Friday salmagundi

• Christianity Today praises a new state law in Kansas expanding religious exemptions due to “a sincerely held religious belief.” CT’s Melissa Steffan says the bill is similar to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

RFRA was passed to protect the freedom of religious minorities. Specifically, it was a response to a state law prohibiting the use of peyote in Native American religious rituals. Will the “religious liberty” laws recently passed by Kansas and Kentucky protect the rights of religious minorities the way RFRA was intended to? Will it protect the right of Native American religions to use peyote? The right of Rasta believers to use cannabis?

I will be very surprised if these new laws wind up protecting the rights of religious minorities and not just the privileges of the Christian majority. But even more surprised will be the religious tribalists who sponsored and voted for those bills.

Is this a form of religious discrimination?

• Kristen Rosser offers 10 categories of statements used to silence others — with an impressive, and uncomfortably familiar, set of examples for each.

• Baby steps. Baby steps.

• You gotta believe. Yogi Berra: still awesome.

• David Barton’s plan for universal health care: “Why didn’t we pass a bill calling on people to be more religious and therefore help health over all?”

Two out of three ain’t bad: Ed Stetzer (who posted the wonderful pic here) earns kudos for debunking two recent urban legends spread by the kinds of privileged Christians who enjoy fantasizing that they’re a persecuted minority. At the end of his Snopes-for-Southern-Baptists post, unfortunately, Stetzer mistakes the Christian Post for a credible source and winds up reinforcing a third such urban legend. (Hemant Mehta debunks that one neatly: “No, Christian Post, Mikey Weinstein Was Not Hired by the Pentagon.”)

• Prooftexters get confused when the question requires more than prooftexting. All questions require more than prooftexting.

• Interview fail: Out of Ur says:

How do Christians display courage and civility? We asked the author of Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce.

That would be Eric Metaxas — a guy who makes his living telling white evangelical Christians that they’re Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce and that, therefore, everyone who disagrees with them is a slave-owning Nazi. That’s not courageous or civil. Or true.

Or good, smart, edifying, helpful, or non-dickish.

If Out of Ur is going to interview Eric Metaxas about courage and civility, it should at least show some balance by also interviewing someone who isn’t out to destroy those very things.

•  This is what small-government conservatism looks like. And so is this. And this.

• Here’s Maine Gov. Paul LePage lying about wind energy:

Now, to add insult to injury, The University of Maine, Presque Isle — anybody here been up there to see that damn windmill in the back yard? Guess what, if it’s not blowing wind outside and they have somebody visiting the campus, they have a little electric motor that turns the blades. I’m serious. They have an electric motor so they can show people that wind power works. Unbelievable.

Not true. There is no “little electric motor.” Gov. LePage is just making stuff up.

The remarkable thing about this lie — apart from the absurdity of the claim and how easy it is to disprove — is the way LePage feigns exasperation over such “unbelievable” behavior.

That’s what separates the really skilled liars from the wanna-bes. It’s something I learned last year during the whole “You didn’t build that” extravaganza of dishonesty from the Romney campaign. Romney deliberately and painstakingly twisted Obama’s words into the opposite of what Obama actually said. And then Romney recoiled in horror and dismay that Obama ever said such a thing.

LePage is using the same maneuver. It’s not enough just to bear false witness and accuse others of things that aren’t true. To be a top-tier liar, you have to take the next step and express your disappointment that the neighbor against whom you’re bearing false witness has stooped to such disgraceful behavior.

• Teresa Nielsen Hayden links to this story with the only thing that needs to be said about it: “Lady, that’s the imprint of a Phillips head screw.”

Bonfire list update: Now at 1,409 blogs. Let me know of any I’m missing.

• Do the Math: The Movie

• Homeschoolers Anonymous. Because immersing your child in an alternate reality is unsustainable once that child encounters real reality.

 

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