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NEW HOME!

Thanks to a good friend of mine Calico Rebellion has a new home. Rather than wasting time typing http://www.calicorebellion.wordpress.com, just go to


www.calicorebellion.com

I posted a new blog, so check it out!

The Calico Rebellion

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Abortion: the Proverbial Carrot in Front of the Proverbial Horse

A couple weeks before the recent election I had a conversation with a professor at a mainline-denominational seminary. I asked him about the political climate within the faculty at the seminary. He said it is a one-issue topic with everyone. The only thing anyone cares about is abortion. He said he’d changed his stance a few years ago. It wasn’t that he felt any differently about the issue of abortion, but he’d realized there are many other important issues, such as poverty, with which we as Christians need to concern ourselves.

I’ve had conversations with a growing number of Christians who share this sentiment. It’s seemed particularly strong in the last year, with the latest Presidential election. Over the last four years my world view has drastically changed, and I’ve seen many of my brothers and sisters change as well. (I’ve touched on this new and ever-changing world view in previous blogs. See “Anarchism and Ecclesiastes” and “A Mainstream Counterculture”)

Here’s one of my main conclusions: We’ve been used!

We, the Church, have been used by the political system. This is not just the Republican Party, though they are a large culprit. We’ve been used by political and religious leaders seeking to create a legislative apparatus of “Trickle-down Morality”. Twenty-nine-or-so years ago Jerry Falwell et al. created the Moral Majority, which sought to establish a political coalition to make religious (particularly Christian) voters into a powerful political demographic. The Moral Majority found enormous success at delivering this demographic to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election. This was arguably the first time since the 1920s that the Church played a major role in politics. This, understandably, excited many within morally conservative religious communities. But this also began the intertwining of Christian ideals with right-wing conservative doctrine. In other words, two things that should have virtually nothing to do with each other have become nearly indistinguishable. And one thread in particular holds it all together: abortion.

Eventually Christians weren’t just concerned with issues of abortion, but also tax-breaks for the wealthy, support of war abroad and many other politically conservative ideals. Pastors have preached for congregations to support particular candidates simply because of hot-button issues, disregarding the other stances these particular candidates hold.

Today a candidate merely needs to say he’s Pro-life and he has 70% of the evangelical vote.

Today many Christians speak of a man like Barack Obama only as a “baby-killer”, even though many of his stances are incredibly gracious and charitable. He cares for the poor. He doesn’t just want welfare, though many on the right throw out words like “socialism” and “welfare state” in an act to scare people away from actually researching his stances. He wants to level the playing field so even the poorest of the poor can accomplish what suburban kids can accomplish with virtually no effort. But most Christians have no idea about this, and appear to have no concern for the social/economic apparatus which continually widens the gap between rich and poor (not to mention the fact that the rich control the entire apparatus).

Many Christians seem to only care if a candidate is labeled “pro-life”, or “Murderer”. And there are no other issues.

Abortion is a horrible act. Nearly everyone agrees, especially anyone who’s talked to a mother who has aborted a child. But it is more complicated than just a mother who wants to kill her baby, which is the way many people think of it. (In fact, it is an issue that deserves more than just one paragraph in this post, but alas…) Often abortion is a woman in great distress, feeling like she has no other choice-whether that is true or not. And Christ compels us to put more effort into caring for these women in their distress than in merely holding up placards with fetuses in front of abortion clinics three times a week. My mother recalls a doctor who lived down the street from her house when she was a child. This was before abortion was legalized, and he would perform abortions for free in his home under the safe supervision of a doctor. He had seen too many women resort to coat-hanger-type operations, which was a worse situation all-together. Abortion has been around for thousands of years. It has been around as long as unwanted pregnancies have been around, which is to say “forever”.

Abortion is… a lot more complicated than religious and political leaders on both sides make it out to be.

And, therefore, it should not be the only political issue Christians care about. What about the poor? What about war and support of oppressive regimes abroad? What about the number of dilapidated schools in EVERY city in this country? What about the state of race relations 35 years after the civil rights movement?

I’m not saying every Christian should have voted for Barack Obama. However, I am saying that nobody should vote for a candidate because of a single issue, especially such a complicated issue such as abortion.

I do believe we should no longer allow the political world to use us. We can’t let politicians dangle the issue of abortion in front of us and then lead us wherever they feel we should go.

And now I welcome any and all comments. Please let me know what you think.

