October 1, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 11.10.12

Greetings, fellow iMonks. I’m your Synonymous Rambler, filling in for Jeff Dunn today. We thought Jeff could use the day off, so we sent him out for some chocolate milk. While he’s gone, I will do my best to entertain and enlighten you. And yes, I know I am called the “Synonymous Rambler” when it should be the “Anonymous Rambler,” but Jeff gave me this pseudonym after some character on a radio show he used to listen to in Cincinnati, so we’ll just go with it. And without any further ado, shall we ramble?

In case you missed it, there was an election this week. And the winner was … Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Welby is currently the Bishop of Durham. And while he pledged to seek reconciliation in the gender wars, that may not be his first order of business. Seems there is a developing chocolate war that needs to be dealt with first.

Here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., we had an election this week as well. And the winner was … cannabis. Colorado and Washington State both passed laws legalized the possession of pot. Gives a whole new meaning to Rocky Mountain High. It is the official position of this writer—and, I believe, most all of the iMonk writers—that this is a very bad thing. It certainly is not a virtue.

And because everyone needs a cause, here are some things evangelical conservatives can focus on until the next presidential election.

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist in Dallas, says that Barack Obama’s reelection will pave the way for the reign of the antichrist. As Jeff says, I can’t make this up.

Stephen Prothero dares to touch the evangelicals’ third rail—abortion—and lives to tell about it. Is he right that the Bible is speaks to more pressing concerns than abortion? And do you agree that Jesus has been used as a pawn by both parties?

Billy Graham encourages unity around the Gospel in his latest fundraising letter.

As Jeff would say, an eagle-eyed iMonk passed on this story of a parishioner in Los Angeles who was killed trying to stop a woman from spraying graffiti on the outside of his church. I find this line very telling: “For God’s sake, if people going to church aren’t protected, then who is?” For God’s sake, indeed.

The third annual San Diego Christian Film Festival is underway this weekend in, well, San Diego. My question for you is this: Do we really need “Christian” movies? And if so, are those like Fireproof good enough?

As you are planning your next amusement park vacation trip—Disneyworld? Universal Studios? Knott’s Berry Farm?—don’t overlook this gem in South Korea. Do you know what a comodian is? A sit-down comedian.

Jeff wanted me to be sure to include some birthday greetings, so here goes. Happy birthday to Charles Bronson; Ken Berry; Will Rogers (patron saint of Oklahoma); Walter Cronkite; Art Carney; Roy Rogers; Art Garfunkel; Sally Field; Billy Graham; Bram Stoker; Rickie Lee Jones; and Susan Tedeschi.

Susan Tedeschi. What more needs to be said? Enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOE0QmC49IE&feature=related']

Comments

  1. As they said on the radio this morning, Colorado is the “bud” of a lot of jokes right now.

  2. Prothero should become a little more familiar with the Church fathers and the early church before he dismisses the church’s concern over abortion as a recent political development.

    • I love the post on infant Baptism on your site, Patrick.

      Thank you.

    • Very true. It’s mentioned specifically in the Didache.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        So is how to recognize a fraudulent preacher. Somebody told me between a quarter and a third of the Didache is about how to spot a God-talking con man.

    • Even though I lean far to the libertarian side, I’d vote for a pro-life communist before I’d vote for somebody who would accommodate abortion.

      The pro-choice movement is wrong, regardless of your religion. Why would anybody, religious or not, want to promote a society in which it is legal to pay a doctor to butcher your baby? If you want to avoid the natural consequences of sex, birth control is cheap and easily available, and many, many couples would pay all of your expenses and adopt your baby. But that’s not good enough. It’s about culture’s desire to avoid any kind of consequence or bad feeling of irresponsible sex. That desire is strong enough to justify infanticide, a desire which Christianity can never accommodate.

  3. Thanks for the comic relief in the toilet museum story. And since I live in S. Korea I might actually get to visit some time.

  4. Marcus Johnson says:

    Trust me, I have no intention of rolling out to Denver to get my smoke on, but as Christ-followers, are we required to ensure that everything that is immoral is also illegal? If state law punished every action that did not reflect our understanding of what sin is, wouldn’t we also have to lock up liars and pornographers and the people who grab and eat single grapes from the produce aisle? I’m all for living a drug-free life, but we have dumped billions of dollars into the drug war, and for what? Maybe the use of recreational marijuana is not a virtue, but deciding to find a more fiscally responsible way to deal with drugs in this country is inherently virtuous, even if that means that we decriminalize non-lethal, non-addictive drugs and focus more on rehabilitation, intervention strategies, and education.

    • > even if that means that we decriminalize non-lethal, non-addictive drugs

      Which is a list that does *not* include Cannabis; an very addictive drug whose use results in persistent cognitive deficit. Anyone saying cannabis is a safe recreation drug is ignoring the scientific data.

      > and focus more on rehabilitation, intervention strategies, and education.

      Yes, we should do that.

      • Very addictive? Can you actually back that up with any real “scientific data.” I’m no pot head myself, but based on what I hear, the drug is not “very addictive.” First off, there is not a single study showing the “very addictive” nature of the drug. But secondly, I am pretty sure nicotine is way more addictive than pot is, and nicotine is legal.

        Marijuana isn’t like crystal meth or heroin. Let’s not clump all these drugs up into one category. Drugs aren’t black and white, as much as our drug policy would have us believe.

        • I have heard claims that sugar as an addiction is as difficult to kick as heroin, and I tend to believe it.
          Compare alcohol and pot…I have never heard of a person smoking a joint and beating a spouse. It grows from the ground and is used in it’s natural form. I don’t see the problem. Legalize it and get the criminals out of the pot business. Focus law efforts on cocaine, meth, heroin…the stuff that is ruining lives.

    • +1

    • +1

      It’s a very bad thing in the same way the end of prohibition was, which is to say negligibly to nil.

  5. I don’t particularly want to fight the Reformation Wars all over again, but that Christian Film Festival has one entry that made my eyes pop – “The Forgotten Martyr: Lady Jane Grey”.

    I’ll just quote from the blurb:

    “(A)s we are transported back in time to find Jane (Jerica Henline) on the eve of her execution, rejected by her people, dethroned, and locked in a tower because of her refusal to acquiesce to the faith of her cousin, Mary Tudor…the true story of this long forgotten martyr whose life has been shrewdly subjected to romanticism and falsehood by the propaganda of Hollywood screenwriters and liberal historical authors”.

    Hands up all of you who even know who Jane Grey was? She was the very short-reigning queen between the death of Henry VIII’s son, Edward, and the succession of his eldest daughter, Mary, to the throne. She was a pawn of the ambitions of her family (they literally beat her into getting married to their choice of alliance and then to accepting the throne) and her fate was sealed when there was a rebellion against the proposed marriage of Mary with Philip of Spain, which Jane’s father joined. Since Jane was the figurehead for the rebels, that pretty much meant she would be executed (the same way Elizabeth I had Mary Queen of Scots executed).

