Posts Tagged “scotus”

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” / Matthew 6:6 (NASB) / PsiCop original graphicLast year, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of the Town of Greece v. Galloway. Today they released their ruling, and given that it’s a majority-conservative (and, maybe more importantly, majority-Religious-Right) court, they ruled in favor of government agencies leading people in sectarian prayers. CNN reports on the case and the Court’s decision (WebCite cached article):

The Supreme Court gave limited approval on Monday to public prayers at a New York town’s board meetings, citing the country’s history of religious acknowledgment in the legislature.

The 5-4 ruling [cached] came in yet another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena. It was confined to the specific circumstances and offered few bright-line rules on how other communities should offer civic prayers without violating the Constitution.…

The conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such “ceremonial” prayers would be permissible. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the Greece case and did not offer a broad expansion of legislative prayer.

This mention that the ruling is specific only to Greece, NY is belied by the fact that it is very typical of towns around the country that also open town-council sessions with prayers. I don’t see any way this ruling won’t be expanded to just about every locality and every government agency in the country. At least, I’m not stupid enough to think the nation’s Christofascists aren’t going to use this as a wedge to get prayers into just about every public venue possible, and that they won’t succeed at it.

The really bizarre part of this case is that Christians are explicitly forbidden — by Jesus, the founder of their religion — to pray in public in the first place! The gospels report that he said:

“(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.… When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6:1,5-6)

I’ve blogged before about Christians’ tendency to disobey Jesus and happily engage in the practice of pubic piety, and even created a static page on the subject, which may be useful if you need more details. In any event, the result is that a lot of Christians went to court to establish a right to government prayers, and the Catholics on the Supreme Court granted them that right … all in very clear violation of what their own Jesus taught! They also love to litigate over Decalogue monuments, which is likewise exceedingly un-Christian. In fact, as I explain at length, there are a lot of Jesus’ instructions that Christians historically have refused to follow.

I note that Justice Kennedy relies upon an appeal to tradition in order to support what the town of Greece was doing. The US was historically Christian, he’s saying, therefore it’s fine to ram Christianity down all Americans’ throats. The problem with this is that appeals to tradition are fallacious. Just because something was done in the past, doesn’t make it a great idea forevermore. For instance, humanity had a long history of slavery, which was even legal for the first decades of this country; that long tradition, however, doesn’t mean we should reinstitute slavery. I’m not sure Justice Kennedy realizes he’s following this line of reasoning, but in fact, he is.

The bottom line here, is that America’s Christianists have finally won the right to force everyone … Christian and non-Christian alike … to pray to their own deity. I wish them the best of luck forcing me to pray with them. I invite them to track me down and give it their best shot! It won’t work, but they’re certainly welcome to try. Obviously they feel it’s important that every American pray to their Jesus; thus they have no rational reason not to do their utmost to make this American do so. So have at it, Christianists! Do your worst! What are you waiting for?

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on Mt 6:6, NASB.

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And the Lord said, 'Duck your head!' / 'Prophet' Cindy Jacobs / from RWW videoThe Supreme Court’s decision declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional is a few weeks old. Even so, lots of Christianists continue to rage and fume about it. I’ve already blogged about some of their reactions, but they keep pitching fits. The latest example of this, as reported by Right Wing Watch, is a “prophet” who uses disaster theology to call catastrophe down onto the country (WebCite cached article):

Self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs delivered an ominous warning to America while speaking with fellow televangelist Jim Bakker, describing a message she received from God that the country will face divine punishment over the Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality. “Recently in the United States we’ve had these Supreme Court decisions that are against biblical marriage, and the Lord said to me, ‘duck your head, duck your head.’ I said, ‘oh God, duck my head?’”

RWW provides video of her idiotic blather via Youtube:

Sounds like a nightmarish prediction, doesn’t it? But believers like the Prophet Ms Jacobs need not worry. Just as he did prior to the Exodus, the Almighty plans to “mark” all his faithful so his divine wrath won’t wipe them out:

Jacobs asserted that God plans to “put a mark upon” believers — “as long as you’re tithing” — and bless them because “there’s a whole lot of shaking getting ready to happen.”

(Gee, I love how being a believer is all about “the tithing.”)

The Prophet Ms Jacobs claims she’d predicted Hurricane Sandy as a sign of the Almighty’s fury, hence, she insists she’ll be right this time, too.

Well, she will be! I have no doubt a hurricane will hit somewhere in the US this year. I also have no doubt there will be wildfires in the coming months. There might even be an earthquake. Or a bombing. Or a school shooting. Terrible events absolutely will happen.

And you know how I know this? Because … quite obviously! … they just naturally happen! I’m sure the Prophet Ms Jacobs knows this just as well as I do. Which is why she makes pronouncements like this … it gives her the (false) appearance of being an accurate “prophet” foretelling future events!

Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on still from RWW video via Youtube.

