Posts Tagged ‘politics’

I’m sure that (like me) you set a special alarm and woke up bright and early so that you could read the Pope’s new encyclical CARITAS IN VERITATE (“Who cares whether all this stuff is true?”) And then (like me) I’m sure you found it interminably long and incomprehensibly boring.

Nonetheless, it’s easy to pick out four key themes:

1. Fascism:

To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority

(I think he stole this idea from Hayek, or possibly Orwell, or maybe both.)

2. Monoculture:

Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums. Without this, despite the great progress accomplished in various sectors, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations.

(This seems possibly related to Jesus’s famous recommendation to “Put all thine eggs in one basket.”)

3. Redistributionism “governed by politics”:

Economic life undoubtedly requires contracts, in order to regulate relations of exchange between goods of equivalent value. But it also needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics

(Although he didn’t give any specific examples of “redistribution governed by politics,” the morning papers are consistently full of such stories, like “congressman seeks taxpayer dollars for tony private club” and “congressman uses taxpayer dollars to fund remote, mostly-useless, eponymous airport,” and “city council member awards lucrative sludge-hauling contract to bribe-paying bidder.” Obviously, the endorsement of such behavior by the church is not without precedent.)

4. Anti-atheism:

ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today.

Oh, yes, those horrible, horrible atheists. Why, I’m sure with their oversized presence in politics they’re getting in the way of all the religious people clamoring for nationalized health care, or perhaps they’re getting in the way of the religious people arguing against nationalized health care.

I bet it’s the atheists who are standing in the way of all the pro-gun Christians, as well as in the way of all the anti-gun Christians.

And it must be the atheists who are fighting against minimum wage increases, while simultaneously fighting for minimum wage increases.

Why, if you can think of a political issue that some Christians support and other Christians oppose (which includes, oh, pretty much all political issues), then probably it’s the nasty “oblivious to human values” atheists who are fighting for and against it. You tell it to them, Benny!


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I’m sure you’ve heard the saga of Governor Mark Sanford, whose adulterous Argentinian tryst briefly dominated headlines last week until displaced by the untimely death of OxiClean pitchman Billy Mays.

But now, with every TV network seemingly devoted to showing Hercules Hook ads and Vince Offer interviews, you might have missed the news that Sanford has begun comparing himself to the biblical King David:

“And what I find interesting is the story of David and the way in which he fell mightily, he fell in very, very significant ways but then picked up the pieces and then built from there.”

And it’s true there are some obvious similarities between the two:

However, there are a number of parts of the David story that Sanford has yet to fulfill. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in eagerly looking forward to the following:

Unless Bobby Jindal can pull another exorcism out of his hat, I think I know who I’m pulling for in 2012.

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Polluters of the world! If you’re looking for a religious excuse to dump untreated sewage onto your neighbors’ properties, look no farther than the Swartzentruber Amish:

The septic fight began in late 2006 when the executive director of the Cambria County Sewage Enforcement Agency, Deborah Sedlmeyer, found that human waste at the schoolhouse, where 18 children were taught, was being collected in a 50-gallon metal drum under an outhouse

“It was overrunning the barrels,” Ms. Sedlmeyer said, and it was being dumped, untreated, onto nearby fields.

The Swartzentrubers agreed to improve the outhouses, adding a larger, 250-gallon holding tank and treating the waste with lime.

But they refused to follow state law, which called for installing a 5,000-gallon precast concrete tank and allowing someone certified by the state to use an electronic meter to test the waste’s chemical content.

The elders had determined that use of a precast tank was too modern — they want to make the vat themselves — as was the electronic meter and the requirement that they obtain certification to do the testing.

Perhaps, though, their refusal to use the color orange makes them a bit too anti-modern for your tastes. In which case why not start your own Amish sect? You’ll still get the ACLU on your side, and you can decide which laws are “too modern” and which ones aren’t.

For instance, if I were to start my own Amish sect (the “Rolltreppenbenutzungshinweise Amish”), we would probably decide that the following laws were “too modern”:

We’d start a farm somewhere in Pennsylvania, grow weed, drive as fast as we want, keep our income, circumvent DRM, single-handedly finance fringe political candidates, and not piss away a trillion dollars of our neighbors money.

That sounds kind of good, actually! Who’s in?

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It’s a terrible job market for new college graduates. Lots of companies aren’t hiring at all this year. Many companies that are hiring have seen their reputations tarnished recently. And not everyone is self-motivated enough to follow Seth Godin’s advice.

That explains why a surprising number of college students are looking for (government / religious) jobs. Applications to graduate programs in (“public policy” / religion) are up substantially over previous years:

Though Attridge identified declining job prospects as a potential motivator for students to continue their education, he pointed to a crop of contemporary moral and (political / religious) issues as a key influence on students seeking [to] study (public policy / religion).

Among those relatively new issues are global climate change and “gross immorality in the financial sector,” Attridge said, which may have inspired students to take a more (command-and-control / command-and-control) approach toward community service.

