Wednesday, May 31, 2006
ER book review: 'Why the Christian Right is Wrong'
Makes me sad to write this, but Robin Meyers' latest book, "Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future," is not all I had hoped it would crack up to be.
His thesis is sound and emotionally and intelligently backed: What passes for "Christianity" in the public sphere of this country now is not only a poor knock-off, but is downright evil in some ways.
Major subthesis: George W. Bush's personal faith clearly does not extend past his lips, judging by the on-his-sleeve sense of "morality" with which he has slapped down all opponents, both foreign and domestic, since taking office -- emphasis on "taking."
Meyers' book is an elucidation of a speech he made in late 2004, which college students and activists sent 'round the world via the 'Net. Here is the text of the speech. The 202-page book makes a chapter out of each major point.
Fascinating: None of the copies of the speech I found online includes the very last paragraph: "Time to march again, my friends. Time to commit acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. My generation finally stopped a war. Yours can too."
It could be because the last two sentences comprise a dubious claim. Meyers, who pastors the church I attend, does let his rhetoric run away from him at times -- ironic, since he is a professor of rhetoric in addition to being a pastor.
Although I think what Meyers has written sorely needed to be written -- shouted from the mountain tops! -- I have a few complaints about the work:
1. He needs an editor. Everyone needs an editor. I've read several of his books now, each from a different publisher, and they all have common sloppy mistakes -- repeated words, the wrong word and the like, things that spell check does not catch. A good editor could have caught the errors.
2. He needs a fact checker, which is a content editor, more or less. In "Why the Christian Right is Wrong," he refers to "Senator Tom Cole," who does not exist. He means Senate Tom Coburn, the maverick conservative senator from Oklahoma. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, not a senator but a member of the House of Representatives, is a tolerable country-club Republican from Oklahoma. Meyers also refers to "Senator Tom DeLay" -- when he means U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, "the Hammer," the power mongering GOP congressman from Texas, also a House member, not a senator. Meyers might as well have just sold a noose along with the book, because critics will hang him for those kinds of stupid mistakes.
3. The book is a harangue; it is a manifesto, indeed. But it borders on being a screed. The ideas in the speech cannot be sustained in a book-length work, not without some more intellectual due diligence, some more homework.
4. The last chapter, "A Call to Nonviolent Resistance: How to Save the Country and the Church," is a list of everyday things that people can do to start to turn the world around by turning their own world around. Which is fine. But it's sort of a letdown. True, marching in the streets and such is usually all "sound and fury signifying nothing." But taking a coffee cup to work to keep from using six Styrofoam cups (which I do, incidentally), is sort of mundane. Meyers could have made this chapter fit better if he had set up such a conclusion at the start, and maybe even interspersed the suggestions throughout the text, which would have tamped down his (justifiable) anger and righteous indignation as it builds, making it more persuasive.
I bought this book for two friends -- one inclined to agree with it, and one most definitely not -- before I read it. Both are editors. Apologies, guys, for the errors therein. Apologies, too, that Meyers needed an editor and apparently didn't have one.
No apologies for the central thesis of this desperate cry from the Oklahoma wilderness: There is very little "Christian" about the "Christian Right" as it conducts itself, vamps, and demonstrates its actual values in the public arena.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
As I was experimenting with my digital camera -- I'm impressed that it took this close closeup -- I kept talking about trying to get a picture of a steeple. Dr. ER later told me she kept looking for a church steeple somewhere close by.
I splained it to her. She was about as satisfied as I am with western Oklahomans' and Texans' explanation of why they call a pond a "tank."
"It just is and we just do."
Monday, May 29, 2006
Steak of the Union
Mama ER is still hospitalized, and probably will be for a few/several more days. She is getting a little better each day, though.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Introducing Mr. F. Post
Mr. Post will hold down the ER fort through most of the holiday weekend, since Dr. ER and I are heading to Arkansas tomorrow to see Mama ER. Pancreatitis and a gall stone, it turns out. On the lighter side, I think I'll get to do some mowin' on Brother ER's new tractor, which I haven't rid yet, so that'll be fun. I'll check in here today from work some, but after that, y'all try not to kill each other, 'k? Wish us well and keep Mama ER and us in mind.
