Postcards from the culture war

A Scout Is Kind.”

“The case against same-sex marriage seems, to me at least, muddled, odd and paltry.”

“And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.”

What this bill is about, really, is the Bible. Is it right or wrong?”

Gay sex makes people explode.”

“I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.”

“It is going to devastate the church, the synagogue, the places of worship that hire people because ultimately they’re saying you have to hire whatever Satan-worshiper, whatever cross-dresser you think might be immoral, that’s against your religious belief.”

“Reports have consistently found that there is no evidence to support the claim that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs reduce premarital sex or teen pregnancy; on the other hand, studies show that comprehensive sex-ed decreases the rate of teen pregnancy and STDs.”

I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished when he was himself damaged.”

“Apparently, the Republican state lawmaker thought ‘religious’ meant ‘Christian,’ and when Hodges learned that public funds might also go to Muslim schools, she balked.”

“The problem is that those of us who are over the age of 40 and have three-digit IQs remember where this all started: with segregated Christian schools in the South who were denied tax-exempt status in the ’70s.”

“What we are really saying is that we are number one in conferring status upon fetuses, zygotes, embryos and heartbeats.”

David Barton addressed just-war theory, which Barton defines as ‘what you have to do to secure justice and the protection of life and liberties for your citizens.'”

“I see no indication that its ideas about policy, governance and social issues will gain new adherents. They are far beyond the mainstream.”


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  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    Fred, could I ask nicely that you not use looping gifs to illustrate your blog posts? I find it really distracting to have Glenn Beck keep tossing that flag around while I’m trying to read – and I really do like reading your posts.

  • JustoneK

    it is kinda amazing tho, innit?

  • MikeJ

    I was going to tell you to hit the escape key to stop gif animations, but it seems that in the ever onward march to improve firefox they removed that feature because it was too useful for users.

    Oddly enough, it does work in ie, but I would never suggest anyone do that.

  • PepperjackCandy

    If you have Firefox and AdBlock, you can block the image by right-clicking on it and selecting “block image.” It’s at the bottom of the menu on my computer, at least. You might even be able to set up a custom filter that will block anything with “.gif” on the end, anything from Patheos with “.gif” on the end, etc.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    Aha! Done. Many thanks – works with Chrome and Adblock as well.

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Is the video playing automatically when you load the page? For me, it just sits there, waiting for me to hit PLAY. I’m using Firefox with adblock and noscript, though, and between the two of them they may be blocking whatever script would make it play automatically.

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    For me it was playing in a 2 or 3 second loop. Until I right-clicked and blocked it. Using Chrome with Adblock.

  • Darakou

    I followed that gif to the full video. I’ve been playing Bioshock infinite all night and as Glenn Beck talked he sounded EXACTLY like one of those ranting audio logs that you collect throughout the game that demonstrate how unhinged the villain and his ideologies are.

  • Paul Bibeau

    Oh God, now I’ve got to buy that game and fall down another rabbit hole. Thank you/I hate you for this.

  • FearlessSon

    For those willing to endure spoilers, here is a seven minute YouTube video compiling all of Zachery Comstock’s audio recordings.

    Warning, contains religion-used-to-justify-quackery and late eighteenth-century slavery-apologist diatribe.

  • Darakou

    To be honest, Beck comes across as more of a mix of Andew Ryan and Zachery Comstock. If he ever builds that utopian city “Independence” of his it would make a perfect setting for the next Bioshock game.

  • Marc Mielke

    Beck’s city is mapped out perfectly symmetrically, making it a perfect CTF map.

  • FearlessSon

    Any thanks to the expected high rate of gun ownership there, we have justification for frequent weapon spawns.

  • AnonaMiss

    Ammunition, food and medkit caches scattered in little hidey-holes throughout the city “just in case”.

  • Vermic

    I got the Bioshock Infinite vibe following the links from the Maddowblog article, as Louisiana lawmaker Valarie Hodges is quoted as saying: “Unfortunately [school vouchers] will not be limited to the Founders’ religion.”

