Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flag and Freedoms

An attempt was made once again to curtail American freedoms. It's politic to defend the flag at all costs, but it's really unAmerican. The flag should be respected, but to add an anti-flag burning amendment to the Constitution dishonors the constitution, by trivializing an important document. Such an amendment, also, could be used to silence contrariarian voices -- much as the current administration is trying to do with the press.

Security is important, as is protecting revered objects -- but if we loose our cherished freedoms then there is little reason to be an American. What makes being an American special is the freedom I have to worship as I please, speak as I please about my government, and read a free an unfettered press.

May the flag every fly free, but not at the cost of my freedom!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Fallen Soldier -- Needs Remembering

You may recently have heard about the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs refusal to allow for the placing of the pentacle, the religious symbol of Wicca, on the grave marker of St. Patrick Stewart of Fernley, NV. The linked article from the Las Vegas paper will give background.

You may want to contact the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs to protest this "inaction." I'll be publishing a column on this -- on Sunday. Please remember and speak out on this family's behalf.


The Honorable R. James Nicholson
Secretary of Veteran Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW Room 1000
Washington, DC 20420
(202) 273-4809 FAX (202) 273-4877

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church

Years ago -- during college and seminary -- I was an avid reader of the Wittenburg Door. It is and was then really the only Christian satire magazine. Edited by the late Mike Yaconnelli, it took on the religious community, especially the evangelical sub-culture, out of which it had emerged. I remember the cover story from 1980 that focused on the then new crystal Cathedral. Back then it cost 2 million to build -- not much by today's standards, but a large amount today. Anyway, the Door pointed out how many wonderful things you could do with $2 million rather than build a monument to success.

Anyway it's been a long time since I've read evangelicalism's version of MAD magazine. But then I came across Becky Garrison's new book published by Jossey-Bass -- Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church. Garrison is a senior contributing editor for the Door and so it's not surprising that this is a book of satire dealing with the current state of the church. As such, the book lampoons both the religious right and the religious left for their attempts to "baptize" their pet projects in religious garb. The subtitle of the book tells it all: "Eyewitness Accounts of How American Churches are Hijacking Jesus, Bagging the Beatitudes, and Worshiping the Almighty Dollar." The ultimate point of this book is the politicization of the church -- something that both right and left have attempted -- with the result being a bloodied church that is increasingly polarized along political lines. Though at times the book seems over the top and even simplistic, it's a quick read and helpful in keeping us all a bit humble!