Archive for September, 2009
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments
Michelle Obama knows that you know how incredibly hard it is for a person to be flown first-class to one of the world’s most beautiful cities, accompanied by her celebrity gal pal, for a sales pitch, some sightseeing and real Danish for breakfast. But God bless her, Shelley’s willing to take one for the team:
In her speech in Copenhagen today, First Lady Michelle Obama said her trip to Denmark, along with the travel of her “dear friend” and “chit-chat buddy” Oprah Winfrey, as well as tomorrow’s visit by President Obama, is a “sacrifice” on behalf of the children of Chicago and the United States. “As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the president to come for these few days,” the first lady told a crowd of people involved in the Chicago project, “so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home.”
Shel? Nobody anywhere in the world has ever thought that, never mind said it.
I see the First Lady working. If everyone reading this clicked on that PayPal button over there and dropped in a ten-spot, you’d all naturally think that it would a great sacrifice for me to buy a bottle of really outstanding bourbon with it. Nevertheless, I’d do it and I’d do it with a smile on my face. Know why?
Because I’m a giver. And I’d do anything to make you folks happy.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments
How does he do it? The Amazing Rowan, Anglican escape artist extraordinaire, once again avoids having to make a tough decision:
The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed an endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant by the Diocese of Central Florida’s board and standing committee, but said only provinces can officially adopt the covenant.
In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called the diocesan bodies’ endorsement a step in the right direction. However, he stated, “as a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces).”
The archbishop added that “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action would not have an “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider communion, he said.
Translation: yeah, what the hell, go ahead and adopt it, John, that’d be great. Of course, Central Florida’s adoption wouldn’t actually, well, mean anything until the Episcopal Organization signed up. And if TEO doesn’t, well, it won’t be my problem anymore so you’ll have to take it up with the next guy, whoever he is.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments
“Conservative” columnist Kathleen Parker admits that her swooning over Barry last year might not have been such a hot idea:
In keeping with his campaign promise to talk to America’s enemies without precondition, Barack Obama plans to turn his charms on Burma’s military junta. Slowly, we’re beginning to understand what hope and change were all about. Translation: Sure hope this change works.
It may be too soon to pass judgment on Obama’s new foreign policy strategy, but early returns on his gamble that talking is the best cure are less than reassuring. Each time Obama extends a hand to one of the world’s anti-American despots, he is rewarded with an insult (Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez) or, perhaps, a missile display (North Korea and Iran).
One may view these episodes as diminishing America’s status or as a tolerable annoyance — sort of the way Dobermans view toy poodles. At some point, the big dog reminds the little yapper of his place. Unfortunately, the American commander in chief is a cat in a dog-eat-dog world.
On the other hand, it sure is good that that nitwit Sarah Palin isn’t anywhere near the Oval Office, isn’t it, Katie Bear? Man, what a disaster that would have been. By the way, her upcoming book’s currently number one at Barnes & Noble. Want us to buy copies for you and Dave Brooks?
Not to rub it in or anything, Katie Bear, but some of us called all this well before the election. Me, I think it’s, well, kind of telling when the leader of the country that invented the white flag thinks an American presidency is already a train wreck.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments
Since it broke in 2003, the Anglican controversy has been this site’s almost exclusive focus. But one of the dangers of taking this sort of approach this long is that you gradually become awfully jaded, unable to be surprised or shocked by much of anything.
Case in point: two Episcopalians were recently rewarded for once again demonstrating that the sun rises in the east the Episcopal Organization is not Christian in any meaningful sense of that term:
The Hindu American Foundation honored two Los Angeles area priests with its 2009 Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism September 23 at the foundation’s sixth annual Capitol Hill banquet.
The foundation also acknowledged the efforts of Bishop Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles along with the Rev. Canon Gwynne Guibord and the Rev. Karen MacQueen, for “electrifying Hindus last year after issuing a formal apology for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination including attempts to convert them.“
And because there are few things that Episcopalians enjoy more than apologizing for stuff they didn’t do, Double J took the opportunity to get in another one.
