Posts Tagged “connecticut”
Note: This post has been updated to mention comments made by UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma.
My alma mater‘s train-wreck of a football team just got its second total shake-up in 3 years, when Bob Diaco was hired as the new head coach (WebCite cached article), and the rest of the coaching staff was replaced. Among Diaco’s new staff is running backs coach Ernest Jones, who in a Hartford Courant profile on Sunday, explained that he’ll make Jesus the team’s focus (cached):
Many of the players on the team have a spiritual base.
“Just because you come to the University of Connecticut doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to pursue your faith,” Jones said. “No, you’re going to be able to come here and love the God that you love. So we provide opportunities for them to grow spiritually in our community. So I’ll get out and meet some people in the community so when this young man, for example, says, ‘I’m a Seventh Day Adventist or I’m a Catholic or I’m a Baptist or I’m a Jehovah’s Witness,’ well, OK, here you go. And we’re going to do things in our building, fellowship, non-denominational type things, players, coaches. We’re going to make sure they understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle, that that’s something that is important. If you want to be successful and you want to win, get championships then you better understand that this didn’t happen because of you. This happened because of our Lord and Savior. That’s going to be something said by Bob Diaco. That’s something that’s going to be said by Ernest Jones. That’s who we are.”
I really love how this guy concedes that members of his team can be Catholic, Baptist, or Jehovah’s Witnesses … any kind of Christian who acknowledges Jesus as “our Lord and Savior.” This pretty much leaves out Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. and non-believers too. Those guys, I guess, can’t sign up for UConn football — not with Jones on the coaching staff, anyway.
This caused a little bit of an uproar, I guess, because today, the Courant published a blog post “clarifying” what Jones said (locally-cached article):
In the end Jones just wants the players on the team to have a good sense of morals in addition to being solid football players.
We need to be clear on this though and here’s a clarification, what Jones meant: if a player has a need to be in touch spiritually, whichever direction that is, the player will be able to reach out to Jones and he will be able to point him — or them — in the right direction; that you don’t have to disconnect from your faith — if you’re faith-based — because you’re away from home.
That sounds all well and good, I suppose … except for three tiny little problems: First, this “clarification” doesn’t mesh with Jones’s original words. As reported, he specifically and explicitly mentioned that Jesus Christ, not some other deity, was required to “be in the center of [UConn’s] huddle.” He didn’t say “Jesus Christ, or whoever or whatever the players worship, should be in the center of our huddle.” Second, Jones’s statement wasn’t predicated on whether or not a player has a wish for spirituality; he clearly said that the entire team had to focus on Jesus. That obviously means every player, not just those who are Christian, or even just those with a spiritual inclination. Third, this clarification didn’t come from Jones himself; beat writer Desmond Conner wrote it for him. The clarification is Conner’s, not Jones’s, so we have no idea whether or not Jones actually thought better of what he’d said during the interview, or for that matter whether or not Jones is even aware of the controversy he kicked up. It’s possible Jones has taken the cowardly route, hiding behind Conner, unwilling to go on the record as admitting he said anything inappropriate, and hoping a reporter can make this go away for him.
I note that the Courant also released UConn president Susan Herbst’s comments — this time, quoting her directly rather than writing for her (locally-cached):
But it should go without saying that our employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students. This applies to work-related activity anywhere on or off campus, including on the football field. Our Athletic Director and Coach Diaco agree wholeheartedly with me, and have made this clear to their staff.
What a mess. It’s been made even more of a mess than it needed to be, by virtue of the total silence of Jones himself. Where has the Christianist weasel been, the last couple days? No one, aside maybe from Desmond Conner, knows.
Photo credit: The Biblical World.
P.S. The typos in some of the Courant articles linked above, such as an extraneous semicolon in one headline, are as published. Editing is given short shrift at the nation’s oldest continuously-published newspaper.
Update: The incredibly successful — not to mention sometimes-brutally-frank — Geno Auriemma, UConn’s women’s basketball coach, had a little to say about this controversy (cached):
“I don’t give a [expletive] about religion when it comes to sports,” Auriemma said. “In fact, I think it’s stupid [to involve it]. I get a kick out of those who go on national television and thank God [for giving them the strength to perform]. Like God gives a [expletive] that you made 18 jumpers. I have always had a problem with that [thinking]. I don’t think people should show their religious belief in public. I have a real problem with it. And I don’t care what religion it is.
