Category Archives: religion

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?

White smoke

It’s done and the new pope is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, age 76, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, to be called Pope Francis.

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??

Bits: Guns and Fox and meth and cross-dressing priests and CNN

Bit the first: Why do I turn on Fox News? Why?

Right now, they are covering:

  1.  rallies at strip malls all around the country for Gun Appreciation Day and
  2. threats on the life of the prez of NRA which, as reported by Fox, are  likely the fault of President Obama because he’s been mean and  demonizing the NRA. (Well, that’s obvious!)

Kind of nice how Gun Appreciation Day falls on the MLK Holiday weekend, isn’t it.

OhMyGodBit the second: in news from my old backyard, a cross-dressing Monsignor in Bridgeport CT  has been arrested for dealing crystal meth. He had been pastor at the Catholic Cathedral there before he resigned last summer.

Since his resignation, he has been receiving a stipend from the Diocese and they had intended to keep paying it until:

 . . .  reading in the Connecticut Post that Wallin, 61, is accused by federal authorities of making so much money from selling the drug that he purchased an adult sex shop in North Haven named The Land of Oz to launder the money, Wallace said the diocese may stop the payments.

May stop paying him. May.

Sources with knowledge of the case told the Connecticut Post that while pastor, Wallin was observed dressing as a woman and was visited in his residence by men dressed as women who performed sex acts with him in the cathedral’s rectory. The sources said an assortment of sex toys was found in Wallin’s residence.

I guess Mother Church can be allowed a sigh of relief on that particular. It, at least, was consensual.

And bit the third: CNN has been covering the Inauguration since early this morning from a cold outdoor location facing the Capital. Because you can’t grab a seat too early. Or because they think it’s the Superbowl maybe?

That’s kind of comforting actually.  Seeing CNN be CNN reminds me that some of the world’s silliness has survived the world’s madness.

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.

Vote for Malala . . .

. . . for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, here. The actions and courage of this single 14-year old girl may change the world.

What, did He make the gravy or something?

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

But, but, but . . . he’s not a Mormon!

The Salt Lake City Tribune (I love any newspaper that calls itself ‘Tribune’) just endorsed a candidate for President. Guess who.

(They’re rolling in tonight. More endorsements from elite liberal newspapers: The Denver Post and The Tampa Bay Times.)

Another Hundred Years War? I’m sure the Three Amigos* would like that, but

Romney aside, Obama aside, serious things appear to be happening.

The usual noise machine is going all ‘we can’t let this stand’. I assume they want to shoot someone.

Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia . . . shall we wage war on all of them? (Hey, war with a billion people would be awesome!)

War with a billion people who mostly don’t want war with us.

War with a billion people because of the actions of  a hundred thousand? A few hundred thousand? The militants among the billion? The Islamists amongst a billion Muslims? Wage war on a billion people?

If the neo-con dreams come true, that’s what we’ll have. And Saudi Arabia couldn’t stop it; the Saudi royal family would probably be wiped out early on. They’ve been in Al Qaeda’s gun sights for some time.

You think it can’t happen? Check out the 11th and 12th Centuries.

* Messers McCain and Lieberman and Ms. Graham of the United States Senate.

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.

We luvz science! Science iz fun!!!

Paul Ryan, when asked about jailing women for having an abortion, said “If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”

To put these fools in office, millions of my fellow Americans voted for them. And they write laws.

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.

Choice is about more than abortion and let’s stop pretending it isn’t

In spite of the legions of sincere people who support pro-life policies, the impetus for the movement itself is the never-ending assault on women by those who deeply resent the counter movement toward gender equality. The forces propelling the likes of Todd Akins only pretend a tolerance for equality. They want their sovereignty back.

In a comment thread below, Patsouthward pointed me to an article on CNN by  a rape victim who had her child, now being sued by her rapist:

It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states — 31 — men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child. . . . I know it because I lived it. I went to law school to learn how to stop it.

This looks to me just like the campaign to deny women the right to abortion, where men – and the state – have sovereignty over a  woman. It’s the exact same thing.

A ‘scolds bridle’ used to silence wives and legal up to the 19th century

The kerfuffle of the day is not just about Todd Akin and his knuckle-dragging (to quote the Speaker of the House) cohorts who claim to be Christian but adhere to the Old Testament . . . it’s about attempts to restore the millennial old definition of women as property.

