Philocrites : Scrapbook : October 2004 Archive

Friday, October 29, 2004

Same-sex marriage: Coming sooner than a Red Sox World Series victory!

Quoted 10.29.04:

Like many Boston Red Sox fans, I floated on a cloud of delirium yesterday: After 86 years of losses, the Sox have finally won the World Series. So perhaps I can be forgiven for feeling sanguine about the fact that another much-maligned Boston institution, albeit one more recently established--same-sex marriage--will soon be defeated overwhelmingly in a number of away games. But like the Red Sox, Boston marriage will eventually triumph.

E.J. Graff, New Republic Online 10.29.04

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Define 'evangelical'

Quoted 10.28.04:

So there are evangelicals who are pro-life, but oppose Bush on all kinds of justice and peace issues. There are evangelicals whose "sola scriptura" approach to the Bible has led them to swing left on issues of sexual morality. There are lots of evangelicals who love "Will & Grace" and "Oprah" and think it's just time for everybody to get along. Maybe their voices are hard to hear in the barrage of media coverage of the Christian right, but these progressive evangelicals are out there and they plan to vote for Kerry. Take that, Jerry Falwell.

Terry Mattingly, 10.28.04

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Red Sox signs and shrines

Quoted 10.27.04:

Signs and shrinesJay Cox and Amy Lewis started their Seattle shrine before Game 4 of the Yankees series. The shrine now includes holy cards, candles, a Red Sox bottle opener, a Marty Barrett card, holy water, an ice cream scoop, a wooden Buddha, a bible, a paint by numbers picture of the Virgin Mary, a baseball glove, a Budweiser with a Red Sox jersey coozie, and a peanut. More items are added daily. 10.27.04

For whom would Jesus vote?

Quoted 10.27.04:

The dark side of single-issue politics is that it has forced evangelicals to become ever more shrill and ever less imaginative. Dominant-issue politics shows greater promise in addressing our society amid all the pressing issues our society faces, including terrorism, economic justice, church-state relations, gay marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, and so on.

Abortion is a monstrous tragedy for the nation, but our Christian commitment to a culture of life does not permit us the luxury of abandoning other important issues. While single-mindedness in following Christ is always wise, single-issue voting may not be.

Editorial, Christianity Today 10.27.04

Terrified by flu, bishop cancels handshakes, shared chalice

Quoted 10.27.04:

You can pray you won't get the flu, but Vermont's Catholic bishop is urging other steps as well.

Bishop Kenneth Angell has urged worshippers of the state's largest religion to abstain from the Mass customs of sharing a chalice of wine and shaking hands for the next six months.

Associated Press 10.27.04

Is George Bush the Christians' Christian?

Quoted 10.27.04:

[I]s it really good for American Christianity to have as its poster boy someone so proudly anti-intellectual? I suspect that believers and non-believers would be better off if secular intellectuals showed less contempt for evangelicals and the nation's leading evangelical showed less contempt for intellectuals.

Steven Waldman, Slate 10.27.04

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Faith of our fathers

Quoted 10.26.04:

George Washington was a nominal Anglican who rarely stayed for Communion. John Adams was a Unitarian, which Trinitarians abhorred as heresy. Thomas Jefferson, denounced as an atheist, was actually a deist who detested organized religion and who produced an expurgated version of the New Testament with the miracles eliminated. Jefferson and James Madison, a nominal Episcopalian, were the architects of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. James Monroe was another Virginia Episcopalian. John Quincy Adams was another Massachusetts Unitarian. Andrew Jackson, pressed by clergy members to proclaim a national day of fasting to seek God's help in combating a cholera epidemic, replied that he could not do as they wished "without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion now enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the general government."

In the 19th century, all presidents routinely invoked God and solicited his blessing. But religion did not have a major presence in their lives. Abraham Lincoln was the great exception. Nor did our early presidents use religion as an agency for mobilizing voters. "I would rather be defeated," said James A. Garfield, "than make capital out of my religion."

Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Los Angeles Times 10.26.04, reg req'd; via Jesus Politics 10.26.04

Red Sox theology watch: Calling for some divine intervention

Quoted 10.26.04:

Boston Red SoxJesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you." (Luke 11:9) Can we humbly ask for, say, victory in six? You bet! say my brother Episcopalians, God's not-so-frozen people where cheering on the Olde Towne Team is concerned. Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield, the seat of the bishop of Western Massachusetts, has been festooned with a "Pray Here for the Red Sox" banner for the past two weeks. Dean Jim Munroe says he isn't sure the banner has attracted many converts, "but I have received many appreciative comments."

Thomas Shaw, the bishop of Eastern Massachusetts, says it is perfectly appropriate to pray for the Carmine Hose. "I think God loves for us to play and have fun, and that's essentially what the Red Sox are about," he says. "God doesn't want to know only about the difficult things in our lives. If what you want is somebody's else's wife, then you pray for that." (!) He adds: "When we're honest about what we want, then God will take us to a deeper level and show us where our real desire is."

Is he praying for the Sox himself? "I want the Red Sox to win because I know it will make Episcopalians, and my brothers in the monastery, very happy." (Shaw is a member of a monastic order, the Society of St. John the Evangelist.) "And of course I'm praying for people's safety."

Alex Beam, Boston Globe 10.26.04

Monday, October 25, 2004

That's the equivalent of at least 700,000 bombs

Quoted 10.25.04:

Some 350 tons of high explosives (RDX and HMX), which were under IAEA seal while Saddam was in power, were looted during the early days of the US occupation. Like so much else, it was just left unguarded.

Not only are these super-high-yield explosives probably being used in many, if not most, of the various suicide and car bombings in Iraq, but these particular explosives are ones used in the triggering process for nuclear weapons. . . .

What also emerges in the Nelson Report is that the Defense Department has been trying to keep this secret for some time. The DOD even went so far as to order the Iraqis not to inform the IAEA that the materials had gone missing.

More | more | more | more | more | more

Joshua Micah Marshall, Talking Points Memo 10.24.04

Huge cache of explosives vanished from site in Iraq

Quoted 10.25.04:

The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives — used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons — are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations. . . .

The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material, and larger amounts were apparently used in the bombing of a housing complex in November 2003 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the blasts in a Moscow apartment complex in September 1999 that killed nearly 300 people.

The explosives could also be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, which was why international nuclear inspectors had kept a watch on the material, and even sealed and locked some of it.

James Glanz, William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, New York Times 10.25.04, reg req'd

Sunday, October 24, 2004

On 'Super Sunday,' Kerry makes huge gains

Quoted 10.24.04:

Senator John Kerry continued his raid on newspapers that backed President George W. Bush in 2000, grabbing 15 new "flip-flops," as well as The Washington Post. He has now won over at least 27 papers that went for Bush in 2000, while Bush has only earned two Gore papers. . . .

Kerry now leads Bush 107-70 in endorsements in E&P's exclusive tally, and by about 14.2 million to 8.6 million in the circulation of backing papers.

Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher 10.23.04

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What 'national greatness'?

Quoted 10.20.04:

The contradiction in being T.R. abroad and Rutherford B. Hayes at home has plagued Bush’s governance ever since the terror attacks. He has lacked the vocabulary and perhaps the desire to summon a national community and to ask it for sacrifice and commitment in the fight against the foreign enemy. His energy policy, his fixation on tax cuts, and his sweetheart contracts with friendly corporations have directly undermined the war effort. The deeper effect of a narrow, partisan domestic agenda has been to polarize the country when unity was required.

George Packer, New Yorker 10.25.04

'Stolen Honor': Media hypocrisy at Sinclair

Quoted 10.20.04:

In perhaps the ultimate instance of the pot calling the kettle black, the Sinclair Broadcasting Company posted a press release on its Web site stating that they will not air the controversial anti-Kerry film, Stolen Honor. This Friday, they will run "a special one-hour news program" titled A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media. This film, which will draw from portions of Stolen Honor, purports to explore "the use of documentaries and other media to influence voting. .... The program will also examine the role of the media in filtering the information contained in these documentaries, allegations of media bias by media organizations that ignore or filter legitimate news and the attempts by candidates and other organizations to influence media coverage." Now that Sinclair, the country's largest single owner of television stations, has been forced to back down (perhaps less by national outrage than by a $90 million dollar stock loss), the company wants the public to know that it's shocked, simply shocked, that a media outlet might—can you imagine?—abuse its power for political purposes.

