Archive for February, 2012
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments
Rick Warren drinks the Kool-Aid:
The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
The effort, informally dubbed King’s Way, caps years of outreach between Warren and Muslims. Warren has broken Ramadan fasts at a Mission Viejo mosque, met Muslim leaders abroad and addressed 8,000 Muslims at a national convention in Washington D.C.
The effort by a prominent Christian leader to bridge what polls show is a deep rift between Muslims and evangelical Christians culminated in December at a dinner at Saddleback attended by 300 Muslims and members of Saddleback’s congregation.
At the dinner, Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles, introduced King’s Way as “a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.”
The men presented a document they co-authored outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity. The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in “one God” and share two central commandments: “love of God” and “love of neighbor.” The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects. The document quotes side-by-side verses from the Bible and the Koran to illustrate its claims.
“We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other,” said Turk. “We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.”
Not that Warren’s going latitudinarian or anything. No, no, no, no.
Warren has faced criticism from some evangelicals for his outreach to Muslims. Late last year, he issued a statement flatly denying rumors that he promulgates what critics term “Chrislam,” a merging of Islam and Christianity.
The “rumor is 100 percent false,” Warren wrote at Pastors.com, a website he founded that provides practical advice to church leaders. “My life and ministry are built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.”
Insert “but” here. All that you really need to know about this initiative is that the Episcopalians are down with it.
Gwynne Guibord, an ordained Episcopal priest and co-founder of a Los Angeles outreach group that fosters relationships between churches and mosques nationwide, said Saddleback’s effort is unprecedented. “I’m not aware of any other evangelical church reaching out to the Muslim community,” she said.
Guibord said that when she and Jihad Turk co-founded the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group in 2006, they sent invitations to mosques, the Catholic archdiocese and a variety of mainline Protestant denominations throughout Southern California, but not to evangelical churches.
“I think that many evangelicals feel a mandate to convert people to Christianity,” Guibord said. Because the Consultative Group was founded to respond to increasing antagonism between the two faiths, “we would not have made headway” if one side was trying to convert the other, she said. Now, she said, it might be possible to include evangelicals in her group’s work.
Somebody help me out here. Rick Warren says he believes in that way-truth-life-no-man-comes-to-the-Father-except-through-me stuff. He also says that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. But the holy book provided by the Muslim god vigorously denies that way-truth-life-no-man-comes-to-the-Father-except-through-me stuff.
I sure hope you can negotiate your way through all that because I can’t.
Here’s the deal. Should Christians treat members of other religions honorably and respectfully? Absolutely. Should Christians endeavor to learn all they can about other religions? Certainly. If I was involved in some political effort, a petition against Barack Obama’s religious tyranny, say, would I refuse the assistance and the signatures of Jews, Muslims, Mormons and others? Absolutely not.
Given all that, am I going to refrain from trying to convert members of other religions to Christianity? No way in hell. And the reason for that, of course, is the Cross.
See, Jesus died for my sins on that thing. Slowly and agonizingly. Then God raised His Son from the dead. All of which suggests, to me anyway, that as far as the Father is concerned, faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life is not an option.
But if I declare that I’m not going to try to get other people to believe that, an optional Cross is exactly what I’m communicating. My friend, Jesus died on the Cross for your sins. However, if that particular metaphor doesn’t work for you, try Islam or any other path to God that you find particularly appealing.
If I call myself a Christian but piously declare that I’m not going to try to convert you to Christianity, then I’m either a hypocrite or a liar. And the fact of the matter is that any Muslim who says he doesn’t want to see me converted to Islam doesn’t understand his own religion.
We are commanded by Our Lord to treat all men with honor and respect. And if you want a model for how a Christian should deal with non-Christians and their beliefs, you will not find a better one than the Apostle Paul at the Areopagus.
But don’t tell me that for the sake of “getting along,” I shouldn’t want non-Christians to be Christians and must refrain from trying to convince them to convert. Considering Who died on the Cross and why, I prefer to believe that I don’t have the ability to be that dishonest. Or that cruel.
