Posts Tagged “religionism”
It’s been in the news all day … rioting at the U.S. embassy in Cairo (cached), and a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya (cached), all supposedly because of an anti-Islam movie produced by someone in California. The trouble with all of this news is — it might not be so. News outlets like the New York Times are beginning to report that at least the Benghazi murders might not have been caused by the inflammatory video, after all (WebCite cached article):
The Obama administration suspects that the fiery attack in Libya that killed the American ambassador and three other diplomats may have been planned rather than a spontaneous mob getting out of control, American officials said Wednesday. …
The attack at the compound in Benghazi was far more deadly than administration officials first announced on Tuesday night, when Mrs. Clinton said one American had been killed and one injured.
Another of those killed was Sean Smith, an information management officer who joined the Foreign Service 10 years ago, Mrs. Clinton said in a statement. The State Department did not identify the other two, pending notification of their relatives. Mr. Smith, who was a husband and father of two, previously served in Iraq, Canada and the Netherlands.
This is in contrast to the rioting in Cairo which may actually have been triggered by the video’s insult to Islam and its founding prophet:
The protesters in Cairo appeared to be a genuinely spontaneous unarmed mob angered by an anti-Islam video produced in the United States. By contrast, it appeared the attackers in Benghazi were armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
I have no doubt that America’s Neocrusaders will use both the murders in Benghazi and the riots in Cairo as “evidence” that Islam is violent, evil, and must be stamped out. They’ll say, “See? Islam isn’t ‘the Religion of Peace’ after all!” The trouble is … that’s precisely what this movie was designed to do! It was purposely incendiary, and even some of those involved in making it claim they’d been deceived by its producer (cached). And his biography appears to be leakier than a sieve (cached).
Let’s be brutally honest: It doesn’t take rocket science to realize this Youtube video would send some Muslims up in flames. After all, the mere threat of burning copies of the Qur’an had caused thousands of Afghans to fly into a murderous rage. We already know Muslims aren’t culturally mature enough to handle any kind of critique of their religion. We didn’t need this movie to prove it. So what, then, did this movie accomplish?
Abso-fucking-lutely nothing whatsoever! All it did was cause raging and rioting that need not ever have happened.
But while the producer of this movie bears at least some moral responsibility for this … since it appears he went into this expressly desiring this particular result (cached) … it’s also true that no one can incite a riot unless there are other folks ready, willing and able to take the bait and start rioting. In other words, this “Sam Bacile” did not put a gun to the heads of these rioters and force them to go on a rampage. The rioters in Cairo went and did that, entirely on their own. On the other hand, they could have chosen to act differently; they could have had the maturity to understand that not everyone else in the world loves their religion or its founder, and that once in a while one of those people is going to insult Islam.
There’s only one phrase to describe all of this: “Religionistic immaturity.” Immaturity on the part of America’s Neocrusaders, including “Sam Bacile,” who can’t handle the fact that Islam exists and who feel the need to throw tantrums over it; and on the part of the rioting Muslims, who can’t handle the fact that people of other religions might say something bad about Islam and who likewise throw tantrums of their own.
Folks … the human race can no longer afford this kind of deeply-ingrained, culturally-perpetuated immaturity. Muslims need to fucking grow the hell up and deal with the fact that not everyone likes their religion. By the same token, Christians need to fucking grow the hell up and stop being enraged that other people have rejected their faith. This kind of wanton childishness in the name of God really needs to stop.
Just. Fucking. Stop. OK?
Update: In their ongoing effort to show how childish they can be, rioting Muslims in Egypt have entered the U.S. embassy compound tonight (cached). Well done, Muslims. You’re on your way to invading and capturing yet another American embassy. Yessirree, everyone is now sure to conclude that yours truly is “the Religion of Peace.” Yep. No doubt about that! You all must be so proud of yourselves!
Photo credit: Agence France-Presse / Getty Images, via the New York Times.