Meet Mr. Fence Post!
It is said around these parts, of people who do nothing but complain -- and of those who will not be swayed from their preconceived notions come reason, facts, rhetoric, hell or high water -- that they would "argue with a fence post."
Here's yer chance! Mr. Post is all ears!
What's yer gripe? Lay it at the feet of Mr. Post. Open thread, as they say.
Photo by ER at Roman Nose State Park near Watonga, Okla. Read about Chief Roman Nose here.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Focus on THIS
Members of the foreign operations subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee have voted to double President Bush’s budget request for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
It's not a U.S. program, it's an international fund ...
The Global Fund is a joint public-private Swiss foundation that operates under the auspices of a board of directors largely dominated by an alphabet soup of United Nations-affiliated international organizations — including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Bank. Private corporations also contribute.
Read all about it.
Weep in the comments.
Prayer (vibe, karma, thought) request
If you pray, pray for Mama ER and those of us who love her.
If you have good vibes, send 'em.
Karma? We'll take it.
Kind, hopeful thoughts -- always accepted gladly and returned.
People pray because people pray, whether they call it prayer or not.
What does prayer mean to you?
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
2 Chronicles 7:14 and "a pious mistake'
The biblical literalist one that seems to reflect his origins and the wider, expanded one that always is the salvation, pardon the pun, of the Church as it finds its way and continues to renew itself and its relevance.
Take that, please, as ER's introduction to the following. The question seems sort of silly to me, and I'm sure it will to many regulars here. However, Fudge handles it with ... well, with grace.
His answer seems obvious -- but it most certainly is *not* obvious to those who, wrapped in false senses of security, worship their own particular concepts of God rather than worhiping God with all awe at the mysteries, their doubts, anxieties and questions out on the table -- the Communion Table, if you will -- where they belong.
I don't particularly accept the concept of God punishing nations for the sins of "a people," although I do accept that the results of selfishness, which is the root of all sin, can lead to consequences that, while quite natural, can be seen as punitive. But I like this gracEmail anyway -- mainly because of the last paragraph.
(gracEmail) 2 CHRONICLES 7:14
May 23, 2006
2 CHRONICLES 7:14
A gracEmail subscriber asks whether God's conditional promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to forgive his people and to heal their land applies today to Christians living in the United States of America.
In this passage King Solomon has just dedicated the Temple and God appears to the king at night to assure him that he will hear prayers offered from this place (2 Chron. 7:12-18). For example, suppose that God's covenant people Israel commit sin and God punishes them with drought, locust or disease. If they then repent, turn to God and reform their ways, God will forgive them and remove the punishment. This is the way God stated it: "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I sent pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Today we frequently hear people quote the second half of this promise (verse 14) while omitting the first half (13). In this way, they suggest that if Christians living within a nation (such as the USA or elsewhere) humbly seek God in prayer that God will remedy the ills that plague their land and restore the nation to divine favor. Certainly God still forgives sinners in any nation who repent, turn to him and reform their ways. However, no nationality of people today can rightly claim to be God's covenant people in God's promised land. "My people" in verse 14 therefore does not mean Americans as such, or New Zealanders or Italians or the Swiss. If this passage did fit any nation today, "My people" would not be citizens of that nation in general but Christian believers within that nation. However, in that case this promise would mean only that if the Church within a nation went into sin and was suffering temporal judgment as a result, that God would forgive those believers and remove their judgment if they truly repented and changed their ways.
It is a pious mistake, it seems to me, to lift statements and promises addressed to ancient Israel as God's covenant people living in his promised land and to apply them to any nation of people living today. A better Scripture supporting the abiding value of intercessory prayer for one's nation today would be Jeremiah 29:7, a word addressed to the Jews taken captive by Babylon some 300 years after Solomon: "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its peace you will have peace." Wherever we live, we can pray for the well being of our city or town, county or township, district or state, country or nation. To the extent that God blesses our neighbors, we will share in the benefits. However, we must always remember that our citizenship is in heaven, that God is not an American, and that our own country exists before God on exactly the same level with every other country around this fallen world.
