Tuesday, April 26, 2005

W's Bubble is about to meet a Chainsaw

This Should be fun to watch.

W is only giving two graduation addresses this year. One, the Naval Academy is a gimme. W loves to be surrounded by all those clean cut military types, makes him feel all Commander-in-Chiefy and whatnot.

The other, Calvin College, is a small Christian institution in Western Michigan, highly regarded for its contributions to evangelical intellectual thought. So the thinking behind choosing it was clearly to send a not so subtle message to W's Holy Base and again get great video of Bush speaking to a crowd guaranteed to adore him.


Apparently W's advance team has gotten a little sloppy with its homework. As reported by Dan "the best damn journalist at the WaPo" Froomkin Calvin College ain't exactly rabid W Country:

On closer inspection, it turns out that Calvin College is not the bastion of
the Christian Right it appeared to be. In fact, judging from my e-mail, it's a
veritable hotbed of those other Christian values -- the ones that oppose war,
work for social justice, and don't think much of the president at all

.And they ain't happy he's coming:

Professor Kenneth Pomykala, chair of Calvin College's Department of
Religion.. wrote to me that some members of the community "are unhappy with
Bush's visit because we believe that Christian values require public policies
that seek social justice, compassion for the disenfranchised, human rights, a
commitment to peace, care and preservation of the environment, and honesty, say,
from political leaders -- in short, policies opposed to the Bush

and the Professor has a fantastic subtle protest of his own planned:

"As a faculty member, I'm required to attend commencement, but I plan on
reading a book during the president's speech -- probably My Pet Goat."

In the immortal words of John Stewart : "OH! Snap!"

Nor is he a lone nut on an otherwise conservative faculty :

Kate Bowman, the student activities coordinator at the college, e-mailed to say:
"Many of us do not believe that Calvin's graduation ceremony is the proper forum
for a partisan political address, particularly from such a divisive and
controversial figure. . . .
"Many of us believe that his actions since
taking office contradict the teachings of the Gospel, and though we love
President Bush as our brother as we are called to love all (even our enemies),
we profoundly disagree with his appeals to Christianity to support his own
political aims."
"There is a lively and thoughtful discussion happening on
our in-house faculty listserv at the moment around the issue of Bush's visit.
Currently the hot topic is how protest should be approached at this event.
People want to be respectful without appearing to give a stamp of approval to
the actions of the administration

If I'm a Bush staffer (particularly Mysterious Earpiece Guy from Denver) I'm thinking "ruh-roh!"

And it isn't just the faculty, the students are pretty pissed off too:

And Raleigh Chadderdon,{a student} wrote that "the majority of
graduating seniors I've talked with since have generally been disappointed,
frustrated, and feeling betrayed by the school's decision to politicize our
graduation. . . .
"Once word was out, a significant number of students were
scrambling to counteract the event, setting up dialogue over e-mail which now
will hopefully take place on a public online venue, just recently started.
The Group is called
commencement is not Your platform

Think W's in for an interesting day of it?

And lets be Clear Calvin college isn't some liberal-Episcopal-nearly Unitarian bastion. It's a Calvinist school fer pity's sake (you know the whole "Sinners in the Hands of Angry God" guy?)
For the Public Debate and the future of this country this is HUGE.

This could be the moment where true Christians kick off a backlash against Republicans who have hijacked their faith for partisan ends. For too long we've let the Republicans hold the religious and moral high ground without a fight. Its time for devout Christians who have actually READ the bible (particularly the bits about loving thy neighbor, and loving thy enemy and how great it would be to be nice to people for a change )to stand up and let their voices be heard.

Middle America needs to be clearly shown that the supporting Republicans is NOT required by theirr faith or morals. There is a valid way to embrace Christian vlaues without embracing the sleaze merchants of the right. These educated and obviously devout Students (hey they CHOOSE to go to a Christian College) can help show them the way and re-ignite the public dialogue on what it means to be a Christian.

I always cringe on this site when I read statements that start "The Christians are doing X" when referring to the brain-washed so called evangelical shock troops of the extreme right. They CALL themselves Christian but I've rarely, if ever seen them behave in ways Christ recommended towards other people, particularly those who oppose them.

I proudly consider myself both a Christian, and a highly skeptical Roman Catholic. The God I honor and believe in is a god of Love and compassion, not of hatred and division. The Mortal incarnation of God spent most of his earthly life teaching love of every person and the duty of aid and compassion for those less fortunate than you.

His teachings are also fairly dripping with contempt for religious hypocrisy and self righteousness. He spent more time with the sinners than the saints of his day, and seemed to enjoy their company a lot more. And Jesus himself created the concept of separation of Church and State (Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, Render unto God what is God's)

That's MY Christianity and it has a proud legacy of working for social justice in this country. It was a tragedy of timidity that we let self-righteous bigots claim the mantle and proud legacy of its role in or country. Its time for that to change, and the brave students of Calvin college fire the first shots in the war to take back what is rightly ours.


Blogger Droid said...

This is great news! Thanks. My only hope is that in getting wind of the protest his visit will cause Bush doesn't decide to find some prior engagement to call his own.

How refreshing, and hopeful, it is to see a community of Christians following the heart of their law, rather than cloaking their personal bigotry in its letters.

4:55 PM  

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