January 15, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 4.28.12

It has been a fairly quiet week here at the iMonastery. We have been going about our duties and offices as usual. Still, somehow we end the week with a mess of leftovers. Being the thrifty and lazy monks that we are, we have poured everything into a mixing bowl, added some breadcrumbs, put it into a loaf pan, and concocted a tasty dish of Saturday Ramblings.

One more call for those in the Dayton/Cincinnati area who might like to join me for breakfast next Saturday morning. Drop me an email if you are interested. imonkpub [at] gmail [dot] com should get to me just fine.

Do you get the idea that Joel Osteen would be better off not giving interviews? In his talk with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Osteen says Mitt Romney—and all other Mormons—are a little different, but still Christian. Tonight he will be speaking at a large event in Washington, D.C. Eagle, we expect a follow-up report! (And no, we will not be reimbursing you for your $15 ticket to see Joel smile.)

Meanwhile, Liberty University says the complaints about the selection of Romney as the school’s commencement speaker was all a tempest in a cup of tea. (Earl Grey? That’s my favorite.) Others say that their tea was taken away from them, leaving them no where to produce a tempest. I’ll bet Jerry Jr. now wishes he had just asked Michael Jr. to be the speaker and be done with it.

Great actors are said to really “buy into” their role. A Brazilian actor paid the ultimate price while playing the role of Judas during the Passion Play. Learning how to tie knots really is important, huh?

The fight to see who will succeed Rowan Williams is heating up. Seems some candidates may resort to dirty tricks to get the top seat in the Anglican Church. Remember the song we used to sing with the lyrics, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love”? Perhaps we should dust that one off.

Three American Christian leaders are saying that name calling is not what Christians should be doing. Very good. And this just in: Water is wet.

Need prayer, but just don’t have the time to park your car, walk into the church, kneel down and seek the Lord? No problem. This Florida church has the solution for you. Drive-thru prayer. Look, I really can’t make this stuff up.

Tim Tebow is the anointed one in football. Jeremy Lin is the same in basketball. Now baseball has its own messiah: Philip Humber.  Be ye perfect as Philip Humber was perfect this last week. Meanwhile, Chaplain Mike may have reason to rejoice sometime in the near future. Five men and a goat (tell me the truth: isn’t that a great name for a rock and roll band???) are walking across the country to try and eradicate the curse that has kept the Cubs from winning the World Series for more than 100 years.

A brief programming note. Because of my trip to Ohio next weekend, guest rambler Adam Palmer will be entertaining and edifying you in these pages. Thanks, AP.

Celebrities who received birthday cards this last week include Eddie Albert; Glen Campbell; Jack Nicholson; Peter Frampton; William Shakespeare; Warren Spahn; Gus Grissom; Lee Majors; Shirley Temple; Roy Orbison; Barbra Streisand; and Carol Burnett.

Tell me you don’t love this song! Tell me you don’t crank the sound up when it comes on the radio! Enjoy.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7rFYbMhcG8′]


  1. Water is wet? When did THAT happen? Psh….I don’t even know what to say now! I think I need to go lie down.

  2. Donalbain says

    The bigots are upset when people use nasty names because it makes it harder for their bigotry to be taken seriously. If you want to deny people basic rights, then your cause is harmed when your associates throw around the insults.

    “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”” – Lee Atwater.

    • Dan Crawford says

      And don’t forget the “birthers” among us and that wacko Arizona “sherif” who wants to cleanse the US of immigrants especially those from across the river.

      • If that Arizona sheriff (note spelling) “wants to cleanse the US of immigrants especially those from across the river” he is definitely in the wrong state. He should move to Texas. What I’m sayin’, Dan, is they ain’t no river between Arizona and Mexico.

    • “…You follow me…”


      Is he saying that cutting entitlements equates to racial slurs? If so, both sides of the political debate have gone off the deep end. Perhaps name-calling is the problem, but it seems like ad-hominem is the new high mark of public debate (i.e. “If you disagree with my party, then you are a blankety, blank, blank, who will end the world as we know it”).

      • Actually, this was not someone from side A claiming that side B were racists. This was Lee Atwater, a Republican strategist describing the racist Southern Strategy that HE used to get Republican Presidents. But please, continue with your comfortable little notion that the problem is name calling rather than bigotry and actual hatred.

        • Play nice, boys and girls.

        • Well, I suppose that apart from bigotry or hatred, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of incentive for name calling. But to label certain political positions as de facto bigoted or hateful becomes a circular witch hunt. You cannot prove a person’s inner motives completely, and there is room for disagreement over policy by people who can give to each other mutual respect. Every decision, whichever way it falls, is trampling somebody’s “rights.”

          • No it is not. When a divorced person is legally allowed to marry, no rights are trampled for the people who think they should not. When a gay person marries, no rights are trampled for people who think they should not. When a mixed race couple gets married, no rights are trampled for people who think they should not. When it ceases to be illegal for gay people to have sex, no rights are trampled for people who think gay sex is wrong.

