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news bulletin January 12, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Episcopal, peace, politics.
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Episcopal News Service – January 12, 2007
Presiding Bishop responds to President Bush’s speech on Iraq

[ENS] Noting that “the road to peace goes through Jerusalem, not Baghdad,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has responded to President George Bush’s January 10 speech on Iraq and related U.S. military activity. The complete text of Jefferts Schori’s statement follows.

Presiding Bishop’s response to President Bush’s speech on Iraq

While I welcome President Bush’s recognition that the situation in Iraq is unacceptable, I am deeply saddened by his failure to address peacemaking in the context of the whole region. It is a mistake to view Iraq only through the prism of terrorism. Others have pointed out that the road to peace goes through Jerusalem, not Baghdad. In order to bring peace to the Middle East, not just Iraq, and the land we Christians call holy, there must be a comprehensive regional plan that culminates in a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. Our country must engage diplomatically not only the U.N., European Union and Russia, but all the nations in the Middle East, including Iran and Syria. Diplomacy, built on a foundation of mutual respect and interest among people of good will, not more troops, can bring an end to this tragic conflict. We continue to pray for our soldiers and their families, as well as for all the people of the Middle East, seeking God’s wisdom in the search for peace with justice, for shalom and salaam.

-The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church


In the words of President Bush to Nancy Pelosi this morning… November 8, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in politics.

“Congresses change, but issues don’t.”

I only have the news reports to inform my opinions – I’m not privy to the conversations our elected leaders hold with one another and therefore have limited information to work with, but I believe with all my heart it is a good thing in the political arena when the balance of power shifts. The voters have said it is time for a change, and perhaps the Democrats can deliver. Perhaps they can’t. Ideologically, the party is a long way from the party that stood for family values and the working individual and equality of opportunity for all so may decades ago, but perhaps they can. I am genuinely glad to read that our President called Nancy Pelosi this morning to invite her to lunch, and I am equally delighted that she accepted the invitation in the spirit of cooperation. Trumpeting one’s success only contributes to ongoing divisiveness and overall meanness.

Overall, I’m most impressed with the state of Arizona. The voters passed a slew of measures that seem to chart a “via media” course, which might not be surprising considering that John McCain is an Episcopalian. 🙂 Arizona approved measures that arose out of frustration with the influx of illegal immigrants, and I believe that overall, I support these. Illegal immigration is a tremendous drain on the economy, but I have had a difficult time in the past reconciling this awareness with my belief that all human beings are entitled to opportunity and decency and respect. I think that overall, I support illegal immigrants not being allowed to draw taxpayer-funded government benefits, but I also know that there are many industries that would not function at their current levels without them and that these individuals for the most part do pay into FICA and Medicare and Social Security. In my mind, the best solution seems to be removing some of the many bureaucratic barriers illegals face to becoming legal, and while they are in the transition process, forcing them to be self-sufficient and turn to private sources of assistance, not relying on public funds to get by. Ideally, this would mean that when they become legal, they wouldn’t need public assistance at that time either – but if they did, they would then be entitled to it. Arizona also raised the state minimum wage and declined to pass an amendment to their state constitution that would ban gay marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. I told husband when the day comes that our family settles in one place, we should go to Arizona. He got that befuddled look on his face that he always gets when I make random statements, and said he didn’t think he’d like the desert. Ah well, another plan up in smoke…!!!

I’m not a Republican…but this is why I’m not a Democrat, either. August 30, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in politics.
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Have a look at Amy Sullivan’s thoughtful piece from Slate on the Democratic Party’s declining appeal to religious voters.

An excerpt:

When Democratic irreligion is the premise, it can be easy to conclude that a liberal politician who talks about religion is insincere or positioning themselves for higher office. (The way the press covers Hillary Clinton, lifelong Methodist and longtime Baptist Sunday School teacher, comes to mind.) Even the party’s own may see talk of faith as pandering. Two years ago, half of Democrats thought that their party was friendly to religion. Now that number has dropped to 39.6 percent, with a 12-point decline among respondents who aren’t affiliated with a religious tradition. These Democrats view the party’s interest in talking to religious voters as a sure betrayal of the party’s principles. Rarely is there an acknowledgment that Democratic politicians—and Democratic voters—hold liberal political views precisely because of their religious beliefs, that caring for the most vulnerable in society and protecting God’s creation are imperatives, too.

