A belated lesson for Ted Cruz on speaking for the people

It helps when more people are behind you. How’s the view from under the bus?

ICYMI: Politico 9/28 – Cruz sternly rebuked by GOP

On Monday night, Cruz’s colleagues ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote.

Then, his Republican colleagues loudly bellowed “no” when Cruz sought a voice vote, a second repudiation that showed how little support Cruz has: Just one other GOP senator — Utah’s Mike Lee — joined with Cruz as he was overruled by McConnell and his deputies.

Life must be truly surreal for him these days. I mean: (more…)

The two most important commandments vs those who preach intolerance

I’ve recently outed myself as some kind of weird not quite deist/gnostic, read: believer in God, just very differently, so I find it a little peculiar that with all the allegedly Christian ministers and pundits spreading hate and fear, I feel called  to remind people of this:

Matthew 25: 36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Logically, if there is one creation and one creator, and we both believe in and revere the one creator we both, necessarily, believe in and revere the same one creator, just differently. Perhaps very differently.

I’m not here to tell anyone they’re wrong about their faith. I will be quick to point out that there are a great many who wouldn’t return that favor. What I set out to do is to simply remind people of the best of their faith. That Scripture up there? That is it. In a nutshell. It doesn’t get simpler. Whether you believe in ten commandments, or all 613, or four, or everything Paul says or not, those two are the most important. Simply put, if you try to obey #8 while goofing up these two, it’s being done wrong. If you try to do #3 while not doing these? Doing it wrong. #433? Doing it wrong.

Love. The two most important are to LOVE.

If there’s a hell, that’s someone else’s problem. If you’re compelled to witness by faith, you’ve got John 3:16. LOVE.

And wherever you find tough love in the red letters, note he directs it to oneself. Better to pluck out one’s own eye, right? Not someone else’s. Tend not to the motes in other’s eyes, but to beams in one’s own. Pray in closets, not on street corners for the glory of men, because the praise of men is it’s own reward. Give, but not ostentatiously so others will think highly of you. Over and over and over again.

LOVE, and get oneself right. What is so hard about that? Note: he doesn’t say, “read Paul.” It hadn’t been written yet. Note: Paul never references the Gospels. Weird, huh? Nope. He wrote before the Gospels existed. When in doubt, go back to the Gospels. How could that possibly be in error?

Enough with the hate and the fear. That is not part of the faith. And if isn’t part of the faith, then what IS it part of? Don’t follow my lead. Read. Pray. Love.

A word to our some of our putatively Christian fellow Americans

The Gospels are clear. So are reactionary intentions.

If you think Muslims and the Koran are scary, you should check out the Old Testament sometime. It wouldn’t make someone else’s religion less scary, but it might put things in perspective. Western Judeo-Christian tradition is far older with a much bloodier history.

Kill people who aren’t like us: check.
Kill our own for what looks like small errors: check.
Child marriage: check.
Marital rape: check.
Women as chattel: check.

I’m not bashing the Old Testament. There’s lots of good to be found in it. Hope when all seems lost. Loyalty. Courage. But one can’t just see those good points and just stick their fingers in their ears and pretend the rest isn’t there.

Worse, while we have opinion shapers in this country trying their damndest (see what I did there) to inspire fear and hate of people who aren’t “like us,” they absolutely do not want you to remember that in the New Testament, the Christian god made flesh, Jesus, not his human successor Peter, not the apostle Paul, Jesus expressly said to love your enemies.

So who are you going to pay more attention to? Some jerk on the Internet or the TV, or one of the most important parts of the New Testament?

And if you can get past the discomfort of wrestling with this, stop and think…if someone is absolutely and expressly trying to get you to personally act contrary to your professed faith (not just issue certificates or sell cakes and pizza to people you don’t like, but actually get gay married yourself, for instance, that’s what I mean by personally acting contrary), if someone is trying to get you to do anything other than love, who is inspiring them?

Tony Perkins of Family Research Council strikes again

Bearing false witness is Perkins’ anti-Christian stock in trade

From Raw Story: Tony Perkins: The Constitution protects Christianity but not Islam because it’s not just a religion

Judging all Muslims for the violent behavior of the relative few (as a percentage of total population) makes as much sense as judging Christians on the behavior of Anders Breivik, the George Tiller Killer, the violent clashes in Ireland not so long ago, the Inquisition, and the Crusades.

The real danger, in Islam, in Christianity, even in Buddhism, in any politics, or pretty much any worldview, is radicalism.

And radicalism generally requires first that someone radicalize.

And what does Perkins do and have a long, long history of doing? He incites intolerance and hatred by spreading false witness, utterly contrary to Scripture.

Why can’t Ben Carson address the ramifications of his bigotry?

Maybe because it would be awkward?

From PolitiFact: Ben Carson: Do any Muslim countries have women’s rights, gay rights or religious freedom?

Spoiler: mostly false, with caveats. Ironically, while busily lambasting nations where a different religion holds the majority and calls the shots, he rather fails in addressing those inequalities and the political extremes evidenced here. (more…)

Trump: no obligation to decency


From The Guardian: Trump: I was not obligated to correct questioner who called Obama Muslim

On Twitter, the Republican presidential frontrunner said: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”

Let’s reframe.

Jackass stands up and, based on zero evidence, driven by lies and disinformation that pander to his own ignorance, bias, and prejudice, suspecting (obviously correctly) that his own ignorance, bias, and prejudice will resonate with both the audience and the speaker (Trump), spouts an absurd and pernicious lie (pernicious in the sense that it’s intended to hurt, not in the sense that were it true there is anything actually wrong with the allegation) and doubles down by expressing a desire for ethnic/religious cleansing on American soil.

This was an opportunity for Trump to demonstrate his leadership skills, to lead toward American unity instead of division.

Of course it’s only natural that he’s under no obligation to actually rise to the challenge when running for the highest office of the land.

Who needs leadership in the presidency after all?

Even McCain had more decency. Even McCain.

Hatemongering on the campaign trail: Huckabee edition

What part of Christianity is this?

From Raw Story: Mike Huckabee: Obama has no right to ‘believe he’s a Christian’ after inviting gays to meet pope

Huck and I have one thing in common. We’re not bashful about telling people how to be better at their faith. I think I’m arguably better at it. Jesus dined with lepers, sinners, and tax collectors, after all, but Huck seems to think the company of spiritual leaders is only reserved for some version of the righteous. I guess he has some litmus test for that that must have been cut out of the Gospels.

Meanwhile, the Pope dines with the homeless instead of Congresspeople. Hrmmm…

By their fruits you shall know them.