    Leaving aside Hodges’ ignorance of which religion(s) the “Founders” did or did not practice, in Bioshock Infinite the Founders are the religion. The ultra-xenophobic society in the game has literally deified them: citizens pray to Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, with God/Jesus barely rating a mention.

  • Hexep

    But George Washington /is/ a God, it’s painted right there on the capitol cupola.

  • Baby_Raptor

    So, I finally picked up the original Bioshock after Infinite came out (because I’m chronically late to the OMG Great Game Train).

    Enjoying most of it, but the bad guys seem just a bit too Evil For Evil’s Sake. Does Infinite have this issue?

  • Marc Mielke

    Yes, but the real life models for both ALSO seem too Evil for Evil’s sake. I mean, Paul Ryan is practically indistinguishable from Andrew Ryan!

  • FearlessSon

    What Ken Levine (the head writer on Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite) really likes doing is putting extreme realizations of ideologies on to the shoulders of people who are just as flawed as anyone else. He said that one of the things that always bugged him about ideology-based utopian fiction (Atlas Shrugged being one example) is that the kind of societies that they depict only really work when everyone there is a paragon of that ideology, and that when “perfect” ideology depends on imperfect humans, it falls apart.

    Andrew Ryan is one such character, a true believe in Rand-style Objectivism, who like John Galt had the resources and the determination to craft a society filled only with the kind of people who could be counted on to work toward their own self interest, and would ask no charity of anyone else. Unfortunately, his realization of this ideology ended up lapsing. As much as people in that city wanted to build their own way, many still wanted access to things from the world outside, newspapers, recordings, heck even Bibles, and were willing to violate the rules set up to protect that society from exposure to get them. Confronted with the possibility of losing everything, Ryan had to make little compromises in the ideology to preserve it, which only made more people angry which required further compromises to mitigate, etc. This lead into a spiral which eventually turned Rapture on itself, the city was torn apart by civil war, and the player arrives in its aftermath. If Ryan had stuck to his guns, maybe the city and his ideology would be preserved but faced with the realities of actually having to rule and defend it, he wavered slightly in his conviction, and the city paid the price because he could not be the perfect champion of the ideology he thought he was.

  • Riastlin Lovecraft

    I think that’s why I could never finish Bioshock 2. Sofia Lamb’s ideology never really struck me as ‘real’, the same way Ryan’s and Comstock’s do. Also, unlike them, I never really got the feeling that she believed it herself.
    Plus we get to see Ryan’s and Comstock’s utopia. We only got to see Lamb’s scavenging of Ryan’s.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    This is what the character Spider Jerusalem says in the comic series Transmetropolitan. Every ideology, every revolution, every proposed system of governance runs into the same problem: people. None of them ever operate as planned because all of them are run by fallible, flawed human beings.

  • Jamoche

    “And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.

    As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up.”

    — Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

  • FearlessSon

    I love Transmetropolitan too. :)

    But yeah, people are often the problem, and the reason virtually any governmental system never works as well as we wish it could. As long as people are still people, utopias are impossible. That is why I tend to prefer to see government along pragmatic, rather than ideological, lines. I want workable solutions to problems, not ideological purity.

    Of course, if we could address the flaws in human nature…

  • reynard61

    Seems to me like Mr. Denton needs an introduction to The Chair Leg of Truth in that regard…

  • Paul Delaney

    “The freedom of the church is at risk nowadays … Law always reflects
    someone’s morality, so if Christians are not involved in making sure it
    reflects their morality as a majority, according to polls, then it’s
    going to reflect a lack of morality or some immorality,” Gohmert warned.
    “So the law will reflect somebody’s and it better be the majorities
    that believe in God.”

    Oh wow. That is horrible.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s the kind of troll logic which leads to rhetoric like Michele Presnell’s “if we don’t force everybody to be this religion, our religious freedom will be lost!

