Todd Akin, Dominionist Theology and Why UUs Need to Watch “Inherit The Wind”

So a poll came out Thursday saying that Claire McCaskill is up by 10 points (I knew that would happen as soon as I wrote that Todd Akin was still ahead).  I don’t believe that, my high-connected Democratic friends here in Missouri say not to trust it, and what’s more important, Claire McCaskill doesn’t trust it. Here is what she said:

Rasmussen poll made me laugh out loud. If anyone believes that, I just turned 29. Sneaky stuff. http://bit.ly/SscVZf

And in case you all didn’t believe him the first time, Todd Akin held a press conference yesterday to school all of you; he is in the race until the end.

The new Post-Dispatch/News4 (St. Louis area newspaper/CBS station) poll has the McCaskill lead slightly less, but what’s really important is the following part of the poll:

QUESTION: If the 2012 general election for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat were held today, would you vote for Claire McCaskill, the Democrat, or Todd Akin, the Republican?
CATEGORY McCASKILL AKIN
State 50 41
St. Louis 57 33
Kansas City 60 30
Northern Missouri 37 54
Central Missouri 43 50
Southeast Missouri 43 51
Southwest Missouri 38 53

Look at the breakdown. Every place besides the I-70 corridor is for Todd Akin. This race is NOT a lock; if Todd Akin can weather this storm of his own making, he still has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

Anyway…

TCM is in the midst of their ’31 Days of Stars’ and Thursday was Gene Kelly day. One of the last movies that TCM showed that features Gene Kelly was “Inherit the Wind”. For those of you who don’t remember, Kelly played Hornbeck (modelled after H.L. Mencken), the totally rational and cynical newspaper Yankee who comes down to Hillsboro to cover (and agitate) the story of an evolution trial.

It is ironic that this was part of a response to my second Todd Akin post:

I disagree with the strategy of using biblical phrases to counter this bigotry. For one thing, many UUs don’t view the bible as being authoritative.

I’m probably going to burn what few bridges I have left in UUism…but I am so bloody sick and tired of hearing this lame-ass line. So…most UUs don’t view the Bible as being authoritative? No shit. But does it really matter that most UUs don’t view the Bible as authoritative; seeing as though the people who are trying to grasp more power than they already have do see it as authoritative?

This is about more than one man’s giving away the secret handshake people. This is about a the next two generations  of schoolchildren in this country. If the Dominioninsts succeed in grasping more power, the textbooks those children will get their information from will have been written to satisfy Dominionist taste. Don’t believe me, look at Texas (and here and here and here). Or look at the list of books that will be allowed in Louisiana schools.

It’s time for UUs to quit acting like Hornbeck (who comes off looking very cold and lonely) and start acting more like Henry Drummond or Sarah Brady. Nobody is saying that UUs have to give more weight to the Bible than they do to anything else. (Or at least that not what I’m saying.) But it does help if you give it some weight; especially when the people who you need to talk to give it a lot of authority.

‘Inherit the Wind’ has a lot to teach us if we are willing to listen. Most of the world is like Bertram Cates–asking questions that have no easy answers. In giving a response to Bert, UUism can go one of three ways; 1)it can be like Matthew Harrison Brady (not in the fundamentalist Christian sense, but fundamentalist); 2)it can be like Hornbeck; or 3)it can be like Henry Drummond. The question is…which will UUism be?

And since you have sat through this whole post, you deserve a break. So I’ve linked to a segment of The Daily Show for your enjoyment. Science and Schools

You Don’t Counter French With Japanese…or, If UUs Want To Stay Irrelevant, Keep Ignoring the Bible

A comment on my last post states:

One could question if dominionist theology is the appropriate tool here.

In this particular clash of cultures, I strongly doubt that those pushing dominionist theology are going to listen the concerns of others. The only thing stopping them from being the US version of Taliban theocracy is they aren’t a voting majority and are not in control (yet).

Maybe we should be promoting the idea that religion (with its grounding in personal experience and not in evidence available to critical examination by others) should stay in the private realm and our political culture should be more secular? After all, our Western European neighbors and Canadian neighbors seem to do OK with both liberal religion and conservative religion staying out of politics.

After all, our goal here isn’t to convince Rep. Akin. We need to convince the voters that he has no business being near the levers of power in the US. So far, he’s been doing a good job of convincing voters that he cannot be trusted with power.

Ok…I’m going to take this one point at a time.

One could question if dominionist theology is the appropriate tool here.

I didn’t say counter dominionist theology with dominionist theology. In fact what I said was that to counter dominionist theology, one needed to know the vocabulary the Dominionists are working with—the Bible. Dominionist theology is actually fairly thin on academic theology talk, and very heavy on proof-texting with the Bible.   So if you want to get through to the people that Todd Akin was talking to in the Charles Jaco interview, you damn well better start speaking their language. You don’t counter somebody speaking French to a French audience by speaking Japanese and expect them to respond to you.

