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Monday, October 30, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 3

This is the third part in a continuing series of posts examining why I am not a Republican, even though many people think that I belong in that camp. Part I outlined the most obvious reasons and Part II dealt with Republicans' misplaced perspectives on Family Values. Today I want to speak on the most significant argument that White Evangelicals have against Democrats:

ABORTION

I am Pro Life, I believe that human life begins at conception. This is something that would be expected of an Evangelical Christian such as myself, but the interesting thing is that my Pro Life stance has next to nothing to do with Christianity - the Bible is mostly silent on the question of abortion. Most of the Biblical passages that are used to support the position that human life begins at conception actually speak - in context - to God's foreknowledge and sovereignty, not to the nature and character of the baby in the womb:
The reason why I am Pro Life is because from the moment of conception there is no ontological difference between that baby and a full-grown adult besides growth and development. There is no point after conception where the baby "becomes" human, she is human from the moment a human genome is created - at conception - and as such it is just as wrong to kill her as it is to kill a full-grown vagabond by running over him with your car. No one else might ever know about the death of such an unknown individual but it is no less wrong. Ontologically, a human being is created at conception and the same laws that apply to killing any human being have to apply across the board to all human beings, be they newly conceived or terminally ill.

So how in the world could I vote for a Democrat? Simple - abortion is not a voting issue for me.

Say what?

If over a million children are being murdered every year with the approval of the government then abortion is not a voting issue, it is an overthrow the government issue. I don't think that too many people were impressed at Nuremburg when people said that they voted against the holocaust. When it comes to opposing abortion there is no middle of the road - either it's the murder of a million children a year, every year, or it's not. Either it is an evil practice that has to be eliminated immediately, by any means necessary, or it is merely the elimination of unwanted bio-matter. There is no middle way on abortion, yet suburbanites lack the courage of their convictions to actually do something about it. Soccer moms hate that babies are being slaughtered but they have to get Becky to practice - they'll just vote Republican and feel better about themselves for having struck a blow for the "good guys."

Let them comfort themselves with the ashes of Slavs, Gypsies and Jews from Auschwitz, because that's the end result of their voting - death and dismemberment. The Republicans have appointed ten (10) of the last twelve justices to the Supreme Court, and Republicans have appointed every Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the last 50 years, but Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. If the Republican Party was serious about ending abortion then they would have done it by now, but they are more interested in milking the issue than solving the problem.

But even if Roe v. Wade were overturned abortion would still be legal in America - the red states would immediately ban abortion and the blue states would immediately legalize abortion, leaving the purple states to fight it out. The GOP in purple states like Michigan and Pennsylvania tend to be more moderate, and concentrating the abortion fight in those battleground states - along with the money and volunteers that the national party craves - would strengthen a wing of the GOP that they have spent a generation trying to exterminate. The GOP has no interest in killing the goose that lays the golden campaign contributions or in resurrecting a dead wing of their party so they will keep abortion legal for as long as they can milk contributions from those who are long on expectations but short on personal commitment.

And yes, the Democrats do the same thing from the other side of the aisle.

And if you stop to think about it, both parties are full of male-bovine fecal material on the issue of abortion. It is the Republican Party which believes that government has no place in the private affairs of citizens. It is the Republican Party which believes that the government that governs least governs best. It is the Republican Party that should be articulating the Pro Choice argument, yet they take the opposite position. Why?

The Democratic Party seems to have no problem with the idea of creating a new branch of government to save some helpless creature against the wiles of the powerful, so why is it that the Democrats are absent when the most helpless of all needs someone to stand up for them? It is the Democratic Party which believes in an active government that protects the disenfranchized against the decision-makers. It is the Democratic Party which believes in protecting the least of these even if that means limiting the options of others who already have that which the least of these are trying to achieve - LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - yet Democrats side against the most helpless of all, unborn babies. Why?

The answer in both instances is the same - constituency.

