Posts Tagged “christianism”

Bill O'Reilly and Joseph Goebbels / Drive-by TimesIn his effort to debunk outspoken atheist David Silverman, Fox News headliner and militant Christianist Bill O’Reilly came up with a truly asinine objection to science. In his desperate effort to contradict Silverman, O’Reilly actually said that tides — yes, tides! — were not explainable! The Newser reports on his idiotic ramblings (WebCite cached article):

Apparently, Bill O’Reilly has never heard of the moon. In a debate Tuesday with Dave Silverman, head of the American Atheist group behind this, the Fox host tried to prove the existence of God by citing the unknowable mysteries of the tides. “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion,” he told Silverman. “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

That’s right, folks. In Bill O’Reilly’s delusional universe, religion has veracity, because there is no explanation for tides. If you find it hard to believe that, you aren’t the only one:

Silverman looked stunned. “Tide goes in, tide goes out?” he stuttered. O’Reilly pressed on. “The water, the tide—it comes in and it goes out. It always goes in, then it goes out. … You can’t explain that. You can’t explain it.”

Of course, that’s not quite true. In the real world — i.e. outside of Bill O’Reilly’s delusional hyperreligious universe — tides turn out to be readily explicable:

Of course, Raw Story points out [cached], people who passed high school science might tell you that tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon as it orbits the earth.

In short, tides are caused by the moon’s revolution of the earth, combined with the oceans’ elasticity. Contrary to what O’Reilly, says, there is nothing mysterious or inexplicable about the tides. They have been measured, and compared with the moon’s motion, and the correlation between them is very well-known.

This is just the sort of childish, contrarian bullshit that militant religionists are forced to resort to when faced with the fact that so much about the world is as well-understood as it is. Religion is the purview of the mysterious and the uncertain; the more we learn, the less of our lives it can control. Fierce religionists like O’Reilly dislike this, so what they do, in order to expand their religion’s sphere of influence, is to deny that certain things are known.

What a fucking joke.

If you’re like me, you need proof O’Reilly said something as astoundingly stupid as this; if so, you can see it for yourself, right here:

Denying the science of tides … I mean, really. Seriously. How much more fucking childish can anyone get?

Update: While I’m not really a fan of Keith Olbermann — he can, after all, be a real asshat sometimes — he reacts in precious fashion while replaying this same video and declaring Bill O’Reilly his “worst person” (video courtesy of YouTube, the O’Reilly part begins at 1:35):

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums. Hat tip for update: Unreasonable Faith.

Photo credit: Drive-By Times blog.

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The Queen speaking to synod today, flanked by the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Duke of Edinburgh.In a move that will, now doubt, enrage lots of theists — especially religionists of the “there-can-be-no-morality-without-God” variety, Queen Elizabeth II commented recently that atheists aren’t entirely bad. The (UK) Guardian reports on these comments to an Anglican Church synod (WebCite cached article):

People of faith do not have a monopoly on virtue as British society was now “more diverse and secular”, the Queen told the Church of England today in an address to its governing body.

Speaking at Church House, central London, she told members of General Synod that believers and atheists were equally able to contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of the country.

The Queen, who is supreme governor of the Church of England, said: “In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none.”

The irony here is that Queen Elizabeth — as the Guardian story mentions — is technically the head of the Church of England, as all English/UK monarchs have been, ever since Henry VIII cut off the church within his realm from the Holy See in Rome. Expect the furious retorts to the Queen to begin … not so much in her own realm or even the Commonwealth, but within the US, among the vocal militant Christianists.

Photo credit: Wpa Pool/Getty Images via The Guardian.

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Ten CommandmentsBy now I must sound like a broken record, reporting on the myriad ways that Texas Christians are trying to ram their fierce religiosity down the throats of that state’s school children. It’s an old story that I’ve blogged about many many times already; I can only assume I will have to keep blogging about it for the next several years at least.

The latest example of this phenomenon comes in the form of a law being proposed by a Texas legislator, which — he no doubt hopes — will get the Ten Commandments into public schools around the state, as reported by the Fort Worth Star Telegram (WebCite cached article):

State Rep. Dan Flynn hopes to ensure that any Texas teacher who wants to can display the Ten Commandments in a classroom.

Flynn, R-Van, in East Texas, recently filed a bill that says school board trustees may not stop copies of the commandments from being posted in “prominent” locations in classrooms.

Calling it a “patriotic exercise,” Flynn said the bill is geared to teach youths about history and principles.

Flynn blathers on idiotically in support of his proposal:

“This is necessary to protect teachers who have the desire to establish that the country’s historical background is based on Judeo-Christian traditions,” he said. …

“For too long, we’ve forsaken what our Judeo-Christian heritage has been. Our rights do come from God, not from government.”

Flynn’s bullshit about the US being “founded on Christianity” — or a euphemism such as “Judeo-Christian traditions” — is, of course, a lie. The US was not “founded on Christianity.” It was established as a secular state, from the very beginning. Its body of laws is not based on the Ten Commandments, it’s based on English common law, which in turn was based on the customs of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The Decalogue, in any event, is not a collection of civil laws, but rather, is a ritual purity code.

