Category Archives: religious right

Real Or Not Real?

RNC Chair Reince Priebus took to the airwaves to claim that the Republican War On Women is just all in our silly little heads. Really!

Republican opposition to renewing the Violence Against Women Act? Scott Walker repealing Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act? The attacks on women’s reproductive rights in every state — the ones making a legal requirement that women submit to shaming, dehumanizing, psychologically stressful and medically unnecessary procedures in order to obtain a legal, safe abortion? Or restricting women’s access to contraception? The shuttering of health clinics that serve poor women around the country?

The Blunt-Rubio Amendment? Personhood bills? Bills equating single parenthood with child abuse? House Republican efforts to redefine rape?

Ladies, these things should not be taken as attacks on your freedoms or rights or privacy (or even your intelligence, abilities or value). No, these are just logical, necessary pieces of legislation that the penis-Americans in charge deem absolutely vital to the nation’s interests. Any personal offense women may take at being legislated this way is simply unreasonable, maybe even hysterical. Now, run along and swap recipes at the Tupperware Party or however it is you spend your time while the penis-Americans do the heavy lifting of keeping shit running in the world.

/hurl

But to hear Republicans talk there is a very real war going, and it’s the war on Christians. Yes, little known fact: in state legislatures all around the country, the faithful are being oppressed by anti-Christian politicians passing laws limiting their ability to practice their faith! And even the President of the United States has passed draconian legislation forcing Christians underground. Why, you can’t hardly find a church or a Bible study or even a prayer group anymore!

I have absolutely no evidence of this, of course, but that’s what right-wingers keep telling us. And by right-wingers I don’t just mean fringe crackpots over at ClownHall, I mean people like Rep. Marsha Blackburn who hosted a “rally for religious freedom” in Nashville last month (actually, it was just another highly-orchestrated rally against women’s healthcare but pay no attention to that! This war is real and that one is not!)

No, actually, there is a war on Christianity in this country. I know this because last month an Assemblies of God youth group in Pennsylvania was kidnapped and held at gunpoint. This really happened, however the folks who orchestrated this attack were the church’s pastor and some parents, trying to teach kids age 13-18 a lesson about religious persecution.

Y’know, Jesus did say “suffer the little children.” How ironic that this would come from the sadistic pricks leading the church.

There is a war on Christianity going on, but it’s coming from inside the church, not outside. For example, I just read that the Catholic Church has cut off funds to a group helping the poor because it’s a member of an immigrants’ rights coalition, and that coalition had worked with a GLBT rights group. Got that? The organization receiving the funds didn’t work with this GLBT organization, they were just members of the same coalition. Cooties! Apparently when it comes to fighting poverty or fighting gays, the poor lose out. Fighting gays is way more important. This kind of thinking and attitude will drive the church into cultural irrelevancy faster than any packet of birth control pills or condoms, but hey, don’t listen to me.

So, real or not real, ladies? Who are you gonna listen to: Reince Priebus or your lying eyes?

19 Comments

Filed under birth control, feminism, religious right, reproductive rights, Republican Party, women's rights

There Is No Catholic Controversy

Oh fer crying out loud. I am so sick of this bullshit about the Catholic church and contraceptives and Obama and healthcare and hair-pulling and fainting couches and aaaaaaggggghhhhhh…..!

This whole thing is made up, people! Hello! How come no one is coming out and saying it? Is everyone blind? Or on drugs? Or just … pretending we don’t live in some crazy-cakes media drama where the manufactured fauxtroversy du jour is trotted out because it’s fucking February and nothing interesting is happening? Again: helloooo?!

Look, the Republicans are stuck with a field of dogs, turnout at their primaries sucks and no one gives a shit about these losers. America’s Goofy Other Party is desperate to attack the Obama Administration on something — anything. With the economy improving and Osama bin Laden at the bottom of the ocean, what have they got? Culture wars, of course.

Here’s how I know the whole “Catholics are outraged about contraceptive prescription coverage” thing is a ginned-up fake:

1- The nation’s largest Catholic university, De Paul University, already provides contraceptive coverage in its health insurance plan. No teeth-gnashing or pearl clutching, and so far Jesus hasn’t sailed out of the heavens to smite anyone.

