Humor

Pet Salvation?

WITH ALL THE division going on between sheep and goats, you probably want to safeguard your dog’s righteousness with a Christian designer doggie T-shirt from the online pet boutique Michi P. All the tees are made in the U.S.A. and sport such phrases as “Real dogs love Jesus” and “Lead me not to treatation.” As it says in the Good Book, “a live dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4), so treat yours right.

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Sojourners Magazine September/October 2009
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Caught With Their Family Values Down

This month’s cover story is about sex, and there is nothing I can add to the topic that would not violate the rules of my parole, except to mention that a Nevada senator—who single-handedly prevented the District of Columbia from getting voting rights—recently had some sex issues of his own.

In a somber public statement that stunned his Republican colleagues (and probably sent them scrambling to delete personal e-mails, phone records, and credit card receipts), Sen. John Ensign admitted having an extramarital affair with a former staff member, which is wrong in most parts of this country, although on Capitol Hill they’re not sure. (“Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that after years of hard work raising money, earning the trust of my constituency, and rising to a position of enormous power, I CAN’T expect sexual favors from my staff?!?” one stunned elected official might have said in his sleep, off the record.)

I would not even bring up Ensign’s infidelity—since he has asked forgiveness and can rightly expect compassion from those of us who believe in the power of redemption—except for the fact that I want to make fun of him.

You see, the bill giving congressional representation to D.C. residents looked like it would finally pass in May, putting an end to decades of colonial servitude, not to mention taxation without representation, which figured powerfully in our nation’s early history. (Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty, or lower my taxes! Wait, that doesn’t sound convincing enough.”) But at the last minute, Ensign added an amendment that would eliminate the city’s authority to control gun ownership, a vindictive move that killed the bill.

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Sojourners Magazine September/October 2009
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Was it Torture, or Value-Added Questioning?

With all the mixed signals we’ve been getting these days about the use of torture, it’s hard to know what to believe. I’ve always felt that torture was wrong, and that we shouldn’t do it except under extreme circumstances, such as to force producers of the Fox TV show 24 to stop glorifying it. (We could make them watch episodes of The Partridge Family over and over until they promise that Jack Bauer will use more acceptable interrogation methods, like maybe tickling.) But I’m starting to wonder if I’ve rushed to judgment.

Former—and for that, we are grateful—Vice President Dick Cheney insists that torture has saved countless American lives. (But then he’s the guy who said we’d be greeted as libertarians in Iraq—or was it librarians?—and he was wrong about that.)

When discussing torture, Cheney prefers to use the term “enhanced interrogation,” which sounds like a beneficial thing. “Interrogation Plus” might be another term, or “Value-Added Questioning,” and then afterward you get free air miles, or cash back. (“You’ve been very cooperative, possible terrorist. Now here’s a coupon for Ruby Tuesday.”)

So I’m left with the question: Is it a human rights issue or just a marketing challenge?

One man bravely attempting to provide an answer is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Dixie), who recently said in a hearing, “Let’s have both sides of the story here. I mean, one of the reasons these techniques have survived for about 500 years is apparently they work.”

It’s hard to argue with that. After all, during the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church got lots of useful confessions using Enhanced Stretching on the rack. Early American Protestants successfully rid their parishes of witches with an early form of waterboarding that they called “Baptism Plus.”

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Sojourners Magazine August 2009
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Real Product

Spanish product designer Luis Eslava has created a Virgin Mary flash drive—presumably to back up all those things she’s been “pondering in her heart.” Available in two or four gigabytes, this Plexiglas Mother of God has a red LED heart that beats during data transfer. Her halo is engraved with the prayer, “Oh Maria, keep my data safe.” So go ahead—plug in and pray.

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Sojourners Magazine August 2009
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