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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 02:18
Posts: 191
Location: austin, tx
We're all riding around in a state of shock after the election, as I'm sure most of you are. It's so strange to be traveling through a country that's just been taken over by an unholy alliance of religous fundamentalists (whose numbers only seem to be increasing) and corporate cynics.

For any readers from overseas, please know that there are many, many Americans who are desperately opposed to the Bush administration and its policies, and that we haven't given up.

Also, I daresay, there are at least a few Christians left here who are not evangelicals (represent, Episcopalians!), though in darker moments I have to admit that I wouldn't be surprised to see the cross become the new swastika in our time (ie an ancient, powerful, sacred symbol hijacked and perverted by imperial zealots). I studied religion in college, and I've always felt like a spiritual person, but if to be a Christian means to be an adherent to the bible of James Dobson then I'm about ready to become a militant atheist. The fundamentalists' idea of God, and what God 'wants' the world to be like, is insane, and dangerous to everyone.

I think the thing that's most frustrating to me is that I feel like we've passed a turning point as a nation. Hopefully not the point of no return - but a place where we could have turned back and said no, gotten back on our feet again. But instead we've had to watch in horror as our country continues to dismantle itself, to turn a blind eye to the poor and aging, to fill corporate coffers at the expense of ordinary citizens, to take what tax revenue remains and spend it on weapons with which to kill poor people all over the world.

I'm ashamed to be American today. But there are many people and places in this country that I love, and I really, really hope it's not too late for us all.

Love to you -

J


07 Nov 2004 10:04
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i was raised lutheran, which in my experience is not evangilical in the now pejorative sense. in what i have learned, faith is first personal, second familial, third communal and lastly national. i am not sure what the doctrines and dogmas may wish, but nowhere in the new testament is there description of warring nations in the name of god. christ stood and died in the name of love and forgiveness of sins. he did not stand for the imposition of one's will one another person. he wanted change through belief and forgiveness and love, not war and death and imperialism. he said to his desciples (where evangilism seems to come from), go thee therefore among all nations and teach, baptising them in the name of the father and the son and the holy ghost. where does he say, go destroy nations and whole peoples who disagree? he didn't say kill the dissidents. he said, while on the cross, forgive them, father, for they know not what they do. the son of god was crucified, and in the midst of his own execution, which by modern "civilised" standards would be inhuman and unimaginable, he asked his father to forgive his tormentors. a high standard no nationally vocal evangilical seems to be willing to live up to. i hope this nation has not turned a blind corner, but i fear it has. the polarisation taking over is not a rational, fact based disagreement. it is a gut-feeling, irrational belief in black and white. you or i or any logical thinker cannot change the mind of a person whose convictions are based on irrational belief in something intangible. those who i know who voted for w did so because of 'character.' who can quantify such a quality? i cannot. my mother voted for him because he is pro life. i love my mother, but one wooden plank does not make a solid bridge. we have a ruined economy, an intense rich-poor split that seems insurmountable, a corporate nation intent on splitting us further apart, an apathetic, consumerist society who can do little but buy the next diesel jean. there is much change that needs to happen in our country, starting with us. the bottom of the corporate ladder, as it seems, since that is the only measure anymore. thankfully, there is change that can happen even in midst of this mindless, fearstrewn time.
we need to start by forgetting our national fear. there seem to be only amalgous objects for our fears; 'terrorism' (which can include such things as spitting and giving the old half moon) and 'national security' (from what? i have not heard one itemised, concrete, rational list of security issues. back to the rational/irrational dichotomy). if we can forget our fear of dying in car accidents in order to drive to work and the grocery store, than why can't we make the stretch and forget our fear of dying in a bombing. who is the greater cause of fear when on one hand, you have a government telling you everyday to fear not the foreign terrorists who are bent on killing you (which is a bit like telling someone not to look at the ceiling--an old sixth grade camp joke), and on the other hand, an omnipresent but somewhat formless international terrorist body bent on imposing its will? the rational person fears the terrorists themselves, who have proven both will and ability to inflict great strains of death. the irrational person fears the idea of these same people, drilled into his head by a president who wants only to fill his own pockets and those of his friends. relieving this fear is like telling a child that there is no monster in the closet. the child knows this, but it doesn't matter. he is afraid of the monster in his mind, not the one in the closet.
our country has room for improvement, which is good. i only hope we can begin.


07 Nov 2004 17:33

Joined: 31 Oct 2004 19:41
Posts: 1
Location: Sarasota, FL
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I just ask that whatever side you support, i want you all to remember what this man said during the campaign. He promised to cut the deficit in half and he swore he was a friend to the middle class. He siad freedom was on the march and that there wouldn't be a draft. He said he was a friend of the environment and that we wouldn't need to be as reliant on foreign oil in the future. He also said he earned politcal capital and plans to spend it...