Copyright 2006 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. Visit our multimedia website at www.EdwardFudge.com .
Custer was *not* a Republican
(Photo by Dr. ER, at an out-of-the-way intersection on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, summer 2004).
Monday, May 22, 2006
Bible says to care for environment
Today's is especially interesting to me -- not because I'm an environmentalist wacko, but because so many on the Christian Right are anti-environmentalist wackos.
Near as I can tell, they believe that since Jesus could come TODAY, and The End is Near, they have no responsibility or obligation to take care of this ol' earth.
Such thinking is wrong, as Brother Billy points out. Scripture says one thing, yet those who most loudly proclaim its "infallible" and "inerrant" status are the ones most likely to ignore it.
Why? I think it's because of idolatry: Those people worship the Bible -- and worse than that, they worship their own America's-business-is-business interpretation of Scripture above all.
Here's the question posed to Billy Graham.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Does the Bible say anything about taking care of the environment? I have some friends who are very passionate about this issue, but they don't really believe in God or Jesus the way I do, and they even claim the Bible is anti-environmental. Are they right? -- J.H.D.
Read Brother Billy's answer here.
Friday, May 19, 2006
The book jacket notes read as follows:
Millions of Americans are outraged at the Bush Administration's domestic and foreign policies, and even angrier that the nation's religious conservatives have touted these policies as representative of moral values. Why the Christian Right is Wrong is a rousing manifesto that will ignite the collective conscience of all those whose faith and values have been misrepresented by the Christian Right.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote:
"This is a timely warning and a clarion call to the Church to recover the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to a great nation to resist the encroachment of the Christian Right and of Christian Fascism. Many of us in other parts of the world are praying fervently that these calls will be heeded."
In addition to teaching at Oklahoma City University, Robin Meyers is a United Church of Christ minister and a nationally known peace activist. For 20 years, he has been pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, and is a syndicated columnist and award-winning commentator for National Public Radio.
Meyers has appeared on "Dateline NBC," "ABC World News Tonight," and "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." He was featured in the HBO documentary, "The Execution of Wanda Jean," for his efforts to save the life of the first woman to be executed in Oklahoma. Meyers writes for "The Christian Century" and is a professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University.
See Amazon for more information or to buy Why the Christian Right is Wrong.
D (DaVinci) Day
And if any prayer vigilists get in my face, I'll, I'll -- well, I'll love 'em, the poor deluded saps.
Jesus needs no defending.
Y'allses' thoughts, please.
Why does this work of fiction seem so threatening to so many people? If the churches in this country have become so irrelevant that the central, historical, traditional mainstream stories about Jesus are lost on the greater society -- and, as feared, whole swaths of the country will be "led astray" by a movie -- whose fault is that?
I think The DaVinci Code will come closer to sparking a revival than The Passion of the Christ (no desire to see that). Why? For one, the out-freaking that will start in earnest tonight when people start lining up to see The DaVinci Code will burn off pretty quick.
What will smolder is renewed discussion of who God is, who Jesus is, and who we are in relation. And that is a wonderful thing.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Marx, Jefferson, Jesus and Okies
Boy howdy, this morning, while strolling near the end of David A. Shannon's The Socialist Party in America: A History, (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1955), I stumbled across a set of tracks that, if followed, might help explain the appeal of Socialism in rural Oklahoma in the 1910s and 1920s, when Oklahoma had more paid-up Socialists than any other state.
They were Christian Socialists, which was not and IS not the oxymoron those on the modern Christian Right would have people think. The only people involved or interested in politics who don't see a social-political obligation to others laid at the feet of those who follow Jesus are right-wingers. Why? Because they can't find their politics in Jesus's words or example. Moderates, liberals, and those further to the left can, quite frankly. For a discussion of this see "Jesus is a liberal."
Anyhoo, the rabbit tracks I found have to do with a specific feature of the Appeal to Reason, the great old Socialist newspaper published in Girard, Kansas. I'll have to reread Agrarian Socialism: Marx, Jefferson and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, to be sure, but I mighta done found a largely unturned track of history that I can explore.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower.