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
Two Catholic midwives from Scotland have lost their legal battle to avoid taking part in abortion procedures on grounds of “conscientious objection.”
“I view this judgment with deep concern,” said Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow. “I wish to put on record my admiration for the courage of the midwives who have, at very great cost to themselves, fought to uphold the right to follow one’s conscience.”
Mary Doogan and Connie Wood were previously told by the state-run National Health Service in Glasgow that they had to supervise and support fellow midwives who perform abortions. As senior staff, they were also expected to be on standby to help in abortion procedures in certain medical situations.
On Feb. 29 Scotland’s highest civil court ruled that the women’s religious liberties were not being infringed because “the nature of their duties does not in fact require them to provide treatment to terminate pregnancies directly.”
The midwives had maintained that their right to opt-out of providing abortions for reasons of conscience was upheld by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Section 4(1) of the U.K.’s 1967 Abortion Act.
The two midwives previously told the Court of Session that “they hold a religious belief that all human life is sacred from the moment of conception and that termination of pregnancy is a grave offense against human life.”
But the National Health Service in Glasgow rejected their appeals, claiming that their rights are being respected because the midwives are not compelled to administer abortion-inducing drugs. The Court of Session today agreed with that argument.
The court ruled today that the 1967 Abortion Act allowed only qualified conscientious objection, and that the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to freedom of conscience and religion were not absolute.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments
In case anyone ever sneers at you for drawing a connection between abortion and infanticide, refer them to an article in which two Australian “ethicists” make the case that there’s nothing wrong with killing newborn babies:
Two ethicists working with Australian universities argue in the latest online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so too should be the termination of a newborn.
Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne write that in “circumstances occur[ing] after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”
Just don’t call it infanticide, okay? Because that makes us feel guilty about this Nazi crap we support.
The two are quick to note that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion“ as opposed to ”infanticide.” Why? Because it “[emphasizes] that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.”
Don’t call it euthanasia either because that might make the parents of the…entity feel guilty and they don’t need that. Nobody does.
The authors also do not agree with the term euthanasia for this practice as the best interest of the person who would be killed is not necessarily the primary reason his or her life is being terminated. In other words, it may be in the parents’ best interest to terminate the life, not the newborn’s.
Ya think? And we’re not just talking about putting down the handicapped either. As far as these two “people” are concerned, you can off your kid if you’d rather not take the financial hit just now.
The circumstances, the authors state, where after-birth abortion should be considered acceptable include instances where the newborn would be putting the well-being of the family at risk, even if it had the potential for an “acceptable” life. The authors cite Downs Syndrome as an example, stating that while the quality of life of individuals with Downs is often reported as happy, “such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”
This means a newborn whose family (or society) that could be socially, economically or psychologically burdened or damaged by the newborn should have the ability to seek out an after-birth abortion. They state that after-birth abortions are not preferable over early-term abortions of fetuses but should circumstances change with the family or the fetus in the womb, then they advocate that this option should be made available.
What about the fact that a newborn is, well, newly born? That it’s no longer connected to Mom? That it is no longer fed through an umbilical cord? Irrelevant, declare Professors Himmler and Mengele.
Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.
I hope you can follow the logic because I’ll be damned if I can. Literally. A newborn baby is, in fact, a human being. But because that human being can’t articulate why living is better than not living, it’s okay to kill that newborn.
Why not wait until our inarticulate newborn can tell us why being alive is preferable to the alternative? Because the humans who somehow managed not to die simply can’t wait that long. How are they supposed to buy a new Lexus or take European vacations every year if they’ve got a stupid kid to lose their money on?
The authors counter the argument that these “potential persons” have the right to reach that potential by stating it is “over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being because, as we have just argued, merely potential people cannot be harmed by not being brought into existence.”
Surprised? Shocked? Horrified? I’m not any of those things since, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, the arc of the pro-abortion argument is long but it bends toward infanticide.
