Against Spirituality
Revealer editor Jeff Sharlet on the CBC (Canadian public radio) program “Tapestry,” Sunday, December 5, at 2:05 p.m. ET, AT, CT, 2:35 NT, 3:05 PT, and 4:05 MT on CBC Radio One. Mary Hynes lets Sharlet and Killing the Buddha co-author Peter Manseau explain why they don’t like the term “spirituality.” Check here on Sunday to listen online.
Who You Callin’ Crazy?
A college classmate of the Feminarian’s fell out in the spirit. Feminarian did not. Pastor decided Feminarian had problems. If this makes no sense to you — if it reads as if we’re writing in tongues — go here for a better story.
FBI v. Quakers
Reuters reports an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in regard to what it says is FBI surveillance of peaceful protest and religious groups. The real story here, however, will be in the response to the request. John Ashcroft’s overlooked legacy is a government that responds to FOIA requests based on the directive of Ashcroft to consider everything confidential and unless explicitly identified otherwise. Will that change under Alberto Gonzales? If so, will we finally learn the true evil doings of those nefarious Quakers? (For more, go to the source — the Reuter’s report disappeared right after we read it).
Lesbian Methodist Convicted
Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud, a lesbian minister in the United Methodist Church, has beenconvicted by a clerical jury of violating church law for living in an openly homosexual relationship, marking the first time the Methodist church had convicted a gay cleric since 1987. Stroud’s defense was cut off by the decision of the presiding clerical judge to exclude testimony from witnesses challenging the church’s ban as a violation of its own legal principles.
Let’s Pretend They Don’t Exist
Birmingham News: “An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries.” Interesting. Why limit ourselves to fiction? We could burn all books featuring gay characters. First up: the Bible… (HT: Oliver Willis, via Shawn Landres. Oliver includes a link to the lawmaker’s page, which features his home phone # — just in case you know about any gay books that need banning.)
Tinker, Tailor, Baker, Spy
The Lizard King returns: We mean that as no disrespect in regard to James A. Baker III, one of the cleverest Washington hands alive, who turns his unblinking gaze today on Bush’s Middle East policy. Just what’s really going on with this NYT op-ed is hard to say; read it with gnostic eyes for layers of meaning about what’s happening in Washington and what’s going to happen in Israel.
War Stories may sounds like some kind of anarchist indy media scheme. And it is — a Christian conservative, anarchist, indy media scheme by Gospel Communications to provide free programming for the military. Our picks: Heart of the Race, a 1980 “documentary” of dayglo psychedelia designed to help Christians fight boredom; Return to Vietnam, in which secret arms dealer Oliver North helps “bring personal closure to the suffering that befell allwho were a part of the country’s longest and most controversial war”; and Compassionate Capitalism, in which Rich DeVos, founder of the marketing cult Amway, tells us about the true heart of Christianity — with the help of Helen Keller, Paul Collins (“internationally known black portrait artist”), and Shaq!
CBS, NBC, Stand in the Church Door
Too hot for TV, but buzzworthy news: CNN reports on NBC’s and CBS’s refusal to broadcast a liberal church ad that suggests Christ welcomes everyone. Reason? “It was against our policy of accepting advocacy advertising,” said CBS. That sounds like Swift Boat math: 2+2 = 5.
Christian Buttons

Pro-life groups are offended by a line of Planned Parenthood holiday cards which celebrate “‘Choice on Earth,'” which Jim Sedlak, executive directive of Stop Planned Parenthood International, characterizes as “‘bigoted, anti-religion [and] anti-God,'” and intentionally pushing Christian buttons. Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt addressed the issue when it came up two years ago (the greeting cards have existed for over a decade), saying supporters were “so energized by the vicious criticism of our holiday cards” that additional cards were printed, as well as limited-edition “Choice on Earth” T-shirts.