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Rachel Maddow Spotlights Warren’s Lie December 24, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Uncategorized.
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Rachel Maddow of MSNBC exposed Rick Warren’s lie by showing the clip where he says that he never compared gays to incest and pedophilia and then showing the clip where he actually did compare gays to incest and pedophilia.


 

Steve Waldman, the guy who interviewed Rick Warren when he made those comparisons, has also weighed in….

“In his December 22 video Warren had an opportunity to do something quite straightforward and healing: clarify, take resonsibility and, ideally, apologize. He did clarify but did not, in my view, take responsibility. He could have simply said, “it came out in a way I didn’t mean and I apologize for those who I hurt because of that.” It wouldn’t have required him to back off his position on gay marriage one iota. Instead, he blamed the media and misremember or mischaracterized what he’d said.”

Rick Warren, Liar! (and overview of the Fiasco) December 23, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, media, politics, Religion, Uncategorized.
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Popular Pastor, Rick Warren is now speaking out of both sides of his mouth. In response to the controversy over his comparisons between gay marriage and incest and pedophilia, Warren has posted a video blog on his website denying that he ever made such a comparison.

More behind the fold..

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Revised Open Letter to Rick Warren December 18, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Uncategorized.
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Here is a revised Open Letter to Rick Warren (I’ll also be mailing it to him)…

Dear Pastor Rick Warren,

How can you compare two gay adults in a loving, committed, consensual, and legal relationship to an adult who rapes a child?

Don’t you realize that the myth that gays are child molesters or just as bad has lead to hate crimes against gays where people have been beaten and murdered?

How can you say that gay marriage could lead to bestiality or pedophile marriages when animals and children cannot give legal consent and cannot enter into legal contracts/license?

Why do you say that gay marriage would lead to polygamy when the countries that have gay marriage (Canada, South African, much of Europe and soon Nepal) do not allow polygamous marriages?

Why do you say that every culture and religion has disallowed gay marriage when that is inaccurate since several Native American cultures/religions use to allow forms of homosexual marriage with their Two Spirits/Berdaches and Medieval Europe had Brotherhood Marriages where men married other men and the Dahomey of West Africa use to allow women to marry other women?

Why do you say that gay marriage will lead to Pastors being jailed when that is not true because America has a much stronger Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech than most of Europe?  We don’t have those kinds of hate speech laws and what happened to that Swedish preacher could not happen here.

Why do you say that homosexuality is unnatural when it occurs naturally in the animal kingdom and homosexual sheep and fruit flies have the same differences in their brains that homosexual people do?

Why do you say that you believe GLBT Americans should have all civil rights except marriage while supporting the criminalization of GLBT citizens in African nations?

Why do you lie on all these issues?  Isn’t lying a sin?  Shouldn’t you repent and apologize to the GLBT community for all the hurt and pain you have afflicted on them?

Love in Christ,

 

Mike Huckabee, Dangerous Theocrat December 12, 2008

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Although admired by many evangelicals, Mike Huckabee, did not get enough traction during the Republican primaries.  After all why would moderates vote for such an extremist?  However, now with his weekend show on Fox News and the release of his new book, Huckabee seems poised to re-position himself.

Yet, Huckabee isn’t going to shift towards the center.  He believes that the moderates can be sacrificed and that Republicans and Conservatives can win again by going hard core far right and reawaken the evangelical base.

Make no mistake about it, Huckabee is a hard core right winger.

In 1992 he expressed his views that the Federal Government should not fund AIDS research.  He also expressed his belief that Aids patients and gays should be round up and placed in quarantine camps. 

If you think that point of view is too radical to be shared by other Conservatives today– consider the views of Pastor Steve Kerns and his wife, State Representative of Oklahoma, Sally Kern….

    “We have to get rid of that and start curing those sinners. It’s past time that this nation stopped placating sin and start putting them in education programs. Courts can force drug offenders into treatment centers and violent people into anger management. There’s no reason our courts can’t do that with homos.”

