Posts Tagged “christianism”
The kinds of “persecution” many Christians believe they’re afflicted with, are rather bizarre and difficult to figure out. Take, for example, the fact that — as of a year and a half ago — the US Air Force Academy made the “so help me God” at the end of cadets’ oaths optional (WebCite cached article). Apparently this was part of a campaign by the military to suppress religion in the Air Force. Or something.
I haven’t quite figured out how making a profession of belief optional — yes, optional! — harms believers. But then, I’m just a cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen, and am not gifted with the lofty spiritual insights required to discern that.
One Texas Congressman is so incensed about that decision, Raw Story reports he’s proposed legislation to unravel that, and force all cadets to beg for God’s help (cached):
A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would force cadets at the Air Force’s Academy to say “so help me God” during their oaths every school year. He said the legislation is necessary because Americans don’t have “freedom from religion.”
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) said the bill, called the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015 [cached], would protect the religious freedom of American troops.
“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county [sic] with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire,” he said in a statement.
Again, the late 2013 policy change does not forbid cadets from saying “so help me God,” as Rep. Johnson seems to think. As I said, it merely makes it optional. I’m not sure why Johnson is misrepresenting Air Force policy — but he clearly is.
Johnson also trots out an old canard among the Religious Right:
“Let me be clear: Americans have the freedom of religion — but not freedom from religion.
Unfortunately this is not the first time one of these Christian Nation types has openly said that non-believers have no right to refuse to believe in a religion. And I don’t expect it’ll be the last. But it’s true that they rarely come out and say it quite as openly and candidly as this.
At any rate, if the Congressman is convinced that I, as a non-believing American, have no right to remain a non-believer, then I heartily invite him to do something about it. He can track me down, if he dares, and force me to believe in a religion (I assume, his own). Based on the premises he subscribes to, there’s no reason he wouldn’t wish to. So he can just go right ahead. I dare him.
I won’t even get into the fact that he’s suborning perjury by forcing non-believing cadets to profess a belief they don’t hold onto. But that might be the point of what Johnson is doing … non-believing officers in the armed forces would end up having that violation hanging over them, their entire careers. It’s a tool that could be used to control them in any number of ways. Pretty clever, actually.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: air force academy
, freedom from religion
, freedom of religion
, HR 1425
, oath of office
, preserve and protect god in military oaths act
, preserve and protect god in military oaths act of 2015
, rep sam johnson
, sam johnson
, so help me god
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Christians in the US continue to believe themselves a persecuted minority, in spite of the fact that they’re anything but. The relentless expansion of gay marriage has done more than almost anything else to unsettle them and exacerbate the paranoia which is inherent in the psychopathology of their religion. They seem not to comprehend, though, that gays being allowed to marry doesn’t actually harm them in any way. After all, no one is forcing them to marry same-sex partners against their will.
Enter a church in Knoxville, TN, which — according to WBIR-TV in that city — found a bizarre way to express its displeasure at the notion of “equal rights” (WebCite cached article):
A marquee message posted outside an East Knoxville church has sparked controversy. The church’s pastor says people have misunderstood the communication.
The Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle sign read, “Remember Satan was the first to demand equal rights.”
Here’s what the sign looked like:
A Knoxville church’s message has drawn criticism from some in the community. Submitted to WBIR-TV.
I have no idea what’s the basis of the claim made here. There’s no mention of Satan demanding “equal rights” in the Bible. In spite of there being no scriptural grounds for this statement, and its dismissal of the notion of “equal rights,” the church’s pastor said no offense was intended:
Pastor Tony Greene says he meant no offense. He said the church was not targeting a certain group.
He thinks people misunderstood his message.
“Be careful when you demand your equal rights that you don’t hurt others around you. You’ve got to consider everyone around you,” he said.
Greene said it was also a test to see if people were reading the sign. He said he’s received a lot of feedback.
