The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 25th, 2015: Just Say No to FRC

Yesterday I received an email from Faithful America, an organization of what I would consider to be ‘true’ Christians, who speak out against social injustices perpetrated and perpetuated in the name of Christianity. The email said that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council – or NAMBLA, er, FRC – is supposed to be a guest on Face The Nation tomorrow. The email said, in part:

“With the Supreme Court about to issue a historic decision, CBS News is turning to an anti-gay hate group leader to speak for Christians.
This Sunday, Face the Nation is scheduled to feature Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Perkins has repeatedly accused gay men of molesting children, causing the Southern Poverty Law Center to formally name FRC to its list of hate groups.

Perkins was once a regular on CNN and MSNBC, but those networks have increasingly abandoned him as mainstream Christians have challenged his decades-long record of spreading ugly misinformation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people…Tell CBS News: Cancel Tony Perkins. He doesn’t speak for Christians.”

If Bob Schieffer would take a few minutes to just check out the FRC’s website, I’m sure that he would understand that this is a group that should NOT have a voice in the same-sex-marriage debate.

First, an excerpt from FRC’s “Washington Update” from Thursday, under the heading “What About Bobby?”:

“If liberals want to pick a fight over religious liberty, they’ll have their hands full with my home state: Louisiana. Unlike other governors who have been quick to raise a white flag, Bobby Jindal is leading the charge for his state’s Marriage and Conscience Act, warning that he won’t back down. “In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. As the fight… moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.”

“Although corporations are already turning up the heat on Jindal, the Governor says, “They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me.” Realizing that this is a watershed moment for religious liberty, Jindal writes, “Liberals have decided that if they can’t win at the ballot box, they will win in the boardroom. It’s a deliberate strategy. And it’s time for corporate America to make a decision. Those who believe in freedom must stick together: If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all.” With the Left’s attack dogs on the loose in Louisiana and elsewhere, religious liberty is almost certainly going to be a major issue in 2016 — in more ways than one.

While conservatives scratch and claw for their right to exercise the same tolerance the Left enjoys, leaders like Speaker Boehner have their eyes on the global crisis. Religious liberty is at the center of ISIS’s storm, as dozens of innocents are slaughtered for the faith our country is so reluctant to protect. In a new blog post, the Speaker’s office catalogues the latest horrors, and asks: Is the Obama administration doing “all it can” to protect Christians all over the world?”

There’s just so many things wrong with that last paragraph alone, my irony-meter went past 11, then shattered.

1) “Conservatives scratch and claw for their right to exercise the same tolerance the Left enjoys”? What they are scratching and clawing for is their right to exercise INTOLERANCE.

2) “Religious liberty is at the center of ISIS’s storm…” ISIS’s brutal acts have nothing to do with “religious liberty”, and if these conservatives had an honest bone in their collective bodies, they’d admit it.

3) “Is the Obama administration doing “all it can” to protect Christians all over the world?” Why on earth should the Obama administration, or any other president’s administration, have to “protect Christians all over the world”? The U.S. government cannot feasibly protect U.S.citizens “all over the world”, how could it be expected – no, demanded – to protect all “Christians”? More importantly, how would using the U.S. government to favor the lives of one religious group possibly be Constitutional? Not to mention that it would certainly require “big government”!

Under “HOMOSEXUALITY”:

“Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.”

What the FRC believes doesn’t mean squat when it comes down to science and biology. Just because there is no evidence that will convince the FRC “that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn” doesn’t mean that there isn’t evidence in medical science. And just how does FRC separate the “homosexual identity” from the person? It would appear that, since they do not look upon homosexuals as individual human beings, they would not accept homosexual people, U.S. citizens, “as equivalent to heterosexual[people] in law, in the media, and in schools.” So what class of citizen would these braying amoral charlatans demote homosexual Americans to?

“Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have.”

