Recent Posts

LGBT

Behold a new iteration of conservative Christianity at war WITH ITSELF.

Yesterday, in the news, a Montana man applied for a second marriage license to legally marry his ‘second’ wife.  Conservative social media went crazy claiming  this was the inevitable next step in their (made up) liberal war on Biblical marriage. From CBS News:

 

Montana man seeks license for second wife
HELENA, Mont. – A Montana man said Wednesday that he was inspired by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage to apply for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife.

Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage.

…The Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday made gay marriages legal nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them.

…Collier said he is a former Mormon who was excommunicated for polygamy and now belongs to no religious organization. He said he and his wives hid their relationship for years, but became tired of hiding and went public by appearing on the reality cable television show “Sister Wives.”

 

Anyone who actually reads the Bible would be aware that it mandates polygamy, and in particular that Levirate marriage especially requires that a man marry all of his brothers’ wives and get them pregnant, if any or all of the brothers die.   But the Bible permitted polygamy, concubinage and sex slavery, but that was men having multiple women, never the other way around.  From the old testament, specifically the Pentateuch first five books of the Bible) aka the Torah:

Deuteronomy 25:5-10

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. And if the man does not wish to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and if he persists, saying, ‘I do not wish to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face. And she shall answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’

 

Anyone who has followed the course of OPPOSITION to gay marriage would be aware of the funding by Mormons of Prop 8 in California, and other anti-gay marriage legislative initiatives.  From the Atlantic:

The Mormon Money Behind Proposition 8
Californians Against Hate released figures Tuesday showing that $17.67 million was contributed by 59,000 Mormon families since August to groups like Yes on 8. Contributions in support of Prop. 8 total $22.88 million. Additionally, the group reports that Mormons have contributed $6.9 million to pass a a similar law, Proposition 102, in Arizona…

Karger said Californians Against Hate came up with the figures by cross-referencing donor information from the California secretary of state with Brigham Young University alumni lists, church memberships, and other personal documentation that could identify Mormon Church members. He said the surge in support has been an attempt to boost the church’s social standing among the greater religious community.

“For whatever reason, they’re trying to get some respect from other religions,” he told The Advocate Tuesday. “They’ve always been looked down upon by the Christians, the Catholics, and evangelicals.” Success with the marriage amendment would give the church credibility, Karger said.

…READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

The Battle of the Alamo in Texas in the spring of 1836 lasted 11 days, following a 13 day siege of the fort. The Battle was ultimately lost, not even a Pyrrhic victory, but it became a famous and unifying loss.

 

The modern opposition, no matter how vehement those who are in opposition CLAIM to be, lasted less than 24 hours, not even the 24 days of the Alamo conflict.

 

Raw Story notes:

 

Texas county clerk reverses course, starts issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Texas county clerk said on Tuesday her office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, reversing a previous decision that was based on religious objections.

Some counties in other socially conservative states such as Kentucky have declined to issue such licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry. The controversy could result in a new round of lawsuits over gay marriage.

Katie Lang, clerk of Hood County, southwest of Fort Worth, said staffers will issue the licenses although she will not do so based on her Christian beliefs, which she believes are protected under the Constitution.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said county clerks who object to gay marriage can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Paxton, a Republican, said those officials could expect to be sued but would have ample legal support.

“Several groups have publicly expressed their willingness to help government employees who feel their religious rights have been violated,” a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said.

Legal experts said same-sex couples could seek injunctions compelling clerks to issue licenses and easily win, based on the Supreme Court decision. They also could file civil suits seeking damages from counties that are largely rural and short on funds for a prolonged legal fight.

But clerks could try to request pre-emptively an injunction or judgment that says they do not have to issue the licenses because of religious liberty, said Texas A&M University law professor Meg Penrose.

Counties in the most populous areas of Texas began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after the Supreme Court ruling.

Out of 254 counties in Texas, 114 are ready and willing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, according to the Dallas Morning News. Nearly 100 other counties said they were waiting for software upgrades and gender-neutral application forms.

