John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Thursday, August 19, 2004
Republican Evangelical Christians Embrace Kerry Presidency

Republicans for Kerry
This headline came across my Thunderstorms PRWeb political news feed today, "Republican Evangelical Christians Embrace Kerry Presidency" which is related to recently discussed topics.

Republican Evangelical Christians who have witnessed the decline of the public education system, the environment and the economy turn to John Kerry realizing that George Bush is using his faith as a wedge.

Sterling Heights, Michigan (PRWEB) August 19, 2004 -- Members of the ‘Christian Right’ resist the Bush campaign to politicize their faith and turn to vote for Kerry. Recently the Bush campaign called on evangelical churches to turn their members into political activists – church members like Dan and Julie Rakowski. Both Dan and Julie have been members of a nationwide grassroots organization “Republicans for Kerry ‘04” since this spring. “In many ways, I am typical of the ‘Christian Right’ you often hear about,” Dan said. “I’m passionately pro-life, moderately against gay-marriage, and pro-Second Amendment.” During the past four years, Dan and his family have witnessed the decline of the public education system, the environment and the economy. Dan regards the Bush campaign’s attempt to draft congregations into political service during this campaign season as an attempt to use the faith of theologically conservative Christians as a wedge. “If he keeps talking about social issues like homosexuality and abortion,” Rakowski observed, “Bush hopes we will look the other way with respect to his missteps of Iraq War, economy and education.”

The measure by which a Christian should judge a candidate is to see if the walk matches the talk,” suggested Carmen Smith, a Cuban immigrant, lifelong Republican, and Christian for 40 years, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Environment is a key issue for her decision to support John Kerry. “As a Christian Republican I value being a good steward of God’s earth, which means taking care of the precious and fragile resources such as air, water and soil. Our President needs to be responsible enough to make this a top priority.” Citing Bush’s “misuse of his authority in this area, over the last four years,” Smith concluded, “I have more trust in John Kerry to do this job right.”

John Bugay, a writer who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a registered Republican and a conservative Presbyterian. He has been a strong John Kerry supporter since early this year, creating the first “Republicans for Kerry” website. In the GOP call on church congregations to become part of the Bush campaign, Bugay writes, “ … Bush is not appealing to our better natures, but to our worst fears. We ought not to give in to that type of fear. Many conservative Christians can already say ‘Bush has governed badly and doesn’t deserve another chance.’ At the very least, then John Kerry deserves an honest look by honest Christians.”

Brenda Farrell from Southlake Texas agrees. Calling herself “an old-time Republican”, Farrell worked in a Republican administration during the Reagan years. A Christian and an advocate of the separation of Church and State, she asks that her fellow Republicans and Christians, “not be lured by tangential emotionally-charged issues [such as gay marriage, abortion, etc. that will remain unresolved for a long time. They are brought up to rile up conservative voters who this administration thinks are too blind to identify the real issues that face this country.”

Blog the Vote!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
FOR Peace Organization Links

MLK Jr: Non-Violent Protester

FOR's Vision: We envision a world of justice, peace, and freedom. It is a revolutionary vision of a beloved community where differences are respected, conflicts are addressed nonviolently, oppressive structures are dismantled, and where people live in harmony with the earth, nurtured by diverse spiritual traditions that foster compassion, solidarity, and reconciliation.

FOR's Mission: FOR seeks to replace violence, war, racism, and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace, and justice. We are an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. We educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.

Since 1915, The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) has carried on programs and educational projects concerned with domestic and international peace and justice, nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and the rights of conscience. A Nonviolent, Interfaith, tax exempt organization, The FOR promotes nonviolence and has members from many religious and ethnic traditions. It is a part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), which has affiliates in over 40 countries.

