Archive for the ‘Religious Wrong’ Category

Richard Mourdock and the rape baby thing

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Hang onto your lacy unmentionables, Kathy, cause I’m fixing to defend Richard Mourdock. As most people have probably heard by now, the Indiana Tea Party Senate candidate explained during a debate Tuesday that the only time he believes abortion is appropriate is to save the life of the mother, and to underscore this position, he tearfully added that “even in the terrible situation of rape [life] is something God intended to happen.” (I picture Debbie Wassermann Schultz hearing this news and sobbing incoherently with joy, like Emma Thompson at the end of Sense and Sensibility.) After the debate, Mr. Mourdock tried to say that he didn’t mean God wants women to be raped, but a whole lot of folks are refusing to believe him.

Except me. The current rector of All Saints Episcopal is a very thoughtful man named Jim Flowers, and if I understand his sermons correctly, God does not, like a petulant Pat Robertson, send tornadoes or tsunamis to punish us when we are naughty. But (here’s the important part) when these things do happen, and we come together as a community and help one another, now THAT is where God is present. This is an appealing idea and has the double benefit of both reassuring us that God did not deliberately slaughter 250 people in Alabama with His awesome tornado power while also encouraging us to give to the tornado relief fund.

And it seems to me that is is all poor misunderstood Mourdock was trying to say with the rape baby thing. In the middle of this heinous, violent crime, sometimes we find a precious innocent baby. And that is where God is present.

Because Mr. Mourdock is one of those who believes that life begins at conception.  And thus his rape baby vision leaves out the nine long anguished months of growing the baby, the risk to the woman’s bodily health let alone mental health, and the far more intricate complication that nine months from now, this is not going to be just some generic Baby to be handed off to one of those omnipresent loving childless couples, but a combination of her genetic material and the rapist’s.  Do you want really to give up your son or daughter? She’s yours! Look, I think she has your hands! But then she is also his.  Can you ever forget that?

Has Mr. Mourdock given a moment’s thought to all this? He claims to have struggled, so I guess he has. When you have convinced yourself that life begins at conception, and that ending any pregnancy is murder, you cannot make exceptions for the circumstances of the conception. It’s a shame the woman was raped, but now she has to suck it up and deal. I appreciate his consistency, but I do not see the presence of God here.

 

I married a Catholic

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Well, not really. I mean, we were not married with the blessing of the Catholic church, so he’s not married, although I sure as hell am, and I’m pretty sure I could get the courts to see it my way in the event of a divorce. Which is kind of similar, really, to gays who are married in states where that is legal. Their marriage bond is recognized by the government but not the Catholic Church. And I’m sure they’re losing about as much sleep over this as I am.

Not so Archbishop Myers of Newark, NJ, who is apparently so upset about marriages he does not recognize that he has decided people who do accept them should maybe not be taking communion.

“If they continue to be unable to assent to or live the Generic Levitra Church’s reaching in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest,” Myers wrote.

(Please note that the fault here lies solely with the communicants, who have Brought It On Themselves. I think this kind of twistiness is a special skill Catholic priests learn, maybe in seminary Debate Club.)

Of course, this only applies to Newark area gay-sympathizers. We are anxiously awaiting Archbishop Rodi’s opinion to know whether or not Mr. Del will be told he is objectively dishonest for accepting the saving Body and Blood of Christ at a Mobile altar rail.  After sinning with me for thirty years come next April, he can’t have far to fall.

Was There a Burning Bush Involved?

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Let’s see. First Michele Bachmann said God called her to run for President, then Rick Perry’s wife Anita said God was calling him to run, and now Herman Cain is likening himself to Moses and saying God convinced him he’s the right man for the job.

“I prayed and prayed and prayed,” Cain told about 100 members of the Georgia Young Republicans in Atlanta on Saturday. “I’m a man of faith, I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I’d ever done before in my life. And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”

All those calls, when only one person gets to be President. Bad connection or wishful thinking? I’d say a little of both.

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Joking aside, it’s ridiculous and a little scary that this kind of pronouncement has become de rigueur for Republican Presidential candidates. These candidates are, of course, speaking of the Christian concept of God, and this poses a very real problem. We are a nation of many different faith traditions, of believers and nonbelievers. The President of the United States must be capable of building the proverbial big tent that respects those differences. Invoking the Christian God in this way screams exclusion in a country that was built on inclusion Levitra. It’s easy for Christians, who are still in a majority, to ignore this or make light of it, but imagine the uproar if a Muslim candidate told us Allah had called him to run.

Bristol Palin said this summer that people envy her mother because “she’s got God on her side”.