          • …Hence the word “rights” in quote marks. It depends on what you do consider to be a natural right, and on what basis a certain activity is morally bound to be considered safe, legal practice. To some, the degradation of the human body with harmful practices ought not be considered legal, as this harms the individual and eventually the society that condones it. An example of this is heroine. My rights aren’t necessarily trampled if the government allows somebody else to use it. However, seeing as how this is neither good for the user nor society, the government ought not be bound to permit it. Desiring something does not make it a “right.” The point is not to say homosexuality is like heroine so much as to bring out the implications of that many consider it to be harmful, even if on an infinitely smaller scale. Gay people already have the right to marry. They can find some decently suitable person of the opposite gender, settle down, and be completely miserable for the rest of their lives just like the rest of us. What they do not have the right to do is redefine the term “marriage.” If they can define the term however the please, then on what basis can somebody NOT redefine the term? The polyamorous are next in line. Ultimately, when churches as religious institutions are denied the free practice of religion according to their own conviction of conscience because their traditional understanding of “marriage” has been labeled hateful, then the rights of the masses have been trampled to suit the agenda of a vocal, progressive minority. So for me, the question is, on what basis should something come to be considered a “right?”

          • Donalbain says

            Mr and Mrs Loving had the right to marry, they just to find someone of the right race..

          • Donalbain says

            Mr and Mrs Loving had the right to marry, they just to find someone of the right race.

            What right of the masses do you imagine is trampled on when a George Takei marries the person he has been in a loving relationship with for decades?

          • Speaking of the Loving v. Virginia case there is a great documentary on HBOGO about it. What was really interesting to me was that the argument that the State of Virginia made before the supreme court was all about protecting children. Virginia argued that children born of mixed-race couples would be harmed because they would not belong to either race and thus would not be accepted in society. The argument closely mirrors one of the arguments against same-sex marriage, the “Think of the Children!” argument. In any case, I really recommend the documentary, good stuff.

          • Donalbain says

            I have never heard an argument from any of the anti gay marriage bigots that would have sounded strange in the time of Loving v Virginia.

          • I figured you wouldn’t address any of my points or questions directly. Not that your point isn’t worthy discussing, but to bring it up after what i said, to me, seems evasive nearly to the point of admitting. But for the point you did bring up, is there a compelling reason for me to believe that “sexual orientation” is on par with race? One is exclusively related to the gene pool, and is about as negotiable as choosing your parents. Homosexuality goes beyond DNA (though we’re still waiting on that gene, I believe…) into behavior. I’m not sure it’s really apples to apples on that one.

  3. While I think it’s fine that Joel Osteen and the folks at Liberty have a broad enough view of Christianity to conclude that Mormons are inside the tent, I wonder if that conclusion isn’t driven more by the political views of Mr. Romney than by his theological views. My guess is that if the Democrat nominee was Mormon, Mr. Osteen might have a different opinion as to the candidate’s Christianity. Once again for many the political tail seems to be wagging the theological dog.

    In response to some of the criticism Liberty sent an email to graduating students yesterday pointing out that it has a history of non-evangelical commencement speakers, including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove. Clearly Liberty is celebrating a diversity of thought as it sends forth students clad in the armor of God.

    • “…celebrating a diversity of thought as it sends forth students clad in the armor of God.”

      Absolutely. With what final charge is Liberty sending its graduates out into great commission? Maybe Liberty is no longer a school of higher religious education. More likely moralistic therapeutic diesm – as best represented by Glenn Beck – is officially the new American religion. And to think Jack Chick was so paranoid of the one-world church being foisted by the Catholics; instead, it walked right in the front door with a royal red carpet treatment.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I’ve always figured The Antichrist (TM) would be a Televangelist or Celebrity Uber-Christian Preacher-man.

        1) What better camouflage?
        2) Add insult to injury — it’s the Born-Again Bible-Believing End Time Prophecy Real True Christians who end up putting The Antichrist into power.
        3) Historically, deception and disinformation and misdirection have been the Devil’s forte more than outright violent opposition. I believe Screwtape wrote Wormwood something on the subject.
        4) Historically, there were two archetypes of Antichrist: The Fanatic Persecutor and the Slick Deceiver, who operate well as a tag team. The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay et al has tunnel-visioned on the Fanatic Persecutor while completely missing the Slick Deceiver.

        • Jack Heron says

          Well, when you consider what someone who’s truly anti to Christ might say, that makes a lot of sense:

          Blessed are the rich in spirit, for they are self-sufficient and Godly.
          Blessed are those who do not mourn, for Christians must not let the side down or appear weak.
          Blessed are the overbearing, for they shall wrest the earth’s governments from the heathens.
          Blessed are those who care not for righteousness, for they shall not reveal the crimes of their pastor.
          Blessed are those who condemn, for they shall rid the church of the worldly and corrupt.
          Blessed are those who claim to be “pure in heart”, for they shall never need to change.
          Blessed are the warmakers, for they shall spread the hegemony of God’s Own States of America.
          Blessed are those secure in their “righteousness” for they never need reconsider.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Didn’t a certain itinerant Rabbi from Nazareth have a lot to say about that kind of Godliness (TM)?

