Archive for the “U.S. Politics” Category
Politics in the United States
One of the more frequent employers of the “disaster theology” tactic is Marion “Pat” Robertson. You know, the guy who thought the Haiti earthquake was the result of God having cursed that country for having thrown off the yoke of French colonialism, and who agreed with the Reverend Falwell that the September 11, 2001 attacks happened because of the ACLU, feminists, and gays (WebCite cached article; audio available here.).
It seems Patty-boy can’t get enough of his disaster theology; according to the Washington Post On Faith blog, Robertson did it again, with respect to the Virginia earthquake a few days ago (cached):
Pat Robertson, natural disaster interpreter extraordinaire, said on Wednesday’s 700 Club that the earthquake that struck the Washington region Tuesday “means that we’re closer to the coming of the Lord.”
On Thursday’s broadcast, Robertson pointed to the damage to the Washington Monument in the earthquake as a possible ‘sign’ from God:
“It seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power. It has been the symbol of our great nation. We look at the symbol and we say ‘this is one nation under God.’ Now there’s a crack in it… Is that sign from the Lord? … You judge. It seems to me symbolic.”
The idea that any given catastrophe is a signal that Jesus is finally coming back, is as old as Christianity itself, dating back at least to the evangelists:
The televangelist Wednesday cited Matthew’s Gospel, and the earthquake’s “upheaval in the earth” as a sign that the End Times are nearing. Natural disasters, war and “one world government,” Robertson said, citing Scripture, are all “birth pangs” of the world to come.
So you see, there’s nothing original here. This is really just “End Times” talk that no rational person need bother paying attention to. The problem is, there are too many irrational people in the US, and many of them are, sadly, paying attention to jabbering ignoramuses like Patty Robertson. Even worse … a lot of them vote!
Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.
, disaster theology
, marion pat robertson
, marion robertson
, pat robertson
, virginia earthquake
, washington DC
, washington monument
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With Christofascist Michele Bachmann leaping to the fore of the pack of Religious Rightists who are climbing all over each other to become the Republican candidate for president next year, and she being a rigid fundamentalist Christian, I suppose it was inevitable that the scriptural role of women in Christianity (especially in Bachmann’s version of it) would come up. She appeared on all the Sunday shows — since she won the more or less useless Iowa Straw Poll — and addressed this on Face the Nation, as CBS News reports (WebCite cached article):
Appearing on “Face the Nation” Sunday, Rep. Michele Bachmann stood by her comment in Thursday’s Republican debate that when she said that wives should be submissive to their husbands, she meant that married couples should have mutual respect.
In 2006, Bachmann said her husband had told her to get a post-doctorate degree in tax law. “Tax law? I hate taxes,” she continued. “Why should I go into something like that? But the lord says, be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.’”
Naturally, therefore, this dutiful scriptural Christian wife did precisely as her husband had told her to do. In other words, she was obedient. However, when questioned on this, Bachmann said something very different:
“I respect my husband, he respects me,” she said. “We have been married 33 years, we have a great marriage…and respecting each other, listening to each other is what that means.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see how “obedience” can be “mutual,” a word which implies “equality.” Continued questions only caused Bachmann to fall into even more ridiculous semantic claims:
“Do you think submissive means subservient?” O’Donnell asked.
“Not to us,” Bachmann said. “To us it means respect. We respect each other, we listen to each other, we love each other and that is what it means.”
Unfortunately, neither “submissive” nor “subservient” even comes close to implying the kind of equanimity that Bachmann outlines in that last sentence.
Those not familiar with fundamentalist Christianity may not understand what this is all about. It comes from two Bible verses, nearly identical, found in two different deutero-Pauline epistles — Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18. These are translated into English variously:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (New American Standard Bible)
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (King James Version)
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. (New American Bible)
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (NASB)
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (KJV)
Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. (NAB)
In the original Greek, these verses are as follows (courtesy of Unbound Bible):
αι γυναικες τοις ιδιοις ανδρασιν υποτασσεσθε ως τω κυριω (Ephesians 5:22)
αι γυναικες υποτασσεσθε τοις ιδιοις ανδρασιν ως ανηκεν εν κυριω (Colossians 3:18)
The Greek word in question, then, is υποτασσεσθε, a form of the verb υποτασσω which can mean any of the following: “to submit to,” “place under,” “be subordinate to,” “to obey,” “be under the authority of,” etc. but which is assuredly related to υποτιμω, which means “to abase.” Not one of these possible meanings of υποτασσω comes anywhere near to expressing the kind of equanimity or mutuality that Bachmann suggests it means. In fact, the context of the verse — both in Greek and in English translation — only further confirms that it means anything but equality, and that is in the mention of “lordship” (e.g. “as unto the Lord” or τω κυριω). The concept being conveyed in both verses is that the husband-&-wife relationship is the equivalent of the Jesus-Christ-to-his-Church relationship, in which the latter is decidedly subject to (or subordinate to, or under the authority of, however you want to say it) the former. There is absolutely no equality, either stated or implied, in either of these verses. Not one iota of it. (Pun intended.)
