God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Remembering Molly Ivins

posted by gp_intern

I don’t know how many of you ever read the columns or books written by Molly Ivins. She died this week, after a long bout with breast cancer. Molly was a feisty, irreverent, no-nonsense, characteristically confrontational, and highly intelligent force in American journalism. She was the quintessential populist – a defender of little people and an absolute scourge to their assailants among the rich and powerful. And being from Texas, she was the most insightful, hilarious, and audacious critic of our current president – fellow Texan George W. Bush – whom she labeled a “shrub” more than a bush. Religion wasn’t much of an interest for Molly, but over the only breakfast talk we ever had together, several years ago, she told me that the only kind of religion she ever respected and might even consider is the kind she found in Sojourners. She loved how the biblical prophets would stick it to the powers that be – and, indeed, that is exactly what she spent her life doing. I really liked Molly Ivins and read her stuff as often as I could.

E.J. Dionne wrote a great column today in The Washington Post titled “Molly Ivins’s Joyful Outrage.” He said:

More than just about any other columnist I can think of, Molly was a genuine populist, to make proper reference to a word she couldn’t stand to see misused by charlatans. She believed in lifting up the underdog and hated it when the wealthy made excuses for injustice.

And, along with her political passions, E.J. pointed out:

Joy was the key. Another thing she hated was anybody who didn’t think that fighting the good fight was a kick. She left us all with a charge a few years ago: “Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.”

Her first book was titled, Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? Well, she can, and she did, and we were all much better off for it. I for one will miss her wit and wisdom. And I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, in her sad passing, of sharing some of the best tributes to her with all of you. Here’s what The New York Times and The Washington Post had to say. Maya Angelou wrote a poignant appreciation, and the Chicago Tribune, where her columns were printed, wrote in an editorial:

Her final column appeared less than four weeks ago, on Jan. 5. Not a lot of mellowing: “The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck – so it’s up to us. You and me.” She promised that in every future column, she would write about the bane of her existence, the war in Iraq.

If you didn’t know Molly, it’s not too late to go out and buy some of her books this weekend. I’m sure she was never called a “woman of God,” but I believe was the kind of woman that God really likes. I suspect she has already been asking the Lord some tough questions. That, she thought, was always the job of a good muckraking journalist.



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anonymous

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:15 pm


It’s sad to hear of her death. Molly Ivins had an interesting wit. On another note: Please stop with the name dropping, Jim. And also with the self-promoting utterance of Sojourners.



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kevin s.

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:40 pm


I was a reader and am saddened by the passing, but God “really likes” people who follow Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, not opinion journalism.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Molly told the story of a grandmother who sent her grandson to gather eggs. He went into the chicken coop and pulled an egg from a nest. When he put his hand into the 2nd nest a snake ran out, he bolted for the door tearing it off the hinges and cutting his arm. Grand Ma asked why he ran and tore the door off and hurt his arm. Grand Ma sometimes you just scare yourself so bad it makes you hurt yourself. The story of 9/11



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Payshun

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:50 pm


Rest in piece Molly. p



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ronnie

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:57 pm


Does Jim Wallis believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven? Does he believe in Hell? I read this site occasionally, and I’ve listened to God’s Politics, and I really can’t tell the answer to my 2 questions.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 2, 2007 at 10:00 pm


We had the great good fortune of seeing Molly’s columns in the local paper, which balanced Molly’s and Garrison Kehlior’s (spelling?) views with views from Ann Coulter and George Will (two very different folk). Molly tickled my ribs!



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Mike Hayes

posted February 2, 2007 at 10:16 pm


ronnie, I’m not sure what you are asking, but if you are expressing concern about a belief that only believers in Christ can be saved, what happens to two-thirds of the world population who were not introduced to Christianity? I remember a “limbo” concept that was believed to enable infants (who died before being baptized) to have an opportunity to enter heaven. I don’t think a just God would be unjust to unbaptized infants or unbelieving adults.



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ronnie

posted February 2, 2007 at 10:42 pm


Mike Hayes, 1) In the Old Testament, we see several examples of God commanding His people to slaughter entire cities/nations, killing everyone, including babies, and children. On occasion, God would does so on His own. Did God realize He was being unjust? 2) Molly Ivins wasn’t part of the 2/3 of the world’s population that never heard of Jesus. Is there evidence that Molly’s in a position to ask God any questions? I haven’t seen presented.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 10:55 pm


Mike this seems a strange turn for this thread to take about the life of Molly’s life?