  • FearlessSon

    Remember a few threads ago when I made a point about compartmentalized thinking allowing them to sincerely believe multiple contradictory things, with a short list of examples? We can add to that a belief that their’s is the majority religion and therefor they can decide to enshrine it for the whole community, and that their religion is under threat of censorship and persecution and therefor they must enshrine it to allow it to survive.

    Fred himself has blogged about this one.

  • mroge

    Great link. But I will tell you that I was raised as a “fundie” but I never in my life had the kind of twisted, paranoid, elitist “logic” that this article talks about. I pretty much had a “live and let live” attitude. But I will admit to the embarrasment of making contributions to Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell (wince).

  • Carstonio

    Trollish but also logical. They’re just using a different definition of religious freedom, one that comes from the romanticized image of the Pilgrims. They see the freedom to worship as one chooses as applying not to the individual but to the community. Part of this is obviously a rationalization of majority-religion privilege, but there’s still an antiquated worldview and an ideology involved.

  • Ross

    It’s not just that. They believe themselves to be under attack from the majority, who seek to destroy them. They might even believe that, in principle, it might some day be okay to allow a plurality of beliefs, but in the here and now, the forces of religious bigotry are all around them and growing in power, so for now, only a policy of absolute domination will keep their freedoms intact.

  • stardreamer42

    What they really fear is that their beliefs won’t survive in a religious free market. Which is ironic, since many (though not all) of them are economic free-marketers. OTOH, if you’re talking with one of those types, that’s a crack into which one can insert a wedge of logic and pry…

  • mroge

    Part of the problem is that they are too late, the boat of plurality has already sailed. I honestly cannot see that they can “undo” a secular society. It’s already here so they need to make peace with it. They are just making fools out of themselves now.

  • Carstonio

    They believe themselves to be under attack from the majority, who seek to destroy them.

    That’s part of the Pilgrim romanticism. That sect had fled England and found religious freedom in Holland, but left for Massachusetts because they didn’t want their children assimilating. Sounds very similar to a theory I’ve heard about the fundamentalist attitude toward sex – apparently the core is fear of daughters having sex and of sons turning gay.

    And to expand on Mroge’s and Stardreamer’s point, this ideology doesn’t allow for the concept of a pluralistic society. Catholic ideology often seems the same way – I’m not sure if the denomination presumes that the public and private institutions of a society should subscribe to Catholicism, or if the ideology purports to define what beliefs and norms a society should have.

  • Paul Delaney

    Sometimes I think there is nothing more lame than the culture war.

  • Carstonio

    Revealing that Jeffress thinks male homosexuality is simply about rebelling. And thinks relationships are merely about sex, and not about companionship and intimacy.

  • AnonymousSam

    Careful of that link, “What this bill is about, really, is the Bible. Is that right or wrong?” as it leads into friendlyatheist, and while I respect the blog contributors there, the comments section tends to be pretty nasty toward non-atheists.

  • D Johnston

    For what it’s worth, the post at that link is pretty much all material taken from this article in the Denver Post. So if the site makes you uncomfortable, there you are.

  • AnonymousSam

    Or just don’t scroll into the comments, yeah. Just a heads-up for our Christian friends who tend to be the direct target of the anti-theists there. We get enough of that from J- and company.

  • JustoneK is usually good advice.

    I have been pleasantly surprised the longer I hung around slacktiverse.

  • Hexep

    As a general policy, all comment sections are garbage.

    Uhhh, present company excluded, obviously.

  • Marc Mielke

    I find most comment sections to be cogent, thoughtful, and useful. But then, my main hangouts are here, Pandagon, Whatever, and Making Light,

  • mroge

    That may be true, but I still think that they often have good points. I actually enjoy a lot of what atheists say because they don’t have the blindspots that most religious folks do about their particular religion. But then I tend to feel that dogma is pretty useless anyway. It is only when some atheists talk about eliminating faith altogether that I have a problem. But most are not like that. Mostly they just want to be left alone to believe what they want and are happy to co-exist with believers as long as they don’t mess with them.

