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The Nominees and Religion

The Nominees and Religion

By David Bird in Blog on March 5, 2012

There is no other Western nation in which a political candidate’s religion is as important as it is in America. It’s strange. I don’t think America is really that religious a nation. In public surveys twice as many Americans say they have attended church in the past week than citizens of other nations do, but deeper research says that attendance rates are only half what people claim. So America is no more religious than most Western nations, at least if attendance is considered a valuable measure (and I think it is), so why do they lie about it? One possibility, put forward by those studying the phenomenon, is that people lie to pollsters about socially desirable behavior, and if they consider church attendance to be socially desirable, then they’re likely to say they do it, even if they don’t.It also seems to be an issue in picking leaders, more for Republicans, than Democrats, perhaps, but being a good Christian seems to be a desirable trait in leadership candidates in America as a whole; certainly more so than anywhere else (the Vatican notwithstanding). So how do the candidates stack up?Mitt RomneyShould Romney win the nomination, he will be the first Mormon candidate put forward by a major party. Not as important as being the first black nominee, but interesting nevertheless. So far all of America’s presidents have been Protestant Christians, except Kennedy, who was Catholic.One question that has dogged him is whether or not Mormons are even Christians? It hasn’t been directly addressed too often out of a misplaced sense of politeness. As if to raise the question were to be intolerant. Now I don’t think that his Mormonism should stand in the way of elected office, and I am very much opposed to some of the darker sniping that is directed towards Mormons as a whole, but I am going to come right out and say what most Christians privately acknowledge: Mormons are not Christians.Yes, they’re good people. Yes, some Christians would be better Christians if they behaved more like them. And, yes, Romney may even make a good president. But Mormonism’s teachings are just too far off the doctrinal map. For example, even though Christians are described as joint heirs with Christ, we are not going to go on to become gods of our own worlds. That may strike some people as an obscure point, but it’s exactly the sort of belief that stands between Mormonism and Christianity and between Romney and the wholehearted support of his party.Newt Gingrich and Rick SantorumTrailing Romney for the Republican nomination are two Catholics, Gingrich and Santorum. Of the two Santorum’s religiosity is taken more seriously. Gingrich became a Catholic because his third wife is one. She is described as a very serious Catholic, but she was also his mistress during his second marriage and no one who has known Gingrich for any length of time seems to think the conversion has made any change in him at all.Santorum’s religious bona fides have not been questioned, but he recently raised some strange questions himself in his attack on the only Catholic to become president. Many Americans were concerned that a Catholic president would follow the instructions of the Pope, that a vote for a Catholic would put America under the rule of a foreign power. Kennedy assured them that this was not true. That his government’s policies would not be mandated by religious doctrine and that, should he ever find himself in a position where he was forced to choose between his religious beliefs and the American constitution, he would resign from office rather than compromise America’s religious freedom.Santorum has repudiated Kennedy’s stand, going as far as to say it makes him sick. Does that mean a vote for Santorum is a vote for the Vatican? It’s not a question that is going to be seriously addressed, of course. Both Gingrich and Santorum are still seen as spoilers and so not given the same amount of scrutiny as Romney. It is interesting to note, however, that a prominent Evangelical leader recently referred to Santorum as a “man of faith.” Not a Christian, a man of faith; a broad term that could encompass a broad range of religious backgrounds.Ron Paul and Barack ObamaThat leaves one more Republican nominee and the Democratic nominee.Religion has never played a prominent role in Paul’s campaign, but he is a conservative Baptist. That might surprise some who see him as a libertarian first, but American libertarianism is a mixed bag when it comes to interpreting what Libertarianism means (and that seems appropriate). In an interview with Christianity Today Paul discussed his interpretation and revealed that his libertarianism is really a very traditional anti-federalism. He is not opposed to governments making laws governing our behaviour, per se; he is opposed to the federal government doing so. As positions go, it’s a fairly common one amongst the religious right and one that can be traced back to the federal government dismantling the Jim Crow laws in the 50s and 60s and to the Civil War before that (yes, seriously).So why isn’t he a stronger candidate? Because he is a fringe candidate, a boutique candidate, if you will, running a campaign in which values are promoted ahead of winning, and as commendable as that might be, in order for the religious right to have an influence over the future of the party, they have to back a winner. Paul won’t be that man.That leaves the Democratic nominee, the incumbent president, Barack Obama. Obama was not raised in a religious family. His father came from a Muslim family, but was an avowed Atheist. Obama started to come to church as a young community worker, attending the same services as the people around him. Not a very dramatic conversion, but it is how most people pick a church. You know people. They go to church. You join them. This is why a Christian’s witness is so important.The church he attended was a politically active, predominantly black church and that activism was used as a wedge issue to paint both Obama and the church’s leadership as radicals. Obama left the church as a result. Beneath the politics, however, was a church organized on traditional Congregationalist lines. Congregationalism, as an organization hasn’t been a force in the US for more than a century, but the nation’s Puritan founders gave rise to the Congregationalists, who believed in putting power in the hands of the laity and not the clergy. So Obama not only came to church in the most conventional way, he joined a church linked to America’s beginnings. Since leaving it, however, he has not found a new church home. Like most Americans he does not attend church regularly.You might think this is a strength for him, he is the candidate Americans are most likely to see themselves in, but if attendance is a desirable factor, then it is not likely to help him. You want the candidate to be the person you want to be. But whether religion helps him or not, he is considered the candidate most likely to win.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Win-Win For Obama