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wayne

posted February 2, 2007 at 11:19 pm


Amen butch



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Mike Hayes

posted February 2, 2007 at 11:54 pm


butch and wayne, You are right. I wasn’t sure what ronnie was talking about and I should have just kept quiet.



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David S

posted February 3, 2007 at 12:03 am


“I suspect she has been asking the Lord some tough questions.” Like..”Is it always going to be this hot in here?” Seriously, it is sad that Molly Ivins didn’t ask God some tough questions during her mortal life; I’m certain He would have answered.



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timks

posted February 3, 2007 at 12:08 am


I wasn’t a reader, so I don’t have an opinion on her writing. My condolences to her family. I do have to say, though, that it appeared a little unseemly for Jim to tell the story of Molly sucking up to him.



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fasternu426

posted February 3, 2007 at 1:07 am


Her good ole country girl persona was as fake as a three dollar bill. Ivins grew up in a River Oaks mansion (where the old oil money in Houston lives). Her father was the chief legal counsel for (I believe) Tenneco in Houston. But I guess if you are a guilt riddled liberal (but not enough to give all your stuff away) you can say and do as you please.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 1:19 am


Ann Richards was another person who was often asked about her views on issues. I think Ann and Molly would probably have been able to finish each other’s sentences!



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jesse

posted February 3, 2007 at 1:29 am


I do have to say, though, that it appeared a little unseemly for Jim to tell the story of Molly sucking up to him. –I see to recall him doing the same thing after Bill Bright died (saying how Bright thought everything Wallis was doing was great). Distasteful is a word for it.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 3:44 am


David “Seriously, it is sad that Molly Ivins didn’t ask God some tough questions during her mortal life” Give me an example of one of those tough questions?



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 3:58 am


Molly must have asked a tough question to find this answer in Nov 2002″The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? … There is a batty degree of triumphalism loose in this country right now.”



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:08 am


Another quote from Molly and part of the significance is when she said it. 2003 “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:08 am


Another also from jul 2003 “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:11 am


oops that was the same one this is the 2nd “I opposed the war in Iraq because I thought it would lead to the peace from hell, but I’d rather not see my prediction come true and I don’t think we have much time left to avert it. That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. … We don’t need people with credentials as right-wing ideologues and corporate privatizers — we need people who know how to fix water and power plants.”



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:16 am


” “I suspect she has been asking the Lord some tough questions.” Like..”Is it always going to be this hot in here?” No doubt she is burning in hell for this statement. “Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire. …



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:26 am


I quote again from this sick sinner. Can you believe she could say such a thing, clearly the devils work. How else could she see the future. “I’ve got an even-money bet out that says more Americans will be killed in the peace than in the war, and more Iraqis will be killed by Americans in the peace than in the war. Not the first time I’ve had a bet out that I hoped I’d lose.”



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:38 am


Remember it is much more important what Jim said about what she said to him than what she said. And we need to predict where she will spend eternity.



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ronnie

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:57 am


butch, “we’re” discussing Molly’s eternity because Jim Wallis stated that he believed Molly was speaking with God, after he said “I’m sure she was never called a ‘woman of God'”. From my perspective as a Christian, those two statements don’t seem to go along with each other. I never had the impression the Molly Ivins was a Christian, and I might be totally wrong about that, but that’s why I asked about Jim’s views on Heaven and Hell. Is Jim a “good people go to Heaven” kind of guy, or is he a “sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus go to Heaven” kind of guy. I don’t know, but I’m starting to suspect the former, sadly.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:00 am


butch, My sentiments are closely aligned with yours. Others march to a different drummer. We and they see “facts” differently. I’m not sure whether we and they can communicate. If we can’t, is the blog worth the effort? I’m not sure. Maybe we and they can obtain some benefit, in spite of the difficulty we and they have in trying.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:19 am


Mike I’ve said the only way I see this blog accomplishing anything is to have a moderator. So, tell me is anything accomplished beyond another form of “Cross Fire”?



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:42 am


I would like to see simpler points not that things are simple but with to many pieces of a puzzle allows everyone to pick which piece of the puzzle they want to attack. And I say attack because my experience is many come with agenda’s or feelings bringing their own facts to support their position. It reminds me of talk radio except the host doesn t direct, so we have a really bright post followed by a fools rambling or worse a bright person with an agenda. Try this format on; a live chat with the writer. Not perfect either but I m weary of this Cross Fire leading to no end.



