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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

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Sassy waits for birds to show up for their morning seedfest on the back porch

My last post garnered exactly zero readers. That’s what I get for failing to post more often. OTOH, I am still read in some quarters. Or at least purchased. A royalty statement from a publisher shows that one brave soul recently bought a copy of a book I published in 1998.  And it has been available free on their website for several years.

Thanks, serious hands-on-preferring book reader, wherever in the world you are.

What will eighty-five cents in royalties buy these days?  A cheap beer?

I tried to watch the veep debate last night. I really did. But as soon as Pence began spouting Thug talking points (as soon as he opened his mouth, actually) I had to turn it off because nausea set in. This morning pundits are trying to save the horse race by claiming that Pence won. But the clips I’ve seen show a substantive, if rowdy, performance by Kaine. The twitterverse apparently agreed, thus informing Chris Matthews that his trademark snap judgements are no longer the only game in town.

Pence’s former colleagues in Congress called him “Mike Dense.” Which poses an interesting chicken-and-egg problem: are the less intellectually gifted among us attracted to Christianism? Or does professing Christianism cause one to descend into the stupids?  Women who lasted until the end of the debate heard Pence declare that they can’t be trusted to make their own reproductive decisions. In Dense-world, such decisions must be left to God’s daddy-substitutes here on earth–men just like Pence, one presumes.

Ack.

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Look Out! Petard!

Petard_(PSF)

So in his careless way, Donald Trump inadvertently exposes the endpoint of the conservative position on abortion.

Following an argument to its logical conclusion, for once, Trump said that women who have abortions need to be punished–fined, put in jail, killed–whatever the godbotherers can get.

Thus exposing the entire point of the conservative position: sluts can only have sex when WE SAY. Otherwise–Phhht!

Let’s hope Trump sank his own ship in the process.

 

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patriarchy

All possible puns intended.

Two southern state legislatures have recently passed bills that please conservative Christians. In Georgia, a so-called “religious liberty” bill now rests on the governor’s desk. You can read a balanced review of the bill at the Atlanta Constitution‘s webpage, which will also inform you that a number of film companies, including Disney(!), and sports franchises, including the NFL, have threatened to boycott if Deal (great name for a governor) signs the bill.

Balance is not required on this yere blog, so here’s what I think: the bill allows Christian bigots to discriminate against anyone or any action that they define as violating their religious beliefs. That is, business owners can refuse service to gay patrons or refuse to allow transgender folks to use their restrooms. It remains to be seen (in court) whether or not the bill permits them to fire anyone of whose lifestyle they disapprove. For example:  can an evangelical business owner fire or refuse to hire an atheist?

In North Carolina the legislature passed a nasty piece of work in the dead of night after Democrats walked out in protest (shades of Wisconsin). The governor stayed up late in order to sign it as soon as the ink was dry, thus catching potential opponents off-guard. The bill effectively guts any non-discrimination laws passed by NC cities and towns. So it’s no longer safe in North Carolina to express opinions or adopt lifestyles that are not approved by Christians.

Don’t these fools see the irony in their historic opposition to federal legislation (ie during the Civil War) while they enact state laws that disenfranchise legislation passed in their own towns and cities? The only people who will profit from passage of these bills are lawyers.

The religious right has become more and more hysterical as more Americans have decided we get along just fine without your nonsense, thank you very much. Both of these pieces of legislation represent last-gasp attempts to preserve the authority of the patriarchal family. These folks have visceral reactions to any blurring of traditional sex roles. First they yowled against feminism and women’s rights;  then their ire centered on gays, and now transgender folks provoke them.

Hey, bigots:  Jesus isn’t coming back to rapture you. And if he does, won’t his first question be: “and did you love your neighbor?”

UPDATE:  Yikes! The North Carolina bill also says that cities cannot raise minimum wages higher than those of the state, nor can cities any longer regulate benefits and hours for workers. Nor can they determine the limits and terms of their contracts. Are these clowns trying to force Dread Justice Roberts to revisit the Civil Rights bill he once gutted?

 

 

 

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Accidental Education

SkousenThis here is Cleon Skousen, a hidebound thinker whose wacky views have made him a darling of right-wingers (see his Wikipedia entry for details). Conservative Mormons especially love Skousen’s work because he does not accept the principle of separation of church and state.

