Monday, April 6, 2015

Blessed Are The Liars, For They Shall.....Something Or Other

What amazing obsfucation and disinformation in this article!  It opens with:
Q: Yes or no – RFRAs have only been used to deny service to LGBT people, and just like Jim Crow laws, they could allow people to deny service because of their “sincerely held religious belief.”

First, note that the subject has been changed. The topic is the state RFRAs, especially the Indiana version,  but instantly we are debating all RFRAs.  This is nothing but a straw man and a lie.  I have heard no one, I emphasize, NO ONE saying such a thing.  On the contrary, I have heard opponent after opponent of the state laws defend the federal law.  

There is little point in going further. The supporters of this law will not listen to anything but their own disinformation propaganda and distortions like this article and the rest of us already know the Liars for Christ will not hesitate to continue to lie.  After all, Jesus loves liars.

If you can control your temper, you might want to read the rest of this disinformation.  This will prepare you to counter the deceptions supporters will throw up in a conversation (pun intended), just remember the rules of elemental logic and look for the changes of subject, the outright lies, the emotionally loaded terms, the forced choice/false dichotomies...well, you know the tools used by propagandists.

PS,  I conform with reality and only use value loaded terms when I can make them stick.

PPS,  In my sincere religious belief, deceiving in the Name of God is taking the Lord's Name in vain.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Whose Burning What?

Susan posted: They are burning books and false idols in Pahrump this weekend. Maybe next weekend they could bring some witches.
(News report) Pastor Tony Falcone of the Mountain View chapel is preparing to cast aside the sins of the world.
"We are not going to make it that big," Falcone says as he points out the pit for the fire."I asked God to give me a vision of something I could do to help the citizens of Pahrump." Pastor Tony says.
He came up with the idea of a public bonfire. "I'm taking this yucky sin stuff I've been carrying around and I'm going to burn it," Falcone says. "It becomes like a sin offering."
The pastor invites people to bring books, statues, anything they think is not giving glory to God. "I still have an (sic) Ouija board in my house," He says. "I'm still reading my horoscope or I have tarot cards. I have statues of this. God says have no images before me."

Lois responsed: Susan, that's quite a LEAP.  Actually, they r following a practice of the early church, Acts 19:19.  We r NOT a Theocracy!  I don't know if ANY Christian who wud condon the murder of witches or people of a different life-style persuasion.  I don't know this particular group. But I DO know a LOT of Christ Followers in Phrump and they r good and compassionate people.   L.

Susan:  Supposedly we have evolved since the days of the early Christians. They thought the earth was flat. We know better. They burned books. We know better. More recently, there were some Christian good old boys who thought raping and killing black people was very acceptable in the eyes of the church. They still do. Christians used to burn women up in my neck of the woods. Now they kill doctors. Not such a big leap Lois. Many Christ Followers are good and compassionate people. Sadly, many are not.

Lois:  Many atrocities are committed in the name of Christianity. Too many believe because they are 'Christians' they can say or do what they feel without thought to how their actions affect others. Way too many 'Christians' are not very Christ-like...nor do they try.

Interesting! Just what I needed on an Easter day.  As a devout, but not church attending, Christian, I find this very provocative conversation.
I am pleased to note that the two of you came to a similar conclusion at the end, one which I also share.   That is, many self-styled Christians aren't very Christian, but I still would like to make a few comments. 
Those who know me are well aware that I consider any extremism to be a problem. I can be very tolerant toward many different attitudes as long as they don't go to extremes. I can understand Pastor Falcone's desire to draw a clear line and to assist people in cleansing their lives of what he regards as temptations and sins.
Think of a person who is addicted to drugs. They might wish to begin cleansing themselves by burning or otherwise symbolically destroying their paraphernalia. The problem is that book burning is historically associated with the most extreme of extremists. Obviously, it immediately brings up images of the Nazis burning up "Jewish" literature and scientific texts.  And who can forget the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola, whose bonfire of the vanities destroyed much great art which sadly no longer exists in this world? (
When such actions have happened in the past, and when some Christians do currently believe in murder in the name of Christ, and when groups like Rushdoony's  Christian Reconstructionists want to bring back stoning, many of us feel there is cause for serious alarm.  (
I'm sure  Pastor Falcone does not want to go around stoning or otherwise killing people, but his choice of symbolic action was unwise.
Also, I can't help note that some of the interpretations of acts 19:19 do include witchcraft.
Let me conclude by noting that as a child I wanted everyone to be saved. It just felt right. It felt so wrong for people to be punished or rejected. But now I find myself more in agreement with Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

The Many Hypotheses Hypothesis

I have never liked Everett's many worlds hypothesis for both emotional and rational reasons, but the extra dimensions necessary for string theory?  We can hope!  Mini black holes, however, remain disturbing in spite of the assurances that they are too hot and unstable to last long enough to feed and become a threat.  
I wonder if we could look for them in cosmic ray collisions with our upper atmosphere.  The universe is a bigger and more powerful accelerator than any we will ever build, and it's already operating at no cost to us.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

War? What War? I Ain't Seen No War!