The Courant provides video of his comments, which for some reason I can’t embed here (even though the site offers embed code … WTF?).
Auriemma makes an excellent point about whether God cares if “you made 18 jumpers.” Think about this for a moment: Why would the Almighty give a shit about a basketball game, or football game … or any other kind of athletic contest? Why would s/he/it care if a player scored 8 points, or 10, or 12? What could that possibly mean to an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal and infinite being? Wouldn’t s/he/it have better things with which to concern him/her/itself?
If you ask me, if Geno Auriemma — who’s arguably the most successful coach currently working in American college sports — doesn’t think religion should be linked to athletics and doesn’t care about his players’ religion(s), that ought to be tell you something. It might not prove anything all by itself, but it is a meaningful perspective by someone who truly knows the issue.
, connecticut football
, desmond conner
, ernest jones
, football jesus
, jesus in the huddle
, ncaa football
, public university
, sports and jesus
, storrs CT
, susan herbst
, uconn football
, university of connecticut
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Note: See below for a couple updates on this story.
A couple years ago, America’s Catholic bishops commissioned a report on child sexual abuse among its clergy, which concluded that it was a “historical problem” (in other words, something that had happened “historically,” but had stopped occurring). Unfortunately for the bishops and their sycophants who wrote this report, the reality is that child abuse by R.C. clergy is anything but “historical.” Here in Connecticut, just within the archdiocese of Hartford, it’s been an issue a few times within those past two years.
As one would expect — given that this is the archdiocese that dared use the “but the victims enjoyed it” defense in court during a lawsuit — the Hartford Courant reports on yet another example of this “historical problem” that won’t seem to go away (WebCite cached article):
An East Windsor priest has been placed on leave by the Catholic Church after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Hartford Archdiocese said Monday.
The Rev. Paul Gotta had earlier come to public attention in June when he told police about an 18-year-old who had told him he was planning a memorable prank for his graduation ceremonies. Police later charged the teenager with attempting to make a bomb, possession of explosives and other charges.
The state Department of Children and Families has received a complaint of sexual abuse of a minor involving Gotta, who is administrator of St. Philip and St. Catherine churches in East Windsor, said Maria Zone, spokeswoman for the archdiocese. Police are investigating the allegation, she said in a written statement.
Note, this revelation didn’t reach police attention because of anything the archdiocese did. It appears — somehow — to have been a side-effect of Gotta having reported a teen’s threat of violence against his school. The Courant article itself is strange reading, since it doesn’t connect the child-abuse allegation with the bomb threat. The article, as written, is basically a single report of two different incidents. A pretty substantial amount of information is completely missing from the story. Given the decline of journalism, this isn’t really surprising … sorry to say.
At any rate, the bishops’ contention that child abuse by its clergy is merely “historical,” is a lie. And they know it.
Update 1: Things just got a whole helluva lot worse for the Rev. Gotta. The Courant reports he was just arrested on federal charges (cached). The ATF and East Windsor police accuse him of helping a juvenile get firearms. It also seems the Reverend may have helped him make a gun:
The warrant also states that Bass said he and Gotta had discussed making a shotgun, which he tested in the backyard in the presence of the priest.
This is one seriously bad situation for a priest — of all people! — to have gotten himself into.
Update 2: Back in November most of the charges against Rev Gotta were dismissed, and he pled guilty only to a minor count (cached). Yes, this latest news is 2+ months old, but I only just became aware of it.
Photo credit: Archdiocese of Hartford.
Tags: archdiocese of hartford, catholic child abuse scandal, catholic church, catholic clerical abuse scandal, connecticut, DCF, east windsor CT, journalism, lazy journalism, paul gotta, rev paul gotta, roman catholic, roman catholic church
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Since their religion was founded, Christians appear to have had a lot of trouble with the teachings of their own religion. As I’ve explained at length, according to their own scripture, Jesus left behind some fairly clear and unambiguous instructions for them, that they more or less ignore. Some of this isn’t entirely unreasonable; after all, strictly following the order to “turn the other cheek” in every conflict could — if the circumstances are dire enough — result in injury or even death. So I get why Christians might not be too eager to obey that one all the time.
