Tag Archives: religion

Bad. More bad.

So SCOTUS has decided:  protections accorded human beings by the Bill of Rights are extended, yet again, to Corporations.

  • Since corporations are persons and speech is money, political donations are from them are unrestricted. It’s Free Speech, protected by the First Amendment.
  • And now, some for-profit corporations have been granted Freedom of Religion and the attendant protections to exercised those ‘freedoms’ even when in opposition to the civil laws of the land.

Heed Thomas Jefferson:

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

Say no more.

Politifact needs to learn arithmetic

Last week Bill Maher said: “There are 278 Republicans in Congress. (With Eric Cantor’s defeat), they are now all Christian and all white except for one black senator, who was appointed.”

With tortured twisted reasoning, Politifact rates that Half True. First they describe the Dems:

The 2012 elections ushered in the first Buddhist in the Senate (Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, a Democrat), the first Hindu in either chamber (Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat), and the first Congress member to list her religious affiliation as “none” (Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat) . . . They joined two Muslims (Democrats) and a Unitarian Universalist (a Democrat).

They don’t offer a total of non-Christian Dems in Congress. It’s 37. Now here’s what they say of Congressional Republicans:

When it comes to Republicans,192 of 278 GOP members identify with a Protestant denomination (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.), 70 identify as Catholic, three are Orthodox Christian, and 12 are Mormon (more on that in a moment). Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, is Jewish and makes No. 278, but Brat, the Republican who could succeed him after the November election, is Catholic.

So until the next Congress is sworn in in January, we can count 277 Christian and one Jew. Politifact notes that some people don’t consider Mormons Christian. Which matters not at all because that’s how Mormons identify.

So that’s  37 non-Christian Dems and one (ONE) non-Christian Republican. Yup, that’s half alright.

Are Republicans all white?  Politifact says half-true because there are seven Hispanics. For some reason they felt compelled to mention that there are also three  GOP Senators .

To say the other Republicans in Congress are all white depends on your definition of “all white,” which isn’t always so easy to define.

There are no other African-American Republicans in Congress (there are 43 black Democrats). There also are no Asian or Pacific Islander Republicans in Congress (there are 13 Democrats).

But there are three Hispanic Republican senators and seven Hispanic Republicans in the House. Those Hispanics?

So there you go – the Dems have 56 and the GOP has seven. Definitely half.

 

 

It seems Creationists are rude

http://l1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/iIwuez.guuKNsCCqED1GPw--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTM2MA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/thelookout/IMG_1377.jpgSo it’s cleaning day: the vacuum sits there staring at me, cleaning fluids wait on the counter, rags out too, probably wondering what this is all about. And on C-Span is a ‘debate’ at the Creation Museum between Ken Ham, founder (for Creationism) and Bill Nye, the ‘Science Guy’. Great stuff focusing on Genesis, the Ark and the age of the earth (and evolution of course).

On go the headphones to ease the task at hand.

The debate is conducted by standard rules. The two are allowed 30 minutes to make their respective cases and are then allowed periods for rebuttal.

Ham went first (he presents an utterly bizarre case, but the man is very good on the podium) and after he concluded his remarks, the entire audience gave a nice round of applause. The entire audience.

Then Nye spoke (he’s not as polished as Ham was). And when he concluded, half of the audience applauded. Those who did not applause sat resolutely still – with grim faces.

Whatever the composition of the audience, half of them didn’t learn their manners from Mama.

Hands off the Girl Scouts: a jump the shark moment?

It seems the Girl Scouts – in a Tweet – mentioned women of achievement (and linked to a story about Wendy Davis!). Which – as night follows day – means they are in league with Planned Parenthood. Here is ABC valiantly trying to follow the story but don’t bother (you could probably write it yourself – blindfolded).

cccccccccccccc

 

Something else to be thankful for

Pope Francis – yesterday:

The pope also denounced “trickle-down” theories of economics promoted by many conservatives and politicians who espouse an unregulated free market.

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” he said. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

Perhaps the professional Christians in our Congress – and especially in State legislatures – should give a listen. Possible? I’m not placing bets on that, but if Francis keeps it up I could become – whilst still unbelieving – a practicing Catholic again.

Oh Michele we will miss you . . .

Before she leaves us for good, Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Outerspace) is doing her best for late night comics everywhere. Here’s she’s commenting on recent US foreign policy in the Middle East. Or something. And it means that End Times are near.

SPOILER ALERT! Best line ever ever ever:  “Yes it gives us fear in some respects because we want the retirement that our parents enjoyed.”

“This happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history,” Bachmann told Jan Markell, radio host of “Understanding the Times,” on Saturday.

“Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann added later. “And so when we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; that these days would be as the days of Noah. We are seeing that in our time. Yes it gives us fear in some respects because we want the retirement that our parents enjoyed. Well they will, if they know Jesus Christ.”

Syria shares a border with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. And that matters.

syriaIn a country where none of the news is good, this is very very bad. I’ve worried about Turkey since the Islamists started flowing into Syria – they’re Sunnis, determined to help overthrow a Shia government.

An extremist group linked to Al Qaeda routed Syrian rebel fighters and seized control of a gateway town near Syria’s northern border with Turkey on Wednesday, posting snipers on rooftops, erecting checkpoints and imposing a curfew on the local population . . .

Its seizure is likely to alarm Syria’s neighbors. Turkey, which has vocally supported the fight against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and allowed fighters and arms to flow freely across its southern border, now faces a bold al Qaeda affiliate. . . 

In recent months, jihadist groups have isolated local populations by imposing strict Islamic codes, carrying out public executions and clashing with rebel groups.

Lebanon is expressing some worry too.

I saw this earlier and thought it was satire

trumpDonald Trump, Trump, Trump. Serious American, serious Christian.

From Duane today:

If you are so inclined, you can attend on Saturday—for only 49 bucks!—a “Family Leadership Summit” in Ames, Iowa, put on by a Christian group called The Family Leader. That group identifies itself this way:

The FAMiLY LEADER champions the principle that God is the ultimate leader of the family. Our goal at The FAMiLY LEADER is to honor and glorify God – not a political party, not a candidate, and not a program. The FAMiLY LEADER is a Christ-centered organization that leads with humility and service to strengthen and protect the family.

The Family Leadership Summit, put on by a group that says it is a non-partisan, Christ-centered organization, features Republicans like Chuck Grassley, Steve King, and Rick Santorum, as well as fast-rising reactionary Ted Cruz from Texas.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Highlighting the evening—the last speaker of the day—is that paragon of Christ-centered living, that champion of God-honoring and God-glorifying behavior, Donald Trump.

FOX News – where embarrasment is foreign, and a star is born

As this story says (video at the link) this is the single most cringe-worthy interview ever.

The author here, Reza Aslan, has been interviewed extensively on C-Span’s Booknotes, PBS’ News Hour, the BBC and dozens of other outlets. So why not FOX? This is why – and lesson learned. Don’t bother next time Reza, unless you’re game for providing the rest of us with something to fill in the time while Jon Stewart is away.

 Fox News anchor Lauren Green* had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her FoxNews.com show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently. And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”*

But Green just wouldn’t let it go: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” Aslan then starts talking to Green slowly, as if she were a child: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.” But Green insisted, accusing him of failing to “disclose” that he’s a Muslim and at one point asking him about a stupefying claim on whether a Muslim writing a book on Jesus isn’t sort of like a Democrat writing a book on former president Ronald Reagan.

Dear god (by which I mean the one of the Hebrews, Christians and Muslims. That one.)

*And she’s not even blonde!

There must be almost a hundred people there – why is no one objecting?

In Alabama, at a hearing on a public power utility hearing:

Perhaps they’re really praying for lightning; they may think that’s where their ‘lectricity comes from?

As watertiger put it, grifters gotta grift

Here again cometh Christian pin-up Ralph Reed and this time with More-Deity-For-Your-Dollars! He had to shut down that Indian Tribe swindle he had going – and damn but that was good money! Former partner Jack Abramoff went and changed careers after getting himself convicted and sent to jail. Jack’s into redemption now, so Ralph is back to plain old huckstering, an ancient, if dishonorable, profession. (See those annoying little points on the pocket handkerchief? There’s yer proof that Ralph’s the too too smooth sort.)

Does make me wonder where is Tom DeLay these days?

I’d say she got the ‘modestly dressed’ part just pitch-perfect

Who wouldn’t want to rush home to this little lady? Anyone? Anyone? Come on guys, look at that resume! Jeeez.

BOljqmWCMAAVeAf

Something new is in the air. My sisters are waking up.

Here’s what’s new. Wendy Davis and Nina Turner. And many many other women, young women, around the country using an entirely different vocabulary and saying back off fellas, hands off.  This is a different conversation. It’s a different fight. It’s not about abortion this time. . .  it’s not about fetuses. It’s about them. Always was.

Here’s what’s old. Ohio. Texas. North Carolina. Mandatory vaginal probes. Forced ultrasound. Catholic Bishops. Religious right. Family Research Council. Todd Aiken. The American Taliban. Rep. Steve King. Louie Gomert!!!! Michele Bachmann. Personhood. Pat Robertson. Phyllis Schlafley. Pin-up boy Ralph Reed.

A little background? Try this. And this. And this.

Or just read a whole buncha posts about lady parts and the men who want, well, this is what  they want:

Available in other colors – as long as it’s black.

