Archive for August, 2009
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, August 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments
Fresh off her recent Greek Broad Who Married A Rich American Homosexual Post article referred to down the page a bit, the Rev. Debra Haffner brings her Gittin’ Sahm crusade to the Methodists. God, says Haffner, desperately needs to keep up with the times:
Premarital chastity is an ethic based in ancient biology and social mores. At the time the Bible was written, people were married shortly after they reached puberty. They died soon after their own children reached adulthood. The average life expectancy for women was only 25; many died in childbirth.
It’s positively alarming how easy blasphemy against the Holy Spirit seems to be. Just sayin’.
Today, in stark contrast, young people reach puberty at an average age of 12 to 14; the average age of marriage is 25 to 27. Religious objections and a billion dollar federal abstinence-only-until-marriage program notwithstanding, biology today has trumped convention. For at least the past 40 years, nearly 90% of people have first intercourse before their wedding night.
So get out your scissors. We’ve got Bible verses to start cutting out and throwing away.
More than 15 years ago, I developed a framework for a moral sexual relationship. I believe, based on my more than 30 years as a sexuality educator and now as a minister, that a moral, ethical sexual relationship — whether one is married or single, 16 or 35 or 80, gay, bisexual or straight — is defined by five criteria: It is consensual, non-exploitative, honest, mutually pleasurable and protected, if any type of intercourse occurs.
There’s that pick-up line again. What this boils down to is that all us guys basically have to do is remember the Trojans and should tragedy strike, pay for the abortion.
While I’ve got you, remember Haffner’s pro-sexual immorality petition alluded to the other day? The American Anglican Council has compiled a list of Episcopalians who have, at one time or another, signed their names to this thing.
The usual suspects are here. There are quite a few current and former bishops as well as a TEO radical all-star team. Nina Churchman and Katherine Ragsdale represent TEO’s baby killer wing. There’s even an ex-Presiding Bishop, Ed Browning.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, August 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 10 Comments
Remember “No Blood for Oil?” Neither does British Prime Minister Gordon Brown:
The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.
Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.
The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.
The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.
Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: “This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”
Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.
The exploration deal for oil and gas, potentially worth up to £15 billion, was announced in May 2007. Six months later the agreement was still waiting to be ratified.
On December 19, 2007, Straw wrote to MacAskill announcing that the UK government was abandoning its attempt to exclude Megrahi from the prisoner transfer agreement, citing the national interest.
“The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the [prisoner transfer agreement] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual.”
Within six weeks of the government climbdown, Libya had ratified the BP deal. The prisoner transfer agreement was finalised in May this year, leading to Libya formally applying for Megrahi to be transferred to its custody.
Since “No Blood for Oil” is apparently obsolete, maybe “270 Corpses for BP Oil” might look good on a T-shirt.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, August 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments
ELCA pastor Peter W. Marty regurgitates the usual brain-dead Episcopal talking points. Here’s a sample:
Of 31,173 verses in Scripture, only seven have anything to do with certain homosexual behaviors — behaviors that are condemned along with certain heterosexual ones.
Since ELCA now permits its clergy to do things Scripture clearly condemns, is Marty implying that adultery, say, is morally neutral now?
Seven verses pale in comparison to the larger biblical witness about heterosexual adultery, loving one’s neighbor, and injustice to the poor.
We need to look at the big picture. Check.
Jesus never uttered a word about homosexuality.
Or racism or sexism or “homophobia” or taking care of the environment or securities fraud or taking steroids or observing the speed limits or not paying library fines or jaywalking, just to name a few. Jesus never said anthing about it. Check.
The Ten Commandments ignore the subject completely. Homosexual orientation was an unknown concept in biblical times.
That’s probably because people back then hadn’t figured out that they could just declare sins they particularly enjoyed their “orientation” and do anything they cared to. And they certainly never envisioned a day when cowardly “religious” figures would give them a pass while prattling on about “love.”