When abortion became a big issue in the 60s and 70s the feminists and others who were pushing for abortion on demand were already solidly in the camp of the Democrats, so the Democrats ignored their governing philosophy and adjusted to accommodate the desires of their core constituency. The Republicans were beginning to welcome a flood of Southerners who were abandoning the Democratic Party in droves after Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress and signed it into law, and the Southern Baptists were (and are) among the most committed in their opposition to abortion, and the Republicans weren't going to alienate their new constituency by maintaining fidelity to their governing philosophy so they adjusted to accommodate the desires of their new constituency. Political parties are about winning elections, not philosophical consistency, so they focused on what was important to winning elections - their constituencies - and they've ensured that the gravy train of money and volunteers continues to flow by keeping Roe v. Wade on the books and blocking any initiative that would decrease the demand for abortions.

"They" being Democrats and Republicans.

When it's all said and done, both the Democrats and the Republicans are full of crap regarding the issue of abortion - neither party has any interest in ending abortion, and those who claim to viscerally oppose abortion have no intention of actually doing anything about it other than sending the Republicans millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteers. Nothing is going to change when it comes to abortion - I give you the last 30 years as proof-positive - so for me, at the end of the day, abortion is not a voting issue.

Two tears in a bucket...


Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:45 PM :: (2) minds freed

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Word For The Week

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

John 10:22-30
Who is Jesus? One thing that I have learned is that the way people answer that question speaks more about themselves than about the person and character of Jesus Christ. German Liberals of the 19th Century gave up their belief in the authority and veracity of Scripture so they went about their Quest For The Historical Jesus, and it just so happened that the Jesus they "discovered" looked a whole lot like a 19th Century German Liberal. There have been several such "quests" since then and every time, without failure, Jesus comes out looking a lot like the ones on the quest.

This is not limited to ignorant scholars in ivory towers - common, every-day folk do the same thing all the time. When I hear right-wing Republicans talking about Jesus it is amazing how their Supply-Side Jesus seems to fit right in with right-wing Republicans, and when I hear left-wing Democrats talk about Jesus it is amazing how Jesus seems like a Birkenstocked dude who'd be perfectly at peace within the realm of left-wing Democrats. Someone once said that in the beginning God created man in His own image and man has been trying to return the favor ever since. I especially find it humorous when people decry "annoying absolutism toward the delusional" while they themselves display and annoying absolutism toward the delusional. Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" while someone else says, "Jesus is not the way to eternal life. All Life is Eternal." Who should we believe? The Creator of the universe and mankind or some guy with an opinion? For the Christian it is not about our opinion, it is about the Word of God, the very words of God. It is not my opinion of Jesus that determines that which is really real - my opinion is irrelevant - it is Jesus' own words that reveal who He is and what is the nature of eternal life. Jesus is the one who gives eternal life according to Jesus, the question is whether or not you trust Him.

Do you trust Him?

What do you see when you look at Jesus? Do you see an idealized version of yourself or do you see the risen Savior? Do you see a good man or the Creator of the universe? Do you see someone who would put the Republicans in their place or the One who will judge all of the world? What do you see when you look at Christ? Do you see the One who suffered that we might be reconciled back to the Father? Do you see the One who laid down His life so that we might have eternal life? Do you see the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God? What do you see?




My Lord and my God.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to see Him as He truly is,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 2

This is the second part of my examination of my partisan preferences and why I stand solidly in the Democratic camp, despite the observations of many that I ought to be elsewhere. Part One touched on the most obvious reasons, but now I'd like to delve into the heart of the matter. On many issues I have substantial agreement with the Republicans, but the way that they approach the issues and the way that they prioritize the issues makes the Republican Party an incredibly inhospitable place for people with some progressive convictions.

Family Values
I affirm the ethical system that is commonly referred to as "Family Values" at every point, however I do not believe that it is the job of the government to enforce that ethical system. Our laws reflect all of our values, and I certainly believe that every American has the right to work toward persuading a majority of their fellow citizens to support laws that reflect their views and values, but I have a serious problem with people dragging the name of Jesus Christ into secular politics, as I have noted on several occasions (An Evangelical View On Progressive Politics; Religious Right And Wrong; Theocracy, Rapture, And You; Pharisees, Sadducees, & Scribes; et al.).

I especially have a problem with this overwrought focus on the family. I believe that the family is a practical and valuable entity, but the United States of America is organized around the individual - not the household - and unless one advocates a one-household-one-vote Constitutional Amendment (which would likely repeal the 19th Amendment in the process) it is impossible to logically assert the family as the primary organizing unit of society. Paychecks are cut to individuals, not families. Criminals are punished individually for their crimes, not their entire families. People are elected to office individually, hired for jobs individually, and sued in court individually, not bundled with their families. American society is based upon the individual, and how those individuals interact with each other should be of little interest to the government - every small-government conservative should affirm that without question, as I have already noted.

