Blog Against Theocracy

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There has been a "blogswarm" against Theocracy going on this weekend, a time when Christians are observing Good Friday and celebrating Easter and Jews have been observing and celebrating Passover. Though this was planned a couple of weeks ago, little did we know that the Department of Justice would be imploding and part of the implosion has a lot to do with the threat of theocracy that has been quietly infused into our system of Justice. Charlie Savage, a sainted (in my opinion) reporter for the Boston Globe is on the story. (Charlie is the one who was following the story of the signing statements and the Imperial Vice Presidency. His work has been absent from the Globe for many months. It turns out, he's been working on a book)

Scandal puts spotlight on Christian law school
Grads influential in Justice Dept.

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | April 8, 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The title of the course was Constitutional Law, but the subject was sin. Before any casebooks were opened, a student led his classmates in a 10-minute devotional talk, completed with "amens," about the need to preserve their Christian values.

"Sin is so appealing because it's easy and because it's fun," the law student warned.

Regent University School of Law, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson to provide "Christian leadership to change the world," has worked hard in its two-decade history to upgrade its reputation, fighting past years when a majority of its graduates couldn't pass the bar exam and leading up to recent victories over Ivy League teams in national law student competitions."


snip

"It used to be that high-level DOJ jobs were generally reserved for the best of the legal profession," wrote a contributor to The New Republic website . ". . . That a recent graduate of one of the very worst (and sketchiest) law schools with virtually no relevant experience could ascend to this position is a sure sign that there is something seriously wrong at the DOJ."


snip

In a recent Regent law school newsletter, a 2004 graduate described being interviewed for a job as a trial attorney at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in October 2003. Asked to name the Supreme Court decision from the past 20 years with which he most disagreed, he cited Lawrence v. Texas, the ruling striking down a law against sodomy because it violated gay people's civil rights.

"When one of the interviewers agreed and said that decision in Lawrence was 'maddening,' I knew I correctly answered the question," wrote the Regent graduate . The administration hired him for the Civil Rights Division's housing section -- the only employment offer he received after graduation, he said.


Go read the whole thing. They have upped their standards for admittance and their average for passing the bar. It was reported that over 150 Regent grads are now populating the DOJ, most in career positions. They will be very difficult to ferret out of the system, but it must be done.

Christy has more on the subject as does Josh Marshall.

Now the Constitution of the United States of America itself says little or nothing about religion, for or against. But the First Amendment states the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Though I am a Unitarian Universalist and I warm to the words of Thomas Jefferson's
"best–remembered religious prophecy, that every child born in his enlightened time "would die a Unitarian" I can't imagine any religion being promoted or favored in this country. Even mine. That's not what we are about. We are about pluralism, inclusion, welcoming. At least we used to think we were. Though throughout the history of this country waves of immigrants came to these shores, many of them unwelcome, we still picture ourselves the land of the free and home of the brave. We still use the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of that ideal of hospitality with Emma Lazarus' words

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

There is nothing in those words that have a religious test, a creed, an implication that one faith should or would find favor over another. The actions that this administration have taken are all about power over, authoritarianism, and, of course, money. It. Must. Stop. Now.

We have work to do and cannot rest until we restore the Constitution to what it was intended to be and rid ourselves of the theocrats who are insidiously trying to take over the country. End of sermon for today. Of course, there will be more.

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Baseball


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At the beginning of every April I do a sermon on Baseball. Having been a Cub fan since 1960 or so, it's just what I do. So this year I dusted off one that I've done before and pulled out the reading that goes along with it. Lo and behold it was written by George Will. Blergh. Just about the ONLY thing we have in common is that we are both Cubs fans. But we come at it very differently. So here are a few not so bon mots from George (they are from a book called The Cubs Reader edited by David Fulk and Dan Riley):

"A reader demands to know how I contracted the infectious conservatism for which he plans to horsewhip me. So if you have tears, gentle reader, prepare to shed them now as I reveal how my gloomy temperament received its conservative warp from early and prolonged exposure to the Chicago Cubs.

The differences between conservatives and liberals are as much a matter of temperament as ideas. Liberals are temperamentally inclined to see the world as a harmonious carnival of sweetness and light, where goodwill prevails good intentions are rewarded, the race is to the swift, and a benevolent Nature arranges a favorable balance of pleasure over pain. Conservatives (and Cub fans) know better.

Conservatives know the world is a dark and forbidding place where most new knowledge is false, most improvements are for the worse, the battle is not to the strong, nor riches to men of understanding, and an unscrupulous Providence consigns innocents to suffering. I learned this early."


Where to begin?

I hate to use dictionary definitions, but it is a starting place to refute the pathetic prose that Will pumps out trying to redefine words that some of us care about.
The American Heritage says:

a liberal is a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

A conservative is
a. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change, b. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit. c. Moderate; cautious.


In this context, neither term is deemed negative. Both have redeeming characteristics, but not so with Will.

You know , come to think of it, I think Will defined today's conservatives to a tee. They have made the world in his image. So much so that the President dares not show his face to throw out the first ball on
Opening Day.

George Will reminds me why it is the liberal/progressive path that is true and worthy.
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