That was a concept in law right into the 19th century, not ancient history but from the  ‘modern era’. Here are a few examples (first photo and quote from tumblr, here) :

The “curb-plate” was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the tongue moved, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. Many men sustained in this “husband’s right” to “handle his wife”, and to use salutary restraints in any case of “misbehavior” without the intervention of what some court records of 1824 referred to as “vexatious prosecutions.” Generally a husband would need only to accuse his wife of disagreeing with his decisions, at which the Branks could be applied. The woman would then be paraded through the streets, or chained to the market cross where she was exposed to public ridicule. Wives that were seen as witches, shrews, gossips, nags and scolds, were forced to wear a brank’s bridle, which had been locked on the head of the woman and sometimes had a ring and chain attached to it as a leash so her husband could parade her around town and the town’s people could scold her and treat her with contempt; at times smearing excrement on her and beating her, sometimes to death.

No divorce for you!

Here’s another one – from England – just before our Civil War (here):

Once married, it was extremely difficult for a woman to obtain a divorce. The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 gave men the right to divorce their wives on the grounds of adultery. However, married women were not able to obtain a divorce if they discovered that their husbands had been unfaithful. Once divorced, the children became the man’s property and the mother could be prevented from seeing her children.

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.)

Oh damn, am I going to have to go find an old bra so I can burn it?

From TPM:

Rep. Steve King . . .  did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape  [and] signaled he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.

King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.  “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”

In any personal way?  Open to discussion? 

Prediction: Romney will rue the day . . .

At least they didn’t claim God told them

UPDATE: The GOP wants this guy out, fast. From Karl Rove to Sean Hannity . . . Ann Coulter to The Weekly Standard and National Review – all demanding Aiken withdraw from the race. He says he won’t. I give him 24 hours.

ORIGINAL POST: At least Rep. Todd Aiken isn’t alone. It seems there’s a history to the rape doesn’t cause pregnancy meme, here.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephen Freind (R) was an ardent abortion opponent. . . He also looks to be the first legislator to make the argument that rape prevents pregnancy, arguing in the late 1980s that the odds of a pregnancy resulting from rape were “one in millions and millions and millions.”

Try saying that with the Friends, Michelle. Dare ya’!

NOTE: Rape results in pregnancy 4.8% of the time, which corresponds with plain old sex.

His explanation? The trauma of rape causes women to “secrete a certain secretion which has the tendency to kill sperm.” Reproductive health experts immediately denounced those remarks. One told the Philadelphia Inquirer, ”Boy, if I could find out what that [secretion] was, I’d use it as a contraceptive.”

It’s not inconceivable that this could cost the GOP a Senate seat. Even Michelle Malkin is disgusted. She does the partisan dance around it of course – don’t we all – but closes with this:

The question for Republicans in Missouri is whether sticking by self-inflicted-wounded Akin is more important than securing a U.S. Senate majority.

Just sayin’

Marriage is a legal act, not a religious one. Married is a legal status.

So all unions should be – in law – civil unions, no matter the genders.

If people want to, they can go ahead and add a religious ceremony.

 

Not much has changed in that other Philadelphia

Remember Philadelphia Mississippi, that quaint little Jim Crow town in the deepest of the deep South?

You don’t? Let me refresh your memory . . .

. . .  it had long disfranchised  African Americans and subjected them to racial segregation and Jim Crow laws. Philadelphia in June 1964 was the site of the murders of thee civil right activists: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. . . .

Ku Klux Klan members (including Cecil Ray Price, the deputy sheriff of Neshoba County) released the three young men from jail, took them to an isolated spot, and killed them.

The film, Mississippi Burning tells the whole sordid tale.

Philadelphia changed on the surface, but as the years went on politicians running for office knew its heart was as black as ever. So it was just 14 years later that the most cynical and blatant dog-whistle ever heard from a political figure was delivered to the good folks of that very town. The location, of course, was the statement, as much as the words.

On August 3, 1980, Ronald Reagan gave his first post-convention speech at the Neshoba County Fair after being officially chosen as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. He said, “I believe in states’ rights … I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment.” He went on to promise to “restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them”.[

Philadelphia made a little news again just yesterday.

PHILADELPHIA, Mississippi — Gov. Phil Bryant said Thursday it is “unfortunate” that a predominantly white church in the state wouldn’t allow a black couple to get married in its sanctuary.

. . . The Rev. Stan Weatherford, pastor of the church, married the Wilsons at a predominantly black church nearby. The wedding was moved after some congregants at First Baptist told Weatherford they opposed allowing black people to marry in the church.

“As hard as we work to try to convince the rest of the world that Mississippi has changed — and, in fact, we have — to see an unfortunate situation like that occur is very disappointing,” Bryant said Thursday in response to questions from The Associated Press.

