Category Archives: Theocracy

Choices don’t get much clearer than this

This year’s presidential election is among the most significant in our nation’s history. The country urgently needs a visionary leader who can ensure the future of our traditional strengths in science and technology and who can harness those strengths to address many of our greatest problems: energy, disease, climate change, security and economic competitiveness.

We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.

~ 76 U.S. winners of Nobel science prizes

On the other hand, we can support the ticket that believes humans and dinosaurs frolicked together about 6,000 years ago.

Advertisements

Democrats hate atheists too!

Since consummation of the perverse union between the radical Christian right and the Republican Party, news coverage might lead you to believe that hatin’ on atheists is the sole prerogative of Republicans. That just isn’t so, as revealed in no uncertain terms during an April 2 hearing before the Illinois House of Representatives’ State Government Administration Committee.

During the hearing Democratic Rep. Monique Davis went off on well-known atheist/activist Rob Sherman of Sherman v. Community Consolidated Sch. Dist. 21 fame. Sherman was testifying that the governor’s proposal to donate $1 million in taxpayer money to rebuild a Baptist church that burned down a couple years back was unconstitutional. Given the terms and structure of the U.S. Constitution — and the Illinois Constitution, for that matter — Sherman’s stance should be entirely uncontroversial. In an era where many a wealthy and powerful person is entirely dedicated to Jesusizing government, though, pretty much nothing an atheist has to say qua atheist is uncontroversial.

On to the good stuff, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune‘s Eric Zorn:

Davis: I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him. We look forward to him and his blessings. And it’s really a tragedy — it’s tragic — when a person who is engaged in anything related to God, they want to fight. They want to fight prayer in school.

I don’t see you (Sherman) fighting guns in school. You know?

I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous–

Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?

Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!

Sherman: Thank you for sharing your perspective with me, and I’m sure that if this matter does go to court—

Davis: You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.

It’s very easy for us nonbelievers to get spun up over a story like this and start overgeneralizing. Happens all the time. But, as the comments to Mr. Zorn’s blog entry and the links therein show, hate mongering nutburgers like Davis don’t speak for all believers. We shouldn’t lose sight of that fact.

Honest Christian Spotted

I spend a lot of time blabbering about the misrepresentations, dissemblings, half-truths and outright lies advanced by evangelical Christians in support of their political ends. In the interest of equal time, this entry is about motive honesty exhibited by a Christian living right here in dear ol’ Broomfield, Colorado.

Not long ago our local rag reported on Kohl Elementary School Principal Cindy Kaier’s decision not to have the usual Halloween party at the school. Not long thereafter, on October 17, the paper published a LTTE from some nutburger that leads off with:

Prayer is gone from the classroom, “under God” is out of the Pledge of Allegiance and now the ghosts and goblins are leaving the building. That is if the Kohl Elementary principal has her way.

My, oh my, what a mess. First of all, the notion that prayer is “gone from the classroom” is idiotic beyond description. No less an authority than the U.S. Department of Education actually offers Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. Prayer certainly should be gone from the classroom, IMO, but it’ll never happen.

Congress, swept up in the prevailing kneejerk anti-commie hysteria of the day, added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. From that day to this the words in question have never, ever been “removed.” Nor will they be. The letter’s author can find endless solace by checking 4 U.S.C. 4 on a daily basis.

Even more ridiculous is the author’s suggestion that Principal Kaier’s decision was somehow anti-religion. One of her stated reasons for canceling the party was that some families “don’t celebrate Halloween.” Having followed religion-government separation issues for some time, statements such as that reek of biblical literalist Christianity to me. In other words, people who spend disturbing amounts of time literally gibbering (speaking in tongues) and rolling on the floor (slain in the spirit) consider Halloween evil and anti-Jesus. Unfortunately, such people procreate, send their snot miners to public schools and spin themselves into a state of raging apoplexy when the school does something contrary to the Bible (as authoritatively interpreted by James Dobson, of course).

In accordance with the maxim that even a blind squirrel finds a nut on occasion, an October 21 LTTE suggests that I might have been correct. The author gets major honesty points for writing:

When my children began school, I was one of “those” moms who talked to the principal and teachers, explaining we were Christians and didn’t celebrate Halloween. I asked for alternative assignments for my children during October, as many assignments were Halloween based. On Halloween, I kept my kids home from school. They felt isolated sitting in the hall doing alternative assignments. I still couldn’t compromise, knowing the truth about Halloween.

