WHAT’S WRONG WITH REVEREND GREGORY A. BOYD?

July 31, 2006

According to a NEW YORK TIMES piece written by Laurie Goodstein, Reverend Gregory A. Boyd “was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.” The piece continues:

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

Reverend Boyd says he first became concerned with the mixing of Christianity and politics “while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing ‘God Bless America’ and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.

“’I thought to myself, “What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?”‘”

I’d like to know what happened too — what happened to Reverend Boyd? Maybe he’s been replaced by a pod preacher or something, I don’t know. But I do know this: his attitude is just not right. Now I know there are liberal Christians — oxymoron, anyone? — who feel that Jesus was just a swell guy and probably really cuddly and pacifistic and such, but Reverend Boyd claims he is no liberal; he just doesn’t think that Christianity should be corrupted by politics. He believes, like Truman did, that politicizing Christianity, corrupts it.

And to that I say, “Huh?”

I mean, if you aren’t going to politicize Christianity, what’s the point? It’s just a really good way to get people to the voting booths, all indignant, ready to vote counter to their own best interests. That’s not easy to do, but politicizing Christianity is one good way to do it.

The liberal Christians — always the liberal Christians! — might argue that the point is finding a personal relationship with God, and letting that personal relationship guide you without politicizing an entire religion which can be interpreted so as to encompass almost every political ideology, in part because people inevitably bring their political beliefs and prejudices to their religion and project them onto it, finding religious justifications for positions they already hold — and there’s just no way to be sure exactly who — if anyone — is right.

And to that I say, “Huh?”

Of course there’s a way to know who’s right. It’s the guy who speaks the loudest, the longest.

How many people have heard of Reverend Gregory A. Boyd? Some, sure, but not as many as have heard of Jerry Falwell. And so we know, Jerry Falwell is right. Obviously. He’s been standing up there, shouting angrily, little white gobs of spittle forming in the corners of his mouth as he preaches, for so long that if he was wrong, he surely would have been discredited by now. But he never has been.

I think that speaks volumes in and of itself.

You say religion is about a personal relationship with God; I say the personal is political, and I feel personally that God hates liberals. And he probably doesn’t like super old people, either. He thinks they smell funny and are annoying, especially when He goes to the theater to catch Monster House, and some old fart is sitting behind Him, coughing on the back of His freakin’ neck, ruining the entire experience, so that He has to change seats and because He’s in the middle of getting re-situated He misses a really cool scene. Man, that makes Him mad.

And that’s why we need to finally get rid of Social Security.


JUDGE ROY MOORE & THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

July 28, 2006

Judge Roy Moore, who famously fought to keep the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, began writing an internet column this week, and so I thought I would reflect on the Ten Commandments and whether they should be posted in public places.

This is going to be very short. Yes.

Now, there are those who would argue that commandments such as “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery; thou shalt have no other gods before Me” might not oughta be endorsed by a government that has an amendment in its Constitution which reads in part that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and legally that may be true; after all, putting such a commandment in a courtroom pretty well establishes governmental endorsement of a very specific religion and God — but I think people are missing the point that it happens to be the one true God.

Unfortunately, I learned recently, while reading my Bible, that that isn’t in fact one of the Ten Commandments — not exactly, anyway.

Judge Roy Moore and others like him have been fighting all this time for the wrong Commandments! You see, the Ten Commandments are usually pulled from Exodus 20:2-17, but those aren’t the real Ten Commandments — the Bible says so, and I think it knows a little more than Judge Roy Moore!

If you flip to Exodus 34:13-28, there you will find the real Ten Commandments. You know they’re the real Ten Commandments, by the way, because of the last verse, which is Exodus 34:28, where it reads: “And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, Okay, Jon, what are the real Ten Commandments?

I’m glad you asked!

1. Thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

4. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

5. And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

6. Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.

7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven;

8. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

9. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.

10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

So there they are, the real Ten Commandments! I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t like leavened bread that much anyway, though it is the best bread for sandwiches. And on the plus side, I’m pretty sure that since those other commandments aren’t the real Ten Commandments, you guys can go ahead and covet your neighbor’s wife — just don’t act on it!


FCC MAY DROP BOMB ON UPCOMING WAR DOCUMENTARY

July 27, 2006

According to a Reuters article, the “U.S. government’s crackdown on media indecency could prevent World War Two veterans from sharing their stories in an upcoming TV documentary series by Ken Burns, the head of the Public Broadcasting Service said Wednesday.” The piece continues:

Noted filmmaker Burns’ highly anticipated seven-part series “The War” features salty language used by servicemen and others. If the expletives make it to air, they could lead to crippling fines for the offending stations as a result of a new law signed last month by President George W. Bush. […] Under the new law, fines rise to as much as $325,000 per violation from $32,500.

