Category: tin jesus

Question for the Oklahoman re ‘What About Islam?’

December 29, 2010

This is an ad that was on page 5A of today’s paper. I wonder how much The Oklahoman charged and profited to print this piece of garbage. Yeah, I wonder that, but that’s not my question to them.

My real question is, if some similar nutcase bigot who happened to have an ad to run that was equally anti-Christian or anti-Semitic, would OPUBCO print it like they did this? Would they print it for the same price they got for this one (a full page ad is far from cheap, but maybe this “religious” group got the non-profit rate, and likely they did not pay any tax fee for the privilege of stoking hatred that will lead this state to spend a lot of money in a fruitless effort to stem the tide of diversity in this country)? Or would they add an editorial comment to the bottom like they do on letters to the editor with which they disagree? Okay, that’s three questions, and I’m barely revved up.

Note: I cobbled this image together from screen shots, so any visual irregularities are most likely mine. Click to get a larger image (you may then need to click yet again to get the full size version — it’s large and may take a while to download into your browser page.).

Rena’s got 3 things to watch on TV this week

October 25, 2010

  1. Rachel Maddow’s documentary The Assassination of Dr. Tiller, who performed abortions in Kansas (mostly) for women who were were late in their pregnancy when they discovered severe abnormalities with the fetus. Airs tonight, 8pm Central time, in the slot usually occupied by Rachel’s excellent news and commentary program. Preview available at the link above; program will be available shortly after broadcast (I presume) somewhere on the MSNBC site and through iTunes, which is how I get The Rachel Maddow Show every night.
  2. First Life With David Attenborough – the kind of show that I almost get cable for, and certainly buy the DVD (as soon as it goes on sale).

    David Attenborough is synonymous with the Natural World. From bacterium to blue whale, he has seen it all for himself. But now he embarks on the journey he always wanted to make but never thought possible — a voyage back in time to see how the first animals evolved and how they lived. Recent discoveries at fossil sites around the world over the last twenty years have propelled our understanding of the first life forms to new heights and with the emergence of ground breaking ways of visualizing them, including state of the art CGI, Attenborough will finally realize his dream and see for himself the animals that laid the foundations for all life on Earth.

    Again, preview available online at the link.

  3. That was fast! PBS’s NOVA series is presenting Emergency Mine Rescue about the recent, um, emergency mine rescue in Chile. Specially produced for those of us who like careful, time-tested analysis of thrilling life and death events. Or not. Seriously, if this didn’t have the NOVA brand on it, I would be quite skeptical, but this will detail the long process (the the Oklahoman said was purely the result of unrestricted capitalism) that proceeded the dramatic scenes we stayed up all night watching last week. Premieres Tuesday, the 26th, but check schedule for other showing. Preview at link, and NOVA’s past programs get hosted at the PBS site once they are off the air.

Getting religion

June 26, 2010

I went to a Catholic High School, not because I had gone to Catholic grammar school (I didn’t) and not because I or my family was particularly religious (we weren’t), but because after attending public school the first year back in the continental U.S., I was afraid I wouldn’t live through another year of it, much less three more, so I begged to transfer to the school where there was a little more behavioral control in evidence (for context, this was the late 60s).

There were some good moments (studying Ayn Rand, Niemoller, Saint-Exupéry, et. al. with a very charismatic priest is a highlight, as was hearing the coolest brothers and sisters telling about their Summers spent on the nearby Catholic Worker Farm), there was some psychological torture (studying Latin with the most dull-witted and mind-numbing person in the hemisphere).

But by far the best was a religion class in 11th grade. What was cool about it was that we didn’t talk about religion, at least I don’t remember doing so, though surely we must have. What I remember was an engaging, vibrant, passionate sister who clearly loved life, teaching, people and who respected her students and wanted to enrich their minds and hear their ideas.

There were two classes that really stick out for me. In one, the nun wrote the lyrics for the Leonard Cohen song ‘Suzanne’ on the blackboard. We listened to the song, examined and talked about the words, listened again, explored meanings and possible motivations and outcomes. It was one of the most stunning classroom experiences I have ever had. I would say it was the most stunning, except for another, also with the same nun.

She had at the front of the room several pictures depicting Jesus Christ. I don’t remember all of them exactly, but basically, for the purposes of this story, and being descriptively accurate, you could say one was The Pieta, one was a manger scene, one was a closeup of a face with a crown of thorns, one was floating beautifully passionless on a post-ascension cloud and one was Christ of the Breadlines.

