Prince Harry, Jerry Springer, Bill Cosby, and More

Defending Prince Harry: The cacophony of criticism of Prince Harry for his Nazi uniform is overblown and unnecessary. The reports on Prince Harry are missing a major element in the story—I heard it from a royal spokesperson, I believe—that at least in my view puts the whole affair in a different light. Prince Harry wore the Nazi uniform to a type of costume party called a “bad taste party,” with the guests wearing costumes that were in bad taste. No one would argue that Harry’s costuming was not brilliantly in keeping with the theme. There isn’t any uproar about the general theme of this bad taste party itself–natives and colonials. No protests in the streets of Nairobi.

Wearing a Nazi uniform to the party did not glamorize the Nazis or condone their genocide. Nonsense. I guess the British don’t have any sense of humor, either, when some might be offended.

Same-Sex Lutherans: The Lutherans are looking for safe ground on same-sex unions. A report today that “a task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommended yesterday that it retain its policy against blessing same-sex unions and ordaining gays, but suggested that sanctions could be avoided for pastors and congregations that chose to do so.”

This is their approach to the issue that has caused in the church “deep, pervasive” disagreement about the role and treatment of gay men and lesbians. Some clergy members said that by giving local churches and synods wiggle room, the task force had found a way to preserve the unity of the church.

Two problems: First, where in scripture is the church called to find unity at the expense of clarity and truth? Second, it won’t work. Try that approach to maintaining order at home or the workplace. Denominations have to be the most dysfunctional organisms in our society.

Christian Critics of Springer in England: The Christian Herald newspaper in England has backed comments from the religious think tank Ekklesia, which suggested that Christians had been too hasty in rushing to condemn ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera.’ Their editorial published yesterday suggests that Christian campaigners against the show made a ‘classic mistake’ and that “shouting ‘blasphemy’ devoid of cohesive argument will only serve to reinforce stereotypes”. “Sadly, far too few campaigners actually viewed the piece – the classic mistake for would-be apologists debating morality in the arts.”

The editorial reads: “In one sweep our loud accusations seem ill-informed, unbalanced and, at worst, vacuous to the onlooker. Jonathan Bartley, director of Ekklesia, despairs that Christians have missed a ‘golden opportunity for moral and ethical debate’ by not giving ‘meaningful explanation’ to their accusers.” “With faith being amputated from much of the arts, shouting ‘blasphemy’ devoid of cohesive argument will only serve to reinforce stereotypes, discouraging artisans from further exploring faith. Unless we treat others as we’d like to be treated, we have no grounds to complain when reactionary secularists attempt Christian censorship without proper reasoning.”

Bill Cosby on Education: I’ve been a Bill Cosby fan since listening to his comedy records as a child. But his recent courageous analysis of social problem has increased my respect tremendously. Here’s a piece worth reading. (Hat tip: Release the Hounds). Cosby writes this on education:

“Parent power! Proper education has to begin at home. We must demand that our youth have an understanding of spoken and written English, math and science. We must transform our communities with a renewed commitment to our children, and that means parents must show that they value education. We don’t need another federal commission to study the problem.

What we need now is parents sitting down with children, overseeing homework, sending children off to school in the morning well fed, clothed, rested and ready to learn. “

No Florida Same-Sex Adoption: Is there any way that we could award territory to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, consistently the most conservative bench in the country. The Supreme Court just refused to review the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling last year that Florida’s ban on same-sex adoption is constitutional (see Liberty Counsel’s news release for more on this).

The Eleventh Circuit held that the Florida legislature properly made a policy judgment that it is not in the best interests of its displaced children to be adopted by individuals who engage in current, voluntary homosexual activity. The Eleventh Circuit stated that, “[W]e have found nothing in the Constitution that forbids this policy judgment. Thus, any argument that the Florida legislature was misguided in its decision is one of legislative policy, not constitutional law. The legislature is the proper forum for this debate, and we do not sit as a superlegislature to award by judicial decree what was not achievable by political consensus.”

Vlog: From the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show, a report on a product that may signal one direction for blogs. Video blogs, or vlogs.

“Vlog It, a new video-creation software program, helps people create a video blog or “vlog” with TV-quality graphics, transitions and titles. Users type in text, picking from pre-designed templates and then talk away in front of their computer or laptop, looking directly at a Web cam attached their monitor. The software records them, compresses and formats the video, and then automatically arranges fancy overlays and transitions. When done, bloggers upload their resulting video file to a blogging Web site.”

Journalism and Fundamentalism: GetReligion points us to an article written by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times about what really constitutes religious “fundamentalism.”

Goodstein writes:

“After the American presidential election in November, some liberal commentators warned that the nation was on the verge of a takeover by Christian “fundamentalists.”

But in the United States today, most of the Protestants who make up what some call the Christian right are not fundamentalists, who are more prone to create separatist enclaves, but evangelicals, who engage the culture and share their faith. Professor [Martin] Marty defines fundamentalism as essentially a backlash against secularism and modernity.

For example, at the fundamentalist Bob Jones University, in Greenville, S.C., students are not allowed to listen to contemporary music of any kind, even Christian rock or rap. But at Wheaton College in Illinois, a leading evangelical school, contemporary Christian music is regular fare for many students.

Christian fundamentalism emerged in the United States in the 1920’s, but was already in decline by the 1960’s. By then, it had been superceded by evangelicalism, with its Billy Graham-style revival meetings, radio stations and seminaries.

The word “fundamentalist” itself has fallen out of favor among conservative Christians in the United States, not least because it has come to be associated with extremism and violence overseas.”

–James Jewell

About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group ( Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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