Sunday salmagundi

• Rayford Steele theology in Kentucky: It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as it’s passionately sincere and sincerely passionate.

• David Wheeler reports that some Christian home-schoolers want their science lessons to include science. Biblical scholar Peter Enns hopes that this will mean their Bible studies will also come to include study of the actual Bible. And historian John Fea hopes that it will mean their history lessons come to include actual history rather than “the usual fare offered by David Barton and other Christian nationalists.”

• Note to churches that eschew talk of social justice: If justice and fairness and all that ethical/theological mumbo jumbo won’t convince you to join us in advocating for fairer wages, then please take a look at this study from the Indiana University School of Philanthropy: “Only about 4 in 10 congregations had revenues that kept pace or were ahead of inflation between 2007 and 2011.”

If wages don’t keep pace with inflation, then church giving likely won’t keep pace with inflation either. Churches are supposed to be fighting for the poor because their God demands they do so. But if that doesn’t convince them, then they should at least consider fighting for higher wages out of simple self-interest. (And for higher Social Security benefits too.)

• When I say that the men in leadership positions within the white evangelical subculture have no coherent sexual ethic and that they either do not understand or else completely reject the ethical importance of consent, what I mean is crap like this.

Horrible situation in China’s Huangpu River. Makes me wonder what the cleanup was like in the country of the Gadarenes.

• “For those who fear that immigrants will take away jobs from native-born workers, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has a new proposed solution: Give visas to immigrants who create jobs.”

This sounds promising, and with our ongoing jobs crisis otherwise being quietly neglected as the new normal, it’s definitely worth trying. Unfortunately, President Obama supports the idea — meaning even Moran himself may soon end up fighting against it as evil secret-Muslim socialism.

You’re Not Allowed to Kill Civilians.

• “Provided you are not a writer,” Chris the Cynic says, “at some point in your life you will be approached to write a movie for the Sci-Fi Channel.” He goes on to provide excellent advice for when you do get your turn on such a project. This advice applies not only to the inadvisable situation of writing such a movie, but also to the even dicier situation of watching one.

One book, and many albums, to add to your wish lists.

• This juxtaposition, flagged by Kim Fabricius, is devastatingly precise:

“That the Church dares – in a world nauseous with false egalitarianism – to declare things too holy to be dressed in anything but a finery I cannot afford, a secrecy I cannot know, and a reverence I can only hope to attain – all this convinces me that she alone is the throne of Eternity on earth.”

Bad Catholic on the papal conclave

“There are three forces, the only three forces that are able to conquer and hold captive forever the consciences of these weak rebels for their own happiness – these forces are: miracle, mystery, and authority.”

— The Grand Inquisitor to Jesus.

• “One Complaint to CFPB Fixes Mortgage Snafu That 9 Months of Dealing With the Bank Couldn’t

This is why Mitch McConnell and 42 other Republican senators refuse to allow a vote confirming CFPB director Richard Cordray. The CFPB protects consumers from mistakes and crimes by banks. McConnell wants to protect banks from consumers, even when those banks make mistakes or commit crimes.

It’s just that simple. It’s just that clear.

• I get that Republicans don’t like President Obama and therefore have decided to refuse even basic cordiality and decency toward the man they view as their opponent. But you’d think that Republicans would at least pretend they don’t also hate President Lincoln.

• If Christian prisoners were being held without trial in another country and then had their Bibles confiscated, American Christians would be in a frenzy.


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  • But then the illegal aliens will take away our job creators’ job creating! Or… something!

    Actually, that’s a laugh. It’s hard for anyone to start up a business. But any step forward is a good step, even if it’s as discriminating as “only the ones we think are useful!”

    Shame on the Iowa Supreme Court and those legal experts.

    Welcome back to the 1960’s. Please check your civil rights at the door. Drills for Communist nuclear attacks will be at the usual time.

  • Rae

    I’m pretty sure even the Syfy movies ignore most of those rules… one of my favorites was this movie featuring a “pegasus” but they came up with some shallow plot reason for the pegasus’ wings being invisible at various times so they could just use a real horse and not even CGI the wings.