That said, some of Jesus’ instructions are far less harmful to follow, yet Christians have, historically, dug their heels in against them and refuse to follow them. Among those is his injunction against public piety. The gospel according to Matthew reports that Jesus said:
“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.” (Mt 6:1-6)
In spite of this clear and explicit order, Christians don’t seem to hesitate to let others know they’re Christians, that they’re righteous, and that they worship their deity. They desperately want other people to know they’re Christians, and they never shy away from ensuring that the rest of the world knows it.
Just today, not too far away from me in the northwestern Connecticut, as the Torrington Register-Citizen reports, they got together in what amounts to an orgiastic display of anti-scriptural public piety (WebCite cached article):
More than 150 people gathered at Coe Memorial Park [in Torrington] from Saturday morning until the evening for a day of worship, entertainment and food during the 2013 Praise God Fest.
All the entertainment and food was donated, and there were several volunteers helping serve food and offer information during the festival.
The stated explanation for why they did this is pretty lame:
Michael Oleksiw is a pastor at the Freedom Hills Christian Center in Torrington, and is the coordinator for Praise God Fest.…
“Christians are real people, regular people,” Oleksiw said. “We have fun, and we just want to tell people abut the hope that we have in our lives as Christians.”
I mean, seriously, who isn’t aware that Christians are “real people”? We need this display of public Christian piety, to know that? Really?
Oleksiw’s “explanation” implies that Christians are some kind of tiny minority that’s maligned and misunderstood or something. But this is patently absurd; Christianity is the majority religion in the US, in Connecticut, and even in the city of Torrington. They aren’t misunderstood at all.
The rationales that Christians cook up to explain why they think they can display their piety openly and publicly, in spite of Jesus’ clear order never to do so, are mind-boggling. In fact, they border on incoherent. See, for example, my exchange with a Christian in the comments on this Hartford FAVS article).
One explanation I’ve heard is that, when in verse 6 of the Matthew passage Jesus said to “go into your inner room” to pray, he wasn’t giving a blanket order to all Christians to do this all the time; it was just an example of something they might want to do … sometimes. This, however, doesn’t make sense in light of the overall passage. Jesus opened that particular teaching (in verse 1) with a general statement: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” He then went on to give examples of the “hypocrites” behaving unacceptably: Being seen giving to the poor (verses 2-4), and standing in the streets to pray (verse 5). In verse 6 he turns back to his followers, and tells them to “go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret,” which contrasts with the behavior of the “hypocrites.”
Unfortunately, the idea that verse 6 is merely an example and not a universal instruction doesn’t hold up in the language of those verses … whether in the original Greek or in translation. Verse 6 opens with a distinct break, that being the Greek phrase συ δε (su de); it’s usually translated as “But you …” although for me, a closer and more literal English equivalent would be, “You, however …” In either case, there’s a clear break in Jesus’ address. He’s obviously going from having given two examples of “the hypocrites'” bad behavior, to telling his audience what they need to do, by comparison.
This kind of irrational and illogical semantic dance is to be expected of a religion that’s ostensibly based on strict readings of a particular batch of writings. I get why they do this: After all, what good is it to be a Christian, if you aren’t going to get noticed for being one? Even so, no literate Christian has any viable excuse for not being aware of Matthew 6:1-6 and Jesus’ explicit injunction against public piety. It’s time for Christians to grow up, suck it, and obey the teachings of their own religion. Even the teachings that are inconvenient.
Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on Mt 6:6.
, freedom hills christian center
, matthew 6:1-6
, matthew 6:6
, michael oleksiw
, mt 6:1-6
, mt 6:6
, praise god fest
, public piety
, torrington CT
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Water supplies in the US have been fluoridated for decades. It’s a great way to fight tooth decay. It also happens to be safe and effective, and this has been demonstrated repeatedly since the practice began. The science is in; the matter is settled; and it has been settled for years.
But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been wingnuts, cranks, lunatics and freaks wailing and fuming over it. “It’s a Commie plot!” was a common battle-cry against it, in the 50s, and the Communist conspiracy angle remained a popular facet of the anti-fluoridation movement.
