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The Presidential Pulpit
George Bush did his bit this week to subtly suggest conversion to the infidels marring the face of these United Christian States. (Don't forget one of the explicit goals of Christianity is converting the unbelievers. Of course, "converting" is putting it rather quaintly, considering the Spanish Inquisition was one of the better armed and organized conversion attempts.)

Yes, horrifyingly, the leader of what is supposed to be a secularly run country, put out this message encouraging conversion to Christianity with the wacky and entirely unproven notion that people who accept its preferred imaginary friend as their "savior" will be rewarded with "eternal life." Is there a shred of evidence of any such thing? Of course not. But this concept goes over real big with the tenderheaded, who shrink from autonomy and free will, which require an engaged mind and personal responsibility -- as opposed to the ability to follow directions without question.

Here are a few words about Easter from the primitive thinker also known as the president of the most powerful nation on the planet:

President's Easter Message
Easter 2005

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I send greetings to all those celebrating Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice and triumph over death, Christ lifted the sights of humanity forever. In His teachings, the poor have heard hope, the proud have been challenged, and the weak and dying have found assurance. Today, the words of Jesus continue to comfort and strengthen Christians around the world.

During this holy season, we thank God for His blessings and ask for His wisdom and guidance. We also keep in our thoughts and prayers the men and women of our Armed Forces -- especially those far from home, separated from family and friends by the call of duty. May the joy of Easter fill our hearts with gratitude for our freedom, love for our neighbors, and hope for peace.

Laura and I wish you a Happy Easter.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Excuse me, but it is ENTIRELY INAPPROPRIATE for the president of this country to put out an Easter message like this. I wasn't alive when Kennedy was elected, but I remember reading about how worried people were that he would run the country according to his (Catholic) religion. Hello? Today, the president thinks nothing of turning the presidency into a pulpit -- when he isn't busy trying to get the country to conform to the dictates of the religious "right," and few seem to care.

Again, since there is zero evidence there is a god (and no, "jeezopeet, how do we explain all this then?" doesn't count as evidence), it is no more appropriate (or reasonable) for the president to thank "God" for "His blessings" than it is for him to thank a giant purple imaginary turkey for not crapping on the White House rose garden. Isn't anybody but me horrified by this? Extremely troubled? Ticked off a little?

Helloooo? Anybody awake out there?

Posted by aalkon at March 28, 2005 8:27 AM

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Comments

Oh, but don'tcha know, Congress has always had a chaplain give prayers, which means the founding fathers thought an acknowledgment of religion by government was okay, which means it's all just A-OK. Or at least, that was the best explanation that my brother's public high school could give for why it was okay to have "nondenominational" (i.e., Christian, but trying to sound a little less blatantly Christian-only than it was) prayer during the graduation ceremony.

Posted by: Jen at March 28, 2005 3:47 AM

"Ticked off a little?"

Embarrassed.

Posted by: Lena at March 28, 2005 7:35 AM

The founding fathers, at least a few of them, went out of their way to say religion was pretty odious. If there's god mentioned in these "prayers," I am offended that an institution, supposedly in the business of teaching kids to reason (ha, that's worked recently!) suggest belief in and worship of an imaginary figure.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 28, 2005 8:15 AM

Ever since day 1 of this Republic, the religious (Christians, in particular) have sought to influence government affairs and public policy. The crazy irony is that they (liberal protestants, conservative protestants, and Catholics) used to fight with one another so much that they never got much of anywhere beyond getting "In God We Trust" put on money. Now it seems that the Christians are realizing the value of the old saw - the enemy of my enemy is my friend. They are working together like never before to achieve their aims - an all-Christian US (through peaceful conversion, of course;-)

We are the enemy. This is *our* cross to bear as secularists. We're in the minority, regardless of whether or not we're right, which means getting upset every time JC rears his thorny head is wasted energy. I say, change what you can and ignore the rest.

I also recommend reading, Freethinkers : A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby. It definitely throws a wrench in the canard that the US was founded on Judeo Christian principles.