    If anything, “romanticism and falsehood by…propaganda” has been on the side of the romantic notion of ‘death for the true Protestant faith’. Poor young Jane has been a blank slate for every era to project its imaginings upon; perfect pious Protestant woman, tragic romantic heroine, champion of the True Gospel against Popery, proto-feminist and fighter for political reform – you name it, there’s been a movie about it!

  6. My opposition to liberal abortion rights is not the result of Scriptural proof texts. My belief in the sanctity of human life comes from: my understanding of who God is (which is shaped by my Scripture defined understanding of who Jesus is, which shapes worship, which shapes prayer, which shapes behavior) and what my proper relationship to humanity should be as a result of a proper understanding and relationship to him; and my understanding of what it means to be human, specifically in this context as it relates to the human fetus. My affirmation of the value of human life is a religious one; my affirmation that a fetus is human is a factual one, based on the science as I understand it (and please don’t tell me that I need to be a scientist to understand the science: all I need is a little basic logic, something which scientists often do not possess). In addition, my understanding that at the beginning of life the soul and body are created as a single living entity, and that the soul is not infused into the fetus at a later time is the result of the fact that I am a Christian rather than a gnostic, and as a result believe the the human person is a single body/soul complex, not a ghost in a machine. Although in earlier epochs good Christian theologians sometimes believed that the soul was infused at some time after the fetus was conceived, current scientific understanding of the uniqueness of each persons genetics, a uniqueness which comes into existence at the moment of conception, as science indicates, supports the interpretation of abortion as the termination of a fully human life. Science has helped close the gap between the understanding of how the body and soul are a single reality, which provides a more Scriptural understanding of what it means to be human rather than one originating in Greek philosophical concepts. We are human beings even at the earliest stage of our existence; and we are human beings, not human doings.

    • What about fertilized embryos that are never implanted? Are they human beings? All the genetic information is there, as you say, but yet somewhere between 30-50% of all embryos ever created are destroyed naturally. This is why I am still not comfortable saying unequivocally that life begins at conception. Sure, it’s life, but I’m not sure that I’d equate a just fertilized embryo with a human being. If they are human beings that never had a chance to be born, it raises all sorts of other existential questions regarding their fate.

      Also, regarding ensoulment, it’s not simply a Greek idea. Even in Genesis, God is described as breathing life into him after he had formed him. There’s all sort of commentary in the Talmud regarding when it occurs.

      My point is that I don’t believe the argument that life begins at conception is ultimately going to be convincing enough to enough people to make all abortion illegal in the US. I think Christian need to start thinking more holistically about the abortion debate. If reducing abortions is our goal, what’s the best way to do that?

      • Phil M.
        Every human being ever conceived dies, and most of us are “destroyed naturally” (Around 95 %? Just a guess.): that fact does not mean that it is ethically right to intentionally end the life of any human being. The existential questions that the natural death of an embryo raises are not greater than the ones raised by the death by natural causes of any human being, and they do not clarify the moral issue in favor of the practice of abortion. The fertilized embryos are unborn human beings, which is evident from their unique genetic “thumbprint.” It is that “thumbprint” which is determinative of a beings humanity, and not the fact of birth, which you privilege in a way that is unwarranted by the facts. Humanity exist prior to birth, and at the moment of conception.
        At the risk of drawing fire from any inerrantist brothers or sisters who may read this blog, I do not read Genesis as history, so I don’t draw my moral position on abortion from that source. The doctrine of the resurrection of the body (Jesus’ body and our own bodies) clearly implies and shows that we are a soul/body unity, not a spirit in search of a temporary abode. It is Christ’s resurrection which carries in its wake the hope for our ruined and fallen existence, and our bodies and spirits will both find their renewal and redemption in that wake, whether we are fetuses or born. Those aborted fetuses will be our brothers and sisters in the New Creation at the resurrection of the dead.
        And if you think we born ones are much different in God’s estimation than unborn fetuses, I can only say I think you are sorely mistaken.
        You may think the argument in favor of the position that life begins at conception is unconvincing for many people, but is the argument true, apart from its reception? Doesn’t truth signify?
        I think you’re correct: abortion will continue as a legal practice (with some local and specific exceptions) in this country. But that is not because of weak antiabortion arguments: it is because we are a cruel people who are uninterested in taking stock of a patently evident truth, even though it involves the lives of the most innocent, because they also happen to be the lives of the most helpless, voiceless and poor.

        • I’m really sick of anti-abortion rhetoric that nobody has to pay for. Face it, abortions are less common when women have access to good, affordable health care or when the procedure is criminalized. The pro life side generally recoils at the health care option. So I ‘d love to hear it address the consequences of criminalizing all abortion, even those done when the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. If life begins at conception and all life is equally valuable, then the logical criminal penalty for each and every abortion, which can only be described as intentional, premeditated murder, is life imprisonment. Let’s face up to what the rhetoric is really all about.

          • This is simply false propaganda.. Abortions are less common when criminalized. And its Democrats who repeatedly bar pro-life women’s centers from receiving the same kind of funding given to abortion mill Planned Parenthood to provide child care. Many pro-life pregnancy centers, privately funded, do give health care and parenting assistance to those who need it, but like evertyhing in this country, without government subsidies, it’s much more difficult to do so.

            And sentencing factors look at countless individualized factors. The sentencing manuals run hundreds of pages. Logical consistency is a small part of it. Duress is a big factor in women’s decisions to abort. But the abortionist doctors don’t get the benefit of that excuse.

          • Except that they arent..

            “CBS/AP) Abortion rates are highest where the procedure is illegal, according to a new study. The study also found nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority of unsafe abortions occurring in developing countries.”

            No link, because dems da rules, but you should be able to to google the rest.

      • Given the general evangelical belief that unborn fetuses go to heaven, with the general evangelical belief that of born people, only ones who profess that Christ is the son of God go to heaven, does mean that the vast, vast, VAST majority of people in heaven are going to be people that were never born.

    • There are many times where I wish evangelicals would give up their love affair with teh fetus and be more honest and loving. So they rail about the right for the child to be born…THEN they drop that child and single monther, castigate her. Shaem and shun her. And then basically say, “tough job bitch…you sinned you’ll have to deal with this…”

      I was so sick of hearing about abortion as a fundagelcial. If Christians helped out from birth to theri 18th year/college…then I think they would have more of a right to talk about abortion.

      • So, more death is the answer to hypocrisy. Makes sense. I’m so sick of people pretending like not letting women have their babies butchered is some kind of punishment. Nobody talks like that except people who already view babies as expendable.

      • Sorry Eagle, but just as you’re sick of hearing about the murder of unborn children, I’m sick of hearing your made up, totally false argument. Please tell me who it was who said the part you put in quotes and when they said it.

        First of all, for the sake of arguement, even if Christians did nothing for kids, murder is still murder. But the fact is that Christians run countless clinics for women and children.

        I realize your an atheist these days and I realize that there is much about evangelicalism that is plain goofy. But this post of yours is way off base.