Huckabee has also said that the Constitution should be changed to be more in line with the Bible.

The separation between Church and State be damned, one supposes, from ol’ Huckster’s point of view.

Huckabee has also stated that gay rights are not civil rights because gays have not experienced physical persecution. 

Umm, Huck, what about gays being burned at the stake during the Inquisition?  What about gay men being castrated during Colonial America?  What about some Native American tribes being exterminated because they accepted homosexuals/berdaches/Two Spirits?  What about thousands of gays being slaughtered during the Holocaust? What about gays being forced into institutions and lobotomized or recieving electro-shock therapy in recent American History?  What about the Stonewall Riots?  What about Matthew Shepard and Lawrence King?  What about many Middle Eastern and African countries that imprison and/or execute gays just for being homosexual?

Mike Huckabee v. Jon Stewart on gay marriage…

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show adeptly argues that Religion is much more of a lifestyle choice than homosexuality is yet religion is afforded many rights and protections.

Mike Huckabee is a dangerous politician who would distort the lines between Church and State, set up a Theocracy, and go all Nazi on gays in America if he could get away with it.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Racist December 5, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, media, politics, Religion, Uncategorized.
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On the December 2nd 2008 show of The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck referred to Medical Doctor and Spiritualist, Deepak Chopra as “glitter glasses whatshisname” and said he should “go burn a bowel of incense” in a jab against his Hindu derived spiritual beliefs.

Fans from the Television Without Pity website spearheaded an effort to contact ABC and ask that Hasselbeck apologize.  On today’s Dec. 4th show, Elisabeth gave a half baked apology right before a commercial break.  She did not explain the context of the apology nor did she explain why some Indian Americans, Hindus, and others were offended by her remarks.

Elisabeth had taken a jab at Deepak after he did an interview on CNN about the Mumbai terrorist attacks.  Deepak Chopra criticized America’s foriegn policy (Iraq war, civilian casualties) for causing outrage and resentment among the Islamic world which many scholars maintain contributes to turning moderates into radicals.

The Wall Street Journal also attacked Chopra, saying that he blamed America for terrorism.

Chopra responded to the attacks with a very nuanced interview with the Huffington Post.  Deepak and his son will also have editorials published in Friday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal where they will respond to the criticisms.

Here are some excerpts from Deepak Chopra’s interview at the Huffington Post…

“I didn’t blame America,” Chopra says and then elaborates that placing blame is complex and that Pakistan is suffering because of the people that don’t want Pakistan to have a relationship with a nuclear-armed India. “The worst thing India could have done is to have a nuclear deal and to be part of a nuclear club… Why are we selectively choosing to have nuclear deals and making the rest of the world feel unsafe?”

“We have a very self-righteous attitude towards the rest of the world. We have no understanding of how these violent ideologies are born. We want to just go to war and kill the terrorists. Well, the bad news is you can kill as many terrorists as you want, but you cannot kill terrorism. In order to kill terrorism it’s gonna have to be a 50-year Marshall Plan to not build war torn cities, but to build ideas. To rebuild violence torn minds. To educate them, to help them, to cooperate with them, to create economic partnerships so that the rage disappears, and to understand them. There are very simple rules for having a dialogue. You respect your enemy. You talk to them with the attitude, ‘Yes. We understand that you also have injustice and we also feel injustice. Can we have a room here for forgiveness on both sides? Can we refrain from belligerence?’ The more belligerent we get, the more belligerent the radicals get.”

Chopra says that, according to Rabinowitz, “I’m a purveyor of aromatherapy, enemas, I say happy thoughts make people happy.” He touches on Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s comment that he should “go light some incense.” He takes personally when the media dismisses thousands of years of wisdom and traditions, and is patient in explaining that aromatherapy and incense work through neuro-associative conditioning. If anyone bothered to ask, he would mention that he is a neuro-endocrinologist and that everything he studies has a medical basis. “If you really examine this, this is racism. This is bigotry. This is hatred. This is prejudice. And this is total lack of knowledge of another person’s culture.” You can almost hear him rolling his eyes when he says, “The only time I’ve prescribed enemas is when somebody has constipation.”

