Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Christian Sharia

The primary reason I began writing this blog was my perception that hypocrisy among the Christian right was pushing people away from God. "How can people so flawed claim such righteousness?" was what those who were outside of Christian faith often thought when seeing another televangelist or large church preacher take a fall for the sins he committed. Less kindly they might say our faith is full of hypocrites. It is.

Christian faith is a balance of thanking God for the grace he gives us, the forgiveness of our errant ways, and a response of no longer erring in that manner. Few hold up their end of the bargain well, none perfectly. It is those that proclaim perfection that miss the mark most.

The Christian fundamentalists in America would like to have God's law brought into the books of mans' law. Abortion not to be allowed in any instance and marriage between a man and a woman only are the two that are front burner right now. If they get those, what is next? Shall we punish according to the Bible, too?

Stoning in the public square would, to some thinking, be a proper punishment for adultery, homosexuality, and a number of other "crimes against God" that are simply bad choices people make or, without choice it seems, living their lives the way God wired them.

Mans' law works when it relates to crimes that cause pain to another. Jail time, fines and death are valid reasons not to commit a crime. Even with them, many crimes are committed simply because the need of the moment, the rage of the moment, or the simple evil nature of some people lead them to do things and not care about the punishment.

God's law works at a different level - personally. Those that accept the gift of grace are personally beholden to attempt to live a life pleasing to God. It isn't whether I say you shouldn't be in an adulterous relationship, it's that you should choose not to. It isn't your being gay that I have any say in whatsoever - and frankly I think God loves gays that love him, too.

The word "testament" has it's roots in "covenant," not "testimony" as many think. The Old and New Testaments are the written testimony of those that were there, but more importantly they are the covenants God made with his chosen people; first with the Jews then with all His children. Jesus was a change in the relationship God makes with us, an opportunity to recieve grace, yes, but also an incredible guide for life, a life of loving your neighbor.

Loving neighbors don't throw stones at each other.

With the Christian Right's voting block being less helpful in winning elections, their place in the GOP's forum is diminished but do not count them out. They will continue to push for God's law for all when they can't live up to it themselves. Given the opportunity, speak against them privately and publicly in your own way.

Here's a link to a previous post on gay marriage and another on abortion. And if you're wondering how any person who thinks this way can call themselves "Christian," here's my story.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obama in Costa Mesa

I've got say we have some worries here, folks. It's called the messiah effect. Someone so good comes along, catches the public eye, and blind adoration follows. People shouting out "I love you!" to the president of the United States is, well, disconcerting to say the least. At the first such "shout out" Obama fairly ignored it with a less than thrilled glance in the direction from which it came. The second one was more friendly, from a guy, and was returned in kind. But yeah, we can adore this guy too much.

I was struck by one item in particular from his prepared remarks, his saying that AIG is like a terrorist bomber. It was well acted out, pretty obviously prepared as well I think, and one heck of a light to cast on any corporation. But it's true. AIG did more damage to this country than 9/11. Less horrifying than 9/11, less loss of life than 9/11, but a shock of equal magnitude or possibly greater.

But yeah, I love watching Obama tell it as he sees it, calling the shots, accepting responsibility, trying to get Americans to man- or woman-up and tote that bale of work we've got ahead of us, get active in our schools and communities, assuring us of something nobody can be sure of.

Darnit, he's good. But he ain't no messiah.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Obama's Plans

President Obama's plans for America are immense, scary huge, encompassing the financial markets, healthcare, energy, infrastructure and education. That's good, because they have to be.

Newt Gingrich, on Meet the Press today, called it "radical." It is. It has to be.

Some say Obama should concentrate on the economy first. They are fools that miss the circle of life, the intertwinededness of it all, that requires a systemic change in several sectors to be successful.

Healthcare reform can fix the economy by saving us a trillion dollars a year. That's the amount we spend over that the industrialized nations that have universal health care spend. The way to work this into the market is for the government to offer a policy that costs less than the shysters of medical service brokerages charge businesses today. Business owners will jump on that bandwagon in a heartbeat and lead the way to universal healthcare becoming the norm by way of attrition among the Anthem/Blue Cross/etceteras of the industry.

Energy reform works on two levels: government spending now to create jobs that boost the economy plus taking us off the foreign oil addiction. Cleaner air, too. This policy has the greatest chance of continuing our economic freedoms into the next century.

Education is the future of our nation. The government needs to take education spending to a higher point at all learning levels and in all neighborhoods. The colleges need to spend some of their holdings (Harvard has, what, $60 billion in endowments!?!) and parents need to step forward and get involved - again, in all neighborhoods. A works program of young teachers learning that career would go far.

Which leaves the financial markets. Never let it be said that capitalism didn't take the bailout. They took it, alright, and it looks like they'll keep taking it for a while. I'm disgusted by it, know it wrong, but also know that this is how big business runs - get income from whatever source is available, pay it out to as few people as possible, run when done. Unfortunately, we're stuck with this one with the only question remaining of "When will it be enough?"

Capitalism doesn't work without controls, heavy controls. Libertarianism doesn't work either, the environment would be gone if they'd been running things the last 50 years. Socialism doesn't work either, it stifles the creative/greed of man.

We need something new, and that is what this administration was voted in to bring. By sweeping the old ways out the door and implementing programs that build the economy while building for the future, by replacing energy and healthcare systems that are the robber barons of the day with sources that commoditize and control costs for the people, the Obama administration - with the help of your senators and representatives - hopes to turn the tide not just of the past 8 years, but the past several decades.

There's guilt to go around, for sure. Both sides of the aisle are to blame. But there is the greatest of evidence to show that the GOP policies of lower taxes, higher debt, freedom of markets, and social conservatism did not work, will not work, and need to be chucked under the bus.

We're moving forward. Let's roll.

For a beautifully written personal sense of what it is to live in California's "Inland Empire" these days, a really nice piece by Susan Straight in today's L.A. Times can be found here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Glenn Beck

I set out to watch some of Glenn Beck's clips, hoping to find a thinking mind there but did not. He's the Keith Olbermann of the right, lacking only humor, originality, and insight. He's Colbert without that actual talent to pull it off. Glenn Beck is the Homer Simpson of the airwaves, which is apparently right for his demographic of 2.2 million Americans who think him a valid source of news. Perception being reality, for them, he is a news face.

Beck proclaims to be libertarian and, where Rush speaks for the GOP, Beck is reaching further right. He wants the old west back, as long as he's still got his limo waiting.

The problem is evident but being ignored: capitalism doesn't work, communism doesn't work, socialism doesn't work so where are we headed? Will we have some hybrid of capitalism with controls, government as provider of more commodity type services as well as commodities in a free market? Is there social capitalism?

Don't ask Glenn Beck. You'll just pull get him wound up, and that's a waste of time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

So am I. Are You?

I've been out of the news loop for the past week, starting with President Obama's Congressional Address. Just viewed this loop and love it. No comments needed.

It's great to have a president that leads and is fighting the good fight. Let's support him with emails to our other representatives in Washington, let them know you're up for the fight, too.

Rush Limbaugh is speaking the thoughts of a loud minority that may well take control of the GOP. Imageine Rush running in 2012. If it weren't so scary, it'd be funny. Take the time to watch Rush's "First Address to the Nation" and consider the implications. Then, as I asked above, email your Senators and Representatives that you want the change we voted for.