2- Ditto Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Jesuit University of Scranton, and other Catholic-affiliated institutions.

3- I hate quoting polls because we all know they can be manipulated to say whatever the questioner wants them to. That caveat aside, this survey says the majority of Catholics agree that contraceptive coverage should be part of an employer’s insurance plan. On top of that, let’s be honest here: most American Catholics use birth control. Sorry, church leaders can whine about it and complain about it but we all know it’s true. They lost this battle somewhere around 1977 and I’m just not going to get dragged into some church battle that the leadership lost 30 years ago.

4- Megachurch pastor Rick Warren has decided to grandstand on the issue, Tweeting:

And:

You know this shit is fake when people like Rick Warren decide it’s another opportunity for them to grab the spotlight.

Sorry to be the one to call bullshit here, but somebody had to.

I want to send a special message to my Catholic friends out there, too: the Catholic church has a long and wonderful social justice history, centuries of empowering the poor, ending slavery, and standing up for oppressed peoples all around the world. It’s a shame to see all of that thrown away over the leadership’s desire to hold women hostage to their biology. I hope the Catholic faithful will speak up on this. Time to stop the madness.

[UPDATE]:

Gail Collins nails it. Of the Catholic Bishops she writes:

The problem here is that they’re trying to get the government to do their work for them. They’ve lost the war at home, and they’re now demanding help from the outside.

This is exactly right. Catholic institutions like hospitals employ people of all faiths. These employers need to abide by the same rules as everyone else. No one is forcing Catholic employees to use the contraceptive benefit in their insurance plans. What the Catholic bishops are trying to do is get the federal government to enforce the church’s anti-contraception doctrine because they have failed to do so on their own. This isn’t an “assault on religious liberty,” it’s the exact opposite: it’s getting the government to enforce a church rule that no one has followed in decades.

What next, do you want the Dept. of Food & Agriculture to ban all meat sales during Lent?

C’mon, this stuff isn’t hard. We see this for what it is. And I’m just loving John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican Party lining up on the wrong side of yet another issue for the sole purpose of lodging partisan attacks against President Obama.

Really, Republicans? Going after birth control is going to be a winning issue for you in 2012? Ya think so? This has FAIL written all over it.

13 Comments

Filed under 2012 presidential election, birth control, culture wars, rants, religion, religious right

First They Came For Susan G. Komen …

If you’re pissed off about Komen’s “Race For The Cure” withdrawing funding for Planned Parenthood’s cancer screening program, then heads-up: the anti-choice zealots have been pressuring the American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life” in precisely the same way for a few years now.

In trolling through some anti-choice news sites I saw lots of anti-Relay For Life propaganda, stuff like this opinion piece from last April, attacking a four-year-old grant ACS made to Iowa’s Planned Parenthood for a smoking-cessation program and slamming its support for embryonic stem cell research.

The good news is that the Komen Foundation’s move has elicited such a strong, negative reaction that any other national group receiving the same kind of orchestrated pressure will think twice before caving to the zealots.

This has been nothing short of a PR fiasco for the Komen Foundation. Now we learn that the move was so controversial inside the organization when it was first announced internally back in December that their top public health official resigned in protest.

And now, as I predicted yesterday, corporate sponsors have been dragged into the mess. It’s unfortunate but this is what happens when you decide to politicize something that should never, ever be political. Women’s health issues are not political pawns to be used to advance a religious agenda, and yet that is what it has become.

Race For The Cure sponsor Energizer (of the cute pink bunny symbol) has now posted this statement on its Facebook page:

Like many of you, yesterday we learned about the decision of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to discontinue its funding to Planned Parenthood. Energizer has made donations to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for several years designed to help further the research needed to find a cure for breast cancer. We are constantly evaluating the charitable organizations with whom we partner to ensure they are a good fit for our brand and consumers. We appreciate you taking the time to share your feelings about yesterday’s news.

