Posts Tagged “right”

crying baby leoOne of the things I go into at length, in my page on scriptures that Christians love to ignore, is Jesus’ injunction against his followers judging others. He was very clear and specific on the matter, yet Christians have, historically, refused to obey this explicit instruction. Christianity’s history is a long chronicle of Christians judging other Christians … and non-Christians … adversely, and often coming to blows over it. It’s not as though they aren’t aware of this teaching; what they’ve done is to rationalize it away so as to grant themselves license to judge, even though they’ve been ordered not to.

An example of precisely this sort of rationale was offered by the AFA’s Bryan Fischer. He objects to people he calls “secular fundamentalists” and “Leftists” using this injunction against dutiful Christianists like himself (WebCite cached article):

Leftists think it’s [i.e. Matthew 7:1] their trump card. Anytime a social conservative expresses criticism of, say homosexual behavior, the secular fundamentalist throws the “judge not” card on the table, declares game over, and smugly dares his vanquished opponent to breathe another word.

Here’s the problem. A leftist cannot use that argument without condemning himself.

If judging other people is wrong, then, to personalize it, he has no moral right to judge me, which is exactly what he is doing by condemning me for criticizing deviant sexual behavior.

His whole argument is predicated on his mindless conviction that passing moral judgments on other people is, well, immoral. But then he is guilty of the very thing of which he charges me.

Fischer even conjures up a laughable, imagined dialog with his own personal version of a “Leftist” in support of his contention.

His problem is, his entire argument is predicated on a straw man. He assumes that “secular fundamentalists” (aka “Leftists”) are under the same injunction that he is. The problem: They very well might not be! Jesus’ order to his followers not to judge others, by definition does not include non-Christians, who increasingly make up a larger proportion of America’s ideological Left (or what Fischer refers to as “secular fundamentalists,” whatever that might mean).

I concede that any Christians within the ideological Left would, of course, be subject to the same injunction Fischer and all of his fiercely Rightist co-religionists are. But given that Fischer is complaining about “secular fundamentalists” and equating them with “the Left,” he’s referring to a larger group than just liberal Christian believers, a group that would have to include non-Christians. Some of Fischer’s critics to whom he’s responding are not subject to Jesus’ injunction against judging others, and are allowed to judge him negatively — and simultaneously inform him that he’s violating Jesus’ teachings.

Fischer didn’t use it, but some Christians cite another scripture passage as an evasion:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

This passage is an admission that it’s sometimes necessary for Christians to correct each other. However, it clearly contradicts what Jesus said on the subject. And it’s not a “clarification” of what Jesus taught, because it’s not worded that way. No part of 2 Timothy says anything along the lines of, “Jesus did teach us not to judge one another, but sometimes you need to admonish and correct others, and when you do, Scripture will help you do it.” It’s not in there … at all. But even if 2 Timothy did say that, we’d still end up with Jesus on the one hand teaching one thing, and the author of 2 Timothy (which, in spite of Christian tradition, was not written by Paul), who says another.

At any rate, if Fischer, or any other Christian, objects to being told s/he isn’t supposed to judge anyone else, too bad. It’s their religion, they picked it, and that’s what it teaches. If they don’t like it, they either need to alter their religion and its scripture so it teaches something else, or leave the religion and find another. This problem is entirely between Christians and their God.

Photo credit: storyvillegirl, via Flickr.

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Mother Jones / Chart: Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory EverConspiracy theories are common in the US. Lots of Americans really love them. The more ideologically-inclined they are, the more likely they are to cling to them. It stands to reason that the Far Right has built up something of an industry of various and sundry Barack Obama-related conspiracy theories. Among the most commonly-heard of these is the “Birther” movement, which claims Obama was born in Kenya, is not a US citizen, has offered a fake birth certificate falsely indicating he was born in Honolulu, HI, and therefore is not a legitimate president. I’ve blogged on the fiercely-irrational — and childish — Birthers many times and have noted their wild suppositions have no basis in fact. There’s also the widespread belief that Obama is not a Christian, but is secretly Muslim, and wants to hand over the US to the Muslim Brotherhood so they can force shari’a law on the country.

Both the Birthers and “Muslimers” are, sadly, politically influential; GOP officials routinely give winks-&-nods in the direction of Birtherism (even if they also claim they think Obama is American). And Oklahoma voters approved a needless amendment to their state constitution to keep shari’a law from being implemented there.

Yet another conspiracy theory which has a lot of traction these days involves a United Nations proposal called Agenda 21. Mother Jones reports the GOP caucus of the Georgia state senate gathered to hear about how Obama’s infernal plan to force this proposal on the country (WebCite cached article):

President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.

On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body’s majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.'”

Here’s video of part of this paranoid presentation, courtesy of Vimeo:

This conspiracy includes a wide range of elements sure to make the Right perk up its ears: The United Nations, Barack Obama, mind control, socialism, environmentalism, and more. Obligatory links between the Obama administration and the regimes of Mao and Stalin were offered up, too. Georgia’s Republican state senators could hardly help but drool over the Rightist paranoid fantasy they were hearing.

What these folk don’t comprehend, are a few salient facts: First, Agenda 21 is non-binding. It’s basically a whole lot of hopes, dreams & wishful thinking, and nothing more. Second, Agenda 21 isn’t new; it’s been floating around for 20 years, with no sign yet of being forcefully implemented on anyone.

