Time to Get Kenny Loggins Out of Retirement.

by matttbastard

First they came for the “queers” [sic], then they came for the (apparently heterosexual) Baptist kid trying to take his freakin’ girlfriend to her freakin’ prom:

A student at a fundamentalist Baptist school that forbids dancing, rock music, hand-holding and kissing will be suspended if he takes his girlfriend to her public high school prom, his principal said.

Despite the warning, 17-year-old Tyler Frost, who has never been to a dance before, said he plans to attend Findlay High School’s prom Saturday.

Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School in northwest Ohio, agreed to the school’s rules when he signed a statement of cooperation at the beginning of the year, principal Tim England said.

The teen, who is scheduled to receive his diploma May 24, would be suspended from classes and receive an “incomplete” on remaining assignments, England said. Frost also would not be permitted to attend graduation but would get a diploma once he completes final exams. If Frost is involved with alcohol or sex at the prom, he will be expelled, England said.

Frost’s stepfather Stephan Johnson said the school’s rules should not apply outside the classroom.

“He deserves to wear that cap and gown,” Johnson said.

Sez P.Z. Meyers:

I also think the school has stepped way out of bounds when it tries to control activities well outside the domain of the school itself. But sure, go ahead and act like repressive tyrants — Mr Frost may well go looking for a more tolerant religion, or will perhaps leave that body of superstition altogether.

Oh, and just in case you thought this couldn’t get any more like a bad Footloose remake:

The handbook for the 84-student Christian school says rock music “is part of the counterculture which seeks to implant seeds of rebellion in young people’s hearts and minds.”

Speaking as an apostate survivor of a rigid private Baptist high school (c’mon, don’t act so shocked), I can attest from personal experience that these sorts of rock-hatin’, boogie-fearin’ true believers really DO hate us for our sweaty, high-decibel freedoms–and ‘us’ constitutes an increasingly expansive category.

Regardless, whatever you do, always remember the following words of incitement from anti-authoritarian negro hedonist George Clinton: “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

For srs — just ask iconic Midwestern dance floor rebel Kevin Bacon:

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More on Barack Obama, Post-Partisanship and Billy Graham 2.0

by matttbastard

Via Sully, Erica Barnett has compiled some of the many not-so-inclusive views held by Obama’s new spiritual BFF, required reading for those who still don’t get why including Rick Warren in the Inauguration ceremony has provoked such an outcry from the left side of the aisle. Yes, by now I fully realize that the President-elect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about progressive and LGBT objections to his upcoming public indulgence in post-partisan political symbolism. But that’s precisely the point: Obama apparently feels that cementing his political philosophy into the general consciousness at the expense of a marginalized group (ie, citizens who identify as LGBT) is of greater import than symbolically challenging entrenched bigotry.

Unless Obama truly believes that progressive “intolerance” of social conservative hobbyhorses trumps the institutional denial of agency to 10% of the US public–in which case we should all just fucking give up and hand Amy Sullivan the gold medal for finally winning the Oppression Olympics.

Once again we have been presented with evidence that establishment figures within the Democratic Party–including, and, especially, Barack Obama and his 1337 team of advisers–really do believe that Sister Souljahing must be a standard operating principle if a ‘liberal’ politician is to be seen as a consensus-builder. Judging by his latest message to progressives, social conservatives, and the Beltway, Obama seems bound and determined to establish himself as the ultimate High Broderist POTUS–which is fine, if the immediate desired outcome is to receive kudos from the Sunday bobblehead brigade. Such a too-clever-by-half strategy could, however, become a long-term political liability when the time comes for Obama to court his perpetually spurned base.

Perhaps I’m a political dinosaur, desperately clinging to the vestiges of a nakedly partisan era, unprepared to navigate the terrain of today’s pragmatic political landscape. Regardless, I really don’t appreciate always being used as a goddamn prop in a broad Kabuki performance established solely for the purview of the chattering classes. There must be a (*cough*) less-divisive way for Obama to broadcast his message of inclusiveness, one that doesn’t require making a blood sacrifice on the altar of centrist credibility–especially one where he, as a straight person, has no personal stake.

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“This should be a fight over the official prayer itself”

by matttbastard

Steve Benen puts the Rick Warren controversy in broader perspective:

The real problem isn’t with who will give the invocation, but rather, the fact that there’s going to be an invocation in the first place. We had 144 years of presidential inaugurations, dating back to George Washington, in which there was no invocation and no benediction. This shouldn’t be a fight over which pastor delivers the prayer; this should be a fight over the official prayer itself.

If anyone needed an indication of how the contemporary Evangelical movement has drastically shifted the intellectual landscape of the public commons, the manner in which this debate has been framed–the existence an inaugural invocation accepted as a given, rather than challenged as an ahistorical anomaly–certainly provides a stark illustration.

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Rick Warren: The Wrong Choice

by matttbastard

Is he serious? Rick “politicians have to believe in God” Warren? Rick “cone of silence” Warren? Rick “Prop 8 is great” Warren? Rick “take out the evildoers” Warren? Rick “Dobson-lite” Warren? That’s the kinder, gentler hatemonger who the President-elect The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (see update below edit: and second update) has selected to give the Inaugural Invocation?

