God

The Yellowhammer Punch Line (Hellbait Mix)

[#wellduh]

Kayla Moore, wife of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore told a campaign rally, "Fake news will tell you that we don't care for Jew .... One of our attorneys is a Jew!" in Midland City, Alabama, 12 December 2017. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)What, really, is anyone to do with a lede like we get from Mandy Mayfield for the Washington Examiner?

The Jewish attorney who Roy Moore’s wife touted employing in an attempt to fight off claims of anti-Semitism is actually a longtime friend and supporter of Senator-elect Doug Jones, who defeated Moore last month.

When we shrug and say, “Of course he did!” what, really, does that mean?

(more…)

Advertisements

The Ted Cruz Show (Michelangelo Fist)

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks at a rally Sunday, 21 February 2016, in Pahrump, Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)

It is, as we have recently observed, easy enough to pick on David Brooks but then along comes Charles Hurt to remind why meandering desperation in lieu of useful analysis is still a better option than attending a hardline conservative posturing as some manner of serious mind. While the New York Times endures Brooks, Mr. Hurt’s résumé is a proper slime trail leading from the New York Post on through Breitbart, Newsmax, FOX News, and the Washington Times; just to make the point he picked up a gig with Drudge. For The Hill, however, Hurt attempts to explain “The problem with Ted Cruz”. It’s a doozy:

While the media attention has focused entirely on the exuberant and entertaining traveling carnival nature of the Trump campaign, this overlooks another, deeper problem conservatives have today: Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt appears on FOX News in December, 2015.In the past eight years, no one has captivated the realistic hopes of conservative constitutionalists the way that Cruz has in this election. On every single issue of importance to conservatives, Cruz is right. He is a walking, living, breathing Supreme Court dissent, masterfully articulated and extensively annotated on paper.

Then, he opens his mouth. And people scream. They run for the exits as if their hair is on fire. They want to take a shower.

We might fixate on the phrase, “captivated realistic hopes”, all day, and never figure out what the hell the author intends. The nearest thing to a realistic hope we might project for these “constitutional conservatives” is to somehow elect Ted Cruz, watch him get crushed by Congress and Court alike, and spend the next twenty years like they have the last, complaining about evil gov’ment and the usurpation of democracy just like they’ve been mewling at least since Romer v. Evans.

Still, though, Charles Hurt is a conservative; it is unfair to expect that he should make sense according to reality.

(more…)

The Point: Supremacy ≠ Equality

Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis shows emotion as she is cheered by a gathering of supporters during a rally on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, Saturday, 22 August 2015. Davis spoke at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky. The crowd of a few thousand included churchgoers from around the state. Davis has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to gay couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing licenses for same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Yesterday, Brian Beutler laid out a case for why Kim Davis should face jail for contempt of court; the article for The New Republic recalled:

What was rendered as a call for pluralism, though, was really a counterbid to keep the old formula: when disputes arise between same-sex couples and religious people like ourselves, the state should side with us.

Today, Ms. Davis, the Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, was ordered to jail by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning; Steve Benen reminds, for msnbc:

Just so news consumers are clear, if you hear that Davis was jailed for her opposition to marriage equality, this is incorrect. She was taken into custody because she deliberately, brazenly ignored a court order. Davis was bound, not only to perform her official duties, but also to follow the law. She refused and is now in contempt of court.

This is important. But what neither Beutler nor Benen ever quite cut to―indeed, the larger discourse seems to avoid―is the basic functional reality. And perhaps there is a reason for this, but it comes down to something like we shouldn’t have to spell it out so simply, which is clearly insufficient since this really is the moment, and really is the argument.

Equality is equality. Functionally speaking, what Ms. Davis demands is that her “equality” requires her “superiority” and others’ “inferiority”. In theology, one of the practical limitations of God is inherent contradiction; even the Almighty cannot, by the classic example, fashion a square circle.

By definition, supremacy is not equality.

The functional reality that these Christian conservatives need to deal with is that equality is equality. This has been going on for a long time. As we have considered of Ms. Davis, the underlying device is the same as the library book argument. It’s also the same one we heard about pop music in the 1980s; the one that brought us the little black and white warning labels on heavy metal and rap albums. It is a traditional plea of the privileged, that another’s rights stop at the convenience or inconvenience of the privileged; one’s rights are violated as long as another’s are intact.

This is the functional reality: All Ms. Davis is asking is that her equality allow her supremacy.

So whatever one might say in rejoinder to Mr. Benen’s reminder, Mr. Beutler’s recollection of recent history is accurate:

Back before the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, when it became clear that same-sex marriage would one day be the law of the land in most, if not all states, conservative culture warriors abruptly changed tacks. After organizing for years around the notion that states and the federal government should refuse to recognize same-sex marriages, they decided the time had come for everyone to be accommodating to one another—as if liberals were suddenly making unfair demands.

