Archive for the “General” Category

Posts of a general nature

Newt Gingrich / Gage Skidmore, via Flickrto cultivate a deep-seated persecution complex. It is, in fact, so deep and profound that it’s made them downright delusional. They actually invent “persecution” that doesn’t exist, solely so that they can feel like martyrs for Jesus.

A terrific example of this came from someone I haven’t blogged about in a while: Newt Gingrich, the hypocritical Christofascist. As the Naples Daily News reports, he claims atheism is a greater threat to Christianity than terrorism (Archive.Is cached article):

The secular philosophy of the left in Western society is at least as grave a danger to Christianity as that posed by terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaida, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Saturday night in North Naples.

The Republican from Georgia addressed about 300 people at The Ritz-Carlton for the annual Speaker Event dinner of the Ave Maria School of Law.

“The rise of a secular, atheist philosophy” in the West is “an equally or even more dangerous threat” to Christianity than terrorist organizations that will kill Christians if “they don’t submit,” Gingrich said.

He exhorted this school to become part of the “resistance” to his putative “war on Christianity.

Yeah. That’s right, folks. He actually compared the mere existence of atheism to terrorism that’s killing people around the world.

No shit. That’s exactly what the Newtster said!

Before you think this sort of comparison is out of character for him, it’s not. Seven years ago, he actually stated that “secular atheists” were “radical Islamists.” I still haven’t figured out how that works. I mean, it’s a semantic impossibility — “radical Islamists” are, by definition, religious, whereas by definition, “secular atheists” are not — but that’s what the cretin said. Honest! So comparing the rather brazen evil which is Islamist terror, with “secular atheism” (which is not inherently harmful to anyone) is a game the Newtster has been playing for a very long time now.

The problem, of course — and the reason he’s continued making these comparisons — is that his audience totally swallows this contention. The precious snowflakes really and truly do think that the mere existence of atheism is a dire threat to their very lives, and that atheism exists solely to wipe out Christianity (but somehow, not Islam, nor any other religion). These people are fucking nuts and have woven their own delusion. That makes them extraordinarily dangerous.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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'You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.' / PsiCop original graphic, based on quotation by Rahm Emanuel (see https://www.factcheck.org/2011/01/bum-rap-for-rahm/)By now, you’ve heard about the Parkland, FL school shooting, this past Wednesday (cached article). And if you’ve read my blog for more than a few months, you’d be able to predict Christianists would use it to promote their dour metaphysics. After all, what good is a terrible — and terrifying — event, if one can’t exploit it, in order to terrify others into believing something?

The overall phenomenon is something I’ve called (generally) “disaster theology,” and this case is part of a subset of that, called “massacre theology.” I have for your review two examples of this related to the Parkland massacre.

First, we have Fox News pundit and raging Christofascist Todd Starnes, who says this shooting was caused by the Devil, and abortions and other Christianist bogeymen (cached):

They kicked God out of the public marketplace, banned Bibles and prayer in school.

And the Devil smiled.

Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered in the name of choice.

And the Devil smiled.

His whole whiney diatribe is a parade of lies, such as that Bibles and prayer were outlawed in schools … that never actually happened. In truth, there are Bibles in public schools all over the country, and prayer takes place in them all the time (“Please God, help me pass this geometry test!”). And God has never been removed from “the public marketplace” … that too is a damned lie. If anything, the Religious Right has made sure their God remains firmly in control of “the public marketplace.”

The second example of “massacre theology” comes from Lucian Wintrich. (Who’s that, you say? He’s the White House beat reporter for a Right-wing blog called the Gateway Pundit. Yes, folks, Right-wing blogs now have White House beat reporters. Really.) As Right Wing Watch reports, this cretin says the massacre happened because Christianity has been “demonized” (cached):

“Part of it is the lack of community and the lack of the role of the church in modern American society. And I think that the way the left has disparaged that, what they’ve done—and it infuriates me what the left has done these days—is they have demonized Christianity, the church, Jesus Christ, who if you read his teachings, right, it was ‘We’re all brothers. Look out for one another.’”