But does the fact that America is organized around the individual mean that Christians should simply shut up and say nothing about the value of families? Hardly, but valuing the family unit is not among my highest priorities and it ought not be among the highest priorities of Bible-believing Christians. Why not? The priorities of Christians ought to match the priorities of Jesus Christ, and Jesus commanded us to focus on His kingdom, saying, "...the pagans run after [material] things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." The things that we ought to prioritize are the things that will transcend this life, things that are eternal, like the salvation of men's souls. When we take an eternal view of secular politics is it abundantly clear just how futile all of this talk about families really is: there are no families in eternity, just individuals.

Say what?

Consider this discussion between the Sadducees and Jesus:
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
If there is no marriage in eternity then why are we so pressed about families here and now? When people try to redefine marriage into something that it has never been then we should certainly resist them, and when people try to equate moral turpitude with the union of one man and one woman we should certainly say No, but this is not an issue that requires any kind of priority. Marriage was instituted for the benefit of mankind - "It is not good for the man to be alone" - mankind was not created for the purpose of marriage. Marriage is a means to an end, not an end unto itself, much like the Sabbath. Who cares if three men want to call their intimate relationship a marriage - what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? It certainly does not conform with God's revealed design for mankind and a Christian should certainly reject it, but reject it and move on - it's not that important and it's certainly not enough to make me vote Republican.


Part III
In Part III I will begin to examine the following topics and explain why I can't vote Republican:

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Friday, October 27, 2006

Saturday Comics

Oxycontin Overload
Faking Symptoms
Titanic Deck Chairs
Family Values
Monkey Business
Because It Works
Phased Withdrawl
Rabid Diseases
Bedfellows
Spiked Kool-Aid
GTFOHWTBS
Exercise In Futility
Plan Of Action
Obama!
Banzai!
New Slogan
The Cabal Guy

And my favorite for today: Trickle Down Economy

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:06 PM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 1

As Judgement Day draws nearer (November 7, 2006) I think it is an appropriate time to revisit my political affiliation. When I talk to Republicans they often comment that I don't sound like a liberal, and they're right. When I talk to Democrats they often note that I don't sound like a liberal, and they're right. In fact, one of the very few things that my Democratic and Republican friends could agree upon is the fact that I think and sound much more like the people who constitute the Republican base than those who constitute the Democratic base. So why is it that I am a Democrat, and a partisan one at that? It's really not that complex:

NIGGER PLEASE
One doesn't have to actually utter the word "Nigger" to convey the thought associated with the word, much the same way that saying that a woman has Ann Coulter tendancies would be calling her a female dog without uttering the appropriate word, or commenting about the foreskin on a man's neck would convey the meaning without uttering the appropriate word. America's Pac, a Republican group that claims to be refuting the belief on the part of the Republican Party that they cannot attract the Black vote, recently aired an ad that featured the following dialog:

Amos: If you make a little mistake with one of your ‘hos,' you'll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked.
Andy: That's too cold. I don't snuff my own seed."
Amos: Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican."

Now the ad doesn't actually name the speakers Amos & Andy, but they might as well have. The fact that someone alligned with the Republican Party would think that minstrel advertising would appeal to Blacks reveals either their contempt for Blacks or their absolute ignorance of Black culture. Based on the Republican Party's track record I would tend to believe the former, but if it is pure ignorance then it also shows their contempt of Blacks in that they didn't even bother to check with their target audience to see if it would be effective or offensive. Personally, I think they couldn't care less about Blacks and our votes - they simply want to show White suburbanites that today's Republicans are not Trent Lott racists since they do Black outreach. WTF ever.