            None of it good?

        • I dunno–slumming as a TV evangelist seems kind of humiliating for the devil.

    • Before last week I had never given Liberty University a second thought. But having Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove as commencement speakers?! that makes me think that Liberty is one big propaganda machine.

      Were you being sarcastic when you said “Clearly Liberty is celebrating a diversity”? They don’t call Karl Rove the ‘architect’ for nothing. And, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are two of the most shameless TV personalities I have ever witnessed. 15 minutes of either one of them makes me want to cry out a strong lament.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Well, this IS the university whose most recent contributions to human knowledge were yet another Ark-ological expedition to Ararat and outing Tinky Winky…

        • Tinky Winky is gay? Please, no!

        • Thanx for reminding me why I don’t give Liberty a second thought: I have a hard time taking seriously that people take this stuff seriously, and that there are groups with real tangible influence in the world who are nuts.

    • Meh. All the non-evangelical commencement speakers have in common are their position as influential conservatives. Liberty isn’t embracing diversity of viewpoint; it’s just making religious identity second fiddle to politics.

      Which is fine, if that’s what they want to do. But we might as well call it what it is: politicing.

      • That was my (sarcastic) point.

        It seems that politics trumps religion among a certain segment of American Christianity. So that a Christian president who is politically liberal is accused of being secretly a Muslim, while a Mormon candidate who is (sometimes) politically liberal is declared to be a Christian.

        I agree with Luther, who said he’d rather be governed by a competent Turk than by an incompetent Christian. Still it is sad (and kind of amusing) to see conservative Christians rearranging their religious beliefs to accomodate their political preferences.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Liberty sent an email to graduating students yesterday pointing out that it has a history of non-evangelical commencement speakers, including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove. Clearly Liberty is celebrating a diversity of thought as it sends forth students clad in the armor of God.

      Don’t you know Glenn Beck Speaks For GOD? (Unlike that Godless CULTist Mitt Romney…) Maybe it’s because Rush Limbaugh impersonator Beck preaches on behalf of Ayn Rand (de facto Fourth Person of the Trinity this election year) instead of Joseph Smith & Brigham Young? And God’s Own Party instead of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

      “There is no God but Ayn Rand, and Glenn Beck is Her Prophet!”

      • Ayn Rand was extremely anti-religious. That’s what makes this so bizarre. To even refer to the First Church of Glenn Beck as deism is a stretch. As Tillich wrote, look beyond the God-talk and religious buzz words and discover what is the “ultimate concern” of this new movement. That ultimate concern certainly appears to be an idol, whether it is nationalism, bigotry, capitalism, power, wealth, etc, of which people can be quite “religious”. Jesus is just a means to their ultimate end – a minor god in their ascent to their ultimate god. I don’t know if Liberty is merely a pawn or a central player in this movement. Falwell’s “Moral Majority” attempted to break down theological and ideological barriers in the name of their nationalistic crusade over thirty years ago. No one should be too surprised that they invite Randians and neo-cons to inspire and indoctrinate their students.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          For someone as anti-religious as Ayn Rand, she sure turned Objectivism — her philosophy of Utter Selfishness — into a Cult in every sense of the word, with herself as Cult Leader and Object of Worship.

          Her Sacred Scripture — Atlas Shrugged — resembles Left Behind more than anything else — a mythic Escape/Revenge Armageddon Fantasy with a Messiah Figure spiriting away the Persecuted Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) to wait out the Armageddon that ensues when the Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) are Taken Away. Upon the destruction of the Unrighteous, the Righteous (Those Just Like You, Dear Reader) return from their Place of Refuge led by their Messiah figure to take possession of the cleansed world, Assuming Their Rightful (and Righteous) Place. Even has break-the-fourth-wall preaching directly to the audience (the John Galt address to the world, a chapter-long runon-sentence rant preaching Objectivism in detail like a Plan of Salvation), just like Bad Christian Fiction. I mean, the resemblance in general plot, delivery, and attitude is uncanny.

          I was at the Los Angeles Festival of Books last Sunday, and the Objectivists had a booth there like they do every year. Under a different name like “Ayn Rand Foundation”, just like the Scientologists were under their front-group names Galaxy Books and Bridge Publications. Only saw their booth from a distance this year, but judging from previous years they were probably Wretched Urgency Witnessing for Rand. (Four years ago, I heard Atlas Shrugged quoted chapter-and-verse about how the Wall Street Bailouts were Prophecy being Fulfilled: Atlas Shrugged, Page XXX, Paragraph Y.)

          • At least Left Behind is shorter…

            Painful, flat dialog or long monologue/tirade that proceeds for pages on end? Hmmm.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            At least Left Behind is shorter…

            More like Left Behind got broken up into 16 to 22 volumes depending on how you number them.

          • She had to take a cut in her advance on the book to get that monolog in as the editors were totally against it. Both in terms of readability and what it did to the cost of printing the books.

          • I have successfully avoided reading either “The Fountainhead” or “Atlas Shrugged”, but I’ve seen (and continue to see, in more frequency than ever, now that Randianism has become so influential as a political philosophy) chunks of them quoted online and I think I have a very broad notion of the plots (such as they are).