Win-Win For Obama

By David Bird in Blog on February 13, 2012

The current debate of the provision of birth control by religious employers was met with glee by Republicans at CPAC, the right's Comic Con. Finally something they can all rally around. Finally something to unify a divided field. But maybe this isn't blessing it first appears to be, at least not for them.While it does give them common cause with one another, at highlights the degree to which party activists are out of step with most Americans. I don't think I've read an article on the condemnation of the Catholic Bishops, for example, that didn't also point out that 98 percent of American Catholics ignore their leadership and practice birth control.The sight of the right lining up against the reproductive freedom of women is also a boost for Obama. Christopher Hitchen's wrote an expose on Bill Clinton called No One Left To Lie To, which detailed his abandonment of each and every one of his values and those of his supporters in the name of political expediency. There was really no one he wasn't willing to throw under a bus to avoid a bad headline. Except one group. He consistently favoured abortion rights activists against the religious right, a group that was then growing in power and influence. As a result he gained the support of many who were otherwise unhappy with his administration and questioned many of his decisions and policies. It was him or turning the clock back on Roe V. Wade and many other gains. Obama came in on a wave of optimism and he has frequently done things--or failed to do things--souring those early supporters. But for every Republican gleely denouncing the President there were countless people watching them, thinking they had better get to work to ensure none of them come near the White House.Putting another barrier between the Republican party of the independents and moderates they near to win, and rallying support for the White House. A win-win for Obama.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Win-Win For Obama

Win-Win For Obama

By David Bird in Blog on February 13, 2012

The current debate of the provision of birth control by religious employers was met with glee by Republicans at CPAC, the right's Comic Con. Finally something they can all rally around. Finally something to unify a divided field. But maybe this isn't blessing it first appears to be, at least not for them.While it does give them common cause with one another, at highlights the degree to which party activists are out of step with most Americans. I don't think I've read an article on the condemnation of the Catholic Bishops, for example, that didn't also point out that 98 percent of American Catholics ignore their leadership and practice birth control.The sight of the right lining up against the reproductive freedom of women is also a boost for Obama. Christopher Hitchen's wrote an expose on Bill Clinton called No One Left To Lie To, which detailed his abandonment of each and every one of his values and those of his supporters in the name of political expediency. There was really no one he wasn't willing to throw under a bus to avoid a bad headline. Except one group. He consistently favoured abortion rights activists against the religious right, a group that was then growing in power and influence. As a result he gained the support of many who were otherwise unhappy with his administration and questioned many of his decisions and policies. It was him or turning the clock back on Roe V. Wade and many other gains. Obama came in on a wave of optimism and he has frequently done things--or failed to do things--souring those early supporters. But for every Republican gleely denouncing the President there were countless people watching them, thinking they had better get to work to ensure none of them come near the White House.Putting another barrier between the Republican party of the independents and moderates they near to win, and rallying support for the White House. A win-win for Obama.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Drink n Draw doodles!

Drink n Draw doodles!

By pedi in Blog on February 10, 2012

Dan Panosian and many other professional and aspiring artists gather every Thursday night at Casey’s Irish Pub in Downtown Los Angeles for what has become a cultural creative phenom! Chapters of DnD have popped up all around the globe over the years cause people learned magic happens when artists gather to do our thing… While we drink! (only Redbull for me) Come check it out if you’re in LA! Cool people, good times! Here’s a few doodles I’ve done the past couple visits to DnD. TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/02/drink-n-draw-doodles/

Occupy THIS!

Occupy THIS!

By pedi in Blog on February 9, 2012

It is obvious conventional ways of the past are no longer true. Old school was limited to old news and education in what was believed to be fact till inevitably proven false. Now is the time when time is no longer barrier and space between mass has shrunk to electronic microblips. Any amounts of information and knowledge instantly accessible at most any finger, yet this planet is overpopulated with idiots unable to wipe their own ass or afford the water to flush their waste. Occupy your minds douche-bags and learn new tricks! Don’t congregate at City Halls and downtown intersections between faith and reason bitching about a bowl left empty when you were too lazy to get off the pot. You’ve been had by the users of yesterday and swindled into a system that promotes a higher education at the cost of life enslavement in a bankrupt and corrupt system. Rock the vote till the house comes down but know your collective voice wont be heard singing to the tune of a deaf nations’ anthem. Turn the page and learn the lesson dependence is a broken promise in the book of lies we have all believed from earliest moments of self. Close the book and write your own to teach and guide the future generations of you lost in hope and blind in ideal that the village will nurture and provide your secure-air-conditioned-wireless-hydrogen-powered-smart-home in our promised land. ~pedram TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/02/occupy-this/

From Hags to Riches!

