Posts Tagged “obama”

Rick Santorum CPAC FL 2011Religious Rightists tend to view all of Christianity as being their Christianity … whichever version of it they belong to … and see no difference between its many varieties. What’s worse, they sometimes extend this even further, and view all religions has being their particular version of their particular religion (i.e. Christianity). In other words, they tend to ignore differences between denominations and sects, and even between religions. All things religious are, therefore, conflated within their minds.

This tendency leads them into all sorts of nonsensical territories. One of which is the all-too-common statement, “S/he isn’t a Christian because s/he doesn’t believe X,” where “X” is some theological point that person holds to, but which other Christians might disagree on.

As CNN reports, the ferocious Religious Rightist and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently used this type of reasoning to attack the incumbent president (WebCite cached article):

Rick Santorum drew applause from Ohio tea party voters – but perhaps raised some eyebrows, too – when he suggested Saturday that President Barack Obama leads based on a theology different from that in the Bible.

It left some wondering whether he was implying that Obama subscribes to a religion other than Christianity. …

“It’s not about your job. It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said. “Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology.”

Santorum is wrong on several counts. The most obvious of these is that lots of Christians have lots of different “theologies,” but each is no less of a Christian than the rest. And he must know this; after all, there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world. More specifically, as a Catholic, Santorum must be aware that his Church has different “theology” than Protestant churches, which among other things refuse to acknowledge the Pope’s primacy and reject transubstantiation. Yet, I cannot imagine him complaining about the “different theology” of other Religious Rightists who happen to be Protestant.

Second, the many different theologies which the many Christian denominations hold, are all widely viewed as originating in the same Christian Bible. He can’t very well claim that Obama’s “theology” — whatever it is — can’t be based on the Bible, merely because it’s different from his own. History shows that devoted and sincere Christians can and do disagree on what their Bible tells them. Again, no Christian theology is appreciably less Christian or less scriptural than any other. They simply happen not to be identical.

Third, Santorum’s desire to conflate governance and theology directly contradicts the teachings of the founder of his own religion. Jesus Christ was very clear on the matter; three of the four evangelists report that he said the following:

  • Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s. (Mt 22:21b)
  • Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. (Mk 12:17b)
  • Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s. (Lk 20:25b)

Jesus was very clearly apolitical and unconcerned with statecraft. He viewed government as being part of the physical realm and therefore of no importance; his preaching was about, instead, the spiritual realm, or the Kingdom of God. Santorum need only concern himself with this one lone theological point. No other “theology” ought to cross the mind — or the lips — of a dutiful Christian politician who claims to obey the words of his own Bible.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Marion 'Pat' Robertson, via MediaiteIt’s been a while since I blogged about famed Christianist Marion “Pat” Robertson. I’d thought perhaps he’d mellowed with age, but it turns out that’s not the case. He’s still the same boorish idiot we’ve always known him to be. Right Wing Watch and the Huffington Post recently reported on his most recent remarks about President Obama during an appearance on the 700 Club (WebCite cached article):

Televangelist Pat Robertson revived conspiratorial talk about President Obama’s childhood Thursday, claiming that he was driven by some sort of Muslim inclination because of his upbringing in Indonesia. …

“They say he’s going back to the place that he spent his childhood, he spent four years in Indonesia, I don’t know if he was trained in a madrassa, one of those Muslim schools, but nevertheless that is his inclination,” Robertson claimed, during a discussion about Obama attending the ASEAN conference in Indonesia.

These claims about the religious nature of his schools have been debunked. In fact, according to a New York Times report [cached], one school he attended was Roman Catholic, while the other was a prestigious and wealthy primary school founded by Dutch colonialists. Obama has also frequently repeated that he is a Christian who attends church.

Here’s a Youtube video of Robertson’s remarks:

Note how clever Robertson is with this. He admits he doesn’t really know the circumstances of Obama’s youth in Indonesia, but blathers on about it anyway; and he says merely that Obama has a Muslim “inclination,” an indefinite enough word that no one can call him out on it, while his target audience (which presumably thinks Obama is a Muslim) will hear it as “Obama is a Muslim,” thus confirming — in their minds — what they already believed. Yet Robertson will be able to say, and with literal truth, that he never said “Obama is a Muslim.”

P.S. I don’t normally use ideological machines like Huff or RWW as sources; but in this case the Youtube video above substantiates what’s reported.

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: Mediaite.

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a flickr christmas cardIt’s that time of year again, folks. The time when the Religious Right gets its knickers twisted into knots over their delusion that Christmas either has been, or soon will be, outlawed in the U.S. This “war on Christmas” trope is usually good for about a dozen blog posts each year, and likely will continue to be … because the R.R. is so predictably outraged over this manufactured controversy.

The Aledo (IL) Times Record reports that Congressman Joe Walsh has proffered what he calls the “Save Christmas Act” in an effort to “defend” his supposedly-beleaguered holiday (WebCite cached article):

Yesterday, Congressman Joe Walsh (IL-8) introduced the ‘Save Christmas Act’ to permanently end the Obama Administration’s new tax on Christmas trees. This tax was established to fund yet another unnecessary government board, the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. This is clearly the most ridiculous in a long list of new taxes and regulations proposed by the Obama Administration.