Bruno, who was unable to be present, sent a letter expressing gratitude for recognition of efforts “to build bridges of cooperation between the great religious traditions … [and] assist you as your community strives for justice and equality.
“The world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of our past, in which we Christians often sought to dominate rather than to serve,” according to the letter, read to the gathering by Guibord, who is also the consultant for interfaith relations for the Episcopal Church.
“In order to take another step in building trust between our two great religious traditions, I renew the apology that I have offered to the Hindu community for the religious and racial discrimination that Christians have directed towards Hindus for far too long. Such discrimination is wrong; it is a sin. There is no justification for it.”
Trying to convert people to Christianity is a sin. If you say so, Bishop. After all, Jesus never said anything about going out into all the world and making disciples of all nations.
Okay, I’m confused. Jesus never explicitly said anything about homosexuality so that’s not a sin anymore. However Jesus did explicitly say something about going into all the world and making disciples of all nations so that is a sin.
There is “no justification” for doing something Jesus explicitly told us to do.
Care to explain that little contradiction? For crying out loud, Double J, you people aren’t even trying to make intellectual sense anymore.
Aren’t you a little judgmental there, Chris? Not at all. It’s like this. If you sneeze, the fact that Christopher Hitchens tells you, “God bless you” doesn’t mean that that old boozehound has suddenly become a deist.
Fat Boy can use terms like “God” and “Jesus” and “sin” all he wants to. But the fact that “sin” is whatever that pseudo-spiritual fraud thinks sin should be means that as far as J. Jon Bruno is concerned, these terms are nothing more professional jargon for particularly gutless high-church atheists.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, September 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments
Chicago Democratic Party machine hack is so terrified of Sarah Palin that he lashes out against some elderly Alaskans:
In a strongly worded message to Congress outlining presidential priorities for a military spending bill, the Obama administration said Friday it disapproved of including money for pensions for 26 elderly members of the World War II-era Alaska Territorial Guard.
The White House move drew swift rebuke from the state’s two senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich, who had together sponsored the pension fix.
The legislation honors 26 elderly Alaskans who are the few remaining survivors of a military unit that served the country with valor, Murkowski said, calling the administration’s direction “deeply disappointing, bordering on insensitive.”
“We are talking about 26 brave, elderly Alaska Natives who served honorably for this country during World War II,” Begich said in a statement. “I, frankly, find it puzzling how the administration could object to giving these men the recognition they deserve. The federal government deserted these men at the end of the war, and I hope the Congress and my colleagues in the Senate won’t let that happen again.”
“The administration’s justification, which is that the legislation will set the precedent of treating service as a state employee as federal service, defies logic and history,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Sixty-two years after the Territorial Guard was disbanded, the Obama administration minimizes the contribution of this gallant unit to America’s success in World War II by calling its service ‘state service.’ “
Says here that Barack Obama once taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. If any of my children had ever taken a course from him, I’d be calling the school and demanding my money back. How is it logically possible to perform “state service” when one doesn’t live in a state?
If you’re interested, here’s a short history of the Alaska Territorial Guard and the services that they performed for the entire country.