And I really don’t want to hear the “lighten up, Johnson, this is just a couple of academics sitting around speculating” sneer again. Much of the moral depravity that currently infects our world started out as a wild theory that “reasonable” people assured us couldn’t possibly happen, never mind be accepted, in real life.
UPDATE: Are you angry about this article? Do the views expressed in it sicken and disgust you? According to editor Julian Savulescu, you’re the one with the problem.
As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.
What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.
What the response to this article reveals, through the microscope of the web, is the deep disorder of the modern world. Not that people would give arguments in favour of infanticide, but the deep opposition that exists now to liberal values and fanatical opposition to any kind of reasoned engagement.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 53 Comments
James Delingpole observes that there are times to be civilized. And times not to be:
Does anyone imagine that back in 1012 they were all agonising about how the children of the future might cope in 2012, what with all the scarce resources being used up at an alarming rate to make ships and spears and light warning beacons for the next Viking raid? Somehow I don’t think so. Yet this is precisely the kind of unutterable boll***s you hear being advanced almost every day by people like this liberal-leftie media type with whom I had my big row.
After I’d gone on in this vein for some time, the liberal-lefty media luvvie turned round and snapped at me: “Do you have any manners?”
“What’s that got to do with it?” I said.
“You have just been exceptionally rude. You’ve repeated what I said in the debate and are accusing me of talking unutterable boll***s!”
“Yeah. Well. You ARE talking unutterable boll***s”
“You’re a very rude man, do you know that?”
“What’s that ****ing got to do with anything? The issue is whether or not you were talking boll***s and unless you can advance a sensible argument that proves me wrong, I maintain that you were talking boll***s.”
“Don’t you swear at me!”
“Why can’t I swear, you’re not my Dad. Anyway, you’re changing the subject. All I’m asking is that you do what any half-way decent journalist would do and defend your position using facts. If you’re incapable of that then, I’m sorry, but boll***s is what you were talking. So, can you advance any facts or arguments to defend your position?”
“I’m not going to because you’re so rude.”
“You’re not going to because you HAVE no arguments, that’s your real problem mate.”
All right. I admit it: I was quite rude. But I have no regrets about this whatsoever. Especially not given that my antagonist was here deploying yet another of the disingenuous techniques exploited by the liberal-left on these occasions: the evasion of argument by turning the debate into an issue of style and character.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 17 Comments
The commandment against bearing false witness doesn’t seem to have made it into Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s copy of the Torah:
During the last few weeks, we have seen an outrageous attempt to impose sharia law on the US government and the American public.
NOT Muslim sharia; it is Roman Catholic “sharia” about contraception that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has been trying to impose on Americans of all faiths and beliefs who happen to work at a Catholic-sponsored hospital or university.
Have Muslims been campaigning to impose sharia law on US courts? NO! Of the many faces of Islam in America, the face of the future — open in wonder and questioning — is the one our society could be, should be, encouraging. This one:
Yet the same voices — Fox News, various candidates for President — that have bitterly attacked non-existent attempts by American Muslims to impose sharia on the public have not criticized this actual real-life attempt at doing so by the bishops. Indeed, many of these same voices have supported the bishops.
The bishops warned about “religious oppression” even when the Catholic Hospital Association celebrated the arrangement that the Obama Administration worked out, making sure that health insurance companies will pay for free contraception without involving the Catholic-sponsored employers who might object.
The only threat to religious freedom was the attempt by the bishops to deny religious freedom to the employees of those institutions — Catholics and others — whose religious consciences are totally at peace with the use of contraception.
Waskow actually gets dumber and more mendacious after this but my ability to suffer fools gladly is low today so this is as far as I cared to go.
Two things, Rabbi. The Catholic bishops are well aware that the Roman Catholic laity doesn’t agree with their stance on contraception(and by the way, those numbers you cite are as fraudulent as the rest of your stupid piece). A fair chunk of the Catholic laity also doesn’t agree with the episcopal injunction against adultery but the bishops aren’t going to modify that one any time soon. God being God, heaven isn’t a democracy.
