So close

So, last week, I mentioned that I would’ve walked out of Mass in response to an anti-gay rant, if only I were a little bit braver.  Maybe.  Maybe,  I’m just not that brave.  To some degree I wrote off last week’s sermon as the prejudice of an African priest.  Nothing against Africans, but if one looks at all the controversy within the Episcopal church, it’s well known that their African dioceses have much greater opposition to homosexuality.   Alas, yesterday, our mild-mannered, American-born, pastor gave much the same sermon (a good Catholic will vote for NC’s marriage definition amendment), though in a much less prejudiced manner.  The priest seemed to think if he just said “natural law” enough, that made everything okay.  The ovation from many parishioners at the end really bugged me.  I really think that if David and I were not sitting right in the middle of the row, but on the edge, I would have left at the end of the sermon.  If I had been by myself, I’m pretty confident I would’ve left, but I’ve got my own internal struggles about what it means to instill religion in your children when you are really not all that sure about that religion.  But hey, that’s for another blog.

Anyway, what really annoyed me about the sermon was that the priest kept insisting that the Church was not getting involved in politics, but rather that politics was coming to the church, and they could not sidestep it.  You know what, I could actually accept that.  And even the sermon, if they seemed to give a damn about poverty.  Are they trying to say that poverty is not political?  That when we cut taxes on the wealthy at the same time we cut Medicaid and social services for families with special needs children, that’s not political?  Apparently.

I think that disjunction is what really pisses me off so much.  Read the Gospels.  Does Jesus really seem to care at all about people’s sexual behavior?  Fair to say it’s not exactly a point of emphasis.  Does Jesus care about us helping the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed?  Maybe just a little.  Urgh.

Photo of the day

From National Geographic earlier this month:

Photo: A rainbow over a farm near Lake Champlain, Vermont

Rainbow, Lake Champlain

Photograph by Alan Nyiri, My Shot

This Month in Photo of the Day: Travel Photos

This image was made on the afternoon of October 20, 2011, just before sunset, near Lake Champlain in Vermont.

(This photo and caption were submitted to My Shot.)

Ummm, wow.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about this race anymore.  Perhaps I should give up on anything resembling prognostication.  Then again, this may very well change after Gingrich is battered by an advertising campaign like the one he faced in Iowa.  But, surely Gingrich will having money (and Super-PAC support) flowing in and be able to respond.  Damn, this is really shaping up to be fun!

Nate Silver has a very thoughtful disquisition on whether “this time is different” or not in the Republican primaries.   Conclusion.  Yes.  Or no.

Honestly, things like this are why I so love being a political scientist.   Yeah, it’s great when our theories work and explain everything.  But, it’s even more fun when they don’t and we realize we’re witnessing something new and truly unprecedented.  Obama and Clinton’s ongoing slugfest in 2008 seemed to violate all the stuff I was teaching in my Campaigns & Elections class then and the Republican process this time around is certainly given the indication that there will be some major revisions again.  So much more fun than my other idea of being a History professor.

Tea Party Jesus

This is just awesome.

On Mitt Romney and candidate quality

I’ve been hard on Mitt here and thinking about how amazingly little he inspires even his supporters to be the frontrunner.  But then again, the truth  is, it’s not at all amazing.  Obama was definitely the exception, not the rule.  And though many conservatives had a hard time embracing McCain, he certainly had an inspiring personal story that inspired people across the political spectrum.  So, no, Romney doesn’t inspire many people.  Bu that didn’t exactly stop Al Gore from winning the popular vote or John Kerry coming damn close.  Or, Michael Dukakis, seemingly the anti-inspirational candidate from winning the Democratic nomination.  Here’s Drum’s take:

In any case, this means that out of 11 non-incumbent candidates over the past three decades, only two [Obama and Reagan] were clearly inspirational at the time, two more [Clinton and GWB] were possibly B-list inspirational, and seven were basically duds. Long story short, we Americans aren’t usually very happy with the presidential choices put in front of us. The 2012 Republican primary is much more the rule than the exception.

I do think that, sadly, Newt inspires many conservatives, but he inspires the worst aspects of their political nature.  If there’s a phrase that’s the opposite of “the better angels of our nature” I think it’s safe to say, that’s what Newt’s campaign is all about.

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