, innocence of muslims
, insult to islam
, religionistic immaturity
, religious violence
IRS regulations are clear that all non-profit entities — of any and every possible sort — are not allowed to engage in politicking. This includes campaigning on behalf of a candidate, endorsing them, telling members whom to vote for, and so on. Among the types of non-profit entities that fall under this injunction, are religious groups — ranging from large denominational organizations, down to religious universities and schools, to congregations, down to single-pastor ministries. The rules are simple and clear; there are no exceptions; and there isn’t a lot of mystery about them.
Despite this, from time to time, some religionist with a bee in his/her political bonnet will decide to break this rule and tell his/her followers whom to vote for. The El Paso Times reports on a Catholic parish that appears to have done just that (WebCite cached article):
A local Catholic church appears to have violated IRS rules — and Catholic doctrine — by endorsing a presidential candidate in a church bulletin.
St. Raphael Catholic Church on the city’s East Side might have violated an Internal Revenue Service rule that prohibits tax-exempt churches from taking sides when it comes to candidates seeking political office in its Aug. 5 bulletin.
“I am asking all of you to go to the polls and be united in replacing our present president with a president that will respect the Catholic Church in this country,” the end of the entry in the bulletin says. “Please pass this on to all of your Catholic friends.”
The parish’s pastor has evaded questions, but his diocese has not, and agreed this is problematic, not only because it’s against IRS rules, it also Catholic doctrine itself:
But the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, which oversees St. Raphael, acknowledged in an email that the entry in the bulletin was inappropriate.
“Churches and other nonprofits are strictly prohibited from engaging in political campaigning/endorsement of a particular candidate,” said Deacon Carlos Rubio, vice chancellor of the diocese. “The Diocese of El Paso is aware of this requirement from the IRS and mindful that it does not violate such norms.” …
The primary U.S. church document on the Catholic Church’s role in politics is called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It says the role of bishops, priests and deacons is to teach fundamental moral principals that provide the framework for decisions such as how to vote.
“In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Church’s leaders are to avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or telling people how to vote,” the document says.
The article goes on to show the bulletin’s language is linked with the U.S. Catholic bishops’ struggle with the Obama administration:
The passage in the bulletin lists the number of employees of Catholic schools and hospitals in the United States, and it appears to be in response to Obama’s mandate that health plans offered by those employers cover birth-control medication for women who want it. Catholic doctrine opposes artificial means of birth control.
So while the diocese may have conceded that St Raphael in El Paso did something it shouldn’t have, I don’t see how it can possibly have been surprised by such a thing. The Christofascist bishops have gone to war with President Obama and are very clearly opposed to him. They’ve used various means — including lawsuits — to express their fury over his refusal to let them run the country and control people’s lives. Somehow, they think this deprives them of their religious liberty. (Yes, they really, actually do think that everyone — Catholic or not — is required to defer to them. Always, everywhere, and without question. They cannot and will never permit anyone to disobey them … and they’re happy to pitch fits then they think someone is doing so.)
Even though this bulletin clearly violated IRS rules, I don’t expect that agency to do anything about it. Generally they’re lax about policing that particular rule, and rarely come down on religious groups that violate it. Revoking a religious group’s non-profit status is a once-in-a-decade event for them. Yes, the IRS will “investigate” — whatever that might entail — but eventually the agency will decide nothing really happened, and that they won’t take any action.
Photo credit: Foursquare.
Tags: barack obama
, diocese of el paso
, el paso
, el paso diocese
, el paso TX
, president barack obama
, president obama
, st raphael catholic church
According to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, faith in a Creator is a requirement for all Americans. At least, that’s what he very clearly implied last night in his speech to the Republican National Convention (WebCite cached article):
Our national motto is “In God we Trust,” reminding us that faith in our Creator is the most important American value of all.
That might be your motto, Senator, but it’s not mine. Using the fact that your kind (i.e. militant theists) have named it the national motto, is certainly not enough to coerce me into following that instruction.
