jazzoLOG: Bibleman Beams Into Your Home Tonight!    
 Bibleman Beams Into Your Home Tonight!6 comments
picture24 Apr 2005 @ 10:29, by Richard Carlson

A humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than a deep search after learning.

---Thomas A Kempis

Chuang-Tzu: The true sage pays no heed to mundane affairs....He adheres, without questioning, to the Tao. Without speaking, he can speak; and he can speak and yet say nothing. And so he roams beyond the limits of this dusty world.
Confucius: These are wild words.

The first key to wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning. For by doubting we come to inquiry and by inquiry we arrive at the truth.

---Peter Abelard

My online friend Tom Bombadil blogged this item the other day...and I just had to leave a comment (reflecting my ancient radio and comic book days of superhero involvement)~~~

[link]

The thing about Bibleman, of course---and here's the real site in case you have trouble getting into that one~~

[link] ---

and shelling out $7 a month to have "Video devotions from Bibleman...delivered straight to your child's e-mail in-box Monday-Friday" is that while it all looks like good clean fun, there are very serious motives going on.

So it is in the shadow of sword, mask, armor and cape of Bibleman that I prepare myself for Justice Sunday today. My former college roommate Paul Quintanilla brought me back from oblivion to alert me it's happening. In case you've been dreaming too, allow me to wake you up with friendly greetings from our old friends at Focus On The Family~~~

[link]

Set aside for the moment a concern you have about parenting that strong-willed child you're stuck with, and attend instead to the Web Extra at the top of the page. We're close enough to Louisville that we are considering a little jaunt down there just to be in the midst of the megachurch activities tonight. Here's where it's going to be happening, folks~~~

[link]

and there are our saintly heroes. Take a look at that kid---torn between a gavel and a bible! Public service or faith in Christ? Which did YOU choose, sinner? The whole show is going out on satellite and Sunday night church meetings across the land will be watching those guys thump gavels on bibles and Bill Frist whooping his hallelujah too! If you don't have the Angel2 satellite, or whatever it is, on your front lawn---AND WHY DON'T YOU?---apparently you can watch it on your computer. Check local listings...but if you see us getting arrested for something or other, try not to be too judgmental.

Here's what Frank Rich has to say about it this morning~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
April 24, 2005
OP-ED COLUMNIST

A High-Tech Lynching in Prime Time
By FRANK RICH

Whatever your religious denomination, or lack of same, it was hard not to be swept up in last week's televised pageantry from Rome: the grandeur of St. Peter's Square, the panoply of the cardinals, the continuity of history embodied by the joyous emergence of the 265th pope. As a show of faith, it's a tough act to follow. But that has not stopped some ingenious American hucksters from trying.

Tonight is the much-awaited "Justice Sunday," the judge-bashing rally being disseminated nationwide by cable, satellite and Internet from a megachurch in Louisville. It may not boast a plume of smoke emerging from above the Sistine Chapel, but it will feature its share of smoke and mirrors as well as traditions that, while not dating back a couple of millenniums, do at least recall the 1920's immortalized in "Elmer Gantry." These traditions have less to do with the earnest practice of religion by an actual church, as we witnessed from Rome, than with the exploitation of religion by political operatives and other cynics with worldly ends. While Sinclair Lewis wrote that Gantry, his hypocritical evangelical preacher, "was born to be a senator," we now have senators who are born to be Gantrys. One of them, the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, hatched plans to be beamed into tonight's festivities by videotape, a stunt that in itself imbues "Justice Sunday" with a touch of all-American spectacle worthy of "The Wizard of Oz."

Like the wizard himself, "Justice Sunday" is a humbug, albeit one with real potential consequences. It brings mass-media firepower to a campaign against so-called activist judges whose virulence increasingly echoes the rhetoric of George Wallace and other segregationists in the 1960's. Back then, Wallace called for the impeachment of Frank M. Johnson Jr., the federal judge in Alabama whose activism extended to upholding the Montgomery bus boycott and voting rights march. Despite stepped-up security, a cross was burned on Johnson's lawn and his mother's house was bombed.

The fraudulence of "Justice Sunday" begins but does not end with its sham claims to solidarity with the civil rights movement of that era. "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias," says the flier for tonight's show, "and now it is being used against people of faith." In truth, Bush judicial nominees have been approved in exactly the same numbers as were Clinton second-term nominees. Of the 13 federal appeals courts, 10 already have a majority of Republican appointees. So does the Supreme Court. It's a lie to argue, as Tom DeLay did last week, that such a judiciary is the "left's last legislative body," and that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, is the poster child for "outrageous" judicial overreach. Our courts are as highly populated by Republicans as the other two branches of government.