I haven’t noticed anyone from FRC, or any other anti-gay faux-religious group, extending “sympathy” to gays – maybe they just extend sympathy to gay people who don’t want to face the fact that they’re gay? And hasn’t FRC heard that there’s no scientific or medical evidence that “praying away Teh Gay”, or any other “treatment” purporting to turn gay people “straight”, is actually effective. They should just ask Marcus Bachmann about that.

And take a look at the titles of some of their “Policy Publications”:

“Leviticus, Jesus, and Homosexuality – Some Thoughts on Honest Interpretation” They wouldn’t know “honest interpretation” of any part of the bible even if Jesus appeared and called a convention of alleged “Christians” to set them straight. So-to-speak.

“The Other Side of Tolerance – How Homosexual Activism Threatens Liberty” Goddammit, will someone, any one of these people who glibly (and probably incorrectly) spout words like “freedom” and “liberty” please tell the rest of us exactly how they define those words? I hear them used with regularity by people who seem to want to limit others’ freedoms, so I’m pretty sure that such people don’t consult the OED, they just make up their own definitions.

Okay, enough ranting from me. For now, anyway.

This is our daily Open Thread – go ahead, have at it.

The Watering Hole – Saturday, August 25, 2012 – Keep the Kids Out of This

Bill Nye, the Science Guy (@TheScienceGuy), has a video out called “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.” It was put out for BigThink.com. This week’s hat tip goes to LGF.:

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological—I mean, you could say Japan—but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.

Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.

As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, “When you’re in love you want to tell the world.” So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don’t believe in evolution. And my response generally is “Well, why not? Really, why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler [via LGF]

It wasn’t a belief in Creationism that gave this nation a reputation for being the best and richest country, that expanded it through the Industrial Revolution, that built the Interstate Highway System, that had twelve of its citizens walk on the surface of the Moon or that landed a nuclear-powered probe on the surface of Mars and broadcast pictures and other data back. It was a belief in Science that did all that, and without it, we would be no better off than those that live in deeply religious Third World countries.

If you have a child that really wants to study Science and Math, encourage him or her to do so. It’s not just our nation that needs more scientists, it’s the world. We are all in this together. The world’s climate problems are not going to be solved in such a way that we in the United States live and everyone else fends for themselves. Global problems require global solutions and global participation.

One of the biggest dangers to our country lies in our political system. We are a two-major-party country, and one of the two major parties simply does not believe in Science. Nor have they bothered to educate themselves on the subject and insist on just flat-out denying the inescapable conclusions of the men and women who have actually studied these things whenever they don’t like the results, as if Scientific Consensus meant whatever the uneducated-in-Science people thought was true. That’s not how Science works. A Scientific Consensus is the conclusion arrived at by Scientists, not the public. And not the Republican Party.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 14th, 2012: GOD WARS

The topic of Monday’s post was the the appearance that a local Baptist pastor had an active political agenda.

Now it’s the Catholics‘ turn.

I received this through an email from Catholics United:

Dear Jane,
I have been an active member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington, D.C., for more than 31 years. My faith is my bedrock; my parish is my home.That is why I am worried and deeply saddened to see partisan politics increasingly creeping into our faith community. A few months ago, I attended a meeting at our church when a fellow parishioner publicly expressed outrage that there were cars in the church parking lot that had “Obama bumper stickers.” The intensity of his tone and the fact that I had such a decal made me so uncomfortable that I left the meeting.

In this highly charged election season, the political attacks will only intensify. The “Fortnight for Freedom”* being organized by the Bishops because of their disagreements with the Obama administration should not be brought into our sacred space. They are asking pastors to preach about “religious liberty” and to distribute political statements inside our bulletins. [“…The Fortnight for Freedom campaign runs from June 21 to July 4. It features a variety of events designed to appeal to Catholics of all ages, from a Twitter campaign to a music festival at a winery to traditional Masses to the distribution of 10,000 car magnets promoting religious freedom. Two Kansas bishops have organized rallies in front of government buildings in Topeka and Wichita. Other dioceses are sponsoring conferences and public prayer. Bishops are also encouraging Catholics to pray briefly for religious liberty each day at 3 p.m. in a campaign they dub “A Minute to Win It!”]