But third — and perhaps most importantly — even if the UN wanted to make Agenda 21 binding on its members, there’s no way it can do so. It’s perhaps the single most useless and ineffective organization on the planet, incapable of doing anything of significance. Consider the UN’s history: Its attempted interventions in places like the Levant and Korea have accomplished absolutely nothing, even after several decades. Let’s be honest here: Agenda 21 is dead; it always will be dead; and it was dead long before any of the insipid yammering dolts who infest UN headquarters in New York ever dreamed it up. And that’s because nothing the UN tries to do ever goes anywhere.

Another factual problem with the scenario cooked up here: The RAND Corporation “Delphi technique” is not a method of “mind control.” It’s actually something else entirely … i.e. a way to estimate future demand for something. And since RAND itself doesn’t make a secret of it (cached), I don’t see how it could be used as the fuel for a clandestine plot to take over the population and turn them into Obama’s automatons.

This article thoughtfully includes a link to a chart of myriad other Obama conspiracy theories that have been trafficked over the last few years. Read it, check out the links in it, and be amazed at the vast range of incredible delusions the Right has been spinning.

Photo credit: Mother Jones.

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Hypocrites Are Us (aka Hypocrites R Us)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.

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Dinesh DSouza speaking at CPAC 2012, UNEDITED. (6859827729)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.

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Paul Broun Congressional PortraitI’ve blogged before about Religious Rightist Congressman Paul Broun from Georgia. He’s about as militant a Christianist as you could ask for. That’s bad enough all by itself. But he happens also to be a physician, and he uses this as an indication of expertise in science, making all sorts of ridiculous proclamations which his followers then treat as more authoritative than they are, because — after all — he’s a “doctor” and he must be right! *

As it turns out, in the course of one particular speech, as reported by Talking Points Memo, Broun managed to reveal both the absurdity of his religionism, and his total lack of anything resembling knowledge of science (WebCite cached article):

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) tore into scientists as tools of the devil in a speech at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet last month.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” Broun said. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

According to Broun, the scientific plot was primarily concerned with hiding the true age of the Earth. …

“You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth,” he said. “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”

If you need proof that a grown man in the 21st century United States actually said something this backward, asinine and ignorant, see it for yourself in this Youtube video of Broun’s remarks:

According to Broun, virtually all of modern science is a Satanic plot to lead people away from “the Truth” (as he sees it).

Let’s be clear about this: The consensus among astrophysicists is that the Big Bang happened … if they disagree, it’s on the precise manner in which it played out, or on its implications. Also, evolution is both a fact and a theory; there is no valid biological science that refutes it. For Broun to say either the Big Bang or evolution are untrue, are fucking lies. Period. End of discussion!

I have to wonder when, exactly, Broun’s own Jesus told him to lie in order to promote his religionism? I’m not aware the gospels contain any such instruction. If someone out there could provide chapter and verse from one of the gospels to this effect, I’d greatly appreciate it.

In any event, I just love it when Religious Rightists yammer too much and expose themselves as ignorant and disingenuous. It makes my job so much easier.

* Note the similarity here with the followers of Ron Paul, whom they always refer to as “‘Dr’ Paul.” They likewise believe — erroneously — that Paul’s status as a physician makes him an unassailable expert on every conceivable topic, even ones he has absolutely no credentials in (such as economics).

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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KENS-TV / 'Pray for Obama' sign stirs controversy over Biblical verseI blogged almost 3 years ago about Christians using a scriptural curse against President Obama. Their use of “imprecatory prayer” against the President died down a little, after that, but with the 2012 election heating up, it was bound to be used again. And it has been, this time in Victoria, TX, and as KENS-TV reports, the Secret Service is taking an interest in it (WebCite cached article):

The Secret Service is looking into a sign posted in Victoria, Texas.

The sign says “Pray for Obama”, but it’s the scripture quoted below those words that is raising eyebrows: Psalms 109:8.

Psalms 109:8 reads, “Let his days be few, and let another take his office.”

Milton Neitsch Jr., who has lived in Victoria since 1961, says he didn’t intend for people to pick up on the hateful wishes of death and pain surrounding the tiny verse.

I’m not sure how or why Neitsch didn’t think anyone would pick up on his hateful wishes. They’re right there, as plain as day, for anyone to see. Here’s the station’s video report:

As I did the last time this came up, I’ll provide the context of verse 109:8 so the reader can see how vicious this entire passage is:

Let his days be few;
Let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless
And his wife a widow.
Let his children wander about and beg;
And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
Let the creditor seize all that he has,
And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.
Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him,
Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children
Let his posterity be cut off;
In a following generation let their name be blotted out.
(Psalm 109:8-13)

Aren’t Christians wonderful? They’re just so loving and everything … no?

I close this by predicting that, in the end, the Secret Service will take no action. Unless they find that Neitsch was a direct, imminent threat to the President, they’ll chalk this up as just another disgruntled Christian hick bellyaching about a president he doesn’t happen to like, and leave it at that.

Photo credit: KENS-TV.

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God is a Republican & Conservative: If You Love God, You Must Be Conservative and Vote Republican, God's Own Party | Image © Austin Cline; Original Poster: Nazi PropagandaAccording 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.

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