In this particular clash of cultures, I strongly doubt that those pushing dominionist theology are going to listen the concerns of others. The only thing stopping them from being the US version of Taliban theocracy is they aren’t a voting majority and are not in control (yet).

Wait a minute. I thought I was pointing out the need to use the Bible to keep the Dominionists and their allies from getting any more power.

The reason they are growing in their power is because religious liberals run around like little scaredy-cats anytime theology enters the debate; as if we don’t have the same book to draw from too.  They will quote Genesis 1. Guess what? We have Acts 14. But we act as if we don’t have Acts 14. They act as if they have Genesis 1.

Maybe we should be promoting the idea that religion (with its grounding in personal experience and not in evidence available to critical examination by others) should stay in the private realm and our political culture should be more secular? After all, our Western European neighbors and Canadian neighbors seem to do OK with both liberal religion and conservative religion staying out of politics.

Give a sista a freaking break. Europe?! Canada?! Really? Have you listened to the Dominionist crowd lately? This is part of the crowd that still believes that President Obama is a Kenyan, anti-colonialist, socialist Muslim and that he wants to turn the U.S. into Europe and Canada; which they see as anti-religion on top of all the other problems they see with Europe and Canada. And you’re going to use Europe and Canada in your argument? Good luck with that one.

After all, our goal here isn’t to convince Rep. Akin. We need to convince the voters that he has no business being near the levers of power in the US. So far, he’s been doing a good job of convincing voters that he cannot be trusted with power.

You might be right, our goal might not be to convince Todd Akin. But do you really think that Todd Akin is alone in his thinking? Let’s not forget that he is a current 6-term Representative. Obviously the second district has thought he represents them really well.

And I hate to tell you (not really, but I have to say that) but even with all of this hull-a-ba-loo, Todd Akin is still ahead in the polls. So this “good job of convincing voters that he cannot be trusted with power” that you see, I don’t see.

I know a lot of y’all think the rise of the “nones” means you can continue in your willful ignorance of the Bible and the condescension you have towards those who say that you should know what it says. Yet the people who are grasping at power use the Bible in ways that can ONLY be countered through using the Bible.

You don’t counter French with Japanese. So if UUs want to regain any relevance in the public square, it would help if you used the language that is being used in the public square. And that language includes the Bible.

Legitimate Rape, Illegitimate Rape, and Why This Is Not About Abortion

Welcome to the clash of civilizations—Missouri edition.

Last year I wrote a post saying that UUs needed to know the vocabulary in order to be a part of the Rob Bell/universalist debate. It was assumed that I meant that UUs needed to know the academic vocabulary of Christian theology. I didn’t mean that then and I don’t mean it now. Yet I am going to say it again; if UUs want to get into the whole Todd Akin-legitimate rape-illegitimate rape conversation, you need to know the vocabulary. And that vocabulary is the Bible. Because, dear friends, Todd Akin’s remarks about rape stem from a worldview that is based in a particular interpretation of the Bible.

Todd Akin’s beliefs about legitimate and illegitimate rape and abortion are NOT about rape and abortion. They are about theology; as Todd Akin’s beliefs on these subjects are a direct descendant of Dominionist theology. And lest you think that Todd Akin is alone in this, think again; the re-affirmed plank of the Republican party parrots Todd Akin’s belief (not about rape, at least not publicly)—there should be a constitutional amendment against abortion and that amendment cannot have exceptions. I am not bashing Republicans, I am just pointing that out.

Anyway…in order to counter Dominionist theology, one must have an intimate knowledge of Genesis and Deuteronomy.  Now I know many UU churches showed the Bill Moyers program on Genesis, but when was the last time UU churches touched Deuteronomy?

As I said at the beginning of this post, this is a clash of civilizations. But, unlike Sam Huntington’s thoughts on this, this clash is not West v. the Rest. This clash is Modernity v. Anti-Modernity. For Dominionist theology is anti-modernity, anti-enlightenment, anti-intellectual and anti-science. Therefore you cannot fight Dominionist theology with modernity and her sisters. You must fight theology with theology; in this case fight the Bible with the Bible.

When Todd Akin says that pregnancy does not happen in cases of real/legitimate rape (he’s walked back the words, but work with me), that’s when you bring up to him that David raped Bathsheba and she ended up pregnant (not with Solomon, the pregnancy before that). That is when you bring up to him that Abram [he doesn’t become Abraham until later] raped Hagar and she got pregnant. That is when you bring up that in the conquering of the Promised Land, it was expected that Israelite men would take possession of the women of the conquered land. That is when you bring up that Deuteronomy states that if a man rapes a woman and she becomes pregnant, he must marry her and can never put her aside. Then again, you might not want to mention that, it might give the Dominionists ideas; but Deuteronomy does say it.

