Blog Against Theocracy Bits 106-120

Blog Against Theocracy Bits 106-120

Yes, there really are more participants in the Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm. My own post is buried way back here. In my very subjective judgment, here are the best bits from each post. Drum roll, please … at number 106:

106) Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: “They will most likely take a stand that there is no reason to “debate” intelligent design advocates, since the debate venue is stacked, the debate audience is stacked, and that intelligent design has not paid its dues to be admitted to the college of the sciences. But I wish they would take a further stand: I wish the Christians among them would call on the advocates of intelligent design to repent, to stop asking people to turn away from science, to stop spreading false stories about science, to stop making false claims. … Creationism, or any belief contrary to evolution, is not part of the Methodist faith. That critics of evolution are allowed to gather on the campus of SMU is evidence of the tolerance advocated by Methodism, and the respect for a freedom of speech unprotected by the Constitution, on the part of the officials of SMU. It is not the scientists who come heretic to the meeting. Our strong, traditional views against theocracy allow even foolish, non-rational views to be heard.”

107) IseBrand: “And check out ‘Through A Glass Darkly’ in Harpers. The first two sentences should hook you. It’s ann interesting article by Jeff Sharlet. ‘We keep trying to explain away American fundamentalism. Those of us not engaged personally or emotionally in the biggest political and cultural movement of our times—those on the sidelines of history—keep trying to come up with theories with which to discredit the evident allure of this punishing yet oddly comforting idea of a deity, this strange god.’

108) Religious Right Watch: “I was there when the religious right in Iowa first flexed their electoral muscles, revealing the strength of their years of patient, persistent organizing. That was 1988…when Pat Robertson nearly won the GOP caucuses. The minister of the Evangelical Free Church my family attended was the country chairman for Jack Kemp for President. But, certainly Robertson had a lock on the local Pentacostals and conservative charismatics.”

109) Bratfink: “I believe God still communicates to people. I just think that a lot of people aren’t attuned to hearing His still, small voice and reacting. [And I think God has a still, small voice only because hearing His ‘real’ voice would probably literally kill us puny humans.] Hang in there, my point [and there IS a point] is coming. IF IF IF IF IF! The all-powerful God of the Universe wanted all of the puny humans to be the same religion, IT IS WITHIN HIS POWER TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. If the God you believe in is truly GOD, then you must believe this is so. And if you can make THAT leap, then make this one: All religions exist because God lets them exist. For His own reasons. And I’m going to make another leap here. Because God lets them ALL exist, they are all equal. Which means, one is no better than the other. And if this isn’t true, God is more than able to make me see the error of my ways without any help from any human being. Because that’s the type of God He is. [And so far, so good!]”

110) Deleted Items: I have issues with anyone making legislative decisions based on religious belief. Of course, most Fundamentalists that I know feel that you cannot have morality apart from religion and whichever sect they choose. If we allow the religious right to turn this country into something it was never intended to be, a theocracy or sorts, we will no longer be a free country. Freedom is what makes this country what it is. However, all over the news, all over the web…we see that many of our freedoms are being infringed upon in the name of God. From getting a sculpture of a chocolate Jesus banned, to implementing a Bible class in a public school, the chilling tentacles of close minded religiosity is infiltrating our country like never before. They have the president on their side, they have influence like never before. We need to stand up, and speak out.”

111) Tengrain (at MPS): Here are some of the things that kids have been taught since Chimpy started imposing his sex-phobic views:

  • abortion can lead to sterility and suicide
  • that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus
  • touching a person’s genitals can result in pregnancy
  • A 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person”
  • HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears
  • condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse

Because Chimpy is staking his reputation as “the education” preznint with the very measurement-intensive No Child Left Behind Act, you would think that his administration would be all gung-ho to measure their success with Abstinence-only sex education, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong.”

112) Abnormal Interests: “Several things need to become common currency before the risks of both aristocracy and theocracy are nullified. First, large numbers of people must come to see every truth as a probability rather than an absolute certainty. This is not to imply that there are no facts of the matter with regard to this topic or that. It is only to say that nothing can be known with the certainty that is often associated with religious belief or as is often demanded by the aristocracy. Second, without evidence that is subject to public scrutiny no group can claim special knowledge. Theocrats and aristocrats have always claimed some kind of special knowledge. Third, everyone should be far more interested in the why and what of any belief than the belief itself. All beliefs should welcome for rigorous study. The claims of theocrats and aristocrats seldom do.”

113) Xark: “Should your religious convictions compel you to speak out against the separation of church and state, do that, too. And if anyone tries to limit your First Amendment right to that public expression of conscience, then please let me know about it, so that I can offer my support for your cause. But whatever you do, please don’t confuse this message: It is not the public expression of religion that we fear, but the state expression of religion. By protecting the rights of the few — be they pagan, Muslim, Taoist or Pastafarian — we secure the liberties of the many, and the peaceful co-existence of our people.”

114) I doubt it: “Even if you are a religious person, you must respect that science and reason have gotten us far in this world. Science is our best method of finding things out. It may not be perfect but, like Democracy, it appears to be the best method we’ve got. In both, it is best to keep religion out of the equation. That’s why I recently wrote my congressmen loudly voicing my disgust over the current administration’s frequent acts of white-washing scientific reports and censoring governmental scientists because the facts led them to conclusions that are distasteful to the Republican agenda. From birth control methods to global warming, natural resource reserves to endangered species – this administration is completely devoid of reason and integrity.”