While it’s true Jesus did teach those things, no one should forget that, since his time, Christians themselves have rejected those teachings; they tend to view only each other as “brothers,” and outsiders as vile creatures who need to be treated like garbage. So let’s be honest here: This “Christianity” that Wintrich thinks has been “demonized,” doesn’t actually exist, and hasn’t existed for nearly a couple millennia. Aside from this, Wintrich’s complaint is yet another manifestation of the Christian martyr complex. Yes, Lucian, Chrishuns are just soooooo persecuted, aren’t you, you preciously little snowflakes? Yawn.

Another yawner: Both Starnes and Wintrich also fell back on the Religious Right trope that there’s no morality without their Christianism. That’s not true, but it happens to be a very old complaint among their ilk. If they genuinely think I’m an amoral person because of my agnosticism, and that I need to become a Christian in order to have any morals, I invite both of them to track me down and make me convert to their Christianity. Go right ahead, guys. Lock and load! I’ll be ready for you. You won’t be able to convert me, even by force, but please, by all means, give it your best shot. OK?

I continue to marvel at how supposedly-devout people are so eager to exploit horrific events for their own aggrandizement and to advance their religion. I find that tactic despicable … but then, hey, what could some cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about such important, sacred things? Right?

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on Rahm Emanuel quotation.

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2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships - Vault - Claudia Fragapane 02By now my readers will have heard about the case of Dr Larry Nassar, physician for numerous gymnasts over the years, who’s pled guilty to sexual assaults of a number of them (Archive.Is cached article). It was inevitable, I suppose, that someone would blame the victims for these assaults. We live in a time when many people refuse to acknowledge there can ever be any such thing as a genuine crime “victim”; instead, they view everything that happens to people, no matter how terrible, as being somehow “deserved.” This is largely because they cannot, and will not, accept an unjust universe.

I bring this up because someone has done exactly this: Blamed Nassar’s victims for his sexual assaults. Christofascist pastor Kevin Swanson, about whom I’ve blogged already, made this claim, according to Right Wing Watch (cached):

On his radio program today, extremist anti-LGBTQ pastor Kevin Swanson attributed USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of more than 150 women and girls he treated, in part, to the fact that gymnastics encourages “a fair amount of immodesty.”

Citing a variety of supposed dangers, such as the use of open showers, Swanson warned Christian parents against allowing their children to participate in sports because “sports tend to focus on the body.”

“There is an infatuation with the body,” he said, “and, of course, the sexual aspects of the body as well. Some sports encourage immodesty, revealing large portions of the body and this happens in some sports. These are the risky sports. Here they are, what are the risky sports? Gymnastics. Gymnastics and swimming. These are the sports in which there is an added risk.”

I’m not sure how gymnasts are supposed to do what they do, in blousy, unrevealing clothing. Maybe Swanson would like them to wear burqas or something? (As an aside, the obsession with female modesty is a great example of how militant Christianism bears more than a passing resemblance to militant Islamism.)

Let me explain a very simple fact, here: Nothing a woman wears — or doesn’t wear — can ever possibly justify rape or molestation. Period. A woman or girl should be able to walk down the street stark naked and not be attacked by anyone. That’s just how it is. I know a lot of folks don’t accept that … but it’s not negotiable. No law I know of, in the US anyway, says that rape or molestation is justified if a woman is naked or wears revealing clothing. If that were true, no woman would be able to walk on a beach or beside a pool without being raped.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Joe. My. God.

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Magic wand / kalhh, via PixabayOne of the things many people don’t realize about fundagelical Christians is that they like to wave their Jesus around like a magical talisman. They view him as the ultimate tool … for any vexing task.