So we have 214 counties out of 254 that are cooperating with the recent gay marriage SCOTUS decision.

 

From the Dallas News earlier this week:

 

Benefits to be extended to spouses of Texas’ gay state workers
AUSTIN — The state bureaucracy is moving forward to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, even as statewide elected leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have lambasted the landmark ruling. Starting Wednesday — less than a week after the decision — the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System will extend benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian employees. That means the list of employers providing same-sex partner benefits will include the state’s largest: the state itself.

I expect that the remaining pockets of opposition are going to crumble. But if they do not, I expect not only action by the DOJ, but from individuals like those who brought suits that rose to the level of the SCOTUS decision. …READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

At the end of the most recent Supreme Court session, we again have Senator Cruz making wild statements about the latest SCOTUS decisions on gay marriage and the ACA.

 

Some are ironic, some are just bubbling buckets of pus designed to deceive and mislead his electorate base.

 

From Today News:

White House hopeful Ted Cruz believes Supreme Court judges who voted in favor same-sex marriage and national health care “rewrote the Constitution,” he said Monday on TODAY.
Cruz, a Harvard grad, criticized the Supreme Court justices as a group of “elites” from Harvard or Yale who lack religious diversity.

“They think that our views are simply parochial and don’t deserve to be respected,” he said. He said it was a point amplified by Justice Antonin Scalia, who dissented in both cases: “What a crazy system to have the most important issues of our day decided by unelected lawyers.”

Let us Fisk these statements.

To Fisk: verb 1.(slang) to refute or criticize (a journalistic article or blog) point by point
Word Origin:  after the use of this technique by Robert Fisk (born 1946), British journalist, to criticize articles (- dictionary.com)

First of all we have the grotesque hypocrisy of Cruz being a Harvard Law graduate com laude, and much like President Obama, a few years ahead of him, Cruz was an editor of the Law Review. So for Cruz to criticize ANY justice of the SCOTUS as an ‘elite’ for having high qualifications for the bench is ridiculous. It is precisely people with legal training who should be sitting on the Supreme Court Bench. A lack of such credentials should be a deterrent, not a qualification to serve on the SCOTUS.

 

This is the rankest kind of pandering to the anti-intellectual crowd of the willfully ignorant conservative extremists.

 

Then Cruz goes on to complain about what the Today article refers to as a lack of religious diversity because none of the SCOTUS justices were Evangelicals.

 

THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT OR EVEN DESIRABILITY THAT EVANGELICALS HAVE A SEAT ON THE SCOTUS BENCH. Cruz is not concerned about an ACTUAL diversity of religion on the court — he does not seek the court adding  Jews, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs or Hindus. THAT would be genuine religious diversity, as would having an atheist or agnostic. The reason we do NOT have that provision is that we are NOT A THEOCRACY. It is INTENTIONAL that there be no preference for Evangelicals – OR ANY OTHER BELIEF OR FAITH.

But this is not a failing of the court, this is a feature not a bug of our Constitution, and it has a name:  the No Religious Test Clause, Article VI, paragraph 3.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

So for Cruz, who is in his own right genuinely knowledgeable about the Constitution, to complain about this is to conservatives as some kind of religious SLIGHT to them, or quality of unfairness, is a crock of manure too toxic to be used as organic fertilizer.  It is intended only to foment distrust of the government and to promote ignorance about our Constitution.

 

This is just the crassest ploy to extract conservative mouth breathers and knuckle draggers from their hard earned cash.

 

Likewise, the emotional appeal to the exclusion of reason and logic, and facts, that the SCOTUS decision is one of the ‘darkest days’ of our nation is propaganda, designed to manipulate the weak-minded who vote for candidates like Cruz.