The republicans can no longer keep playing the underdog card that they love to play so much, they now have more centralized consolidated raw power than at any time in my life. It can't still be "Clinton's fault" anymore. the republicans are responsible for our country. Hold them accountable. Stay honest.


07 Nov 2004 22:13
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Joined: 08 Mar 2004 23:00
Posts: 26
Location: New York, NY
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Well put Jonathan.

My two cents:
Image


07 Nov 2004 22:41
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Joined: 03 Aug 2004 18:01
Posts: 160
Location: Durham NC
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Well said Jonathan, and I guess I can't say much more than I've said several times other places, but the gist of it is that we need to stick together. We need to resist the reductive rhetoric of red state/blue state, stop talking about moving to Canada (brr) and start working to strengthen and expand our 48%.


14 Nov 2004 18:04
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With this disaster still stinging, I submit that one of the main shortcomings of the left is that we fail to locate our progressive platform in anything in particular. We assert that things like Justice and Equality exist as transcendental forms, without regard for the particular practices that comprise them. The left needs to remember that there is no such thing as Justice apart from just actions. Speaking personally, I don't hold my commitment to social action and equal rights, access to healthcare and public education, strong labor and ending the injustice of capital punishment in opposition to my religious faith, but as the fruits of it. This campaign was pretty poorly run, and part of that was the failure of the dems to ground their platform, which they consistently asserted was looking out the middle class, in any particular set of "values" that would motivate two very wealthy white guys to care about the middle class. Furthermore, why wasn't their campaign looking out for the growing working class as the middle class shrinks? Anyway, there was a great article back in August about religious liberals in The Nation that I thought addressed this issue well. Sorry for rambling.


17 Nov 2004 16:09
jonathan,

i hope you wouldn't write off evangelical christians simply based on bush and his policies. frankly, i'm with you in feeling utterly robbed and violated during these dismal past four years. i also count myself an evangelical christian who has seen the very name become a pseudo bully pulpit for a misguided individual. bush's co-opting of the evangelical moniker is a crime and a serious disservice to believers.

thus, it's pretty easy for centrists such as myself to become an easy target these days. not all evangelicals aim to hammer their religion into the heads of the masses, which, dissapointingly, seems to be the common perception. i wouldn't want beliefs forced on me as much as the next person, and that very foundation of respect is what is so badly needed in the administration. oh yeah, and a certain level of intelligence too.

my two cents...

lee


17 Nov 2004 16:12

Joined: 15 Nov 2004 10:45
Posts: 7
Location: durham-chapel hill, nc
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Sorry, I posted that last "guest" post. I simply forgot to log in and wasn't trying to hide behind a sweetly obfuscating curtain of anonymity and zeros and ones.

perry


17 Nov 2004 16:13
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Speaking of the Evangelical moniker, I found the following definition on Wikipedia...

-------------------------------------
According to the Washington Post, John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron in Ohio, said that despite many variations, evangelicals generally adhere to four core beliefs:

1. The Bible is without error
2. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus and not good works
3. Individuals must accept Jesus as adults
4. All Christians must evangelize
-------------------------------------

To me, religions that claim to be the only way to enlightenment and command their followers to convert others seem inherently antagonistic and dangerous. I don't know. Am I off-base here?


18 Nov 2004 15:56

Joined: 25 Feb 2004 02:18
Posts: 191
Location: austin, tx
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The documentary 'Hell House', about a halloween house of horrors set up by an evangelical church near Dallas, is one of the most interesting films I've seen in a while. It provides a really detailed and fair look at evangelical Christianity through the lens of a single community.

It made me understand the appeal of the evangelicals to a much greater degree than I think I had before - especially the incredible outpourings of emotional support that people in these groups can and do give to each other, and in the mysticism of speaking in tongues etc. It's a community that's beautifully and dangerously alive.

Anybody who wants to talk more about this, I'm up for it.

J


19 Nov 2004 20:24
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Joined: 03 Aug 2004 18:01
Posts: 160
Location: Durham NC
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I saw 'Hell House'. Fascinating, I thought--especially the dedication the kids had to their roles. I was pretty surprised at the confrontational tone of the pastor (?) at the end of the tour, and I guess I'm always interested too in the ways that evangelicals view & present things like rave culture in an effort to scare kids straight. I grew up going to sunday school every week in a tiny church in Iowa, in a town of 200 people, and I remember being taught stuff I later realized was either half true or pretty bad exaggerations. (They really demonized the Soviet Union, for example, as those were the Reagan years--probably not unlike the way Bush's enemies are getting demonized right now.)


20 Nov 2004 23:19
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