Unicorn Search Continues

The Obama Administration keeps trying to do some Inaugural “outreach” by asking a fundamentalist conservative megachurch pastor to give the benediction. In 2008, bigot Rick Warren performed the least important part of the ceremony. Unfortunately, in the intervening four years, Warren’s haterade has become even less palatable than it was. So, this year’s Warren doppelganger has backed out because he gave a sermon advocating pray-away-the-gay therapy in the 90’s.

The Inaguration Committee member tasked with making excuses and apologies said that they didn’t know that they had hired a bigot, and, furthermore, the next person they hire will have “beliefs [that] reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”

Good luck finding that Yeti. Almost by definition, a fundamentalist conservative megachurch pastor is someone who’s given one or many bigoted anti-gay sermons in the past. That’s unfortunate but not deadly to their prospects as the giver of the benediction. Non-fundamentalist, liberal, non-megachurch-going, perhaps atheist Democrats would be willing to forgive the past if the fundamentalist conservative megachurch pastor would renouce his previous position on homosexuality. But he won’t. Here’s what the latest asshole said:

Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.

Translation: God still hates the gays, I just don’t want to talk about it. And fuck those homos for pointing it out.

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217 replies
  1. Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I’m told there are liberal, non-bigoted Christians, just as I’m told there are Muslims not dedicated to the destruction of Western society.

    Where oh where are they to be found?

  2. Hungry Joe says:

    I’d suggest no benediction, seeing as how a) we don’t have a state religion, and b) it’s all a bunch of hooey anyway, but some people might get upset.

  3. c u n d gulag says:

    And, if you run a megachurch, you probably haven’t been preaching a whole lot of love.

    God grifters don’t do love.

    There’s no money in “love.”

    The suckers, rubes, marks, and fools, don’t want to hear about love.

    They want to hear how special they are, and how people who aren’t like them will be sent to Hell for all eternity, while they sit at the right hand’s of God and Jesus, as if, if they really existed, they’d want to be associated for the rest of time, with their racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and/or homophobic cracker asses!

    There’s a ton of money in fear and hatred.
    And that’s what the megachurch grifters preach.
    IMHO! ! !

  4. JWL says:

    “Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ”.

    Yeah, as in his making as much money as he can perverting Christ’s message of love.

  5. Chris says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    They want to hear how special they are

    If you had to narrow the core belief of every conservative down to the key point, “I’m special” would probably be it.

  6. BAtFFP says:

    @Bulworth:

    I was just thinking of that myself. Hell, my Episcopal church is stuffed to the gills with progressive, GLBT friendly rectors (mostly women, I might add) who could give one heck of an inclusive prayer. Nobody ever calls the C of E.

  7. 👽 Martin says:

    Can we get Richard Dawkins? If the wingnut brain explosion wasn’t enough from that, it turns out he was also born in Kenya. It’s a two-fer!

  8. Redshift says:

    There was a post from a McClatchy reporter which included a quote from him that “this has not been a priority” of his in more recent years. I tweeted to the reporter that he might have been able to hold on if he’d been willing to say that his views have changed, She posted his whole letter, which makes clear that of course they haven’t, he just doesn’t talk about it much any more.

    It closed with this:

    “Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.”

    You know what would help our nation be less divided and hurting, dude? If you would renounce your divisive and hurtful past remarks, rather than playing the victim.

  9. Chris says:

    @BAtFFP:

    I was just thinking of that myself. Hell, my Episcopal church is stuffed to the gills with progressive, GLBT friendly rectors (mostly women, I might add) who could give one heck of an inclusive prayer. Nobody ever calls the C of E.

    Apparently, our political system has completely internalized the notion that “Christian” must inherently mean “prejudiced, ignorant Luddite who thinks putting the word ‘Jesus’ in front of Southern identity politics, modern nationalism and naked greed means Jesus of Nazareth would have approved of these things.”

    All other branches of Christianity are unsuitable for this kind of public occasion, lest they offend the sensitivities of the bigots by actually getting their point of view out there.

  10. ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Couldn’t we just skip the benediction, and in its place invite the Phelps family to show up, so that everyone, and I do mean everyone, can enjoy pelting them with rocks, rotten vegetables, etc.

    That at least would make God crack a big fat gay smile up in his heavenly mansion. We don’t do that often enough.

  11. Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Barring that, the right Reverend Horton Heat.

    @ruemara: The only man who’s ever preached anything that I believe in.

  12. jl says:

    I think the flu shot I got a month ago kept my flu to simple inability to get out of bed, fever and inability to think, without other messy flu symptoms. But now that I am recovering, why does all the news resemble the insane fever dreams I have been having since this weekend?

    Maybe I am not better yet. I’m going back to bed, hoping things make more sense tomorrow.

  13. Ellyn says:

    There are a lot of great pastors in my area. Most of them are UU pastors, but there’s one Congregationalist.

  14. ranchandsyrup says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: heh. If the Rev. did his invocation whilst standing on Jimbo’s bass laid down on its side while Jimbo does the splits, it will heal this nation.

    I need to go see the Reverend Horton Heat again. I’m gonna make 2013 the year of punk shows for me. Saw social d last week and seeing Pennywise in Mar.

  15. JPL says:

    They chose the pastor because of his views on human trafficking. At one point Giglio was affiliated with North Point Community Church which the first lady visited as part of her healthy eating initiative so there was a connection. His views on homosexuality makes me wonder though, how the hell did the inauguration committee miss this. Can’t wait to hear what Joe Scarborough says about this in the morning.

    Also, too.. we need to start a petition. I think it is of vital importance that Lew not be forced to change his signature. They can take his signature from his cold dead hands. First they come for the signature, then….

  16. Redshift says:

    @Chris: Exactly. I wrote a complaint to the New Yorker a year or so ago because in a profile of one of these guys, they included a statement about what “Christians” believe without any qualification. (It wasn’t a quote, either, though it was in a paragraph describing his views.)

    Their response was that of course everyone would understand that it didn’t refer to all Christians, so there wasn’t a need for clarification.

    Like hell they would. I’m convinced that news outlets allowing wingnuts to define what “Christians” believe is a major factor in the decline of mainstream churches — who wants to be associated with that? (And I’m not even religious; it just pisses me off.)

  17. Interrobang says:

    Why does an allegedly secular nation with an anti-establishment of religion clause right in its founding documents even need to have a religious benediction at the inauguration of its head of state/government? Seriously.

    I get that politically the near can’t just have one of his designated staff stand up and say “Since this is a secular nation composed of people of all beliefs and none at all, there will be no benediction,” or just quietly drop it off the programme and say nothing at all about it, but holy systemic hypocrisy, Batman!

    I realise I’m a dum furriner and all, and here we’re officially CofE territory (although the Catholics tend to have some problems with that), but the whole thing’s just weird to me.

