BLOWHARD

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

If you write for The Guardian, the chances are that you haven’t seen the inside of a Christian church since your baptism if you even had one.  But I also think that, unlike their predecessors, the modern Left understands the value of slapping a pseudo-Christian whitewash on whatever the leftist Cause Of The Month happens to be which is why Suzanne Goldenberg had to fall back on interviewing Katharine Jefferts Schori:

The highest ranking woman in the Anglican communion has said climate denial is a “blind” and immoral position which rejects God’s gift of knowledge.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal church and one of the most powerful women in Christianity,

If, by “powerful,” you mean someone no serious Christian or Christian theologian pays any attention to whatsoever.

said that climate change was a moral imperative akin to that of the civil rights movement.

AFTER making homosexuals feel better about themselves, of course.  Priorities, people.

“It is in that sense much like the civil rights movement in this country where we are attending to the rights of all people and the rights of the earth to continue to be a flourishing place,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said in an interview with the Guardian.

Didn’t know that planets have ”rights” but do go on.

In the same context, Jefferts Schori attached moral implications to climate denial,

If one of your parents was an English teacher, you tend to insist upon a certain rhetorical rigor when you read the English language.  And the last time I checked, no one, anywhere, denies that the Earth has a climate.

suggesting those who reject the underlying science of climate change

Nor does anyone anywhere deny that climates change.

were turning their backs on God’s gift of knowledge.

Of what we want them to think of as science that is settled for all time.

“Episcopalians understand the life of the mind is a gift of God and to deny the best of current knowledge is not using the gifts God has given you,” she said. “In that sense, yes, it could be understood as a moral issue.”

“The best of current knowledge” is, of course, whatever we want “the best of current knowledge” to be.  So, for us, it’s a win/win.

She went on:

She tends to do that.

“I think it is a very blind position. I think it is a refusal to use the best of human knowledge, which is ultimately a gift of God,”

“The best of human knowledge, which is ultimately a gift of God” agrees with my positions.  But that’s just a coincidence.  Think nothing of it.  Goldenberg does work a few laughs into her piece.

As presiding bishop, [Schori] oversees 2.5m members of the Episcopal church in 17 countries, and is arguably one of the most prominent women in Christianity.

Sooze?   The Piskies haven’t hit 2.5 mil in at least a decade.  And Kate’s only “one of the most prominent women in Christianity” if you want an example of what not to do (see above).  The woman’s an airhead, Sooze, and everyone knows it.

FASCISTI

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 78 Comments

Barack Hussein Mussolini’s Obama’s regime has decided to make opinions run on time:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster-preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard-mitigation plans that address climate change.

This may put several Republican governors who maintain that the Earth isn’t warming due to human activities, or prefer to take no action, in a political bind. Their position may block their states’ access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. In the last five years, the agency has awarded an average $1 billion a year in grants to states and territories for taking steps to mitigate the effects of disasters.

“If a state has a climate denier governor that doesn’t want to accept a plan, that would risk mitigation work not getting done because of politics,” said Becky Hammer, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. “The governor would be increasing the risk to citizens in that state” because of his climate beliefs.

YEAH, WHATEVER

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

A POUSA outlet recently did this:

A Presbyterian church in Delaware has held a joint ordination ceremony for a lesbian couple.

Kaci Clark-Porter and Holly Clark-Porter were ordained Sunday afternoon at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. Church members believe the two women are the first same-sex couple to be ordained jointly by the Presbyterian Church USA.

Thanks to the MCJ’s Fort Worth bureau chief.

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT

Saturday, March 21st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 57 Comments

You know how certain people are always pompously prattling on about the “three great Abrahamic religions,” Judaism, Christianity and Islam?  I may be totally wrong about this so don’t hold me to it but I think that TEO’s Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori, speaking ex Kathydra, may have just added the Mormons to that list:

When General Convention shows up here just over 3 months from now, many of the volunteers and dispensers of hospitality will be our sisters and brothers from [the LDS] tradition. Will we recognize their welcome as a product of the same root, or will we assume that they come from a different and unrecognizable species?

