I just got back from the dentist and boy, are my arms tired! But seriously, Jokes. It’s just one of those lazy days for me, my seventh this week. So, rather than go into one of my patented long, rambling rants about Continue reading
Catholic League President and Professional Crybaby Bill Donohue has a diaper load again, and now he’s flinging its contents onto billboards near Hollywood. In his never-ending, never-logically-sound quest to convince the world that American Christians are being persecuted here at home, the self-appointed Defender of the Faith has launched a billboard campaign to bemoan the fact that not everybody thinks Catholics are swell.
NOT ALL CHRISTIAN HATERS ARE EQUAL:
ABROAD WE’RE BEHEADED
AT HOME WE’RE BASHED
THE DIFFERENCES ARE PROFOUND;
SO ARE THE SIMILARITIES
HAVE A PEACEFUL AND JOYOUS CHRISTMAS
He goes on to explain: “No, the Hollywood moguls who disrespect Christians are not the same as radical Muslims who behead us, but both are full of hate. Moreover, both need to be challenged. Christians are fed up with the barbarians abroad and the bigots at home. It’s time all these bullies learned to practice the virtue of tolerance and the meaning of diversity.” What Pope Billy fails to understand is that he’s the one who’s intolerant of us atheists and non-Christians. He’s the one who fails “to practice the virtue of tolerance and the meaning of diversity.” Furthermore, on this issue of “the Muslims who behead us” and the “barbarians abroad,” he is ignoring the fact that the criminals acting under the false cover of religious practice are beheading not just Catholics, but anyone who isn’t Muslim. Christians are not being singled out; Jews are being beheaded, too. To frame this as an attack on Catholicism is to completely misrepresent the reality of the situation. And as for “the bigots at home,” Bill-Do’ is confusing the enforcement of secular laws regarding public displays with denial of a right to practice one’s religion, such as by having public property used to display celebrations of your religious faith only. It’s not just Christian religious displays that can’t be posted on public property (that is, property which belongs just as much to me as it does to you), it’s religious displays of any religion. They are framing this in exactly the reverse of the reality of the situation, yet again. Despite this insistence on denying reality, it’s we atheists and non-Christians who are mentally ill, according to His Own Eminence.
“They believe Freedom is license to do whatever you want.  That’s why they’re quote ‘non-judgmental,’ they made a judgment when they made-themselves non-judgmental.  They believe in no holds barred.  They don’t like the three dreaded words in the English language, that we got from our Jewish friends, ‘Thou. Shalt. Not.' They don’t want to be told anything,  which is why they die prematurely, they’re unhappy, that’s why we have a disproportionate number of agnostics and atheists in the asylum , all of this is true. ”
 No we don’t.
 The idea of saying you’re being ‘judgmental’ by claiming to be ‘non-judgmental’ is like saying you’re not ‘tolerant’ if you don’t tolerate our intolerance. It’s stupid. And we don’t say we’re ‘non-judgmental.’ It’s you who say we say it.
 No we don’t. Quite the opposite, we believe in fairness by banning fraudulent business practices, and other such restrictions. It’s Conservatives (like Donohue) who believe in no holds barred.
 Our Jewish friends didn’t say it in English. King James gave us those words.
 To quote Justice Alito, “Not true.” To quote Representative Joe Wilson, “That’s a lie!”
 Not according to this article.
 Not it isn’t.
He then goes on to plug his book which he says proves that religious people are happier. But you know the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” so you’d think Bill Donohue would be a much happier man. Instead he’s just a bitter Catholic bigot, distraught that more and more younger people are turning away from religion and refusing to be told to live by its rules. And that’s true freedom.
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss, politely or not, Bill Donohue, his Catholic League, the non-existence of Christian persecution, or anything else you wish to discuss.
I’ve heard every single one of these obnoxious questions/observations — most of them from certain family members.
Being an admitted atheist is a fairly recent development in my life — the last 10 years, or so — mostly because religion, for many years of my life, was simply a non-thing. I just didn’t care either way. *shrug*
My family attended church and Sunday school when I was a child; it was just something we did. I tried to believe in God and Jesus, but even as a young child, I just couldn’t make myself believe it. I mean, come on, the whole concept was just so unlikely.
One Sunday, while I was enjoying the most interesting part of church — juice and cookies afterwards — I heard an older man was talking about the joy of feeling the presence of Jesus in every part of his daily life, and I remember thinking that he looked kind of dazed and sounded so child-like. It felt really uncomfortable, since I was about 10 years old at the time.
