Here's one of the most memorable quotes from the rally. U.S. Representative Chet Edwards asked,
"Is there any material gift we could bequeath to our heirs that would be more valuable than insuring their freedom to worship God in their own way?"
A second annual State of Women in Baptist Life, unveiled Thursday at the CBF General Assembly in Washington, found that 95 percent of CBF laypersons responding to the survey said they would be open to calling a woman to their church as pastor. One in five said they would prefer a woman, compared to 17 percent who would prefer a man.
Yet only about 6 percent of CBF churches are led by a woman.
"That disparity is the story, we think, of what's going on with the marginalization of women," Campbell-Reed said. "Not that pastor is the only important ministry role, but it's a barometer that gives us a measure of the full inclusion of women."
The responses seemed to confirm the widely held perception that progressive and moderate Baptists support women in ministry in theory, the study said, but women have advanced only marginally in the profession of ministry in Baptist life.
"The attitudes about women in ministry were overwhelmingly positive," said the other co-author, Pamela Durso. "The support is high, but the practical reality is low."
Section 3 of the 25th Amendment provides a method for the president to yield his office to the vice president, when "he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." There is no other constitutional provision for transferring presidential powers to the vice president.
Yet without making a written transmittal to Congress, President Bush has ceded vast domains of his powers to Vice President Cheney by mutual understanding that circumvents the 25th Amendment. This constitutional provision assures that the public and Congress know who is exercising the powers of the presidency and who should be held responsible for successes or failures. The Bush-Cheney dispensation blurs political accountability by continually hiding the real decision-maker under presidential skirts. The Washington Post has thoroughly documented the vice president's dominance in a four-part series running this week. It is quite a read.
In the end, President Bush regularly is unable to explain or defend the policies of his own administration, and that is because the heavy intellectual labor has been performed in the office of the vice president. Cheney is impeachable for his overweening power and his sneering contempt of the Constitution and the rule of law.
"The criteria for politics -- especially in a pluralistic democracy -- is a common decency that promotes the common good. If it promotes the common good, all decent people, whether they are people of faith or not, will agree with it. There is no need to promote an specifically Christian ethic."
In other words, torture didn't start in Gitmo or among some grunts in the field and then spread. In fact perhaps the very first victim was a young American citizen, and the decision was reached right at the pinnacle of power and then hammered down on people out in the field who reacted with disbelief upon hearing the instructions given.
So let's rededicate ourselves to a new kind of politics -- a politics of conscience. Let's come together -- Protestant and Catholic, Muslim and Hindu and Jew, believer and non-believer alike. We're not going to agree on everything, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can affirm our faith without endangering the separation of church and state, as long as we understand that when we're in the public square, we have to speak in universal terms that everyone can understand. And if we can do that -- if we can embrace a common destiny -- then I believe we'll not just help bring about a more hopeful day in America, we'll not just be caring for our own souls, we'll be doing God's work here on Earth.I'll reserve judgment on whether Obama's political actions match his rhetoric.
--In the spring of 2007, of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative, and only 9 percent was progressive.Here's a link to the entire report.
Three engineering students are discussing what sort of God must have designed the human body. The first says, "God must be a mechanical engineer. Look at all the joints."
The second says, "I think God must be an electrical engineer. The nervous system has thousands of electrical connections."
The third says, "Actually, God is a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"
The use of such violent metaphors to describe the act of sharing the love of Jesus is inappropriate. It drives away people who might otherwise be open to hearing about God.
It is time for Christians to put aside metaphors of hunting dogs, elephant hunts and bloody wars. We need to instead emphasize the love of Jesus and express our sincere concern for all people. We also need to offer open dialogue and a loving invitation.
And above all, we need to get rid of those doggone toxic metaphors.
Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal."The Islamic world has clearly exposed the foreign policy of the most powerful "Christian nation" in the world as nothing more than the law of the jungle -- "might make right." America preaches democracy, but we practice "social darwinism."
Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.
A press release on the PBS Web site describes the wall of church/state separation as a "metaphor deeply embedded in the American consciousness."Brick by brick, the wall separating church and state is being dismantled. When this is over, we will be retracing the steps of the brave new world of the 1650's.
"But what would surprise most Americans is the discovery that this is not what the Founding Fathers intended when they established the nation and wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights," the press release continues. "In fact, they had a radically different interpretation of the role of religion in state and federal governments."
The controversy has drained morale from U.S. attorney offices around the country. And now, legal experts and former Justice Department officials say, it is casting a shadow over the integrity of the department and its corps of career prosecutors in court.
There has long been a presumption that, because they represented the Justice Department, prosecutors had no political agenda and their word could be trusted. But some legal experts say the controversy threatens to undermine their credibility.