Posted by: Chris Wilson at March 28, 2005 8:25 AM

Somebody should send President Jesus a copy of "The End of Faith," by Sam Harris, a title soon to be added to the Advice Goddess' Book Picks, oui?
:)

Posted by: Lawaneke at March 28, 2005 9:00 AM

> Today, the president thinks
> nothing of turning the presidency
> into a pulpit -

Hypersensitivity is not the same thing as logical rigor. The President is a Christian and makes no bones about it. It's OK with a large number of citizens, who are also Christian. And a large number of other voters, who know how --and why-- to sort believers from extremists. Just curious, were you this pissy about Jimmy Carter?

The other day someone here was talking about how lefties were going to reclaim the churches. But first they're going to need a politician who can work the pews (black and white, urban and rural) as well as Clinton. And Arkansas doesn't kick up a rock star talent like that every day. Kerry spent every fucking Sunday in church for six months, right? And it got him nothin': He was not convincing.

And meanwhile you've got all these very sophisticated coastal lefties here whose rhetoric ranges from disproportionate...

> Isn't anybody but me horrified by this?
> Extremely troubled? Ticked off a little?

- to flatly, teenage sarcastic...

> Helloooo? Anybody awake out there?

That Karl Rove's a fuckin' genius, ain't he?

Posted by: Cridland at March 28, 2005 9:06 AM

AARRRRGHHH!!! Shit like this makes me fucking crazy. I hate having religion forced down my throat, and when it comes from the prez, who I despise anyway, it makes it even less palatable than normal.

Nice also that he ignores the "thou shalt not kill" part of his stupid book and has no problem invading sovreign nations. Gross. It makes me embarrassed to be American.

Posted by: Goddyss at March 28, 2005 11:05 AM

Kerry's an assclown, too. I loath him and think he would have been terrible for the country -- just not as bad as the guy who's turning the presidency into Pat Robertson's annex pulpit.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 28, 2005 11:09 AM

God told Bush to invade Iraq. God told Pat Robertson that the US shouldn't invade Iraq.

One or more of them is hearing voices.

Posted by: Little ted at March 28, 2005 11:17 AM

The Bible isn't a stupid book, Goddyss. It's just being mis-used as a handbook for political action.

Speaking of misguided reverence: The oldest existing copy of the Koran was destroyed as a result of the looting that followed our strike on Baghdad. No such looting happened at the Ministry of Oil, of course, due to heavy security.

Posted by: Lena at March 28, 2005 11:50 AM

> The oldest existing copy of the Koran

Anyone here really worried about this? Me neither.

> was destroyed...

Destroyed or lost? As Hitchens noted, things that seemed like looting were actually precisely coordinated efforts.

> as a result of the looting that
> followed our strike on Baghdad.

Much of which turned out to be imaginary after further investigation. I deeply doubt this is true, and can't get too cranked about it anyway.

> No such looting happened at the
> Ministry of Oil, of course, due
> to heavy security.

Did you *want* the oil ministry looted? These resources (and a few hundred thousand college degrees) are what separate the futures of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes; all parties took care to secure the money. Are you surprised? Disappointed?

Posted by: Cridland at March 28, 2005 12:43 PM

And if its the Koran that makes those freaks think it's OK to stone each other to death, then good fucking riddance.

Posted by: Chris Wilson at March 28, 2005 12:49 PM

Our lives are enriched by the study of historical culture, even if it's not something we want to emulate. The oldest existing copy of the Koran was an important cultural artifact. I'd be just as pissed if James Joyce's snot-stained, hand-written notes for Finnegan's Wake were looted from the British Museum (especially if it were the result of U.S. military action).

Posted by: Lena at March 28, 2005 1:13 PM

It's not the Koran that makes those freaks think it's okay to stone each other to death just like it's not Catholicism that makes the IRA set off bombs.

It's the people who claim higher authority on the basis of the Bible/Koran.

Look for the passage in the Koran that says it's okay to kill yourself for Allah. Hint: it's not there.

Look for the passage in the New Testament that says that Christianity should involve itself in politics. The New Testament in general does everthing it can to disavow and forbid Christian foray into politics. Smart move when your leader was executed for sedition.

Jesus and Muhammed aren't the bad guys.

Falwell and that one-eyed Hamzi Hamza guy from Britain are.