Dana Stevens, Slate 10.20.04

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

'All liberals leave'

Quoted 10.19.04:

[Sinclair] isn't a normal company seeking goodies from the Federal government-- forget all that. It's a political empire seeking to expand its influence and win a reputation for appying muscle where needed. That's the upside of the Stolen Honor furor. Think Machiavelli, not Adam Smith.

For how long has the political right wanted a housecleaning in the nation's newsrooms, which--according to political legend--are over-stocked with liberals? Since at least 1969. Sinclair doesn't gripe about it; Sinclair acts. It has a strategy of killing independent newsrooms, reducing their number as it buys more and more media properties. Claiming economies of scale, it gains two stations in the same market, and combines their news operations into one.

Poof-- there goes a newsroom. By openly practicing interference from above ("you will interrupt your schedule, you will run this program, you will call it news, and you will talk to no one about this meeting, understand?"), and by changing the ideological color of the news to match the Right's view of the world, Sinclair hopes to flush out employees who cannot get with its agenda.

"All liberals leave" is the message.

Jay Rosen, PressThink 10.19.04

The surreal life at Fenway

Quoted 10.19.04:

Red Sox Jack-o-lanternI don't have a central nervous system left. My head weighs more than Verne Troyer. My heart feels like somebody tried to make meatballs out of it. I can't think straight. I'm a corpse. I'm a walking corpse.

For two straight days, I watched my beloved Red Sox stave off elimination against the Yanks, needing 26 innings over 27 hours to stay alive for Game 6 in New York. These weren't just baseball games. They were life experiences. They broke you down in sections. They made you question God, the meaning of life, whether sports should possibly mean this much. On Sunday night, I stewed in my seat vowing never to raise my kids as Sox fans. On Monday night, I skipped out of Fenway wondering if any other team could possibly mean this much to a group of people.

Bill Simmons, 10.19.04, via Boston Common

Monday, October 18, 2004

Liberal Christians mobilize to react to religious right

Quoted 10.18.04:

Liberal preachers are barnstorming the country, telling Christians that they are not alone in their moderate views or their questioning of the government. Parishioners are registering people in their congregations, going door to door in their communities and enlisting volunteers to get out the vote.

No one says these Christians are as well organized, well financed or politically formidable as conservative Christians. But they are rousing people, mainly in areas that lean Democratic, around issues of social justice like the environment, the war and, most often, poverty.

"In this election, some religious voices say all our beliefs can be boiled down to — I'd say strangled by — two hot-button issues, abortion and gay rights," the Rev. Jim Wallis, convener and president of Call to Renewal, said in a sermon here.

Mr. Wallis, whose group is committed to reducing poverty, added: "We have Southern Baptists who wear buttons that say, 'Vote your values.' I say, 'Vote all your values.' The cries of the poor ring from cover to cover in my Bible. God hears the cries of the poor. Do we?"

Neela Banerjee, New York Times 10.16.04, reg req'd

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Kerry's lead widens in newspaper-endorsement race

Quoted 10.17.04:

Kerry gained the editorial backing of at least 22 papers, with Bush winning the support of just four, giving Kerry the lead by 37-17 in E&P's exclusive tally. He has many more large papers on his side, boosting his "circulation edge" to better than 5-1: approximately 8 million to 1.5 million. . .

Among his new supporters were three papers that had backed Bush in 2000: the Bradenton Herald in Florida, the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado and the Daily-Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher 10.17.04

Outing Cheney's openly gay daughter

Quoted 10.17.04:

Before John Kerry's terrible words, Mary Cheney only had to be gay to her family, her friends, the Coors Corporation, the staff of Bush/Cheney Re-Elect, and the gay community at large to whom she acted as a liason. But John Kerry made her gay to the entire world, effectively making her more gay than ever before.