Walsh stated: “The sheer audacity of a tax on Christmas trees is ridiculous. Are we going to start taxing Halloween candy and pumpkins or turkey and apple pie? Are we going to tax the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny too? Are we going to tax hotdogs and hamburgers and American flags for the Fourth of July?

There are actually several problems with this. Yes, the proposal to levy a 15¢ fee per tree sold on sellers of live Christmas trees was a genuine one. And it was announced by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recently. However, as Snopes makes clear (cached), it is not a “tax.” Rather, it’s a cooperative program — first requested by the Christmas-tree-growing industry, I might add! — intended to promote the sale of live Christmas trees.

Of course, these little facts didn’t get in the way of the Right-wing flaring up with sanctimonious outrage. In light of this shitstorm, the White House quickly put the kibosh on this idea … even though those who raged and railed against it were angry for all the wrong reasons. If the Right-wing fury over this supposed “Christmas tree tax” was predictable, so too was the Obama administration’s eagerness to cave into it.

But beyond the problem of the Right’s outrage over this being counter-factual, is that even the scenario they were telling themselves was in play — i.e. that Obama and his evil cohorts were taxing Christmas trees in order to hinder the celebration of Christmas by Christians around the country — makes absolutely no sense! A 15¢ tax is nowhere near enough to put a dent into sales of Christmas trees, which normally cost upwards of $20; and it wouldn’t have been limited just to real trees, artificial ones would have been “taxed” too.

Time to get over yourselves, Christians, and grow the fuck up. Not everything is intended to abolish your religion and/or its trappings. Really. Moreover, if you guys are really fans of the private sector and want to help industry, you’d have supported this 15¢-per-tree fee, because it was the Christmas tree industry itself that originally came up with it!

P.S. There’s almost nothing truly or genuinely “Christian” about Christmas trees, as I explain in my page on the myths about Christmas that the R.R. clings to so irrationally.

Photo credit: julian.

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Osama dead? Going to need a death certificate, long form (modified Donald Trump photo)There are lots of people who will never be satisfied with anything about President Barack Obama. Most of these people are “birthers” who deny he was born in the US to an American mother. But the odd juxtaposition of Obama releasing his “long-form” birth certificate (cached) — which the birthers have long demanded, but now refuse to accept — with the killing of terrorist-in-chief Osama bin-Laden, these people have morphed into “deathers,” who refuse to accept the al-Qaeda founder is dead (cached).

Well, as though in answer to their childish demands to see the body of bin-Laden, al-Qaeda itself has admitted their revered prophet of death has, in fact, been killed, as Politico reports (WebCite cached article):

Al Qaeda appears to be confirming that Osama bin Laden was killed in Sunday’s raid on a Pakistani compound by American forces, and is vowing revenge against the United States.

In a statement posted on militant websites and signed by “the general leadership” of Al Qaeda, the group says that bin Laden’s blood “is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain” and that it will soon release a voice recording made by bin Laden a week before his death.

The Taliban have confirmed what al-Qaeda said:

Meanwhile, in a separate statement released later Friday, the Taliban in Afghanistan said that bin Laden’s death would “give a new impetus to the current jihad against the invaders” — the United States and its allies in the Afghan war.

Of course, not all the “deathers” are extreme Rightists, a few are extreme Leftists, like Cindy Sheehan (cached).

I doubt that even the admissions by al-Qaeda and the Taliban that bin-Laden is dead, will silence the “deathers.” They aren’t interested in facts, they’re interested in their own feelings … and since their feelings are of intense hatred for Obama, they cannot and will not let go of them. This is, perhaps, a neurophysiological inevitability, since studies have shown that people predisposed to believe something, will continue to believe it, even moreso than before, after having been given demonstrable evidence that it’s not so. If this is the case, then they truly cannot help themselves … they’re essentially prisoners of their own immature, irrational minds.

Photo credit: Reddit via About.Com / Political Humor.

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Hochzeitstorte mit Herzen und Rosen vor Kuchenbuffet in Deutschland / Claus AbleiterIn a development which arguably has been a long time coming, the Obama administration has finally decided it will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. The New York Times reports on this announcement (WebCite cached article):

President Obama, in a striking legal and political shift, has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — is unconstitutional, and has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court, the administration said Wednesday.

The announcement was not made in person, and not by the president, as the Times explains:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision in a letter to members of Congress. In it, he said the administration was taking the extraordinary step of refusing to defend the law, despite having done so during Mr. Obama’s first two years in the White House.

“The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation” should be subjected to a strict legal test intended to block unfair discrimination, Mr. Holder wrote. As a result, he said, a crucial provision of the Defense of Marriage Act “is unconstitutional.”

The Religious Right, of course, is not happy about this:

“It is a transparent attempt to shirk the department’s duty to defend the laws passed by Congress,” Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “This is the real politicization of the Justice Department — when the personal views of the president override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”

I’m not sure any Republican has any kind of moral standing to complain about the “politicization of the Justice Department,” given what the Bush Jr administration had done with it. Fucking hypocrites.