"It provides defendants an opportunity to make an argument that would not have been made two years ago," said Daniel J. French, a former U.S. attorney in Albany, N.Y. "It has a tremendously corrosive effect."
"They always shoot the messenger," Taguba told me. "To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal -- that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do."This administration's debasement of the public trust and its criminal contempt for even the most basic human rights and decency, as revealed in this article, ought to prompt righteous indignation in every American. That it doesn't, demonstrates the depths of degradation into which America has fallen under this administration. Degradation either cheered or condoned by jingoistic right-wing Christians and neo-conservative ideologues alike.
Taguba went on, "There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff" -- the explicit images -- "was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this." He said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, and the high-ranking generals and admirals who stood with him as he misrepresented what he knew about Abu Ghraib had failed the nation.
"From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service," Taguba said. "And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."
It is well known that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby—once Vice President Cheney's most trusted adviser—has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for perjury. Lying. Not a white lie, mind you. A killer lie.
Scooter Libby deliberately poured poison into the drinking water of democracy by lying to federal investigators, for the purpose of obstructing justice. Attempting to trash critics of the war, Libby and his pals in high places—including his boss Dick Cheney—outed a covert CIA agent. Libby then lied to cover their tracks. To throw investigators off the trail, he kicked sand in the eyes of truth. "Libby lied about nearly everything that mattered," wrote the chief prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
The jury agreed and found him guilty on four felony counts. Judge Reggie B. Walton—a no-nonsense, lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key type, appointed to the bench by none other than George W. Bush—called the evidence "overwhelming" and threw the book at Libby.
You would have thought their man had been ordered to Guantanamo, so intense was the reaction from his cheerleaders. They flooded the judge's chambers with letters of support for their comrade and took to the airwaves in a campaign to "free Scooter." Vice President Cheney issued a statement praising Libby as "a man...of personal integrity"—without even a hint of irony about their collusion to browbeat the CIA into mangling intelligence about Iraq in order to justify the invasion.
. . .
One Beltway insider reports that the entire community is grieving—"weighted down by the sheer, glaring unfairness" of Libby's sentence. And there's the rub. None seem the least weighted down by the sheer, glaring unfairness of sentencing soldiers to repeated and longer tours of duty in a war induced by deception.
The Verin trial marked a struggle of new-born liberty with ancient law, involving a delicate problem of domestic life. This new liberty gave women an independent status and the right to leave the house without the consent of her husband. She was no longer his chattel, nor subject to his religious conscience. Verin objected to such liberty, and took his wife back to the Bay theocracy where they kept women in their place. Arnold, Winthrop [Governor of the Bay Colony], and others made religious rights a matter of age, sex, and social standing. Providence was the first civil government to recognize feminine rights as a natural and civil right and as a state policy.James Ernst, Roger Williams: New England Firebrand (New York: Macmillan Co., 1932), pp. 193-94.
Public educators are good people. I have had the privilege of being educated by many wonderful individuals within public schools. Also, I have established and maintained very meaningful relationships with teachers and administrators throughout my life. Some of my best friends are very solid Christian men and women that are great witnesses to the throngs of students they encounter each year. They choose to be a witness through their actions, instead of causing distrust by casting hallow allegations. Through their kindness and love for their students, they profess a kind of witness that makes a real difference for the kingdom.It's not difficult to pinpoint when the attack on public schools began in earnest. It came with integration. Home schooling and private schooling among Protestants was nil before public schools were integrated.
Finally, I would like to offer my own resolution. I resolve that public educators are still the most professional and caring people in the world. The positive influence that many educators make on their students goes far beyond our imagination. The foundations they lay at an early age provide strength for many years to come. I further resolve that because of their unfettered dedication and tireless commitment, I have benefited from their influence. Therefore, we all own them our gratitude.
I, for one, instead of attacking you, would like to thank you. Thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I am deeply appreciative that I was educated in public schools.
But the Rev. Bill Harrell, chairman of the SBC executive committee, countered that the Baptist Faith and Message "has always been our guide," and trustees will "still be able to answer the questions about whether to hire somebody or not."Burleson has already responded to the "mass confusion" charge on his latest blog.
"I don't think it will have a lot of significance, and I really don't think it is going to change much," he said.
Malcolm Yarnell, a professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, called the motion confusing and unclear. Yarnell said he interpreted the vote as a vindication of the Baptist Faith and Message as setting the minimal standard for Baptist beliefs, and rejected the argument that it will restrict trustees of Baptist groups from laying down additional rules.
He said most people walking out of the hall after Tuesday's vote were "good conservative pastors" who thought they were affirming the Baptist Faith and Message and reaffirming trustees' discretion in setting standards for hiring people.
"Ultimately, what you've got here is mass confusion," Yarnell said. "I think we have this year to try to discuss this theologically to try to clarify how we're going to respond to this."