What the bishops object to, you astoundingly dishonest little twit, is being legally forced to provide the means by which someone else commits a grave sin(particularly for a “right” that didn’t exist a month or so ago). If the bishops’ only choices are providing contraception and providing contraception, whose views are being ignored here? Who is tyrannizing whom, jackass?
Monday, February 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments
Chris Epting, who’s a real Episcopal bishop, riffs on the Multifaceted Desalinization Grebes or, as they are known around the Episcopal Organization, the Fifth Gospel:
Our presiding bishop suggested this year that we might use the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals as a lens through which to view our observance of this season. When the Episcopal Church adopted these goals at our 2006 General Convention, there was some criticism that these were “secular” goals and that we were somehow taking our eyes off the real mission of the church by using these as guidelines or milestones on our spiritual journey as Episcopalians.
Well, let’s see – eradicating poverty and hunger…achieving universal primary education…promoting gender equality and empowering women … reducing child mortality … improving maternal health … combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases … ensuring environmental sustainability … and developing a global partnership for development.
Those sound suspiciously close to Gospel values, if you ask me, particularly when you take into consideration the fact that Jesus’ primary message in the Gospels was not about how individuals could go to heaven, but about establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth! In Mark’s brief account of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness which we read today on this First Sunday of Lent, he did not spend a lot of time on the specifics of those temptations, but concludes the story by summarizing the essence of Jesus’ message (which was essentially the same as John the Baptist before him and the Hebrew prophets down through the ages):
“Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in that good news!’” (Mark1:15). The good news, for Jesus, was that God was king and Caesar was not! The good news for Jesus was that it was not necessary to wait around for some distant future when God’s reign and God’s sovereignty would be established. That time had come! And it was time to turn around, acknowledge that fact, and begin to live as though it was true! The time is fulfilled…the kingdom of God has come near…repent…and believe that good news!
Really? So I guess that means we can do away with this. And this. And this. This is toast. This is too. So’s this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this among a great many others.
But here’s the problem I have, Eppie. Name a religion anywhere that doesn’t want to establish heaven on Earth. Or a non-religion(communism, socialism, National Socialism, fascism, etc) for that matter. Add to that all the allusions in literature to the achievement and loss of some kind of golden age(see Camelot) and it seems to be an almost universal human aspiration with nothing exclusively or uniquely Christian about it.
And if “Jesus’ primary message in the Gospels was not about how individuals could go to heaven, but about establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth,” then He must be considered one of the most unsuccessful teachers who ever lived. Because either Jesus preached a message that men weren’t interested in then and aren’t interested in now or it took 2,000 years, the formulation of the Monophasic Defibrillation Ghouls and the genius that is Chris Epting to figure Our Lord out.
Not interested, Eppie. The Jesus I know, the Son of the living God, died on the Cross to pay the penalty for my sins, rose from the dead and will come again. And stuff.
Monday, February 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments
You Roman Catholic bishops have had your fun and put on your little temper tantrum, the editors of
The REAL Magisterium Wannabe Episcopalian Weekly America write. But the adults are here now so why don’t you all just look liturgically impressive, babble a little Latin and keep your stupid opinions to yourselves. We’ll take it from here:
For a brief moment, Catholics on all sides were united in defense of the freedom of the Catholic Church to define for itself what it means to be Catholic in the United States. They came together to defend the church’s institutions from morally objectionable, potentially crippling burdens imposed by the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act. Catholic journalists, like E. J. Dionne and Mark Shields, and politicians, like Tim Kaine and Robert P. Casey Jr., joined the U.S. bishops in demanding that the administration grant a broad exemption for religiously affiliated institutions from paying health care premiums for contraceptive services. Then, on Feb. 10, President Obama announced a compromise solution by which religious institutions would be exempt from paying the objectionable premiums but women would not be denied contraceptive coverage. A confrontation that should never have happened was over. But not for long.
Every single time we let the hierarchy think it’s in charge, the idiots completely screw things up. Every. Single. Time.