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timks

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:56 am


Butch, out of 28 messages here, at least 12 are from you. If you want a moderated blog, try moderating yourself: Stop taking offense every time someone doesn’t say what you wish they would say.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:17 am


timks, I’ve engaged this process in several ways, this thread aside, that I didn’t find effective and I do say “I”. I tried asking leading questions, little or no response, other ways. I know it is not about me but if it is a shouting match then I will shout back when it seems proper. You know that I feel some are here to interfere and I will take them on from “my” point of view. So, these recent post of mine are directed at the process with thoughts/questions. Do you want to tell me off or engage that question?



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:26 am


timks, btw if it were moderated then my behavior would be much different and you would find me much less confrontational.



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anonymous4now

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:26 am


I’m losing hope for the comments area of this blog. Too many Rush Limbaugh Wannabes spending all day on the web promoting wars and social Darwinism like they were the keys to eternal joy. Not one of them have made me laugh even once. I couldn’t get through most of Molly’s columns with out serious hilarity. Come on admit it Kevin and fasternu426; you guys are jealous, and K., for a guy who condemns opinion columns you sure spend some serious time blogging to protect the poor from pay raises. As for hell. I think it is a state of mind and soul that many people of all faiths are actively colonizing and seeking to fill with those they hate.What a miserable way to think. Maybe you guys would be a lot happier and have a better sense of humor if you stopped trying to sell fear, carcasses, and oppression as though it were ice cream.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:43 am


4now, I have no quarrel with anything you say but it wasn’t funny, can you take any piece and make it funny which would be hard in this format. I loved Molly because she made me think and laugh.



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timks

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:54 am


Butch said, Do you want to tell me off or engage that question? Which question was “that”?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:55 am


butch, Maybe a discussion group in which clear rules of conduct are specified and violators are banned would be better, but Beliefnet is not moderated (though the rules mention some degree of that http://www.beliefnet.com/about/rules.asp) and essentially relies upon voluntary compliance with the rules. I wonder how Molly Ivins would interact with those on this blog who think differently than she did. Or Ann Richards. I think they would find a way to accomplish their objectives, with or without the blog…



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kevin s.

posted February 3, 2007 at 7:02 am


I don’t condemn opinion columns, I just don’t see them as a vehicle to eternal life. I feel the same way about baking. One can be an excellent pastry chef and not experience eternal life.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 7:04 am


Which question was “that”? About the nature of this blog that leads to a “Cross Fire” type exchange.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 7:06 am


Kevin does being a Republi-Nazi apoligist wordsmith lead to eternal life.



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timks

posted February 3, 2007 at 8:15 am


butch, About the nature of this blog that leads to a “Cross Fire” type exchange. It doesn’t have to be that way if one is willing to allow that not everyone with whom one disagrees has evil intentions.



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butch

posted February 3, 2007 at 8:39 am


So, you see me as the problem?



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nickerson

posted February 3, 2007 at 1:08 pm


Enjoyed reading Ms Ivins columns and books. Her death is a loss. The talent that she had could have only happened with a gift from God. The same gift the rest of you have. You all should take the message from her that the humor may had been biting and overstated was done to make a point and to make the conversation interesting.I wish I could read her comments about the Biden comments about Obama. It would have given a whole different perspective.



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fasternu426

posted February 3, 2007 at 2:54 pm


“you guys are jealous” Hardly. I am not someone who has lived a life pretending to be a home spun country girl that actually grew up in the lap of luxury. She was just a “Texas” version of a limousine liberal. Her salvation is between her and the Lord.A far better writer once said: “By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity — another man’s I mean.” Mark Twain



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timks

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:34 pm


butch, So, you see me as the problem? No, not the problem, but you are one of the small number of people here who almost immmediately resort to name-calling if someone doesn’t say what you think they should, or you are unable to refute their views.



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kevin s.

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:08 pm


“Kevin does being a Republi-Nazi apoligist wordsmith lead to eternal life.” Invariably.



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Jeff

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:12 pm


My gut feeling on Molly Ivens was that she was just plain mean.



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ed

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:27 pm


I had read that Molly was an Episcopalian/Anglican like myself. That is the church of C.S.Lewis, John Stott, Bishop Tutu, and millions of others. What is all this debate about her being a Christian? My wife and I will truly miss her wit and insightful wisdom. May the light perpetual shine on you Molly.



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kevin s.