Religion has begun to worm its way into our everyday lives, whether we want it or not, and it’s just not okay. In fact, it’s destructive to the secular world, as well as to religion. It’s not the American way, and openly saying that I am an atheist (feminist/Liberal/Socialist, etc) is a way of saying “NO, this has gone too far. Get a fucking grip, people.”
This is our daily open thread — Discuss this topic or whatever.
In an impassioned (if somewhat inaccurate) defense of “speaking the truth,” Senator Ted Cruz (Regressive, NeverNeverLand) completely mischaracterized and fabricated a rationale for a subpoena brought about in a legal dispute over the validity of petition signatures to overturn a Houston, TX, ordinance that hasn’t yet gone into effect, and which could not have been used in the manner he feared even if it did. He’s not the only one doing it. TV personality on his own network and malignant boil on the skin of religious liberty, Pat Robertson, is also making up his own reasons for the subpoenas. The subpoenas in question were intended to find out what instructions were given to signature gatherers organized by five local pastors. Mayoral Spokesperson Janice Evans said, “Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until Tuesday. Both agree the original documents were overly broad. The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing. Attorney Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process.” They sought
“all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”
Yes. If all they were after were the instructions given to people gathering signatures, then this subpoena was unquestionably too broad. And so the city has refiled the subpoenas with the focus solely on the petition process instructions. And that’s as it should be.
But what about all the diaper-filling crying by the religious right about what these subpoenas were really about? These are allegedly educated men. Did they not understand the issues involved? Does Cruz really believe this issue had anything to do with pastors being “hauled off to jail for a hate crime because they are speaking for traditional marriage”? Does Robertson really believe that Mayor Parker’s “predilections” were exposed by this incident (the filing of the subpoenas), and that it’s the worst demand by a mayor in modern times? (Robertson must have slept through the Civil Rights struggles of the 50’s and 60’s.) According to the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) (emphasis mine)
…bans discrimination based not just on sexual orientation and gender identity but also, as federal laws do, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.
The ordinance applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.
So even if the law were in effect and the sermons sought by the original subpoenas were legally obtained, they still could not be used to prosecute the pastors under the HERO because they’re exempt. It’s hard to believe Cruz and Robertson don’t understand this. But sadly, it’s easy to believe their target audience doesn’t. They’re counting on their target audience not bothering to take the time to learn the facts about the subpoenas, and so they’re describing them in ways that have nothing to do with reality. (But then, when have Marion “Ted” Cruz or Rafael “Pat” Robertson ever been known to have anything to do with reality? No, seriously. When?) And what are they saying? Some of the stupidest stuff being said today as part of the anti-LGBT movement. They’re claiming that suppression of this nonsensical hate mongering (if that were, in fact, the intent of the subpoenas) is a violation of their religious freedom! And therein lies the problem.
No one will dispute there are limits to the rights expressed in the Bill of Rights, including the freedoms of speech and religion. There are certain things you are not allowed to say (whether you mean them or not), and there are certain religious practices in which you cannot always engage any time you wish. Because of the danger to lives that panic can cause, you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater, nor can you do it in a church for the same reason. Which leads to the logical conclusion that there are things you can’t say even in a church. Which leads to the question of the dividing line between speech and religion. When does religious freedom cross into the areas of speech where you are not free to roam? And even if it doesn’t cross the line of constitutional protection, how much stupidity are we expected to withstand in the name of religious freedom? And what about the people too stupid to understand the issue? What if the religious message being given is not an accurate reflection of the official religious doctrine? Is it still protected? What religious conservatives think is “pro-traditional marriage” language is often “anti-homosexuality” language, so is it still protected? More distinctly, is it protected speech or protected religious practice? If your religious beliefs lead you to believe stupid and wildly inaccurate things about your fellow human beings, which in turn cause you to say stupid, harmful things to another person, are you still freely exercising your religion? What if the foundation of one your religious beliefs is provably wrong? Are you still free to claim it’s true and that you are justified in your hatred? Are we so caught up in the idea of religious freedom that we’ll allow stupidity to become the prevailing wisdom?
This is our daily open thread. Talk about whatever you wish. Within reason, of course.
Once again, courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch, it appears the bad people of Conservative America are really getting themselves in a tizzy over baseless fears that haunt their every waking moment. Like the long-discredited rumor about disposable FEMA coffins, or the bizarre and logically inexplicable belief that President Obama wants to intentionally infect Americans with Ebola, or criticism of the crazy idea that slashing taxes, especially on highly profitable corporations and very, very wealthy people, will bring economic prosperity if given enough time, or that western civilization will fall because of acceptance of “teh gay” as equals, or IS/ISIL/ISIS hiring Mexican drug cartels to sneak them over the border, or even the delusional idea that there’s proof in the Bible that Obama is the Anti-Christ, or something like the Anti-Christ, which I guess would be like being a particle that was like anti-matter, without actually being anti-matter. They’re scared. Let’s see at what.
