“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Lawyer’s Bells…It’s Christmas Time in the City

I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year for sentimental and spiritual reasons. I love the lights and the stories and the music. Especially the music. I love everything from “O Holy Night” to “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”   I know…I need help. There has always been something special to me about Christmas music. So it was with a bit of bemused sadness that I read about the rewriting of “Silent Night” to make it acceptable for an elementary school program. A Wisconsin school altered the song to become “Cold in the Night” for it’s winter program. The lyrics were changed to the following: Cold in the night,< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />  no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.   When I was a kid there were Santas all over town. Now there are lawyers on every
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – The Giving Tree Flourishes in Mississippi

The Catalogue for Philanthropy just released their 2005 Charitable Giving Index. Some of the data is intriquing. Their methodology is outlined at their website. (http://www.catalogueforphilanthropy.org/cfp/generosity_index/faq.html) Using published data of individual tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, we compare the rank of each state’s average adjusted gross income (AAGI) to the rank of each state’s average itemized charitable deductions (AICD). The arithmetical differences between these two rankings are then themselves ranked, resulting in the Generosity Index rank. The top three states in adjusted gross income were Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. How do they fare in the Generosity Index? Connecticut ranked 45th, New Jersey 48th, and Massachusetts ranked 49th when the study compared per capita giving versus income. According to this index you might want to set up your charitable outreach somewhere other than New Hampshire. The Granite State’s ranks of 8th wealthiest and 48th in giving combined to land them at number 50 on the list. Conversely, the most generous states were not
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Housekeeping and Quick Hits

Today’s blog is opening the electronic mailbag to answer some questions and respond to comments. Question from Scott and many others. “What is a blog?” Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts”, “posts”, or “entries”. The person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. During my post about Peter Singer on Thursday, December 1st I offered membership in an organization to be called “The Rumps of the Know-Nothings”. That was a response to the description that Mr. Singer used to categorize religious people who hold onto outdated views of the sanctity of life. The bad news…only courageous reader Steve has joined my new organization. The good news…it
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Practice Civil Disobedience…Say Merry Christmas!

There has been a politically correct Christmas greeting that has circulated the internet for the past couple of years. Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all. Perhaps that should be adopted as official “safe“ greeting for retailers this Christmas season. Target has been widely vilified for allegedly forbidding their employees from saying Merry Christmas. It turns out that was not exactly true. The story is now widely circulated and it has become another example of how too many Christians leap before we look in response to cultural issues. Please, please, please verify every email and petition for validity before you hit send. What Target has done is cleansed their website of every Christmas reference. They even list
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – What do I say to Michael Newdow when he sneezes?

Celebrity atheist Michael Newdow had apparently been out of the spotlight far too long so he recently filed a lawsuit to have “In God We Trust” removed from coins. He believes the phrase violates the rights of atheists and he uses logic that is so tortured it is painful. Mr. Newdow is a physician with some training as a lawyer. I am hoping his skills as a doctor are better than his logic as an attorney. If the following is a sample of his closing argument skills then God…uhh…somebody help his clients. A bit of background is in order. Newdow is a minister ordained by the Universal Life Church. The ULC offers free ordination to anyone and includes (no kidding) the Reverend Courtney Love and the Reverend Tony Danza among it’s ordainees (their church conventions must be interesting). It seems that the Rev.Newdow started a church that wishes to raise money for it’s cause by selling pens for a buck. But here comes Newdow’s agonizing dilemma. “I’m a
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – Is Monogamy on Life Support?

The Dallas Morning News ran a recent article called ‘10 ideas on the way out’. Yesterday we discussed Peter Singer’s ideas about the sanctity of life. Today we tee up the topic of monogamy. Our “expert” on the subject is a gentleman named Jacques Attalli. Here is his opening salvo… “Monogamy, which is really no more than a useful social convention, will not survive. It has rarely been honored in practice; soon, it will vanish even as an ideal.” Okay…it has officially happened. I have now become that grumpy old man that I used to ridicule. Mr.Attalli had my blood boiling after his first 29 words. Not bad. First of all, marriage is much more than a “useful social convention”. Marriage is the God ordained structure for family and societal health. And in my primitive circles monogamy is not rarely practiced. There are couples all over the world that have the maturity and the emotional health to remain in a monogamous and loving
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“Confessions of a Bad Christian” – The Peter Singer Department of Ethics for Everyone But Him

Recently the Dallas Morning News ran an op-ed feature called ‘10 ideas on the way out’. The subtitle confidently proclaimed that by 2040 many of the things we take for granted will no longer exist. I quickly scanned the list to see if major league baseball’s designated hitter would be an idea that would not endure. Sadly, that did not make the list. The list was a mixture of intriquing and frightening. According to these experts monogamy will be a quaint ideal from a less enlightened era and it will no longer be the norm. I am glad I will be dead before my wife finds that out. Another predicts the demise of the British Monarchy. But the one that rocked my world was seeing the number one item on the list penned by a man named Peter Singer. I believe he is one of the most dangerous people on the planet. That seems like a pretty bold statement because
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