The Calico Rebellion

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Diary of an Overjoyed Black Woman

A few days after the Presidential election my wife and I heard a woman walking around the grocery store talking to herself. I couldn’t tell if she was reciting an item from her grocery list over and over, or just muttering to herself. Then, as we checked out we saw her and realized she was saying “Obama” over and over again to everyone who caught her gaze. She walked up to all the employees at the front of the store and said “Obama?” If they gave an approving look she gave them an energetic high-five, or even a hug. She did the same to every person who caught her gaze. She was a black woman, probably in her early fifties. When she got outside she stepped into a truck with a black man about the same I age, who I assumed was her husband or boyfriend. Our car sat right next to their truck and so we smiled at her as we passed with our bags. Then she quickly got out of the car and said “Obama?” We said “Obama” right back to her and she ran around to give us high-fives.

Her husband had his window down and asked if we’d voted for Obama. We told him we had and we’d actually been at the official democratic watch-party downtown to watch the results. He said he had bi-racial children and was excited Obama would be in the White House, because it meant he possessed more hope for his kids than before.

A lot has been written about a black man being elected to the white house since November 4th. All I know is that I met a woman who has possibly never been as hopeful about her country as she was when a man with the same complexion was elected to the white house. And this gives me hope.
The Calico Rebellion

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A Hoax Gone Terribly Right!

First of all, I apologize for my absence. I’ve been working on several entries, and none is ready to post. All of them deal with political issues, which is something I have yet to touch on this blog. There have been several reasons for this, but the main issue deals with the volatility of politics. I had very definite views during the Presidential election, however I noticed that political discussion tended to get people much more revved than usual. And too much revving is not a good thing, though moderate revving is important for positive public discourse. I had trouble keeping the revving in the moderate range… I’ve gone on with this metaphor so long that I’ve forgotten what I was talking about.

Regardless, I will allow this posting to be a primer for the upcoming political postings. Consider this a taste. An amuse bouche, if you will. And if you’re French I’m sure you will, because you know what that phrase means. If you’re not French, then just consider this entry to be the cheese-and-crackers plate before the buffet line starts.

I ran across a very interesting article HERE:

(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/arts/television/13hoax.html?em),

And you can also read the AP article HERE:

(http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/13/politics/main4598895.shtml)

And HERE:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/13/msnbc-retracts-story-sour_n_143517.html).

It regards a hoax perpetrated by, what appears to be, two film makers. The hoax itself is funny because it shows how two people can string along the mainstream and blog-based media for as long as a year, while continually being exposed along the way. It is a testament to the rapid pace at which new media changes, and the difficulty in fact-checking today.

The Martin Eisenstadt blog is found HERE:

http://www.eisenstadtgroup.com/

The Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy website is found HERE:

http://www.hardinginstitute.org/

Leave comments about what you think. The Calico Rebellion always appreciates feedback.

The Calico Rebellion

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Freedom from the Conspiracy of Ignorance

I have a firm belief that email is one of the most powerful tools of mind control in modern American society. More specifically, I believe the “forward” button is one of the most powerful tools of mind control in modern American society. As recently as ten years ago people would have to go to much more trouble in order to pass on some bit of information, even by phone or letter. Today someone only has to press “forward” and within seconds they can send on the exact same information to dozens, if not hundreds of people. This is where mind control comes in.

I don’t believe there is some major conspiracy involving men with gruff voices meeting in dark, smokey rooms composing email messages meant to mislead the masses. Rather, the conspiracy is a random collection of misled people misleading each other. Blind leading blind.

So I received an email recently from Ben Stein (well, it wasn’t Ben himself. It was a considerate friend who lovingly forwarded his message along to me). Here’s what Ben apparently had to say:
He told me he’s Jewish, but not offended by Christmas trees – Thanks Ben.
He told me he’s not offended when people say “Merry Christmas” – Well, Merry Christmas, Mr. Stein.
He relayed a message from Billy Graham’s daughter explaining that Katrina happened because we kicked God out of our schools and government… – …
He said our kids will commit suicide if we don’t spank them… – … Uhh…

Okay, I know Ben Stein. And this is not Ben Stein. Seriously, I shared a Chick-fil-a sandwich with him once. He told me I was “really, quite funny.” I also managed to anger him several hours later when I asked if he was the informant in the Nixon administration referred to as Deep Throat (this was before the real Deep Throat was revealed a few years ago). And this means Ben (first name basis) and I are close, because I have many close friends I’ve never shared a Chik-fil-a sandwich with, or accused of being an infamous informant. Hell, I haven’t done either of those things with my wife! Therefore I must consider Ben one of my closest friends. So I know Ben Stein is a very reasonable individual, and he would never make those ridiculous comments, much less make assumptions about God’s will in respect to Katrina.