The Cold War has been over for more than two decades, but that doesn’t mean opposition to fluoridation went away. No, it took on other angles. For example, some think it’s a Big Pharma conspiracy to stuff corporate coffers with ill-gotten booty at the expense of public health. That anti-fluoridators make their own profits being anti-fluoridators — selling books, hosting seminars, raking in speakers’ fees — doesn’t seem to matter much to their fans. They refuse to see the contradiction and will not admit their heroes are hypocrites.
Here in Connecticut, it seems anti-fluoridators have found a fan in Republican state Senator Joe Markley. The Hartford Courant reports he recently hosted a fake hearing in the state capitol to roll back a law mandating fluoridation in the Nutmeg State (WebCite cached article):
Saying the practice takes away the right of consumers to make medical choices and possibly inflicts serious harm on children, opponents of adding fluoride to public water argued Wednesday that a glass of water should contain water — and nothing else.
At an informal hearing at the state Capitol called by state Sen. Joe Markley, chemist Paul Connett called on state lawmakers to abolish the state’s flouridation law and forbid communities from putting additives in water supplies to improve public health.
“We should never use the public water supply to deliver medicine,” said Connett, a retired Dartmouth professor and leading fluoridation critic. “No doctor could do to us what the state of Connecticut is doing.”
I have to wonder if Connett is a member of the John Birch Society, since one of the pretenses upon which they opposed fluoridation was that it was an impermissible, involuntary, mass medical treatment.
At any rate, the Courant lays out the background behind Connecticut’s fluoridation mandate, and adds:
But Markley, a Republican from Southington, put forth legislation this year to abolish Connecticut’s policy, saying that it unfairly adds an extra expense to cash-strapped town budgets. The bill failed, but Markley said he’ll bring it back next year. On Wednesday, he said he wanted both sides of the fluoridation debate to make their case.
“As a principle, politically, I try to listen to everybody as much as possible,” Markley said. “I like to hear people who know what they’re talking about differ on a topic.”
Note Markley’s brazen appeal to the false debate (aka “teach the controversy”). What the senator doesn’t know — or perhaps he does know, and he’s just lying about it — is that there is no longer any “debate” about the safety or effectiveness of fluoridation. It is safe, and it is effective. Period. Markley’s suggestion that there is any remaining question about it, is disingenuous.
That article makes a point of mentioning that dentists had been invited, but did not come:
Connecticut State Dental Association President Mark Desrosiers said in an interview that his group had accepted an invitation from Markley. But they backed out when they heard Connett would be there.
The reason why dentists wouldn’t bother coming to Markley’s fake hearing starring Connett should be obvious. It’s the same reason that geophysicists don’t show up to meetings of the Flat Earth Society: There’s no point in going! They wouldn’t be welcome, their input isn’t wanted, and there’s nothing they could say that would have the slightest effect on any of the anti-fluoridators there.
Photo credit: Funny Demotivational Posters.
P.S. Watch the credentials here. Connett is a scientist, yes … but he’s a chemist, not a physician or dentist. Woops.
Tags: appeal to debate
, conspiracy theory
, false appeal to debate
, false debate
, hartford ct
, joe markley
, paul connett
, public water
, water fluoridation
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Note: There’s some recent news about the subject of this blog post. See below for more information.
I’m guessing most of you have no idea who Martha Dean is, not even those of you who live in my home state of Connecticut, where she also lives. Ordinarily, I’d have provided a link to her bio on some reference site like Answers.Com — but she’s not even well-known enough for that. That said, she’s hardly a nobody. She was the Republican nominee for Connecticut state Attorney General in 2002 and again in 2010.
Ms Dean is a gun-rights advocate and Republican activist, and one who’s not exactly all together upstairs. For example, while running for A.G. in 2010 she advocated mandatory gun training for all school children in Connecticut (cached) (just the liability insurance alone would make this cost-prohibitive for nearly every school district … but that didn’t matter to her, despite the fact that she’s a lawyer and surely had to have realized it).
Well, this shifty character managed to step in it a few days ago, when — as the Litchfield County Times reports — she posted a link to a “Newtown Truther” conspiracy video on her Facebook wall (WebCite cached article):
Republican legislative leaders have asked former GOP attorney general candidate Martha Dean to take down a link on her Facebook page to a conspiracy video that calls the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown a “hoax.”