  7. Richard Hershberger says:

    That piece about virtues and vices of marijuana is something of a hoot. There is the caricature of the self-righteous churchy-type worrying that someone somewhere is having fun. Seldom do I see people so openly embracing this stereotype. But here we see an argument where the objection to marijuana is that it is too much and the wrong sort of fun, as contrasted with alcohol and tobacco, which are the right amount and type of fun. So now we know the writer’s personal vices: booze, smoking, and rationalization.

    • Where is Cheech and Chong when you need them? :-P

    • Speaking from experience of raising 4 kids to adulthood, alcohol is far, far more destructive than pot. I can’t even compare all the trouble they’ve gotten themselves into going out to a party, club, or bar & getting smashed, with hanging out with friends smoking weed. Oh, and I have been married to a pothead for 38 yrs. Any long-term health effects such as lung cancer, emphysema, early dementia, etc. will show up as our boomer generation ages, but so far there have been no health issues among our long-time smoker friends, all in their mid-50’s – early 60’s. Time will tell.

      • Final Anonymous says:

        +1. My husband and I don’t do it, my kids (hopefully) don’t do it. But wake up, everybody, baby boomer & Gen X pot smokers are all over our clean-cut middle class suburban church-going (even Republican) neighborhoods. And they’re managing to stay gainfully employed, raise their kids, and contribute to the community, just like their social drinking and smoking cousins. Sorry, SR, but I think you’re wrong on this one.

  8. weed should be legalized, regulated, & taxed to high heaven! – & we should stop ruining people’s lives because of using it. FYI, I’ve never used the stuff. Evangelicalism could use some libertarianism in it!
    almost all economists agree it would be a boom to the economy, much like the end of Prohibition was.

    also, Billy Graham is sadly only a pawn to his looney son Franklyn now.

  9. Obama is a brother in Christ. We should pray for him and his position as president.

    • At least he SAYS that he is a Christian, but what he MEANS by that is another issue. I’ve not read that he trusts Christ for his salvation, not that Christ is the only way to salvation, so I’ll just have to take him at his word and judge him by his fruits.

      • The President was supported by more than 90% of African-American voters, more than 70% of Latino, Jewish, and Asian-American voters, and more than 50% of women voters. Since the election was, apparently, all about choosing God or Satan, these folks must be tools of AntiChrist or just plain immoral.

        All that’s left to save America is white folks. We’ve been down that dreary road once or twice before, haven’t we?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Christian Identity, Aryan Nation, White Aryan Resistance Movement, and the AWB (South African Nazi Party) would agree.

          Though it does point out that black voters will vote for someone just because they’re black as white voters will just because they’re white. The Latino vote might also be common cause “against Whitey”, though it is puzzling given the tribal hostility between black and brown in my area.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        “At least he SAYS that he is a Christian, but what he MEANS by that is another issue.”

        And this differs from any other professed Christian how?

        • There was a whispering campaign going on back in 1980, too, against the incumbent and born-again Jimmy Carter (“He belongs to a very liberal church, you know…”).

          Reagan was much harder to pin down as to his faith, but he was the first candidate since Roe v. Wade to run as pro-life, so he became God’s man for the job. And part of the whispering campaign included mention of the retiring Supreme Court justices who would need to be replaced by the next president and who would overturn Roe.

          I fell for that, twice voting for Reagan, and my wife reminds me of it every four years.

          After eight years of Reagan and twelve years of Bushes I’m still waiting for those Supreme Court justices to solve everything.

          • Look at what happened to a good judge named Robert Bork. Who nominated him, and who stopped him? It’s not a simple process to change the Supreme Court. Ask FDR.

          • It works from both sides of the aisle. And it’s probably a good thing that it’s hard to change the Court. That makes it by definition conservative, and probably the only conservative branch of our government. Neo-cons: NOT conservative.

            Not sure Roe was a conservative decision, though. Odd, and as much a Federal gov’t vs. states’ rights ruling as anything.

            As for FDR’s court-packing scheme, that was pretty see-through. The same thing was tried in my town, trying to add members to the school board when certain loud-mouth parties couldn’t get their way on something. The effort failed, thanks be to God.

          • I’m confused. Why do you now feel bad about voting for Reagan? And, keep in mind, I’m not even a Republican. But Carter was a total joke as President and Mondale would have been worse. Even the Dems knew Mondale was a disaster, that’s why they all voted for Reagan.

      • I don’t under stand your comment. What would he have to prove to show that he is a Christian?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Birth Certificate? :)
          (And we’ve seen where that leads…)

        • “Understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed, we make mistakes . . . And that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.”- Obama 2010

  10. > Here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., we had an election this week as well.
    > And the winner was … cannabis.

    This entire issue, at least in my not-humble opinion, is just stupid. Talk about tossing the science out the window. The “Left” can no longer accusse the “Right” of doing it – that would be the pot calling the kettle black. Cannabis is *not* Alcohol. And like we don’t already have *powerful* regulated and much safer medication for pain management. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    I am on the political Left, I am a Socialist. And I look around me and see Left-eese on the Left for no reason other than a petulant I-wanna-to-what-I-wanna-do and all reason and discussion are off the table. These compatriots of mine disgust me. To those thoughtful and eloquent people on the Right [of which there are many], I offer my personal apology, for whatever that is worth, that you have to listen to the petulant tantrums of these brats.

    > Barack Obama’s reelection will pave the way for the reign of the antichrist.

    Again? This antichrist fellow is an extremely ineffective villan, he keeps getting his way paved and then doesn’t show up. Rather than paving his way arch-evil-doers perhaps should send him a smart phone so he can get organized. But somewhere someone is getting a lot of free roads out of the deal. Could the antichrist be a way to get the devil to pay to rebuild America’s aging infrastructure?

    > Stephen Prothero dares to touch the evangelicals’ third rail—abortion
    > Is he right that the Bible is speaks to more pressing concerns than
    > abortion?

    Absolutely, yes. Yes.

    > Billy Graham encourages unity around the Gospel

    That guy is still around? It is over Billy, fade out gracefully.

    > Do we really need “Christian” movies?

    Of course. Someone should make one.

    But seriously, I’d just like some movies which openly religious [funny how that sounds] characters who aren’t cardboard cut-outs. Or even a couple of those on TV. If anyone remembers the show NUMB3RS they have an increasing story arc regarding one of th Jewish characters in the last seasons; they handled it intelligently. That is about the only example I can come up with. Maybe there simply are no relgious screen writers?

    > And if so, are those like Fireproof good enough?

    I just threw up a little bit.

    • Brianthedad says:

      Many of us on the rightish side of things often focus on the petulant crowd you speak of as the only ones over on that side of the aisle. Thanks for the explanation, and apologies for the petulant kooks on my side as well. BTW, the anti-Christ road builder comment is TOO funny.

      • > Many of us on the rightish side of things often focus on the petulant crowd you speak of
        > as the only ones over on that side of the aisle.

