Monday, February 09, 2004

Gun Shots in theSpring Air

It's almost 40 degrees here today. And about 15 miles from where I live, at Columbia High School (where I taught back in the 70s), a teacher is shot today. Apparently Michael Bennett, a Special Edcuation teacher, is OK and no students were injured. The local news speculates that it was a student who did the shooting; officially, he's described as an "intruder."

When I was barely in my mid-twenties with no real teaching experience under my belt, that school hired me to spend each afternoon facilitating a "supervised study" double period with potential drop-outs. Talk about trial by fire! After the first few weeks of surviving their testing me (like one of the boys walking in holding a boot and announcing to me that he found a rubber and what should he do with it), we all managed to find a common ground. We spent most of the rest of the year sitting around and talking about whatever interested them at the moment. For a while it was the pregnancy of one of the girls.

They were problem kids, angry at lots of people and things. But they didn't bring guns to school and shoot teachers. What's happening to our children!

WWJD with Rapturous Right Wing-Righteousness?

Maybe it all boils down to whether you're a fan of the god of the Old Testament or New Testament. Me, I'm a fan of neither (although the New one is more to my liking), but I don't really count in this world of right-wing righteousness anyway.

On 60 Minutes last night, the self-righteous Ratpure-Awaiters explained how they will be going to "heaven" and the rest of the world's population will not. They base their rapturous opinions on their interpretations of what goes down in the bible's apocalyptic Book of Revelations -- which, according to scholar Eugene Gallagher (the Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies at Connecticut College), essentially offers an arsenal of apocalyptic images and predictions that can be used to target any specific time as the apocalyptic moment.

"With [George Bush in] the White House, Tom the House of Representatives...these are parts of the righteous army that has finally come into its own" stated the righteous Rev. Peter Gomes, a Baptist theologian at Harvard University, in the Morey Safer CBS interview.

If that doesn't scare you, I guess you're one of them.

Meanwhile, over in Iowa,
An ordained Mennonite minister and her husband were among five co-defendants in a four-day civil disobedience trial in Des Moines (Feb. 3-6.) The five sought to hold the Iowa National Air Guard accountable to international law over their bombing patrols in Iraq. "This was a small action we were led to take as another opportunity to witness to Jesus’ way of peace," reflected Pastor Jennifer Davis Sensenig of Cedar Falls Mennonite Church. "We felt called to protect the spiritual and physical welfare of our soldiers as well as the people of Iraq, and work for a more secure world for everyone’s children. Our mutual security is gravely threatened by the irresponsible and illegal foreign policy the US is currently pursuing in the Mideast."

Now, really, what do you think that peace-loving, compasionate Jesus Would Do? Rapture away the right-wing righteous or stand with those whose faith is based in peace and compassion? Check out Frank Paynter's piece here for more on the current persecution of peace activists.

Oh yes, this might well be an apocalyptic time. But guess where the evil is that's making this happen. I think I asked this before, but why hasn't anyone made a big deal of Bush being the real "AntiChrist" of this century?

The way I've always understood the AntiChrist is that he/she would be a kind of "wolf in sheep's clothing," someone who, on the surface, seems to be truly righteous and leading true believers to their salvation, but really is manipulating everyone for his own evil-doing-motivated ends -- ends that involve personal, economic, and environmental mayhem and murder and means that cause rifts between peoples and philosophies. Sound familiar?

Dealing Dean Dirty

Dean Returns To Wisconsin After Disappointing Weekend

So goes at least one headline reporting on the last round of Democratic caucuses.

So let's see. Kucinich gets a positive nod for finishing third, even though he has fewer delegates than Al Sharton. But Dean -- who twice in three days finished in second place (Washignton and Maine) in better showings than he was making before, and continues to have the 2nd highest number of delegates, gets only "disappointing" and "downward spiral" and the like. But Edwards, who is third in the delegate race, is still considered to be in the running.

Just another frustrating example of how the mass media continues to purposefully skew and screw.