The Christian Left left?

Tuesday, 27 July 2004, 12:01 | Category : Politics
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A comment in response to a post on Dean’s World brought me back to this subject. Here’s the comment:

” I keep thinking the old-guard Christian Dems- Catholics and Baptists come to mind- and wonder what they think of their party now.”

This is something I’ve often thought about. The Republican/conservative/religious right believes you don’t solve a problem by throwing money at it. They believe the Federal government isn’t capable of being an effective solution. But what do you call the hundreds of billions of dollars the US spends on defense each year? I’m certainly not opposed to defense spending, but defense is simply another Federal program. When a military base is kept open because it’s closure would have a negative effect on the local economy (and don’t kid yourself; the local demonstrations we see when the Base Closure Committee visits are orchestrated as surely as any protests), that’s welfare, not defense. We have no need for hundreds of military bases scattered around the country, but we keep them open anyway. The churches should take care of the poor? Sure, I agree, but the reason the government got involved is because the churches failed to do this. And they still fail. Look at your local church budget. I fought this battle in a church I once attended. The money spent to build and maintain our temples of holiness far, far, far exceeds moneys spent to help even the local poor. Do we need church buildings? Yes. Do we need them as fancy as we build them? I think not.

However – however – I don’t really blame the “religious right” for moves such as this. They certainly have the right to push their ideas for solutions to our problems. You read your Bible, you contemplate the light God has given you. I do the same. We come up with different solutions, based on the same source of information. God made us all different. Where I place the blame is on people like me who try to live as Christians, and who tend to believe in “liberal” solutions – i.e., a strong Federal role in environmental protection, because we are stewards of God’s world; who see that the government of a country as
rich and blessed as the United States, a government of, by, and for the people, could and should ensure that children have a solid roof over their heads and a decent diet. Quite honestly, I couldn’t care less about people who refuse to work, who want to exist on public dollars without contributing anything to society. But I haven’t seen a solution that punishes them without also punishing the children that live with them. “Right to life” implies more to me than just picketing clinics and screaming slogans – a child that is born is a child that
must be clothed and fed and housed. And if the parent won’t, or can’t, provide for that child, *we must*! The Federal government is admittedly a poor channel as presently constituted, but it’s the only game in town if we want a consistent response throught our nation. So in my mind, to “feed my sheep” as Christ commanded, we must have a strong Federal role. But, (returning to where my point was originally going) Christian liberals have failed to speak up, and offer alternatives to a system that has obviously failed to produce the desired results. Many “Christian” liberals have wasted energy and testimony by chasing issues that appeal to many liberal agendas but cannot be defended as Christian issues, to the point that they are scarcely recognizable as Christian. *These* are the people I blame – where once they defended civil rights from a
scriptural basis, they now defend it from what seems to be humanist principles. Where once they proclaimed “This is my Father’s world”, they now proclaim Gaia. And we shouldn’t stand idly by while the Democratic Party is threatened by a humanist agenda that is too often actively hostile to Christians.

If you could read my mind

Sunday, 25 July 2004, 19:38 | Category : Other Stuff
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If you could, you’d know that, in my opinion, not that many songs have been written the past 35 years that were better than Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind“. And “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” isn’t all that far behind.

Emerson the Stargazer

Friday, 23 July 2004, 14:53 | Category : Stargazing
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“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

Excerpted from

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More blog/mysql maintenance

Thursday, 22 July 2004, 21:58 | Category : Geek Stuff
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Another spamstorm tonight, about 30 spam comments in a 10-15 minute time frame. Rather than delete them one at a time, it’s easier to just run mysql delete queries:

DELETE FROM `mt_comment` WHERE comment_author = ‘online casino’;

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An Open Letter To John Kerry

Monday, 19 July 2004, 20:45 | Category : Politics
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Dear Mr. Kerry:

As you prepare for the upcoming Democratic Convention, I’m sure you’re wondering what you can do to enhance your chances for election in November. I’m sure you’ve been meeting with all sorts of traditional Democratic power players over the past few weeks, and no doubt you’ll continue to do so in the coming weeks. I’m sure their input will be a significant part of the platform-building process. You didn’t ask me what I thought, so I’m taking this opportunity to offer some ideas.

1) Take everything they say and toss it. I’ve just finished skimming the Democratic platofrms of 1996 and 2000. To a good liberal voter like me, these platforms say: Nothing. They’re feel-good laundry lists of political theorists. Good for printers, useless for people seeking a reason to support you.

2) Avoid like the plague words and phrases like “empower”, “invest in people”, and “valuing”. Nobody knows what these mean, but they sound squishy, not tangible. People relate to tangible things.

3) Don’t talk about “rolling back the Bush tax cuts”. That’s a loser from the get-go. Even the people who didn’t get much of a tax cut at all think they got one. So they think you’re going to raise their taxes. If your plan will result in people making over $200,000 paying more taxes, then say so.

4) Don’t try to cover every interest in the party with a platform plank all it’s own. That plays right into the hands of those who say the Democratic Party is captive to special interest groups. Concentrate on the big issues. Paint in broad strokes. Make the platform look like a Grand Plan, not a punch-list for liberals.

5) Make the platform relevant to people individually. That’s the way they’ll vote. Blocs don’t vote. People do. It’s that tangible thing again. The Grand Plan has to be a Personally Relevant Grand Plan.

6) This is maybe the most important thing: don’t be afraid to kick butt. There was a time when, regardless of whether the President was liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, other countries knew that the United States was not afraid to exert military force. At the core of both sets of political beliefs was an understanding that there are just some things worth fighting against, and some things worth fighting for. There are many in the United States today who aren’t sure Democrats still hold to that. Those are the people you need to reach. But before you try, make sure you’ve figured out for yourself what’s worth fighting against, and worth fighting for. And here’s a hint: put that at the top of the platform, not the bottom.

Sincerely,
Harry

(Beltway Traffic Jam)

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