 

Like the No Religious Test clause, it is a feature, a deliberate choice, that the SCOTUS Justices are not elected and have no term limits, a choice made by the Founding Fathers in writing the Constitution, which they created to solve the obvious problems and failures of the original government post-American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Unity.  This Constitution was established by those august Founding Fathers, who were well aware of the need to avoid political pressures on that entity.  It was not an oversight, it was not a mistake, and it was ratified by the people of the United States after it was created through a carefully negotiated approval process.  Specifically, Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 2 states:

[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

 

The approval of those Justices by the Senate, by our directly elected Senators courtesy of <u>the 17th amendment to the Constitution,</u> which superseded Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution.  Ironically and inexplicably, Cruz wants to repeal the 17th amendment, so that citizens of the United States would no longer be entrusted with direct elections of their Senators to Congress – he wants to take that away from citizens, whom he apparently does not trust with that power — but he now claims by inference that he wants those same citizens to directly elect the SCOTUS Justices, whom the Senate approves or votes down on our behalf.  Either the electorate is trustworthy to vote, or they are not.

Here is the text of the 17th amendment, that Cruz wants to repeal:

 

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect that the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

We elect or senators to approve Justices appointed to the SCOTUS on our behalf; we ARE represented adequately.   Specifically the Senate holds the power to advise and consent to nominations from the President, which confers legitimacy on the SCOTUS by an approval process that includes both the Executive branch and the senior /more prestigious  house of the Legislative branch.  Direct election would not confer greater legitimacy on the SCOTUS Justices, particularly when we have been faced with such an epidemic of conservative enacted voter suppression and resulting decline in voter participation.
All Cruz is angling for is to offer the illusion of a means of control for the minority fringe to hijack the Constitution and to gin up dissatisfaction with the fact that everyone sometimes has to contend with a decision they do not like.  Rational thinking or a respect for the Constitution have nothing to do with his position.
We saw no such objections to the SCOTUS over Hobby Lobby, an ENTIRELY PAROCHIAL decision.  If Cruz was making a valid criticism, that criticism would have been appropriate to the legitimacy of that decision as well, yet no such criticism was offered.  The minority extremist right wing evangelical fringe won on that one.

 

This kind of invalid criticism from Cruz ONLY appeals to those who claim to LOVE the Constitution, but who have no functional working knowledge of it.

 

These dishonest and unconstitutional opinions of Senator Rafael Cruz should disqualify him with the electorate of the United States from being a presidential candidate.

 

Cruz is genuinely demonstrating that he is a danger to the nation, a threat to the Constitution, and that he is a profoundly dishonest man.

{ 0 comments }

SCOTUS decides for freedom

We have not seen any of the claimed harm from recognizing the rights of LGBT people.

 

Our armed forces have not collapsed because of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Our country has not collapsed with same sex marriage either; the rest of the world has not ended with gay marriage continuing to expand worldwide.

 

With the exception of Ben Carson, the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination have consistently shown themselves to be against freedom, INCLUDING religious freedom and against justice and equality. They show themselves to be against the rule of law, in challenging the clear provisions of the Constitution which establish the SCOTUS (right or wrong) as the arbiter of what is and is not constitutional at all levels of government.

 

And once again we see the use of dog whistle politics from the right, with the argument of states rights, which is the means the abusive and the oppressors rely on to violate rights, violate freedom, violate justice when it is upheld at the federal level.  States Rights mean nothing more and nothing less than the whine of those who wish to behave badly, who seek to be dickish toward others; it is the pout of those nasty bullies who were prevented from harming others.  Had the states that opposed same sex marriage not been so oppressive that they refused to recognize the marital status of people who married in other states (or countries), but instead tried to obstruct them, and to vilify them with lies about the validity and effectiveness of same sex parenting and family.

 

We now need the remaining legal change, the protection of ENDA, the protection of people from discrimination for their gender or sexual orientation, in hiring and employment, in housing, and in all other areas of daily public life, such as public accommodation, that should apply to everyone.

 

As President Obama gives the Eulogy in Charleston, South Carolina, I expect that his words will include a mention of this decision.  State Senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney was a strong advocate for same sex marriage.  His loss is a great sadness, but it is especially poignant that he was deprived of the joy of this decision being handed down as one more accomplishment for this nation in the 21st century.