In case you haven’t heard, the WorldNutDaily crowd believes that the anti-America Obama is planning on killing off five million Americans, as a prelude to imposing Martial Law all across America. As is usually the case with the Alex Jones Conspiracy-type crowd, the proof starts with a misidentified photo showing something it’s not really showing, which is happening for a purpose that isn’t really happening, all as a prelude to something else about to happen whose only connection to the first thing is that it isn’t actually happening either. In this case, the government is buying a billion dollars worth of disposable coffins because they plan to deliberately infect Americans with Ebola so they can declare martial law (and also, possibly, so we’ll look more like Africa, or because we’re racist) and then take away our guns. Again with the guns. One major problem with this particular example of mentally deranged thinking is that the part about the coffins isn’t close to true.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has a problem. Okay, not just one, but who doesn’t have more than one problem? Well, we’re not state governors trying to run a state under the delusional yet persistent conservative belief that tax cuts pay for themselves. It is simply not true. It wasn’t true when Reagan did it more than thirty years ago, and it isn’t true today. But that didn’t stop Sam from having a Brownback Mountain session with the Koch Brothers and implementing their government-destroying plan. (Remember that David Koch was the Libertarian Vice President candidate in 1980, and the budget Kansas adopted was more inline with what he wants, except that it leaves an actual, semi-functioning government in place.) And now Sam is upset because the media is reporting how badly the economy in Kansas is doing, and he thinks it’s unfair because you have to give it time to work. Except we don’t. We can see where things are going because we have things like math and science and facts and figures, and we can project that in five years, at current projections, Kansas is going to be about a billion dollars short on its budget, which by state constitution has to be balanced. The flaw is in thinking that rich people spend all the money they save by paying less in taxes, and that they do it in ways the average consumer would. But they’re not the average consumer. They make thousands of times as much income, but they don’t spend thousands of times as much on milk, eggs, and bread, or buy thousands of times as many cars or houses. Spending money is what keeps an economy moving. When spending stops, especially government spending, there’s less money to go around, and a downward spiral effect begins. Less middle class spending means a slower economy, which leads to layoffs, which leads to even less revenue for the government, which means even fewer people getting help during times of crisis, which leads to Kansas today. But exposing the truth of that is all a liberal conspiracy to discredit what Sam Brownback and the Koch Brothers think is a sound economic plan.
But the economy in Kansas won’t matter much if Mat Staver, another contributor to WorldNutDaily whose anti-gay attitude is well-known to conservatives of his ilk, is right. (And he’s not.) He thinks the entirety of western civilization will fall because gay people are being allowed to marry one another. Is it even necessary to mention that facts and history do not bear any of his view on marriage out? There have been countries in Europe that have had same-sex marriage far longer than we, and their societies are still intact, or at least not in danger of collapse due to same-sex marriage. There were people on this continent (North America, for the benefit of my international readers) who were marrying each other long before anyone introduced the concept of an Abrahamic God to them. The concept and institution of marriage does not belong solely to the religious world. There are very important legal ramifications to being married, and more and more people are recognizing the fact that their gay and lesbian friends, people they’ve known to be together for years, are not allowed the simple rights married couples enjoy, such as being the one who can visit you in the hospital and make medical decisions on your behalf. And you know it’s just bigotry against male homosexuals because the people who scream loudest about this are the ones saying, “It’s Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve.” They never say something like, “It’s Adam & Eve, not Ida & Eve.” Never. Maybe some of you have, but when I hear some homophobic bigot use the “Adam & Eve” example, it’s always that’s not two males, never that it’s not two females.
But don’t worry about being forced to get divorced and enter in to a same-sex marriage just yet (thus spreading harmful and serious disease), IS/ISIS/ISIL/Senator John McCain is about to cross our southern border. We know this because two Members of Congress (and what huge throbbing members they are) have said so. Rep Jason Chaffetz thinks so. So does Rep Duncan Hunter. The only flaw in this statement is that it is completely flawed. It isn’t in the least bit true. But why let reality get in the way of a great fear mongering talking point? Why do they do this? Because people who are afraid make poor choices. And Republicans want people to be afraid so that when they go into the voting booth on November 4th, they’ll be so afraid they’ll make the poor choice to vote for Republicans.
But even that may not matter, because the Anti-Christ is here. And he’s none other than President Barack Obama. And if he’s not the actual Anti-Christ, he is anti Christ, and so he’s something like the Anti-Christ. There’s proof in the Bible.
