Southern Religion

Dobson’s offspring

The new “James Dobson on the Family” show will compete head-to-head with the “Focus on the Family” enterprise Dobson built and from which, after 30 years, he is retiring.

Ryan Dobson'ss blog home page

Ryan Dobson'ss blog

His reasons for going into competition with his business offspring, rather than hanging up his bullhorn, are fairly clear.
Just take him at his word.
He’s starting the new enterprise, Dobson explains, “because I have felt since the turn of the century that I needed to begin passing along the leadership of the ministry to a younger generation.”
That “younger generation” has a Castle Rock Radio talk show called KOR Kast, and is the elder Dobson’s son Ryan. The show is named for Ryan’s ministry, KOR, about which he blogs. Moreover, son Ryan’s social and theological views are a close match with his father’s. If you doubt that last, read Ryan’s right-in-your-face book, “Be Intolerant: Because Some Things are Just Stupid.”
It’s a sweet father-to-son handoff, perhaps creating a family tradition. But son Ryan apparently could not be brought on board at “Focus on the Family.” As Barry Noreen of the Colorado Springs Gazette summarized:

Dobson wants to pass the torch to his son, Ryan, and couldn’t do it at Focus because Ryan Dobson went through a divorce in 2001. Ryan Dobson, 39, is reputed to be quite a skateboarder and surfer, with tattoos from here to there — not the sort of fellow who normally ascends the organizational chart at Focus on the Family.

Father Dobson & son are scheduled to launch their new/old enterprise together in March. Meanwhile, father Dobson is avidly promoting his son via Facebook and so suggesting to us one broadcast-audience question, now that the familial goal of their joint enterprise seems clear:
Will the son also rise?

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , | Comments Off on Dobson’s offspring

Interrogation at Guantanamo

Three of four prisoners died at Guantanamo Bay detention camp during or after interrogation on the night of June 9, 2006. Although they were officially declared “suicides.” And this was generally accepted until Joe Hickman, who was a sergeant and on duty at the time, stepped forward.

This we learn from Scott Horton’s Harper’s Magazine Jan. 18 account of events leading to the death of the three.

A fourth survived. He was, Horton wrote, “a forty-two-year-old Saudi Arabian named Shaker Aamer” who “is married to a British woman and was in the process of becoming a British subject when he was captured in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in 2001:

United States authorities insist that he carried a gun and served Osama bin Laden as an interpreter. Aamer denies this. At Guantánamo, Aamer’s fluency in English soon allowed him to play an important role in camp politics. According to both Aamer’s attorney and press accounts furnished by Army Colonel Michael Bumgarner, the Camp America commander, Aamer cooperated closely with Bumgarner in efforts to bring a 2005 hunger strike to an end. He persuaded several prisoners to break their strike for a while, but the settlement collapsed and soon afterward Aamer was sent to solitary confinement. Then, on the night of June 9, 2006, Aamer says he was the victim of an act of striking brutality.

Amer described it all to his lawyer, Zachary Katznelson, some weeks later. Katznelson “filed an affidavit with the federal district court in Washington, setting it out:”

On June 9th, 2006, [Aamer] was beaten for two and a half hours straight. Seven naval military police participated in his beating. Mr. Aamer stated he had refused to provide a retina scan and fingerprints. He reported to me that he was strapped to a chair, fully restrained at the head, arms and legs. The MPs inflicted so much pain, Mr. Aamer said he thought he was going to die. The MPs pressed on pressure points all over his body: his temples, just under his jawline, in the hollow beneath his ears. They choked him. They bent his nose repeatedly so hard to the side he thought it would break. They pinched his thighs and feet constantly. They gouged his eyes. They held his eyes open and shined a mag-lite in them for minutes on end, generating intense heat. They bent his fingers until he screamed. When he screamed, they cut off his airway, then put a mask on him so he could not cry out.

Horton goes on to explain:

The treatment Aamer describes is noteworthy because it produces excruciating pain without leaving lasting marks. Still, the fact that Aamer had his airway cut off and a mask put over his face “so he could not cry out” is an alarming fact. This is the same technique that appears to have been used on the three deceased prisoners.

The possibility of this kind of action is part of what Evangelicals for Human Rights and other people of faith called out against during the Bush administration. And have since asked to have thoroughly investigated. With good cause, it seems.

[H/T: The Daily Dish]

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off on Interrogation at Guantanamo

In honor of a man and an unfinished task

Today as we have since 1986 we honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luthern King Jr.

In 1969, on the day before his assassination he said:

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | History | | Comments Off on In honor of a man and an unfinished task

Haiti outside Port-au-Prince

Repeating Islands, called to out attention by Janine Mendes-Franco, followed the Miami Heraled team to the town of Carrefore:

This town, which on Tuesday was the epicenter of the earthquake, is living in the epicenter of oblivion.

