Philocrites : Scrapbook : April 2005 Archive

Friday, April 29, 2005

People of faith against the Constitution

Quoted 04.29.05:

A judge's job is to make rulings in accordance with the actually existing law, not his or her personal opinions, faith-based or otherwise, as to what the law should be. Consider the consequences if this were not the case: Are we going to have Quaker generals who refuse to fight? Hindu ranching regulators banning the slaughter of cattle? Jews are disproportionately represented on the federal bench, but my co-religionists have not, historically, sought to use the authority thereby gained to ban the consumption of leavened bread on Passover week.

Matthew Yglesias, American Prospect Onine 4.26.05

The Rev. Beth Stroud reinstated as Methodist minister

Quoted 04.29.05:

 The Rev. Beth Stroud The United Methodist Church reversed itself Friday, deciding to reinstate a lesbian minister who was defrocked after revealing her relationship with another woman.

A church panel voted 8 to 1 to set aside an earlier decision to defrock Irene "Beth" Stroud for violating the church's ban on openly gay clergy.

Foster Klug [AP], boston.com 4.29.05

How the left keeps compromising on abortion

Quoted 04.29.05:

Arguing for abortion as a woman's right, and not the product and privilege of tragic circumstance that needs to be stopped, will not be a convenient position in an election year, but a lot of election years have come and gone since 1973, and all the half-measure defenses used instead have led to where we are now: not such a long way at all from the nation that first bristled at Roe v. Wade. We've put off the real work for long enough, and now it's time to begin. The right to choose is the right to abortion, birth control and bodily self-determination. So stop squirming when pro-lifers say it, and start telling people why it's a worthwhile thing.

Kathryn Joyce, The Revealer 4.26.05

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Why does Philocrites take friends to lunch at the West Street Grill?

Quoted 04.27.05:

 The Peabody Sisters by Megan Marshall For two years, from 1840 to 1842, the town house on West Street just off Boston Common -- now a restaurant -- was bursting with the ideas and talent of the extraordinary Peabody sisters. . . .

On the first floor, Elizabeth had established a publishing house and bookstore, stocking, among other things, European books and periodicals. Upstairs, Mary conducted a girls' school and a tutoring program, and Sophia had her combination bedroom and art studio.

Their house became the meeting place for Transcendentalists and utopians. There, Margaret Fuller held weekly "Conversations," Brook Farm was organized, and Ralph Waldo Emerson edited The Dial -- with Elizabeth as its publisher and Henry David Thoreau among the contributors.

Michael Kenney, Boston Globe 4.27.05, reg req'd

Microsoft met with Evangelical pastor, withdrew support for Wash. gay rights bill, employs Ralph Reed

Quoted 04.27.05:

 Microsoft logo The bill was defeated by one vote in the State Senate last week. Microsoft had withdrawn its support, and critics said the company was under pressure from a prominent local evangelical minister who threatened a boycott of Microsoft products.

Sarah Kershaw, New York Times 4.27.05, reg req'd; see also Microsoft Draws Fire for Shift on Gay Rights Bill: Activist Minister Had Threatened a Boycott, David A. Vise, Washington Post 4.26.05, reg req'd

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Duck Tape prom

Quoted 04.26.05:

 Prom outfits made of Duck Tape
Meg Roberts and Tyler Mickley made their prom outfits entirely out of Duck Tape.

Abby Ellin, New York Times Education Life 4.24.05, reg req'd

White House beetles

Quoted 04.26.05:

Last month, the president, vice president, and defense secretary entered the natural history books as a coterie of slime-mold beetles. Two former Cornell University entomologists who admire the politicians named three newly discovered species A. bushi, A. cheneyi, and A. rumsfeldi.

Carolyn Y. Johnson, Boston Globe 4.26.05

State + church = sturch!

Quoted 04.26.05:

Will offer salvation, motor vehicle renewals on Sunday.