  • AnonymousSam

    Oh, I have no problem with atheists in general. I count as one, depending on how lazy I feel when I identify my faith (“agnostic pantheist quasi-pagan Christic philosopher” just doesn’t roll off the tongue). I just have a long history of seeing people dogpiling on Christians in that zone with the most vitriolic flaming — all for the consequence of mentioning their religion in passing.

  • AnonymousSam

    More forewarning- TW for pedophilia stupidity on “I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished when he was himself damaged.”
    Once again, members of the Catholic Church hierarchy are incapable of seeing victims. Their main focus is on how molesting children is damaging to the priest. This is the kind of thing that causes me to lose huge amounts of respect for humanity. This is a grown man punching someone and then saying “You made me hurt my hand!” and it should be condemned by everyone for the monstrous blame-deflection it is.

  • Mrs Grimble

    You don’t appear to have read the article. He’s saying that abusing priests do it because they themselves were abused – that is, ‘damaged’ – and should be treated by doctors instead of being imprisoned.
    I don’t agree at all with that, but the cardinal isn’t saying anything like you think he’s saying.

  • AnonymousSam

    What he’s saying is that they are neither criminally responsible nor should they be punished for their acts. I’d be far more sympathetic with this stance if it didn’t come after they had abused children — which the cardinal apparently doesn’t think is relevant enough to even so much as mention. It’s all about how sad it is that the priests think and behave this way and how they need help, not condemnation.

    For once, somebody saying “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” seems pretty bloody pertinent to me.

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Sure, but it’s only half the story. Yes, yes – unfair to punish someone for what they can’t help doing. Fine. But then recognize that they can’t help
    what they’re doing and REMOVE THEM FROM POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY so that they are no longer in situations where they will continue doing what they can’t help doing.

    The problem seems to be that this spokesperson wants all corrective action viewed as “punishment” that’s unfair to visit upon those suffering from abuse/damage/illness. So they won’t remove the priests from their posts, even to protect children from abuse, because that would be “punishment,” when they ought to view such corrective action as, at the very least, part of the priests’ treatment.

  • mroge

    Yes they are sick. But don’t tell me that they can’t help it. They have a choice to get help BEFORE they hurt little children. Of course remove them from their posts but then prosecute them. Don’t sick them on the community with cozy severance pay. Since they are never prosecuted then they don’t even have to register as a sex-offender!

    The truth is that sex-offenders rarely change even in therapy. So lock them up and protect the children!

    Honestly I don’t want to be a religious bigot but I just can’t seem to muster any respect for the Catholic Church. What the hell is wrong with these people?

  • Christy

    The vast majority of those sexually abused as children do NOT go one to victimize children, and only about 1/3 of child molesters were sexually abused as children. (And if you took a poll of the majority of people currently incarcerated in our prison system, dysfunctional, abusive, poverty-stricken childhoods abound.)

    I was sexually abused as a child for many years, worked with at-risk children for a dozen years, and I’ve never hurt a child – so I have no sympathy for that particular line of argument – or the Catholic Church’s stubborn refusal to take responsibility for the criminal behavior of those in their midst.

  • mroge

    You definately have a good point. Sexual abuse as a child should not be an excuse because you always have the choice of having it make you into a better person. You can choose the way of compassion for others or the way of complete selfishness. I am aware that some children who experience sexual abuse start to abuse other children before they even reach adulthood and in that case perhaps a little leiniancy would be called for. That is the time in which it would be appropriate to have some compassion and get them help.

    As far as the church is concerned, their pleas to be compassionate make no sense unless they are actually willing to pay for therapy for the victims. In fact they have the opportunity to prevent the cycle of abuse from continuing further. Anything less is absolute hypocracy.

    Beyond that a crucial aspect of healing a child that has been abuse is to give them the opportunity to stand up to it and say this is wrong. They rob the children of this by not persuing prosecution. They are telling children that no one is going to take them seriously or protect them. They are left in limbo.

