Posts Tagged ‘ Politics ’

Commentary: Mosque Con’t

I found this video of Keith Olberman.

Amen.

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Commentary: Ground Zero Mosque

I am sure most everyone has heard about the potential “mosque” near ground zero – in reality it is an islamic-based community center open to all peoples. Newt Gingrich and other primarily politically and socially conservative public figures have becoming increasingly outspoken about their disdain for this idea and claim that it is offensive and un-American – ignoring that 10 percent of those who died in the attacks were Muslim and that the American quilt consist of Muslims. Some have lighter opposition and simply do not want the mosque close to 9-11.

To speak truth, 9-11 was the result of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims. The tragedy is terrorism not Islam. Yes, they were influenced by passages in the Koran, but it is kin to Christian slave owners proliferating modern slavery in colonial and early America. These Christians were inspired by and utilized the Bible as their defense. Slavery, not Christianity, was the issue. Now I am not making a plea for the theological correctness of Islam and I am not an unitarian. Arguments towards such ends are mere strawmen. I believe that the Christian faith, towards which I am unwaveringly committed by the redemption that is in Christ, is concerned with hospitality, even towards those who are quite different. Christianity is concerned with love, even towards – if not especially – towards those who do not know the love of Christ. Christianity is concerned with reconciliation. This reconciliation is perhaps the most potent of points. The terrorists want us to be like them, evil in its simplest, wants to beget more evil. Unjust war begets unjust war. Hatred begets hatred. oppression begets oppression. This is the cycle of sin of transgression. This is the reason why the Father God sent the Christ incarnate; to reconcile us to take us out of the cycle and put us back into right relationship with God. Allowing . . . welcoming, the Islamic center, is a picture of that reconciliation. It is not the full reconciliatory process which we receive through Christ  – to suggest that is blasphemous -,but it is a mirror of that ultimate reconciliation and a means for Christians to be Christ-like and to show the world who the Christ is and what the Christ has done for and offered us all.

Cutting Corners, Costing Safety

I get frustrated with buying things that are made in China Mexico or the like, but because EVERYTHING is made outside of the United States it is pretty much inevitable. I try to buy used goods or find things made ethically but it is difficult when the overwhelming norm is clothes made by underpaid workers (sometimes children), but ubiquitous and cheap for the U.S. consumer

There are a number of reason’s why I despise how much we outsource manufacturing, textiles etc. (reasons such as: jobs, social equality, justice, globalization, etc.), but now I have a new reason; safety.

WASHINGTON – June 14 – Key components of high-tech American “e-passports” are assembled at a manufacturing plant in Thailand with precious little security, according to inspection reports obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.

The U.S. Government Printing Office, the agency charged with producing the new e-Passports, has been warned repeatedly since 2006 by its own security officer that the Thai manufacturing site posed a “potential long term risk to the USG (U.S. government’s) interests,” according to the reports.

The sweeping concerns ranged from the political instability of Thailand and difficulty in getting security background checks for factory workers to poor police protection.  And that country is just one of several serious vulnerabilities to the e-Passport production system flagged recently by the agency’s internal watchdog.

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Really? We are outsourcing our national security? Now, I am not a national security fanatic, I actually think we are pretty neurotic and arrogant about some of our thoughts/ideas behind national security. However, passports are valuable tools that do protect the “borders”, if you will, and regulate who is inside the country and who is not. Moreover, it offers freedom for Americans in that they can travel abroad and arrive back home without much frustration. What bewilders me is the fact this move was probably made to save money. The federal press can pay workers less in Thailand than they could in Huntington, Indiana (where I just moved from).

So capitalism wins again – this time by influencing the philosophy of our government – and what matters is not people or even safety, it is saving and making money.

To be honest though, all Americans are  partially to blame. Think about passports costing $20 more than they do now – which there would be some increase if they were made in the U.S. – people would be complaining all the time. Just as our desire for cheap goods helps to drive the negative capitalistic chain via Wal-Mart, Gap etc., it drives the federal government’s desire to save money and offer an inexpensive passport.

So just as with anything, we are all involved.

*The irony is that having passports made in the U.S. would create more jobs for Americans.

Invictus

Here is my review of the movie Invictus that just posted on the Urban Faith website.

Pray for Obama

Has anyone actually seen one of these T-shirts?

Before anyone thinks that folks are actually praying for Obama take a look at the verse and its context.