As for values that are important, I can think of many that are far more helpful in creating a productive and harmonious society than “faith in our Creator.” Among them are: Compassion, honesty, responsibility, charity, empathy, patience, courage, industriousness, perseverance, loyalty, generosity, and … well, need I go on? The list would be endless!
In the course of spewing his Christofascism, the Senator also factually lied about the founding of the country:
But America was founded on the principle that every person has God-given rights.
Uh, no. In truth, America was founded on the principle that “We the People” — via the Constitution that they, not God, enacted — grant all “rights” that anyone has. “God” has nothing to do with it, and plays absolutely no role in giving anyone “rights,” at least not in the United States. What’s more, the only government which has ever been instituted directly by the Abrahamic God — at least according to Abrahamic legend — was the ancient monarchy of Israel, whose first anointed king was Saul. As a monarchy, that state bore no resemblance to the United States, which is a representative republic. It’s inconceivable that YHWH could possibly have had any interest in creating a country such as we live in. And according to the gospels, Jesus Christ was clearly apolitical, uninterested in any kind of statecraft or polity.
The Senator’s lie grants him free admission into my “lying liars for Jesus” club. He’ll find himself in good company there.
I’ll take this opportunity to reiterate my challenge to Sen. Rubio — or any other militant religionist — that, if you think I’m required to believe what you wish me to believe, then you’re just going to have to make me believe it. Go ahead, I dare you. If it’s important for me as an American to believe in your deity, then you have no reason not to make an attempt. I invite you to try.
Photo credit: Austin Cline / About Atheism.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
Tags: 2012 election
, 2012 presidential campaign
, 2012 presidential election
, christian right
, faith in creator
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, marco rubio
, religious right
, republican national convention
, right wing
, senator marco rubio
The nation’s Neocrusaders have carried their war against Islam into the Nutmeg State, and have claimed several Metro North commuter-train stations as their beachhead. The Connecticut Post reports on this latest propaganda effort (WebCite cached article):
The series of billboards paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative are the latest chapter in an ongoing battle of trackside messages financed by advocacy groups on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The current ad campaign posted at five Connecticut stations on the New Haven Line — Greenwich, Cos Cob, Noroton Heights, Darien and South Norwalk — include the slogan “It’s not Islamophobia, It’s Islamorealism,” in red lettering on a black background.
Above the slogan, the poster lists the number 19,250, the purported number of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The signs were put up by a group led by Pamela Geller, a prominent and vocal Jewish Neocrusader, part of a pissing contest she’s gotten into with a critic of Israel:
Geller said the ads, which will run through Sept. 2 were bought to counter a round of platform advertisements critical of Israel that were financed by retired Wall Street broker Henry Clifford of the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, she said in an email exchange.
Call me unimpressed with Geller’s signs, which state that Palestine belongs to solely to Jews and that everyone else needs to get the fuck out — now. This is the sort of attitude that all sides in the Middle East conflict have been hurling at each other for decades now, and I note that it has accomplished absolutely nothing whatsoever. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how continuing this sort of rhetoric is going to do any good; after all, one of the clichéd definitions of insanity is, “Doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results.”
I note that at least one of Geller’s signs is non-factual. Have a look at it:
One of several controversial advertisments is posted at the Cos Cob train station. This ad reads ‘Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years. Ancient Israel was renamed ”Palestine” by the conquering Romans in 135 CE. By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.’ Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate. Via the Connecticut Post.
Let’s go over the sign’s claims. First, we have: “Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years.” This part is true. The people from whom modern Jews descended, were living in the region, c. 1,000 BCE. So far so good for Geller.
But then we have: “Ancient Israel was renamed ‘Palestine’ by the conquering Romans in 135 CE.” While it’s true that Emperor Hadrian renamed the province “Syria Palaestina” in the early 2nd century CE, it’s absolutely not true that the name “Palestine” was a Roman invention. No way! The Romans followed a precedent that was ancient, even in their own day: Egyptians had known the area as “Peleset” for a millennium or more, and that name ended up becoming “Palaistina” in Herodotus and — yes! — “Pelesheth” in the Old Testament. Far from inventing a previously-unknown name, the Romans merely used an older one that they were aware of.