  18. Suffern ACE says:

    Honestly, this is the benediction. All we ask is that it be short so we can go home. This isn’t really all that hard. Ask that the lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us and grant us peace, make the sign of the cross and cue the organist for the procession to the doughnuts in fellowship hall. This isn’t that hard and agonizing.

  19. 👽 Martin says:

    What would be legitimately interesting would be the leader of the the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek that had the mass shooting last year:

    + Mass shooting, presumably a hate crime
    + Apparently not insane gunman
    + Guns purchased legally – semi auto pistols
    + Police that responded were also shot
    + Acknowledgement that there are many faiths in this nation

  20. jl says:

    I thought Pastor Warren was supposed to deliver a one trillion platinum coin to me personally, as a reward for being non-gay. I was going to use that to buy a bazooka and protect myself from UN drones and the unilateral Obama power grab dictatorship that would occur when Congress gave him self-contradictory, mutually incompatible spending instructions, which would be all his fault.

    Maybe that was the flu talking.

  21. 👽 Martin says:

    Minister from the TVUUC church where there was a mass shooting in 2008 would also be interesting, but probably too divisive. Also not-insane gunman armed with a legally acquired shotgun who wanted to kill liberals.

    Ironically, part of what he was pissed off about was that his food stamps were being cut.

  22. schrodinger's cat says:

    @👽 Martin: That would be great, it is a religion that treats women much better than many of the older world religions do, also in the Indian context does not recognize caste. Its an egalitarian faith, plus they have great food at the temple. Sat Sri Akal!

    ETA: I am not a Sikh, but a believer of the majesty of the Ceiling Cat, hence the Tunch suggestion.

  23. YellowJournalism says:

    My BIL’s best friend became a man o the cloth via Internet last summer so he could perform their wedding ceremony. The guy is hilarious and can give sweet little speech when you get a few beers in him. I think I can get the White House his number if thy just let me know. I don’t think he has to work that day.

  24. YellowJournalism says:

    Actually, Joe Biden should just take one of those Internet courses and do it. Problem solved!

  25. Patricia Kayden says:

    I agree with those who wonder why we have to have an inaugural prayer. America really is unique in the role it allows religion to play in the public sphere. Not sure any other western democracy is like this. I’ve been out of Canada so long now that I don’t recall if there was a special prayer for new Prime Ministers.

  26. scav says:

    Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.

    Shit, can’t we find anyone that speaks actual English instead of whatever that is?

    Over and above the idea that our ultimate significance and, presumable reason we were created by his Lordship, is to make much of him, the needy vengeful manipulator.

  27. raven says:

    I know this guys son, he’d be good:

    This book is a story of a congregation addressing its covenant with homosexual persons drawn from the journal entries of its pastor between 1986 and 1992. The narrative describes the incremental movement of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, toward defining its relationship with gay Christians.

    Exile or Embrace has two audiences in mind. It is a resource to leaders of congregations, both clergy and lay, who are asking three questions: How will our church be in covenant with homosexual persons? Are we ready to have a conversation about this question? And, if so, how might we lead this process of discernment?

    A second audience is those asking a more personal question: As a Christian, how will I respond to homosexual orientation and behavior, whether in my life or in some else’s life? The book is full of stories about persons of faith who have lived this question.

  28. Comrade Jake says:

    On MSNBC this morning they were making the point that the Inaugural Committee is actually distinct from the White House. Not sure how much I believe that, but make of it what you will.

    As to why they couldn’t figure out that Pastor Cockmonster was a Homophobe ahead of time, who knows. Youtube’s search function is not all that great, apparently.

    I’d like to see them get a liberal Pastor. Pick someone from an open and affirming UCC, for example. The Christian left exists and is good.

  29. cathyx says:

    Why is it so hard to come up with a religious figure that hasn’t offended anyone? Too bad Mother Teresa is dead.

  30. Tonal Crow says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I’d like to see them get a liberal Pastor. Pick someone from an open and affirming UCC, for example. The Christian left exists and is good.

    If they’ve got to have a pastor, why shouldn’t they have one who actually lives the creed Obama advocates? Why try to please wingnuts by hiring wingnut pastors? When has that ever worked?

  31. Chuck Butcher says:

    I could point them at the Rev Chuck Currie UCC out of Oregon, I think Portland, who is quite useful despite being of the religious persuasion and a good solid Oregonian. That Oregonian part means that the tendency toward rhetorical excesses has been mitigated by good sense and neighborliness.

  32. Chris says:

    @Redshift:

    Like hell they would. I’m convinced that news outlets allowing wingnuts to define what “Christians” believe is a major factor in the decline of mainstream churches — who wants to be associated with that? (And I’m not even religious; it just pisses me off.)

    The fact that the most powerful churches in our politics have basically become arms of the Republican Party has scared off a lot of people, I think, and will continue to scare off more.

    To be honest, I think I might have stuck with the Catholic Church if they honestly pushed their entire official agenda (meaning, including things like universal health care, labor rights, regulation of capitalism, restraining militarism and nationalism, etc) when doing politics. The fact that they concentrate all their energies on nothing but abortion and gay marriage, continue to concern-troll about them even when (as per Stupak’s amendment to HCR) they’re no longer issues, and completely ignore every other bit of their supposed theology – yeah. I have no interest in people who aren’t just wrong but completely phony about their beliefs on top of that, too.

  33. General Stuck says:

    I think Father Guido Sarducci still walks the earth. And would be ideal if sufficiently dried out. Cuz

    ever one knows.

    OBAMA HATES THE GAYS/Firebagger

    I’m sure this has been covered up thread, but bars repeating

  34. Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Can I get Tara Strong to deliver the benediction as the chief disciple of Celestia the Sun Pony? In the interest of embracing all faiths she can add a shout out to Princess Luna who raises the moon at twilight.

  35. Jess Sane says:

    This is just more proof that Obama is the MOST ANTI-GAY PRESIDENT EVER except for all the other ones.

  36. Ash Can says:

    I can understand the impulse to reach out to right-wing fundies, but as others have said, it’s really a lost cause. I wouldn’t mind seeing a moderate, sensible mainstream-religion clergy person, Christian or non-Christian, be tapped for the benediction. I also would like to see the admin carry the theme of having a lay person doing the convocation into the benediction. Have the head/US head of some charitable organization — Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam USA, etc. — give the benediction. I wouldn’t complain about skipping the benediction altogether, either, but it does serve the useful function of gracefully saying, “That’s all, folks,” so I can at least see value in that (especially if it’s kept very brief).

  37. jibeaux says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I could get behind that. I visited this convent in New Orleans where the nuns make beautiful things by hand to fund their community outreach. A guy came up on a bike while I was there and they gave him a box lunch — that kind of thing. One of them cuts out and hand paints these lovely balsawood ornaments depicting New Orleans landmarks, which they sell for all of about $8. Whether Jesus was divine or not, I’m pretty sure that’s closer to what he wanted his followers doing than yelling from the stage of some megachurch in a thousand dollar suit.