They found their solution in the remote and isolated villages of the Aleut, the Yupik, the Athabaskan, the Inupiaq, the Tlingit, the Haida, the Tsimshian, the Eyak, and the other native Alaskan peoples. Incorrectly called Eskimo Scouts, the Alaska Territorial Guard was formed from mostly native Alaskan volunteers. Both men and women, the oldest 80 and the youngest 12. From 1942 to 1947 these unpaid volunteers from 107 native communities patrolled Alaska. Officially there were 6,368 of them, unofficially it was more like 20,000. These men and woman rallied to a flag and a cause that was largely not their own. They learned to fight and to shoot and to operate Army equipment and they did it so well that battle hardened veterans from Outside were often left in awe of their abilities, dedication, and perseverance under some of the harshest conditions on Earth. The members of the Alaskan Territorial Guard, the ATG, managed weapons and ammunition stores for the Army, trained themselves in drill and firearms and tactics, managed communications and transported equipment under conditions that no others could function in, constructed buildings and support facilities including airstrips and ports, conducted coastal surveillance and long range extended patrols on foot, broke hundreds of miles of wilderness trails, cached emergency stores and ammunition for the Navy, performed land and sea search and rescue of downed airmen and shipwrecked sailors, and directly fought against the enemy in the Aleutians. The ATG was commended for shooting down a number of Japanese bomb balloons and remote surveillance radiosondes and for the difficult rescue of downed airmen from planes that crashed on the arduous journey to Siberia in the Russian Lend Lease program. Members of the ATG also performed medical care for wounded soldiers at a field hospital in remote Kotzebue. And above all, the ATG provided training to the regular army in cold weather operations – training that saved thousands of lives and who’s legacy continues to this day for the troops who guard Alaska and its vital resources.
This is nothing other than an attack on Alaska. Because if that state hadn’t been governed by whom it had recently been governed by, I doubt that this repulsive Administration would have even considered such a criminal idea.
Barry will get away with this, of course, since his lapdog media won’t report it. In the grand scheme of things, what do 26 elderly Native Alaskans matter anyway? It’s not like the Tlingit voting bloc can turn an election.
They’re all going to die pretty soon anyway. And until they do, it’s not like they’ll have no one to talk to. There’s a lot of people down there under Barry’s bus.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, September 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments
…pop over here and congratulate the Captain on the new Yipslet.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, September 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments
I’ve got nine words for Northern Indiana Episcopal Bishop Edward Little II. For the love of God, WAKE THE HELL UP!!:
We have made our decision. The restraint called for in B033 of the 75th General Convention has been set aside. Bishops may authorize blessings (that’s the clear implication of the “generous pastoral response”), and liturgies are on their way. Our course has been inexorably determined. The conversation about human sexuality is effectively over.
We answered a second question at General Convention as well: The question of the Anglican Communion, and its life and ministry. The Windsor Report presents a nuanced and balanced picture of the Church, a Catholic vision of interdependent life, carefully weighing the need for autonomy on one side of the scale and the need for accountability on the other. Our actions put us clearly on the autonomy side of the spectrum. In approving Resolutions D025 and C056, we have said No to the Anglican Communion. We have rejected two of the three moratoria requested by the Windsor Report and the four Instruments of Communion (most recently, at its May meeting, by the Anglican Consultative Council), and ignored the plea of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his General Convention sermon that we do nothing to exacerbate our divisions. The trajectory of the Episcopal Church propels us to the fringe of the Anglican Communion. Again, the conversation about ecclesiology is effectively over.
During General Convention a host of colleagues assured me of their love and friendship and their appreciation of conservative voices like mine. For that I am profoundly grateful; their expressions were heartfelt and deeply moving. But given the margins by which D025 and C056 were approved, it’s clear the traditional perspective is a dwindling minority in the church. There aren’t many of us left. What do people like me need from the church? We need the ability to live and to act according to our convictions, and to be assured that we have a permanent place in the church. This may seem like a simple and obvious matter, but it isn’t.
Really? What makes you say that, Ed?
The final resolve of D025 recognizes that “members of the Episcopal Church … are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.” True enough. But our recent history demonstrates that people in the position of a theological minority may ultimately find their position canonically outlawed. That was certainly the experience of those who cannot affirm the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.
In 1977, the year following canonical provision for the ordination of women, the House of Bishops — in its famous statement drawn up at Port St. Lucie, Fla.—said that “no Bishop, Priest, Deacon or Lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner nor suffer any canonical disabilities as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support of the 65th General Convention’s action with regard to the ordination of women to the priesthood or episcopate.” To be sure, these words emanated from one house alone, and thus do not carry the full weight of the church’s highest governing body; but nonetheless, Port St. Lucie is a classic restatement of the priority of conscience when Christians disagree on matters of deep conviction.