    How is it that a church that claims to stand for absolute morality continue doing this? I think the answer is simple, They are more interested in controllng the masses than keeping their own house.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, I’d buy that more if it didn’t come with a disgusting dose of slut-shaming children. And if it wasn’t one brick in a long line of denials from the church that anything should be done about their rapists. And if they actually DID anything to get their ‘damaged’ Priests help, instead of supporting them and moving them to new victims.

    No, the words he’s saying might sound nice, but the words he’s saying aren’t meant to mean what you’re trying to make them mean. They’re just one more serving of BS from the Church.

  • stardreamer42

    I read the article. He never even mentioned the people THEY victimized; it was all about the perps and how much sympathy we owe THEM and how they shouldn’t be punished for what THEY did. No acknowledgement that what THEY did was just as bad as anything that may have been done to them. No care for the people THEY damaged. This is responsibility-dodging damnably disguised as compassion.

  • mroge

    it makes you wonder whether the ones defending them are abusers themselves, which is pretty scary to think about.

  • Carstonio

    While that’s possible, the defenders could also be victims of abuse who have internalized their abusers’ beliefs.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Geez, haven’t you guys figured out that Glen Beck is really Andy Kaufman?

  • FearlessSon
  • Magic_Cracker

    BRILLIANT! Maybe he’s ALL of them!

  • Fusina

    Oh, if only. We lost him far too soon… Oooh, another thing in Heaven’s welcome basket–new Andy Kaufman routines.

  • Victor Savard

    (((Oh, if only. We lost him far too soon… Oooh, another thing in Heaven’s welcome basket–new Andy Kaufman routines.)))

    OH Sorry! Thought YA said, Andy Griffith
    “IT” is OK Victor! No body is perfect and we still luv, I mean love ya NOW.
    Go Figure. :)

  • FearlessSon

    From the “gax sex makes people explode” article. Robert Jeffress likens sex to plugging a TV into an outlet of a certain voltage. He rates the TV at that specific voltage, and if you plug it into an outlet of a higher voltage it makes the TV explode. Okay, I am with him on the metaphor so far.

    But does he know that many electrical devices have switches in them which can make them set with different voltages? Maybe he should look at the back of the power supply unit on his computer, he might notice a tiny little switch next to the power cord inlet, which can be flipped between voltage settings.

    Most people are born with the switch set to just one, fairly common voltage. That is okay. Some people are born with the switch set to the slightly more uncommon voltage. That is okay too! Some people can flip their switch between settings to accommodate both, others are stuck at just one setting. Both of those are okay!

    Jeffress really ought to think his analogies a little more through.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    The even better part is some power supplies are auto-switching. ;-)

  • FearlessSon

    Extending this, you know the argument “the existence of a watch implies a watchmaker”? Well, conversely, should not the existence of a 220-volt electrical socket imply the existence of a 220-volt device?

    Heck, we can take this further. There are direct-current transformers which can shift one voltage to another, there are couplers which can attach male plugs to male plugs or female sockets to female sockets, there are extension cords which can plug male-to-female-to-male-to-female etc., heck there are even power strips in which many different connectors can be attached to one outlet. If God made us all to hook up joyously, He certainly gave us a lot of options when doing so.

    … this analogy developed by a Baptist pastor goes a lot of very kinky places very quickly when you think about it. Either this guy has a very kinky mind… or he just does not think about what he says.

  • AnonymousSam

    Well, it makes sense if you assume General Electric is a front for Satan.

    … I have, actually, seen people claim General Electric is a front for Satanic cults.

  • Loquat

    My first thought, upon reading that article, was, “Wait, does this guy know 120v-to-220v adapters exist? And wouldn’t two lesbians using a strap-on be analogous to you using such an adapter on your TV, and therefore be totally safe?”

  • Boidster

    Go on…

  • Riastlin Lovecraft

    I regret that I have but one like to give these comments.

