Posts Tagged “oklahoma”

And Jesus WeptThe list of Religious Rightists who feel compelled to yammer about rape continues to grow. They do it, even though they ought to have learned, by now, to just shut the fuck up about it already. Their absurd spew about it just makes them look ridiculous, and it’s sunk a few of their candidacies, too. So one would think they’d want to avoid the subject entirely. But too many of them refuse to do so. They’re too worked up about it, and too sanctimonious, to hold back. In other words, they just can’t help themselves.

The latest example of this kind of asinine behavior comes from the Oklahoma legislature. There, as KFOR-TV reports, Rep. George Faught agreed with the idea that rape is “the will of God” (WebCite cached article):

A controversial anti-abortion bill passed the House Tuesday, but not before a heated debate over the Bible, rape, and incest.

HB1549 punishes doctors who perform abortions if the mother is seeking one because of a genetic disorder.…

“Representative, is rape the will of God?” Rep. Cory Williams asked [the bill’s author, Rep. George] Faught.

“Well, you know, if you read the Bible, there are a couple circumstances where that happened, and the Lord uses all circumstances,” Faught replied.

“Is incest the will of God?” Williams asked.

“Same answer,” Faught said.

Here’s video of Faught’s bone-chilling pronouncement, via Youtube:This sounds horrific to anyone who’s not deeply immersed in evangelical Christianity. What person with a brain would want to worship a deity who “uses” terrible incidents like rape like some kind of cosmic tool? And it sounds horrible to the ear of this cynical, godless agnostic heathen.

But with that said … there is a reason Faught trotted this out: This chilling theology does, in fact, have sound roots in Christian thought.

First, it’s not uncommon for Christians to view horrific events, such as violent crimes, or larger catastrophes such as plagues, earthquakes, etc. as warnings issued by the Almighty. This is, in fact, what I call “disaster theology,” and I’ve blogged about many examples of this sort of thinking. It’s a very old and tired trope within Christianity.

Second, it’s a natural consequence of believing that God is the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe. God’s limitless power and knowledge of all that has ever happened, is happening, and ever will happen, is an absolute quality, and that has a number of logical ramifications. One of them is that nothing can ever happen that God does not permit to happen … because if God didn’t wish something to occur, then it couldn’t occur. His/her/its wishes are, after all, absolute! What’s more, since God knew everything that would ever happen, even long before s/he/it ever created the universe, that means the very act of creating the universe caused it all to happen. Thus, God bears final and total accountability for everything … and I do mean absolutely everything!

This last point is one that most theists don’t accept, even if it’s completely logical. The bottom line is that God is, according to much of what Abrahmic-tradition followers say about him/her/it, a monster who uses events like rape as tools to achieve his goals. It’s an unavoidable conclusion. So any Abrahamic believer who says they don’t agree with vicious cretins like Faught, are going to have to think long and hard about what, exactly, they believe in and what kind of God they worship. Most of them, for better or worse, have never really thought out what it means to believe in a deity who has all the qualities they say their God has. It’s just never occurred to them to lay it all out — all of it — and figure out exactly what it means. They simply like thinking their deity is all-powerful. The emotional comfort this provides, is all they know and all they care about. They ignore the other ramifications of this belief.

Photo credit: Terry Alexander, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Raw Story.

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In this Feb. 22, 2017 file photo, Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a Senate committee meeting in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Senate has voted to punish Shortey, who police say was found with a teenage boy in a motel room. Police officials in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore are still investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident last week involving Sen. Shortey and a teenager. No charges have been filed. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)Note: There’s been an update to this story since I first posted it. See below.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A loud, sanctimonious Religious Rightist prick — who runs around demanding others comply with his wishes, decrying society’s moral decline, and claiming moral superiority over everyone — turns out to be a brazen fucking hypocrite who’s actually guilty of some of the very immoral crap he accuses his opponents of. Yep, it’s a familiar story, all right! The Oklahoman reports it happened in the case of a state senator in the Sooner State (WebCite cached article):

A conservative state senator who once wanted to be a missionary was accused Thursday in a child prostitution case of offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for sex.

Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, was charged with three felony counts, one week after police found him with the teenager in a Moore hotel room.…

The evidence against Shortey includes a graphic online conversation where the two discuss having sex and smoking marijuana, police reported in a court affidavit. The conversation was found on the teenager’s Kindle tablet.

Shortey, using the online name “Jamie Tilley,” at one point during the discussion about sex called the teenager “baby boy,” according to the affidavit.

I think that’s enough detail to explain the accusation here. What’s important to know about Shortey is that, a year ago, he’d tried to advance a “bathroom bill” through the Oklahoma legislature, which would have prevented transgender people from using appropriate public bathrooms (cached). Advocates of these kinds of “bathroom bills” they’re necessary in order to prevent women from being assaulted in restrooms — as though assault isn’t already illegal (and it is).