The bottom line of both these verses is that wives — and by extension, all women — constitute a second-class within Christianity. No other interpretation of these verses makes any sense, because the exact words here cannot be construed to mean anything else — if one assumes (as Bachmann and her fellow fundamentalists supposedly do) that the Bible can only be read strictly and literally. If on the other hand one assumes these epistles were written by mere human beings, and specifically by male authors trying to propound their authority over women … well … that’s something else.
Really, this whole idiotic episode is just Bachmann’s way of veering out of the way of the strict scriptural directive that women are to be subordinate to men, so that she can then justify running for president, an office in which she would have authority over men (if she were elected). There’s no way around it.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr.
, biblical literalism
, biblical literalist
, christian right
, colossians 3:18
, ephesians 5:22
, michele bachmann
, religious right
, subject to
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The good Christofascist people of Cross City, Florida are … <ahem> … a bit “cross” over a judge’s order telling them to take down a Ten Commandments monument in front of the Dixie County courthouse. The AP reports via USA Today on these Christofascists’ fit over being told to remove it (WebCite cached article):
The folks who live in this sparsely populated rural region along Florida’s upper west coast don’t like outsiders butting in, especially when it comes to their religious beliefs.
They’re miffed, to put it politely, and appealing a federal judge’s order to remove a five-foot high granite monument that prominently displays the Ten Commandments in front of the Dixie County courthouse by Sunday. …
Dixie County officials and residents say support for their monument is unanimous and they accuse outsiders of trampling on their way of life.
This little pissing contest has been going on for some time, and it seems to be predicated on the locals’ notion that courts who dare tell them to stop using government facilities to order others to worship their religion, are “outsiders” who, therefore, are not allowed to tell them what to do.
Sorry to tell the childish militant Christianists, but the courts are more than entitled to tell you what to do. Don’t like it? Tough. I suppose you could try to secede from the country, but that’s been tried once already and it didn’t exactly work out too well for the secessionists. So I don’t think it’d be a good idea now.
The militants trot out the usual whines and bellyaches:
“We have not had one negative comment from the community,” said county manager Mike Cassidy, a 48-year-old, fourth-generation Floridian who grew up in Cross City. “No one in this county has come forward and said, ‘this should be removed.’ It has been totally unanimous.”
Unfortunately, Mr Cassidy, the fact that everyone in your locality has knuckled under to your militant Christofascism, doesn’t make it Constitutional, and it doesn’t make it right.
As one expects of micro-minded immature little pipsqueaks, locals have even taken to leveling threats:
There will be people standing around it to protect it when they come to remove it,” said Donald Eady, a 38-year-old mobile mechanic who lives in neighboring Old Town, a short jaunt south down four-lane U.S. Highway 19.
Yeah, that’s the way, people. Show how much more moral and upright you are, than the rest of the “heathens,” by threatening people who dare to remove your Decalogue idol. What a classy move. I’m sure your Jesus would approve. After all, when he was alive and teaching, he set up Decalogue monuments and ordered his followers to make obeisance to them.
Oh wait. He didn’t!
What a bunch of juvenile little morons live in Cross City, Florida!
Photo credit: DrGBB / Flickr.
, christian right
, cross city
, cross city FL
, decalogue idol
, decalogue monument
, dixie county
, dixie county courthouse
, dixie cty
, dixie cty FL
, donald eady
, establishment clause
, first amendment
, mike cassidy
, religious right
, ten commandments
, ten commandments idol
, ten commandments monument
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Texas governor Rick Perry would like to succeed his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the country’s next evangelical-in-chief. He’s a bit more of a Christofascist than Bush was (but not by much), having done things such as to order all of the people of his state — religious or not — to pray for rain. He’s also done some other extreme, but not quite so religious, things as to threaten the secession of Texas if his personally-desired policies were not enacted in Washington (WebCite cached article).