After a nod to the White House’s retreat as “a first step in the right direction,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected the president’s “accommodation” as insufficient. Their statement presented a bill of indictments on the fine points of public policy: It opposed any mandate for contraceptive coverage, expanded the list of claimants for exemption to include self-insured employers and for-profit business owners and contested the administration’s assertion that under the new exemption religious employers would not pay for contraception. Some of these points, particularly the needs of self-insured institutions like universities, have merit and should find some remedy. Others, with wonkish precision, seem to press the religious liberty campaign too far.
“Some of these points…have merit and should find some remedy?” From where? From the same people who wrote the initial rule and the transparently fraudulent “compromise?” I can’t for the life of me understand why the bishops might be reluctant to take that offer. Foxes, hen houses and all that.
And it’s difficult for me to see how the objections of the bishops constitute “press[ing] the religious liberty campaign too far” since forcing Church ministries to facilitate the acquisition of free contraceptives by any employee who wants them is the only option left on the table. The idea of not being forced to provide free birth control at all seems no longer to be possible.
The bishops have been most effective in influencing public policy when they have acted as pastors, trying to build consensus in church and society, as they did in their pastorals on nuclear war and the economy. The American public is uncomfortable with an overt exercise of political muscle by the hierarchy. Catholics, too, have proved more responsive to pastoral approaches. They expect church leaders to appeal to Gospel values, conscience and right reason. They hope bishops will accept honorable accommodations and, even when provoked, not stir up hostility. In the continuing dialogue with government, a conciliatory style that keeps Catholics united and cools the national distemper would benefit the whole church.
I think you all know what’s going on there. It’s the age-old story. As long as the bishops are commenting on
the issues that are important to the America editorial staff the right issues, we’re behind them 100%. But once they move on to those…other issues(you know the ones America means), they are exercising “political muscle” and contributing to the “national distemper.”
On issues like nuclear war and the economy, the bishops should certainly take no prisoners and accept no compromises. But on those relatively trivial issues that the laity constantly insists on whining about, Roman Catholic bishops need to “accept honorable accomodations,” they need to “not stir up hostility,” and, most importantly, they need to be “conciliatory.”
After all, we have the example constantly before us of the Author and Finisher of our faith Who was always willing to accept honorable accomodations, Who never stirred up hostility and Whose first name was Conciliatory. Actually, we don’t have that at all. What the heck was I thinking?
The campaign also risks ignoring two fundamental principles of Catholic political theology. Official Catholic rights theory proposes that people should be willing to adjust their rights claims to one another. It also assigns to government the responsibility to coordinate contending rights and interests for the sake of the common good. The campaign fails to acknowledge that in the present instance, claims of religious liberty may collide with the right to health care, or that the religious rights of other denominations are in tension with those of Catholics. But as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in “Deus Caritas Est,” the church does not seek to “impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to the faith.” Furthermore, the campaign fails to admit that the administration’s Feb. 10 solution, though it can be improved, fundamentally did what Catholic social teaching expects government to do—coordinate contending rights for the good of all.
Um…nuh-uh. I have no idea what “Catholic rights theory” really consists of but I seriously doubt that “adjust[ing] their rights claims to one another” obligates Catholics to commit sins themselves or acquiesce in their commission.
As for the “contending rights” that America believes were coordinated by the Administration’s “compromise,” we have the long-established Constitutional right of Christian churches to order their own affairs versus the newly-created “right” to free birth control pills, a “right” which remains in place by means of an accounting trick.
Once again, there is no possibility of the Catholic Church not being forced to provide free birth control at all; the default position is the liberal one. And that is not coordination of contending rights at all; it is soft tyranny.
By stretching the religious liberty strategy to cover the fine points of health care coverage, the campaign devalues the coinage of religious liberty. The fight the bishop’s conference won against the initial mandate was indeed a fight for religious liberty and for that reason won widespread support. The latest phase of the campaign, however, seems intended to bar health care funding for contraception. Catholics legitimately oppose such a policy on moral grounds. But that opposition entails a difference over policy, not an infringement of religious liberty. It does a disservice to the victims of religious persecution everywhere to inflate policy differences into a struggle over religious freedom. Such exaggerated protests likewise show disrespect for the freedom Catholics have enjoyed in the United States, which is a model for the world—and for the church.