But there’s hope. A group of parishioners at my church recently spoke to our pastor about our concerns and he is listening. Click here to find out what we’re doing.

We wrote our pastor a letter and asked him to reconsider our parish’s participation in the “Fortnight for Freedom”. We met with him and expressed our concern that this type of political activity was inappropriate and would cause divisiveness in our community. Our parish had always been a welcoming place where people of all different opinions joined together in worship, heard the Gospel message of Christ and found a source of spiritual strength. We are grateful that our pastor listened and feel that he has taken our concerns seriously.
As the mother of five, and the grandmother of nine, I worry whether these future generations will see the Church as a place that proclaims the expansive message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a place where they will find the abundance of God that will inspire them to go out and serve others in God’s name.
Faithfully,

Eileen Zogby
Parishioner
Blessed Sacrament Parish
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB, “or NAMBLA”) are still getting their knickers in a twist about the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement; actually, they’re getting even more twisted. Not content with lobbying Congress, they are now marshalling their armies of pedophiles priests and their parishioners across the land. The more liberal (and Christian) folks at Catholics United believe that the bishops are wrong. But the USCCB is digging in its collective heels, just like the GOP, unless they get everything they want from The President of The United States of America.

What, the USCCB should compromise with the President of the United States of America?! “HELL, NO!”

Tax-Exempt Status?! FUCK, NO!

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!

Oh, and Happy Flag Day.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 9th: Holy Wholly Crap

I used to be a Roman Catholic, so I know the rules. One of those rules, aka the Ten Commandments, is “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor” – in other words, don’t lie about someone. My parents and my Catholic school teachers taught me that lying about anything was wrong. Apparently Rick Santorum’s parents and teachers didn’t teach him that particular lesson.

Jane as a Catholic schoolgirl--the blonde with the gloves, middle row, left

After surprisingly winning the non-binding caucuses in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota on Tuesday night, Rick Santorum gave a victory speech in which he broke that rule so often, it’s a wonder that his Old-Testament god did not strike him down where he stood, or at least turn him into a pillar of salt. Here’s the transcript of his speech (thanks to The Washington Post.) I removed the beginning where he thanked god, his wife, etc., etc. – no need to make everyone suffer through that, the rest of it is sickening enough:

Your votes today were not just heard loud and wide across the states of Missouri and Minnesota, but they were heard loud and louder all across this country, and particularly in a place that I suspect may be in Massachusetts. They were heard particularly loud tonight. Tonight was not just a victory for us, but tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and Tea Party people, who are out there every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country, building the base of the Republican Party, and building a voice for freedom in this land. Thank you.

Okay, snide little poke at Romney, not too nasty yet. I don’t know what the “vineyards” reference is – are there vineyards in those three states? (shrug) We’ll move along…

There’s probably another person who maybe — maybe is listening to your cheers here tonight, also, and that might be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You better start listening to the voice of the people.

You mean the voice of the people who elected Barack Obama to the Presidency?

But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t listening. Why would you think he would be listening now? Has he ever listened to the voice of America before?

Yes, Rick, President Obama HAS listened to the “voice of America before” – not always, but quite a bit. Maybe you’re thinking of Speaker Boehner, Rick, and the rest of the Republicans (particularly in the House)?

He’s someone who — well, let’s just go look at the record. If you look at when it came to the — the Wall Street bailouts, did the president of the United States listen to you when it came to bailing out the big banks?

I don’t know what “record” Rick’s looking at, because the historical record says that former President George W. Bush bailed out the big banks. So, that’s a lie, which makes the credibility of your premise quite suspect already.

Why? Because he thought he just knew better. He and his friends on Wall Street knew better than what was — what was good for this country. When it came to the problems that were being confronted on Obamacare, when the health care system in this country, did President Obama, when he was pushing forward his radical health care ideas, listen to the American people?