        Yep, same here. Listening to an ‘intellectual’ bring up comments from Ann Coulter and the like is frustrating. I just want to say “Really? Why are they part of this discussion?” I fear the advances in technology have made keeping the distinction between ranting and discussion very difficult.

        > Thanks for the explanation, and apologies for the petulant kooks on my side as well.

        Accepted. I miss William F. Buckley. He always made an interesting listen.

        > BTW, the anti-Christ road builder comment is TOO funny.

        Thanks. The anti-christ character is so warn out, it’s yawn worthy when someone brings it up. Everybody we don’t like has become a harbinger of the A.C; it is like the playing-the-hitler-card, once it happens you know the conversation is over.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Said in the context of Christian Fiction(TM):
          “Christians have given up and signed the future over to The Antichrist.”

        • Brianthedad says:

          A friend noted to me this week that back in the day the thinkers were ‘deeper’. Books were fewer, more valued, and probably read over and over, thus with more time to digest and think about them. Communication was in person or via letters, which require more thought and reflection, especially of the nature of ‘do i really want to say this?’ Now today, with the Internet, and the ability to look up quotes quickly to proof-text our assertions, and to broadcast quickly and without sufficient thought, or having the handbrake of the listener standing in front of you, we have a world of pseudo-thinkers or -intellectuals. Doesn’t enhance the conversation as much you would hope.

          Before you all pounce, I get the irony of my posting this thought online.

    • David Cornwell says:

      Mention antichrist enough times and the money will pour in. Write some books, obsess on your television program, connect some random verses from the bible, and off you go. When some politician you detest gets elected to office, even better. If he has a birthmark or scar on this body, maybe partly hidden by hair or his collar (clergy collar?) then this is the mark. If he is a mysterious imposter from Kenya, with a birth certificate that magically appears out of nowhere, he’s the man (he is also half white, half black, wow).

      Antichrist isn’t a joke however. We just can’t see for all the looking.

      • > Antichrist isn’t a joke however. We just can’t see for all the looking.

        He may not be a joke, but he certainly isn’t useful either.

        If you believe in that interpretation of the prophecies then you believe he is going to come when his time arrives. If you don’t believe then you don’t care about him at all.

        Bringing him into a conversation serves no point other than to amp up the rhetoric.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Adam, I agree with you. I didn’t do a good job of making a point, so will just leave as is.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      That guy is still around? It is over Billy, fade out gracefully.

      His son won’t let him.

      But seriously, I’d just like some movies which openly religious [funny how that sounds] characters who aren’t cardboard cut-outs. Or even a couple of those on TV. If anyone remembers the show NUMB3RS they have an increasing story arc regarding one of th Jewish characters in the last seasons; they handled it intelligently. That is about the only example I can come up with. Maybe there simply are no relgious screen writers?

      Or they’ve locked themselves into the Christianese Bubble to avoid contamination by that Heathen Hollywood. And are putting out Christian(TM) knockoffs for the Church Ladies like the stuff you see snarked on Heathen Critique. Bowdlerized Chrisitanese consolation/booby prizes for those forbidden to have the real thing.

      “Just like Hollywood, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

      • “His son won’t let him.”

        HUG, I just had a scary thought. I don’t know if you’ve read C.S. Lewis’s trilogy yet (and if not, why not???) but in the third volume, That Hideous Strength, there is the shell of a character, a being called “The Head” whom the other villains are keeping alive by extraordinary artificial means. The Head is just that, the head (and nothing more) of a man whom they can’t part with, and whom they use to further their evil goals.

        Just sayin’. Not sayin’ that Franklin has gone over to the dark side, but your comment did startle me.

        Now go and read some Lewis.

        • That book is frighteningly prophetic in so many ways, Ted — let’s hope not in that one! But don’t tell me you didn’t think of the final banquet at the NICE when — if — you watched any of the run-up to the election.

          Oh, and have you noticed that some (I hope) illiterate Brits have named a medical institution the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and they leave the H out of the acronym? Seriously?

          • You mean all of the techno-babble? I seem to remember everything falling apart about then. Is that when Merlin shows up, and fire down from heaven? I remember something apocalyptic.

            No, I can’t believe that there’s another N.I.C.E. That must be one of those urban legends that get forwarded around on emails. You must be mistaken.

          • Ted, I hate to ruin your Sunday morning, but check it out: http://www.nice.org.uk/. You have to wonder if there is someone there who calls him/herself the “head” of the NICE.

            And yes, that was the scene I meant.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Ted, it’s either an exercise in Cluelessness or someone remembered Lewis and started the acronym as a joke.

            Anyone know if Ransom or Merlin have surfaced yet?

          • Check out this picture, also in BBC . . I’m starting to wonder . . .

            http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121108-will-men-and-machines-merge

          • Damaris, you didn’t ruin my Sunday morning, but this evening is pretty well shot. I may not be able to get to sleep tonight.

            In the photo, does it look like the head is drooling, like in That Hideous Strength?

            And what have they done with the disembodied H from NICE? Does that symbolize the disembodied “Head”?

          • And what have they done with the disembodied H from NICE? Does that symbolize the disembodied “Head”?

            Oooh, I bet you’re right!

        • That sounds a lot like the 1963 stinker, They Saved Hitler’s Brain. The Fuehrer’s disembodied head is kept alive and under glass in post-war South America. Maybe old Clive Staples took his inspiration from this dreadful sci-fi movie; but I’d hate to think was a plagiarist – or even would deign to watch it.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Well, Clive Staples died in 1963, so his Space Trilogy would have to have been written before that. Which means any plagarism would have been in the other direction. Though it’s much more likely two writers coming up with a similar trope independently.

          • Lewis died in ’63, same day as JFK. So maybe the screen writers plagiarized him.

          • I hate it when HUG thinks the same think as I do, and only three minutes apart.

            [the horror! the horror!]

      • Robert Duvall in “The Apostle” springs to mind.

      • “Or they’ve locked themselves into the Christianese Bubble to avoid contamination by that Heathen Hollywood.”

        Well, Glenn Beck said he’s going to buy some farm land and some guns to await the looming apocalypse. This may be another case of truth being stranger than fiction. Fundamentalism may be heading back to yet another period of cultural separatism, similar to the one begun after the Scopes Trial. Redeeming the culture failed, so instead they’ll separate from and obstruct the culture, perhaps even commit acts of terror against the culture. Some conservative had threatened an armed revolution if Obama was re-elected. It’s hard to imagine what would make a working plot for a movie and what may be tomorrow’s headline news. These guys are wounded and unhinged; they are seriously capable of anything.

        • I think it would be a mistake to mark this meme as unique to fundamentalists. War games outsell other videogame titles by a 10 to 1 margin, and they are remaking Red Dawn. The lone freedom fighter meme runs deep and wide in our culture.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Red Dawn is such an artifact of the mid- to late Cold War (specifically, the peak of post-Vietnam anxiety when it looked like the Russians were wining) that I don’t see how they could remake it without doing a completely-different move.

            When I saw the original Red Dawn in the early Eighties, I realized what it really was.