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:41 pm


“What is all this debate about her being a Christian?” That’s not the debate.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:05 pm


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/02/03/bush.democrats.ap/index.html I think I’m right that Molly (or Ann) would express some skepticism about the authenticity of the display of respect that is reported in this article, but deep down inside I think they would welcome the civility of the exchange between the president and the democratic members.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:23 pm


“…If you didn t know Molly, it s not too late to go out and buy some of her books this weekend. I m sure she was never called a woman of God, but I believe was the kind of woman that God really likes. I suspect she has already been asking the Lord some tough questions. That, she thought, was always the job of a good muckraking journalist…”. Jim Wallis, Great tribute to a great lady, and with a touch of humor she would enjoy.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm


I didn’t notice until just now that there now is an archive of the initial posts by Jim Wallis and friends and also of the comments. It’s located on the left column… just scroll down a little bit…



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Gloria

posted February 3, 2007 at 9:53 pm


Thank you Jim Wallis for your column on Molly Ivins. Also for the web pages to read other great stories about her. God gave her a job to do and she completed it with flying colors!!



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Gloria

posted February 4, 2007 at 1:04 am


Molly Ivins memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 4, 2007, at 2:00 P.M. at the First United Methodist Church, in Austin, TX Hope this allays some posters worry about dear Mollies soul. What a lady!!



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Daniel

posted February 4, 2007 at 1:30 am


I graduated from the U.of Texas in 1971. Sometime before that, I was able to meet Molly for a short interview I did for a small publication in Austin. She was the same feisty, humorous, caring person she was late in her life. She cared about people with little power, and little hope. She didn’t like going to wars without all the reasons and justifications being fully aired, and then, it still had to meet some very high morality standards to be defensible. Many of us will miss her, and many of us believe her work was “of the Spirit”, even if she herself was not so sure what she thought of any particular faith. Fair sailing, Molly. DGF



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Mark Sherman

posted February 4, 2007 at 2:02 am


Maybe a short parable from Anthony de Mello’s Song of the Bird can help in this discussion – Jesus at the football match: “Jesus Christ said he had never been to a football match so we took him to one, my friends and I. It was a ferocious battle between the Protestant Punchers and the Catholic Crusaders. The Crusaders scored first and Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. Then the Punchers scored. And Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. This seemed to puzzle the man behind us. He tapped Jesus on the shoulder and asked, ‘Which side are you rooting for, my good man?’ ‘Me?’ replied Jusus, visibly excited by the game. ‘Oh, I’m not rooting for either side. I’m just enjoying the game.’ The questioner turned to his neighbor and sneered, ‘Hmm, an atheist!’ We took him up on this after the game. Was he in the habit of never taking sides? ‘I side with people rather than religions,’ said Jesus, ‘human beings rather than Sabbath.'” Molly was an interesting and entertaining human being, I thank God for that, and I thank Jim Wallis for keeping a tent big enough for those of us that want to be human beings.



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Ms. Cynthia

posted February 4, 2007 at 2:12 am


Molly was to nice to call W a shrub. Sounds all to sweet. I prefer weed myself. And you know what we do with those in Iowa.



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Maria

posted February 4, 2007 at 3:23 am


Thank you Jim Wallis for remembering Molly Ivins. I enjoyed her columns and I will miss her wit, humor, and insight. She cared about the “underdog”- the overlooked in society and wasn’t afraid to let her feelings be known. Rest in Peace, Molly. We will miss you.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 6:11 am


Maybe Molly wouldn’t bring this up (but maybe Ann would).This is from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/147/story_14756_1.html which is about an interview with William Sloan Coffin in 2004, two years prior to his death in April of 2006: “If you had a pastoral visit with the president, what would you say? I think I d have to say: “Mr. President, in the British military, the chaplain assumes the rank of the person he s addressing. Can we for a moment accept that understanding between us?” And if he said yes, I d say, “Then George, may I have your permission to talk about one or two things that I found sorrowful?” I would have to ask, because otherwise people get defensive. But if they give permission, presumably they re willing to take it. I would take it as Christian-to-Christian. I would say, “George, Jesus is considered the servant of the poor. He was concerned most for those society counted least. You don t come through very Jesus-like in your approach to the war. And as for these rather grandiose dreams of hegemony, economic and military hegemony for the United States, have you ever stopped to think that the devil tempted Jesus with unparalleled wealth and power? It was the devil.” There would be a couple of things like that. Then I d probably say, “I don t want to keep you much longer. I ll just leave you with that.” This comes from “The Religious Left” tribe of the twelve tribes of American Politics.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 6:15 am


Please consider visiting the twelve tribes of American politics (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/153/story_15355_2.html) and try to identify which tribe is “your tribe” and let us know what you think. I think I’m part of The Religious Left, but several other tribes also come close to “my tribe”.