War on Torture December 3, 2008

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The November 30th edition of the Washington Post contains a fascinating article by “Matthew Alexander” who was an Interrogator that sought to get information from detainees in Iraq.  Matthew is using an alias for security reasons and details how he witnessed the types of tortures that were used in Abu Ghraib.  He refued to participate in torture and would not allow those under his command to participate in acts of torture either.  Instead he used cultural understanding and non-abusive psychological techniques to interrogate detainees and ilicit good information from them.

Torture was against Matthew’s “moral fabric” and it should be considered against the values that the Federal government and the American people stand for.  Not only is torture barbaric and inhumane but it could also result in faulty intelligence.  After all someone is more inclined to tell you what they think you want to hear whether its true or not if it will help make the pain go away.

Matthew also states that many of the foreign fighters/terrorists that came to Iraq after our invasion, came because of the abuses that occured at Abu Ghraib.  The abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib incited rage and resentment among radical groups througout the Middle East.

Matthew writes…

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

Besides waterboarding and other acts of torture the Bush Administration also utilized a policy called “Extraordinary Rendition” where detainees were sent to nations that were known for brutal torture.

At Guantanamo, many detainees have been held for years without being told what they are being charged with and without any evidence presented against them.

President Elect Obama insists that he is against torture and wants to restore America’s moral standing in the world.  He also wants to find a way to close Guantanamo.

Sadly, the policies of torture during the Bush Administration will likely be a stain on America’s foreign policy that will be used to incite radicals into terrorism for many years to come.

Right Wing Monster, Laura Ingraham December 1, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, media, Religion, Uncategorized.
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Right Wing radio host, Laura Ingraham is either a charlaton or suffers from severe cognitive dissodence. 

As noted in a previous post, Laura Ingraham is known for her homophobia.

While working for the conservative campus paper The Dartmouth Review during the 1980s, Ingraham sent an undercover reporter to secretly tape a meeting of gay and lesbian students, under the auspices of pursuing a follow-the-money story on where a mandatory $100-per-student activities fee went. “The View’s” latest guest co-host then went on to print the names of those students, who had not been made aware a reporter was present.

The piece she then ran denounced the group as “cheerleaders for latent campus sodomites.”

Its ironic that Laura is now criticizing gays for listing individuals and companies that voted “Yes on 8” when she use to intentionally out gay people and with malicious intent.

However, Laura also has a gay brother, Curtis Ingraham.  Laura eventually did an interview for the Washington Post where she explained that her views on homosexuality had been tempered due to her brother. 

“In the ten years since I learned my brother Curtis was gay, my views and
rhetoric about homosexual have been tempered, because I have seen him and
his companion, Richard, lead their lives with dignity, fidelity and
courage.”

“My brother had to claim he was Richard’s
“caretaker” to gain full access in the hospital, “knowing what they had
been through together made it sound antiseptic, almost an insult.”

Laura stated that it was seeing her brother and his late partner living their lives and caring for each other that shifted her views and it was not due to them “prosteltizing gay rights”.  Laura and the other Right Wingers are not fans of “prosteltizing” for gay rights or any type of civil rights as they view this as “greivance mongering”.  I’m not sure why they can’t understand why a group of people who is denied equal rights and protections would actually advocate for those rights and protections.

Laura indicated that it was insulting that her brother had to say that he was his partner’s “caretaker” to get into his partner’s hospital room instead of being recognized and acknowledged as his life partner.  Yet to be officially acknowledged and to have visitation rights and rights to be party to medical decisions, Curtis and Ricky would have to have been married or in a civil union.  However, Laura Ingraham seems to be against both gay marriage and civil unions as evidenced by her diatribe in her book, Power to the People.

So it would appear that Laura would have wished that Curtis and Ricky had been treated equally to married straight couples while also expressing her desire that gay couples should not recieve equal rights and protections as married straight couples.  Which is it Laura?  You can’t have it both ways.