What are you mackeral snappers complaining about? It’s not like anyone’s burning down your churches or anything. And you don’t have to pay for anyone’s abortion so chill out.
But here’s the problem. A government that thinks it has the right to determine what are or are not Christian ministries is a government that can(and probably one day will) not only order Christian hospitals to provide free birth control but also order Christian hospitals and churches to provide free abortions for any staff member who wants one.
Were that to happen, what would America say? That the bishops shouldn’t be so “wonkish” because this is yet anothern policy difference that doesn’t rise to the level of religious persecution? That the bishops shouldn’t “provoke hostility” and need to take the lead toward cooling the “national distemper” over the fact that the Church is now being forced to participate in one of the greatest evils it is possible to conceive simply because somebody claims a right to access to it?
And does America seriously believe that Catholic episcopal protests over Administration health policy “show disrespect for the freedom Catholics have enjoyed in the United States?” How does exercising one’s Constitutional rights show disrespect for freedom?
America seems to be saying that the bishops may provoke a political, legal and cultural backlash and, given Administration hostility to the Church, they may well be right. But I think something else is in play here. This journal also seems to implicitly suggest that if this country’s Roman Catholic bishops continue to raise too much of a fuss, such a backlash ought to happen.
Sunday, February 26th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 32 Comments
Although I seriously doubt that he’s going to win the Republican presidential nomination, you have to give Rick Santorum this much. The guy’s pissed off the right people:
Some leaders of mainline Protestant denominations, meanwhile, are fuming over Santorum’s accusation that their churches have “gone from the world of Christianity.’’
“It is upsetting and kind of bizarre that a candidate has gone out of his way to question the faith of about a quarter of the US population,’’ said Bonnie Anderson, the president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. Speaking as the top elected lay leader of the worldwide church and a member of a Michigan congregation, Anderson said, “People are tired of seeing faith used as a political weapon, and Mr. Santorum might want to ask himself whether he and other politicians are contributing to this problem. I think it is very possible that he is.’’
In taking on mainline Protestant churches, Santorum risks alienating a large group of people who include many general election swing voters. White mainline Protestants make up 18 percent of the US population, and historically African-American Protestant churches account for 7 percent, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Evangelicals make up 26 percent, Catholics are 24 percent, and Mormons and Jews are each 1.7 percent, the survey found.
Really, Bonnie? A quarter of the US population? Have you got an entirely different United States stashed away somewhere that you’re not telling anybody about? Because that statement is just dumb is what that statement is.
I’ve got news for you, B. You can make a far more plausible case declaring that a quarter of the US population consists of ex-mainline Protestants. Know why that is?
I don’t know about anybody else but the only thing 2003 did for this former Episcopalian was to confirm something I’d learned a decade or two before but had been trying avoid confronting. Namely, that the Episcopal Organization will never let a minor detail like the Bible get in the way of its intended social goals.
It’s like this, B. You and I no longer regard the Word of God in the same way. That’s your right, you can “interpret” the Scriptures any way you like. But when your unique interpretation flies in the face of the teaching of the entire Church, it’s emminently safe to assume that you and I no longer share the same religion.
If that’s tough for you to hear, that’s not Senator Santorum’s problem. He just used much blunter language to say what a lot of us figured out a long time ago. Suck it up and deal with it.
Sunday, February 26th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments
Former US Senator, presidential candidate and major-league horndog Gary Hart starts out on fire:
There are reports that an Iranian Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, is under threat of execution by the Iranian authorities for blasphemy for his refusal to renounce his Christian faith. Though there are reports of persecution of Christians in many countries, China included, it usually takes the plight of a single identifiable individual to make an otherwise generalized problem — in this case religious intolerance — take concrete rather than abstract dimensions.
And immediately dives right into the crapper.