But liberals were doing no such thing. For generations, when disputes rooted in discrimination against gays and lesbians arose between parties, governments would generally side with discriminators. Liberals were simply demanding that moving forward, the presumption should be turned on its head—beginning with the states themselves, a great many of which refused to recognize same-sex marriages.

Conservatives responded by issuing pleas for mercy, and embraced the concept of pluralism, to wield as a cudgel against gay rights activists. Same-sex marriage might prevail legally and politically, but opponents should not thenceforth be treated like bigots or pariahs or scofflaws.

What was rendered as a call for pluralism, though, was really a counterbid to keep the old formula: when disputes arise between same-sex couples and religious people like ourselves, the state should side with us.

Thus it is worth reminding explicitly: What he is describing is the old formula of supremacism: In order to be equal, Ms. Davis and other Christians should be able to demand and enforce inequality unto others.

Whatever anyone else tells you about freedom and conscience, simply remember that functionally speaking, supremacy and equality simply are not the same, and cannot be reconciled as such. Kim Davis is about to become a martyr and legend; let us always remember why.

____________________

Image note: Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis shows emotion as she is cheered by a gathering of supporters during a rally on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, Saturday, 22 August 2015. Davis spoke at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky. The crowd of a few thousand included churchgoers from around the state. Davis has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to gay couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing licenses for same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Benen, Steve. “Kentucky’s Kim Davis jailed, held in contempt”. msnbc. 3 September 2015.

Beutler, Brian. “Throw Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis in Jail”. The New Republic. 2 September 2015.

Nebraska (Belfry Beats Mix)

SayWhat

“In a strongly worded opinion, the judge said it is not up to the court to decide whether homosexuality is sinful.”

Alissa Skelton

Naota winces in sympathy as Ninamori suffers the effects of N.O. (FLCL ep. 3, 'Marquis de Carabas')This is just one of those lines we might read and then wonder for ourselves what sort of courses might bring our lives to such a moment. Judge John Gerrard felt the need to say it; Alissa Skelton had every reason to report it.

A federal judge will not allow a Nebraska woman to be a legal spokeswoman for God and his son, Jesus Christ.

Judge John Gerrard dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday filed against all homosexuals ....

.... Gerrard said Driskell lacked subject matter jurisdiction and cannot sue a class of unidentified defendants. Driskell did not set forth a factual or legal basis for a federal claim.

“The United States Federal Courts were created to resolve actual cases and controversies arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Judge Gerrard said. “A federal court is not a forum for debate or discourse on theological matters.”

The thing is that many journalists have seen entire careers pass without having an opportunity to write lines like these. To the one, we will see more explanations like this as the mass media overflow continues to grow into a market flood. To the other, yes, it really does seem like we are, as a society, dispensing with certain dignities quite suddenly seeming inconvenient as traditional empowerment majorities reel from the shock of learning that their bully privileges are being revoked. In this case, the tacit obligation of actually having a point has stretched so thin a judge felt compelled to make the point specifically.

These should be rare days.

After all, the election cycle is only beginning. Things aren’t supposed to get really strange until the Boone Straw Poll in August. And that’s still a whole state away.

____________________

Image note: Naota winces in sympathy as Ninamori suffers the effects of N.O. (FLCL ep. 3, “Marquis de Carabas”)

Skelton, Alissa. “Federal judge dismisses Nebraskan’s suit against all homosexuals”. World-Herald. 6 May 2015.

Kilgore, Ed. “Ames Straw Poll Leaving Ames”. Washington Monthly. 12 March 2015.

Theological Comedy

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 22 March 2015.Follow the bouncing ball. Damn. Where’d I put the ball?

Anyway, it’s pretty simple for being so complicated: The ultimate reality is called Mysterium for a reason. With me, so far? The word is “ineffable”, which means it cannot be properly expressed, which is also ironic given the number of people you might meet who have no idea what the word means. Well, okay. Almost ironic. Metaironic. Nevermindronic?

So here’s the deal: If it cannot be expressed, any expression thereof will necessarily be inadequate.

Easy enough?

Good.

A practical example: You have finite brain capacity and function. The whole of the Universe cannot fit inside your brain; you can neither witness nor calculate its entirety in any one moment.

Now stop to consider we might search out, should we be so inclined, centuries-old debates about the nature of a monotheistic godhead and whether “infinite” is inclusive enough to contain the whole of God. Think St. Augustine on crack.

An anecdotal example: An explanation of Heaven given me at a Jesuit high school had to do with our individual selves gathered ’round God’s throne in Heaven, singing hosannas throughout eternity. No, really, can you think of anything more boring?

