Thursday, January 29

The The End of Common Sense

In Washington State, three boys were suspended from their public elementary school for bringing miniature toy guns from their G.I. Joe action figures onto the campus. The little cast plastic toys were all between one to three inches long--less than half the size of a pencil--but a spokesman for Bemiss Elementary School in Spokane, steadfastly asserted that the administration will stand by its “zero-tolerance policy” on weapons, which does not specify the type or size. Hmm. OK.

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

A prayer of confession offered by a Republican member of the Arizona state House of Representatives has offended a group of Democratic lawmakers who denounced such tokens of repentance as partisan, disrespectful and divisive. Rep. Doug Quelland of Phoenix asked the Lord to forgive himself, other lawmakers, and the nation for sanctioning such things as child-killing abortion procedures, lotteries that tax the poor, and sexual practices that debase morals and families. Yeah, I guess that is rather hateful--especially when considered from the Nietzschean transvaluation of values that is modern political correctness.

Wrong Again?

Former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay made international headlines yesterday when he said "we were almost all wrong" about the issue and it was "highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed militarized chemical and biological weapons" in Iraq. Well, it looks like even in saying that he may be wrong. According to Iraq's foreign minister Saddam Hussein did in fact have weapons of mass destruction despite the fact that inspectors have thus far been unable to find. Hoshiyar Zebari said, "I have every belief that some of these weapons could be found as we move forward. They have been hidden in certain areas. The system of hiding was very sophisticated." Gee, what a surprise. Kay, wrong again.

Politicizing the Olympics

A hard-luck story about a Palestinian swimmer trying to make it to the Olympics this summer in Athens has been repeated again and again and again, ad nauseum--in the Washington Post, London Times, New York Times, Guardian, Minnesota Star Tribune, Newsday, and the Chicago Tribune, among many others. MSNBC picked it up, as did CNN, the AP, and Reuters. It has been reported in at least 60 countries in newspapers, radio, television, and on the Internet. The only problem with the story is that it is not true--well that, and the fact that none of the media outlets are actually willing to admit that it is not true.

The swimmer in question, 17 year-old Raad Aweisa, really does exist. So does the back yard pool in impoverished East Jerusalem. But, all of the other facts in the story are either altogether false or wildly exaggerated. Raad is actually nowhere close to qualifying for the Olympics--there are minimum times to meet and he is seconds away (which is an awful lot in swimming). Even his best times are more than a little suspect. He was never pressured to leave his old facility. And there are several other Olympic facilities he could be using if he wished. The fact is, his handlers are attempting to use Raad's fabricated story for political advantage--the antithesis of the purpose and mission of the Olympics. And the media has become the willing dupe of those sordid handlers. But then what else is new?

Reformed Doggerelmatic Theology

My dear friend, Ben House, sent me this bit of verse satirizing the propensity of Reformed Christians to devour one another. Variously entitled Reformed Doggerelmatic Theology or The Next 10 Points of Calvinism to Keep Us Pure or Why We Lose the Culture Wars or Why Firing Squads in a Circle are Effective or Ways to Treat Wounds With Salt. It is all too apt, alas:

Are you called, O Theologue, to be the only true servant of God?
Then bring a charge of heresy again an almost faithful synod.

Show forth a truly doctrinal Reformed purity,
Make Armageddon of a most obtuse theological obscurity.

In the lonely crusade of defending truth,
Eschew love, unity, and such lesser points so uncouth.

Never strain to hear a loose confessional gnat
When whole camels may be gulped via Internet.

Consider yourself Luther, Calvin, Knox personified,
Gathering faggots for brethren Servetusied.

Better burn a brother than hug a heretic;
The postmil few are a destined most narrowed clique.

Scorn the pastor who read books with deviations,
For such always leads to Unitarian congregations.

Sniff for faint smells of Rome or Canterbury,
Next they’ll insert in the catechism a ‘Hail Mary.’

Let Jehu guide your war chariot furiously,
Notice Armianians winning the lost curiously.

Let dim the Puritan’s claim of history’s glory,
For downcast angels thrill at hearing your own story.

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