Shortey’s lawyer has said he plans to resign, but hasn’t done so yet, as far as I know. Not sure what he’s waiting for — he’s probably negotiating some kind of deal, such as continuing to get benefits, or something like that.

Update: It turns out the wait for Shortey to quit lasted only a day. The Oklahoman reports he has resigned from the OK state senate (cached).

Photo credit: AP Photo, Sue Ogrocki.

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Baphomet.pngAlmost 4 years ago I blogged about Satanists performing their rites in Oklahoma City and about Christians there protesting. It seems they just couldn’t handle Satanists being in their midst. But the Satanists haven’t backed down; as the Christian Post reports, later this month they plan to have a black mass and Satanist exorcism there (WebCite cached article):

The Satanist group that will stage a controversial “black mass” at an Oklahoma City civic center has said that all 88 tickets for its Sept. 21 event are sold out. The co-founder of the group revealed that the ritual will go ahead despite strong Christian protests and will feature a satanic exorcism, but will be “toned down” to comply with state health laws.

“One of the dictates of the church is not only to educate the members but to educate the public, and to debunk the Hollywood-projected image of our beliefs,” Dakhma of Angra Mainyu’s Adam Daniels told ABC News [cached].

He added that the group will comply with state health laws and substitute vinegar for actions involving urine as part of the satanic ceremony.

Daniels said that the ceremony will also feature Dakhma of Angra Mainyu deacons and priest who will stomp, spit on and use explicit language on an unconsecrated host, a wafer presented as a form of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Christians are upset about this and plan to protest it, because — you see — this is just too insulting for the poor little things to take:

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Catholic Archbishop Paul Coakley, and over 80,000 people who have signed an online petition have all condemned the upcoming event.

Fallin called the black mass a “disgusting mockery of the Catholic faith,” saying that it should be “equally repellent to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”

“It may be protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t condemn it in the strongest terms possible for the moral outrage which it is.

If we’re going to talk about “repellent” behavior that — supposedly — just can’t be tolerated, Governor & Archbishop, then by all means, let’s do so! I mean it. Let’s talk about all of the following “repellent” things said by your own co-religionists:

If we move away from the insensitivity, insults, and viciousness of Catholics and include other Christians, we have the following:

I could post hundreds more examples of similarly “repellent” words and behaviors by Christians, both Catholic and not. Why is it such an intolerable outrage when some Satanists poke fun at Christianity (and yes, that’s all they’re doing), given the horrible words and behaviors of Christians themselves — which other Christians never seem able or willing to correct?

Here’s a thought for Gov. Fallin, Abp. Coakley, and any other Oklahoman Christians who’re pissed off at these insolent, outsider Satanists daring come int their midst to lampoon their religion: Get your own fucking house in order before you go bellyaching about what other people are doing. Grow up, toughen up, and deal with your own, and only then will you have the moral standing to complain about what you find “repellent.” OK? It really is that simple.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Picard Facepalm: Because expressing how dumb that was in words just doesnt workIn a country which is overwhelmingly religious, it’s not unreasonable to assume any given American is a believer. But that doesn’t mean everyone is a believer, so making this assumption all the time inevitably will cause one to stumble into an awkward moment. Precisely this happened to Wolf Blitzer of CNN, as CNN’s own Belief blog reports, when he interviewed a tornado survivor in Oklahoma (WebCite cached article):

Behind her were ruins, a tangled mess where structures once stood. Cradled in her arms, the mother’s 19-month-old son played with a snatched microphone, unfazed by the chaos swirling around him. And in front of Rebecca Vitsmun stood CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who — after asking her about the decision that saved her and her son’s lives — had one more question:

“I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” he asked.…

“I, I, I,” the 30-year-old stay-at-home mom stammered before adding, “I’m actually an atheist.”

She laughed, Blitzer laughed, and the moment passed seamlessly on live TV. Except it also became a clip heard across the Internet and social media — one that pointed to a reality about faith in America that exists even where, and when, people might least expect it.

CNN provides video of this exchange:

I note that Ms Vitsmun had worked fairly hard to avoid having to address the matter initially, but Mr Blitzer kept trying to elicit a religious response from her, so finally she had no choice but to just admit she was an atheist. But even then, she only meekly — almost apologetically — admitted being an atheist.

The best thing for Blitzer to have done, of course, was not to have tried to get her to talk about religion or God in the first place and not to have pronounced her “blessed” before he’d even said anything else to her. If she’d chosen to bring up God or religion, that would have been fine. But for him to assume that she’d want to, and then to repeatedly try to get her talk about them … well, that was pretty stupid of him to do.

