Posts Tagged “conservatives”
Conservatives have strange ideas about how teaching works. For instance, a lot of them think teaching evolution in science classes — which is currently the only known scientific explanation for our planet’s diverse life forms — is a form of persecution against Christianity and part of an effort to abolish that religion. Also, a lot of them think teaching kids things like slavery will cause kids to hate their country or something. They also worry that teaching kids about things will somehow force them to do them; e.g. teaching kids about communism will convert them to communism.
That the teaching of history, in particular, doesn’t work the way conservatives think it does, should be rather obvious. For instance, my 4 years in university learning medieval history didn’t make me into a crossbowman, swordsman or jouster, even though I learned about medieval military methods and read about a lot of tournaments.
An example of the outright-fucking insanity that erupts when conservatives get their hands on history curricula can be seen in this report by the New York Times on recent actions by the Jefferson County, Colorado school board (WebCite cached article):
A new conservative school board majority here in the Denver suburbs recently proposed a curriculum-review committee to promote patriotism, respect for authority and free enterprise and to guard against educational materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder.” In response, hundreds of students, teachers and parents gave the board their own lesson in civil disobedience.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students from high schools across the Jefferson County school district, the second largest in Colorado, streamed out of school and along busy thoroughfares, waving signs and championing the value of learning about the fractious and tumultuous chapters of American history.
“It’s gotten bad,” said Griffin Guttormsson, a junior at Arvada High School who wants to become a teacher and spent the school day soliciting honks from passing cars. “The school board is insane. You can’t erase our history. It’s not patriotic. It’s stupid.”
The Times article explains that the board’s conservative majority (3 to 2) has been stirring up trouble for several months, including driving out a 12-year superintendent. They’re really angry, and appear to have fallen for the prevailing conservative myth that public schools are nothing more than Marxist indoctrination camps.
In addition to the false notion that teaching kids about civil disobedience will force them all to become perpetually “civilly disobedient,” they appear to forget that civil disobedience has been used to promote conservative ideals and even to bring about changes that American conservatives approve of. Have they forgotten so soon about things like a western Rightist’s decades-long unrepentant refusal to obey federal law (cached) — a sterling example of civil disobedience if ever there was one? Or about the “Brooks Brothers riot” (in which Rightists working for G.W. Bush campaign used civil disobedience to try to derail the 2000 election recount in Florida)? Or have they forgotten about protests around the world, especially in eastern Europe, that toppled many communist regimes in 1989? Or even that many of their own number want the incumbent president removed from office, and wouldn’t object to civil disobedience or even revolt in order to make that happen?
My guess is, they’re blissfully unaware of this. They tend to be authoritarian, and demand unthinking adherence to authority. That they sometimes, themselves, object to some authority figures just doesn’t register with them all that often. In other words, they’re hypocrites — fiercely decrying civil disobedience if they find it inconvenient, but using it like a tool whenever they feel as though they can. Wah wah wah, little babies.
Photo credit: PsiCop modification of Sue Ream photo, via Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: advanced placement history
, ap history
, arvada CO
, history curriculum
, jefferson county
, jefferson county CO
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I’ve blogged before on the phenomenon of demonstrably-erroneous ideas that just will not die out, no matter how often they’re refuted. And I cited the “birther” delusion … i.e. the idea that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen and thus not entitled to hold office … as a prime example of this. His birth certificate from Hawai’i has been checked out and is fully legitimate (see FactCheck and Politfact, cached here and here).
But the Birthers, you see, don’t give a flying fuck about that. They just know, you see, that he’s not really an American. And they intend never to let go of that idea, no matter the facts. (One way they do this is to dismiss all fact-checking Web sites as “biased,” even though neither of the sites I linked to above avoids pointing out Obama’s exaggerations, misstatements, and lies. So they aren’t “biased” in the President’s favor.)
Because of the persistence of the “birther” delusion among their constituents, GOP politicians are constantly dancing around the subject, trying to appeal to “birtherism” without saying something that will make them look like total morons in the eyes of the rest of the country. Unfortunately, despite their wishes, there is no viable way to do that. Any conciliation to “birtherism” is, by definition, moronic.
That said, there are some who simply don’t care that they look like total morons. Among them, as MSNBC’s Maddow blog reports, is Jeff Duncan of the great Biblical state of South Carolina (WebCite cached article):
As my friend Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch reported yesterday, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) was a guest on Rick Wiles’ unhinged radio show the other day to discuss some of the major issues of the day, including the host’s fears that immigration reform may lead the government to implant biometric scanners in U.S. citizens. Wiles specifically asked Duncan whether lawmakers might “pursue Barack Obama’s phony identification papers.”