She then engages in an irrelevant and largely inaccurate discussion of Druids, tossing in terms like “demonic” and “Satanic” for good measure. But also to her credit, she acknowledges that “Schools are not allowed to celebrate religious holidays.”

Whether she considers that rule applicable to Christmas — yet another pirated pagan holiday — remains to be seen. For present purposes, the candor of the October 21 letter is strangely refreshing. All too often accomodationists bent on purging public schools of anything they consider unchristian are less than candid about their aims.

Vitter: Let’s Use Public Money to Promote Creationism

Notorious Republican hooker aficionado and rumored diaper fetishist Senator David Vitter refuses to be shamed. Americans United for Separation of Church and State reports that Vitter slipped a $100,000 earmark for some outfit called the Louisiana Family Forum into a Senate Appropriations Committee report on a bill allocating money to the federal Labor, Education and HHS Departments.

Anyone who’s paying attention knows that the word “family” in an organization’s title is contemporary code for “biblical literalist Christianity,” and LFF is no exception. LFF’s website describes its mission as “persuasively present[ing] biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking.”

And how exactly does LFF go about “persuasively present[ing] biblical principles”? One way is promoting the teaching of creationism in public schools.

The latest in this roughly month-old story is a letter signed by thirty-six organizations — from the ACLU to the Texas Faith Network to the Herpetologists League and all points in between — condemning the earmark as grossly unconstitutional. Details of LFF’s creationist agenda are in the four-page letter, available in pdf here.

So, then, here we go again:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 15-16 (1947).

In Vitter’s own words:

As a member of the Senate, my top budget priority is to establish greater fiscal disipline. To accomplish this, I support many budget reform measures, including:

. . .

  • Bucking the Appropriations Committee Leadership and voting against appropriations bills which are bloated and fiscally irresponsible.

This is precisely what our nation needs: another “limited-government” Republican advocating an indisputably ultra vires use of public money in the service of YHWH and his rabble-rousing kid.

UPDATE: Vitter caves. Chalk one up for the good guys.

Another Christian “Equal Access” Lawsuit

Two court reporters for the San Diego County, California Superior Court have sued their employer, alleging that the court violated their state and federal constitutional rights by refusing to let them use an empty courtroom or jury room for their weekly Bible study group meetings.

The complaint (pdf, 14 pages) is available here courtesy of Advocates for Faith and Freedom, one of those Christian right advocacy law firms. The complaint lists Frank Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice as co-counsel. I have no love for the ACLJ, but Manion is a first-class lawyer and the plaintiffs will no doubt get superb representation.

The averments and causes of action asserting in the complaint are standard for cases such as this, but Paragraph 13 stands out in a pretty big way. After describing how the study group met in empty jury rooms over lunch hour from 2000 to April 2006, the drafter says, “The Bible study has not reconvened in any jury or court room since.” That’s one big, honking negative pregnant right there.

Christian Newswire’s all-spin report on the case is available here. The level to which the persecution bar has fallen never ceases to amaze.

Tip of the hat to Professor Howard Friedman, who in 1991 bravely undertook the Herculean task of teaching my idiot neophyte self the ins and outs of constitutional law, for reporting the story.

Jimmy Dobson Doesn’t Like Anybody

The latest Republican presidential candidate to earn a spot on politically influential theocrat Dr. Jimmy Dobson’s shit list is Fred Thompson. In an email acquired by the Associated Press, Dobson wrote:

Isn’t Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won’t talk at all about what he believes, and can’t speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?

He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent ‘want to.’ And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!

Thompson joins Rudy Giuliani and John McCain as candidates Dobson won’t be supporting.

On a related note, there’s no cause for alarm here. All this political activity doesn’t mean that Focus on the Family, Dobson’s billion-dollar alter ego, will have to pay taxes or anything. The Internal Revenue Service recognizes that when Jimmy endorses candidates he’s speaking solely as a private citizen. Revoking FoF’s 501(c)(3) status would constitute anti-Christian persecution of Neronian proportions.