June 27th, 2004

Giles on a horse, need i say more? [muzakgurrl]

Tell me again why i still go to church?

I should have known it would be bad when i saw the sign on the lawn saying “The Best Constitution in the World is the Bible.”

There was an insert in the bulletin about the Federal Marriage Amendment that’s going to be voted on July 15. [HRC provides a handy e-mail form.] It includes the comforting (to me) news that: “Democratic leaders in the Senate, including Senate Minority Leader Daschale (sic) and Senators Schumer (NY), Boxer (CA), and Stabenow (MI) have promised homosexual leaders they will kill the amendment.”

Before the service began, the worship leader (i forget his name, the guy who plays trombone) was talking about how Soviet Union shut down most of the churches and converted them into houses and government buildings or put chains on their doors, but they left some churches and cathedrals open so that when foreigners came, the Soviet leaders could point to those buildings and say, “See, we have freedom of religion; people can enter these churches whenever they want.” He said they didn’t need to put chains on the doors, because the people had chains on their hearts. Huh? I thought the Soviet Union got included in that history of the persecution of Christians. If all the Soviet citizens had “chains on their hearts,” why did anyone need to chain up the doors to the churches in the first place? Wouldn’t the churches just all turn into abandoned buildings no one wanted to enter? And i was unclear about the purpose of this anecdote. He said that we don’t have chains on our hearts, and then he started the worship service. So the point was to remind us how much better we are than those godless commies? I really should have asked after church but i didn’t think of it.

The children’s message kept mentioning how your friends may not know about Jesus and how much Jesus can help them, so of course you should tell them. Yes, let’s make proselytizers out of grade schoolers who definitely don’t have a full grasp of all this stuff you keep telling them (like “accepting Jesus into your heart”). *sighs*

I was all stomach-turny during the mention of the marriage insert. This stopped being my church about 4 years ago, but today felt like an additional step of “I’m not sure i can even continue coming here.” Marilyn said she would drive us to her church in Walpole, and i desperately want to take her up on that. Would be wonderful to see the girls again, too, though i don’t know how much Lynda goes during the summer. (That’s the other thing. This was the first official “summer service” and so many people don’t come during the summer that i feel like why put myself through this since the people are really the main draw to keep returning to United.) I know the Congregational Church wouldn’t be a perfect home for me, but it would certainly be better than United, so i’m very very tempted to just go there for the rest of the summer.
hermione by oatmilk


AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AS IVY FIG LEAF: This NYT article confirms a disturbing trend that I personally experienced as an undergraduate at Yale. Instead of benefiting the victims of historic prejudice in the United States, Ivy League affirmative action programs result in the admission of disproportionate numbers of Caribbean and African immigrants, and/or their children. Apparently, it isn't only at Yale where black students tend to have French surnames.

While Caribbean and African blacks deserve their places at Harvard and Yale, they shouldn't benefit from preferential admission standards designed to encourage the admission of African-Americans. Of course, Ivy League admissions officers are quite resistant to talking about this trend. They are so desperate to cement their employers' progressive image that they are not concerned about how they come up with enough black students to fill their unofficial quotas.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that this sort of criticism lacks a certain credibility, coming as it does from an author who generally opposes affirmative action. Yet as the chair of the Harvard sociology department points out,
"You need a philosophical discussion about what are the aims of affirmative action...

"If it's about getting black faces at Harvard, then you're doing fine. If it's about making up for 200 to 500 years of slavery in this country and its aftermath, then you're not doing well. And if it's about having diversity that includes African-Americans from the South or from inner-city high schools, then you're not doing well, either."
Even Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier think the system is deeply flawed. I'd go further and say that Ivy League political correctness has become a palliative for liberal white consciences rather than a commitment to real social justice.

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you think you know...

"The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" ?

So, i finally read Audre Lorde’s “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” (in This Bridge Called My Back).
Those of us who stand outside the circle in this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference; those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older, know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those other identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support. (emphases in original)
Sounds like you can dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools but you need new tools to build a new house.