{ 0 comments }

scotusArguably the most so since Roe v. Wade, because of the massive expectations that are being dashed. This court, despite its right-wing majority, has simply refused to automatically do whatever right-wingers want it to do.
 

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell is not simply a victory for the Obama administration — and for the millions of Americans who depend upon the Affordable Care Act for their health coverage. It is a sweeping, crushing blow for conservatives who seek to use the courts to undo what President Obama and a Democratic Congress accomplished. “In a democracy,” Chief Justice John Roberts implicitly scolds the activists behind this litigation, “the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people.” He then offers a broad statement to future judges called upon to interpret the Affordable Care Act: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
 
The message here is clear: In this and in future litigation, judges should turn aside clever attempts to undermine the law if there is any possible way to read the law otherwise. The attorneys and activists behind this lawsuit came to the Court hoping to gut Obamacare; instead, they placed it on the strongest possible legal footing.
(Think Progress)

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality, and the four dissents—one from each of the justices who voted to continue discrimination—are a decent sign of what’s to come from opponents of equality. Lots and lots of predictions that the world is coming to an end, everything is terrible, tears rage tears.
(Daily Kos)

…READ MORE

{ 1 comment }

There is a law suit against North Carolina for trying to prevent freedom of religion, violating First Amendment rights, under the guise of guaranteeing freedom of religion.  The law suit is supported by both Christians and Jews who wish to exercise their freedom of religion to marry same sex couples.

 

Those who try to force conformity to  their religious belief on others tie the nation up in knots – avoidable and expensive, divisive controversies.

 

On June 3, 2015 the Charlotte Observer reported on this law suit where the state attempted to deny freedom of the exercise of religion by Christians and Jews:

 

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and the Alliance of Baptists have made it official that they are joining as plaintiffs in a Federal District Court lawsuit opposing North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban.

The United Church of Christ filed the lawsuit in April, challenging North Carolina’s state ban on same sex marriage. The suit is said to be the nation’s first faith-based challenge to same-sex marriage bans.

As it stands, North Carolina law makes it illegal for rabbis, priests, ministers and other religious officials to solemnize the marriage of same-sex couples on an equal basis with opposite sex couples without fear of criminal prosecution and civil penalty.

There is no definition of marriage in the Bible as a  relationship between one man and one woman.

 

There are plenty of examples of  polygamous marriages – between one man and multiple women, and there are other relationships available to married men, such as concubinage with contractual protections, less formal mistresses on a more temporary basis without contractual protections,   and lastly, sex slavery, which are also not defined as between one man and one woman — it can be several women to one man, or one woman as property sexually gratifying multiple men. including as slave prostitutes.   Children?  Children belonged to men, and were not even remotely recognized as part of nuclear families.  Children could be killed, or sold, like goats, chickens, cows or other livestock.

 

That is NOT a model we would or should emulate in the 21st century, or EVER. It is terrible, wrong, bad, and properly illegal here and now.

 

Abortion prohibitions are ALSO NOT IN THE BIBLE.

 

Quite the opposite;; there is a whole lot of god-approved womb ripping and approved infanticide and killing of younger children  goes on in the Bible.  Innocence does not get much of a mention for the unborn, but original sin that everyone is born with does, both old and new testament. (For example: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalms 51:5)  Pure innocence that ‘God’  demands be coerced pregnancies………..NO, that is NOT in the Bible.

 

Same-sex relationships., again not prohibited in the Bible, but if it were, like slavery, there re plenty of things in the Bible we don’t do. (What IS prohibited in the Bible is man-on-man clergy temple prostitution, Egyptian style, is a much more specific and limited restriction, that is not defined as an abomination.)

 

Prohibition or ban on inter-racial sex……..also NOT IN THE BIBLE.  Rather there are tribes of African Jews, as apparently ‘chosen of God” and acceptable to God as any others, in southern Africa, like the Lemba people.