Put together by One Truth 4 Life, the 24-minute video, combines the early confusing reports out of Newtown when police were looking for a second shooter and comments from others at the scene to ultimately conclude that “this was a total hoax. There are just a bunch of people walking around a movie set.”
“Oh my God. It is just vile. It is beyond me how someone would post this, particularly a standard-bearer for any political party. It is such a disgraceful video,” said House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero. He said he couldn’t understand why anyone would call attention to this material.
Larry may profess not understand the reason, but I do: It’s because Martha long ago drank the NRA’s paranoiac Kool-Aid and believes this was all contrived by the Obama administration to take away her precious guns. (Really, Larry, you already know this, too, and don’t need me to tell you. It’d have been better for you just to admit your co-Republican is a lunatic nutcase that no one should listen to and who had no business being on your party’s ballot twice in 8 years. But you haven’t the courage to say it. More’s the pity.)
Ms Dean apparently wasn’t unaffected by the fallout:
When reached Thursday, Dean read from a new post she put on Facebook on the criticism.
“We all love kids and we all mourn the tragic loss of school staff and children at Newtown, but we must never fear asking questions — or posting questions asked by others,” it read. She said she didn’t plan to comment further.
Except, that turns out to have been a lie. Today she had plenty of comment on it … when, as the Hartford Courant reports, she appeared this afternoon on the WTIC-AM radio show of convicted felon and ex-governor John Rowland (cached):
In an extraordinary radio interview [cached] that aired Wednesday afternoon, former Republican Gov. John Rowland, now host of a drive-time talk show on WTIC, relentlessly grilled Martha Dean, the former Republican nominee for attorney general who had posted a Sandy Hook truther video on her Facebook page [cached].
The exchange, which took up most of the 5 o’clock hour, touched on an array of topics, from the Lusitania to Benghazi to Susan Smith. …
“People want to know why you posted the video on your Facebook for Facebook followers,” Rowland asked. “What was the purpose, what was the point? What were you trying to prove, what are the questions that you’d think that people need to bring up in Connecticut..that’s what people want to know.” …
Dean said she uses her Facebook page as a forum for ideas, some of which she agrees with and some of which she doesn’t.
But Dean also say repeatedly that the video “raises questions” about the narrative that unfolded on Dec. 14. Among the questions she cited: How did shooter Adam Lanza get into the school? (He shot his way in [cached].)
The whole “there are questions, therefore my insane theory must be true” rationale is absurd on its face. Of course there are questions about what happened during the Newtown massacre. Dozens of them. I’ve asked some of those questions, myself. I will state very clearly, I find the Connecticut State Police — who’ve controlled the investigation — have been slippery and evasive where it’s concerned, to the point of even being dishonest about it (e.g. saying they discovered evidence of a motive for the massacre, yet continuing to say they have no idea what the motive could have been). However, that’s no reason to presume some insane conspiratorial hypothesis, nor is it good reason to post a video insulting to the victims of the Newtown massacre. The “people have questions” thing has been used to justify any number of crazy or hateful notions. One example is Holocaust denial; some Holocaust deniers predicate their objections on the question of just how many Jews were killed by the Nazis, as though if the number were “only,” say, 1 million instead of, say, 7 million, it means there couldn’t have been any genocide. That, of course, is laughable and asinine. What Martha is doing here isn’t so very different.
Based on the Courant‘s account of Rowland’s takedown of Ms Dean, I almost wish I were one of Rowland’s listeners. But it will take a lot more than just this to get me to listen to that felonious windbag.
At any rate, Martha’s fans within Connecticut’s extreme Right wing (which does exist in spite of this being a very “blue” state) and among NRA activists will, no doubt, laud her for her “courage” and praise her for having “asked questions” they think no one else has dared ask (even though lots of people, including myself, have done so). In other words, she’s already impressed everyone she’d hoped to impress with her little stunt. Nothing she says afterward, and nothing anyone else says about her, can change it. That John Rowland, Larry Cafero, or anyone else — even if they’re Republicans — disapproves of her maneuver, doesn’t matter one iota to her or to her supporters. She’s hooked them, and the barb has sunk in. And she’ll laugh all the way to the bank, especially if she decides to run for statewide office again in 2014.