Duncan initially tied to laugh it off, saying that people should have voted against Obama during the last election but Wiles refused to let it go, saying “if we know they are lying about all these other things, why not go back and say ‘well, maybe the first scandal was a lie too?'”
And with that point, Duncan wholeheartedly agreed, saying “there you go; I’m all with you, so let’s go back and revisit some of these things because Americans have questions about not only the IRS scandal but also about the president’s validity.”
A recording of Duncan’s comments is provided by Right Wing Watch via Youtube:
Sadly, this is yet another example of GOP insanity. I wonder how long it will take these guys to get over the fact that Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. My guess is, they won’t. Hundreds of years from now there will still be lunatic Right-wingers screaming to high heaven that the US had an ineligible president in office for 8 years.
The best thing for everyone, of course, is for Republican officials, and the “birtherist” masses to whom they’re appealing, to just fucking grow the hell up and get over the fact that someone they despise was elected president. Maturity is the only solution to this mass delusion. Unfortunately, even grown adults tend to resist maturity. More’s the pity.
P.S. I’m well aware that Rachel Maddow and the Right Wing Watch are both ideologically-driven Web sites, and tend to avoid such sources, however, in this case there’s primary-source evidence to back up the report of what Duncan said. I suppose RWW could have faked this recording … but barring evidence to the contrary, I doubt they did so.
Photo credit: FactCheck.
Tags: backfire effect
, barack obama
, birth certificate
, fact checking
, jeff duncan
, muslim obama
, obama birth certificate
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No sooner do I get done blogging about how Christians routinely and pathologically lie about the extent to which their religion has been persecuted — both historically and in the present day — I hear about a new outrage among them that’s got their knickers in a knot over precisely the same thing. It seems Google has decided to celebrate Easter 2013 with one of its “Google doodles” … featuring Cesar Chavez, whose birthday happens to be March 31 (this year, the same day as Easter). The Canadian Press via CTV News reports on their sanctimonious rage over this horrific, intolerable insult (WebCite cached article):
Google’s decision to honour the birthday of U.S. labour organizer Cesar Chavez angered some American Christians on Sunday, who fumed that it was disrespectful to celebrate Chavez with a so-called Google Doodle on Easter Sunday.
The face of Chavez, a Mexican immigrant who organized Latino farm workers in the 1960s, was situated in the middle “o” of the Google logo on Sunday as the search engine giant opted against recognizing a secular holiday to commemorate what would have been the civil rights activist’s 86th birthday.
Conservative websites assailed Google’s decision.
In case you haven’t see it yet, here’s a screen shot of the Google doodle in question:
Google Web site, showing Google doodle honoring the 86th birthday of the late activist Cesar Chavez (3/31/2013)
Already, conservatives have identified what they believe as the source of this outrageous attack on their religion; why, it could only
be the hated President Barack Obama:
The Daily Caller expressed confusion about why Google “chose specifically to honour Chavez’s birthday, instead of Easter Sunday.”
The conservative news organization also suggested Obama might have influenced Google’s thinking. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was an “informal adviser” in both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, the Daily Caller reported, was a member of his transition team in 2009 and is apparently rumoured for a cabinet position during the president’s second term.
I’d like to break a little news to these angry conservatives: Google is a company that can do whatever it fucking wants with its Web site. If that means they honor Cesar Chavez’s birthday on Easter Sunday, then that’s what it means. And you know what? There’s not a fucking thing you sniveling crybabies can do to prevent it! Time to stand by your own stated pro-business rhetoric and let a corporation do what it wants to do. Anything else is clearly hypocritical … and if I may point it out, your own Jesus explicitly and unambiguously ordered you never, ever to be hypocritical … not at any time, and not for any reason.
Amusingly, the article notes that conservatives’ anger is so consuming that some of them conflated two different Chavezes (Cesar, and Hugo):
Others on social media praised Google for honouring Chavez and mocked those who confused him with Hugo Chavez, the recently deceased Venezuelan president.
The Twitter account for The Twitchy, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin’s right-wing news outlet, initially claimed Google was honouring the late revolutionary.
That they’d confuse two different men, both of whom they despise passionately, is just hilarious! I can hardly keep from laughing at their stupidity and ignorance.