The hyperreligious Perry has decided to give his own “Response” to the country’s ongoing recession and the breakdown of national politics. The Washington Post reports this day-long religious revival is every bit as grandiose and sanctimonious as one expects from a guy like him (cached):
The GOP 2012 presidential nomination contest so far has centered almost exclusively on economic issues: the major candidates blasting President Obama for increasing the federal budget deficit and criticizing one another’s records on health care and job creation.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is expected to announce his presidential candidacy in the next few weeks, will start to change that on Saturday, by hosting a day of prayer and fasting in Houston dubbed “The Response.”
Attendees from Texas and across the country will gather at a pro football stadium to ask for “God’s forgiveness, his wisdom and his provision for our state and nation,” according to Perry’s video invitation. …
Perry says the day is inspired by the words of the Old Testament book of Joel, in which the prophet calls on the Hebrew people to pray, fast and ask for God’s forgiveness. The Texas governor argues that America similarly needs to ask for God’s help today because it is a “nation in crisis.”
“We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters,” Perry writes on the event’s Web site. “As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”
Perry can’t help but do this, you see, because in his eyes, America isn’t godly enough. About the only thing he hasn’t done is to declare explicitly that the recession and political breakdown is a punishment imposed on the country by a God who’s enraged that the people aren’t praying hard enough and aren’t sufficiently evangelical Protestant for his taste. But not to worry … by the end of this hours-long event, Perry may well have veered close to saying something like that.
I note that this huge event is precisely the sort of “public piety” that — as I’ve blogged previously — the founder of Perry’s own religion, Jesus Christ himself, explicitly and clearly ordered his followers never, ever to engage in. In case Gov. Perry or any other militant Christians out there aren’t clear on this, I will repeat here Jesus’ own words as reported in the gospel according to Matthew (emphasis mine):
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-6)
So you see, by establishing this event and acting as its emcee, the righteous Perry is actually disobeying the bedrock principles of his own claimed religion! I must congratulate the Governor for providing this sterling example of the intellectual, moral and spiritual bankruptcy of his own religion as it’s widely practiced in the US. Great job, sir. Just wonderful. I can’t possibly have asked for better!
The separation of church and state issues implied by Perry’s “Response” haven’t gone unnoticed, and have been widely mentioned, for example in this CNN Political Ticker article that suggests the poor response to the “Response” may be explained by SOCAS considerations (cached). Another facet of Ricky-boy’s “Response” which hasn’t gone unreported is that its sponsor is the American Family Association, about whose absurd and extreme pronouncements I’ve blogged a number of times, and who’ve been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. My bet is that the Rickster doesn’t really care what sorts of hatemongers and freakish lunatics he’s hanging around with … as long as they help him get people before his pulpit and are willing to beat the drum of his kind of Christofascism, they’re probably just fine by him.
Not that he or anyone else cares, but my own Agnostic response to Perry’s “Response” is: If you, Gov. Perry, or your Jesus, or anyone else for that matter, demands that I — as an American — must pray with you, then you’re just going to have to make me do so. If it’s as imperative a thing as you claim it is, Governor, then you have absolutely no reason not to do your utmost to wring compliance out of me (even if I’m not a resident of Texas, because as you’ve designed it, this is a national event).
Go ahead, Governor. I dare you; you have no reason — based on your own beliefs — not to. Come on, make me pray with you.
Photo credit: scazon.
, american family association
, hate group
, hate groups
, houston TX
, rick perry
, rick perry's response
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As if the government and people of Norway don’t have enough to deal with at the moment, America’s favorite no-longer-televised paranoid schizophrenic, Glenn Beck, felt the need to insult them by invoking a reductio ad Hitlerum against them. You see, one of the attack sites was a summer camp on Utøya Island run by Norway’s Labor Party. According to Gawker, Glennie thinks political camps are just horrific (WebCite cached article):
Today, on his stupid radio show, [Beck] compared the Norwegian Labor Party youth camp that was the site of a spree killing that left 76 people, most of them teenagers, dead, to the Hitler Youth:
There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler Youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing.
OK, so incendiary and insulting comments are something one expects from the Glennster. My guess is, he’s still enraged with the Norwegians because in 2009 they dared give the Nobel Peace Prize to Glennie’s mortal enemy, President Barack Obama. So really, I get that Beckie-boy would want to insult that country. Of course he would! He’s much too childish to be able to control his sanctimonious rage at anything and everything associated with Obama.