Read the whole article here.

The Princess and I had an interesting chat on Friday… August 14, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in politics, The Princess, theology.
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…night after she arrived. She is homeschooled by my mother (and has been for 6 years now), so she has the most incredible vocabulary of any 13 year old I’ve ever known – myself excepted, perhaps. Anyway, she was looking through my DVD’s for something to watch when she stumbled across “Fahrenheit 9-11”. The fact that I am the “family liberal” is something of a running joke. My parents, sister and her husband, brother, and now The Princess are all conservative – so are all my in-laws, so husband is the standout in his family as well. For the record, I consider myself to be a moderate or an independent. I joke that it’s because I actually have an ounce of compassion for people who’ve made some bad choices (having made a few myself!), and they call me a bleeding heart. So it goes…

I don’t know, I guess I thought at 13 she would be more…malleable? But she’s got her opinions and they are SET as far as she’s concerned. She adores Ann Coulter, whom I find to be repulsive simply for her sheer rudeness. Guess what the kid did – she offered to lend me her latest book!! I explained I found her to be completely hateful in the way she expresses herself, and that I preferred not to read her work as she calls liberals “godless”, and I don’t think that I particularly am. Then I told her I’d read it if she’d watch “Fahrenheit”. 🙂

The Princess tried to feel me out on a few other issues…she likes that we agree that people receiving welfare should be accountable for trying to improve their earning capacity, especially after I explained to her that without Medicaid she never would have seen a doctor as a baby and without daycare assistance I might have dropped out of college. We flowed back and forth between political and religious issues, and she asked me whether I thought that people who commit suicide go to hell. I answered an emphatic “absolutely NOT”. Admittedly, I wondered why she was asking, but I’m assuming that it’s something my mom is covering with her in religion class (she’s being raised Catholic by my parents). I told her that I thought when someone commits suicide, God gathers that person in His arms and says “I’m sorry you were in such pain on earth that you felt you had no other choice but this, but you don’t have to be in pain anymore.” I’m not 100% sure she liked my answer, but husband interjected that he believes that God can see through mental illness, and people who commit suicide are depressed, which is one form of mental illness. She said she’d have to think about that. I was SO PROUD to hear that. True, her opinions have been informed by being raised in a conservative family, but she is beginning to differentiate herself from my parents. She may grow up to be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like the rest of them, but I don’t think I have to fear that she won’t have considered the other side of the issues.

I remember being younger, maybe around age 11 or 12… July 4, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Catholic, Episcopal, politics.
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…and discussing Church stuff with my mom (she’s a religious educator by profession). She was taking a moment to teach me about, in her words, the difference between “big T” Traditions and “little t” traditions. She was explaining to me that what is mentioned in the Nicene Creed – the Trinity, the Virgin Mary, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, etc. – are the “big T’s” that all Roman Catholics must believe, and that things like the Church’s teachings on birth control and the death penalty (to name just two) are the “little t’s” where one must pray, do an examination of conscience and reach their own conclusions. I was already an avid reader of her “U.S. Catholic”, a moderate magazine, by this point, and I asked her if this was what was meant by the new term I had recently encountered – “cafeteria Catholic”, i.e. a Catholic who picks and chooses what teachings they will accept and which they won’t.

This led to a discussion of what it means to be both American and Catholic. I knew, of course, from lessons both at home and at school all about how our nation had achieved independence, and had been taught that as a result of our nation’s grand experiment and the freedoms we are guaranteed by the Constitution, Americans are a unique breed among the cultures of the world. We believe we can affect our own destiny, and we have a tendency to mutiny against official pronouncements about what we must and must not do, think, or say. Mom told me that the cultures of Europe and Africa and Asia were different – they were older, more patriarchal, more likely to respect the all-male Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, and that as a result, Rome didn’t understand Americans and had always had a contentious relationship with us. She explained this mistaken notion of “split loyalties” between the nation and the Church was why it was such a big deal when John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, was elected President. She also theorized that it is the reason that we will never see an American pope

As I take time to reflect on this today, America’s 230th birthday, I find it extremely interesting that as an adult, God then led me to the Episcopal Church, whose legislative process inspired the American model of a bicameral legislature and a system of checks and balances between the branches of government. And I am so grateful that I live and breathe and love in this country that guarantees me the freedom to agree or disagree with my democratically elected government. I pray for those who are not so fortunate, for all who are abused and oppressed both in this country and around the world, and for all who will wake up this morning and go to sleep this night in fear. May we take the blessings that our freedom brings us and use them to work for the betterment of life for all people around the world. Amen.