At least, every biblical writer skipped reference to it, if it was known. We have no idea, for example, if the Apostle Paul was gay or straight.
Given Romans 1:26-27, I’m betting on straight. Project much, Marty?
If someone were able to prove he was homosexual, it’s hard to picture the church removing his letters from Scripture as if suddenly they lost authority.
Since we do have his words condemning homosexual activity(see above), that might be one of the five or six dumbest things ever written.
Also absent from biblical writing is any mention of what we know today as a faithful, loving, non-exploitative, and lifelong same-gender relationship.
The Scripture writers didn’t know about this stuff. Check. Seriously. If you’re still in ELCA, bail now. For your own good.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, August 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
Bozo the Bishop goes all one-true-church again:
The first openly gay bishop in the Anglican communion yesterday criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion of a possible “two-track” church. Gene Robinson, the Episcopalian bishop of New Hampshire, said: “I can’t imagine anything that would be more abhorrent to Jesus than a two-tier church.
Off the top of my head, how about an unrepentant sinner being given a position of leadership in a Christian church or you, a Christian minister, signing your name to a petition advocating sexual immorality, something Our Lord clearly and repeatedly condemns? It could be just me but I have to think both of those things would concern Jesus WAY more than the internal arrangements of some obscure Protestant sect.
“Either we are children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ, or we aren’t. There are not preferred children and second-class children. There are just children of God.”
Robbie? Can I splain something to you? If I show up at one of your outlets next Sunday and inform the people there that I’ll be conducting the liturgy, they’re probably not going to let me.
Know why that is? Because we’re not all the same. There are differences among people in the Church. Some have been called to this office, others to a different one. The Holy Spirit grants this spiritual gift to this person, another spiritual gift to that one.
Distinctions in the church are made all the time. Then there’s the whole high church/low church worship angle and don’t get me started on the denominational thing. Odd that you haven’t figured this out by now.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, August 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments
If the Adulterous-American communiity ever gets its PR act together as well as the homosexuals have, expect Exodus 20:14 and similar verses to get the shellfish/Jesus sided with outcasts/Scripture writers didn’t understand treatment from liberal “theologians.” The Rev. Debra Haffner fires a practice shot:
I’ve long believed that the major sexuality problem denominations face is that they are unable to acknowledge that celibacy until marriage doesn’t apply to most single adults. There are more than 75 million American adults who are single — more than at any time in history. We are marrying later, divorcing at high levels, and living longer, so more of us will be widowed. And as a whole, we’re having sexual relationships when we aren’t in marriages.
The Religious Institute has long called for a new sexual ethic to replace the traditional “celibacy until marriage, chastity after.” This new ethic is free of double standards based on sexual orientation, sex, gender or marital status. It calls for sexual relationships to be consensual, non-exploitative, honest, pleasurable and protected, whether inside or outside of a covenanted relationship. It insists that intimate relationships be grounded in communication and shared values.
Haffner, a Unitarian, is referring to this.
Our culture needs a sexual ethic focused on personal relationships and social justice rather than particular sexual acts. All persons have the right and responsibility to lead sexual lives that express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent, and pleasure. Grounded in respect for the body and for the vulnerability that intimacy brings, this ethic fosters physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It accepts no double standards and applies to all persons, without regard to sex, gender, color, age, bodily condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.
If they’re honest, most men recognize the above not as a sexual ethic but as a pick-up line(“No, no, no, baby, you’ve got me all wrong. I only want to express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent and pleasure here. Gorgeous, I respect your body and you KNOW I respect the vulnerability that intimacy brings”). A few more.
Faith communities must therefore be truth seeking, courageous, and just. We call for:
Theological reflection that integrates the wisdom of excluded, often silenced peoples, and insights about sexuality from medicine, social science, the arts and humanities.
Support for those who challenge sexual oppression and who work for justice within their congregations and denomination.
