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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Sep Church and State

I am still of the opinion what George Truett and Baptists who understood him and understand what the separation of church and state is about; that it all matters.
As I have said before, Jon Appleton of Athens Georgia, whose Great Grandfather's picture adorns the Overstreet Room of the Collinsville Baptist Church is passionate about it.
Matthew has heard about it at Yale in Randall Balmer's class.
Lot of folks in NE Alabama and elsewhere, possibly anyone who lets his SBC Cooperative Program funds support the ERLC of Richard Land could be bogus Baptists
I'm not being self righteous here, I am a deeply flawwed creature, as my guts have let me know these last ten days.

But here is what a mentor of the one of the brightest students ever to grace the Halls of the Collinsville School system is thinking on the mentor in the current issue of The New Republic. The Whole Article is online. Maybe some of the Christian Women of Collinsville can take a look during a break from their Gathering this weekend, on the 19th anniversary of the Passing of My Momma.
My Momma walked out on Charles Stanley and like the refrain of Emmy Lou Harris and Patty Griffin's New Song, I say Hallelujah

Here is Andrew Sullivan joining me and Truett and Balmer and Appleton, John Baugh, My Momma and a host of other Baptist saints (excepting me as a saint, of course)

n all of this, D'Souza is saying nothing that has not already been said on the theoconservative right. The Christianist base of the Republican Party strongly believes that the law can never attempt to be morally neutral; it believes passionately in fixed gender roles and the patriarchy of the traditional family....
Moreover, Islamism removes the separation of church and state that D'Souza sees as the fons et origo of America's moral pollution. He quotes Khaled Abou El Fadl, a distinguished Islamic thinker in Los Angeles: "A case for democracy presented from within Islam must accept the idea of God's sovereignty. It cannot substitute popular sovereignty for divine sovereignty but must instead show how popular sovereignty ... expresses God's authority, properly understood." In case we haven't absorbed the proper lesson for the United States, D'Souza adds: "This mirrors the Declaration of Independence's argument that it is the Creator who endows us with our inalienable rights, and thus it is a perfect expression of the conservative understanding of American democracy."

Just to be clear: D'Souza is arguing that a democracy under divine authority and subject to theological truth is "a perfect expression of the conservative understanding of American democracy." Why should we be surprised that he wants an alliance with theocratic autocracies in the devel- oping world? In D'Souza's eyes, both the American Constitution and traditional Islam have a common foe. "Secularism is the common enemy," D'Souza quotes a Muslim scholar as saying. "Men and women in the West who are still devoted to the life of faith should know that those closest to them in this world are Muslims." In a spectacular attempt to prove he means exactly this, D'Souza throws into the mix an excoriation of Turkey as excessively secular. Atatürk's "militant secularization of Turkey is being reversed," D'Souza notes, "and on balance it is a good thing. Muslims have the right to live in Islamic states under Muslim law if they wish."
D'Souza is rehearsing the mainstream view of the religious right with respect to the notion of separating church and state. They oppose it, and so does he. But with what a twist! Where he differs from the religious right is in his willingness to find the proper political authority, the proper models of political virtue, in Islam. Islam and Christianity together: that is D'Souza's dream. He does not seem especially interested in God. He writes nothing about his own faith, whatever it is. His interest is not in the metaphysics or the mysteries of religion, but in the uses of religion for social control. (Somewhere Machiavelli is smiling.) In the goal of maintaining patriarchy, banning divorce, outlawing homosexuality, and policing blasphemy, any orthodoxy will do. D'Souza's religion, in a sense, is social conservatism. He is not going to let a minor matter such as the meanings of God get in the way of his religion.
In this regard, of course, he runs the risk of isolation. He is going to have a hard time keeping his coalition of the holy together. The members of the Christianist right in America believe that Islam is a false faith, opposed to their own. And this actual faith of theirs, their awkward belief in the exclusive truth of their own revelation, will certainly get in the way of their supporting an alliance of moral parity, or even an alliance of convenience, with a rival faith. Even the Republican Episcopalians in Falls Church eager to be run by Nigerians draw the line at Nigerian Muslims (with whom Nigerian Christians are actually at war).
Similarly, most secular conservatives have understood the war on terror as in part a war against the more violent rigidities of Islam. Many such conservatives see the way in which women are treated in Muslim society as repulsive; they find the Nazi-like anti-Semitism evil, and the reflexive comfort with violence and lack of religious freedom in much of the Muslim world appalling. The notion of actually seeing the world sympathetically through Islamist eyes--of agreeing with them on the need to keep women in burkas, gays hidden, and religious faith as the arbiter of public policy--is, well, very difficult. That explains why many conservatives have criticized this book severely. Islamism is not their idea of how to fix the crisis of conservatism.
D'Souza's thesis was indeed described as "regrettable" and "nonsensical" by Victor Davis Hanson, and as "intellectually obtuse, poorly informed and, most importantly, an irresponsible exercise in putatively conservative bomb-throwing" by the influential Republican blogger Dean Barnett. Scott Johnson, of the popular Republican blog Powerline, had this to say about the book in The New Criterion: "Having engaged in the effort to understand the Muslims as they understand themselves ... D'Souza generally does not seek to judge them by a standard above or beyond Islam."
But this is somewhat unfair to D'Souza. His standard for Islam is its effectiveness at maintaining a conservative social order. He doesn't care if the religion is Islam or Christianity, or if its adherents are black, brown, or white--as long as it performs the necessary social task

And if you want to read what he said before he got there, here is a link to the whole article
And if you want to do the serious thinking imperative for a citizen worthy of Jefferson and Lincoln's gift to us all in these perilous times, I think you should be reading the Book Infidel about the Somalian Muslim Woman, as well as my friend, Charles Kimball's When Religion Becomes Evil. Sept 11,2006 George Packer article, Moderate Martyrs, easily googled up, should be on your to do list as well.
I concede I have my own problems, namely and foremost, I need to get some things off the front porch.
I am working on it.


Blogger foxofbama said...

All this must be set up, of course, by an understanding of E J Dionne's piece in Friday's Washington Post are you are already lost at the outset.

8:20 AM  

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