This is our daily open thread (late as it is). Feel free to talk about what scares you, or anything else.
Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch, we learn what’s got the right wing’s knickers in a twist. From soldiers being sent to West Africa to deliberately contract Ebola (a US Congressman actually said this) to gays trying to recruit your sons (I don’t hear them expressing any concern about your daughters, just your sons) to Obama coming for your guns (again, and for discredited reasons, again) to anarchy over teaching actual American History (because we don’t want to whitesplain it) to America being humbled because of the devastation Ebola will cause (undoubtedly after all those US Soldiers come back with it), the right wing in this country is becoming more and more unhinged from reality. I’d like to know what they’d say about Ebola if they actually understood how it’s transmitted from person to person. I’d also like to know what they’d say if they understood any of the other things they went haywire over lately. BTW, here’s a simple way to tell if you have Ebola: Have you been in contact with any kind of bodily fluid from a person infected with Ebola and showing symptoms? If the answer is “No,” then you do not have Ebola. It’s just that simple.
Professional Misanthrope Michael “Savage” Weiner (“Savage” is his phony name; his real last name is Weiner) actually believes that President Obama is sending 3,000 troops to West Africa in the hopes that at least one of them will contract Ebola, bring it back to the US, and infect the entire country. I am not making that up. And he must have convinced Rep Louie Gohmert (Orc, Middle Earth) who thinks this is part of the president’s problem with political correctness. I am not making that up, either. And then Ebola will turn everyone gay. Okay, I made that last one up. But I’m not the only one making things up about teh gay.
Paul Cameron, known for making shit up about gay people, was a guest of “Pray In Jesus Name” host Gordon Klingenschmitt (no friend to the either the LGBT or Reality communities), and he made the extraordinary (i.e., totally bullshit false) claim that “Homosexuals, from the get-go, as long as we have recorded history, have used the molestation of boys as a way to recruit to homosexuality.” He then goes on to spew, what I have no doubt are, made-up statistics (his leitmotif, which means, literally, “light more teeth”) to support his pre-conceived bigoted notions about gay people. “So this is a tremendous recruitment tool,” he said. “If a gay can get to your son first, the chances are about 50-50, as near as we can tell, that your son is going to be a practicing homosexual to some degree.” He feels it’s very important that your sons avoid having a “homosexual experience.” Ironically, Cameron was forced to perform oral sex on a man when he was four years old (he says.) Does that mean there’s a 50% chance that Paul Cameron is gay? Some people would say Yes.
Apparently out of any new reasons why Obama wants us all dead, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy and former (thankfully) Judge Andrew Napolitano resurrected the discredited claim that the United Nations is coming for your guns. Napolitano also tried to vomit out the lie that more guns makes us more safe. Actual studies have proven this wrong. It’s thinking like this that really puts our nation in danger. Obama’s choice to be Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, believes that gun violence is a serious health issue. The NRA disagrees, of course, so his nomination is being held up. So thanks to the same party that thinks our nation is in great peril from Ebola, we have no Surgeon General to guide the nation through this health crisis (which isn’t a crisis yet at all, and likely won’t be.) Oh, and because Obama is taking away our guns, more of us are going to be beheaded. In this country. Because it happened once.
And one can’t help but think beheadings would be on the rise if we were in a state of anarchy, which right-wing darling and presidential I-think-I-wannabe Ben Carson believes is the direction this country is headed. And because of it, he won’t get to run for president because Obama will cancel the 2016 elections. He’s also joining the chorus of ill-minded people denouncing the new Advanced Placement US History curriculum, because it isn’t patriotic enough. Growing up, I wasn’t taught the truth about American history. The times when our nation did not live up to its ideals, when it didn’t seem to know right from wrong, they were glossed over. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned about things like the Tuskegee Airman experiments, the genocidal treatment of the Native Peoples living here before white Europeans showed up and claimed the land for themselves, and the numerous times our government deliberately overthrew democratically elected ones elsewhere in order to prop up a ruthless dictator who would grant US corporations special favors. I already knew Slavery was bad. But the right wing would prefer that our students be taught only the good things about America, not the bad things that eventually made it possible to do some of the good things we did.
Yet Glenn Beck thinks that because of all the bad things we’ve been doing, and continue to do, our country is headed for a “massive humbling.” That we are going to be brought down. And the beginning of that “massive humbling” may already have happened. With one case of Ebola.
This is our daily open thread. Finally. Feel free to discuss Ebola, gay recruitment, anarchy, guns, late posts, or anything else you wish to discuss.
