Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Swaggart - Part Deux

Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart issued an apology for the statements noted here in a previous entry.

The San Francisco Gate reported:

On Wednesday, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."

Swaggart is guilty of the laziness that influences many folks (including myself) - reliance on colloquialisms and "lazy english" to convey important information. Thankfully, Swaggart has explained and apologized for his poor choice of phrase.

Chris Matthews - Smug Observation

From Hugh Hewitt:

Chris Matthews, on bloggers, last night: "Even a broken clock is right twice a day."

If bloggers are right only twice a day (like a broken clock), they beat Matthews, who is right only once per day - he does manage to correctly identify himself, by name, at the top of his misnamed show.

The arrogance of the unelected fourth branch of government is astonishing.

Rather Morphs Into Nixon

Courtesy (via Daryl Cagle at Slate)

Apt reference, considering Rather interrogated Nixon during the Watergate episode. It seems the ghost of Nixon has taken over Rather - maybe there is another Exorcist movie to be made.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Courtesy of the Red, White and BLUE

US soldier injured - not in the line of duty, but at a Toby Keith concert in Columbus, OH. (Hat Tip: Backcountry Conservative)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A local soldier back from the war in Iraq said he was beaten at an area concert because of what was printed on his T-shirt, NBC 4's Nancy Burton reported.

Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, received a Purple Heart for his military service in Iraq. He almost lost his leg last month after a Humvee he was riding in ran over a landmine.

Barton said he was injured again Friday night in a crowded parking lot as he was leaving the Toby Keith concert at Germain Amphitheatre. The solider was injured so badly that he can't go back to Iraq as scheduled.

"I don't remember getting hit at all, really," said Barton, a member of the 1st Calvary Division. "He hit me in the back of the head. I fell and hit the ground. I was knocked unconscious and he continued to punch and kick me on the ground."

Barton and his family said he was beat up because he was wearing an Iraqi freedom T-shirt.


After a two-week leave, Barton was supposed to return to Iraq Tuesday. But his broken nose will delay his return.

Anyone got an over/under on the amount time the highlighted portion is spun by liberals? I mean, gosh, this anti-war, troop supporting peace-activist was looking out for this soldier's best interests, right? The soldier got some extra time at home - so he has THAT goin' for him (shameless pilfer of Karl Spackler - Caddyshack).

Jimmy Swaggart - Yes, THE Jimmy Swaggart

Prof. Volokh, the author of my most recently purchased book “Academic Legal Writing”, has a couple of entries related to the former uber-evangelist Jimmy Swaggart and his recent yammerings. See here and here for Prof. Volokh’s thoughts.

BTW - if you are a legal academic, or wish to write academic articles in a legal context, do yourself a favor and purchase "Academic Legal Writing". This book uncovers the mystery of writing a thorough and enjoyable legal article with thoughtful analysis. I'm hoping that with the help of Prof. Volokh's book, my master thesis (to fulfill my LLM in Intellectual Property requirements) will be a solid examination of an intellectual property issue(s) that is published.

For those that do not know, or have forgotten, and if my recollection is incorrect on any point, please let me know, Jimmy Swaggart was arguably the largest figure in the evangelical Christian movement of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Swaggart was a minster / member of the Assemblies of God (AoG), which along with its sister organization the Church of God (CoG), are among the most evangelical / pentacostal denominations within Christianity. Swaggart’s “crusades” were filled to capacity at every stop, with marathon services of singing and sermon, healings and alter calls. I was raised in the Church of God, and up to his “fall”, Swaggart was generally well-received among the membership. I actually witnessed one of the “crusades” in about ’82. It was impressive, in a theatrical sense.

When Swaggart was exposed as a hypocrite, the AoG and CoG were obviously shocked and hurt by the revelations, as the Swaggart affair damaged the work of many faithful and earnest members of both denominations (as well as Christianity, in general). The AoG revoked Swaggart’s license and membership when he refused the AoG's "restoration" program, and the CoG seemed to simply ignore Swaggart and hoped he would disappear into irrelevance. Swaggart’s fall was almost as meteoric as his ascension to the evangelical hierarchy, and resulted in his ministry (JSM – Jimmy Swaggart Ministries) suffering a precipitous decline in membership and financial support. Swaggart descended into obscurity and has yet to reclaim the evangelical televangelist territory that he once claimed dominance over.

Recently, Swaggart reportedly said:

I'm trying to find the correct name for it . . . this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. . . . I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.

When I first read the statement, my initial response was to cringe. Christianity, especially so-called “fundamentalism”, is already demagogued by liberalism as a philosophy of intolerant bigots. Swaggert’s statements certainly will not diminish that misplaced perception. Prof. Volokh noted that several readers have insisted that “if one ever looks at me like that, I’m gonna kill him and tell God he died” is a colloquialism of the region in which Swaggart was raised (Louisiana). Be that as it may, Swaggart has gone the non-denomenational route, and he still has a congregation that listens to his words within the confines of a church and over the television broadcasts. Swaggart has a responsibility to accurately teach from the Bible, which condemns homosexuality but also teaches redemption for all sin, including Swaggart's and that of the homosexual. If one espouses Christianity and the inerrant word of God (the Bible) as the model for Christian-living, then one must acknowledge that while the homosexual is identified as a sinner, that sinner (or any sinner) can still be redeemed up to the last breath is exhaled from his/her lungs. Using hyperbole (or colloquialisms) to preach to the choir is not doing justice to the pulpit and the role of a minister. Christians are supposed to “hate the sin, not the sinner”, yet Swaggart’s words are interpreted as “hating the sinner”.