The church changed the sign Monday to read, “Didn’t mean to offend. We all need Christ.”
Greene errs when he suggests that granting “equal rights” to some, can harm others. It doesn’t work that way. “Equal rights” always enrich everyone, because — by definition — they’re given to everyone. Period.
Oh, and the idea that Greene had merely been “testing” people to see if they’d read his sign? That really doesn’t excuse the idiocy of what he put on it. He could have opted for a much less incendiary, not to mention contra-factual, message to use as a “test,” if that’s really what he’d intended to do.
The cold fact is that all Americans have “equal rights” under the Constitution and its amendments (particularly the 14th). Satan had nothing to do with that, and objecting to “equal rights” on religious grounds won’t change it. It’s long past time for Christianists like Greene and his childish flock to stop throwing infantile shit-fits over things they personally dislike but which do not, in fact, harm them in the slightest. They ought to act like grown-ups, fercryingoutloud.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
Photo credit: About.Com.
, church sign
, equal rights
, knoxville baptist tabernacle
, Knoxville TN
, pastor tony greene
, tony greene
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As I blogged a few days ago, Louisiana’s Christianist governor Bobby Jindal has essentially kicked off his campaign for the nation’s Preacher-in-Chief. As part of this campaign, he’s angling for the Neocrusader vote, which is a sizable chunk of the Republican party, and — one assumes — he hopes he can use to win the GOP nomination next year. At least, this is the only explanation for the depths of fact-deprived insanity to which he’s recently stooped.
Caught in a lie about the so-called “no-go zones” in Europe, in which Islamic shari’a law prevails rather than the law of the country, as CNN reports, he not only doubled down on this lie, he added to it by piling on another (WebCite cached article):
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday stood by his controversial comments about “no go zones” in European cities, insisting that some Muslim immigrants are trying to “colonize” European cities and “overtake the culture.”
And the United States could be next, warned Jindal, a Republican who is considering a 2016 presidential run.
“They may be second, third, fourth generation, they don’t consider themselves part of that country. They’re actually going in there to colonize, to overtake the culture,” Jindal said. “If people don’t want to come here to integrate and assimilate, what they’re really trying to do is … overturn our culture.”
Earlier, Jindal had talked about “no-go zones,” which do not, in fact, exist. That whole notion has been thoroughly debunked. Even the man responsible for this myth, Daniel Pipes, has acknowledged his error and said they don’t exist. The Bobster elaborated on his “invasion” lie, Buzzfeed reports, on a radio show run by his fellow Christianists at Focus on the Family (cached):
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential Republican candidate for president, warned in an interview Monday on the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program of the possibility of so-called Muslim “no go zones” coming to America, focusing later on what he called a possible sharia “colonization” and “invasion” of America.
“If we’re not careful the same no-go zones you’re seeing now in Europe will come to America,” said Jindal singling out those in “academic” and “media elite” who he said “don’t want to proclaim American exceptionalism.”
I’m not going to get into the notion that Muslims have launched an “invasion” of the United States in order to overturn its government and force shari’a law on the country. It’s fucking obvious to anyone with half a brain and one working eyeball that it’s not happening. A mature man with integrity, caught in lies, will admit them and apologize — as Pipes and Fox News have already, where this issue is concerned — and move on already. But not the Bobster. He’s far too childish to make any such admission, and too caught up in his own crazy, disingenuous rhetoric to find something else to talk about so he can finally stop embarrassing himself.
Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Redux, via the Daily Beast.
Tags: 2016 republican primary
, bobby jindal
, christian right
, gov bobby jindal
, muslim invasion
, no-go zones
, religious right
, shari'a law
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Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal — a fierce Religious Rightist, if not an outright Christofascist — led a prayer revival yesterday at Louisiana State University. As the Washington Post explains, it’s a strong indication that he plans to run for president in 2016 (WebCite cached article):
Skipping an Iowa event that drew a number of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls in favor of a controversial Louisiana prayer rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) called for a national spiritual revival and urged event attendees to proselytize on behalf of their Christian beliefs.