At any rate, none of this is unexpected. Religious Rightists simply can’t tolerate anything that they view as “dissing” their religion. They view any slight to their faith as a very real “attack” on their persons, little different from being punched in the face or held up at gunpoint. That companies like Google are free to decorate their Web sites however they wish, is irrelevant in the face of this perceived insult. They quite simply refuse to tolerate any apparent disrespect for their religion.
Photo credit: Ernesto JT, via Flickr.
Tags: cesar chavez
, cesar chavez birthday
, christian right
, daily caller
, easter sunday
, google doodle
, michelle malkin
, religious right
, search engine
, the twitchy
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I already blogged about Religious Right rising star — and married man — Dinesh D’Souza, who appears to have had a fiancé prior to getting a divorce from his wife Dixie. Well, D’Souza finally spoke out today on his own blog, and denied having done anything wrong. Citing a New Republic article that I’d noted myself, D’Souza blamed the whole affair (pun intended!) on WORLD Magazine‘s editor-in-chief and on the reporter who wrote the story (locally-cached version):
Denise and I were trying to do the right thing. I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings.
Really, Dinesh? The Right considers you the most brilliant man in the country … yet you had no fucking clue that being affianced while still married doesn’t look right? I’m not a Christian, but it sure looks weird to me, and it would look weird without regard to the religion of the people involved.
D’Souza also confuses “taking action to get a divorce started, someday” with “actually having initiated a divorce proceeding in court”:
While World notes that my divorce filing was registered with the court on October 4—giving the impression that I moved quickly on the day their reporter spoke to me—in reality I had been working with a San Diego law firm on this for the previous two weeks.
Sorry, Dinesh. Hiring an attorney to talk about divorcing, is most assuredly nowhere near the same thing as actually having filed for divorce. Not at all.
D’Souza then launches into a plaintive whine about WORLD, its editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky, reporter Warren Cole Smith, and the organizer of the event he’d attended:
… Smith apparently deployed conference organizer Alex McFarland to call and raise the issue with me. I clearly told McFarland that Denise and I stayed in separate rooms. McFarland knew he didn’t have what he wanted, because he subsequently called me back and asked me again. I realized McFarland may be fronting for Smith, so I told him I didn’t have any further comment. I’m not sure whether McFarland is lying or Smith is lying, but one of them made up the quotation attributed to me that we stayed in the same room but “nothing happened.” This is pure libel. …
So why would World write such a misleading, sensational story that we would normally expect from the tabloids? Actually there is a back story here which was noted by Amy Sullivan at the New Republic, as well as numerous other sources. Marvin Olasky, the editor of World, is the former provost of the King’s College. Olasky was on the search committee when I interviewed to be president, and he vehemently opposed my candidacy. Olasky publicly admitted that he was resigning his position as a consequence of my appointment. The reporter who wrote this story, Warren Smith, also used to work as a consultant for King’s until I decided not to renew his contract. And what was Olasky’s gripe against me? As he put it, I was seeking to make King’s a non-denominational “mere Christianity college” in the image of C.S. Lewis. This for Olasky was simply intolerable. Having nursed his grievance for two years, now apparently Olasky is using World to continue his vendetta.
D’Souza eventually comes around to a good old “We’re all Christians we have to stick together so you’re obligated to accept my claim that I haven’t done anything wrong” speech:
Ultimately this is not just about Olasky or even World magazine. It is also about how we Christians are supposed to behave with one another. And the secular world is watching.
You see, then, D’Souza’s appeal here: Don’t think badly of me, because if you do, the “secular world” we all hate, will love it!
But the most precious part of this little screed comes near its beginning. It’s the part where he throws his wife (or ex-wife, or something) under the bus:
My wife Dixie and I have been separated for two years. Dixie approached me and demanded this before I came to King’s College to become its president in late August 2010.
The whole situation is Dixie’s fault, you see. She threw him out, you see, and forced the poor little thing to take up with another woman. What a fucking loser. At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s obvious to me that Dixie is now much better off without this cretin in her life.
Note: The totally-innocent D’Souza announced his resignation from The King’s College. Hmm.
Photo credit: PsiCop original.
, 2016 obama's america
, christian right
, dinesh d'souza
, religious right
, the king's college
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Why, of course they can! Newt Gingrich, for example, is a serial adulterer. David Vitter was an adulterer too, and what ought to be worse in the eyes of their co-religionists, Ted Haggard and George Alan Rekers committed adultery with male escorts/prostitutes.
