Kitty Kitty Clickbait Christ


Religious clickbait.

A couple of things here.

First, stop with the clickbait, people. Sure, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and all that. A time and place for everything, you know? But even longtime friends, not just the newly-agreed Facebook friends, do this to each other, and it has to stop.

To wit, there is some video going around of some dude absolutely mangling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and doing so for the honor of Christ.

Okay, that’s not fair. I haven’t watched the video. And I won’t.

Why? Because when people send you a link via social media and instead of the actual content they’re sending you to an advert page with more clickbait for the website, that’s simply it. Strike one, and this particular form of stupid shit is out.

Which in turn brings us to stupid shit.

You know how every year we hear FOX News and a bunch of pastors reeling under the magnitude of their own perceived inadequacy complaining each year about a “War on Christmas”? Okay, so here’s the deal: To the one, it’s not a “War on Christmas” if people simply aren’t giving one religion a privileged place in our society and laws over another, and so far neither the FOX News crowd nor the self-loathing religious activists are prepared to indict the Bill of Rights as a conspirator to this so-called “War on Christmas”.

To the other, Christians need to stop declaring war on good taste.

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Ghosts in the Making


Summertime in Ferguson

When it was Trayvon Martin, I pitched a fit.

Michael Brown? Not so much.

It’s fair to ask why, and the answer is to simply look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-one thousand plus residents have seen their city torn to pieces, body and soul, as protesters and police battle over the murder of an unarmed black man by a city police officer whose record includes being fired as part of another small police department in Jennings, Missouri, that was disbanded by its city council for being so corrupt and generally awful. The town is in chaos; residents are intervening to slow the most vocal protesters, and are also reportedly attempting to prevent media from covering the events. Ferguson has become the latest incarnation of our nation’s sick heritage of deadly racism, emerged as a symbol of our dark slide toward militarized police, and found itself the butt of one of the worst jokes on the planet after a protester tweeted a comparison of the situation there to what is going on in Palestine, and instead of being indignant the Palestinians tweeted back with good-faith advice.

I first addressed the death of Trayvon Martin with friends on March 13, 2012, some weeks after the George Zimmerman stalked and pursued him for no good reason, shooting the seventeen year-old to death and then claiming self-defense. And when I first mentioned it, I did not expect what was coming. Certes, my gorge rose to learn the story, but like so many Americans the idea that an apparently murdered black man will die under the presumption that he needed to be shot just did not seem all that unusual. That is to say, like many I expected Trayvon Martin would become another forgotten lamb.

And, yes, I was wrong.

This time, the nation did not wait weeks. Before the name Michael Brown finished echoing after the first wave of press coverage the town was beseiged by chaos. Screaming and shouting from my evergreen corner of the country really doesn’t do me or anyone else any good.

And, yet, Justice still seems nearly destined for disappointing failure.

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A call for theological justification


Someone, please, help me out: If … if, if, if …. If someone makes a claim based on a religious principle, what is the obligation to reconcile the claim with the religion?

Okay, let’s try a working example. Tom Searles reports, for The Charleston Gazette:

A handful of people who believe digitized photos on state driver’s licenses could be the beginning of the biblical “mark of the beast” will receive special licenses from the Division of Motor Vehicles today.

Phil Hudok, a Randolph County teacher who previously refused to enforce school rules requiring students to wear bar-coded identification badges because it violated his religious beliefs, will be one of the first.

“We’re a Christian, nondenominational scripture-believing group,” Hudok said.

Hudok, pastor Butch Paugh and 12 others met with DMV Commissioner Joseph Cicchirillo in 2006 about the perceived problem. At the time, state officials were getting ready to comply with the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which would have forced states to share information about licensed drivers with other states.

Under the plan Cicchirillo established, Hudok and other followers of Paugh will be allowed to have their license photos taken at the Capitol DMV office and then removed from the computer system. DMV will maintain a hard copy of the pictures at the main office.

“What these people objected to was the digital image,” Cicchirillo said.

The federal act also requires personal information, such as birth dates and driving records, in the system. “All the other information stays there,” the commissioner said.

He said there has been no outpouring of people objecting to the digital photos.

“Right now, I have three or four people who have requested it for religious reasons,” he said. “I think what they told me was it had to do with the mark of the beast.”

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