Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rapturous Applause

The Religious Reich is having the best time ever with Trump in office.  Even more than they would have if the Republicans had elected one of their own.  Peter Montgomery in The American Prospect reports:

Not only is Trump a reckless and divisive president who shows contempt for anyone who crosses him and who has energized a white nationalist movement that could wreak havoc on American political and social culture for a long time to come—he’s also the best thing that’s ever happened to the religious right.

To be fair, there was a logical foundation for believing that Trump would be less of a culture warrior than a president who is a conservative evangelical. Pence has a long anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ record. And there is a basis for the argument that Trump is so incompetent that a Mike Pence or a Ted Cruz might have been more successful dealing with Congress.

But it is hard to imagine the religious right doing any better under a President Pence or President Cruz than they are with President Trump. But because the president is the crass, amoral, prideful, and dishonest huckster Trump, rather than a faith-on-their-sleeve true believer like Pence or Cruz, the religious right has been able to have to wield an outsized influence on national policy while avoiding the kind of scrutiny that would come if they were working with one of their own in the White House.

When they think “one of their own,” they’re not thinking about someone who shares their religious convictions; they’re thinking about someone who knows how to run a good con and pluck the pigeons.  Religious hucksters like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Jim Bakker see in Trump a fellow con artist and one they admire because he was able to pull off his swindle without having to hide behind a veil of piety and false prophecy.  He was even able to get away without paying taxes, the same as they do, but without having to come up with the religious angle.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who’s using religion more cynically, Trump or his right-wing religious boosters. Trump’s evangelical advisers have been sticking with him even as corporate CEOs started walking away after Trump gave political cover to white nationalists. As long as President Trump is giving them what they want, the religious right continues to explain away his dishonesty, cruelty, and recklessness, and even portrays his political opponents as enemies of God. “Values voters,” indeed.

The most maddening thing about this collection of god-botherers and pompous, arrogant, and cynical fraudsters is that when the walls come a-tumbling down around Trump and his gang, they’ll all walk away without a scratch, claiming they were doing God’s work to try to rescue the country through any means possible and that human failings are just another challenge for the faithful.  And they’ll raise a ton of money off of it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Reading

Now What? — Suzy Khimm in The New Republic on where the Religious Right goes now.

It’s been a rough stretch lately for Christian social conservatives, whose nightmare came to life this past summer with the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage in Obergefell vs. Hodges. But the annual Values Voter Summit kicked off this past weekend in Washington with shouts of jubilation, as activists celebrated the unexpected news that House Speaker John Boehner would be resigning amid the fight over social conservatives’ effort to defund Planned Parenthood or force a government shutdown. “Yes!” one man shouted above the deafening cheers and applause on Friday morning after Senator Marco Rubio interrupted his address to announce Boehner’s exit from the podium. “Amen!” shouted another.

Later, on Friday evening, another packed room at the Omni Shoreham would erupt once again when Kim Davis, the defiant country clerk from Kentucky, took the stage to accept an award for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “I am only one,” Davis told the crowd in her brief remarks, her voice rising to a shout. “But we are many!”

It was a pent-up primal scream that these Christian culture-warriors have long been waiting to unleash. While these triumphal moments may have been fleeting—Boehner almost surely won’t be replaced as speaker by a hardcore social conservative, and Davis’s stand has done nothing concrete to advance the cause of religious liberties—the urge to cheer for something was easy to understand; right about now, evangelicals will take whatever victories they can get. Ever since the religious right’s political power arguably peaked in 2004, when President George W. Bush and Karl Rove made gay-marriage bans a centerpiece of their re-election strategy, social conservatives have watched helplessly as their “family values” agenda fizzled, as the tide increasingly swam against them on gay marriage, and as Tea Partiers replaced them as the most coveted constituency for Republican candidates to court. While they’ve had great success in enacting abortion restrictions in many states, they’ve seen popular support for much of their once-ambitious policy agenda erode.