I’m with Libby Spencer:

If there was ever a time to reach out to the side of the fence that didn’t oppose him tooth and nail all the way to the White House, this is it. I would suggest people might want to leave a suggestion at change.gov and ask him to rethink this choice. Frankly, I don’t know who to suggest as an alternative, but there has to be someone more neutral than Warren.

Thunderbird is go, kiddies — remember, keep it civil (edit: and make sure to read the update below before crafting a response).

Update: Mike Madden at The War Room reports that Obama wasn’t [edit: solely–see Update 2] responsible for Warren’s selection:

[T]he decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama’s. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren… .

Still, I’m sure the Committee could be convinced to reconsider their decision, were Obama to sic Rahmbo on them. So keep those suggestions coming.

Update 2: Well, so much for the Committee dodge (h/t Greg Sargent):

The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect.

So whether or not Warren was directly selected by Obama, the President-elect obviously had a big say regarding Warren’s inclusion in the program.  Wonderful.  BarbinMD is exactly right:

What a spit in the eye to the GBLT community in particular, and to anyone who supports equality, dignity and justice under the law.

Todd Beeton @ MyDD has more info on who else to contact regarding the decision to include Warren in the inauguration ceremony:

If you’d like to register your displeasure with the pick, calling Dianne Feinstein’s office might be a good place to start. As the Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Feinstein announced the line-up — including Warren — today, calling it “superb.”

LA: (310) 914-7300
SF: (415) 393-0707
DC: (202) 224-3841

Click here to contact Feinstein via email.  Again, keep it civil.  Rather difficult, I realize, when one sees the following brand of shiny happy hatred being rewarded by a nominal ally:

(h/t Todd for the Warren Prop 8 vid, by way of Teddy Partridge)

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‘Tis the Season…

by matttbastard

ZOMG WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!11one

(Anyone wanna pass along this ReligiousTolerance.org post to both Sarah Michalak and Bill O’Reilly?)

Related: Paul the Spud is made of WIN. That is all.

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Dear Newsweek Magazine

by matttbastard

Plz to be not spreading teh Obama = Antichrist meme:

Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University’s law school, says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Obama’s own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that “religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom.” The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they’re not nuts: “They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared,” Staver says.

[…]

[Todd Strandberg, editor and founder of RaptureReady.com] says Obama probably isn’t the Antichrist, but he’s watching the president-elect carefully.

Deeky’s OFFS FTW:

[U]sing phrases like “Obama probably isn’t the Antichrist” (emphasis mine) in your articles, even if it’s attributed to an interviewee, is pretty fuckin’ dicey, especially when the whole tone of the article doesn’t seem too concerned with countering that idea.

Signed. On.

Kthnxbai.

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More on Sarah Palin and Book-Banning

by matttbastard

The Nation has just published a very informative investigative piece by Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, further exploring the connections between Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin and the Christian right.  The entire article is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight the following passage, which sheds more light on a now-infamous alleged incident from 1997 involving Palin and the Wasilla Public Library:

Much has been made of Palin’s gestures toward book-banning as mayor. To understand what happened, it’s useful to realize that the Mat-Su Valley was in the middle of a roiling controversy over a book by [Howard Bess, a local retired liberal Baptist minister], titled Pastor, I Am Gay. Bess, 80, is deeply respected by the Valley’s small progressive community. Educated at Northwestern’s Garrett Biblical Institute — now called the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary — he comes from a Baptist tradition committed to church-state separation. In 1980 he left his church in Santa Barbara, California, to become pastor of Anchorage First American Baptist. Over the years Bess developed an intense concern about gay rights, and he went out of his way to welcome gay people into his Anchorage church. After he had served seven years at First Baptist, the board of the church asked him to lower his profile on the issue. Unwilling to do so, he resigned, took early retirement and ended up moving to Palmer to pastor a tiny liberal congregation, the Church of the Covenant, which he did without pay.
Bess published Pastor, I Am Gay in 1995. It recounts his experiences ministering to gay men and lesbians, calls for the church to take a stand against discrimination and even draws parallels between the experience of gay people and that of Jesus. “They are despised and rejected,” he wrote. “They suffer and are acquainted with infirmity. They are rejected by a perversion of justice. Is it possible that the will of the Lord will prosper through them?”

Local conservatives, including at Wasilla Assembly of God, mobilized against the book. Christian bookstores as well as secular retailers refused to sell it. Bess donated two copies to the Wasilla Public Library, but they vanished from the shelves, so he donated more. The atmosphere toward Bess was toxic; a 1997 cartoon in the Frontiersman showed a slobbering, doll-clutching pedophile approaching his church, whose sign said, Wasilla Church of the Covenant. Howard Bess, Pastor. All Sinners Welcome! Bible Interpretations to Suit Your “Lifestyle.”
Most reports have said that, when asking about banning books, Palin never mentioned any specific titles, but the presence of Pastor, I Am Gay in the library was, at the time, a matter of fierce contention. “I’m as sure that that book was at issue with Sarah Palin as I am that I’m talking to you right now,” said Bess.

Providential coincidence, or small-town cheap homophobic conspiracy?  Stay tuned, true believers.

Related: Fareed Zakaria dons his Captain Obvious pajamas, declaring Palin to be “utterly unqualified to be vice president”; has the bar on Palin been set so low that it’s entirely possible for her to ‘win’ Thursday’s VP debate?

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