A faith-based commitment to sexual and reproductive rights, including access to voluntary contraception, abortion, and HIV/STD prevention and treatment.
God rejoices when we celebrate our sexuality with holiness and integrity. We, the undersigned, invite our colleagues and faith communities to join us in promoting sexual morality, justice, and healing.
The biggest Episcopal names I could find who have signed their names to this abomination are Gene Robinson and Ed Bacon. Lesser-known Episcopalians, though, are well-represented here. But you probably already knew that.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, August 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments
A $9 trillion federal deficit over 10 years may be too hard to comprehend. But this part is easy: Such unwieldy amounts of debt could have an impact on Americans’ bottom line one way or the other — if not tomorrow, then the day after.
The U.S. government has been spending a great deal more than it has been taking in, and it is on track to do so well beyond the next 10 years. It has been borrowing money to make all that spending possible and it has to pay the money back with interest. How, you ask? By borrowing more.
The solution is straightforward if unpleasant: Shy of finding a fairy willing to leave trillions under Uncle Sam’s pillow, lawmakers will have to raise taxes and cut spending.
“Taxes are going up and they’re going up for a lot more people than those making more than $250,000. Why? Math. The numbers don’t come close to working,” Walker said.
Hangeyness and chopeytude, ladies and gentlemen.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, August 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments
Here’s a little free gambling advice. If you and a friend ever get a little action going based on how many days homosexual Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, who is a homosexual, spends inside the borders of his diocese, ALWAYS take the under:
Organizers of England’s Greenbelt Christian arts and music festival, which is expected to draw some 20,000 people to Cheltenham this weekend, are facing criticism for invited Bishop Gene Robinson to address the gathering.
The Rev. Canon Chris Sugden of the traditionalist advocacy group Anglican Mainstream, said that while Greenbelt has often been a forum for exploring new ideas, Bishop Robinson’s views will be the only ones presented on the issue of human sexuality.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, August 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments
Maybe, muses Melissa Lafsky, Mary Jo Kopechne had a smile on her face as she slowly suffocated:
We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don’t know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.
Still, ignorance doesn’t preclude a right to wonder. So it doesn’t automatically make someone (aka, me) a Limbaugh-loving, aerial-wolf-hunting NRA troll for asking what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.
Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, August 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 41 Comments
It would be a bit like the Rwandan genocide if the Cardinals don’t win the World Series this year. Well, not exactly like the Rwandan genocide. But the same tragic feel.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, August 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments
Remember the claim that Anglican churches are “apostolic?” The Archbishop of Canterbury, of all people, appears to have personally blown that one out of the water two years ago:
Among the 419 resolutions that bishops and deputies considered during the July 8-17 meeting of General Convention in Anaheim, California were some that seemed obscure and received little attention, but that in reality carried significant meaning for many.
Resolution D035, titled “Repudiation of Doctrine of Discovery,” is one such measure.
After the Diocese of Maine’s convention passed a similar message two years ago, then-diocesan Bishop Chilton Knudsen wrote both Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as directed in that resolution, asking them to renounce the doctrine. The queen’s personal secretary wrote back saying the issue had been referred to Canterbury, according to Dieffenbacher-Krall. Williams replied about six months later saying that while he was sympathetic to the call of repudiation, the Church of England did not exist during the time that the doctrine was being formulated.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, August 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 68 Comments
Damn straight, says Katharine Jefferts Schori. I meant every word of it:
In my opening address at General Convention, I spoke about the “great Western heresy” of individualism (see the full text here). There have been varied reactions from people who weren’t there, who heard or read an isolated comment without the context. Apparently I wasn’t clear!
Pay attention, bitches.
Individualism (the understanding that the interests and independence of the individual necessarily trump the interests of others as well as principles of interdependence) is basically unbiblical and unchristian.
So it’s “unbiblical and unchristian” to conclude that I am a sinner and that I need to have my sins taken care of in some fashion? ‘Kay.