Jindal had insisted the day-long evangelical event hosted by the American Family Association on the campus of Louisiana State University was a religious and not political gathering. And, indeed, his 15-minute long remarks to the group consisted entirely of a highly personal testimony about how he had come to his Catholic beliefs. Jindal was raised by Hindu parents but converted to Catholicism in high school.
But Jindal’s keynote address at the event came as he has been courting Christian conservatives in advance of a possible run for president, meeting with pastors in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Texas governor Rick Perry hosted the same event, known as “The Response,” in 2011, just before announcing he was running for president.
The Bobster’s revival meeting didn’t go unnoticed by others, as the Post reports:
The event drew protests outside the basketball arena where several hundred were gathered because of accusations that the American Family Association promotes discrimination against gays and is hostile to non-Christians. Jindal briefly referred to the protests in his appearance, asking the rally’s attendees to pray for the demonstrators.
Ah. The old “I’ll pray for you” thing hurled at those who refuse to believe. I’m sure he knows this is an insulting tactic, even if it sounds all compassionate and shit. Well played, Bobby! Well played.
The Bobster even included a gratuitous little story which likely reflects how he intends to inject his fierce, dogmatic religionism into government:
Jindal recalled a girl in high school who said she wanted to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, so she could “save innocent human lives” from abortion.
He put these words in the mouth of someone else, but this tale illustrates how he views participating in government. And that’s not to uphold the laws that are written, as they’re written, but instead to wrench and manipulate them to coincide with the Almighty’s dictates, whatever he thinks those are, and without regard for what those laws actually say.
Not that the Bobster really cares much, but here’s my response to his “response”:
Gov Jindal, if you think the country needs more God, then start with this one American: Track me down and make me turn to your God. I dare you. If it’s mandatory for all Americans to do so, then what reason would you have not to do it? Go ahead. I invite you to try your best — if you dare. Should you not do this, to me or to any other insolent non-believer, then I must presume that Americans turning to your deity can’t actually be as imperative as you said it is. That would demonstrate your cowardice, not to mention your hypocrisy — which, for supposedly-dutiful Catholics such as yourself, was explicitly forbidden to you by the founder of your own religion.
One last observation: The irony of a Roman Catholic leading a Protestant-style prayer revival — sponsored by a Protestant group — is especially precious. By leading an event of this kind, the Bobster openly admits he needs to curry the favor of devout Protestants, especially of the evangelical variety. But in the end, they’re his ecclesiastical enemies, not his friends. Just as America’s Catholic bishops have done, he’s forging what, ultimately, can only be called an unholy alliance. Should he get elected and start bending the country toward the Christocracy he wants, eventually he and his fellow Catholics will end up in evangelicals’ crosshairs. Many of them consider Jindal’s Church “the Whore of Babylon” mentioned in Revelation. A lot of those evangelicals would happily throw “Mary-worshipping papists” like Jindal into the flames of eternal perdition, if ever given the chance. Just saying.
Photo credit: AP Photo / Jonathan Bachman, via the Washington Post.
Tags: 2016 presidential election
, 2016 republican primary
, american family association
, baton rouge LA
, bobby jindal
, christian right
, gov bobby jindal
, i'll pray for you
, prayer revival
, presidential politics
, religious right
, spiritual revival
, the response
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Given what happened in Paris over the past week, it was inevitable, I suppose, that a bunch of angry Christofascists would respond with what amounts to an outcry of “More Jesus! More Bible! More Christianity!” Down in Mississippi, deep in the heart of the
Bible Belt Bobble Bay-elt, the AP reports via ABC News, plans are afoot to make the Bible the “state book” (WebCite cached article):
Mississippi is the birthplace of William Faulkner, Richard Wright and recent U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey. However, some lawmakers say they want to look beyond the secular literary world and designate the Bible as the state book.
