Monday, August 15, 2011

Judgment and condemnation

Church ladyIt was fascinating to watch Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, as host David Gregory asked some really tough questions of her. One of the parts that really struck me was when he asked her about her views concerning same sex marriage and homosexuality. From the New York Daily News:

She stammered a bit on "Meet the Press"
after David Gregory asked her if her view of gay marriage was the same thing she expressed in 2004 when she said being gay was "part of Satan."
"I'm not running to be anyone's judge. I do stand very--”
Gregory cut her off to say "you have judged them."
Then a bit flustered, she replied, "I, I, I don't judge them. I don't judge them. I am running for presidency of the United States
Bachmann then went on to say that she believed marriage is between a man and a woman. When pressed further by Gregory, she continued the same slogan to say, "I am not anyone's judge … and I'm not standing in as anyone's judge."

Here, watch the video.

This gave me flashbacks to my previous marriage. Long story short, he became a born again Christian a couple of years after we got married; that would have been okay with me if he hadn’t decided that his mission was to convert everyone around him--including me--into believing exactly as his newfound Baptist brethren did. He would sometimes make pronouncements about how this or that person was going to hell. Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, people who listen to rock music (it’s satanic, doncha know) name it, if they didn’t toe the Baptist line, they were going to hell. Simple as that. I would try to reason with him and say, “That’s awfully judgmental.” Ohhh, that would piss him off!

Him: I’m not being judgmental! Only God can judge!
Me: But you just said that those people are going to hell. YOU said said that. That sounds like you’re judging them to me.
Him: I am not judging them! That’s God’s job!
Me: Then why are YOU condemning them to hell?

And ‘round and ‘round we’d go. There would be talk of whether the Bible is the literal, inerrant word of God, I’d say that it was written by men, blahbitty blah blay blue. (I’m not ridiculing the debate...I’ve just had it enough times to find it tiresome.) Needless to say, I couldn’t bear the thought of being around such pretzel logic the rest of my life, and I moved on. (There was more to it, but that was really the root of the problem.)

So believe me, when I hear Bachmann protest that she is not judging homosexuals, despite having called them satanic and stating that a gay couple with children does not constitute a family, she is doing exactly that. If telling someone that they’re going to hell isn’t judging someone, I sure as hell (haha) don’t know what is. I’ve been around such teachings all my life, and I was raised amongst them. I know that all Christians don’t think that way, and there are many tolerant denominations out there. However, Bachmann’s particular brand of fundamentalist theology is not one of them. When she says that the homosexual lifestyle is “part of Satan,” she isn’t dicking around. She really thinks that homosexuality is satanic and cause for banishment to the Fiery Pits of Hell™. She coyly states that her sole qualifications for appointing someone to her Cabinet or to the Supreme Court would be whether they support the Constitution, whether they are competent, and whether or not they share her views. If you think that means that an atheist or a homosexual (as David Gregory asked) or anyone other than a fundamentalist Christian stand a snowball’s chance in hell of ever making it onto her Cabinet or onto the Court, then I’m going to judge you and say you’re silly! But I won’t say you’re going to hell. Such a pronouncement is well above my pay grade.

Bachmann doesn’t seem to have any such qualms, and I would hope that most thinking Americans will not cotton to any politician who talks about this or that group being satanic. You may be in the top three at the moment, lady, but as more of this stuff comes out, I think people are going to start getting a little scared of you. Rightly so.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Collapses: literal and figurative

Indiana state fair stage collapseMy apologies for not updating for a week. It’s been a busy one, with getting ready for a cookout with Ken’s family yesterday (more in a moment), as well as just taking time to read and enjoy some nice summer weather. I haven’t wanted to spend much time inside on the computer! I also got word this week from my Mom that my Uncle Randy passed away, and I want to thank everyone for the kind wishes for my family. It wasn’t unexpected, but it’s still sad news to hear, especially since his wife (my Aunt Emma) passed away not that long ago. She had Alzheimer’s, and she really didn’t know Uncle Randy anymore. So it’s just kind of a sad story all the way around. My main concern was how my Mom would react (Uncle Randy was her brother), but she’s doing okay. Anyway, thank you all very much on behalf of my family.