Yoplait Yogurt, one of Komen’s “Million Dollar Elite,” spent yesterday Tweeting this message to angry consumers:

Yoplait was not involved in decisions to change the Susan G Komen grant process. Q’s/concerns should be directed to Komen.

Yeah, that’s nice but sorry, you’re in it now. No one says you or American Airlines or Ford or Energizer or any other sponsor was consulted, but rule of thumb in a corporate relationship is that if you’re trying to score social responsibility points, you better pick the right partner. And when your partner decides picking sides in the culture wars is more important than their stated mission, then you’re gonna be stuck dealing with the fallout. Sorry, that’s life in the big city.

This isn’t over, not by a long shot. Because the religious zealots do not stop, we know this. First it was Komen and next it will be the American Cancer Society and after that it’s going to be the March of Dimes, and Kiwanis Clubs and Rotary Clubs and the YWCA. Think I’m joking? I’m not. Because this isn’t about abortion, or breast cancer, or even being pro-life. This is about destroying Planned Parenthood, anything it may have touched, anything it may have looked at — even in the remotest sense. This is how zealots work.

I’m sure lots of folks are hoping this storm will pass — folks at Race For The Cure, folks at Yoplait and Energizer and the other sponsors. And I really hope it doesn’t pass, because this is just the tip of the iceberg. So we need to show them that there are real-world consequences for making women’s health a pawn in a sick political game. We need to make caving to the zealots an even worse option than ignoring them.

Yes it’s sad. I can hear the concern-trolls already, hell I’ve seen them on the blogs and social media sites. “This doesn’t do anything to help those with breast cancer,” etc. etc. I know.

You know what’s really sad? Komen’s action hasn’t stopped one abortion from occurring. Not one. But it could stop thousands of women from getting cancer screenings. And similar actions targeting other organizations will stop those good works, too. So time to nip this shit in the bud, while people are paying attention.

So yes, it’s sad, but it’s a fight they started.

13 Comments

Filed under abortion, Planned Parenthood, religious right, women's rights

I’m Sure This Will Create Tons Of Jobs

Our Tennessee Republican lawmakers prove once again that they are unable to focus on anything that will actually make a difference to anyone. Now they’re wasting everyone’s time proposing a law that would authorize city and county governments to post the Ten Commandments.

And I have to say, of all the issues facing Tennessee right now, the Republicans have hit on another one that is very last on anyone’s list of priorities. So, way to go, folks. Still clueless about how to actually govern, but you’re great at yanking that chain which is connected directly to the wingnut amygdala.

Here’s my question for the Tennessee Republicans: Which version of the 10 Commandments should we post? The Roman Catholic and Lutheran version? The Protestant version? The Hebrew version? The one that actually contains 12, not 10? They’re all different, you know.

Will we post the one that says “Thou shalt not kill” or the one that says “Thou shalt not commit murder”? Pretty big difference, you know.

What about that whole Sabbath thing? Is it Sunday or Saturday? Since we’re supposed to keep it holy, shouldn’t we have that issue resolved before we start admonishing people about what to do on it?

Do you think it’s the government’s job to decide which version of the 10 Commandments is the “real” one? How would you Southern Baptists like it if President Obama just decided it for you. Would that work? I’m guessing not.

Here’s a handy chart showing some of the major differences among denominations. And this chart doesn’t even address the half of it when it comes to different interpretations of what the commandments actually say. But, for what it’s worth:

Think it doesn’t matter whether coveting your neighbor’s wife is forbidden in number eight or number seven? Wars have been fought over this stuff. Families have been torn apart, great schisms have occurred, the Reformation and revolutions. Do we want to reignite this debate? Does anyone seriously think the Anglican or Roman Catholic church wants to let the Southern Baptists decide which one is the right one?

Seriously, people? Are we really still having this conversation after how many centuries?

Here’s an idea for you religious folks: why don’t you all run off and put your pointy little heads together and figure this shit out. Once the Roman Catholics and the Jews and the Holy Rollers and the Southern Baptists and the Church of Christers and the Anglicans and the Presbyterians decide whose Scripture is the correct one, we can talk about posting it on taxpayer-funded buildings. Until then, STFU. We’ve got more important issues to worry about.