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Terry

posted February 4, 2007 at 12:50 pm


The religious Left? How interesting a label that tries to hide the Marxism that is so sticking-out everywhere. No amount of Sojouners whitewash can hide what is underneath its true color. These people would move as quickly as Hugo Chavez (notice how “the Left” so loves this totalitarian nutball) to sieze control of every aspect of society once they get the power to really control it.



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StatBabe

posted February 4, 2007 at 4:19 pm


Frankly, I was little surprised to see Jim Wallis say, “Religion wasn t much of an interest for Molly…” and later in the column, say, “I m sure she [Molly] was never called a ‘woman of God’…”. As one who has read ALL of Molly Ivins books and was a regular reader of her columns, I recall several occasions where she made reference to being a Christian–not often, I admit, but like E. J. Dionne, she did share that her Christian beliefs certainly affected her political views. The difference between Molly Ivins and people like George W. Bush is that she did not wear her faith on her shoulder to prove to the world that she was something that she was not. I am not sure that I understand why someone would refer to Molly Ivins as “phony” because of what her father did for a living or because she came from a Republican family of means. Is it her “fault” who her parents were? From what I know of Molly Ivins, she was a warm, good-hearted, generous woman who had something “good” to say about everybody–even George W. Bush!For the person who referred to Molly Ivins as “mean”, you apparently were not acquainted with either the woman or her writing since, unlike the Ann Coulters of the world, Molly Ivins was NEVER mean-spirited or cruel. And I defy you to find a SINGLE column where Ivins questioned one’s patriotism simply for having a different point of view since this was certainly not her style either.



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butch

posted February 4, 2007 at 6:34 pm


StatBabe, you point out what I see often, demonizing someone without the underlying support. In this case you ask for a single example of mean-spirited column and finding one would not prove a case. I ask for several that shows a leaning or “proof”.



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butch

posted February 4, 2007 at 6:37 pm


Proof=weight of evidence



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:00 pm


Terry, Is your message consistent with the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct? Others, I spent some time yesterday looking at the Beliefnet web site and I discovered there are several types of groups: Discussion; Dialog groups; Blogs; and at least one “Blogalogue” (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/209/story_20904_1.html). I’m not sure how it is moderated but the discussion group on the abortion topic (http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/discussion_list.asp?boardID=452) requires that participants refer to Pro Choice or Pro Life in describing one side or the other in the discussion. Then there are groups which exist to discuss one religion or another, for example, catholic is at http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/boards_main.AllCategories.asp?Category=58. Notice that criticism of Catholics by “non-catholics” must occur on a “religion Debate Forum (http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/boards_main.AllCategories.asp?Category=129). Notice also that there is an archive for this debate topic, as well as an archive for the more general topic of debate about Christianity. My point is that Beliefnet has spent some time over the years thinking about how to foster discussion among persons who disagree intently about belief systems. I’m not sure how that relates to this group (the God’s Politics” blog) exactly, but my guess is there might be a way to minumize the negative posting that occurs here so that cooler heads might get some greater benefit from participation. And, for relevancy to this topic, I wonder what Molly or Ann would think about “rules of conduct”… I think they would take the position that lampooning the thought processes of others is appropriate behavior, but that there are limits to what amounts to criticisms which are “in good taste”. I think there have been a number of posts on this blog which Ann or Molly would think were not in “good taste”, and those have occurred on posts by conservatives and liberals. We’re all entitled to say things we regret sometimes, but not to do it repeatedly. In my view…



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:08 pm


Let me try to get those links active, this time: “… at least one “Blogalogue” at http://www.beliefnet.com/story/209/ story_20904_1.html …”. “… the discussion group on the abortion topic http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/ discussion_list.asp?boardID=452 requires that participants refer to Pro Choice or Pro Life in describing one side or the other in the discussion…”. “… Notice that criticism of Catholics by “non-catholics” must occur on a “religion Debate Forum http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/ boards_main.AllCategories.asp?Category=129 …”. And, I’m only using catholic specific links as an example of how Beliefnet has evolved over the years in its efforts to create opportunity for discussions among persons who hold intense beliefs. If this attempt to get the links active doesn’t succeed, I’ll stop trying.