8 May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.

9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.

10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven [d] from their ruined homes.

11 May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

12 May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.

13 May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.

14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.

15 May their sins always remain before the LORD,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

I don’t have much to say, I am just disgusted with the people of propagate this trash.

It is not funny, it is not poignant, it is not appropriate and, most importantly, it is not Christian.

Glen Beck & “White Culture”

Why is it so hard for Beck to define White culture – especially when he says Obama has a hatred of it?

What is “White culture”?

My personal take is that there is “White culture” just like there is “Black culture”. But just as within Black culture, White culture is not monolithic, nor should everyone who is White be stereotyped into a rigid Whiteness.*

An interesting characterization of “White culture” -in the shallow expression of culture** – is the Stuff White People Like Blog and the subsequent book Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. If you haven’t seen either they both contain a list of things that typically White people enjoy: farmer’s markets; bookstores; wine tasting; etc (Our of Ur and Urban Faith posted a interesting article about the potential of small groups being a White Christian thing.)

I actually don’t like the book/website because it is limited and Lander, the creator, is making misinformed generalizations. It is really only touching on one section of White America. I think about lower-class Whites, or blue-collar Whites, or inner-city Whites, or rural Whites, the book/website it isn’t really stuff “White” people like, it is stuff a certain level of educated and socialized White like.

But there is something important in the book/website. It affirms that there is a culture typical to Whites – more appropriately various White cultures within a boarder American experience. White folks who deny that they have a culture and assume that  their actions are universally normal hinder actual multiculturalism, diversity and reconciliation because that perspective naturally color-blinds the world.

But again, it is also dangerous to ignore the diversity within Black and White folks  – as well as Asians, Latinos etc.  We literally make things black and white and don’t examine the variations and blending. So many Black folks have to fight the assumption that we ALL like, fried chicken, rap, baggy jeans, the N-word, basketball etc. and fight Being called “White” when we don’t like those things or happen to like NPR. Also, some white folks fight being called a “wigger” ( a common expression I heard when growing up) when they are genuinely a child of Hip Hop culture.

So I return to the original question, what is “White Culture”?

*The conversation is beyond just  Black/White – but Beck’s comments and interaction with the issue of culture was/is mainly Black/White.

**There are deeper culture values that are help differently in different cultures (i.e. preception of eldery, perception of time, gender roles, role of religion etc.). These are perhaps the real difference that divide folks. Which is why people of different ethnicities seem to be able to increasingly feel capable of working together – a fairly shallow exercise – but struggle with worshiping  and living together.

Soda and the Health of a Nation

– watch the video before you read the comments –

The video is referring to the obesity tax suggested by NY Governor David Paterson .NPR also recently posted a segment about a Soda Tax.

The BIG issue that I can see is that sometimes we get dependent on taxes – like we have with tobacco. Why can’t we just make cigarettes illegal? Well, we are making a bundle in tax revenue. NJ makes $2.57.5 and RI makes $2.56 per pack.

What is possible is to utilize the taxation to limit usage but not factor the tax money in normal state budgets. Tax money can be utilized to run special programs or to supplement under-funded projects. But they would not be a primary source of revenue. That keeps us from being dependent on people drinking soda and sugary “fruit juices” so that we can have their tax money. While this is occurring and people are weaning off of sugar we can work to further regulate the contents of soda and fruit drinks.

I also wonder if the tax will actually cause people to change their behavior? I would think that the tax would have to be somewhat significant in order to change people’s thoughts and beliefs.

I know an opposition to this tax would be that it doesn’t have the same effect as smoking does, especially second hand smoking. But I would argue that it does. Although smoking causes the most deaths and health problems, obesity is second on the list (15.2% of Preventable deaths are because of obesity/overweight). Childhood obesity has also dramatically increase in the past years.  Additionally, health care costs go up for all when doctors and hospitals have to worry about obesity. This will become even more an issue if we head towards a universal(ish) health care system

This is by no means a silver bullet. Americans have to choose not to pay the extra money for the new taxed soda. Additionally, Americans have to make familial and personal health choices not to drink Soda to the degree that we do.

I personally, believe that we need further regulations on what food is approved by the FDA, but also realize that change comes slow and often within a process. But if we can work out a plan to tax Soda as a bridge to greater regulation of soda and sugary beverages then go for it.