January 31, 2005

In the Midst of Affluence, No Place to Sleep

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:23 pm

The sermon at my church yesterday was delivered by Karen Sisson, a seminary student and long-time member of the church. I found her sermon very prophetic, and in particular, her conversation with Marshall.

Marshall is a homeless man, and part of our church community. A few years ago, Marshall began appearing at our coffee hour after Sunday services. After our pastor and a few members of the congregation engaged with him, he began attending services, and his shopping cart became a common sight at our church. Marshall is clearly a troubled man, but I’m afraid I don’t know his story. However, I do know that he is a thoughtful student of the Bible, has a strong belief in God, and strong theological opinions. (more…)

January 30, 2005

Reflections on the Iraqi Election

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:39 pm

As I scan some of my favorite left-of-center political blogs, there seems to be two reactions to the successful election in Iraq. One is denial, by rejecting that this election is either a success, or meaningful. Armondo at Dailykos says “This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures.” The other reaction is complete, or almost complete, silence.

I didn’t (and still don’t) agree with the circumstances under which we went to war. I believe this war clearly falls short of a just war because it was not a last resort. I was an enthusiastic John Kerry supporter. But as difficult as it might be to admit it, and it is difficult, the Bush administration’s ability to make this election happen is a good thing. A very good thing. (more…)

January 29, 2005

What Dobson Really Said About SpongeBob

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:36 am

Many conservatives distorted what Al Gore said in 2000 and what John Kerry said in 2004, so I don’t want to commit the same sin. James Dobson did not say that SpongeBob is gay. He commented on the “We Are Family” video:

The video itself is innocent enough and does not mention anything overtly sexual. Rather, it features the children’s cartoon characters singing and dancing along to the popular disco hit “We Are Family.”

But while the video is harmless on its own, I believe the agenda behind it is sinister. My brief comments at the FRC gathering were intended to express concern not about SpongeBob or Big Bird or any of their other cartoon friends, but about the way in which those childhood symbols are apparently being hijacked to promote an agenda that involves teaching homosexual propaganda to children…

I’m sure you can see, now, why I expressed great concern about the intention of the We Are Family Foundation in using SpongeBob and company to promote the theme of “tolerance and diversity,” which are almost always buzzwords for homosexual advocacy. It seems evident that had this connection not been exposed, the materials accompanying the video would have promoted a pro-homosexual ideology.

What is this pro-homosexual ideology being foisted upon our children? It is a Tolerance Pledge:

Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America’s diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own.

So a pledge to respect, not to condone, endorse or advocate, but to respect all people, including gays, is dangerous? I think the media did Dobson a favor in garbling his intended meaning. What he really meant turns out to be worse than accusing SpongeBob of being gay.

Update: Dailykos has a post about the world’s greatest sportscaster-turned-newscaster-turned blogger, Keith Olbermann. Olbermann’s blog, Boggerman, has some great posts on this story.

Update: Dobson sets the record straight. Sort of. Except for making it sound like the tolerance pledge is all about gays. Or saying that tolerating gays is a bad thing. This just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it?

January 25, 2005

Hanegraaff Claims Contributions Mis-Delivered

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:58 pm

Here is an article from the Left Angeles Times (a childish epithet from Hugh Hewitt that I’ve decided to embrace.) I came by this article thanks to Christianity Today.

It seems that donations to the Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff have been dropping off lately, which Hanegraff blames on mis-delivered, and subsequently destroyed, mail. He says the post office apologized, and has fixed the problem, except that the post office knows nothing of this error. The unintended recipient of the mail denies that any was thrown away, but Hanegraaff has accused him of destroying US mail, a federal offense. Meanwhile, Bill Alnor, a journalism professor at Texas A&M, has accused Hanegraff of mail fraud, since Hanegraaff sent a fund-raising letter to his supporters saying that this problem has caused him to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions. (more…)

Spongebob Admits to Hermaphroditism

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 7:45 pm

sad_spongebobBikini Bottom — In an emotional press conference today, Mr. Spongebob Squarepants divulged for the first time that he is, in fact, a hermaphrodite. “I wanted to keep my sexuality private, but given all the accusations lately that I’m homosexual, I just had to come clean” he stated in a tearful statement. “I’m a sponge, and sponges are hermaphrodites. I didn’t choose to be both male and female, that’s just the way God made me” the cartoon character said. Mr. Squarepants asserted that he is a member of the Phylum Porifera that is able to reproduce both sexually and asexually. When reproducing sexually, each individual produces both sperm and eggs, although at different times.