  38. Chris says:

    @cathyx:

    Why is it so hard to come up with a religious figure that hasn’t offended anyone the religious right?

    FTFY.

    Plenty of people were offended when Rick Warren was picked the first time around. Just not the money changers in the temple and their groupies “real” Christians.

  39. Roger Moore says:

    @cathyx:

    Why is it so hard to come up with a religious figure that hasn’t offended anyone?

    Because some people will be offended by anyone who doesn’t belong to their group. Give it to an Evangelical Christian, and liberal types will be offended; give it to a liberal Christian, and wingnuts will be offended. Have a religious person at all and radical atheists will be offended. Have nobody, and religious extremists of all stripes will be offended. You can’t win no matter who you choose; all you can do is decide who you’re going to offend.

  40. Tonal Crow says:

    @scav:

    Over and above the idea that our ultimate significance and, presumable reason we were created by his Lordship, is to make much of him, the needy vengeful manipulator.

    Book of Job:

    Jehovah: Hey Satan, you weenie! See here Job, who is perfect in every way and would never deny me.

    Satan: You’re full of it. Just let me at him, and I’ll have him cursing the day you thought yourself into existence.

    Jehovah: Yeah?

    Satan: Yeah!

    Jehovah: Yeah?

    Satan: Double yeah!

    Jehovah: OK, you scum. Show me what you got. Do whatever you want to him, long as you don’t kill him.

    Satan: Oh thank you great master. Now watch this, you worm!

    Job: What asteroid just hit me?

  41. eric says:

    I am surprised Obambi doesnt give the benediction himself since he sees himself as the second coming of karl marx.

  42. Tonal Crow says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Give it to an Evangelical Christian, and liberal types will be offended; give it to a liberal Christian, and wingnuts will be offended.

    Since when aren’t wingnuts offended by any and every thing that Obama does? Why try to please them?

  43. General Stuck says:

    @Ash Can:

    Something like 90 percent of this country believes in a living God. And more than half of those think Eve had a pet dino. Personally, I think this is the reason the founders put a wall between government and religion, but it doesn’t hurt to say a little public prayer now and then as a little opiate for the masses.

  44. eric says:

    All you need is someone to say: glory to god as that which inspires us to such noble and moral heights., Now where is my drone?

  45. Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Ash Can:
    To be serious for a moment, who delivers the benediction is like the least important decision a president can make. Since it’s all but meaningless, I can see why he might use it to remind the conservatives that the hand of friendship is extended if they ever stop screaming and swinging from tree branches to take it.

  46. KG says:

    @Ash Can: it’s not so much about reaching out to RW fundamentalists for the sake of reaching out to them. You’re right, they’ll never be on board. No more than the “professional left” (WETF that is) would be on board with any Republican president.

    What it’s about is the perception of all those in the middle, or who don’t pay attention all the time. By reaching out, you look like a reasonable, pragmatic, “we’re all Americans”, “there’s more that unites us than divides us” type soul. Basically, it’s a means of building cheap political capital. It also puts the other side in a bind because it shows that evil communist reaching out to the other side. If you turn it down, you look small and petty, and potentially unpatriotic (because “if the president asks you to serve, the only answer is yes”).

  47. scav says:

    @Tonal Crow: There’s that boy that hardened Pharaoh’s heart and brought down plagues on all of Egypt on the strength of said hardening, on one of the times he wasn’t beating up his chosen people.

  48. Paula says:

    Given the amount of blog posts about this story around the net, I think I should be paid to care about it first.

    Incidentally, I had more fun mocking Rick Warren’s turd of an inauguration prayer and would not have had him miss it for the world.

  49. T Bombadil says:

    @General Stuck:

    OBAMA HATES THE GAYS/Firebagger..
    I’m sure this has been covered up thread, but bars repeating…

    Actually it was not covered up thread. Seems you are first on the scene with this ‘lil bit of sunshine.

    Congrats!

  50. patroclus says:

    I think it should be a Presbyterian, but, given the nature of Presbyterianism, it would really have to be 3-4 Presbyterians, so that they could either argue about the text of the benediction for hours and hours before arriving at an appropriate mealy-mouthed non-committal version or so that they could each give their own internally contradictory one which, when taken together as a whole, would suffice as appropriate to the occasion.

  51. geg6 says:

    Why is this type of shit even on the schedule? Fuck benedictions or prayers or blessings or any of that crap. We don’t have a state religion in this country so why should religion have anything to do with inaugurating our president and vice president?

    If we must have stupid shit like this as a part of the ceremony, I propose that a different religion get the spot every inauguration. Wiccans one year, Seventh Day Adventists the next time around, maybe Unitarians four years later, with Buddhists getting their face time next. The incoming president can just live with whatever religion has its turn that year. If he/she wants to give a shoutout to his/her own religion, they can do that through the book they use to take the oath of office.

  52. MikeJ says:

    Fred had this guy on slacktivist yesterday:

    Bishop Simeon Hall, former president of the Bahamas Christian Council, says he “acted in ignorance,” when he preached against LGBT people as a younger pastor. Now he’s speaking out against such condemnation, saying “The demonization of homosexuals by some pastors is the greatest hindrance to any positive dialogue or efforts the church might establish with them.”

  53. Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Roger Moore: This. Like it was pointed out, the guy was chosen because of his work on human trafficking.

    @Frankensteinbeck: I think she should change her voice as she gives the benediction. My kids and I would listen to it, trying to guess which character it was.

  54. General Stuck says:

    @Skerry:

    If you are going with nuns, they should be multifaceted politically and choreographically. Sally Field reprising her Flying Nun character could be the ticket. Have her swoop in like a bird of paradise. It would deliver a primo slice of Americana teevee magic, and at once a tip of the hat to the prospect of working miracles. Driving the wingnuts mad at Obama stealing the rapture vote. The clever black devil.

  55. patroclus says:

    @Ash Can: But who’s going to do the Affirmation of Faith, the Time with the Younger Church, the Old Testament Reading, the Gospel Reading, the Epistle Reading and who’s gonna sing the Anthem? If we’re gonna have both an invocation and a benediction, why not go whole hog and have all the rest too?

  56. Suffern ACE says:

    @Felinious Wench: Oh phooey. Give it to one of the Lutherans. There’s a set benediction and it is short. Once you go off the reservation and have them write out a special benediction, you end up with a 2nd sermon. There is no need for that. It was decided on 500 years ago what it needs to contain. No need to make it memorable.

  57. Comrade Dread says:

    @Tonal Crow: Yes. I used to take that book literally. Having reread it, I came around to the conclusion that it was mostly a poetic look at the seeming randomness of evil and how bad things happen regardless of your devotion to God.

    The author through Job expresses questions about why a good and just God would allow a good person to suffer as he did. He wishes that someone would be his lawyer with God and plead his case. He deals with ‘helpful’ religious friends who tell him that it’s all his fault for sinning or for not being devout enough.