Finally, David Brock portrays a different side to Laura Ingraham in his book, Blinded by the Right–the Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.  David Brock was a “right wing hit man” whose job was to smear liberals and others who stood in the way of the right wing agenda.  He wrote a book blasting Anita Hill, the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harrassment.  He was friends with the Right Wing darlings of the 90s– some of whom are still Right Wing darlings.  However, David was also gay.  While some of his Right Wing friends like Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter knew that he was gay, his outing to the general Conservative community and the resulting homophobic backlash, lead him on his journey to becoming a liberal and holding the Right Wing media accountable through his organization, Media Matters.

The juicier parts of his book includes descriptions of him and Laura Ingraham snorting what they believed to be cocaine (but ended up being cat tranquilizer) in a gay bar and Laura and Ann setting him up on a date with Right Wing blogger, Matt Drudge (who has sense been outed as gay by several sources) of the Drudge Report. 

He (David Brock) tells of one crazy night at a gay bar in Washington where he and Laura Ingraham sniffed up what they thought was high-grade cocaine. It was cat tranquilizer! Both of them got violently sick, and Ingraham crawled on her hands and knees through a jam-packed dance floor of gyrating men to reach him — in the men’s room where he passed out.

And he also tells about how Ingraham and Ann Coulter fixed him up on a “blind date” with another gay journalist, Matt Drudge. Brock said he wanted to keep the friendship with Drudge platonic, but that Drudge showed up in his little red compact car with a dozen roses for Brock!

They went to another gay club where Brock saw someone he found attractive and interesting, but Drudge stepped on the guy’s feet and told him to back off. Brock said Drudge was “a scary date.”
 

Brock also says in his book that Ingraham admitted to him that she doesn’t really believe all the things she says (many of us already expected that) and that it was her job to generate hateful nasty sound bites.

So who is the real Laura Ingraham?  Is she the traditionalist Cathloic who champions family values or is she the party girl drug user?  Is she affirming of gay couples or does she think that gay couples do not deserve civil unions or marriage?

Is she conflicted about cultural issues or is she simply a money grubbing charlaton who sells out her real ideas and values to cash in on a niche market based on ignorance and bigotry?

Has she made fools of the millions of consevative fans who believe that she is the real deal?

Regardless, the fact that she would continue ratcheting up fear and prejudice against gay people (including her own brother Curtis) on her radio program and during her appearances on Fox News makes her a verifiable monster.

Pro-Life and Pro-War? September 21, 2008

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I am often dewildered at how some groups and individuals can be so fervently pro-life on abortion but are also militantly pro-war and pro-death penalty.  I am perpelexed at how evangelicals, in particular, can be pro-life on abortion but not pro-life on war or capital punishment. If all life is precious then how can one rationalize contradictory viewpoints on these issues that relate to life and death?

Abortion can be a complex and emotional issue.  I sympathize with pro-lifers although I believe that women need the right to choose.  Pregnancies, of course, affect the woman’s body as she carries the fetus while it develops. Also men are responsible for all pregnancies.  A woman cannot become pregnant without a man’s sperm of course.  Therefore, if more men were responsible there would be far less unnwanted pregnancies.  Sadly, too many men refuse to wear condoms because sex doesn’t feel as good with one on.  I can also see the point that while the fetus develops and is born from the woman’s body (and changes her body and sometimes health and is mostly her responsibility while pregnant) the unborn child is not entirely hers or made from her.  The man also created this child and contributed half of the child’s dna.  Once the fetus is born and becomes a legally recognized baby the father also has a legal claim to the child.

The fetus is also technically biologically alive even though it is not recognized as being legally alive until it is born.  The term fetus also seems so technical and dehumanizing.  A pregnant woman carries a human fetus and during an abortion a human fetus is killed (terminated is the detached term that is usually used).