The spiritual journey, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is about holy living in community. When Jesus was asked to summarize the Torah, he said, “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” That means our task is to be in relationship with God and with our neighbors. If salvation is understood only as “getting right with God” without considering “getting right with (all) our neighbors,” then we’ve got a heresy (an unorthodox belief) on our hands.
Most of us are well aware of our obligations to our neighbors. For my part, I was considerably less aware of those obligations until I realized what Jesus had done for me on the Cross and began to understand what I should do for my neighbors. If salvation consists of nothing more than how we treat people, the population of Heaven will undoubtedly include an atheist pornographer or two.
The theme of our General Convention, Real African Word, was chosen intentionally to focus on this. Often translated from its original African dialects as “I am because we are,” Real African Word has significant biblical connections and warrant. The Hebrew prophets save their strongest denunciation for those who claim to be worshiping correctly but ignore injustice done to their neighbors (e.g., Amos 5:21-24), and Jesus insists that those who will enter the kingdom are the ones who have cared for neighbor by feeding, watering, clothing, housing, healing and visiting “the least of these” (Matt 25:31-46).
Duh. But Jesus also said that if I labored and was heavy-laden, I my ownself was to come unto Him. He also said that He was the way, the truth and the life and that I my ownself can’t come to the Father except through Him. Do you even own a Bible?
In my address, I went on to say that sometimes this belief that salvation only depends on getting right with God is reduced to saying a simple formula about Jesus. Jesus is quite explicit in his rejection of simple formulas: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matt 7:21).
OH SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL, please tell me Kate didn’t write something that mind-blowingly stupid!! For the love of…Kate? Most people understand that passage to refer to the Lord’s words to those who claim to follow Christ but who have no idea who Christ is.
Who? Off the top of my head, Episcopalians. I suspect that in all of church history that passage has never EVER been used by ANYONE to caution against “saying a simple formula” to ensure one’s salvation. Dear Lord, the woman is an idiot.
He is repeatedly insistent that right relationship depends on loving neighbors – for example, “those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1John 4:20). The Epistles repeatedly enjoin the followers of Jesus to “give evidence of the hope within you” (1Pet 3:15ff), that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26), that our judgment depends on care for brother and sister (Rom 14:10-12) and that we eat our own destruction if we take Communion without having regard for the rest of the community (1Cor 11:27-34).
No, leader of an organization that claims to be a Christian church, our judgment depends on whether or not we’ve dealt with our sins, not simply on whether we’ve been extra-special, super-duper nice to people. Does the Cross mean anything at all to you?
Never mind. Stupid question.
Salvation depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus, and we give evidence of our relationship with God in how we treat our neighbors, nearby and far away. Salvation is a gift from God, not something we can earn by our works, but neither is salvation assured by words alone.
Which basically contradicts everything you said in the preceding paragraphs, you Spongian airhead. I’d respond to that but I think we’re done here. Pearls before swine and all that.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 49 Comments
If you read nothing else today, read every word of this:
We walked in the rain straight up the middle of the camp, along the rail tracks that led from all over Europe directly to the gas chamber doors. Back through the main gate and into a shuttle bus. People were running from the rain, and I will admit that it made me very angry (but mostly disgusted and sad) that a lot of them were laughing and having a good time. We were all crammed, standing up, in this bus, and I could see and hear about 20 tourists, and many of them – adults, mind you – were acting exactly as if they had just finished a day at Six Flags and now they were tired and wet and ready to go home, but in a sort of elated, vacation-y kind of way. All smiles and jokes.
And do you know what? Not a single one of them was an American. Few of them were speaking English at all, and the ones who were, were British and French. I did hear a few Americans talking, but they were all solemn, and frankly, looked depressed.
On the coach from Auschwitz main camp back to Krakow, Rupert and I sat behind a group of youngish French women who spent the entire ride flirting with a couple of Canadian men. At one point, they were giving each other massages. There was much laughter and you would never in a million years guess that these people had just spent the day at the largest industrial killing facility mankind has ever known.