P.S. I have no idea what Susan Smith has to do with this. I can only imagine what Martha thinks her link is to the Newtown massacre. I don’t even want to know … !
Update: The paranoiac, gun-toting Martha Dean announced she’s running for governor of Connecticut in 2014 (cached). Which obviously didn’t work out for her, since she didn’t even last long enough to primary.
Photo credit: Motifake.
, john rowland
, larry cafero
, lawrence cafero
, martha dean
, newtown hoax
, newtown massacre
, newtown truth
, newtown truther
, newtown truthers
, one truth 4 life
, sandy hook elementary school
, sandy hook elementary school shooting
, sandy hook hoax
, sandy hook truth
, sandy hook truther
, sandy hook truthers
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I blogged some time ago about Germany addressing its witch-hunting past. A similar effort has been underway here in my home state of Connecticut, which had a couple surges of witch-hunts several decades prior to the now-much-more-famous witch-hunts in Salem, MA (WebCite cached version). One would think that, in the 21st century and in a “blue state,” the powers-that-be would at least be willing to entertain the idea that the witches killed by the Connecticut colony in the 17th century just might have been the victimes of an injustice.
Efforts to rehabilitate Connecticut’s witches started back in ’05 or ’06. An early result was this research report by legislative staff (cached). Such efforts were generally resisted by the General Assembly and the state bureaucracy. Nevertheless, advocates for making things right continue to plug away, as Hartford FAVS reports (cached):
At 82, Bernice Mable Graham Telian doubts she’ll live long enough to see the name of her seventh grandmother and ten others hanged in Colonial Connecticut for witchcraft cleared. …
In 2008, Telian wrote to Connecticut lawmakers when a resolution was introduced in the General Assembly to acknowledge the witch trials. Lawmakers heard testimony from descendants of executed witches and historians, but the measure died. There was even an earlier effort to get the victims pardoned, but the state board of Pardons and Parole said it doesn’t grant posthumous pardons.
Now members of the Connecticut Wiccan & Pagan Network are pushing Gov. Dannel Malloy to sign a proclamation to clear the names of the victims. Supporters are asked to send Malloy a postcard that reads: I am a Pagan/Witch and I vote. Clear the names of Connecticut’s eleven accused and executed witches.
Connecticut lawmakers and bureaucrats have had many excuses for why they refused to act on this over the last 6 or 7 years. Chief among them is the belief that it will set a precedent that would somehow bring on hundreds of lawsuits by people trying to posthumously clear their ancestors. The request for a proclamation rather than a pardon, though, gets around that:
Anthony Griego, who is heading the effort, said the proclamation is non-binding and doesn’t open up the door for lawsuits.
I expect even this namby-pamby, nowhere-near-a-real-exoneration of Connecticut’s witches to meet continued resistance by state government. It’s not viewed as a priority, and it’s thought of as something from the deep dark past with no importance. The state’s Right wing is particularly resistant to doing anything, as seen — for example — in this 2008 editorial in the New Haven Register:
Connecticut does not grant posthumous pardons for those convicted of crimes. That includes those hanged as witches in the 17th century. Instead, the legislature’s Judiciary Committee is considering a resolution denouncing the state’s witch trials as shocking. Of course, they are shocking to a modern sensibility. Equally telling, however, is the 21st century urge to find current victims of ancient miscarriages of justice. …
The legislature’s venture into the state’s earliest history suggests some of the foolishness of our passing judgment on a far different time. In the 17th century, evil and the devil were considered real.
This editorial, then, pans the idea of pardoning Connecticut’s witches as a (presumably Lefist) effort to “find more victims” to help, and it excuses Connecticut’s witch trials as normal and acceptable for the time in which they occurred. Unfortunately, they were not “normal”; witch trials in the American colonies were actually not very common at all — this is why they’re so remarkable and seem so egregious (at the time they occurred, and even more since). Furthermore, it was immoral then and it remains immoral now, even though Christian witch-hunts continue to happen in other parts of the world. The Register editorial also smacks a little bit of the Tea Partiers in Tennessee who demand that schools there not teach that some of the Founding Fathers owned slaves because, quite simply, they don’t want to hear about it any more. Sheesh!