    The book never gives an answer. God just sort of shows up says, “I’m sovereign, I see all, you’re not, so…” Job accepts that and it all ends happily, aside from the lingering misery of losing 10 children.

  58. scav says:

    Benediction? Too late to book Cumberbatch, that man’s altogether too busy. And then we’d have to squeeze Jonny Lee in somewhere, not altogether a bad problem to have, if we”d only been thinking ahead.

  59. jl says:

    @patroclus:

    Yes, I like that idea. One side of my family is Presby. I think a Presby committee report, with several minority dissents, and a discussion of future procedural steps would be a wonderful benediction, and the most appropriate symbolic religious gesture for a public ceremony in a secular democratic republic. If it can be kept under half an hour, would be nice way to end.

    Edit: Or, as outreach to NRA on gun and ammo regulation effort, have a slightly deranged tactical he-man dressed up as Gun Jesus give a slightly menacing pep-talk. That would be OK too. (Titled “God is my tail-gunner”.)

    Edit edit: Sorry, “God is my tail-gunner”, Won’t work for obvious snark opportunity reasons. Scratch that. Will try again after my flu is over.

  60. Mnemosyne says:

    Oooh! Oooh! How about Jay Bakker? Though he did end up losing his megachurch because he had a revelation from God that being gay was just fine as far as the big guy was concerned and his congregants couldn’t handle the news.

  61. 👽 Martin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Can I get Tara Strong to deliver the benediction as the chief disciple of Celestia the Sun Pony?

    Yes, I like this!

    I’d also be down with Sam Jackson giving the benediction as Mace Windu. Jedi is the 2nd largest religion in New Zealand and the 4th in England. I want fucking Sam Jackson fucking preaching to me right the fuck now!

  62. 👽 Martin says:

    @👽 Martin: And of course Mace Windu would invoke a variation on Ezekiel 25:17:

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.
    And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
    And you will know my name is Obama when I lay my vengeance upon you!

    And then pyrotechnics should go off all around the crowd and stage.

  63. jayjaybear says:

    Translation: “Why must you very occasionally ruin our ubiquitous attempts to pretend that our very specific religious belief is central to life in this nation with your silly little equality agenda?”

  64. Jebediah says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Saw social d last week

    How were they? I haven’t seen them live since maybe 1990 or 1991, but I saw them recently on the teevee (Guitar Center Sessions I think) and Mike Ness looked 100 years old and was skipping (forgetting?) lyrics. It distressed me.

  65. jayjaybear says:

    @Culture of Truth: Underneath the “cool” surface, Mr. Wojtyla wasn’t much better than Joe the Rat. Remember, HE was the one who picked most of the ultra-conservative College of Cardinals that elected Palpatine to the Fisherman’s Throne. He was also a HUGE fan of Opus Dei.

  66. Roger Moore says:

    @MikeJ:

    “The demonization of homosexuals by some pastors is the greatest hindrance to any positive dialogue or efforts the church might establish with them.”

    Blargh. He’s still treating gays as others who need to be talked to, rather than people who need to be welcomed and made part of the church.

  67. Redshift says:

    @cathyx:

    Why is it so hard to come up with a religious figure that hasn’t offended anyone? Too bad Mother Teresa is dead.

    Mother Teresa had some pretty offensive views on suffering, that suffering was good because it would bring people closer to Jesus. (Well, I suppose the views aren’t inherently offensive, but her imposing them on people in her care was.)

    Religious figures pretty much have the choice of being completely milquetoast, or offending somebody. The only logical choice is to pick one based on offending the right people.

  68. Suzanne says:

    The UU pastor in my area got some significant notoriety around these parts because she got arrested for protesting SB1070. Interestingly, her sentencing judge was my boss’s husband. He gave her the lightest sentence possible. My husband and I asked her to perform our wedding, but she had decided not to perform any weddings until she can perform same-sex marriages, which is so cool.

    How about Rev. Al Sharpton?

  69. scav says:

    OK, thats it, news aka outrage buffer overflow, I don’t care who it is although suggesting a large platinum robot with everyone arguing for threads about who’s face to put on it would be par for the country. And with that? “Donna Noble has been saved. Donna Noble has been saved.”

  70. geg6 says:

    @cathyx:

    Too bad Mother Teresa is dead.

    Why? She offended me, as she did many others. Just because the msm and the Curia said she was a saint, you take that as fact?

    The woman was a grifter, pretty much like every religious figure you can name. Her orphanages were ratholes, where the children faced neglect and abuse. She though suffering was good for you, so her homes for the dying withheld pain meds and they were cleaned up with cold water only. She didn’t hire medical professionals, so FSM knows how many could have been treated but weren’t because of her and her crackpot ideas. She didn’t distinguish between the curable and incurable. She didn’t use the money she raised to alleviate poverty, but for missionary work and new convents in her name. She took money, happily, from the Duvaliers and the Keatings. She was a piece of shit.

  71. PurpleGirl says:

    Haven’t read comments yet… If the Inaugural committee wants to find a good, liberal minister, they can always contact the National Council of Churches for recommendations. I’m sure the office at 475 Riverside Drive (NYC) knows lots of qualified people.

  72. Suzanne says:

    There’s also the nun who got excommunicated and lost her job at St. Joseph’s Hospital here in Phoenix for authorizing a life-saving abortion on a dying woman. I would be interested in hearing what she has to say.

    Or that dude from Austria who fought for his right to wear a colander on his head in his driver’s license photo, since, as a Pastafarian, it is his religious headgear.

  73. Gex says:

    @Suffern ACE: If it is so unimportant, there’s no harm in picking someone who isn’t anti-gay. I guess we should go with dominant culture inertia because it is easier. For most people.

  74. Kay says:

    How about Rev. Phil Snider of Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, Missouri? He’s the guy who gave testimony before the Springfield city council on a proposed anti-gay measure. Watch the video on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASF0rzfSvEc

    Really. Watch the video. You’ve probably seen it before (maybe here), but it will make you smile again.

  75. handy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Said by the guy who wagged his finger at Clinton for waging war for Monica against Bin Laden, while was a complete apologist who used an actual attack by Bin Laden’s group to wage war against a nation that had nothing to do with it.

    Sorry, I don’t take much stock in the moralized musings of one Christopher Hitchens.

  76. Tonal Crow says:

    @Comrade Dread: That’s a very charitable reading. I take the Book of Job as a warning, of a piece with the massacre of Heshbon; the repeated hardenings of Pharoah’s heart, the hardness of which was then used to “justify” sending plagues upon Egypt; and (last but much the worst), the eternal gun to the head that is the threat of Hell.

  77. Tonal Crow says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    The book never gives an answer. God just sort of shows up says, “I’m sovereign, I see all, you’re not, so…” Job accepts that and it all ends happily, aside from the lingering misery of losing 10 children.

