The God of no compromise and the government shutdown

vader cross ver 2For many of us who grew up evangelical, the word “compromise” has always been a bad word. It means to allow non-Christian values and influences to corrupt your devotion to Biblical truth. Frank Schaeffer, the son of the evangelical leader who started the modern Religious Right, claims that our government shutdown and its Tea Party architects cannot be understood apart from this fundamental characteristic of the evangelical ethos. Insofar as the Tea Party is an evangelical phenomenon, I think he may be right. Evangelicals are raised to be a people of no compromise. And it all starts with an understanding of Jesus’ cross that makes God into Darth Vader and turns us into cookie-cutter stormtroopers devoted to His imperial cause. Continue reading

Would you refuse to negotiate if…?

donkeyselephants-300x300Whatever your opinion about whose fault it is, our government has gotten beyond ridiculous. Many people from my church are out of work because of the government shutdown. So I thought for the sake of some absurdist comic relief, I would start a game of “Would you refuse to negotiate if…?” The way you play the game is to think of the most ridiculous expectations that neighbors, husbands, wives, or kids could have for someone else to “negotiate” with them. Please add your own in the comment section. Continue reading

Will you pray with Francis for peace?

Pope_Francis_in_March_2013American politicians are eager to use the Catholic church when it comes to certain topics related to sexuality. But what about when the pope calls upon the whole world to fast and pray for peace in Syria, which is what Francis has asked us to do today? Is it just the impotent, ceremonial gesture that the pundits will make it out to be, since Obama knows that his foreign policy legacy will be “toast” if he doesn’t make good on his promise to blow up a certain quota of Syrian buildings? Or could the worldwide prayer and fast actually exert the same power that an insignificant Galilean carpenter wielded on a Roman cross 2000 years ago to change the course of history? What will you choose to believe? Continue reading

Nope, no racism in America…

obama-clown.gif

An official clown at the Missouri state fair wearing an Obama mask with a broom stuck up his butt. The announcer whipped the crowd into a frenzy asking if they wanted to see the Obama clown get run down by a bull. Nope, no racism going on here. None at all. The Missouri state fair by the way is a taxpayer-subsidized event, but it’s not socialism because it involves cowboys.

Democracy will save the brown people except when it doesn’t and then it’s Obama’s fault

David Brooks really fired me up today with this zinger about how Egypt’s turmoil proves that “Islamists… lack the mental equipment to govern.” America’s moralistic self-justification for every time we have invaded a country of brown people (the last white country we invaded was Germany) is that we are bringing them the democracy that will save them. Except that it never works, at least not as we planned. Inevitably they elect “socialist radicals” or “religious fundamentalists” so the CIA has to fix the problem by finding some Contras or a Pinochet to pull off a coup, which David Brooks officially approves in his column if it removes people unfit for democracy (who are presumably comparable to our 7% approval rating Congress?). In any case, it’s all Obama’s fault just like it was all Bush’s fault, because it’s the responsibility of the US president to support the freedom fighters except when they’re terrorists unless the dictator has used chemical weapons, and whatever happens, it can be pinned on the US president because a democracy means one person is in charge and responsible for everything… Wait! Continue reading

The sad irony of the IRS and AP scandals

There has never been a time when somebody in our government was not misbehaving in some kind of way, whether it’s overthrowing democratically elected presidents of other countries or tailoring legislation to fill the pockets of campaign donors. The latest misbehavior has involved the surveillance of the Associated Press by the Justice Department as part of an investigation of leaks of classified information and the targeted scrutiny of conservative political “non-profits” by the IRS. The sad irony in these incidents is that the government is behaving undemocratically and very clumsily in response to issues that are legitimately undermining our democracy. Continue reading

Cut government spending, except when I have to wait in line

cn_image.size.long-line-airport-security-denver-international

A number of people in my church have been impacted by the game of chicken known as sequestration that Obama and the Republicans are playing with one another. Almost everyone either works for the civilian sector of the government, a government contractor, or the military. Several people have lost their jobs; many have been furloughed. And that’s why I’m more than a little bit hot about the way that Congress has suddenly bolted in action to exempt the FAA from sequestration rules so that people won’t have to wait in line at airports. It’s an illustration of the uniquely American religious belief in ideology without consequences. Continue reading