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation

FOR Religious Fellowships:

Baptist Peace Fellowship
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Catholic Peace Fellowship
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Jewish Peace Fellowship
Lutheran Peace Fellowship
Muslim Peace Fellowship
Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

FOR Local Groups and Affiliates:

Charlotte, NC FOR
Minnesota Fellowship of Reconciliation
Olympia, WA FOR
Western Washington FOR

Decade of Peace and Nonviolence:

IFOR's Culture of Nonviolence Page

Internship and Volunteer Search Sites:

Campus Access
Voluntarios Solidarios

Other Peace Link Sites: - A Progressive Portal

Middle East Peace Organizations

See FOR Middle East Links Page
Electronic Iraq
Palestinians and Israelis for Nonviolence

Online Magazines

American Prospect magazine
Common Dreams Newscenter
Mother Jones magazine
The Nation magazine
Now Age Press
People's Weekly World
Sojourners magazine
Yes! Magazine
Z magazine
The Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace:
Mahatma Gandhi Research and Media Service:

Peace Organizations
A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
U.S. Campaign To Stop The Use of Child Soldiers
Cities for Peace
CONTACT - Conflict Transformation Across Cultures
Culture of Peace News Network
National Network to End the War Against Iraq (NNEWAI)
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
Global Coalition for Peace
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Holy Land Trust
Light a Candle for Peace
Lutheran Peace Fellowship
National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
New Internationalist Magazine
New Society Educational Foundation
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
IFCO/Pastors for Peace
Institute for Public Accuracy
Pax Christi USA
Peaceful Tomorrows
Reaching Critical Will
Sojourners Magazine
The Way Home - Stories of Forgiveness
Training for Change
Traprock Peace Center
U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
U.S. Institute of Peace
Veterans Against the Iraq War
War Resisters League
World Conference on Religion and Peace
World Peacemakers
Peace Brigades International
SIPAZ, Service for Peace
United for Peace
Veterans for Peace

Blog the Vote!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Teams USA in Athens

Athens 2004 Team USA
Team USA

NBC Olympic TV
I have to be honest with you.  I much prefer to see images of young Americans overseas competing in the 2004 Olympic Games on MSNBC, Bravo, and NBC than seeing them with camo and kevlar on Fox news in Bush's Iraq.

I'm actually watching some of the Olympic coverage because I'm awake when they air it in the middle of the night.  Oddly, but perhaps out of corporate rivalry, I don't hear Fox News getting all uber-patriotic over U.S. athletes winning medals in Athens.  Maybe Rupert Murdoch will green-light an olympic story on Fox News if an Australian wins something cool.  It's too bad we can't vote someone else to be in charge of Fox News -- Oh Wait.  I forgot we can vote with our TV remote control.  I guess there is a place for Fox News in the media world, right along the lines of Al-Jazeera.  I always thought it was interesting that Fox News came after the Sci-Fi channel on the cable channel food chain.  Sorry, I'm just thinking out loud.

Have you been following the Summer Olympics in Athens?  I mean, you know, the athletes -- not just the pretty women that are making their mark in Playboy and FHM magazines.  Do you have a favorite sport in the Summer Olympics?  Are you any good at these sports?  Here's a list of the Summer Olympic sports to ease the burden on the few, tired and overworked brain cells you have left sparking between your ears:

 ArcheryUSA  Equestrian - USA  Shooting - USA  Trampoline - USA
 Badminton - USA  Fencing - USA  Soccer - USA  Triathlon - USA
 Baseball - USA  Field Hockey - USA  Softball - USA  Volleyball - USA
 Basketball - USA  Gymnastics - USA  Swimming - USA  Water Polo - USA
 Beach V-ball - USA  Judo - USA  Synch. Swim. - USA  Weight Lifting - USA
 Boxing - USA  Pentathlon - USA  Table Tennis - USA  Wrestling - USA
 Canoe/Kayak - USA  Rhythmic Gym. - USA  Tae Kwon Do - USA  Handball - USA
 Cycling - USA  Rowing - USA  Tennis - USA  Karate - USA
 Diving - USA  Sailing - USA  Track/Field - USA  Racquetball - USA

Click on the sport name to check out the latest news in Athens.  Click on USA to go to that sport's team USA web site.  I'm cheering for all the Teams USA to go for the Gold!

