The Watering Hole, Monday, June 30th, 2014: Jesus must be screaming

Thank you, frugalchariot, for the link that you posted on Saturday’s thread, leading me to a treasure trove of jaw-dropping info about Colorado’s latest entry in ‘Teh Crazy Game': Gordon J. Klingenschmitt

Teh Crazy is strong in Gordon J. Klingenschmitt

Teh Crazy is strong in Gordon J. Klingenschmitt

Klingenschmitt is the surprise Republican primary winner for state representative in Colorado’s 15th District. The story in frugal’s link to Crooks and Liars includes an excerpt from RightWingWatch on Klingenschmitt that is loaded with links and will curl your hair. As karoli at C&L says in the article:

“This is why there should be a Great Wall between church and state that is impenetrable. This guy is a nut. He makes Rafael Cruz look sane. And he’s now a Republican candidate for state office in Colorado.”

According to the Denver Post, Colorado Republicans don’t want to claim Klingenschmitt as one of their own:

“Klingenschmitt’s rhetoric and beliefs have raised alarm with members of the Republican Party, who worry that his views might cause problems for conservatives.”

“Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and dishonest,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.”

Klingenschmitt, a former Navy Chaplain who was court-martialed in 2006 – not for “praying in Jesus’ name” as he tells it – for disobeying a lawful order. It is against military rules to wear one’s uniform at a political event, but Klingenschmitt wore his Navy Chaplain uniform to a protest in March of 2006 – next to former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore – outside the White House. He soon launched a new career with a radio show called “The Pray in Jesus Name Project.” Again from the Denver Post:

“[Klingenschmitt's] outspoken religious beliefs have crossed into the realm of popular politics, including homosexuality and Obama.

“Father in heaven, we pray against the domestic enemies of the Constitution — against this demon of tyranny who is using the White House,” Klingenschmitt said of the president in an episode of his show…”

According to The Public Record, Klingenschmitt has been playing the martyr ever since his court-martial, “boasting to his right-wing extremist followers that he demanded his own court martial because his superior officers prohibited him from praying in the name of Jesus.”

“Further undercutting Klingenschmitt’s claim that he sacrificed his naval career in the name of Jesus is an e-mail Vice Adm. Harvey sent to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen urging him to approve Klingenschmitt’s “involuntary release” from the Navy due to Klingenschmitt’s “lack of career potential.”

Klingenschmitt’s former supervisor in the Navy had lots to say about him as well. Still from The Public Record article (which you HAVE to read, it’s an eye-opener):

“As reported by AU, Norm Holcomb, a retired Navy chaplain who was Klingenschmitt’s boss, sent an e-mail in March 2007 to Kentucky state officials after he discovered the House of Representatives passed a resolution lauding the disgraced Navy chaplain for “service to God, country and the Commonwealth of Kentucky” and invited him to lead a prayer session.”

[excerpt from Holcomb's email]

“We have been relatively quiet regarding our ex-chaplain’s untruthfulness and lack of honor because we are embarrassed that one of our own could display such behavior in the name of our Lord. We wanted to spare all concerned the embarrassment associated with his dishonesty. However, it now seems that it would be wrong for those of us who know the truth to remain silent. I served with him and supervised him (as best as it was possible to supervise a person who refused to submit to lawful authority) and I know about his daily dishonesty and ‘spin’ of the truth.”

Okay, so the Navy felt that Klingenschmitt lacked “career potential”, his own former supervisor states that Klingenschmitt was “untruthful” and now he’s running for public office? Coloradans, beware!

Next…

Scalia sez 'Go fuck yourselves'

Scalia, as always, sez ‘Screw you, I’m here ’til I die.’

Last week, the Supremes voted unanimously to strike down Massachusetts’ “Buffer Zone” law, which restricts anti-abortion protesters from coming within 35 feet of a women’s health clinic. According to a ThinkProgress thread from June 27th:

“The buffer zone law was struck down in a narrow ruling that suggested there are different ways to curb anti-choice harassment without restricting speech on public sidewalks…it’s still illegal to obstruct women’s access to a health clinic, thanks to a federal law that was passed in response to clinic blockades in the 1980s and early 1990s.”

Naturally, Antonin Scalia took issue with some points in Chief Roberts’ opinion, and had to get his own two cents in, according to an article from aol.com:

“In a separate opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Roberts’ opinion as carrying forward “this court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents.”

Scalia said state and local governments around the country would continue to be able to “restrict antiabortion speech without fear of rigorous constitutional review.”

