Friday, October 12, 2007

Matty Boy 'splains 'bout spirituality

Is it Upside Down Day? Will Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love be singing That's Mathematics by Tom Lehrer? Are Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito going to discuss the Binomial Theorem?

No, I don't expect either of these events. Just because I am going to take a walk on Padre Mickey's side of the street today, it's no reason he has to cover my beat in return.

I have a OneADay George W. Bushisms calendar, and yesterday's quote was this.

"God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear."

3/3/04, Los Angeles, CA

I went to the White House website to verify this, and here is the transcript of the speech. I wanted to see the context, to see if the feeling I had about this statement would change if I saw the remarks around it. (It's in the paragraph near the middle that starts " We're really here to talk about miracles.")

In these two sentences, George W. Bush is saying in effect "This is how I am like God." I find this truly revolting. We are none of us like God, most especially when dealing with concepts like love and the future.

Let me comment on my own actions here. I had this quote from a calendar. I looked for verification of the quote. At first I couldn't find it, and decided to scrap this post, but then I did find it in the official transcript and that gave me the right to move forward. Lemme 'splain.

In my view of the universe, God is the author of reality. There are things we don't know for sure, and we have the right to speculate, and of course we have the right to opinions on any number of topics, whether they are facts or speculation. But we don't have the right to change the facts. Changing the facts is lying, and it the sin of pride, because it says you are the author of reality, not God. This simple idea has vanished from the national discourse, as so many people come up with lie after lie to deny demonstrable facts available to anyone who wants to look for them.

George W. Bush is the walking embodiment of the sin of pride. Calling himself The Decider is just one of the ways he has manifested this flaw, and being controlled by pride, he flaunts his sins as if they were virtues.

I can't stop being a mathematician, much in the same way Bush can't stop being prideful. As a mathematician, the word love always makes me pause. All of us think of love as a positive thing, but any adult with his or her eyes open has seen things that someone called love that aren't positive at all. The word is very badly defined, and that always gives mathematicians pause.

God loves you, and I love you. Maybe it's the way I was brought up, but I hear an implied threat in that sentence. It is not an honest offer of a great gift, but a demand for reciprocity with a promise of God's wrath if reciprocity is not forthcoming. My family weren't churchgoers, and it wasn't a regular topic of conversation, but when it was, it was seen as a shortcoming by others, not a right or an understandable decision.

I don't want to speak against the devout here. I have very dear friends who accept in their hearts faiths to which I do not belong. I see their focus and purpose in the actions of their lives and I have respect for that. But often in large groups, I see people of faith, most especially conservative Americans of faith, whose message from God is to wipe sin off the map, to fight a righteous war against the sinner. And the most terrifying thing is, they would have no problem with the way I defined the situation in the previous sentence.

And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear.

No, Mr. Bush, you are wrong. Many people wonder about their future, both in this world and in a possible next world, and exceedingly few can count on you. You are not God, you are not God's messenger and you have no business putting yourself in the phrase "both of us" like you are close personal pals. It is pride on an abominable scale.

When peace was an option, you chose war, a war you didn't even know how to win. When helping the poor is possible, you choose to help your rich friends get richer. You give speeches of compassion about the plight of AIDS in Africa or the problems faced by the people of ravaged New Orleans, but before your last word has its last hollow echo, the powerful message of your actions is "Screw you losers. You're on your own."

You say you don't worry about your legacy, but that is clearly a lie. You talk about it too much, it must concern you. And that's where the future comes in. You will have an effect on it, like I have an effect on a ball when I throw it. But to continue this analogy, once I throw the ball, it's in gravity's hands, and gravity is working 24/7/infinity. In your case, replace gravity with God, the author of reality. The reality is that many people of goodwill are going to have to make deep sacrifices for decades to come to repair the horrible damage you have caused, some of it intentional and some of it not, nearly all of it due to the twin sins of pride and unwillingness to think.

With that, I get off my soapbox and bring you, my loyal readers, the Random 10.

Positively Fourth Street Bob Dylan
Under Pressure Queen & David Bowie
Fight Fiercely, Harvard Tom Lehrer
And Your Bird Can Sing The Beatles
It Was A Very Good Year Frank Sinatra
Sensitive New Age Guys Christine Lavin
Reach Out I’ll Be There The Four Tops
Just One Look Doris Troy
The Beautiful Love of God The Roches
Just A Memory Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Some nice changes of pace in this set. Singer/songwrite Christine Lavin may be the most obscure; she writes some funny songs and some sweet songs and I like the album I have of hers. I chose as the highlight tune The Roches' The Beautiful Love of God. FoxyTunes has only the lyrics. Sorry about that.

Now playing: The Roches - Beautiful Love Of God
via FoxyTunes


dguzman said...

I only barely made it through your post because you're so right: GW was, in essense, putting himself up there with God as a driving and guiding force in the lives of "people who wonder about their future." I had not heard of this speech or remark (I change the station whenever I hear his voice--he gives me seizures).

I wonder if the speechwriters wrote those lines or he just made them up himself. One thing is certain: his arrogance and hypocrisy know no bounds. To call himself a christian is to slander all the true christians who've ever existed.

FranIAm said...

As you know, I am an actual church going type.

His arrogance is not to be believed and you nailed it as the sin of pride.

It is a disgrace. And to be honest, I am not sure I ever even believe he believes in anything. Save his own fat lies.

It is a disgrace. If he and a bunch of other fundie types ever figured it out, the whole thing boils down to this... Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor (enemy included) as you love yourself.

GWB doesn't seem to love God and also appears incapable of loving any neighbor.


I sure do dig that Roches song though. I have it here somewhere.

As for Gallito Mescalito y amigos... well you know I love them.

Matty Boy said...

I was baptized when I was 36 years old, so that's about 15 years ago. I made a serious effort for many years, but left the faith eventually. The short answer I usually give is "too much unsupervised bible study", but being serious for a moment, the problems were greater than that.

I entered the church because of Michael Dresbach, who was not yet Padre Mickey then. Except with him and the Lovely Mona, I felt like I had to edit my views too much, that I wouldn't be accepted if I really spoke my mind. Then, the whole rift about whether gays really were allowed to be Christians hit the Anglican communion, and I couldn't see any good result there.

I met some nice folks, but after moving away from San Jose, I didn't find a good way to be involved in the church, and so I drifted away.

At least I know that not all Christians are like the vile creatures that proclaim their faith most loudly in public, like George W. Bush and Ann Coulter. I guess that's something.