SPIC N SPAN
Of course, Republican bigotry is not limited to Americans of African descent. A Congressional candidate in California named Tan Nguyen (Republican, of course) mailed out a letter to 14,000 Latino residents of Orange County which falsely claimed that immigrants could be subject to criminal penalties if they voted in a federal election and that anti-immigration groups would be able to access a federal computer system containing the names of those who vote in October and November. Aside from the fact that no such law or database exists this naked attempt at vote-suppression is normal for Republicans, be it through purging felons from the voting files (and anyone with a name similar to a felon, sorry Mrs. Jackson - I am for real) or through installing fewer voting machines in urban precincts than in suburban precincts or through opposing every initiative to make voting more accessible and verifyable. Mr. Nguyen operated in accordance with the Republican playbook, he just neglected one minor detail - you have to use shadow groups to do your dirt (e.g. Swift Boats or Club For Growth or America's PAC). Obviously, the County GOP has asked Mr. Nguyen to withdraw from the race, feigning righteous indignation at their candidate who had about as much chance of winning in that district as Barney Frank would have winning in Mississippi. SSDD. And Black Republicans are demonstrating that they understand the Jesse Helms playbook too:



PART 2
There are also substantive issues (not that the GOP's bigotry isn't a substantive issue) wherein I signifigantly disagree with large swaths of the Republican Party. That will be the subject of Part 2, issue by issue, coming Thursday Saturday because work keeps interfering with my blogging...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:00 PM :: (2) minds freed

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Word For The Week

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Matthew 5:33-37
As we approach election day I am reminded of the fact that one thing that I absolutely cannot stand is mealy-mouthed politicians trying to play both sides against the middle, cowards who lack the courage of their convictions. This was my biggest problem with the junior senator from Massachusetts, the whole "I voted against it before I voted for it" thing. Triangulation was a useful tactic for Bill Clinton in many regards because he genuinely was a middle-of-the-road politician, he genuinely held positions that could appeal to both the Left and the Right, but it is at best disingenuous for a pure progressive to try to portray themselves as a middle-of-the-road moderate or for a conscientious conservative to try to say that they are a mainstream moderate. In both instances the politician should state what they believe forthrightly and stand up for it if they truly believe it.

I understand the political reality that President Andrew Sheppard pointed out - the problem isn't that they don't get it, the problem is that they can't sell it - but Jesus commands those of us who are called by the name of Christ to let our "Yes" be "Yes" and our "No" be "No." We are to deal with our neighbors with integrity, with love, and with the character of Christ. You do not deceive those whom you love; you do not obfuscate your intentions with those about whom you care - you deal with such people respectfully and clearly state your intentions, your thoughts and your beliefs honestly. Love has very little to do with politicians getting elected - they often appeal to hatred because it seems to be a more effective motivator in getting people to the polls - but we are called to live a life of love, dealing honestly with everyone, such that when we say "Yes" everyone knows that we don't mean "Maybe" - we need not define the meaning of the word "Is." Deception is of the evil one, and when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

White Evangelicals appear to be awakening from their self-induced slumber as it pertains to the Republican Party. Since Roe v. Wade there have been 9 Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices and abortion-on-demand is still the law of the land. Every year the Republicans seem to push another tax cut through Congress at the expense of great political capital but no political capital is spent on the agenda of social conservatives - a little speech of Terri Schiavo here or a ballot initiative on gay marriage there, but the GOP leadership hasn't done anything substantive for the social conservatives within their coalition, and White Evangelicals are beginning to understand that they are being pimped by corporate lackeys within the Republican Party.


We are commanded to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God not as some arbitrary limitation on our activity but for our own good - when you deal in integrity it is obvious when people's intentions toward you are less than noble, when their "Yes" means "Probably not" and their "No" means "You never know." November 7th will be a day of reckoning for the Republican Party, a time to reap the harvest that they have sown, but the lesson that all of us need learn from this is that when we say that we are going to do something then we need to follow through, and when we say that we won't do something then we need to stand firm on our convictions. When we try to stand on someone else's convictions - "Read my lips, no new taxes" - we inevitably fall. Hopefully the Democrats have learned that lesson.

Hopefully.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you walk in integrity,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Comics

Selachimorphaphobia
Kissing Babies
Dead-Enders
Evil Empire
Balancing Act
Stuck In Stupid
Cut...
...And Run
The Flying Dutchman
Get The Watrerboard
Butcher's Bill
Message Delivered
Hara-Kiri
National Embarassment
Artificial Insemination
Dick Tater

And my favorite for today: Midterm Elections

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:30 AM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No Taxation Without Representation

As the next election day draws near, I'm reminded of the fact that DC resident have no representation in the Legislative Branch. None. Oh yeah we pay those Federal taxes and serve in those Federal wars.

