missing time

I want to write about Karl Rove criticizing the Democrats for their spinelessness in the wake of 911, the fact that the Supreme Court apparently just invalidated personal property rights, and the recent revelation that our government’s started tracking kids as young as 16 as potential military recruits, but all I can think about is poor Katie Holmes and her Scientology summer camp kidnapping. Here’s a clip from FOX:

Sometime that week, her friends say, she flew to Los Angeles for a meeting with Cruise about a role in “Mission: Impossible 3.” The meeting took place after April 11.

The next time anyone heard from Holmes was on April 27, when she appeared in public as Cruise’s girlfriend and love of his life.

Where was she during those 16 days?

Somewhere during that time, she decided to fire both her manager and agent, each of whom she had been with for years and who were devoted to her.

The manager, John Carrabino, also handles Ren

Posted in Pop Culture | 10 Comments

promoted from the comments section

There have been quite a few really incredible comments made these last few days, but this one from Stephanie seemed particularly worthy of a larger readership, so I thought that I’d move it up to the front page. By way of background, I should mention that it was written in response to a comment made by an individual suggesting that the Democrats were anti-Semitic because someone went to a DNC event and handed out materials critical of Israel.

I haven’t read the pamphlets. I do think that the distribution of false information is unfortunate, and it’s too bad that that happened. I don’t know whether there was any explicitly anti-Semitic content within the pamphlets, but I haven’t heard mention of any. Unless I am mistaken reading these posts, it seems that the suggestion that Israel withheld knowledge of 9/11 for its own gain is what is being seen as anti-Semitic. I guess I just don’t see that. If the pamphlets said (and I openly admit that I don’t know, so maybe they did…) ‘Israel withheld knowledge of 9/11 for their own gain because they’re evil, dirty Jews!’ then it might be clearer to me.

The stance, on both political sides, seems to be that no one wants to speak critically against Israel for fear of being seen as anti-Semites. Apparently, one can’t disagree with Israel’s political actions without hating Jews. And I don’t really get it. While Israel is a Jewish state, Israel does not equal all Jews everywhere or Judaism itself. You can disagree with Israel’s policies without hating Jews. (And now I am referring to Israel’s real political actions, not false ones claimed in a pamphlet.) Just like you can dislike the actions of other religious nations without hating the religion itself or all its followers (as I’m sure there are Christians who can hate the crusades, the inquisition, etc, without hating themselves and all other Christians.) Plenty of groups have made mistakes and acted very badly in the name of religion.

I am an atheist. According to Jewish law, though, I am still a Jew, whether I believe in God or not. Since I don’t believe in the authority of Jewish law, I can comfortably say that I am not a Jew. However, most people would disagree. That’s fine, it really doesn’t change much for me. It makes me very uncomfortable how a pro-Israel stance is seen as almost required nowadays. Back in Hebrew school, we were taught that everything Israel does is right, and those who might disagree with Israel’s actions are enemies of Jews everywhere. Last Thanksgiving, I believe it was, I was having a discussion with my family about how Israel had parked bulldozers and tanks outside a Palestinian encampment (perhaps it was a village, I don’t know) and gave the people there 24 hours to get out before they demolished the whole thing, whether there were people still there or not. My response was one of disgust. As was that of my family, however they were disgusted that the Palestinians wouldn’t just get out of Israel already and stop bombing everyone. In discussions with my Jewish family, an audible gasp can be heard if someone (me) even questions Israel’s politics. The view is that what Israel does is right, and we don’t even have to know what action we’re saying is right, because anything Israel ever does, has done or will do is right, because, I mean, c’mon, it’s Israel. And that view frightens me.

While my knowledge of Israel’s politics is admittedly limited, I can’t say I agree with the majority of their actions. I am also uncomfortable with any religious nation, no matter what the religion. I am in favor of religious freedom, and I’m glad that, at least for now, we still have that here, to a large degree.

On another, apparently related topic, maybe I have no say as a kooky liberal Jewish atheist, but I wasn’t offended by Mark’s post. As far as I know, all religions, Christianity included, have evolved (or should I say, “have been Created”) toward what they are today many times by a voice of dissent at the way the religion is currently being interpreted and the way its followers are conducting themselves. While I doubt it’s Mark’s goal to revamp Christianity, he is only doing what others have done to make the religion what it is today: observing a kind of worship, behavior, or attitude that he feels could be considered contrary to the true teaching of the religion and starting a dialogue. If someone out there feels he is mistaken in this observation, why not explain your position, and let him know exactly how some of the things that happened at the church fit in with Christianity? He seemed genuinely curious to know how some of the things he heard in that church followed the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I know plenty of people who are religious. The majority of people I know, my family, friends, and just about everyone I meet are religious in some way. I don’t hold it against them. I do disagree with some of their ideas about the world, but it doesn’t stop us from being friends. I do think that I am right and they are wrong, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t believe what I do. And I know they think that they are right and I am wrong. That’s all fine. I don’t have any problem with religion as a concept, or with religious people as a group. I do have a problem with the teaching of hatred, intolerance, suspicion and fear. I think the question that has yet to be answered is this: Was that sort of teaching what was going on during this church service? If not, please explain. And if so, how is that not contrary to the teachings of Christ?

Posted in Church and State | 4 Comments

reflections of the monkey power trio

Posted in Monkey Power Trio | 10 Comments

yet another pteredactyl with an olive branch

The entries to the contest with no end still keep rolling in. Here’s the most recent one. It’s from our old friend Collin Burton.

Posted in Church and State | 1 Comment

jesus of anger / jesus of love

Last night, after posting that “Backlash” piece, I started reading the next book chosen for the Ypsi-Arbor Progressive Reading Club, Bruce Bawer’s, “Stealing Jesus : How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity.” I knew it would be somewhat pertinent to the theme of my post, which had to do with conservative, evangelical Christianity as it’s been expressed by visitors to the comments section of this site, but I wasn’t ready for just how dead-on appropriate it would be. As I don’t have the time right now to do much transcribing, here are two quick clips. The first involves the differences, in the author’s opinion, between what he terms the “legalistic,” or conservative, and “nonlegalistic,” or liberal, camps of Protestant Christianity:

Posted in Church and State | 35 Comments

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