So I checked into it (which all of us should do) and discovered this email contained portions of a statement Ben made on CBS Sunday Morning mixed with comments and false information added by individuals dozens of links before me in this email chain. It’s like the game “operator” that we play as pre-schoolers. We sit in a circle and whisper into each other’s ear and soon a short phrase turns from “I love the smell of fire in the winter” to “I rub the smell of urine in the creamer”.

Many of us don’t forward messages on, and there are many other people who get frustrated with this as much as I do. But if you are one of those people who rely on forwarded messages for the formation of political, spiritual or parenting views please do all of us a favor and throw away your computer. It’s the better move for the preservation of our civilization. We don’t want the freedom promised by your patriotic messages that tell me to quickly send them to fifteen friends or else I’m ashamed to be a Christian, American, non-socialist Republican.

We’d rather have freedom from ignorance.

The Calico Rebellion

P.S.- I would, however, ask that all of you copy this into an email and forward it to everyone you know. In return for this act of loyalty to me/humanity I promise peace will come to Darfur, Palestinians will stop hating Israelis, Israelis will stop hating Palestinians, Germans will stop loving David Hasselhoff and someone will discover a full, unreleased season of Saved By the Bell and will give it way for free on the internet.

(okay, that last one was for me)

[[[UPDATE]]]

I ran across an article in the NYTimes that talks about one of the men behind the infamous/utterly ridiculous/surprisingly resilient “Obama-is-a-Muslim” email. Click here to go to the article. I’ll also post it on my “articles” page, along with other articles to look at.

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Speaking of Music That Plays With the the Rhythm of Rolling Hills on a Moonlit Autumn Drive…

This is in reference to my last post. The Fleet Foxes record came out this summer, and after I heard it I purposefully waited until September to buy it, since I knew it would be a better soundtrack for the fall than the summer.

So this video is dedicated to my wife who loves autumn, Fleet Foxes and goats nearly as much as she loves me…

The Calico Rebellion

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An Almost-Autumn Drive

Our car steamed through the chilled summer night, sliding in the grooves of the worn country road like new rain in some forgotten river bed. The encroaching weeds that threatened the road’s existence from both sides stood up and claimed their innocence as we rushed past the McMansion developments surrounding leaning, creaking farmhouses who refused to sell. The wind squeezed into our open windows, chilled our exposed faces and hummed hymns to the coming of fall.

Many people speak of Christmas as the best time of year. Those people are delusional. At the very least they’re senseless. And by “senseless” I mean they must lack several of the five senses the average person acquires at birth. When fall comes, smell, touch, taste, sight and sound are overwhelmed in the best of ways, like a feast of fresh vegetables after a forty-days fast. The fast is the long, woozy summer which numbs us every year. And the feast is the turning of trees, crunching of leaves and the feel of the chilly North wind that wakes us up from our summer slumber.

My wife and I always look forward to a long drive to welcome approaching autumn and to tell summer to not let the proverbial door knob hit him in the proverbial ass on the way out. In order to make it through the exhausting Oklahoma summer I tell myself that summer makes the autumn feel all the more refreshing. I’m not usually in favor of lying, especially to myself; but in this instance I feel it’s necessary for my own sanity. So a few weeks ago we felt the chill in the air and decided it was the right time to take that first autumn drive.

We began by filling our stomachs with free wine and hors d’oeuvres at the dozen-or-so art galleries near our house. Then we grabbed coffee to set our already-revved minds into a whir of thoughts. We live in the heart of the city, but in twenty minutes in any direction we can envelop ourselves with the scent of pine and dirt, the chirping of insects and the prying stares of a million blinking stars. We played music that gently strums with the rhythm of the wind on the rolling horizon as the air chilled our throats and our lungs gasped as if they hadn’t breathed in months.

For me, the fall makes my body, soul and mind all yearn at once for a new way to understand myself in relation to the world; I want to do familiar things in unfamiliar places; I want to see familiar objects from unfamiliar perspectives; I want to overwhelm myself and make sense of it at a later time.

I know this may seem a bit sappy, but I don’t really care. This is the time of year when I always get the sappiest, and I never experience the slightest regret. So let this be my ode to approaching autumn. We welcome you, and we wait with much anticipation.

The Calico Rebellion

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