Lastly we have: “By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.” This statement obfuscates the facts. The region known as Palestine may be “the Jewish homeland,” but it also happens to be “the Canaanite homeland” and “the Samaritan homeland” as well. Many other peoples have lived there through history: Phoenicians, Syriacs, Philistines, & Arameans, not to mention Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Greeks, and any number of others. Really, the concept of assigned “homelands,” and deciding to which people a region “belongs,” is juvenile and ridiculous in any event. One can select any arbitrary window in history and then say the people who were in a region at that time, “own” it forever and ever. But the odds are, that people moved in there at some point, either adding to or displacing another people who previously had “owned” that region. All of humanity migrated out of Africa, so quite literally, no other area can be said to be the ultimate “homeland” of any people.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: The mature way to respond to one form of religionistic extremism, is not to hurl another form of religionistic extremism back at it. It’s childish, and it’s not going to help anyone.
I’ll close this post by pointing out that the “American Freedom Defense Initiative” is a contradiction in terms. Geller and the other folks behind it, are not promoting true “freedom.” If they had their way, Islam would be outlawed, and very likely so too would be non-belief. That sort of effort is the opposite of “freedom.”
Photo credit, top: Wikimedia Commons; middle, Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate, via Connecticut Post.
, american freedom defense initiative
, committee for peace in israel and palestine
, henry clifford
, metro north
, middle east
, pamela geller
The Great Neocrusade pulled out all the stops in its effort to prevent a mosque from opening up in Murfreesboro, TN. I’ve blogged about the measures taken against it — both legal and illegal — by militant, furious Neocrusaders. But all of it was for naught. As the New York Times Lede blog reports, the mosque opened this weekend (locally-cached article):
After years of attacks, threats and court action, an Islamic center in Tennessee cleared one last hurdle that allowed it to open its doors on Friday to worshipers, allowing them to honor the occasion with prayers on what is Islam’s main congregational day of the week. But the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was overshadowed by concerns after the shooting of worshipers at a Sikh temple on Sunday in Wisconsin and an arson attack on a mosque in Missouri this week. …
The mosque faced arson, vandalism and a court battle before it cleared [cached] a final step when it passed inspection this week and was given a temporary certificate of occupancy for 30 days.
Even in spite of their having ultimately lost this battle, some Neocrusaders still chose to be on hand to whine about the mosque’s opening:
Standing in the parking lot, Dan J. Qualls, 50, a former car plant worker, said he came to the center to protest. Mr. Qualls, wearing an “I Love Jesus” hat, said he understood that the First Amendment protects the right to worship freely but said he believed Islam represented violence.
To be clear, Mr Qualls and the rest of you Christofascist Neocrusaders … your own religion is violent, too. Moreover, you know it, even if you’d prefer not to have to admit it. Complaining about Islam being violent (and yes, it can be!) does not grant you the right to act as though your own religion is non-violent. It most certainly is not.
I suggest that Neocrusaders crack open their Bibles for once and actually read the reported teachings of Jesus Christ himself, the founder of their own religion:
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:3-5)
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:41-42)
Before you militant Christians can presume the right to critique other peoples’ religions, you should begin following your own. Please start doing so.
Photo credit: Stephen Lance Dennee/AP, via the New York Times.
, islamic center of murfreesboro
, Lk 6:41-42
, mt 7:2-5
, murfreesboro TN
I’ve already blogged about the militant Christofascist pseudohistorian David Barton … whom the Right continues to call a “historian,” even though he is absolutely no such thing. That’s to be expected; Rightists generally have only a very loose grasp of history in the first place, so they’re hardly able to tell the difference.
But Barton was drawn up short today — by his own publisher — because, as NPR reports, his most recent book contains demonstrable fabrications and lies (WebCite cached article):
Citing a loss of confidence in the book’s details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.
