want a visit from a "Death Midwife". "What, you're trying to give me a hint here? I just thought I was chronically ill..."

However, that was last year, and Sinead has moved on to yet a different passion - stamping out head lice in children. I told you that you just can't make stuff up like this. Apparently nobody told Sinead that "stamping out" is just a turn of phrase, not the actual method they use for eradicating the little insects.

O'Connor compared her treatment in the press to that of the aforementioned Bono. "If ye wrote about Bono like you wrote about me, he'd kick your asses," she wrote.

Or maybe if we asked him nicely he could kick hers...


Aches and pains

Phew, nasty scratchy throat and sneezy feeling the last few days. However, I still ended up running Jr High youth group tonight as there rerally weren't any backup options, filling in as a favor. Now Jr High are enough of a handful at the best of times, but at least four of the nine there tonight are diagnosed with some form of ADD (don't get me started on that, though) and I don't think they take their meds when they come. Man, what a handful.

After a tough time getting through some work on proverbs we ended up playing 45 minutes of basketball. Hence the aches and pains, in addition to testing the limits of the impaired pulmonary system. Oh well, one more day at work and the weekend is here.

Currently reading Brian McLaren's Finding Faith. I don't what it is with him, but I just feel so in sync with his thoughts it's scary. This is the third book of his I've read in just over a week. They've all had really different themes, but I love them all. Amazing.


Busyness, baseball and carpet

Well, today has been interesting. Originally I had no obligations at church this morning, but Sue and I ended up being chalice bearers, I helped out with Jr High sunday school and played some songs with children's church. After church we were off to the Mariners game. This season has been a complete waste of time, and we froze our a$$es off at Safeco while the M's ineptly lost 2-1. Feh.

When we got back I had the lovely task of removing the last piece of furniture from our master suite (that being the bed) because tomorrow we're getting new carpet. The stuff that came with the house new was about as cheap as the builders could find, so we finally decided to upgrade where it matters. I can hardly wait.

Speaking of tomorrow, it's the first day back at work after 2 weeks of vacation and other goofing off. Can't say I'm too thrilled about that.


Throwback to the 60s anyone?

You'll have to click the pic and look carefully at the upper edge of the license plate holder to see the whole thing. The license plate was attached to some rusting hulk of 70s Detroit iron (now I think about it, was there ever any other kind?)

Captured on the main drag at Westport WA in August.

New car front...

and back...

...and the snappy custom blue & gray leather interior...

yes, this is my new baby. After 11 years of driving my 1993 Ford Explorer I finally decided I'd had enough what with the engine producing about 20 HP now. Spending a large sum of money refurbishing an 11 year old vehicle seemed a bit over the top, so it was off to the car dealers to see what's out there.

For the space, a Honda Pilot would have been probably the best option, but overall, I figured having some fun with a Subaru WRX was the better choice. I had to get the wagon for the space (but I like it better anyway) and with the custom leather interior and a kickass factory stereo (including a reasonable 150W subwoofer under the passenger seat) it's made commuting a lot more fun. With 227HP and a very light body, it goes when necessary.

Going from 20-60 mph takes roughly 3 milliseconds, which is very nice for merging into traffic. Since I live in a place where just to get out of my development I have to merge into traffic doing 60 in a 40 zone this seriously helps...

Pix taken by the ocean at Westport WA, on a youth group trip in August.

Catching up with life

Well, back from Hawaii Thursday morning. Napped most of the day then headed out to church for the institution of our new Rector. Very cool service, and I feel very privileged to have been there. Our new Rector, Marda, has been our Associate for seven years and has been our priest in charge while our parish figured out our options following the retirement of our former Rector. Really, it was a foregone conclusion, and I don't say that because Marda represents the familiar, easy choice. If anything choosing her as our new Rector is our way of saying, "OK, we know where we're going - let's get started." Besides, she's just an amazing priest and leader.

