Read It

What Wezlo has to say about Peter Moore’s recent comments, and evangelical Christianity’s comments more generally, is well worth the read. I generally try to keep politics off my blog, with a few exceptions. So, anytime I can link to someone who hits the nail on the head, as it were, I’ll take it.

James Dobson on Obama

A few disclaimers before I begin. First, my candidate didn’t make it past the primaries. As for which of the two viable candidates (yes, two. I may have some libertarian ideals, but they have no chance at this presidential election) I’m leaning towards, I think it makes little difference to this discussion.

CNN has an article regarding some things Dobson has said about Obama. Personally, it sounds to me like Dobson is raving. His arguments and jabs are half-baked at best. That works for Ice Cream, but not so much for logical discussion. I try to keep politics off of my blog. But I really can’t stand aside at this point.

First, Dobson criticizes Obama for saying that we can’t use the Bible as the sole document regarding how we govern. As evidence for this Obama puts forth Leviticus and Deuteronomy. To be sure these are some tired arguments. Obviously, a proper understanding of those two books makes them far less offensive than they might appear at first glance. But that is neither here nor there. Obama is right we can’t govern based solely on the Bible. Our world is not the Ancient Near East. It’s not even the modern middle east. Obama is also right when he says, “So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bible now. Folks haven’t been reading their Bible.”

Dobson’s response to this? According to CNN, “Dobson said Obama should not be referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament.” Now, this isn’t a direct quote. So one must be careful. But I really, really hope that Dobson didn’t say anything remotely close to “[certain Old Testament books] are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament.” If that’s the case then I don’t think it is Obama who has no clue about how to read and interpret the Bible. CNN also reports that Dobson said the following (direct quote): “‘I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology,’ Dobson said, later adding that Obama is “dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.'” Again, I don’t think Dobson has any clue here, nor does he have any business being the arbiter of what is or isn’t “biblical understanding” or “confused theology.”

CNN reports that Obama also asked a, in my view, legitimate question concerning what brand of Christianity one might govern by. In this case the Senator from Illinois actually mentions Dobson, “Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s?” I think that is exactly the issue. Now, of course, Focus on the Family came back with some argument that Obama was calling Dobson a racist. I don’t think that’s what Obama was doing at all. I think he was legitimately pointing out that we have Dobson on one extreme and Sharpton on another, and they will probably never agree on which brand of Christianity should be taught in schools, or which brand should be used to determine policy. He wasn’t comparing the two of them, he was contrasting the two of them. It’s a common practice, in rhetoric.

The solution? Christianity should stay out of politics and instead focus on helping the poor, blind and lame. After all, what could be more pleasing to God than taking care of widows and orphans? I hardly agree with everything Obama has ever said about faith, but I certainly find myself agreeing more with him than the self-appointed arbiter of Evangelicalism.

A bit of news

I’m taking this week off from thinking (aside from work related things), so don’t expect blog posts of any substance unless I get a sudden and unexpected urge to actually use the gray matter contained inside my cranium. Much like Eric I intend to read fiction (currently the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn cycle by Tad Williams), play games (specifically Tales of Symphonia, and if I finish it I’ll possibly start Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits), drink coffee (which isn’t really a departure from normal. I’m currently brewing a fine Harrar and will probably crack open some Kona by the end of the week), and conquer the world with Mandy in Civilization IV. I’ll perhaps emerge from this cocoon of hedonism in roughly a week when I begin preparing for my Intermediate Greek class in Summer I, and finish up my Semlink.

But that’s not the reason that I even began this post. In my meanderings this morning I found this article on CNN.com. Roland Martin often has some interesting things to say, in my opinion; I thought his take on the whole Rev. Wright thing was fascinating (that, and I’m a karma whore).

I have lost…

…all faith in the human race. This article is the worst piece of so-called journalism I have seen in a very long time. It is filled with fear-mongering. It is filled with bad research. Wait. Scratch that. It is filled with a lack of research. Yes, that’s correct. The research descended so far into the negative that it, in fact, wrapped around so that it was able to fill something. With nothingness. The end of days approaches.

But, in more serious terms, this guy has no idea what he is talking about. Mass Effect is not some sex simulator. I mean…the very idea is amazingly idiotic. It’s the same old rhetoric. Video games are evil. You can have sex with a grapefruit. They are designed to make our young boy want to have sex with a grapefruit. We all know that grapefruits are gay. Video games make men into homosexual pedophile rapists! It’s happening in your home! HIDE YOUR GRAPEFRUITS FROM YOUR TEENAGE SONS! But, ya know, don’t actually be a parent and look at the rating of a game.