At least two bills are being filed during this state election year to make the holy book a state symbol.
One is from Republican Rep. Tracy Arnold of Booneville, who is the pastor of a nondenominational Christian church. The other is from Democratic Reps. Tom Miles of Forest and Michael Evans of Preston, who say they have promises of bipartisan support from more than 20 colleagues.
Their intentions, of course, are perfectly noble, and not an effort to proselytize; we know this because … well … they pinky-swear:
Miles told The Associated Press on Monday he’s not trying to force religion — or even reading — on anyone.
“The Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people,” Miles said. “They could read in there about love and compassion.”
Enough already. I have to call bullshit on this. Not that there’s no love or compassion in the Bible … there is, some anyway. A little. Here and there. The problem with the Bible is that it has a far larger amount of cruelty, hatred, and violence. Horrific, cosmic-scale, raging cataclysm-type shit. Let’s have a look at just a small sampling of it, shall we?
- YHWH drowns every living thing on the planet (Gen 6-7), sparing only 2 of each animal and 8 human beings. All because of “the wickedness of man” (Gen 6:5) … which the reader is led to believe must have been pretty horrific, but since the nature of that “wickedness” is never mentioned, we have no way actually to know what it was. Such is YHWH’s “love,” I guess.
- YHWH later magically slew Er the son of Judah for (again!) unstated “evil”, then magically slew his brother Onan because “he wasted his seed on the ground” (Gen 38:7-10). Yeah, that’s “compassion” all right. Oh yeah.
- YHWH also staged one of the worst atrocities since the Great Flood when he afflicted Egypt with a series of devastating plagues, slaughtered all the first-born in the land, and then wiped out one of the largest armies in the ancient world (Gen 3-14). Yup, that’s “love.” No doubt.
- YHWH then tells the Hebrews to conquer Canaan — as an expression of his love for the Canaanites, I suppose. In the process he orders not just one (Ex 17:8-18:16) but two (1 Sam 15:1-9) genocides of the Amalekites. Definite “compassion” there, no?
OK, enough of this. I can’t take it any more. This is as far as I could get in relating stories of Biblical “love” and “compassion” without vomiting. Note, I left out of the above list the manner in which Sodom and Gomorrah were “loved” (Gen 19:1-29), not to mention Lot’s wife. Someone will, I’m sure, inform me that I left out “context;” for instance, Sodom & Gomorrah deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth and reduced to an ashen ruin because its citizens were “inhospitable,” and that the Amalekites were slaughtered to the last infant because they’d insolently fended off the Hebrew migration into their land. Sorry, but those defenses just don’t stack up to the sheer amount of violence perpetrated; if “inhospitability” were enough to raze cities in fiery holocausts, there would be none left anywhere, and a nation defending its territory is generally not considered a crime worthy of a genocide. And don’t even get me started on why Lot’s wife needed to be changed into a pillar of salt — because that whole thing is just ridiculous bullshit, period. So pardon me if I don’t buy the whole “context” protest. I’m nowhere near stupid enough to fall for any of that.
The only reason representatives Arnold, Miles, and Evans could plausibly say the Bible teaches only “love” and “compassion” is if they never actually read the thing. Which, of course, is probably the case, since as I explained long ago, nearly all Christians have never actually read it and haven’t a fucking clue what it truly says.
Needless to say, getting up in front of a legislature … and a state … to pronounce the Bible the “state book” could be construed as public piety, which is something Jesus clearly, specifically, and unambiguously forbid his followers ever to do. Not that these people are aware of that — even if that injunction is contained within the pages of the very Bible they want their state to venerate (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18)!