            What struck me about Galt’s Gulch (the retreat where the Ubermenschen go to hole up from the rest of us) is that even in this perfect paradise of liberalism, you are going to need someone to wash the dishes and empty the bins and sweep the factory floors that churn out the wonder-metals and amazing designs created by the Galts and Riordans and Taggerts.

            Now, you very well may get someone who is willing to devote their life to tidying up after other people (I can easily imagine someone with a strong sense of order and hygiene being willing to work on the bin lorries, for example), but I think it’s equally undeniable that you are going to have an Upper and a Lower Class based on who does the manual and who does the creative/inspiring leadership work. And with the scale of personal egos on show, and egoism (as long as it is expressed as enlightened self-interest) being a virtue in Rand’s world, I think that eventually you are going to have some kind of strife erupting, between those who say “Well, frankly, I’m fed-up of sweeping the streets! You do it for a change!” and those who say “In the first place, I could do a better job of it than you and in the second place, I’m only going to sweep the street in front of my house because that’s as much as I need or want clean”.

            So either the Natural Leaders of Men are going to have to get their hands dirty for themselves (and if all of them are only willing to do as much as will keep their own houses/premises in repair, I think you’re going to get a state of chaos fairly soon, since if X won’t fix the hole in the road outside Y’s business and Y is too busy to do it him or herself, the roads will soon look like a colander) or they will have to break down and admit that we don’t live in a society where we are all individual atoms, that not everyone can or has fulfiling work, and that someone has to do the dirty but essential stuff for everyone else’s sake.

            Though I can imagine that last going two ways with that bunch: either the creation of a de facto serf class, where the ‘undeserving’ or the ‘moochers’ are made do a form of community service, or they invent robots to do the work and do away with the necessity of dealing with their fellow-men as more than just props to their vanity.

          • For someone as anti-religious as Ayn Rand, she sure turned Objectivism — her philosophy of Utter Selfishness — into a Cult in every sense of the word,

            If you read more about Objectivism, they call it a philosophy of life. And they say religion is also a philosophy of life. But it, religion of any stripe, is now outdated and proven to be false so we need to move on to something else. They say Objectivism is the next thing for us humans to take up.

            I’ve always wanted to see an Objectivist argue with a Scientologist.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            …or they will have to break down and admit that we don’t live in a society where we are all individual atoms, that not everyone can or has fulfiling work, and that someone has to do the dirty but essential stuff for everyone else’s sake.

            Reminds me of something I saw on PBS long ago, allegedly from an ancient Greek comedy, where a philosopher was waxing philosophic over a Utopia of absolute freedom:

            “But then who does the dirty work nobody wants to do?”

            “Why, the SLAVES, of course!”

            I’ve always wanted to see an Objectivist argue with a Scientologist.

            So would I. (I noticed their booths were well-separated at the Festival.) Either on South Park or Celebrity Deathmatch:


  4. Some of the most racist people I know are well meaning liberals who have such a low view of people of color that they believe that the federal government must “take care”of them. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a colorblind society makes them sick. There’s good money and lots of votes herding people onto government plantations (of dependency), and a warm fuzzy feeling for the do-gooders who are actually undoing much of what Dr. King helped to accomplish. Thank you Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and all of their guilt ridden, misguided, big government supporting enablers…of any color.

    • That Other Jean says

      Not exactly. Most of those well-meaning liberals recognize that “people of color”–of a variety of colors, actually–have, both historically and in the present, been discriminated against to such an extent that they may need a hand getting to the starting gate. There is an enormous amount of mostly-unrecognized white privilege in America, which puts non-whites at a disadvantage from the get-go. Liberals are simply better at recognizing that privilege and being willing to compensate for it. What you see as being do-gooders. we see as trying to give less-privileged people a more equal start.

      What would you do with people who fail? From statistics at WikiAnswers, about 40% of welfare payments in the US go to black people, 39% to white people, 16% to Hispanics, and the rest to people of other races. Since blacks and Hispanics are a relatively small percentage of the US population, most welfare payments go to white people. Would you have government end welfare to everybody in order to keep black people off “government plantations”? It seems to me that working to make sure everybody gets an equal basic education, adequate food, health care, and decent housing is an effort to keep people off the welfare rolls, and bring about Dr. King’s dream of a colorblind society where people can rise on their own merits, not be handicapped by the color of their skin.

      • I don’t follow your math. If 40% of the money goes to black people and 16% of the money goes to Hispanics, then it would seem fairly obvious that at least 56% of the money goes to other than white people. And if white people receive 39%, the “grand total” of percentages shown is 95%. Who gets the remaining 5%? Asians? Native Americans? Inquiring minds want to know. They’re not white people either, so if you’re percentages are correct then 61% of the money goes to other than white people.

        Take a remedial math course.