Despite the hallelujahs, what this year’s summit ended up highlighting was not the resurgent power of Christian conservatives in the Republican Party, but how much their influence on the policy debate has diminished outside of the issue of abortion. As usual, most of the major GOP presidential contenders—even the unlikely figure of Donald Trumpcame courting the crowd of 2,700 who’d registered for the event. But they offered little besides effusive praise for Kim Davis and utterly vague—if not utterly unrealistic—promises to champion religious liberties in the White House. When the summit-goers left Washington to scatter back to their hometowns across America, they left with no clear idea of what to fight for next on gay marriage—or how.

Get To Know Jorge Ramos — William Finnegan at The New Yorker profiles the Univision anchor and best-known journalist you’ve never heard of.

When Jorge Ramos travels in Middle America, nobody recognizes him—until somebody does. Ramos is the evening-news co-anchor on Univision, the country’s largest Spanish-language TV network, a job he has held since 1986. A few weeks ago, I was on a flight with him from Chicago to Dubuque. Ramos, who is fifty-seven, is slim, not tall, with white hair and an unassuming demeanor. Wearing jeans, a gray sports coat, and a blue open-collared shirt, he went unremarked. But then, as he disembarked, a fellow-passenger, a stranger in her thirties, drew him aside at the terminal gate, speaking rapidly in Spanish. Ramos bowed his head to listen. The woman was a teacher at a local technical college. Things in this part of Iowa were bad, she said. People were afraid to leave their houses. When they went to Walmart, they only felt comfortable going at night. Ramos nodded. Her voice was urgent. She wiped her eyes. He held her arm while she composed herself. The woman thanked him and rushed away.

“Did you hear that?” he asked, at the car-rental counter. “They only go out to Walmart at night.”

In an Italian restaurant on a sleepy corner in downtown Dubuque, a dishwasher came out from the kitchen toward the end of lunch to pay her respects. She, too, fought back tears as she thanked Ramos for his work. He asked her how long she had been in Iowa. Five years, she said. She was from Hidalgo, not far from Mexico City, Ramos’s home town. She hurried back to the kitchen.

“We have almost no political representation,” Ramos said. He meant Latinos in the United States. “Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz won’t defend the undocumented.”

“A Country for All,” Ramos’s most recent book—he has published eleven—is dedicated to “all undocumented immigrants.” He was trying to explain how a journalist finds himself in the role of advocate.

“We’re a young community,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect ABC, or any of the mainstream networks, to take a position on immigration, health care, anything. But at Univision it’s different. We are pro-immigrant. That’s our audience, and people depend on us. When we are better represented politically, that role for us will recede.”

Besides co-anchoring the nightly news, and cranking out books, Ramos hosts a Sunday-morning public-affairs show, “Al Punto” (“To the Point”), and writes a syndicated column; for the past two years, he has also hosted a weekly news-magazine show, “America with Jorge Ramos,” in English, on a fledgling network (a joint venture of Univision and ABC) called Fusion. (When Jon Stewart asked him, on “The Daily Show,” to account for his hyperactivity, Ramos said, “I’m an immigrant. So I just need to get a lot of jobs.”) His English is fluent, if strongly accented. His Spanish, particularly on-air, is carefully neutral—pan-Latino, not noticeably Mexican. Univision’s audience comes from many different countries, and the network broadcasts from Miami, where the most common form of Spanish is Cuban.

Ramos occupies a peculiar place in the American news media. He has won eight Emmys and an armload of journalism awards, covered every major story since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and interviewed every American President since George H. W. Bush. (He’s interviewed Barack Obama half a dozen times.) But his affiliation can work against him. In June, when he sent a handwritten letter to Donald Trump, who had just launched his Presidential campaign, requesting an interview, it was no dice. Univision had cut its business ties with Trump, including its telecasts of the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe beauty pageants, after Trump accused Mexico of sending “rapists” to the United States. Trump posted Ramos’s letter on Instagram, crowing that Univision was “begging” him for interviews. The letter included Ramos’s personal cell-phone number, which Ramos was then obliged to change. In the weeks that followed, Trump produced a stream of provocative remarks and proposals about Mexicans and immigration, giving the national immigration-policy debate the hardest edge it has had in generations. Now Ramos really wanted to interview him.

Signs Of The Times — Michael Paulson in the New York Times on the revival of the musical “Spring Awakening” with deaf actors.