The re-emergence of the religious right in America during this current presidential campaign, though mild by comparison to threatened executions by radical clerics, should give us cause for concern. Though well over two centuries ago, “witches” were burned in this country and a recent book documents the struggles of Roger Williams against fundamentalist intolerance. The persistent thread of intolerance springs from a narrow fundamentalist insistence on orthodoxy in an age in which strict religious doctrine in some quarters quickly emerged to fill the vacuum of failed 20th century political ideologies. And religious orthodoxy exhibits an almost demented insistence on conformity and intolerance toward political dissent.
Let’s see. If you actually believe that the Bible means what it says, you are intolerant because of your “almost demented” insistence that you’re right. But you’re not quite as bad as the Iranians. So there’s that.
Tell you what, Hart. Stick to banging bimbos, jackass.
Sunday, February 26th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments
If your religion makes you more upset by the destruction of a “holy book” than by the death of a human being, your religion is worthless crap.
Friday, February 24th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 38 Comments
The recent effort by Barack Obama to legally force the Roman Catholic Church to buy November votes for him demonstrates the extent to which Anglican argumentation has fully penetrated all aspects of American secular life:
Part of the problem is that not only have Catholic Bishops have not only politicized the issue, they refuse to apply their own standards of debate within Catholic moral theology. Part of this is that they refuse to see access to contraception as a competing good, and they refuse to recognize the validity of other views–even within Catholicism. Consequently all they do is complain and criticize. They, and the politicians who have jumped on this bandwagon, have refused to recommend any solutions that can move the conversation forward, settling instead to label the President and call their opponents names.
You might think that the above paragraph makes perfect sense if your church believes that Moses received the Ten Options on Mount Sinai. But only an Episcopalian or a complete fool would see that as anything other particularly dishonest idiocy.
Notice here that the default position is the liberal one. The Panderer-in-Chief invents a spurious “right” to free birth control. The Catholic Church believes that facilitating that “right” is a grave sin. To the cheers of the secular atheist left, our idiot president then fashions a mendacious “compromise” that leaves that “right” in place and still forces the Church to violate its own principles.
Notice also a pattern that should be familiar to anyone who’s followed the Current Unpleasantness for any length of time. There are two mutually-exclusive views in conflict here so yours, of course, must give way to mine and the idea of my quitting my Catholic hospital job and finding employment with a non-religious institution is not an option.
But here is the Anglican triumph. Even though I am to get everything I want, you are perfectly free to disagree with me so the free exercise of your faith is not impeded in any way. So for all practical purposes, the Roman Catholic Church must, in the interest of “moving the conversation forward,” effectively give up deciding what sins are.
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments
While the Republican presidential nomination is still up for grabs, it looks like Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a lock for vice-president and the Democrats are scared crapless about it. Why? Some blithering leftist idiot actually thinks the following is newsworthy:
In the compelling personal narrative that has helped propel Florida Senator Marco Rubio to national political stardom, one chapter has gone completely untold: Rubio spent his childhood as a faithful Mormon.
Rubio was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family at around the age of eight, and remained active in the faith for a number of years during his early youth, family members told BuzzFeed.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed the story to BuzzFeed, and said Rubio returned to the Catholic church a few years later with his family, receiving his first communion on Christmas day in 1984 at the age of 13.
The revelation adds a new dimension to Rubio’s already-nuanced religious history—and could complicate his political future at a time when many Republicans see him as the odds-on favorite for the 2012 vice presidential nod. Vice presidential candidates are traditionally chosen to provide ethnic and religious balance to a ticket. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and Rubio’s Catholic faith would already mean the first two members of minority traditions on a Republican ticket in American history. Rubio’s Mormon roots could further complicate that calculation.
Really? Once a Mormon, always a Mormon? Does Mormon baptism infect you with Mormon cooties that never leave you no matter what church you eventually decide to attend? If Senator Rubio converted to Islam, say, or became a Buddhist, would people still consider him a Mormon? Can Mormonism be genetically passed from parent to child?
