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May 06, 2004
The Other Headlines

Death sentence for medics in Libyan HIV case

A Libyan court sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death today for deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV.
But if you read the article, there's a lot of doubt about whether or not this is an accurate verdict.

Cooperate or you don't eat. We're threatening to withhold humanitarian aid if enough Afghans don't turn informer.

A dirty little story, indeed. It's those mercenaries in Iraq, again.

There's a huge scandal in Britain with the revelation that the country's biggest arms firm had a £60 million pound slush fund they used for bribing Saudi Arabian officials.

Beatings, humiliation, rape…it must be the the USofA prison system. (Well, gosh, No wonder a "Virginia Corrections Officer" didn't know where the lines should be drawn.)

Who is David Hackett Souter? well, he seems to be that rare thing, s Supreme Court Justice who thinks the position is more important than the perks.

Religion in the USofA is next. To begin with, I doubt their polling data. As I've said repeatedly, I'm not prepared to believe in any poll unless I know what questions were asked, what population was polled, and how the responses were tabulated.

Reading on, I see I wasted my time trying to formulate my own problems with organized religion. I should have just waited for this article to be published.

With the passage of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts and the end of the Vietnam War, it seemed as if the religious progressive movement faded. In its place, there arose another religiously-based movement that cared little for peace and social justice, but insisted on imposing its sexual mores and patriarchalism on the rest of society. Appealing to those made fearful by the rapid economic and social changes brought on by modernity, the Christian Right has threatened America's societal maturation and political stability through sensationalist appeals to bigotry and especially masculine insecurity.

Yep...that's what I think of today when I think of "organized religion."

The problem with that approach to morality and truth is the texts themselves. With respect to the Christian canon, which has been the subject of my practice and study, any close and honest reader of the Bible knows that it is full of bizarre claims and internal contradictions. It is, in short, exactly what it appears to be: a collection of writings of the faithful who wrote from the perspective of their time and place.

I totally said that.

Anyhow, it goes on to say that the Left should seek out and embrace "religious progressives." I don't have a problem with that. I'd seek out religiously progressive christians, muslims, buddhists, or wiccans with no problem, but they need to understand that none of them have any moral superiority over the others.

What I got from this was that it's as much or more the fault of "advertising" that the country feels it must choose, solidly and definitively, between "blue" or "red" but it's a temporary condition. I hope that's true…it means Republicans will be taking their party back from extremists.

David Broder is also discussing partisanship today.

I can't resist, I have to link to this scathing review of the Bush re-election effort in Ohio. Fake horses. Heh. Well, why not? He's already been a fake pilot and flaunted a fake turkey. Not to mention faking leadership. (As I understand it, the much-advertised "bus trip" he's on at the moment seems to include an astonishing amount of air travel. Bush sort of…visits the bus, for a couple of hours or so a day.)

Old bombs found at Harbor Tunnel in Maryland.

Authorities planned to open an investigation into whether the bombs were linked to the nation’s first criminal case involving environmental violations by the ship-scrapping industry, which involved a company that worked at the same site.

I'm thinking that discovering the company was burying bombs instead of disposing of them properly (however that would be) is going to help their case.

(Drat the man. I barely got my porn rant posted and there Hugo Schwyzer was, redefining the topic. But this is a post I can agree with.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:25 AM


I've read that after 1850 all Western nations developed in such a way that they needed civil social organizations that were larger than the family and smaller than the nation-state. In Europe that role was largely filled with labor unions and in America it was largely filled with religious groups. As such, religion is now more important, fundamentally, than it is in Europe.

Off-hand I can't think of any period of progressive reform in which the progressive Christians didn't play a leading or the leading role (Quaker's against slavery in the 1850s, Christian's for prohibition and women's franchise in 1910s, preachers who sided with workers in the 1930s, CORE and the whole crowd on the first Freedom Bus in 1962.)

Posted by: Lawrence Krubner at May 6, 2004 01:19 PM

This is a No Spam Zone.

Posted by: removed at May 6, 2004 02:53 PM

This is one of those moments when it's very annoying to be a liberal. If I were a right-wingnut, I could just blithely disregard the truth and keep ranting.

You are, of course, undoubtedly right. In the future I should find a different way to express my disdain for the regressive fundamentalist movement and not tar all religion with the brush of attempted repression.

Posted by: Anne at May 6, 2004 03:32 PM

Well Anne, I agree with you more often than not.. agreeing with your critics is sometimes extra delicious, isn't it?

Posted by: Hugo at May 6, 2004 08:18 PM

As a matter of fact, it is. :)

Posted by: Anne at May 6, 2004 09:49 PM