From Hags to Riches!

By pedi in Blog on February 9, 2012

Shows with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars production budget get 30k views on tv and are considered a “success” whereas ditsy blonde showing how to get from ugly to pretty in a few steps thru her webcam on youtube gets hundreds of millions of views. Clearly the game is not the same. It is now a globally competitive and level playing field and the powers that were are struggling their best to get it all back under control thru lobbying and pushing to pass bullshit laws on Internet piracy while distracting from their own evil agendas! I personally love the excitement of this apparent global economic anarchy and the power it brings to the individual at their finger tips at no more than a few hundred bucks for a smart phone! This is the era when anyone can take the main stage. How fuckin cool is that?! RADICAL is what it is!! TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/02/from-hags-to-riches/

To be, or not to be… GAY!

To be, or not to be… GAY!

By pedi in Blog on February 8, 2012

Hmm, I live in a bubble, no TV and generally disinterested in knowing much beyond my sphere. But it’s nice glancing over tweets and status updates for a readers digest of what’s happening “out there”… Which brings me to same sex marriage: I voted no to Prop 8…. But frankly, after 18 years marriage to the same beautiful, smart and spiteful woman, I feel I have a little more experience in this area than Dr. Phil. And If you know me, you know I have mixed feelings on the topic to put it simply. The opposition who believes that homosexual marriage and acts are a slippery slope, just may be speaking from experience… Or, simply little valid reason. Concerns about children being raised by same sex couples and how this may have a negative impact on these kids and society at large, is a bit hard to swallow. In the end, all a kid really needs is proper love and guidance from men and/or women. Clearly there is no shortage of fucked up heterosexually raised people out there. It’s not like if boys are raised by gays, that their friends will come over asking if junior can come out of the closet and play – or that, instead of boys being boys and blowing up shit, they’ll be blowing each other instead. Debates and comparisons between homosexual behavior to sexual deviants in the animal kingdom, are a bit silly as well. Take for instance the African male lion mounting another African male lion: such sexual deviation is seen often, though considered rare in nature. But if you take a look at the Bonobo monkey species, homosexual behavior is a regular part of their social interaction. And so is diddling their own baby monkeys… Hence, comparing animals nature to human nature is simply not a good point for debate… For either side. And that’s really the issue: everyone trying to force their ways on each other. IMO, just let people be and they will inherently be good. Love has no bounds but those imposed. It’s the oppression of human nature that causes social deviants. Its the people fuckin each other up that’s the problem… Not those simply fuckin each other. Which leads me back to topic: After all these years, I have come to one conclusion: I would NEVER put someone I truly love through the pain of a lifelong marriage to me! But in the end, my feeling is: if anyone – same sex or not – any couple who has that sort of glutton for punishment and really wants to own their love cake and eat it to… I say enjoy! My only request: don’t eat my cake. Peace. ~p. TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/02/to-be-or-not-to-be-gay/

Got FUR?

Got FUR?

By pedi in Blog on February 3, 2012

One of the areas in 3D Visual Effects production that’s more often than not a pain in the ass to produce, but well worth the while, if done right… is 3D “photorealistic” fur. It really makes all the difference in turning a less than quality model and character into something that looks like millions. This one is a perfect example. Client sent me a low resolution 3D model and a concept pencil sketch of this hairy guy… I then refined the model, created the fur, rigged, textured, shaded, positioned, lit and rendered what you see below, using Maya, Mental Ray and Shave and a Haircut… Then I returned his character looking like Pixar… :) TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/02/got-fur/

Done with da Bitch!

Done with da Bitch!

By pedi in Blog on February 1, 2012

Spent four more hours tonight on the Draw Bitch 4 piece at Petra and I’m gonna call it done! Got more definition, detail and a bit of color in there. Not unhappy with the results. Moving on… Stay tuned for video cut coming soon! TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/02/done-with-da-bitch/

Draw Bitch 4! 3 hours WIP :)

Draw Bitch 4! 3 hours WIP :)

By pedi in Blog on January 29, 2012

It was a great night and fantastic turnout at Draw Bitch 4! Petra Gallerie and Soro Social Club were packed with all sorts of newcomers! I had a blast. Three hours of labor produced this creature! I wanna go in with some darker opaque blacks and some whites… Maybe a bit more detail this week at Petra… Who knows, but this was 10′x5′ or so… All ink and brush. A lot of area to fill. Another few hours and this should be good to put to bed. :) TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/01/draw-bitch-4-3-hours-wip/

