user

Peterr

About Me:
I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect. And Preview is my friend.
 
Website:
http://my.firedoglake.com/members/peterr/
About Me:
I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect. And Preview is my friend.

US Catholic Bishops Are Following the Path of Bob Jones University

By: Saturday June 21, 2014 9:09 am

When it comes to Supreme Court cases involving the freedom of religion, one of the biggest cases is Bob Jones University v US from 1983. The presenting political issue was the segregationist practices of the school, but the specific legal issue before the court was the school’s tax exempt status. Congress had passed laws that cut off federal education money from any school that practiced racial discrimination, and the school tried to claim that the first amendment gave them an exemption from such laws. SCOTUS laughed loudly. You can discriminate all you want in the way you run your school, said the justices, but you can’t expect society to subsidize it.

And now, in the wake of President Obama’s executive order granting LGBTs protection from discrimination by federal contractors, the USCCB is upset because without an exemption from this on religious grounds, they will not be able to engage in the kind of “just discrimination” to which they have become accustomed. I’d love to hear what happens when their attorneys read them the relevant parts of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bob Jones v US.

Double Drought in Kansas Brings Tears to Brownback

By: Saturday June 14, 2014 10:30 am

The numbers don’t look good, either in the rain gauges around the state or the state balance sheets in Topeka.

Poor Sam Brownback.

Francis Takes Action to Rein in Vatican Bankers — Will Pedophile-Enabling Bishops Be Next?

By: Saturday June 7, 2014 10:01 am

On the way home from his trip to the Middle East, Pope Francis gave a press conference that hinted about some big future shakeups. The first came out on Thursday, as Francis has put the old guard of Italians who ran the Vatican’s financial operations out and brought in folks with considerable financial expertise who understand — and support — international financial transparency rules. At the same time, Timothy Dolan, the Bishop of Wall Street, tried to dial back some of Francis’ pointed comments about exploitative capitalism (with some help from Larry Kudlow), but experts in Catholic ethics and social teachings took Dolan’s work apart in short order.

Could action on that other scandal be next? Let us pray . . .

Not Feeding the Trolls Is Not Enough

By: Friday May 30, 2014 3:00 pm

In the history of FDL, trolls of various stripes have always been around. There are the “take a dump in the comments” Common Trolls, who tried to derail comment thread and often ended up being mocked and chased away by a rain of bad puns and nightmare-inducing photoshops. There are the Villager Trolls, descendants of the trolls in the old Norse eddas, who live to serve only themselves and do not take kindly to lesser beings that might wander into what they regard as Their Turf. Most recently, though, FDL has been the target of the Tech Trolls, who combine the desire to derail and destroy of the Common Trolls with the distinctly unhelpful and decidedly superior “we’ll do it because we can” attitude of the Villager Trolls.

The trolls do not need to be fed, but the troll hunters sure do. If you are in a position to help, now would be a good time to do so.

The War on Poor Women in Kansas Continues

By: Saturday May 24, 2014 9:14 am

Planned Parenthood has been under attack in Kansas for years, as a part of the right wing’s drive to make the state #1 in keeping women from obtaining accurate reproductive health care information and making their own informed medical decisions.

After losing a court challenge to a state law that declared them ineligible for Title X health care funds, PP decided to close their clinic in Hays — a clinic that served much of western Kansas — so that they could keep their Wichita clinic open.

Ultra-conservative Tim Huelskamp wrote the state law that made this happen in his days as a state senator, and today he’s the representative for KS-01. If you’re one of his constituents, poor, and in need of reproductive health care services, you can thank your representative for putting you behind the wheel of your car for that trip to Wichita.

Plessy v Ferguson, Brown v Board of Education, and Michelle Obama

By: Saturday May 17, 2014 9:00 am

What a difference 60 years makes. Roughly speaking, that’s two generations, the span between grandparents and grandchildren, between one way of looking at the world and another. 120 years ago, Justice Harlan looked into the future, and he knew that one day, Plessy v Ferguson would look like Dred Scott.

Today, after I listened to Michelle Obama speak in Topeka, it’s plain she knows the future as well. It made me look at my kid and his classmates, and wonder what their world will be like 60 years — two generations — from now. From what I’ve already seen in him and his friends, I’ve got a feeling that the “better future” of which Michelle Obama spoke is not just wishful thinking.

Overruling Marriage Equality Will Come With a Cost, Warns Arkansas Judge

By: Saturday May 10, 2014 9:16 am

Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Christopher Charles Piazza struck down Amendment 83 to the Arkansas state constitution and a parallel state law known as Act 144 of 1997 which limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. Piazza, like the judges who have similarly ruled in courts around the country, brings his own style to his ruling — in his case, it’s the very pragmatic and practical language of a judge on the front lines of the state judicial system. Piazza not only rules on the case before him, but notes for the sake of the judges that will look at his ruling on appeal that should they choose to overrule him, that will come with a cost. A very steep, very personal cost.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Donald Sterling, and Holding Them to Account

By: Saturday May 3, 2014 9:05 am

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore — he of the 10 Commandments monument fame — appears to be possibly following in the footsteps of the LA Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, as a recording of his speech to a group of Alabama clergy is becoming widely available. It seems Moore thinks the first amendment only applies to some people — you know, the Christians that founded this place. In listening to Moore’s speech, I couldn’t help but think of the disgraced-and-banned-for-life-but-still-the-owner-for-at-least-a-while-longer of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling. Both Moore and Sterling exhibit the same sense of arrogance and entitlement, and the views of both Moore and Sterling were not some secret thing that just emerged. Both Moore and Sterling operate in a sheltered and rarified world — Moore atop the Supreme Court of Alabama, and Sterling amongst the 30 owners of the NBA teams — and seem to think that this insulated world allows them free reign to hold their narrowminded views with little accountability to anyone.

Hearing each of them put his bigotry front and center with no apologies, it’s hard NOT to connect the two. So I did . . .

Bank of America Pleads “We’re Idiots, not Crooks!”

By: Tuesday April 29, 2014 10:45 am

Can you say “regulatory capture”? Sure you can. The acquisition of Merrill Lynch was in 2009, Bank of America only caught this mistake last week, and you’re happy they are handling it swiftly? How about asking how it got through for 5 years? Bank of America has been structuring those inherited notes since 2009, and only now noticed a problem? Earth to Janet Yellen: this is NOT good news.

This disclosure doesn’t raise credibility issues; it confirms credibility problems.

Guns Are on the Minds of Folks in Kansas City

By: Saturday April 19, 2014 9:00 am

Guns have been much on the minds of folks in the greater Kansas City area for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been going through a two-month string of shootings on area highways, now apparently ended with an arrest last Thursday night, and last Sunday’s killings in the parking lots of a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home by an anti-Semitic white supremacist. Further west, there’s the standoff in Nevada over unpaid grazing fees between the Bureau of Land Management and a freeloading, gunwaving wacko and his gunwaving wacko friends in the various militia movements, cheered on by folks like Sean Hannity.

What will it take to end the stranglehold that the blind worship of guns has on our culture?

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