This Belief blog article itself also engaged in an invalid assumption: It pontificated about the growing influence of “the Nones,” as though atheism and “the Nones” are one and the same. But they aren’t. By the admission of the folks at ARIS, who originated this term, “only a small minority are atheists.” (And in turn, the folks at ARIS are themselves the originators of a misnomer: While they call “the Nones” a “no-religion population,” the truth is that most of “the Nones” are theists. That makes them decidedly “religious,” even if they don’t belong to a specific religious organization, sect, denomination, whatever.)

On the subject of thanking God for getting through disasters like this … can religionists please stop doing this already? People survived this tornado … and any number of other natural catastrophes … for any of a vast host of other reasons. A lot of those reasons depended on them; God, assuming he exists, had nothing to do with it. Let’s give people, not God, credit for their own resourcefulness and accomplishments. Taking the credit away from them, and handing it over to God, is quite simply wrong. It needs to fucking stop already.

Photo credit: Science After Sunclipse.

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Tulsa City Hall 2The great Religious Right “war on Christmas” lurches on this year. This time it’s Senator Jim Inhofe from the Christofascist state of Oklahoma who’s screeching about Christmas. The Tulsa World reports on a conniption he’s throwing over an annual parade in that city (WebCite cached article):

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe announced Tuesday that he will not participate in Tulsa’s Parade of Lights until organizers put “”Christ” back in the event’s title.

“Last year, the forces of political correctness removed the word ‘Christmas’ and replaced it with ‘Holiday’ instead,” the Oklahoma Republican said.

Here’s the thing, Jim. It’s Tulsa’s parade. The Tulsa government can call it whatever they want to call it. If they want to call it the Thingamabob Parade, or the Fitzgiggle Parade, or something even more senseless than that … well … they can! And there’s nothing you can do about it. There is no law preventing it. And while you might attempt to pass one, Senator, I doubt it would succeed.

Second, Senator, as it turns out, Christmas is a holiday. (If you need help understanding how this is the case, Senator, please have a look at these dictionary definitions of “holiday” and of “Christmas.”) Referring to Christmas-time as a holiday, therefore, is never semantically incorrect. Don’t like it, Senator? Too bad. While you may get to vote on a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, you do not get a vote concerning English semantics.

The mature thing for you to do, Senator, is to grow up and accept that you are no longer the mayor of Tulsa, and that this decision is out of your hands. I know it’s difficult to act mature — especially when you’re such a militant religionist — but please, give it a try. Just once. OK?

Update: Here is a very nice Newsy video report on the Tulsa holiday-parade issue:

Photo credit: Nmajdan | Wikimedia Commons.

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Gustave Dore, the Battle of ArsufAs was long expected, Oklahoma’s voters today passed a law outlawing the use of Islamic shari’a law in courts — a ballot measure I already blogged about. CNN’s Political Ticker blog reports on this election result in the Sooner State (WebCite cached article):

Looks like Oklahomans will not, repeat not, be subject to Sharia law anytime in the near future. Local media in the state, tonight, is reporting that ballot initiative SQ755, which bars state courts from using Islamic or international law, is on the path to approval– Yes votes outweighing Nos by more than two-to-one, with about 40-percent of the precincts in.

As the article points out, there is no need for such a measure, the First Amendment already forbids enacting a system of religious law in the US. So Oklahoma’s voters have successfully attacked and killed a mere straw man.

What an achievement. They must be SO proud!

Of course, this is all part of the Religious Right’s ongoing war against Islam, which I’ve been blogging about for the last couple months, and have named the Neocrusade (reflecting western Christendom’s medieval war against Islam, the Crusades). But just as those medieval Crusaders from western Europe — mainly, from France, Germany and the Low Countries — went far abroad looking for their enemy to smite, the current crop of American Neocrusaders are, likewise, stretching reality in order to fight Islam. No one has identified any court in Oklahoma — or the US — which has ever operated according to Islam-inspired shari’a law, or for that matter, which has ever come close to it. That, however, has not stopped the delusional Religious Right from sending the forces of the Neocrusade to march against this hallucination.

That Sooners would approve the completely-unnecessary SQ 755 — and by a very large margin — makes it a Neocrusading state, perhaps the first self-declared Neocrusading state in the country. Way to go guys. Way to go.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Two pentagrams taken from the 1897 book 'La Clef de la Magie Noire' by Stanislas de Guaita.In the state which has become the latest battleground in the Religious Right’s ongoing effort to remake the country into a fierce Christian theocracy — as I’ve blogged a number of times already — a group of Satanists held a convocation. And some Christians in the Sooner State (and elsewhere) were downright furious about it, as the Oklahoman reports (WebCite cached article):

A Satanist organization held its much-talked-about public event at the Civic Center Music Hall on Thursday as a crowd of Christians from various faith communities prayed outside the building.