I do love (South – nope) NORTH Carolina: I’m not sure if it’s the abortion part or the Sharia part that’s taken my breath away

South North Carolina’s legislature swung into late night action to propose legislation (yet again, sigh) aimed at getting a handle on those lady parts – and to guard against the imagined but dangerous onslaught of Sharia law – and they did it all in one tidy bill.

Senate tacks sweeping abortion legislation onto Sharia law bill

Raleigh, N.C. — Senators on Tuesday tacked a suite of new restrictions and regulations pertaining to abortion clinics onto a bill dealing with the application of foreign laws in North Carolina family courts.

As described here, there is a long tradition of U.S. law incorporating religious law into our system.

Duncan has proposed a state constitutional amendment that would bar U.S. judges from considering Shariah or any foreign law. But that might be problematic: U.S. courts already recognize and enforce Shariah law in everything from commercial contracts to divorce settlements, wills and estates.

What’s In Place

Marc Stern, a religion law expert at the American Jewish Committee, says that’s no different from how religious laws and customs are already applied.

He says when there’s a conflict, U.S. law always wins. For example, when Orthodox Jews have asked judges to enforce their laws on divorce, the courts have refused to do it; they won’t be involved in interpreting religion. In the same way, the government won’t enforce Kosher food standards because it would violate the separation of church and state.

Of course, once in a while, a judge with limited knowledge of the law as it is (they’re out there) rules otherwise – and certain legislators and media stars get the vapors. For a while. The follow up   – rarely inspiring the alarm – is that such rulings are always overturned in appellate courts.

Just ask Rush how it’s done

beck
The problem, you see, is that they don’t do it the American way. One at a time.

Billions and billions . . .

Carl_Sagan_Planetary_Society. . . of stars. I can still hear the late Carl Sagan saying that on his iconic TV program Cosmos,  so I got a little thrill when I saw this story from Phoenix:

An atheist state lawmaker tasked with delivering the opening prayer for this afternoon’s session of the House of Representatives asked that people not bow their heads.

Democratic Representative Juan Mendez, of Tempe, instead spoke about his “secular humanist tradition” and even quoted author Carl Sagan.

Mendez said:

“I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.”

. . . “Carl Sagan once wrote, ‘For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.'”

 

 

I was kind of hoping they could make it

The Westboro Baptist Church will picket Roger Ebert’s funeral on Monday, because he obviously asked for it. They’re very clear about that in their statement:

“American entertainment industry publicity leech Roger Ebert took to Twitterverse to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist church, just days before he received the horrifying summons.”

To be fair, the tweets were pretty obscene. You may want to close your eyes:

ebert tweet

Let us leap once again without looking: how something ordinary becomes a threat to the Republic, a threat I tell you!

Another crime perpetrated by schools!

Another crime at our schools!

Something old becomes new because a few days ago FOX & Friends found out about it, or  more accurately, found out about a little part of it, and that was all they needed to sputter into outrage, along with the entire right-wing noise machine – especially since the word Jesus was uttered without the genuflect.

We all know how this goes: it’s a tiresome formula – raise the noise level sufficiently to feed the audience and they’ll keep coming back.

Here’s the story from a column by Frank Cerabino at The Palm Beach Post (he’s a favorite read for me):

 An adjunct professor at FAU teaching an intercultural communications class was following a textbook exercise that called for students to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper and instructing them to step on the paper.

“Most will hesitate,” the handbook says. “Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

One student  objected to the voluntary classroom exercise, and made a complaint to the news media, saying his professor told him to “stomp on Jesus” and that he was suspended from class for his refusal to participate. . .

In fact, the student was suspended for threatening the Professor.

. . . [the instructor] was following an exercise written by a professor at a Catholic college in Wisconsin, an exercise that has been used for 10 years in colleges without incident . . . the exercise was designed to be an affirmation of faith and a recognition of the emotional power that disrespect of religion carries — a way for students to understand the strong reactions other cultures have to disrespect for their own religion.

Our 30% Governor said that “the professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.”  Which was the very point of the classroom exercise. But no matter.

He even offered an apology to the student and called for an investigation.

Maybe before our indicted-for-Medicare-fraud-former-hospital-executvive governor cranks up the old investigation machine, he might look at saving the taxpayers a few bucks –  he could just read a full news account.  But that wouldn’t get him into the middle of the story.

Back at FOX Mike Huckabee came forth with my favorite comment: “People wonder what’s wrong with higher education, This is what’s wrong with higher education.” Right there is a good argument to stop the dangerous teaching of Engineering or the Classics. Of course had he paid more attention when he was pursing his own higher education, he might have been inspired to learn the whole story.