  • Boidster

    I have a hot-tub that requires both 220 and 110 simultaneously. That’s either hermaphrodism or DP, I’m not really sure. Freaky, freaky hot tub.

  • Ian

    “just war…what you have to do to secure justice and the protection of life and liberties for your citizens.”

    That’s pretty much the opposite of just war theory. Augustine drew a distinction between the City of Man (national interests) and the City of God. The City of God concept is cosmopolitan. In modern language, every person has human rights regardless of nationality (and for believers, everyone is equal in the eyes of God). A war is truly just only in those rare cases when war (always horrifying) is less bad from the perspective of humanity as a whole than allowing a dictatorship to spread (in reality, not just in propaganda). The national interests of any one country matter only as means to an end, the common good of everyone regardless of nationality.

  • Magic_Cracker

    You can’t really expect a Fundegelical to actually know that Augustine meant by “just war,” let alone use the term correctly. Inventing entirely entirely new (and self-serving) meanings or long-used terms and insisting that those are the One Real True and Only Meaning is exactly how they’ve built their parallel culture. See: Socialism; Literal; Religious Freedom; etc.

  • Lori

    Pretty much all of David Barton’s ideas are the opposite of reality. His “work” consists mainly of “explaining” why things are or were conveniently just as he wants wishes them to be, and he’s not a big fan of reality.

  • AnonaMiss

    I think everyone should cultivate the ability to convincingly act out two variations of laughter: 1) very obviously trying not to laugh (Biggus… Dickus!); and 2) laughing to the point of incoherence.

    One of the few bits of C.S. Lewis’s philosophy that I took with me when I left Christianity was: “The devil cannot stand to be laughed at.”

    Thought precipitated by the exploding gay sex link.

  • Victor Savard

    (((Thought precipitated by the exploding gay sex link.)))

    Like most of YA, “IT” is probably not just this old fart of 67 years who probably could write a book about this post and…..

    End Victor? Stop lying cause you’re still 66 and you know has well as “I” do that a feet U>S (usual sinner), I mean fetus is not a Child of God so give “IT” a rest NOW!

    Don’t pay sinner vic any attention Miss cause sinner vic is just a skitso who agrees with pleasing theists and even anti-theists who are telling the truth NOW! Don’t tell Fred butt sinner vic keeps trying to convince me that Fred is really a “Fruit” and truth be known, he’s wrong cause “I” was around when Fred got married and me, myself and i told him so and just like a true atheist that sinner vic is, he goes on telling “ME”, “ME” and “ME” that the end will justify the mean butt as usual i don’t even know what sinner vic is talking about NOW! As far as “I’M” concern sinner vic is just a country “Devil” who is doing his best to live backward in this country if YA get my drift NOW! Let’s just not provoke him and simply pray that sinner vic can also learn to pray, live and let lived and forget about Charley’s Pride NOW and…..

    End Ya say Victor? Give “IT” UP Vic torrrr we’re going to have to LUV YA to death NOW!

    For the good times sinner vic, let’s be nice! Don’t be like that sinner vic NOW!

    Ha!Ha!hahahahahahahahahah butt Victor, you’re END, “I” mean and NOW!

    Go figure folks! :)


  • Invisible Neutrino

    Robert Jeffress: Gay Sex Makes You Explode!

    I guess it depends on your definition of “explode” <_<

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah hell, I hope everyone in Massachusetts is all right. Just heard about the explosions.

  • AnonymousSam

    “Explosions” has been upgraded to “bombing.” Two explosions, two additional undetonated incendiary devices found. Two dead, 23 injured. Thoughts and prayers for all affected.

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Oh crap on a stick.

    Boston police trying to stay ahead of the rumor mill:

    The New York Post reported that a “Saudi national who suffered shrapnel wounds in today’s blast” has been identified as “a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.” The Boston PD spokesperson did not confirm that report.