He took issue with those who said that evangelicals should back out of politics.Page is right about evangelicals having a place in the political process. He's also right about the need for evangelicals to speak about issues. He's dead wrong, however, if he thinks that it is legal for tax-exempt churches to endorse political candidates "sometimes."
"I disagree with that. I do believe evangelicals need to continue to be involved in the political sphere primarily in speaking to issues rather than endorsing political candidates, though sometimes that is going to happen," he said.
And on goes the pointless argument about whether America is a "Christian nation." Whether this country is Christian depends entirely on how we define the terms, of course. Our Constitution: secular. Our history and culture: religious.Though I agree with much of what Krattenmaker writes, his assertion about the pointlessness of arguments over Christian nationalism begs the question. The issue is whether our Constitution should be viewed as a secular document.
And what do we mean by "religious"? If we're talking about rhetoric, volume and public display, it has been a very religious time indeed. If we mean behavior that creates peace, extends compassion to the less fortunate and reaches out to strangers outside our borders, we have a way to go. If we are a Christian nation, shouldn't we more consistently behave like one?
Blackwater quickly adapted its battlefield tactics to the courtroom. It initially hired Fred F. Fielding, who is currently counsel to the President of the United States. It then hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its in-house counsel, who was formerly the Inspector General at the Pentagon. More recently, Blackwater employed Kenneth Starr, famed prosecutor in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, to oppose the families. To add additional muscle, Blackwater hired Cofer Black, who was the Director of the CIA Counter- Terrorist Center.
After filing its suit against the dead men's estates, Blackwater demanded that its claim and the families' existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of their wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury. This comes at the same time when Congress is investigating Blackwater.
Over 300 contractors have been killed in Iraq with very little inquiry into their deaths. The families claim that Blackwater is attempting to cover up its incompetence, its cutting of corners in favor of higher profits, and its over billing to the government. Due to lack of accountability and oversight, Blackwater's private army has been able to obtain huge profits from the government, utilizing contacts established through Erik Prince's relationships with high-ranking government officials such as Cofer Black and Joseph Schmitz.
These believers, along with those who think of themselves as "spiritual," as well as professed unbelievers, help to explain why according to the Pew study so many Americans--32 percent--want less religious influence on government. Twenty-four percent say that President Bush talks too much about his religious faith and prayer, and 28 percent deny that the United States is a Christian nation. Most dramatically, a whopping 49 percent believe that Christian conservatives have gone too far "in trying to impose their religious values on the country." This, then, is an unreported secret of American life: Considerable numbers of Americans, religious and secular, are becoming fed up with the in-your-face religion that has come to mark our society.It was bound to happen. After years of quietly enduring vilification and being force-fed an annually increasing diet of nauseatingly assertive civil religion, a new breed of "in-your-face" atheists are rising up to confront the "in-your-face" Christians who have taken over the public square.
Taken alone, this would be merely absurd, but it is symptomatic of something slightly more serious. Anxiety about the Teletubbies' orientation is far from the only religious right meme that's taking off globally. Over the last several years, the Christian right has become increasingly active on the international stage. Initiatives to introduce so-called intelligent design -- an intellectually tarted-up version of creationism -- have been launched in Germany and Holland, of all places.
Meanwhile, George Bush has put activists like Concerned Women for America's Janice Crouse and Christian radio host Janet Parshall on US delegations to UN conferences, and a number of Christian right NGOs have aquired consultative status at the United Nations, giving their messages a veneer of legitimacy.
Two points grip you:Unfortunately, the points that grip Geyer make no impression on President Bush. Here's his response to the same facts:
•The first is found in the words of French scholar Bernard Rougier, author of Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam Among Palestinians in Lebanon. "The main point is that these camps are no longer part of Palestinian society," he told The Washington Post . "They are only spaces -- now open to all of the influences running through the Muslim world."
•The second is that Iraq, where we were supposed to be "containing terrorism," is now clearly exporting insurgents to other regions -- to Lebanon, to Syria, to Gaza, to Bangladesh, to Kurdistan.
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."
--Carol Anne Janzen, lecturer in Christian Education at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.Thanks to Robert Parham and Ethics Daily for producing these materials. I look forward to reading them.
--William Epps, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles and editor in chief of National Baptist Voice, magazine of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
--Aidsand Wright-Riggins, executive director of National Ministries of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.,
--Daniel Carro, Latino ministries ambassador for the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and Dina Carro, a member of the Baptist World Alliance study and research committee.
--David Goatley, executive secretary-treasurer of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention.
--Gilberto Gutierrez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista in Horeb, Mexico, and president of the National Baptist Convention of Mexico.
--Don Sewell, liaison to worldwide Baptist bodies with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
--Heather Entrekin, senior pastor of Prairie Baptist Church in Prairie Village, Kan. (ABC/USA).