    Oh yeah. “Aside from the lingering misery…?” Are you trolling? And what about the children themselves? And his former wife? Are they meaningless? Just toys upon which this play is acted out? Is that the message: that Jehovah owns you and everything else, and’ll do what he damn well pleases, and like it or worse is in store for you? Smells demonic to me.

  78. Comrade Dread says:

    @Tonal Crow: I stopped believing in a Medieval torture chamber version of hell as well. It was irreconcilable with God’s justice as I understood it and with the people that we’re called to be: focused on others and loving others as we love ourselves.

    One could hardly claim to love another person if you were kicking back enjoying heaven while another person was being tortured for all eternity without hope or respite.

    Hell, IMO, is more of a state where one is shown the love of God and the unity of mankind, the opportunity to rise above oneself and have perfect fellowship with your fellow man free from greed and your own darker impulses, and being too obsessed with yourself to take it.

    Of course, I’m also a universalist, so I think everyone will eventually get to heaven in the end. That means I’m a heretic.

  79. Calouste says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Prime Ministers in Europe are more like civil servants, not an elected King like the American President is. The only thing in Europe that comes close to the Inauguration is an actual Coronation of a new Monarch. Any formalities around a new PM are pretty much limited to a photo-op with the whole cabinet and a speech in parliament.

  80. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    who’s going to give the rebuttal?

    “And now live, via satellite from the depths of Hell, by special dispensation from his Satanic Majesty, the Reverend Jerry Falwell will deliver the rebuttal to the Benediction.”

  81. Comrade Dread says:

    @Tonal Crow: It was a joke.

    The book tries to wrap things up happily, but thematically, it ends on a very dark note: suffering happens to everyone regardless of your piety, your entire life can be upended in a moment, your cries to the heavens will not get you the answers you seek, the best you can do is trust that God is sovereign.

    It’s not a happy ending. But I still find it to be a beautiful book for that reason. It’s an exploration of one facet of the human condition and the question that all of us have faced at one point or another: “Why is there evil and why is this happening to me?” And ultimately Job (and we) never get(s) the answer to that question.

  82. Gex says:

    I really love being mocked by people when I get upset that anti-gay religious figures get elevated by the government.

    I’d rather deal with people who hate gays than people who are pro-gay but spend all their time battling and belittling us.

    Given where this issue is at this point in history, what has happened during the last administration, and the November election results, there was no way choosing an anti-gay preacher was going to get glossed over.

    The fact is that choosing a pro-gay preacher would also get the fundamentalists screaming. But somehow their screaming is so much more palatable than that of gays. When we stand up for our interests we are suddenly firebaggers.

  83. WaterGirl says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: How about the nuns on the bus lady?

    I see that #79 got there first and even remembered her name. Sr Simone Campbell. I nominate her. If somebody puts up a petition, I’ll sign it in a heartbeat.

  84. Ted & Hellen says:

    @geg6:

    The woman was a grifter, pretty much like every religious figure you can name. Her orphanages were ratholes, where the children faced neglect and abuse. She though suffering was good for you, so her homes for the dying withheld pain meds and they were cleaned up with cold water only. She didn’t hire medical professionals, so FSM knows how many could have been treated but weren’t because of her and her crackpot ideas. She didn’t distinguish between the curable and incurable. She didn’t use the money she raised to alleviate poverty, but for missionary work and new convents in her name. She took money, happily, from the Duvaliers and the Keatings. She was a piece of shit.

    Reliable links/cites please.

  85. CarolDuhart2 says:

    Two suggestions: One, Unity Church of Christianity. A bit of New Thought and New Age, never homophobic. Another-a group benediction: its about time. Choose several different ministers, say about four, each inauguration a different group of four. Every religion and denomination will eventually get a turn.

  86. LanceThruster says:

    FSM, help us!

    Get an atheist in there to say some pretty words. It would be nice to ditch the whole irrationalist indoctrination. It’s bad enough to have that on the money and in the pledge.

    Better yet, BO should blow people’s mind and get some reeeeally out there sectarian voice advocating all sorts of wackiness.

    I’m found of the CoE prayer in that Python movie.

    “Let us praise God. Oh Lord, oooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell you. Forgive us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery. But you are so strong and, well, just so super-fantastic. Amen.” (Michael Palin as the chaplain in The Meaning of Life)

  87. Mnemosyne says:

    @handy:

    Oh, I’m not a Hitchens fan. (Quite the opposite, actually — I thought he was a pompous, overrated asshole.) I just thought I should point out that Mother Teresa was not universally beloved.

  88. redshirt says:

    @Culture of Truth: “Have you actually read this thing? Technically, we’re not allowed to go to the bathroom” – Reverend Lovejoy

    Also too: So sick of religion. Another symptom of the disease that probably kills more people than cancer: Tribalism.

  89. eemom says:

    Hitchens may have been an asshole, but his case against Mother T was quite solid AFAICT.

    Also too, I’m with the folks who believe this whole exercise is hypocritical bullshit in a nation supposedly founded on separation between church and state.

  90. LanceThruster says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I am a fan and he was right about Momma T for the most part. I met him shortly after Gulf War II and thought he apologized far too much for Shrubya in his quest to do battle with Islam. It’s one thing to reject their irrationalism, but to provide cover for our own home grown Taliban was disturbing.

  91. trollhattan says:

    Colbert teaches Sunday school. Just sayin’.

    Also, too, the Nuns on a Bus sister who spoke at the DNC was all kinds of awesome.

  92. Gex says:

    @Mnemosyne: You forget that if a person is wrong/awful about one thing, people can simply declare that they therefore must always have been wrong/had no point about anything else.

    At least, that seems to be the gist of the rebuttal.

  93. Mandalay says:

    @handy:

    Sorry, I don’t take much stock in the moralized musings of one Christopher Hitchens.

    Wholly understandable, but you shouldn’t necessarily discount all the messages just because you don’t like the messenger; even if you ignore his “moralized musings” you can’t discard the facts he presents.

  94. Another Halocene Human says:

    @c u n d gulag: They want to hear how special they are, and how people who aren’t like them will be sent to Hell for all eternity, while they sit at the right hand’s of God and Jesus, as if, if they really existed, they’d want to be associated for the rest of time, with their racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and/or homophobic cracker asses!

    Sounds like a shoe-in for Joel Osteen!

  95. jayjaybear says:

    @Alison: When Robinson spoke at the inaugural concert in 2009, his mic had all kinds of technical difficulties and most of his prayer wasn’t transmitted. I’m sure (at this remove, anyway) that it was actually a real glitch, but at the time I was pretty incensed about Rick Warren giving the benediction and wasn’t so sure.

  96. Heliopause says:

    There are thousands upon thousands of protestant mainline clergy out there who can safely be relied on to speak in vague, general, inoffensive terms about the Deity. The vast majority of them are competent public speakers even if they serve small congregations. Jesus, just pick one out of the phone book. Who the hell listens to the benediction anyway?