This provision for what our Lutheran friends call “bound conscience” was not to last, however. I was a member of the House of Deputies in 1997 when General Convention — by amending Canon III.8.1 — declared objection to the ordination of women canonically illegal. It is no longer possible, under the canons, to be ordained in the Episcopal Church if one cannot support women in all orders of ministry. Speech after speech supporting the change in 1997 ended with some variation of the claim that: “This is not a conscience issue. It’s a justice issue.”
So what should we do now, Ed?
Lord Carey of Clifton, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, asked a difficult question in April at a conference sponsored by the Anglican Communion Institute: “Can conservative believers be assured that they have a future place in TEC without censure or opposition?” This question is both apt and pressing. We need a conscience clause with canonical and constitutional authority, a conscience clause that contains no sunset provision, that cannot be revoked. If the Episcopal Church is to be truly diverse — if conservative Christians are to find a place in our life in the next decade or the one following—then the 77th General Convention must turn its attention to the inclusion of theological minorities. Without that assurance, the unraveling of our church, already a tragic reality, will continue apace. The inevitable pattern will re-emerge, as conservatives move from honored minority to tolerated dissidents to canonical outlaws. I (and others like me) will not be among those who leave; but we may well be among the last conservatives left. And so we must, I believe, bend heart, mind, and will to the protection and permanent place of traditional voices in our church.
Ed? Here’s how it’s going to go down. GenCon 2012; here’s a conscience clause that can never be revoked. GenCon 2015; goodbye conscience clause.
Two things, Bishop. They think you’re wrong. And they don’t have to give you anything at all, Ed. All they have to do is wait you out.
When you retire, your successor will be a little more moderate than you are. And his successor will be a little more moderate than he was. And on and on right up until the day that the Episcopal Bishop of Northern Indiana is a liberal lesbian.
There is no future for conservative Christians in the Episcopal Organization, Ed. None whatsoever. So to expect people who are as hostile to your theology as it is possible to be to provide you with one is stupid.
The Episcopalians aren’t going to change their direction, Ed. Ever. So it’s only a matter of time before they plow you under. Which means that you can either jump off the train or perish when the inevitable crash comes.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, September 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments
By all means, Mr. President and Madame Secretary. Let’s demand that Honduras reinstate this freakshow:
It’s been 89 days since Manuel Zelaya was booted from power. He’s sleeping on chairs, and he claims his throat is sore from toxic gases and “Israeli mercenaries” are torturing him with high-frequency radiation.
“We are being threatened with death,” he said in an interview with The Miami Herald, adding that mercenaries were likely to storm the embassy where he has been holed up since Monday and assassinate him.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told CNN en Español that his government asked Zelaya to tone down his rhetoric while he remains an embassy guest.
“The word `death’ should not even be mentioned,” he said.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, September 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments
I’ve been reluctant to address this but I guess I should. An individual named Vicki Gray thinks the Christian church needs her. Him. Whatever:
We may not yet be apparent, but there are transgender Episcopalians.
I am one and, with several transgender sisters and brothers, incarnated an otherwise abstract “issue” at July’s General Convention in Anaheim, California, as a member of the TransEpiscopal delegation that sought recognition of our existence and action on the real issues — social, political, economic, and ecclesial — that have adversely impacted our lives.
Among us were three trans-priests; one trans-deacon; a 19-year-old transgender deputy, Dee Tavolaro from Rhode Island; and several allies — gay, lesbian, heterosexual and inter-sexed. We were embraced by and embedded in larger lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) delegations from Integrity and the Chicago Consultation, but felt the need to stake out our own profile within the LGBT community and, more importantly, within the church.
I, for one, have always felt the need for a bold, independent transgender profile within the church and society for we exist, not as some abstraction, but as living, breathing, feeling human beings. As Shakespeare’s Shylock asks in “The Merchant of Venice,” “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”
In the context of the church, I have always considered the nature of our “otherness” a gift to the larger church in terms of stretching the spiritual envelope of those around us.