 

The queen of Sheba,was African, from Ethiopia, and ol’ Jewish King Solomon (who had hundreds upon hundreds of wives, concubines, female servants and sex slaves) were a case in point, with the ‘Song of Songs’ aka ‘the Songs of Solomon’ reputed to be love poetry between them. So inter-racial sex is acceptable, and is not ANYWHERE condemned or prohibited.  The black Jews of Cochin, in India, are dated to the time of King Solomon as well.
…READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

We have an issue in our legislature relating to sex and science.  Not surprising, we have a divide along political lines relating to the issues, with conservatives rejecting the science and medical opinion.

 

Conservatives are consistently wrong on these issues, and their being wrong does real harm to real people.  Conservatives have faulty information, and worse values.  Transgender children and LGBT children are as much a part of their families and communities as any other children.

 

Hooray for the democrats in the Minnesota legislature, especially in the Senate for their vote in support of transgender children in our schools, as part of the education policy omnibus bill.

 
Boo! No! Wrong! Bad! to conservatives, republican or more fringie extreme for pushing an anti-transgender children legislation that would not benefit any of our children or adults, but which only promotes ignorance on the subject of gender identity.

 

The largest organization focused on factual information and policy on this topic is WPATH, which sides with the Dems against the GOP:

 

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recognizes the right of all people to legal identity recognition and to identity documents consonant with their gender identity.

 

Conservatives want to push sexual attitudes and knowledge back to another century, to a reproductive and sexuality dark ages.  Conservatives as a group, as a voting block, as a demographic, are terribly lacking in knowledge and have a failed attitude towards any aspect of human sexuality.

 

what the reality of
conservative ignorance
looks like – an avoidable
chlamydia outbreak

They do not understand gender identity, and they do not understand their own human sexuality — if the rate of divorce, cheating on spouses in marriage, use of pornography (including homosexual porn), and the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and underage teen birthrates are anything to go by as a metric.

 

We see this in the Chlamydia outbreak in Texas, in a school which has embraced religious rightwing  abstinence only sex ed, which provides factually inaccurate information to students, and which largely do not provide sexual information at all.

 

In Crane High School, in Crane, Texas, the superintendent of schools finally admitted that abstinence only sex ed does not work — although this has been clear for a long time, by objective, scientific research. From the WaPo:

 

“We do have an abstinence curriculum, and that’s evidently ain’t working,” Rumage told KFOR. “We need to do all we can, although it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate their kids on sexual education.”

 

In spite of not accomplishing the stated goal of abstinence only sex ed, conservatives in Texas have thrown more money down this s*it hole of abstinence only sex ed. Keep in mind that in addition to equipping students for life as adults with complete and factually accurate information on all aspects of sex and human reproduction, including sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex.  Most recently in Texas, as another example of failed conservative thinking, the legislature defunded HIV Prevention, to fund instead more abstinence only sex ed.  From the Texas Observer:

 

House Votes to Defund HIV Prevention to Pay for Abstinence Education

Texas has the third highest rate of HIV infections in the country, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from passing an amendment that defunds HIV/STD prevention programs Tuesday. The amendment to the House budget proposal—offered by Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman)—diverts $3 million over the next biennium to abstinence-only sexual education programs.
House Democrats fought against the amendment in a debate that rapidly devolved into awkward farce, with Rep. Spitzer revealing details of his own sexual history as proof of the effectiveness of abstinence. For those keeping tabs at home, he was a virgin until marrying his wife at age 29, although he declined to answer a question from Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) on whether she was the first person he propositioned. “Decorum,” shouted state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs).
Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) asked Spitzer just how much money is needed for abstinence education in Texas, which receives more federal funding than any other state. Spitzer responded that additional funds are needed as long as people are still having sex before marriage.  His goal, he said, was for everyone to know that “abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.”
“My goal is for everyone to be HIV/AIDS free,” Turner said.

 

For all the good it would do, Turner might as well religiously sacrifice a goat or a chicken, on an alter on the Texas legislature steps to accomplish the same thing… or more precisely FAIL to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

…READ MORE

{ 0 comments }

rainbowThis relatively long article is rather fascinating, as it provides a look at the often-preposterous motivated reasoning used by anti-inclusiveness reactionaries.
 

On Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Senate defeated an amendment that would have repealed transgender-inclusive policies of local school districts.
 
During debate on an omnibus education policy bill, Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove, offered an amendment targeting transgender-inclusive policies. The amendment is identical to one that was passed by the House on Saturday.
 
The Senate defeated the amendment 25 to 40…
 
Since the House did pass a similar amendment to its omnibus education bill, the two chambers will have to decide what to do with the amendment in conference committee sometime in the next two weeks.
(The Colu.mn)

{ 0 comments }

My Favorite Quote of the Week

by Dog Gone on April 9, 2015 · 0 comments

Billy Graham, center, with President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, early 1980’s

I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.
    Billy Graham – Parade (1 February 1981)

Billy Graham was the famously bi-partisan golf buddy and religious Christian guru to presidents for decades, in a very real sense he was one of the first really big televangelists, a sort of America’s preacher.  He was moderate conservative, unlike his rabid son Franklin, who has inherited his father’s religious enterprise.

 

There really is no longer such a thing as a moderate Republican.  There are only far right extremists, and fanatical far right extreme crazy right remaining under the umbrella of the GOP and the bastard subset of the Tea Party.  Moderates were last seen in the GOP in roughly the 1950’s and 1960’s, with the likes of candidates like Eisenhower and leaders in Congress like Edward Dirksen, or the right wing political intelligentsia like  William F. Buckley Jr.   While Buckley held some abhorrent views in his day, including both racism and homophobia, he was a well educated man who evolved politically over time to less extreme positions, and who was significant in his day for driving out the crazies and the wackos such as the John Birch Society (founded by the father of the Koch brothers manipulating right wing politics today).

 

Sadly, too many on the right, even those who were active in it, back in the period contemporaneous with the elder Graham seem oblivious to the right’s shift to the extremes, and the abandonment of the center for the lunatic fringes.  Too few of the remaining right even acknowledge that political parties  substantially change over time generally, as a fact of history, which in turn somewhat invalidates political party claims of legacy.  Those parties themselves abandon their own legacy in favor of views, policies and political platforms which in fact repudiate those of earlier versions of their party.  The GOP in the era of Lincoln was a largely liberal organization; the party of Teddy Roosevelt less liberal, but still more on the liberal side of the political spectrum than conservative.  The party of Eisenhower was likewise, more conservative than Roosevelt, and Lincoln, but still relatively liberal and centrist in contrast to the party of Reagan to present.   Even Ronnie Ray-gun was distinctly more liberal than any of the extant GOP.  THAT is the important context for both the above quote and the accompanying photo.

 

That political parties change over time has been true going back to before the American Revolution in this country; it is not unique to the 20th and 21st centuries. This larger pattern of change in which the Billy Graham quote applies as a warning is not the factual version of history that the right would permit to be taught, deeming it unpatriotic because it does not serve their propaganda agenda. Instead the radical religious right would like to teach fake history in public schools, using it to insert religious doctrine, for example that Moses was one of the founding fathers, requiring it in textbooks for public schools.

On Friday  [Nov. 21 2014] the Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education voted along party lines 10-5 to approve the biased and inaccurate textbooks. The vote signals a victory for Christian conservatives in Texas, and a disappointing defeat for historical accuracy and the education of innocent children.

The textbooks were written to align with instructional standards that the Board of Education approved back in 2010 with the explicit intention of forcing social studies teaching to adhere to a conservative Christian agenda. The standards require teachers to emphasize America’s so called “Christian heritage.”

In essence, Christian conservatives in Texas have successfully forced a false historical narrative into public school textbooks that portray Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy.

Emile Lester, a professor of history in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington, claim the textbooks contain “inventions and exaggerations” about Christianity’s influence on the Founding Fathers and, by extension, the formation of American democracy.

Credible historians warn the misguided attempt to suggest biblical origins for the Constitution would lead students to believe that “Moses was the first American.”