Yet, none of these men … nor several others I might name … seem to have paid much of a price for their “sins.” They all remain relatively popular among Religious Rightists. Newt Gingrich nearly became the GOP nominee for president, a few months ago; Jimmy Swaggart’s ministry has continued for decades; David Vitter remains a respected GOP Senator; Ted Haggard has a new, growing church; and Rekers remains professor emeritus at a public university.
The rest of the Religious Right doesn’t seem to be very disturbed by anything any of these guys has done. That they moralized endlessly about the “sins” of others, and professed concern over the “sanctity of marriage,” yet failed to live up to those ideals, makes them hypocrites, of course. But in spite of the fact that the supposed founder of their own religion explicitly and clearly forbid his followers ever to be hypocritical, they went ahead and did it anyway. And the rest of the R.R. quite frankly don’t give a flying fuck that they did so.
Thus, I predict that the latest Religious Rightist to be a brazen fucking hypocrite isn’t likely to lose his stature over his “sin.” And that man — as reported by the evangelical Christian WORLD Magazine — is rising R.R. star Dinesh D’Souza (WebCite cached article):
About 2,000 people gathered on Sept. 28 at First Baptist North in Spartanburg, S.C., to hear high-profile Christians speak on defending the faith and applying a Christian worldview to their lives. Among the speakers: Eric Metaxas, Josh McDowell, and—keynote speaker for the evening—best-selling author, filmmaker, and Christian college president Dinesh D’Souza.
D’Souza’s speech earned him a standing ovation and a long line at the book-signing table immediately afterward. Although D’Souza has been married for 20 years to his wife, Dixie, in South Carolina he was with a young woman, Denise Odie Joseph II, and introduced her to at least three people as his fiancée.
This obvious little transgression did not go unnoticed, as WORLD explains:
The next day another conference organizer, Alex McFarland, distressed by D’Souza’s behavior, confronted him in a telephone conversation. D’Souza admitted he shared a room with his fiancée but said “nothing happened.” When I called D’Souza, he confirmed that he was indeed engaged to Joseph, but did not explain how he could be engaged to one woman while still married to another. When asked when he had filed for divorce from his wife, Dixie, D’Souza answered, “Recently.”
According to San Diego County (Calif.) Superior Court records, D’Souza filed for divorce only on Oct. 4, the day I [reporter Warren Cole Smith] spoke with him.
As I said, I predict this news will not harm D’Souza’s renown among the R.R. He is, after all, the architect and presenter of the conspiratorially Rightist documentary 2016: Obama’s America. The vast majority of the R.R. will dig its heels in and refuse to repudiate D’Souza or disassociate from him. At worst, he might … just might! … lose his job as head of the indoctrination center known as The King’s College. But that will be the worst that happens to him; within a year or two he’ll be back on his feet, with a prestigious job at some Rightist think-tank or a posting at some other Rightist college. Ultimately, D’Souza’s adultery will have been forgotten and he will have paid no appreciable price for his “sin.” And … he’ll continue moralizing over the failings of others, as though he’s guilty of none himself.
Unfortunately that’s how Christianists are. They do not reject, ostracize, or discipline their own … not for any reason. They will not admit their heroes might not be the upstanding citizens they claim to be. They do not concede any error on the part of anyone in their little “club.” It’s a reflexive, tribalistic instinct in them, that they largely can’t help, because their minds are so primitive and their thinking so delusionally paranoid.
Late addition: Peter Montgomery at Religion Dispatches points out D’Souza’s special brand of hypocrisy, culled from the pages of his book, What’s So Great About Christianity. Within that book, D’Souza bellyached and whined about the evils of adultery and divorce. Then he went and got himself a “fiancé” before he’d gotten rid of his “wife.” Isn’t that precious?
Another tidbit: The New Republic chalks up D’Souza’s adultery not to his own moral failing, but to his rival Marvin Olasky, who just happens to be WORLD‘s editor-in-chief (cached). So you see, if D’Souza did anything wrong, it’s because Olasky’s magazine reported it. Or something like that.
Hat tip: Religion Dispatches & Friendly Atheist.
Photo credit: Mark Taylor, via Wikimedia Commons.
, 2016 obama's america
, christian right
, dinesh d'souza
, religious right
, the king's college
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As I’ve blogged a number of times already, Birtherism is a delusion that simply will not die. A frequent mantra of Birthers is that Obama has never produced his birth certificate. That, however, is factually incorrect; he has done so, and did it prior to his election in 2008. See FactCheck and Politfact, cached here and here for the evidence. (Note, neither of these fact-checking sites is “biased” towards Obama and the Democrats; recently, for instance, FactCheck pointed out tall tales told by him and by his party, and Politifact has a running “Obameter” listing promises he’s made, and has not shied from listing some as broken.) Oh, and that Kenyan birth certificate you may have heard about? It’s a fake (cached).