This is not about abortion. It’s not about the definition of rape. This is a clash of civilizations. And in order to be heard, you have to use the language that will be heard.

Legitimate Rape, Illegitimate Rape, and Why Todd Akin Will Win

Todd Akin showed his natural ass yesterday. As a native Missourian I can say that. Yet as a native Missourian, here’s something you good liberals (religious and non-religious) need to understand; Todd Akin will win in November.

For those of you not familiar with Missouri politics, let me give you a drive-by. Politically, Missouri is divided this way; there’s the I-70 corridor and the rest (which is known as outstate Missouri). The I-70 corridor goes across the state from St. Louis to Kansas City and is roughly 50 miles wide (25 miles north and south of I-70). This part of the state (with a couple of exceptions–St. Charles County being the big one) is mostly “liberal”. Outstate Missouri is as “conservative” as “conservative” gets.

Now in Missouri politics, what you need to know is that Outstate HATES the I-70 corridor. Always has, and probably always will. There are a number of reasons for that, but I’m not going to get into them now.

Here’s what you need to understand…Todd Akin is from Outstate. Claire McCaskill is from the I-70 corridor.

Todd Akin, unless the Republican Party makes him drop out, will win in November because outstate Missouri agrees with him and he is one of them. And they HATE the I-70 corridor. Todd Akin knew what audience he was playing to; and it wasn’t the I-70 corridor. Todd Akin was playing to outstate. And the more outrage that comes from outside the state of Missouri, the better Todd Akin will look to the outstate folk.

Now…as many of you good religiously liberal people want to put him into an OWL class, that’s not what this is about. That’s not what the Missouri senate contest is about. No matter how ridiculous his words, Todd Akin knew exactly who he was playing to. He meant every word, and his supporters will not care that there is this outrage.

Todd Akin will win in November because Missouri is a lot different than most people think.

 

3 Multiple Shootings In 3 Weeks. Can We Talk About America’s Real Religion Now?

On Monday, two things happened that are related to each other.

First, a troubled young man who was going to be served with eviction papers shot and killed two people before he himself was shot and killed.

Second, a  new “reality” show appeared on the scene. ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ is hosted by Gen. Wesley Clark and includes “stars” such as Todd Palin, Terry Crews and Laila Ali. Supposedly the show is designed to honor members of the Armed Forces by putting these stars through sanitized operations.

Ok people, it’s time to start calling out the sins (that’s right I used the word sin) of idolatry [yet again] and jingoism.

How are idolatry and jingoism related? Well…excessive love of guns leads to thinking that any issue, any problem, can be resolved at the end of a gun. On a broader scale, believing that any and all issues or problems can be resolved at the end of a gun becomes believing that any and all issues can be resolved using overwhelming military force. But even more troubling is that this belief leads to belief that having the gun, having the military, somehow makes what you believe to be right—and the only right that there can be.

In my last post, I talked about believing that the gun rights-gun control debate is played out. I still think it is. However that does not mean that we religious liberals cannot talk about guns and patriotism. And how, in the United States, we have replaced the sacred/holy/G-d with guns and jingoism; that love and charity and faith and hope have been superseded by firepower and triumphalism.

3 multiple shootings in 3 weeks. Now is the time to talk about this country’s real religion.

The Hatred of Niggas Anywhere Is the Hatred of Niggas Everywhere (Looking At the Sikh Gurdwara Shooting)

Here’s the fact: the list of niggas never gets shorter, it only gets longer.

On September 11,2001 “Arabs” became niggas. And in the irrational ways of hate, anybody who –looks like– those  niggas become niggas-by-perception/association. So Sikhs, Jains, turban-wearing Hindus, and anybody else who idiots think belong to that group are Arab-niggas-by-perception/association.

So…before the discussion of the Sikh Gurdwara shooting descends into the tired and played-out  gun control/gun rights debate, can we have the real discussion please? The real discussion of how/why, after all the work that has been done, the list of niggas keeps growing. The real discussion of how/why economic insecurity breeds the anger[I hear you Bunny], fear, hate, and paranoia that results in the nigga-zation of everybody who doesn’t fall into the WASP group (whether by birth or assimilation).  The real discussion of how/why this country is always in need of “boogeymen”.

The shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara in the suburbs of Milwaukee is a tragedy. It will be an even greater tragedy if we skip the real conversations that need to happen and move like automatons to the discussions that make too many people hunker down in their corners.