  97. FlipYrWhig says:

    Apparently this Giglio character was tapped for the gig chiefly because of his efforts against human trafficking. The whole thing smacks of unforced error, but IMHO there’s a difference between professionally anti-gay (like National Organization for Marriage, Prop 8, and such; AFAICT Giglio wasn’t involved in anything like that) and having said awful anti-gay shit two decades ago (and still seemingly harboring anti-gay views, but not being vocal about them). At this point, it ought to be easy to pick a member of the clergy who has spotless credibility on LGBT issues, so this is a fuckup. But if we’re rating homophobic bigots, it doesn’t really seem like Giglio belongs particularly high on the list. And, of course, Obama folks and inaugural honchos, let’s do better and have someone who’s not even _on_ that list.

  98. Another Halocene Human says:

    @BAtFFP: I’m glad that the progressive churches are finally, finally realizing they have a media problem. I think the older generation had this blueblood/WASP/stiff-upper-lip thing about assuming that a) their status was assured and b) it was vulgar to discuss what they believed in the public sphere. And that worked until the vulgarians utterly overran the public discourse.

  99. Another Halocene Human says:

    @👽 Martin: What would be legitimately interesting would be the leader of the the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek that had the mass shooting last year:

    Obama should invite him to the SotU.

    If the House Republican Leadership pees in their pants a little bit, all the better.

  100. The Other Chuck says:

    @eemom:

    Hitchens may have been an asshole, but his case against Mother T was quite solid AFAICT.

    Wasn’t that piece submitted in the spirit of providing an advocatus diaboli argument during Mother T’s beatification process? Funny thing, the last pope got rid of that job and started minting saints like they were commemorative plates. Any thinking person on both ends of the faith scale should really have been offended by that.

    Heck there probably is a Patron Saint of Commemorative Plates.

  101. Mandalay says:

    @LanceThruster:

    I met him shortly after Gulf War II and thought he apologized far too much for Shrubya in his quest to do battle with Islam.

    Agreed. The driving force behind his support for dubya was his hatred of miltant Islamists, but when dubya said “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror” he did not have to play along so willingly. In the end his tortured (!) arguments for supporting the Bush Administration became cringe inducing.

  102. The Other Chuck says:

    @Mandalay: He certainly changed his mind about waterboarding after enduring just a few seconds of it. Gotta give him credit for that. We’re still waiting on Hannity.

  103. geg6 says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Can’t find a link for it, but you can look up The Guardian October 14, 1996 “The Sins of the Missions” for a report on the abuse in her orphanages.

    The Lancet and the British Medical Journal both had reports on the poor medical care that people in her homes for the dying received. Again, no link but you can find a detailed report by Robin Fox in The Lancet 344 under the title “Mother Teresa’s Care for the Dying.”

    Colette Livermore, a former Missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa’s organization), wrote a book about her experiences there in “Hope Endures: Leaving Mother Teresa, Losing Faith, and Searching for Meaning.” She backs up most of what Hitchens, The Lancet, and The British Medical Journal reported.

    Lastly, the LA Assistant DA wrote to her asking that she return the money Keating swindled from the people who got screwed, many of them poor, working poor, and middle class. Mother Teresa couldn’t even be bothered to answer him. This is in Hitchens’ book, but it is verified by the ADA.

    Fuck her. Fuck her with a rusty crucifix.

  104. Ruckus says:

    OK, OK I’ll do it.
    Not affiliated with any church or religion, in fact I don’t believe in any of them. So neutrality checked off. I have spoken publicly. I look good in a nice suit. I only swear when a day ends in a y and rarely when talking into a mic.
    I would keep it very short. Thank the person before me and introduce the person after. And best of all I’m not a homophobe, racist or misogynist, although I have been called an asshole on occasion. And I work real cheap.
    There you have it, my resume.

  105. Another Halocene Human says:

    @Redshift: Mother Teresa had some pretty offensive views on suffering, that suffering was good because it would bring people closer to Jesus. (Well, I suppose the views aren’t inherently offensive, but her imposing them on people in her care was.)

    Er, it may be offensive, but this wasn’t her doctrine. It’s actually pretty bog-standard Catholic thought.

    What was wrong was her misrepresenting what kind of operation she was running and where all those donations would be going. Westerners thought she was was running charity hospitals and doing good works in India. Instead she was founding a religious order and gilding the Vatican’s coffers while operating a strictly otherworldly sort of ministry to the sick. The ambulances that were donated to her organization were used to transport nuns around.

    It’s also funny that she spent months at a time in the West railing against abortion but didn’t seem to have any problem with abortion (or even the disgusting practice of female infanticide) in India. Huh.

  106. LanceThruster says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Westerners thought she was was running charity hospitals and doing good works in India. Instead she was founding a religious order and gilding the Vatican’s coffers while operating a strictly otherworldly sort of ministry to the sick. The ambulances that were donated to her organization were used to transport nuns around.

    Indeed. As per “The Missionary Position,” the RCC pretty much considered her a heretic until they got wind of her fundraising abilities.

  107. Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    References? I don’t need no stinkin references!

    I haven’t seen you ask anyone else for their references. I’ll see what I can do. No guarantee I can get anyone to speak up for me. Hell that’s a pretty good reference right there. I voted for the President? Twice. I could wear the tee shirt I got. Did I mention I work cheap?

  108. geg6 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Er, it may be offensive, but this wasn’t her doctrine. It’s actually pretty bog-standard Catholic thought.

    Ummm, bullshit. Refusing pain medication is NOT bog standard Catholic doctrine. Not making distinctions between the curable and the incurable is also NOT bog standard Catholic doctrine. Torturing the dying and deviating from antisepsis standards by withholding hot water for cleaning the sick and/or their wounds is NOT bog standard Catholic doctrine.

    No one detests the Catholic Church more than I do, but the shit that witch did to the sick and dying have NOTHING to do with Catholic doctrine. She was a sicko sadist and it was all on her own. And that’s without even discussing her grifting, which you rightfully point out as another reason to detest her.

  109. Another Halocene Human says:

    @Calouste: Prime Ministers in Europe are more like civil servants, not an elected King like the American President is. The only thing in Europe that comes close to the Inauguration is an actual Coronation of a new Monarch.

    Ha ha, you wish. Speaker of the House has some similarities to PM. If you check out the swearing in and the way they open ceremonies in the lower chamber I’m sure you will find plenty of Jesusifying.

    US doesn’t have a state religion, hence all the angst about who gives the blessings, even though the actual swearing-in has secular roots.

  110. Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: I haven’t noticed anyone else volunteering for the position. BTW for a small fee I would be willing to provide a reference for you. I can say that I am not aware of anytime when you were a public embarrassment while giving a benediction.