Speaking of priest and leader, I did something I don't normally do on vacation - I read "heavy duty" books (well, mixed in with other stuff.) First up were a couple of Brian McLaren books, The Church on the Other Side and A Generous Orthodoxy.

The first book is a really useful look at specific topics to ponder and then do something about. Fortunately it's not a cookbook - it's a series of provocative thoughts that invite readers to address for themselves. Some will be more important than others depending on the context. I look forward to working on some of the issues myself.

The second McLaren book is a more grandiose venture. A Generous Orthodoxy is an attempt to create a space for a theology that is postmodern, post-liberal, post whatever we have now. Brian's personal experience informs the entire book, and his breadth of experience and the generosity that has been a gift to him from all tributaries of the Christian river serves him well as he weaves his story. A few pomo bloggers will be blogging about the book over the next few weeks. Check it out if interested.

My final heavy duty book was Renee Altson's Stumbling Toward Faith. Wow. It's not exactly the most coherent book you'll read, but as a stream of consciousness memoir of a brutal, painful upbringing it has no equal. Renee's tale of sexual abuse at the hands of her church elder father and the blind eye turned by the church is heart rending. It's also a cautionary tale that every single one of us in the church should read and internalize because this should never happen.

Major kudos to Renee for being brave enough to share her story. Renee blogs at ianua and is also doing a virtual book tour through blogland that you can check out here. As Jordon Cooper noted on the stop at his blog, this is a book that I will buy to give away.

On top of that I managed to read the last three Kay Scarpetta Patricia Cornwell novels, a really old Donald Westlake and the eighth and final (sniff) book in Melody Carlson's Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Ah, the joys of the beach and pool...


Greetings from Kona HI

Yeah, so 5 days after arriving in Hawaii, I get chance to sit down with a laptop in an internet cafe. It's been pouring most of the afternoon here (shock, horror, gasp!) but it does happen once in a while. Had a lovely wedding anniversary yesterday, featuring a snorkeling trip and a sunset dinner cruise. very nice...

Anyway, it will probably be Friday before I get to write again, when safely back in Seattle. Meanwhile, I found Renee Altson's book Stumbling Toward faith today in Borders and it's been a gripping read for the first few chapters. More on that later...

Aloha :-)


Things that make you laugh

I have a friend who was feeling sad, so I did the best thing I could think of to cheer her up - send her to a funny blog. So I sent her to dooce.com's guilty list. Now Heather (aka dooce, a play on the French word douce, for soft (no, not douche, which is the French word for shower, or something like that)) has been going through a rough patch lately and you can catch up on that by exploring the ever so beautiful site, but her guilty list is a kick. She also links to another blog for a story about roaches (the insects, not the smokable kind, although maybe you can smoke the insects, who knows?) right here and later, right here.

All in all a great way to lose the cares and woes of the day. But I have to say I absolutely loathe web pages that are white on black. I mean, do these people have any sympathy for people with poor eyesight? I suspect not, the bastards...

Survived the Onslaught

No, not the WinXP Service Pack 2 upgrade, the Seattle area windstorm. It knocked the cable out for a few hours, which made my wife very sad, as she works from home and was unable to virtually attend work meetings. Well, so I was lying about the sad part.

The Vaio seems to have survived although something is screwing up my USB printer, other than that, all is peachy.

Well, we're gearing up for a big couple of weeks. First, church trip to Camp Huston this weekend. About 50 of us hanging out at our camp/conference center in the mountains. Very cool. Then we get back Sunday just in tiem to pack and leave for Hawaii on Monday. Then a week and a half in Hawaii (Big Island). Here's the Alii Drive webcam in Kona just down the road from our condo.

Then we're back in time (just, we fly back on a red-eye, get in at 6:30 am) for the installation service of our new Rector on the 16th.

Sometime soon I have a 120" screen to put up in the family room so we can view movies in glorious technicolor... And replace three faucets. I'm guessing that all happens in late September.

Wow, how do we keep up?

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