But no input on how those tax dollars are spent or on whom war or peace is declared.

The Hon. Elenor Holmes Norton has been fighting for years to get the vote for DC, inching ever closer to the day of full enfranchisement.

If you truly love democracy (and you live in one of the fifty states) please urge your representative to support full voting rights for the District of Columbia.

Think about this way: Sen. Bill Frist and Rep. Denny Hastert hold control over a majority Black Democratic city. You wouldn't want that for your town would you? I didn't think so.




...and you know you want two more Democratic senators and another seat in the House. So do the right thing. Support full DC voting rights.

Emancipated by Talib @ 1:01 AM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Word For The Week

Now if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:12-26
One thing that I find amusing is the popular clumping of "People of Faith" into one group. It's similar to the clumping of "People of Color" - the only thing that Blacks and Nigerians and Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and Vietnamese have in common is the fact that we're not White. Now to some (many?) that's all that matters - that key difference makes us "those people," the undesirables - and likewise to a secular culture the difference between a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim or a Jim Jones cult member is essentially moot: we're all "those people," religious kooks. Kanye West said that George W. Bush doesn't care about Black people and this is true, but Black people comprise a small subset of the people that George W. Bush doesn't care about - Bush doesn't care about anyone who isn't a part of the Haves and the Have Mores, and that includes the overwhelming majority of Black people. Likewise, secular opposition to all things religious tends to clump all religions into one group - people of faith - and some religious people have taken that label on themselves, but it is a misleading label: "faith" is about all that we have in common.

It is not faith that redeems us, it is not faith that restores us, it is not faith that gives us eternal life - it is the object of our faith that provides us with redemption, restoration, and eternal life. It is Jesus Christ who saves us, not some nebulous notion of faith. Faith has no power in and of itself, it is merely a means of connecting with the One who does have the power to save, seal, and deliver. I can have faith in my ability to fly, but if I jump off of a building then I am going to discover the objectively real ground in a hurry. I can have faith in the Detroit Lions' ability to beat the Chicago Bears, but when the Monsters of the Midway come to Ford Field it will be proven whether or not that faith is well placed. I can have faith in the human potential to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly, but the presidency of George W. Bush is proof-positive that if such a potential actually exists then it often goes unrealized. It's not about faith itself, it's about the object of our faith.

In whom - or what - do you place your faith?

The Christians in Corinth were speculating that there was no resurrection from the dead, that once you die that's it - you're nothing but worm food in the dirt nap. Paul had to take the Corinthians down the logical progression that their little speculation necessitated - if there is no resurrection then Jesus Christ was not resurrected from the dead, and if Jesus Christ was not resurrected from the dead then you are wasting your time placing your faith in Him and you are quintessentially pitiful. But, in fact, Jesus has been raised from the dead - as Paul immediately reiterated - and we who place our faith in Him will be raised to walk with Him when He returns. We who place our faith in Jesus Christ will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever.

Jews, Muslims, or Jim Jones cult members won't affirm that, and therein lies the difference - it is not about our faith, it is about the object of our faith and whether or not our faith is properly-placed. Those who place their faith in the Detroit Lions will frequently find that the Lions are incapable of achieving their objectives - they are winless so far this season, and those who place their faith in the Lions will find themselves utterly disappointed this year. The Lions lack the skill, the will, and the ability to win championships, but Jesus Christ will achieve all that He set out to achieve. Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Are you in good hands?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to place your faith in Him,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday Comics

Profit Motive
Message Delivered
Vlad The Impaler
Little Man
Dedicated To Dad
Click
Is As Does
Whips And Chains
Pubescent Pandering
Creeps
Deep Doodoo
Disconnect
Leadership Vacuum
Personal Responsibility
Two Hands...
...And A Flashlight
Predatory Lending
Ghost Of Committees Past
Winning Strategy
Wedgie Politics
Numb3rs

And my favorite for today: GOTV

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 10:30 AM :: (0) minds freed

Friday, October 13, 2006

Democrats Better Win

The Democrats better take at least the House if not the Senate as well. I mean the Republicans have basically rolled out the red carpet for the Dems with blunder after blunder, scandal after scandal. If the Dems can't pull this off then there needs to be a serious re-examination of the entire party from top to bottom.

