Looks like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays

• New hero: Balpreet Kaur, the remarkable woman at the center of this surprising story.

• Omid Safi has a round-up of Muslim religious leaders’ responses to anti-Western violence following the publicizing of an anti-Islamic propaganda movie. You could also look at the as a round-up of voices being deliberately ignored by the anti-Muslim religious right.

• Martin Luther has been dead for 466 years now, so I guess Catholic officials in Germany figured it’s about time to bring back the selling of indulgences.

Oy. That thing about not “taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain”? That’s not about what you say when you stub your toe or get cut-off in traffic. It’s about not doing stuff like this.

This is six different kinds of sad. The Huffington Post piece glides by this, so let’s state it explicitly: Every American’s kidneys enjoy socialized medicine.

• I had not realized that the lawyer-client relationship was ordained by God in the mists of prehistory and that viewing it as a social construct, or as anything over which the state might have jurisdiction, is simply “totalitarianism.” But then I’m not smart enough to be the “Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.”

Joseph W. Campbell unteaches me something I had been taught (via). “The myth holds that people who watched the debate on television thought that Senator John F. Kennedy won; those who listened on radio thought Vice President Richard Nixon had the best of it.”

Great story, but apparently not a true one.

• When George Washington rejected talk of tolerance “as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights,” he was mocking exactly the sort of condescending fatuousness that Anthony Esolen offers in his call for gay men to be closeted, invisible and grateful to him. (Yes, Anthony Esolen — George Washington made fun of you before you were ever born.)

• With Tournavista withering in the Peruvian jungle, plans call for a new libertarian utopia in Honduras.

• Jamie the Very Worst Missionary is now Jamie the Very Worst Pastor’s Wife.

Theologian Trading Cards. This is either awesome or awful. Maybe both. (via)

• Further proof that The Roots can play anything.

• An easy target, perhaps, but well-struck.

  • schismtracer

    But, if voting for Obama means rejecting Jesus and Christianity, then surely voting for a Mormon means the same!  ZOMG, the entire election is a trap!  Write in John Hagee instead!!

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

    And the LORD spoke, and said, “Heed my words and listen, thou shalt not force a scholar of the law into sharing the secrets of his client.” 

  • aunursa

    As a Jew, I’m invariably offered a choice between two candidates, both of whom worship a false god.

    When I step into the voting booth, I recognize that I’m voting for the office of president — not the head priest.

  • Morilore

    ugh

    “as my personal Lord and Savior from hell.”

    “Barack Hussein Obama”

    Stay classy, assholes.

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/2009/10/fractal.html Murfyn

    OK, there is not any documentation that the televised debate was the deciding factor.  It is still true that Kennedy looked better than Nixon, and that looking good on TV is quite important in modern national politics.
    Also:  A psych class in need of a project could round up some undergrads who don’t know from Nixon v. Kennedy (unfortunately, that shouldn’t be too difficult) and do the usual test groups/control group thing, one group hearing the debates, another seeing them.  Of course, they would need to be informed about the issues of the time, for context.  What would an 18 year old person of today think that “missile gap” meant?  (did Kennedy mention the missile gap in that debate?)  Were the people listening in 1960 well-informed on the issues?  What if both groups went for the same candidate, what would that mean?
    I’m way overthinking this, aren’t I . . .

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     What I love is the whole false dichotomy they’re setting up and acknowledging that they completely fail to understand someone like me (or just about anyone else not like them).

    I’m not looking for a personal lord and savior.  I don’t feel I need one.  I have nothing to be saved from.  So they’re trying to fill out an application on Jesus’s behalf for a job where there’s no opening.

    And the job that I’m considering Obama for isn’t “Lord and Savior” at all.  It’s called “President of the United States.”  The fact that they get those two job titles and job descriptions confused is…somewhat unsettling.

  • SketchesbyBoze

    “Great story, but apparently not a true one.”

    This has now ruined what I always believed to be the one intelligent statement in “Megiddo: The Omega Code II.”

  • Vermic

    The hell threat doesn’t faze me too much, but the real horror in the photo is that dude’s thumb.  Please, bro, get some Bactine and a nice clean Band-Aid on that thing.

  • Morilore

    I’m not looking for a personal lord and savior.  I don’t feel I need one.  I have nothing to be saved from.  So they’re trying to fill out an application on Jesus’s behalf for a job where there’s no opening.