When contacted for his reaction, James Dobson stated that “hermaphroditism is a choice. Squarepants has chosen to be a hermaphrodite, and is trying to seduce our children into the hermaphroditic lifestyle.” Dr. Dobson has begun lobbying President Bush for an amendment to the Constitution requiring asexual reproduction for all poriferans. He has also started a program to cure sea sponges and other invertebrates of hermaphroditism.

During the press conference, a reporter asked Patrick, a member of the Phylum Echinodermata and a constant companion of Mr. Squarepants, whether he too was a hermaphrodite. “No way” he said, insisting that he was exclusively male, but in fact preferred asexual reproduction. “Want to see me chop an arm off and watch it re-grow?” he asked.

January 22, 2005

Terry Gross Interviews Jim Wallis

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:12 pm

As I’ve mentioned, Jim Wallis has been getting more visible lately. This is part of his promotional tour for his new book, God’s Politics — for more on his book, see my previous post as well as this post from Chuck Currie.

But it seems that the man, the message, and the moment have all come together, so that he is saying what many of us are feeling, and what many others need to hear. So it was that Terry Gross’ interview of Jim Wallis directly followed her interview of Richard Land, and provided the context for it. (more…)

Terry Gross Interviews Richard Land

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:27 am

Terry Gross interviewed Richard Land and Jim Wallis on Thursday’s show. I will post shortly on the Wallis interview, but first, some obsrvations on the interview with Richard Land. He has been called the “Un-Falwell“, and he certainly does put a much better face on the Christian right than Falwell or Robertson. However, Terry Gross caught him contradicting himself on moral priorities. When she asked him about moral values, Land spoke about abortion and gay marriage. Terry later mentioned Wallis’ argument that peace and poverty are moral values and asked Land why conservative Christians focus so much on abortion and gay marriage instead of peace and poverty. He replied that it’s because that’s all the media ever asks them about. But given the earlier opportunity to talk about any moral issues he chose, he talked about abortion and gay marriage! Terry caught him on this, and I think it demonstrates nicely his focus on these two issues while ignoring much more pressing moral issues in the world. (more…)

January 20, 2005

Democrats, Christian Independents Reach Compromise

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:03 pm

Just when I thought we Christian Independents wouldn’t make any progress on our political agenda in Congress this year, it looks like we’ve struck a deal with the Democrats. Glad to see our movement is growing. Now we need to focus on ramping up for Lefty‘s presidential campaign!

Remember back when this movement started, back after W. barely won a second term and claimed a mandate? It seems like only yesterday…

Links from Rev. Edgar, NCC

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:38 pm

The following is an email from Elizabeth Sholes of the California Council of Churches to their mailing list:

Dear Friends:

Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary for the National Council of Churches, was interviewed last week by Al Franken on “Air America”. He covered a wide range of topics concerning the role we in the progressive faith community can play with respect to national and international public policies. At our request, he has provided us with three links for NCC, World Church Service – doing outstanding work in the wake of the tsunami, and “Faithful America” which is our version of ‘MoveOn.org.” You may respond to national-level issues through the latter in much the same way MoveOn does; membership is free, and you may enroll directly on line. NCC and World Church Service also provide opportunities for your input.

The three links are:
www.ncccusa.org and www.faithfulamerica.org and www.churchworldservice.org .

We hope these will help you in your efforts to communicate your concerns to national and world leaders.

Thank you.

Unfortunately, the audio does not appear to be available at Air America, but here is their blog post about that day’s show. Also, the California Council of Churches can be found here.

Jim Wallis Gets More Visible

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:50 pm

Dale Lature at Movable Theoblogical has posted regarding a NY Times article on the Democrats’ “new attention on a religious and political anomaly: Jim Wallis, one of the few prominent left-leaning leaders among evangelical Protestants.”

I have favorably commented on Wallis’ latest book, and I’m glad to see Richard Land, a conservative evangelical, validate my opinion. He said that Wallis was “ill-qualified to instruct Democrats on conservative Christian values.” I can’t think of a more flattering endorsement.

The article also says that NBC hired Wallis to opine opposite James Dobson during their coverage of the inauguration. I’m sorry I missed it, but I just couldn’t bear to watch.

Update: I’m rarely ahead of the msm news cycle, but Wallis is scheduled to be interviewed by Al Franken on Air America on Friday’s show as part of Wallis’ book tour.

Update: Chris Currie has a link to a video of Wallis’ appearance on the Daily Show.

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