religious belief

The Value of Prayer in the Twenty-First Century

Detail of frame from Durarara!!!

It is a straightforward headline: “Politicians Can’t Pass Actual Laws to Stop Gun Violence, So They Tweet Prayerfully”. And HuffPo’s Sam Stein and Arthur Delaney deliver the goods.

All of which reminds the basic point: Prayer is something to do if you cannot or will not do anything more useful.

(more…)

Your Morning Metal (One Foot in Hell)

Detail of front cover art for 'Twisted into Form' by Forbidden, 1990, by Kent Mathieu.

In a strange way, the caricatures driving rebellion in metal-laden explorations of conscience do not seem so exaggerated today. Once upon a time, we argued about listening to the music. And it feels both strange and familiar, perhaps the one for the other. That is to say, the shape of these arguments going on today, about boys wearing skirts and girls having babies really does feel like nothing more than the heavy metal wars all over again, and this time for higher stakes. It isn’t fair, I don’t think, to say that we got it, understood the mere fact of caricaturization, but they didn’t. Still, that’s how it feels. We built monstrous, shadowy legends to represent the hatred we feared. They really do seem to be dressing up in it. Or, at least, that’s how it feels.

Regression! Progressive downfall! Grabbing what’s there and still wanting it all! On words they fall. Obsession! Religioius belief! Worshipped on Sunday, forgotten all week! One foot in Hell. Taking the truth from “The Book” and then twisting it, feeling they’re touched by the Lord. Loving their neighbor, yet tasting the flavor of sin but seeing no wrong. Cramming the wisdom that righteously flows in them, walking the crooked straight line. Closing of minds to these innocent crimes, now they’re deaf, dumb, and blind! One foot in Hell! Wretches! This pitiful man, preaching and teaching with Cross in hand. On words he falls. Into his final mistake; this fool was fooled, it was all give and take. One foot in hell. I look to the Heavens and call the Lord’s name. Praying on my knees, with much faith, and little doubt. I have a yearning for the answers to my calling in life. Am I wasting away on spirits of myth? Am I questioning the Lord’s prayer? Is this unholy temptation or my final realization? Please, God, if you’re there for me, give me wisdom for faith. Help me, Lord! God help me! Show me the way; point to the light. Is there a Heaven after I die? What is a truth, where does it lie? Give me the answer! Bare my soul, naked and cold! End confusion, shed my last tear! Take me, Lord! Open your Gates! End my deep sorrow! One foot in Hell. Who’s answering the bell?

Forbidden, “One Foot in Hell” (1990)

(more…)

The Bobby Jindal Show (Exploratory Sneak Peak Preview Pak)

The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers' 'freedom of conscience,' which he argues 'must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.' It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: 'The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.' (McKay Coppins, BuzzFeed, 19 May 2015; photo uncredited))

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to be another culture warrior fighting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed offers a glimpse of the governor’s groundwork:

With a new political ad airing this week in Iowa, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is informally kicking off his bid for the Republican presidential nomination by casting himself as the conservative movement’s leading voice in the culture war battle over religious freedom.

The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers’ “freedom of conscience,” which he argues “must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.” It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: “The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.”

In keeping with what is bound to be a relatively low-budget, scrappy campaign operation at the outset, Jindal’s ad doesn’t have much money behind it. According to an operative at The American Future Project — the pro-Jindal advocacy group launching the ad — the commercial is debuting in Iowa with a “five-figure ad buy,” meaning the organization spent somewhere between $10,000 and $99,000 to get it on the air. It will appear on cable and online and it will run for one week, according to the group.

There really is no question about what is about to happen. Yesterday the presidential hopeful announced his exploratory committee:

“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement Monday.

“If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”

He said he won’t make a final decision until after the legislative session ends next month. The creation of an exploratory committee allows him to raise money for the White House, though, and is just the latest signal toward Jindal’s seriousness about jumping into the 2016 contest, despite his low ranking in many polls on the large Republican field.

As Elizabeth Crisp reports for The Adovocate, Mr. Jindal is finished as executive of the Pelican State according to term limits, and has begun moving about like a presidential candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire, and turned much of his public expression toward more nationally-oriented policy discussion. That said, there are still opportunities to mix Pelican politics with Beltway dreams.

(more…)