    “Honestly, I don’t know where they’re getting their information from, but it didn’t come from us,” said the spokesperson.

    Thoughts and prayers going out to all affected.

  • Ross

    The Boston PD has since released a statement that they have not identified anyone as a suspect yet.

    In other news, Motherfucking Alex Jones has claimed this as a false-flag operation by the Obama administration, and Erik Rush has suggested that we kill all muslims.

  • mroge

    I swear to God, I think the GOP is full of sociopaths.

  • Matri

    Psychopaths“, mroge.

    Sociopaths are people who, while not able to fit properly into society, can still contribute to it.

    The GOP haven’t contribute anything positive since the Clinton administration.

  • mroge

    Okay.I get what you are saying but I am not sure you got what I was saying..

  • AnonymousSam

    People here tend to be a little defensive of the term “sociopaths” since there’s at least one sociopath in the community who isn’t a racist xenophobic murderhappy Republican. XP

  • mroge

    Ah, thanks for letting me know. I apologize. I should know better because I know that not all sociopaths commit crimes.

  • AnonymousSam

    No sweat off my back. I’m not particularly sensitive about it. ^_^

  • mroge

    I apologize to you for my insensitive comment. The ironic thing is that I have actually worked in the mental health field (although not with sociopaths) and I have bipolar disorder and yet here I go perpetuating one of the worst mental health myths: that people who have these challenges are inherently dangerous. Your point is well-taken.

  • kadh2000

    This story about a dad getting his son a Sofia the First video is a positive note from this issue. With all the negative stuff coming out, it’s pretty awesome.

  • Carstonio

    As a father of daughters, I greatly admire the dad’s character. In his place I might have been tempted to either walk away, or tempted to imagine beating the hell out of the sexist moron.

  • Jessica_R

    And sometimes you do have to pick sides in a culture war. Like the cowardly Georgia governor who won’t endorse the integrated prom mentioned a few posts ago. He doesn’t want to “pick sides” not knowing, or knowing full well, that you very much pick a side when you refuse to do so.

  • LoneWolf343

    Glenn Beck is demonstrating what he did to that girl in 1990.

  • AnonaMiss

    This must always be phrased as a question. That’s the entire point!

    Is Glenn Beck demonstrating what he did to that girl in 1990?

  • LoneWolf343


  • Jeff Weskamp

    It’s very encouraging that same-sex marriage opponents are being forced to admit that their opposition is religiously motivated. Their arguments then collide into the Establishment Clause at full speed.

    Since America has a secular government, quoting from the Bible is a meaningful in an American court of law as quoting from the Dungeon Master’s Guide or Helpful Hints From Heloise. Even if they were to prove conclusively that the Bible condemns sexual acts and relationships between those of the same gender, it would mean absolutely nothing to our system of governance.

    Of course, anyone trying to establish laws based on the Bible would inevitably run into the issue of Biblical interpretation. Sure, folks like Richard Land and David Barton say the Bible condemns gay sex and gay marriage, but many other Christians out there say that it doesn’t. How would the Courts know whose interpretation of the Bible was correct?

    P.S. Just heard about the bombings at Boston. To the folks out there, be careful!

  • Carstonio

    The Red Letter writer names two other arguments, one from tradition and one from “nature.” Sometimes these are religious on their own terms, deifying those two concepts, and sometimes these are transparent attempts to restate sectarian arguments in secular terms.

  • SororAyin

    With regards to the Gohmert piece:

    Speaking as a literal “Satan-worshipper,” I gotta say, working for a Christian church is not really a goal of mine. lol

  • SororAyin

    On the piece about the Cardinal and the pedophile priests:

    I was Catholic for seven years, but I was never any sort of “theology nerd,” so I may not quite understand the teachings as well I think I do. Nevertheless, my understanding of Catholic doctrine is that we are all broken, damaged people. Original Sin has made us so. Humanity requires divine grace to uplift and heal us. But even though we are damaged, we can still go to Hell if we reject divine grace or if our sins of great enough. As I understand it, Catholicism definitely does _not_ teach that those who are damaged are automatically exempt from punishment. Far from it.