Gwenn Magine wrote:

Out today from the UN in Jacmel— statistics ON Jacmel, which is a city of 34,ooo…

* 1,785 homes completely destroyed
* 4410 homes partially destroyed
* 87 commercial businesses destroyed
* 54 schools destroyed
* 24 hotels destroyed
* 26 churches destroyed
* 5730 families displaced
* Death count approaching 3,000 (nearly 10%)

Pwoje Espwa – Hope In Haiti, wrote from les Cayes:

Food prices are skyrocketing, as predicted. There has been discussion of moving children form PAP to Espwa, and we are willing to take them; transportation is being worked out, and it is not known how many will come or when. Two orphanages have asked for help so we are working on the logistics of this now. We will need lots of money to do this work. Cash is still what we need the most.

Trying to get word out about their community, Logou Corner wrote:

Our work in Haiti focuses on long-term sustainable development. But with a crisis as deep and broad as a crushing and devastating earthquake, any organization, groups of individuals, and individuals themselves would be in a rescue mode utilizing whatever resources they would have at their disposal to help people out. As hurting Haitians continue to stream back to their towns and villages, we know that the earthquake fallout even after the immediate initial relief will be felt and endured all over Haiti for many years.

These blogs and others like them don’t give us Pat Robertson’s accursed land, but one rich in people somehow coping with the insurmountable and who need our help to continue.

The Global Voices Haiti Earthquake 2010 page is rich in additional resources about this complex nation where rescuers struggle to relieve widespread agony.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | news | , | 1 Comment

Israel reqests Vatican wartime archives on Pius XII be opened

Open the Vatican’s WWII archives so that questions about the WW II papacy of Pius XII can be answered and Catholic/Jewish tension reduced, was Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom’s request to Pope Benedict on Sunday.

This shortly after the pope’s visit to the main Jewish synagogue in Rome, Italy, where by way of welcome the president of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, told him “the silence of Pius XII before the Shoah [Holocaust], still hurts because something should have been done.

“Maybe it would not have stopped the death trains, but it would have sent a signal, a word of extreme comfort, of human solidarity, towards those brothers of ours transported to the ovens of Auschwitz,” Pacifici said.

The pope replied that the Vatican helped Jews and “provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way.” He also asked forgiveness for the church’s contribution to anti-Semitism and urged Jews and Christians “to come together to strengthen the bonds which unite us and to continue to travel together along the path of reconciliation and fraternity.”

Israel’s answer, then, is something like “Good. Prove it.” And a review of Reuter’s timeline of Vatican-Jewish relations shows how the rising Catholic/Jewish tension of the Joseph Ratzinger papacy led to Israel’s request and provoked some (notably Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, president of Italy’s rabbinical assembly) to boycott the pope’s visit to the Rome synagogue. They were aware that the pope had been unilaterally invited, but would not accept his “clarification” of the decision to recognize the “heroic virtues” of Pius XII.

Tension over the matter can also be seen in B’nai B’rith Europe’s online petition opposing beatification of Pius XII.

The issue also provoked a request in 2005 by Jewish leaders to open the Vatican’s WW II archives when Pope Benedict visited the Cologne synagogue.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi last month tried to excuse keeping the archives closed:

In this specific case it is comprehensible that there should be a request to have open access to all possibilities of research on the documents. Yet for the complete opening of the archives– as has been said on a number of occasions in the past– it is necessary to organize and catalog an enormous mass of documentation, something which still requires a number of years’ work.

Six and a half decades after the close of the period in question?

One need not be Jewish to wonder why the archives would not be opened now when it is clear that there is not only no resolution like well-verified truth, but also no likely resolution to this matter but a public review of those archival materials.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, History, Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Catholic/Baptist anti-abortion convergence

Somehow, not mysteriously, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) chose the days preceding the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” [today] to renew their anti-choice attack on health care reform.

No overt Batholic/Catholic coordination was required, although there is convergence.

The SBC officially celebrates Sanctity of Human Life Sunday every year at Roe v. Wade anniversary time, and again this year, those promoting it mirror the USCCB arguments, saying, for example, that health reform would set off a “surge in taxpayer funded abortions in this country.”

In some regards, this celebration tends to make over the issue a delusion.

Among Southern Baptists, however, it is most visibly Richard Land, the SBC ethics chief, who raises the rhetorical stakes beyond the possibility of reasoning together to argue that the entire nation is “offering up its unborn children in a kind of pagan sacrifice.”

Land offers up those who argue a pro-choice position as worshippers of Molech:

I can still remember as a young boy having a Sunday School lesson about how the children of God had become so paganized that they sacrificed their little children to the pagan god Molech. I could never have imagined then that I would live to see my country offering up its unborn children as a type of pagan sacrifice.

Given the embedded arguments, certainly well-summarized by Land, the SBC might well also call this the “impossibility of further civil debate” Sunday.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Medical Care, Religion, SBC | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Catholic/Baptist anti-abortion convergence