Branches that seem radically different grow on the same tree and the same vine, even though we love to hate the ones who are not like us. We often in the church focus our attention on differences in reproductive customs and norms – yet both the grape vine and the olive tree has multiple ways to be generative. Flowers can be fertilized by pollen from the same plant or another one. The fruit and seeds that result are eaten by birds and animals and left to grow far from the original plant, yet they are still related. The vine also generates new branches from its rootstock or from distant parts of its branches. But all those kinds of vines and branches are related, however they come about.

God continues to bring new life out of chaos. Some time ago the LDS discovered, in the roots of their tradition, ways to include African-Americans after having long excluded them, and they are beginning to do the same for [homosexuals]. Today Salt Lake ranks 7th in the nation for its proportion of gay and lesbian residents.  Episcopalians are still wrestling with our own patterns of exclusion: racism, classism, sexism, as well as assuming that everyone who should an Episcopalian already is.

It makes sense when you think about it and it might actually be a pretty good fit.  Both TEO and the Mormons fervently believe in continuing revelation.  Both are perfectly fine with alternatives to the Bible; TEO just has more of them.  So if the Mormons ever do get right on The Issue, I have to believe that it’s Katie-bar-the-door.  Although High-Church Mormonism is a little bit hard for me to conceptualize.

THE PRESBYTERIAN MOMENT?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 49 Comments

This might very well be, what with the Anglicans basically running out of material.  David Fischler introduces us to the “Reverend” John Shuck, AKA PresbySpong:

Though I self-identify as a Christian and I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I raised eyebrows a few years ago when I posted an article on my website about how my personal beliefs don’t align with those of most Presbyterians.

What might those personal beliefs be?

For example, I believe that religion is a human construct.

Yawn.

The symbols of faith are products of human cultural evolution.

Jesus wasn’t really crucified.  The early Christians just thought that crosses would look really bitchin’ on chains and stuff.

Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about him is in the form of legend.

I think you know where John’s going with this so if you’ve got something more important to do, you can go ahead and skip this one.

God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force.

YAWN

The Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being.

As Leviticus 19:18 becomes totally optional.

Human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there’s no afterlife.

But be sure to get your pledges in on time and DON’T YOU DARE insinuate that Shucky’s not a Christian.

And yet, even though I hold those beliefs, I am still a proud minister. But I don’t appreciate being told that I’m not truly a Christian.

Shucks to be you, Sucky, I mean, sucks to be you, Shucky.  But it’s true, says Shucky.  As long as I and I alone get to determine what “Christianity” means.

Why is that so many people think my affirmations are antithetical to Christianity?

Because they…are?

I think it is because Christianity has placed all of its eggs in the belief basket. We all have been trained to think that Christianity is about believing things. Its symbols and artifacts (God, Bible, Jesus, Heaven, etc) must be accepted in a certain way. And when times change and these beliefs are no longer credible,

To you.

the choices we are left with are either rejection or fundamentalism.

Tru dat.  Do go on.

I believe one of the newer religious paths could be a “belief-less” Christianity. In this “sect,” one is not required to believe things.

Like the Epicopalians, say?

One learns and draws upon practices and products of our cultural tradition to create meaning in the present. The last two congregations I have served have huge commitments to equality for LGTBQ people

AKA The Single Most Important Moral Cause In The Entire History Of The Universe.

and eco-justice, among other things. They draw from the well of our Christian cultural tradition (and other religious traditions) for encouragement in these efforts. I think a belief-less Christianity can be a positive good for society.

How so?

Belief-less Christianity is thriving right now

Actually, it’s dying, Shucky, but do carry on.

even as other forms of the faith are falling away rapidly. Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go or de-emphasized belief in Heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity. Instead of traditional beliefs, they emphasize social justice, personal integrity and resilience, and building community. The cultural artifacts serve as resources.