We had Ken’s mom, stepbrother and his wife over yesterday. I made cole slaw, deviled eggs, baked beans, and Ken cooked burgers and brats. Everything turned out really well, and we were fortunate to have good weather most of the day. We were able to play some lawn games, sit out on the deck and talk, get the food cooked on the grill, and sit outside and eat it! There was a threat of inclement weather, but it held off for us. As we were finished eating, some dark clouds started to move in, and the storm came in very fast. We got inside before the skies let loose, and we played a little ping pong, pool, and Rock Band before they had to leave.

I was stunned and saddened to wake up this morning to the news about the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. There are plenty of questions right now, and Indiana OSHA is investigating, but it mostly looks like a huge gust of wind that toppled the stage, with no negligence involved. I can tell you that the line of storms that we shared with Indianapolis moved in very quickly, so the winds had to be high; some of these straight line winds can cause terrible damage. The footage of the collapse is horrifying to watch, but I’m very proud of so many of my fellow Hoosiers who went up to the stage to help, rather than fleeing. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. A sad day for Hoosiers.

Another collapse this past week was the stock market, although it was more like a couple of days of tanking rather than a full-out collapse. Of course, the Republicans blamed it all on President Obama, despite the fact that it was the teabagger faction of Congress that drove our country to the brink of default. Which part of Standard & Poor’s report stating that political brinksmanship was to blame for our credit downgrade, with further clarification from them later that it was specifically certain Republican lawmakers that fueled the standoff, don’t they understand? Seems like S&P were pretty clear in their report.

PawlentyTim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign collapsed yesterday when he came in a distant third in the Ames Straw Poll. When I got up this morning, I read reports that he would be dropping out of the race, and he did indeed bow out. I’m sure he was a nice guy, but he didn’t seem to have much of a grasp on economic policy (I’m no expert, either, but even I could tell that a lot of his remarks just didn’t make sense), and MAN, he was boring! It’s one thing to be nice; I like to think that for the most part, I’m a nice person. But it’s something else entirely to have no passion, no edge, no intensity or zeal whatsoever. I can definitely get fired up, as you all know quite well. Pawlenty? Yawwwwwn.

Finally, I think we saw the collapse of good sense and rationality in America when Michele Bachmann won the Straw Poll. I have to laugh about it, because it just slays me that anyone could possibly think that she could and should hold the highest office in the land. She lies about her record; her biggest legislative achievement (as she mentioned at the recent debate) was introducing a bill to repeal the recent law passed about em-effin’ light bulbs (seriously?!); she hates gays, thinks they’re going to hell, and doesn’t think that a gay couple with children qualifies as a family...I’d like to see Elton John bitchslap her; she buys into the whole biblical “wive be submissive to your husbands” bullshit (and NO, Michele, respect is not a synonym for don’t read about a Dominance & Respect fetish); and apparently she has a direct line to God, who tells her to run for office. This silly bitch wants to make our country a theocracy, with her special brand of evangelical fervor the law of the land. It just astounds me that people actually support something like that. I sometimes get angry about it, to think that anyone can be that stupid, but mostly I choose to laugh. Which is easy to do when I look at this picture. Talk about a thousand words!

Bachmann corn dog1Having said all that, I would LOVE it if she becomes the Republican nominee. Seeing her debate President Obama would be delightful!

Leonard Pitts had an excellent column today about finding hope in the fact that the more Americans know about the teabaggers, the less they like them. I’m not sure why it’s taking some so long to come to that realization, but at least it finally does seem to be happening. It’s become increasingly obvious that the teabaggers’ main goal is to destroy President Obama (witness Bachmann’s main talking point of “We’re going to make Barack Obama a ONE TERM PRESIDENT!” which she repeats ad nauseam) rather than putting the good of our country first and foremost. Pitts goes on to say that a certain portion of our population wants fiery rhetoric and simplistic answers. Sadly, I think he’s right. It’s easier to just listen to the catchphrases and soundbites than to take the time to read, research, and learn. I share Pitt’s optimism that the teabaggers’ influence is waning, but I retain my own pessimism when it comes to the willingness of some Americans to pay attention and take the time to go beyond what they hear from their like-minded friends and their “fair and balanced” news networks (and I use the word ‘news’ loosely there). When you’ve got a portion of America that still believes that our President wasn’t even born in this country, it’s hard to be optimistic about their intelligence, you know what I’m saying?