Friday, August 28, 2009

the non-apology apology

I was going to write a blog post about the lame, "I apologize if..." non-apology that we hear so much these days. The latest was Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. She got into hot water by saying, "Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope."

When word got out, and she realized how racist her statement was, she offered this,

"I was unaware of any negative connotation, and if I offended anybody, obviously, I apologize," Jenkins told the Lawrence Journal-World. (bold mine)

So what you're saying is, if no one was offended, then you withdraw your apology?

Anyway, I was going to keep going, but then found this by Jim Buzinski, written several years ago, that beautifully says what I was thinking:

Apology Not Accepted: Let's Stop the Trend of "Non-Apolgy Apologies"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

David Gushee on health-care reform

Great piece from David Gushee on the health-care reform debate:

The national debate raging over health-care reform has become a maelstrom of competing claims and counterclaims. It has been deeply infected by political demagoguery and hysteria.

The tenor of the debate raises the legitimate question as to whether our nation still has the capacity to tackle an enormously complex policy challenge such as this one. Each day we spend millions of dollars to defeat external threats -- but if we cannot address our own domestic problems any more effectively than this, then it will not be al Qaeda that undoes us.

The primary Christian interest in health-care reform is the moral imperative to extend adequate health care to all of our nation’s people. Why is health-care access a moral imperative? Choose your Scripture text or your moral theory, but they all point in the same direction:

(read the rest here)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

health-care debate

It's amazing how people can look at something and see two completely different things.

Watch Glenn Beck and Rachel Maddow one night; are these two even on the same planet?

Please, people--READ! Be informed! Don't just buy into the black and white rhetoric of either side. I am in favor of the reform being proposed. I don't think the current plan is the perfect answer to everything; but neither will it trigger the apocalypse, which is what many seem to think. Here are some great places to get some info:

Health-care misinformation: Big Numbers (by Mark Silva)

Health-care Reform: check the facts

Health-care resources from Sojourners

I read this in an article about the protests going on at town hall meetings. I know she's only 12, but I'm sure she is repeating what he was told by adults:

Another protester, 12-year-old Micah Vandenboom, was there with her parents.

She held a sign that made clear her opposition to the president's health-care reform plans.

"Under Obama, everyone will get the same health care, that's socialism," she said. "It has failed in other countries, you know, like Europe."

God forbid we try a system that treats people equally.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Great piece on immigration

Panelists offer theological foundation
for immigration debate

By Ken Camp

NORMAN, Okla. (ABP) -- Baptists cannot deal with immigration biblically and ethically until they understand a basic stewardship principle: everything -- including the privilege of living in a particular country -- is a gift from God, said a panelist in a luncheon discussion held in conjunction with the New Baptist Covenant regional meeting in Norman, Okla.

"It all belongs to the Lord," said Javier Elizondo, executive vice president and provost at Baptist University of the Americas. "Democratic capitalism can flourish only when there is a consciousness of whom everything belongs to."

Elizondo said many Americans need the same reminder the nation of Israel required after they left bondage in Egypt and entered the Promised Land.

"Do not oppress the alien, because your ancestors were immigrants and aliens," he said.

Another panelist said Christians need to change their vocabulary when discussing volatile issues surrounding immigration.

"When we talk about 'us and them,' we are on the wrong side of the gospel," said Tom Ogburn, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. "It's not about 'us and them.' It's about us."

"We need to move past the language of marginalization to the language of inclusion," Ogburn said.

Richard Muñoz, director of the Immigration Service and Aid Center (ISAAC) program jointly sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Buckner Children & Family Services, said Christians can faithfully observe both the New Testament mandates to obey legal authority and to welcome the stranger.

"I don't believe Romans 13 and Hebrews 13 are mutually contradictory," he said.

Muñoz, an attorney, said most undocumented immigrants in the United States entered the country legally but did not return home when their temporary visas expired. "We are trying to help immigrants comply with the law -- not break it," he said.

Suzii Paynter, director of the BGCT Christian Life Commission, told the audience to expect a cluster of immigration-related legislation to be introduced at the national level when Congress returns to work after an August recess.

She reported that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, recently outlined seven principles that will form the basis for legislation he plans to introduce. They are:

-- Illegal immigration is wrong, and the goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to curtail future illegal immigration.

-- Operational control of the borders through increases in infrastructure, technology and border personnel must be achieved within one year of enactment of legislation.

-- A biometric-based employer e-verification system with tough enforcement and auditing is needed to discourage illegal aliens and provide a certain and simple approach for employers.

-- Currently undocumented aliens living in the U.S. when legislation is enacted either must quickly register with the government and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning a path to citizenship or face deportation.

-- Family reunification should be a cornerstone value of the immigration system.

-- Encourage the best and brightest to come to the U.S. as immigrants and create new technologies and businesses that will employ American workers, but discourage businesses from using immigration laws as a way to obtain temporary and less-expensive foreign labor to replace American workers.

-- Create a system that converts the current flow of unskilled illegal immigrants into the U.S. into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.

Paynter pointedly underscored an observation made earlier by Ogburn, that too often "conversations about immigration and about race become the same conversation."

When Paynter arrived in Norman, she said she picked up a packet someone anonymously had left for her at the registration desk. The envelope was filled with materials supporting white supremacy.

Paynter said some of the debate about immigration issues is colored by "a real fear of the loss of power and privilege."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

back to baseball

Tomorrow is a day for which I've waited seven years.

In July 2002 I umpired my last baseball game. For five years, baseball was a huge part of my life. I worked 3 or 4 days a week, from March through November. I loved it. I loved the game, the kids, the excitement, the drama...I loved the friends I umped with, drinking beer and grilling brats after games, going to Razoos for drinks, retelling all the stories of our games...

Those last years in Texas, teaching and umpiring, were some of the best of my life. In 2002 I moved back to VA, got married, started a family, and went back to school. There just wasn't time for baseball. Each spring, when I drive by the local high school and see games going on, I feel a painful longing.

But now, with the changes in my job situation (not having one) baseball is a great opportunity for good part time work. So tomorrow night I umpire a game of 15 year-olds in Ashburn. The baseball probably won't be very good, and I'll be a little rusty, but I am so excited to get out there.