That’s the kind of news that warms the cockles of my heart. Because I for one am sick and tired of foul language and obscenity on television (except on 24 — man, that show is cool). I know it could be argued that no word is inherently foul — that, say, vagina and pussy refer to exactly the same thing, and one is only considered dirty because, well, because it’s considered dirty. But that kind of argument is just not Christian. We need taboos, whether the taboo thing is inherently bad or not. We need taboos as an early warning system, you see, because if someone is willing to walk about in public using the p-word — who knows what else he might do? It tells us as a society that he must be watched — closely — because here is a man who does not follow the rules.

Now, sure, it might seem like a good idea to let aged World War Two veterans tell the stories of their experiences in their own words — but if they are allowed to use such language on television, who knows who else might expect the privilege?

Just because something is absolutely harmless, well that’s no reason to go allowing it. If we let people do harlmess things, that’s a slippery slope right into the harmful.


THE MYERS GUIDE TO DEBATING LIBERALS (AND WINNING)

July 27, 2006

Recently there have been several calls from high-profile Republicans to bring back civility to political discourse — from Bill Frist to Newt Gingrich to George W. Bush himself. I think this is a grave mistake (and I almost never disagree with what our President says), and further, I don’t even think these guys mean it. I think their fingers were crossed behind their backs when they called for civility.

Being civil is no way to win a debate with a liberal; it brings you down to their level.

Now, in college, if you take debate, they have guidelines like these:

Contentions should be stated clearly at the onset of the debate.

Questions or challenges should not be personal or insulting.

Initial briefs are to be offered without clash or reference to the statement made by the other side. Clash and refutation occurs only in rebuttal.

In other words: State you case clearly, let your opponent state his case clearly, and don’t insult or threaten your opponent as a means of rebuttal.

Booooooring.

You have got to throw that junk out the window. It’s no way to win a debate. Rule number one in The Myers Guide to Debating Liberals (and Winning): physically intimidate your opponent. We on the right have a long history of physical intimidation. For instance, here is a partial transcript of a debate between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal in 1968 (Gore Vidal slyly uses rule number three in my guide, but I’ll get to that in a moment; right now we’re focusing on Buckley):

Vidal: As far as I’m concerned, the only pro- or crypto-Nazi I can think of here is yourself.

Buckley: Now listen, you queer, you stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.

And here is a partial transcript from him debating Noam Chomsky:

Chomsky: Sometimes I lose my temper. Maybe not tonight.

Buckley: Maybe not tonight, because if you would I’d smash you in the goddamn face.

Man, is Buckley cool! So that’s a couple of historical examples. Let’s look at a more recent example to get a really good idea of how to do it.

Bill O’Reilly to Jeremy M. Glick: Get out, get out of my studio before I tear you to fucking pieces!

Okay. So that demonstrates rule number one. If you don’t like something some liberal said, threaten to smash them, sock them, or tear them to pieces. They will probably shut up (as liberals are wimpy and hate violence), and you win by default. Go team!

If that doesn’t work, you move on to rule number two: lie about your opponent. The great thing about spreading lies about your opponent is that their best response is, “That’s not true.” And you can say, “Your denial proves it. Nobody would ever admit to having such beliefs (or to doing such a terrible thing) in public!” For instance:

Ann Coulter: Liberals are always against America.

Tony Blankley: [The liberal media are] likely to do vast damage that may last for several years to the morale […] of our military.

See that? You say, “Liberals hate America,” and someone observing thinks, Gosh, I’m for America, so I must dislike liberals. And you’ve won that mind. You say, “The media are destroying America by telling the truth!” and someone observing thinks, Freakin’ media, I hate the truth! And you’ve won another mind. And that’s what debating is about. It’s about winning hearts and minds, not getting at the truth or anything silly like that.

Winning hearts and minds.

(Side note: If you have a problem with lying because you’re a Christian, as I do, at least in principle, feel free to think of it as “alternate truthing.” I can’t know for sure if Tony Blankley actually believes that the media have hurt the morale of the military by telling the truth, maybe he does, and if so he isn’t lying; and maybe Ann Coulter actually believes that liberals are always against America. But believing something doesn’t make it the truth — simply an “alternate truth.” If you can convince yourself to believe what you’re saying, even better.)

And finally, an extension of rule number two, rule number three, the last rule: drop a lot of hot-button words that will make an observer associate your opponent with something he doesn’t like. For instance, according to a recent poll, atheists are the least trusted group in America, even though there’s no evidence supporting a reason to distrust them, so you need to call all liberals atheists. No, it’s not true. Most conservatives and liberals are Christians in America, but that’s about as relevant as the fact that there’s nothing actually wrong with atheists. You use the words that work. Other words to use are Communist, socialist, Stalinist, godless, elite, intellectual, Hollywood, secular and treasonous.