And people are abandoning these “churches” in legions

But what about belief in God? Can a belief-less Christianity really survive if God isn’t in the picture? Can you even call that Christianity anymore? In theory, yes. In practice, it is a challenge because “belief in God” seems to be so intractable. However, once people start questioning it and realize that they’re not alone, it becomes much more commonplace.

Explain to me again why I should wake up very early on one of my days off and attend the ceremonies performed at your church, never mind contribute any money at all to it.

Personally, even though I don’t believe in God as a supernatural agent or force, many still do. I utilize the symbol “God” in worship. This may be viewed as cheating but since our cultural tradition is filled with images of God, it is near impossible to avoid. As a symbol, I’m not yet ready to let go of God. It is a product of myth-making — I know that — but the symbol incorporates many of our human aspirations. I find that “God” for me is shorthand for all the things for which I long: beauty, truth, healing, and justice. They’re all expressed by this symbol and the stories about it.

So you’re basically a liar, Shucky?  Is that about it?

LEMMINGS

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 43 Comments

The PresbeeYooEssAces officially drink the Kool-Aid:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved redefining marriage in the church constitution Tuesday to include a “commitment between two people,” becoming the largest Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.

The new definition was endorsed last year by the church General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the denomination’s 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th “yes” vote came Tuesday night from the Palisades Presbytery in New Jersey.

After all regional bodies vote and top Presbyterian leaders officially accept the results, the change will take effect June 21. The denomination has nearly 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations.

SUCKS TO BE BARACK OBAMA

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Because Benjamin Netanyahu pulled it off:

After a bruising campaign focused on his failings, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections and seemed all but certain to form a new government and serve a fourth term, though he offended many voters and alienated allies in the process.

With 99.5 percent of the ballots counted, the YNet news site reported Wednesday morning that Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party had captured 29 or 30 of the 120 seats in Parliament, sweeping past his chief rival, the center-left Zionist Union alliance, which got 24 seats.

Mr. Netanyahu and his allies had seized on earlier exit polls that showed a slimmer Likud lead to create an aura of inevitability, and celebrated with singing and dancing. While his opponents vowed a fight, Israeli political analysts agreed even before most of the ballots were counted that he had the advantage, with more seats having gone to the right-leaning parties likely to support him.

MOVING TO ST. LOUIS?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

I can find you a house for almost nothing.

OK, WAIT…WHAT?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments

This recently happened:

Sir Elton John has called for a boycott of fashion label Dolce & Gabbana after the legendary designers criticised same-sex families.

It followed an interview with the designers in Italy’s Panorama magazine in which the pair said: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.

“No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”

[Domenico] Dolce added that procreation “must be an act of love”, saying: “You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be.

“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.”

[Stefano] Gabbana added: “The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”

And now for the punchline.

The pair, who founded Dolce & Gabbana, were a couple for 23 years, before breaking-up in 2005.

Despite their sexuality, they have previously spoken out against same-sex marriage.

Y’all can take it from here because as I so often say, I got nuthin’.

DUMB STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Toward the end of his piece in The Daily Tina Brown’s Ego, an African-American writer named John McWhorter felt the need to clarify a few things:

I get too much hate mail from the right to submit gracefully to the sellout label. I deplore the War on Drugs, linguistic discrimination against black people, and naïve dogma that keeps poor black kids from learning to read. I support prisoner re-entry programs, supported the Ferguson protests ardently, and was behind Barack Obama earlier than many black writers. I have never voted Republican in my life.

Which makes McWhorter’s take on certain trends in white liberalism all the more interesting.  Some selections.

If you’ve been white lately, you have likely been confronted with the idea that to be a good person, you must cultivate a guilt complex over the privileged status your race enjoys.

It isn’t that you are doing, or even quite thinking, anything racist. Rather, your existential state of Living While White constitutes a form of racism in itself. Your understanding will serve as a tool … for something. But be careful about asking just what that something is, because that will mean you “just don’t get it.”