Not only that, but I think the country needs for the Democrats to take at least the House. The deficits, corruption, incomptence - it's just not healthy. I don't think the Democratic party is the best thing since sliced bread, but I mean as a tax-paying citizen I expect a lot more than this garbage.

What's really pathetic is the sad story of this Foley scandal. Folks knew that something was going on and did absolutely nothing. Nothing. For years.

These are the same folks that impeached President Clinton for lying about getting head from a consenting adult, then they turn around and protect a child predator sending instant messages to teenagers asking "Do I make you horny?" How disgusting!

And let me be clear - when I'm talking about Republicans I'm not saying that all registered Republicans are horrible people or anything like that. The Republican leadership, however, is on some reeeeaaally shakey ground right about now.

What I don't understand is how some registered Republicans accept incompetence from their elected officials. I mean sheer incompetence. Like the whole Iraq war situation. Or the surplus-to-deficit magic trick. Or not being able to even rescue American citizens stranded in a flooded city. What good is the government if it takes days to even REACT with any sort of purpose? And say all you want about the incompetent local government (Dems some they be), but I believe part of our federal taxes go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for occasions such as, say...a hurricane?! I know there are plenty of Republicans from Christian evangelicals to fiscal conservatives have stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and have realized that the emperor has no clothes. Look, I'll vote for a Repub if I think they're the right person for the job. I would've voted for Bloomberg in NYC last time if I was still registered to vote there. I'd consider voting for John McCain if he ran for president. Now I'm registered in DC, and that means I have no represenation in Congress. Booooo!!! Nor is there statewide office either so the options are limited.

All I'm saying is, I'm tired of this garbage and if the Democrats can do a decent job then they better win.

Emancipated by Talib @ 12:29 AM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Assume the Position

Here's an interesting tidbit of the day: NYPD Captain orders police to stop and frisk every single Black man that comes into a particular train station in Brooklyn, NY

According to Commissioner Raymond Kelly, it's a misunderstanding of the directions

Riiiiight....

Emancipated by Talib @ 11:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, October 09, 2006

Flavor Of Love

It is an amazing phenomenon in the human experience where normal people cannot seem to help themselves but reflexively stare at car wrecks. We've seen hundreds of car wrecks - thousands if you watch the evening news - yet when we come across a new wreck we reflexively, instinctively slow down or stop to gawk at the carnage.

I am reminded of this phenomenon as I have learned that Flavor Flav's train wreck of a television show, The Flavor of Love, is the highest rated show in the history of VH1. Ever. The only thing more sick than that is the fact that I'm one of the fools who can't take his eyes off of the train wreck - TiVo is the bane of Western society.

It is also a useful point of reference for the reality check that was signed, sealed, and delivered to me last night from my boy DP. I have always said that it is best to bounce things off of someone who thinks like you but who doesn't have a problem with telling you the naked truth, cellulite and all. There's this one sister that was brought to my attention back home - let's call her "Deelishis" - that I've been talking to on and off for the last month or so. After about 30 seconds of conversation I knew that Deelishis wasn't my intellectual peer, and after about 5 minutes it occured to me that she probably wouldn't be Flav's intellectual peer either. Nonetheless, Deelishis is a church-going girl who's trying to do right and gets the thumbs-up from my Mom, my Dad (especially Dad), and my sister.

There's also this sister - let's call her "Nibblz" - that I've met locally. She has a lot of characteristics of a certain former fiancee of mine - good and not so good - including an affinity for the Pittsburgh Steelers (pray for them, they need it desperately). I've not yet tested her mental horsepower but I don't get the impression that I'm dealing with a V-8 - more like a Prius. That and she's a biscuit away from Lane Bryant, and I've never been into big sisters - ever.

Thick? Yes.

Big? No.

The difference? Bootz was thick; Like Dat was big.