(Tip of my Resistol to Drlobojo)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Page 23, sentence 5
Grab the nearest book. Turn to page 23. Find the fifth full sentence. Type it in the comments. Source the book. Tell a little about why the book is the nearest book to you! Plain ol' bibliophilic fun! Feel free to start same at your place.
"And although he was writing at a date when the benefit of hindsight gave him the appearance of wisdom, it might be granted that whether from foresight or daring, the shrewd Illinois lumberman was one of the early exponents of bois d'arc fencing."
-- from Henry D. and Frances T. McCallum, The Wire that Fenced the West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965), referring to Jacob Haisch, an inventer and one early patent holder of barbed wire.
Got this book in 1995, when I was the farm-and-ranch editor of a Texas newspaper. I used it over the weekend with my blitz writing project, which had to do with the advent of barbed-wire fencing, among other things, in 1880s Indian Territory.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Itz done, this blitz!
Two days. 25 hours combined. 25 pages. 6,876 words. 8,192 words counting footnotes.
Holy crap, I'm tired. Hey, I'm a glutton.
Off to Kinkos and the post office!
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Lady Liberty is a bitch
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Then there's this:
WASHINGTON - President Bush will call for thousands of National Guard troops to be deployed along the Mexico border in support of patrols aimed at keeping out illegal immigrants, White House officials said Sunday on the eve of an Oval Office address announcing the plan.
White House aides worked into the night Sunday to iron out details of the proposal and allay concerns among lawmakers that using troops to man the border would further burden an overextended military.
Read all about it.
Some of the tired, poor and those yearning to breasth free will be shot down. Count on it. We should just tear down the Statue of Liberty. Or at least shroud her in her shame, and cover up that poem until the business people who let illegal immigration out of hand in the first place are taxed to pay for a way to fix it.
Did you call or go see your mama today? You should.
Prayer of Confession today at this church:
Lord of Life, if mothers are so important, then why do we treat them so poorly? Why have mothers always had less power, made less money, and been considered as second-class citizens around the world? Help us to do more than just honor mothers. Help us to empower them. In Christ's name, we pray, Amen.
Proverbs 1: 7-9
There is a silent crisis in America. Mothers and families are in trouble. A full quarter of families with children under six live in poverty, at least 9 million children don't have any health care, and far too many parents can't afford to stay home with sick children. Working toward common sense family-friendly policies like those covered in The Motherhood Manifesto will help all families.
May our Father-Mother in heaven bless and keep you this Lord's Day!
Unholy ghost comments
A commenter who has consisently done nothing but attack me and others, but mostly me, and then lied about the reasons why -- a guy who has foevermore warped my sense of what comes out of Izard County, Ark. -- has had fellowship withdrawn from him here.
He claims he's been excommunicated, which is enough right there for me and anyone else to question his Baptist credentials -- although unlike him, I will not question the veracity of his Christian faith.
He's an independent Baptist, or so he says. I think he said he's not attending church right now -- like just about every other Christian righty who hangs here (Rem870 being an exception, partly because he seems traditional and conservative, and not "right wing," at least to me, and partly because I think he does attend a church.)
And I'm a Southern Baptist about to turn Congregationalist. Baptists don't "excommunicate," since that's impossible when each local congregation is autonomous and independent, answering only to Christ, no church hierarchy. I'm pretty sure Congregationalists are the same way, since each church is independent and autonomous.
So, when one bunch gets out of line, the rest of 'em "withdraw fellowship." It sounds like semantics, but very real differences in church polity are involved in the difference between "excommunication" and "withdrawing fellowshp."
Anyway, that's why I say I've withdrawn fellowship from the man, not excommunicated him.
Anyway, Red Alert remains for the commenter, D.Daddio. His comments will be deleted. Call it censorhsip if you like. But his claims that he's been shut down for his doctrines or his opinions are false.
In fact, I'm not sure what his doctrines are beyond: "I'm right! You're a pervert!" which about sums up the scores of mean-spirited, hateful, taunting comments here the past week or so. The meanness, hatefulness and taunting are the reason he's been silenced.