But there’s a problem with Glennie’s complaint about Norway’s Labor Party summer-camp … and Gawker also picked up on it. You see, guess what other political and ideological organization also hosts summer camps for kids? That’s right … a Tea Party outfit connected with none other than Glenn Beck himself (cached)! Yes, folks, even the Tea Partiers that Glennie so dearly loves, are guilty of doing the very same thing he condemns in Norway’s Labor Party!
Wow. Glenn Beck, a hypocrite? Whodathunkit?
Memo to Glennie: Since you’re such a devout Christian, I suggest you go open your Bible and read the parts of it where your own Jesus specifically, clearly, and unambiguously ordered you never to be hypocritical. Ever. Not at any time, and not for any reason. Try it just once. OK?
This despicable escapade reveals the morally and intellectually bankrupt nature of the Christofascist mindset, as depicted in this post’s graphic (above): “It’s not fascism when Christians do it.”
Photo credit: Austin Cline / About.Com.
Tags: 2011 norway attacks
, ad hitlerum
, glenn beck
, hitler youth
, labor party
, labor party of norway
, norway labor party
, reductio ad hitlerum
, summer camp
, third reich
, utoya island
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My home state of Connecticut, known as “the Land of Steady Habits,” has a reputation for being a state full of people who don’t like rocking the boat. And it is. But oddly enough, in spite of that, the Nutmeg State has more than its share of annoying gadlfies and cranks who love nothing more than to make pests of themselves and make demands of everyone else. Perhaps the most famous of these is Ralph Nader, a native of Winsted, CT, but there are plenty of other such folks — and thankfully most of them are not anywhere near as well known.
Among these is community organizer-turned-hyperreligious wingnut Ned Coll. The Greenwich Time reports Coll is now waging a crusade to get prayer back into public schools (WebCite cached article):
The divorced father of two from the tiny Litchfield County hamlet of Barkhamsted is adopting the cause of reinstating prayer in public schools.
In the beating July sun and wearing wooden prayer beads from the religious shrine of Fatima in Portugal, Coll waved a sign calling for a spiritual renewal to passing motorists on West Putnam Avenue at the state line.
“Our children are not getting guidance in this nation,” Coll said. “We better start trying to get vocal prayer in all public schools and private homes.”
Coll is consciously repeating his own past activism:
It’s a reprisal of sorts of Coll’s famous hike along the Connecticut coast, where he championed open beach access during the 1970s and 1980s.
I have no idea how he plans to get prayer into public schools, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court has forbidden it — in Engel v. Vitale (1962), which was subsequently backed up by later decisions Wallace v. Jaffree (1985) and Lee v. Weisman (1992). Does Coll really think he’s somehow bigger than the Supreme Court? (My guess is, he does!)
For all his righteousness and professed love of God, Coll curiously has trouble obeying the law. He’s been arrested more than once over the last couple of years, on various minor charges (cached). Also note that this paragon and champion of piety is “twice divorced,” according to the G.T. article. I really love it when brazen fucking hypocrites speak up for Jesus! Don’t you?
One last item of note about Ned Coll: As I said, he was once a community organizer. A professional community organizer. The founder of a Hartford group called the Revitalization Corps. Here’s a short Time magazine profile of him from the early ’70s. That’s right, folks. This militant Christian and staunch advocate for the Religious Right, started out as an urban community organizer … just like someone else whom the R.R. despises for having once been an urban community organizer. Can you guess who that is?
If Coll wants all Americans to pray to his God, then I suggest he starts with me. Come here, Mr Coll, and make me pray. Go ahead. Give it a shot.
Photo credit: Helen Neafsey / Greenwich Time.
Tags: community organizer
, greenwich CT
, ned coll
, prayer in public schools
, public school prayer
, public school prayers
4 Comments »
The persistence of evangelical Christians to cross every line, and break every rule, in their continuous effort to force their Jesus on everyone, amazes me. Nevertheless, they do it constantly. Not all of them, to be sure, but some. And I suppose they can’t be blamed for it. After all, their Jesus ordered them to “go … and make disciples of all the nations,” without adding any caveats to that order. So they’re only doing what they were instructed to do by the founder of their religion.
