Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bush and the Irrelevance of WMD

Bush and the Irrelevance of WMD

At Think Progress, Judd points out a Bush flip-flop on the relevance of WMD, which is really not much different than The New Republic's June, 2004 flip-flop on the relevance of WMD.

Bush knows he'll have Democrat Joe Lieberman behind him on this. (Roll your eyes if you must - but you know it's true.)

Don't get me wrong - I know how disgusted you feel when you see this man, Mr. Bush, telling you that he thinks that WMD is irrelevant because his final rationale, the only one left that he could peddle to the public, is a suitable moral replacement.

Americans will either buy his final rationale for war after all the hype and misleadings about WMD - or they won't. I believe that only luck will save Bush on Iraq now, and let's face it - luck hasn't been with him so far. The more casulaties we'll see, the less support and benefit of doubt Bush will be given by the American public for "staying the course."

Progressive Christians in the News

The monologue of the religious right is finally over and a new dialogue has begun.”

- the Rev. Jim Wallis, author of 'God's Politics - Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It'
Progressive Christians in the News
Their Voices Grow Stronger by the Day

Jim Wallis, leader of the Christian social justice group Sojourners, has said that "some of the best conversations occur behind bars." He may have had some interesting conversations yesterday. He was arrested in Washington DC, along with 115 religious activists "who were protesting a House Republican budget plan's cuts in social programs when they refused to clear the entrance to a congressional office building Wednesday." [WaPo]
Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a Christian group active in politics, said Monday that protesters will pray for “a change of heart” by Republicans, citing Old Testament prophet Isaiah, “Woe to you legislators of infamous laws … who make widows their prey and rob the orphan.” - SFGate

See video of the event in the following formats [Sojourners]:
+ WindowsMedia
+ RealPlayer
+ QuickTime
+ iTunes download

See photos and reflections of vigil participants

Special feature at

Why I Got Arrested this Advent Season
by Christa Mazzone
"More than anything, I'm risking arrest this Advent season because I have hope. And hope is what Advent is all about."

In the Chicago Tribune's political-minded report, Frank James says there was a`Christmas scandal' outcry when hundreds of Christian activists gathered in D.C. to protest bills granting tax cuts for the wealthy while slashing programs for low-income people:
Wallis and other progressive religious leaders who believe the poor have received short shrift hope that, by emphasizing the religious obligation to help the poor, they can reframe the debate....At the same time, that might help lift the fortunes of Democrats who voters say are more concerned with poverty than Republicans are, but who have suffered political defeats because their party is perceived as being less hospitable to people of faith. In the last two presidential elections, Democrats lost - by significant margins - voters who considered themselves deeply religious, and this has been an issue many in the party said must be addressed if Democrats are to return to power in Congress or the White House.

More on the Washington protest from
"...when asked by Cybercast News Service whether he was urging the government to promote Judeo-Christian values, [Rev. Raymond]Rivera said he was not. "What we're saying is that ... whether you have a religious tradition like many people here do, or just come out of a human tradition, we don't think the country should balance its budget on the back of its most vulnerable citizens."

Related Blogpost with many links - Where in the World is . . . James Dobson?

John Longhurst at the Winnepeg Free Press talks about Faith and Personal Cost:
"....getting arrested for an act of civil disobedience in North America isn't remotely similar to what has happened to the four Christian Peacemakers Teams members in Iraq. But it reminds us all that following conscience and acting on conviction sometimes has a cost. For a few, it could mean putting life on the line." - Liberals of faith speak up

P.E.A.C.E. - Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation – is a global church-to-church plan to mobilize Christians to fight against the five “Global Goliaths.”

Replies From Rightwing Christian Organizations, Who Were Noticeably Absent

The GOP News reports:
Carrie Gordon Earll, spokesperson for Focus on the Family, told Cybercast News Service that her organization did not take part in Wednesday's rally because it holds a different view of the relationship between the government and the poor. [my emphasis]
We can only assume that they think the budget is moral enough to suit their Christian fancy - and they must believe that the government has no responsibility or accountability for lifting the poorest in our society. In any moral sense, that statement is a no-winner. James Dobson and those in his his organization have shrunk back in the face of a value-challenge from Wallis and the other activists who protested in DC yesterday.
From the WaPo:

Janice Crouse, a senior fellow at the Christian group Concerned Women for America, said religious conservatives 'know that the government is not really capable of love. You look to the government for justice, and you look to the church and individuals for mercy.'" Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says putting the biblical mandate to help the poor into the federal budget is a "shifting" of responsibility.
What a cop-out!

A state may not be capable of "love", but as a body, it surely is capable of legislating acts that will reasonably alleviate poverty. Our democracy provides for the debate of all citizens. Every individual citizen is capable of debating their common spiritual values in the public square and each citizen has the right (and civic duty) to call upon the state to govern based upon those values.

This is certainly not "shifting responsibility!" It is enacting responsibility! At the same time, it is acting out our deepest faith to call upon our government for social justice. The Christian Right are speaking as if Christian-citizens are helpless losers who should stay silent on matters of politics - and we knowfor a fact that they do not keep their narrow set of values at the government's arms-length!

A fine example of the Christian Right's hypocrisy is from Wonkette, who quotes a 'Focus on the Family' spokesman in a blogpost deliciously titled 'Left Behind: The Right Loves the Poor Until They're Born':
Focus on the Family: It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important. But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that.

Wonkette: "In other words, poor people, if you're cold and hungry this Christmas, the right would love to help you. You'll just need to find a womb to crawl into first."

Will The Christian Right Splinter?

from New West Network:
[Pastor Ted] Haggard’s relatively open-minded stance [on gay civil unions] could signal a shift away from the radical homophobia of evangelical hate-mongers like Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, writes Dicker in a Toilet Paper blog item: “[Haggard] could have even greater influence over Evangelical Christian public opinion than Dobson has ever had, particularly if they start moving toward the middle where many who now despise them as fundamentalists might be willing to take a softer view if they'd adopt a message of compassion toward gays.”

The Rev. W. Robert DeFoor, a Kentucky Baptist leader, is calling for "more moderate, middle-of-the-road leadership" in the Southern Baptist Convention.
"I knew that but I used my candidacy as an opportunity to talk about fundamentalism and issues that were dividing us. Too many Baptists have been too silent and cozy when it comes to the rise of fundamentalism. I decided a while ago I was no longer going to be silent and would never be cozy."


A Worthy Cause

Some of my own family members will soon travel to the heart of the Appalachia to serve their fellow brothers and sisters. The Redbird Mission could use your help.


All I Want For Christmas

What I want for Christmas *hint hint* - SERMONS FROM DUKE CHAPEL: Voices From "A Great Towering Church. Edited by William H. Willimon. Duke University Press. 384 pages.