Posted by: Little ted at March 28, 2005 1:27 PM

The whole Easter thing this year drove me slightly crazy. I mean, Target being closed for a religious holiday? It's positively sacrilegious. At least Trader Joe's had the good sense to stay open. But you're right, a message like that from the president is totally inappropriate. If you want a scary survey of the effect of evangelical Christians on America, watch the documentary "The Education of Shelby Knox" and then read the NY Times article this Sunday about mega-churches...draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Pat Saperstein at March 28, 2005 3:44 PM

> Our lives are enriched by the
> study of historical culture...

Less than by representative, secular, Democratic government in the present. In 3/2003 I noted that if every fucking museum in that nation and this one had to be emptied to pay for a free Iraq, that it was a price well paid. Or do you disagree?

Has anybody noticed all the good reports coming out of Mesopotamia lately? Even in the NYT.

Well wuddayaknow.

Posted by: Cridland at March 28, 2005 4:49 PM

Fellow seekers, I intend to be insufferable about this.

Posted by: Cridland at March 28, 2005 4:49 PM

Okay, baby. Give us insufferable.

PS: "Free Iraq" -- that's one word now, "freeirag," with a twang.

Posted by: Lena at March 28, 2005 5:13 PM

"if every fucking museum in that nation and this one had to be emptied to pay for a free Iraq, it was a price well paid."

You've obviously never seen Cezanne's peaches at the Met. Go, immediately!

Posted by: Lena, Art Whore on Acid at March 28, 2005 7:13 PM

Too busy in the FL Wright room downstairs

Posted by: Cridland at March 28, 2005 8:28 PM

Seems a bit silly to me. The President DOES have a personal life, and the president DOES have a right to make an address specifically to those that he identifies with.

If we had a black president who wrote a message specifically to blacks celebrating black history month, and I wrote a post this pissy about it, I would be publicaly hanged. It's the same thing, though: A president giving ancouragement and support to those who share his religious faith. It has nothing to do directly with his politics or even necessarily those of his supporters. Why is this such a heinous thing to do on Easter?

Posted by: Kyle at March 28, 2005 10:00 PM

"The President DOES have a personal life"

But things like weekly radio addresses fall into the category of "professional activity."

"If we had a black president"

I'm usually pretty good at entertaining hypotheticals, but this is a bit of a stretch for me right now.

"It has nothing to do directly with his politics or even necessarily those of his supporters."

Kyle, where have you been for the past 4.5 years? Do the words "White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives" sound familiar?

"Why is this such a heinous thing"

I don't know why this is so mystifying to you. The president needs to be extremely careful about publicly giving "encouragement and support," as you put it, to any single religion. He's not just a guy wishing a Happy Easter to bunch of friends at church, for chrissake.

I don't think the sky is falling because of his Easter message. I just think it's socially and professionally really sloppy and self-indulgent. It's embarrassing, that's all.

Posted by: Lena at March 28, 2005 11:35 PM

> The president needs to be extremely
> careful about publicly giving
> "encouragement and support," as
> you put it, to any single religion.

Why?

Don't see that in the constitution.

Also, CONDI '08

Posted by: Cridland at March 29, 2005 2:31 AM

Hi –



>>>> The president needs to be extremely

>>>> careful about publicly giving

>>>> "encouragement and support," as

>>>> you put it, to any single religion.



>>>Why ?



Quite simply because he represents all Americans, not one particular religion. That most certainly doesn't have to be in the Constitution.



>>>Also, CONDI '08



You obviously can't be serious. (smile)



Here is a person who has been portrayed as a "person with a brain". A PhD. Provost of Stanford. "Expert" on the now-defunct USSR. Rice has been depicted as an "intelligent" person chosen by the "idiot" Dubya.



Already, there were serious doubts, after her deposition art the 911 hearings. (What was it ? Something on the order of "Yes, I read the documents aloud to the President so that … I could understand them better myself" ?)



Recently … during her visit here in France, she spoke at the Institut des Etudes Politiques ("Sciences Po"), one of the top French schools (kinda like, say, Yale or Harvard or Georgetown, in reputation and influence).



During the Q and A session after the speech, she stated that both Greece and Turkey had suffered through "Civil Wars" that took place in 1947.



