Believers tend to thank “God” for all sorts of things, when in fact, it’s human beings who are responsible. One example is when, during a stressful period (e.g. a natural disaster has occurred, someone is missing or recently died, etc.) people flock to their churches to pray over it. Here’s one such event, reported by CNN:

Praying for a flood’s end as water crests

The faithful gathered for church services Sunday in towns hard-hit by flooding along the Mississippi River, and many found comfort in word that the swollen waterway had apparently started to hit its high point.

Dozens of parishioners filled the dry Centenary United Methodist Church in Louisiana, a few blocks from floodwaters that still cover about 15 percent of the town’s neighborhoods.

What’s bizarre about this is that any relief these people have received, has not come from God (who — depending upon whose doctrines you listen to — either ordained the flooding, or created the conditions which have allowed it to happen), but from emergency workers … i.e. people. Just plain folks. OK, so they did manage to work in a little gratefulness to the workers:

They prayed for aid and gave thanks for the volunteers, National Guard soldiers and prison inmates who helped the community of nearly 4,000 in recent days.

I concede that they “thanked” people. Even so, they did it in a church devoted to God. Not in a firehouse (for example) where emergency workers are actually found and who can be thanked in person. Really … what has God done for any of them? It’s nonsensical to go into a church to thank fellow human beings.

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People often ask me what harm there is in believing in psychics. They can offer comfort, it’s often said. Mediums who claim to speak to the dead, for example, can reassure the bereaved, regardless of whether or not they are actually in touch with “the Other Side,” so why worry about it? Unfortunately, faith in the power of psychics is not harmless, as at least one Canadian mother and daughter can attest:

Psychic’s vision sets off sex-abuse probe

A Barrie mother of an autistic girl is considering legal action against her local school board after a psychic’s prediction to a special educational assistant sparked a sexual abuse report to the Children’s Aid Society.

“I’m in shock,” said Colleen Leduc, 38. “They reported me to Children’s Aid because of a psychic. Can you imagine?”

It seems an educational assistant at Victoria Leduc’s school had visited a psychic. The psychic told the EA that a child she works with whose name begins with “V” was being sexually abused. School officials are citing “zero-tolerance” policies as the reason the report of abuse was submitted to CAS … but I wasn’t aware that the ambiguous ramblings of a psychic constituted a sufficient trigger. The fact is that the reason for this is not “zero-tolerance,” but the deluded credulity of an EA and school officials who actually considered this “tip” enough of a reason to call in the authorities.

Thankfully, in this case, CAS quickly dismissed the case and all is now well … but it might easily have blown up into a serious matter and caused a lot of trouble and expense. Ms Leduc is still waiting for an apology from the hypercredulous EA and school officials, and offered this amusing quip:

She can only assume that the closing of the file by CAS ends the school’s concerns, said Ms. Leduc.

“Unless they take out a Ouija board and decide to do something else. They might want to take out a Ouija board or hold a seance, I’m not sure.”

Hopefully those involved will mature to the point where they can find it in themselves to say “I’m sorry” to this family … but somehow I doubt it.

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This is one of those “what in hell was he thinking?” moments. It seems an Ohio teacher, who is a Christian, branded his students with a cross and may be fired for it:

The school board of a small central Ohio community voted unanimously Friday to fire a teacher accused of preaching his Christian beliefs despite staff complaints and using a device to burn the image of a cross on students’ arms. …

[Teacher John] Freshwater used a science tool known as a high-frequency generator to burn images of a cross on students’ arms in December, the report said. Freshwater told investigators he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on several students and described the images as an “X,” not a cross. But pictures show a cross, the report said.

This teacher has also, — for quite some time now — been teaching creationism in his science classroom, which violates local, state and Constitutional standards. The article I linked to clearly shows a picture of a cross, not an “X.” So not only did he brand his students, he’s also lying about it. How special!

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I guess it should be expected — since Lousiana lies in the Deep South where God is feared, Jesus is Lorduh, and the Bible is worshipped — but it looks as if public schools in that state will begin teaching religion. That’s right … Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is about to sign a bill forcing schools to teach “intelligent design” — better known to the thinking world as the religion of “creationism.” He said on Face the Nation:

As a parent, when my kids go to schools, when they go to public schools, I want them to be presented with the best thinking. I want them to be able to make decisions for themselves. I want them to see the best data. I personally think that the life, human life and the world we live in wasn’t created accidentally. I do think that there’s a creator. I’m a Christian. I do think that God played a role in creating not only earth, but mankind. Now, the way that he did it, I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don’t want them to be — I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness.