Salvatore

Salvatore

By David Bird in Blog on January 23, 2012

SalvatoreWritten by Nicolas DeCrecy, Art by Nicolas De CrecyVol. 1: Transports of Love (2010)Vol. 2: An Eventful Crossing (2011)Published by NBMThe new year gets off toa great start with two books by Nicolas De Crecy.Salvatore is about three love stories. The titlecharacter is a miniscule mechanic who pours all his love into the constructionof his Julie-mobile, so that he can travel to South America to be with hislove. Lea is a goth cat—all the characters are anthropomorphized animals—whofinds, and pours all her maternal love onto, a little piglet. Amandine is a sowand mother of Lea’s piglet. So myopic that she’s practically blind, she has allbut turned her back on her twelve other children in her obsession to find herone lost child.The stories share themesof blindness and obsession. Each character is in love and tries reshaped theirworld in honour of their love. But their world’s aren’t as malleable as theybelieve and while they each pursue their ideals they leave behind aconsiderable amount of wreckage. Salvatore has built his vehicle by stealingparts from his clients. Lea’s parents, who are quite rich, are deeply opposedto having a pig in their house and, because Lea absolutely refuses to get ridof it, are manipulating things in the hopes of getting her to do what theywant. And Amandine’s ignored children have turned to a life of crime and fraudin order to support themselves. Everything is constantly on the verge of ruin,and yet everyone pushes on. Salvatore and Amandine have deeply compromised themselvesin their pursuit of love. Lea’s wealth has helped keep her hands clean, but herfather has set up a long line of dominoes and it is obvious a day of reckoningis coming.I enjoyed De Crecy’s Glacial Period very much and pickedthese up with great expectations. I was not disappointed. His is the work of a fullymatured and gifted cartoonist, and he tells each of these stories withsympathy, but without excuses. I am sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Salvatore

Salvatore

By David Bird in Blog on January 23, 2012

SalvatoreWritten by Nicolas DeCrecy, Art by Nicolas De CrecyVol. 1: Transports of Love (2010)Vol. 2: An Eventful Crossing (2011)Published by NBMThe new year gets off toa great start with two books by Nicolas De Crecy.Salvatore is about three love stories. The titlecharacter is a miniscule mechanic who pours all his love into the constructionof his Julie-mobile, so that he can travel to South America to be with hislove. Lea is a goth cat—all the characters are anthropomorphized animals—whofinds, and pours all her maternal love onto, a little piglet. Amandine is a sowand mother of Lea’s piglet. So myopic that she’s practically blind, she has allbut turned her back on her twelve other children in her obsession to find herone lost child.The stories share themesof blindness and obsession. Each character is in love and tries reshaped theirworld in honour of their love. But their world’s aren’t as malleable as theybelieve and while they each pursue their ideals they leave behind aconsiderable amount of wreckage. Salvatore has built his vehicle by stealingparts from his clients. Lea’s parents, who are quite rich, are deeply opposedto having a pig in their house and, because Lea absolutely refuses to get ridof it, are manipulating things in the hopes of getting her to do what theywant. And Amandine’s ignored children have turned to a life of crime and fraudin order to support themselves. Everything is constantly on the verge of ruin,and yet everyone pushes on. Salvatore and Amandine have deeply compromised themselvesin their pursuit of love. Lea’s wealth has helped keep her hands clean, but herfather has set up a long line of dominoes and it is obvious a day of reckoningis coming.I enjoyed De Crecy’s Glacial Period very much and pickedthese up with great expectations. I was not disappointed. His is the work of a fullymatured and gifted cartoonist, and he tells each of these stories withsympathy, but without excuses. I am sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.Originally Pubished at: David Bird


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Seriously, South Carolina? Seriously?

Seriously, South Carolina? Seriously?

By David Bird in Blog on January 22, 2012

Yesterday saw the collapse of the Christian right and the Tea Party movement with the victory of a Washington insider whose 'character issues' eclipse every candidate's since Gary Hart, Gary Hart included.


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Seriously, South Carolina? Seriously?

Seriously, South Carolina? Seriously?

By David Bird in Blog on January 22, 2012

Yesterday saw the collapse of the Christian right and the Tea Party movement with the victory of a Washington insider whose 'character issues' eclipse every candidate's since Gary Hart, Gary Hart included.

Draw Bitch 4!

Draw Bitch 4!

By pedi in Blog on January 19, 2012

Come watch as I do a huge badass illustration/painting within 2 hours – LIVE at Petra Gallerie Saturday January 28th!! Click here for info TweetAuthors: pediRead more http://pedrams.me/wp/2012/01/draw-bitch-4/

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