11 Comments

Filed under Christianity, religious right, Tennessee, Tennessee politics, TNGOP

No Escape Hatch

Funny, I was thinking just yesterday that we were coming on the date for another of Christian crackpot Harold Camping’s Rapture predictions. So I did a little Googling and learned that yes, tomorrow is the revised date. Am I good or what?

Camping seems to have dialed things back a notch since his last end-times prediction went down in flames. This made me laugh:

“I really am beginning to think as I’ve restudied these matters that there’s going to be no big display of any kind,” Camping said. “The end is going to come very, very quietly.”

What if there was a Rapture and nobody noticed? Ha ha ha … funny thought. Well look, folks, there’s no escape hatch. The rapture is not Biblical. It’s a fantasy cooked up by a previous century’s crackpots. No one’s going anywhere.

To quote Don Henley, there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here. There’s no Rapture magically beaming the holy out of this hot mess we’ve created. We have to figure this stuff out for ourselves. And that’s kind of the point of the Gospels. You want to be a good Christian? Learn to get along with your neighbor. Jesus would have wanted it that way.

Anyway, I’ve made plans for Saturday (and unlike last year, it does not involve a birthday party for toddlers.) I just have a feeling we’re all gonna still be aroumd.

6 Comments

Filed under rapture, religion, religious right

The Sin Of Sodom

STFU Pat Robertson, you old crank:

Following a story on New York passing marriage equality, Pat Robertson on The 700 Club warned that God will destroy America just like God destroyed Sodom, saying that “there’s never been a civilization ever in history that has embraced homosexuality and turned away from traditional fidelity, traditional marriage, traditional child-rearing, and has survived.”

Perhaps Robertson should open his Bible:

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” — Ezekiel 16:48-50

Arrogant, overfed, unconcerned, haughty, not helping the poor and needy … who does that describe to you?

Rev. William Sloane Coffin pretty much destroyed any religious basis for homophobia in his 1997 sermon, “Homophobia: The Last Respectable Prejudice.” Everyone should stop what they’re doing and read it right now (I’m afraid this transcript is riddled with typos, the sermon itself can be found in Coffin’s 1999 book, The Heart Is A Little To The Left: Essays On Public Morality).

It’s appalling to me that Robertson still has his platform. I see no difference between him and Fred Phelps’ cult.

7 Comments

Filed under GLBT, Pat Robertson, religious fundamentalism, religious right

>Growing Pains

>There’s a world of hurt and confusion in this story, as well as the de rigeur Tennessee connection:

Federal authorities last week arrested and charged a Tennessee pastor with aiding in the “international parental kidnapping” of a girl who has been missing since late 2009 and is at the center of a lengthy custody battle between her two mothers — a onetime lesbian couple who were in a civil union.

The two had a bitter falling-out after one became an evangelical Christian and denounced the other’s continued “homosexual lifestyle.”

[…]

Lisa Miller, the girl’s biological mother and a newly fervent Baptist, was championed by conservatives for her efforts to shield her daughter from homosexuality. A Vermont court had granted her primary custody of the daughter, Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, after Ms. Miller split with her partner, Janet Jenkins, in 2003. But the court also declared Ms. Jenkins to be a legal parent with liberal visiting rights, and Ms. Miller, who had moved with the girl to Virginia, defied repeated orders to permit the visits.

The case took a turn in late 2009, as the Vermont family court, citing Ms. Miller’s noncompliance, shifted primary custody to Ms. Jenkins. Ms. Miller and Isabella, who is now 9, disappeared. A warrant was issued for Ms. Miller’s arrest, and they have not been heard from since.

I’ve always said that the reason we need to have legal gay marriage is so we can have legal gay divorce. Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is an ugly business but if you’re gay, breaking up really is hard to do. Gay divorce is truly a legal nightmare for lots of reasons related to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, differing state laws, and all sorts of complications.

