I’ve been trying to stay away from this “list” format, because I know they’re hard to search and link to, but I’ve got too many odds and ends tonight!

  • A friend working in Kosovo emailed this weekend, following the news of three explosions in Pristina, to assure me and other friends that she is fine. It was a short note in which she also urged us to “fly our colors and show our patriotism” because – to paraphrase – people around the world would give anything for the liberties we have in the U.S. I tried to reflect on that throughout the Independence Day weekend – but found that I was simultaneously contemplating the need for election monitors in the US, the upcoming stacking of the Supreme Court, the re-emergence of McCarthyism, the waging of illegal wars for political gain… Mixed blessings to be sure. See this LA Times editorial.
  • Remember the company that got caught falsifying and destroying Democratic voter registrations in Nevada, Oregon and Arizona (and perhaps other states I’m forgetting)? Via the Daily Kos diaries, the RNC was paying them MILLIONS of dollars for the work.
  • If you need any more reasons to fear Alberto Gonzales as Bush’s pick (as more than a few people have observed – the right wing “attacks” on him are suspiciously well-coordinated and are likely designed to make him look “moderate”), see Thom Hartmann.
  • I spotted this on Americablog — Bush has succeeded in doubling the number of super-rich people paying NO TAXES. Now if he can just get that estate tax permanently repealed. What a proud public service legacy!
  • I’ve been wanting to compile some links about aid to Africa for a long time, but Body and Soul has done a better job than I will. Read hers, either immediately before or immediately after you sop up Kristof’s drivel. See Think Progress, too.
  • Was it Joe Wilson who fantasized about seeing Rove “frog-marched” out of the White House? It may still be too much to hope for, but enjoy Ted Rall’s reflections in the meantime.
  • The Republicans are attempting to harass and intimidate individual scientists now.
  • There’s a pretty good profile of the Christian Alliance for Progress in last week’s American Prospect.
  • First Canada, then Spain, then the UK Methodists, now the US UCC… (Even California at least upheld the provisions of its domestic partner law.) An encouraging couple of weeks in this regard. But I’m not holding my breath about my own denomination, the ELCA.
  • A terrific sermon by All Saints Pasadena’s Susan Russell on the real biblical family values. (Go to the archived sermons and select “Biblical Family Values” from June 19.) I’m going to paste an excerpt here, but I hope you’ll read the whole thing:

    By far the most common marriage pattern in the Bible is polygamy: not a union of one man and one woman, but a union of one man and as many women as he could afford to keep (see also: Solomon, with his 700 wives and 300 concubines). And in the Christian scriptures, the two primary figures, Jesus and the Apostle Paul, are both unmarried and childless. There is no gospel according to Ozzie – no Letter from Harriet to the church in Rome – framing the early church’s understanding of what it is to be family! Rather – following the model of Jesus and his disciples—the first Christians developed a model of family that broke with ancient kinship patterns in favor of a non-biological family. “Who is my mother and my brothers?” Jesus said to those trying to lay a nuclear- family guilt trip on him. “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” It was a radical concept then and it is a radical concept now.

    And today’s Gospel lesson—which never fails to startle with its slash and burn approach to family life—continues that decidedly unsettling vision of God’s world, God’s agenda: our allegiance is not to even our most beloved human institutions but to a God who is making all things new while continuing to call us beyond our comfort zone – calling us to partner with God in (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) turning the human race into the human family.

    THAT, my brothers and sisters, is the essence of “Biblical Family Values.” And no matter how the Religious Right tries to twist our ancient Biblical texts into the pretzels necessary to prop up their contention that Ozzie-and-Harrietism is God’s only plan for everyone’s life, the “clear truth of scripture” (and I do not use those words unadvisedly or lightly!) is that Biblical Family Values have nothing whatsoever to do with the gender of the partners who make up a family and everything to do with the VALUES lived out in that family. Paul wrote about these values, calling them the “fruit of the spirit”: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).

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