Archive for February, 2009

obama and prayer

I live in a not-particularly-religious, particularly-liberal part of the country, which means that during the Presidential campaign I was surrounded by a large number of not-particularly-religious fervent Obama supporters, which means that I had the following conversation (or some variant of it) on multiple occasions:

“You realize that Obama is a Jesus-lover?”

“You don’t know that.”

“He claims it on his website and in his book and in his speeches!”

“That’s true, but he’s ‘much too smart’ to believe in that stuff. I choose to believe that he’s a craven liar who only claims to be religious in order to get elected. That way I can proudly vote for him!”

Apparently his craven lies continue, as I read that he has established the new practice of inviting local religious nuts to deliver vetted-by-the-White-House prayers before his local events:

The day before the president arrived in Elkhart, Culp spent an hour and a half crafting his prayer, roughly a minute and 20 seconds long, before calling an aide from the White House Office of Public Liaison to recite it for vetting, as the administration requested. “She said that it was beautiful and that there shouldn’t be a problem with it but that she would call in the morning if there was,” Culp recalls.

If anyone from the Obama administration is reading, I humbly offer my “prayer” services for the next time he makes an appearance in the Pacific Northwest.

I just have to think up a word that rhymes with false.


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Wondering what sort of business opportunities are recession-proof? Strike televangelism from your list:

To make ends meet, religious broadcasters are tightening their belts and going back to basics. That means sticking with time-tested formulas, postponing innovations and counting on loyal (largely senior) audiences to keep donating even when it hurts.

Coincidentally, these are most of the same things that Detroit is trying. Hi-yo!

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You are probably familiar with “megachurch pastor” T.D. Jakes, whose stepson recently exposed himself to undercover police officers. (The kid’s attorney is apparently called “Faith Johnson”, which is pretty much the best name possible for someone involved with a religious exposure case.)

The news story is unfortunately vague on what this “exposure” entailed, forcing me to use my abnormally vivid imagination; nonetheless, I am more interested in the pastor’s reaction:

Jakes told his congregation Sunday that he would provide “help, support and restorative grace” to his stepson

“Help” I understand, as I can easily envision a dad pitching in to help buy his kid some pants.

“Support” I understand as well. Maybe the kid had good reasons for exposing himself, and if so a dad might want to encourage him.

Where I get hung up is “restorative grace”, because — although my seminary days are long behind me — I am pretty sure that “restorative grace” can only be parceled out by god. (Ignoring, of course, the fact that “restorative grace” doesn’t mean anything.) Thus, unless he was misquoted, Jakes is claiming himself to be god.

Now there are certainly similarities. Both are large Black men. Both like to wear fancy clothes and drive expensive cars. And now both have sons who have publicly exposed themselves (although “in a park” is a smidge less impressive than “on a cross, surrounded by spear-poking Romans”). Nonetheless, godliness is a pretty astonishing claim to make, and one (i.e. me) wishes that the mainstream media had given it as much scrutiny as they did when President Nixon claimed he could provide the Fruit of the Holy Spirit to his contributors.

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One of the principal worries involved in writing this sort of book (other than the omnipresent worry that no one will publish it) is that people will react poorly to the “Your Religion is False” message. It’s OK (if a bit impolite) to tell someone his politics are wrong, or that his haircut is terrible, or that his girlfriend is a psychotic, co-dependent hosebeast from whom he needs to run as far as possible as fast as possible.

But for some unfathomable-to-me reason, “religions” are supposed to be exempt from the same sorts of criticism. I have been following the story of Geert Wilders with some apprehension:

Two days before the showing, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, banned Wilders from entering the territory of the United Kingdom, labelling him an “undesirable person”.

Now, I have been called an “undesirable person” on many occasions (especially in high school in the months leading up to “prom”), and it doesn’t hurt my feelings anywhere near as badly as it used to. Nonetheless, I would love to visit the UK someday and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, so I hope they will have eased up on their anti-free-speech position by the time I am able to afford a plane ticket.

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shirts and stickers

I have received a handful of inquiries asking where I got the clever “FALSE” logo in the sidebar, and also where you could get it.

The short answer is that I fancy myself a bit of a graphic artist (even though I have almost no aptitude for it), and that I made it in Inkscape.

The longer answer is that I set up a rudimentary Cafe Press store where you can get shirts and/or stickers with the clever logo.

(Or you could make your own shirts and/or stickers, I don’t really mind, although it would be nice if you link back here in the event you do so.)

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motion sickness

I have been informed by a number of people that the bootleg video makes them motion-sick. (I would not know, as I am too chicken to watch it, although a number of my co-workers are watching it, which creates the disconcerting effect of hearing my voice coming from other people’s computers.)

The good news is that the official video will be uploaded “soon” (I am told). The bad news is that I don’t know what “soon” means. I am investigating other options, but the only ones I have identified so far involve Dramamine.

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bootleg video of my BIL talk

At some point there should be an official video, but this will have to hold you over until then:

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