7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.11)

1. Two videos -- both incredible, but in very different ways: One toke over the line. A flash of lightning.2. Scot McKnight shares a story about how Justices Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan have become "hunting buddies." I've often thought it would be constructive to organize hunting trips like this, sending NRA-beholden lawmakers out for a long weekend with, say, police officials who favor gun-safety laws. That might provide a chance for the cops to convince them that common-sense gun … [Read more...]

‘I sit on a man’s back, choking him …’

"Understand we're not you."

Here's Leo Tolstoy describing the difference between nice and good: I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible ... except by getting off his back. Tolstoy reveals the hypocrisy  -- the impossibility -- of trying to exert power over someone else while still regarding oneself as a good person. To become a good person -- a just or a loving person -- in the scenario he … [Read more...]

Postcards from the culture wars


"Christ could throw a punch.""Unquestionably, Big Mountain Jesus is a religious symbol commonly associated with one form of religion.""Life is difficult enough for most people without having a gaggle of pampered nags shouting, 'You're not doing it right!'""It seems the Catholic bishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has been paying for insurance for some of his employees that covers abortions and contraceptives.""Conservative frequently treat the Constitution the same way … [Read more...]

Neil Steinberg & Dave Gushee on the damaging idea that ‘hating gays is a bedrock of Christian faith’


William Lindsey points us to Neil Steinberg's recent column, which I'm tempted to quote here in full. It's titled "Anti-gay bias loses its legal whip," but really Steinberg's topic is sectarian coercion -- the ability to require others, by law, to follow the particular dictates of your own sect. That's a bad idea, Steinberg suggests, and an unjust and unfair thing to do. Your religion will be better off not trying to coerce everyone else to obey your religious law, he says: The question … [Read more...]

DOMA unconstitutional; Prop 8 goes away


For more than a dozen years, supporters of DOMA, the federal law banning the recognition of same-sex marriages, have advocated a constitutional amendment saying the same thing as that law. Because they knew, and we knew, and everybody knew that DOMA was unconstitutional.After all, there's really no point in even bothering with things like laws and rights and constitutions if at any point the majority can just start passing laws denying legal rights to minorities they don't like.And now, … [Read more...]

Hey, remember back when we used to have a Voting Rights Act?

Click here to read Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent, a document that will outlive the flaccid lack of argument and immorality of Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion.

Well, the 15th Amendment was nice while it lasted. And thanks to the Voting Rights Act, it was actually mostly enforced for almost 50 years.Not any more though.• Kevin Drum compares the Court's logic in Shelby to the very different standards and logic it used in Crawford v. Marion County: If a law is passed on a party-line vote, has no justification in the historical record, and is highly likely to harm black voting, that's OK as long as the legislature in question can whomp up some … [Read more...]

Religious right will hold breath, turn blue, if DOMA overturned


As New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson pointed out, marriage equality "is fantastic for the people it affects, but for the rest of us, life will go on."If you're not a same-sex couple seeking to be legally married, this doesn't affect you. At all. It isn't something that is happening to you, or even something that is happening near you. And as such, if you're churlish enough to begrudge the people it does affect of something "fantastic," then there's nothing you can do apart from grumpily … [Read more...]

The lies of Exodus were a bearing wall for evangelicalism


Alan Chambers, ex-leader of ex-ex-gay "ministry" Exodus International, concluded his blunt apology yesterday with what seems to be a pledge to redeem himself and to help heal the people, and the church, he and Exodus have wounded: For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God. Chambers, a former pastor at a large Assembly of God church, is an … [Read more...]