  111. Another Halocene Human says:

    @Gex: The fact is that choosing a pro-gay preacher would also get the fundamentalists screaming. But somehow their screaming is so much more palatable than that of gays. When we stand up for our interests we are suddenly firebaggers.

    You know, I’ll take DADT being gone and SSM over getting Rick Warren booted off of a meaningless duty. If anything, the notoriety made it even less likely that he could slip under the radar with his Uganda hate law involvement. His best-selling book is now radioactive. Meanwhile, DOMA is seeing its last days approach.

    You know, I think I like real power and real civil rights over some sort of meaningless symbolism. I’m not a big believer in that “sticks and stones” motto, but this is one case where it applies.

    And Giglio had to run and hide! Probably because Warren so helpfully exposed the link between hateful rhetoric and hate-fueled violence for the general American public. Once upon a time, Senators could make homophobic comments on the Senate floor … now it’s the third rail. Yessssssss!

  112. Baud says:

    Seeing as how anyone associated with Obama loses complete credibility with the wingnuts, I think the inauguration should be all anti-gay right-wing fundamentalists.

  113. LanceThruster says:

    I nominate Eddie Izzard to do the benediction!

    7. Church of England Fundamentals

    So the Pagan religion I don’t know a huge amount about, but it was this earthy thing. Christianity had split into many different areas – Catholicism still has the fire and brimstone,( beating drum ) “Row, you bastards!” You know… Original sin! What a hellish idea that is! People have to go,

    “Father, bless me for I have sinned, I did an original sin… I poked a badger with a spoon.”

    “I’ve never heard of that one before! Five Hail Mary’s and two Hello, Dolly’s.”

    “Oh, all right…”

    “Bless me, Father, for I have slept with my next door neighbor’s wife.”

    “Heard it! I want an original sin.”

    “Oh, I’m terribly sorry!”

    The Anglican faith doesn’t have that. You’ll never go,

    “Vicar, I have done many bad things.”

    “Well, so have I.”

    “What shall I do?”

    “Well, drink five Bloody Marys and you won’t remember.”

    Because the Anglican faith had a lack of principles for a long time. You can’t get really headstrong about it. You can’t say, you know, like the Islamic jihads that we hear bout. We get scared about those Islamic jihads. I think we do assume that everyone who is into the Islamic religion is having a jihad every other bloody day. There’s a lot of very relaxed Islamic people, and we got to understand – remember, this is very important – and we do assume that jihads are just like, you know,everyday three jihads are issued by every individual. It just seems they’re everywhere . “The fruit shop shortchanged me! A fucking jihad on them!” Bump into someone, say,

    “Hey! A fucking jihad on you!”

    “How many jihads have you got going now, Dad?”

    “Well, 24. God, it’s difficult to keep up with them!”

    I just don’t think that’s happening. But you can’t do that in Church of England, you can’t say, “You must have tea and cake with the Vicar, or you die!” You can’t have extreme points of view, you know. The Spanish Inquisition wouldn’t have worked with Church of England.

    “Talk! Will you talk!”

    “But it hurts!”

    “Well, loosen it up a bit, will you? Fine…”

    ‘Cause that’s what it would be. “Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death!” Students with beards, ( mimes demonstrating with picket signs ) “Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!” ‘Cause, “Cake or death?” That’s a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.

    “Cake or death?”

    “Eh, cake please.”

    “Very well! Give him cake!”

    “Oh, thanks very much. It’s very nice.”

    “You! Cake or death?”

    “Uh, cake for me, too, please.”

    “Very well! Give him cake, too! We’re gonna run out of cake at this rate. You! Cake or death?”

    “Uh, death, please. No, cake! Cake! Cake, sorry. Sorry…”

    “You said death first, uh-uh, death first!”

    “Well, I meant cake!”

    “Oh, all right. You’re lucky I’m Church of England!” Cake or death?”

    “Uh, cake please.”

    “Well, we’re out of cake! We only had three bits and we didn’t expect such a rush. So what do you want?”

    “Well, so my choice is ‘or death’? I’ll have the chicken then, please.

    “Taste of human, sir. Would you like a white wine? There you go, thank you very much.”

    “ Thank you for flying Church of England, cake or death?”

    “I asked for the vegetarian.”

    “Ah, yes, the vegetarian, yes! There we go, Mr. Hitler. There we go… Like a bit of wine? Thank you very much…you Nazi shithead!”

    So, yeah. So the Pagan religion had very big festivals, remember, on Easter and Christmas. The Christian religion came along and had very big festivals, at Easter and Christmas. Jesus died on one and was born on the other. ( doubting sounds ) ‘Cause Jesus I do think did exist, and he was, I think, a guy who had interesting ideas in the Gandhi-type area, in the Nelson Mandela-type area, you know, relaxed and groovy; and the Romans thought, “Relaxed and groovy?! No, no, no, no, no!” So they murdered him. And kids eat chocolate eggs, because of the color of the chocolate, and the color of the… wood on the cross. Well, you tell me! It’s got nothing to do with it, has it? You know, people going, “Remember, kids,” the kids who’re eating the chocolate eggs,

    “Jesus died for your sins.”

    “Yeah, I know, it’s great!”

    “No, no no, it’s bad, it’s bad!”

    “ No, it’s bad! It’s very bad. It’s terrible! Whatever you want, just keep giving me these eggs.”

    And the bunny rabbits! Where do they come into the crucifixion? There were no bunny rabbits up on the hill going, “Hey, what, are you going to put those crosses in our warrens? We live below this hill, all right?” Bunny rabbits are for shagging, eggs are for fertility. It’s a festival – it’s the spring festival!

    Christmastime, you know, Jesus born to a big jolly guy in a red jacket.

    “Ho, ho, ho! Ho, ho, ho, baby Jesus! And what would you like for Christmas?”

    “Peace on Earth and goodwill towards men.”

    “Well, what about a clockwork train?”

    “Oh, yes, much better. Forget peace on earth, I don’t care.”

    And, you know, the Christmas fir tree, there’s none of them in Nazareth. The “partridge in a pear tree” song was not sung at the Last Supper. They weren’t there going,

    ” ‘And a partridge in a pear tree. Five goold rings!’ Come on, loosen up, Judas.”

    “Oh, all right…”

    ” ‘On the seventh day of Christmas…’ Judy, come on, Judy, loosen up.”

    “Don’t call me Judy, I’ve told you!”

    “Oh! Can you lend us a fiver, Judy? I’m a bit short.”

    “All right, lads, Leonardo da Vinci’s painting the picture, so everyone get your positions, here we go.””Jesus, why are you doing the big arms thing?”

    “Well, I don’t know… I just thought I’d do a big arms thing, I don’t know.”

    “Well, I’m going to do a big arms thing as well.”

    “Yeah, me too! I’ll call that the big arms…”

    “Look, we can’t all do big arms! We’ll look like a squadron of Spitfires, for fuck’s sake! I’ll do big arms and you just look at me and go, ‘Ooh, he’s doing big arms.’ ”

    “All right.”

