Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Coulter’s mouth helps no one.
May 8, 2007

Submitted by Nathan Lean, Director of Rock with Barack

Ann Coulter, the Republican mouthpiece and media maggot has done it again. The conservative columnist recently said that Obama’s urging poll numbers are helping Al-Qaida, proving to people with brains that extremism is not a concept limited to terrorism.
“I think this is Newsweek doing more push polling for al-Qaida,” Coulter said in an interview recently.

I thought it would be appropriate to show our readers the types of comments Coulter has made in the past as to draw realization to fact that she is really Rush Limbaugh in a dress.

“I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”

“It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war”

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m – so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”

(speaking about the death of Princess Diana) “Her children knew she’s sleeping with all these men. That just seems to me, it’s the definition of ‘not a good mother.’ Is everyone just saying here that it’s okay to ostentatiously have premarital sex in front of your children? [Diana is] an ordinary and pathetic and confessional – I’ve never had bulimia! I’ve never had an affair! I’ve never had a divorce! So I don’t think she’s better than I am.”

The “backbone of the Democratic Party” is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.”

(speaking to a disabled Vietnam vet) “People like you caused us to lose that war.”

Perhaps Ann Coulter is afraid that her Republican buddies don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected in 2008 and therefore is doing all she can now to trash talk the man who she will soon refer to as Mr. President.

Personally, I am thankful Barack Obama is a man of hope and unity, not division and cynicism. I personally believe Coulter deserves the fate of Don Imus … forced extinction.

We’ll be praying for you Ann.

“Show Me the Funny!” The press, policy wonks, red meat and America’s need to be entertained
May 1, 2007

The first post of May comes from our contributing blogger, Linda Hansen

“Where’s the beef?” “All sizzle–no steak!”

That’s what we’re hearing. We get it from right-wing media, from mainstream media hankering for the story they want, when they want it. Barack Obama, they say, may be trying to parlay personal qualities, outsider creds and sentiment into an easy glide to the Oval Office. He looks good, sounds good, they say, but where’s the substance? Where are the vaunted position papers, the policy-speak in loquacious detail, every answer to every possible issue facing a troubled nation? We cannot afford, they tell us, another president like George W.; a neophyte who needs on-the-job training.

Give me a break.

If the mainstream media had been half as invested in knowing the facts–the “beef”–about the policy, strategy and purpose behind the Bush Doctrine in Iraq and the ensuing rush to war, we wouldn’t be bogged down in an endless, disastrous war today. If the press had done its job, we’d have known the difference between the truth and the lies, the whole story and the cherry-picked version offered up by the White House. But they did no serious digging, failed to demand answers to hard questions. For the most part, the media served as overpaid stenographers for the Bush administration, slavishly copying down what they were told and running it as fact.

Now some of them are carping about the Obama campaign. They want policy spelled out and they want it with all due speed. How do we respond?

Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. He didn’t muddle his way through college, scraping by academically, partying hearty. Barack Obama finished Columbia University and Harvard Law School without the safety net of wealth. He had to perform. And he performed well enough to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review; the first African American to hold that office. His peers, who elected him, called him “an impressive student, a natural leader.”

He worked with the poor, the disenfranchised in Chicago. He practiced civil rights law. He served as Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He served in the Illinois State Legislature. He’s no lightweight.

Barack Obama can pronounce the word “nuclear.” He knows the difference between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim. He’s an intellectual, a gifted communicator, a candidate whose commitment to economic parity, to social justice, is firmly rooted in his life experience. Real time in the street with real people. He gets it.

Here’s the truth, you latecomer media hardliners: You want a policy wonk? Really? We gave you a serious policy wonk in 2000. Al Gore gave you policy–up front and in detail. What did you do? You ridiculed him. He was, you snickered, like the smartest guy in the classroom–the one who always knew the right answers, the nerd who wore a pocket protector and thick glasses. Nobody likes a know-it-all, you said, but everybody likes the guy they’re comfortable with, the one who makes them feel good. Everyone likes the “regular guy” they can hang out with, have a cold one with, the one who doesn’t bore them to death with information. Like, say, happy-go-lucky George W. What an endorsement.