Staging a Broadway show is always a three-dimensional chess game. But this “Spring Awakening,” which uses eight deaf actors, eight hearing actors and seven onstage musicians, has added another layer of complexity and sparked a burst of theatrical innovation.

Musicals, after all, are built around sound, and ordinarily it is a beat, a lyric or a spoken phrase that signals to an actor when to walk on or walk off, when to begin a speech or a song, when to start a step. But for this “Spring Awakening,” the director Michael Arden, the choreographer Spencer Liff and the actors themselves have devised an array of silent cues: hidden lights, coded gestures, timed touches and prompting props.

“Spring Awakening,” a darkly tragic drama about adolescent sexuality in a repressive community, was written as a play by Frank Wedekind in 1891, and then adapted into a rock musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik in 2006. The adaptation was a hit on Broadway — it won eight Tony awards, including for best new musical, provided starmaking roles to Lea Michele (“Glee”), Jonathan Groff (“Hamilton”) and John Gallagher Jr. (“American Idiot”), and ran for just over two years.

Mr. Arden, who has been collaborating with the Los Angeles troupe Deaf West Theater since appearing in their Broadway revival of “Big River” in 2003, thought that “Spring Awakening,” which he viewed as “a cautionary tale about the perils of miscommunication,” would have great resonance with a deaf cast. Both “Big River” and this “Spring Awakening” had two productions in Los Angeles before transferring to Broadway.

Without altering the Sater-Sheik book or lyrics, Mr. Arden has added a new context for the story. The deaf actors portray deaf students in a school that does not allow the use of sign language, implicitly nodding to a historical event (contemporaneous with the play’s setting in late 19th-century Germany) in which an international conference of educators called for the mandatory and exclusive use of oralism (lip reading and speech) when teaching deaf students.

In one scene, a teacher, played by Patrick Page, can be seen threatening students who use sign language, attempting to train the deaf to speak by having them feel, and then mimic, the movement of his mouth and throat, and by having them watch the impact of vocalizations on a feather held in front of the face.

In this “Spring Awakening,” which opened to good reviews on Sept. 27, the deaf actors are at the center: Mr. Arden has asked the cast, and is now expecting audiences, to focus attention on the signing, not the singing. The deaf actors are often downstage and lighted from the front; their hearing partners are generally lighted from behind, and in ensemble numbers the cast members look toward the signers.

“It is highly important that the performance is the deaf actors’, and the hearing actors are following their intention — we get in trouble if we get ahead of them,” said the actress Camryn Manheim, a onetime sign language interpreter who is making her Broadway debut playing several adult women in the show.

Doonesbury — Bigfooting.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Common Core

Okay, students, here’s a pop quiz: which prominent political alliance is violently opposed to the teaching of evolution and promotes religious theories in the science curriculum?

  • ISIS
  • The Texas Republican Party

Trick question: they both do.


In Mosul, ISIS issued a statement nearly two weeks ago, declaring “good news of the establishment of the Islamic State Education Diwan by the caliph who seeks to eliminate ignorance, to spread religious sciences and to fight the decayed curriculum.”

The AP report added that Islamic State explicitly prohibits lessons on “Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.”

As it turns out, Iraqi schools weren’t teaching evolution anyway, but in the name of “eliminating ignorance,” ISIS wants to be absolutely certain that modern biology is banned from science classes. The violent extremists prefer “religious sciences.”

Texas GOP Platform:

The document also rails against teaching evolution in schools, demands that schools restrict access to “community organizers” […], and encouraging schools to embrace “subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems.”

So the real question is do we fight them over there or over here?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Original Sin

Most people — including myself — thought that the rise of the Religious Right and their takeover of the Republican Party started in 1973 when the Supreme Court handed down their ruling on Roe v. Wade.  After all, the evangelicals take a back seat to no one when it comes to telling us that life begins at conception and that every sperm is sacred.

However, according to a piece in Politico by Dartmouth Professor Randall Balmer, it wasn’t the right to life that got them riled up.  In fact, a number of fundamentalist and evangelical churches agreed with the ruling, one leader going so far as to say “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

Although a few evangelical voices, including Christianity Today magazine, mildly criticized the ruling, the overwhelming response was silence, even approval. Baptists, in particular, applauded the decision as an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior.