Take, for example, this winter’s particularly bad flu season (Archive.Is cached article). Yes, for fundagelicals, even the flu is no match for the magic of Jesus. All you need do — as Gloria Copeland (wife of megapastor Kenneth Copeland) says, according to Right Wing Watch — is drop Jesus’ name a few times, and poof! the flu magically goes away (cached):

You’d think that given past experience, Copeland’s Eagle Mountain International Church might have learned a lesson, but you’d be wrong, as yesterday a video was posted on the ministry’s Facebook page [cached] featuring Copeland’s wife, Gloria, telling people that there is no such thing as flu season and that they don’t need to get a flu shot because “Jesus himself gave us the flu shot.”

“Listen, partners, we don’t have a flu season,” Gloria Copeland said. “And don’t receive it when somebody threatens you with, ‘Everybody is getting the flu.’ We’ve already had our shot, He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases. That’s what we stand on.”

Praying for those who may already have the flu, Copeland proclaimed, “Flu, I bind you off the people in the name of Jesus. Jesus himself gave us the flu shot, He redeemed us from the curse of flu.” Those who don’t have the flu, she promised, can protect themselves by simply declaring, “I’ll never have the flu.”

What’s ironic about this is that the very fundagelicals who’ll ward off the flu with mantras like, “Flu, I bind you off the people in the name of Jesus,” in the very next breath would condemn the performance of witchcraft or magic, as well as taking the name of the Lord in vain. What’s more, they’ll never admit this rather blatant hypocrisy … even though their own Jesus explicitly and unambiguously ordered them never to be hypocritical, ever, at any time or for any reason. They just don’t get that their own religion contradicts itself.

Not to mention, repeatedly blabbering Jesus’ name will never do anything to prevent or cure the flu. It just won’t.

One last note, for all readers: If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, go get one. Don’t buy into any of the bullshit you’ve heard to the contrary. Just do it, ferfucksakes. Now!

Photo credit: kalhh, via Pixabay.

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'Illinois Nazis ... I hate Illinois Nazis!' / Still from Blues Brothers film, via MemeGeneratorMy heartfelt congratulations go to the Illinois Republican party! I’ve got to hand it to you for demonstrating your lack of anything resembling character or integrity. You’ve gone and let a well-known anti-Semite and Holocaust denier become the sole entrant in the GOP primary for a Congressional seat. As the Chicago Sun-Times explains, that means he’ll represent Republicans on ballots in the 3rd District of Illinois (Archive.Is cached article):

Arthur Jones — an outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite and white supremacist — is poised to become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat representing parts of Chicago and nearby suburbs.

“Well first of all, I’m running for Congress not the chancellor of Germany. All right. To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket,” Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Indeed, Jones’ website for his latest congressional run includes a section titled “The ‘Holocaust Racket’” where he calls the genocide carried out by the German Nazi regime and collaborators in other nations “the biggest blackest lie in history.”

At first blush this might seem to be a tempest in a teapot, since Jones isn’t like to win, as the Sun-Times points out:

Republicans didn’t bother to muster a credible candidate because the district is so Democratic. There is always a debate if parties should recruit candidates to run races they are highly likely to lose.

So I get it: No Republican is likely to win, so what’s the point in running anyone? Still, the state GOP was aware of this particular gadfly; he’s been running for offices for decades:

He ran for Milwaukee mayor in 1976 and 13th Ward alderman on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 1987.

Since the 1990s to 2016, Jones has jumped in the GOP 3rd Congressional District primary seven times, never even close to becoming a viable contender.

The bottom line, then, is that Illinois Republicans — for economic and strategic reasons — chose to leave their 3rd District ballot wide open, knowing full well that Jones — a repeated crank candidate — would dive right in and fill that vacuum. That is … they purposely allowed themselves to be represented by a Holocaust-denying anti-Semitic nominee. They couldn’t even be bothered scaring up some “sacrificial lamb” candidate to at least keep this hateful wretch from infesting their ballot line — yes, even though he has little chance of being elected.

