April 13th, 2005


i thought i wrote this in stone?

from http://bushwatch.org/executions.htm

[Karla Faye] Tucker, the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War, was by all accounts "born again," off drugs for the first time since she was 11 years old, and completely rehabilitated. She received support from many prominent figures, including Pat Robertson. A recently published Talk magazine interview with Bush, written by Tucker Carlson, detailed the following exchange:

"In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, 'Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker.' 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask. Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions like, 'What would you say to Governor Bush?'

'What was her answer?' I wonder.

"'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'

"I must look shocked. Ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anti-crime as Bush because he immediately stops smirking."

According to Carlson, the Larry King-Karla Faye exchange never took place. Bush made it up.

"What part of 'Thou shalt not kill' didn't you understand?" - Ed Hamell

god is not mocked

Every once in a while I get really angry at the Nazis and Fascists. It’s not that what they did is any more or less horrible at any given time, but once in a while I realize what they stole from me. Before the war, my grandfather, who was of Hungarian Jewish stock, converted, went to seminary and became a Methodist minister. He married a German woman and had a church in Novi Sad, a city in Vojvodina (which has since been annexed into Serbia). On January 21-23, 1942, Hungarian Police launched an offensive against the Jews of Novi Sad. Over 1400 Jews were killed on January 23rd alone, and many of the survivors were sent to Hungarian run concentration camps. Novi Sad lost 95% of it’s Jewish population. My father and his brother were the only two members of his family, as far as we know, who survived the war. Which leads to an odd place. I’m Jewish enough for some people to want me dead, but there is nothing in my life of that tradition. My father was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household in a Marxist state. He’s far from fundamentalist himself, and very open (his specialty is Inter-religious Dialogue, and has been instrumental in some key meetings between Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Islamic and Jewish leaders in Macedonia, which is in the process of slowly backing away from the precipice of full-scale religious war), but he didn’t have the tools to give me this tradition, and there literally are no family members who could.

On Sunday I went to Avi’s parent’s house, where they are sitting Shiva. We hung out for a while, and then, as the sun began to set, the services started. The thing that struck me most about the ceremony was a certain casualness-before-God. It’s hard to explain, and is, perhaps, only understandable as contrasted against a Christian service.

We all understand what it means to “put on your Sunday best.” This is the time when we go to Church, where we’ll be given grace and all that crap, but more importantly, where we’ll present ourselves to God. And we want to make a good impression. As much as we claim to believe that God is everywhere equally, that He knows all and sees all, what we really believe is that He’s more present in Church, that what we do there, in that sanctuary, means more than what we do out in the world.

Christianity is something that we put on over ourselves. It’s a suit we wear, when the time is right, to cover our sinful selves. We are Sinners by nature, born in sin, living in a sinful world. The goal is to put our best face forward when God is looking, make a good impression, as it were, so that when we die, we die in grace. The language with which we speak with God is a second language. No matter how well we master it, there’s always a hesitation, an accent, a translation problem.

Barbara’s family and friends weren’t trying to impress God. The relationship with God isn’t a once a week affair; it’s implicit in everything, in every aspect of life. There’s no point in making a good impression one day a week. There was an interesting simultaneous unity and disunity during the service. There didn’t appear to be any real problem that not everyone appeared to agree which way was facing the rising sun, that some people sang the prayers in one tune and others in a different tune. Everyone did what they felt was appropriate, as they interpreted the law. Nothing was put on. Nobody acted out, trying to be holier than everyone else (as anyone who has been to a Christian church service even once has no doubt witnessed). Whether they were speaking English or Hebrew, the language with which they spoke to God was not a second language. It was the language of their birth.