This standard religionist spew amounts to the “teach the controversy” argument. Unfortunately it’s wrong, because it makes the following assumptions, all of them wrong:

  1. Evolution is somehow scientifically equivalent to creationism (it’s not, they aren’t even close)
  2. “Intelligent design” is science and belongs in science classes (it doesn’t; — an evangelical Christian judge even ruled that “intelligent design” is a religionists’ charade)
  3. Children of Christian parents can only learn creationism in public-school science classes (it isn’t the only place)

It’s odd that Jindal would complain about “political correctness” keeping his religion out of public schools: Political correctness has nothing to do with it; rather, it’s because creationism is not science that keeps it out of science classrooms! Since the Kitzmiller decision exposed them as disingenuous proselytizers, creationists have adopted the “teach the controversy” mantra, closely related to their “academic freedom” whine.

But the fact is that the very First Amendment which keeps religion out of public schools, also happens to give these God-fearing Christian folk the right to teach their kids all the backward creationism they want … in their own homes and churches! No one is stopping them from doing so.

So why do they claim someone is? I suspect it has more than a little to do with the “Christian martyr complex” — they aren’t happy unless they feel persecuted, and they will invent persecution when there is none, in order to satisfy this compulsion. They’re all in desperate need of growing the hell up.

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The California Supreme Court recently declared that gay couples have a right to marry. As that declaration goes into effect, religionists have found ways to prevent it from actually happening. Some officials have decided to perform no weddings at all! If they marry no one, they cannot be forced to marry gays, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett has announced that her office will stop performing all weddings a few days before June 17, the date that same-sex couples can legally apply for marriage licenses.

Barnett’s staff processes marriage licenses for hundreds of Kern County residents each year and it will continue to do, for both straight and gay couples, beginning June 17 as required by law, she said in a written statement. But as of June 13, the staff will no longer officiate at civil ceremonies for an extra $30 fee.

But wait … there’s more to it than just this little bit of irrationality:

Officials cited financial reasons for the decision. But internal memos between a high-ranking official in Barnett’s office and a conservative Christian legal defense fund, published in the Bakersfield Californian this week, indicate that Barnett may have acted on principle rather than for financial reasons.

So we not only have an obstructionist religionist deciding to perform no weddings at all in order to keep from having to marry gays, but she is also demonstrably lying about her motives! Wow, I wonder what Jesus would think of one of his followers who lies in his cause? (Not much, I expect.)

Really, how immature … to cook up this legalistic dodge — which affects all couples, not just gays — in order to get around the law of the state. Grow up, Ms Barnett!

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Two recent stories in Time show how far the Islamic world has to go before it grows up and accepts that time marches on, with it or without it:

Alleged 9/11 Plotter Holds Court

Confessed terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told U.S. military judge Ralph Kohlman on Thursday that he would represent himself at his tribunal, and that he welcomed the death penalty that would make him a “martyr.”

Bomb at Pakistan’s Danish Embassy

An apparent car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy in Pakistan’s capital on Monday, killing at least five people and wounding dozens more, officials and witnesses said.

Yes folks, we have a guy who claims to want to be a martyr, even though he sent others to their deaths rather than himself and tried to evade US forces before finally being caught. We also have suicide-bombers who are still bellyaching over the Jyllands-Posten cartoons published over 2 years ago.

Unfortunately, Islam still has not come to grips with the furious sanctimony and ferocious immaturity that still rage within it. Someday it will; I hope we all live long enough to see it happen. But I’m not hopeful.

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Things are getting weirder at Kieffe & Sons, the car dealership I blogged about earlier. They had issued an apology, but apparently it wasn’t a sincere one — they’ve since retracted it.

So, their apology, at the time they issued it, was actually a lie, since they are not now and never were truly sorry for anything they said. Hmm. Makes you wonder how such apparently-devout Christians could dare to lie, in defense of their faith?

As it turns out, lying is scriptural! This may come as a shock to those who have read passages such as Exodus 20:16 (the commandment forbidding false testimony against others), 1 Timothy 1:10 (which counts liars as among of a number of sorts of people who are “contrary to sound teaching”) and Revelation 21:8 (which condemns liars, along with others, to “the lake of fire” at the end of time), all of which appear to condemn lying. That is contradicted by other scripture, however, such as passages in which it is stated that God himself has caused deception (e.g. 1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles 18:22, and 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

So if it’s good enough for God, then lying (as in, issuing an apology which was not the least bit genuine) must be good enough for Kieffe & Sons, eh?

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