Would Obama be “winning” in the Ukraine if he “baptized” more terrorists?

Sarah Palin told a recent crowd at an NRA rally that "if [she] were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” It's a quote that's gotten a lot of attention in the past few days for several reasons, one being that it's a complete mockery of Christian theology which has drawn criticism from conservatives like Mollie Hemingway and Joe Carter. The psalmist says that blessed is the one who "does not sit in the seat of the scoffers" (Psalm 1:1), Sarah Palin is e … [Read more...]

The God of no compromise and the government shutdown

For 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 … [Read more...]

Would you refuse to negotiate if…?

Whatever 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 … [Read more...]

Will you pray with Francis for peace?

American 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 … [Read more...]

Nope, no racism in America…

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. … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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

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 … [Read more...]

Methodism's secret crush on Mark Driscoll

There's something attractive about Mark Driscoll to Methodists in a Clint Eastwood (pre-chair-incident) kind of way. We often see our denomination's attendance decline as punishment for our unwillingness to "stand up for the truth," "call sin a sin," use words like hell and Satan and wrath in our sermons, etc. We're surrounded by independent evangelical megachurches whose preachers have booming baritone voices that tell it like it is, which is why they're growing faster than any tower Babel ever … [Read more...]

The disaster of not talking with your enemies

One of the most cogent things that Barack Obama said during his 2008 presidential campaigns was that he would sit down with America's enemies since it's bad strategy to "punish" them by not talking with them. He was widely ridiculed by people whose heroes Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon accomplished their greatest foreign policy achievements with the USSR and China precisely through their willingness to treat America's enemies with dignity, which happened in a different time before American … [Read more...]


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