aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Issue the subpoenas! II
BROOKE GLADSTONE: ...a few years ago, two communications professors, Donald Shields and John Cragan, had a hunch that something odd was afoot in justice, so they set out to catalog federal investigations and indictments of some 375 elected officials. Cragan was struck by what he found.
JOHN CRAGAN: What we found is that about seven to 8 out of 10 times they investigated a Democrat over a Republican. And the statistical analysis says that the chances of that happening by random, about one in ten-thousand. There are roughly 50 percent Democrats and 41 percent Republicans and 9 percent Independents nationally, so if they were doing their job, we should have found an investigation rate of that same ratio.
Instead, we found 79 percent Democratic, about 17 percent Republican and the rest of the few percents Independent.
God, gays, Judas and a bloodthirsty God
In his WaPo column today, God and His Gays, Harold Meyerson looks at the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, who wrote in his blog last month that scientific evidence suggests that gays are born that way - but there is biblical justification to use hormonal science to fix them.
Meyerson observes that:
Mohler’s deity, in short, is the God of Double Standards: a God who enforces the norms and fears of a world before science, a God profoundly ignorant of or resistant to the arc of American history, which is the struggle to expand the scope of the word “men” in our founding declaration that “all men are created equal.” This is a God who in earlier times was invoked to defend segregation and, before that, slavery.
This is a God whom vast numbers of this nation’s self-professed believers (not to mention its nonbelievers, such as I) neither heed nor like very much, particularly the young, who in growing numbers support gay marriage and certainly don’t consider gay coupling any more sinful than they do straight coupling.
Meyerson’s reluctance to believe people will accept “the God of Double Standards” reminds me of a Fresh Air interview with religion scholars Elaine Pagels and Karen King about their new book, Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity.
These two scholars tell of early Christians’ - on the losing side of history - reluctant to accept the notion of a bloodthirsty God:
Ms. PAGELS: I’d like to go back, too, to the question, you know, why would, you know, finding meaning in the death of Jesus. The fact is that as Karen and I were thinking about it, we realize that this is what all of the gospels do. I mean, these are people after the fact, after the fact of this brutal execution saying, `What does it mean?’ And “gospel” means good news so the question is what kind of meaning can you find in this kind of story, and all of the gospels look for that.
GROSS: Now, if you just look at the gospel of Judas, is Jesus’ body resurrected?
Ms. PAGELS: After the death of Jesus, we know that many people quit the movement because they said they just thought they were wrong. They gave up. Then, as you know, some people said he was alive and the stories about what--how he was alive, some people said he was physically alive, some people said they saw him in a dream or a vision or something like that. And so the stories, many of them in the New Testament suggest that his body came out of the grave and that became what most people think of as the Easter story, you know.
This text takes a very different point of view and says, no, Jesus is alive, yes, but it’s not about a body getting out of a grave. It’s about the spirit that lives even when the body is killed.
GROSS: So, do you think if you were actually able to ask the person who wrote this gospel that they would tell you they did not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus?
Ms. PAGELS: Yes, what we love about this text, what is adventurous about looking at gospels like this or the gospel of Mary or the gospel of Thomas, is that they don’t give you the answers that Christians think they expect, like Jesus died for your sins or Jesus rose from the dead, you know, or this kind of thing. They will say, yes, we’re Christians but they take the gospel to mean something quite different and we realize that there were many ways of exploring it, and that’s what we lost when we lost all these other texts.
GROSS: So there’s no reference in the gospel of Judas to Jesus dying for the sins of others?
Ms. PAGELS: Many Christians think that, you know--what does it mean to be a Christian? It means you believe that Jesus died for your sins, that God loves the world and sacrificed Jesus to show how much he loves the world. This is a Christian who says, `Well, what kind of God are you talking about then? I mean, are you saying that God wants to--God will not forgive sins unless his own son is tortured and killed in a horrible way? I mean, is this a bloodthirsty God like those gods that wanted human sacrifice like the Inca gods or something like that? So this author says that’s a horrible picture of God.
Does it suck?
My objection to Comedy Central’s video vs YouTube
I’d like to post last night’s Colbert Report opening monologue (on Stephen’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, Americone Dream). I’d even endure the awful ad implementation to do it, but apparently Viacom’s Motherlode producers don’t think that clip merits inclusion in their “Fresh Stephen” collection.*
Given the Viacom lawsuit and takedown order, I won’t bother searching YouTube. I’m confident that if it were up to fans the clip would be there. So even if Viacom has come up with a nifty new embeddable video player, it doesn’t solve their problem. Their problem is that they don’t trust their fans; they want only to own, control and monetize them. I’m no fan of that.
* If the clip is on the Comedy Central site, that’s another problem. I can’t find it. I’ve never had that problem on YouTube.
LATER: Found it. But can’t figure out how to link to it.
Issue the subpoenas!
...some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts. It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials…
I offer two words in response: Whitewater. Impeachment.