The only oldie for ‘Habemus Papam’ week, yes?

What does an ex-Pope do anyway? And what do we call him?

It’s been over 600 years since the world has had a living ex-Pope. And on the evening of February 28, we’ll have one. John Allen of The National Catholic Reporter says he’ll likely be called the Emeritus Bishop of Rome.

As Pope, Benedict has been controversial on many levels, not least because before his Papacy he sat atop the Church council that enabled the scandals of pedophile priests to remain secret.

Interesting times ahead. And will Catholicism finally see its first non-European Pope??

Mike Huckabee can go fuck himself

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee attributed today’s deadly massacre in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut to the lack of God and religion in public schools.

Addressing the tragedy on Fox News, Huckabee dismissed calls for stricter gun control and claimed that future violence can be prevented by solving matters of “the heart” and turning to God.

Here. Fuck him. And the God and Guns he clings to.

What, did He make the gravy or something?

Taking silly to a whole new level:  from Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller:

There are other demonstrations in Bengazi

Dear Pastor Jones

I’d like to hear your opinion of what should be done to someone who shouts “FIRE” in a crowded theatre? Just wondering.

Anyone else?

And so Western religious fanaticists light the fire of Eastern religious fanaticists. Nice.

Does the Angel Moroni know about this?

There’s an article in Addictinginfo from a former Mormon who says Romney “should never be President”. The tone seems a bit like sour-grapes, but there was this, having to do with the growth of Mormonism (which I’ve heard reported to have the fastest growth of any religion in the country).

If the membership numbers come from the Church, this makes them suspect:

Mormons duck out the back door of the church as quickly as they come in the front door. The number of people on the church rolls rises all the time, but that’s because even if you join and then decide the church really isn’t for you, they still continue to count you as a member. . . . .

Mormons have a member “stand in” for a dead person and they’re baptized as a member of the church.

Mormons have a couple “stand in” for a dead man and woman and marry them into the church, and those count as a “twofer” in church membership rolls. Supposedly they’re “sealed for time and eternity” as husband and wife.

There’s also this, which made me giggle:

Mormons are also supposedly the only ones who will be allowed to have sexual intercourse in Heaven.

A good speech at last

Alright, I’ve only seen a few of tonight’s speeches but nothing excited me till just now, when Sister something-or-other of Nuns on the Bus  did a bit of much needed barn burning. She was wonderful, joyous, generous and very mischevious. Thank you Sister.

As Catholic Sisters, we must speak out against the current House Republican budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

A not famous Factoid

The Pledge of Allegiance, the one we all recited as school children (although mine most assuredly did not include under God* in the early grades) and still do at public events, was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. It started out as part of a marketing plan to offer flags to schools that subscribed to The Youth’s Companion, but quickly became a sincere patriotic effort. We all know how successful it was.

And Mr. Bellamy? Well.

Bellamy was a Christian Socialist[3] who “championed ‘the rights of working people and the equal distribution of economic resources, which he believed was inherent in the teachings of Jesus.'”[2] In 1891, Bellamy was forced from his Boston pulpit for his socialist sermons, and eventually stopped attending church altogether after moving to Florida, reportedly because of the racism he witnessed there.[4]

* The words Under God were added in 1954 to protect us from godless Communism – by our feckless Congress Critters who, in matters sacred (like American uteri), were just as vigilant then as they are now.

(h/t Crazycrawfish for the info.)

Excuse me?

So, here comes a somewhat ordinary political story – Obama has chosen very poorly by naming Cardinal James Dolan, the Archbishop of New York to give the closing prayer at the DNC Convention (and why the hell is there a prayer anyway!). The choice is not going down well in the LGBT community, a key Democratic constituency. Dolan is a heavyweight and plays a big role in the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay rights (otherwise a not-bad guy by all reports). So, all the ingredients for a good solid and typical political story.

But then there’s this:

Dolan . . . is also slated to give the closing prayer at this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Both conventions? Both?

Hey, let’s just invite him to join the Cabinet – whoever’s Cabinet it ends up being since he’s already seated at the table.

Now, if only the storm were called Imogene instead of Isaac

Thanks to friend Ed . . . from David Letterman last night:

A hurricane headed directly for the Republicans, more proof that … God is a woman.

Ladies, how about this?

We can’t all whip out clever youtube videos, so how about painting the town in bras? Get your old bras, buy a bunch more at Goodwill . . .then drop those babies around town, drape them on parking meters, mailboxes, doorknobs on government offices, Republican HQ (let’s double down on that one) churches (certain ones anyway) . . . Picture it: bras everywhere!!! We could make it rain bras! It would bring our American Taliban to their knees, I tell you . . . to their knees! (pssssttt, tell your facebook friends to do it too.)