            RED DAWN IS A RUSSIAN WW2 MOVIE. Specifically, the “Heroic Partisan” sub-type. Think about it. The Motherland is invaded without warning by a cruel and inhuman invader and all but overrun. Bands of spontaneous Partisans spring up in the occupied areas and start a guerilla war against the occupying forces, who react with increasing bloodthirsty cruelty. The Partisans are tragically wiped out one-by-one, never living to see the invader finally defeated and the Motherland liberated at the very end. In the original Russian movies, the Motherland is Mother Russia and the inhuman invader are the Germans. In Red Dawn, the Motherland is the USA and the inhuman invader is the USSR.

            To top it off, the Russian hardware and uniforms and vehicles are accurate for the time the movie was made — itself a relief from all the “Commissar and Comrade” nameless “Aggressor” of Cold War movie fiction or Mission Impossible equipped with obviously-redressed American equipment and vehicles. (The KVKV-pattern camo overalls were introduced to the Russian Army only the year before; smallarms issue was accurate for the different units; and the Hind helicopters in the chopper-attack scene were operating in proper Russian Air Force doctrine of flights of three — one forward and two back in a “stall-and-cannon”. The first time I saw the scene, my first thought was “Only one Hind? They always operate in threes — where’s the other two?”)

    • BEOWULF (2007, the CGI/3D movie) was one of the most Biblical/Christian-themed movies I’ve seen in a long time. Sin, temptation, pride, reaping what one sows, as well as the coming of the Christian religion to these pagans.

  11. Spending 16 years or so living on or near a large state university, I can say without a doubt that alcohol consumption is far more destructive than people smoking weed. I’m sure a lot of it is because alcohol is easier to get a hold of, and it’s far more ubiquitous, but still, I’ve seen people do things under the influence of alcohol that I have a hard time imagining them doing under the influence of weed.

    I would never smoke it (I can’t really smoke anything because of asthma), but I think legalizing and regulating it would be far better than criminalizing it and spending tons of money trying to control a black market.

    • > Spending 16 years or so living on or near a large state university, I can say without a doubt that alcohol
      > consumption is far more destructive than people smoking

      This is an incorrect perception. Those smoking weed are not a threat to anybody else, they are a serious threat to themselves. The cost to them can be permanent, and thus the cost to society long term. Of course, they may very well be a danger someone else if they end up behind the wheel – just as much a threat as a drunk.

      First, weed, is smoking and brings all the problems that smoking brings. But worse, the use of Cannabis results it long term cognitive deficit. Those people are less productive long-term. And issues of mental health may arise long term.

      A drunk, a few days later, given a cognitive test will score the same as they did before the binge. A cannabis smoker will score lower, and continue to score lower, persistently. And the more they use cannabis the more pronounced the effect. Of course, *they* will not notice the change. Cannabis is *not* a “safe” drug. Alcohol is much safer – and society has lots of built-in practices for dealing with alcohol consumption.

      • A drunk, a few days later, given a cognitive test will score the same as they did before the binge.

        I would be interested in seeing some data to back up this claim. I’ve seen several studies that link long-term cognitive impairment with alcohol consumption. Even beyond that, though, what I was thinking of was the more immediate consequences of drinking. People hitting pedestrians while, drunk pedestrians stepping in front of vehicle, people falling down exterior stairwells or off balconies – these are all things that I can think of immediate examples of during my stay. Alcohol consumption is a huge problem on college campuses. I’m not a teetotaler – I will occasionally have a drink – but the alcohol is used in our society goes for beyond being simply a social drink. There are a lot people who self-medicate with it, and there are a lot of functional alcoholics.

        I’m also not saying that I think marijuana use is a good thing. I’ve never tried it and never will. But I think there are plenty of things that aren’t good that don’t need to be illegal.

        • …plenty of things that aren’t good that don’t need to be illegal.

          That always depends on what ‘good’ is and who defines it. Usually it is ‘me’ and means something I want to do regardless of how irresponsible my behavior is towards others. I fight the grueling Houston commute every day here and I see all sorts of impairment. Including using a cell phone while driving, or even texting (which is one of the personal freedoms my state fights to keep or it will secede). It may be legal for me to fiddle while driving, but not for the common good. Just Google ‘texting’ and ‘accident’ to see reams of sad results. How many Christians know this is dangerous, but continue to do it?

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        Adam Tauro Williams: Did you really just state that folks who abuse alcohol do not suffer from cognitive impairment? Did you miss that day in high school health class?

        I absolutely agree that there is some cognitive impairment associated with marijuana use. It is a drug, and with all drugs, there is going to be some negative impact in cases of abuse and overuse. But there are so many studies that show, not a correlative link, but a DIRECT link, from alcohol use to physical abuse, automotive fatalities, cancer of several vital organs, cirrhosis, damage to fetuses. And yet alcohol is legal and regulated.

        Let’s assume that marijuana users are a threat to themselves. However, they are only a threat to themselves, whereas alcohol users are an inherent threat to themselves and others. And yet alcohol is legal and regulated. The “built-in practices” that deal with alcohol consumption can prosecute offenders, but they cannot prevent the lowered inhibitions, or the decreased reaction time, or the thousands of deaths a year that are related to alcohol.

        I’m with Phil here; let’s see this study you have that says that alcohol is “better” than marijuana. I’d love to take this back to my old high school and prove him wrong.

        • 1) Cannabis impairs driving as much as alcohol, and frequently slows reflexes even more. There just are a LOT more people driving after drinking than after smoking.
          2) NIH completed a long term study proving definitively that cannabis use lowers IQ permanently. On the other hand, it takes significant, long-term, and severe alcohol abuse to result in lasting brain damage (cf. ICD-10 F10).
          3) Adam makes a significant point, which is that cannabis users negatively affect their own life, but also those around them and the society that must pay for their twilight years.
          4) None of this requires outlawing marijuana; it requires only self-honesty.

          • 3) Adam makes a significant point, which is that cannabis users negatively affect their own life, but also those around them and the society that must pay for their twilight years.

            But using that logic there’s a wide range of things we need to not be allowed. Starting with the stupid actions of my mother and mother in law over the previous 30 years that are costing current tax payers non trivial amounts of money.

      • Matt Purdum says:

        I think that’s all quite disputable, Adam.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          No, there is no dispute at all. There are numerous research papaers available, including the the national instute of health. No dispute, this is the scientific consensus.

          The comparison with alchohol is false, the drugs are not the same

          The notion that canabis iusers are not a threat to others is absurd, they drive too.

          Yes alchohol is dangerous, but short term recreational use does NOT have long term cognitive consequences. Canabis does. They are not the same.

          The cost of caring for the consequences of the effects of the users will be paid by someone else.

          • You see, the problem with what you say is that it hasn’t been scientifically proven in the medical community yet. I mean, we know pot use amongst teenagers is harmful, but beyond that we can’t say anything more that is verifiable. We need more studies to be done in order to make the health claims that you make.

