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Messages - Steverem

Quote from: Charles Austin on July 06, 2016, 10:52:09 AM
A church has already filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. If the commission is indeed attempting to enforce the "rules" in the brochure on churches, the church has an excellent case and I hope that they win. Churches, who operate without state funds, cannot be told by the state what can be said within those churches.
It would seem clear that while the provisos of the Civil Rights Commission sometimes apply to churches, they do not always apply. This needs clarification.

You have long said that if there ever came a time where churches and religious organizations were forced to behave contrary to their stated and long-held beliefs, you would lead the charge in fighting against such First Amendment violations (although you were on record as not thinking such a movement was eminent, and lampooned those who raised a warning as being paranoid and over-reactionary). Now as we move inexorably toward being a nation that no longer values freedom of religion as an inalienable right, I hope to see you manning the ramparts, fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with those whose ideas you might not share, but whose freedom you treasure.  Remember, "First they came for the Fundamentalists ..."
Same song, next verse:

Might be of interest to those of you who are still foolish enough to make your services "open to the public."

Your Turn / Re: Donald Trump: The Man And The Myth
February 25, 2016, 11:18:27 AM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on February 24, 2016, 04:37:05 PM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on February 24, 2016, 03:22:35 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on February 24, 2016, 03:19:48 PM

We know Secy. Clinton. She's a liar. She's unethical. She's in it for the money and she's an attention whore. In other words,  she's like Trump. It's very sad.

Yeah, that makes sense, comparing her to Trump. I like that. But you forgot to add the one way she is different, which is that she actually has a clue about public policy and international affairs--which, even if you disagree with her, should count for something in comparison to the ignorance and bombast of The Donald.

Isn't there a saying about the enemy you know vs. the enemy who is unknown?

Yep.  I've used it multiple times in the past week describing a potential Hillary/Donald general election tilt. 

Frankly, I'm not sure Trump himself has any idea what a Trump presidency would be like.  My suspicion is that he is far more interested in winning an election than he is in actually being president.  I predict that, heaven forbid, he is elected, he will be out of office before the end of his first term, either through impeachment or just deciding he's done that, and now it's time to move on to his next project.

Perhaps a better historical leader with whom to compare Trump is Silvio Berlusconi in Italy.  Peas in a pod.
Your Turn / Re: Voting Guides
February 25, 2016, 10:51:02 AM
Quote from: Eileen Smith on February 23, 2016, 08:55:47 PM
I definitely received NCC voting guides. There was so much information on "Christian Principles inane Eletion Year" and on advocacy, that I never had the patience to read the whole thing.  Our town sends out fair and succinct voting guides.

I choose to believe that "inane" is not a typo for "in an."   ;)
Your Turn / Re: Voting Guides
February 23, 2016, 05:50:02 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on February 23, 2016, 05:41:59 PM
In the days of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority," the "voting guides" were not so thinly-disguised pieces of campaign literature for Republican candidates, distributed at and through churches. The pretense that they were "informational" or "non-partisan" was as phony as a three-dollar bill.

... and if memory serves, the NCC also once offered their own version of a voting guide that was every bit as predictable in the other direction.
Your Turn / Re: Voting Guides
February 23, 2016, 05:22:50 PM
Quote from: Dave Likeness on February 23, 2016, 05:07:26 PM
Pastor Tibbetts has lived in Illinois long enough to know that
the Chicago Democrat Machine will never publish a voting guide
for this state.  It is assumed that you will vote Democrat.  The
GOP in Illinois are a minority people.

More accurate to say that the GOP is a minority people in Chicago.  Remove the Chicagoland area from the state, and Illinois leans heavily Republican.

Evidence Item A:,_2012
Your Turn / Re: R.I.P Justice Scalia
February 22, 2016, 05:07:14 PM
Quote from: James_Gale on February 22, 2016, 04:46:21 PM

The following does not prove one way or another how the Senate should respond to any nomination by President Obama.  But I'd love to hear the Vice President explain why 2016 is different from 1992 (aside from the obvious fact that the parties of the presidents and Senate majorities were then the opposite from today).

