Election ’08: The view from abroad

I feel like I should preface this with some remarks about Mark Steel. But then I realize that it doesn’t matter either way.

Barack Obama, apparently, has been the symbol of hope. But that could be quite distressing, because his entire campaign has revolved around the slogan “Yes we can.” I’m all for keeping political ideas simple, but he’s reduced them to Bob the bloody Builder. Maybe he’s planning to steal other catchphrases from children’s TV characters, so his next campaign adverts will go “Barack Obama – flobalob lob obalob weed.”

In truth Obama is even more vacuous than Bob, because he doesn’t even say what it is we can, whereas Bob is unequivocal that it’s the issue of whether we can fix it. But they’re all as ridiculous. A typical John McCain speech went, “I promise I will always put America first – her ideals and her future, before any other consideration.” Then his fans all cheered. Because that should trump the candidates who disagree, saying, “Well I won’t. I’ll put the interests of Austria first. I’m sick of America.”

Obama now has a video, in which a variety of celebrities sing the words “vote, change and hope” It would be worth trying to confuse one of his canvassers by saying, “Oh no, I’d rather support someone who’s against hope. It only brings trouble, hope does.” But perhaps he’ll get more ambitious and make whole speeches full of random words, telling the people of Montana, “Brothers and sisters, buttercup Barcelona laminated frog radish but not and never hedgehog.”

Just read the damn article.

The American decline: a theory

(Video and transcript of Pastor Steven L. Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona)

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I’m gonna close with one thing. I was reading my Bible this week, and I kept seeing this phrase jump out at me, in the Bible. And you’re not gonna like this, but you haven’t liked the sermon up ’til now, so why would I—why would I try and please you now? You’re— you’re gonna be mad no matter what I say. But I was reading the Bible, and I kept seeing this phrase, and I studied this phrase in the Bible; it’s used six times, and it’s used by God, it’s used out of the mouth of God. And it’s when the prophet is preaching to the King of Israel, Jehu, and he says—ah, I’m sorry, Jeroboam, son of Nebat—and he says, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” He said, “‘I will destroy from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall’.” Have you ever seen that phrase in the Bible? Put up your hand. “Him that pisseth against the wall”? You see that in the Bible. It’s used six times in the Bible. And it’s—you know, six is a significant number in the Bible. It’s the number of a man. You know, there are different numbers that represent different things in the Bible? Like seven is the number of completion, you know? Five is the number of death, and you’ll see that all throughout the Bible; people being killed under their fifth rib, Genesis 5:5, Acts 5:5, on and on. You’ll see different numbers, and significance of numbers, and six times this phrase is used in the Bible. And you say, “Oh, I can’t believe you’d speak that way! It’s vile.” I’m sorry, but the Bible says that the words of Jesus Christ are wholesome words, and the Bible says every word of God is pure. And so don’t accuse me of using bad language. That’s what the Bible says.

He said, “I will destroy him that pisseth against the wall.” Now what did—you ever stop and think, What did God mean by that? Did He mean, well—what did He mean? Obviously, what is He talking about? All the men, right? He said, “I’m going to kill all the men that come from Jeroboam”. Because there’s a difference between men and women. Men piss against the wall; women don’t. Okay? And so God said—He used that language, He used that expression, and by the way, that expression is only in the King James. The New King James eliminates it. This is what the New King James says: males. All the males. And you know, the guys who made it are males, they’re not men. And God said a man is somebody who pisses against the wall.

Did you know this? When I was in Germany—and you’re not even going to believe this. See, why are you preaching this? ‘Cause it’s in the Bible, okay? I was in Germany, and, uh, I went to use the restroom in Germany in several different people’s houses. I mean, totally different people. And even in public places, they had a sign that prohibited a man from peeing standing up. I’m not kidding. I mean, you can ask—my wife is from Germany, and I was there for three and a half months. They had a sign in people’s house; they had a sign in the public restroom that prohibited—I’m not gonna—you know it was like a circle and a line through it, and it’s, no pee standing up. And I asked my wife, I said, “Is that like—” I thought it was a joke. I was like, “Is that a joke? That’s kind of a crude joke.”

She said, “It’s not a joke.”

She said, “No man in Germany pees standing up.”

That’s where we’re headed in this country, my friend. We got a bunch of pastors who pee sitting down. We got a bunch of—and you say, “Oh, you know, you’re being vile.” I’m not—hey, then God’s being vile. God’s the one who wrote the Bible, my friend. We got, we got pastors who pee sitting down. We got the President of the Untied States probably pees sitting down. We got a bunch of preachers, we got a bunch of leaders who don’t stand up and piss against the wall like a man. And I’m gonna tell you something, that’s what’s wrong with America.

You don’t—you don’t like it? You don’t like an old-fashioned Bible that tells you what being a man’s all about? Beause it’s called the King James Bible. And if you don’t like that term, “piss against the wall”, then you know what? Go to the bookstore this afternoon and buy a New King James. It’ll take out that word. It’ll take out the word damnation. It’ll take out the word Hell about half the times. It’ll take out the word Jehovah, the name of God. It’ll take out anything in the Bible that has any power to it. It’ll take out anything that tells you how things are supposed to be! But you know what, four hundred years ago, pastors used to stand up and preach that a man needs to be a man! Not a male. Not the males. It’s ’cause the editors of the NIV pee sitting down. It’s because the editors of the New King James, they all pee sitting down. I’m gonna tell you something: I’m not gonna pee sitting down. I don’t care if it’s Germany. I’m going to Germany in about a month. You better know I’m gonna stand up everywhere I go.

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(Tip o’the hat to Dan Savage at Slog.)