Some of his bile might slip in. And occasionally I or someone else may have responded to a comment he left that's been deleted. Those are the unholy ghost comments I'm talking about.
Peace to all. I've got an hour to write, then I'm off to church, then to Walgreens and to a fancy eatin' joint to get a Mama's Day surprise for Dr. ER, then it's back here for the long march of at least eight more pages on an article I'm working on with a postmark deadline of midnight tomorrow. Wish me historical discernment and godspeed!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Liberty or death?
From Craig Crawford.
Blitz writing today and Sunday!!
Been workin' on the research a little bit every days since. Today's the day to commence writing. Tomorrow is the day to finish it, since I have an all-day seminar at work-work Monday that can't be avoided.
I need 15 to 20 pages to feel comfortable. It takes me about one hour per page on this kind of writing, since I'm a footnote freak and do 'em as I go.
May my nineteenth-century muse be with me. Wish me luck!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Lesbian brains CLARIFICATION
Clarification: Lesbian Brains story
Eds: Members who used BC-Lesbian Brains of May 8 may wish to use
the following, which clarifies a section of the story dealing with
individuals perception of pheromones.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a story May 8, The Associated Press
reported on the perceptions of lesbian women and heterosexual men
and women when sniffing chemicals derived from human hormones. That
report was based on a chart in a research study which indicated
different perceptions of the chemicals, such as pleasantness,
familiarity and irritability.
While there were differences in how the brains of homosexual and
heterosexual participants reacted to the chemicals, the story
should also have included the conclusion that indicated differences
in individual perceptions were not statistically significant.
Kind of, um, anticlimactic.
All tapped out
"One thing the Bush administration says it can do with this meta-data is to start tapping your calls and listening in, without getting a warrant from anyone. Having listened in on your calls, the administration asserts that if it doesn't like what it hears, it has the authority to detain you indefinitely without trial or charges, torture you until you confess or implicate others, extradite you to a Third World country to be tortured, ship you to a secret prison facility in Eastern Europe, or all of the above. If, having kidnapped and tortured you, the administration determines you were innocent after all, you'll be dumped without papers somewhere in Albania left to fend for yourself."
Impeach Bush Coalition.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Lies, damned lies and state secrets
You who would, defend this!
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Even if you honestly click "no" on the first question, as I suspect many of you will, go back and click "yes" and follow the various threads. Good stuff here.
From Mainstream Baptists.
Lesbian brains redux
One of the researchers in the lesbian brains study, widely reported yesterday and today, apparently is taking issue with the way it was reported.
This link has the story: Read it all here.
Below is a piece about the researcher's complaint. It's pretty brainy. Dr. ER has two degrees in brains. I've asked her to read both and respond inm the comments. They will be closed until she's had time to read and think about it.
By Robert Knight
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
A new and widely reported Swedish study that suggests that lesbians respond differently from heterosexual women when exposed to sex hormones has been seriously misinterpreted, one of the researchers says.
The Associated Press story noted that a similar study was done last year on men, and that with the new female study, "the findings add weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical basis and is not learned behavior."
In response to an e-mail inquiry from Grove City College Professor of Psychology Dr. Warren Throckmorton, researcher Dr. Ivanka Savic of the Stockholm Brain Institute said of the AP interpretation of her work, "This is incorrect and not stated in the paper."
The study was published in the May 9, 2006, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, although the link to the piece was not available at the academy's website as of yesterday.
The AP report was carried widely in major newspapers and on television and radio. Most reports cited the study as more "evidence" for a genetic or biological cause for homosexuality without noting that no credible study suggesting direct biological causes has ever been replicated and that many have been refuted.
The Swedish study merely found that lesbians respond differently, not that their brains were hardwired that way before any sexual activity. Recent brain research also shows that brain patterns may emerge in response to certain activities.
"It's reasonable to believe that prior sexual behavior would predict future sexual responses," Throckmorton said.
Here is Monday's posting on Dr. Throckmorton's blogsite. In italics is the e-mail he sent to Dr. Ivanka Savic about the study of lesbians' response to putative pheromones. Her responses to each of his queries follows in capital block letters:
The Associated Press story came out today about your study and I think they have reported it incorrectly.