    I call BS on the Cardinal.

  • Carstonio

    The old bigot Pat Buchanan has not mellowed with age:

    Buchanan doesn’t explain what he means by civil disobedience. Perhaps the Annapolis tour company that chose to drop its wedding business entirely rather than serve same-sex couples?

    But more than that, Buchanan doesn’t justify why Christians who share his beliefs should even care about other people’s sexual orientations. I maintain that if an individual or a group holds that homosexuality is against its own principles, it should take a neutral stance on homosexuality by anyone else, because the latter is none of the individual’s or group’s business. Buchanan has no right to an opinion on anyone’s homosexuality but his hypothetical own – one’s right is not to an opinion but to an informed one.

  • FearlessSon

    Buchanan is afraid that if gays are legally recognized and celebrated in our society, then God will do to us what He did to Sodom, and go on a smiting spree which will almost certainly take them down alongside the gay people.

    As Stephen Colbert once pointed out, “God loves the gays, but hates the gay-adjacent.”

  • Carstonio

    I doubt that Buchanan actually believes that. He wouldn’t be furious with gays, or with US society for treating gays equally. He would be pleading with his god to either change the prohibition on homosexuality or to show mercy on non-gays. Unless he has the mentality of an abused child who turns his anger on siblings out of a desperate fear that they’ll provoke their abusive parent.

  • FearlessSon

    I think he has that authoritarian love of applying rules. The rules say homosexuality is a sin and God will smite us for allowing it. If the rules are changed, then what good are they do him? For a rules-centric worshiper, the unchanging rules are the thing which makes an eternal God eternal. You change those rules, it would be like saying to him that his God was never eternal or all-powerful in the first place.

    That idea scares some people, particularly people who view God as a stern and demanding father-figure.

  • Carstonio

    A mindset that seems strange to me. No room for the possibility that the god might choose to change the rules, especially given the theology of fulfilling the commandments. Or even if we grant his assumption that the rules have a divine source, no apparent possibility that the folks who put them to paper might have misheard them.

  • AnonymousSam

    If the rules changed, his role as arbiter, gatekeeper and leader could change as well. Therefore the rules have never and will never change and we have always been at war with Eastasia.

    The first thing the first official priesthood of YWHW did upon being established was reveal that God would destroy anyone who didn’t give them gold, riches and more food than they could ever possibly need.

  • David Policar

    To explain caring deeply about some rules while ignoring others, it’s not sufficient to posit a rules-centric worshiper; there’s a further explanation necessary about what differentiates the two sets.

  • AnonymousSam

    The way I like to go about it is to explain that one classifies Christianity as a set of rules, the other as a means of teaching ethics. One is the way you must live and one is the way you should live. One is about punishment and consequences, the other is about love.

  • Carstonio

    While I won’t make an argument here for the legalization of polygamy, I’ve noticed the similarities between numerous arguments against it and many arguments against same-sex marriage. Both of these seem to assume that the version of marriage they decry would inevitably become the new norm. Both make broad assertions about gender behavior that range from offensively stereotypical to just flat-out wrong. Both see marriage as a gender hierarchy with the wife as a type of property. Both often say that one purpose of marriage is civilizing men.

    These arguments treat polygyny specifically as almost as a biological inevitability. While examples of polyamory and group marriage are very few, there’s little consideration of the possibility that this really reflects women’s lack of power until relatively recently. They don’t distinguish between polygyny as a norm and various types of polygamy as an option alongside monogamy. Most prominently, they pay lip service to the exploitation of women in polygynous societies, and fret endlessly about low-status men turning to violence and crime because they can’t find wives. If civilizing men is really one purpose of marriage, the logical conclusion of forcing women into marriage is conspicuously absent. Ironic that these share the same assumptions about the genders as the polygynous societies that the arguments purport to condemn.