          • Huol, what are you talking about? NIH just concluded the most comprehensive long term US study to date (Europe has already released several). The claim that “it hasn’t been scientifically proven in the medical community yet” is just false. Google is your friend, friend.

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist in Dallas, says that Barack Obama’s reelection will pave the way for the reign of the antichrist. As Jeff says, I can’t make this up.

    And if Romney had won, there’d be PROOF from SCRIPTURE that Romney’s election would pave the way for the reign of The Antichrist. I’ve been hearing similar ever since Henry Kissinger was The Antichrist.

    When all you have is a Prophecy hammer, EVERYTHING looks like a Fulfillment nail.

    “Too many Christians are more interested in who the Antichrist will be than Who Christ is.”
    — J Vernon Magee

    Stephen Prothero dares to touch the evangelicals’ third rail—abortion—and lives to tell about it. Is he right that the Bible is speaks to more pressing concerns than abortion? And do you agree that Jesus has been used as a pawn by both parties?

    There’s a reason for the joke “Jesus Christ is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party.”

    Billy Graham encourages unity around the Gospel in his latest fundraising letter.

    Written and with his name signed to it by Franklin?

    Since when was Billy Graham that much into “Gimme Money”? Oh, he refers everyone to Franklin. Nuff said.

    And now that Romney was defeated, have the Mormons gone back to being a CULT CULT CULT?

    The third annual San Diego Christian Film Festival is underway this weekend in, well, San Diego. My question for you is this: Do we really need “Christian” movies? And if so, are those like Fireproof good enough?

    You know my take on that.
    CHRISTIAN = CRAP.
    GO MAINSTREAM WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

    • “And now that Romney was defeated, have the Mormons gone back to being a CULT CULT CULT?”

      Regardless of the outcome, some irreversible decisions were made, and I think this is one of them. The Mormon church gained evangelical legitimacy. We all believe in Jesus (TM), and that is all that seems to matter…and of course voting Republican. The word “cult” has become derogatory, because it has no association with orthodoxy, which is another word that has become equally meaningless.

    • Aw, c’mon HUG, you mean you aren’t excited about the next great Christian movie (ok remake):
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2467046/

      (although for me the only exciting thing is speculating about which role the so-far only credited actor will play…)

  13. Concerning the Graham letter: I’m really confused about what Franklin is now trying to sell us. The Graham family business traditionally was an evangelistic organization, but it seems has detoured into a political action committee. Now BGEA is pledging to spearhead a partnership with thousands of churches to spread Franklin’s ‘vision and outreach’. I agree people in America are in desperate need of the Gospel; but I am a bit suspicious about how that is translated within the parallel culture of the parachurch. Granted, the church often bears the criticism of being inefficient – its trains do not necessarily appear to run on time. But it is God’s human means to work in the world, living missionally, calling people to repentance, and proclaiming lasting hope in Jesus Christ. The church needs to hear the voice of Jesus instead of taking its marching orders from a cadre of highly paid professionals who lead glitzy private organizations that differ little from commercial enterprises. And after this latest foray into culture war activism, I would be very leery of Franklin Graham’s überchurch organization confusing the church in terms of authority, mission and corporate self.

    • The question may be, in a post-Romney world, what now is the “gospel” around which we will rally? A gospel where everyone goes to heaven who votes Republican? It’s Rob Bell’s universalism with an odd, Rousseauian twist.

      • Billy once gave a famous interview with Newsweek in which he intimated adherents of other religions will be saved. But I don’t think the issue here goes to prevenient grace applied to others who do not know the Gospel, so much as people considered to be good Christians (in the club) who strive to by their moral deeds to force open the gates of Heaven. I think George Whitefield hit the nail on the head regarding these folks: “Pray what are they to preach? Not themselves! What are they to preach? Why, they are to preach, not morality! Not morality!… You are not to entertain your people with dry morality, but remember you are a minister of Christ; you are, therefore, to preach the gospel.”

        • “You are not to entertain your people with dry morality”

          As much as I don’t like Charles Finney, even he warned against preaching morality, because it lulled people into a false sense of security.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s Rob Bell’s universalism with an odd, Rousseauian twist.

        Except this time, Team Hell is backing up “Republican Universalism”. Eternal Hell has been used for threat manipulation before, and this looks like a natural place for it to Get Out the Vote.

  14. The most hateful, anti-Christian, ant-religious rhetoric heard this past week didn’t come from the liberals but from the (SURPRISE!!!) Randians. What would one expect from a movement started by Ayn Rand, who called the church the kindergarten of Communism?

    • > The most hatefu hateful, anti-Christian, ant-religious rhetoric heard this past week didn’t come from the
      > liberals but from the Randian[s]

      But, to be fair, the Randian’s have been saying that all along. They should get props because they hate the likes of me [ (a) Religious and (b) Left ] pretty much 24/7.

      Perhaps a few politicians lay it down for the course of an election, but that is a politicians job – to unite fractious groups who share some common agenda(s) [that is what a political party is]. That doesn’t even make me the slightest bit uncomfortable, that is just life in a crowded world.

      That some politicians internalize this existentially is part of what I really don’t understand. Paul Ryan, for example: a “devout” Catholic AND a Randian. Not a “fiscal conservative”, but a self-described Randian. That would cause Spock to have a seizure.

      A quote from Paul Ryan regarding charity – “I do not consider it a major virtue, and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them.”

      This frightens me. What is devout Catholicism to him? I do not recognize it.

      But over here on the Left we need to remember that Ryan is the canonical Right-of-Center Christian figure, there are many who are far more coherent than this.

      > who called the church the kindergarten of Communism?

      Which is amusing given that most Communist states burned a lot of energy trying to get rid of the church [although in reality it is "totalitarian" states more than "communist" states, you'd have a hard time convincing me there is anything Marx/Engles Communist about the operation of the Chinese or Vietnamese governments].

      • Dropped a word, that is meant to be “But over here on the Left we need to remember that Ryan is *not* the canonical Right-of-Center Christian figure”

      • The comment on the church and communism comes straight from Rand herself.

        Your quote from Ryan is not surprising. I’m sure he meant that charity should be voluntary rather than enforced through taxes; but who is to say who is worthy of charity? How does one earn charity? There seems to be this idea within Randianism that any kindness toward the poor merely encourages sloth – whether by government entitlement or religious charity.

        But add to that comment from Glenn Beck vilifying churches engaging is “social” gospel.

        “Perhaps a few politicians lay it down for the course of an election, but that is a politicians job – to unite fractious groups who share some common agenda(s) [that is what a political party is]. That doesn’t even make me the slightest bit uncomfortable, that is just life in a crowded world.”

        In the end, Karl Rove’s grand coalition was a grand illusion in which only he believed to the bitter end. I do feel a little sorry for the guy. Donald Trump had a lot of gall to blame the loss on Rove.

      • A quote from Paul Ryan regarding charity – “I do not consider it a major virtue, and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them.” [bold type mine]

        Adam, Paul Ryan got that idea about being “worthy” of help from Ayn Rand all right. Here is a portion of an interview of Ayn Rand by Mike Wallace in 1959. I put the video and the transcript on my blog for Halloween (couldn’t find anything scarier).