“There are questions about whether the fundamental moral fiber of the country is corroded,” Attridge said.

The explanation resonates strongly with Stephen Blackmer, who will begin studying for a master of (public policy / divinity) at [Yale] this fall. Blackmer, 53, had worked in conservation and sustainable development for nearly 30 years before answering a call to join the (government / ministry).

Blackmer said his experience has taught him that the main obstacle to slowing climate change is not technological or economic, but (political / spiritual).

“Climate change is in effect a (political / spiritual) problem, because we’ve developed the technologies to protect the world from climate change, but not the (authority / wisdom) to use them,” he said.

Blackmer, who said he hopes to join an “environmental (lobby / ministry)” after graduating, said the slumping economy made his decision to attend (policy / divinity) school easier.

In fact, people like Blackmer are overwhelming graduate programs, who are seeing record numbers of applicants. Probably, though, there’s nothing to worry about:

Attridge and Aleshire take a positive outlook to the future of (political / theological) education, and both said they expect the applications to continue to rise.

“We’re at a cultural moment when there’s a lot of concern about the common good,” Aleshire said. “(Politics / Religion) is a social force.”

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I was all set to make a “finally, a Catholic on the Supreme Court!” joke. And then I got a memo from the fact-checking department pointing out that we don’t really know for sure what religion Sonia Sotomayor is.

It turns out the there’s a lot of evidence both ways:

yes: “Sotomayor” sounds like a Catholic name

no: divorced

yes: attended Catholic schools

no: attended Protestant law school

yes: big fan of Nancy Drew

no: big fan of Perry Mason

yes: believes in Virgin birth of Jesus

no: skeptical about “perpetually-intact hymen” doctrine

yes: treats her law clerks like her children, possibly including baptism, confirmation, and altarboyism

no: never had children of her own, in direct violation of Catechism 2373

yes: supernatural belief that Court of Appeals is “where policy is made

no: reputation as rigorous, rational thinker


Apparently she is Catholic, but an “attends church for family celebrations and other important events” Catholic. As I am not a Catholic, I’m not sure what counts as “important events,” but I’m guessing that Easter Egg hunts are included.

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You’d think Congress would have their hands full, with all the things they’re working on like using tax dollars to build unnecessary remote airports named after themselves, debating whether a method for choosing teams to play in football bowl games is “communism,” outlawing yard sales, propping up failing newspapers, and censoring “hostility” on the internet.

But no, they’ve still got enough free time to introduce “America’s Spiritual Heritage Resolution,” to, well, “affirm the great spiritual heritage of our nation.”

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), co-sponsor of the bill, said the resolution was the brainchild of the bipartisan coalition of members of Congress, which comes together in the U.S. Capitol each week “to pray for wisdom for that week.”

Not only is it their “brainchild,” but they’re chomping at the bits to spit out meaningless quotes to curry themselves favor with their superstitious yokel supporters.

McIntyre again:

From the very beginning of the country, our Founding Fathers were open about the religious underpinnings of society, McIntyre said.

(“They were also open about their support for slavery,” he did not add.)

Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.):

“There is carved in stone above the Speaker’s rostrum in the House of Representatives across the street (in the Capitol), ‘In God We Trust,’” Lamborn said. “That’s not just a slogan. That’s the embodiment of what’s made our country great.”

(In fact, this is the embodiment of what made our country great.)

But the prize for best quote goes to Louis Gohmert (R-Texas):

“You show me a country that ever met its demise while, as a nation, it was honoring the one True God. You won’t find it,” Gohmert said. “Let’s keep this country alive.”

I’m no historian, but what about the Jewish Empire? The Roman Empire? The Byzantine Empire? The Holy Roman Empire? Nazi Germany? Atlantis? The Bishopric of Utrecht? The Duchy of Pomerania? Kumari Kandam? The Grand Duchy of Lithuania? The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia? The Countship of Edessa? The Kingdom of Thessalonica? The Second Bulgarian Empire?

I guess maybe they weren’t honoring the One True god.

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US News and World Report has put together a special feature on the “10 Most Important Obama Faith Moments.” Of course they picked stupid ones like “Having Rick Warren pray at the inauguration” and “Luring Tony Dungy away from football to join the Faith Advisory Council” and “Smearing holy dirt on Joe Biden’s forehead.” Bo-ring!

Submitted for your approval, here are my top ten Obama faith moments:

10. Healed a leper at town hall meeting in Berea, Ohio.
9. Drove evil spirits out of Lincoln Bedroom.
8. Using the tax dollars of only a few wealthy Americans, miraculous transferred large sums of money to his cronies at AIG.
7. Cursed John McCain, who withered. (Although he was pretty withered to start with.)
6. Cured a paralytic by restoring federal funding of stem cell research.
5. Descended into hell .
4. Arranged to feed (and make mortgage payments for) the multitude.
3. Calmed the storm in the stock market.
2. Miraculous conversion of Arlen Specter.
1. Raised Larry Summers from the dead.

Did I forget any?

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