Andy Borowitz, Borowitz Report 4.25.05

Monday, April 25, 2005

'Justice Sunday' humbug

Quoted 04.25.05:

The fraudulence of "Justice Sunday" begins but does not end with its sham claims to solidarity with the civil rights movement of that era. "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias," says the flier for tonight's show, "and now it is being used against people of faith." In truth, Bush judicial nominees have been approved in exactly the same numbers as were Clinton second-term nominees. Of the 13 federal appeals courts, 10 already have a majority of Republican appointees. So does the Supreme Court. It's a lie to argue, as Tom DeLay did last week, that such a judiciary is the "left's last legislative body," and that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, is the poster child for "outrageous" judicial overreach. Our courts are as highly populated by Republicans as the other two branches of government.

The "Justice Sunday" mob is also lying when it claims to despise activist judges as a matter of principle. Only weeks ago it was desperately seeking activist judges who might intervene in the Terri Schiavo case as boldly as Scalia & Co. had in Bush v. Gore. The real "Justice Sunday" agenda lies elsewhere. As Bill Maher summed it up for Jay Leno on the "Tonight" show last week: "'Activist judges' is a code word for gay." The judges being verbally tarred and feathered are those who have decriminalized gay sex (in a Supreme Court decision written by Justice Kennedy) as they once did abortion and who countenance marriage rights for same-sex couples. This is the animus that dares not speak its name tonight. To paraphrase the "Justice Sunday" flier, now it's the anti-filibuster campaign that is being abused to protect bias, this time against gay people.

Anyone who doesn't get with this program, starting with all Democrats, is damned as a bigoted enemy of "people of faith." But "people of faith," as used by the event's organizers, is another duplicitous locution; it's a code word for only one specific and exclusionary brand of Christianity.

Frank Rich, New York Times 4.24.05, reg req'd

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Washed in the blood

Quoted 04.24.05:

I just watched The Patriot. I am in awe of Mel Gibson. He is 100%, absolutely awesome.

  • He saved Scotland
  • He saved the United States
  • He is the only man who understands women
  • And he suffered and died for our sins

    You gotta respect a man like that.

    Ono's Thoughts 4.23.05

  • Friday, April 22, 2005

    People of faith condemn Senator Frist's involvement in 'Justice Sunday'

    Quoted 04.22.05:

    Dr. Frist's overtures to Christian conservatives have drawn the ire of the more liberal hierarchies of other religious groups, including the officials of his own denomination [the Presbyterian Church USA]. Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches and a former Democratic congressman, said he had sought to include Mr. Kirkpatrick, of the Presbyterian Church, in the conference call both because Dr. Frist is Presbyterian and because of the church's emphasis on ecumenicalism.

    "To say that some group of Christians has a monopoly on the ear of God is especially an outrage to Presbyterians," Mr. Edgar said.

    Mr. Kirkpatrick said Dr. Frist's participation in the telecast undermined "the historical commitment in our nation and our church to an understanding of the First Amendment that elected officials should not be portraying public policies as being for or against people of faith."

    David D. Kirkpatrick and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times 4.22.05, reg req'd

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Nemesis of liberal Christianity dies

    Quoted 04.20.05:

    Diane Knippers, 53, a Protestant laywoman who became a much-quoted defender of Christian orthodoxy and sought to persuade conservatives to play a vital role in politics, died April 18 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. She had cancer.

    For the past 12 years, Mrs. Knippers was president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a small, Washington-based research center for conservative Christians.

    Adam Bernstein, Washington Post 4.20.05, reg req'd

    Good long interview with Jim Wallis

    Quoted 04.20.05:

     God's Politics, Jim Wallis [C.P. Farley:] In the book you went so far as to say that the culture is broken. You hear all the time from the Right that the cause of this coarsening is "liberalism," which I think is just more self-serving scapegoating. But, I'm curious if you have any insights where this coarsening is coming from? What is the real cause?

    [Jim Wallis:] Well, that is exactly the right question. And I would like to get a number of religious leaders together from across the political spectrum who would agree that the coarsening of the culture is a problem and say here's the common project. Let's agree on the things that are most offensive in the culture the gratuitous sexuality, the hedonism, the greed, the banality . . . all these things and trace them back. What are there points of origin? I believe their points of origin, by and large, are the corporate culture.