I posted the following on response to the right wing's hysteria over the imagined war on Christians.

A new poll indicates this kind of extremism is causing a backlash.  It reports that Evangelicals are losing popularity as LGBTs gain it.  In fact, the results indicate LGBTs are more popular in America than are Evangelicals.

I don't know if Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research is reliable, but these results are reported on an ultrareligious Christian website which opposes  marriage equality:

I must add that, as a Christian, I haven't detected anyone waging war on me.  You'd think I would have noticed that sort of thing.  I wonder what's wrong with me.


Agitprop is agitation propaganda, designed to enrage and frighten people into illogical and even self destructive behaviors.  Disinformation is false data intended to delude and mislead people.  These are the only items available on Fox News and other "conservative" sites.  I am reminded of the "news" once produced by the Soviet party organ called Pravda.  Pravda, by the way, means "truth".

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Right To Take Away Your Rights

During a discussion with friends on the issue of the religious right to discriminate, I posted:

The Religious Right has a point in that early American colonies, especially those of the Pilgrims, were solidly based upon the right to jail, whip, imprison and otherwise suppress all who did not believe exactly as they did.  Even minor doctrinal differences could result in brutal punishment.  The  Religious Right wants that "freedom" back.

Today, they are desperately  employing every tool they have and are burning up all their resources to try to turn the tide.  They have lost the cultural wars and know it.  These seeming victories are their swan song which makes them ever more unpopular as they try to regain their former position.  Gay rights were once unthinkable, but are now the norm.  They are in exactly the same position as the segregationists were in the 1960's.  They seemed to to be winning, but only on the surface.
Think about the 80's.  The ultra religious were crowing about how they had taken over government.  Today all they do is howl about how America has betrayed them.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"You Can Discriminate As Long As You Don't Discriminate"

Updates on Indiana's "You Can Discriminate As Long As You Don't Discriminate" law:
Consider the first reported application of the law: A store owner refused to serve Michelle Bachman's husband because he looked gay to her.
-- Holtz began to suspect that Bachmann was “perhaps a homosexual man”, and because it is now within her rights to refuse service based on religious beliefs, informed Bachmann she would be unable to serve him, and asked him to leave. --
So that's only one woman's interpretation?  Read on.
In spite of denials that the law intended to legalize discrimination, the groups who helped write the law and who stood beside the Governor when he signed it, openly declare that discrimination is the ONLY purpose of the law.
(The following lengthy quote is from
-- At the forefront of the conservative reaction is Micah Clark, who serves as executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana and who stood right behind Pence as he signed the bill. Speaking Monday to Tim Wildmon, head of the national American Family Association, Clark explained that conservatives should oppose any effort to clarify that the law does not legalize discrimination. “That could totally destroy this bill,” he explained.
Clark has been publicly advocating for the bill as a means for allowing anti-LGBT discrimination since December, long before the legislation was even drafted. This directly contradicts the claims made Monday by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R) that the legislation never had anything to do with discrimination.
Eric Miller, Executive Director of Advance America, is another anti-LGBT activist who stood by Pence as he signed the bill. Advance America praised Pence for signing the bill last week, openly stating that it would allow wedding vendors to refuse to serve same-sex couples and allow Christian businesses to refuse transgender people access to restrooms. Miller was quoted as saying, “It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana. It’s the right thing to do. It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!” Pence and Miller, it turns out, go way back.
On the national stage, conservatives are similarly defending the RFRA and arguing it needs no fixing. Andrew Walker, Director of Policy Studies for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, perhaps best summed up the distortion conservatives are using to argue that it’s not discriminatory:
A wedding vendor who chooses not to service a same-sex wedding is not discriminating against a person’s being. Instead, the vendor believes that material cooperation in a particular event encroaches on his conscience… To give relief to a particular wedding vendor who feels uncomfortable servicing a gay wedding isn’t in any way comparable to state-sponsored discrimination… To require a wedding vendor to service a same-sex wedding is not eliminating discrimination against the gay couple. It’s coercing the wedding vendor. --
This sayeth the writers and supporters of the bill.  Governor Pence, someone's telling lies

On 3/31, Governor Pence stated he would work with the legislature to modify the law to,"make it clear that" the law did not allow a business to refuse service.  However, Tony 

Cook of the Indianapolis Star reports that legislators are having mixed responses to this, a few feeling that outright repeal is preferable.