Well, Bush probably never “thought he just knew better”, but he did what his handlers told him to do. Playing along with Santorum’s mistaken premise that the bailouts were Obama’s doing, does he really believe that he knows what’s in Obama’s mind? Regarding the “Obamacare” line, I have to admit that President Obama didn’t listen to his base (or his past self) regarding universal, single-payer, government-run healthcare, but Obama certainly listened to what the Republicans insisted upon in his Affordable Care Act. Aren’t the Republicans the people whom you believe Obama should be listening to, Rick?

Why? Because he thinks he knows better how to run your lives and manage your health care.

As opposed to the Republicans thinking they know better how to run women’s lives and manage women’s health care? As opposed to YOU, Rick, thinking that you know better how to run homosexual citizens’ lives? And again, Rick, do you presume to know what President Obama is thinking?

When it comes to the environment, did the president of the United States listen to the American people, or did he push a radical cap- and-trade agenda that would crush the energy and manufacturing sector of the economy? Did he listen to you? No, because he thinks he knows better.

I guess that Rick is ignorant of the fact that many states, right here in the U.S. of A., already have had a cap-and-trade system in place for several years, starting before Obama became President.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a president who listens to the American people. When the majority of Americans oppose these radical ideas and they speak loudly against them, we need a president who listens to them.

When a Republican President is in the White House, does he ever listen to “the majority of Americans” when they oppose ANY radical ideas and speak loudly against them? I keep thinking of how, when a Republican is elected to the Presidency, they always say that they have a “mandate from the people” to do whatever that particular administration proposes. I can’t remember ANY Democratic President who ever mentioned that phrase.

“Here’s the problem. The problem is, in this Republican field, you have been listening. Tonight, the voters of America, the voters here in Missouri, the voters in Minnesota — and I’m hopeful the voters in Colorado, right? I hope you have been listening to our message, because if you’ve — you listen to our message, and you found out that on those issues — health care, the environment, cap-and-trade, and on the Wall Street bailouts, Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama and, in fact, would not be the best person to get up and fight for your voices for freedom in America.”

Okay, this is just babbling.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. Tonight — tonight, we had — tonight, we had an opportunity to see what a campaign looks like when one candidate isn’t outspent 5 or 10 to 1 by negative ads impugning their integrity and distorting their record. This is a more accurate representation, frankly, of what the fall race will look like. Governor Romney’s greatest attribute is, well, I’ve got the most money and the best organization. Well, he’s not going to have the most money and the best organization in the fall, is he?”

We DID have the opportunity to see YOU, Rick impugning President Obama’s integrity and distorting his record. And the answer to your last question is, most likely, YES, Romney will still have the most money and the best organization in the fall. There’s a lot more states still to go, Rick, and winning Iowa by a nose, plus Tuesday’s three non-binding state caucuses, ain’t gonna make you the Republican nominee.

“No, we’re going to have to have someone who has other attributes to commend himself to the people of America, someone — someone who can get up and make sharp contrasts with President Obama, someone who can point to the failed record of this administration and say that Barack Obama needs to be replaced in the Oval Office.”

Sharp contrasts, yes – such as the intelligence, character, tolerance and empathy of President Obama, versus the closedmindedness, holier-than-thou intolerance and religious-crusade mindset of you, Rick.

“People — people have asked me, you know, what is — what is the secret? Why are you doing so well? Is it your jobs message? And, yes, we have a great jobs message, talking about everywhere we go and particularly here in the industrial heartland of Missouri, where they still make things here in Missouri, by the way. It’s a message of — as the Wall Street Journal called our economic plan, supply-side economics for the working man, is resonating in Minnesota and here in Missouri and across this country. And you see that, when you have a Republican out there talking about growth — talking about growth for everybody, right… … that Americans respond, because I do care about not 99 percent or 95 percent. I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America.”

“Supply-side economics for the working man”?? To quote Rocky the Flying Squirrel, “that trick NEVER works.” Let me presume to read YOUR mind for a change, Rick: you don’t care a whit for any of the poor or the rest of the 99%, and you only care about the very rich because those are the ones funding your campaign to be the President of the Divided Theocracy of America, Inc.