I doubt that Swaggart would murder a homosexual, but his hyperbole was wrong and should be condemned. Christians are rightfully critical of the silent majority within Islam that seems reticent to voice criticisms over the violent sects of Islam. Christians must be willing to condemn these statements of Swaggart, not simply because it is politically correct and/or expedient, but b/c statements like Swaggart’s do not further the Christian cause. How can you possibly convince someone that the message you are delivering is rooted in love, compassion and redemption when there is the lingering echoes of “I’m gonna kill him [the homosexual man]”?

As powerful and influential as Swaggart once was, Christianity might be better served if Swaggart receded into the background and became a member instead of a leader within Christianity.

In a similar vein, Paul Crouch (of the Trinity Broadcasting Network) has troubles of his own, it seems, via Hugh Hewitt and the LA Times. An alleged homosexual trist tryst with a former employee. Maybe Swaggart will threaten Crouch, or call for his dismissal (as Swaggart lead the crusade against former PTL kook Jim Bakker, and was successful in having Bakker booted from his PTL perch). I'm just mean.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Not Fun Sports Weekend - Herd, Packers & Ryder Cup Woes

Yikes - what a weekend.

  • Marshall's defense played well, for the third consecutive weekend, and kept the team in the game until the end before losing 13-3 to the Georgia Bulldogs.

    Marshall had an opportunity to score a touchdown or kick a fg, having a fourth and less than a yard at the Georgia three. Marshall gambled and missed on a rollout. The momentum seemed to switch to Georgia for the rest of the game.

    All in all, I'm disappointed Marshall is 0-3, but the OOC games should make much of the MAC schedule much easier to contend with. Marshall is relatively healthy, which probably is as much as a surprise as anything.

    On to the MAC schedule.

  • Green Bay looked fairly impressive on offense, but failed to push the ball into the endzone and take advantage of a couple of drives. The Mike Brown 95 yard TD return of an Ahmed Green fumble was a back breaker, but I have to question whether that return should have stood - Favre was clearly pushed in the back when he was pursuing Brown on the return. Regardless, Green Bay lost to the Bears for only the fourth time in twenty-four games.

  • Ryder Cup - Team USA continued its mediocre play on Saturday and into Sunday. Down 61/2 to 11/2 entering Saturday, Team USA managed to tally only 31/2 points on Saturday. Team Europe had a commanding 11 to 5 lead going into Sunday's twelve singles matches, forcing the US squad to capture 91/2 points out of 12 available. A Sunday comback would have to surpass the drama and excitement of Brookline in 1999, which culminated in Justin Leonard's 40 foot bomb on the 17th hole against Jose Maria Olzabal. Unfortunately, this US team was not up to the task. After put a lot of American flags on the scoreboard early, and giving US fans hope, Mickelson played poorly and Sergio Garcia eventually won the match, which took a lot of air out of the US balloon. The back end of the line up played about the same, with little cause of concern to Team Europe.

As to the Ryder Cup, I would like to see the US change the selection process. This is certainly not unprecedented. After Wayne Levi made the 1991 team based on his 1990 alone (Levi played poorly in 1991), the decision makers decided to weight the current Ryder Cup year with more points so that the "hot" players were more likely to make the squad.

I would suggest:

  1. The current Ryder Cup year should be divided into quarters, with the nearest quarter having the most points available, with each previous quarter having progressively less points.
  2. The previous year should be divided into similar quarters and progressive reduction in points.
  3. A minimum number of points must be accumulated within the last four quarters - if Player A accumulates enough points from the previous year, but fails to accumulate a minimum number of points in the Ryder Cup year, then the player may be excluded and replaced by a Captain's selection.
  4. The Captain should receive four selections, instead of two. Thus, only the top eight in points are automatic qualifiers.

The Ryder Cup committee needs to also seriously address the assinine course selection process that seems to penalize the US team. The US team is composed primarily of long hitters. Yet, the Ryder Cup has been played on three consecutive US courses that are as unfriendly to the long ball as could be chosen. The Cup has been played at Oak Hill ('95), Brookline ('99) and Oakland Hills ('04) - these are US Open courses, with narrow fairways, thick rough and small, undulating greens. The US committee has done a poor job of choosing courses that play to the US strength. Long courses with open fairways and non-major rough would be more ideal and fitting of a home course advantage. The European's choose courses favorable to their style of play, generally.

Also, the recent US captains have done a less than stellar job of pairing selections for team competition. The US members rarely play in four-ball or foursomes. Either get these guys together for informal sessions during the year, or do not play them at all. Any time Davis Love is on a Ryder Cup team, the Captain should select Fred Couples as a Captain's Choice - Love and Couples play well together and would probably manage at least one point per day, if not more. That is better than the recent pairing combos thrown out.

I'm ranting, so I will stop. 2006 feels a long way away.