Book Review: The Gospel of Self

Screenshot 2018-03-08 at 10.42.51 AMThe Gospel of Self, How Jesus Joined the GOP is written by Terry Heaton and details his role at CBN and The 700 Club. Before we used terms like fake news and every single person had a voice via social media, the Christian Broadcast Network entered a new frontier of sorts by not only reporting the news but by shaping the way people thought. CBN in general, and Pat Robertson’s 700 Club in particular, played a profound role in shifting the Republican Party to the right back in the 1980’s. While Robertson was in front of the camera Terry Heaton was behind the scenes and very much involved in making the things Robertson talked about a reality. Heaton believes today’s Christian Right is the end result of work they did together back then. Continue reading

Separation of Church, State and Twitter

This is a follow up to a post from June 15, 2010. I am pleased to report that Shimkus is still tweeting Bible verses ( and his followers have grown to over 15,000! Below is the original post in it’s entirety. Continue reading

SCOTUS, Where the Rubber Meets the… Playground


Screenshot 2016-01-29 at 9.33.33 AM

Baptist Press reports that the Supreme Court will hear an argument in March or April that may set precedents for future church/state decisions. From the article:

Missouri nonprofits can apply to the state for scrap tires to use for rubber playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which has a daycare called the Learning Center, applied to receive the ground-up tires for its playground. The state ranked the church’s application highly, but refused the grant based on a state constitutional provision that forbids state money going to support churches. About 35 states have similar provisions in their state constitutions.

The implications of the high court’s decision will go far beyond playground equipment. Continue reading Church-state case goes to Supreme Court via

Biden vs. Palin, VP Debate

The debate is actually ongoing, so I’m not going to speculate who the winner is.  I’m sure the media is already prepared to announce Joe Biden won and tells us why, with the exception of Fox News.  I would like to point out the obvious to anyone carefully listening to each question and answer: neither candidate will answer the questions being asked.  Continue reading

Immigration: fact and fiction

u.s. mapI am a history teacher.  There is no denying that fact.  My degree is in political science.  If you break out in a rash or have difficulty breathing when exposed to a history lecture, look away from this window slowly and click on something else. 

This morning I heard someone say that Mexicans are taking over our country.  It’s an old argument, only it used to be the Chinese.  Same song, different verse.  Chinese immigrants basically built the American railroad from the Mississippi to the west coast.  Some railroad companies had as much as 90% of their workforce made up of Chinese immigrants.  The argument back then, get this, was that Chinamen were taking American jobs.  No they weren’t.  Continue reading

Religion and Politics

Remember the 2000 Presidential election? The final results of that election day took weeks to become clear because the American public was so nearly evenly split between Democratic and Republican voters. Each vote in Congress is split nearly even because the Congressional leaders we select are nearly evenly divided, and very few are willing to “cross the aisle” in favor of the other party’s legislation. The word in politics these days is polarized. There is rarely middle ground that the majority of people can agree on.

This is the exact same thing I’ve been describing in the debate between theists and atheists. Atheists are no longer content to just not believe in God, but have launched attacks against faith itself. It’s like a war is being fought between people of faith and what now amounts to the enemies of the faithful. Becky Garrison suggests that we once all just played in our own sandbox, but the “New Atheists” want to throw sand in the face of believers.

It seems on almost every issue, everyone takes one extreme position or the other. There is no such thing as common ground anymore. We want hard lines on right or wrong, with zero tolerance for shades of gray. Life is not that simple. Sometimes there are no good guys or bad guys, there’s just guys. Historically, a few people on any issue took an extreme position, and the vast majority fell somewhere in between them. A bell curve suggests the probability of this phenomenon. I don’t know exactly when this changed, but the bell has been hammered out flat, more like a coin with 2 sides and no middle.