February 17, 2006

File Under: This Has to Be Parody?

This can't be real. Can it?

If this country's legislature and judiciary are supposed to reflect the values and beliefs of The People, then send them a message that they are WAY off course!

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Join the millions of Americans who believe that President Bush’s faith- based administration presents the best hope for America’s future. The future is in your hands. Stand up and be counted!

Order a BushFish for yourself or a loved one today.

Found the link here.

Posted by binky at February 17, 2006 10:37 AM | TrackBack | Posted to You Can't Make This Stuff Up


Yet another way in which Bush is unlike Lincoln (who practically had a stroke when some Virginia slaves kneeled before him) or Muslims (who a firm stance against icons, and equating others with the prophet) - and it would seem to me Christians who've actually read the commandments. How in the hell does this fit with Christian views on those?

This is a joke - right?

Posted by: Armand at February 17, 2006 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

It does not appear to be a joke. Look at the links page. (Landover Baptist isn't listed.)

Posted by: jacflash at February 17, 2006 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

ahhh, landover baptist. haven't thought of that little gem of a website in a while.

Posted by: moon at February 17, 2006 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Honestly, the Church has been going downhill since the Constantinian settlement. To quote Stanley Hauerwas:

"When Caesar becomes a member of the Church the enemy becomes internalized."

The conflation of political power with the advancement of the Gospel is dangerous, at best. If this was the path we were supposed to take, don't you think Christ would have done so? Sadly, this is a sympton of the Church becoming completely powerless (in part thanks to the splintering of Protestant churches which lack any sort of real theological grounding). Our church communities lack any sort of Biblical compass, so we're forced to hitch our wagons to political parties to advance our visions.

Posted by: bmj at February 17, 2006 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Something that really struck me when I was home a few weeks ago was the transformation in our neighborhood church. It's gone through some tough times since I left, struggling through a generation dying off and fears over whether it will be dissolved for lack of membership. The solution to that problem was to partner the church with another congregation in the same situation. All well and good? Except that the other congregation offered services in a different language, and many of its congregants were of a different ethnic and national origin from the white bread church I grew up in. Rather than generate a new melding of congregations in christian charity, what came out of it was an uneasy detente with parallel operations, and most interactions left to two uneasy executive committees.

The thing that struck me most, however, was the degree to which these normal, middle class methodists had become militant. No, militant isn't the right word. My family aren't the type to go out and protest. But the objects of religion were larger, and more aggressive. The bibles are big, and prominent, with swords on the cover. I remember as a kid, my mom had the Good News Bible, with a plain black cover, some 1970s modern looking typeface. It seemed to emphasize that what was important was what was inside and didn't need agressive advertising. The bible my mom has on the coffee table now is huge, easily four times the size of the old one (and it's not large type) with fancy gold pages and all the bells and whistles. It screams "look at me I am powerful!" as if to reinforce the feeling that christian people are under assault and need to show and use their power as a defense.

The outside view doesn't really show that much change, but the sense of fear and defensiveness and resulting agressiveness was palpable.

Posted by: binky at February 17, 2006 01:14 PM | PERMALINK

it's funny that with all the careful coding bush is able to assemble just enough votes to win. but with his personal story of christian redemption and his careful rhetorical triangulation, the people he's really gotten excited are the evangelical fundamentalists, and because he's been so careful to speak to them i think they are the only ones truly galvanized by his reckless rhetoric of culture war and values crisis and so forth. so while a whole bunch of his voting bloc votes for him tepidly, he -- perhaps inadvertantly -- has engendered a sort of militantism among the more fundamentalist christians.

there were a couple of really good articles in last month's atlantic, and this one (teaser only without subscription) is perhaps the best of the lot, taking on the idea that we are a polarized country by more carefully dividing the electorate into eight or ten discrete blocks, the center of whom show a powerful mandate for moderacy that has been skillfully splintered by electoral politics. This isn't really a new idea, but this article, as well as its companion pieces in the issue, really delved into the phenomenon with eye-opening sophistication.

Posted by: moon at February 17, 2006 01:39 PM | PERMALINK

Moon, I'm not sure if you were addressing my comment, but if so, you missed my point. I wasn't talking about militant fundamentalist christians. I was talking about garden variety suburban methodists, whose objective environment is little different, but whose fear is increased.

Posted by: binky at February 17, 2006 01:50 PM | PERMALINK

i recognize the thrust of what you're saying, i think, though admittedly i was riffing in a different direction.

that said, i wonder whether militantism is one area in which trickle-down really works. perhaps the the fundie rhetoric doesn't contribute to a siege mentality among more moderate christians. i wouldn't self-identify as a christian, but i hear plenty of the siege rhetoric. if i were a christian, and i heard it this often, perhaps i'd start to believe it. and i suppose the diminution of your parish, and the uncomfortable commingling of parishes it has prompted, merely reaffirms the fear that the numbers are dwindling, that america is an inhospitable place for christians.

dunno. just thinking out loud, really. bmj can speak to this far more ably than i could hope to.

Posted by: moon at February 17, 2006 01:57 PM | PERMALINK

But that's the thing, no one was attacking the parish. The old people died off. And most of the young people (who are now older) had children who didn't stay in the community. It's not that the kids (who would now have kids) didn't stay in the church, they just didn't stay around. So, the church itself grew (in the area) by establishing these new hispanic congregations, but they weren't big enough to sustain separate churches. So the church administration combined them. No net gain or loss, but different. I should say I am not sure about the total numbers of adherents etc in the area, but my sense is that the overall picture for the methodists in the larger local area (say, the county) isn't any worse off, but the demogrphic shifts by neighborhood have shifted the viability of this one particular church. And a not insignificant part of the whole equation is socioeconomic/ethnic makeup of the neighborhood and congregation. IMO, of course.

Posted by: binky at February 17, 2006 02:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'll let Hauerwas speak about Christian warfare.

I think, however, binky's methodists are still confusing the political battle with the larger spiritual battle. It's easier to be at war politically because it's simply a rhetorical battle. More often than not, these militant fundagelicals believe that if they stand "firm" against gay marriage and abortion, they are doing their part. Sadly, at the same time, they're living the materialist, consumerist life that we really should be fighting against. Truthfully, these "battles" are better waged by living the Gospel daily, not necessarily fighting a perceived evil. Christians should resist the disorders of the age personally, and hope that it will spill over to family and community.

Posted by: bmj at February 17, 2006 03:27 PM | PERMALINK

Via Get Religion.

It seems the fundagelical natives (at least some of them) are getting restless. Not all right-leaning Christians are on board with the Bush agenda, and it could be interesting to see how the Republican party tries to coax them back.

If the Green Party was smart it might try to pick up some of these folks, especially the more environmentally-friendly. In 2000, and again in 2004, many more traditionalist conservative Christians voted Green because nationally the party had an acceptable abortion plank in their platform.

Posted by: bmj at February 19, 2006 07:07 AM | PERMALINK
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