Friday, October 31, 2008

Real conservatives don't lie

I've previously made the distinction between conservatives (those who, by conviction or inclination are opposed to certain types of change) and "conservatives" (those who mask hatred and bigotry with credible-seeming sound bites).

I used to think Elizabeth Dole was one of the former.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

Turns out that Elizabeth Dole is just another lying, fearmongering bigot who will say anything and do anything to get elected.

Here is a CNN commentary on the single most vile and disgusting ad of the entire US election campaign to date.

Nice, eh.

Why is it that "conservatives" have to lie everytime they say anything?

It's the same as the ongoing crap we see from so many realigners, claiming that Episcopalians in the US and Anglicans in Canada don't believe in Jesus, don't believe in the resurrection, don't believe in sin. Oh, and we're oppressing those liars by refusing to let them steal the silver on the way out the door.


And the technical term in moral theology to describe a person who lies is "liar."

I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Here's what the Charlotte Observer had to say:
“This is indecent. It is the modern-day version of the “white hands” ad, a lie born of Dole’s desperation in a race in which she has trailed for weeks. It is also a deliberate attempt by Dole’s campaign not just to distort the truth, but to shatter Hagan’s admirable record as an elder for more than a decade in Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church, as a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer in her church’s fundraising campaigns, worship services and community service programs… It has no place in N.C. politics. Unless she admits this egregious, shameful mistake and acts appropriately, Elizabeth Dole has no place in N.C. politics, either.”

Here's the Fayetteville Observer:
The polls show she’s trailing Hagan, and she’s dipping into her own pocket to support her campaign. But jumping into the deep end of the slime pool is no way to catch up.”

The Greensboro News-Record called it "worse than dishonest," "a low blow" and "beyond the bounds."

Here's Kay Hagan's response.

Note the telling piece of scripture she refers to at the end.

I hope Elizabeth Dole pays an immediate price for her disgusting lies.

Of course, there is no possible way the humiliation of an electoral defeat can equal the way Elizabeth Dole has humiliated herself with this vile piece of filth.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Our beloved Grandmére Mimi has received secular validation for her efforts. The Huffington Post has done a feature story on Grandmére - though focussing on her secular political rather than her ecclesiastical political blogging.

Good on ya, Grandmére - though I must say that "Gumbo Granny" doesn't have quite the je ne sais quoi of your usual online appelation.

Apparently, what first got Huffington Post's attention was this lovely bit of online zydeco.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cash and Covenants

Over the past week, two events have arisen from the entrails of the Lambeth Conference.

The first is a matter of mammon. Turns out that the Lambeth festivities fell a trifle short of cash. All told, about £1.2m short. That would be about C$2.5m or US$2.0m. It would be roughly 1.5m Euros or, for the mischievious, 52.5m Rubles.

The Church of Ireland Gazette indicates that there is to be an inquiry.

I should bloody think. Really - £1.2m is almost like real money. It's not pocket change by a long shot. Canada's wartime "Minister of Everything," C.D. Howe had his reputation tarnished for allegedly having callously asked, "what's a million?" (Actually, in a discussion of a C$1.3b wartime appropriations bill, Hansard records him as saying, "I dare say my honourable friend could cut a million dollars . . . but a million dollars from the War Appropriations Bill would not be a very important matter.")

I don't know, offhand, the total budget for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, but I suspect it was something significantly less than £1.3b, so surely the shortfall cannot be so glibly written off.

In my naughtier moments, I've been thinking that the North American Provinces should set up a committee to raise subscriptions to cover the shortfall. The Bishop of New Hampshire strikes me as a good and gracious choice to lead the fundraising drive.

The second item is additional reportage from the Covenant Design Group. The new information includes both qualitative and quantitative summaries of the feedback from the bishops at Lambeth.

Qualitative data is very hard to assess unless one was part of the collection process. The quantitative data, however, includes some interesting tidbits.

Of all the bishops who responded, fully 36% had either "some concerns" or "serious reservations" about the whole idea of an Anglican Covenant. That wasn't concerns or reservations about the current draft. That was concerns or reservations about the very concept.

That 36% included:
  • 50% of the bishops of New Zealand, Central Africa, Central America, Ireland
  • 60% of the bishops of Mexico
  • 61% of the bishops of Canada
  • 67% of the bishops of the United States, Wales
  • 80% of the bishops of Japan, Scotland
  • 83% of the bishops of Brazil
That's fully 11 Provinces where at least half of the bishops have issues with the whole idea of an Anglican Covenant.

Given that the drafts currently in circulation envisage an enhanced role for the Primates of the Communion, possibly in an enforcement role, it is also worth a look at how well these bishops think the Primates Meeting has functioned so far as an Instrument of Communion.

Fully 61.5% of the all the bishops had "some concerns" or "serious reservations" about the Primates' record. That 61.5% included:
  • 50% of the bishops of Brazil, Central America, Myanmar (Burma)
  • 58% of the bishops of Southern Africa
  • 66.7% of the bishops of Korea
  • 67% of the bishops of Australia, England
  • 72.5% of the bishops of Canada
  • 75% of the bishops of Central Africa, Jerusalem and the Middle East,
  • 80% of the bishops of Ireland, Scotland
  • 87% of the bishops of the United States
  • 100% of the bishops of Japan, Wales (Wales was actually 100% "serious reservations")
As one who has, from time to time, analyzed the odd poll result, I don't think the quantitative instrument was all that well designed. This particular question asked only about the record of the Primates Meeting "so far." I wonder what the results would have shown if the research instrument had actually asked about the future possibility of an empowered Primates Meeting. I cannot imagine that the concerns and reservations would have been any less.