    On the other hand, it successfully distracted a good portion of its viewers from whatever might have been (not) happening in the movie by featuring Sebastian Roche in a *very* short toga.

  • AnonaMiss

    Speaking of Republicans/tea partiers who hate Lincoln, I’ll just leave this here…—texas

  • I’ve seen several instances of that wage and productivity graph over the years and while some authors set the breakpoint at 1973, others set it at 1979, and that latter year makes more sense because it marks the end of an era of even lip service to the broad FDR-initiated postwar consensus adhered to even by Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford; even JImmy Carter was not for demonizing the poor.

    But Ronald Reagan and his successors have been the architect of deliberate political decisions to shift the balance of power in society and with it, the distribution of the wage gains resulting from increasing productivity.

    What’s even more interesting is that for all the “new economy” bumpf going around in the 1990s, productivity seems to have grown even faster after the slump in 2000/2001 as the tech sector slowdown squeezed out the scammers and flimflammers who were trying to ride the dot-com wave to riches.

    What this points to is that the “new economy” is real. There is a revolution in the making and we have experienced it for nearly half a generation now.

    Yet the rewards from this revolution – this new way of doing business with instant communications and ease of access to information all and sundry – will not accrue to the workers who have been treading water since Reagan’s era. :(

  • Andrew K.

    Another post at Bad Catholic had this gem: “But to the Catholic, the conclave is not just a reportable event. It is that event which ensures the continued existence of the universe, and Eternity’s continued love for us fickle, finite creatures.”
    WOW! How nuts is THAT?

  • Jeff Weskamp

    [i]The CFPB protects consumers from mistakes and crimes by banks. McConnell wants to protect banks from consumers, even when those banks make mistakes or commit crimes.

    It’s just that simple. It’s just that clear.[/i]
    And that, in a nutshell, is why the Republican Party is losing favor among young people. I saw the Republicans on TV this morning discussing the need to “rebrand” themselves to appeal to young people and non-white people. What they will not let themselves see is this: it’s the Party’s [b]policies[/b] that are to blame, not the images used in their bloody advertisements! Time and time again, they side with the rich and powerful against the common people, and are shocked (shocked, I tells ya!) that the common people are turning against them.

  • Carstonio

    Really dumb question asked purely for rhetorical purposes – if Dr. Knight was getting that turned on by his assistant all the time, why couldn’t he have just rubbed one out between patients?

    I was at a semi-formal event a few years ago and one person in our group was an extraordinarily beautiful woman, whose dress showed considerable cleavage. I was incredibly tempted to look and I pledged myself not to do so. For a few minutes, even though I wasn’t looking I was still looking, if that makes sense. I say this not to characterize myself as a hero or saint, but because I imagined how I would feel if the situation were reversed. My temptation was my problem, not hers. What I perceive from Knight and his defenders is not necessarily lust or temptation but entitlement.

  • Carstonio

    Claiming to be Frederick Douglass disciples should clear that problem right up, shouldn’t it?

  • AnonaMiss

    While I agree that the dentist’s temptation is his own problem, I think the court ruled correctly that firing the assistant was not illegal under gender discrimination laws. A ruling for the plaintiff on the grounds of gender discrimination would set the precedent that if a bisexual employer pulled the same shenanigans, it would be OK, because the employer would not have treated an equally attractive male employee any differently.

    Instead I’d label this discrimination based on physical appearance, which is of course a huge thing in our culture, so widespread (and also so nebulous) that it would likely be impossible to legislate.

    Insert self-deprecating joke about benefiting from ugly-affirmative action here.

  • Carstonio

    Agreed. The assistant would have solid legal grounds for a civil lawsuit instead. She could sue the pants off him, but knowing his claimed proclivities, that might be unnecessary.

  • Lori

    men in leadership positions within the white evangelical subculture have
    no coherent sexual ethic and that they either do not understand or else
    completely reject the ethical importance of consent

    This problem is hardly limited to the evangelical subculture. Discussion of the rape case in Stuebenville, Ohio is the thing currently making that painfully obvious. Take for example a recent gem from Donald Douglas (yes, he’s an idiot, but he’s an idiot that a certain sort of person actually listens to).

