Philocrites : Scrapbook : February 2008 Archive

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Presbyterian clergy can disagree with sexuality rule, but can't violate it

Quoted 02.23.08:

Presbyterians may disagree with their church's ban on ordaining noncelibate gays and lesbians, but they must follow the rules, according to the Louisville-based denomination's highest court.

The decisive ruling means that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will allow no exceptions to the ban, ending the expectations of some that a controversial policy adopted in 2006 would allow regional governing bodies flexibility in enforcing the tenet on homosexuality. . . .

"The fidelity and chastity provision may only be changed by a constitutional amendment," [the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission] said. Unless that happens, everyone "must adhere to it."

Peter Smith, Louisville Courier-Journal 2.16.08; denominational coverage, PNS 2.14.08; background, PNS 2.11.08; via Get Religion

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Candidates' Meyers-Briggs types: Clinton ESTJ, Obama ENFP, McCain ESTP

Quoted 02.21.08:

Hillary Clinton is a Guardian, and her specific type is an ESTJ, what Keirsey calls "the Supervisor." Supervisors are . . . steadfast, cautious, methodical. They are the reliable, detail-oriented people without whom organizations and society fall apart . . .

Barack Obama — no one will be surprised to learn — is an Idealist. His specific type is an ENFP, what Keirsey calls "the Champion." ENFPs . . . are "filled with conviction that they can easily motivate those around them." Champions work to "kindle, to rouse, to encourage, even to inspire those close to them with their enthusiasm." . . .

John McCain is an Artisan, and his specific type is an ESTP, what Keirsey calls the Promoter. The ESTP is . . . "practical, optimistic, cynical, and focused on the here and now." If the ESTP portrait gives you a feeling of déjà vu, it's because George W. Bush is an ESTP, too.

Emily Yoffe, Slate 2.20.08

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shelby Steele, not Obama, is the 'bound man'

Quoted 02.19.08:

It could be said that Obama's way has been prepared not by Colin Powell, dutifully holding up the vial at the UN, but by Nelson Mandela, who emerged from his prison not bitter, calling for reconciliation. It is possible that the emerging youth vote is an anti–"War on Terror" vote, not just an anti–Iraq war vote. Mandela was also the one figure on the world stage who persuaded us that he was exactly what he seemed to be. The anti-apartheid movement was one of the few things happening on campuses in the 1980s. Since then white students in their thousands have taken Black Studies classes, reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, bringing Derrida to bear in their term papers on the hip-hop artist Nas's debut album, Illmatic, even as black student enrollment nationwide has been falling. Shelby Steele ridicules institutions obsessed with diversity, but they, like Obama, are right to be inspired by the civil rights movement. The youth vote that gave him such a margin of victory in South Carolina, and kept his campaign going on Super Tuesday, missed the Sixties. Here is their chance.

Darryl Pinckney, New York Review of Books 3.6.08

Adding Mormonism to the college curriculum

Quoted 02.19.08:

Harvard Divinity School has long prided itself on the diversity of its curriculum — it currently features classes in American Buddhism, Jewish Apocalypticism, and Classical Sufism — but it took until this semester for the venerable school to offer a course on one of the fastest-growing faiths in the world: Mormonism. . . .

"The interest is growing in Mormon studies generally, and it's becoming something that other religious studies scholars have to take account of and pay greater attention to," said Melissa Proctor, a visiting lecturer teaching the new class at Harvard. . . .

"I think it's safe to say that some combination of academic elitism and religious bigotry has delayed the development of Mormon studies," said Brian D. Birch, the director of the religious studies program at Utah Valley State College, which offers four courses in Mormon studies.

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 2.19.08; keeping donors happy may constrain new programs in Mormon studies (Wall Street Journal 4.10.06)

When secular law defers to religious courts

Quoted 02.19.08:

A pretty good way to generate an outcry, as the archbishop of Canterbury learned in Britain recently, is to say that a Western legal system should make room for Shariah, or Islamic law. When the archbishop, spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans, commented in a radio interview that such an accommodation was "unavoidable," critics conjured images of stonings and maimings, overwhelming his more modest point.

The archbishop, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, did not propose importing Shariah into the criminal law and was referring mostly to divorces in which both sides have agreed to abide by the judgment of a religious tribunal. His proposal was groundbreaking only in extending to Islamic tribunals in Britain a role that Jewish and Christian ones have long played in the judicial systems of secular societies. Courts in the United States have endorsed all three kinds of tribunals.

Adam Liptak, New York Times 2.17.08

Friday, February 15, 2008

Clinton can win - and how!

Quoted 02.15.08:

Though it is increasingly unlikely, [Hillary] Clinton may still have a path to the nomination — and what a path it is. She merely has to puncture the balloon of Democratic idealism; sully the character of a good man; feed racial tensions within her party; then eke out a win with the support of unelected superdelegates, thwarting the hopes of millions of new voters who would see an inspiring young man defeated by backroom arm-twisting and arcane party rules.

Unlikely — but it would be a fitting contribution to the Clinton legacy of monumental selfishness.