As I said, this is precisely what I’ve come to expect of Republicans. (And yes, I used to be one, back in the day. So more than most folks, I know whereof I speak.)

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: Blues Brothers, via MemeGenerator.

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Pope Francis marries flight attendants Carlos Ciuffardi, left, and Paola Podest, center, during a flight from Santiago, Chile, to Iquique, Chile, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Pope Francis celebrated the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying these two flight attendants from Chile’s flagship airline during the flight. The couple had been married civilly in 2010, however, they said they couldn’t follow-up with a church ceremony because of the 2010 earthquake that hit Chile. (Credit: L'Osservatore Romano Vatican Media/Pool Photo via AP.)For the second time in two days, I’m blogging about Pope Francis … the guy I’d once had hope for, but who clearly now supports abusive clergy and abuse-covering hierarchs. But while this story involves the Pope, it’s not really about him as it is about conservative Catholicism.

It seems that, while he was flying between cities in Chile, the Pope married two flight attendants aboard his plane. As Crux explains, many conservative Catholics are upset by that (Archive.Is cached article):

A day after Pope Francis grabbed headlines by pronouncing two flight attendants man and wife while flying 36,000 feet over Chile, the conservative Catholic commentariat on Friday questioned the legitimacy of the impromptu sacrament and warned it could cheapen the church’s marriage preparation down the line.

Their objections are all over the map — including questioning whether or not this was the impromptu affair it had first been reported to be, wherein the flight attendants had simply asked the Pope’s blessing for their coming marriage, only to have him marry them — but mainly involve the many preparation steps required of Catholic couples before they can marry. That includes verifying their baptisms or participation in what’s called “Pre-Cana” or pre-marital counseling required by the Church, which the Pope couldn’t have done in-flight.

I’m not sure this degree of alarm is reasonable. The Pope runs the Church and he can do what he wants … including marry people on-the-fly (both literally and figuratively). As Crux points out, the problem may be that these folk have been sensitized to this by some of the things Francis has done in the past:

Francis has caused controversy over his cautious opening to allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, so any issue related to marriage is particularly sensitive.

Really, though, these conservative Catholics need to fucking grow the hell up and stop whining already. Their fierce, unrelenting legalism is as bad as that of fundagelical Protestants.

Photo credit: L’Osservatore Romano Vatican Media/Pool Photo via AP & Crux.

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Conquest of Jeusalem (1099)I’ve blogged a lot about the movement I call “the Great Neocrusade” … an effort to remove Islam and Muslims from the US (and for many of its followers, to eradicate it from the planet after that). I’ve noted that, as of a couple years ago, it became an openly violent movement, with people being attacked over it (sometimes by mistake). Attacking people because they’re Muslims is, of course, not really new, but it did pick up a bit after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

Well, the anti-Muslim violence is still going on. As KOLD-TV reports, it manifested recently in Tuscon, AZ (Archive.Is cached article):

A man is in custody after allegedly attacking a group of Muslim women in Tucson, city police said.

The Tucson Police Department said Manuel Lewis, 44, was arrested Sunday, Jan. 14 at an incident outside of the Starbucks on University Boulevard.

This attack appears not to have been Lewis’s first ride on this rodeo:

We’ve been told this has happened before – that Lewis specifically shouted derogatory comments nearby at Sinbad’s Restaurant, a middle-eastern food establishment in the area.

As I’ve said pretty much every time one of these stories pops up: Look, I get it. There is such a thing as Islamist terror. Muslim extremists have done a lot of terrible things. Oh yeah. I know all about it. I definitely don’t dismiss it. But, with that said … violent rages against those who’re part of a religion whose extreme members have also been violent, just doesn’t make any fucking sense. It’s time for Americans to grow the fuck up already and stop lashing out at every Muslim they come across. Sure, Islamist terrorists are dangerous … but on average, Americans are in far greater danger from ordinary sociopaths, than they are from Islamist terrorists. As horrific as their attacks are, there are lots of other dangers that deserve much more attention.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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