This is where Dave issued my reality check as we were commiserating over the play of the afore-mentioned Steelers. As I was explaining my options to him he asked one simple question: "Have you lost your ever-lovin' mind? Settle, and you'll regret it for the rest of your life, calling me at dark-thirty in the morning complaining about some chick who just doesn't get it." I know that he's right because that is the exact advise that I've dispensed over the last twenty years or so, word-for-word even. Nothing quite like having your own words smack you in the frontal lobe. This is why it is important to have someone that you can talk to without pretense, someone who can and will call BS on you when you're lying to yourself. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

What to do? Well, I'm clearly not going to be with either Nibblz or Deelishis, but I suppose there's nothing wrong with dinner and a movie here or there until I come across my Angel. All in due time I suppose, but in the mean time the flavor of love tastes to me like σκύβαλον.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:15 PM :: (2) minds freed

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Word For The Week

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11
One thing that I have always found to be instructive is the way that Jesus dealt with situations. Whether the instigator be false-teachings Pharisees or soul-sapping Sadducees or the devil himself, Jesus always handled the situation in a manner that both shows us how to handle a similar situation and illustrates which values and priorities we should cherish. The temptation of Jesus shows us how to identify demonic temptation and how to resist and refute it, all in eleven short verses.

The first thing that we see here is that the devil will disguise his temptations as well-intended suggestions. Jesus had just finished a forty-day fast and was obviously hungry, so Satan simply suggested that Jesus fix himself something to eat. What's wrong with that? After all, the fast had been completed and it was time to eat - what was wrong with suggesting that Jesus turn some stones into bread so that He could feed Himself? The answer is embedded in Jesus' reply, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Jesus juxtaposed the Word of God against eating bread, confessing that the former trumps the latter. The problem with the suggestion - the temptation - was that Satan suggested that Jesus use His power - "If you are the Son of God..." - for His own benefit. If you read the Bible you will find that Jesus never once used His power to His own benefit - not once - as Jesus said, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Satan's temptation was for Jesus to take His focus off of what the Father commissioned Him to do and instead focus on Himself. That's Satan's modus operandi - the devil often disguises his temptations as well-intended suggestions, just like he stepped to Jesus under the guise of good intentions.

Satan's true intention is to sow seeds of doubt. Notice in his temptation of Jesus he constantly says, "If you are the Son of God" - questioning the nature of Jesus. It is much like those who say, "If you are a Christian then you have to sell all of your stuff and give it to the poor" - woefully misrepresenting Scripture in order to justify themselves in their own eyes. Jesus responded to Satan's temptations with the Word of God in every instance, "It is written" "It is written" "It is written." The source of authority is the Word of God - for man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God - and it is the answer for Satan's seeds of doubt. There is a method to Satan's madness and it is necessary for him to introduce doubt in order for him to achieve his will for you.

Satan's very nature is deception and he deals in it naturally. Jesus, speaking to scoffers of His teachings, said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." There is a reason why the ninth commandment is against bearing false witness against your neighbor. There are many ways to bear false witness without "lying." When someone speaks a falsehood and you know it to be false and yet say nothing - like many Democrats did when Bush was laying the case for his Misadventure in Mesopotamia - then you have borne false witness and deceived the listeners. When you spin the focus of an event onto a relatively meaningless tangent instead of the actual significance of the event, as the Republicans are doing with this Mark Foley fiasco, then you have borne false witness. When you intentionally play word games to allow the listener to draw their own conclusions that may or may not have anything to do with what you are saying - "I take full responsibility for my actions, although I was molested as a youth, and I have a drinking problem" - then you are bearing false witness. You might not be lying in a technical sense, but you are certainly bearing false witness, acting as an agent of the evil one through acts of deception, and that is a sin against God.

The devil's means are disguise, doubt and deception, but his method is diversion. Satan uses those means in order to divert our attention away from God and onto ourselves. He does this by minimizing God and maximizing man in the eyes of men. He disguises his words as reasonable doubts about God's character and nature, tempting us to put God to the test, tempting us to tell God, "Prove it!" This was the second temptation, suggesting that Jesus hurl himself off of the top of the temple in order to see the angels save Him from falling to the ground. Again, as always, Jesus responded with Scripture: "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" When we are focused on God then we're not busy trying to test God, much the same way that when you are busy loving your spouse you are not busy trying to test the limits of your spouse's love, trying to make them "Prove it!" But it is Satan's desire to divert our attention from God and place it on ourselves, and he often does it using people who don't realize that they are operating under demonic pretenses. When Peter tried to keep Jesus from going to the cross Jesus didn't rebuk Peter, he rebuked Satan: "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Likewise, I've recently read where someone said, "Christianity is selling you something that already belongs to you" and "We will become Son of Man together." Seems like I've heard that before, "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God."