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Erudite Redneck

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:11 pm


Wow. What meanness in the comments. God bless Molly Ivins — a lightning rod to the end, and beyond!



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butch

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:19 pm


Mike can you explain why you keep saying Molly/Ann. They may have been close in life but this is about Molly, are they connected at the hip?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:19 pm


I forgot to mention that the “Blogalogue” (for example, http://www.beliefnet.com/story/209/story_20904_1.html ) offers opportunity for commentors to post “comments” similar to what occurs on blogs, with the added feature that registered participants ( http://www.beliefnet.com/user/login.asp?redirectPage=http://www.beliefnet.com/ ) can view profiles of other registered commentors and can communicate off-line, very similar to the situation for Yahoo! groups. The option would remain, of course, for participants to choose not to register, but they would then not be able to post comments, either (I think I’m right about that).



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:22 pm


butch, I’m just thinking of Molly and Ann as from Texas and of similar personality and that they died at about the same time… and I enjoyed their perspectives on life…



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butch

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:25 pm


Maybe a difference without significance but it seems to me out of order here and now. And, don’t make a big deal of my minor question.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 9:12 pm


butch, It’s not easy to figure out what is out of order… the comments aren’t moderated and some pretty insulting messages have been posted about Molly… anthing that follows up to that kind of message with something that desn’t violate the Beliefnet rules of conduct seems appropriate to me…



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butch

posted February 4, 2007 at 9:33 pm


Of course that is true, to not discuss follow ups is not a dialogue. So I offer or suggest that at Molly’s death to connect Ann is out of order. If you listened to both over the years they sounded similar. But, if you came my home and listened to me and my cousin we would sound alike when in fact we are very different. Just because I question the timing is not an attack and only ask do you want to reconsider?



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 11:18 pm


butch, When posts occur here on this blog that seem to me to violate the “Beliefnet Rules of Conduct” that every person who posts a message here agrees to abide by, I’ll probably follow that up with something to distract from that post… as long as doing that seems to have the intended result… The fact that there are no moderators to screen out the posts that ignore the rules of conduct doesn’t mean that we have to just stand by and watch the discussion spiral out of control… seems to me… There will be some point at which it becomes unproductive to do that… but my guess is that those of us who do want the conversation to be civil will agree with something along those lines…



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Mike Hayes

posted February 4, 2007 at 11:29 pm


butch, Also, it’s not clear to me after having spent several hours looking through the various options for discussions on Beliefnet what in fact is the case… but I think what happens is that posts which violate the rules of conduct are deleted from the record if there are “hosts” which volunteer to do that. I’ve asked Beliefnet whether there are options that allow for moderation that does that prior to posting or that allows persons to be banned from participation, as occurs on Yahoo! groups. I’m not sure what does occur, so I’m asking about what the possibilities are…



