Re: Sessions: ‘A dangerous movement is eroding our religious freedom’

Conservative groups immediately praised Sessions for promising to protect deeply held religious convictions, though critics of the Trump administration have repeatedly voiced concerns that the attorney general’s stance undercuts LGBT rights and favors the rights of Christians over those of other faiths.

Eh. I don’t think religious freedom should be used to discriminate against LGBT people. We all have a right to practice religion right up to the point where it infringes on another person’s right.

Far Right Says they love Constitution, yet doesn’t seem to understand it.

I read about some protestors in Nashville. Here’s a fun quote.

“I’m a United States veteran and a citizen of North Carolina, which is in the United States,” Hoyle says. “I swore an oath to defend the Constitution, and the Constitution says nothing about marriage, and a court can’t decide on marriage. No judge can make a law. A judge cannot rule against the people. We’re for natural marriage.”

Multiple issues here really. The Constitution doesn’t say anything about marriage but the Fourteenth Amendment does have an important concept called the Equal Protection Clause. In short, if there are laws then those laws apply equally to all no matter their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Actually, a judge can rule against the people. What if a liberal state decided to vote and say that religious people can no longer protest against gay people getting married? Well, that law would be appealed and eventually ruled as unconstitutional no matter if everybody in California wanted.

Natural marriage is an oxymoron. I’d say there are probably more examples of homosexuality in nature than there are examples monogamy.

On Sarah Palin’s book by Dan Savage, a rant (nsfw, language)

This is so awesome I just have to share it here. Please go read the whole post as it’s pretty awesome.

So…

I’m still deep in the weeds of the introduction, which is mostly about the special awesomeness that is a Palin Family Christmas: cinnamon buns in the oven, grandchildren playing in the snow, powerful guns and high-capacity ammo clips under the tree. But the Palin family’s Christmas is in danger. Storm clouds are gathering. Sarah fears her family won’t be able to “joyfully and openly celebrate” Christmas with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and guns powerful enough to murder 20 first graders in five minutes. Years of “relentless attacks” on Christmas—people saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas,” the ACLU insisting that the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”) applies just like the Second Amendment—are threatening to “drain the joy from our public spaces as well as from our minds and hearts.”

What a fucking drama queen.

There are lots of Americans out there whose religious holidays aren’t also national holidays. The country doesn’t shut down—and public spaces aren’t turned into temples—on Yom Kippur or Diwali or Naw-Ruz. Now, either Jews, Hindus, and Zoroastrians are made of stronger stuff than Sarah Palin… or Sarah Palin is a shit-talking pimp who makes money playing to the carefully cultivated persecution complexes of conservative Christian rubes who wouldn’t know what religious persecution was if it sat on their faces and shit in their mouths. (Maybe that’s not an either/or.)

And if I may: Gay people have been persecuted for years, for centuries, for motherfucking millennia. Really persecuted, primarily by people of faith. And our persecution didn’t take the form of straight people wishing us well but failing to use precisely the right phrase. No, we were burned at the stake, arrested, imprisoned, committed, lobotomized, thrown out of our homes, and fired from our jobs; our children were taken from us, our partners were barred from our hospital rooms during medical emergencies, and on and on and on. And yet… somehow… the joy of giving and receiving blowjobs wasn’t drained from our minds and hearts.

If centuries of persecution didn’t ruin blowjobs for gay people, Sarah, “happy holidays” isn’t going to destroy anyone’s Christmas.

By the way, the persecution of gay people by people of faith continues: Gay sex was recriminalized in India last week after a coalition of Muslim and Christian organizations, among others, asked the Indian Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that had legalized consensual gay sex. People will go to prison.

Someone wished you “happy holidays” at the mall, Sarah? Cry us a fucking river.

Re: Activists rally – and pray – as Boy Scouts vote on gays – U.S. News

via Activists rally – and pray – as Boy Scouts vote on gays – U.S. News.

“The BSA’s executive committee unanimously presented this resolution because it stays true to Scouting’s mission and remains focused on kids,” Perry wrote. “No matter what your opinion is on this issue, America needs Scouting, and our policies must be based on what is in the best interest of our nation’s children.

Emphasis mine but what? How is discriminating against gay people in the best interest of our nations children?

 

On NBC News: Get Rid of the Bible on Inauguration Day

This tweet flashed by on my timeline this morning. Since it was Lou Ann Zelenik sharing the link I felt compelled to get a laugh at whatever inanity she was getting riled up about. She cherry picked a quote from the linked article (which itself is a quote from the YouTube video below):

It turns out there is no better way for a pastor to get kicked out of the inauguration ceremony than quoting the Bible

I think Ms. Zelenik probably just skimmed the article and certainly didn’t watch the 9 minute video of Mr. O’Donnell explanation. I think she just saw the little quoted piece and felt that her type of people (knee jerk religious conservatives, usually young earther types) would be outraged by it and feel that President Obama was probably infringing on Mr. Giglio religious freedom by not allowing him to give the benediction.