        I think we dodged a bullet on Tuesday.

        Ayn Rand:
        You love people, not for what you do for them, or what they do for you. You love them for their values, their virtues, which they have achieved in their own character. You don’t love causes. You don’t love everybody indiscriminately. You love only those who deserve it.

        Mike Wallace:
        And then if a man is weak, or a woman is weak, then she is beyond, he is beyond love?

        Ayn Rand:
        He certainly does not deserve it, he certainly is beyond. He can always correct it. Man has free will. If a man wants love he should correct his weaknesses, or his flaws, and he may deserve it. But he cannot expect the unearned, neither in love, nor in money, neither in method, nor spirit.

        MW:
        You have lived in our world, and you realize… recognize…the fallibility of human beings, there are very few of us then in this world, by your standards, who are worthy of love.

        AR:
        Unfortunately…. yes… very few. But it is open to everybody, to make themselves worthy of it and that is all that my morality offers them. A way to make themselves worthy of love although that’s not the primary motive.

        • I agree we dodged a bullet, but again, permanent damage has been done. More and more evangelicals are adopting an earn-your-way-to-heaven soteriology. I saw someone post on facebook (a Lutheran no less) a quote from a pastor stating that there is no assurance of salvation without us doing our part. Grace is an anathema for Randians, because grace is not earned. Unfortunately, they aren’t going away soon, and their influence on the church will take years to erase.

          • Have you ever read James chapter 2?

            Not sure what you’re seeing in church these days, but from where I sit, the problem is antinomianism. “I know I live like the devil, but hey, thank God for grace, right?” This Christianity thing is awesome. Just thank God for grace and then live however you feel like.

        • I found the following critique of Ayn Rand by John Piper, which was originally published in 1979 and updated in 2007..

          http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/the-ethics-of-ayn-rand

          I don’t think his critique goes far enough, but the following was a interesting comment by Piper:

          “Ayn Rand’s devastating criticism of altruism missed the point of Christian mercy.31 She could only conceive of mercy in terms of our sacrificing our greater values to lesser ones. The Christian sacrifices no values in blessing those who curse him, nor is his behavior causeless or aimless. It is an achievement of his own dependence on and love for the merciful God. It is caused by God’s mercy, and it aims to transform the enemy into one who treasures God above all things. It is thus a self-benefiting act, compounding, as it does, the joy of the believer.”

          The problem with Piper’s critique, and perhaps with many Christians who embrace Rand’s philosophy, that a theistic perspective is all that was missing from her world view:

          “Therefore, Ayn Rand’s philosophy did not need to be entirely scrapped. Rather, it needed to take all of reality into account, including the infinite God. In this case her own premise—A is A—would have demand an alteration in what she conceived as rational and how she evaluated mercy. Since she claimed to “provide men . . . with an integrated and consistent view of life,” this alteration would have meant a rebuilding of the whole structure. No detail of her philosophy would have been left untouched. But enough has been said here. That reconstruction is the job of a lifetime.”

          As I stated in an earlier comment, Rand influences the way a Christian views grace. As I read Piper’s comments on mercy, I couldn’t quite square it with is incessant theodicy associating natural disaster with God’s wrath. I have seen this over and over again, where a Christian thinks he or she can redeem a heretical or heathen teaching, only to have that teaching redeem them in the end.

  15. I don’t know about paving the way for the anti-Christ (unless that’s some sort of public works project that Obama intends to start in his next term), but it certainly has provided a space for the Prince- in- process to finish his study of Machiavelli.

  16. Matt Purdum says:

    There is simply NO biblical warrant for a war against users of herbs and herbal remedies. In fact:
    Genesis 1:11 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”
    Genesis 1:29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
    Genesis 3:18 “… thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
    Psalms 104:14 “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man.”
    Proverbs 15:17 “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.”[33]
    Revelation 22:2 ” the river of life proceeded to flow from the throne of God, and on either side of the bank there was the tree of life, and the leaf from that tree is for the healing of the nations.”
    And besides, it makes watching tortures like “Fireproof” barely somewhat more tolerable.

    • Don’t forget John 6:10:

      “There was plenty of grass in that place.”

      I had a college friend lay that one on me years ago.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        A little Momento from classic Dr Demento (which never made it onto YouTube; the first song I ever heard on Doc Dee, c.1974):

        “I owe a lot
        To Iowa Pot!
        Iowa grown and grand!
        I never knew
        Such beautiful Boo
        Grew in this groovy land!
        (Understand)
        I’m indebted indeed
        To wonderful Weed,
        Iowa bred and born!
        I owe a lot
        To Iowa Pot
        And that’s not just Iowa corn!”

        • “Iowana” it was called – that, or “Iowa Ditch.” Good for making rope, but too low in THC for anyone to want to smoke it for a buzz. It turned up in my parents’ garden, as it did many places. I still have some slides I took of Iowa marijuana in the wild when I was playing around with color infrared film.

  17. I work at a school for ‘At Risk’ youth… Most of the students are already well involved in what ever they were considered at-risk for. In my 20+ years there, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen the difference being on or off pot makes in the same student. Whatever the cognitive effects might be, the motivational differences are the real deal. You don’t feel stress if you’re ‘chilled out’ to the point of not caring.
    Many of my students are dealers. A few are pretty sharp and some extremely so… I worry less about those. I worry about the ones whose only marketable ‘skill’ is a willingness to risk incarceration or death to make a little money. What will these (and those south of the border) turn to if the black market for pot collapses? I don’t meant to suggest I have an answer. I understand that many (myself included) would like to see the drug-war and its associated violence de-escalated. I also fear this social experiment will play out in ways we regret over many years to come.

    • Yep, similar experience here, Roger. I am opposed to legalising so-called ‘soft’ drugs because the experience I have of them is seeing the effects on the kids who take them.

      Just saw a round-up of the court cases in the local paper this week, and one of our ‘graduates’ was in it. She dropped out of school at 15 because of smoking weed; dropped out of the early-school leavers programme she was on for the same reason (plus she had graduated to ecstasy); went on to heroin (which has been a real problem in Ireland since the 80s and is now going through a resurgence in popularity and availability once again) and was up in court for involvement in burglary and assault (she got into a row at a house party and stabbed another young woman in the abdomen).

      She’s now 22, pregnant and facing single parenthood, no education, and (allegedly) kicked the heroin, but is facing a jail sentence. And that’s the kind of history I’ve seen dealing with the kids at our school and other education centres. Maybe some people can handle it in a recreational manner and either give it up after college or keep it on a very low use and it doesn’t lead on to other drugs. But (a) I can’t see dealers just dropping out of the market if legal suppliers set up; I think they’ll sell to those who can’t buy it – because like cigarettes, there will probably be an age requirement plus they’ll move on to the drugs not legalised and (b) I don’t see the nice, middle-class college student users, I see the poor kids from broken homes and with all kinds of behavioural problems who just give up the struggle and drop out. The last thing they need is making it easier for them to drug themselves into oblivion and no future.