In 1992, as the Supreme Court ended its term, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden said this (here's a Youtube link) on the Senate floor:

"It is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of the majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.
The senate too, Mr. President, must consider how it would respond to a Supreme Court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year. It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever, until after the political campaign season is over.
And I sadly predict, Mr. President, that this is going to be one of the bitterest, dirtiest presidential campaigns we will have seen in modern times.
I'm sure, Mr. President, after having uttered these words, some, some will criticize such a decision and say that it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in hopes that a Democrat will be committed to fill it. But that would not be our intention, Mr. President, if that were the course we were to choose as a senate to not consider holding the hearings until after the election. Instead it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me Mr. President, we will be in deep trouble as an institution."

Were I the Senate Majority Leader, when and if this is to come to the floor for debate, I would line the GOP senators in a queue, and have each of them use their time to read this verbatim, and then quietly sit down.
Your Turn / Re: Prayer Requests
February 08, 2016, 03:35:53 PM
I join with all the saints, here and elsewhere, lifting you and your family up in prayer.  May God provide you with healing, courage, and peace.
Your Turn / Re: Democrats: the Persons, the Myths
January 29, 2016, 02:40:26 PM
Quote from: bookpastor/Erma Wolf on January 29, 2016, 02:04:38 PM

Being a convicted felon is no bar to running for President, or from serving as President. In fact, you can run for President while behind bars. It's been done before, by Eugene V. Debs in the 1920 Presidential election. You just may not be able to vote for yourself (or anyone else, for that matter), depending on the state.

And by Lyndon LaRouche in 1992, if memory serves.
Your Turn / Re: Donald Trump: The Man And The Myth
January 04, 2016, 12:54:09 PM
Uneducated rube here - isn't the Great Commission an example of law specific to believers?  We don't expect non-Christians to follow Jesus' command here, but we do expect Christians to go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Seems to me to be exactly the kind of "third use" that Fletch suggests - it's pro-active, a call to disciples to follow in the steps of the Rabbi.
Your Turn / Re: The holiday that hurts
November 11, 2015, 08:53:10 AM
Quote from: Charles Austin on November 11, 2015, 04:22:12 AM
steverem writes:
Refusing military service is, by definition, not serving.
I comment:
No, it is not serving in uniform or with a weapon. There are other ways to serve your country.

steverem writes:
They might be wonderful folks, make a great old fashioned, volunteer at the local animal shelter ... but service and sacrifice aren't exactly their things.
I comment:
Again, you are limiting what constitutes "serving." I am grateful for those willing to go to war for our nation. I am also grateful for those who witness to pacifism (although I am not a total pacifist). And these people do sacrifice, if not the sacrifice of life and limb. They sacrifice their "standing" in some communities, often their jobs and friends or even family. There may be financial consequences to their refusal to serve and pacifists have gone to prison as part of their witness. To go against prevailing social and political attitudes quite often involves sacrifice.

steverem writes:
And to downplay a day dedicated to those who do serve and sacrifice to an amazing degree because you don't want to leave these folks out is, charitably, misguided.
I comment:
Did you not read what I posted? I do not downplay Veterans' Day and I believe that all appropriate honor should be given to those who have in good conscience and honorably worn the uniform of our armed services. I only note - as I often do on Memorial Day, Veterans' Day and the Fourth of July - that service to our nation can be given in other ways.

The fact that you feel compelled, every single time military service is brought up, to mention those who haven't served as such belies your claim.  It would be as if I, every time someone mentioned Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, felt the need to say, "You know, there are a lot of white people who contributed to this country too, and they don't have a holiday to recognize their accomplishments."  You would most likely (and correctly) feel that I have some racist tendencies, or at the very least that I have some degree of animus toward Dr. King.  And with your statements comes at least a whiff that you believe the decision to not serve is a morally superior one.

In this case, "all appropriate honor" means saying, "Thank you for your service," and not following it up with, "But, you know, there are others ..."
Your Turn / Re: The holiday that hurts
November 10, 2015, 11:54:13 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 10:50:49 PM
No, I'm not going to suggest a holiday to honor those who serve by refusing military service. Nor do I expect many to understand what kinds of "sacrifices" they make. May appropriate blessings and honors go to those who put on uniforms and pick up weapons in service of our country. But they are not the only ones who serve us. Nor are they the only ones who sacrifice.