Satan never changes, and folk keep falling for the okie-doke.

Satan consistently attempts to divert our attention away from God and onto ourselves so that he might achieve his ultimate will for us - keeping us divided from the love of God. It is that division that Satan is ultimately after, and he'll use whatever it takes in order to achieve that ultimate end - riches for some, poverty for other, power for some, oppression for others - carrot or stick matters not to Satan so long as people reject God and the only means for connecting with the Father, Jesus Chrsit. Satan boiled it down to brass tax once Jesus had twice refuted him with Scripture: "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." It doesn't take black robes and human sacrifices to worship Satan, it simply takes a rejection of Jesus Christ because ultimately there are only two choices - join Jesus in eternity or join Satan in eternity. One can certainly reject both options, but there is a default option if you fail to choose Jesus, and that destination is the Lake of Fire. Surely there are those who consider Jesus' teachings about eternal life to be "fractally absurd," that Christians think it as some kind of reward for choosing the right religion, but Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jesus said, "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."

The devil says, "You will not surely die, you will be like God."

The devil wants to divide us from the love of God, so he will try to divert our attention from God through deceptive seeds of doubt disguised as well-intended suggestions. When we face demonic temptation we must submit to God; resist the devil and he will flee. Everyone must choose for themselves whom they will serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who will provide a way out of demonic temptation,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday Comics

Undecided...
...For A Reason
Lifestyle Preference
Family Values
State Of Denial...
...And A River In Egypt
Dog Gone Shame
Shining Example
If Only
Habeas Corpses
Reality Check
Man Law
Perverted Legislators
National Registry
New Page
Agent Causation...
...By The Numbers
Teetotalers...
...And Pedophiles
Is Our Children Learning
Define "Is"
Brokeback Abrahamoff
Empty Words
Personal Responsibility...
...And Desperate Measures
Recycling...
Blue Dresses
Gun Control...
...Revisited
Illegal Immigration
Smells Like Fish

And my favorite for today: Neverland Ranch

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:45 AM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Word For The Week

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

Acts 28:1-6
One thing that I have learned is that before you can apply the Word to others you must first apply it to yourself. This piece particularly spoke to me where I am right now so I thought I'd repost it today.

There are precious few people on the planet who actually like snakes. Snakes are universally reviled and with good reason - they're treacherous and they're often deadly. Snakes are hated in such a way that in our common vernacular one of the worse things that you can call someone is a snake. A snake is someone who has no character, someone who has no scruples, someone who has no problem with smiling in your face and patting you on the back for the sole purpose of finding out where to thrust the knife. Have you ever had to deal with a snake?

The Apostle Paul had been snake-bitten throughout his ministry in Asia Minor. Five times he received 39 lashes. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, he spent a night and a day in the open sea, and he was constantly on the move. He had been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from his own countrymen and in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and, above all, in danger from false brothers. Paul was well acquainted with snakes.

So Paul must have chuckled the last time that he was shipwrecked - on Malta - when a snake bit him as he was helping to gather firewood. Everyone thought that he was a dead man walking, but what did Paul do? Paul shook it off. Paul didn't sit around and cry about his fate. Paul didn't kvetch about his perpetual misfortune. Paul shook that snake off before the venom could get into his system. That is exactly how we have to face adversity:

Folks hating on you? Shake it off!

Spouse acting a fool? Shake it off!

Kids acting like Chucky? Shake it off!

Boss treating you like Toby? Shake it off!

Politicians lying to your face? Shake it off!

Player haters trying to take your place? Shake it off!

Snakes refusing to pay you? Shake it off!

We cannot sit around and complain about what has happened to us - we have to shake that stuff off and move forward with what God has for us to do. If you look at the text, Paul didn't just shake the snake off of him - he shook it into the fire. You see, not only do we have to get past the problem, we have to solve the problem. Paul eliminated the source of his problem - he didn't just sit around and whine about it, he did something about it. There's an old saying that God helps those who help themselves, and there's some truth to that. We have to get past our helplessness and take care of our own responsibilities. We have to shake off adversity and squash whatever problems hinder us so that we can achieve all of our objectives. That is what Paul did on his way to Nero's chopping block, and that is what we have to do in our every-day living.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who implores you to Shake It Off,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 8:15 AM :: (0) minds freed

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