So what was it that fired up the Christian soldiers to take over the party and inject it with their own dogmatic view of morality and purity if it wasn’t abortion?

It was another court ruling and it nothing to do with the right to life.

In May 1969, a group of African-American parents in Holmes County, Mississippi, sued the Treasury Department to prevent three new whites-only K-12 private academies from securing full tax-exempt status, arguing that their discriminatory policies prevented them from being considered “charitable” institutions. The schools had been founded in the mid-1960s in response to the desegregation of public schools set in motion by the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. In 1969, the first year of desegregation, the number of white students enrolled in public schools in Holmes County dropped from 771 to 28; the following year, that number fell to zero.

In Green v. Kennedy (David Kennedy was secretary of the treasury at the time), decided in January 1970, the plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction, which denied the “segregation academies” tax-exempt status until further review. In the meantime, the government was solidifying its position on such schools. Later that year, President Richard Nixon ordered the Internal Revenue Service to enact a new policy denying tax exemptions to all segregated schools in the United States. Under the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which forbade racial segregation and discrimination, discriminatory schools were not—by definition—“charitable” educational organizations, and therefore they had no claims to tax-exempt status; similarly, donations to such organizations would no longer qualify as tax-deductible contributions.

On June 30, 1971, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued its ruling in the case, now Green v. Connally (John Connally had replaced David Kennedy as secretary of the Treasury). The decision upheld the new IRS policy: “Under the Internal Revenue Code, properly construed, racially discriminatory private schools are not entitled to the Federal tax exemption provided for charitable, educational institutions, and persons making gifts to such schools are not entitled to the deductions provided in case of gifts to charitable, educational institutions.”

Paul Weyrich, the late religious conservative political activist and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, saw his opening.


“The new political philosophy must be defined by us [conservatives] in moral terms, packaged in non-religious language, and propagated throughout the country by our new coalition,” Weyrich wrote in the mid-1970s. “When political power is achieved, the moral majority will have the opportunity to re-create this great nation.”

In other words, if the government could deny tax-exempt status to schools and universities that practiced racial segregation, then what is the world coming to?

And thus was born the Religious Right, cloaking their racism in morality and picking up the right to choose as a convenient hostage.  We’re seeing it borne out today with their obsession with voter ID laws, strict immigration reform, the dismantling of the welfare safety net, and providing a subtext for everything they do in opposition to whatever it is that Barack Obama comes up with even if they thought of it themselves.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here There Be Dragons

Remember that family of hard-core Christians who tried to sail away from all the evils of life in America and got stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?  They’re at it again.

Back in August, the Gastonguay family cited “abortion, homosexuality [and] the state-controlled church” as reasons for leaving the US to the island nation of Kiribati. However, the voyage did not go as planned as damage to their boat left them “adrift for weeks.” “They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile,” the Associated Press reported.

Sean Gastonguay appeared on TruNews with Rick Wiles yesterday to discuss his plans to leave with his wife and children once again to escape what he perceives as anti-Christian persecution.

Maybe this time they’ll just sail off the edge of the Earth.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Have To Believe It Was Magic

Religion vs. Christian 07-07-12Far be it from me to knock someone else’s religion as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s faith and freedom.  As John Lennon said, “whatever gets you through the night.”  In other words, feel free to do whatever you like as long as it doesn’t harm innocent bystanders or force itself on them.  If you want to make a deity out of a ’57 Chevy, go for it.  But skate over the edge into running other people’s lives, and we have a problem.

That’s what bothers me about the fundamentalist Christians.  Not content to wallow in their own particular brand of worship, they feel compelled to share it with the rest of us.  And by “share” I mean force it on the rest of the world by shame, lung power, and legislation.

People who do stuff like that have some sort of inferiority complex; they have to prove themselves better than the schlemiel who doesn’t think of Jesus as their personal savior, and they can’t sleep at night because of their obsession about the gay couple down the street doing unspeakable things in their bedroom.  (If my experience is any guide, the most unspeakable thing that goes on in a gay couple’s bedroom is one of them hogging the blanket on a cold night.)

