Daily Links October 7 2004

NYT Just Plain Wrong
Turns out the NYT Jodi Wilgoren piece on Kerry and Catholics (blogged below) was not only so boring and beside the point that it numbed us into tongue-twisting alliteration; it was also factually wrong.
Honor Killing
What’s God got to do with it? Not much, in Hadil Jawad‘s harrowing tale of “honor” crimes in Iraq, as told to Lauren Sandler. It’s a story striking for what it reveals about the brutal economy surrounding women bound not by Islam but by men who confuse themselves with the all mighty.
Pew Polls Predict Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Peppers
Pew polls predict plurality of people prefer pious politicians — say it three times fast, and it’s like a magic spell for pundits, aka campaign “reporters.” We guess we’re obliged to note Jodi Wilgoren‘s NYT poll-parsing piece on Kerry and religion, but… it’s boring. Cliff’s Notes version: Kerry, New England, quiet about God, Bush, religious support; Kerry wears a crucifix, should talk about God more… But, uh, all those believers Wilgoren says are supporting Bush — is it possible that they have any other characteristics that influence their decision?
Have You Had
the “Gay Talk?”
Sharlet: I was at a conference at the University of Southern California a few weeks ago when I discovered that one of the assistant organizers was not only a Revealer reader, but a Killing the Buddha fan. So when she later sent me a link to her brand new blog, Feminary, I kind of shuddered, because I believe in the Golden Rule and doing unto others and little blogs helping out even littler blogs, but… what if it sucked? Well, gracious me, but it doesn’t! Check outFeminary. The Feminarian’s name isn’t on the site, so I’m not going to reveal it, but here’s the set up — politically lefty, theologically conservative feminist goes to evangelical seminary. Hijinks ensue. Ah, but it’s good for more than laffs: Feminary is day-to-day evidence of the complexity of the American religious landscape, which the press — and plenty of ordinary folks do this, too — all too often divides up between believers (Republican, Midwestern or Southern, insane and/or folksy) and nonbelievers (Democrats, resident only in NYC, LA, or Boston, mainlining lattes). If that were true, how would you explain the Feminarian’s fury over the inevitable “gay talk” she must have with her anti-gay classmates, or her distress over the “diva-vication” of worship? The Feminarian’s latest entry is titled “Give ’em Hell,” but it’s ordinary grad student disgruntlement. That’s fine; but don’t relent, Feminarian. Give us The Search for the World at (Top Evangelical Seminary)!
Christian v. Christian
“‘She said if I considered myself a Christian, I would be a Republican. Before I could even open my mouth to retort, she began a tirade on just how I did not even deserve the name of “Christian” because I wasn’t a Republican.'” True-believing Democrats commiserate at a “People of Faith for Kerry-Edwards,” meeting in Missouri over issues they feel should be of concern to Christians — poverty, the environment, tax cuts, Iraq — as well as their personal discomfort to see Republican campaigning in their churches.
If you open that door…
A Michigan judge has ordered that Ann Arbor Public Schools pay the legal bill for a Catholic student who charged that her religious and free speech rights were violated by a school discussion about gays and religion. The student alleged that the school refused her request to include a representative of her conservative religious view that homosexuality and religion are not compatible and that the discussion was slanted towards a tolerant viewpoint. School officials insist that the student did not avail herself of the opportunities they gave her to help plan or challenge the program. No further information was given as to why this discussion was happening in a public school in the first place.
I will not make a phone call to God joke here.
With 15 anytime, all time, minutes, 60 percent of American adults would choose to make a cell phone call to God, according to a Harris Interactive survey. Next up, at 11 percent, people would like to have a few words with George W. Bush.
Who You Calling Messianic?
Here’s a good religion reporter’s quandary: What to do when knowing what you’re talking about gets you in trouble too? Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News knew he was courting controversy with his report on Bus 19, an Israeli bus that was bombed in a terrorist attack, now on tour in the U.S. to raise support for Israel. The problem was with calling the Dallas group that hosted the tour what they call themselves, “Messianic Jews” (i.e., Jews who believe that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in Jewish Scripture). The controversy, as Weiss writes, is that “Every other group on earth that calls itself Jewish says that’s impossible.” Weiss understood this, and wrote about the controversy, and refered to the Messianic Jews as Christians (believing as they did that Jesus was the Christ). This, of course, caused protests too. Usually, Weiss writes, the media tries to refer to people with the terms they prefer. But what do you do when using the term a group prefers is taking sides? Grin and bear the fact that you just can’t win this one?
Re-Godding the Courts
Is this an activist judge? The “‘most important words'” in the oath a judge must swear in promising to uphold the Constitution and treat everyone equally are those of the last sentance: “‘So help me God.'” Well, so says Mississippi Circuit Judge, Samac Richardson, who is running for state Supreme Court largely on the platform of getting God back in the government. Richardson’s rationale for re-Godding the courts is the the 50-years young “God” additions to the Pledge of Allegiance and U.S. currency, and the wording of oaths that include “So help me God” — words, he’s already told us, that outweigh upholding the Constitution.
Eco-Justice Church
The liberal National Council of Churches tries to expand the definition of “religious issues” with a new political ad campaign looking for “Political Leaders to Tend God’s Garden,” and asking readers to sign a prayer petition to make environmental issues a priority. A press release from the NCC clarifies: such “moral leadership” is not embodied by President Bush.

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