She’s got a good family, she’s got a good husband, she’s got awesome support, she’s got God on her side, and I think people are envious of that. They’re envious that she carries herself so well, that she’s smart. There are lots of vicious people out there.

Yeah, and there’s a whole lot of arrogance in that statement. If you believe God is on the side of some people but not others, it’s really easy to discount those others and their needs, beliefs and opinions.

Here’s another worry for me. All of these candidates are religious conservatives, and they’re reaching out to religiously conservative voters. By claiming God’s call, they are elevating themselves to the status of prophets. Whatever policies they support, whatever executive orders they sign, they can claim with impunity that God told them to do it. And because they claim that authority, their supporters will be very reluctant to question them.

When a Presidential candidate starts thinking he’s a modern-day Moses, it’s time to run, not walk, in another direction. The US needs a Chief Executive, not a Prophet-in-Chief.

Sunday Musings

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

A new week dawns, and Daylight Saving Time is done for another year. Del and my Dear Husband are thrilled. I am not. I don’t like leaving work in the dark; it makes me feel like it’s the middle of the night instead of late afternoon. Oh hi, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I’ve missed you. NOT. Could Alabama just move to the Eastern time zone already?

Anyway, onward…

Two big votes on Tuesday:

In Ohio, voters will hold a referendum on Senate Bill 5, which drastically curtails the right of public employees to organize. A YES vote on Issue 2 will uphold the law; a NO vote overturn it. Recent polls show the measure going down by 25 percentage points. Local right-wing groups and “outside agitators” haven’t given up the fight, however. Greg Sargent details the expenditures here:

* Building a Better Ohio — the leading conservative group in the Ohio battle that is partly bankrolled by private sector interests — has booked a total of $1.8 million in Ohio broadcast and cable time from November 2-8.

* Restoring America — a shadowy group which is reported to have been funded by a single donor during a recent battle in Kentucky — has booked $448,000 in Ohio broadcast and cable time from November 3-8.

* Citizens United, the well-known conservative group, has booked a total of $101,070 in Ohio broadcast and cable time from November 4-8. (A group spokesman confirmed the figure.)

And, of course, there are the old-fashioned mailers going out across the state, “including ones that use debunked statistics to portray public workers as greedy and overpaid.” It remains to be seen which side will do a better job of turning out voters.

In Mississippi, voters will go to the polls to decide whether or not a fertilized egg is a person. I listened to a proponent of Amendment 26 on the Diane Rehm show last week, and oh my goodness did he ever wiggle and squiggle.  I didn’t hear the whole segment, but I heard enough to know he claimed repeatedly that passage of the amendment would have no effect on settled law regarding abortion.

Oh, sure – if the state adds a constitutional amendment declaring a fertilized egg to be a person, there will be no ramifications whatsoever.  It will just be a feel-good measure for the anti-choice crowd. Swamp land and bridges, people. Swamp land and bridges. He slipped up long enough to admit the amendment would outlaw several popular forms of birth control, although he continued to deny that it would outlaw abortion in Mississippi. So what’s its purpose again?

I keep hearing that the amendment is sure to pass, although for the life of me I can’t find any polling results on the Google. Outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour had a brief bout of sanity on November 2, telling MSNBC’s Chuck Todd he might vote no on 26, citing serious concerns “about some of the ramifications on in vitro fertilization and [ectopic] pregnancies where pregnancies [occur] outside the uterus and [in] the fallopian tubes.” He was quickly brought to heel and voted for the measure by absentee ballot the very next day.

The amendment is so ambiguous that even the Catholic Church in Mississippi and the National Right to (Unborn) Life Movement are withholding support. I wish I thought the voters would reject this poorly conceived (yeah, ha ha) initiative, but even if they do, Personhood USA (no link), which is pushing this cookie cutter initiative around the country, will just keep bringing it back.

What does any of this have to do with Alabama?

Our newly-Republican legislature has done its best to gut the Alabama Education Association, the most powerful advocacy group in the state for public employees, and we’re now paying for ongoing litigation.

Alabama’s very own version of the personhood bill went nowhere in the 2011 session, but it’s already prefiled for 2012, along with bills mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, opting out of abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges, and introducing some of those onerous government regulations for physicians prescribing abortion-inducing drugs (which will, of course, be moot if the personhood amendment passes). A personhood bill that clearly challenges Roe v. Wade will mean more expensive litigation.

Add all of this to the mess that is Alabama’s immigration law, and we have what looks very much like a jobs program for lawyers.

What is it with Alabama? We purport to hate government spending unless, apparently, it is in aid of passing and defending unconstitutional laws. At the rate we’re going, we may very well find ourselves unable to fund any services other than legal ones.

