7 things @ 9 o’clock (10.30)

1.After the apocalypse, she missed her dog.”

As the word has transmogrified into its contemporary usages, it has come to be synonymous with cataclysm, violence and destruction on a global scale, fire and brimstone, the End of Everything. Suppressed by such emphases is the other side of apocalypse: utopian dreams, “a new heaven and new earth” as the biblical apocalypse puts it, the fantasy of the slate wiped clean.

2. Virginia attorney general, anti-sodomy activist and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli spoke Monday at a convocation at Liberty University. I guess the folks at Liberty looked at Cuccinelli’s poll numbers and figured they’d better act fast if they wanted to catch him while he was still a public figure.

Sen. Rand Paul also spoke at the convocation, giving a speech that was partly plagiarized from the Wikipedia entry for the movie Gattaca. This tells us: 1. Paul is dumb enough to think it’s possible to steal from Wikipedia without getting caught; and 2. If Rand Paul ever asks you if you’ve seen a movie, just say “Yes, loved it, seen it seven times” and then quickly change the subject. Otherwise, he’ll launch into a long, droning summary of the plot, spoilers and all. (Oh, and Paul did the same thing in a June speech — plagiarizing the Wikipedia entry for Stand and Deliver.)

This church mural is, I believe, meant to be read “Arise.”

3. David Crary offers a helpful overview of the problems with the evangelical Christian adoption movement (he’s writing for the AP so he’s not allowed to talk about problems, only “criticisms”): “Christian evangelical adoption movement perseveres amid criticism, drop in foreign adoptions.”  One key criticism is a lack of safeguards — or interest — to ensure that adopted children are actually orphans and not just poor.

Adopting an orphan can be a wonderful act of generosity and hospitality, but a movement that “uncritically participates in adoption systems riddled with child laundering, where children are illicitly obtained through fraud, kidnapping or purchase” isn’t helping orphans any more than the story of David and Bathsheba is about ministry to widows.

(Update: The poorly worded front page summary of this item has been re-worded for clarity.)

4. The race is on. My guess for projected finish: 15. Hawaii; 16. New Mexico; 17. Illinois.

5. Zack Hunt looks at the god-awful trailer for the tribal Christian movie God’s Not Dead (featuring Kevin Sorbo, the Newsboys, and poor Dean Cain) and wonders if this is the first Christian-brand movie based on a Facebook meme. The plot seems similar to the Christian-student-dumbfounds-atheist-perfesser urban legend Zack discusses, but I don’t think it’s based on that bogus story directly. I think it’s just based on the same impulse — the revenge fantasy of how awesome it would have been to have said just the right thing at just the right time so that instead of losing that argument, I’d have been all, like, Bam! — high five me bro’ — and that stupid professor with his stupid books and ideas and stuff would’ve been all like, “Uh duhhh der duh duh duh.” Man, that would’ve been awesome!

I don’t think even the thespian skills of Hercules himself can be enough to make that sad little delusional fantasy into a compelling story worth watching (worth writing, worth filming, etc.). On the other hand, a story about a guy whose life is so unrewarding and whose faith is so tenuously fragile that he sits around indulging in such pathetic fantasies, preferring them to reality — that might make a good movie.

6. Martin Luther King Jr. on school prayer:

Contrary to what many have said, [the Supreme Court] sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right.

The man was a Baptist.

7. Oh please oh please oh please let this happen: David Barton may run for the U.S. Senate in Texas. My guess is he’s savvy enough about his current career as a lying con artist to know that the scrutiny that would come from such a high profile race would destroy him. But then con artists also tend to be narcissists with the hubris to imagine they can pull off anything, and the potential of expanding his direct mail database and tapping all those billionaire suckers in the Club for Growth might tempt him to do it.

Here’s hoping that if he does run, journalists won’t be satisfied with the shelf-full of documented lies, fabrications and forgeries already committed by Barton, but will be inspired by that long history of mendacity to follow the money, digging deeper into this crooked man’s crooked life.

Warren Throckmorton says that a “Draft David Barton for U.S. Senate” Facebook page encouraging him to challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn in a primary has already gathered 1,000 “likes.” Texas Democrats should be clicking that “like” button too — short of Christine O’Donnell moving to Texas, they couldn’t ask for a more promising scenario than a Barton/Cornyn primary.

The promissory note
There and back again
Vanitas vanitatum ...
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