The "Justice Sunday" mob is also lying when it claims to despise activist judges as a matter of principle. Only weeks ago it was desperately seeking activist judges who might intervene in the Terri Schiavo case as boldly as Scalia & Co. had in Bush v. Gore. The real "Justice Sunday" agenda lies elsewhere. As Bill Maher summed it up for Jay Leno on the "Tonight" show last week: " 'Activist judges' is a code word for gay." The judges being verbally tarred and feathered are those who have decriminalized gay sex (in a Supreme Court decision written by Justice Kennedy) as they once did abortion and who countenance marriage rights for same-sex couples. This is the animus that dares not speak its name tonight. To paraphrase the "Justice Sunday" flier, now it's the anti-filibuster campaign that is being abused to protect bias, this time against gay people.

Anyone who doesn't get with this program, starting with all Democrats, is damned as a bigoted enemy of "people of faith." But "people of faith," as used by the event's organizers, is another duplicitous locution; it's a code word for only one specific and exclusionary brand of Christianity. The trade organization representing tonight's presenters, National Religious Broadcasters, requires its members to "sign a distinctly evangelical statement of faith that would probably exclude most Catholics and certainly all Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist programmers," according to the magazine Broadcasting & Cable. The only major religious leader involved with "Justice Sunday," R. Albert Mohler Jr. of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has not only called the papacy a "false and unbiblical office" but also told Terry Gross on NPR two years ago that "any belief system" leading "away from the cross of Christ and toward another way of ultimate meaning, is, indeed, wicked and evil."

Tonight's megachurch setting and pseudoreligious accouterments notwithstanding, the actual organizer of "Justice Sunday" isn't a clergyman at all but a former state legislator and candidate for insurance commissioner in Louisiana, Tony Perkins. He now runs the Family Research Council, a Washington propaganda machine devoted to debunking "myths" like "People are born gay" and "Homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals are." It will give you an idea of the level of Mr. Perkins's hysteria that, as reported by The American Prospect, he told a gathering in Washington this month that the judiciary poses "a greater threat to representative government" than "terrorist groups." And we all know the punishment for terrorists. Accordingly, Newsweek reports that both Justices Kennedy and Clarence Thomas have "asked Congress for money to add 11 police officers" to the Supreme Court, "including one new officer just to assess threats against the justices." The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary, has requested $12 million for home-security systems for another 800 judges.

Mr. Perkins's fellow producer tonight is James Dobson, the child psychologist who created Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs media behemoth most famous of late for condemning SpongeBob SquarePants for joining other cartoon characters in a gay-friendly public-service "We Are Family" video for children. Dr. Dobson sees same-sex marriage as the path to "marriage between a man and his donkey" and, in yet another perversion of civil rights history, has likened the robed justices of the Supreme Court to the robed thugs of the Ku Klux Klan. He has promised "a battle of enormous proportions from sea to shining sea" if he doesn't get the judges he wants.

Once upon a time you might have wondered what Senator Frist is doing lighting matches in this tinderbox. As he never ceases to remind us, he is a doctor - an M.D., not some mere Ph.D. like Dr. Dobson - with an admirable history of combating AIDS in Africa. But this guy signed his pact with the devil even before he decided to grandstand in the Schiavo case by besmirching the diagnoses of neurologists who, unlike him, had actually examined the patient.

It was three months earlier, on the Dec. 5, 2004, edition of ABC News's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," that Dr. Frist enlisted in the Perkins-Dobson cavalry. That week Bush administration abstinence-only sex education programs had been caught spreading bogus information, including the canard that tears and sweat can transmit H.I.V. and AIDS - a fiction that does nothing to further public health but is very effective at provoking the demonization of gay men and any other high-risk group for the disease. Asked if he believed this junk science was true, the Princeton-and-Harvard-educated Dr. Frist said, "I don't know." After Mr. Stephanopoulos pressed him three more times, this fine doctor theorized that it "would be very hard" for tears and sweat to spread AIDS (still a sleazy answer, since there have been no such cases).

