Liberal Grace

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

GOP candidates running from Jesus

Bush ran so hard on his relationship with God and then failed so mersabley, the GOP candidates now seem to be running from Jesus.

Of the sound bites I heard from the GOP presidential debate, the one where McCain reminded everybody that immigrants are God's children, was the most Christian.

McCain defends immigration bill


The most Christian thing I heard said, yet the conservatives Christian are going to hammer McCain for it. Don't those guys read their bibles?

I just want to remind people that the bible says WAY MORE about welcoming the immigrant than it does about homosexuality and abortion.

Monday, June 04, 2007

TWO stupid GOP talking points debunked by JFK terror bust.

The JFK bust shows how abysmally ignorant the conservatives are the causes and prevention of terrorism.



I find two lame-brain GOP talking points particularly irritating:

1) "Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."; and
2) "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and prepared for war; the liberals wanted to prepare indictments" external link

As for #1, this is so stupid that anyone who says it should be openly jeered off the stage. It doesn't make a wit of sense. How does our war in Iraq stop a terrorist cell based in New York or Trinidad?

Of course, the war in Iraq doesn't stop them for a second. But it does inspire and energize the radicals.

#2, also irritating, is the mocking of traditional police work in combating terrorism. I don't mind conservatives pointing out this distinction between us -- it's a legitimate difference.

Conservatives want to bomb while liberals want to investigate, stop and arrest. What's irritating that conservatives mock law enforcement and take credit for it, at the same time.

I strongly believe that law enforcement is the best way to combat terrorism. Why? Because traditional law enforcement creates the least amount of collateral damage and innocent victims.

In contrast, the war zones created GOP wars fosters the social conditions that breeds extremism and terrorism.

The analogy I use is that fighting terrorism with war is like fighting roaches by throwing garbage at them. You get the brief satisfaction of killing a few, at first, but then you create a putrid mess that breeds many more.

It should also be pointed out that the "liberal" law enforcement has been more effective in catching terrorists and foiling terrorist plots than Bush's needless war.

Robert Gates, who I was not too optimistic about, actually spoke directly to this issue this week:

Gates Calls for Focus on Extremism's Causes

"On the negative side of the ledger, I think we have not made enough progress in trying to address some of the root causes of terrorism in some of these societies, whether it is economic deprivation or despotism that leads to alienation," he said.

He called for more "creative thinking" to address the root causes of Islamic extremism, but he added that even those efforts will not be the complete answer to winning what he called a long war on terrorism.
external link
Conservatives are certainly known for their "creative thinking" but not for their common sense.

Anyone with a speck of common sense knows that war zones and refugee camps foster extremism which leads to terrorism. You don't need to look any further than Palestine to see this in action.

Yet, that's exactly what Bush and conservatives have created in Iraq -- one gigantic recruiting/training/breeding ground for extremism.

But, in our global age, the recruitment boost of this war doesn't stay in Iraq: the duplicity and brutality of the Iraq war is inspiring extremism everywhere, including in New York city.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Iran Minister promotes temporary marriages for lusty 15 year olds.

Islam seems to have two streaks: one absolutist and the other morally accommodating.



This is a follow-up to another of my blog entries: Marriage gangs rip-off Arab youths

Minister backs brief marriages to curb illicit sex

Tehran: Iran's interior minister faced criticism from women activists on Saturday after advocating the practice of temporary marriage as a way to meet the needs of young people in the Islamic state, which bans extramarital sex.

"Is it possible that Islam is indifferent to a 15-year-old youth into whom God has put lust?" newspapers quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who is also a cleric, as telling a religious seminar this week.

Temporary marriage, or sigha, is an agreement between a manand a women to get married for a specified time, even for just afew days. It has long been practised by Shiite Muslims, who are dominant in Iran, even though it is unclear how common it is.

Sunni Muslims say it is illegal and akin to prostitution, but some Shiites scholars say it reflects the reality of human nature and provides for the rights and responsibilities of both the man and the woman.

[...]

"Islam is a comprehensive and complete religion and has a solution for every behaviour and need and temporary marriage is one of its solutions for the needs of the youth," Pourmohammadi said according to the Sharq daily.

"For fulfilling the sexual desires of the youth who do not have the possibility to get married a decision should be taken."

A temporary marriage is easy to arrange. A couple will agree on how long they will get married - it's usually anywhere from a day to months - and on financial matters.

Couples often go to a Shiite cleric for approval of the contract. The practice is believed to have pre-dated Islam among the tribes of the Arabian peninsula.
external link
I wasn't aware that this was strictly a Shiite thing because I've seen earlier articles about Gulf Arabs (mostly Sunni) going to India for these marriages, drawing the ire of some locals who feel it's just prostitution legal only because of easy divorce laws in Islam. external link

This article raises a theological issue that I've found interesting ever since I first noticed it.

Clearly, one of the appeals of Islam is its absolutism.

As a former fundamentalist, I can understand why people are attracted to a clear set of beliefs and rules.

But there is another side to Islam -- a moral accommodation for the human condition as expressed by Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi, "Is it possible that Islam is indifferent to a 15-year-old youth into whom God has put lust?"

This really conflicts with my American evangelical moral absolutism which demands total abstinence before marriage.

As I see it, this principle of moral accommodation has been used to justify petty transgressions (like stealing bread when you're hungry) or horrific acts (like blowing up a buses of Jewish children when you're politically oppressed.)

It should be said that we American Christians are also glaringly guilty of moral double standards. Our moral anchors seem to lose their grip when moral decisions go from personal to political. We'd generously help the Iranian family next door but we support a political candidate who'd bomb that same family if they were still living in Tehran.

Friday, June 01, 2007

How's the Surge Going? (May 07)

O'Reilly says Iraq is going better. Other cons are saying we can't know anything until September. Look at the numbers yourself and decide.

It's probably comforting to Fox viewers that Bill O'Reilly thinks things are going better external link.

However the numbers say different. (not that this ever stopped Bill O'Reilly from making stuff up.)



The other line we're hearing from the right is "we can't know anything until September." external link

You don't need a PHD in statistics to look that the numbers and make an educated guess of what the September statistics will tell us: not much.

Not much, except to confirm that Bush and Rumsfeld put in enough troops to trigger a sectarian civil war but stubbornly refused to put in enough troops to quell it

Bush's "mini surge" is too little, too late.

It's probably comforting to Fox viewers that Bill O'Reilly things thinks are going betterexternal link.

However the numbers say different. (not that this ever stopped Bill O'Reilly from making stuff up.)



The other line we're hearing from the right is "we can't know anything until September." external link

You don't need a PHD in statistics to look that the numbers and make an educated guess of what the September statistics will tell us: not much.

Not much, except to confirm that Bush and Rumsfeld put in enough troops to trigger a sectarian civil war but stubbornly refused to put in enough troops to quell it

Bush's "mini surge" is too little, too late.

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