“The real message — the message that we’ve been taking across this country and here in Missouri is a message of what’s at stake in this election. This is the most important election in your lifetime. This is an election — we’ve seen it so evident just here in the last week. This is an election fundamentally about the kind of country you’re going to hand off to your children and grandchildren, whether they are going to have the level of freedom and opportunity that you have.”

The level of freedom and opportunity that we currently have is already less than that enjoyed by our own parents. Our children and grandchildren definitely will not have that level of freedom and opportunity if a Republican is elected to the Presidency in November, particularly a Republican with a single-minded religious agenda.

And we have a president of the United States, as I mentioned, who’s someone who believes he knows better, that we need to accumulate more power in Washington, D.C., for the elite in our country, to be able to govern you because you are incapable of liberty, that you are incapable of freedom. That’s what this president believes.

Who are these “elite in our country”? The 1%, who are courted so ardently by Republicans? And please, please, will someone explain once and for all what the hell the Republicans are talking about when they throw out buzzwords like “freedom” and “liberty”? Freedom and liberty to do WHAT?

And I — and Americans understand that there is a great, great deal at stake. If this president is re-elected and if we don’t have a nominee that can make this case and not be compromised on the biggest issues of the day, but can make the case to the American public that this is about the founder’s freedom, this is about a country that believes in God-given rights, and a Constitution that is limited to protect those rights. The president does not believe that. The president over the last few years has tried to tell you that he, in fact, the government can give you rights, the government can take care of you and provide for you. They can give you the right to health care, like in Obamacare.

No god gave me any rights. My rights, and yours, too, Rick, come from being, through no act of any god, born in the United States of America;
whose founders, through the Constitution, defined those rights and gave them to all citizens.

Rick, President Obama is a Constitutional lawyer, so I think that he’s a lot more knowledgeable than you are about the founders and our rights. And if you don’t believe that ALL of us have the right to health care, even if we can’t afford to pay for it, then you are a poor excuse for a human being AND a Christian.

But look what happens when the government gives you rights. When the government gives you rights, unlike when God gives you rights, the government can take them away. When government gives you rights, the government can tell you how to exercise those rights.

Your alleged god limits your rights and tells you what you can and cannot do; therefore, you already have fewer rights than those that our government grants the rest of us.

And we saw that just in the last week, with a group of people, a small group of people, just Catholics in the United States of America who were told you have a right to health care, but you will have the health care that we tell you, you have to give your people, whether it is against the teachings of your church or not. I never thought as a first-generation American, whose parents and grandparents loved freedom and came here because they didn’t want the government telling them what to believe and how to believe it, that we had a First Amendment that actually stood for freedom of conscience, that we’d have a president of the United States who would roll over that and impose his secular values on the people of this country.

Whoa, boy, let’s not confuse “freedom of religion” with any bs about “freedom of conscience.” ALL presidents, not just your bogeyman President Obama, “impose” the “secular values” of the Constitution – you know, the basis on which our government was founded. And, if hell freezes over and you, Rick, became President, you would be bound by sworn oath to protect and defend those secular values.

And it’s worse than that. When one of the Catholic bishops tried to communicate that through Army chaplains, the Obama administration said, no, you can’t do that, no, because your language is seditious, and they made them change the language of a letter from a bishop to his people.

The Catholic bishops’ views do not represent the views of every Catholic in the United States, Rick, and neither do yours. Maybe you should check out the group Catholics United, for another viewpoint.

Ladies and gentlemen, freedom is at stake in this election. We need to be the voice for freedom. And that founding document, the Declaration of Independence, at the end of that document, those founders signed their names. But the last clause of that document said we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Ladies and gentlemen, every generation of Americans doesn’t create freedom, but they have, in many respects, a harder job. They have to maintain freedom. Your charge tonight — your charge tonight here in Missouri — because we’re not done yet with you here in Missouri. You’ve got a caucus coming up next month — is to go out and pledge, pledge — no, not your lives. Maybe your fortune. RickSantorum.com is the website.