The Miller-Jenkins case is a perfect example of this. As I read the story in Sunday’s paper, I thought about how this whole situation reflected the cultural shifts of the past few decades — changes we’re still coming to terms with in society at large. The issues at play are those same cultural issues which surface every election and are a major factor in our politics.

Once upon a time in America a situation like this would never exist: there would be no doubt as to whether a court would award custody or visitation rights to an avowed lesbian, there would be no question as to who was right or wrong in this scenario. For that matter, it would be pretty much a given that a same-sex couple would be infertile. But the past 30-40 years have seen major cultural changes, not to mention medical advances. Not all of these changes have been embraced by the totality of our religious and legal institutions. We’re still sifting through it all, and I’d say it will take about a generation for all of this stuff to finally settle out.

And I have no doubt which way it will go. The culture wars are over and the right has lost; they just don’t know it yet. Throughout its history America has always expanded its table to invite ever more groups of people to democracy’s banquet; we’ve never taken seats away. That doesn’t mean it’s been an easy or effortless thing, far from it. And I think a lot of the knee-jerk legislation we see in places like Arizona and Tennessee attacking GLBT citizens and immigrants and the poor are all just a response to this societal shift we’re going through right now.

We live in a post-Christian, post-racial, post-Roe-v-Wade, post-internet, post-biomedical engineering, post climate change, post-you-name-it age, and that’s a lot of change for one society to handle. It’s inevitable that we’ve splintered as we have, it’s a predictable response by a large group of people to a lot of change. But I have great expectations for the next 20 years.

We’re just going through some growing pains, that’s all.

3 Comments

Filed under divorce, gay equality, marriage, religious right, Tennessee

>You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out

>[UPDATE]:

Don’t know if this was before or after he was briefly jailed for refusing to pay a $1 bond. What a dufus.

———————-

File this one under shit you can’t make up:

Quran-burning Florida pastor’s gun accidentally fires in Michigan

DEARBORN, Mich. — A controversial anti-Muslim pastor from Florida accidentally fired his .40-caliber handgun while he was at a FOX television studio Thursday night, according to police.

Terry Jones, 59, of Gainesville, was getting in the passenger side of his car at 11:10 p.m. after an interview when the Taurus handgun went off, sending a bullet into the floorboard, Southfield Police Lt. Nick Loussia said Friday.

I may be rethinking my position on gun control. [/sarcasm]

10 Comments

Filed under gun control, religious right

>Stupid? Corrupt? Or Immoral?

>That’s really the only thing I have to say in regards to this story. Yes, John Boehner took time away from perfecting his golf game this weekend to come to Nashville and lecture the National Religious Broadcasters on the morality of the national debt.

I really don’t think I need to be lectured on financial management by someone who put this nation into debt in the first place. And I really don’t want to be lectured on morality by someone who has voted for poverty, war, death, torture, fear, and destruction of the earth, air and seas at every opportunity.

Nor do I need to be lectured on morality by someone who seems to think the national budget should be balanced on the backs of middle class and low-income working people, while maintaining the wealthiest people in this country should be allowed to feast at the nation’s banquet table without paying a dime. Just three months ago he was shedding tears about the need to extend Bush-era tax cuts for America’s millionaires; now he’s telling us the nation is broke? Gee, I wonder how that happened.

No, my question is why the National Religious Broadcasters wants to be lectured on morality by someone like John Boehner? What does this say about you folks? It says quite a lot, really. These are folks who sorely need to have their false gospel challenged by someone like Jim Wallis, the evangelical leader and social justice crusader who had this to say about the GOPs budget priorities:

U.S. military spending is now 56 percent of the world’s military expenditures and is more than the military budgets of the next 20 countries in the world combined. To believe all that money is necessary for genuine American security is simply no longer credible. To say it is more important than bed nets that prevent malaria, vaccines that prevent deadly diseases, or child health and family nutrition for low-income families is simply immoral. Again, these are ideological choices, not smart fiscal ones. To prioritize endless military spending over critical, life-saving programs for the poor is to reverse the biblical instruction to beat our swords into plowshares. The proposed budget cuts would beat plowshares into more swords. These priorities are not only immoral, they are unbiblical.