    C.P. Farley, Powells.com 4.20.05

    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    Surprise! Half of all marriages do not end in divorce

    Quoted 04.19.05:

    [T]he divorce rate in the United States has never reached one in every two marriages, and new research suggests that, with rates now declining, it probably never will. . . .

    Women without undergraduate degrees have remained at about the same rate [since 1980], their risk of divorce or separation within the first 10 years of marriage hovering at around 35 percent. But for college graduates, the divorce rate in the first 10 years of marriage has plummeted to just over 16 percent of those married between 1990 and 1994 from 27 percent of those married between 1975 and 1979.

    About 60 percent of all marriages that eventually end in divorce do so within the first 10 years, researchers say. If that continues to hold true, the divorce rate for college graduates who married between 1990 and 1994 would end up at only about 25 percent, compared to well over 50 percent for those without a four-year college degree.

    Dan Hurley, New York Times 4.19.05, reg req'd

    Marriage counseling: Can this relationship be saved?

    Quoted 04.19.05:

    [D]oes marital therapy work? Not nearly as well as it should, researchers say. Two years after ending counseling, studies find, 25 percent of couples are worse off than they were when they started, and after four years, up to 38 percent are divorced.

    Susan Gilbert, New York Times 4.19.05, reg req'd

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    'The Atlantic' will leave Boston after 148 years

    Quoted 04.15.05:

     'The Atlantic' cover image The Atlantic, one of America's most celebrated magazines and a Boston institution since 1857, announced yesterday it will move to its parent company's headquarters in Washington, D.C., next year as a cost-cutting measure. . . .

    [Cullen] Murphy said yesterday he will stay on as editor for the remainder of the year but then leave the magazine.

    Mark Feeney and David Mehegan, Boston Globe 4.15.05;

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Comparing bloggers to reporters

    Quoted 04.14.05:

    When it comes to opinion pieces, bloggers have an edge over the pros. . . . What the Web has done is remove the barriers to entry from opinion journalism, much to the benefit of readers. If told that I had to forgo the editorial and op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times or lose my blog bookmarks, I'd say hands off my browser!

    Professional journalists have it all over bloggers when it comes to reporting. The first generation of bloggers tends to resist taking off their PJs and donning hip-waders to report the news from the swamp. Reporting is a learned skill, and experience counts for something. Also, professional news organizations pay for airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, libel insurance, editing, and other resources to make reporting happen.

    Jack Shafer, Slate 4.8.05

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Young people are seeking faith in nontraditional ways

    Quoted 04.13.05:

    A major study scheduled to be released today by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA will report that today's undergraduates are embracing a welter of spiritual and religious beliefs as they search for purpose in life. The study, based on a survey of 112,000 students at 236 universities, will report that most students consider themselves to be on a spiritual quest, that frequent prayer and attendance at religious services are part of that quest, and that many find spiritual expression by drawing from the practices and beliefs of several faiths.

    Don Aucoin, Boston Globe 4.13.05

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    UU family remembers daughter killed in tragic fall

    Quoted 04.10.05:

    "She was not about accolades or awards," [Kelly Muzzi's] family wrote. "She worked to eliminate barriers between people because she saw so few herself. The arts were her method of expression. She was truly fearless in her approach to living. She was strongly present in each moment. She was captivated by ideas social justice, peace, environmental responsibility, healthy living, and always open to learning more."

    Diana Dillaber Murray, Daily Oakland Press 4.8.05; see also "Fall Cuts Short Life of 'Extraordinary Person,'" Sam Tricomo, Troy Eccentric 4.10.05

    Saturday, April 9, 2005

    One Republican who's grateful for 'judicial activism'

    Quoted 04.09.05:

    [Republican consultant Arthur J.] Finkelstein, 59, who has made a practice of defeating Democrats by trying to demonize them as liberal, said in a brief interview that he had married his [male] partner of 40 years to ensure that the couple had the same benefits available to married heterosexual couples.