        • That Other Jean says

          Mea culpa. And this is why answers in Wiki-anything should be taken with about a bushel of salt. After doing research elsewhere, I find that those percentages seem to be accurate, but they’re actually percentages of members of particular races on welfare, not of money expended. That makes the conclusion that more money goes to white welfare recipients than to those of other races make a lot more sense, because there are more white people in the US (75% of the population) than blacks (12.6%), Hispanics (16.3%), or other races. So a larger percentage of non-white people are on welfare than are white people, but white people still get most of the money.

          Oh, according to the original statistics, Asians make up 2.4% of welfare recipients and “other races” 3.3%.

          • Josh in FW says

            Thanks for the clarification. My problem with this issue is that I’m in the middle. I agree that if the benefits are too generous then we (the government) will promote dependency, but at the same time I realize that a little assistance can help people through very rough temporary circumstances and help them become productive members of society again which is both a moral and economic good. The majority of the argument lies in where is the point of enough, but not too much.

            In regards to white welfare beneficiaries. I driven through enough rural areas to see the high levels of white (trailer park) poverty where much of this money goes. I may be too much of a generalist, but I think those in poverty (different from just being poor or low income) have much more in common with each other than not. I think the base causes (work ethic, education, addiction, etc.) are the same regardless of race/ethnic identity and rural/urban location.

            Btw, I appreciate the lack of name calling in your posts.

          • Ah.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Not a mention of the Kyle’s Mom Factor in operation — doubleplusgoodthink, comrade thatotherjean!

      • Josh in FW says


        If I accept your argument of some ethnic groups needing “help to the starting gate”, at what point will we be able to stop “helping” how do me measure this “white privilege” that your speaking of and how do we measure the black disadvantage? Would it not be better to simply treat everyone equally under the law?

        Also, why do people with dark skin from other countries in Africa and the Carribean not suffer from the disadvantage of black skin at the same rate as the native born that are 2nd or 3rd generation welfare recipients?

        I think that there are those on both sides of the political spectrum advocating their economic ideas because they think their ideas are most helpful, but we need to acknowledge that there is a Machiavellian element in each end of the political spectrum that has not hesitation to distracting us from facts and results by screaming racism. At some point we need to just eliminate race a category of political consideration.

        • That Other Jean says

          Josh, I don’t have an answer for “when will we be able to stop helping,” but here’s a pretty good list for the ways in which “white privilege” appears in everyday life, from The Daily Kos a couple of years ago:


          Perhaps we can stop when we recognize that the majority race in this country is privileged by being the default “normal,” while everyone else is “other,” and we’re all working for that to change.

          Sure, it would be better to treat everybody equally under the law, but we don’t. People of color are more likely to be arrested for things for which a member of the majority race is not arrested. In one memorable example, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. , Harvard professor, was arrested in 2009 for breaking into his own home .His door was jammed, and he and a (black) friend shoved it open. One of his (white) neighbors reported two men breaking into a house, and Gates was arrested in his own home when the police came.

          I’m white, so I can’t really speak to why African or Caribbean people don’t necessarily suffer the same disadvantages of black skin as black native born Americans, though I suspect that it has to do with African and Caribbean black people being born into the majority culture in their original countries. Being in the majority is a whole different mindset.

          For whatever it’s worth, I agree with you that there’s an element in every culture that looks for a way to make a buck out of being a victim. Those who do should be called on it. I think you’re right that at some point we should be able to eliminate race as an area of political consideration. We have made progress in that direction since the civil rights movement of the 60’s, but we’re not there yet.

          • Both my son and daughter went to public schools with larger percentages of minority (AA) students. My son’s school was way over 50% AA. Both had AA teachers. My son’s band director was one and one of the best teachers I’ve every met in my life. (And we, his parents, were grateful our son had him for 4 years.) In both schools these and other AA teachers were MOSTLY not for cutting well fare or similar programs. But they did preach a strong message of GET OVER IT. GROW UP and LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. In no uncertain terms. Anyone whining about how life didn’t treat them fairly and that’s why they got bad grades or messed up were more likely to get a foot up their rear than any sympathy. But any student who showed up with a real problem (and in a band lack of money is a real problem) would be helped out quietly so they could participate. And help with studies if needed. At both schools.

    • Racism has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Those who support government assistance programs are making an argument about the responsibility of the government to protect vulnerable people, and about what measures it takes to alleviate poverty. Almost nobody thinks the programs exist because certain groups of people can’t take care of themselves because of racial characteristics. They do think that certain barriers (such as sitting through the school day hungary) will keep people in poverty.

      As you know, benefits accrue to those with demonstrated need, and are only accruing inequally to one race or another based on who happens to be in poverty. And the face of poverty looks very different depending on what county you are living in.

    • People ought be treated the same regardless of what color they are.

      To do otherwise, is racism.

      What’s past is past, for good or ill. You really want to move forward… then treat people the same.

      Well-meaning people now advocate separate dining facilties, and separate graduation ceremonies in colleges. “Taking care” of people hurts them in the long run. Look at Indian reservations. Look at this country’s inner cities. Well-meaning policies have done a great deal of harm.