First I am wondering if you can help me understand things more clearly. I am enclosing a link to the AP report:
First, in the report the reporter writes: "It's a finding that adds weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical underpinning and is not learned behavior."
THIS IS INCORRECT AND NOT STATED IN THE PAPER
As I understand your article in PNAS, you specifically offer learning as a hypothesis for your findings. Isn't this true? I believe the reporter is misleading on that point.
THIS IS VERY UNFORTUNATE; AND YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT
Second, the AP report says: "In lesbians, both male and female hormones were processed the same, in the basic odor processing circuits, Savic and her team reported." I understand that the study did show that AND (male condition) was processed akin to other odors by lesbians. But wasn't there also some hypothalamic processing of EST (female condition) by lesbians?
YES! AND ALSO CONJUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS SHOWED A COMMON HYPOTHALAMIC CLUSTER IN THE HYPOTHALAMUS
It was weaker and apparently not in the anterior hypothalamus but didn't you also find dorsomedial and paraventricular hypothalamic activation? So it would be inaccurate, would it not, to say "both male and female hormones were processed the same?"
YOU ARE FULLY CORRECT
THANK YOU VERY MUCH. HOW DO I ACCESS THE AP REPORT??
Dr. Throckmorton told Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute yesterday that he had just sent the correspondence to Associated Press yesterday morning and was in dialogue with a reporter about it.
A common flaw in interpreting "gay gene" studies is the supposition that supposed differences in the brain are genetic in origin rather than the result of behavioral change.
Dr. Savic "did not want to create the impression that the study proves sexual response is not learned. In fact, [the Swedish research team] seems pretty open to plausible interpretations. However, at present, from this study, nothing definitive can be concluded," Throckmorton said.
The trend in research suggesting the idea that homosexuality is inborn began in 1991, with the publication in the journal Science about differences in the hypothalamus portion of the brain. Authored by Salk Research Institute's Dr. Simon LeVay, it became a media sensation.
LeVay evaluated the brains from the corpses of 35 men – 19 homosexuals and 16 alleged heterosexuals – and found that a set of nodules in the hypothalamus was generally larger in the "straight" men than in the homosexual men. However, LeVay noted many exceptions to the finding, and later admitted that he had no way of determining the "sexual orientation" of the heterosexual sample, six of whom were white men from the San Francisco Bay area who had died of AIDS-related causes. He said he designated the "heterosexual" sample as such because most people are straight. He also issued this warning after the media declared his study as proof that people are born "gay":
It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain ... Since I looked at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth, or if they appeared later.
Similarly, all the subjects in the Swedish study were sexually experienced, Throckmorton noted. So any differences could have developed as a result of exposure to certain behaviors rather than constitute evidence of cause.
For more information on the claims of "gay gene" research, see the Culture & Family Institute Special Report "Born or Bred: Science Does Not Support the Claim that Homosexuality Is Genetic."
ER here: Let it never be said that I, like so many extremists on both sides of most issues, use ONLY research and journalism that supports my preconceived ideas!
The fact is I don't KNOW some things. And I think the humility that can come with ignorance, not the hubris that can come with knowledge, is most important in interpreting Scripture -- as well as in just learning how to get along with people different than ourselves.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
(Shmoon actually came up at work today).
Lesbians' brains react differently to sex hormones than those of heterosexual women, new research indicates.
Read all about it.
Yes, I'm on something of a tear on this subject.
Gay men creep me out. Gay women fascinate me about as much as they fascinate most straight men.
Be that as it may, I am convinced that science will continue to suggest, and one day will show definitively, that homosexuality is as natural as ...
Tendency to obesity. Inherited alcholism. Predisposition to violence. Abnormally strong hetero libido. Every other natural human tendency and state that the church tends to denounce as sin.
Homosexuals are this generation's blacks ... women ... Indians ... fill in the blank with any other "Other" from history.
Which is why I stand gladly holding the doors open to church -- and to God's grace.
'Even with Americans as jurors'
"Because I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial," the Affidavit states, "even with Americans as jurors ..."