Another thing. If we’re now going to be judged based on what we were when we were real young kids, I’d better shut this site down immediately. Once the hormones kicked in, I was…um…I could be rather…uh…enthusiastic with the girls in my classes now and then if you know what I mean and I think you do. Who knows what 56-year-old women are floating around out there looking to take me down?
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments
When Barack Obama took office, gasoline was $1.89 a gallon:
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments
Explain to me one more time why censorship is bad. Because it really needs to be illegal to be as stupid as some guy called Mike Lux:
That is a lot of verses, 258 by my count, where Rick Santorum’s savior and George W. Bush’s favorite philosopher sounds like a tried and true, solid to the core, far-out, lefty liberal. And all those where Jesus sounds like a conservative? I couldn’t find a single one. He never once condemns abortion, even though it was very common in ancient times. He never speaks against homosexuality, even though the ancient Greeks before him and the Romans living in those times openly practiced and celebrated it. He called on the Romans and the Jewish establishment to treat the poor better, not condemn an adulteress to death, and to take the moneychangers out of the temple, but he never once asked the Romans to lower their taxes or lessen their regulations on over-burdened businesses. He never celebrated the greatness of the invisible hand of the market, and never discussed the virtues of selfishness, as conservatives today are so fond of doing.
And the anti-welfare conservatives? You guys are in big trouble, as verse after verse condemns you. The one time Jesus specifically talks about how the last judgment will go down, he says, “All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate them one from another as the shepherds separates sheep from goats.” Who gets to go to Heaven in this story? The nations and people who fed the hungry and welcomed the stranger. The ones who didn’t go straight to Hell.
Mike? A couple things. Jesus did too condemn homosexuality. Check this out:
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.
Here’s the deal. Spin this any which way you can but everyone who can read knows that Jesus’ hearers would have understood the words “sexual immorality” as referring to ANY form of sexual expression outside that of a married man and woman.
How else to account for Our Lord’s teaching on divorce, His strict standard as to what constitutes adultery and the fact that the woman about to be stoned that you mentioned above wasn’t taken in the very act of income tax evasion.
As for Matthew 25:31-46, you’re quite right, Jesus does set a stringent requirement. But you know what’s really funny? I can’t find a single translation of that passage which reads anything like, “I was hungry and you raised awareness of the problem of world hunger.” Or, “I was was thirsty and you urged church and political leaders to see to it that everyone in the world had access to clean water.”
The moneychangers in the temple thing? That had a whole lot less to do with the fact that they were moneychangers than the fact that they were doing their business inside the house of God.
And what do people like you do with Luke 13:1-5, Mike?
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Jesus wasn’t talking to “rich” people there, Mike, but to folks like you and me. What do folks like us have to repent about? We’re nice people. We give whatever we can to charity. And whatever else we are, we’re certainly nowhere near rich so we’ve got that going for us.
Maybe, just maybe, Jesus was concerned about all sins, even the sins lefties would rather not be sins(and yeah, I’m talking about Gene Robinson), and not just sins that are useful to an American political party. Don’t know about you but that’s the way I plan on approaching it. Just seems safer, that’s all.
One more thing, Mikey. Golly gee willickers, I hope you realize just how intellectually lame the “Jesus never said anything about…” pseudo-argument is. Because it may interest you to know that Jesus never said anything about a whole lot of things.
Want to talk your kid brother out of reading Stormfront and getting that swastika tat? Good luck since Jesus never said anything about racism. Think there’s a “spiritual” case to be made for our idiot president decreeing free contraception? Good luck making it since Jesus never said anything about giving away Kid-Be-Gone tablets.
In no particular order, here’s some other stuff Jesus never said anything about, Mike.
Leaving the toilet seat up
Knocking back Jäger shots until you pass out
Betting mad jack on that exacta you’ve got a hunch about
Buying yourself lunch with a twenty from an Episcopal Church collection plate
Kim Kardashian fantasies(we can’t lust after a woman but Christ didn’t specify which one)
Washing down your haggis with cheap bourbon
Replacing Communion bread and wine with Ritz crackers and Royal Crown Cola
This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, Mike, so you’ll have to play a lot of stuff by ear.
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