February 14, 2005

Testing My Moral Politics

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:20 am

Thanks to the Big Lowitzki for the heads-up to this site: the Moral Politics Test. Here are my results, but I have to say that I think something is missing in their classification scheme. I have no problems with capitalism per se, and plenty of problems with socialism, so I’m not too pleased about being called a borderline socialist.

moral politics test results

(more…)

February 13, 2005

Blogophilia

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:20 pm

A few things I’m reading in the blogs these days:

  • Lefty and Father Jake both address abortion, and both in personal and profound ways. I share their struggle with this issue.
  • Progressive Christian has a post about what sounds like a wonderful play written by a high school student that was blasted by a State delegate for promoting a gay lifestyle.
  • Andy Borowitz at the Borowitz Report has a satirical look at one more effort to keep marriage safe.
  • Carlos and Lefty (again) have posts about a seminar, the first in a series, given by the National Association of Evangelicals at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where they distance themselves from the conservative Christian excesses past and present.
  • Steve at Gutless and Chuck Currie comment on Bush’s immoral budget (I’m sure I’ll be posting on this as well at some point.)

Update: This just in…kitten-eating America-and-Jesus hating liberals exposed!

February 12, 2005

American Idols

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:54 pm

PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly had a segment this week on the US Supreme Court and the Ten Commandments. The high court will be hearing a case on whether the ten commandments can be displayed on government property.

flag-crossWhat struck me during this segment was this photograph, shown as the voice of what I assume was a conservative Christian protesting in favor of the display of the ten commandments was heard, saying “We’re here today to sound the alarm of the dying of a nation.” Does anyone else find this photograph offensive? How should I characterize this conflating of a 200 year-old symbol of a human institution with a 2000 year-old symbol of divine redemption? Let me think…how about idolatrous? The irony is just too much. From Exodus 20: (more…)

February 9, 2005

Part 3 – Social Security Reform

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:50 pm

Social SecurityIn my first post on Social Security, I explained that Social Security is not a retirement savings plan, but a retirement welfare plan. In my second post, I explained why private savings accounts are not better than the current system at guaranteeing a safety net for seniors. In this post, I will debunk another one of Bush’s grand deceptions: that Social Security will be costing the government money in 2018. An example of this fallacy is the following from Fox News (for more, see the write-up from Media Matters):

HUME: …So what is the consequence of the fact that the Treasury owes this money to Social Security, and Social Security will need it starting in 2018 to pay benefits?

ANGLE: Well, it tells you what kind of pressure there will be to fix the system.

HUME: Well, I know. But I mean it does mean that the money will have to be raised by either what? Raising taxes or?

ANGLE: We’re going to have to raise taxes or borrow more money. You’re talking about years. (more…)

February 7, 2005

Voices in Response to the ELCA Sexuality Task Force

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 10:08 pm

While I know you can hardly wait for yet another lengthy post on Social Security reform (don’t worry, it’s coming), here’s an update on another topic. The Lutheran Magazine’s March issue has a special report on the ELCA’s Sexuality Task Force’s recent recommendations. Most of this article is a series of responses to the recommendations from individuals across the spectrum from conservative to progressive. Here are some excerpts (warning: this blog is fair, but not balanced, so no attempt has been made to represent the full breadth of opinion present in the article):

  • Due to my commitment to the gospel, my understanding of Scripture and the voice of my conscience, I grieve that the report suggests that my brothers and sisters in Christ in faithful, same-gender relationships can’t be full partners in the ELCA. In the spirit of recommendation one, I will continue to “concentrate on finding ways to live together faithfully in the midst of our differences.”
    Herbert W. Chilstrom, ELCA presiding bishop, 1988 to 1994; St. Peter, Minn.
    (more…)

February 6, 2005

Part 2 – Social Security Reform

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 6:50 pm

My previous post on this topic argued that Social Security is not a retirement savings plan, but a retirement insurance plan, or even, dare we say, a social welfare plan. A fair question following that post would be: okay, but why can’t we achieve the same goal with a private savings plan? Can’t we let people invest their own money as they wish, and achieve the same result?

There are several problems with this approach to guaranteeing a minimal income to our seniors. First, let’s consider investment risk. Many critics of Social Security point to the trust fund and the fact that it only invests in treasury bonds, which don’t yield as high a return as the stock market or other investments. A problem with this criticism is that the investment return on the Social Security trust fund has no impact whatsoever on your Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits are based on your average annual income, not on investment income in the trust fund. Once again, the Social Security system is not a savings plan, it is designed to tax today’s workers to pay for today’s retiree’s benefits. (more…)

February 5, 2005

Another Bush Deception — Social Security Reform

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:25 pm

Social Security is viewed by much of the US public as a nationalized retirement savings plan where money is taken out of their paycheck and invested on their behalf awaiting the day when they retire . (For international readers — Social Security is the US pensions system.) As a blog sponsored by the Club for Growth says:

As I’ve said countless times, no private market investment product that had the same details as SS would be allowed to be sold. How many people would send their insurance company $10,000 each year for 40+ years, not be able to touch it or have any accounting for how it is being invested, and then, even after starting to receive some payments from the insurance company, when they die, allow everything to go to the insurance company?

If Social Security is just a government-run savings plan, and a bad one at that, why not privatize? (more…)

Blogophilia

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:02 am

What I’m reading in the blogs…

Vaughn Thompson at Ichthus has some posts (this one, and this, and this) on Time’s cover story on the top 25 evangelicals. What struck me about the article was how many of the evangelicals were quoted about poverty and hunger instead of abortion and gay marriage. Also, what is it with Tim LaHaye?

Also at Ichthus, Vaughn picks up his series on the Purpose-Driven Life. I know that several members of my congregation found this book very helpful in their spiritual journey, but Vaughn is approaching it with a more critical eye.

Chuck Currie and FaithForward have posts on a disgusting theological assault on our faith masquerading as righteousness. This is the worst of the worst.

Last Supper by Marithé and GirbaudChris Tessone at Progressive Protestant has a post with an update linking to a parody of DaVinci’s Last Supper. What struck me in this Guardian article is that in its description of the photo, it says “One man, John the Baptist, sits on a woman’s lap, his torso bare and jeans riding low.” So John the Baptist was at the Last Supper? Interesting display of secular ignorance of Christianity. I agree with Chris…the picture is pretty cool.

Finally, a wonderful post from Father Jake, using Jesus’ own words to remind us that dialogue is not always possible.

February 1, 2005

Christine Todd Whitman and the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:06 pm

After consulting with our in-house legal staff here at iamachristiantoo.org, I have decided not to pursue legal recourse for copyright infringement against Christie Todd Whitman, even though she has clearly attempted to confuse the public into thinking that her new book, It’s My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America, is somehow related to this blog. It is a sad day when some unknown author like Ms. Whitman tries to take advantage of the vast popularity of this blog in the hopes that it will keep her book out of the half-off bin at Borders. She even has a me-too web site, MyPartyToo.com. Puhleeeeze.

(If you find yourself scratching your head at the moment, click here.)

Yes, Christie Todd Whitman’s book has a very similar title to that of this blog, and for the same reason: while the far right has taken over my religion, it has also taken over her political party. Here is an excerpt from the transcript of her appearance on Scarborough Country. (more…)

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