  5. David Cornwell says

    I have strong objections to calling Mormonism “Christian.” If we believe that, then we can label Muslim’s as being another, slightly different form of Christianity. If we decide to vote for Romney it should be on some other basis. Trying to stretch out the definitions to include any and everything is a dangerous game. Mormon’s have a lot of characteristics that one can admire, and some admirable values. But read the history, their story, and then tell me they are “Christian.” I don’t buy it.

    An article in Salon today is in part about the growing number of young people leaving the faith. A big part of it is because they now have access to information never before available to them because of the the internet. If their leaders acknowledge the drift away from the faith Salon says:

    “Mormon leader Marlin Jensen has recently acknowledged that Latter-day Saints are leaving the fold in droves. The former church historian spoke frankly to a group of students at Utah State University, saying, ‘We’ve never had a period of — I’ll call it apostasy — like we’re having now.’”

    Evangelicals have backed themselves into a trap by the false equation of “Christian president” equals good president.

    • Andrew Sullivan recently taped an interview with Ross Douthat about Ross’s new book (the one that came up last week at some point here). He asked Ross if Romney was a Christian. Ross said yes and no. Yes, because Mormons do believe that Jesus is their Savior (though they mean it in a different way), and their worship revolves around Jesus. But no, because they deviate VERY significantly in their understanding of Christ’s person and origin, and the Trinity (not to mention that whole Book of Mormon thing). Basically, he said they were a heretical Christian sect–like the Arians, or the Docetists, or the Monophysites, etc.

      • David Cornwell says

        “…he said they were a heretical Christian sect–like the Arians, or the Docetists, or the Monophysites, etc.”

        I understand his point, and in the past this was basically my position. However recently I’ve been questioning this point of view. As far as anyone’s ultimate salvation is concerned, that is in the hands of God.

        • I don’t know enough about Mormonism (and to be honest I’m not terribly interested in learning) to give my own opinion. But the divide between Mormons and all other Christian groups is a LOT bigger than the divide between Protestants and Catholics.

          And I agree 100% with your last sentence.

      • This seems fair to me, recognizing that everyone is a heretic to each other.

    • Exactly, David. Now that Romney is in, some Christians will have to re-define the term “Christian” or else explain why it doesn’t apply in this case.

      Or will they continue to beat the drum that Obama is a “Muslim” and Muslim is worse than Mormon? That won’t pass the straight-face test. So they’ve painted themselves into a corner–or worse yet a trap, as you’ve said.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Now that Romney is in, some Christians will have to re-define the term “Christian” or else explain why it doesn’t apply in this case.

        Party Ideologists are already on the case, parsing not only word-for-word, but letter-by-letter. This is going to be a bit harder to pull off than Oceania Always Has Been At Peace With Eurasia or Rejoice — The Chocolate Ration of Twenty Grams Has Been Increased to Ten. (And it’s really saying something about today’s politicized Evangelicalism — and not in a good way — that 1984 references spring so easily to mind.)

        Since the primaries began, Glenn Beck has been God’s Anointed Mouthpiece while Romney has been the Godless CULTist. Sarah Palin, What’s-her-face, Godly Gingrich, Saint Santorum — each has had their 15 Minutes of Fame as God’s Chosen POTUS who shall Win the Culture War. (Messiah politics from the other side.) All while squalling like a baby dinosaur — “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!”

    • Of course Romney is a Christian. He follows the teachings of Supply Side Jesus perfectly.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And don’t forget Traditional Family Values. It was no end of strangeness that in 2008 Mitt Romney fit the Culture War Activists’ moral platform much better than any of the other GOP candidates. (Joke going around: “You know things are strange when the Mormon is the only Republican candiate with one wife.”)

        I remember a Christianity Today online article from that period where a prominent Romney supporter (a radio talk-show host with credentials in the Evangelical community) was interviewed about Romney. The comment thread was almost entirely Denunciations of Mormon Theology — “SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!” and “CULT! CULT! CULT!” How no Real Christian could support such a CULTist.

        Some months later (according to the Culture War Pulpits) God Spoke and Sarah “Our Esther” Palin was the Born-Again VP nominee, ready and waiting for the elderly McCain to kick off some time in his first term. God’s Will Be Done.

        Some months after that, the Obamanation of Desolation was enthroned in the White House.

        (Anypony want to join me in Ponyville until this election year blows over?)

      • Big Butter Jesus. Chocolate Jesus. Now there’s a Supply Side Jesus?

        • According to this comic strip from a few years back, yes, Ted, there is. I first encountered it on a fan discussion site back in the mid-2000s and couldn’t believe it was anything but an over-the-top joke, then I started seeing much too much of the Prosperity Gospel type preaching (and not them alone) that was uncomfortably like the panel where Jesus gives a (revised) Sermon on the Mount saying “If you are prosperous on earth, that is God rewarding your rugged individualism. If you are poor, it is a sign that God frowns on your reliance on handouts”.

          • No, Martha, this is not a joke. I’ve seen these people. Some of them are preachers, some politicians, some news commentators, and some of them live down the street. Supply Side Jesus was all of these in one messiah figure. Maybe HUG was right.

          • That is originally a joke form an Al Franken book. I think it might have been Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them, but I could be wrong.

