Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For Linda Kraeger and Greg McKendry, and the spirit of democratic religion

A poor, sick, hateful man named Jim Adkisson killed two members of my family's faith last Sunday. His own words indicate he killed them because of their "liberal" beliefs. His life suggests he was yet another discarded byproduct of an impersonal and hate-breeding economic system, a person in need of mental health care, egged on by reading the dehumanizing provocations of Michael Savage.

To Linda, Greg, and all members of the Knoxville UUs, I cannot possibly express my sorrow, or how proud I am to be a longtime member of our organization.

Spirit of Life
Come unto me
Sing in my heart
All the stirrings of compassion
Blow in the wind
Rise in the sea
Move in the hand
Giving life the shape of justice
Roots hold me close
Wings set me free
Spirit of life
Come to me
Come to me

~Carolyn McDade

We affirm:

~The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
~Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
~Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
~A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
~The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
~The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
~Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obama versus the Dog-and-Kidbeaters

The role of religion in the public sphere is a recurring interest for me. It's one current in a swirling stream of political and ethical guideposts for me, from my quest for an open-minded and progressive religious community to my concerns about the production and deployment of ideology. The recent dialogue between Jurgen Habermas and the Pope, along with Habermas's seemingly conciliatory statements about Christianity, have augmented my concerns.

Now, this article by John Schmalzbauer on the conflict between a very intelligent presidential candidate and a stupid, reactionary Christian sadist, has reminded me that one thing I DO like about Barack Obama is his nuanced, mature and cool-headed approach to religion: Especially his insistence, through word and deed (however clumsy at understandable times) that one can be, at the very least, a religious seeker and still have fair and sensible politics.

Of course, this is probably another reason why some white conservatives absolutely fear Obama. Schmalzbauer concludes this may not matter as much as it used to, either in the politcal or religious spheres...
At the same time, there are signs that Dobson’s brand of evangelical conservatism may be losing some of its influence. Michael Lindsay’s study of evangelical elites revealed that many conservative Protestants in the media and political establishment are weary of the rhetoric of James Dobson and Pat Robertson. In a similar trend, the percentage of younger evangelicals identifying as Republican fell from 55 percent in 2005 to 40 percent in 2007. Likewise, the circulation of Focus on the Family’s newsletter dropped from 2.4 million copies in 1994 to 1.1 million today. Compare this with the 600,000 people on the email and subscription lists for Sojourners and the prospects for a progressive evangelicalism begin to look a little brighter.

This is a trend I unapologetically celebrate. Being concerned about pluralism doesn't mean you have to be tolerant of those interpretations or doctrines that advocate intolerance. Being concerned about pluralism doesn't mean being tabula rasa or uncritical.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Yeah, that McKinney...so scandalous! Such a loose cannon... can you believe she'd say such things?
McKinney was first elected in 1992, but she lost a primary challenge 10 years later after she said in a radio interview that members of the Bush administration profited from the war that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.


A Question for McCain Supporters

If you missed it on the news, this was re-covered over on Daily Kos:

Yesterday, while attempting to distance himself from his top economic advisor Phil Gramm's claim that America is a "nation of whiners," McCain said: "I strongly disagree. Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me. " Funny that after Wesley Clark made his comments about McCain's readiness to lead on Face the Nation last week, the McCain campaign issued 16 press releases in two days, denouncing Clark and Obama. Apparently only McCain speaks for McCain, but everyone speaks for Obama.
So my question for McCain supporters: Are you asinine, dopey, foolish, goosy, gooselike, jerkyblockheaded, boneheaded, duncical, duncish, fatheaded, loggerheaded, thick, thickheaded, thick-skulled, wooden-headedcloddish, doltishdense, dim, dull, dumb, obtuse, slowgaumless, gormlesslumpish, lumpen, unthinking, nitwitted, senseless, soft-witted, witless, weak, yokel-like, dazed, stunned, stupefied, stupid, brainless, headless?

(thanks to synonym.com)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

McKinney update

It was a lot of fun (and a bit intimidating) interviewing Congresswoman McKinney. Much to our pleasant surprise, she was joined on the phone by her running mate, Rosa Clemente. They couldn't stay on very long, since today was the big day at the Greens' convention. But what impressed me more than anything was the willingness of a 6-time U.S. Representative and current presidential candidate to take a chance with a non-professional blog talk radio podcast. Equally impressive was her answer to my question "What do you say to people who are afraid that voting for you makes it more likely that John McCain will be our next President?" You'll have to listen to the archived show to find out what her answer was...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cynthia McKinney on Shared Sacrifice

We are excited to announce that former Congresswoman and current Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will be our guest this Saturday, July 12, on Shared Sacrifice. McKinney served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, and from 2005 to 2007, representing Georgia's 4th Congressional District. She left the Democratic Party in September 2007, joining the Green Party in October 2007.

During the second half of our show, we will be joined by Cathy Connoly, a progressive Democrat running for Wyoming's state House District 13.
Our guests for the July 19 edition of the show will be the members and coaches of the Towson State University Debate Team, the 2008 Cross-Examination Debate Association National Champions, and the first African-American team to win an intercollegiate debate national championship.
Our show takes place from Noon to 2:00 PM mountain time. You can find us at www.blogtalkradio.com/Shared_Sacrifice. If you can't listen to the show live, you can download it from the site. Our call-in number is (347) 327-9615.