    The people who wrote that pamphlet would comprehend just enough of what you are saying to accuse you of worshipping yourself (cuz that’s what atheists do dontcha know).  It’s kind of hilarious to place this idea (you can’t save yourself, you need Jesus to rescue you from Hell) right next to their conservative economic ideas (BOOTSTRAPS BOOTSTRAPS BOOTSTRAPS). 

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     The people who wrote that pamphlet would comprehend just enough of what you are saying to accuse you of worshipping yourself (cuz that’s what atheists do dontcha know).

    All of which is funny, considering I’m not an atheist, either.  ;)  (I tried telling Freyja that I didn’t believe in her.  She just laughed.)

  • christopher_young

    George Washington might have preferred this:

    ‘Conversion therapy’ for gay patients unethical, says professional body. About time too, do I hear you say?

  • Münchner Kindl

    Martin Luther has been dead for 466 years now, so I guess Catholic officials in Germany figured it’s about time to bring back the selling of indulgences.

    Fred, you completly misunderstood that story. It’s about a retired doctor of Church law who wanted to leave the Official body of Roman Catholic Church in Germany (Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts) and stop paying taxes (because apparently he disagrees with the church on this) but wants to stay a member of the Catholic Church because he believes in it.

    The original court this went to said yes, this would be possible. The higher-up court said no, if you quit paying the tax, you stop being a member and vice versa. It went to the highest court regarding these matters (not church court, btw, but the court on administration, because public body), and so the final matter is: if you want to be a member of the church, you obey their rules about taying tax, or you quit being a member and thus quit paying tax.

    While it’s called tax – because after the official concordats between the German state and the Vatican, the German state now collects it – the basis is the biblically mentioned tithe. That’s why it’s 9% of your income tax (8% in Bavaria)

    That’s it’s not a catholic thing is obvious because the Lutheran-Protestant church also does exactly the same thing – with nothing going to Rome as biggest difference.

    Some of the smaller Reformed Churches, called Freikirchen (Free churches) have decided to not enter into an agreement with the state (because they think it’s problematic to mix church and state) and thus must collect their tithes from their members. A list in German can be found here http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchensteuer_(Deutschland)#Verzicht_auf_den_rechtlich_m.C3.B6glichen_Einzug_von_Kirchensteuern

    There is regular criticsm of the concordats and discussion in the press and Lutheran-Protestant Churches whether all churches should opt out of it or not. The basic reason to continue keeping it is pragmatism: it’s easier to keep a church running with a pastor and a kindergarden and a nursing home* if there is a steady stream of money coming in, than if each month you don’t know if you will get enough money to pay electricity  and water and the wage for the pastor and so on.

  • MaryKaye

    Balpreet Kaur for the win–what a wonderful letter!

    I have a lot of facial hair for a woman too (I hope that hers is not due to polycystic ovarian syndrome as mine is) and if I don’t shave the gender dissonance leads to a lot of unpleasant interactions.  I admire her courage and patience very much.

    One of the few really nice things about getting older is that the appearance-policing diminishes.  Not completely, but it’s less oppressive than it was when I was in my 20′s or 30′s.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I had not realized that the lawyer-client relationship was ordained by God in the mists of prehistory
    and that viewing it as a social construct, or as anything over which
    the state might have jurisdiction, is simply “totalitarianism.” But then
    I’m not smart enough to be the “Distinguished Senior Fellow of the
    Ethics and Public Policy Center.”

    There’s an even worse history fail in the original article:

    For if the state can decree that two men or two women can make a
    marriage, why not one man and two women? Two women and two men? These
    are not paranoid fantasies; the case for polyandry and polygamy is now
    being mounted in prestigious law journals.

    First, I would like to know which law journals seriously discuss the introduction of polygamy outside of the problem of recognizing international marriages from countries which (mostly Muslim law) still allow more than one wife.

    But more appalling is his ignorance of the Bible and the patriarchs and their multiple wives.

    Even worse, but seperate category, is the beginning of the article:

    Back in the day, altar boys loved to serve weddings because it involved
    ready cash: minimally, $5 (which in those days meant something), often a
    ten-spot

    In what world does that guy live where 5$ doesn’t mean something? You can still buy a cheap lunch and dinner for that, if you are a poor person (5 Euros is what a welfare recipient in Germany is expected to live on).