But “White Privilege” is more than just a term these days. For example, some of New York City’s elite private schools are giving White Privilege lessons to their student bodies, teaching them, for example, that when affluent white students talk about their expensive vacations this could be hurtful to students of color from humbler circumstances. The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service kicked off its community meetings in Ferguson with White Privilege teachings. There are college courses, and even a yearly conference. White Privilege is suddenly a hot topic and cottage industries have sprung up around it.

I assume, for example, that the idea is not to teach white people that White Privilege means that black people are the only group of people in human history who cannot deal with obstacles and challenges. If the idea is that black people cannot solve their problems short of white people developing an exquisite sensitivity to how privileged they are, then we in the black community are being designated as disabled poster children.

Take the usual phrasing that America needs a “conversation” on race. Our country engages in an endless “conversation” about race year round, in the media, academia, and barstool talk, while schools, museums, the media, the publishing industry, and government organizations treat coverage, exploration and deploring of, as well as apology for, racism as ingrained aspects of their mission.

Many foreign observers would be baffled by the notion that this is a nation that refuses a “conversation” about race or even racism—just last year involved fervent discussions of not only police brutality, but microaggression, gentrification, the N-word, reparations, and much more. The fact that this conversation doesn’t lead to all whites bowing down to all black complaints, an outcome tacitly desired by a certain cadre of academics and journalists, does not disqualify it as a conversation.

The White Privilege 101 course seems almost designed to turn black people’s minds from what political activism actually entails. For example, it’s a safe bet that most black people are more interested in there being adequate public transportation from their neighborhood to where they need to work than that white people attend encounter group sessions where they learn how lucky they are to have cars. It’s a safe bet that most black people are more interested in whether their kids learn anything at their school than whether white people are reminded that their kids probably go to a better school. Given that there is no evidence that White Privilege sessions are a necessary first step to change (see above), why shunt energy from genuine activism into—I’m sorry—a kind of performance art?

Read the whole brilliant thing.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Sunday, March 15th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

“Let’s play two!!” as the late Ernie Banks used to say.  First up, Katha Pollitt at The Nation discusses an issue that has just become the current leader of my upcoming REALLY Stupid Resolutions That Will Come Out Of TEO’s GenCon This Summer pool:

Who has abortions? For most of human history, the answer was obvious: women have abortions. Girls have abortions. Not any more. People have abortions. Patients have abortions. Men have abortions.

Last I checked, you needed lady parts to get preggers.  And men with lady parts were called…well…women.

“We must acknowledge and come to terms with the implicit cissexism in assuming that only women have abortions,” wrote feminist activist Lauren Rankin in July 2013 in truthout.com. She went on to criticize as exclusionary slogans like “the War on Women” and “Stand with Texas Women.”

I don’t have the slightest idea what any of that means.

Such claims may sound arcane to most people.

I would have gone with “blitheringly idiotic” there but it’s your call. Kat, by the way, thinks that “political correctness” has gone too far.

One area in which they have been quietly effective, though, is in reproductive-rights activism. Abortion funds, which offer help paying for an abortion when Medicaid or insurance won’t, have become a thriving hub of grassroots feminism. They draw hundreds of activists, young and old, to donate countless hours to provide direct service and advocate for better funding for abortion. In the past few years, a number of the funds have quietly removed references to “women” from their messaging in order to be more welcoming to trans men and others who do not identify as women but can still become pregnant. The New York Abortion Access Fund changed its language in 2012. Its mission statement now mentions “anyone,” “every person” and “the people who call our hotline.” The Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund helps “callers,” the Lilith Fund helps “Texans.” Last year Fund Texas Women, which pays travel and hotel costs in the wake of the closing of many clinics in the state, became Fund Texas Choice. (“Choice” is a problematic word too, but that’s a subject for another day.) In a message to supporters, co-founder Lenzi Scheible wrote, “with a name like Fund Texas Women, we were publicly excluding trans* people who needed to get an abortion but were not women. We refuse to deny the existence and humanity of trans* people any longer.”

