Monday, June 06, 2005

Briefly Noted

- I don't even know what to make of this NYT story from Monday's paper, which is why I've avoided commenting on it all day long. How could Texas governor Rick Perry think that holding a bill-signing ceremony at a religious school attached to a church was a good idea? Even worse, how could his campaign think sending an email to supporters saying in part "We want to completely fill this location with pro-family Christian friends who can celebrate with us" was a good idea?

The bill signed by Perry on Sunday at the Calvary Christian Academy requires minors to obtain parental consent in order to get an abortion. Perry also put "his signature - although it was not required - on a measure that places a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages before Texas voters on Nov. 8." Regardless of how one feels about those measures, I think most of us can agree that this kind of exploitative photo op is nothing short of disgraceful.

I agree with Rev. Robin Lovin, a Methodist minister quoted in the Times as saying "'There are lots of reasons to go to church on Sunday, but making laws isn't one of them.' Signing a bill into law in a church, he added, 'is a pretty clear symbol that the church is at the service of the state or the state is at the service of the church and either way we've crossed an important line that has a long history in both politics and theology.'"

On one point, I agree with Gov. Perry. In responding to Don Wildmon of the American Family Association's comment that criticisms of the ceremony's location were making a stink over nothing since the signing was held in the gym rather than the church sanctuary ("This is not the sanctuary. God ain't in here. He's in there!") Perry said "I'm confused where God is: He's everywhere. If we did this in a parking lot of Wal-Mart, God would be there." If that's the case, Governor, why wouldn't the lawn of the governor's mansion (or the parking lot at Wal-Mart, whatever) have served your purposes just as well?

Dennis at The Moderate Republican has more on this.

- Hillary Clinton gave quite a red-meat speech at a "Women for Hillary" breakfast on Monday, the NYT will report on Tuesday. From all the quotes I've seen though, she's still behaving quite tamely compared to Chairman Dean.

- Disputed judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown will receive a vote as early as tomorrow; she was one of the three confirmations guaranteed by the Gang of 14's compromise. Frankly I'm glad of this, even though I personally wouldn't vote to confirm Rogers Brown: I hope that we can soon move beyond this judges boondoggle and start talking about things that matter. Oddly this seems to be more of a Democratic agenda item at the moment than otherwise; as Dick Durbin noted today, "There's not been one day of debate on a health care plan in the first five months of this year; not one day of debate on a jobs plan in the first five months of this year." Not to mention the federal deficit, environmental protection, education, Darfur, etc. etc.

- This has made the rounds today, but I found quite interesting a quote from this morning's profile of Senator Voinovich. The Ohioan "believes that Vice President Dick Cheney has been the real force behind Mr. Bolton's nomination. 'I think the major reason he is going there is because the vice president wants him to go,' Mr. Voinovich said, arguing that Mr. Cheney had promoted Mr. Bolton for the nomination after he failed to become the deputy secretary of state." Of course I agree with this assessment, having made the same argument several times in the past, but it is quite interesting to see it coming from Voinovich. I have to say, when he said he was going to oppose Bolton I believed him, but I didn't think that he would take it to the level he has. I'm proud of him.

- Wonkette intern Fred Becker comments on Ron Brownstein's potential 'conflict of interest' when it comes to covering John McCain (Brownstein's wife recently took a job with the senator). Personally I can think of a whole lot more important conflicts of interest that the media ought to concern themselves with ... Brownstein's covered McCain fairly widely in the past anyway, and I hardly expect that will change in any substantive way now.


At 12:11 AM, Blogger Mark said...

please don't tell me that you believe the constitution provides a "wall of separation between church and state" If you do, perhaps you should re-read the first amendment, and, when you are done, read the rest of the constitution. It isn't in there! Ihave the 1st amendment semi-committed to memory. whereas it states, "congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof." The reason for that statement is because the 13 colonies were under the rule of king george III, who was also the head of the church of england at the time, and so, exercised the right to decide for them what religion they belonged to. I know there is a more articulate way of saying that, but i believe I made my point. btw, you have an interesting blog, but i don't understand why you don't just go ahead and renounce membership in the republican party, since you are obviously more democrat than republican. In fact,your brand of politics borders on Socialism. And yes, I know rino stands for republican in name only. :)

At 7:46 AM, Blogger EG said...

It would be interesting to know why this church/gym was chosen for the bill-signing.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger JBD said...


1. The First Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of the Governor of Texas. But yes I do believe it's inappropriate to hold official government functions in a church. If you want to read more fully my views on faith and politics I would suggest two of my previous posts: "Justice Sunday" and this follow-up. In the second you will find some quotes from the Framers, since you seem to be interested in what their intentions were.

2. "why you don't just go ahead and renounce membership in the republican party, since you are obviously more democrat than republican."

Unfortunately, it cannot be helped that the Republican party can hardly know itself anymore. The GOP has left behind its principles of individual rights (and responsibilities), fiscal sanity, and pragmatic conservatism and taken up goals that embody none of those things. Why do I stay? Because I hope that someday that will change, and because I believe I can help effect that change more if I am a voice from inside rather than outside the party.

If I am more Democrat than Republican [and I presume you meant to use the capitalized forms of the words since the lower-case forms mean something quite different - if I'm erring here let me know], it is simply because at the moment, some of the Democrats are acting more Republican than the Republicans. For more on this, and why I chose to put RINO in my blog-title see my very first post.

3. "In fact,your brand of politics borders on Socialism."

Wow, I think that's a first! Socialist, eh? I would like very much to know which of my positions you believe is socialist. Please, enlighten me.


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