At any rate, this bodes well for my home state of Connecticut, which has permitted gay marriage since the Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health decision was handed down by the state Supreme Court in late 2008.

All I can say is, good riddance to this law. The idea that marriage is something that needs to be “defended” is logically absurd. Marriage is something that people willingly enter into. Their ability to do so need not be “defended,” since they can do so whenever they wish. The idea that allowing gay marriage somehow prevents heterosexual couples from marrying, is likewise absurd. It does no such thing!

Lastly, the Religious Right’s assertion that, according to Judeo-Christian principles, marriage can ONLY be between one man and one woman, is factually incorrect, as I’ve blogged previously. There have been several different kinds of marriage during the history of the Abrahamic faiths; there is no “one” definition of it.

It’s time for the Right — which, especially during the Obama administration, has argued that government meddles too frequently in people’s lives — to put its money where its mouth is, and stop getting in the way of gay couples marrying, if they wish to. Freedom is a good thing; we should have more of it, not less.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Claus Ableiter.

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InquisitionIt was inevitable, I suppose, that once word came out that President Barack Obama had complimented the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles (WebCite cached article) for having hired Michael Vick after his release from prison for running a dog-fighting operation, the Right would suddenly treat Vick as though he were worse than Hitler or Stalin. It’s the “friend of my enemy is also my enemy” principle in action. It’s natural this would happen, I guess. But the ferocious Rightist Tucker Carlson, however, took that just a few steps too far recently in one of his (many) appearances on Fox News, as AOL Fanhouse reports — and he used Christianity as an oblique justification for it (cached):

“I’m a Christian, I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances,” Carlson said. “But Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that.

Now, Vick’s arrest, trial and conviction took place quite a while ago. I can’t find any record of Carlson having weighed in on this matter, before. So I can’t help but conclude that Obama’s comments were the trigger for this call to execute Vick. In fact, Carlson veers close to admitting this overtly:

“[T]he idea that the President of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs? Kind of beyond the pale.”

Here’s video of his comments, courtesy of YouTube:

The bottom line, Gentle Reader, is this: Carlson decided that Michael Vick should have been executed, merely because Barack Obama had something nice to say about him.

Wow. That’s all … just “wow.” The viciousness of that is stunning. Not to mention the idea that people should live or die based solely on the ideological identity of others who happen to say nice things about them.

What a marvelous Christian he is, eh?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Sarah Palin Promotes Bridge To Nowhere With T-ShirtAn odd story has come up, first reported by ABC News, about the militant Religious Rightist and former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, and something she did on Twitter (WebCite cached article):

In recent weeks Sarah Palin has used her Twitter page to endorse midterm candidates, offer political commentary and get out the vote. But last week, she used Twitter to list as a “favorite” a tweet linked to a photo of a sign labeling President Barack Obama a “Taliban Muslim.”

Palin posted as a “favorite” a tweet by conservative political commentator Ann Coulter linking to an image of a sign outside “The Blood of Jesus ATLAH World Missionary Church.” The sign reads, “The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.”

Here’s the picture in question:

The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.

The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.

Of course, Palin is denying she actually “favorited” Coulter’s tweet, claiming it was “accidental,” which ABC News is also reporting, since she responded to them (cached article):

Asked for comment, Palin wrote to ABC News:

“Jake, I’ve never purposefully ‘favorited’ any Tweet. I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible. I was traveling to Alaska that day…it was an obvious accidental ‘favoriting,’ but no one can mistake that Ann Coulter was obviously being tongue in cheek with that Tweet. Shall I correct this with whichever wonderful media outlet ran with this (an obviously bored reporter…since there must be nothing going on in the world today, like, um, ramifications of a shake up of power in the U.S. House of Representatives?).”

Note the requisite snide comment about how horrific the media are. For a publicity hound whose career is now built on having her face and words carried around the world by the mass media, Palin sure spends a lot of her time biting the hand that feeds her. Yep, definitely one helluva class act that woman is, no?

Quite aside from her juvenile jabs at the media … it is by no means “obvious” that this was an “accidental tweeting.” If Palin had been unaware of how to “favorite” a tweet, then it could not have been something she might have done even accidentally.

One might easily suspect that Coulter and Palin would both support the “birther” sentiment expressed in this church sign. It’s a delusion that just won’t die among the Religious Right, as I’ve blogged a number of times already. But these heroines of the Religious Right happen to have picked the wrong church to join. You see, ATLAH World Missionary Church is an African-American church in Harlem, NYC; it’s run by a crazy, (reverse) racist pastor, James David Manning; and the cold fact is that neither Ann Coulter nor Sarah Palin would be welcome there!

If you’re wondering — as I am — how an African-American pastor could oppose President Barack Obama rather than support him, on the basis of his race … well … welcome to the wonderful world of raging irrational religionism. I don’t plan even to try to make sense of this.

Anyway, I extend congratulations to Coulter and Palin. They just demonstrated their stupidity and ignorance to the entire planet, via Twitter.

Photo credit: baratunde.

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