Born Again in Alabama

The born-again Baptist governor is telling voters in this Bible Belt state that their tax system, which imposes an effective rate of 3 percent on the wealthiest Alabamians and 12 percent on the poorest, is “immoral” and needs repair. “When I read the New Testament, there are three things we’re asked to do: That’s love God, love each other and take care of the least among us,” Riley said in his office in the antebellum state Capitol. Washington Post, August 15, 2003

That is amazing. A conservative, Baptist, Republican– Bob Riley–, a devout Christian governor who actually reads the bible. And the real bible– not the Americanized manifest destiny edition of low taxes, capitalism, and bigotry.

The rest of Alabama is devout and Christian but didn’t notice anything in the bible about fairness or justice. They were convinced, by some flimsy advertisements put out by some rich dudes, that an increase in taxes would be ungodly. The poor should take care of themselves.

And I guess they probably aren’t really all that embarrassed about being just about the lowest in the nation in high school standardized test scores because Riley had to submit at least part of his tax plan to a referendum and it failed by a large margin.


Separation of Church and State: American Sharia

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, a supporter of the invasion of Iraq, had dinner last week with Sayyid Iyad Jamaleddine, who is a “liberal” Iraqi Shiite cleric. Jamelddine brought along a guest– Sayyid Hussein Khomeini, the grandson of the famous Ayatollah who led the overthrow of the American-supported government of Iran.

Jamaleddine is in favour of separation of church and state. He wants a secular constitution that takes power away from the clerics and gives it only to elected officials.

George Bush, on the other hand, wants to bring the church back into the government. He wants a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He wants to make abortion illegal. He wants faith-based organizations to receive government funding. He wants the 10 Commandments posted at the front of every classroom. He wants to appoint justices to the Supreme Court based on whether they hold the religious belief that the instant sperm meets egg, a human soul is created.

Jamaleddine observes, about Islam, that “The state dominated religion, not the other way around. It used religion for its own ends.” That sounds almost like getting elected with the devoted support of the Christian right so you can pass a huge tax break for the rich, ratchet up the war machinery, and gut environmental regulations. It’s almost like you could count on people to vote for you because you represent “family values” while simultaneously enacting economic policies that undermine the integrity of the family.

It looks to me like this. George Bush supports freedom and liberty as long as it’s his religion that is free and liberated.

Snipers and Lynch

Sniper teams from the West Virginia State Police were positioned along the route of Private Lynch’s motorcade, and staff from the state’s Division of Natural Resources patrolled the Little Kanawha River, which flows beside the park where Private Lynch appeared. NY Times, July 22, 2003

This was for a personal appearance by Jessica Lynch, the hero of the mighty war against Saddam Hussein. Jessica Lynch single-handedly fought off an entire division of well-armed fanatic Iraqi Mujahideen before repairing her Hummer while it was being sabotaged by a Greenpeace activist and driving a wounded Shiite cleric to the hospital where she set up a foundation to care for his children.

I mean, Jessica Lynch, whose truck rolled over and who was injured and taken to a hospital where she was treated well until the marines were able to rescue her and take her to an American hospital where she could be treated even better.

I like Jessica Lynch. She is on my “Not Sold Out” list because she refused to cooperate with the fanatic capitalist media exploiters who wanted to embellish her story just a little.

But they didn’t need to embellish this part. Yes, there were police snipers positioned along the motorcade route because, I suppose, some absolutely idiotic administrator with the West Virginia State Police actually believed that Saddam Hussein might try to assassinate Jessica Lynch.

[Added December 2003:]

Have you gone to see Peter Pan yet? You ought to, really.