The real point, here, as far as I’m concerned, is: How can Americans dare tell people in other parts of the world to stop their witch-hunts, if they aren’t also willing to go on the record and state, clearly and unequivocally, that the witch-hunts in our own past were reprehensible and wrong? What’s more, an injustice is still an injustice, even if it happened in the past and everyone involved is long dead. Admitting past injustices is a way of preventing them in the future. And what, exactly, is the point of refusing to admit that injustices happened, when everyone fucking well knows they did? Mature adults can handle such an admission. So let’s just get it done already, fercryinoutloud!
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, nutmeg state
, posthumous pardon
, posthumous pardons
, wethersfield CT
, wethersfield witch trials
, windsor CT
, windsor witch trials
, witch scare
, witch trial
, witch trials
2 Comments »
Note: A minor update on the CT-5 primaries is below.
With primaries underway for both parties in Connecticut’s hotly contested 5th Congressional District, it almost goes without saying that the Republican candidates are falling all over themselves trying to present themselves as dutifully sanctimonious Rightists. They’ve been advertising themselves as “job creators” and as wanting to promote “freedom” (even though, if any of them are elected to Congress, they will never hire anyone, and will only reduce people’s freedom rather than enhance it). They’ve mostly steered clear of religion, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before their urge to express their piety and sanctity would overpower them. The Hartford Courant reports that the first of them to do this, is Mark Greenberg (WebCite cached article):
Republican congressional candidate Mark Greenberg questioned whether Islam was a peaceful religion Thursday and said he believed it was “a cult in many respects.”
His remarks were made in a radio interview on WNPR’s “Where We Live” program. …
When [host John] Dankosky asked Greenberg if people who don’t share those beliefs also change the country and help make it great, Greenberg said, “perhaps, to a certain extent” and went on to talk about aspects related to the religion that he found objectionable. For example, he said he doesn’t believe a mosque should be built near Ground Zero in New York City, and he questioned whether Islam was a religion of peace. …
“I think it’s more a blueprint for living one’s life — a cult in many respects,” he said of Islam. “It’s a religion, but it’s also a way of living.”
Although agreeing with Dankosky that Judaism and Christianity are also ways of living, Greenberg said there is a difference.
“Judaism and Christianity are very peaceful religions,” he said. “I think they are more peaceful than Islam.”
First, I need to begin by commenting that the word “cult” has more or less become useless. It’s a pejorative term, a label slapped on any other religion one happens to dislike. The word itself has long since lost any specific meaning. That Greenberg used it of Islam, just tells me he doesn’t like Islam — it doesn’t mean anything else.
Second, his claim that Islam is not a “religion of peace” but Judaism and Christianity are, is absurd on its face. All three religions have violent pasts and they have adherents willing to resort to violence in the names of their faiths. The scriptures revered by Judaism and Christianity are chock full of violence. Some of that violence was supposedly committed by God himself, and the rest was done by his human followers. Those revered texts tell of the many bloody wars Israel supposedly fought while it was a tribal confederation and then a kingdom, including massacres and genocides. Christians have marched to war in the name of their god Jesus and took part in atrocities of their own. As recently as the late 20th century, Catholics and Protestants in Ireland were killing each other to prove which church was more Christlike. Christians have even engaged in terror campaigns of their own. And modern Judaism isn’t free of the stain of violence either; they are one side of a decades-old conflict in the Middle East, and there are some violent extremists among Jews, too.
As far as I’m concerned, any religion that carries an entitlement to impose itself on other human beings and on reality, can lead to violence in some of its adherents. That’s as true of Islam as it is of Christianity, Judaism, and a whole host of others.
I’m dreading this primary season here in the Nutmeg State. I’m sure things are going to get even weirder, very soon (the primaries are less than a month away).
Update: Things have, indeed, ramped up a bit in the twin primaries for CT’s 5th District, as I predicted they would. Dankosky’s interview with Greenberg was part of a series of planned interviews with all of the CT-5 candidates from both parties. It turns out, as the Torrington Register-Citizen reports (cached), none of the rest of them did any better than Greenberg — and one declined the interview out of fear of being asked a question she’s successfully avoided answering. The 5th District is doomed, folks … not one of these slippery creatures deserves a place in Congress, however, one of them is guaranteed to end up there. Ouch.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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