Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
I've heard of Frank Schaeffer, even heard him interviewed and read some short pieces by him. But this afternoon a friend sent me a link to an excerpt from his latest book, and now I'd like to pass it on to you.
Schaeffer talks about how the whole "Left Behind" industry is really nothing more than the latest version of the crazy right-wing religious crap his father helped to start in this country. Here's a bit:
Buddy of mine sent me a link to an excellent article that I'd missed. It's an opinion piece from the UK paper The Independent, and is trying to explain to the average Brit the hows and whys of the health care debate happening in this country. It's usually insightful to see how others see you, and this piece in particular is quite good. An excerpt:
Johann Hari: Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason
How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality?
* * *
Yeah, OK, I know I'm more cynical nowadays, but I think that even in my most charitable moods I would tend to see this as nothing more than a case of the Christian nuts being mercenary:
Citing a “serious budget shortfall” the conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family has been prompted to issue a special fundraising plea, and has also decided to hand over control of its contentious “Love Won Out” Ex-Gay program to another religious organization, a FotF spokesman said Tuesday.
Focus on the Family is looking at a $6 million short fall in its $138 million budget for this fiscal year- a budget larger than all national and regional gay-equality organizations combined.
From the Love Won Out website:
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed Sunday at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.
Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.
National anti-abortion groups had long focused on Tiller, whose Women's Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.
Someone has been arrested. Who wants to bet that they did it "in the name of Jesus!"? To "save the little babies!"? To "stop the holocaust!"?
I've grown up in, and continue to live in, Orange County, CA. OC has always been a stronghold of right-wing religious groups. Once in a while some thing happens here that gives me hope for the future.
Certified whack-job Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist decided that something had to be done about a local high school that decided to put on a somewhat edited version of the musical "Rent".
From the LA Times article:
By midday Friday, the protesters had arrived. There were three of them, carrying signs that said, "[Gays] Are Beasts," among others.
As they gathered on the sidewalk, several students came together in counter-protest on the other side of the street. Within minutes, more than 200 -- some wearing rainbow tie-dye shirts and holding peace signs -- stood sentry in front of the campus, clutching signs that said, "Support Love," "God Hates No One" and "Love Is Not a Sin."
The students turned the protest into a mini-celebration, singing songs from the musical and breaking into the school's own fight song. A couple ran through the crowd in swim trunks, with the words "God Loves Gays" written across their chests. One was wrapped in a rainbow-colored cloth. Another wore a handmade shirt that read, "Love Is Equal."
At one point, several students ran across the street to stand near the protesters. They shouted, "God loves gays and lesbians too," and waved their signs at passing cars. Minutes later, Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, and his supporters walked away, taking their signs with them.
You know the recent spate of mass killings? Well, guess who is to blame:
NEW YORK, April 9 /Christian Newswire/ -- On April 4 the NY Times ran adjacent front-page articles on the Iowa Supreme Court decision legalizing 'gay marriage' and the gunman who murdered 13 people in New York. That day the Times also ran an op ed article by Charles M. Blow who expressed concern about the negative impact that conservative media's "talk of revolution" could have on "weak minds."
Commenting on this is Morality in Media President Bob Peters:
"Having lived in New York City for more than 30 years, I am all too aware of the harm that firearms in the hands of criminals can cause. Having grown up in a small town in Illinois, where citizens owned guns without misusing them, I am also aware that guns aren't the underlying problem. I am not an opponent of gun regulation; I am an opponent of making guns the scapegoat for mass murder.
Things are getting really scary in Texas. I'm not kidding. Something is bubbling in the Lone Star State, and it has the stink of 100 percent pure crazy.
First, science communicator Bill Nye was booed during a lecture in Waco for insisting that the Moon reflected light from the Sun. Then we have Chuck Norris advocating for secession and installing himself as president of Texas, presumably as part of Glenn Beck's lunatic "let's bring back the utter terror we all felt after 9/11" faux-movement ("We surround them" he assures his nitwit followers).
But you already knew about that, right?
Tonight I discovered a couple more things that scared the hell out of me. This post will cover the first, because I don't want to give anyone any ulcers.
I have a nominee for Most Stereotypically Ignorant Right Wing Op-ed! It's from Donna Greco writing in Louisiana's Daily Advertiser.
We open with the weirdly binary and George Will-esque, "we're a republic not a democracy" canard, and then strap yourselves in for some crazy!
The goodies are now being dispensed by the party with the "D" behind their names. They are in charge and will remain in charge because they have successfully corralled the media, the academy, entrenched federal bureaucrats, graduates of government schools, unions, welfare recipients, illegal aliens, the godless, the clueless, and the "America is a bad country" crowd into a herd ever ready to stampede those who would dare disagree.
Truly, cohesion and unity of message has always been a defining trait of liberals and Democrats. All these awful subgroups she mentions are always singing in unison, marching in lockstep. Never disagreeing on anything. Unlike those independent-minded Republicans. There's more!
If you had any doubt about Kathryn Jean Lopez, the editor of the National Review Online, then read her current column at the National Catholic Register. It's pure, unadulterated revisionism with a side order of theocracy thrown in for good measure:
We’re a nation not just where you are free to believe or not to believe; we’re a nation founded for Him — so we could praise Him, so we could do His will. Warren began his prayer as a gentle reminder to those privileged with seats and every Joe sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:
“Almighty God — our Father. Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.”
After a morning of “Obama!” chants, I would have loved to hear some of the crowd — or the president-to-be — join Warren in praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Oh, this is good:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Zoo has received a complaint about Buddha statues in an Asian-themed area.