Senator Frist had hoped to deflect criticism of his cameo on "Justice Sunday" by confining his appearance to video. Though he belittled the disease-prevention value of condoms in that same "This Week" interview, he apparently now believes that videotape is just the prophylactic to shield him from the charge that he is breaching the wall separating church and state. His other defense: John Kerry spoke at churches during the presidential campaign. Well, every politician speaks at churches. Not every political leader speaks at nationally televised political rallies that invoke God to declare war on courts of law.

Perhaps the closest historical antecedent of tonight's crusade was that staged in the 1950's and 60's by a George Wallace ally, the televangelist Billy James Hargis. At its peak, his so-called Christian Crusade was carried by 500 radio stations and more than 200 television stations. In the "Impeach Earl Warren" era, Hargis would preach of the "collapse of moral values" engineered by a "powerfully entrenched, anti-God Liberal Establishment." He also decried any sex education that talked about homosexuality or even sexual intercourse. Or so he did until his career was ended by accusations that he had had sex with female students at the Christian college he founded as well as with boys in the school's All-American Kids choir.

Hargis died in obscurity the week before Dr. Frist's "This Week" appearance. But no less effectively than the cardinals in Rome, he has passed the torch.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
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6 comments

24 Apr 2005 @ 11:20 by celestial : World War III
Will be fought on every continent; the United States of America is not exempt!  


24 Apr 2005 @ 16:28 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : The Pols got religion

And I think Tom DeLay will be there too. Now that DeLay is sinking a la Sinclair Lewis style he is grasping for every bogus straw of support he can, the wackier the better. And having God on your side as you wrap yourself up in the flag creates much solid armor. That DeLay believes more in Christ than Christ did in himself should tell us something. But it is just that kind of lame brained idiocy that he is relying on that will protect him. Maybe some rerun moviehouse in Louisville will present Burt Lancaster's Elmer Gantry tonight. Like the wonderful movie house in Oakland, California, which once put on its enormous thirties marquee: "What is an impeachable offense? Lying about sex? No. Lying to go to war? Yes."  



26 Apr 2005 @ 18:57 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Did you know this prof, Richard?
This is the end of a piece by Chris Hedges in the May Harper's, entitled "Feeling the Hate with the National Religious Broadcasters.......


“I can’t help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the ‘Christian fascists.’

“He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major American institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrialists flirt with fascism in the 1930s. Mussolini’s “Corportism,” which created an unchecked industrial and business aristocracy, had appealed to many at the time as an effective counterweight to the New Deal. In 1934, Fortune magazine lavished praise on the Italian dictator for his defanging of labor unions and his empowerment of industrialists at the expense of workers. Then as now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. Adams had watched German academics fall silent or conform. He knew how desperately people want to believe the comfortable lies told by totalitarian movements, how easily those lies lull moderates into passivity.

“Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right’s persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute’s library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first ‘deviants’ singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.”

Twenty five years ago I would have believed him. After all, one of the lessons of the German Third Reich is that it could happen anywhere. Since no one possess a superior humanity to anyone else, including those Germans who went all the way with Hitler and the Nazis. But I wouldn’t have taken his warning all too seriously, for what I didn’t see at that time, and didn’t realize until only recently, was how bizarre American fascists are. And believed that nobody could ever take these ranting and raving fundamentalists seriously. But look at our president and at the grotesques he has surrounded himself with? Look at the political ploys of our top rightwing leaders in Congress?