This, despite the hotheads who wanted to see him hanged from the nearest tree -- like we *needed* to create a martyr.
Read the affidavit (pdf).
Monday, May 08, 2006
'Secular State, Religious People'
" ... That the Constitution was godless and opened the door for non-Christians to serve in government did not go unnoticed ..."
-- from "Secular State, Religious People -- the American Model," (pdf) by William Martin.
Seen at Mainstream Baptist.
Read more on the general topic at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
'Why ... make ... faith so difficult?'
Lord of Life, why do we make the life of faith so difficult? Why do we argue endlessly over theories about God, and the doctrines of men, when the moral imperative of faith is to help those in need? Help us to go back to our roots, and to remember what it means to be faithful. The world is in need of healing. We have medicine. Let us do what we can, where we are, with what we have. Amen.
1 John 3: 11-24
11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous.
13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Comin' in out of the cold ... Liberal
I took it just now, after bein' accused of bein' a Leftist, just to see. Nope, just a plain ol' garden-variety Liberal. Considering what's been happening in the world and in my own life the past year, that sounds about right.
Here's the test. Take it. Let us know the results.
Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Liberal typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.
Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.
This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.
Strongest preference for diplomacy over use of military force. Pro-choice, supportive of gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection. Low participation in religious activities. Most sympathetic of any group to immigrants as well as labor unions, and most opposed to the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.
Who They Are
Most (62%) identify themselves as liberal. Predominantly white (83%), most highly educated group (49% have a college degree or more), and youngest group after Bystanders. Least religious group in typology: 43% report they seldom or never attend religious services; nearly a quarter (22%) are seculars. More than one-third never married (36%). Largest group residing in urban areas (42%) and in the western half the country (34%). Wealthiest Democratic group (41% earn at least $75,000).
Largest group to have been born (or whose parents were born) outside of the U.S. or Canada (20%). Least likely to report having a gun at home (23%) or attending bible study or prayer group meetings (13%).
Bush 2%, Kerry 81%
59% Democrat; 40% Independent/No Preference, 1% Republican (92% Dem/Lean Dem)
Liberals are second only to Enterprisers in following news about government and public affairs most of the time (60%). Liberals’ use of the internet to get news is the highest among all groups (37%).
President Bush at Oklahoma State
Dang it, I can't help but like the man George W. Bush. As I've mentioned before, I met him twice, in Texas, during his gubernatorial campaign, for meetings of an editorial board upon which I served. He is a likable guy.
He made the obligatory mention of Eskimo Joe's, like his daddy did 16 years ago, and he made a more subtle, and more important, mention of Bank of Oklahoma, which was a nod to powers that be in this state, as well as on the A&M Board of Regents, which governs OSU and Oklahoma's other land-grant schools.
My only complants on his speech are old ones:
He praised global competition -- the vaunted free market that is sucking jobs overseas and reducing overseas and which will drag us down to whatever lowest common denominator shakes out for production and income and environmental protection and national sovereignty and everything else. Myself, I'm more of a protectionist.
And, of course, he praised his and his neocon administration's leadership in "taking liberty" to oppressed peoples, which is a dubious thing to assert, and a questionable enterprise that historians will have to judge, not journalists, and certainly not officials in the administration, and not the president himself. This modern-day Manifest Destiny is frightening.
Here's the complete text of the president's speech at OSU.
Yep, the presidency, and the earnest, likable, generally respectable man who occupies it, half elitest country club snob and half good ol' boy, whose domestic policies largely make me sick to my stomach, whose stubborn arrogance at times makes me fear for my country, whose Christianity on his sleeve is so at odds with so many of the unChristian and unAmerican details of this so-called "war," graced our state today, and my favorite university, Oklahoma State University.
I'm proud, in spite of my misgivings, that the presidency was here.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Any of y'all ever noodled?
Might have to go check this out.
Read about the film and the tournament: Okie Noodling.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Bless Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer
Free. Speech. Free. Press. Always.
By MATT GOURAS
The Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — It was a black mark on dozens of family histories that lingered for nearly nine decades — until a journalism professor and a group of law students examined what happened to citizens who spoke out against the government during World War I.