Making this situation worse is that denial that Obama is a US citizen has become religionized, and inextricably linked to the claim that he’s a Muslim. So the delusion has taken on an added dimension and, essentially, doubled in scope. Yes, that’s been covered by FactCheck (cached) and Politifact (cached), too — but again, the deluded Right-wing Birthers don’t give a fuck about facts.
Birtherism among Rightists has become so strong and pervasive, that GOP leaders refuse to confront it any more. If anything, they make excuses for Birtherism and wink in its direction. A recent example is House Speaker John Boehner, who did exactly this during his appearance on Meet the Press yesterday (WebCite cached article). When host David Gregory asked about persistent Birtherism, he said:
David, it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.
That’s an interesting claim on Boehner’s part, since he’s been telling Americans for the last couple of years that Obama is a vile, wicked socialist, and he hasn’t “listened” to any Americans outside of the extreme Right-wing. After having told us what we’re supposed to think about Obama and the Democrats all this time, suddenly he declares he’s unwilling to tell us what to think? What a fucking hypocrite! At any rate, he continued hedging:
Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That’s good enough for me. The president says he’s a Christian. I accept him at his word.
That’s all well and good, but it’s hardly a dismissal of Birtherism. Then, having said that, he veered back toward his original position:
MR. GREGORY: But that kind of ignorance about whether he’s a Muslim doesn’t concern you?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can’t–it’s not my job to tell them.
So the Speaker slalomed from, “I’m not supposed to tell people what to think,” to “Obama said he’s a citizen and a Christian,” to “People have a right to be deluded.”
Well, Speaker, you’re correct in that Americans have a “right” to be deluded. No doubt about that. The right to be a fucking ignoramus is undeniable. But you — as a leader in your political party — have a moral and ethical obligation to inform them of the truth. Even if it’s not a convenient truth to tell, and — yes — even if they don’t want to hear it. This is not a question of anyone’s “rights.” This is a question of what the objective facts are and what his duty is, as the leader of the Republican party in Congress.
In other words, it’s a question of fortitude and leadership.
Boehner has purposely chosen to keep his party chock-full of childish, delusional, paranoiac imbeciles. Just because he’s too much of a sniveling coward to tell them to knock off their Birtherist bullshit and shut the fuck up about the President not being a citizen or a Christian.
Way to go, Speaker. What outstanding courage you’ve shown! Why, you’ve demonstrated perfectly the kind of character it takes to lead the Right in the US.
It’s time for everyone on the Right — starting with Speaker Bonehead and the rest of his sanctimonious Rightist rabble in the House — to grow the hell up, stop telling demonstrable lies, and move on to something else, fercryinoutloud.
Photo credit: FactCheck.
, john boehner
, muslim obama
, obama citizen
, obama is a muslim
, obama muslim
, speaker of the house
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I stumbled across this New York Times story about a church in Maplewood, Minnesota, which lost a lot of congregants due to its pastor’s teachings (WebCite cached article). Apparently he wasn’t militant or political enough for their taste:
Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes. …
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”
Boyd didn’t back down, even though he’s no conservative, and some of his flock left over the matter:
Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.
The Times article offers some more details on Boyd’s teachings that some 1/5 of his congregants found so horrifically offensive:
In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.
“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.
“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”
Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.
“Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”
It’s very true that Jesus swerved clear of any puritanical sexual mores. In fact, the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) is an example of Jesus specifically choosing to ignore such considerations, even when one was literally thrown in his path. Jesus was also apolitical … to an extent that some in his audiences were bothered by it. Nevertheless, Jesus explicitly set the record straight: “Give to God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Mt 22:21, Mk 12:17, & Lk 20:25).
Congratulations to the Rev. Boyd for holding his ground in the face of overwhelming dominionist and theocratic pressure to make Christian churches into a collective government of the US. I may not agree with his beliefs, but I appreciate his method of following them.
Photo credit: Bill Alkofer for The New York Times.
, christian militants
, christian reconstructionism
, christian right
, gregory a boyd
, gregory boyd
, jesus christ
, maplewood MN
, militant christian
, militant christianity
, militant christians
, pastor gregory boyd
, religious right
, render to caesar
, render to god
, st paul MN
, woodland hills church
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