This leads to the paranoia that the world is out to get them, and the fact that only 80% of Americans identify as nominally Christian in some form or another is just not good enough.  If someone tells them that no, you really can’t force a biology class to include the pleasant poetry of Genesis or that it is a misdemeanor to block access to a medical clinic,  they are being denied their religious freedom.  It never occurs to them that banning marriage equality might violate the religious freedom of those Christians who believe that God blesses all unions regardless of genitalia.  No, the world is out to get them, and the only way to free themselves from this horrible oppression is to do unto others before they do unto you.

That has led to some pretty wild conspiracy theories on behalf of the Religious Reich.  Amanda Marcotte at Salon has compiled a list of the Top Ten, ranging from same-sex marriage being a plot by lesbians to entrap men (which kind of flies in the face of a basic understanding of lesbianism) to the efficacy of birth control pills.  My favorite, though, is the hatred of Harry Potter.

JK Rowling is trying to lure your children into Satanism with her Harry Potter books. Hardline Christian conservatives have always been afraid pop culture is a conspiracy of Satan’s to attract impressionable young people, so it’s unsurprising that Rowling’s Harry Potter series, with its portrayal of fantasy magic, made the top of the list of products to be feared. The hysteria hit a peak in 2001, with fundamentalist activists accusing the books of trying to “desensitize readers and introduce them to the occult” and “trafficking in evil spirits.” Things were made worse when the Onion published a satirical article Christian conservatives didn’t realize was satire, causing them to literally believe young kids told the Onion things like, “But the Harry Potter books showed me that magic is real, something I can learn and use right now, and that the Bible is nothing but boring lies.” The furor has died down somewhat, but plenty of evangelical leaders still routinely claim demons can possess your body if you read Harry Potter.

That’s ironic on several levels, the first being that people who base their faith and practice on the literal interpretation of a book filled with magic and talking snakes are carrying on about a book filled with magic and talking snakes.

It sounds to me as if they have a problem with envy: J.K. Rowling became a multimillionaire, and the Harry Potter books are a much better read, at least for the kids.

Right-wing Christians want to spread joy and good news throughout the world, but they really can’t be happy doing it unless they make the rest of us miserable.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Make Room for Bigots

The Religious Right is not happy with the GOP rebranding effort.

RIO RANCHO RIO GRANDE RON GARCIASome leaders of the religious right are openly worried this week after a sprawling 98-page report released by the Republican National Committee on how the party can rebuild after its 2012 implosion made no mention of the GOP’s historic alliance with grassroots Christian “value voters.”

Specifically, the word “Christian” does not appear once in the party’s 50,000-word blueprint for renewed electoral success. Nor does the word “church.” Abortion and marriage, the two issues that most animate social conservatives, are nowhere to be found. There is nothing about the need to protect religious liberty, or promote Judeo-Christian values in society. And the few fleeting suggestions that the party coordinate with “faith-based communities” — mostly in the context of minority outreach — receive roughly as much space as the need to become more “inclusive” of gays.

To many religious conservatives, the report was interpreted as a slight against their agenda and the hard work they have done for the party.

“The report didn’t mention religion much, if at all,” said Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association. “You cannot grow your party by distancing yourself from your base, and this report doesn’t reinforce the values that attracted me and many other people into the Republican Party in the first place. It just talks about reaching out to other groups.”

Is there no place left in America where these people can be secure in their reactionary anti-science, anti-woman bigotry?  How intolerant can the GOP be?

Not to worry, all you latter-day Torquemadas; the Republican Party knows that there are fat pigeons to be plucked with scary visions of gay weddings being held at the abortion clinics and jack-booted thugs confiscating guns at the FEMA camps.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vatican Fashion

Here’s what the newest pope emeritus will be wearing this spring:

Gone will be the red “Prada” loafers, replaced by brown shoes made in Leon, Mexico.

A pair was given to the Pope on a recent trip there. After Thursday, the Pope’s “fisherman’s ring” will also be destroyed.