And now, for your pleasure, a quote from the 1996 summer movie blockbuster “Independence Day”, starring Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller:

“Y’know, this was supposed to be my weekend off, but noooo. You got me out here draggin’ your heavy ass through the burnin’ desert with your dreadlocks stickin’ out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with an attitude, actin’ all big and bad… and what the hell is that smell? I could’ve been at a barbecue! But I ain’t mad.”

i’m a faithful reader of i have ordinary addictions… April 21, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in blogging, friends, funny, politics.
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…a blog by a very interesting girl named mandy who is a dreamer, idealist, traveler, and pop culture nerd. i’ve always wanted to travel, and thanks to her husband’s airline employee discount, she actually gets to, so there’s a little bit of vicarious living through her adventures. anyways, yesterday, she posted a link to an article on salon.com that was written by a classic east coast liberal – someone who is embarassed by the pledge of allegiance, suspicious of the military, and who called the ACLU when flyers for religious activities came home in her kid’s backpack (i dunno, she could have just, *gasp* thrown it away, maybe?) mandy was infuriated by the article, as was i. we both have socially liberal viewpoints on issues like gay rights, and while she hasn’t specified her views on so-called “conservative” hot-button issues, i’m sensing we may be similar there as well. the point of this ramble – and there is one – is to share the funny thing that happened in the comments to her post.


introspectreangel @ 3:29PM 2006-04-20

wow, that article was completely infuriating! i, too, grew up in a very republican family with a long history of military service, but developed more left-leaning viewpoints as i got older. what maybe makes us different is that my family was religious, and i have carried that into adulthood with me. what some people find strange (in light of the way that the christian right has hijacked the media and now presumes to speak for all church-going people) is that i developed these views within the context of my faith, i.e. feed the hungry, visit the sick, clothe the naked – in short, love one another. inclusion – it’s a lot less hassle than trying to figure out who you want to keep out of the club.

the other day, i was driving with my brother-in-law, who is a staunch republican, and he made some comment about the trees. his wife promptly said (jokingly), “you’re conservative – you hate trees!” i piped up from the back seat, “you know, it IS possible to be conservative and still be a good steward of God’s creation.” he said, “i know!” and i replied, ” just like it’s possible to be a liberal and care about family values.” he scoffed – literally. it made me sad. the extreme right and the extreme left have thoroughly succeeded in their campaigns to keep americans alienated and isolated – the “anti-science” right from our foreign neighbors by pushing an agenda of “might is right” and the “anti-religion” left from our next-door neighbors by ignoring and belittling the things that most average folks value – family, community, and keeping a bigger portion of the money we earn.

Mandy @ 3:38PM 2006-04-20

I know how you feel… the two sides have become so far apart that they don’t even have a perspective on what the other side believes. Lefties don’t chew up fetuses for Satan, and Righties don’t crucify gays for Jesus.

Generally. 🙂

Also, to maybe clarify my point, my family wasn’t anti-religious, we just didn’t go to church. My parents were very concerned with morals and all that, they just didn’t bring religion much into it. I am, and continue to be, a pretty religious person. It does make me really mad when, like you said, the religious right presumes to speak for all Christians. They certainly don’t speak for me! My version of Christianity is very, very different from theirs.


i was absolutely in stitches of laughter after reading this, and was going to comment accordingly, but the comments proceeded to take a more serious turn with explanations of the ideologies with which different people were raised and one comment that perhaps we should be secure enough in our viewpoints to not care what others think. which is TRUE and all, but not very funny. so i sent mandy an email on myspace:

“well, until these comments took a more serious turn, i WAS going to say that you had illustrated my point beautifully. i’m a moderate for the simple fact that i absolutely ADORE grilled fetuses with olive oil and a little lemon juice, especially as an appetizer before i head out to a gay crucifixion, which in these parts of the state we hold on Saturdays, specifically to desecrate the Jewish sabbath. then i thought about it some more, and i thought it might seem…well, a little graphic for your blog. :)”

at which point she virtually demanded that i post this in the real comments, “to bring some levity to the situation”. so i did. but if you are offended, just remember that it is all her fault.


