Saturday, May 17, 2008

You Give Christians a Bad Name

Who, you ask?

Phyllis Schlafly and Mike Huckabee.

1. Back in the mid-80s when I attended Pacific Lutheran University, I attended a university-sponsored debate between Ms. Schlafly (wouldn't she just love that title?) and Eleanor Smeal, who at that time was the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and is currently the president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. What dismayed me was how outnumbered the few college students and staff were. Schlafly had recruited her minions to attend in full force. I was surrounded by them, one of whom observed me clapping for Smeal, and proceeded to give me a full-frontal lecture about how feminism = promoting homosexuality and abortion. I just shrugged my shoulders and tried to ignore her. I felt sorry for Smeal, because she didn't have nearly the number of supporters as Schlafly did. She held her own well though. Schlafly is so reactionary and obnoxious that it's very hard to take anything she says seriously. Here are some examples:

“Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women.”

"And the first commandment of feminism is: I am woman; thou shalt not tolerate strange gods who assert that women have capabilities or often choose roles that are different from men's. "

"Many professors are Marxists or other varieties of radicals who hate America."

“Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”

“When will American men learn how to stand up to the nagging by the intolerant, uncivil feminists whose sport is to humiliate men?”

“Our public school system is our country's biggest and most inefficient monopoly, yet it keeps demanding more and more money.”

“ERA means abortion funding, means homosexual privileges, means whatever else.”

“People think that child-support enforcement benefits children, but it doesn't.”

And this is what she thinks of marital rape:

"Q: Could you clarify some of the statements that you made in Maine last year about martial rape?
A: I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it.

Q: Was the way in which your statement was portrayed correct?
A: Yes. Feminists, if they get tired of a husband or if they want to fight over child custody, they can make an accusation of marital rape and they want that to be there, available to them."

Schlafly, now 83, is in the news this week because Washington University in St. Louis gave her an honorary degree at its commencement ceremony. What is noteworthy about this sad event, at a university that purports to support diversity and equality, is that hundreds of the graduates, staff, and other members of the crowd turned their backs to Schlafly in protest. Why did Washington U. do such a stupid thing? Apparently a secret committee decided who to honor this year--another of the honorees was Quincy Jones. Some university insiders speculate that it was to attract media attention to the school.

Schlafly has called the protestors (shown below) "fools." She claims that young college women do not have enough to do nowadays and they are lazy. Her vitriol about feminists and gays and lesbians is sickening. I'm glad to see that some of the students and staff took a stand.

Students turning their backs

2. I'm horrified at Mike Huckabee's terribly unfunny comment during his speech to the NRA. I've never been a Huckabee fan, but to make an assassination joke about Barack Obama, during the 40th anniversary of the assassinations of MLK and Bobby Kennedy? Absolutely unconscionable.

Don't get me started about an ordained minister talking to the NRA about how we need to train our children early how to use guns. Or how he fired his state police chief because he tried to pursue justice after Huckabee's son was implicated in hanging a stray dog.

I suppose he was trying to accuse Obama of being a coward (since all the Republicans are attempting to do that, given Obama's expression of willingness to talk to our enemies), and he didn't fully think through the implications of the joke. Or perhaps he had it prepared in advance and the crashing sound was planned. (That's probably the case.)

I find it fascinating to consider that people accuse Obama of being a coward for his willingness to talk to Hamas, or the Iranian president, or the North Koreans, or whomever. Seems to me that it would take an enormous amount of courage and confidence to talk to one's enemies! And what possible harm could come of it? I can't imagine that they would hate us any more if we tried to talk to them. It reminds me of a George Carlin quote I like:

"Another plan I have is 'World Peace through Formal Introductions.' The idea is that everyone in the world would be required to meet everyone else in the world, formally, at least once. You'd have to look the person in the eye, shake hands, repeat their name, and try to remember one outstanding physical characteristic. My theory is, if you knew everyone in the world personally, you'd be less inclined to fight them in a war: 'Who??? The Malaysians??? Are you kidding??? I know those people!!!'"

I can't decide whether I want McCain to choose Huckabee as his running mate or not...because if it means they'd be more likely to go down in flames, I'm all for it. Somehow I think it will not happen after this ill-advised comment.

And that leads me back to my original title: how can people like Schlafly and Huckabee truly believe in their hearts that they are behaving the way Christians should behave? To use the words of fundamentalist teens, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Surely not these things. Amen.

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