    Note: The following demonstrates a truly horrible & dangerous POV on consent and what constitutes rape.

    I’m fascinated by this idea of consent throughout every single kind of
    possible sex act. Basically, if there’s one single thing you do to or with a woman while having sex that’s not 100 percent agreed upon up front then you’re committing rape. Stop means stop so you stop right? Perhaps. But how many men do not stop? Say, in the heat of the moment, animalistic instinct takes over, extreme sexual tension is relieved, only to be followed by guilt and recrimination over the
    absence of consent. Here’s all the radical left’s “rape” talk for you. Rape is not the kind of rape in the movies — I’m thinking Ally Sheedy being raped in “Bad Boys”(and since I don’t see it at Google I’m going off memory, but it’s a brutal rape scene). No, nowadays rape is pretty much a phenomenon when achick gets pissed at her boyfriend about something and accuses him of rape because he didn’t keep asking for consent for every sideways kiss during sex. Or, whatever. Who can keep up? All these women who’ve been “assaulted” nowadays, right?

    There you have it. Only the “radical left” thinks that a woman can consent to some things, but not to others or that consent can be withdrawn.

    The one heartening thing about Donald’s comment is that I’ve seen quite a few men pointing out all the ways in which it’s stupid and disgusting and wrong and insulting both to women and to men who aren’t total assholes.

  • To this Catholic, it’s just another pope. We’ve had others, we’ll have others. Sometimes several at the same time.

  • stardreamer42

    I agree. The problem here is not so much the court decision as it is that the dentist found a way to game the system. It is quite possible to say both that the court made the only decision it could under the law as currently written, AND that the dentist is a slimeball who should be required to take daily doses of saltpeter.

  • The_L1985

    “I’m fascinated by this idea of consent throughout every single kind of possible sex act. Basically, if there’s one single thing you do to or with a woman while having sex that’s not 100 percent agreed upon up front then you’re committing rape.”

    Because, after all, this is never, ever, ever how consent works in any non-sexual context. If you agree to play Scrabble today, then you will also agree to play Scrabble with me whenever I want, even if you’re busy, not feeling well, or just don’t feel like playing. Also, by agreeing to play Scrabble with me, you’re also automatically agreeing to play Candy Land, Mortal Kombat, Risk, Monopoly, Dungeons & Dragons, and Super Mario Bros., whenever I want, even if you hate some or all of those other games. This is totally not a ridiculous way to go about getting friends to play Scrabble with you, and there’s just no way at all that they could possibly stop wanting to be your friends if you treat them this way.

    Besides, asking, “Hey, wanna play Scrabble?” before busting out the board and tiles and playing your first word is just so much work. The only folks who think you have to do this every single time you play Scrabble are the folks who agree to play Scrabble of their own free will, lose, and then go around to their friends talking about how you coerced them into playing Scrabble against their will. Because, you know, this is how normal, sane people behave when they play a Scrabble game they didn’t enjoy.

    And that line, “You buy the ticket, you take the ride,” is even more insulting. If I buy a ticket to ride on the Ferris wheel, get in a line labeled “Ferris wheel, this way,” and then when I get to the front of the line I discover that I’ve actually been in line for the Tilt-A-Whirl this whole time, I have every right to be upset.

  • I’m too poor to afford an Internet just to give away to you, but here, have this old modem in lieu of that. Rub it together with another modem and mayhap you can grow your own Internet at home!

  • The_L1985

    Yay, a 56k modem! I’m the luckiest girl in the world :D

  • If I still had my other computer, I could give you a 14.4K modem. It… used to be 56K, before lightning struck the electrical box on the side of the house and partially fried it so that it could only carry signals of exactly 14400 bytes…

  • Lori

    Donald seems most disturbed by the notion that someone could agree to play Scrabble with him and then want to quit the game just as he’s about to lay down a 12 letter word using both the q and the z, on a triple word score. (As if.) Because obviously the only reason someone would want to stop in the middle of the game is because she’s a bitch who doesn’t care about his happiness and how much he needs to win.