Also close to home (for me), if Casares Quiroga, the premier of the Spanish Republic at the time of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, had clamped down on the military, as my father and his friends had pleaded, then the fascists in Spain may have been stopped. But Casares wanted to be fair, and didn’t want to suspend the Constitution, not even to save the Republic. Yes, liberals tend to be too decent at times for their own good. Trying to stay above the fray. Attempting not to sink to the level of their opponents, or attempt to appease them. Hoping that they will eventually go away and be satisfied.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I knew of him Paul, and I believe heard a lecture once, but did not have him for an ethics course. Thanks for this post.

~~~Richard  



27 Apr 2005 @ 17:11 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : And this is just in from Alabama
Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Alice Walker, and Shakespeare? All banned? For more: {link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1369643,00.html}

Though the Bard may be spared, since he's a "classic."  



27 Apr 2005 @ 17:53 by jazzolog : Angels In America
For those who missed the stupendous production by Mike Nichols on HBO, please find it at your DVD/Video store. Six hours long...but with Pacino, Streep, Emma Thompson (in multiple roles!) it is one of the great cinematic experiences of my life. Since it is not only pro-gay in extremis but also anti-Republican, one would expect the attacks to begin soon. Just take a look at this picture if you want even a taste~~~

http://www.hbo.com/films/angelsinamerica/

and then explore the site...especially the photos.  



16 Jul 2005 @ 12:45 by jazzolog : Bibleman Commands The 10 Demandments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
July 16, 2005
Moses' Top Ten
By SARAH VOWELL

The Ten Commandments have a shot at being named Time magazine's man of the year. This week, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 63 percent of the respondents want President Bush to appoint a Supreme Court nominee who supports "allowing displays of the Ten Commandments on government property." The Conservative Caucus is even petitioning the president to appoint the former, as in fired, Alabama chief justice, Roy Moore, the legal whiz who defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of Montgomery's state judicial building.

The Supreme Court's ruling last month upholding the right of the Texas State Capitol to keep a Ten Commandments sculpture - sponsored by that great theologian Cecil B. DeMille to promote his Charlton Heston epic - on its grounds as an historical artifact is arguable from a legal perspective. But to the amateur historian and professional ironist, it's a delight. Because I've been to the Texas State Capitol, and that granite Moses movie ad is one of the least offensive things there.

To wit: there are two creepy monuments dedicated to the Confederacy, one of which features hand-carved testimonials from Jeff Davis and Robert E. Lee lauding rebel soldiers responsible for the Gettysburg deaths Lincoln would hope were not in vain.

Then there's the memorial festooned with a man gripping a muzzle-loader to honor the Heroes of the Alamo, the men who died trying to steal Tejas from the Mexicans, who had taken it from Spain, which had grabbed it from the Indians in the first place. If I remember correctly, not stealing is one of your Top Ten Ten Commandments. One of these Alamo heroes, Davy Crockett, is said to have advised the men there, "Pierce the heart of the enemy as you would a feller that spit in your face, knocked down your wife, burnt up your houses and called your dog a skunk!" Does it get any less "thou shalt not kill" than that?

Another statue honors the beloved Texas cowboy. I happen to be descended from one of these. My Texas cowboy great-great-grandfather, John Vowell, abandoned his newborn baby, Charles, when his Seminole wife died in childbirth. Is it O.K. if I break the commandment about honoring one's father to point out that my great-great-grandfather was a deadbeat dad fiend?

Young Charles, by the way, did not follow in his daddy's cowboy footsteps; by the age of 8, the poor kid was earning a living as a shepherd. Until the range wars, when some of those beloved cowboys symbolized by that statue gunned down all his sheep. Probably not on a Sunday, though. Heavens, no - that's the Sabbath.

I am picking on Texas and its State Capitol only because of the specifics of this Supreme Court ruling. The fact is, any state government in the U.S. is going to look a little phony tacking up Mosaic Law on its lawn next to statues of whatever Puritans or Hawaiian-queen-kidnappers are responsible for any given state's eventual statehood. Maybe phony is not the right word. Maybe the right word is sad.

The other night I was flipping channels and stopped for a minute to watch Jim Jarmusch's documentary "Year of the Horse," about Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse. The band was on a tour bus somewhere in America, and Jarmusch and Young were discussing the difference between the Old Testament and the New. Young admits that he sometimes gets the two confused. Jarmusch replies that in the Old Testament, God is angry. Young wonders if this is because man "turned out to be man."

I'm guessing that my fellow citizens who want government employees drinking out of taxpayer-supported Ten Commandments coffee cups and using Ten Commandments ballpoints to take While You Were Out messages on Ten Commandments notepads hope and believe that daily reminders of biblical edicts will stave off the supposedly newfangled moral decay brought on by crummy TV shows and nontraditional marriage. But Neil Young had a point: man turned out to be man and has been ever since.

The Israelites Moses himself led out of Egypt apparently witnessed the rather unprecedented parting of a sea by their deity to save their lives. Yet about 10 minutes go by and the ungrateful sinners start melting their earrings to make a cow they can pray to. That's what I find so reassuring about the Ten Commandments: the fact that they were necessary in the first place.

Maureen Dowd is on book leave.

Sarah Vowell, a contributor to public radio's "This American Life," is the author, most recently, of "Assassination Vacation."

E-mail: vowell@nytimes.com

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/16/opinion/16vowell.html?ex=1122177600&en=8dd81a69161034c5&ei=5070&emc=eta1  



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