Scholars claim the decision to include the biblical figure of Moses in social studies education is part of a concerted effort by Christian extremists to promote the idea that the United States is a “redeemer nation” – giving a divine justification for supposed American exceptionalism.

The proposed textbooks are deeply flawed, and have no place in a public school classroom.

Franklin is one of the worst of the modern day fundies, a professional bigot popular exclusively among the most radical of the far right, peddling an equally extreme version of religion.  It is a shame that Billy Graham did not apparently teach the content of my favorite quote of the week sufficiently under his own roof for it to be internalized by his family members.  This does not make the content of the quotation any less true.

 

This is significant in so far as every one of the declared or likely candidates running for president on the right appear to be basing their primary level contention for the nomination on securing the approval of the religious right, the Christian fundamentalists.  Every potential candidate on the right is far removed from being a centrist, and most are of questionable rationality, replacing hateful respect for facts and science and diplomacy and even some modicum of basic integrity with an extremist ideology of intolerance and a toxic parody of legitimate spiritual belief.  And this makes religion the justification for voting AGAINST not in support of every one of the conservative candidates in the 2016 election.

{ 0 comments }

Evangelical Conservatives are a small group of people who have tried to be very controlling of others. Do what they say, or they will make you pay, in whatever way they can.

 

They want to control the Republican Party. They want to control government by any means possible; if not through a majority, through obstruction.

 

They want to control — and limit — freedom and civil rights; always have. Before ‘the gays’ it was controlling and restricting minorities. They want to control what people do in their bedrooms as well. And when they don’t get their way, when they don’t get the control they want, they make threats. Threats that God will HATE America, threats of earthquakes, threats that global warming related droughts are GOD punishing everyone for not conforming to their religion. “Demons will getcha!” and other rubbish suitable ONLY for scaring foolish or very young children is their fall back position.  These are people who fear children will ‘catch the Gay’ from Common Core, or who will ‘catch the Hindu’ from gym class, like it was athlete’s foot lurking in the showers.

 

There is no rational limit on the scope of what crazy Evangelicals will try to blame on gays, or for occasional variety in their religious insanity, abortion.  Most of these Evangelical extremists are very flexible; they can flip between the two with gymnast-like agility.

 

It is not rational adult thinking; it is an irrational emotional position, one of ugly emotions, not nice emotions. It is vindictive and revenge driven. Losing the marriage equality battle, and most likely the entire culture war, they seek their last possible way to lash out, to hurt others. These are the people, these mean, mostly old, mostly white Evangelicals FROM WHOM WE NEED PROTECTION to ensure civil rights and true liberty. They are the people who want to create second class citizens, whom they can threaten with losing their employment, losing their housing, or being treated badly when they celebrate a happy life milestone.  People should be free to believe whatever they like, reasonable or crazy, personally and privately; but it is also appropriate to draw the line at intruding the discriminatory or the freakishly weird into the public square and then imposing it on everyone else.  This is NOT an attack on religion nor is it a criticism leveled at all religion; freedom of religion is freedom to believe whatever you like, but it is not freedom from criticism or freedom from reason.

One of the most apt statements I’ve seen so far is that Evangelicals desperately want religious freedom, they want YOU to be FREE TO FOLLOW THEIR RELIGION, not your religion (or absence of religion) of choice and conscience.

 

The most extreme of these people want to declare open hunting season on anyone they perceive to be LGBT, with it being legal to murder them at will. That was the legislation proposed in California by a particularly hateful bigoted Evangelical. Because…Jesus?

 

I could re-type in all the numbers, the breakdowns, but this analysis by both party affiliation, age, and religious affiliation does a much better, more dynamic job of it, and shows why this will be important in the 2016 election:

Individually, most of these Evangelicals are nice people, but their religion and their politics are ugly and hateful, and as a political movement, they should be repudiated and rejected. They use the word freedom, often; but they seek to stifle it and to control people, to coerce people to conform to their beliefs. They wail and rant against big government overreach and intrusion, but they seek to expand it. They smear lipstick on their pig,, discrimination, by calling it religion and freedom.

{ 0 comments }