The buffer-zone case began when Boston-area grandmother Eleanor McCullen and other abortion opponents sued over the limits on their activities at Planned Parenthood health centers in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. At the latter two sites, the protesters say they have little chance of reaching patients arriving by car because they must stay 35 feet not from the clinic entrances but from the driveway to those buildings’ parking lots. Patients enter the building through the parking lots, which are private property.”

[emphasis mine]

Eleanor McCullen, Nosy Parker

Eleanor McCullen, Nosy Parker

So, just because Ms. McCullen wanted to get close enough to her intended harassment victims so that they could hear her better, she sued? Yes, she and her ilk have the 1st Amendment right to free speech, but that shouldn’t mean that a total stranger should be forced to listen to her. And if she couldn’t shout loud enough from across the street, tough darts!

What makes the Supreme’s decision so much harder to swallow is the hypocrisy: the entire Supreme Court plaza is a legislated buffer zone. As Susan Milligan says in this piece from U.S. News and World Report:

“But at what point does the free speech become a barrier to a woman seeking to exercise another right, one upheld by the courts, to have an abortion? The idea that the individuals preaching against abortion on the street are merely “counseling” women is the utmost insult…[t]he idea that a complete stranger presumes to know better – and assumes that the woman in question is some kind of mindless fool who couldn’t possibly know what she is doing – is beyond arrogant.”

Every time a Christian lies in Jesus’ name, Jesus screams.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 28, 2014: Crazy, Crazy World

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the level of Crazy has gone up exponentially in recent years? Conservatives, who for decades bitched because their message wasn’t being given equal play in the news media, operate under the false notion that all viewpoints are equally valid, even though the word “valid” means something has validity, which means it’s based on the truth, which we all know is not true of many Conservative beliefs (hence, one of the primary reasons their views were not being presented in the news media.) Consequently, we no longer have any deep level discussions about the fundamental precepts of our beliefs. We all agree that the world is a dangerous place, but where Liberals feel it can be made better, Conservatives believe it will always be dangerous and, therefore, we have to look out for ourselves first. And therein lies the problem. Our views on how the problems of the world, the things that make it dangerous, should be dealt with all stem from these fundamental beliefs, which are not compatible. Liberals have a philosophy based on altruism while Conservatives have a philosophy based on selfishness. So where Liberals try to advocate for policies that benefit the world in general, Conservatives tend to advocate for the things that benefit themselves (or their loved ones.) Yet we always presume that both sides in any political debate have valid viewpoints about what to do. Clearly this is insane. The ironic thing to me is that one of the reasons I think the world continues to be dangerous for everybody is because of Conservatives and their “Screw everybody else, I come first”-mentality. Fewer conservatives in charge would equate to less danger. And FTR, religious fundamentalism is largely a Conservative viewpoint.

So should I be surprised when the loser in a recent Oklahoma Republican primary contest to be the nominee to be US Representative claimed that his opponent was ineligible to run for office (an office he has held for several terms) and that he should get his opponents votes in that primary? Aside from the fact that that’s not how it works (the votes might be nullified but they wouldn’t just be given to the opponent), his reason for claiming his opponent was ineligible was that he wasn’t human. Timothy Ray Murray claims that current US Representative Frank Lucas is actually dead, and that the entity you see claiming to be Rep Lucas is actually a robot, sent to replace the Congressman, who was hanged on a stage in the Ukraine more than a decade ago (by the World Court, no less, which is more properly known as the International Court of Justice, and which usually operates out of the Netherlands.) I suppose I should be reassured by his promise to voters that he would never own a look-alike robot. (Murray ran as a Democrat two years ago, but I don’t think he’s Liberal. Another reason why one shouldn’t assume ideology identifies party affiliation.)

I suppose also that we should be grateful that Pete Santilli isn’t running for elected office. Santilli is a conservative radio host who in the past called for a rally to shut down Washington, DC (didn’t happen; low turnout), and for the members of both the Obama and Bush families to be killed, and for Hillary Clinton to be shot in the vagina because of Benghazi (didn’t happen either; Secret Service investigated). Now he wants to shut down the border crossing just south of San Diego because of all those Central American children who tried to enter the US illegally (Obama made them do it) and because of a marine imprisoned in Mexico for accidentally crossing the border with guns. He wants people to put a copy of the Constitution in their left breast pocket and drive down to the border and shut the crossing down because “We run this freaking place!” The funny thing is if he were to take that copy of the Constitution out of his left breast pocket and read it, he would find that we don’t really run this place, we elect people to run it for us. And when we don’t like the job they’re doing, we don’t kill them, we vote them out of office. I don’t think this rally is going to be all that successful, either.