I am just saying. The Europeans – particularly the French – have a whole lot to stop acting superior about. Your “ugly American tourist” thing you cling to so fondly? It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. I have traveled throughout Europe a lot now, and I know that you know Americans are not the ugliest or even remotely the stupidest or most disrespectful.
And then ponder why there’s a Holocaust Museum in a country where I’d like to think the Holocaust couldn’t have happened.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Say what you want about liberals but you have to admit that the Anglican Organization of Canada’s “Cash for Canadians” program has been a tremendous success.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments
Jordan Hylden is an optimistic guy:
Clearly, it is [Rowan Williams’] read of the present moment that the Episcopal Church, in its actions this summer, has moved further down the federated path. And it is his hope for the future that as many Anglicans as possible, both within the Episcopal Church and around the globe, will move ever further toward the covenanted reality that holds such great promise. This, quite plainly, will have to do with both respecting the threefold moratoria (border crossing, same-sex blessings, and partnered gay bishops) as well as with signaling clear support—at the provincial, diocesan, and parish level—for the Ridley-Cambridge draft of the Anglican covenant. While the all-important Section 4 of the draft covenant, which deals with relational structure and discipline, is now being looked at again after the Anglican Consultative Council—thanks largely to Episcopal Church delegates—forced its delay, the entire logic of Williams’s letter points toward its adoption in full without change. And the more dioceses and parishes that show their support, the likelier that will be.
Actions, as Williams concludes, are “bound to have consequences.” But while Williams’s letter strongly points to the need for consequences following the actions of the actions of General Convention, there is now further need for Williams to show that his words have consequences. Whether rightly or wrongly, too many Anglicans around the world view Williams as inclined too much toward talk, unwilling to take action when action is called for. As such, there are too many Anglicans who will perhaps not be convinced by the weight of his words alone. At present, two members of the Joint Standing Committee—which will make the crucial decision, at the end of this year, whether or not to pass along the final draft of the Anglican covenant to the provinces for ratification—are members also of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and Dr. Ian Douglas of the Episcopal Divinity School. It may be both right and prudent to ask them to step down—for if the Episcopal Church has decided not to abide by Communion decisions, then what right have they to make decisions for the Communion? Their participation will only deepen Communion-wide distrust of international Anglican bodies, and by taking action Williams will help renew the trust of many in his own office.
Which is where I get off. I’d love to see that happen, I really would. Were Rowan Williams to take an action like that, the hand of the Communion Partner bishops would be strengthened considerably while the position of ACNA might actually be weakened.
But Dr. Williams will not take an action like that for two reasons. First, because the concepts of “Rowan Williams” and “action” should not be used in the same sentence. Second, because the moment he does so, the simmering liberal Anglican rebellion we’ve been hearing so much about lately immediately boils over.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
Ed Morrissey articulates the Obama Doctrine. Toward enemies, subservience. Toward friends, abuse:
Never let it be said that the Obama administration took a defeat graciously. When the Honduran Supreme Court rejected the deal that Costa Rica offered, called the San Jose Accord, that would have reinstated Manuel Zelaya as president, the Obama administration had a choice: allow Honduras to make its own decisions and accept them, or try to pressure Hondurans to bend to American will. Guess which path they chose?
The OAS Foreign Ministers mission is in Honduras seeking support for the San Jose Accord, which would restore the democratic and constitutional order and resolve the political crisis in Honduras. In support of this mission and as a consequence of the de facto regime’s reluctance to sign the San Jose Accord, the U.S. Department of State is conducting a full review of our visa policy in Honduras. As part of that review, we are suspending non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services in the consular section of our embassy in Honduras, effective August 26. We firmly believe a negotiated solution is the appropriate way forward and the San Jose Accord is the best solution.
I’ll bet “toward enemies, subservience, toward friends, abuse” would sound really cool in Latin.