Michael Gerson [op-ed], Washington Post 2.15.08

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mormons dismayed by hostility provoked by Romney campaign

Quoted 02.09.08:

Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency brought more attention to the Mormon Church than it has had in years. What the church discovered was not heartening. . . .

"I don't think that any of us had any idea how much anti-Mormon stuff was out there," said Armand Mauss, a Mormon sociologist who has written extensively about church culture, in an interview last week. "The Romney campaign has given the church a wake-up call. There is the equivalent of anti-Semitism still out there."

Suzanne Sataline, Wall Street Journal 2.8.08

Books to help Democrats 'level the praying field'

Quoted 02.09.08:

The Party Faithful, by the respected political journalist and progressive Baptist Amy Sullivan, is a kind of sophisticated self-help manual for Democrats who are looking for a way "of leveling the praying field." Sullivan provides a brisk history of Democratic miscalculations, along with a running commentary. Souled Out, by the respected political journalist and progressive Catholic E. J. Dionne Jr., is a deeply personal and searchingly intelligent reflection on the noble history, recent travails and likely prospects of American liberalism. Dionne envisions "a radically new role for religious groups in American politics," an integration of personal morality with a championing of the common good that, he says, is "not only possible but necessary, for the sake of our public life and for religion's sake as well." . . .

Strikingly, both authors announce the demise of the religious right and proclaim the advent of a new era of religious engagement in the direction of what might be called faith-friendly liberalism.

R. Scott Appleby, New York Times Book Review 2.10.08; buy Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right by E.J. Dionne Jr and The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap by Amy Sullivan from

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bowing out, Romney calls Dem victory 'surrender to terror'

Quoted 02.07.08:

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney will say at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Liz Sidoti [AP], 2.7.08

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Obama's campaign shows his executive skill

Quoted 02.06.08:

I asked [Obama] directly last year why a voter should back someone who has never run anything bigger than a legislative office. He responded by pointing to his nascent campaign. He observed out that he was up against the full Clinton establishment, all the chits she and her husband had acquired over the years, and the apparatus they had constructed within the party. He had to build a national campaign from scratch, raise money, staff an extremely complex electoral map, and make key decisions on spending and travel. He asked me to judge his executive skills by observing how he was managing a campaign.

By that standard, who isn't impressed? A first term senator — a black urban liberal — raised more money, and continues to raise much more money, than Senator Clinton. More to the point, the money he has raised has not come from the well-connected fat-cats who do things like donate to the Clinton library. His base is much wider, broader and internet-based than hers. . . .

Everything he told me has been followed through. And the attention to detail — from the Alaska caucus to the Nevada cooks — has been striking.

Andrew Sullivan 2.6.08

Clinton, Obama face prejudices that pose problems in Nov.

Quoted 02.06.08:

In California, Clinton lost white men by a whopping 52 to 34 percent. She lost white independents by 58 to 30 percent. In California, 6.5 percent of those voters who didn't vote for Clinton said that gender of the candidate was "an important factor." . . .

Obama, as I previously noted, had trouble with white working-class voters. In New Jersey, which a Democrat pretty much will have to win in November, Obama won only 31 percent of the white vote. Over 11 percent of those who voted against Obama (a group that might also include some Latinos) said that race was an important factor in their vote.

John B. Judis, New Republic Online 2.6.08

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Utah's Mormons loathe Huckabee; would rather vote for Obama

Quoted 02.05.08:

Quin Monson, assistant director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University, says many observers believe that "evangelicals have rejected Romney, and that Huckabee is aiding and abetting that. . . . He's egging it on." . . .

In the unlikely event that Huckabee does capture the Republican nomination, his Utah baggage could come back to haunt him. . . .

[A] BYU poll released Monday reveals that Huckabee would pull off the seemingly impossible.

As GOP nominee, he would lose the state of Utah in a hypothetical matchup with Democrat Barack Obama, 58 percent to 42 percent.

Richard T. Cullen, Politico 2.4.08

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hard-nosed arguments for Obama's nomination

Quoted 02.02.08:

One of the arguments made on behalf of the Clintons is that they know how to win. They do what is necessary. They fight hard. They've shown they can survive the worst the Republican attack machine can throw at them . . . But there are hard-nosed arguments for Obama, too. Nothing would energize the dispirited, disoriented Republicans like running against Hillary Clinton. And a late-entry challenge from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his billions would be far less likely if Obama became the Democratic nominee.

Obama's Democratic critics worry that his soaring rhetoric of reconciliation is naive. But, as Mark Schmitt has argued . . ., Obama's national-unity pitch should be viewed as a tactic as well as an ideal. It might lengthen his coattails, helping Democratic candidates for the House and the Senate in marginally red districts and states. It would not protect him from attack, of course, but it would enable him to fire back from the high ground. And, as a new President elected with a not quite filibuster-proof Senate, he would be in a better position to peel off the handful of Republican senators he would need to make meaningful legislative progress than someone who started from a defensive crouch.

Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker 2.11.08; via Real Clear Politics 2.2.08