There is so much wrong with all that that it’s not even funny. Because if you accept the premise, you must accept the idea that God can make mistakes. And a deity that can screw up is not a deity worth worshipping.
If Vicki Gray or somebody like him/her were to look at me and defiantly declare, “This is who I am!!” I would respond, “No, this is who you turned yourself into. You were a person who, for whatever reason, thought that you were the wrong sex.”
So what do you propose to do with them, Johnson? Throw them out? No, even if they’ve already had the surgery. I would do whatever I could to make their lives easier but I most certainly would not teach that it was okay to correct God’s mistake.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, September 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 10 Comments
Know what might happen to you if you refuse to pay the feds for not having health insurance? You could be looking at some serious time in the hole.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, September 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments
US government? If you’re reading this, and you probably are, this is why so many of us view a single-payer health care system with alarm:
The U.S. government failed to send promised college tuition checks to tens of thousands of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars before they returned to school this fall, even after being warned that it was inadequately staffed for the job.
The Veterans Affairs Department blamed a backlog of claims filed for GI Bill education benefits that has left veterans who counted on the money for tuition and books scrambling to make ends meet.
Veterans like American University student John Kamin, who received a letter Wednesday from the Army. He was hoping it contained news that his overdue GI Bill college tuition money would soon arrive. Instead, the Iraq war veteran was informed that he may be called back into active duty.
“It felt like salt in the wound,” said the 24-year-old from New York City. He is depleting his savings account and borrowing money from his parents to make up for thousands of dollars the government promised him to complete his political science degree.
Washington? If you can’t manage a simple program like this, why should we believe that you can successfully deal with what would probably become the most massive bureacracy in the nation this side of the State Department?
Some might say that the systems of Canada and Britain work reasonably well but Ottawa and London have been at it a while. And most people are not comfortable with the possibility of their wives or children dying of cancer, say, because Health and Human Services hasn’t got the kinks worked out yet and approval of some potentially life-saving drug is at the bottom of some overworked bureaucrat’s stack.
We’re funny that way.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, September 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 52 Comments
I know he’s getting on in years but I suppose that a lot of you Roman Catholics wouldn’t mind rolling the Episcopalians once again object to a straight-up Roger Mahony-for-Jeffrey Steenson trade:
When asked whether he agreed with Cardinal Justin Rigali, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee, that the House health care bill funds abortion and needs to be amended to prohibit abortion funding, Cardinal Roger Mahony told CNSNews.com that the issue of abortion funding in the health care bill is “way beyond my field.”
When asked by CNSNews.com whether he agreed with Cardinal Rigali that the bill funds abortion and should be amended to explicitly prohibit abortion funding, Cardindal Mahony said: “This is way beyond my field. My field is immigration. I really haven’t kept up on that, and I spend all my time on this other. You have to get somebody who spends time on that.”
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments
Posting here may get a little limited and sporadic for a while and I might not get to your e-mails right away. My arthritic right wrist has flared up in a major way and I’m basically down to one working hand. I head into the doctor to get checked out tomorrow so hopefully this will clear up quickly.
UPDATE: Saw the doctor today. Had a blood test done after the visit(my doctor wants to know if rheumatoid arthitis is in play), got some meds and a fresh supply of Vicodin. Also reloaded the bourbon while I was out so it hopefully won’t be too much longer.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments
The Episcopalians are soliciting donations so that they can sue people.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 20 Comments
Interested in purchasing a children’s Bible for your son or daughter? The Episcopal Diocese of Washington has a recommendation on what to avoid(PDF, Page 10):
Most children’s Bibles have pictures that are of poor quality, cartoonish or silly. This is often because more children’s Bibles are published by conservative Christian publishers that focus on conveying the facts and the moral lesson of the story instead of opening the Scriptures to children in a way that engages them in a process of learning about God.