William Faulkner, the most famous literary Son of the South, observed back in the 1950’s, “the past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.” Yup.

Well done John McCain. For that, we’ll get off your lawn

Stand back McCarthy! (and where are Walsh and Wilson?)

John McCain is still that old guy down the street who yells at you. He is still the guy who was willing to risk this country in Sarah Palin’s hands. And he is too enamored of war for my comfort.

Another thing John McCain is? He is one damn stand-up guy.

What’s remarkable about this is that it is remarkable. Where were his colleagues? Who else spoke as forcibly? And publicly? Good on him.  (video posted thanks to Orhan who once again came to the rescue.)

Just make it stop

What is it with these Republican men?  They’re at it again in Congress because  apparently contraception is still the enemy of freedom.

A Letter to the Editor in my paper a few weeks ago provided a nice list of religious beliefs and rules that are ignored, indeed violated,  by civil law:

  • The Catholic ban on divorce
  • Muslim and Jewish laws about women and children
  • Buddhist and HIndu prohibitions against killing animals
  • Capital punishment
  • Quakers and conscientious objectors pay taxes that finance wars
  • Christian Scientist pay taxes to support medical care they abjure.

So Mike, could we have a few words on Penn State and the Catholic Church maybe?

In case you don’t already know, the Boy Scouts have stood up again for god, flag and country and said no damn gays here. No way. 

On his radio show yesterday, Mike Huckabee spelled out in no uncertain terms that he believes the policy is “right” because it protects boys from abuse. He welcomed a call from a listener who had been abused by his scout leader, and Huckabee agreed that part of the definition of “homosexual” is molesting children . . .

Story here.

As for the kid in the picture, that’s Eagle Scout Eric Jones.

He said his troop is like family to him. While both his parents and fellow troop members accepted him, Jones was forced to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America because of a century-old policy about homosexuality.

 

Thank you Ann Romney for the confirmation

Last week I said this:

Romney is increasingly sounding like someone who believes that whatever he chooses to share with the electorate ought to be enough for them. Noblesse oblige and all ya’know.

Yesterday Ann Romney said this.

Ann Romney dismissed concerns about her husband’s tax returns Thursday, contending that the two of them have “given all you people need to know.”

. . . “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she added later.

I don’t think it could be any clearer – we’re little people and we should just be satisfied with what they choose to let us know. It’s really not our business. Just like, as she says, it’s not our business how they live their lives..

You might want to check the Republican platform Ann – it’s all about how your party thinks we should we live our lives. It’s conservative orthodoxy that a morality, apparently a Christian inspired one, must be imposed upon those of us who don’t fit.

Also, I want to know if you guys wear that magic Mormon underwear. Because if you do, isn’t that likereligion requiring men wear a beard and women cover their heads? Isn’t that kind of like Sharia?

It’s okay if you’re Saudi Arabia

From Jonathan Turley’s blog. More at BBC.

Let me just say “vagina”. Also, “vagina”.

In case the troglodytes in the Michigan legislature can’t hear us, I’ll make my own voice a little louder:

Vagina.   VAGINA.   VAGINA!

Onward, Christian soldiers, with your pitch-perfect suicide mission

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross.”                                                               Sinclair Lewis

Chris Hedges wrote this article in 2007 –   before there was a Tea Party, before the world economic meltdown, before the dysfunctional congress . . . and before Citizens’ United.

Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age — he was then close to 80 — we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”

. . . He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He had been in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as the Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo . . .

Adams understood [then, in 1988] that totalitarian movements are built out of deep personal and economic despair. He warned that the flight of manufacturing jobs, the impoverishment of the American working class, the physical obliteration of communities in the vast, soulless exurbs and decaying Rust Belt, were swiftly deforming our society . . .

The mounting despair [now] rippling across the United States, one I witnessed repeatedly as I traveled the country, remains unaddressed by the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the working class, like its Republican counterpart, for massive corporate funding. . .

. . . the powerbrokers in the Christian right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the House before the last elections earned approval ratings of 80 to 100 percent from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups — the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council

Again, he wrote this in 2007. And I agree with him, it’s the thing I fear most, and now our stateless corporate oligarchs have been given the gift of the Tea Party as hapless ground troops. And the poor sods will celebrate in the streets when they take Congress.

I’m in a very bad mood.

Ah, but did Hitler diddle little boys?

From a recent homily by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria (unfortunate name that):

[some governments] “tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches . . . Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care . . . In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda – now seems intent on following a similar path.”

So . . . comprehensive health care / ethic cleansing and genocide . . . not very different actually.