Refusing military service is, by definition, not serving.  They might be wonderful folks, make a great old fashioned, volunteer at the local animal shelter ... but service and sacrifice aren't exactly their things.  And to downplay a day dedicated to those who do serve and sacrifice to an amazing degree because you don't want to leave these folks out is, charitably, misguided.
Your Turn / Re: The holiday that hurts
November 10, 2015, 05:34:44 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 04:50:12 PM
They also serve who choose not to fight. But we have no day to honor their commitment and sacrifice.

Genuinely curious - of what "sacrifice" do you refer?  If they served in military non-combatant roles, then Veterans' Day is such a day.  If not, then I'm not sure what kind of holiday you're envisioning.  I mean, I pay my taxes, vote, salute the flag - but I'm not going to put that "sacrifice" on a par with those who put themselves in harm's way on my behalf, and I'm certainly not going to lobby for a holiday just so I can feel appreciated.

Tell you what, Charles - why don't you suggest such a holiday, and we'll run it up the flagpole and see who salutes, so to speak.
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on November 10, 2015, 03:38:07 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 01:12:09 PM

But... IRD does that and there is no complaint? IRD, in its early days funded by some of the most right-wing organizations in the nation? IRD, whose stated goal is to oppose and remove the leadership of American denominations?

FWIW, the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau has been a member of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, one of whose founders was (then) Pastor Richard John Neuhaus.  (Note: I am unable to find a list of member organizations on the IRD's website, so I cannot attest that there continues to be an official IRD-ALPB relationship.)  Perhaps the observer ought not be so surprised (?) that there is little protest about IRD here, especially given that it has generally not directly worked on Lutheran church matters.

Pax, Steven+

Not sure about ALPB's engagement with IRD in the past, but I'm pretty sure it's been a while since there has been any formal connection.  I started working at IRD in 1999, and I didn't know of any formal relationship between the two during my time there.

For the record, the IRD is not an association, and is not composed of "members," be they ALPB or anyone else.  However, they have helped to create programs like the Association for Church Renewal.  (I believe this is the most recent incarnation of the ACR - The Common Ground Christian Network.  Frankly, I've been out of the loop for a while and wasn't aware of this rebranding.)  Lutheran CORE and NALC (and the Great Commission Network before those) have been a part of that association for some time.

I will admit that the current tone of IRD is a bit more strident that it was during my tenure.  Much of that, I believe, is due to the current president's denominational background.  (Methodists are much more happy to "mix things up," and Mark is definitely not afraid of a fight.)  My personal style is more akin to Mr. Tooley's predecessors (Jim Tonkowich, Alan Wisdom, Diane Knippers, Kent Hill), who were a more irenic and scholarly in approach, but that does not diminish the work that has been done, and is continuing to be done, at the IRD.  As for the organization's "successes" - a highly subjective term, to be sure - I won't go through a laundry list here, lest it look like bragging, but I will suggest that ELCA Lutherans might not see the impact the IRD has had in different venues (e.g., reforms in the United Methodist Church - which, last time I checked, was larger in the U.S. than the ELCA and LCMS combined; human rights work in places like South Sudan, China, and elsewhere).  The fact that the IRD has more-or-less outlived the NCC - the large ecumenical network which IRD was initially created to challenge - is worth noting.
Quote from: Charles Austin on November 10, 2015, 11:21:07 AM
I have known the IRD since its beginning. For years, I had no real "opinion" on the nature of the organization and thought I understood its raison d'etre. I now have an opinion and I believe it is a self-serving, possibly even hate-filled organization who desires to inflict as much harm as it can on a large segment of American Christianity. But I also see that it has had relatively little influence, despite its sometimes bombastic declarations.

Seriously, you have no understanding of IRD, its composition, purposes, or intents - or its effectiveness.  And I say this as someone who does.

But, by all means, feel free to think that because you once knew people who were part of the organization three decades ago that you have some sort of inside knowledge of what drives it now.  Whatever makes you feel superior to the rest of us ...
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