You’ll Know Us by Our Earbuds
A California start-up called BiblePlayer offers free downloads of three different text versions of the Bible that can be stored and read on the screen of an iPod.
An Educational Opportunity
The American Life League has issued a press release calling for the ousting and ostracism of Pamela Hayes, an openly pro-choice Catholic recently appointed to the U.S. Bishops’ National Review Board. The bishops, said the ALL, have a “moral responsibility” to cease all contact with Hayes until she recants her position, and more generally, they need to “‘clean house at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C.’” Should the people who were surprised that “moral issues” decided this election happen to find their way to this post, here’s an ideal educational opportunity. Try not to think of this as in-fighting disconnected from the larger religious and political debate. Here are some starter questions that might help: Can you think of another public Catholic recently vilified for supporting abortion rights? Are there other “moral issues” besides abortion and gay marriage, and, if so, are they equally important? Why or why not? Is it different in the Catholic Church? What should pro-choice Catholics like Hayes, or pro-gay rights denominations like the Episcopalians, do when their Church or Communion says they have the option to love their religious institutions the way that they are, or leave them? Do progressives of any or no other faith have their own moral obligation to stand in solidarity with the believers who are, and have been, fighting from within to expand the notion of what “moral issues” mean? Or can they go back to ignoring religion and express shock at the limited definition of morality, after there’s no opposition left? (This is a timed exam.)
A University of Georgia lawyer has asked a federal court to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit of Marilou Braswell, the former UGA cheerleading coach who claimed religious persecution after being fired. But according to the school, Braswell wasn’t fired for sharing her Christian beliefs with her cheering squad, but for retaliating against the Jewish student, Jaclyn Steele, who had complained to the school that Braswell pressuring her to attend Bible meetings in her home, and made her feel uncomfortable for being the sole non-Christian cheerleader. According to a UGA lawyer, Braswell reacted to Steele’s complaint by reading a response to Steele’s private complaint aloud to the entire cheering squad.
A Pre-11/2 Frame of Mind
Joyce: Can it be that Democrats really lack this much capacity for introspection and processing tough truths that this is still the game plan: learn to stand up in a crowd and talk about your faith “in a convincing way,” a la Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln? Perhaps Lincoln missed the last five years of Democrat’s frantic catch-up game to match their God-talk with Republicans’ — alienating their own and fooling no one on the other side — or maybe he’s proposing an adult education course: How to Talk About God Like Bush. The game plan is as appropriate as Bush’s press-conference line — “‘I don’t think you ought to read anything into the politics … about whether or not this nation will become a divided nation over religion.’” — is believable. (This, just minutes before telling two reporters that the American people have spoken, and with a mandate like that, Bush wasn’t about to answer no two-part questions.) I can’t decide if the proper metaphor here is “Fool me once…Fool me twice,” or Dorothy nodding off in the poppy field. So I’ll give them both. Shame on you, and go back to sleep, because while we’re figuring this out, you’re just dangerous dead weight.
Pound of Flesh
Why’s denial dangerous? Well, here for a start: a right-wing Supreme Court, a reversal of Roe v. Wade and a federal gay marriage ban. If that sounds like lefty hysteria, don’t take it from me. Take it from them: “‘We’re seeing from the exit polls that conservative Christian voters turned out in record numbers … so we certainly will be pressing for action on key items of our agenda, and we will not be shy about claiming that our influence was significant in the outcome of the election.’”