Christ of the Breadlines

She asked us which image best represented our idea of Jesus. Most of my classmates had gone to Catholic School and lived in the little township in upstate New York their whole lives. Maybe that accounts for their responses, which were mostly split between the torture victim and the cloud-rider. Anyway, I was the only one who raised my hand for Christ of the Breadlines. The only one, and I was somewhat embarrassed by that, in the uncomfortable way you feel if you are singled out for undue praise. I thought I was making the obvious choice.

That moment really made me aware that I was different from the other students in ways I hadn’t realized before (and I was already plenty different). I was shocked by the choices made by my fellow students and kept trying to understand. Did their responses really reflect their thinking, or was something else at work? Sometimes I’d thing they were just playing mind games with the nun. Maybe they were refusing to give the answer she wanted because, well, they’d been mindfucked themselves by many a nun and wanted to make a point about their earlier Catholic education. Or maybe I was the only one naive enough to be mindfucked into giving Sister the answer she wanted (and yes, I think it’s a given what answer she was hoping for; see ‘Suzanne’ above).

I finally realized that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And that’s when I “got” religion and stopped being a Christian. I realize that it’s possible that someone else, under the same circumstances, would make the opposite choice — in an alternate universe, maybe I’m the Pope. It took me many more years to come to realize I was or had at some point become an atheist, and to come to terms with that. But religion still fascinates me, like a lifelong research project, in the drastic/dramatic way it shapes people, and controls them, blinds them, and even sometimes enlightens and elevates them, and I still think if you read the New Testament, even the Cliff Notes version, and don’t come away seeing the Jesus depicted there (man, god, or literary character) as Christ of the Breadlines, there is something seriously wrong with your comprehension (it probably having been warped even more drastically by the many evils of dogma so that even religion isn’t “religious” anymore).

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that shes half crazy
But that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you’ve always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you’ll trust him
For he’s touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes you hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From salvation army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.

Tea Party active in OK legislature, where are the business leaders to stop this nonsense?

April 13, 2010

Representatives Randy Brogdon and Charles Key are giving Sally Kern a run for the money to make Oklahoma radioactive for business development. Why? Because they might have to let law enforcement count attacks motivated by homophobia in Oklahoma. The conspiracy theory (there always is one with the Right, isn’t there, the poor little victimized bullies) is that under this law, anti-gay preachers won’t be able to warp the life of Jesus into a Citizens United documentary starring Fred Phelps as the son of god.

Did I say money? Where are the money interests, i.e. business leaders, to stomp out this insurrection insanity? They and few others have the resources and standing to deal with this appropriately. And I include The Oklahoman in that group. Hello! You shun and snark the Left out of existence in this state, time to do the same for these secessionist racist gun nuts.

I sent the message below to the state chamber, I’m so sick of this shit. I could not care less about the chamber’s elitist goals, but I do care about the suffering that the poor and disenfranchised will have to endure as Oklahoma scoots to last place in education, income, health, opportunity and every scale of reasonable human existence.

I’m sure this state militia story is doing GREAT things for efforts to recruit businesses here to create jobs and build the economy, like all the other back-asswards thinking coming out of the Capitol from these culture war neanderthals and outright racists.

I wish the Chamber of Commerce would come out and publicly and unequivocally condemn this kind of thing so we can begin to improve our profile and get out of 49th place on every life quality list made. Perhaps you could at least have a discrete conversation with some of these wingnuts (for sure don’t leave Kern out) and let them know that the business community will make sure they have well-funded primary opponents come the next election.

Or maybe the organization agrees with Reps. Brogdon and Key — if so please let us know, so all the sane people in OK can leave the state before the next civil war erupts at Ft. Sill.

Saint Romero of the Americas*

March 24, 2010

Oscar Romero

“If they kill me, I will be resurrected in the Salvadoran people”

Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated as he celebrated mass in San Salvador on March 24, 1980, 30 years ago today. He was killed because he empowered the poor instead of just promising them a glorious afterlife.

Though his murder was never properly investigated and prosecuted, it’s widely believed that the man who killed him was a leader of the Salvadoran death squads who was taught his deadly skills by the U.S. Army at the School of the Americas, which was renamed “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” when the SOA’s reputation got too ugly to fix with the standard lies and spin. Presto, a new name and the Army feels all fresh and new. But the training in suppression of popular democratic movements goes on (yes, even under Obama), courtesy of our tax dollars. Every year near Thanksgiving, SOA Watch holds a national action outside Ft. Benning, where the SOA/WHINSEC operates.

