Friday, March 7, 2008
One of the low points of the Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday was the harping of moderator Tim Russert on the issue of Barack Obama's repudiation of Louis Farrakhan. Although Obama firmly stated his denunciation of Farrakhan's anti-semitic remarks, Russert wouldn't let it go, worrying the issue until it devolved into a parsing of the difference between the words "denounce" and "reject." It will be fascinating to see whether Russert pursues John McCain this doggedly during the general election debates. The very day that the Obama and Clinton campaigns were preparing for the Cleveland debates, McCain was campaigning at the other end of the state in Concinnati. At his side (captured in an AP photo published in the Columbus Dispatch among other places) was the Rev. Rod Parsley of Columbus's World Harvest Church.
Those of you with moderately keen memories will remember the Rev. Parsley, even though he has been off the political radar recently. In 2004, Parsley actively campaigned throughout Ohio with then Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on behalf of Ohio's "Defense of Marriage" amendment. Parsley was at Blackwell's side when Blackwell made his remark comparing gay people to "barnyard animals." When Blackwell ramped up his gubernatorial campaign the following year, Parsley and fellow Columbus-area pastor the Rev. Russell Johnson were two of his most vocal supporters, promising to activate thousands of "patriot pastors" to turn out hundreds of thousands of new "values voters" for Blackwell. Sometime during that year, for unclear reasons, Parsley slipped off the political radar, not even appearing with Blackwell when he announced the formation of his "Pastors for Blackwell" late that summer.
In spring, 2005, Parsley published a book called "Silent No More." Chapter 5 of that book contains some assertions you'd think any presidential candidate would want to "denounce" and "reject". In that chapter, titled "Islam: The Deception of Allah" (and in a sermon of the same name delivered at World Harvest that May), Parsley claimed that "Muhammad received revelations from demons and not from the true god," "Islam is an anti-Christian religion that intends, through violence, to conquer the world" and "Islam is responsible for more pain, more bloodshed and more devastation than nearly any other force on earth at this moment." He talks about the "persecution" of Christians by Muslims whom he dismisses as deluded illiterates.
At that time, in an interview I did for my paper, the Cleveland Free Times, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center told me, "The man is inciting hatred, there's no plainer way to say it. When you say an entire group of people are demonic and anti-Christian, that's hate speech, yes." And Ahmad Al-Akhras, who was then president of the Council on American Islam Relations-Ohio said to me, "The message of Jesus is the message of peace and the message of embracing other people. Apparently, he [Parsley] does not seem to understand this. I think those politicians who are being courted by him need to be called upon and they should denounce his hatred."
Certainly any aspiring president who expects to have any chance at forging diplomatic relations in the Middle East would have to condemn -- to both "denounce" and "reject" -- such ideas to be effective. And any candidate who even tacitly endorses such beliefs cannot expect to convince leaders of Muslim countries of the trustworthiness and good faith of the US. Unlike Obama, whose campaign never involved Farrakhan, McCain in Cincinnati on February 26 praised Parsley, according to the Columbus Dispatch, as a "spritual guide," while Parsley praised McCain as a "strong, true, consistent conservative." Undoubtedly, campaigning with Parsley was McCain's way of trying to signal his acceptability to the evangelical base that has had issues with him. But if Obama owes repeated apologies for the mere fact that he received unsolicited compliments from a man who has said ugly things about Jews, then McCain would seem to need to atone even more for openly embracing on the campaign trail someone who has said equally ugly things about Muslims.
My guess is that the answer will be "No"... McCain will not be called to task for Parsley, just like he is not being questioned adequately about John Hagee's support. Why? One word: racism. IMHO it is because America is more scared of black bigots (like Farrakhan) than of white bigots (like Hagee and Parsley). And it is still OK to slam Islam because it is mostly those "brown people" over in the Middle East who are Muslim. I mean, what else could it possibly be?
Samantha Power, a foreign policy aide on the Illinois senator's White House campaign, said the comments were inexcusable. They were published on Friday by The Scotsman newspaper.
"With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser to the Obama campaign effective today," Power said in a statement.
"Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor and purpose of the Obama campaign."
The comment threatened to be an embarrassment for Obama, who has criticized Clinton for what he called her negative campaign tactics and has stressed his commitment to rising above political bickering.
This is what should happen when someone makes an inexcusable mistake of this magnitude. After 8 years of the Bush administration, a lot of us have just gotten used to id10ts being allowed to say anything they want and continue on in office. I think people will like this. Someone fucked up. Big time. And they were forced to pay the price.
That's much better than having Obama say something like "Heckuva job, Sammie!"
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Newsflash: God failed tonight to get Huckabee elected President. Imagine my surprise.
We know Huckabee was God’s candidate. . .Huckabee said of his earlier poll success: “There’s only one explanation for it”. Only one. What’s the explanation now then Mike? Did God change his mind? Or is he not powerful enough to swing a few measly votes? Or, maybe your imaginary sky fairy doesn’t exist.
Click on over and read the whole post at Skeptico. It is yet another example of showing that prayer does not work because there is no god, even if some lame-brained chowderhead claims that he is god's candidate . . . or god's (insert favorite thing here).
Check out this link from the Catholic League where they point out all of the skirmishes in this so-called war? Is this the stuff these people are talking about when they talk about the war on christmas? If so, here's some advice: take a Xanax and shut the fuck up.
No one is trying to stop your annual Pagan-initiated holiday celebrating the birth of your man-god, along with the greed and unbridled avarice that accompanies that celebration. Every Christian can put a creche in their yard and lights on their house and a big, blow up Santa on the roof and whatever the hell else you want to do on your own damn property. But please, don't inflict that nonsense on those of us who don't want it. Don't put it on public property paid for by everyone's taxes. Don't mix church and state.
What about the Wal-Mart criticism? Well, what about it? All I see is an atheist stating that perhaps non-christians should support companies that are more in line with their views. But I guess this is viewed as part of "the war" because everyone should just lay down and let the majority just trample over them for two full months of the year. Of course, Barry Lynn seems to have additional problems with Wal-Mart that are not totally unreasonable.
The other thing I like about the Catholic League support is how they label everyone who they don't agree with as a curmudgeon.:
- "A curmudgeon in Warwick, New York, kicked up a fuss about a "Breakfast with Santa" fundraiser held each year by the PTA of Sanfordville Elementary School. "
- "It is not just Christmas displays and celebrations that are stifled. Often, curmudgeons are opposed to public displays of any faith."
Yes, yes, yes, I am a curmudgeon when I want the U.S. Constitution to be followed... but "you" are somehow sacrosanct because you ignore the U.S. Consitution and just try to plaster your belief system everywhere, not caring who pays for it or who has to look at it. But, what the heck, I embrace the term curmudgeon.
Regarding Christmas, the holiday, I celebrate that, too! I celebrate it as a time to enjoy the company of my friends and family. And to kick back and relax, as much as possible, at the end of the year... fueling up for the start of a new year. No church for me. No Jesus. No God. Just the three F's: friends, family and "fueling up." And I call it Christmas - not Solstice or Winter Holiday. I do wish people Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings, unless I know they are christian, then I wish them Merry Christmas. It is really all no big deal to me. You could call the holiday Tim and I would still celebrate it the same way, except I'd have a Tim tree instead of a Christmas tree.
I know this is a strange time of year to post about Christmas, but I stumbled across the Catholic League document today and it triggered this post.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
The Senate passed a FISA reform bill last week that not only falls short on adequately protecting Americans from warrantless surveillance — it also shamefully grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that may have aided the Bush administration’s illegal domestic wiretapping.
Join the effort to stop telecom immunity by signing the emergency petition at the link below.