Then there’s John Wallace, Vice President of the New York Oath Keepers, who is calling for law enforcement officers to disobey orders and to fight “socialist tyranny.” Their primary complaint seems to be New York’s SAFE Act, a law passed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, that toughened gun laws. Anti-government types, who crap their pants daily in fear of the government coming to take away their guns (even the unregistered ones), don’t like laws limiting the number of bullets one can have in a gun. If they’re law-abiding citizens, what’s their problem? This idea that the primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to serve as a check on our own government, with the implied threat that if we don’t like what they’re doing, we’ll violently overthrow them, needs to be squashed once and for all. The authors of the Amendment never claimed this was its main purpose, just that it was a possibly beneficial consequence of having an armed citizenry. I’m sure most of these folks never heard of the Whiskey Rebellion, or know that President George Washington used the authority of the Second Amendment to form a militia to shut down the rebellion. But they’re convinced that our government is “communist”, and that President Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority with almost every action he takes.

These people are crazy. They have little or no connection to Reality. They live in a world of their own creation inside their minds, and they demand that we believe them and that we take the actions they claim are the only way to save this nation. They need psychiatric help, not an audience.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 21, 2014: This Week In Irony

It’s funny when Conservatives go on and on about things without realizing what they say often sounds pretty ironic coming from them. Take Gary Bauer. No, really, take him. Preferably far away where we won’t have to hear him whine and complain about how Christians have it so bad in this country. I mean, did you know that out of 43 different men elected President of the United States, only 43 of them have been Christians? Talk about not having a voice in our government! I don’t object to people like Gary Bauer having a voice in our government; I object to people like Gary Bauer being listened to as if their voice had some validity to it. Conservative Christians believe a number of out-and-out false things (such as that Jesus was a Conservative like them), or that the United States, as represented by today’s Constitution, is officially a Christian nation and, therefore, our laws should be based on the Bible. This is true of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, and one of their biggest concerns is that gay people will be treated as equal citizens. Of all the sins in the Bible, right-wing Christians believe homosexuality is the worst possible thing to allow in a society. I mean, I don’t hear conservatives saying there’s a problems with guns in our society when twenty elementary school kids are shot and killed by a weapon no civilian has any business owning. But let two people who have been in love with each other for more than twenty years finally get married and have the same marital rights as everyone else, and Conservative Christians start talking about the Demise of Civilization As We Know It (the “we” in this case being Conservative Christians such as themselves.) If it weren’t for the issue of gay rights, would there be anything else for them to talk about today? That’s why it was a bit surprising, to say the least, to hear Gary Bauer say that President Obama is “obsessed” with the issue of gay rights, and that the nation will be destroyed as a result. No mention is made (I’m sure) that the only reason the president has taken the actions he has is because of the actions taken by Conservative Christians to treat their fellow citizens as something less than human. If he were real, I’m sure the Jesus of the Bible would not approve.

Speaking of people that Jesus of the Bible would not approve, Whack-a-Bird Senator Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, also speaking at that same F&FC conference, told the audience, with a straight (and stern) face, to “Stop electing the village idiot!” Strangely, he seemed to have mistaken the President for his own son, but to hear a line that out of the father of one of the craziest, and most dangerous, abusers of power in our government is richly ironic. Because of Ted Cruz, a strong contender for title of Village Idiot of the US Senate, our nation was taken to the brink of fiscal disaster and punished by a downgraded credit rating. He blames the Democrats and the President because they refused to negotiate with terrorists Republicans over repealing Obamacare in exchange for continuing to fund the government. This knee-jerk reaction Conservatives have where they just say the exact opposite of the truth (often recorded for all to repeat) has not done this country any good at all.

I find Conservative Christians to be the worst hypocrites of all the Conservatives (who are generally hypocritical themselves, as they often excuse behavior from their own kind that they publicly and loudly abhor in others), because they profess to follow the teachings of someone who clearly would not approve the things they say in his name. I find it hard to believe Jesus would really preach

Seven Mountains Dominionism, which as we have noted in the past seeks to give right-wing Christians authority “over the seven forces that shape and control our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion.”