Photo credit: Ryk Neethling, via Flickr.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
Tags: 1 sam 15:1-9
, booneville MS
, christian bible
, christian right
, cruelty in the bible
, ex 17:8-18:16
, ex 3-14
, forest MS
, gen 38:7-10
, gen 6-7
, gen 6:5
, gen 9:1-29
, jackson MS
, michael evans
, mt 6:1-6
, mt 6:16-18
, preston MS
, public piety
, religious right
, state book
, tom miles
, tracy arnold
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I’m tagging this post “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” because … well … you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! It’s rare to see people do something so insanely stupid, publicly, and then proceed to double down on it, refusing to acknowledge an error which is absurdly blatant and for which there can be no rational excuse.
This December 15, not too far from me in Springfield, MA, the city held a menorah lighting in its famous Court Square. That city’s Republican newspaper reports on the raging idiocy one of the city’s councilors spewed (WebCite cached article):
Jaws dropped in Springfield’s Court Square Tuesday afternoon when Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams offered his take on the annual city menorah lighting ceremony.
“Jesus is the reason for the season,” Williams said during remarks at the ceremony that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Following short speeches by Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield and Mayor Domenic Sarno, who both touched on the history of religion in Springfield, Williams was handed the microphone and uttered the line that had people talking long after the ceremony ended.
What Williams apparently was unaware of, is that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday and that Jews don’t worship Jesus. The article gives a brief sketch of what Hannukah is about, and links to Chabad.org’s FAQ page on the holiday. I suggest checking it out.
If you do, you will discover that Jesus had nothing to do with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (except, perhaps, assuming he lived, as a Jew himself, he may have celebrated it). It’s a Jewish holiday, as should be obvious, and Jews don’t revere or worship Jesus.
A lot of folks who said something this stupid would accept correction and apologize. But not Mr Williams. He was having none of it, and is not backing down as the Republican reported just a little later (cached):
[City Councilor Bud] Williams, a Baptist, made the remark during a Court Square event attended by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, city dignitaries, and leaders of the greater Springfield Jewish community, all of whom gathered at the downtown park to mark the Dec. 16 start of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.
“I thought it added something to the service, it didn’t take away,” Williams said Tuesday night.
The city councilor said he referenced Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated every Dec. 25 by Christians worldwide but not by Jews, after participants in the ceremony mentioned “the bright light” of 2,000 years ago — an allusion to Christ, according to Williams.
“They said it,” Williams said.
The councilor said his remark wasn’t meant as an expression of religious superiority or “dominance,” but rather as a simple reminder about the “reason for the season.”
Did you catch that? Williams blamed his stupidity on the rabbis, throwing them under the bus, as it were. “They said it,” he insists … ridiculously! In his mind, the rabbis’ mention of “‘the bright light’ of 2,000 years ago” could only have been Jesus, and cannot possibly have been a reference to the “miracle of lights” which the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates. Williams further engaged in his own variation of the “some of my best friends are Jewish” defense:
Williams said some people thanked him for his remarks. “A couple of the rabbis walked up to me and said, ‘Great comments, Mr. Williams.'”
The Republican notes, however, that they couldn’t verify this:
Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, who attended the ceremony, was asked Tuesday night for his reaction to Williams’ statement. “I’ll get back to you,” he said.
It’s safe to say that either these rabbis never said any such thing to Williams, or they did, but were just being nice to an assholish, mindless buffoon who clearly had no idea what he was talking about. In any event, Williams plainly hasn’t the slightest clue he said something he shouldn’t have said; thus, he isn’t about to apologize for it. Because, after all — as all the “war on Christmas” proponents have been railing for the past several years — Jesus “is the reason for the season” and anyone who says otherwise is trying to destroy Christianity and kill Christians. Or something like that.
Isn’t it time for Christians to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over themselves? Is it really necessary for them to presume everyone else on the planet sees everything the same way they do … even when they belong to non-Christian religions? Yes, references to “light” can mean Jesus … but they can also refer to other things within other religions, too.
Photo credit: shane_d_k, via Flickr.