Reuters reports that the sheriff of Polk County, Florida has been following this mandate as Jesus stated it, going after a vocal atheist in Lakeland (WebCite cached article):
An atheist and self-described member of the “most hated minority in America” has filed a lawsuit accusing a sheriff in Florida’s conservative Bible Belt of arresting her and trampling her constitutional rights because of her work to separate church and state.
EllenBeth Wachs, 48, said her suit against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, an evangelical Christian, puts her at “ground zero” in the struggle against religious intolerance. …
“Mr. Judd is actually using law enforcement to basically do a legal lynching of me,” Wachs told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
She was referring to having been arrested by Judd’s deputies three times since March — what she sees as a campaign of harassment and retaliation against her.
This began a while ago when Wachs insolently dared to inquire about something Judd had done:
Wachs first ran afoul of Judd around Christmas last year, when she filed several public-records requests to look into his decision to donate the Polk County jail’s basketball hoops and other equipment to local churches.
Ordinarily in cases like this, one expects the other party to deny the accusation, or to say something that implies the claims are something other than they appear to be. This time, though, silence has been the reply:
The sheriff’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Of course, there’s probably much more to this story than is in this article. I’m skeptical enough to know that Ms Wachs and her attorney are presenting this story in the best-possible light for their side. Even so, the Polk County sheriff’s department’s total silence suggests there’s at least a bit of merit in the suit. This contest has only just begun, and I expect there’s more to come. So stay tuned.
Oh, and if Sheriff Grady Judd is looking for force more people to his Jesus, I sincerely invite him to come here and make me a Christian. If he dares.
Photo credit: Chairman Meow.
, ellenbeth wachs
, evangelical christian
, evangelical christianity
, evangelical christians
, grady judd
, lakeland FL
, law enforcement
, polk county
, polk cty
, polk cty FL
, polk cty florida
, sheriff grady judd
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Among the Right’s many mantras is a steady drone of whining about what they call “judicial activism” and the related “legal activism.” This is their term for when a judge issues a ruling, or a lawsuit is filed, with which they subjectively disagree. They’re essentially accusing the judges and/or lawyers of basing their decisions and actions not on the facts of the cases or on the law, but on their own personal beliefs. They just can’t abide the idea that, sometimes, their own beliefs aren’t borne out by circumstance or the law.
Even so, the Right — particularly the Religious Right — is nonetheless guilty of its own forms of legal activism. The (UK) Guardian reports on one of these, the practice of prosecuting women who’ve lost their babies (WebCite cached article):
[Rennie] Gibbs [of Mississippi] became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit – though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby’s death — they charged her with the “depraved-heart murder” of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
Before you assume this is just an an isolated case, read on and find out about more of them:
Bei Bei Shuai, 34, has spent the past three months in a prison cell in Indianapolis charged with murdering her baby. On 23 December she tried to commit suicide by taking rat poison after her boyfriend abandoned her.
Shuai was rushed to hospital and survived, but she was 33 weeks pregnant and her baby, to whom she gave birth a week after the suicide attempt and whom she called Angel, died after four days. In March Shuai was charged with murder and attempted foeticide and she has been in custody since without the offer of bail.
In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the state’s “chemical endangerment” law. Introduced in 2006, the statute was designed to protect children whose parents were cooking methamphetamine in the home and thus putting their children at risk from inhaling the fumes.
The militant Rightist prosecutors have used laws against women, which ostensibly had been intended to help them:
At least 38 of the 50 states across America have introduced foetal homicide laws that were intended to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from violent attacks by third parties — usually abusive male partners — but are increasingly being turned by renegade prosecutors against the women themselves.
South Carolina was one of the first states to introduce such a foetal homicide law. National Advocates for Pregnant Women has found only one case of a South Carolina man who assaulted a pregnant woman having been charged under its terms, and his conviction was eventually overturned. Yet the group estimates there have been up to 300 women arrested for their actions during pregnancy.
Using laws for a purpose other than their stated intention, in order to bring retribution against people for doing things that prosecutors personally disapprove of, is the very same kind of legal activism the Right sees in the Left and kvetches about. Those Rightists who engage in this practice, therefore, are hypocrites of the highest order. Those among them who are Christian — and I assume all of them are — are directly disobeying the clear and unambiguous instructions of the founder of their religion.
Photo credit: Alamy / The Guardian.
, bei bei shuai
, chemical endangerment
, chemical endangerment law
, indianapolis IN
, judicial activism
, legal activism
, pregnant women
, religious right
, rennie gibbs
, south carolina
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