If that isn’t the ultimate in Selfishness, I don’t know what is. They want authority over your family. They want to be able to say what is and what is not permissible in the way you live as a family, the way you raise your children, the things you allow them to learn, and the religious practices you will follow. And the Republican Party embraces them, and seeks out their approval and endorsements. Because, ironically, the Republicans are all about Freedom.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss hypocritical insane Conservatives, Christian Dominionism, other contenders for Village Idiots of the US Senate, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 14, 2014: Losing Their Religion

Conservative Christians have been crying about being persecuted for a long time. It’s nothing new. You don’t hear Liberal Christians crying about being persecuted because of their faith, but that’s because they generally don’t say the kinds of things Conservative Christians say and profess it to be part of their religious beliefs! Of course there are Liberals who say stupid, hateful, anti-gay things, but they don’t usually claim them to be part of their religious beliefs. Conservatives do. And when they are called out for the stupid, hateful, anti-gay things they say, Conservatives usually claim, “I’m being persecuted because of my religious beliefs!” And that’s false, which, ironically, is a very big no-no for some of those Conservative Christians.

Christians are not being persecuted in this country (USA), no matter how much they cry and stamp their feet. Nobody is denying them the right to practice their religion. The fact that they don’t really practice their religion correctly doesn’t seem to bother them. Now I’m an atheist, but even I hear some tidbits from religious teachings. One of them was “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” Yet the vitriol we often hear from the Religious Right is directed at the gay people themselves, not what they do. And it’s clearly driven by fear. They are afraid. But of what do they have to be afraid? Is their Faith not strong enough to withstand the sight of people who do not follow their own religious beliefs? More than that, why do they talk about it all…the…time? I mean, for something that supposedly disgusts them so much that they have to speak up and say something, they seem to be dwelling on the subject far more than one would suspect. If gay sex bothers you so much, then stop thinking about gay sex. Why can’t you? Did it never occur to you that maybe God is talking to you through the gay people you meet? Do you think it might mean something to you that the gay people you personally know, maybe you work with them or they live near you, they’re very nice people, they seem to be okay, but it’s the ones you never met who are the Evil That Must Be Purged? Is there any reason to believe that the majority of the gay people you don’t know aren’t just like the really nice gay people you do know? And how do your religious beliefs about gay people (which may, or may not, be informed by the facts) apply to the really nice gay people you personally know, and possibly like?

Then there’s “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” You say that discriminating against people who don’t follow your religious beliefs is part of your religious beliefs. But if that means you have to hate your neighbor, then don’t you have to hate yourself? Actually what it means is that you love your neighbor despite the fact that he doesn’t follow the same religious practices as you. It doesn’t mean you get to say, “No, I refuse to bake your wedding cake for you because you’re gay.” It means you take their order the same as you would for any other paying customer. And if you think that amounts to a slap on the cheek, then offer the other! Jesus Christ, does an atheist have to tell you how to be a Good Christian?

You are not being persecuted! You are not being denied the right to practice your religious beliefs! You are being denied the right to discriminate, but so do your religious beliefs! Have you noticed that every single president in this country’s history has been a Christian? More than 3/4ths of this country’s population identify themselves as some form of Christian, so how is it that you feel you are a minority? The Tea Party People, who are often religious conservatives, like to speak (incorrectly) of Tyranny. But isn’t it tyrannical of the majority to impose their religious beliefs on the minority? Some of you have actually said that you believe that Freedom of Religion means the freedom to practice only Christianity. For the life of me I cannot fathom how you arrived at that belief, but it’s wrong, too. It’s not just wrong, it’s the exact opposite of what the First Amendment guarantees.

So your knowledge about the Constitution is about as shaky as your knowledge about your own Religion, yet you claim the Constitution guarantees you, and only you who practice what you think is Christianity, the right to practice that Religion (but not in a way that your religion compels you to do.) Face it, Religious Conservatives: You don’t want the right to act like Christians, you want the right to act like assholes. Well, that’s not covered by the Constitution. Unless you’re a member of Congress.

This is our daily open thread. Sorry for the delay. Whether or not you’re a Conservative Christian, I hope you can forgive me. Feel free to talk about anything you wish.

The Watering hole, Saturday, June 7, 2014: This Week In Stupid – Tony Perkins, Roy Moore, and Tucker Carlson

The other day I was at my mother’s while she watched one of the Law & Order franchises when a character said, “I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t eat.” This kind of conservative idiocy drives me up a wall because it demonstrates a complete and total lack of understanding about why we have certain laws. (And it was a cop saying it.) The government isn’t telling you what you can and can’t eat when it bans certain kinds of foods, it’s telling vendors what they can and can’t sell you, and that’s a totally different perspective. You can eat whatever you want. But you can’t sell whatever you want to somebody else to eat, especially if it might be dangerous or deadly for them. Conservatives seem to have a way of completely misrepresenting reality in their justifications for their selfish viewpoints. They aren’t interested in what’s best for everyone, only in what benefits themselves. I have some news for them: America wasn’t founded by a bunch of selfish people who only cared about themselves. It was founded by Liberals who wanted what was best for everyone.

