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March 29, 2004
Jesus and JohnBy Greyhawk
Lets catch up with good John Kerry, who stopped for mass on his way home from skiing, even though it nearly made him late for the vote against Laci and Connor's law:
The last time a major political party put forward a Roman Catholic candidate for President, he had to confront bigotry and suspicion that he would be taking orders from Rome. Forty-four years later, the Democrats are poised to nominate another Catholic—another Senator from Massachusetts whose initials happen to be J.F.K.—
Most folks probably didn't notice the similarities.
"He had me at 'notBush'" said a typical Democratic voter. But for those desiring the false sense of hope that their candidate has a moral compass,
Kerry is a former altar boy who complains when his campaign staff does not leave time in his Sunday schedule for Mass, who takes Communion and describes himself as a "believing and practicing Catholic, married to another believing and practicing Catholic." But just last week he made a rare appearance on the Senate floor to vote against a bill that would make harming a fetus a separate offense during the commission of a crime. The vote put Kerry on the same side as abortion-rights advocates in opposing specific legal rights for the unborn—and against nearly two-thirds of his fellow Senators.
So Kerry wants to be the second Catholic President, pretty much in the same manner of wanting to be the second black president, and although he hasn't yet attacked Bush using gangsta rap he has fired some scriptural rounds into the enemy camp:
Polls consistently show that Americans prefer their leaders to be religious, and in running to unseat the most openly devout President in recent years, Kerry has at times put a pious cast on his own rhetoric. In a speech at a Mississippi church on March 7, he said Bush does not practice the "compassionate conservatism" he preaches, and quoted James 2: 14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"
Kerry's invocation of deeds-based vs. faith-based theology is a great topic for late night seminary debates. Worth noting, in the medieval Catholic Church one could purchase one's way into heaven, in Islam one must perform certain tasks (observe the five pillars) and in perverted versions of Islam one can enter heaven immediately and with great reward for flying planeloads of infidels into buildings full of infidels. In contrast Christianity is a faith-based religion.
But the President has been a man of faith and deeds. Kerry's sound bite, like most scripture quoted without context, depends heavily on a lack of public understanding of the topic. Or perhaps on the vain hope that Christians are poorly educated and easily led...
However, grant that support for most all of Kerry's postions requires a high degree of faith, if you will, since there are certainly no facts to back his assertions, and his proposals would have you suspend belief in anything but miracles.
Absent divine guidance, let's Google that March 7th church speech and see which diocese got the blessed visitation.
JACKSON, Miss -- Aligning himself with the civil rights movement and elements of faith in the fight for equality, Sen. John Kerry on Sunday (Mar 7th) called on members of an African-American church here to march against cynicism and disaffection.
Obviously it's not in his best interest to divide all rich white folk from poor Jackson urbanites. But as one church member said, "he had me at 'notBush'"
Although civil rights activist Al Sharpton of New York is still in the Democratic race, black voters and elected officials said they want to support a candidate with a better chance at defeating President Bush.
And that's apparently one of the themes developed by the Kerry Kult during the ski week in Idaho. No word on whether it occurred to them in a divine flash of inspiration or if, like Kerry's foreign leader support, the idea simply sprang from voices in his head. Whatever the case, Kerry's repeating the theme at black churches around the country, this past weekend in St Louis.
"Today we are told that, after 3 million lost jobs and so many lost hopes, America is now turning a corner," the pending Democratic presidential nominee said. "But those who say that, they're not standing on the corner of Highland Street, where two 15-year-old teenagers were hit in a drive-by shooting last week."
Which brings us back to where we started, the Time article, where Kerry also confesses that he served in Vietnam:
Kerry says his faith was instilled in him in childhood and that in Vietnam he wore a rosary around his neck when he went into battle. When Kerry got home from the war, he went through what he calls a "period of a little bit of anger and agnosticism, but subsequently, I did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking and really came to understand how all those terrible things fit."
That rosary isn't clearly visible in any of the many photos. But what a great scene it will make in the movie version, as our hero dons it and genuflects before initiating divine carnage, bringing full wrath of Old Testiment Yahweh upon his enemy.
Now brace yourselves it's going to get worse:
He is enough of a stickler for Catholic rules to have sought an annulment of his 18-year first marriage before marrying again.
The previous two quoted passages, the 'nam rosary and the annulment, along with the next one, were originally all one amazing paragraph. It had to be cut to be savored and digested. Like a father welcoming the prodigal son, the generous Time editor gives us too much of a feast.
The Boston Globe's revelation last year that his paternal grandparents were born Jewish and converted to Catholicism has triggered "some fascination," he says, and some frustration over not knowing more about his religious heritage. "I wish my parents were alive and I could ask them all the questions," he says.
Well, you'll meet them again in heaven John.
...this time, the controversy over his religion may develop within the Catholic Church itself. Kerry's positions on some hot-button issues aren't sitting well with members of the church elite. Just listen to a Vatican official, who is an American: "People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there's a problem with John Kerry, and a potential scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of his stances, particularly abortion."
And you can read the whole thing to learn more. But suffice to say it's a story of our hero's battle against those "elite" - those Pharisees, if you will. But it's also a story of those who'd look beyond the fact that John Kerry is notBush, those who resist his call to "follow me." Kerry is every bit as Catholic as he is black, as pious as he is heroic, and his protests to the contrary are worthy of scorn, and exemplary of his uncertain positions on everything. Still, he's a matter of obvious concern too, for he is notBush, and for many that's messianic, or at least close enough.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 29, 2004 1:31 PM | Permalink
In a rather hackish attack on John Kerry, "Greyhawk" launches this rather, ah, stupid attack on him. So Kerry wants to be the second Catholic President, pretty much in the same manner of wanting to be the second black president,... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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