I’m going to argue here that removing “women” from the language of abortion is a mistake.

Of course you are.

We can, and should, support trans men and other gender-non-conforming people. But we can do that without rendering invisible half of humanity and 99.999 percent of those who get pregnant.

And that’s your problem, Kat?  Not that “men” are getting abortions but that women aren’t mentioned in the pamphlets anymore?  Seriously?

Next up, in one of the single stupidest columns that she’s ever put her name to, the Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite reminds me once again why I reflexively distrust anything written by anyone who insists referring to him or herself as “The Rev. Dr.”

Jesus of Nazareth taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Forty-seven Republican Senators, however, apparently just decided not to try to be peacemakers, but to become a peace wrecking crew instead.

Why is that, Susie Q?

These Senators took it upon themselves to write a letter to Iran undermining the President’s authority in delicate negotiations to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, suggesting that “the next president could revoke” any agreement made by President Obama.

Sad, really, that an American university could actually award a doctorate to somebody idiotic enough to believe that the United States of America is a monarchy.  If you’d actually read that Washington Post piece you linked to, Sooze, you would have found that all those senators did was to remind Iran what American law was, something that His Majesty Barack stopped caring about a long time ago.

The letter, written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), suggests that any deal between Obama and the Iranian leadership would amount to only an “executive agreement” that could be undone by Congress or a future president. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” states the letter which was first reported by Bloomberg View.

The Republican signatories dismissed Obama’s assertion that they are cozying up to Iranian hard-liners.

“I think that’s a laughable charge coming from this administration,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), who signed the letter. He said the administration’s rush to secure a deal with Iran had led it to dismiss Congress’s concerns.

Back to Susie.

This is one of the themes of the great pastoral letter by the American Catholic Bishops against a nuclear-armed world, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response. The Bishops pastoral starts with the words of John Paul II at Coventry Cathedral in 1982. “Peace is not just the absence of war… Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakeable faith.”

Which apparent sentiment, the Iranian government, has, according to Susie, completely bought into, notwithstanding the Iranian leadership’s repeated desire to see Israel completely wiped off the map.  Apropos of nothing whatsoever either physical or metaphysical, Susie brings up this “example from history.”

One example occurred in 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower took the initiative of announcing a one-year halt to test-exploding nuclear weapons, and said that if the Soviet Union would also halt, the U.S. would continue the halt in testing year by year. The Soviet Union reciprocated. President John F. Kennedy resumed the halt in testing, the Soviet Union again reciprocated, and it led to the treaty that halted nuclear testing above ground, under water, and in outer space. That halted the nuclear radiation from the tests that had been quietly causing deaths of babies downwind. And eventually it led to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty — a major breakthrough for stopping the spread of nuclear weapons to other nations.

Which means absolutely nothing.  But thanks for playing.  Notwithstanding your “fact” that you can’t prove that “nuclear radiation from the tests…had beem quietly causing the deaths of babies downwind, ” it’s tough to see how the Comprehensive Test Ben Treaty prevented “other nations” from acquiring nuclear weapons technology.

Israel probably obtained it since that treaty.  As did South Africa and India.

Instead, the Republican Senators, by sending this letter, have shown a marked preference not only for military confrontation, but military confrontation with the risk of gravely accelerating the nuclear arms race. It imperils a whole region in the Middle East already reeling from violent extremism.

Do you mean that by explaining that American law means, the Republicans really, really, really, really, REALLY want to go to war with Iran?  I don’t know where you got your college degrees, Susie, but if I were you, I’d better be ready for those schools to revoke those degrees.  Because that’s pretty much the dumbest thing I’ve ever read anywhere.

D’OH!!