You’re already planning to take away certain freedoms from gays and women, Rick, how is that ‘maintaining’ freedom? And I’m sure that the people in Missouri are glad that you’re not asking for their lives, just their ‘fortunes.’

But your honor, the honor that you stand on, on the backs and the shoulders of your ancestors. The people here in St. Louis, the people here in Missouri, the people across this country who sacrificed for this country, for the freedoms we have. America’s honor, your honor is at stake. Go out and preserve the greatest country in the history of the world. Thank you all, and God bless.

“America’s honor” was already blasted into smithereens by the previous Republican President, and, right now, there’s not a whole hell of a lot of our former greatness to be preserved. Psst, Rick – I think you left out a word after “God bless” – you know, “America.”

Okay, I’ve kept most of my temper while typing this. As this is our Open Thread, feel free to lose yours, or to discuss anything else that comes to mind.

Sunday Roast – Are All of the Faux-Christians at Church Right Now? July 24th, 2011

While doing some research on the wives of the Supreme Court Justices, I came across this website. Ginni Thomas, wife of Chief Justice Clarence Thomas, was the original founder and CEO of Liberty Central, Inc. The title of a post dated July 21st caught my eye: “The Threat of Foreign Law”. Here’s how the post starts:

Once again great controversy has arisen over the building of a Mosque; this one in Murfreesboro, TN. Once again no one is getting to the heart of the problem. The fear is not over Islam, but of Sharia Law and the solution lies in preventing foreign law not interfering with a religious practice. We have a nation built on fundamental principles of liberty and law, not fear. If we are ruled by fear, we will lose liberty.

You can read the rest here

The post warns of the supposedly serious threat of Sharia Law somehow becoming part of U.S. law. The post is a bit confusing, but I decided to respond to the basic idea with the following:

I believe that this article is based on the simplistic premise that Sharia Law should be defined as a “foreign law.” It is a particular religion’s law, and, while a few foreign countries are ruled by Islamic theocracies, Sharia law should not be considered to be equivalent to, say, British law or Spanish law or South African law.

I also believe that the entire article is based on the completely false idea that Sharia Law could possibly become anything more than simply one particular religion’s law in this country. The building of a Mosque somewhere in the United States cannot be construed as an ‘attack’ on our Constitutional laws, any more than the building of a Roman Catholic church or a Jewish synagogue should be an ‘attack’ on our Constitutional laws.

The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” According to Wikipedia, “The Establishment Clause [of the First Amendment] prohibits the federal, state or municipal establishment of an official religion or other preference for one religion over another, non-religion over religion, or religion over non-religion.”

Therefore, the writer’s premise that “The issue of building Mosques anywhere in the United States must be viewed within this Constitutional framework. We cannot allow the government to dictate the practice of religion, even if the majority of the people demand it…” is a moot point. This article, along with many other articles and speeches warning of the so-called threat of Sharia Law, is simply shameful fear-mongering over a completely non-existent ‘issue.’

If the writer would like to do a post on a true ‘religion vs Constitution’ issue, I would suggest that she investigate Christian anti-abortion laws dictating the laws of several of these United States.

This is our Sunday Roast. What’s on your mind today?

“Christians” Wink at Torture

CommonDreams, by Ray McGovern

Anyone harboring doubts that the institutional Church is riding shotgun for the system, even regarding heinous sin like torture, should be chastened by the results of a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

Who but the cowardly crew leading the “Christian” churches can be held responsible for the fact that many of their flock believe torture of suspected terrorists is “justified?”

Those polled were white non-Hispanic Catholics, white Evangelicals, and white mainline Protestants. A majority (54 percent) of those who attend church regularly said torture could be “justified,” while a majority of those not attending church regularly responded that torture was rarely or never justified.

I am not a psychologist or sociologist. But I recall that one of the first things Hitler did on assuming power was to ensure there was a pastor in every Lutheran and Catholic parish in Germany. Why? Because he calculated, correctly, that this would be a force for stability for his regime. Thus began horrid chapter in the history of those who profess to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth but forget his repeated admonition, Do not be afraid.