We Can All Rest Easy Now

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The House of Representatives voted today to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the national motto.  No, really, they did.

Citing a crisis of national identity and mass confusion among Americans about their nation’s motto, the House on Tuesday voted on a resolution “reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States.”

The resolution, smaller than a law but bigger than a wish, is designed to clear up any confusion over the motto’s official status and to encourage schools and other public institutions to display it, said Representative J. Randy Forbes, Republican of Virginia and the measure’s sponsor.

A nicotine free electronic cigarette crisis of national identity? Well, apparently it’s more important than honoring the troops who got Osama bin Laden.

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said earlier this year that he would try to prevent votes on measures that were not “substantive and meaningful.” The House did not vote, for example, on an independent resolution, passed in the Senate this year, to honor the troops who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

Good to know the House is spending time and resources on such a pressing issue. I wonder how many jobs this resolution created.

 

Just in Case You Need Another Reason to Vote against William Bell

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Frank Matthews.  Yep, “n*ggers and gays!” Frank Matthews is at it again, concern trolling Birmingham mayoral candidate Patrick Cooper’s support for Howard Bayless’ 2007 candidacy for the Birmingham School Board.  He’s written an open letter (PDF) to the citizens of Birmingham that is, he assures us, in no way intended to attack the character of either Cooper or Bayless.  Uh huh.

As a minister, I am compelled to reveal to you Mr. Cooper’s public position concerning a vital moral issue that impacts the foundation of our families, our churches, our schools, and all of society: the issue of homosexuality. It is true “all of us have sinned and fallen short of bringing God glory” as stated in Romans 3:23. It is also true that we must repent for known sins. The Word of God clearly states homosexuality is a sin according to Romans 1:24-32. God loves us as sinners, but He hates our sin. Traditional marriage between a man and a woman has been the foundation of every civilized culture since the beginning of time. The citizens of Alabama understand this and showed their agreement by voting overwhelmingly in 2006 by an 81% to 19% margin in favor of the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment Act defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In October 2007, Birmingham elected the first openly gay man to public office in Alabama as Howard Bayless won a seat on the Birmingham City School Board governing the affairs of almost 30,000 young hearts and minds in our city. He did this with the support of the largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender political action committee in the nation along with the very public endorsement of Patrick Cooper standing proudly at Mr. Bayless’ side. It is not my intention to disrespect either of these men, but it is my online blackjack usa legal duty to remind God’s people that this is an abomination and unpleasing in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

It’s an abomination for Cooper to support a candidate who happens to be gay?  Personally, I find Matthews’ homophobia to be pretty damn abominable.  Not to mention his hypocrisy.  Does he think “our Heavenly Father” is happy with his ongoing support for criminal bribe-taker Larry Langford?  I’m guessing he’s banking on William Bell to give him back his cushy $72,000 a year City Hall job, or maybe even a better one, if Bell is elected mayor.

Matthews goes on to hit every hot button of the right-wing anti-gay agenda — being gay spreads disease, children are being indoctrinated, blah, blah, blah de blah.

All across the nation, school boards for children at the elementary and kindergarten levels are approving curriculum that promotes the homosexual lifestyle. This is morally wrong, brings confusion about gender identity to our children, condones sexual perversion, and can ultimately have detrimental influence socially. Not only would Patrick Cooper seek to advance this radical agenda upon our matriculating school children, but he wants to eliminate the “Laptops for Kids” program altogether, and replace it with Pre-K programs. These programs would indoctrinate the acceptance of this lifestyle, by our children, at an even earlier age.

Reality is Alabama has the top-rated Pre-K program in the country, it’s just not available to nearly enough children.  How often does Alabama rate at the top of anything?  Somehow I doubt the program would be so highly rated if its purpose was to indoctrinate children into the “homosexual lifestyle”.

Frank Matthews is a bigot.  I wish I believed his bigotry would backfire, but I fear this crap will work.  I hope the citizens of Birmingham will prove me wrong.

h/t mooncat at Left in Alabama

The Face of Evil

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I thought, after their ignorant and hateful comments about Haiti, the choice would be either Pat Robertson or Rush Limbaugh. But in reality, the religious bigotry and the attempts at “humor” at the expense of people who’ve suffered a horrific tragedy haven’t stopped an outpouring of support from the United States, and they’ve both been subject to well-deserved opprobrium for their hateful and, yes, un-Christian remarks.

scott-lively-face-of-evilNo, the Face of Evil is this guy, Scott Lively, the man who last spring took his anti-gay crusade to Uganda, which, in what I’m sure is a complete coincidence, is now considering execution for people who commit “homosexual acts”.