So I was shocked (but not really surprised) to learn from the Tampa Bay Times that Skousen’s take on the Constitution had been made required reading in civics classes mandated by the state of Florida (http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/state-civics-program-halts-distribution-of-pamphlet-from-religious-group/2156774). You read that right:  the state of Florida insisted there for awhile (until they were sued) that children in that state be taught in their civics classes, among other conservative non-factual shit, that the state is a religious entity.

The folks who smuggled Skousen’s little gem of misinformation into the minds of Florida’s children claimed that they picked his pocket constitution because it was cheap. Well, yeah, it is that.

 

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Coincidence? I Think Not

Slate has a piece up entitled “The Terrorists Among Us” (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/11). The author notes the frequency with which mass murderers hail from the Carolinas, and points out as well that North Carolina features a higher percentage of evangelical Christians than other states: “For two decades, the Tar Heel State has been a hotbed of religious extremism, fueled by clerics who preach holy war. The result is a stream of interstate terrorism.”

Years ago I read Robert Altemeyer’s famous work on authoritarianism. He led me to some reading about child abuse among evangelical families, wherein the father is the designated dispenser of “discipline.” Fundies think that spanking is good for children. Some fundamentalist men tend to define “spanking” rather broadly, especially if they were abused by their own fathers.

Hence a hunch:  is there a religious explanation for the resort to mass violence by white men?

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The Romans Had The Right Idea

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Christian_Martyrs'_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113

So yet another Christian fascist kills and maims people. This one also killed a cop, so maybe this time the punishment will be commensurate with his crime. I’m not holding my breath, though, because the crime occurred in Colorado Springs, home of Focus on the Family and their militarized subsidy, the Air Force Academy.

How do I know these things about Colorado?  One of FF’s  anti-abortion cranks visited me when I was recovering from a tubal ligation in a Colorado hospital. It did not matter to her that I had had the surgery in order to avoid the possibility of abortion–as far as she was concerned my duty in life was to procreate (within marriage if possible), and my surgery had invalidated my reason for living.

If we don’t want to abuse lions and other wild beasts, as the Romans did, history (along with today’s news) offers some other solutions to the problem of Christian fascism:

Force all fascist Christians to register in a database.

Forbid fascist Christians from speaking on the public airwaves.

Force fascist Christians to wear identifying badges.

Herd fascist Christians into detention camps.

Deport fascist Christians to any country that will take them (these may be hard to find).

These tactics will not silence them, but they might stop the freaks from bothering the rest of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have no background in foreign policy so my opinion about ISIS is probably not worth very much. However, I take inspiration from Rethugs, who say whatever they please about world affairs despite their appalling ignorance.

ISIS appears to me to be a religious cult fueled by testosterone. Given that the religion from which it sprang regards it as an illegitimate offshoot, and given that the cultures in which it is spreading still have laws against heresy, why not let those governments deal with the insurgents in the traditional ways? Beheading, for example. This is the only cure for testosterone poisoning that I know of, beyond waiting for the infected person to grow old.

I’m not entirely kidding here. Something has to be done–not because ISIS is so militarily powerful–they’re not–but because they know how to engender fear. Remember the hysteria that ensued after 9/11? And how the right-wing response was to bomb the shit out of somebody? Which they did, which, in its turn, led to the creation of ISIS, among other things? If that level of fear begins to work on Europeans, they may elect right-wing governments, which go by their correct name there: fascist.

We’re getting a hint how right-wing rhetoric about the attacks plays out here in the USA, as the usual Rethug mouthpieces for total war (McCain, Graham) are all over the teevee this morning. The Rethug meme that “Obama is weak” keeps recurring, because he is trying to do what the American people profess to want–stay out of this. And this is being said at the very moment Obama is conferring, in person, with Vlad and other world leaders about this very issue. We should all thank the goddess that some world leaders still insist on trying to figure shit out.

Of course, to anyone who want to bomb, bomb, bomb, “talks” seem like very weak tea indeed. Talking is not macho, while bombing is. Talk is feminine, hence weak.

Given this analysis, what, exactly, separates the hawks from the terrorists?

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