A mere seven decades after the utter failure of most church leaders in Germany, their current American counterparts have again yielded to fear, and have condoned evils like torture by their deafening silence.

What kinds of folks comprise this 54 percent? An informal “survey” of my friends suggests these are “my-country-first” people – like the fellow who recently gave me the finger when he saw my bumper sticker, which simply says “God bless the rest of the world too.”

They are people accustomed to hierarchy and comfortable being told what they should think and do to preserve “our way of life.” They place a premium on nationalism, which they call patriotism, and on what the Germans call Ordnung. I suppose that this may be part of why they go to church regularly.

It’s a problem that has existed for almost 1,700 years, ever since 4th Century Christians jettisoned their heritage of non-violent resistance to war and threw in their lot with Constantine.

Subservience

Nowhere is the phenomenon of obeisance to hierarchical power highlighted more clearly than in the Grand Inquisitor story in Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who could plum the human heart as few others.

In the tale, Dostoevsky has Jesus joining the “tortured, suffering people” of Seville during the Inquisition. The Cardinal of Seville immediately jails and interrogates Jesus, telling him that the Church has “corrected” his big mistake. Rather than donning “Caesar’s purple,” Jesus gave us freedom of conscience.

While it has been 130 years since he wrote Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky captures the trap into which so many American “believers” have fallen in forfeiting freedom through fear. His portrayal of Inquisition reality brings us to the brink of the moral precipice on which our country teeters today. It is as though he knew what would be in store for us when fear was artificially stoked after the attacks of 9/11. Continue reading

Dole Gets Desperate

Elizabeth Dole, the incumbent senator from North Carolina, who is  close to losing her seat,  garnered herself a second place Worst Person In The World award on last night’s Countdown.  Dole created an ad stating her opponent, Kay Hagan, a Sunday school teacher and a member of the leadership of her church, was being supported by them godless heathens – including a voiceover of Hagan saying “There is no God!”  Only problem?  It wasn’t Hagan.  Here’s Keith.

I was surprised to see Kagan’s rapid response to this attack on her faith.

While I firmly believe in the separation of church and state, there is something that is almost blasphemous here.  I find it amusing when a “good” Christian lies about a good Christian.  False witness indeed.

Why do I think that God would not be happy about Elizabeth Dole’s lying?  Classic case of IOKIYAR.  But lying about GOD?  I’d be watching those lightening storms if I were you, Ms. Dole.

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Fear and Loathing in Jesus Camp land

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In the last two days, I saw two amazing rants from the Religious Right, should, God forbid, Obama be elected.

First up, is a letter, sent out but Focus on the Family, entitled Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America. This 16 page missive starts by asking “What will the United States be like if Senator Obama is elected?” It then goes on to postulate what the year 2012 will look like. What do they think 2012 will look like?

First, it posits that, after Obama is inaugurated, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens would announce that they were stepping down. Obama would immediately replace them with “two far-Left, American Civil Liberties Union-oriented judges.” (We should be so lucky!) And then (cue the “da-da-da-duuuum” scary music):

The decisive changes on the Supreme Court started in June, when Justice Kennedy resigned – he was 72 and had grown weary of the unrelenting responsibility. His replacement – another young liberal Obama appointment – gave a 5-4 majority to justices who were eager to create laws from the bench. The four conservative justices who remained — John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito — were suddenly in the minority.

Then in August 2009, two months after Kennedy resigned, Justice Scalia  unexpectedly announced his resignation due to health reasons and by October 2009 another Obama appointment took his oath and joined the court.

Finally the far-Left had the highest prize: complete control of the Supreme Court. And they set about quickly to expedite cases by which they would enact the entire agenda of the far Left in American politics – everything they had hoped for and more took just a few key decisions.

Scared yet?

And, what are these cases that were the entire agenda of the far Left in American politics? Let’s look at them. It’s fun, really. Grab a beer (yes, this is long), click that link and read the massive freak-out taking place in Jesus Camp land.
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