We offered you another policy wonk in 2004. It didn’t work then, either.

Americans don’t jump on the position paper bandwagon. Hard news goes the way of the dinosaur while Britney (with or without underwear), Paris and Anna Nicole grab the headlines and the imagination of a public that prizes entertainment over information. We like our sex and scandal served straight-up. The politics-of-the-gutter, smears, fears, half-truths, outright lies–all of it sells better than real news. Or real policy.

We’re offering you another policy wonk for 2008. But this time we’re offering one smart enough to know he must first capture the imagination and the hearts of American voters. Barack Obama will deliver the “steak” when the time is right. He’s smart enough to know there is no easy, black and white, simplistic answer to every problem we face as a nation. He’s smart enough to take the time necessary to offer sound solutions. He’s unlike George W., who sees everything in Public Policy With Dick and Jane’s Pet Goat terms and fails to consider nuance–or any dissenting opinion. Obama is a thoughtful, intelligent candidate who will draw on the best minds available, think things through, imagine the possible unintended consequences of policy actions. Position papers will come soon enough.

Note to mainstream complainers, Fox News, et al: The Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, told us he’d pay down the debt, balance the budget, increase military spending (to keep us safe) and lower taxes–all painlessly done–within his first term. Bush 41 promised NO NEW TAXES. Dubyah pledged to “Restore honor and dignity to the White House.” He would rectify, he said, a U.S. military stretched too thin worldwide and put an end to a ruinous policy of “nation-building.” Not one of them kept their word. There’s your “steak.” So much for “positions.”

You won’t push us, you won’t scare us and you won’t dictate the terms of a relevant candidacy. We’ve had quite enough of politics-as-usual according to your rules. We can do better. And, with Barack Obama, we will.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sects–But Were Araid to Ask
April 12, 2007

Thoughts on sects by contributing blogger Linda Hansen

Surge or no surge, Baghdad is burning. And there’s a reason. Sects in the city. Sunnis and Shi’ites are killing each other just for being, well, Sunnis and Shi’ites–and both sides in this civil war are killing Americans.

If Dubyah had been a student of history, he’d have seen it coming. If he’d had the intellectual curiosity or the competence necessary to lead this nation, he’d have taken the time to learn a little something about the culture, the people of Iraq, before he invaded. Maybe if he’d done his job, been a little smarter, thousands of Iraqis and Americans would have been spared. And maybe our troops wouldn’t be caught in the middle of a religious civil war today.

The Sunnis and the Shia have been at each others’ throats for nearly 1400 years. It all started in 632 A.D. when their Prophet, Muhammad, died. They couldn’t agree on a successor.

Shia Muslims believed that, since Muhammad was the Chosen of God, his bloodline was holy. True divinity–by sacred sanction–ran in the family. It’s understandable. For centuries Europeans held similar beliefs about their leaders. The Divine Right of Kings, they called it. You didn’t mess around with inherent righteousness. Seems God was never too busy to pump up the red cell octane in the veins of royalty everywhere. Shi’ites had double indemnity in making their case for succession-by-blood: Muhammad’s daughter married Muhammad’s cousin, Ali. They would produce an infallible line of Imams for Muslims. It was a done deal.

But Sunni Muslims had other ideas. They liked the notion of choosing a successor from among their most trusted religious leaders. No matter whose blood ran in his veins.

Where was the divinity in that? Some irate fundamentalist Shi’ite probably said something like “The only way to heaven is through the Son of the Prophet. Or through the daughter and cousin, in this case.” To which some equally strident Sunni hollered “Who died and left you the sole authority on who gets into heaven?” And the war was on.