    • David, “Christian president = good president” is part of the larger equation that assumes being in God’s will enable us to know exactly what to do in any situation to be the perfect surgeon, ball player, husband, etc. Kinda like that recent tv show “Chuck” where we all get our brains implanted with The Intersect, the ultimate knowledge on everything.

      No, having a Christian president means we have confidence that God will still love, forgive and welcome him/her with open arms, even if the American people don’t.

    • Josh in FW says


      • Josh in FW says

        My +1 was to David saying point about “Christian President” does not necessarily mean “good President”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Mormon leader Marlin Jensen has recently acknowledged that Latter-day Saints are leaving the fold in droves. The former church historian spoke frankly to a group of students at Utah State University, saying, ‘We’ve never had a period of — I’ll call it apostasy — like we’re having now.’”

      In other words, the Mormons are having the same retention problems as Evangelicals, probably for much the same reasons.

      • Well, the Mormons also have unique problems. What it amounts to is that thanks to the internet, people’s chances of finding out about all the weird stuff have just skyrocketed. And then the South Park / Book of Mormon musical / Orgazmo guys come along and set all the embarrassing parts to catchy little jingles…really, missionaries have these songs sung to them by total strangers on a regular basis! They might have to bring back polygamy just to shut everybody up!

    • I’ve heard that Martin Luther once said something to the effect of:

      “I’d rather serve under a wise Muslim leader than a foolish Christian one.”

      Anyone know if this exists?

  6. David Cornwell says

    As always, on Saturday mornings, my grammar suffers. The last sentence of the 2nd paragraph doesn’t really hold together, but you get the drift.

  7. I watched a lot of the interview with Joel Osteen. He didn’t seem to be politically motivated, as usual. He stated simply that Romney was Christian because he professes to be one. He said the exact same thing about Obama, although his tone was a little different (I would suggest either because he doens’t want right wing nuts attacking him, or that he has personal misgivings about Obama).
    Osteen was also very clear that his ministry is intentionally very inclusive, and I believe he was uncomfortable with Wolf’s questions because Osteen doesn’t want Christianity mixed up in any political scheming.

    In a previous interview, a few months back, Osteen stated that Obama was his president, and that he accepted him as such and prayed for him and encouraged him to follow after Christ. As is often the case, it is the unorthodox person who displays CHristlikeness better than the ‘orthodox’.

    • I think Osteen’s motivation is book sales to Mormons. Marketing geniu$.

    • Dennis, it is useless to try and defend Joel on this page. It falls on deaf ears because they have no ears to hear. I wouldn’t walk across the street to hear any of the preachers on this page preach.
      I belive Joel does pray for President Obama because he reads his bible and does what is says to do.
      He has read Romans 13:1-6

  8. The Fort Lauderdale church reminded me of the intro to Scott Wesley Brown’s song “Please Don’t Send Me to Africa”: “… y’know, I also used to attend Highlyland USA in Del Rio, Texas, home of the Drive-In Baptismal Car Wash ‘n Discount House o’ Worship, say hallelujah …”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      The Fort Lauderdale church reminded me of the intro to Scott Wesley Brown’s song “Please Don’t Send Me to Africa”

      Didn’t that song show up on Dr Demento at one time?

  9. Sigh! We are all broken. I am going to take a 2 week vacation from this site and just read the Bible and see if I feel better. I never heard of most of these people you talk about before I started reading here and will continue to ignore them.

    • I feel your pain Vern. I’m completely out of the loop with all the bad guy evangelicals. Sometimes it wears you down a bit when you have no bone to pick and you’re just hearing complaints. We are all broken, that’s for certain. Busted up good. Thank God for the mighty arm of our salvation.

    • Vern, I’m like that with Huffington Post. A lot of hype about people I’ve never heard of, and then tomorrow it’s the same thing only different people (well, Kim Kardashian shows up a lot).

      On Saturdays we vent a lot, so please don’t take this too seriously. Come back soon.

      • It’s on this day you speak your mind and show your true colors.
        Run, Vern, run. I don’t know why I keep coming back here. I guess I am a glutton for punishment from time to time. I need therapy to see why I am so mean to myself.

  10. Richard McNeeley says

    I would love to go a week without Joel Osteen in the news.
    Happy Birthday to Casey Kasem, Jack Klugman, Jet Li, Al Pacino, Renee Zelwegger, Shirley MacLaine, Lee Majors, Valerie Bertinelli, Andie Macdowell and Queen Elizabeth II

  11. …that Florida church is putting a whole new spin on the term “prayer wheels”.

    I don’t fault that church in any way, and I understand that someone uncomfortable with the idea of prayer might want to pray with someone “adept” at it. And it’s likely that unburdening yourself within earshot of a sympathetic human being may be reward enough. Frankly, though, I’ve never understood why people just don’t talk to God on their own and find blessing and satisfaction. Alas, group prayer has always been a mystery to me.

    I understand that praying because we want “stuff” is the common motivation, but believe that it’s the time spent in conversation with God that salves us and makes us better people, not the “stuff” we ask for. And the more time spent listening, the better.