Now, I know parents are busy. I know many parents don’t enjoy video games so they aren’t going to play them to see what is in them. That’s fine. I understand. But parents do have a responsibility to look at the ratings of games. I also think that stores like EBGames need to get their act together and ID younger people trying to buy M rated games. But what parents do not need is articles like the one linked above. All it does is create irrational fear. Again, Mass Effect is NOT a sex simulator. It has a sex scene. It is rated M. Is your child under 17? Do you not want them to see that scene? Do not allow them to play Mass Effect. I know, I know. There is the worry that they could go to a friend’s house and see it. They could also see porn at a friend’s house. The possibility exists that they might smoke a cigarette at a friend’s house. Yet no one is storming down the tobacco companies saying that they are attempting to kill off our young people. I realize that there were lawsuits in the past. I realize that things are not exactly equal. I’m simply pointing out that video games are not an insidious evil.

In the end though, what do I know? I’m a libertarian, and a gamer. I have a strange urge to go find a grapefruit.

Democratic Presidential Debate

So Mandy and I watched the presidential debate tonight on CNN.com. A few thoughts:

1. What was up with John Edwards. He didn’t answer any questions, he just bashed Hillary.
2. How is it that Hillary could answer the question “Are you playing the gender card?” in the negative and then proceed to tell a story about how a 95 year old woman was just “so pleased she was running…” and “wanted to live long enough to see a woman in the white house.” Honestly, if you’re going to play the gender card — fine. But fess up to it.
3. Biden was in good form tonight. I really enjoyed some of his humor.
4. Why is it that none of the candidates were willing to give specifics on what they were going to do to make their plans happen? The largest offenders here were Edwards and Clinton. The candidates who I felt actually gave specifics on what they would do were Biden and Obama. Of the others, the only thing that I know for sure is that Kucinich wants to impeach Bush. Movie at 11.
5. I’m really curious to know how Senator Clinton is able to say that the “middle-class” somehow makes more than $100,000 per annum. I think Obama thrashed her over that argument, and rightly so.
6. Bill Richardson had a few moments…but overall didn’t give me enough specifics. Some good sounding vision…but, meh.
7. Er…Dodd?
8. I want my libertarian candidate!

Go directly to jail…

At least that’s what seems to be the case if you wear baggy jeans. Well, baggy jeans that show your boxers. I personally find this completely and utterly laughable. I’m so happy to know that some old local politicians (by old, I mean above 30, because apparently you lose all ability to reason after that age) have decided that cops should be policing what people wear. I hope the citizens of some of these areas are happy that their jails will be filled with teens who have done nothing more than let their boxers show. This is a law worthy of Orwell. We had RAs that did this at Davis, and we laughed then. There is a whole lot that the government should be doing – and making certain fashions illegal should not be high on that list. Perhaps I will one day propose a law that you be fined for wearing a tie. Why? Well, because as we all know – people who wear ties are white homophobic middle class business men who exploit the poor, lie in court, commit hate crimes, and otherwise ruin society. (Note – this is hyperbole, and meant simply to show that laws based on fashion (or, in the case of ties, a lack thereof) are perhaps best left to individuals).

Now that I’ve got my initial rant out of the way, let’s look at this a bit more objectively. There are teens who wear saggy pants. I know some teens who wear saggy pants. They are intelligent. They get good grades in school. They also skateboard. Why should they have to pay $500? Why should they be interviewed and questioned as to what they hope to do with their lives? They are perfectly normal teens. I think, as citizens of America, we have to ask if this is really worth the fight? Why make a law like this? I honestly cannot see the harm that society is facing because of saggy pants. I’m trying to be objective here. I must conclude that this law is being created because some people do not like the saggy pants fashion. I am therefore forced to conclude that this is an example of those in power exerting their influence to make the world conform to what they would like it to be. This happens often, but I’m not sure if it’s healthy.

There is a bit of rebellion in me that wants to go to one of these cities, walk in public with saggy pants showing six inches of my boxers and when I’m interviewed by police as to what I’m doing with my life, and if I’m employed, explain that I have a college degree, graduated Summa Cum Laude, am currently attending graduate school, am currently employed as a youth pastor, regularly give to charity, seek to keep students off of drugs, teach students to avoid breaking the law, etc, etc, etc. I’d really like to see the reaction. I mean, six months in jail because you wore saggy pants? Okay – but I have to be honest and say I have a really hard time taking this seriously.