      • Final Anonymous says:

        I agree the drug and alcohol use in lower socioeconomic classes is particularly troublesome, but I don’t believe criminalizing pot especially has provided any solution; in fact, it has probably just complicated the problems.

      • I don’t see how any of these things are substantially different than with what happens with alcohol now. Certainly there are plenty of poor people ruining their lives with legal substances, too. I live in Minnesota, and alcoholism is a very real issue in the Native American communities around here.

        The problem with making drugs illegal is that it doesn’t address the underlying demand for those drugs. It just pushes it elsewhere. So it creates a system where a few people can get rich selling drugs illegally. And despite spending billions of dollars to track down and punish dealers, we still have plenty of poor people willing to risk getting caught because they see it as their only hope of having a better life. The war on drugs as it relates to poverty is really a very poor attempt to deal with the symptoms of poverty as opposed to the underlying economic issues.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          But the War on Drugs is a very successful jobs program for the DEA, District Attorneys, Narc defense lawyers, and Prison Guards. (And I know the last of these IS unionized with lotsa dues channeled into Campaign Contributions…)

  18. Anne Rice posted a link on her facebook page to a NY Times story touching on how the incredible shrinking American Evangelicalism no longer has the numbers to drive election results. What the article didn’t talk about was how political obsession is partly what is driving people away from evangelical churches. The answer is not to save more people so they can become religious conservative voters. I don’t know if that is the end-game of the Billy Graham’s organization. The answer has got to be something other than all cultural war all the time. If someone shows up on Sunday morning seeking truth, and church delivers religious conservative truthiness, are you going to be surprised if that person doesn’t show up next week?

  19. Pat Robertson’s episode involving “Fifty Shades of Grey” didn’t even make the Rambling cut this week. Maybe that’s a good thing.

  20. Completely off-topic question (well, ok we are rambling) for the imonk crowd: Is Chris Tomlin in the happy-clappy shallow music section of CCM? Context: A few people I know from church are excited about a future Tomlin concert nearby and I am trying to determine if this is something worth going to.

    • Here’s a lyric of his, from his spin on “Amazing Grace”:

      “And like a flood, his mercy reigns.”

      If you can make sense of that, then go ahead and go. If, like me, you can’t, then you’re probably better off staying home and watching some paint dry. It’s actually quite a meditative pursuit if the fumes aren’t too bad.

      Speaking of which, on the up side, if you do go, you’re not likely to run into any second-hand marijuana smoke, recently legalized or otherwise.

  21. And by the way, Synonymous Rambler, it was Joni Mitchell’s birthday on the 7th too, same as Billy Graham.

    I remembered her on MY blog (but then, I think I’m in love with her).

  22. The media is not getting the info out about the dangers of marijuana use, particularly for young people. At this site, http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-information/marijuana-facts/health-effects-marijuana.aspx you can read more and be sure to click to the next page on a link at the bottom and there are six total pages I think. One thing not in those pages that I heard in an educational video with a panel of four experts (including a doctor) is that as the THC in pot has become more powerful, an ingredient that helped to minimize the chance of psychosis has been reduced. A huge increase in pot smokers visiting the emergency room has been seen, with many of them suffering from extreme anxiety. That same video addressed the “myths” of the benefits of legalizing marijuana. I was wondering myself if we may as well legalize the stuff, but now I say “no.” The message going out to kids is that pot is no big deal, it’s fun, not addictive, etc. Wrong message. A psychiatrist working in a Maine correctional institution told me that the kids she works with there told her that if anyone tries to tell her pot is not addictive, they are very wrong.

    • Final Anonymous says:

      But — wouldn’t legalizing and thus regulating it help address those very issues?

      I’m a little amuzed that I’ve made three comments today regarding the legalization of marijuana, and I’ve never touched the stuff :)

  23. My thoughts as I read, “What’s next for religious conservatives”

    Some of the statements from this article go to the core of why I turned away from american evangelicalism and it’s obsession with GOP political power. The level of child-like blind faith and open abhorrence of reality is astonishing. Consider the big picture. (These numbers are my educated guessing)

    25-30% of the population are hard-core “values voters” hoping for top-down political solutions to abortion and gay rights. Nearly all of these voters went all in for Romney.
    The rest of the electorate are in the middle, independents leaning left or utterly opposed to the ‘values’ of the value voters. Sure, some in this group may not be ‘for’ abortion but neither are they really that opposed to it or they consider other moral issues more important.

    So it’s basically 30% vs 70%

    Yet, we hear from the article that “One was to double-down on their agenda by pinning the blame on Romney and his campaign for not stressing social issues much more forcefully.” And “Jordan said that doubts about Romney’s convictions, as well as his campaign’s modulation near the end, disappointed values voters and doomed the ticket.” And the quote of an activist, “What was presented as discipline by the Romney campaign by staying on one message – the economy – was a strategic error that resulted in a winning margin of pro-life votes being left on the table,”

    How does a person say things like that and still make a living? How did they pass grade school math? One hundred percent of 30% does not equal an election victory! We try to decide things in this country by democracy. The majority wins in a democracy. The majority of voters in this country do not care about abortion or gay rights in the way religious conservatives do – in fact it should be obvious by now that most people are turned off by the cultural warrior stance. Voters fled the McCain ticket precisely because there was another rabid, moralizing cultural warrior on the ticket. If Romney had followed that path his trouncing would have been doubled…tripled…yet the priests of the cultural war cult openly despise that reality – I guess to calm the panic of their equally disconnected-from-reality followers…or to raise more money to keep making a living…
    This is pathology – this is the marks of automaton cultists – it’s the thinking of despots and thankfully, no matter which way the election would have gone, this type of cultural warrior would have been disappointed and given the cold shoulder – even by Romney

    Yet these people claim to be christians? I’ll let God make the final call but as for me I want nothing to do with that kind of arrogant, unthinking christianity…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Yet, we hear from the article that “One was to double-down on their agenda by pinning the blame on Romney and his campaign for not stressing social issues much more forcefully.”

      Translation: Purity of Ideology.

      And “Jordan said that doubts about Romney’s convictions, as well as his campaign’s modulation near the end, disappointed values voters and doomed the ticket.”

      Translation: Insufficient Ideological Purity.

      And the quote of an activist, “What was presented as discipline by the Romney campaign by staying on one message – the economy – was a strategic error that resulted in a winning margin of pro-life votes being left on the table,”

      Translation: Increase Ideological Consciousness, Increase Ideological Purity, Increase Ideological Activism.

      Sounds like Marxspeak, don’t it?

      How does a person say things like that and still make a living? How did they pass grade school math? One hundred percent of 30% does not equal an election victory!

      30% is more than enough True Believers and sympathizers for a coup, though.

    • …rolls eyes….because there’s certainly no “child like blind faith” involved in all of those Obama fans who treat him like the Messiah.

      LOL…what a joke.