On Wednesday, 78 people convicted of sedition amid the war's anti-German hysteria received the first posthumous pardons in Montana history, including one who was charged merely for calling the conflict a "rich man's war" and mocking food regulations during a time of rationing.
Read all about it.
Good word gone bad: 'evangelical'
I am so, so sorry it's come to this.
To the right-wing of the American church:
Hope you're proud.
To the left wing of the American church:
Come out! Speak out! Pray out!
By John Buckeridge
Editor, Christianity (UK magazine)
Now ... "evangelical" is increasingly shorthand for: right-wing US politics, an arrogant loud mouth who refuses to listen to other people’s opinions, men in grey suits who attempt to crowbar authorised version scripture verses into every situation, or "happy-clappy" simpletons who gullibly swallow whatever their tub thumping minister tells them to believe. Large parts of the British media seem happy to paint evangelicals into that stereotype. Today in the UK "evangelical" is often linked with the ultimate 21st century swearword "fundamentalist". The result is the name "evangelical" which years ago, may have smelt of roses -– now has the aroma of the manure that fertilises the bush.
Read all about it.
(Hat tip to Blondesense, to which ER regular Red State Blues contributes.)
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Third anniversary! Blitz research!
I'm spending it off from work-work -- and buried in the books and archives.
See, I just found out that this October, the annual meeting of a specialty historical organization that is right up my alley will be in an adjacent state.
I have it in my head that I can whup together a suitable paper to present at said meeting by the deadline of May 15. Fifteen pages would be enough, I think.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
I am a glutton! ... Hey, some people fish. Some people golf. I do historical research.
I have the two newspapers I need not only on microfilm, but already in paper form from when I was a copying fiend a few years ago while workin' on my masters. I have almost every secondary-source book I need right here in my home office. And I'm fixin' to run to the college library for a few more items.
The Western channel is on in the other room, for inspiration. Maybe I can do it! And even if I can't, the effort will have gotten me off high center on the project, which I've been wanting to do anyway.
The thesis: The Branding Iron/Indian Champion, a newspaper "devoted to the Indian and stock news" published under auspices of the Choctaw Nation in 1884-1885, went way beyond "cowboys and Indians." The paper was a frontier journalism microcosm of the then-popular concept of "civilization."
The editors disdained cowboys' shenanigans on the trail and during roundups on one hand, and encouraged cattlemen and the cattle business on the other. They worried about the "wild" Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapahoe to their west on one hand, and fretted about the "civilized" Choctaw delegation's doings in Washington on the other. They wanted David Payne and Oklahoma "boomers" dealt with on one hand, and worried about the Choctaw residential permit system on the other. Even the names of the paper reflected an awkward balancing act: With funds in hand from the Choctaw Council, the editors named the new paper The Branding Iron, then renamed it within weeks when leading Choctaws objected, to The Indian Champion.
All of which I just pulled out of my heiney.
I can research and write this paper by May 15.
Monday, May 01, 2006
ER's last words, dang near
There is an exit from the highway just to the left of where I was pulling out. A little sports car, taking the exit, zipped by at full speed. I didn't see the thing until it was past me. Another foot, or less, and he'da hit me.
The driver of the little car probably wouldn't have survived, since he'd've hit a full-size high-centered pickup truck at full speed. Oh, it was a convertible. The driver probably would've been beheaded.
I might've survived, but it wouldn't've been pretty.
When my heart started beating again, I thought of my previous post, which, as the post du jour, was occupying the back of my mind all morning.
My last public words, from the previous post, would have been:
And I think it makes perfect sense for a "new revelation" to come from "the people" now -- since the days of the prophets apparently are past.
Literacy empowers and enlightens people. *The Word* as it were is more widely dispersed than ever. The Spirit still moves, and is moving today -- despite entrenched fears and the purely human forces amassed in God's name to "protect" the way things used to be at a time when The Way of Life is needed more than ever!
That first paragraph is a little out there -- but not much, really. But I could live with the next paragraph being my last public utterance on this earth.
Quick, for funsies: You're dead. What was your last blog utterance (either post or comment). Are you glad or embarrassed?