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Cry BabyIn my last post I listed some catalogs of the juvenile whining of the Religious Right over the Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. As one would expect, they haven’t stopped pitching fits over it. Their crybaby antics took a new turn when, as WHYY-TV in Philadelphia reports, an openly-gay representative House was forbidden to speak on the Pennsylvania House floor about the decision (WebCite cached article):

Openly gay Pa. Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, was blocked from talking about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday on the floor of the Pennsylvania House.

His comments to his colleagues were ended by a procedural maneuver.

In a part of the house session where members can speak on wide-ranging topics, Sims had just begun his remarks when he was shut down.…

It takes just one legislator to end the impromptu remarks. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe was one of the House Republicans who objected.

“I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law,” said Metcalfe, R-Butler.

Efforts to uncover the names of other legislators who objected to Sims speaking were rebuffed by the House Speaker.

So there you have it, folks. Gay rights can’t be mentioned on the floor of the Pennsylvania House, because it’s against “God’s law” to do so.

Keep it up, guys. Please. I’m begging you. Keep it up. Keep showing your true colors to the world. Keep proving how childish you really are. Keep carrying on like spoiled little children who’ve lost their favorite toy. Keep up the sanctimonious raging and the immature bellyaching.

You couldn’t possibly do a better job of demonstrating what’s wrong with fierce, unthinking religionism, than I could. And I thank you for it! Honestly, I do.

Hat tip: Talking Points Memo.

Photo credit: Chalky Lives, via Flickr.

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Portrait of crying baby girlBy now you already know about the US Supreme Court having declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. You also know the Religious Right is going out of its collective mind over it. Their sanctimonious rage is predictable and entertaining.

In light of this decision, I’ll crib a little from one of my first posts on this blog, addressing some of their misconceptions and lies about marriage:

The R.R. rages and fumes about “Biblical marriage” being solely between one man and one woman, but because they don’t read their own Bibles, they have no fucking clue that this just isn’t the case. The Bible actually presents several different forms of marriage. These forms include polygamy and even concubinage:

These are not the only Biblical figures whose God-approved marriages were decidedly not of the “one man, one woman” variety.

Lest one think polygamy was solely an Old Testament-era phenomenon, the author of 1 Timothy makes a point of declaring that deacons and bishops had to be men married to only one woman (1 Tim 3:2, 12). That this had to be specified, indicates that polygamy wasn’t unheard of in the Greco-Roman world, nor even among Christians. And note, the injunction was only against polygamous men becoming deacons or bishops. They could be, and some of them presumably did, otherwise remain Christians in good standing within their churches.

The “marriage is for procreation only!” claim is belied by the fact that there’s nothing that forces heterosexual couples to have children if they choose not to, nor any way to prevent an infertile heterosexual couple from marrying, if they want to.

The idea that letting gays marry will lead to people marrying their pets, is bullshit of the highest order. A marriage is a contract. Animals can’t enter into contracts. Hence, people can’t “marry” animals. It’s legally impossible.

I particularly love the hypocritical whining and bellyaching over the supposed loss of “religious freedom” for people and churches whose dogma teaches that gays and lesbians are second-class citizens who must be marginalized and ostracized — without acknowledging there are also religions that welcome gays and lesbians and which wish to treat them equally … including marrying them. According to the R.R., it’s OK to deprive those churches of their “religious freedom” to marry gays. Only they — that is, members of gay-hating churches — should have “religious freedom.”

I could continue addressing the R.R.’s claims about marriage, but it would be pointless. They aren’t interested in facts. They’re only interested in being angry about DOMA being invalidated and in venting their pointless, juvenile rage about it. The following Web pages provide useful catalogs of their collective insanity over this:

Keep stamping and fuming, little crybabies. Keep yelling and screaming that you’re not going to stand for it any more. Keep carrying on as though the world just ended when you know damn well it didn’t. Honestly, I find your outrage funny. And the best part is: Your anger over gay marriage no longer matters one iota. You aren’t going to be able to unravel the Supreme Court’s action — your only option is a Constitutional amendment, which everyone knows will never be enacted. So, boo fucking hoo hoo, little babies! Holler and rage all you like over it; I’m laughing at all of you.

Photo credit: Fiery-Phoenix, via Flickr.

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God hates Westboro Baptists (they're fags!)By now you’ve probably heard that the US Supreme Court has decided that the Westboro Baptist Church … which is, essentially, just the family of ordained Baptist preacher Fred Phelps … can protest at military funerals. CNN reported on this decision in Snyder v. Phelps (WebCite cached article):

A Kansas church that attracted nationwide attention for its angry, anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. military members has won its appeal at the Supreme Court, an issue testing the competing constitutional rights of free speech and privacy.

The justices, by an 8-1 vote, said Wednesday that members of Westboro Baptist Church had a right to promote what they call a broad-based message on public matters such as wars. The father of a fallen Marine had sued the small church, saying those protests amounted to targeted harassment and an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

While I’m not in favor of hyperreligious lunatics broadcasting hatred wherever they can, I can’t disagree that the Phelps clan has the right to say what it wants to, in a public place.