About 45 people attended the Church of the IV Crown Princes’ “satanic exorcism.”

Oklahoma City police Lt. Stuart May said he estimated that 75 to 80 people gathered outside the building.

So the protestors almost doubled the participants. Also of note:

The crowd outside came from diverse faith communities, including Roman Catholic, Baptist and full gospel. Several Christians said they came from other states such as Kansas, Texas and Arkansas to pray for the souls of those attending the Satanists’ event and for Oklahoma City as a whole.

It’s remarkable how the presence in Oklahoma City of a few dozen Satanists seems to have forced all these good, devout Christians to set aside all their differences and work together to interfere with their event. How nice of them.

As for the Satanists themselves, I’m not sure how serious their ceremony was, and not only because the name of their organization is “the Church of the IV Crown Princes”:

A heavy-metal band performed for about 45 minutes in the Civic Center’s CitySpace area where the event was held. When the band finished, [James] Hale and a handful of other people went to the center of the stage area and surrounded a large table. Hale told the audience that they would witness a ritual “blasphemy” taken from the Roman Catholic rite of exorcism.

He told the crowd that their parents probably gave them information about religion when they were younger, “but it’s good to get rid of that old garbage that they pumped into you.”

Hale told the audience that they were about to be part of a participatory ritual and warned Christians who may have been attending for educational purposes that they would need to be careful during a certain segment invoking Satan because it was unforgivable to do so according to Christian beliefs.

The lights were lowered, and a spotlight shone on the table.

The scent of incense filled the room and a soundtrack featuring cymbals and heavy-metal music played softly as people in the audience looked on intently.

A woman laid on the table, and Hale and six other Church of the IV Crown Princes members, some garbed in black robes, gathered around her and invoked the name of Satan and demons to exorcise Christianity and religion out of her.

“Depart forth in fear from this soul who seeks enlightenment from Hell’s power,” Hale said.

As one member of the group chanted “Come out Yahweh! Come out Jesus Christ! … Come out, oh foul holy spook!,” other members said “Satan compels you!”

At the end of the ritual, a gong on the table was sounded, and the woman lying on the table sat up, smiled and shouted “Hail Satan!”

I don’t know about you, but this is not the sort of bone-chilling blood-curdling rite one might expect from “Satanists.” It seems more of a mockery of Christianity than anything else, and not a serious effort to “worship” a being known as “Satan.”

The protesting Christians appear blissfully unaware that, perhaps, a joke was being played on them:

Controversy arose in September when the public learned that the Satanist group had leased the Civic Center for the event.

At least two church groups obtained permits to hold prayer activities outside the building as the Satanist group gathered.

Velma Brandt, 58, of Edmond, said she was a local member of the national laypeople’s group America Needs Fatima. She and other members of the group, from places like Topeka, Kan., and Fort Worth, Texas, prayed the rosary at the time of the Satanists’ presentation.

“This is a Christian nation founded on Christian principles,” Brandt said.

“I think this (Satanist gathering) is sad.”

Yeah, that “Christian nation” bullshit again. All I can say to Ms Brandt — and the rest of her ilk — is, if you want this cold-hearted, cynical, god-hating agnostic heathen to become a Christian … well … you’re just going to have to make me. Go ahead. I dare you.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the whining that the Oklahoman reports:

Francis Slobodnik, a member of America Needs Fatima from Topeka, Kan., said he traveled to Oklahoma City to lift the city up in prayer.

“I’m a Roman Catholic, and my religious faith is most important to me. Lucifer is the exact opposite of God. God is good. Lucifer is evil,” Slobodnik said. “We were horrified about this, and we thought we needed to do something, to take a stand for God and for His right.”

I’m sure Slobodnik’s Catholicism is important to him. But I think that, before he goes stomping around and whining about the existence of “Satanists,” he’d best remember the old saying that “charity begins at home.” Before he protests others, he should be cleaning up the stinking amoral cesspool which is his own R.C. Church. And the same goes for the rest of the protestors … they should likewise be first protesting the messes which are their own churches. Once they’re all cleaned up, THEN they can go around railing about other people. After all, did not the founder of their own religion, Jesus Christ, himself say:

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)

Enough with the bellyaching and caterwauling that there are non-Christians in the world. Just get over it, you fucking crybabies!

Update: Almost 4 years after this, the Satanists are up to similar tricks again in Oklahoma City, and once again, Christians there are pitching a sanctimonious shitfit over it. Boo fucking hoo, little crybabies!

Hat tip: Wikimedia Commons.

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