There are others, but those should get you started. Have fun. Find your own hot-button words by trying out different ones and seeing what kind of reaction you get.

Okay, so there you go. The three rules to debating liberals:

1. Physically intimidate them.

2. Lie about them and their motives.

3. Use hot-button words to make observers associate your opponent with something they find distasteful.

Oh, I just remembered, one more rule:

4. Never be intimidated by facts — they’re the province of the godless intellectual elite!

(Did you see what I just did there? That’s what I like to call a “threefer.”)

Good luck!


ON MINIMUM WAGE & LABOR

July 26, 2006

According to a BOSTON GLOBE article written by Rick Klein, a “key lawmaker said yesterday that Republican leaders would soon hold the first House vote in a decade on increasing the minimum wage, and predicted that the bill will pass on the eve of crucial midterm elections.” It continues:

House majority whip Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, told a luncheon crowd that leaders will vote on the minimum wage this fall or sooner. GOP leaders have come under heightened pressure from Democrats and moderate Republicans for supporting increases in their own salaries while the federal minimum wage has remained frozen at $5.15 an hour since 1997.

“We’re at the point where that vote is coming,” Blunt said. “I’m not sure that it’s a ‘must-pass,’ but it will probably be a ‘will-pass.'”

First, let me say, the phrase “moderate Republican” just gets my goat.

These Republicrats — Demublicans? — don’t seem to understand who it is exactly that’s paying for their reelection campaign. It’s certainly not labor.

Sure, federal minimum wage has been at $5.15 an hour for almost ten years — that doesn’t mean it should be increased. We don’t need to change a good thing. Our current minimum wage is like Classic Coke — it’s time tested. If we go fooling around with the recipe, who knows what might happen? Vanilla Coke, anyone? Disgusting! And really, the $10,000 a person would make in a year, working full time for minimum wage, is above the poverty line, if that person is single and has no children — and how many high school students have children? Too many, I know, but not enough to justify an increase in minimum wage.

But, Jon, you might be thinking, according to the Economic Policy Institute an increase in minimum wage would affect the lives of 14.9 million workers — 11% of the workforce — and a full 80% of those people are age 20 or over, adults, not high school students. Furthermore, when a wage remains the same for long periods of time, a person is actually making less in real dollars, so by staying the same, the minimum wage is actually decreasing.

What? By staying the same it’s decreasing? Take your economic magic-talk elsewhere, heathen.

No, listen, Jon, you might continue thinking, according to the EPI, which I cited above, the buying power of our current minimum wage has decreased by 20% since 1997, making it this nation’s lowest minimum wage (in terms of buying power) since 1955.

Look. Just cut that out. If you want to argue in favor of a minimum wage increase you go ahead. But I’ll have none of it. I don’t need facts to help me make my mind up — I know what my position is — and I say increasing the minimum wage is a dangerous move, the Vanilla Coke of economic policy, and I intend to write to Congress to let them know I don’t take kindly to facts — because “probably” will pass also means “might not” pass, and that gives me hope.

So some poor folks have to live in three- or four-family households just to keep a roof over their head. All those people cramped into tight quarters probably decreases the heating bill in the winters. And that’s a savings they wouldn’t have if we increased minimum wage and they could afford to live in merely a two-family household.

That’s what’s wrong with liberals — pretending to give while secretly taking.

What I want to know is, why do they hate poor people so much?


HALF OF AMERICA THINKS IRAQ HAD WMDs

July 25, 2006

Great news!

According to a WASHINGTON TIMES piece, written by Jennifer Harper, a Harris poll has found that 50% of Americans think there were WMDs in Iraq “when the United States invaded the country in 2003.” The piece continues:

The survey did not speculate on what caused the shift in opinion, which supports President Bush’s original rationale for going to war. Respondents were questioned in early July after the release of a Defense Department intelligence report that revealed coalition forces recovered 500 aging chemical weapons containing mustard or sarin gas nerve agents in Iraq.

Here is what Sen. Rick Santorum said about the findings in late June:

This is an incredibly […] significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false.

We have found over 500 weapons of mass destruction. And in fact have found that there are additional weapons of mass — chemical weapons, still in the country, that need to be recovered.

What were these weapons of mass destruction that were recovered?

Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.

But, of course, liberals might argue, degraded mustard gas is not “stocks of […] biological or nuclear weapons.” It’s degraded mustard gas — and Iraq having degraded mustard gas would have hardly been a good pretext to go to war.

But it’s better than finding nothing, and I for one am glad that Sen. Santorum spread the news and Americans — half of them! — believed it. My only disappointment is the failure of the media to properly spread this “alternate truth,” because if they had, 60% or even 70% of Americans might believe Iraq had WMDs.