“The gay movement is an evil institution,” he told Uganda’s Family Life Network. “The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Then Lively, who has authored a book called The Pink Swastika, played into the fears raised by Uganda’s history.

“Male homosexuality has historically been, not adult to adult; it’s been Online Blackjack adult to teenager,” he said. “It’s called pederasty — adults sodomizing teenage boys.”

Later in his trip, Lively addressed the Ugandan Parliament on the gay issue, recommending therapy to help people leave their gay lifestyle. A few months later, a bill was introduced to execute people for some homosexual acts.

Lively says he never suggested putting the death penalty into bill, and he says he thinks the bill goes too far.

“But the fact that they’re willing to stand up and say, ‘No, we are not going let you homosexualize our country!’ — that is a step in the right direction, and I would hope that it would spread to other countries,” he says.

Yeah, don’t blame him.  He just went to Uganda and lied repeatedly about LGBT people and their motivations.  He says he doesn’t support the death penalty, but he’s still praising the sentiment behind it.  But, hey, it’s totally not his fault if the Ugandan government starts rounding up gay people and putting them to death.  Nope.  Not at all.

A Bunch of Old White Men Rally to Oppose Gambling

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Okay, that’s not really the headline, but looking at the picture accompanying the story might lead one to believe it is.

anti-gambling-rally

Dan Ireland a long time opponent to gambling leads a press conference on the steps of the Alabama State House on the second day of the Alabama legislative session in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday Jan. 14, 2010. ( The Birmingham News/Frank Couch )

These guys have every right to oppose gambling. Personally, I think it’s a short-sighted approach to solving the structural problems that plague Alabama’s budget — over-reliance on sales and income taxes, for one great big thing. What I want to know is where the heck are they when Alabama Arise rallies for tax reform, constitutional reform, better treatment Viagra 100mg of the poor? Why don’t they put the power of their voices and their congregations behind the dreamers who believe we can build a better, more just world?

I guess it’s easier to rail against “evil” than it is to reach for the light.

(This is not to say that none of the people pictured ever does anything to help the poor, but I know from experience how difficult it is to get faith communities involved in social justice work. Giving someone a handout is easy; trying to change systems that perpetuate poverty is hard. And it might offend big donors, who’ll take their pledge money and go down the street to the congregation that doesn’t “do politics”.)

Church to Spend $232K to Build Giant Cross

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I guess these folks take a certain interpretation of Matthew 26:11* much more seriously than they do all the Biblical admonitions to care for the poor and needy.  Seems the pastor of Hunter’s Chapel Holy Church of Christ saw a big cross in Tennessee and decided Walker County needs one too.  The Christian version of keeping up with the Joneses.  So he talked his congregation into supporting the idea of constructing a 100-foot cross, with a price tag of $232,000, that will be visible to drivers on the not-yet-built I-22.

“We’ve had a lot of negative things that people remember Walker County for,” [pastor Dale] Hyche said. “We just got through all the bingo stuff, and I think this would be a positive for people driving through Walker County.”

Yep, a giant cross will counteract all that bad publicity. But wouldn’t it be even better to raise funds to help the people who are so desperate for jobs that they welcome new bingo parlors with open arms? For a little perspective, The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham set up a $200,000 Housing Stability Fund in 2009 to help families facing eviction or foreclosure.  That money kept over 200 families (some from Walker County) from losing their homes.  That’s what $200K can do when it’s used to care for the least among us.  You know, these people.

I doubt there’s any shortage of visible crosses in Walker County.  It’s just as much a part of the Bible Belt as the rest of Alabama.  To my mind, asking people in the community, many of whom are suffering economic hardship, to pony up that much cash to build another one doesn’t glorify God.  It makes a point, I suppose — we’re Christians, yay for us! — but it doesn’t actually help anyone.  Being the hands and feet of Christ in the world isn’t about building monuments to Jesus.

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* When the woman in the Biblical passage anointed Jesus with expensive ointment, she was providing comfort to a fellow human being who knew he was about to face a horrific death.  Not the same, as far as I’m concerned, as building a giant cross.

Headlines you never thought you’d see

Monday, November 16th, 2009

“Some GOP gubernatorial candidates run to right of Roy Moore on religion.”

That would be Kay Ivey, by the way, and not Bradley Byrne. Although ALL of the  Republican candidates favor prayer in public schools. Even Artur is on board with prayer, although he thinks it should be “nondenominational.” And since the P-R didn’t follow up with a question about where he stands on praying to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I have to assume that we’re defining “nondenominational” as “not mentioning Jesus Christ, well at least not by name.”

It’s going to be hell living smack in the middle of the Republican Rump.