    However, he doesn’t see the huge problem with motivating impressionable youngsters to do a spiritual service by paying them hard cash? There’s a lot of things wrong with his religious understanding.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Yeah, that was my understanding as well when I read the article. If you class yourself as Catholic in Germany the government gives some of yo ur taxes to the Catholic Church on your behalf. If you’re Lutheran it goes to the Lutherans. If you declare yourself non-religious you don’t pay it.

    Though it does seem the bishops are saying if you declare yourself non-religious they’ll take you at your word.

    I can see their point – I mean it’s not exactly honest is it? “Honest guv, I’m not Catholic I just go to Communion there every week.” X-D

    Having said that it seems like a stupid way to do things for church and state seperation reasons but that’s a matter for the secular authorities to address as well.  Glad that doesn’t happen in the UK (though I’m fairly sure the CoE gets some of my tax even though I’m Catholic – which is even worse).

  • heckblazer

    If paying the tax allowed people to avoid doing penance then the German Catholic Church would be selling indulgences.  That’s not what they’re doing, though.  What the article describes is putting an interdict on people who don’t tithe.  While that makes the bishops heavy-handed jerks, it’s a different  practice from what Luther condemned.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    It sure looks like that tract is saying that Jesus is from hell.  

    I guess that, given that choice, Obama or a demon, I’d have to choose Obama, wouldn’t I?

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Having said that it seems like a stupid way to do things for church and
    state seperation reasons but that’s a matter for the secular authorities
    to address as well.

    The funny thing is that in some European countries – Germany with the concordates, the UK with their Church of England, some Scandinavian ones with Protestant as State Church – the Church theoretically has a certain influence on the state, but in practical life, people are far less fundamentalist and tribal; whereas in the US, theoretically Church and state are seperated and the state is secular through and through, but in practical life, Judges can use their misunderstanding of the Bible when making a decision, people pray at public functions, the question of whether the president or other political candidates are sufficiently Christian enough for the voters is widely discussed etc.

    I still think we have it better, with no religious nuttiness intruding into politics*. While the conservatives do call themselves “Christian parties”, everbody knows they really mean “50s style conservatism, and only as long as not too many young voters go elsewhere, then we’ll pragmatically go along where the rest of history and population went 20 years ago”.

    *Except for US fundie sects trying to prosetilyze – some advances in the UK because of common language. Some 10 years or longer ago, a minister from Saxonia (former East Germany!) wanted to introduce school books on biology written by a creationist nut. The media picked up the issue and there was such an uproar across the board that it got dropped quickly. Nobody wanted to defend an idiocy like that.

    Oh, and both Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches regularly put out appeals to politicans and politics in general to remember the poor and the weak and the elderly, stop the rat race and the social budget cuts, be more compassionate etc. Rome might once in a while talk about sex to politicans, but that will be even more ignored than the important appeals.

    Though it does seem the bishops are saying if you declare yourself non-religious they’ll take you at your word.

    I can see their point – I mean it’s not exactly honest is it? “Honest
    guv, I’m not Catholic I just go to Communion there every week.” X-D

    Though I’m neither a Catholic nor a scholar of law, I thought the case of this guy was weak from the start. He was (jesuitically? Sophistically?) trying to exploit the difference between his belief as Catholic and the membership in a public body for which tax must be paid. But membership means paying the dues, outside Churches it’s automatically accepted. (And since it’s taken from income tax, if you’re too poor, you are exempt, so it works nicely in that direction, too).

    I do acknowledge that for Catholics it’s more difficult in that regard than protestants – for protestants, faith is important, but everybody is a priest (a pastor has “Just” studied theology properly), so leaving the church leaves the community but not God.
    But according to Catholic dogma, you need the 7 Sakraments like communion and church burial for salvation, so if you leave the club, you go to hell.

    Most Catholics don’t know that there are outs, however: the Christ-Catholic off-shoot is too small to be well-known, but fully valid under Roman Catholic rules regarding their sacraments. (Some people joined them back when the Nazis pressured the Catholics to leave a church run by a foreign nation = Vatican against the “national” interests).
    Orthodox churches are also valid since they split from Rome (or Rome split from them) way back before Luther.

    And I think if you want to be a member of a community, it’s quite right to expect you to do your part, whether investing time and effort, or paying dues.

    If the retired scholar did not want to pay taxes to Rome because it would be used to defend pedophilic priests, I can understand that, and agree – but he can join a different Catholic church without scandals and pay his dues there.