November 3, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, politics.

mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Republicans… 🙂

Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers October 29, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in Episcopal, politics, theology, thoughtful.
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Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers
By John C. Danforth

ENS 070105-1

Editors note: John C. Danforth is an Episcopal priest and the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He served for 18 years as a Republican Senator from Missouri. His Op-Ed article “Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers” appeared in the June 17, 2005 edition of the New York Times. It has been reprinted with permission.

[ENS, ST. LOUIS, Mo.] — It would be an oversimplification to say that America’s culture wars are now between people of faith and nonbelievers. People of faith are not of one mind, whether on specific issues like stem cell research and government intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, or the more general issue of how religion relates to politics.

In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions.

It is important for those of us who are sometimes called moderates to make the case that we, too, have strongly held Christian convictions, that we speak from the depths of our beliefs, and that our approach to politics is at least as faithful as that of those who are more conservative. Our difference concerns the extent to which government should, or even can, translate religious beliefs into the laws of the state.

People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God’s truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action.

So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God’s kingdom, one that includes efforts to “put God back” into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.

When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube.

When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors’ lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.

We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.

Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.

For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith.

Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues.

In the decade since I left the Senate, American politics has been characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality. I do not think it is a stretch to suggest a relationship between the two.

To assert that I am on God’s side and you are not, that I know God’s will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God’s kingdom is certain to produce hostility.

By contrast, moderate Christians see ourselves, literally, as moderators. Far from claiming to possess God’s truth, we claim only to be imperfect seekers of the truth.

We reject the notion that religion should present a series of wedge issues useful at election time for energizing a political base. We believe it is God’s work to practice humility, to wear tolerance on our sleeves, to reach out to those with whom we disagree, and to overcome the meanness we see in today’s politics.

For us, religion should be inclusive, and it should seek to bridge the differences that separate people. We do not exclude from worship those whose opinions differ from ours.

Following a Lord who sat at the table with tax collectors and sinners, we welcome to the Lord’s table all who would come. Following a Lord who cited love of God and love of neighbor as encompassing all the commandments, we reject a political agenda that displaces that love.

Christians who hold these convictions ought to add their clear voice of moderation to the debate on religion in politics.

Note: The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, and the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) http://www.episcopalchurch.org/eppn are always working to ensure that the voices of Episcopalians throughout the country are heard during debates on public policy issues.The Office of Government Relations is based on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and brings the positions of the Episcopal Church to our nation’s lawmakers. The staff meets directly with government leaders, works with media, builds relationships with Members of Congress and staff, and forms coalitions of both religious and secular interest groups to further the Church’s positions. It coordinates EPPN, a nationwide grassroots network of Episcopalians, who call and write their members of Congress and the Administration to advocate positions of the Church. It is part of the Peace and Justice Ministries cluster headquartered at the Episcopal Church Center, located in New York City.

i like "quotation marks" September 20, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in politics, war.

i don’t subscribe to the rhetoric or the propoganda on either side. i can’t quote stats, or forward you “secret” emails from a journalist who is in the know about what is going on at the highest levels of our government. i may not be “informed” or “responsible”. i haven’t been to camp casey or to camp reality.

all i know is over 1,900 american soldiers and somewhere between 25,000 and 29,000 civilians are dead. what i don’t know is why. maybe because i choose not to be “informed” by the “liberal media”.

i don’t like death statistics. i don’t like that people are dying in the war, or from natural disasters such as hurricane katrina or january’s tsunami, or from starvation in africa, or starvation in texas for that matter. i am sick to my stomach over the hateful words and accusations that fly back and forth between “conservatives” and “liberals”, when all it comes down to in my world is this: people are dying. people are homeless, and hungry, and heartsick, and grieving. and there is no reason to have blind hatred for anyone or to think that anyone “deserves” pain.

Jon Stewart on the Bush Administration and Katrina : “Anyone who doesn’t want to play the blame game, is usually to blame.”

damn! June 27, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in faith, funny, politics.
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