    “Leonardo, have you got that one? Have you got the painting? All right, now a fun one as well, ‘member…( mocking laughter ) “

  114. joel hanes says:

    + The Dalai Lama

    + a Bokononist. He could intone: “So it goes”, shake his fist at the crowd, and thumb his nose at the heavens.

    + a Chicago hot dog vendor. Might not give a great benediction, but can certainly make each of us one with everything.

  115. Emma says:

    Did anyone notice who the inaugural poet is? From the Guardian:

    This year’s inaugural poet is breaking many barriers.

    Richard Blanco, 44, will be the youngest person to recite a poem at a presidential swearing-in, as well as the first Hispanic and the first gay person, President Obama’s inauguration committee announced Wednesday.

    I do believe there shall be exploding heads in every direction.

  116. Liberty60 says:

    This seems significant to me- that the rightwing is increasingly unwilling to talk about their homophobia, acknowledging that it is a losing issue for them.

  117. Liberty60 says:

    This seems significant to me- that the rightwing is increasingly unwilling to talk about their homophobia, acknowledging that it is a losing issue for them.

  118. LanceThruster says:

    @joel hanes:

    + a Bokononist. He could intone: “So it goes”, shake his fist at the crowd, and thumb his nose at the heavens.

    Hell yes!

    Get Ambrosia!

    Bokonon’s 53rd Calypso

    Oh, a sleeping drunkard
    Up in Central Park,
    And a lion-hunter
    In the jungle dark,
    And a chinese dentist,
    And a British queen –
    All fit together
    In the same machine.
    Nice, nice, very nice;
    Nice, nice, very nice;
    Nice, nice, very nice –
    So many different people
    In the same device.

  119. Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: Okay, I apologize, I should have clarified that her sick-houses (they certainly weren’t hospitals) would have fallen right in line with medieval “hospitals”, with no sanitation, no effective painkillers, no triage.

    She seemed to believe that their suffering would spring souls from purgatory, a belief attributed to Our Lady of Fatima, which the Church considers authentic and doctrinally correct. There’s nothing there about forcing others, to undergo suffering, but here’s the thing: her ministry was not a religious sham. It was a MEDICAL sham. In that donors believed that her group provided medical and/or hospice care. It did not. To the extent she was also charging people to be there, that was fraud, and it’s a pity the Indian government didn’t have its act together to suppress such activity. It’s one thing to undergo some sort of voluntary nonsense, but once fee for service is involved I think any government ought to step in and enforce minimum standards.

    If the Catholic Church had any problems with forcing people to suffer (little people, natch) they wouldn’t promulgate the doctrines that they do about abortion (and miscarriage), birth control, and IVF. (Of course, this sort of suffering is not an indulgence, rather it is a just punishment of all women for the sin of Eve. Nice, eh? As for their husbands or children suffering, I’m sure they can just find another babby incubator, I mean all fish are the same, right?)

    I was raised Catholic and pretty deep into it. There is some diversity of opinion within Catholicism, of course, but these kinds of repulsive notions are deep within the Catholic psyche and part of what keeps psychiatrists ahead on their mortgage payments.

  120. Keith G says:

    I wish the Obama inner circle were smart enough to do something very nice and symbolically wonderful:

    Find some kids (oh 10-16) to handle the the hocus pocus stuff. They will be cute, they will be brief, they will be very sincere w/o and axe to grind.

    Come on ‘O’ Team. Pull your head out and do this simple one good thing.

  121. geg6 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I don’t disagree with anything you say about the church. I also grew up in a very Catholic family and consider myself a victim of the many abuses the church has inflicted upon mankind. I’ve discussed it here several times, but you may have missed it. I am not one to make excuses for anyone in the hierarchy of the church. But I have also seen the wonderful medical care that can be had in a Catholic hospital (as long as it’s not anything having to do with the care of ladyparts). My ex’s mother had great care with her heart condition and Altzheimer’s at a Catholic hospital and the burn unit at the old Mercy Hospital (it’s now owned by UPMC) here was one of the best in the region.

    But I’m agreed that the church is a misogynistic, sadistic, corrupt swamp of bitter, twisted, unnatural criminals. But there are good but deluded people who are what is left of the church at the local level and who try to live up to their beliefs in a sincere way and I can still give them credit. I also feel some connection to them as they remind me that I once thought I, too, could just ignore the craziness at the top of the hierarchy and continue to be Catholic. But I got over all that by the time I was about 15 or 16. I get wistful over the endearing naivetee and wish I wasn’t as cynical as I am. They seem happier and more settled than I can ever be. But then I remember what it is that cultivates their innocence, the church that uses them to hide the true evil at the root. And I’m glad I am the way I am. I’d rather live in reality, with all the good, bad, and in between, depending on my own good character and personal standards as my moral compass, not a book of myths and legends and men telling me to not trust my own conscience but to listen to them and some supernatural being that only they can communicate with and for which the evidence is sorely lacking.

  122. John says:

    I don’t understand why they don’t just get some uncontroversial mainline Protestant minister from a local DC church and have an end to it? Or get the House or Senate Chaplain to do it. This isn’t that hard.

  123. Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: Don’t forget the Church has also been pushing Intelligent Design, got that Francis whatsisname guy in charge of NIH who does not believe in abiogenesis, and inserts itself into bioethics boards despite not having knowing anything about biology and having nothing to contribute in the field of ethics.

    The ladyparts bit is probably just the most visible. They’re even more pernicious behind the scenes.

    They ALSO are the big lobby increasing misery for those near death. Don’t forget about Terry Schiavo and their dogged efforts making end-of-life care a giant political issue instead of a private family matter. I’m surprised they haven’t had a go at hospices, although technically the hospice is doctrinally correct. Actually, the Church is being heretical when it promotes heroic measures to prolong life since that would be playing God, I mean, if God in His wisdom chooses to destroy the autonomic nervous system, then who are we to defy Him?

    They are also blaspheming by rousing the laity to a fear of death when in fact the passing of one of the faithful into Paradise and the full communion of saints should be celebrated, just as 2nd century Christians did.

    Oh, wait, if they stopped terrifying people they wouldn’t be able to keep so many ego-dominant Western males in their ranks who think the RCC has the key to immortality.

  124. Suffern ACE says:

    @John: my other question I guess is who has time on their hands to vet this guys past sermons? If the inauguration committee didn’t, who did? It can’t be a reporter, because we know they don’t work that hard.

  125. seaboogie says:

    @Tonal Crow: former pastor cecil williams of glide memorial in sf….the righties’ worst nightmare – an outspoken, dusky-hued protector and practioner of what most Xians only give lip service to, and he’s from SF, and he supports teh gays and – just check out his wiki page – he would simply make their heads explode for all the wrong reasons that they mostly couldn’t say out loud, and then we could all rejoice a little louder.

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