    I wonder if prayer is answered more quickly when it’s done with the sunroof open? 🙂

  12. off-topic. But i think this is a nice quote from James Mcgrath:

    “I have the distinct impression that when Jesus spent time with the marginalized, when he sent people on their way having told them all sorts of things but never “four things God wants you to know,” when he touched the unclean and helped people with things that today we would categorize as mental illness, when he told stories that used hated figures as metaphors for God and provided a hero for the story that struck a nerve of prejudice, he viewed how people were as important.”

  13. Randy Thompson says

    The poor Brazilian actor, who died while playing Judas is a tragic example of life imitating art. In this case, Nikos Kazantzakis’ “The Greek Passion,” in which the actors start becoming their characters.

    This may be a dated reference here. Some of you may know Kazantzakis as the author of “Zorba the Greek,” a classic novel and a terrific movie too. (Come to think of it, someone made a movie of “The Greek Passion” as well.)

    I’d like to suggest to many Monk readers that they might be a lot happier if they took an extended “sanity break” from televangelists, the religious right, and hyper-Calvinists (over-sexed or not) and watch a video of “Zorba the Greek.” The last line in the film is great advice, although not profoundly theological —“Teach me to dance.”

    Since this is the Saturday Ramble, I certainly have gotten into the spirit of it here, haven’t I?!

    • I’d like to suggest to many Monk readers that they might be a lot happier if they took an extended “sanity break” from televangelists, the religious right, and hyper-Calvinists

      I may be wrong but I think most of us are here just because it isn’t heavy with people who follow televangelists, the religious right, and hyper-Calvinists

  14. The main reason I don’t see Mormonism as Christian is summed up in the following little Mormon ditty:

    As man now is
    God once was.
    As God now is
    man may become.

    You won’t hear this when those squeaky clean young men come to your door, but at it’s core Mormonism teaches that God started out as a spirit baby, obtained a body when a human couple on another world had a baby, grew up as a faithful Mormon (or whatever the local equivalent was), and earned his way to godhood. Of course, they also won’t tell you they’re trying to earn their way to godhood themselves.

    As such, the Mormon God is merely one of many, and they can claim to be monotheistic only in that they teach there is only 1 God “for this world.”

    There are other issues, the nature of Jesus and salvation of course being pre-eminent among them. But it’s hard for me to consider a group with such a flawed vision of God Christians.

    Of course, this view isn’t widely publicized, so whether deliberately or through ignorance Osteen and the “culture warrions” in the Religious Right can certainly avoid the issue for the sake of politics. But if Mitt Romney is elected I don’t plan on making any claims that we now (or once again) have a Christian president.

    • David Cornwell says

      Don’t forget the seer stone and magic hat.

      • Or that Jesus was the product of a physical union between god and Mary, that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers (both sons of the same god) and that Lucifer rebelled because god chose Jesus’ plan of salvation instead of his, that Jesus just clears the books for us enough to allow us to earn our own salvation.

        That the Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are actually 2 different things, and only Mormons have the Holy Ghost (we’re relegated to second-class status when we use the term Holy Spirit). That Mormons can be married “for time and eternity,” in spite of the fact that Jesus’ story of the woman who was married to 7 brothers indicates otherwise. And of course, the KJV is the only acceptable Bible, which just makes it easier to point out alleged discrepancies (but just ask me how large the departments of antiquities and Biblical languages are at BYU – go ahead, I dare you 😉 ).

        And that’s just off the top of my head. 😉

        • I was raised Mormon and am no longer a part of it, although I have ties to it culturally. Everything you have listed here is exaggerated nonsense. I could explain the details behind each of your statements, but I’m not going to because in my experience people who make comments about Mormons like you have here are not interested in learning more. You just want to make insults. As an atheist I can assure you that the superstitious nonsense you believe in is just as ridiculous as anything Mormons do.

          • Topher;

            I have no axe to grind, and have every reason to believe that what I’ve written either has been or is currently being taught by Mormons. And at the risk of giving myself away, I will state that my primary (but by no means only) source is a former Mormon who was ostracized by other ministries because he dared to cry “fraud” and “forgery” when the so-called Salamander Letter was being touted by other ministries as proof of Joseph Smith’s dabbling in the occult. Indeed, it was his reluctance to accept the letter at face value (because if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t) that led to the truth coming out.

            If you can prove me wrong, by all means, please do. Because again, I have no axe to grind. But again, my research leads me to believe otherwise.

          • topher, the overall point with a lot of us is that Mormonism is not at all Christian, and if the Christian Right is trying to say that it is, we should holler “Fraud!” That’s fraud on the Christians, not on Mormonism; that’s for another day.

            I don’t know if the average Mormon practices the beliefs that James the Mad outlined or not, but they are all deal-breakers with claiming kin to Christianity. The verse, “As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may become” isn’t even quite monotheistic, let alone Christian.

            I have no problem with a Mormon running for president if he’s an honest and capable man. But let’s not hear any nonsense from Christian leaders about Romney being of the same religion. That will backfire in their faces when people recognize the hypocrisy committed to get a Republican in the White House.

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