Friday, March 13th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

You know something, asks the Episcopal Organization?  We’re not entirely sure, we’re still looking into it, but we think that Heather Cook may have lied to us:

Episcopal Church officials are considering whether the Rev. Heather Elizabeth Cook — now facing criminal charges in connection with a drunken driving accident that killed a bicyclist in December — may have lied about her struggles with alcohol to smooth her path to election as the No. 2 bishop in the Diocese of Maryland last year.

In a written notice to Cook made public this week, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said church investigators have received information about “misrepresentations” regarding her “experience with alcohol” that she allegedly made in connection with her candidacy for bishop suffragan.

According to the notice from Schori, the church is looking at whether Cook gave false information to her former employer, the Diocese of Easton, about her history with alcohol as the Maryland diocese conducted background searches on its final three final candidates. The national church is conducting an investigation that could lead to disciplinary action against Cook.

Considering how much hard time Cook’s looking at, I’ll bet that scares her to death.  A retired Easton priest says he had no idea of Cook’s DUI there.

The Easton diocese has declined to comment on her case. But the Rev. Nathaniel Pierce, a retired priest who worked in the diocese during Cook’s tenure, insisted Thursday that no one in the diocese was aware of her 2010 arrest or of any problems with alcohol.

Even though it made the papers.

A local newspaper ran a short article on the arrest five days after it happened and identified Cook by name, though it did not mention her occupation or religious title.

The 166-word article in the Easton Star-Democrat, which ran on Sept. 15, 2010, noted that Cook’s “blood alcohol level registered at .27, more than three times the legal limit in Maryland.”

It also said “deputies found that the front passenger tire of her car was shredded and had fallen off the rim.”

Must have been some other Heather Cook, huh, Nat?  Lord knows, that’s a common-enough name; hey, I dated a Heather Cook in high school.  Didn’t work out, though, but don’t cry for me, Argentina.

Let’s review, shall we?

(1)  The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is searching for a suffragan bishop.  One of the candidates that apparently impresses everyone is The Rev. Heather Cook of the Diocese of Easton.  Easton can’t say enough good things about Cook.

Dan Webster, a spokesman for the Maryland diocese, said church officials in Easton did recommend Cook strongly during the search process.

Webster said the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of the Maryland diocese, stressed that point at a forum Wednesday night, telling an audience at a church in Lothian that the diocese had received only “stellar recommendations” for Cook.

(2) During the course of the search process, Rev. Cook discloses that she has a DUI on her record, the circumstances of which nobody at the Diocese of Maryland bothered to look into.

Later, the diocese’s search committee learned of the 2010 arrest, Webster said, but it never learned the details of the case, including her elevated blood-alcohol level, the fact she had marijuana paraphernalia in her car and that she was driving on a shredded tire.

(3) Although Maryland or Easton could easily have obtained that information if anybody at either diocese had bothered to pick up a phone.

A spokeswoman for the Caroline County sheriff’s office said members of the public can request copies of the police reports at any time and the department has 30 days to respond.

Sheriff’s department officials can choose how much to release, said Dawn Cordrey, a management associate, but when about 20 news outlets sought information after Cook’s crash in December, the department released everything it had.

(4) Add to that, the Diocese of Maryland chose not to disclose any of this the diocesan convention.  And the fact that both Bishop Taylor and Presiding Bishop Schori knew about Cook’s problems with alcohol but went ahead and consecrated her anyway.

Look, many people have said that neither the Episcopal Organization nor the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is really responsible for the death of Tom Palermo.  Yes and no.

If TEO had told Heather Cook to PLEASE get help but we can’t risk giving you a pointy hat, Cook might have driven on the Eastern Shore instead of Baltimore on the day Tom Palermo lost his life and she might have killed somebody else but Palermo would still be with his family.  “Did kill” outranks “might have killed” any day of the week.

DEAREST ARKANSAS

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 46 Comments

You are officially forgiven for inflicting the second-most repulsive American political family after the Kennedys on the rest of this country.