    Adam Nagourney, New York Times 4.9.05, reg req'd

    Friday, April 8, 2005

    This gay marriage thing is tearing my wife and me apart

    Quoted 04.08.05:

    We're all for the separation of church and state, naturally, but if the government doesn't define marriage as the sacred union between a man and a woman, who will? Are Jeanne and I expected to treasure our union solely on the basis of our deep love, personal beliefs, public vows, and the government's blessing? Sorry, Judge Pinkypants, but that's just not good enough. Not for us. We need to know that we've got something that's only available to 90% of the population, the select and upstanding few.

    Adam Felber, This American Life 3.26.04; rebroadcast 4.2.05

    Jewish leaders: Mormons still baptizing Jews posthumously

    Quoted 04.08.05:

    Jewish leaders claim Mormons continue to posthumously baptize Jews and will confront church leaders with a decade of frustration over what they call broken promises. . . .

    [Ernest Michel, chairman of the New York-based World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors,] plans to show posthumous baptism records to church officials in meetings Sunday and Monday. He says the records prove tens of thousands of Jews, including some who died in Nazi concentration camps, were posthumously baptized over the past 10 years and as recently as last month.

    A 1995 agreement signed by Jewish leaders and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called for an immediate halt to unwanted proxy baptisms. After evidence was found in the church's massive International Genealogical Index that the baptisms for many Jews -- including Anne Frank -- continued, the two faiths reaffirmed the agreement in 2002.

    Mark Thiessen [AP], Chicago Sun-Times 4.8.05; via Millennial Star

    Pope facilitates Middle East reconciliation even in death

    Quoted 04.08.05:

    [Israeli] President Moshe Katsav, who was at the Vatican as part of Israel's delegation to the funeral of Pope John Paul II, twice shook hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday. . . .

    At the conclusion of funeral services, the Iranian-born Katsav also shook hands with President Mohammad Khatami. The two spoke for almost an hour in Farsi.

    Yoav Stern and AP, Haaretz 4.8.05

    Thursday, April 7, 2005

    Slander-blogger accuses Bishop Robinson of saying Jesus was gay

    Quoted 04.07.05:

    The first openly gay Episcopal bishop says he was falsely accused of suggesting that Jesus might have been homosexual, and is being deluged with angry messages.

    "I can assure you with absolute certainty that was not my implication and certainly not anything I ever said," Bishop V. Gene Robinson told the New Hampshire Union Leader in a story published yesterday. "I am furious for my remarks to be interpreted in a way as to mean something I never said."

    Religion writer David Virtue apparently was the first to suggest otherwise in a blog entry based on remarks Robinson made Feb. 13 at Christ Church in Hamilton, Mass.

    Other blogs and conservative publications took it from there, including The Daily Telegraph of London.

    AP, Boston Globe 4.5.05

    Sunday, April 3, 2005

    Stephen King to Yankees fans: Nyah nyah!

    Quoted 04.03.05:

     Illustration of Stephen King I think to myself: So this is how Yankees fans sound when they start the season feeling nervous. And I also reflect on the fact that, in the 21st century, the New York Yankees have yet to win a World Series. This cannot be said of the Boston Red Sox.

    Stephen King, New York Times 4.3.05, reg req'd

    Friday, April 1, 2005

    Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon to star in 'The Passion II: The Messiah Strikes Back'

    Quoted 04.01.05:

     Johnny Damon "After I broke the curse of the Bambino, it just seemed like the next logical step," said Damon, who helped lead the Red Sox last year to their first World Series victory since 1918. "The Sox probably won't win this thing for another 87 years, so I think this is the best career move for me right now."

    Though many wonder why Passion I star Jim Caviezel wasn't reprising his role as Jesus, Damon has questioned whether the slender Caviezel could be taken seriously as the resurrected Christ. As he told ESPN's Dan Patrick, "Caviezel was great to portray the death, but for the resurrection, you need a beefed-out Christ on steroids."

    Sojourner's April Fools Edition, 4.1.05, reg req'd

    Mormon 'epic' film is bland, resolutely upbeat

    Quoted 04.01.05:

    [E]arnest and credulous, ["The Work and the Glory"] is aimed at true believers rather than the spiritually curious, and it offers even less for fans of compelling drama.

    Ty Burr, Boston Globe 4.1.05