What Makes A (fill-in-the-blank) ?

We were sitting in Old Testament the other night talking about the book of Ruth and since I know my OT prof is extraordinarily smart, I thought I would ask her a question about something that’s always puzzled me.

“The tradition in the Old Testament was that ethnicity(and anything else) was inherited through the father. Yet in Judaism now one is Jewish by whether one’s MOTHER is/was Jewish. Do you know when that changed?” She did not know the answer. But that got me to thinking……

What makes one a <fill-in-the-blank>? Is it strictly descent? Or is there something more to it?

And just to be perfectly clear, I’m not asking what makes someone a son-of-a-bitch. ūüôā That would take the conversation to a totally different level.

You Deserved To Lose…..Why Prop 8 Passed

I’m getting ready to step in some hot sh*t here….but I have a 10-minute break in class so I might as well have fun with it.

I’ve been reading and listening to some of the reactions to the passage of Prop 8 out in California. Maybe it’s because of my past that I’m not surprised that Prop 8 passed, but this does not shock me. And this really does crystallize why the Gay Rights Movement is going to have a much harder time with its agenda than the Civil Rights Movement did.

Prop 8 passed because the pro-Prop 8 side had a better ground game than the anti-Prop 8 side. And as much as the anti-Prop 8 side does not want to hear this…..you deserved to lose.

Why? Because you didn’t learn the real lessons of both the Civil Rights Movement and, more recently, the Barack Obama campaign.¬† Ground games matter my friends. And you thought that just because on the face of it Prop 8 looks ridiculous that people would see that it is ridiculous. What you didn’t realize was that when only one side is talking, they are the side that is going to get heard.

When you first heard that there were millions of dollars flowing in from other places in support of the passage of Prop 8, where were you? Why wasn’t there as much literature refuting the outright lies of the people who were for the passage of Prop 8 as there was literature from that side? Why were the anti-Prop 8 people not working in the Inland region of California the way the pro-Prop 8 people were? Putting money into the cause at the end doesn’t work when the vacuum has been filled by lies and misstatements.

As much as it saddens me to say this…..you got the result you deserved.

Well….my 10-minutes are up. I have to get back to class now. More later….maybe.

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore…..’Massa Thom and Sally Hemmings

I have deliberately avoided adding Sally Hemmings into my theory that Thomas Jefferson would not have been pleased with the election result on Tuesday. There is reason for that. If you add Sally into the mix of my theory, then we add issues that take away from the central argument about Jefferson’s feelings about race. And while I don’t mind talking about some things race-related¬†with UUs, the nature of Sally’s relationship with ‘Massa Thom is not one of them If you all want to have that conversation, fine. Don’t be surprised that I won’t be a part of it.

How Does One Judge?…..Thomas Jefferson and Me continued

All the comment about my little comment really deserves somebody better than me to respond.

If we are not to judge ‘Massa Thom by 20th and 21st century standards (and I try very hard not to do that with any historical figure), but I can’t use his own words to make a judgement, then exactly how are we to judge?

My¬†main argument about Jefferson¬†is that he was for repatriating Africans, not for finding a way for the two groups (and the Native Americans) to live together. This, to me, says that ‘Massa Thom would not be particularly pleased that someone of African descent was President-elect of the U.S. My secondary argument was the intelligence argument. And while I think it is the weaker argument, The Bell¬†Curve¬†¬†essentially just updates it for the 20th and 21st century.

That’s it for now. Have to write two pages on the meanings of the word discipline in Proverbs.

Thomas Jefferson and Me

I was going to write this as a comment on my last post but decided that it would be better if this idea got a post of it’s own.

I don’t think I’ve talked about my life before coming to Earlham, so I think this is a good time to do that.¬† In my previous academic life, I was a government/political science major, so Old ‘Massa Thom and I have a relationship and it started long before I entered college. I know the problems that are created by viewing/reading history through modern morality. However my belief that ‘Massa Thom would have a problem with a “half-breed” becoming President of the U.S.¬†is not based on 20th and 21st century thought. I firmly believe that I’m using what we know of Jefferson’s OWN thought.

Let’s not forget that Jefferson (and Lincoln too for that matter) was for the re-patriation of Africans on the African continent, not keeping them here, should/when emancipation come/came. Jefferson (and Lincoln too) did not believe that Africans and Whites could live together if/once slavery ended. And in some of his writings Jefferson describes those of African descent as being below monkeys in terms of intelligence.

Forgive me if I think that Tuesday would not have caused happiness in Jefferson’s heart. I don’t think it would have.

Lions and Tigers and Obama…..Oh My!

Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave. Virginia, that bastion of the Confederacy, went blue for the first time in how many years…….40+ if I remember right.

And to top it off……Hoosier-ville (better known as Indiana to most of you) went blue too. For the first time since 1964.

As of this minute they still haven’t called North Carolina (even though with all the precincts reporting Barack is up by about 13,000 votes) and even though some have called Missouri, it is still close and all the provisional ballots haven’t been counted yet.

But I’m off to the Worship Committee meeting in a couple of minutes. I’ll get to see analysis afterwards.

Politics and Hypocrites Are Turning Us All Into Lunatics……

(special gift for the first person who can name the song that the title of this post comes from)

While I’ve spent most of my time doing and thinking things theological, some things in this political season seem to be worth comment. I’m only going to talk about one.

The Raleigh News-Observer reports that the Dole campaign has decided to drop its first version of the “Godless American” ad that had been running and replace it with one that is less strident.

Less strident?!?!?!?!?!

Maybe it’s just me but it seems that some are forgetting this section of the Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (Article 6, Section 3)

Aside from the alteration of voice to implicate Kay Hagan as saying that there is no G-d, is there some law I don’t know about that says that it is illegal to be an Atheist? Aren’t there atheists in North Carolina? And isn’t it the job of a US Senator to represent ALL¬† the people in the state that they were elected from? So if an atheist gives a candidate money, who gives a flying f–k? Is Liddy Dole saying that no atheists have given money to her? Or that when she found out that an atheist gave her money, she returned it?

hmmmm……I think I’ll go back to Augustine, Calvin and free will now.