Speaking of whom, Hillary Clinton, a woman who’s never had any experience governing anything whatsoever and who basically slept her way to the top, has basically dynamited her presidential chances:

That explanation was not exactly robust. The Q&A had hardly ended before Clinton’s critics unearthed an interview Hillary had given a few weeks earlier with Re/code co-founder Kara Swisher. “I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a BlackBerry,” Clinton said. So much for simplicity. Others remarked on a matter of timing: Clinton did not carry out her business on an existing personal email account. She specifically set up a new private address–hdr22@clintonemail.com–instead of using a government account. This happened on the very day the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held its first hearing on her nomination as Secretary of State.

As for why this might “seem like an issue,” the answer is not complicated. All federal employees have a legal obligation to preserve their work-related email–and the White House advises appointees to accomplish this by using official government addresses. Email sent to and from .gov accounts is generally archived. In this way, a consistent level of security is maintained. The nation’s history is preserved. Open-records laws are honored. And transparency gets a leg up on “Trust me.”

All this once made sense to Clinton. As a candidate for President in 2008, she included “secret White House email accounts” as part of her critique of the Bush Administration’s “stunning record of secrecy and corruption.” Now, however, Clinton is leaning heavily on “Trust me.” For more than a year after she left office in 2013, she did not transfer work-related email from her private account to the State Department. She commissioned a review of the 62,320 messages in her account only after the department–spurred by the congressional investigation–asked her to do so. And this review did not involve opening and reading each email; instead, Clinton’s lawyers created a list of names and keywords related to her work and searched for those. Slightly more than half the total cache–31,830 emails–did not contain any of the search terms, according to Clinton’s staff, so they were deemed to be “private, personal records.”

DAMASCUS ROADS

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 44 Comments

The religious and secular left is going to have to find itself a new pet evangelical as Rachel Held Evans converts to Episcopalianity.  Why on Earth would you do that, Rachel?

If you try to woo us back with skinny jeans and coffee shops, it may actually backfire. Millennials have finely-tuned B.S. meters that can detect when someone’s just trying to sell us something.  We’re not looking for a hipper Christianity. We’re looking for a truer Christianity. Like every generation before and after, we’re looking for Jesus—the same Jesus who can be found in the places he’s always been: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these. No fog machines required.

What should churches be doing?

Sharing communion. Baptizing sinners. Preaching the Word. Anointing the sick. Practicing confession. You know, the stuff the church has been doing for the last 2,000 years. We need to creatively re-articulate the significance of the traditional teachings and sacraments of the church in a modern context. That’s what I see happening in churches, big and small, that are making multigenerational disciples of Jesus.

The problem a lot of us have with that, Rachel, is that the organization you just joined has been “re-articulating the significance of the traditional teachings and sacraments of the church in a modern context” for going on 50 years now.  As a result, the Episcopal Organization is one of the most Millenial-friendly “churches” out there.  Ordained wenches.  Chick bishops all over the place.  TEO’s head cheese is a woman.

Gay-friendly?  There isn’t a gay-friendlier “church” around.  TEO ordains them.  There have been two openly gay bishops selected since 2003, one of them, Gene Robinson, a former diocesan.  And gays have been considered for numerous other episcopal slots (one of these, The Rev. Bonnie “It’s A Dung Beetle, Not a Lamborghini It’s A River, Not A Pie” Perry) has been considered a couple of times but has not been selected, much to the considerable disgust of this department).

Add to that, no real serious sins beyond racism, which doesn’t happen in Episcopal outlets, not believing in global warming “climate change,” and making homosexuals feel bad about themselves.  Throw in a legion of “theologians” ready, willing and eager to offer you complete absolution for boinking your best friend’s girlfriend and you have a “church” that should be a Millenial dream.  Episcopal parishes should be full-to-bursting every single Sunday.