Flynn is just another Christian theocrat trying to turn his religion into the law of the land and force it on everyone, merely because he believes himself entitled to force it on everyone. All I can say to him is what I say to every other theocrat: You want me to believe what you believe, and live as you want me to live … then you’re just going to have to make me. Go ahead. I dare you to give it your best shot. Come on. Lock and load. What are you waiting for?

Like little children, Flynn and the other the religiofascists in Texas just keep throwing tantrums repeatedly until they’ve worn down the opposition. They scream and cry and wail and weep and screech and moan and kvetch and rail and holler and stamp and fume and yell, over and over again … and when they’ve finished, they just start up all over again. Well, I don’t plan to cave into their Christofascism … and neither should you. This is a free country — it should stay free, and for everyone, not just militant Christianists.

Hat tip: Mark at the Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: No Matter Project.

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the white flagIt turns out that mere hours after being the target of an American Family Association boycott over its failure to include “Christmas” frequently enough in its fall and winter advertising, a national sporting-goods chain has surrendered to the forces of the Christmas Army and have acquiesced to their demands. Consumerist reports on their total capitulation to religionism (WebCite cached article):

My how things change overnight. Yesterday, we told you about the far-from-loony folks at the American Family Association who had called for their members to boycott Dick’s Sporting Goods because the retail chain used the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas” for its November and December sales circulars. Now the AFA has announced that it’s called off the boycott because Dick’s will be using that word after all.

The AFA, you see, has decided that the months of November and December together have only one holiday — Christmas — and that there is no Thanksgiving, Chanukah, or anything else. Thus, they consider it unacceptable for this chain to fail to call this holiday “Christmas.”

Of course, Christmas is, itself, a holiday. Semantically, it is never inappropriate to call it a “holiday.” The AFA has therefore assumed control of the English language and has forbidden anyone to refer to Christmas as a “holiday” … even though it is one.

As usual, corporate America is falling in line with the Religious Right and is marching behind their banner of theocracy. It’s been going on for a while now, with many large national (and multi-national) firms donating money in 6- and 7-figure amounts to Religious Right candidates and organizations that promote Christofascism (locally-cached article). Prepare for more and more businesses to become more and more militantly Christianized.

Photo credit: adriano zanni.

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Godefroi of Bouillon leads the armyThe forces of the Lord of Hosts are on the march again — as they are every year at this time — and they’re hurling the weaponry of commerce at people and companies that dare fail to use the word “Christmas” as often as they think they should. I already blogged about one such effort; the latest is courtesy of the raging hordes of the American Family Association, another division of the Army of Christ (aka the Religious Right). The AFA has gone to war against a national sporting-goods chain (which, as before, I will not name so as not to contribute to the AFA’s effort) because its holiday marketing isn’t “Christmas-y” enough (WebCite cached article).

Now, I’m not sure how many “Christmases” in a store’s advertising is enough for the AFA. They haven’t disclosed any standards that stores must meet in order to avoid their wrath. Their decisions seem pretty arbitrary. What this means is that it’s impossible for any given store to know, in advance, what’s required of them to make the Religious Right happy.

Keep raging on about Christmas, Christianists. Rage on. It’s hilarious. Honest! You have no idea how hysterically funny you people are.

Hat tip: Consumerist.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Flip Benham, Director of a group called Operation Save America, leads members in a prayer Friday August 6, 2010 on Clinton Avenue outside the Bridgeport Islamic Society following a protest against Islam. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut PostLast week a strange event occurred in my home state, the Land of Steady Habits. Perhaps inspired by the ridiculous Religious Right attacks on the Cordoba Center (a cultural center — not a mosque! — which will soon be built near — not at, or over! — the site of the World Trade Center in New York City), a bunch of militant Christians protested at a mosque in Bridgeport. The Connecticut Post reports on this protest (WebCite cached article):

About a dozen right-wing Christians, carrying placards and yelling “Islam is a lie,” angrily confronted worshippers outside a Fairfield Avenue mosque Friday.

“Jesus hates Muslims,” they screamed at worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque to prepare for the holy week of Ramadan. One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. “Murderers,” he shouted.

My first inclination, upon reading this, was to say, “Here? In Connecticut?” This is a relatively progressive state, compared to the rest of the country. OK, so we have a bit of a parochial streak, as evidenced by our remaining Puritan-era “blue laws,” and of course we have the same sort of “lunatic fringe” one might expect to find in a state of some 3 million people. And the Roman Catholic Church has staged some massive protests, when the Connecticut bishops needed to distract people and squirm out of having to take responsibility for the things they’ve done and so they could desperately cling to all their precious money. But really … this kind of brainless Christofascism, I thought, is something one is far more likely to find down in the Bible belt. Well, it turns out I was correct — these wingnuts aren’t even Nutmeggers:

Flip Benham, of Dallas, Texas, organizer of the protest, was yelling at the worshipers with a bullhorn.

“This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country,” he said.

I’m not too sure how truly proud of themselves they were, however, since they didn’t really protest too long, and they packed up and left fairly quickly:

After about an hour the protesters packed up their placards and fliers into a couple of vans and drove off.