You know how hard it is to coordinate your accessories.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hot Tip

This photo is going viral:


And here’s the background:

The pastor was part of a party of 20 who ate at this server’s restaurant. Like many American restaurants, this particular one has a policy of adding an automatic 18% tip for large parties. It’s something the computer does automatically, not something the server has any control over. According to the server, the pastor and his party tried to get around the automatic 18% tip by asking for separate checks, even though the same man was paying for the whole table. The server says that everyone was happy with the service; they just didn’t like the idea of a compulsory tip. The result? The pastor scribbled out the tip, leaving none at all, and adding the note, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”

Having worked as a waiter, I’ve had that happen to me, too.  Once someone left me a bible tract, saying that it was much more precious than money.  I asked them how many of those would add up to my rent payments.  The owner of the restaurant saw what happened.  She stormed out of the kitchen and told the pastor and his family to get their sorry asses out and not to come back ever.

I wonder what makes these people think they’re doing a good job of selling their faith to others if they act like cheap poltroons.

HT to JMG.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Doggone It

The White House holiday card is out.

It was selected in a contest, and here’s the backstory on it.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?  Sure you do.

The inside of the card reportedly reads, ”This season, may your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays.” The card is signed by the entire First Family — along with Bo’s paw print.

Vanity Fair deemed this year’s Obama ‘Holiday’ card his best-ever in a posting titled, “Bo Obama: the True Meaning of Christmas.”

The 2012 card made no mention of any specific holiday nor did it include a Bible verse noting the birth of Christ.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, while 80% of the people in this country may self-identify as some version of Christian, not everyone does, and the president and the White House is for everyone, not just them.  Second, there are other holidays this time of year besides Christmas.

Besides, didn’t some other right-wing bitter prune already give the Obamas grief about over-doing the Christmas stuff inside the White House?

Good dog.

PS: Frank Bruni notes just how powerful the Christian influence is in America.

HT to Melissa.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Remote Control

Via JMG, we learn today that One Million Moms, the right-wing guardians of all that is pure and holy, is hawking a device called TVGuardian.

Have you ever been watching what you thought was a good, clean, family movie…only to be ambushed by crude, offensive language? Ever heard God’s name used in vain or Jesus’ name as a cuss word on TV? The leading cable and satellite providers in America KNOW that families and people of faith don’t want obscene language on TV…yet they continue to do NOTHING about it. Now there’s a way YOU can take control over the language in your home: TVGuardian, the only foul language filter available for TV today. TVGuardian is a small box you connect to your TV and it automatically filters out foul language…crude language…sexual language…racial slurs…even God’s name in vain and Jesus’ name used as a cussword!

They want $129 for one of these little devices.

I have one on my TV and doesn’t cost a cent.  It’s called a Mute button.  There’s also something called the Off button.

I wonder what it was like at the TVGuardian factory when they were coming up with the list of “foul language” to include in the blocking software.  That must have been fun: “Hey, what about ‘sanctimonious busybodies’ — should that be on the list?  What about ‘closet case Speedo sniffer’?”

Isn’t it nice that a bunch of right-wing Jesus-shouting control freaks can dictate what you and your family should be watching on TV?  It’s so much better than you having to think for yourself or do your job as a parent.

Back On Earth

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) does some creative backtracking.

After dabbling in creationism earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., clarified that he does believe that scientists know the Earth is “at least 4.5 billion years old.”

“There is no scientific debate on the age of the earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively, it’s at least 4.5 billion years old,” Rubio told Mike Allen of Politico. ”I was referring to a theological debate, which is a pretty healthy debate.

“The theological debate is, how do you reconcile with what science has definitively established with what you may think your faith teaches,” Rubio continued. “Now for me, actually, when it comes to the age of the earth, there is no conflict.”

Speaking of creative, that’s some mighty good misremembering of what he actually said when the topic was brought up the last time: “I’m not a scientist, man.”  And tossing it back to the “theological debate” category is a weasely way out of it because in reality, there is no healthy debate among theologians about their creation mythology unless you’re building a theme park in Kentucky.

Our little boy is learning quickly that you can’t talk like a crackpot and expect to be elected anything more than the Tea Party flavor of the month.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charity Case

This is the time of year when you start seeing those folks standing outside stores and shopping malls with the Salvation Army kettles, ringing their little bells, asking you to put in some money.  It’s a tradition going back decades, and they do it to help those less fortunate.  The Salvation Army also has collected and distributed a lot of funds and help during the recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, and they do provide help for the less fortunate.  That’s very noble of them, and I am sure that there are a lot of people who are grateful for their assistance.