*Oscar Romero has not been canonized by the Catholic Church, and probably never will be. They don’t like his kind, and would not be interested in making him a positive example for their clergy or congregants.

Miss Manners takes on Bill O’Reilly

December 23, 2009

Yes, it’s war all right, but on civility and multiculturalism, not Christmas.

Dear Miss Manners:

I work as a cashier during the Christmas season, and I often wish my customers “Happy holidays.” Sometimes customers get all offended and reply with something like “I choose to celebrate Christmas,” or they go into this long angry rant about the use of the word Christmas.

Am I wrong? “Happy holidays” is more of a habit for me than “Merry Christmas.” I mean it as a gesture of goodwill, and am rather hurt to be yelled at for my choice of words.

But they mean it as a gesture of — well, of what? The spirit of Christmas? Their interpretation of the proper Christian attitude toward those who wish them well?

Miss Manners realizes that those who deal with the public will encounter some nastiness, which professionalism requires them to ignore. But please do not allow the misuse of religion to browbeat others to make you doubt yourself. “Happy holidays” is the general greeting because, as you know, not all your customers are Christian, but they all do get legal holidays for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The New Lord’s Prayer for Republicans

August 8, 2009

[Update: well, you can tell I’m not religious. It’s the 23rd Psalm, not the Lord’s Prayer, which is being rewritten here. I won’t change the title because it will screw up the URL. If it matters to you, me being so stupid, you’ll just have to forgive me, because that’s what Jesus would do. ;-)]

From Fri Prevett via Facebook:

A HuffPo Commenter Named “JohnfromCensornati” posted this as a comment to an article I shared on my wall today written by Frank Schaeffer. It’s all kinds of awesome:

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall be a sheep.
He maketh me to shoot doctors for Life.
He leadeth me to talk about tea-bagging.
I sold him my soul.
He leadeth me down the Appalachian Trail for my soulmate’s sake.
Yea, though I face the healthcare reform bill of death, I will hear no facts for talk radio is with me.
The birthers and their lies, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a room for me in the cult house on C Street.
Thou filleth my head with paranoia.
My faux rage runneth over.
Surely self righteousness and homophobia shall follow me all the days of my life and I will wallow in the idiocy of the Hocus Pocus forever.

Teaching by example in unintended ways

March 20, 2009

Later today, I plan to head down to Grandfield Oklahoma, just this side of the Texas border, to join some students in a counter demo against the Phelps/Westboro Baptist/Gods Hates Fags nutjobs from Kansas.

A week ago I had never even heard of Grandfield, Oklahoma, and maybe you hadn’t either, but some bad (in my opinion) decisions by school officials have brought more than a little attention to the small town south of Lawton.

The short version: A teacher was using The Laramie Project, a play about the murder of Matthew Shepherd for the “crime” of being gay, in her Ethics and Street Law class (how cool to have such a class!). A few parents decided to complain, the teacher was told to stop using the play, but because the students were upset about that, she wanted to help them deal with the issue and did a kind of funeral for the production. The school superintendent, who is apparently a huge authoritarian (to put it kindly), decided the teacher was being insubordinate and eventually got her to resign.

The Phelps connection comes from their mission to protest whenever this play is mentioned.

Here are some links to state and national news stories.

USA Today
And, of course, The Oklahoman finally did get around to it on Thursday, long after the Internet was buzzing with the story, and national publications had picked it up.

I missed joining another counter demo during the recent appearance of the Phelps in Oklahoma City (after gay pastor Scott Jones led a prayer in the state legislature), so I really appreciate them coming back down to our state. I’m really beginning to think that in a way they are doing those who believe in tolerance, love and equality a real service by showing the full extreme of what anti-gay bigotry is all about. I hope those who cloak their fear and bigotry behind more “respectable” veneer really take a look at their side of the fence and see if that’s really where they want to be.

I think Sean Penn addressed those people best when accepting the Oscar for his performance as Harvey Milk, another murdered gay man:

… sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support.

Thanks to James Branum at for organizing statewide participation in the student led demo in Grandfield. I feel privileged to be able to support the courageous young people who are showing compassion and solidarity — the real “Christian” values — in the very difficult circumstances present at this time for the open-minded in Grandfield.