7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.6)

1. Does David Barton realize that government schools are indoctrinating our children in the theories of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, forcing them to learn the principles of his Arabic “restoration” and even going so far as to require the use of Arabic numerals instead of thus used by the early Christians?

2. “I know that President Reagan would never have let this happen,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, said yesterday about Syrian’s apparent use of chemical weapons. Steven Benen responds with a reminder that this is not a hypothetical matter. Reagan did respond to the use of chemical weapons by a Middle Eastern dictator. Here’s how:

No, in fact. Donald Rumsfeld has never been right about anything.

3. Terry Firma alerts us to a contentious battle in Brandon, Mississippi, over one Southern Baptist church’s plan to erect an 11-story, 110-foot-tall cross on it’s property. (The current tallest structure in Brandon is just two stories high, so this giant cross would be the biggest erection in town.)

This is apparently a thing, promoted by a donor-seeking nonprofit called “Crosses Across America.” The group says its mission is to “preserve, maintain, and construct roadside crosses across America.” OK, a skeptic might say this is an act of pure tribal symbolism — basically pissing on trees to mark territory, writ large. But why would they say they’re doing it?

Is it supposed to be evangelistic? If so, have you ever heard of anyone, anywhere, who became a Christian because they saw a ginormous roadside cross? I’ve heard a lot of personal testimonies, but none of them told such a story.

4. The BBC interviews Esther W., who, as a child, was at the center of a horrific case of Satanic panic on tiny Orkney Island. That story is disturbing (trigger warning) as it describes the abuse of children — first by parents, then by a system that repeated the abuse, failing in its duty to protect children because it was too busy using them as pawns in a fantasy role-playing battle against a non-existent Satanist conspiracy.

5. I don’t admire Mother Angelica — her cheery, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew face never quite hid the reactionary behind the mask — but this is a fascinating profile of her and of the cable network she created by Renee K. Gadoua at Religion & Politics. It’s always strange to see a woman with obvious gifts of leadership using that talent to argue that women must never be allowed to lead.

6. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for one day. Punish and humiliate a man for not being able to fish after you’ve outlawed all boats except for luxury yachts, and that man will go hungry for the rest of his short, miserable life. If you’re Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, these are the only two possibilities you can imagine.

7. This was the No. 1 song on Billboard’s chart 43 years ago today. Still seems appropriate:

"The ad's still up. I'm still laughing."

‘That’s why we are here’
"See below: that works both ways. Also, whatever they find embarrassing about you now will ..."

‘That’s why we are here’
"I'm not describing my own attitudes (when I am talking to Israelis I am generally ..."

LBCF, No. 185: ‘Jesus met the ..."
"For those who are interested, an NPR interview with the local Episcopalian Bishop about Bishop ..."

‘That’s why we are here’

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • The_L1985

    Well, it is for a territorial pissing contest.

  • The_L1985

    Come quickly, Lord Jesus, I can’t stay on my knees forever!

  • The_L1985

    I once lived not far from their main broadcasting studio, so it was part of the local basic-cable package at a time when I was still fairly devout. The only thing other than Mass that I can definitively tell you was on EWTN was the one time a guy rapped about the rosary to the tune of Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca. No, really. That happened.

  • The_L1985

    Even better: the Church banned them for a century or two because clearly, the ROMAN church needed to use ROMAN numerals, this somehow being more godly.

  • Anton_Mates

    According to the Human Development Index, we’re not #68 in the world; we’re around #20-30 or so. (Precise rankings mean little because the rates are so closely packed.) And that’s because we have like 99% adult literacy while some other countries have 99 point whatever. That small difference probably has a lot to do with immigration; many of the highest-scoring nations are small islands and/or very ethnically uniform, and I doubt they have a lot of adult residents who weren’t educated in their school system.

    Countries surpassing us include Scandinavian and former Soviet republics, Samoa, Andorra and Cuba. Not an especially God-fearing crowd.

    Almost certainly, if our rank has fallen, it’s because global literacy rates have massively improved. By every measure I can find in a quick Google, US literacy rates and verbal skills have consistently improved since the 1800s, although in some areas we’ve kind of leveled off in the last 30 years or so. But again, that’s largely because our rates are already really good, historically speaking. There’s not much higher we could go (though we definitely could improve, and our educational system is far from perfect, obvs.)

    So David Barton is bullshitting yet more, yes.

  • Abner Cadaver

    Crosses along the roadside remind me more of what Crassus than Christ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Servile_War#Aftermath

  • Abner Cadaver

    “While most of the rebel slaves were killed on the battlefield, some 6,000 survivors were captured by the legions of Crassus. All 6,000 were crucified along the Appian Way from Rome to Capua.”

  • MarkTemporis

    High school me would forgive Bartons crimes against history if it would’ve gotten me out of high school algebra. Quadratic equations make me want to kill myself.