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anonymous4now

posted February 5, 2007 at 1:32 am


Molly wrote some really funny stuff but some topics just aren’t funny. Molly Ivins: A Tortured Debate By Molly Ivins AUSTIN, Texas Some country is about to have a Senate debate on a bill to legalize torture. How weird is that? I d like to thank Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham a former military lawyer and John Warner of Virginia. I will always think fondly of John Warner for this one reason: Forty years ago, this country was involved in an unprovoked and unnecessary war. It ended so badly the vets finally had to hold their own homecoming parade, years after they came home. The only member of Congress who attended was John Warner. A debate on torture. I don t know what do you think? I guess we have to define it, first. The White House has already specified water boarding, making some guy think he s drowning for long periods, as a perfectly good interrogation technique. Maybe, but it was also a great favorite of the Gestapo and has been described and condemned in thousands of memoirs and novels in highly unpleasant terms. I don t think we can give it a good name again, and I personally kind of don t like being identified with the Gestapo. How icky. (Somewhere inside me, a small voice is shrieking, Are you insane?”) The safe position is, Torture doesn t work.Well, actually, it works to this extent anybody can be tortured into telling anything that s true and anything that s not true. The more people are tortured, the more they make up to please the torturer. Then the torturer has to figure out when the vic started lying. Since our torturers are, in George Bush s immortal phrase, professionals, and this whole legislative fight is over making torture legal so the professionals can t later be charged with breaking the Geneva Conventions, Bush has vowed to end the program completely if he doesn t get what he wants. (The same thin voice is shrieking, Professional torturers trained with my tax money?”) Bush s problem is that despite repeated warnings, he went ahead with the program without waiting for Congress to provide a fig leaf of legality. Actually, we have been torturing prisoners at Gitmo, prisons in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan for years. Since only seven of the several hundred prisoners at Gitmo have ever been charged with anything, we face the unhappy prospect that the rest of them are innocent. And will sue. That s going to be quite an expensive settlement. The Canadian upon whom we practiced rendition, sending him to Syria for 10 months of torture, will doubtlessly be first on the legal docket. I wonder how high up the chain of command a civil suit can go? Any old war criminals wandering around? I was interested to find that the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is so in favor of torture he told McCain that the senator either supports the torture bill or he can forget about the evangelical Christian vote. I d like to see an evangelical vote on that one. I don t know how Sheldon defines traditional values, but deliberately inflicting terrible physical pain or stress on someone who is completely helpless strikes me as … well, torture. And, um, wrong. And I ve smoked dope! Boy, everything those conservatives tell us about the terrible moral values of us liberals must be true after all. Now, in addition to the slightly surreal awakening to find we live in a country that s having a serious debate on a torture bill, can we do anything about it? The answer is: We better. We better do something about it. Now, right away. What do we do? The answer is: anything … phone, fax, e-mail, mail, demonstrate go stand outside their offices or the nearest federal building in the cold and sing hymns or shout rude slogans, chant or make a speech, or start attacking federal property, like a postal box, so they have to arrest you. Gather peacefully and make a lot of noise. Get publicity, too. How will you feel if you didn t do something? Well, honey, when the United States decided to adopt torture as an official policy, I was dipping the dog for ticks.As Ann Richards used to say, I don t want my tombstone to read: She kept a clean house. To find out more about Molly Ivins and see works by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at http://www.creators.com. Torturers should not be sweet talked, Presidents who shred the Constitution and defy the Congress should not be sweet-talked. There is only one lawful and moral remedy in American law for such behavior; it is called impeachment. Unfortunately John McCain (I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary, but not for Bush in the election) decided torture wasn’t so bad as long as it was well hidden and backed off his moral stand for the bowl of pottage called the support of his bid to be President from the Republican big whigs. His plan to rerun the VietNam war with a different outcome will be a hard sell, even from his Rove style campaign managers. Anyone wanna buy a lead balloon?



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butch

posted February 5, 2007 at 1:40 am


1st I would only talk to you a few others about such small things because I think you are very sincere in trying to make this productive. I assume it is up to Sojo to moderate or not? Some of course would not believe this but I would gladly go along with a moderator. This does give an advantage to those who use the language well but we would survive that.



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butch

posted February 5, 2007 at 2:18 am


anonymous4now I’m sure you know that McCain made an amendment against torture. Then of course, the unitary Pres issued a signing statement that said yes we would torture. What troubled me was McCain’s silence about the signing statement. Now I suspect that this was a deal with the White House to get credit for the amendment then be silent about “signing statement”. I’m anxious about terrorist but will not give up my rights for any fear. I fear government, a few examples of how the govern can get you down and beat you up. Hitler Stalin Edi Amin Molosivith (sp) This list could go on forever. Anything you allow the government to do to those you are afraid of they can do to you. So watch people like Ben Laden and try to find “HIM” but don’t give up your freedom hoping for safety because you won t be safe from those you gave the power to.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:15 am


Everyone, “…1. Courtesy and Respect: You agree that you will be courteous to every Beliefnet member, even those whose beliefs you think are false or objectionable. When debating, express your opinion about a person’s ideas, not about them personally. You agree not to make negative personal remarks about other Beliefnet members, including negative remarks about their age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, intelligence, character, appearance, health, mental health, education or any other personal characteristic. You agree not to create posts and discussions intended to criticize or ridicule other members personally. You agree not to engage in derogatory name-calling, including calling anyone evil, a liar, Satanic, demonic, antichrist, a Nazi, or other inflammatory comparisons…”. Posting a message and thereby agreeing to abide by the rules and then ignoring the rules in the content of the message is not a small thing. That has happened entirely too often on this blog. We can all help bring a stop to that, if we will all speak up, whether the offender aligns with our views, or not. In my view…



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butch

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:27 am


So, who inforces this?



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moderatelad

posted February 5, 2007 at 7:16 pm


In my view… Mike Hayes | 02.04.07 – 10:20 pm | #Well said! So, who inforces this? butch | 02.04.07 – 10:32 pm | #Not you.