115) Evil Bender: “The Catholics persecuted the Anglicans; the Anglicans the Catholics; the Christians the Jews; the Muslims the Jews; the Jews, other Jews; the Protestants persecuted the Hindu, and everybody went hard after indigenous religions. The problem with this model is, of course, that you don’t get to be the one doing the persecuting very often. One day you’re enforcing the will of the Pope in England, and the next you’re out of a job because the King wanted to divorce his wife. Now you’re hoping the new Religion treats you better than you treated others. Simply put, theocracy is a government model for those who are only capable of caring about their short-term interests. No matter how much they may believe God is on their Side [see note below], the simple historical truth say someone will come along and declare their views heretical, and then they will be the ones being oppressed by theocracy. This is the unfortunate way of power-struggles in the world, and not simply among religion. But religion has a unique claim to such thinking in this era, for it declares that it’s narrow vision does the will of God. All theocracies claim this, by definition. But only one of them, at most, can be right about this. God certainly cannot support both the Bible-thumper and Koran-thumper theocracies as the One True Expression Of His Will. So, if you’re convinced that God is with you, the last thing you want is a theocracy, for it is self-evident that the vast majority of such governments were not following His will, and even if some were, they had to have been quickly subverted by the ever-shifting laws their leaders claimed were made by God. In other words, if you value your religious liberty, you must be against theocracy, for it works against you. The only way to protect your beliefs from government persecution is to protect every faith’s from that persecution. Any other solution leads to disaster for everyone. (Note: Abraham Lincoln famously suggested that we should ask ourselves if we were on God’s side, not He on ours. Not a bad standard to hold, I suspect.)”

116) Knight of Pan: “Look no further then Iran with it’s two governments. The national one, and the real one run by the Muslim clerics that tells the national government what “Islam” will and won’t allow it to do. In the Philippines and Indonesia these militants fight non-Muslims, in the Middle East they fight Jews, Christians and secularist. In Minnesota, where I live, they test the waters of the separation of Church and State by refusing cab rides to people with seeing eye dogs or who are carrying alcoholic beverages. … This country was founded on Democracy, not theocracy. Were a lot of our founding fathers Christians? Yes, and they were the ones who recognized the need for separation of Church and state! They came from a Europe that had fought centuries of wars because of religious oppression and didn’t want a repeat in the new world.”

117) Essential Saltes (Journal of No. 118): “Okay, so now let me pick on faith-based initiatives. I’ll try to make this brief, because my stomach says it’s lunchtime. It’s nice that faith-based organizations want to help. It’s not so nice that they want to line up at the government teat, without obeying the same rules that everyone else has to obey. They don’t have to obey equal opportunity employment laws, which maybe isn’t so objectionable, except for the part about me paying for it. But it does bother me that there doesn’t seem to be appropriate oversight over the services being provided. I really don’t think that being forced to read the Bible for seven hours a day and renounce one’s Catholicism constitutes a drug rehabilitation program. Let me take another quote from that article: ‘At one point, the program director told his aunt that he “gave up his right of freedom of religion when he was placed into this program.”‘ This jerk is getting public funds to deny someone’s First Amendment rights. That, my friends, is a sign of creeping theocracy.”

118) The Greenbelt: “Have you never seen the giant statues of the Beloved Leader, the embalmed and worshipped bodies on Red Square, the chants of “Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live!” – can’t you admit these regimes merely worshipped some other god than you? Worship is irrational, whether a Sky God, a State, or a nebulous Notion Of Goodness; and it leads to hatred of the other, those who do not join the worship.”

119) Austin Atheist Anonymous: “I only count one state besides Texas, namely South Carolina, that specifically mentions a “Supreme Being,” among the eight which would similarly prohibit atheists from holding public office. (Thanks goes to God is for Suckers! for providing that link in a post about Atheism And The American Congress.) Author’s Comment: Protection against religious test oaths for public offices and public trusts is a basic protection which might be invaded by zealous pressure groups. Since the addendum of 1876 to Section 4 does seem to dilute the broad guarantee and presumably violates the United States Constitution, it should be deleted.”

120) Northgate Science: “Not a theocracy?…consider the ID proponents who are trying to legislate intelligent design creationism into the classroom; or the YEC creationists supplanting actual science with mythology; how about the anti-choice proponents attempting to legislate the religious view that five cells is equivalent to the six-year old riding his bike down the street; consider the number of evangelical Christians who want us to remain in Iraq largely to bring about biblical Armageddon; how about our tax money going to fund “faith based” initiatives and private schools?; how about the large number of Christian dominionists who are actively engaged in getting the government to follow biblical principles? There has clearly been a concerted effort to make government at all levels be more supportive of Christian values (note that the arguments are not generally about making government more religious; they’re about making it more “Christian” – by contrast, most of us “blogging against theocracy” want to maintain a clearly (and actively) secular government with little or no religious influence in terms of policy or law. Religions are based on personal belief supported by flawed or falsified history and science. They have no business running governments (and have always fostered rebellion when they did). [On the DaVinci Code..] Historically and theologically illiterate viewers…How ultimately ironic. What about the scientific literacy required to critically evaluate proposals such as Intelligent Design? Just how scientifically literate are the 90% of the American population who supposedly buy into Intelligent Design? How scientifically literate are the kids Ken Ham preys upon with his historically incorrect bible propaganda? Can the majority of Carl Baugh’s viewers think critically about his claims? Mark Shea is absolutely correct to be concerned about the historical and theological illiteracy of the audience – just as evolutionary biologists are justified in being concerned about the same audience’s scientific literacy. The fact is that most Americans have lost the ability to think critically, preferring instead to take the FOX thirty second sound bite as gospel because it’s easier. But my bet is that Shea and other apologists will not accept the distinction. Critical thinking is necessary only when the sacred cows of Christian theology are being slain; it’s not necessary if evolution is the target.”

That last bit was a bigger bite, but worth it.

Yes, there are more.

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