However, woman are more likely to be abused by males.  Woman can become pregnant through rape and/or incest.  In such a case should a woman have to endure a pregnancy and raise a baby that was the product of a violent assault? There are also medical situations where the life of the mother is threatened by her pregnancy.  What if the unborn child has been determined to have a serious physical deformity?  Could the abortion be viewed as a mercy killing/euthanasia.   We mercy kill beloved pets all the time.  Of course some would object to equating a human fetus with an animal.  Also what if the pregnant mother is mentally ill or handicapped and cannot care for the child.  The mother and father may not be able to care for the child due to economic reasons.  Is it better for an unborn child to be aborted rather than be neglected or abused after it is born?  Some children are born to horrible parents who commit heinous abuses against them.

There are complex ethical questions concerning abortion.  Genetic testing may advance to the point that parents can determine much about their child before it is born.  What if parents want to abort their children because they don’t like what their dna will determine their hair or eye color to be?  What if genetics and prenatal hormones can predict if an individual will be homosexual or not?  Would we have many parents that would abort potentially gay children? What if parents aborted their unborn children based on potential diseases or mental illnesses they may one day develop.  Could abortion be used for eugenics or even ethnic cleansing?  Perhaps these concerns are alarmist and such extremes will not come to pass.

Some abortion procedures such as dialtion and extraction seem monstrous.  Pictures of aborted fetus’ are shocking and very disturbing.

Most women probably do not make the choice to have an abortion lightly.  The right to have an abortion is considered a reproductive right that women have.  Outlawing abortion wouldn’t stop abortions either.  Therefore, abortions might as well be conducted in a safe medical environment.  Abortions can also be lessoned through education and lifting more women out of poverty.

Many conservatives and evangelicals justify being pro-war by distinguising between killing and murder. God has commanded thou “shalt not murder” not killing, they insist.  Killing during war and through the death penalty is not murder because it is sanctioned by the government and the state.  However, why doesn’t this rationale include abortion since it is also legalized by the government?  I assume this is because the unborn are considered innocent and the people killed during war and capital punishment are considered sinners. 

Capital punishment is justified by such biblical quotes as “an eye for an eye”.  War is justified because Moses led miltary battles that supposedly included killing entire tribes.  But, didn’t Jesus say to love your neighbor as yourself and to also love, bless, and pray for your enemies?  Did Jesus not also teach pacifism–turn the other cheek?  Shouldn’t Christians interpret the Old Testament through the prism of Jesus’ teachings and the New Testament?  Would the God that Jesus called Father advocate the genocide of other ethnic or cultural groups.  I say certainly not!  Unfortunately, many evangelicals say that Jesus’ teachings apply to individuals and not to the state (unless it involves persecuting gays!).

As the saying goes, war is Hell.  We send our soldiers to kill and be killed.  Our soldiers die for our freedom and sometimes for the freedom of other nations.  These brave and young men and women face unimaginable violence and must cope with witnessing acts of bravery and acts of terror that most of us could not comprehend.  During wars innocent civilans (men, women, and children) are always killed. How can the deaths of innocents be justified even if it is by accident?  What about rogue situations were innocents are purposely killed by both sides of the warring parties? Horrible atrocities occur in wars–killing, maiming, toture, rape, and pillaging.  How can Christians be pro-war when it is so violent? Pictures of war are also monstrous and deeply disturbing.

I understand the rationale that some wars may be just, such as using miltary might to stop acts of genocide or in defense of an invasion.  But I refuse to view God or Jesus as being pro-war.  We should strive for peace. Violence is too primitive and destructive and tends to beget more violence or at least intense cultural resentment that may lead to negative consequnces. I refuse to believe that killing civilans is ever justified.  Pre-emptive war on a soverign nation that has not attacked us is also going too far.

 In full disclosure, I struggle with the death penalty as well.  When someone has committed a heinous act of violence against another person such as killing, brutal rape, or maiming I think they are deserving of death.  However, sometimes innocent men and women are convicted and sentenced to death. What if the state kills an innocent person? Should we also stoop to the level of killers by killing them?  Some say that certain socio-pathic individuals do not belong in society or in life and we are better off by culling them from the flock.