In a recent blog post filled with straw men and false equivalencies, Francis Cardinal George (not his name at birth) made the common Conservative Christian mistake of equating laws that require to you to let people who don’t practice your faith to do things of which your faith disapproves with you not being allowed to freely practice your religion. The two have nothing to do with each other. After starting out with a story that seemed to treat religious belief as historical fact, George went on to claim that the government had tried to take on the role of religion.
There was always a quasi-religious element in the public creed of the country. It lived off the myth of human progress, which had little place for dependence on divine providence. It tended to exploit the religiosity of the ordinary people by using religious language to co-opt them into the purposes of the ruling class. Forms of anti-Catholicism were part of its social DNA. It had encouraged its citizens to think of themselves as the creators of world history and the managers of nature, so that no source of truth outside of themselves needed to be consulted to check their collective purposes and desires. But it had never explicitly taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must personally think or what “values” they must personalize in order to deserve to be part of the country. Until recent years.
Actually that’s not correct. The laws we pass are supposed to reflect the mores of our Society. (Note, I did say “supposed to.” Clearly we never agreed to let corporations who make billions of dollars in profits pay no federal taxes to the government who made their success possible.) When a government passes laws that say things like “You can’t kill anyone except in self-defense,” or “You can’t take things that don’t belong to you,” we are saying what values you should have. And that’s the way it’s always been. Just because a law is passed that permits people to do things your religion wouldn’t permit you to do does not mean we are making your religion illegal. Nor does it mean we are forcing you to do anything other than live and let live. I often hear religious conservatives complain when the government decides you have permission to do something, that the government is requiring you to do that something. And that’s completely and totally wrong. And it shows in their misguided belief that because the government is letting you worship whichever god you choose to worship, that you must choose a god to worship. They seem to forget that ti also means we are free to NOT worship any god, if we so choose. This is because they have the erroneous belief that in order to have a moral center, you must have a belief in God. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I lack a moral code by which to live. My personal motto (and i didn’t invent it) is to treat other people the way I would want them to treat me. (Sound familiar?) I don’t need some trumped up fear of hell fire and damnation to know that this is the right thing to do.
But George’s real problem seems to be about sex, and why should that surprise anyone? After all, a man who took a vow of celibacy for his own personal religious reasons (one of which includes belonging to an organization with a history of covering up sexual child abuse by a small percentage of its members) is the perfect person to be standing in judgment of the sex lives of others.
In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.
I call straw man! It is not true that legislative approval has been brought “to all types of sexual relationships.” Only one, and that’s same-sex marriage. Just because ignorant buffoons have equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia does not mean he has a valid point. Those people have no idea what they’re talking about, and their viewpoints should not be treated as perfectly valid. Of course they have the right to hold those views, and the rest of us have the right to hold people with those views in contempt. And, FTR, we tried the “live and let live” approach to the rights of the LGBT community and it didn’t work out so great for them. It was mainly in the “let live” part where Society failed, and as a result we decided to tell people what values to personalize, in this case, the value being to “Love one another.” Being gay is not a choice, so it’s not true that gay people are willfully being immoral by being gay. The whole “Hate the sin, love the sinner” attitude doesn’t work if you believe gay people are just doing it on purpose because they lack morals and, therefore, shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else. Because you’re still hating the sinner.
He goes on to lament that when a recent SCOTUS ruling went “against the State religion” (again, a false premise, which makes the rest of his argument meaningless), it brought on a crisis of belief for many Catholics, apparently because the Huffington Post raised “concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen.” (I tried to find the specific article that said this, but he only gave a date and not a title.) Actually I can answer that one. In the United States of America, an officially secular nation, your responsibility is to be a good citizen before being a good Catholic. If you want to live some place where being a good Catholic is your first duty, then move to The Vatican. I hear they’re big on Catholicism there. But the First Amendment not only allows you the freedom to practice the religion of your choice, it also disallows the government from interfering with that right so long as your religious exercise does not interfere with the religious freedom of others. That’s the part Conservative Christians don’t seem to get, especially the ones who call for our laws being based on the Bible. You see, there are many, many different versions of the Bible, and they are not all translated the same way. Nor are they interpreted the same way. So my first question to anyone who thinks our laws should be based on “the Bible,” is “Which Bible?” The second question would be, “Why that one and no other?” And, of course, my third and fourth questions would be, “Why would a secular nation want to do something that?” and “How is that any different than deciding to base our laws on the Q’uran?”
[NOTE: This post, like many of the ones I post at The Zoo, will be cross-posted at my blog, but I’ll have more to say over there. Feel free to drop on by It should be finished by later this afternoon.]
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Conservative Christians, Catholicism in a secular society, mental illness in an overly religious society, or anything else you wish to discuss.