Anyway, watch the video as it’s most excellent.

Can someone please explain prayer to me?

It seems most people think prayer works this way. Lady prays, is involved in an accident but God saved her; presumably because she just prayed.

From Facebook...
From Facebook…

Most people seem to believe that things happen according to God’s plan and that everything happens for a reason. If everything happens according to God’s plan then why bother praying about it? You’re going to be protected no matter since it’s part of The Plan. I really have a problem with the God’s plan line of thought anyway because that means that 6 millions Jews went into the oven because of God’s plan but that’s another post I suppose.

If God gets the credit for saving the woman in the Facebook post because she prayed, who gets the blame for allowing stuff like this? If you subscribe to the idea that God saves people then you have to conclude that God choose not to intervene.

I get slightly annoyed by the overly simplistic worldview of people like Mrs Miller. She was involved in a minor accident in slippery conditions. She was “saved” by the engineering that went into her car and luck, no super natural explanation required.

Christmas as an Atheist

My thoughts on Christmas as an Atheist.

Christmas has never been a religious holiday for me. My dad was an atheist, though not a secular humanist type atheist. He was the type of atheist that didn’t want to be bothered by the people coming around on Saturday. If I’m honest, I don’t remember hardly anything about Christmas with my dad. I don’t remember us having Christmas trees nor do I remember really opening presents.

When I was 12, my dad passed away and I came to live with my mom. My mom is really religious now but she wasn’t back then. We never said grace at meals and we rarely went to church on Sunday. By rarely, I mean I can count the number of times I remember on a single hand. The only religious thing I can remember doing while growing up with my mom was going to a vacation bible school thing one summer; that’s it.

Christmas for me is about spending time with loved ones, friends and family. It’s a time of rest and relaxation and again being thankful for our lives and the people in them.

It’s just been in the last 10-12 years that I’ve realized that Christmas is a religious holiday for other people. I realize that some people could have been raised celebrating Christmas as a birthday party for Jesus just like I was raised without a single mention of Christmas and Jesus in the same sentence.

We live in the US and that still means Christmas can be what we make it. If you want to celebrate Christmas with birthday cake for Jesus, a crucifix as your tree topper and little Jesus ornaments on your tree then that’s completely fine with me. If I’m invited to your house and this is the way you celebrate the holiday, I won’t even be offended. I’m not offended if you say Merry Christmas (or not), Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa or any other type of greeting you want to use.

I’d be curious to read about the experiences of people who were raised in religious families where Christmas and Jesus are closely tied together. What is your Christmas Day like?

Praying for Hurricane Sandy Victims and a Better Way to Help

Anytime there is a big natural disaster like Hurrican Sandy, I see people in my timelines saying that they’re praying for the people in the path of destruction. I’m always reminded of one of my favoriate quotes:

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

I understand why people do this. It makes them feel like they’re doing something. Or maybe they’re using it in the same sense as “I’m sending happy thoughts/karma/vibes your way” but praying is literally the least that a person can do to help victims of natural disasters.

If you really want to help, donate to the Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org

You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 on your cell phone bill.

I’m an Atheist and I have many Christian friends

I’m an atheist. I have many Christian friends and family members. I used to have this internal conflict about how I’m supposed to feel towards my Christian friends and family. I would have this internal dialog wondering how can I respect people who believe some of the crazy things that they say they believe. The earth is 6k years old? People used to live to be 900 years old? There is an all loving and powerful being who answers prayers? Those types of ideas don’t line up with what we observe in the world but I love my friends and family. They are kind, good people who are otherwise mostly logical and completely normal and rational. So how do I resolve that internal conflict?

I was listening to an Oh No It’s Ross and Carrie podcast where they were interviewing Phil Zuckerman and he said something that resonated with me. Paraphrasing, he said that it doesn’t really matter what people say they believe, it only matters how they act and what they do. If they’re kind, good people it doesn’t matter that they think the earth is only 6k years old. I backed it up and listened to that section a couple times and within minutes I felt more at peace about my atheism and all of the Christian people that I care about.

I try to apply that principle to my dealings with all people. It doesn’t matter to me that Mitt Romney thinks magic underwear can protect him from evil. I don’t judge him on his religion because he doesn’t wear it on his shoulder. In that same vein, “it’s my religion” is never a valid reason for bad behavior like trying to prevent people from having equal rights (marriage equality).