Good riddance, “Flip,” and all your militant religionist pals.

Just to see what kind of a freak show these people are, I went to their Web site, and took a look (cached version). They seem to have a problem with the CT Post‘s coverage, as you can see in this screen-shot:

Operation Save America's complaint about the Connecticut Post

So, they admit the CT Post covers this “protest” correctly, in every detail but one … i.e. the accusation that they’d screamed “Jesus hates Muslims.” As evidence they did not, they proudly link to a PDF file of the brochure they said they handed out there. Unfortunately for them, this brochure does nothing to make them seem less extreme. If anything, it shows how insane they are. It includes such enlightened gems of “the Religion of Love” such as:

WHAT DO ABORTION, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND ISLAM HAVE IN COMMON?
They are all inspired by the same liar who has come to the earth to rob, kill, and destroy. …

OUR FAILURE TO RIGHTLY REPRESENT CHRIST TO YOU
Unfortunately, Christianity in America has become so feminized, weak, and limp-wristed that these lies (abortion, homosexuality, and Islam) have come to prevail in a nation that was established and made great on the manly bedrock of biblical Christianity.

This brochure also claims the US was “founded on Christianity” — which is a lie, because it was not — a contention that they support using a quotation supposedly by Patrick Henry — which in fact, he never actually said.

Given the ferocious, irrational content of this brochure — capped by lies and fake quotations — on this matter, I find I must believe the CT Post over this delusional and militant crew.

Photo credit: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post.

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Jesus at Graceland, Plate 2An article a couple weeks ago by the New York Times public editor, Clark Hoyt, deals with an earlier Times Magazine article I blogged about in February (WebCite cached article).

A recent New York Times Magazine article about the Texas State Board of Education said it was driven by a bloc determined to ”advance a Christian agenda.”

The board’s ”Christian faction,” the article said, was dominated by Don McLeroy, a creationist convinced that separation of church and state is a myth perpetrated by secular liberals. He and his allies believe the founding fathers meant for the United States to be a ”Christian nation,” though many historians, including conservatives, dispute that.

Benjamin Campbell, an Episcopal priest from Richmond, Va., wrote to say that The Times was helping ”a politicized minority of American Christians” hijack the generic name of the religion. ”A Christian agenda? Whose Christian agenda?” he asked. ”Christianity, like the other major world religions, is so old and so diverse that these various political and theological positions cannot properly be attributed to the religion itself.” He thought the McLeroy crowd should be called ”Christianists,” a term that has come to connote extremism on the religious right.

Hoyt’s correspondents bring up a salient question — one that Hoyt weighs carefully in the article. But I think the question is much less subtle than Hoyt makes it seem. He’s doing what he ought to as a public editor, conducting a “on the one hand, but on the other hand” analysis, but there’s a crucial point that essentially settles the matter more quickly than one might expect.

At the outset I admit that it’s very hard to say there is any such thing as a single distinctly “‘Christian’ agenda.” There are numerous Christian sects, cults, and denominations, and it can safely be said that they have very different “agendas.” Otherwise they would not be such markedly different organizations; there would, instead, be just one “Christian” church.

On the other hand, it’s clear that McLeroy and his cohorts in Texas — and their fierce religionist agenda — have a single motivation for what they are doing: Christianity. Their religion drives them. Their version of Christianity may not be the same as everyone else’s, but it is, nevertheless, a form of Christianity. A form of Christianity no more or less “Christian” than any other. It can safely be said that, if Christianity had not existed, they would not be doing what they’re doing (which is to rewrite American history so as to use it as a proselytization tool for their own vicious form of Protestant Christian fundamentalism).

So … does McLeroy have a clearly “‘Christian’ agenda”? Absolutely he does. His agenda is as “Christian” as the agendas of any other Christian on the planet.

Again, the agendas may not be the same … but they are no less “Christian” in their derivation.

I suspect what’s happening is that people like Hoyt’s correspondents are doing is to try to separate themselves from people like McLeroy. They are, no doubt, embarrassed that such people claim to espouse their religion, and don’t like that McLeroy-style religionists are making other Christians look like buffoons.

Unfortunately, an agenda driven by belief in Christianity is, by definition, a “‘Christian’ agenda.” That’s just the way it is. If Campbell and other Christians don’t like that that fierce religionist-Christians like McLeroy make them look bad, there’s something they can do … which is to stop McLeroy and his colleagues.

Sadly, though, it’s rare for more rational Christians to take on their irrational co-religionists. They appear not to want to “rock the boat,” as it were, and by their inaction, allow them to speak for them. So long as they do that, then in reality, McLeroy and his pals are — in fact — speaking for other Christians.

I will say one thing, however, and that is that I like the term “Christianist.” It vaguely reflects the term “Islamist” which is used to speak of certain extreme factions of Islam. This same resemblance is why I use the somewhat-wider term “religionist,” which as I define it, is someone who worships the religion to which s/he belongs, itself, in addition to worshipping whatever its deity may be. So I’m all for using “Christianist” to speak of McLeroy. Perhaps it’s time to give this term wider usage, even if Hoyt seems to think it’s too pejorative.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk.

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