The controversial book was written by Texas evangelical David Barton, who NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled on All Things Considered Wednesday [cached]. The publishing company says it’s ceasing publication because it found that “basic truths just were not there.” …
“Mr. Barton is presenting a Jefferson that modern-day evangelicals could love and identify with,” historian Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the evangelical Grove City College, told Hagerty. “The problem with that is, it’s not a whole Jefferson; it’s not getting him right.”
The book’s publisher came to the same conclusion.
Religious Rightists have had more than a little difficulty, over the past few years, with Jefferson. He’s one of the best-recognized Founding Fathers, but was also openly disdainful of religiosity and dogmatism. While they revere the Founding Fathers, Jefferson’s decided lack of piety is something the R.R. apparently can no longer stomach. Rightists in Texas, for example, have purposely skewed the public-school curriculum so has to downplay Jefferson and the Enlightenment as a movement. Barton’s book appears to be a reverse of that effort, intended to make Jefferson’s impiety and irreverence go away.
I expect Barton and his fans to portray him as a martyr to the faith and complain that Thomas Nelson caved in to “political correctness.” They will refuse to believe that Barton’s books are full of lies, and will instead convince themselves that everyone who tells them so, is the real liar. That Thomas Nelson is a Christian publisher, and that critics like Throckmorton are evangelicals themselves, will not matter to them one iota. They will still refuse to believe Barton has lied to them. Communal reinforcement is a powerful thing and it can lead to delusional thinking; Barton’s popularity is proof of that.
I should conclude this post by giving Thomas Nelson credit for this action; it surely has cost them a great deal. I also have to give props to Barton’s evangelical critics like Throckmorton; I’m sure their flocks will be none too happy they’ve sided with “the Enemy” against the great “historian” Barton.
Photo credit: chadh, via Flickr.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
P.S. You gotta love the irony of the title of Barton’s book. He obviously intended it to refer to “lies” being told about Jefferson by other folks … particularly those evil “secular humanists” … but in truth, the “lies” are Barton’s own, and they’re contained within the pages of the very book that pretends to debunk them. How contemptible!
, christian right
, david barton
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, religious right
, the jefferson lies
, thomas jefferson
, thomas nelson
, warren throckmorton
A couple months ago the well-known food company General Mills apparently committed the cardinal sin — in the eyes of militant religionists, anyway — of supporting gay rights. A devout Christian was so outraged by this, that he decided to stage a protest at company headquarters, by burning some Cheerios. But as the Smoking Gun reports, he managed to do just a little bit more than that (WebCite cached article):
The gay marriage opponent seen in a viral video accidentally setting a fire outside the General Mills headquarters is a Minnesota real estate broker who has previously recorded a series of anti-gay YouTube clips.
In the above video, Michael Leisner, 65, can be seen outside the General Mills corporate campus in Golden Valley. He is carrying a box of Honey Nut Cheerios in one hand and a blowtorch in the other.
As an aside … I wonder if there’s any particular reason Leisner chose “Honey Nut” Cheerios for his protest? But I digress:
But after Leisner torches the Cheerios box, he somehow allows flames to spread to the lawn in front of a giant General Mills sign. After trying–and failing–to stamp out the flames with his feet, Leisner tells two young companions, “Okay, get out of here guys.”
You’ve just got to love the way this idiot and his cadre of gay-haters fled the fire. What a class act!
Here’s video of this little exercise of religious expression:
I may have read the Bible extensively — from front to back, up and down, including reading the New Testament in its original Greek — but sadly, I appear to have missed Jesus’ instruction to his followers to “Go forth and set fires in My name.” If anyone out there would be so kind as to supply me with chapter and verse on that, I’d be much obliged. Thank you!
Please note that I refrained from exploiting the obvious pun reference to “flaming.” It would have been just too easy!
Photo credit: PsiCop original.
, gay hatred
, gay marriage
, gay marriage rights
, general mills
, honey nut cheerios
, marriage rights