Medium Lobster, Fafblog! 10.15.04

Friday, October 15, 2004

Forcing the Dems into responsibility

Quoted 10.15.04:

One reason to vote for Kerry this time is that, whatever his record, he will, as president, be forced by reality and by public opinion to be tough in this war. He has no other option. You think he wants to be tarred as a wimp every night by Fox News? Moreover, he would remove from the Europeans and others the Bush alibi for their relative absence in the war on terror. More important, his presidency would weaken the Michael Moore wing of the Democrats, by forcing them to take responsibility for a war that is theirs' as much a anyone's.

Andrew Sullivan 10.15.04

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Let them eat education

Quoted 10.14.04:

For a C student who doesn't read the newspaper, George W. sure is big on education—and understandably so, given the apparently magical properties of his education policy. No Child Left Behind, which we thought was just a way of getting around funding schools by blaming the system's failure on teachers and children, turns out to be an all-powerful panacea, capable of solving problems completely unrelated to either education or childhood. Job creation? Reproductive rights? No problem. We've got NCLB!

Dana Stevens, Slate 10.14.04

Friday, October 8, 2004

The Islamic iron curtain

Quoted 10.08.04:

President Bush sees himself as a Churchillian figure, standing up to Saddam the way Churchill did to Hitler, but what the Bush administration failed to fully realize from the beginning was that the threat came from militant Islam -- an idea, not a nation state. Saddam may have been a potential threat down the road, but the lesson of 9/11 was that the clear and present danger lay with Al Qaeda, not Iraq. . . .

It is resurgent and militant extremism that the West and the more-tolerant Muslim societies of the East must face today. And like the Cold War, it could take half a century of effort. Afghanistan, which should have been a model for the moderates, has been marginalized by America's misadventure in Iraq. And in Iraq, Islamic extremism has found fresh and unplowed soil to set down its roots. Iraq is on its way to becoming a national tragedy for the United States, degrading the security of East and West together.

H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe 10.8.04

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Kerry takes lead in newspaper endorsements

Quoted 10.07.04:

Counting every editorial endorsement we know of, Kerry has won the backing of five daily newspapers, with a total daily circulation of 881,012. President Bush has gotten the nod from four papers, with a total daily circulation of 323,743.

Erin Olson, Editor & Publisher Online 10.7.04

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Meeting was not first for Cheney, Edwards

Quoted 10.06.04:


On Feb. 1, 2001, the vice president thanked Edwards by name at a Senate prayer breakfast and sat beside him during the event.

On April 8, 2001, Cheney and Edwards shook hands when they met off-camera during a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press," moderator Tim Russert said Wednesday on "Today."

On Jan. 8, 2003, the two met when the first-term North Carolina senator accompanied Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in by Cheney as a North Carolina senator, Edwards aides also said.

AP, 10.6.04

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Woman collapses, dies after son is killed in Iraq

Quoted 10.05.04:

A 45-year-old woman collapsed and died days after learning her son had been killed in Iraq, and just hours after seeing his body.

AP, 10.5.04

Monday, October 4, 2004

Hijacking Jesus

Quoted 10.04.04:

When the Lord says be humble, don’t pray in public to be heard by other men, and remember that giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child is the essence of faith, Bush will shrug those mighty shoulders and remind the Lord that humility can be confused with weakness, public prayer can be particularly effective in the swing states, and private sector water for children is dandy, but “leave no child untested” is the true meaning of love.

The Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers [Mayflower United Church of Christ], Fort Worth Weekly 9.29.04; via Coke Brown Jr.

Old South Church calls its first female senior pastor

Quoted 10.04.04:

There have been only 19 leaders since 1669 at Old South Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, so the decision to pick the 20th required careful discussion -- even after the Senior Minister Search Committee's unanimous recommendation that [the Rev. Nancy S.] Taylor become the first female pastor.

Maria Cramer, Boston Globe 10.4.04