Signs and Wonders
The Rev. Gordon Reid, with Saint Clement's Episcopal Church, waits to place ash on worshipers' foreheads on Ash Wednesday.
Associated Press/Photo by Matt Rourke
The Rev. Gordon Reid, with Saint Clement's Episcopal Church, waits to place ash on worshipers' foreheads on Ash Wednesday.

Signs and Wonders: Showing off Christ’s humility with Ash Wednesday selfies

Newsworthy

Ash Wednesday selfies. Is it just me, or is there something strange (dare I say “wrong”?) with posting a selfie in order to show off your Ash Wednesday ashes? The point of the imposition of ashes is to remind us of Christ’s humiliation. As a wise man told me years ago, when I asked if I should leave on the ashes or wash them off after the service: “If you’re embarrassed by them, leave them on. If you’re proud of them, wash them off.”

CPAC begins. I’m in Washington, D.C., today and tomorrow at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. Speakers include Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin. In short: the usual suspects. Look for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to be among the most thoughtful speakers. He and many others will likely be floating trial balloons here, testing their chances for a 2016 run for the White House. Also as usual, CPAC will have a presidential straw poll. The group will announce the results on Saturday. If history is any guide, the winner of the straw poll has exactly a zero percent chance of actually winning the nomination.

I’m straight and it’s OK. It seems that any time a celebrity or public figure—no minor how small the person’s public profile—wants to announce that he (or she) engages in homosexual behavior, he (or she) feels the need to call a press conference and announce the details. Recent examples have included college football player Michael Sams and a former Miss Kentucky, who announced on her “personal blog” she is a lesbian. The latest example is Arizona State Sen. Steve Gallardo, who said on Wednesday, “I wanted to let everyone know I am gay, I’m a Latino and I’m a state senator and it’s OK.” All of which leads me to make this announcement: “I’m heterosexual. I read books, enjoy art museums, and occasionally listen to show tunes, but that just goes to show that straight men come in all shapes and sizes. We’re all around you. But, alas, heterophobia is all around us, too. But I make this announcement with the hope that one day we’ll be able to live in a country where straight is OK, too.”

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Texas tea. The eyes of Texas—and the nation—were on primary elections held in the Lone Star State this week, to see what impact the Tea Party would have on the results. The answer is mixed. Sen. John Cornyn sailed past his challenge from conservative congressman Steve Stockman, but that race was not a good indication of Tea Party strength because Stockman ran a strange campaign—refusing, in fact, to campaign for much of the race. He failed to get the backing of local Tea Party groups. Also failing to make an impact was Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party-backed candidate who failed to unseat nine-term Republican Rep. Pete Sessions. Farther down the ballot, though, the conservative wing of the party had better success. Conservative talk show host and state legislator Dan Patrick forced Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst into a runoff. And conservative state Sen. Ken Paxton advanced to a runoff in the race for attorney general.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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