    A lot of people however leave the church for the only reason that they don’t want to pay the tax – and that I think is a low reason. Though in most cases obviously there was a lack of spiritual / emotional fulfillment way before, otherwise one wouldn’t consider leaving simple for money reasons.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think what’s actually going on is, there are countries in which one can be Catholic without being compelled to pay the Church anything (required, pretty sure yes, compelled, no; no one can ever be sure how much of the cash in the collection basket came from whom, or if any given person put any cash in at all), and this guy wants to be such a Catholic without first moving to such a country.

  • The_L1985

     I think schismtracer was being sarcastic.  It’s supposed to be a joke on the Religious Right.

  • Münchner Kindl

    If that’s true, and he doesn’t want to move, going through the courts is still obivously the wrong way: he would need to petition both the state of Germany and the Vatican to change their minds and quit the Concordat. The RCC would then need to set up their own collection method – I don’t think a collection basket would work* – and probably want more money to cover the additional costs for that.

    In real life, because people would pay less than their 10% if a basket is passed around, I can’t see the Vatican agreeing to it.

    As for the German state, during the past years and the pedophilic priest scandals, the media reported on the fact that retired priests get their pensions paid by the German state, and people said “how awful, why are we doing that?” Well because back during Secularization http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Mediatisation#Secularisation , the state took all property belonging to the Church – lands, but also valuable vessels and stuff, and old books – and made it state property. In return, an agreement was reached that with the loss of property, the Church could no longer pay the priests pension, so the state would do it instead.

    This also makes chucking the current agreement legally very difficult. And politicans with the C in the party name have little incentive to go against the Vatican and upset still-traditional Catholic voters.

    * The easiest way would be to demand a copy of your income tax decision by mail at the end of the year, plus an automatic deduction of the approriate percentage from your bank account. Easiest for the Church, that is, and practically like the current system.

  • Kelex

    “Theologian Trading Cards. This is either awesome or awful. Maybe both.”

    I don’t know which, but I MUST HAVE THEM!

  • Tricksterson

    And there must be a League expansion to include non-Christians.

  • aunursa

    I know that schismtracer was being sarcastic.  I was commenting on the fact that some people choose a candidate based on the candidate’s religion.

  • AnonymousSam

    Hmm, given the choices, I concede that I would have to vote for Jesus as president of the United States. Someone please let him know that we’ve belatedly nominated him to run in the primaries.

  • Madhabmatics

     Sorry you can’t, Jesus would be a third party option and wouldn’t make it onto the ballot. >:P

  • AnonymousSam

    Hmm. Given that he’s history’s most influential liberal, think we can convince him to run as a Democrat? :p

  • Hawker40

    I’m pretty sure that Jesus isn’t a *natural born* American citizen, since he was born in Judea.
    *Not to mention not being naturally conceived, either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Just wondering, do churches there still pass around a collection plate, too?  Or do they forego that since the members are tithing anyway?

  • Mark Z.

    They ought to just be Magic cards.

    John Calvin. 4WB. 3/3. Creature – Cleric. When John Calvin comes into play, divide all creatures into two groups. Regenerate all creatures in one group and destroy all creatures in the other group.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    While it’s called tax – because after the official concordats between
    the German state and the Vatican, the German state now collects it – the
    basis is the biblically mentioned tithe. That’s why it’s 9% of your
    income tax (8% in Bavaria)

    Out of curiosity, did the DDR levy this between 1949 and 1989? And do the East states levy this today?

  • Joshua

    a pastor has “Just” studied theology properly

    Ha ha I wish.

  • The Ridger

    What I want to know is where did all these right-wingers get the idea that Oscar Madison and Felix Unger were gay? They can’t possibly have seen the movie or the play, and certainly they weren’t gay on television. 

  • wendy

    Not a native-born American citizen, and never reached 35 years of age. 

    But he’d be eligible for any number of appointed positions; possibly HHS? 

  • Carstonio

    I saw the TV show during its first run and I agree. Jack Lemmon’s version of Felix had a degree of prissiness, and Tony Randall’s was more petulant. Maybe those right-wingers see these traits as effeminate and assume that Felix was the “woman” in the relationship. (Which of the links Fred provided has the right-wingers you’re talking about?)

