Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

Hey look, post of substance.

I saw on YahooNews this morning: "James Dobson accuses Obama of `distorting' Bible" by Eric Gorski, AP Religion Writer Tue Jun 24, 7:33 AM ET

The conservative Christian group provided The Associated Press with an advance copy of the pre-taped radio segment, which runs 18 minutes and highlights excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal. Obama mentions Dobson in the speech.

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama said. "Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?" referring to the civil rights leader.

Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said.

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus' teachings in the New Testament.

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.
What, 'cause you never use those same Levitical passages to argue that non-heterosexuality is an abomination?  ::rolls eyes::  (There are New Testament passages -- most notably Romans -- which can also be used.  Though actually, when I Googled Dobson+homosexuality to confirm whether he does in fact use those Levitical passages to support his stance... the first two results are critical of Dobson for being too accepting of The Homosexual -- O Timothy Magazine, Family Research Institute.)  Plus, how many passages in the New Testament support slavery?  A lot.

I was confused as to where this bit comes from:
"Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?" Dobson said. "What he's trying to say here is unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe."
So I looked up the speech (a June 28, 2006 keynote to the group Call to Renewal. full-text at: obama.senate.gov/barackobama.com).  As I read it, my impression was that if anything, Obama says the opposite of what Dobson accuses.  I would feel far more uncomfortable reading this speech were I an atheist than I would were I a conservative evangelical.  Obama says:
secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Okay, he then goes on to talk about the importance of the separation of church and state, about how we are a pluralistic nation, and etc.  Ah, okay, finally he says, "Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values."  But he's not saying you can't argue against abortion... he says, "I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."


Above the fold on the front page of this morning's metro:
Report: U.S. tolerant of many religions
RELIGION. America remains a nation of believers, but a new survey finds most Americans don't feel their religion is the only way to eternal life --- even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise.
    The findings revealed Monday in a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey of 35,000 adults conducted last year, show 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching.
    In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.
57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life
I wanna meet these self-identified evangelical Christians.  Though I suppose really I should ask how broad their definition of "many religions" is (see this GetReligion.org posting, for example -- which conveniently links to the actual Pew report).


On Sunday, my dad e-mailed me a link to this blogpost: "God might not be great, but church is awesome" (Daniel Drezner)


Becca Clark has a take on the aqedah story which I like a lot.
What I want God to say to Abe is, "Good effort, and I appreciate your faithfulness, but you've missed the point of being faithful. Remember when you bantered with me for the sake of a city full of rude strangers? That's true faith. Dialogue with Me. Relationship with Me. Not blind following. Have you become so overpowered by the blessings you've received from me that you've forgotten to engage your whole self– body, spirit and mind in your worship? This is what I ask of my faithful ones: that you talk with me, argue with me, use your whole being in service to me. Ask questions. Recoil from evil, even when it comes from my lips."

Imus is in the news again [AP].  I think if what he meant was "police are picking on Jones because he's black," then he should have said that after his "now we know" statement rather than just leaving it as if it were self-evident.  I recognize that my tendency to qualify and explain everything plays into this *high-fives mjules* but still.  I mean, given the Rutgers controversy last year, I would think he might be a little more conscious of how his remarks might be construed.


CNN had a piece on the Japanese fight against obesity by fining business for having employees whose waistlines exceed a certain measurement [video].

First off, as problematic as BMI is, at least it's better than straight-up waistlines.  I mean, if your frame is smaller that means you can have more fat on you and still be under the limit.  It's just so ridiculously arbitrary.

The correspondent over there pointed out a traditional Japanese meal and said it had 600 calories... compare with a meal from McDonald's (which has now come into Japan), which has 1300 calories (this meal, btw, included a Large fries and Large soda and I think a Big Mac... it is possible to have a McD's meal which is significantly less than 1300 calories).  I was like, "so it's the fault of the fat stupid imperialist Americans, awesome [eyeroll]."

One of the people mentioned that most Japanese are only a little bit overweight -- like 12lb max.  I think this was meant in the context of, "See, the fines aren't that burdensome, 'cause anyone can lose a few pounds if they're motivated," but my reaction was, "Okay, I get the logic of tackling a problem before it gets out of control, but really now... if you want people to be healthier, surely there are better ways to incentivize this than fining business for having 'overweight' employees."

My dad e-mailed me a couple Sundays back:
Perhaps I am just a silly American but two things I read recently bothered me.  One was this.

In Japan, the government pays for medical care.  Overweight people cost more so the government is now requiring all people over a certain age to get their waists measured.  If you are over 33.5 inches for men or 35.4 inches for women, your employer will get penalized.  Similar penalties may apply if you have high blood pressure or other indications of "metabolic syndrome."

My first reaction was, "Wow, what an intrusion into people's lives."  And second, since the companies are penalized, it's going to be real hard for people who don't pass the government tests to get hired.

But that doesn't seem to be what bothers the author of the article, or the people she talked to, "But critics say that the government guidelines — especially the one about male waistlines — are simply too strict and that more than half of all men will be considered overweight. The effect, they say, will be to encourage overmedication and ultimately raise health care costs."

So the problem is that it won't really save the government money and that it will cause people to take too many pills.


CNN had a thing about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver supporting McCain and Obama respectively (which I didn't listen to, but I read the NYT piece later).  Stuff like this always makes me so happy.  We joke that my father is a Republican with a heart and my mother is a Democrat with a brain.  (And then there's us kids.  I'm some sort of radical/moderate/heartless/heartful combo I shorthand as "libertarian."  My brother's facebook About Me says, "In terms of politics I'm a strongly conservative republican Christian.")
Tags: gym: tv, issues: bible and homosexuality, issues: race, issues: religion, issues: religion and politics, issues: u.s. presidential race: 2008, issues: weight and health, newspaper: metro, religion

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