So here we have nearly half the Provinces where at least half the bishops are not convinced the Primates are to be trusted (including two Provinces where all the bishops agree on that score), and nearly a third of provinces where at least half the bishops are not convinced about the very concept of any Anglican Covenant at all.

It is worth noting that there were two responses from Kenyan bishops and one from a Rwandan bishop. These three bishops, of course, were at Lambeth in defiance of their respective Primates. It is perhaps significant that all three of these bishops had concerns or reservations about Primatial power.

So should we all.

And now, for something completely different . . . or not.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Moving forward

Well, our election is over and done with - barring a recount or two.

My party did well - but not as well as I would have liked.

The party I dislike most intensely got thumped around, and had their lowest popular vote since 1867. (Yes, 1867 - that's not a typo).

I'm amused to listen to hysterical Liberals calling New Democrats unprincipled because we didn't roll up our campaigns and go vote for them. The arrogance and the sense of entitlement is breath taking.

Anyway, back to more important things.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Lord, keep this nation under your care.

Bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.

Help us elect trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve you faithfully in our generation to the honour of your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (page 678, BAS)


In the aftermath of the 2004 US elections, All Saints Episcopal hurch in Pasadena, California was subjected to harassment by the US Internal Revenue Service for a sermon entitled If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush. The IRS investigation was based on the suggestion that this sermon - which endorsed neither candidate - constituted political activity inconsistent with the parish's status as a charitable organization. The details of the parish's IRS problems can be found here.

More recently, a group of right wing American evangelicals called upon clergy to preach explicit endorsements of Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in an effort to challenge those laws which restrict political activity by organizations which have charitable status. It remains to be seen if the IRS will investigate these churches. Will this government agency spend as much energy pursuing 33 clergy for clearly and unequivocally violating the law that they did in pursuing one priest and one parish who unequivocally did not violate the law?

I don't have a lot of use for clergy who use the unanswerable privilege of the pulpit for partisan purposes. My politics are no secret, but I have never used a Sunday sermon to tell anyone what party to support come election time.

I do like Fr. Regas's approach in his October 31, 2004 sermon at All Saints, Pasadena.

He challenges his listeners to consider three issues - ending war and violence; eliminating poverty; holding tenaciously to hope - and how Jesus would have challenged both candidates had He been the third participant in the presidential debates.

Consider Jesus as the sixth participant in our Canadian leaders debates. How would the debates have been different? Would we have judged Him on the relative quality of His French and His English? Or on the content and quality of his message? How would Jesus's participation have shaped the discussion of Canada's mission in Afghanistan? Of the strength of our social safety net? Homelessness? Economic security? Job creation? Child care? The Environment?

Four years ago, at All Saints, Pasadena, Fr. Regas's point was clear in his closing sentence, which repeated a theme used frequently throughout:

When you go into the voting booth on Tuesday, take with you all that you know about Jesus, the peacemaker. Take all that Jesus means to you. Then vote your deepest values.
Amen indeed.

The Anglican Church of Canada has created a very ill-publicized issues page for the current federal election. It doesn't endorse any party either.

People of good faith will disagree about what political approach is likely to be most effective in creating peace, in addressing poverty, in instilling hope. Both the invisible hand of the marketplace and the genius of central planning are human-made idols. But none of us who call ourselves Christian can ignore that Jesus calls us to be concerned about these things.


Vote your values.

Vote all your values.



Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom:

Guide and direct, we humbly beseech thee, the minds of all those who are called at this time to elect fit persons to serve in the House of Commons.

Grant that in the exercise of their choice they may promote thy glory, and the welfare of this Dominion. And this we beg for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (page 50, BCP).

In case anyone isn't clear on where I stand

The next post will be a priestly admonition for Canadian Christians to exercise their democratic franchise.

This post is an out and out partisan endorsement by a guy whose only qualification is that he owns a blog.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The God of Love

Ten years ago today, a young man named Matthew Shepard died in Colorado.

Ten years ago last Monday, Matthew was offered a ride home by two men in Laramie, Wyoming.

They beat him.

They pistol whipped him.

They dragged him up to a fence on a hill.

And there, they crucified him.

He was found about 18 hours later. The cyclist who first saw Matthew thought he was a scarecrow. When a police officer arrived, she saw that his head was caked in blood. His face was covered in blood, except for two lines stretching down from his eyes, where the blood had been washed away by tears.

Matthew never regained consciousness. He died in hospital six days later - ten years ago today - in Fort Collins, Colorado.

At his funeral, members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas protested with signs that said things like "God Hates Fags," and "Matthew Shepard is Burning in Hell."

You see, Matthew was murdered because he was gay.

The whole story is disturbing.

That men could go out of their way to trick someone into going with them.

That they could beat someone to the point of death.

That they could crucify someone on a fence.

But, perhaps oddly, the thing that disturbs me most is that people who call themselves Christian could say that he had it coming, that he deserved to die, that "God Hates Fags."

No true Christian can say that, for God does not hate any of his children.

Oh, he may well hate things that we do. He certainly hates that people would beat someone and crucify them on a fence. He certainly hates that people would harass a grieving family.

But God - the Christian God, the One True God - does not hate his children.

This song is about how much God loves us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Moderation in all things

Up to this point, I have not used comment moderation.

That changed today.

It was one individual who brought this about. A person who has no interest in religious matters, but merely trolls through the blogosphere putting rude, crude and homophobic insults in the comment section, usually having nothing to do with the subject of the post.

It was one particularly crude comment, directed at Grandmére Mimi and me, which was the last straw. If he'd tried this shite in my home I'd have tossed him out. I figured I had the right to do the same on my home page.

Fred Preuss, is banned from this site. All of his previous posts have now been removed. There is no court of appeal.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Further to my last:

It's always good when something that desperately needs to be said gets said.

And with that, what more need be said?