Monthly Archives: October 2004

The Article I Never Wrote

On account of busyness, I never wrote the “Why Christians Should Consider Voting for John Kerry” article. Oh well. I’ve seen a few other pieces along these lines, but none has taken exactly the angle that I was planning to take… Let me sketch the outlines here, while noting that a real essay would have fleshed these points out a lot more and would have included plenty of quotes from the Bible. (Producing Biblical quotes to support my views is a skill which I have honed for many years… Picking a choosing Bible quotes to support your point of view isn’t exactly a recommended way to study the Bible – but it’s a fine way to write a persuasive piece.)

First, I would get abortion and same sex marriage out of the way as follows. Regarding abortion, it is already legal, and isn’t likely to become “more legal” under John Kerry. I understand and respect many people with very strongly held opinions on this issue, and any piece I might write isn’t likely to change many minds. So, while a second Bush administration holds out a small hope of reversing Roe v. Wade for those who think that’s a good idea, it seems unlikely that a Kerry administration – particularly with a Republican House – can make abortion more legal than it already is.

Regarding same sex marriage, the FMA is extremely unlikely to ever pass in Congress. Almost everyone who has analyzed this issue in any depth knows this. John Kerry does not support same sex marriage. So the choice here is a non-choice. It is a choice between the status quo, with no FMA, and a president who supports the FMA. And a status quo, with no FMA, and a president who does not support the FMA. (And there a

Having dispensed with the hot button issues of abortion and same sex marriage in fairly short order (recognizing that I wasn’t going to change any minds on either of the issues themselves, but hopefully showing that using them as the primary decision factors in selecting a President was somewhat futile), I planned to dive into my main thesis: The biggest moral issues facing America are not abortion and same sex marriage; the biggest moral issues facing America include poverty, the environment, war and peace, honesty in civil discourse, and human rights. And a credible case can be made that John Kerry is the right choice when one considers the whole spectrum of moral issues..

So, that’s what I was going to say in a nutshell. Here are a couple other sites for Christians supporting John Kerry:

Christians for Kerry/Edwards

Sojourner’s Ad. This is an ad that Sojourner’s magazine, a progressive Christian evangelical magazine, ran in several newspapers around the country (especially in swing states). It certainly isn’t explicitly pro-Kerry, but it raises many of the same points that I raise.

Philocrites. A very interesting weblog post pointing to a variety of articles.

Bull Moose for Kerry

Marshall Wittmann, the former McCain aide who has endorsed Kerry, posts a very thoughtful response to Suskind’s NY Times Magazine article that I linked last week. He is right to point out that we should not attribute “Bush’s ideological intransigence, arrogance, hubris, triumphalism and lack of self-reflection” to his religion, which is the way that some have read Suskind’s piece. As a religious person myself, I agree completely. I think it comes back to the second quote I pulled from the article: True religion leads to self-criticism, deeper reflection, repentence, and accountability which allows us to reach for something higher than ourselves. Religion which leads to easy certainty, self righteousness, and lack of self-reflection is false indeed.

What’s Wrong With Bush

This article by Ron Suskind from Sunday’s New York Times Magazine sums up everything that’s wrong with the Bush presidency. All the kids were talking about it, but I was traveling so I’m late to the party. I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said. I will grab a couple of pull quotes, though.

The first is so Orwellian that it’s scary. Not that this surprises me.

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency. The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The second gets to the heart of what’s dangerous about Bush’s brand of faith.

”Faith can cut in so many ways,” [Jim Wallis, an evangelical pastor who worked with the GWB administration in their early days] said. ”If you’re penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it’s designed to certify our righteousness — that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There’s no reflection. ”Where people often get lost is on this very point,” he said after a moment of thought. ”Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not — not ever — to the thing we as humans so very much want.” And what is that? ”Easy certainty.”

Pigs R Us

About three weeks ago, I read in the Roanoke Times about a restaurant owner in Martinsville that had won several national BBQ championships. Being a big fan of BBQ and given that there isn’t any decent BBQ in the immediate Blacksburg area, I had to check out his restaurant, Pigs R Us, in Martinsville, VA. (Note to Yankees: BBQ does not mean cooking hamburgers or hot dogs on a grill. It means slow roasting and smoking meat to tender perfection with appropriate spices and rubs, a process that takes all day.) So, this evening we drove to Martinsville. It was BBQ perfection. I believe it was literally the finest BBQ pork that I have ever tasted. Without sauce, the meat was tender, juicy, and perfectly spiced. With sauce, it was heaven. We brought a pound home for future consumption. It will be gone in a couple of days, I’m sure.

It was a long way to drive for BBQ, but even Becky agrees that it’s worth 3-4 trips a year.