More stupidity filled the airwaves when Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Robert Greenwald’s “Koch Brothers Exposed”

I know it’s an hour long, but please watch this video.  It’s only ONE HOUR of your life.

It’s important for all of us to know how the despicable Koch brothers have woven their tentacles throughout this country, like a deadly cancer.

They have a very specific ideology, and they don’t give a shit if you subscribe to it or not.  Given their way, we will all feel the toxic Koch boot on our necks, sooner or later, and we can’t fight them if we don’t know what they’re about.

This is our daily open thread — Are we ready to give the Koch brothers the boot?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, May 24, 2014: Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Self Does Not Mean Love Thy Neighbor Like Thy Self

As a Liberal Atheist (no, that’s not redundant) who believes in treating others as I would like them to treat me (also known as the ethic of reciprocity; it’s a good philosophy, one that came from Plato, not Jesus), it surprises me when elected public officials who proclaim to be followers of Jesus Christ’s philosophies fail to interpret them correctly. One of the laws Jesus followed was Leviticus 19:18

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Yet the Chesterfield County, VA, Board of Supervisors seems to believe the word “as” is the same as the word “like”.

Not content to be allowed to open their public meetings with a prayer (because nobody really means it, according to the Conservatives on the Supreme Court), the board “limited opening prayers to ordained leaders of monotheistic religions.” The county maintains an official list of local clergy from which the invitee to give the prayer is chosen, but not all religions are welcome. A local Wiccan was denied a spot on the list because it was felt that “neo-pagan” faiths do not fall within the Judeo-Christian tradition and that they invoke “polytheistic, pre-Christian deities.” And the official county list (isn’t it a little creepy to hear of a local government keeping an “official list” of local clergy?) excludes a local Sikh organization, even though they practice “strict mono-theism.” Then there’s the problem that the list only includes ordained clergy. As the ACLU of VA and Americans United for Separation of Church and State say in their letter to the board, “The requirement that prayer-givers be ‘ordained’ is similarly problematic, as some religions do not require their clergy to be ordained, and others do not have clergy at all.” Out of curiosity, I wonder if any Muslims will be invited to say a prayer? After all, they worship the same God as the Christians and Jews. Actually, I would be surprised if there were anyone the list, because it would mean there are practicing Muslims in Conservative Virginia.

Why do Conservative Christians continue to blatantly act as though Freedom of Religion only applies to some denomination of Christianity? Why, when given an opportunity to impose their fantastic beliefs on others do they deny others the opportunity to impose their own fantastic beliefs right back to them? Why do they act as if Christianity is “under attack”? Why do they think Christians are being persecuted? Are they trying to assert that Christians aren’t being allowed into public office? Do they think that no Christian can ever get elected President of the United States, except for every single President we’ve elected, and even the one we didn’t? (No, I’m referring to Gerald R. Ford, not George W. Bush. Bush was declared the winner of an actual election thanks to voter fraud by the SCOTUS, who weren’t required to show a photo ID at the time.)

Look, I’m all for protecting your right to practice the Religion of your choice, even if that means believing in magical sky beings who don’t seem to care about human suffering. But it doesn’t mean that I have to practice it along with you. And it doesn’t mean you have a right to shove it down my throat, to borrow a common Conservative term applied to things that frighten them, or sexually arouses them, I’m not sure which. Probably both. It means you get to practice your Religion in the privacy of your own life. If you and others who believe as you do wish to gather in a privately-owned facility (such as a church, a temple, or a bar) to practice your Religion, go for it. But don’t believe for a second that the Public Square is the proper venue for Christian Evangelism (or any other kind, though few practitioners of other kinds, if any, seem to be doing it.) It’s funny to me how the Supremes said religious phrases are okay to be used by elected public servants because, in essence, nobody really means it, so nobody is trying to force their religious beliefs on you. But that’s not the point. Part of being a human is sharing experiences, and when non-Christians are being asked to publicly assert their devotion to Christ, our natural human desire to belong is challenged. Would you want to be a Christian standing in a street of Muslims all bowing down and facing Mecca to pray? Would that make you comfortable? Wouldn’t you think that, at the very least, you ought to get down on the ground, too, even if you’re just faking saying something? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be made to feel that way by others, so why do you insist on being the one doing it to others?

This is our Daily Open Thread. Feel free to discuss oppressed and persecuted Christians, or anything else you wish to discuss.