In the end issues relating to life and death and war and peace are profoundly complex.  These issues stir our emotions and spark endless philosophical debates.  It is unrealistic to expect such polarized views as most people being consistently pro-life or pro-death on all the issues.  However, I maintain that we should do the best we can to raise the quality of life of the living and to give as much respect and dignity that we can to the living as well as the dead.

“No Way. No How. No McCain! No Palin!” September 20, 2008

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I attended a democratic rally in Pike County today where Hillary Clinton stumped for Bruce Lunsford (who is running against incumbant Mitch McConnel for Kentucky’s Senate seat) and for the Obama/Biden ticket.  Hillary made the case that stakes are too high for Americans to allow Republicans to continue to run the White House and that more “good Democrats” are needed in the Senate.  Lunsford and Clinton argued that McConnel stood in the way of progress in Kentucky because his interests in energy do not include clean coal. They also played up Lunsford as a self made successful business man.

Hillary asked those who voted for her during the Primary to vote for Obama/Biden in November.  Obama is not popular here in the Appalachian region.  Many in this region continue to believe that Obama is a radical Muslim or the Anti-Christ. I can’t quite figure out why they think that he may be the Anti-Christ but that meme is heard and read often in these parts.  Sadly racism also persists here although it is not as overt as it once was.  Hillary seemed to be aware of Obama’s perception here but urged Democrats and Hillary Supporters to vote for him. 

Hillary did not mince words about her feelings for the McCain/Palin ticket even though she views McCain as a friend as she reiterated her much used catch phrase: No Way. No How.  No McCain. No Palin.

Hillary and Lunsford focused much of their speeches around the current economic crisis. Harkaning back to President Clinton’s administration they lamented that it is Democrats who can fix the economic mess.  Of course Hillary also mentioned her signature issue, health care.

I found it humorous that Lundsord kept referring to the last eight years as the Bush-McConnel era.  The stigma attached to Bush and his administration is so strong that Democrats are trying to attach every Republican to Bush.  On the national stage, Obama has been linking McCain to President Bush in most of his stump speeches.

Before Hillary was introduced, former Governor Paul Patton spoke breifly. He opined that Obama has the potential to be one of the greatest Presidents in history.  He also chastized the Bush Administration for failing to capture or kill “that robe wearing idiot” referring to Osama bin Laden.  I personally found the “robe wearing idiot” comment too close to calling him a “raghead”.  While Osame is a terrorist we should be sure not to demean aspects of whole cultures especially since the Democrat party is so diverse.  A lot of individuas in the middle east still wear traditional robes and most of these individuals are not terrorists.

Another local political leader, whose name escapes me, also advocated mountain top removal (strip mining) to the chagrin of several members of the audience.  Democrats and liberals tend to be pro-environment (a woman to my left was concerned about strip mining and water pollution) yet mountain top removal leads to jobs for local residents (not to mention more money for coal companies).

Hillary had visited Prestonsburg during the Primary and had visited Pike County during the 90s.  John Edwards also visited Prestonsburg during the Primary.  Bill Clinton visited Pike County during the Primary while he was campaigning for Hillary.  The Clintons are very popular in this region as many look back favorably on their economic conditions during the Clinton Presidency.

In Memory August 26, 2008

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A few days ago one of my uncles took his own life.  He was a great man.  He was humble, mild mannered, and compassionate.  He was also a deeply spiritual man.  He loved his family dearly and was always very friendly at family gatherings.  He had suffered from seizures all his life and had went through several brain surgeries in recent years.  The brain surgeries impacted his memory and cognition.  His family reported changes in his personality and that he developed severe depression.

I am reminded that life is so precious and fragile.  I recently read that love is not a strong emotion but is a weak emotion because love feels pain and loss deeply.  Love is weak in its strength.  I am also reminded of the classic religious paradox of strength in weakness– the strength of God revealed through human weakness.  It is because of love that we mourn our family and friends.  I find it odd that death reminds us to live.