But remember one thing: the Salvation Army is not a charity.  It is an evangelical church, and despite protests to the contrary, they are anti-gay and promote discrimination in their hiring practices against LGBT people.  No, they do not discriminate against people who avail themselves of their services or receive help from them, but if you want to work for them, you can’t be gay.

Far be it from me to tell you who to give your money to in terms of charitable giving; that is strictly between you and your purse.  If you want to support the Salvation Army in what they do, please do.  But remember that it comes with a little bit of a price.

As for me, when I see those people standing outside the mall or a store, I smile and walk right on by.  I do not wish to embarrass them by giving them any money that might be tainted by being earned by someone who would chew away at their theological fabric.  That would be very uncharitable.

(For more on the Salvation Army’s history on LGBT people, check out Americablog.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Pat Robertson explains how he blew the call from God that Mitt Romney would win the election.

“You have to practice the presence of God, practice to voice of God, practice hearing from God and then check to see if indeed you are hearing from Him. And so many of us miss God. I’ll tell you, I won’t get into great detail about elections, but I sure did miss it and I thought I had heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God. What happened? What intervenes? Why? You ask God, ‘How did I miss it?’ Well, we all do and I’ve had a lot of practice.

Nah, I think he was just messing with you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Church Is Out

One result of the election that goes beyond just counting the votes:

Christian conservatives, for more than two decades a pivotal force in American politics, are grappling with Election Day results that repudiated their influence and suggested that the cultural tide — especially on gay issues — has shifted against them.


“Millions of American evangelicals are absolutely shocked by not just the presidential election, but by the entire avalanche of results that came in,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Ky., said in an interview. “It’s not that our message — we think abortion is wrong, we think same-sex marriage is wrong — didn’t get out. It did get out.

“It’s that the entire moral landscape has changed,” he said. “An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them.”

Yes, and it’s about time, too.

I don’t have a problem with religion and religious folk having a point of view about morals.  I don’t even object to them having lobbyists in Washington or state capitals to make their points to people in power.  What I do not like is having religion turned into political power and biblical tenets written into law, especially when they’re used to oppress one particular group of citizens.

So if America is rejecting the “moral landscape” as it has been constructed by those that would break down the barrier between church and state, turn back the clock on women, and deny the basic rights of citizenship to the gay community, that’s a good thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

With Him Or Against Him

The backlash against Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock and his comments about God and rape continues.  Some notable Republicans (John McCain and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire) are distancing themselves while others (Mitch McConnell) are supporting him.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, who cut a commercial endorsing Mr. Mourdock, is still with him.  Via TPM:

[Wednesday] night the Romney campaign put out a statement disagreeing with Mourdock’s comment but not denouncing him. And the campaign did not respond to questions about whether he was withdrawing his endorsement.

The key though is the ad. Democrats are pushing hard for him to ask Mourdock to take it down. And if the Mourdock story grows, I suspect he’ll have to ask him to take it down, which would be devastating for Mourdock — not so much because of the ad not showing but because of the merciless press it could spawn so close to election day.

The fate of the ad is what I’d watch to see where this story is going over the course of the day.

Late Update: The Romney campaign has now said they have not asked Mourdock to take down the ad.

Later Update: Freshman GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte cancels trip to campaign with Mourdock.

Even Later Update: Romney reaffirms support for Mourdock candidacy.

One reason might be is that Paul Ryan’s view on abortion is basically the same as Mr. Mourdock’s.

When Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin brought up the subject of “legitimate rape” back in August, the GOP couldn’t run away fast enough.  Now Mr. Mourdock has said something equally outrageous, and yet he’s still got support from big names in the party.  Why?

It may have something to do with the fact that Mr. Mourdock invoked God in his statement, whereas Mr. Akin only went with pseudo-science.  It’s far easier to distance yourself from someone who only offers what he thinks are scientific facts as proof rather than incur the wrath of the Almighty by seeming to contradict His Will.  Scientific facts are debatable; God is not.

PS: According to The Onion, God is not pleased with these recent developments.