Tags: bud williams
, chanukah menorah
, councilor bud williams
, court square
, hanukkah menorah
, jesus is the reason for the season
, menorah lighting
, miracle of lights
, noach kosofsky
, reason for the season
, springfield MA
, war on christmas
, you've gotta be fucking kidding me
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I’ve blogged many times about the paranoid delusion Christians have cooked up, which is known as the “war on Christmas.” Supposedly, wicked secularists have decided to outlaw Christmas or something. It hasn’t happened, but they’ve convinced themselves it has … so they keep repeating it, hoping somehow that it will magically manifest if they say it often enough (even though it doesn’t work that way).
Well, despite the fact that Religious Rightists have never been able to show such an effort exists, the Washington Times has decided it’s uncovered evidence of it, and they’ve blown the lid off secularists’ infernal conspiracy (WebCite cached article):
Conservatives have been mocked for insisting there’s an ongoing war on Christmas, but now it looks like they may have simply been ahead of their time.
American Atheists unveiled Wednesday the “War on Christmas” line-up on its television channel, AtheistTV, featuring “original programs proclaiming the truth about Christmas on December 24 and December 25, featuring scholars and celebrities from the atheist community.”…
Conservatives like Fox News talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have long warned of a “War on Christmas,” citing moves by retailers, public schools and local governments to remove references to Christmas from displays and celebrations.
The network’s annual coverage of anti-Christmas happenings has drawn taunts from “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, such as last year’s “War on Christmas: S***’s Getting Weird Edition,” while the liberal online magazine Salon weighed in with a sarcastic article titled, “9 reasons Fox News thinks there’s a war on Christmas.”
All I can say is … Wow! “AtheistTV“? How dare those vile, insolent atheist types establish their own television network and actually air their own TV shows!
Oh, wait. Let’s have ourselves a closer look at what AtheistTV is:
The AtheistTV channel was launched worldwide on July 29 and can be accessed via Roku set-top boxes or as a free online stream at www.atheists.tv, the release said.
Aha. So this isn’t a broadcast network. Nor is it a cable-television channel. Nor is it even a single television station! It’s not any of that! It is, instead, a Web site and a Roku channel.
That’s right, folks. A Roku channel. If you’ve never heard of Roku, that can be forgiven, I suppose; it’s an Internet-connected video-streaming device (similar to an Apple TV or Chromecast) with its own proprietary collection of channels that Roku owners can subscribe to and watch.
Lest one thinks the Roku company is run by a bunch of hateful atheist reprobates forcing their secularism on subscribers, one may be interested to know that Roku has religious channels. A lot of them. Hundreds, in fact! They’ve got Christian channels of many sorts (Catholic, Protestant, evangelical) including some focused solely on particular topics (e.g. prophecy, Bible texts); they’ve got Jewish channels, Buddhist channels, “New Age” channels, Muslim channels, and lots more. Only a couple of the hundreds in that category are atheist or secular.
If anyone thinks a single Web site with some videos on it, and a single Roku channel, could possibly represent a viable weapon that atheists can use to carry out their putative “war on Christmas,” well … that’s so fucking laughable, it hardly merits any more comment than to laugh hilariously at the childish idiocy of it!
What’s more, I’d like to point out that Christians have their own video channels. Not just on Roku, nor just Web sites, but Christian television networks — broadcast and on cable — by the dozen. Not to mention hundreds of Christian television and radio stations around the country. They have channels, and channels, and more channels, all their own! If one Roku channel and one Web site constitute a “war on Christmas,” what does all of that Christian programming by so many Christian outlets constitute? A “war on non-belief”?
It’s amazing the depths of hypocrisy Christians are willing to stoop to, in the name of their Jesus, when they feel they should … even though he explicitly and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical, about anything, and at any time. Give me a fucking break already!
Photo credit: travis, via Flickr.
Tags: american atheists
, atheist tv
, roku channel
, war on christmas
, war on christmas 2014
, washington times
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