Monday, August 16, 2004
24 Hurricane Charley pix

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These photographs were taken by the intrepid staff photgraphers at the Naples Daily News.  If you wish to help the people in this area, there are many ways.

Go to the NDN How to Help page.

Sunday, August 15, 2004
Evangelical Christianity has been hijacked

Click for more info
Early this month, I asked, will U.S Christians overlook obvious Bush sins?  I pointed out that some Christians not so hardened in their hearts and myopicly focussed on Republican candidates' perrenial re-election promises on so-called 'family values' issues are taking a more critical look at the incumbent candidate for the top job -- George W. Bush -- evaluating his performance and subsequently concluding that he and his administration's policies leave much to be desired.  Specifically, U.K.-based Christian Aid reports that billions of dollars in Bush's Iraq Defense Fund has gone MIA.  Billions of dollars from the sale of the Iraqi people's own oil for which the Bush administration remains totally unaccountable.

I appreciate all the comments you cared to share on that topic.  While this topic is definitely related, it isn't about Bush or his oil buddies stealing $20 billion.  So, in order to give Dubya the benefit of the doubt in this one matter alone, given his dismal track record of running his own businesses in the past, I'll just assume that like the those stockpiles of Iraqi WMDs, the IDF billions of dollars are buried in some unlocateable sand dune in the vast desert of the growing Bush World government bueracracy.  Big oil, corporate thieves, and inept or corrupt politicians are such common place things to discuss in the Bush World culture, I publicly challenge any late night TV comic to find a humorous angle to drum up a chuckle over them.

Bush chewed the head off of one of his aborted but adopted fetus collection.  Blink.

Bush and his cronies stole $20 billion dollars from the Iraqi people!  Crickets.

Wait just a minute, Sparky.  Before you go firing off some vitriolic hate email to me that would rival the Satanic Verses for my fetus remark, I would just like to say that I haven't put my office workspace back together post-Hurricane Charley so I wasn't able to make an eye-catching image for you.  In this case, that's probably a good thing.  I do have the skillz to make that fetus remark a mere caption to a visual image.  You might be thankful that I'm limited to a linguistic two-by-four to get your bovine attention on this entry.

I recently read a Belief Net article entitled 'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked': An Interview with Tony Campolo and it was helpful to understand that not all Christians are in lock step with the idea of four more years of Bush World.
It's necessary to know Jesus in an intimate and personal way. That's what it means to be an evangelical. I don't think it means evangelicals are necessarily in favor of capital punishment. I'm one evangelical that is opposed to capital punishment. I do not believe being an evangelical means women should be debarred from pastoral ministry. I believe women do have a right to be in ministry. It doesn't mean evangelicals are supportive of the Republican party in all respects, because here's one evangelical who says "I think the Republican party has been the party of the rich, and has forgotten many ethnic groups and many poor people.

I am an evangelical who holds to those three positions [Creed, Bible, personal relationship with Jesus] and is a strong environmentalist. I am an evangelical who raises very specific questions about war in general, but specifically the war in Iraq. The evangelical community has been far too supportive of militarism.
Being a progressive libertarian myself, I always cringe when I think about the historical political enemy of the last few decades of individual liberty.  The nasty hair on my back stands up on end when I think of the self-labelled moral majority calling themselves conservative when in fact they continuously sell out our country's founding principles of civil liberty to the lowest bidding politician: like privacy, free expression and church-state seperation.  Campolo's Belief Net articles dispel the myth that BACs are a monolithic ideological and voting demographic.

While a large percentage of FOX News viewing BACs might forsake their deeply held beliefs, and leave them outside the polling place in November, and vote for Bush -- it makes me hopeful that there are some more credibily-thinking and progressive Christians who will also be voting.

I am John Furie Zacharias and I approve this message.

Blog the vote!

[Added 08/17] Related Plastic Com discussion:
The Vanishing Protestant Majority in the United States

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