Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Would Jesus Do? Pray To Himself?

He'd Certainly Pray BY Himself!

Rick Warren is now again in a conundrum - created by his own self. He'll be damned if he does it, or damned if he doesn't: say the name of Jesus Christ. I just LOVE these kind of quandaries presented to hypocritical "men of God." Of course, being a hypocrite, he won't feel a thing either way. He'll perform the invocation in a smug, satisfied sort of way, kind of self-righteous, but not nearly as much as a Franklin Graham or a James Dobson.
"Prayers are not to be sermons, speeches, ion statements nor political posturing. They are humble, personal appeals to God," Warren wrote. His spokesman would not elaborate.

If Warren truly believes what Jesus preached about prayer (to go to a dark spot in your house and talk to God alone), why doesn't he just use that as an excuse not to deliver the invocation? Why should there be, in fact, an invocation at all? Probably because the inauguration is, like everything else the country adores, is high entertainment. The solemnity, the reverence, the sheer awesomeness of the installation of the powerful, the wonderful, the wise President of the United States of America is purely entertainment. Ask yourself this: what is the difference between a U.S. presidential inauguration and a coronation? Look at the two, pare them down to basics: not much difference.

Evangelicals generally expect their clergymen to use Jesus' name whenever and wherever they lead prayer. Many conservative Christians say cultural sensitivity goes way too far if it requires religious leaders to hide their beliefs.

"If Rick Warren does not pray in Jesus' name, some folks are going to be very disappointed," Caldwell said in a recent phone interview. "Since he's evangelical, his own tribe, if you will, will have some angst if he does not do that."

To have angst over ritual is rather insipid, isn't it? Ritual is man-made, regardless of all the particulars of the Bible, the Qur'an and Confucian texts. Ritual is for the entertainment of man because God couldn't care less about the way a ritual is carried out. Honoring God with ritual - any ritual - is the only thing that matters. Whether you handle snakes or fart and put a lampshade on your head is of no consequence. If the intent is to honor God, then the ritual is good.

Just a thought.

The Virginity Pledge Springs A Leak

A study just published by PEDIATRICS puts the screw to virginity pledges and abstinence only programs. The article, BTW, is titled aptly: Patient Teenagers?

Confirming what many have been saying for years, a new survey finds that teenagers who pledge to forgo sexual activity until marriage were just as likely to engage in premarital sex as those who do not. Adolescents who take the pledge are also less likely than their peers to use birth control or condoms when they do have sex, according to the survey results. The study was published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The US government spends more than $200 million annually on abstinence-promotion programs, including virginity pledges.

Remember what happened to the Volstead Act? It proved that when people really really want something, not even an Act of Congress will stand in their way of getting it. And "getting it" is just what every teenager in the world dreams about.

Any color, any gender, any time. Just the thought of being a virgin for any length of time is enough to annihilate puberty. A virginity pledge might as well be: "I pledge not to breath until I find the one person insane enough not to breath as well and until we can both breath with the Blessings of God."

Virginity pledges don't work. Abstinence only education doesn't work. Voids don't work. Pimples rule. The Bush administration has always spent money on things that don't work: Bush racked up the most vacation time of any President in history including vacations during disasters.