religious faith

A Reflection on Confidence as Danger

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a roundtable discussion with students and educators at the Kirkwood Community College Jones County Regional Center on 14 April 2015, in Monticello, Iowa. (Detail of photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It is true that chatter such as Paul Waldman’s title―”The first debate was a defeat for Trump. Here’s why the second could be an outright massacre.”―and setup generally makes me uneasy for overconfidence in a volatile marketplace I instinctively distrust―

If the first step to fixing your problem is acknowledging you have a problem, Donald Trump is in some serious trouble. We’re ten days from his second debate with Hillary Clinton, and while most voters and virtually every sane observer agree that Trump did poorly in the first debate, a spate of reporting suggests that his campaign, and especially Trump himself, are in a state of deep denial about what happened and what he needs to do in order to have a different outcome next time.

But that’s not all. Because of the format of the second debate, Trump stands to do even worse than he did in the first debate, and Clinton could do even better.

―but the WaPo analysis is worth a read insofar as it offers a striking, freeze-frame glimpse into the existential condition of the campaign, including how the candidate’s “short attention span and staff chaos” left it to Rudy Giuliani and Roger Ailes to prepare the Republican nominee to face Hillary Clinton, Trump’s failure to grasp the significance of the fact that his base alone is inadequate to carry the vote, and an apparent detachment from or rejection of reality that includes pretending he won the debate with a performance so strong Mr. Giuliani could be heard asking, aloud, “Why would would we change if we won the debate?”

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The Marco Rubio Show (Mansplanation)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, heads to the Senate floor for a vote on July 9, 2014. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Obviously, my faith has a teaching that governs me in my personal life on these issues. But I think our laws on those issues are different.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

There really is a lot going on, but we also just need to get this one out of the way:

Rubio also said that he does not support measures to ban emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices (IUD), which some anti-abortion groups contend cause abortions.

“I don’t want to ban any contraceptive efforts,” Rubio said. “Obviously, my faith has a teaching that governs me in my personal life on these issues. But I think our laws on those issues are different.”

(Richardson)

Just … okay, work with me, here. Please.

If your religious faith resolved as such to govern your decision in such a fashion that it is acceptable for you to use an IUD, Mr. Rubio, then what, exactly, would you do with it?

The problem with the Florida junior’s sort of evasion is that the maneuver involves digging a hole in very unstable ground. There is no good way out.

____________________

Richardson, Bradford. “Rubio vows to end Iran agreement if elected”. The Hill. 9 August 2015.

Christian Faith and Character in Tennessee (Double Down Devil Mix)

"Remember, Satan was the first to demand equal rights" (Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle; March, 2015)

This is just strange:

A sign posted by a Knoxville church continues to raise eyebrows and spark both discussion and outrage after it was posted online.

The sign posted by Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle Church read “Remember Satan was the first to demand equal rights.” Many people posted the picture to the WATE 6 On Your Side Facebook and Twitter pages, starting a debate about what the sign really means.

The pastor says the purpose of the sign was to send a message about unity and spark conversation in the community. He says it wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

“Our sign referencing Satan demanding his equal rights to ascend into the heavens and be God was simply ‘I’ and all about that individual,” said Pastor Tony Greene. “It was not a statement against any one group in particular, you know what about the rights of the unborn babies, the rights of children, the rights of everyone?”

(Holloway)

There are a few things here, but let us, please, simply start with the obvious: Did he just turn that into a plea for equal rights?

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Piety for the Sake of Being Seen by Others

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 9 March 2015.

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus Christ

Everybody thinks I'm crazy.  They say, "You take the Jesus thing too seriously".  Well I don't know, but Christ took me pretty seriously when he died for me on the cross.  (Cross Cards, via Facebook)Facebook is the new bumper-sticker faith. It is an easy way to show your religious piety to everyone, you know? Just slap a slogan on the ass-end of your automobile, or litter everyone’s Facebook feed with sappy, sentimental hackery.

Everybody thinks I’m crazy. They say, “You take the Jesus thing too seriously”.

Well I don’t know, but Christ took me pretty seriously when he died for me on the cross.

Or He took Himself so seriously.

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Something About the Evolution of American Politics

London, 11 February 2015.  Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) speaks at Chatham House, a foreign policy research organization.  Photo uncredited, via NBC News.

“And so, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) arrived in London yesterday, there was a lingering fear: how exactly would he manage to screw this up? Now we know.”

Steve Benen

How?

No, seriously, I’ll bite: How does this keep happening?

First, Ned Simons of Huffington Post:

Speaking at the Chatham House foreign policy think tank London, Walker was asked: “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe in it?”

“For me, I am going to punt on that one as well,” he said. “That’s a question politicians shouldn’t be involved in one way or another. I am going to leave that up to you. I’m here to talk about trade, not to pontificate about evolution.”

There are a few things here. The first is that it’s London. The second is to note the host’s disbelief; perhaps Americans don’t realize just how strange our evolution debate sounds to our friends and neighbors around the world, such that there is a reason our homegrown Creationists find international kinship among various religious groups we tend to worry about for any number of reasons derived from their theological justifications. Additionally, Walker’s decision to punt reflects a reasonable calculation within the American political context, but that point only highlights the glaring question of what role fundamentalist myth has in asserting reality under law.

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