But considering what we had to work with (degraded mustard gas: a possible threat to hot dogs, I guess), 50% believing Iraq had WMDs is pretty freaking good.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Santorum. You know I’m behind you!


TORTURE AND ABUSE IN IRAQ: A DEFENSE

July 25, 2006

A lefty magazine called MOTHER JONES has a brief article online (that you can find here), written by Julian Brookes, about a new Human Rights Watch — more like Human Left Watch — report which claims that “torture and other abuses against detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal.” Here is more from the HRW press release:

In the 53-page report, “No Blood, No Foul: Soldiers’ Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq,” soldiers describe how detainees were routinely subjected to severe beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep deprivation, and exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures. The accounts come from interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch, supplemented by memoranda and sworn statements contained in declassified documents.

“Soldiers were told that the Geneva Conventions did not apply, and that interrogators could use abusive techniques to get detainees to talk,” said John Sifton, the author of the report and the senior researcher on terrorism and counterterrorism at Human Rights Watch. “These accounts rebut U.S. government claims that torture and abuse in Iraq was unauthorized and exceptional – on the contrary, it was condoned and commonly used.”

I, for one, am sick and tired of all this concern about torture. I say you have to break a few eggs to make — scrambled eggs. And I think anyone who’s watched a season of 24 knows that as well as anybody, and I’ve watched four seasons.

The “ticking bomb” scenario demonstrates that, really, almost everyone would support torture in at least that one situation. If you don’t know, the “ticking bomb” scenario was pretty much what season four of 24 was all about.

Let’s say you are Agent Jack Bauer, and you receive reliable information that a nuclear weapon will detonate somewhere in America in the next three hours. You also have followed someone working closely with a terrorist organization to a house boat. He meets with someone there whose name is Pelosi. You and your men are spotted and Pelosi kills the man you followed there, claims he was an intruder on his house boat (but you know better). You take him back to CTU, Los Angeles and there his “Amnesty Global” lawyer is waiting, smarmy — of course — and all liberally superior.

“We do things according to the letter of the law,” he emotes haughtily.

You question Pelosi with his lawyer present, but he says he knows nothing, and his lawyer won’t let you so much as pinch his nipples. You have three hours to locate this nuclear weapon. Do you knowingly break the law and find a way to covertly torture Pelosi by tricking his lawyer into leaving — and then break first Pelosi’s thumb, then his index finger, then his middle finger, all the time making a really cool angry face and saying, “Where is it, Pelosi? I’ll get the information the easy way, or –” crack! — “the hard way.”

Of course you do. Maybe not personally — I’m a little squeamish myself — but you have it done. That’s my point.

Now, sure, some people have “logical” responses to such scenarios. At the Amnesty International website there is a piece on torture, and it quotes William J. Aceves as saying:

[The ticking bomb scenario] falls apart upon careful scrutiny. It assumes that law enforcement has the right person in custody. That is, the suspect knows where the bomb is and when it is scheduled to detonate. What if there is only a 50 percent chance that the suspect knows the information? What if this number is only 10 percent? Second, it assumes that torture will be effective in gaining access to the critical information. In fact, however, torture is notoriously unreliable. What if there is only a 60 percent chance that the suspect will reveal accurate information? How about 20 percent? How low are we willing to go? How should we make the decision whether to torture? How many people must be endangered before the torture option can be considered?

Well, I have the answers. Here we go. If there is a 20% chance that he knows where the bomb is and a 20% chance he will talk, then you may torture him for 40 minutes. 20 + 20 = 40. I think that’s some math that even the liberal Dumbocrats can put together. For the sake of the math, we ignore how many people’s lives are at stake, and assume it’s “greater than nine.” Fewer than nine people, and torture is never justified — unless the guy just really has it coming.

But, one might argue, torture is illegal. According to the same Amnesty site cited above use of torture “would violate countless international agreements the United States has signed and ratified, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture.” But I think everyone knows that America doesn’t have to abide by international law. We are Agent Jack Bauer and the world is CTU, unwittingly hindering us by trying to get us to follow the “law.” We are the rogue agent who knows what really must be done.

I think that pretty well takes care of all the arguments against torture.

To sum up: Yes, innocent people are likely tortured — and sometimes permanently maimed. Yes, torture is notoriously ineffective, and has repeatedly proved to make innocent people admit to crimes they were incapable of committing, and evidentially did not. Yes, torture is illegal.

But Agent Jack Bauer is just so cool that none of that matters — sometimes it’s just the right thing to do, despite what the evidence might suggest. Despite any moral qualms having to do with innocence or guilt or fair trials.

Gosh, I wish I could meet Jack Bauer.