  • inhumandecency

    This is an awesome idea, though I’m afraid that the names are still famous even if the images aren’t (an amusing reversal of the image-over-words hypothesis). Maybe you could use some fancy dubbing to change their names…

  • inhumandecency

    I’m happy to see the link roundup posts getting proper summaries, instead of the incomprehensible, formatting-annihilating teasers they had before! Thanks for making that happen. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Given that the theologian cards appear to be sold in a single set, I fail to see how they are TRADING cards.

    Still, I must have them.

  • The Ridger

    It was Anthony Esolen – but I’ve run across it before. Here’s a guy complaining about the liberal agenda in Happy Feet 2. He says “And I’m sure I won’t be the only viewer who thinks that two male krill
    in the movie (played by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) have now joined Oscar
    and Felix and Bert and Ernie as pairs of unusually close confirmed
    bachelors.”

  • Tricksterson

    Any time there are  teo people of the same sex living together someone is going to see homosexual overtones in it.  Plus Felix loves to cook and clean and loves opera and everyone knows a man who displays “feminine” traits has to be gay.

  • Tricksterson

    SOMEONE MUST DO THIS!!

  • vsm

    I never realized right-wing Christians were that into shipping. Their fanfics need work, though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And they need to stop whining about the prevalence of slash. Don’t like, don’t read. Don’t like the way fanfic demographics break down, write more of what you like instead of hating on what you don’t, and don’t whine if nobody else likes it (regardless of the overall popularity of whatever you’re writing about) because we are no more compelled to like your shit than you are to like ours.

  • Mark Z.

    Yes, but it will need to be someone else, because if I let myself fiddle with this any further I’ll never get any work done.

  • Münchner Kindl

     In the (few Catholic and) Lutheran protestant masses I’ve been to, yes, they do pass around the “Klingelbeutel” (ringing bag – it clinks from the coins inside), but when they list the collection of last Sunday on the leaflet, it’s usually between 50 and 100 Euros. (Though we are a very small community, too). I dislike it because my tithe is already given. My mother dislikes it because it disrupts her whole mood to have to stop in the middle of the service – while singing a nice song – and open the purse to look for money.

    Liturgical books and pastors explain that this goes back to the Old church where people offered food and similar for the communion, which was originally a real meal where people got fed (and the rest of the food or donations was afterwards distributed among the poor and needy), and that the church members bring a small sacrifice of their own before the big sacrifice of Jesus in the Communion / Eucharist. (That’s also why the Catholic priests wash their hands: leftover from when handling veggies made their hands actually dirty).

  • Münchner Kindl

    I don’t know about how things were handled in the DDR – it was after all as communist state truely secular and atheist, so I doubt they helped the churches. I also doubt that the churches were eager to keep their concordats with atheist regimes, given esp. how much Rome railed against them.

    They did officially grant “freedom of religion”, both to look better to the public, and because their ideology said that people would soon see the light and convert to real saviour communism. In practise, there was a lot of discrimination so very few people did dare to be official Christians*.

    Today, the DDR is part of re-unified Germany, so Church tax is levied.

    Or do you mean Poland, Czech Republic and so on with “East states”? Because I don’t know if they have a concordat, or what it says.

    * There’s a political joke told about Poland under communists, but also about the DDR and other countries: The church is filled with people following the mass. Everybody kneels and makes the sign of the cross, except for one guy who stands and doesn’t move. His bench neighbor nudges him “Hey, why aren’t you making the sign of cross?” The guy says “I’m not Catholic, I’m jewish. But I’m against it [= the communist regime], too.”

  • Münchner Kindl

     Are you in the US?

    Here in Germany, a pastor must have a degree in theology to be employed by the lutheran-protestant / lutheran-reformed Church, and those of the Churches officially recognized as Religious body.

    Those where any random charismatic guy can start preaching and draw followers and declare himself a pastor, we call sects or cults, not real churches.

  • Joshua

    No, I’m from New Zealand. Yeah, I knew a guy in Germany studying to be a pastor. I was impressed that he needed a two-year language qualification before he even started his theology studies.

    In New Zealand, preachers of most mainline churches are expected to have a degree, but things are more informal in Pentecostal denominations. They do have bible colleges, but I don’t think all attend them.

    Baptists have a strong anti-hierarchy ethic built into their structure, if I can put it liked that. Pastors need a call from God, which is held to be necessary and sufficient, but most have a degree from somewhere too IME.

    I’m an Anglican. A degree is expected. It’s only three years, though, unlike your diplom, and has no prerequisites except high school. Catholic qualifications are longer, but I’m not sure of the details.