Still, though, Zach Weiner offers a pretty good take on what would be heavenly.

The lesson, however, is this: In the end, by the totality of the godhead―to infinity, and beyond!―there is no experiential difference ‘twixt being one with God and simply being dead.

If you run it to earth, that’s what you find.

____________________

Weiner, Zach. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 22 March 2015.

An Apology, Overdue

“I don’t know why God made me this way (and I’m so sorry). I don’t know how much more I can take (and I’m so sorry). You know, it’s always my mistake (and I’m so sorry), and I’ll be sorry when I see that you’re gone, gone away, like a god gone astray. Not a word will be spoken of how it broke me when I saw you broken.”

Floater

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 25 February 2015.Look, it was this or the Nazi bikini joke.

Really.

I guess I could call it the Indiana Jones joke, but that doesn’t convey the right mental image, especially if we call it the Indiana Jones bikini girl joke.

Fuck it. Blame Adam.

____________________

Huber, Adam. “Sex Sells Substandard Stuff”. Bug Martini. 25 February 2015.

Hatred, in Jesus’ Name

Not a mythical centaur, but, rather, a determined preacher and his horse.  Pastor Edward James protests marriage equality in Mississippi, 12 December 2014, comparing homosexuals to non-human animals outside a federal courthouse in Jackson.  (Image: WAPT News)

A question for Pastor Edward James: Just how much do you think about marrying a horse?

Emily Le Coz tries to explain for Reuters:

A Mississippi pastor brought a horse in a wedding dress to stand with him outside a federal courthouse on Friday in Jackson to protest a federal judge’s ruling, currently on hold, to overturn the socially conservative state’s ban on gay marriage.

The horse, complete with white flowers tucked into its harness and a bouquet at its feet, munched grass as the pastor, Edward James of Bertha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, spoke and waved signs at passersby.

“Do you take this horse to be your unnatural wedded spouse to have and to hold?” one sign read.

Pastor James is protesting a ruling from U.S. District Court invalidating Mississippi’s heterosupremacist marriage law. Pretending to comprehend that his demonstration was somewhat silly, he justified himself with the usual excuse: “Although it’s ridiculous,” he told a local newspaper, “so is the same-sex marriage status”.

In the first place, reconciling his lack of faith in God is something Pastor James should probably carry out in private communion with God. Showing it off is not, by conventional understandings of Biblical guidance, among the most productive of paths. To put it lightly. You know, because he’s a Christian pastor, and therefore requires kid gloves; even when he’s punching with vice, he expects everyone else to turn the other cheek.

(more…)

A Fart Joke

There are two schools of thought about fart humor that may be reasonably encapsulated if we start with the phrase, “I forgot to post this last night”. That is to say, there are two general responses:

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 26 November 2014.How could you forget!

Why would you want to post a fart joke?

True, there is a third alternative—It’s a freakin’ fart joke. Who cares?—but such pedantry spoils the fun.

And, in any case, the answer to that beeblebrox is simply that it’s a fart joke, and it doesn’t really matter if anyone cares.

____________________

Huber, Adam. “Stall from Grace”. Bug Martini. 26 November 2014.

The Morbid Dose

Today in news that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone:

God is LoveThe debate continues over whether we should be amused or offended by Westboro Baptist Church’s balbutive.

• How does one earn the attention of the Secret Service? Try sharing your craven fantasies of sexual violence against Hillary Clinton with the world in a desperate bid to draw attention to your internet radio show. Very well; attention gained.

• The former Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, appointed by President Bush in 2008—you know, the guy who was in charge when agency started targeting conservative political groups?—told Congress he has no idea how it happened. It should go without saying that nobody’s surprised. (If the whole thing seems something of a confusing mess, Reuters offers a handy overview.)

• Republicans in Virginia find themselves suddenly painted into a corner. By their own hand. It’s almost funny, and actually quite an impressive feat, when you stop to thik about it.

Bolling on JacksonThe GOP’s slate is, by any fair measure, jarring. The Virginia Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate is one of the fiercest culture warriors of any officeholder in the country. The Virginia Republicans’ candidate for lieutenant governor is almost comically extreme on social issues. The Virginia Republicans’ candidate for attorney general once advocated requiring women to report miscarriages to the police—or face jail time.

It’s almost as if the state GOP went out of its way to think of a scheme to motivate the listless Democratic base, alienate as many women as possible, and drive moderate voters away from Republicans in droves.

• Oklahoma’s delegation to the U.S. Senate finds itself facing unfortunate controversy in the aftermath of yesterday’s tornado, largely because they voted against Hurricane Sandy relief.

Yep. Just another day in these United States.