This is a message that the membership of the National Religious Broadcasters needs to hear — these people who operate Christian radio and television stations all around the country, the people pretending to serve families across the public airwaves (here’s a fun exercise: Google “safe for the whole family” and see what you get.)

But they don’t want to hear that message. Why should they? It’s so much easier to stay in their happy place. Theirs is a smug, self-satisfied faith which sees worldly prosperity not as evil but as a reward from heaven. This allows them to give a “Faith And Freedom Award” to Rep. Mike Pence, who just denied poor women access to pap smears, breast exams, STD testing, cancer treatment and the like. How’s that for today’s Christians, eh? No, National Religious Broadcasters, you need to stay in your comfort zone, where Jesus showers his love upon the righteous — you know, the wealthy white people driving around in fancy cars. Let’s not worry our pretty little heads about the folks who have been struggling thanks to the policies of political leaders you support. That might be icky.

Carry on, NRB.

7 Comments

Filed under deficit, economy, John Boehner, religious right

>Raging Christian Asshole Of The Week

>That would be the American Family Assn.’s Bryan Fischer, who directed his intolerance toward Native Americans:

In a post published Monday on the Rightly Concerned blog – a project of the AFA – Fischer railed on native peoples for not being Christian, claiming it’s their own fault that they lost their land and were forced onto reservations to cope with terrible living conditions.

“Superstition, savagery and sexual immorality” morally disqualified Native Americans from “sovereign control of American soil,” Fischer said. That, plus the superior battle skills of Europeans gave the latter “rightful and legal sovereign control” of American land through what he delicately described as “the right of conquest.” Fischer went on to blame poverty and alcoholism on Indian reservations on Native Americans themselves, because they “continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition” and refuse to come into “the light of Christianity” and assimilate “into Christian culture.”

Sure, ‘cause as we all know, there aren’t any Christians who experience poverty or alcoholism.

And I have to say, this notion that genocide, pillage and plunder are perfectly okay because you believe yourself culturally superior is a unique interpretation of Scripture. Sadly, the history of Western Civilization is filled with examples of genocidal monsters who believed exactly as Fischer does. Fortunately, today we hold up people like this to scorn and public shame, for that is surely what they deserve.

For their part, the Native American Rights Fund responded:

NARF declines to comment because the article is not worth dignifying with a reply.

I can appreciate that stance: when you’re on the receiving end of something so outrageous I can see the necessity of turning the other cheek, which is a piece of Scripture Fischer apparentoy hasn’t read. But the rest of us need to be aware that Bryan Fischer attitudes are still out there and being disseminated across the airwaves.

I do wonder how influential the AFA is these days. One failed boycott after another (Home Depot, Walt Disney Co., 7-Eleven, American Airlines, etc. all seem to be doing just fine, thank you) would seem to indicate, not very much. Then again, last month Newsweek called Bryan Fischer “a media darling.” Fischer, of course, is the same nutwagon who back in December claimed “President Obama wants to give America back to the Indians.”

And of course, you have presidential hopefuls like Tim Pawlenty appearing on Fischer’s radio program last month. I’d like to be fair to T-Paw and point out that this was before Fischer’s inflammatory comments about Native Americans but I can’t. Because Fischer has a history of making equally inflammatory, hateful comments about gays, Muslims, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, etc. (a nice little run-down of Fischer’s hate speech can be heard here.)

I really find it astonishing that conservative candidates like Tim Pawlenty turn a blind eye to this hateful rhetoric in a craven effort to reach out to Fischer’s audience. Really? Really? You want the homophobic, intolerant vote? Seriously? You really feel the need to suck up to a guy who repeatedly makes inflammatory, intolerant statements?

What does this say about you? And what does this say about your party? What, have you folks not alienated enough minority groups? You’ve got to find more ethnic groups to drive away from the Republican Party? Is that it?

I really don’t get it.

7 Comments

Filed under American Family Assn., religious right, right-wing hate