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mabelmac

posted February 5, 2007 at 8:59 pm


That any one of us could be so arrogant as to think we know just what Molly Ivins is doing right now is utterly appalling to me. It is not any of our jobs to decide who is having a one-on-one conversation with the Lord; why in the world not give Molly Ivins the benefit of the doubt and figure she’s in Heaven? I for one wouldn’t want a heaven without the likes of Molly Ivins in it.



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timks

posted February 5, 2007 at 9:12 pm


mabelmac, I for one wouldn’t want a heaven without the likes of Molly Ivins in it. This is indeed a curious statement. You would give up Heaven, where Jesus Christ is, if Molly Ivins wasn’t there? The implications of your statement are – or should be – obvious.



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mabelmac

posted February 5, 2007 at 9:23 pm


tmks, I really don’t appreciate you calling my salvation into question; that is exactly the sort of arrogance to which I was referring when I last posted a comment. I only meant to say that we are not the ones to decide who does and doesn’t go to Heaven. Forgive my awkward wording of that sentiment. But God knows what I meant and since HE and He alone is the decider, I am not worried. Just because someone’s every word is not making reference to God doesn’t mean that their faith should be called into question.



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timks

posted February 5, 2007 at 9:43 pm


mabelmac,I did not question your salvation – not remotely. My point was that our goal as believers is – or ought – to be in the presence of the Lord regardless of who may or may not be standing next to us. I’m sure we all may be surprised at who is and isn’t there once we arrive, but to say “I don’t want to go if X isn’t there” is much more arrogant than that of which you mistakenly accused me.



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rebecca

posted February 5, 2007 at 11:39 pm


I’m not sure why someone would object to Wallis stating that Ivins was the kind of person God would like. I don’t know whether Ivins was a believer or not. Regardless, God certainly loves her as he loves all of his children. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he liked her as well. I certainly liked her clever, witty opinions more than some of the narrow-minded opinions spouted by so-called believers responding to this article. Why are many Christians so unlikeable much of the time? I thank God for people like Jim Wallis and others that write for Sojourners. I had despaired of the Church for a time but I’m finding that there are more believers out there who don’t have an us vs. them mentality and who truly want to engage the world in a honest dialogue about Christ and show his love rather than spouting opinions and vitriol at anyone who disagrees with them. Reading the comments here made me want to yell at everyone, “Please lighten up!”



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kevin s.

posted February 6, 2007 at 1:56 am


“Reading the comments here made me want to yell at everyone, “Please lighten up!”” That would be an ironic thing to yell.Regardless of Ms. Ivins gift of wit, the question of salvation is, almost by definition, grave. It is, literally, a matter of life and death. When we are discussing death, we can be tempted to ignore the role of Christ (or lack thereof) in a person’s life. Not knowing much about Ms. Ivins, I cannot speak to how she will spend eternity. But there is a reasonable question to be asked, when reflecting on death, of how we wish to spend eternity. For Christians, the acceptance of Christ and repentance before God has quite a bit to do with all that.



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Don Costello

posted February 6, 2007 at 1:12 pm


I am not surprised that Molly Ivins would like Sojourners. If Molly Ivins was “irreverent”, what does that make Sojourners?



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lilou

posted February 6, 2007 at 7:58 pm


Regardless of whether Molly Ivins was a Christian or not, regardless of whether or not she was “saved” or whether she’s looking at us now from above or below, she was someone who 1) had principles, 2) stood by them fearlessly and 3) did so with conviction and good humor. Through her intelligence and courage, she risked herself and made a difference in the world. That’s more than most of us will be able to say when our time comes. As for what I believe: we are all saved, by grace, and we’re all going to the same place: the arms of the God of perfect love.



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timks

posted February 6, 2007 at 8:36 pm


lilou, It’s interesting what one simple comma can do to the meaning of a sentence: we are all saved, by grace or we are all saved by grace It seems that whether or not one believes Molly is “above or below” can be demonstrated by the use of a simple comma. As for myself, I know very little about Molly Ivins so I am in no position to even hazard a guess. By the way, I’m not trying to be argumentative, I was just struck by the “phenomena of the comma”.



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moderatelad

posted February 7, 2007 at 7:14 pm


As one who has had a great time reading various postings on this site now and then, I have one question after being on vacation for a few weeks. What has happened to the ‘republ-nazi / troll / etc’ comments that reigned on this site for months? Seems to be a little more civility and respect here. Seems to be a few names missing too. Just inquiring. –



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