The real issue here … which is (conveniently) being dodged by a lot of folks, is: What is it about religion that gives sanctuary to hateful people like the Phelpses, so that they can justify their horrific “message”?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just about the Phelpses. Religiously-inspired bigotry and hate is nothing new. Through most of its history, Christianity has worked to foster a certain amount of anti-Semitism; even now, hatred of Jews still exists among Christians, and is even more pronounced in the Islamic world. White supremacy also has a Christian orientation.

I understand most Christians are not hateful pricks like Fred Phelps, Hutton Gibson, and Wesley Swift, to name just a few. I get that. The problem is, if Christianity means something … and if that meaning is both plain and not the hateful one that people like the Westboro Baptists claim … then it should not be possible for anyone to use Christianity as a “safe harbor” to justify their hatred. That Christianity — or any other religion — can be used as a rationale for hatred, is not to its credit.

It means its message is — by definition — less than clear, and easily muddled by external considerations. It means that religion can be twisted into something it had never been intended to be, and say things it had never been intended to say. It means that, in the name of doing good, people of that religion can — ironically — promote a lot of evil.

If there are any Christians out there who truly think their religion has a definite meaning which is not what the disgusting Phelps clan trumpets all over the place, I must ask you: What are you doing about them? How, exactly, do you plan to prevent them from absconding with your religion? If you aren’t willing to do anything, then how is any objective, outside observer of Christianity supposed to know that Christianity’s message is not what the Phelpses say it is?

Think about the message you send to others, about your own religion, in your dealings with Fred Phelps and his clan.

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Christian and Gay Equals OKIn a change from its usual dutiful, obedient, lock-step march behind the vast hosts of the Religious Right, the US Supreme Court dealt a blow to a Christian group at a law school in California. The AP via Google News reports on this decision (WebCite cached article):

An ideologically split Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian student group that won’t let gays join, with one justice saying that the First Amendment does not require a public university to validate or support the group’s “discriminatory practices.”

The court turned away an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued to get funding and recognition from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. The CLS requires that voting members sign a statement of faith and regards “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” as being inconsistent with that faith.

But Hastings, which is in San Francisco, said no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation.

Isn’t it amazing that fundamentalist Christians believe themselves to be above the rules everyone else must obey? They get to do whatever they want, ’cause of Jesus … I guess. This group thought they could have it both ways … they could gain recognition by the school — and the funding that goes along with it — without actually having to abide by the rules required of recognized groups.

(I’m not sure that aspiring lawyers ought to be looking for ways to excuse themselves from having to obey rules … I mean, that kind of runs counter to the entire field of law … but hey, I’m just a cold-hearted, cynical, skeptical, God-hating agnostic heathen, so what do I know?)

The Court’s theocrat-in-chief made just the sort of doomsday prediction one would expect from any mindless religiofascist:

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a strong dissent for the court’s conservatives, saying the opinion was “a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.”

What Alito doesn’t get is that a lack of school recognition doesn’t prevent the members of the Christian Legal Society from believing in whatever reprehensible notions they feel like … all it means is they can’t get any funding from the school. And isn’t that what this was all about … extracting money from the Hastings College of the Law? I wonder what Jesus would say about the Christian Legal Society’s obvious greed.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk.

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Elena Kagan as Dean of Harvard Law SchoolPresident Obama announced his latest choice for the US Supreme Court; it’s Solicitor General Elena Kagan [WebCite cached article]. The Religious Right — along with the rest of the country’s conservative faction — is going nuts about it. But the R.R.’s objection is not based on her qualifications or lack thereof. They object to her based on what they assume (not what they know) about her sexuality. Religion Dispatches covers some of the R.R.’s whining and bellyaching:

Focus on the Family, which previously signaled it would not support gay nominees because they lack the necessary “character” and “moral rectitude,” today opposes Kagan because of her “her emotional and legal commitment to the LGBT agenda.” And the American Family Association demands that the media ask Kagan if she’s a lesbian, because “no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.”

The problem with all of this — aside from the fact that these people seem to think that any gay person is too deficient ever to have any kind of federal office in the first place, which is a ridiculous position — is that it’s not even known whether or not Kagan is gay! A blogger recently suggested she was, and CBS News foolishly relayed this unfounded claim as fact; the White House, however, says this is untrue, and it cannot safely be assumed that Kagan is gay. (The blogger who started the rumor is Ben Domenech, who was a Bush Junior operative. Needless to say, his credibility on the matter is very thin, if not nonexistent.)

At any rate, the Religious Right continues to denounce Kagan as a lesbian and whines about her nomination to the Supreme Court based on that … but they have no idea if she really is a lesbian in the first place.

This wouldn’t be the first time the R.R. has stamped and fumed childishly — and sanctimoniously — about something, without knowing the facts of the matter. And one can safely assume it won’t be the last. More’s the pity.

At any rate, Ms Kagan’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with whether or not she can serve as a Supreme Court Justice. I for one do not care whether she’s gay or not.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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