David Engle, of Overland Park, Kan., complained after visiting the zoo on Sunday. He said it's "phenomenal to me" that the zoo would put up two smiling statues of Buddha when "we can't have a cross or a nativity scene on public property."
Engle, who said he is Christian, called the statues idolatry and "infuriating to God."
The LA Times totally misses the point of the Freedom from Religion Foundation's attempt to stop Colorado governor Bill Ritter's proclamation of a day of prayer. The editorial asserts that the controversy centers, in part, around whether the specific prayer to be given would amount to an endorsement of a specific religion or of some right-wing policy supported by the "hysterical" (their word) James Dobson's Focus on the Family.
But the verse in question is not the problem. The problem (obviously, or so one would think) is that the very act of a prayer assumes the existence of--and gives acquiescence to--an omnipotent super-being. That may not be an official endorsement of a religion, but it is most certainly a tacit endorsement of religion itself.
From landing on the moon, to sequencing the human genome, to inventing the Internet, America has been the first to cross that new frontier because we had leaders who paved the way: leaders like President Kennedy, who inspired us to push the boundaries of the known world and achieve the impossible; leaders who not only invested in our scientists, but who respected the integrity of the scientific process.
Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States – and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.
Compare that to the mindset we've put up with from the Bush administration, the latest round of which was announced yesterday:
We in the atheist community often hear the phrase, "Why are you attacking Christianity? Why not go after Islam?" The reason, as has been stated many times before, is that in America, Christianity is the dominant religion and our public and private lives are dominated by its practice. This series, as long as it lasts, will go through some of the things in the Christian Bible that bother me.
We start with Jesus and the Pigs. Mark 5 verses 1-20. Here's the relevant text from the NIV (New International Version)(more below the fold):
Jessie Kilgore, a 22 year old, former Christian, internet-savvy, military veteran committed suicide on October 25, 2008. He walked into the woods by his home and shot himself.
Apparently, Jessie was one of us at the end of his young life. An atheist.
There is not a lot of information out there about Jessie. His handle for most of his online activities is 'Jkrapture' I Googled that username and found a few sites like his old blog, and his MySpace page. I also found his Shutterfly site - a storage area for Jessie to keep his funny message board images and LOLCats pictures. This one and this one in particular are kind of disturbing, given the circumstances.
The weird part about this whole thing is that Jessie's father, Keith Kilgore, a former military chaplain (here are some of his thoughts on the war), has gone to WorldNet Daily and is claiming that Jessie killed himself because of Richard Dawkin's book "The God Delusion". Apparently, the book was suggested to him by his college biology professor. (The college denies that the book was part of the biology curriculum.)
(Continued after the flip.)
They'll get you when you're sleeping.
Or even when you're awake.
Evil gays are bad, not good,
So be good for God's own sake!
Some folks are just plain crazy. Case in point: David Caldarola, author of an op-ed piece in the Chicago Daily Herald claims that the election is a religious war, between "the faithful" and the dreaded, nasty, soulless, baby-eating atheists.
And here all along I thought that this Presidential election was between John McCain and Barack Obama. Silly me!
[link] Liberalism is socialism-Communism-Marxism; all of which require atheism.
This is not an election between Obama and McCain. It's between atheists and the faithful.
So, according to David "Batshit Insane" Caldarola, this is how it works: Liberalism = socialism = communism = marxism = atheism. Obama is a liberal, therefore, ipso facto, Q.E.D., Barack Obama is an atheist bent on world domination, who wants to distribute your wealth to puppy grinding facilities all over North America.
It's all so very simple - when you're crazy.
Holey frakkin' Christ crackers. I'm no Einstein, but I will be so glad to have this election over with, and finally have a President whose IQ is higher than mine. That would be a nice change.
The MRFF helps another atheist soldier file a suit against the Defense Department:
[link] Spc. Dustin Chalker, who has served in Korea and Iraq, is the second soldier at the northeast Kansas post to file such a lawsuit. The New Mexico-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation joined Chalker as a plaintiff in his lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.
Here's the PDF of the "Complaint For Injunctive Relief".
I wonder how long it will be before he receives his first drunken death threat from his fellow "good Christian" soldiers?
Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Focus on the Family nuts all decided to pray for rain at the Democratic convention? PZ talked about it. Even Olbermann featured it. With the bad publicity, they decided to pull the video, and it's no longer available on YouTube. Which is a shame, really, given what happened this morning:
DENVER - A sprinkler system partially flooded part of the Pepsi Center Monday morning.
The Denver Fire Department, which has a crew stationed at the center all week, was able to respond quickly before 5 a.m. when the sprinkler went off.
The sprinkler was located on the club level in a skybox which had recently been renovated to host a news crew. It appears the skybox belongs to Fox.
After going off, the sprinkler released 50 to 100 gallons of water per minute and 9NEWS crews estimate it was on for around 5 minutes.
Yes, Faux News's skybox was flooded.
(Nearly) Instant Karma, anyone?
Hmm. I posted a piece about the Tom Willis nut over on my blog, and noted in comments there that I seem to never have cross-posted this essay from Daily Kos on either my site or here on UTI. So, I thought I would.
Do you own a fire extinguisher? Why?
Despite my misgivings about his economic policies, I've pretty much decided I'm going to vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming election. My business partner makes a strong case for McCain, but franky, I'm tired of old, white guys running the country.
But then I read a story like this, and it makes me wonder if there really is any point in voting for anyone.
On the second day of a weeklong tour intended to highlight his values, Mr. Obama traveled to the battleground state of Ohio on Tuesday to present his proposal to get religious charities more involved in government programs.