  • MarkTemporis

    Next kaiju attack, we’ll nail the sucker up there as a warning to the rest of ’em.

  • LoneWolf343

    The cross story reminds me of a story I’ve been meaning to write. It involves an extremely tall cross made of pure gold (or, perhaps just gold plated, but passed off as gold.) The fate of said cross is that it topples an squashes a vicar in a rather literal interpretation of Matthew 21:44

  • LoneWolf343

    If he said it on Facebook, they probably already know.

  • LoneWolf343

    You know what is really messed up? I once checked to see if I could qualify for SNAP. Turns out you can’t have more than $2000 in asset to qualify, and I have a bank account (a gift from a rich family member which I keep for emergencies,) for more than that. I’m officially too rich for SNAP, and that’s depressing.

  • I’ve heard a lot of personal testimonies, but none of them told such a story.

    That’s because there aren’t enough ginormous roadside crosses. As the number of GRCs goes up, the number of testimonies giving credit to them will skyrocket.

  • Omnicrom

    That would be an appropriate response to an Angel Attack, but the humanoid ones tend to explode when you break their cores. You could try it on Remiel, but it’s hard to crucify a giant blue laser diamond. And that’s assuming they aren’t taking on the Alpha Numbers or LOTUS or someone, those guys are thorough when monster hunting.

  • Lorehead
  • Rissa

    Now, to me, THAT has meaning. Even if the faith represented by a symbol is not my own, I can still feel joy and triumph at any proof of resistance to oppression.
    Erecting a massive symbol of the majority-rule faith, on the other hand, seems a bit the opposite.

  • (O_O)

    Are they really that uninformed, willfully ignorant, and just plain stupid?

  • What if you cashed it out, hid the money, told them you blew it all on a road trip and blow and hookers, and now you need SNAP?

  • Lee B.

    I know you’re joking, but when applying for SNAP (at least in Kansas, I don’t know how it is elsewhere) they actually require your bank records to check whether you’ve withdrawn and squirreled away some cash — and if you haven’t, they assume that you did it anyway and were just able to somehow hide it from them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Know what’s really messed up? When my mom was looking into food stamps while my dad was unemployed, she found that cars count as assets.

    My piece of shit Toyota is worth more than two grand.

  • LoneWolf343

    Seriously!? Wow. You have to be seriously down in the dumps to even qualify.

  • The_L1985

    I just taught those. I feel unloved now. :P

  • Jenny Islander

    In my Sunday school materials, I have preserved a photo from National Geographic of a little wooden church in a village in the woods in the former Soviet Union. The entire congregation is parading around the church on a snowy Easter morning. Back in the USSR, they were allowed to meet, just not, you know, in a building. So they met outdoors in the slush, and meanwhile sent work parties into the woods to “cut firewood” and “pick mushrooms.” And one night, they all slipped into the forest, hand-carried the stockpiles of hand-sawn lumber and shingles into the village, and built a church.

    The local Party officials didn’t dare knock it down. They would have had to explain to their higher-ups how it got there in the first place. So they pretended that they had known about it all along and given permission.

    And every year, on Easter, the entire congregation marches clear around the little church, because it’s still there and the USSR is long gone.

    Your 110-foot crosses can go for scrap. That’s how to witness with construction.

  • Daniel

    “Your 110-foot crosses can go for scrap. That’s how to witness with construction.”

    The awful thing is that these groups in the US doing this use language that equates them with the victims of dictatorships despite living in a nation where it’s unlikely a non-christian would be able to get elected President. They diminish their own cause by seeming oversensitive reactionaries, and worse they diminish the suffering of those genuine victims. To compare- those examples above versus this:


  • David S.

    What’s the number of adults that simply are physically incapable of reading or learning to read? My problem with the whole thing at the top is they can’t be measuring the exact same thing, and the fudge factors they put in plus the error margin have got to amount to at least 0.5%. Claiming a 99.7% is different from a 99.8% when it’s done by different organizations under different rules isn’t credible. (Claiming 100% just annoys me; if you’re going to make up numbers, make up good looking ones. Dove is 99.44% pure for a reason.)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    They’re being paid good money to be that stupid.

  • Rather Off Topic and a bit of an aside, but still, it’s fascinating. :D

    I came across something I hadn’t really known about: there’s a movement of some authors to purposely write English as a pure Germanic language. Poul Anderson wrote a treatise on atomic theory using such a form of English, which is fascinating to read. :)

    One thing that is interesting is that Germanic-derived words in English carry a kind of “outworldish” flavor that can make fiction more interesting: for example, in a world like that of Revolution, I can see people inventing or backporting such words for long-forgotten mechanical devices to replace those that previously operated on electricity. Other such incidences in which the English-speaking countries become particularly insular for one reason or another might do that too, I imagine.

  • Matri

    They’re definitely overcompensating for something.

  • Matri

    Reminds me of this.

  • samann1121

    Really no one’s posted this yet?