Archive for December 15th, 2007

Killing Time NYC Photoblogging

Despite walking all the way up from Penn Station (33rd St.) to the Guggenheim (88th St.) and then back down to the 50s, I still found myself about two hours early for my grandpa’s 90th birthday party. So I had to wander around some more to kill time and hopefully find some place to sit and relax for a bit.

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Wait… what? Is that anything like The Curly Shuffle?

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Black & white building.

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Color building… with leaves! (They’re actually the only reason it’s in color…)

December 15th, 2007 at 05:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Christian Conservatives Are Neither Christian Or Conservative. Discuss.

As Peggy Noonan (of all people) points out, religion is becoming a little too much of a factor in selecting a Republican presidential candidate. But are Republican Christians really Christians in any meaningful sense of the word? Judith Warner has the same doubts I do:

…I’m thinking of the now entirely muted issue of whether the basic ethical foundations of Romney, Huckabee et al’s political views truly are “Christian” – in the good-neighborly sense of the word.

I am referring here to the sentiments that lie behind the candidates’ attitudes toward gays, which may have found their most honest and open expression in Huckabee’s recently resurrected 1992 suggestion that AIDS patients should be forcibly isolated. I am thinking too of Christian conservative opposition to progressive taxation, public spending for the needy and government “meddling” in such matters as anti-discrimination policies. And, of course, of the willingness to sacrifice women by genuflecting before a segment of the population that is scared witless by modernity and sugar-coats its fear and hate in the name of the sacred. (As governor, Huckabee, according to veteran Arkansas political journalist Max Brantley, once “stood in the hospital door, at least figuratively, to prevent state funding” for a mentally handicapped teenage girl who’d been raped by her stepfather and needed to have an abortion.)

(…)

“We cannot abandon the field of religious discourse,” Barack Obama, the most eloquently convincing of them all, said back in June of 2006. “Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome – others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.”

These days, however, for all the talk of religion, there is little public soul-searching about the absence of care and compassion, love, acceptance and inclusion – the things that many consider to be the essence of Christianity – in the words of our purported Christian leaders.

(…)

In the winter of 2004, Howard Dean – a man who considers himself a faithful Christian – raised… questions about the nature of American fundamentalism. “Don’t you think Jerry Falwell reminds you a lot more of the Pharisees than he does of the teachings of Jesus?” he asked in Iowa. “And don’t you think this campaign ought to be about evicting the money-changers from the temple?”

This may well have been the beginning of the end for Dean’s campaign. But what a moral, values-driven (if politically foolhardy) thing it was, what a breath of fresh air it was, to suggest that Christian conservatives ought actually to be Christian in spirit as well as in name. It would be nice today to hear a candidate step up and oppose all that is “appalling, brutal and bigoted” in the limited religious views that substitute for spirituality in American politics today. Who knows – it might even be good politics.

Amen. How can people who call themselves Christians be so utterly devoid of compassion? How can they manage to stand for the opposite of virtually everything Jesus stood for? I sometimes refer to the intolerant right-wing fundamentalists as “Old Testament Christians,” because the Old Testament’s authoritarian message of rage and vengeance is all that they’ve absorbed from their much-bethumped Bibles.

It’s also very questionable whether modern conservatives are really even conservatives anymore. Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry pointed out – shock of shocks! – that Dubya isn’t really a fiscal conservative. Wow! Who knew? Of course, this begs the question of whether any conservatives are fiscal conservatives any more, at least in the sense that I understand it, i.e., in favor of balanced budgets and a strong economy. Now if “fiscal conservative” now means “fiscal right-winger,” and stands for screwing the poor and helping the rich, then pretty much all self-identified conservatives fit the description. Including Dubya.

And as Paul Rosenberg pointed out, it goes way beyond that. Today’s conservatives don’t really seem to adhere to any traditional conservative values. Conservativism is merely the respectable mask that they wear to cover their fear, greed, and hate.

1 comment December 15th, 2007 at 03:16pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Religion,Republicans


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