I need a political palate cleanser before Monday…

Perhaps re-watching Dr. Strangelove would help.

A few people have suggested that I’ve crossed the line in some of my posts in the last week….that I’m endorsing the democratic candidate. Actually not true. My vote is my business. You may ultimately figure it out by November, but right now, I just want everyone informed and I see part of my role as a self-proclaimed commentator is to critique everyone.

Do I think a lot of what we heard in the last week is dangerous? You bet. Did I say so? You bet. Would it be appropriate to remain silent in the face of a rhetoric of fear, hatred or isolation? Um, actually my Boss kind of answered that question for me a long time ago.

I intend to cast a critical eye on what we see next week as well and to post some of the big media reaction, just not from Fox–never from Fox.

Will it be the same kind of critique as this week? I doubt it, but then, contrary to much of what I read (and with respect to many friends) I don’t find the two parties’ approach to this election thus far remotely similar….other than they both want your vote.

What they will do to get it will say much about both of them. Round 2 starts in 2.5 days (or sooner if there is a VP announcement tonight).

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Let the party who is without sin…

PG-13 rated post….

So, news reports are making it fairly clear that, um, extracurricular activities at the RNC are in great demand.

In its platform, the RNC declared “Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions. We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and well-being.” (They got to both take the moral high ground AND take a jab at national efforts to address the issue by assigning it to the states to handle–that’s a small government bi-fecta.)

As if to drive their point home, the participants at the RNC then demonstrated the magnitude of the problem when one of the largest free porn sites reported having a 185 percent spike in Cleveland-area access events on their site since the RNC began, which is larger than the spike when the NBA finals were in Cleveland.

Further, reports are coming in that gay escorts on Craigslist  are experiencing spikes in business,  strippers have descended on Cleveland en masse as they do every four years for the GOP confab and stories of the need for a crack down on human trafficking of young girls for prostitution in the months leading up to the convention are casting a shadow across the media’s typical light-hearted response to Convention shenanigans.

I’m not in any way suggesting that there won’t be similar spikes in porn use or prostitution or strippers during the upcoming Democratic Convention, but I’m just marveling that the GOP would go out of its way to wrap itself in moral purity standards its own conventioneers seem perfectly happy to flout.

It brings home to me the importance of humility when we start slinging around moral standards that we expect others to live by when we create our own moral universe where those rules somehow don’t apply to us.

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Ben Carson’s Lucifer rant at the RNC…

Could it be….

Okay, the Ben Carson thing is really getting under my craw. This morning, he cited marriage equality and reproductive choice as signs that Sect. Clinton is, perhaps unwittingly, in league with Lucifer. And he means it.

Here’s the problem with a dominionist view of politics in a constitutional republic with constitutionally enshrined protections against the imposition of one particular religious view on the populace by the government….

He can’t win…the US will not, indeed cannot adopt his particular view of Christian morality (or mine or anyone else’s for that matter) as the legal standard for conduct and still be the US. Given that, it casts him always in the role of the noble martyr, the one who gets to lob the God bomb, or in this case, the Lucifer bomb. He refuses to debate the justifications for these standards separate and apart from their place in the Bible and so he disqualifies himself from being one who engages in a legitimate political debate.

Regardless…his positions are problematic, even simply looking at them from a Christian moral perspective.

SOME Christians believe that same-sex marriage is an abomination. SOME Christians celebrate it as both a civil right and an example of God’s covenantal love being present in many committed relationships, not simply those of straight couples.

SOME Christians believe that abortion is murder and always wrong. SOME Christians recognize than there are moral and legal differences between potential life and self-sustainable life and that questions and decisions of reproductive health, absent the presence of an independently viable fetus, are best left to doctors and patients, not lawmakers. In short, abortion is a very, very complicated issue, both legally and morally, however tragically or neutrally we might view each procedure.

Publicly making the jump from “morally complex” to “evil” or “in league with Lucifer” with regard to someone else’s conduct is deeply fraught for many reasons including, but not limited to: (1) when you isolate one or two purported sins above others and actively ignore others (like the Bible’s condemnations of charging interest or the duties to the poor and widowed and to be hospitable) your hypocrisy delegitimizes your alleged moral high ground; (2) when you definitively state that you know the mind of God on a particular subject, you display a lack of humility and an excess of arrogance inconsistent with the Gospel; and (3) that is not how Jesus instructed Christians to deal with people who we believe are engaging in immoral behavior.

Many, if not most, folks either see Dr. Carson as a moral lion, a modern Don Quixote for Jesus….or a fool. I see him as neither. I struggle with whether he is a charlatan or a deeply misguided man who doesn’t understand how our Constitution works and who practices a kind of Christianity I find incompatible with my experience and study of scripture. Regardless, to follow him is to tread into dangerous waters–both constitutionally and theologically.

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Hi there!

And so it begins…

So, here we are.

They, which likely means you, have been bugging me to set up a blog. I debated round and round whether to have it linked to my church, Northminster Presbyterian Church, or to have it separate.

We will be setting up a church blog this fall, but this blog is just for me, well, and for you. Anything I put here does not reflect the opinions of my church, the session of Northminster or anyone else but me. So, when you get mad, don’t write send hate mail to the Session, send it to me. I’m a big boy (a bit too big as it happens); I can take it.

The first few posts will be reposts of things that first got posted on Facebook. You are going to have to humor me for a while as I get used to long form posts going here instead of first there. I should get the hang of it before too long.

The gist is that I have lots of opinions…long, wordy opinions and I’ve been encouraged to find a place where they can go. so here we are. You are in that place. If the dust is showing for a while it’s because I don’t know my HTML from my ROYGBIV or my EGBDF. We’ll figure this all out together.

So, here we go. Buckle up, Buttercup.