Turkey ? Civil war in 1947 ? What "civil war" in Turkey in 1947 ? Whatever is she talking about ?! Does she know so little about such a strong US ally as Turkey ? There was no civil war in Turkey in 1947, as the European media gleefully reported. Moreover, making this error at Sciences Po where post-WW2 history is paramount … incroyable.



Coupled with her remark about "totalitarian" states (she meant "authoritarian", the epithet "totalitarian" being generally kept to characterize regimes like the Khmer Rouge and the Nazis) at the US Embassy dinner, she managed, in 24 hours in France, to destroy any vestige of respect that Europeans were willing to reserve for her. Needless to say, she ridiculed herself.



None of us (Americans) particularly cared about that, of course, but her display of arrogant ignorance has shamed the US of A, yet again. That, we do care about.



Condi in '08 ? Pumping super at the local gas station ("Esso", one hopes) , in '08 and a long time afterwards. (smile)



L'Amerloque

Posted by: L'Amerloque at March 29, 2005 5:24 AM

> You obviously can't be serious.

If the prospect sends you down a spiral of flexive, gaze-averted doubt and shame, then it's something that's probably going to happen. If it hurts your feelings in the bargain, then it's something that probably should.

Posted by: Cridland at March 29, 2005 9:15 AM

Nothing makes my pussy quiver more than "gaze-averted doubt and shame," Crid. I love it when you talk like that, even if this particular response to L'Amerloque seems avoidant.

Posted by: Lena-doodle-doo at March 29, 2005 10:12 AM

Hi Lena -



>>even if this particular response

>>to L'Amerloque seems avoidant.



Chère Lena, it seems avoidant because it is avoidant. (wide smile) I'm also not sure why I should be subject to "a spiral of flexive, gaze-averted doubt and shame". Perhaps our Crid is attempting to coin a memorable phrase, à la Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.(wider smile)




L'Amerloque

Posted by: L'Amerloque at March 29, 2005 10:37 AM

Memorable phrase?

The genderless infantilism of the left, though colorless, blossoms ever more broadly...

Posted by: Cridland at March 29, 2005 10:57 AM

Colorless infantilism blossoms best to MUSIC! What's the soundtrack, Crid? I'll have to dig out my tutu!

[Sorry to be so silly, guys. It is a beautiful, clear Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, and I am in love with a beautiful, intelligent, and affectionate man. Life is so good.]

Posted by: Lena at March 29, 2005 11:20 AM

Hi –



"The genderless infantilism of the left,

though colorless,

blossoms ever more broadly."



Quite evocative, although not a traditional Japanese form of haiku or tanka or even the Korean sijo or Vietnames ngam or Chinese gushi or jintishi.



We could try for a renga-like collabortation, though:



"The genderless infantilism of the left, though colorless, blossoms ever more broadly."



I shall respond to your free form (11-4-7) with a classical tanka form (5-7-5-7-7):



Childish rightist barbs,

insultingly offered',

honor the target

while demeaning the giver,

shrouding the latter's value .





L'Amerloque

Posted by: L'Amerloque at March 29, 2005 11:50 AM

If John Kerry was too weak to stand up to terrorists, how is Rice an appropriate presidential candidate when she gets eaten alive by congress?

Posted by: Little ted at March 29, 2005 1:22 PM

When was she eaten alive?

Posted by: Cridland at March 29, 2005 5:19 PM

The thought of Condi being eaten by anyone makes me nauseous.

Posted by: Lena at March 29, 2005 8:38 PM

I, too, was a little freaked out by things being closed on Easter. The whole mall near my house, the massive one with all the fancy stores - closed. Aren't these the same stores that spouted their neutrality regarding religion during the Christmas holidays, after which they promptly had big after-Christmas sales?

When Jesus stops me from buying beer on any Sunday and then keeps me from that oh-so-delicious Nordstrom's latte on Easter Sunday, I remember that, regardless of how it was founded, this is his land, not mine. What's so bad about turning a little cash into wine on a Sunday afternoon?

PS - now imagine Condi and Colin getting jiggy in the Lincoln Bedroom. You're welcome.

Posted by: Chris Wilson at March 29, 2005 11:11 PM

I meant the commission, not congress, sorry.

Posted by: Little ted at March 30, 2005 2:24 AM

Y'allera buncha racists, that's what it is.

Posted by: Cridland at March 30, 2005 7:53 AM

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