And yet they’re dying.  The last statistics I saw seemed to suggest that TEO’s rate of decline has increased since Robbie got his pointy hat in 2003.  How do you account for that, Rachel?  Evans ducks the question.

Just about every denomination in the American church is seeing a decline in numbers–including many evangelical denominations–so if it’s a competition, then we’re all losing, just at different rates! I felt drawn to the Episcopal church because it offered some practices I felt were missing in my evangelical experience, like space for silence and reflection, a focus on Christ’s presence at the communion table as the climax and center of every worship service, opportunities for women in leadership, and the inclusion of LGBT people.

That answer runs as fast as it possibly can away from my question but moving on.  Rachel?  What do you say to those people who claim that Episcopalianity bears the same relationship to Christianity as Unitarianism does to Roman Catholicism?

Every Sunday morning, I stand in my Episcopal church and join in a chorus of voices publicly affirming the Apostle’s Creed. Together, we declare that there is a good and almighty God who is the creative force behind all things seen and unseen; that this God is One, yet exists as three persons; that God loved the world enough to become flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, taught, fed, healed and suffered among us as both fully God and fully human; that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born to Mary; that he was crucified on a Roman cross and buried in the ground; that after three days dead, Jesus came back to life; that he ascended into heaven and reigns with God; that he will return to bring justice and restoration to our broken world; that God continues to work through the Holy Spirit, the church, and God’s people; that forgiveness is possible, resurrection is possible, and eternal life is possible.

Possible?  Possible?  I’d think that if Christ did, in fact rise from the dead, resurrection and eternal life are a done deal.  But Rachel?  Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How about this one?

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Or this one?

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Or this one?

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

See what I’m doing here, Rachel?  You’re not a Christian simply because somebody poured a little water on you back when you had no idea what was going on (if you think you are, then you can explain to your Jewish friends why Adolf Hitler is in heaven).  You’re not a Christian simply because you and a bunch of your friends gather together once a week, read some words from a book and perform weird ceremonies.

YOUR HOLINESS?

Monday, March 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments

You’re losing the ladies:

In the first two years of his papacy, Pope Francis has stirred great expectations for change among Roman Catholics who believe that the church has not kept pace with the social transformations of secular society.

Nowhere are those hopes felt more keenly, perhaps, than among women, often the driving force behind local church communities, but who say that their voices remain marginalized.

Though the pope has repeatedly cited the importance of women in the life of the church, critics say he has at times proved strikingly tone-deaf toward the sensitivities and needs of women (for example, describing five women he appointed to a committee as “the strawberries on the cake”).

Women are insulted by metaphors?  Okay, you gals can be the cake and us guys will be the strawberries.  Happy?  Jeez, women are high maintenance sometimes; is this a time-of-the-month thing?  Anyway, what does every single female Catholic in the entire world, from infants to adults to the elderly to the dead, want anyway?  Lots of things that basically revolve around one single issue.  See if you can guess what that issue is.

And any debate on the role of women, however, is curtailed by one irremovable premise: There is no place for women priests. Pope Francis has rejected such a change outright.

So Catholics should expect to hear versions of the following a lot.  Anglicans everywhere know what it means.

Women are an untapped resource, [Scaraffia] said. “They should be listened to, seen and heard, instead they are neither.”

In other words, if you don’t immediately agree with us, you haven’t really listened to us. So we’ll need to keep babbling until you come around and admit your errors.

“This is the most sensitive issue in the Vatican, more difficult than so many others because it is fundamental to so many others,” said Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic studies at the University of Roehampton in London.

“We need to make him understand that this is a make-or-break issue for the church,” she added. “It would be an unbearable blow if he left papacy as he found it with regards to women.”

Why is that, Tina?  Because millions of Catholic women will immediately flee to places like the Episcopal Organization, the Anglican Organization of Canada or the Organization of England?  All of them ordain women and all of them even have girl bishops with miters and hooked sticks and everything.  One of them, the Episcopal Organization, even has a chick pope.  Swear to God.

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