Personally, I think the Christmas tree dress makes him look hot.
Will Shetterly not only reinterprets Jesus’s teachings in light of Narnia, but also provides a most helpful spoiler warning: “Warning: If you know nothing about Narnia or Christianity, the following contains spoilers.”
Some scattered thoughts on the “death penalty” that I hope helps move it beyond the usual platitudes. Thanks for Bill Barr and Galley Slaves for getting me thinking.
The impossibility of reconciliation with the executed. I still feel a loss because I can never reconcile with McVeigh. I’d like to think that thirty years from now he’d admit he was wrong and try to make amends with victims’ familys on a one by one basis. Would that make up for what he did? Of course not, but it would help heal many families. Even murderers have a (moral, though legally unenforcable) responsibility to reconcile with those they have hurt, which always includes more than the murdered. The dead cannot reconcile. Executing murderers deprives families of the murdered of the possibility of reconciliation with the murderer, a cost we should figure in if we are truly about victims’ rights.
The responsibility of spectacle. Our current, almost secretive, painfully humane methods make executions unpublic. There is something to be said of the honesty of a public hanging, no matter what you think of the hanging itself. The public execution in the town square, with its rituals and pageantry, is truly public: everyone knows what the state has done that day. And anyone who looks around at the faces in the crowd will know what people thought about it.
The right to take life. Some of my fellow liberals hold the position that no ever one has the right to take life, a position that seems different from the pragmatic nonviolence of the Civil Rights Movement. And then are liberals like myself who do believe (a la Bonhoeffer’s attempted assasination of Hitler, and WW2 generally) that it is sometimes morally appropriate to take life. Truly public executions are at least honest insofar as they make clear who is killing who and why. They’re also honest insofar as they make painfully clear that only the state/society—not the individual—has the authority to take life. Liberals from different perspectives on who has the right to take life don’t seem to be in conversation with each other about this.
Isn’t “penalty” a sports term? Not only that, “penalty” makes the whole discussion about whether someone deserves execution or not. But there’s so much more at stake than that (as I hope the above points show). If liberals want America to have a discussion that rises above the moral development level of “I didn’t do it–he did” then they should quit saying “death penalty.” It’s an execution. And, yes, he deserves it, because a “life for a life”—while not the most mature moral position—is still morally sound as it goes. Let’s try and broaden the discussion a little.
The right to life. I just don’t get the common line that murderers don’t “deserve” (there’s the word again) to enjoy a meal, watch tv, etc. Who does “deserve” to read a book, smoke a cigarette, have sex, etc? Honestly, what are the moral criteria for “deserving” these things, and on what are these criteria founded? Here’s one thought on that, one that I think holds no matter how cruel or unusual you’ve been. There are some pretty good thinkers who’ve made the case that “life imprisonment” (there’s another funny term) is more inhumane than public execution. (If this is the case, perhaps some will want to be appointed public gloaters to enjoy, on our behalf, the hours of unceasing unenjoyment that the imprisoned suffer.) Are we really so sure that “life imprisonment” is more “humane” than execution?
Peacebang on Unitarian hypocrisy:
We’re just as fallen as any religious movement. We billed ourselves as the saviors, the reformers, the ones who would purify the church, and we failed. We just don’t see it, because the ways we have tunnel vision are so in sync with so much of liberal, secular culture, we have no idea how deeply and regularly we violate our first principle. Watch the faces close at coffee hour when the hapless newcomer talks with warm enthusiasm about the War On Terror and you’ll know what I mean. Hear the young mother get berated for bringing in bags of Wal-Mart goods to the Christmas cookie decorating party, and watch her quietly go away. Likewise the woman who asks the pastor to start a healing prayer group and is told “We don’t do that sort of thing here,” or the man who merely questions the placement of the rainbow flag on the front of the building. Watch them all quietly go away, or maybe not so quietly. They know first-hand that we’re not really committed to tolerance and acceptance, but that we just think it’s really cool to publicly question and dissect commonly held, traditional Christian beliefs.
It’s getting so boring. It’s getting so predictable, and it’s so passe already. Especially when so much of mainline Christianity is publicly questioning and dissecting commonly held, traditional Christian beliefs.
Scene 1: Bill O’Reilly and Fox News buddies declare a War on the War on Christmas.
Scene 2: An anti-theist group declares War on the War on the War on Christmas, threatening free guerilla distribution of their documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There” wherever Christmas is publicly celebrated. The documentary argues that Jesus never existed.
One of the documentary’s start witnesses? You guessed it. Our good friend Richard “Asshat” Dawkins. Because whenever a religious figure’s existence is in question, you should consult the best-selling-dreamboat-pop-biologist-with-a-grudge-against-religion nearest you. I’m sure it’s a very informative film.
Scott Shields plays off a New Republic article (subscription only) that argues that 2008 is the right time for Obama. (Hat tip to Kung Fu Monkey.) Here’s some points between the three of us:
In 2008 Obama will have twelve years on his political resume (five of that in the Senate). That’s more than Edwards had in 2004, and more than Bush had in 2000.
The last sitting Senator who took the White House was JFK. Why no one else? Because the Senate adds yucky votes to your record, puts you across the dinner table from a lot of lobbyists, and makes you speak like John Kerry.
To my friends who say the US isn’t ready for a black President yet: When will it be? We won’t know America is ready for a black President until America elects itself a black President.
The man can give a stirring, eloquent speech AND do well on Jon Stewart.
When discussing the “seventh principle” (“respect for the interdependent web of existence…”), the group leader says, “So what do you get out of this one, besides happy pagan goodness?”
When at checkout time a grup member says that what she got out of the session was that she’ll start turning off the faucet while she’s brushing her teeth from now on. And everyone cackles.
Got to go to St. Louis to visit my brother for Turkey day. But my nephew gets all his cuteness from me
The woman in the video here reminds me of someone I used to know.
This is up there with the crack whore my neighbor brought by a month or two ago. He wanted to do some yard work for a few bucks so he could go “do something” with his “new girlfriend.” All the meantime she was telling both of us to do this or do that “in the name of Jesus,” especially for me to give him some money. (“He’ll work for it. In the name of Jesus, he’ll work for it.”)
I couldn’t seem to find any work for him that day.
Giblets over at Fafblog makes a persuasive case for staying the course in Iraq:
The only thing to do is for America to stay the course and remain in Iraq for the next five to twelvezenteen years, until either our resources are depleted or we have been chased from the roof of the American embassy in the middle of a full-blown civil war. That is the kind of blood-curdling, explosively crippling losingdom that terrorists can stand back and admire!
Because when America loses, America loses victoriously!