    Worse of course is the person who resents his game-winning word so much that she later claims she actually quit playing before his turn and he just ignored her.

    He really is a lousy human being. (For those unfamiliar with his “work”, this is pretty par for the course. it certainly isn’t the worst thing he’s ever said.)

  • Carstonio

    Douglas is almost a case study with this repulsive attitude. He sounds at first like he’s describing miscommunication where consent is concerned. Doubtful but not out of the realm of possibility. But then he whips out the old myth of men being mindless below the waist, as if lust were demonic possession. (I start hearing “Evil Dick” by Ice-T’s hard rock band Body Count.) By this point he’s already proven himself a jerk, but more of a Salieri instead of a Mozart. But hold on, he finally shows us the diseased, rancid core of his mentality with the hateful notion that women falsely cry rape for any reason. A true master at work who uses his powers and abilities for evil, to make the world a poorer place for everyone regardless of gender.

  • The thing that I think is really telling about this is that it’s an appeal to fear: the whole thrust of the argument is “Unless we get rid of the concept of consent, someday YOU* might accidentally rape someone. You might be going along minding your own business having what you think is consensual sex, and be blindsided by a rape accusation because you neglected to read to the bottom of the EULA before you clicked ‘OK’.”

    Because a big chunk of the indoctrination procedure into the Rape Culture relies on that. I’ve talked about this before, as someone who grew up and went through What We Teach Boys About Rape, the overwhelming thrust of it was along the lines of “Now, we know you’d never deliberately rape someone, but you might not be aware of all these simple misunderstandings which might lead you to accidentally commit a felony.”

  • The_L1985

    One wonders how the universe managed before Christianity, when there were no popes at all. 9_9

  • The_L1985

    It never ceases to creep me out that people think it’s hard to tell whether the person you’re doing intimate physical things to wants you to continue or not. There’s a huge difference between “Yes, I like what’s going on, please continue!” and “I’m not enjoying this anymore, please stop.”

    I can only conclude that people of this sort believe that women never actually want or enjoy sex itself, and we’re all just lying back and thinking of England. It’s the same school of thought that believes that “playing hard to get” should exist.

  • There are a lot of women who have been taught to either not be willing to or not know how to express that sort of thing directly. Some don’t even know themselves some of the time (In the sense of “I don’t know if I like this and want to continue, or if I don’t like this and want to stop, or if I like this, but believe it is wrong for me to like this, or if I don’t like this but believe it is wrong for me to want to stop.”

    I think our culture indoctrinates women to be uncomfortable expressing such things — teaches them that the man should be able to intuit a “yes” or “no” without actually saying it, especially in anything resembling direct terms. And I think a big part of the reason our culture does that is to give cover to rapacious men.

  • Lori

    They repulsive and idiotic reporting on the Steubenville verdict by the 2 (female) reporters at CNN would certainly seem to fit with this. They talked as if the conviction and sentence were just some horrible, life-destroying misfortune that befell two boys with promising futures, rather than two rapists getting off pretty lightly.

  • I know I’ve linked to one of Pervocracy’s articles about this, but she has another great one here ( )


    Negotiation does not sound sexy. It sounds like you might want to bring your lawyer along. “We’re prepared to offer up to ten minutes of manual stimulation in exchange for valuable consideration in the form of that thing you do with your tongue.” But it can be sexy as hell. It can be something you do cheek to cheek, bodies pressed together, whispering dirty thoughts heavily in each other’s ears. Or maybe it isn’t that sexy, but it’s simple. “Touch me here,” and then they touch you there? That’s negotiation, right there. That’s all it takes sometimes.

    …A lot of people who aren’t used to it complain that explicit negotiation sounds really awkward and boner-killing, and I’m not gonna lie, it can be. But sex where you have no idea what the other person’s getting at and they put their hand on your butt and you don’t know if they want to spank you or put their finger up your ass or just grope you or what? And they don’t really know what you want either so they just sort of creep their finger toward your anus and then you sort of scoot your butt away to be like “nuh-uh, buddy, not there?” and then they just grope your cheeks like that’s what they meant to do all along? That’s awkward.