Pornography: the new minstrel show

Pornography, if it’s defended, is defended in the name of freedom of expression. The creators of pornography, it is argued, are making an artistic statement. Okay, few defenders of pornography are willing to call it art. But they claim that pornographic performers are proud of their bodies, free from sexual hang-ups, and eager to share their worldview with the rest of us.

That makes pornography the direct counterpart of the 19th century minstrel show. Both pornography and minstrelsy depict an idealized world that doesn’t really exist. And both involve the exploitation of the people they are supposed to be depicting.
Continue reading “Pornography: the new minstrel show”

Too busy to be conservative

I’m too busy following Jesus to spend much time being politically conservative. There is a difference between the two goals.

Feel free to have an opinion, even a strong opinion, about immigration and illegal aliens. But don’t call your opinion Christian if it’s not in the Bible. Leviticus, in fact, talks quite a bit about aliens. You could look there.

Don’t call your opinion about war Christian if it’s not in the Bible. Yes, many people in the past have called their war Christian, most famously the Crusaders. The Crusaders don’t count. They weren’t prophets or apostles. They weren’t inspired.

Some people believe the Kingdom of God can be advanced by killing Muslims. Some people believe it can’t. Accept it as a difference of opinion. Accept it as a difference in strategy.

The saying used to be, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” The saying among many conservatives is now, “What’s good for America is good for Jesus.”

The Jewish Right

Why do they call it the Christian Right when so many of its best spokespeople are Jewish? Syndicated columnist Don Feder, talk show host Dennis Prager, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, film critic Michael Medved, pornography researcher Judith Reisman: all these find common cause with conservative evangelicals.

And how about intellectuals Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol, or talk show host Laura Schlessinger, or journalist Charles Krauthammer? Other influential heroes of the Christian Right are Jewish converts: former abortionist and now pro-life advocate Bernard Nathanson and World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky.

And there’s another category of Jewish leaders that the Christian Right has been willing to follow: Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Lewis Libby, and Elliott Abrams. Several of them have not been convicted of any crimes, something which cannot be said for certain Christian ministers.

The moral is that right doesn’t always mean Christian. And perhaps, that Right doesn’t always mean right.

The Christian jihad

Most American Christians wouldn’t say they support the war in Iraq as a means of defending Christian beliefs. But certainly one of their main justifications for the war is to defend American beliefs. The Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition claimed exactly the same moral basis for their work that the Qu’ran claims for jihad (holy war) – to make our homeland safe for our faith. Now, I am not implying any other similarity between the Christian Right and Muslim jihadists. I realize that the Christian Right has not yet produced suicide bombers. But they are fighting for privileges that Jesus and Paul never had.

Not all Muslims and Christians are similar

My recent satire on the similarities between some Muslims and Christians seems to have been misunderstood. I’ve taken four graduate courses on the relationship between Islam and Christianity, and spent hundreds of hours talking with members of both religions. But I’m still learning how to write clearly.

No, I wasn’t saying that all Christians and Muslims have destructive beliefs and attitudes in common. Just many of them. More about that tomorrow.

Back to nature

Jolly Blogger makes several good points in his comments about Silent Spring, a book which helped to launch the environmental movement.

  • Believers should care more about the natural world than unbelievers do, because we know the one who made it
  • We should care about the natural world, not because it’s purer and superior to us, but because it’s fallen like us.

Islam and Christianity

Many of them cling to presuppositions such as these:

  1. They believe that God approves of waging war to defend their beliefs.
  2. Though their faith has spread throughout the world, they believe that one culture is divinely inspired.
  3. They see God’s will as unalterably predestined.
  4. They oppose theological interpretations that disagree with the established commentaries.

And so do many Muslims.