Clearly George W. didn’t know all this. His worldview is amazingly narrow–a “Don’t mess with Texas!” sort of thing. If someone on his staff told him the facts, Dubyah must have believed he could Shock and Awe ’em into getting along. We bombed and invaded. Surely we meant well. After all the fires went out, after the bodies were buried and the rubble was swept into a tidy pile, after the Victory Parade where millions of happy Iraqis threw flowers at our feet, we’d get rid of all those nasty WMD. Then we’d give ’em our version of democracy and convert ’em all to Christianity. Who wouldn’t want to embrace the system of government and the religious faith that brought them all that peace, prosperity and freedom? Presto change-o! Everyone would be friends. We’d have permanent military bases in the Middle East and control of Iraqi oil! Hooray for our side! Hooray for Halliburton and Exxon-Mobile! Other nations in the region would be so impressed they’d fall in line like so many born-again dominoes. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. We didn’t learn a thing from Vietnam, where a total failure to grasp the complexities of the culture doomed us to lose the war–even if it had been a just one. History repeats through ignorance. Ignorance breeds haste and hubris. Ignorance tainted U.S. foreign policy in Iraq from day one. And the 1400 year long holy war between Iraqis rages on.

Bush and his rubberstamp Congress lacked the foresight to look before they leaped. We need a president who won’t make that kind of mistake. We need a man who recognized, from the start, that this war was unwinnable; that we’d find ourselves impossibly mired in a debacle with no positve way out.

In 2002 Barack Obama made his position crystal clear: This war was a bad idea. He was against it. He knew the difference between “a necessary war and a dumb war.”

Enough said.

An Immoral Minority?
April 2, 2007

And so it came to pass that after weeks and months of antagonizing, blaming, ridiculing, and blasting former President Bill Clinton’s “immoral behavior” during the “Days of Monica,” former Speaker of the House and possible ’08 contender Newt Gingrich admits that he was having an affair at the same time. Sadly, I am not at all surprised. This is the nature of the knee-jerk right.

Gingrich said: “The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge,” inferring that his admonishment and investigation of Clinton had nothing to do with sexual misconduct and everything to do with lying under oath. Apparently lying in general is an okay but lying under oath is not. Did he want a standing ovation for that nonsense comment? Fast-forward three days. Jerry Falwell, of “Moral Majority” fame, invites Gingrich to speak at Liberty University’s Commencement Exercises. Falwell said: “His most recent book, “Rediscovering God in America,” is a brilliant essay that highlights the unique and obvious Christian influence that inspired our nation’s dawning.” Wait… what!?

In case you don’t know about Falwell, I’d like to note the following comments previously made by him at this point. Read with caution.

• “I think the Muslim faith teaches hate”.

• “There are almost as many alcoholics as there are negroes.”

•”He is purple – the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

• “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen”. (Referring to September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.)

Last but not least,

• “I am a Christian.”

I can only shiver in fear when I think about what Gingrich and Falwell will discuss prior to their rendezvous in Lynchburg. A possible 2008 Presidential run?

I happen to consider myself a believer. I tend to support the separation of church and state for many reasons, though the “tag teaming” of Gingrich and Falwell’s “moral majority” gives me more reason to support it. Faith is a personal journey, not a political mandate. I can’t for the life of me, figure out why the religious right wants to impose their confined and defined belief systems on a nation that is as diverse, if not more so than any other.

Now comes the question of 2008 Democratic contenders. Have you heard the religion of Clinton, Edwards, or Richardson mentioned? Nope. Yet, people are all over Barack because his family has a multi-cultural background that has had exposure to “the rest of the world”. Why does it matter whether Barack is a Christian or not? As long as there is separation of church and state it shouldn’t matter. Are we that desperate to find someone who fits our defined boxes and lives within the lines we draw that we are willing to attack the fact that other religions exist in the world and –get this—may have something very valid to offer. It’s gotten so bad that the Republican Party has begun to pick out their own people, throwing stones at Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. It’s as if they think people who are different have contagious diseases that can’t be cured.

For the record, and for those that care –Barack Obama is a Christian. Bottom line.

So, this brings me to my closing argument. If Newt and Jerry want to rant and rave about folks being “immoral” and “un-Godly”; if the Radical Right chooses to separate politicians based on religious beliefs; if the “God-factor” is going to determine the election and these politicians choose to talk the talk, why not walk the walk too? The walk of empathy rather than exclusion, the walk of grace rather than condemnation, the walk of kindness rather than rejection, the walk of embracing differences rather than pointing the finger. Aside from that, nothing matters. I look forward to a point where we no longer feel the need to confine God within the boundaries of our traditions, cultures, communities, and political philosophies.

Thanks for reading.

Nathan Lean
Executive Director
RockwithBarack.com