Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oklahoma Baptist Paper Takes Lying to Pravda Level

I never thought I would see the day that Baptists resorted to not just lying, but damnable lying. Photo shopping a picture to present a false story, complete with forged signatures of the Governor of Oklahoma & the Sec. of State, is not just lying but propaganda on par with Pravda.

Sally Kern is the OK state senator who has a habit of saying things that make Christians look really stupid. (See Big Daddy Weave's blog for some links.) Seems she has been trying to get a Christian Nation proclamation (under the guise of a "Morality" proclamation) passed in the OK Legislature. You know: more David Barton bull & Randy Forbes fibs.

Somehow the Baptist Messenger --- the official Oklahoma Baptist newspaper --- ran a picture of the governor signing the proclamation, complete with the Oklahoma state deal & signature of the Oklahoma Sec. of State. Problem is the proclamation was not passed; the governor did not sign it; the entire thing was a downright, out-&-out lie.

Thou shalt not bear false witness ... --- Exodus 20:16. KJV

Bruce Prescott at Mainstream Baptist has a piece on the story. The Lost has some details.

Don't say things, or make people think things, that ain't ... --- Exodus 20:16, TBAR version.

I understand that the Baptist Messenger has issued an apology. That is not enough. Apologies are for mistakes, errors, or accidents. This goes far beyond those.

Even if the people at the Baptist Messenger mistakenly ran the picture, why would they have such a thing in their possession anyway? A picture that is photo shopped? Why? It can't possibly be a joke --- there is nothing funny about the story, even if it were true. Did the people at the Baptist Messenger believe they were doing God's Will, like the Taliban does with Allah, & wanted faith running the state gov't? Are the Tali-Christians taking control of the Baptist Messenger & the gov't of the state of Oklahoma?

Where is the sanity in all this?

Don't say things that ain't true, no matter how bad you want it to be true. --- Exodus 20:16, my oldest son's version when he was 5 years old.

Maybe the people at the Baptist Messenger need to take a course in secular ethics since Biblical teachings seem to have no meaning to them

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Republicans Try to Torpedo Hate Crimes Bill with Amendments

Religion Clause: Opponents of Hate Crimes Bill Add Amendments That Make It More Contentious

Yes, it is a parliamentary procedure tactic that is allowed.

Yes, the DEMs have done it too.

Yes, I blasted the DEMs for this as well.

No, it doesn't make it any more ethical.

If Sessions and the rest of the GOP want to keep the Hate Crimes Legislation from being voted on, fine. Debate the issue on its own merits. But don't play this political game & then cry the DEMs aren't playing fair when they do the same thing.

By trying to add the capital punishment onto the bill to divide the DEMs & make the bill so ridiculous, it only shows that politics is more important than substance.

The stench of hypocrisy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chris Rodda Accepts Randy Forbes Challenge to Debate HR 397

Talk To Action I Accept Rep. Randy Forbes's Challenge for Someone to Debate Him

Forbes said he would debate anyone, anywhere on his "most well documented resolution." So now Chris Rodda has accepted the challenge.

A few things:

1. I seriously doubt Forbes will follow through with his promise to enter the debate. He knows he can't handle someone who actually knows the history.

2. Chris Rodda will tear him to shreds because Forbes simply repeated what David Barton fed him --- a complete reservoir of footnoted bull.

3. Nearly any history major would be able to debate Forbes on this. Not that hard.

4. This really needs to get more media play to show the incompetency of Barton & Forbes.

Let's hope Forbes has just enough integrity to accept the debate challenge.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

MO Schools Make Christianity a Most Favored Faith

AU Commends Appellate Court Decision Against Bible Distribution In Mo. Public School Americans United

You would think that by now everyone should know that America has as one of its First Freedoms the separation of church & state. It is not a difficult concept. The church doesn't run the state & the state doesn't run the church. The gov't may not give any faith a Most Favored Status & must never allow a gov't forum to become a bully pulpit at tax payer expense.

This is even more true for impressionable school children. It is simply not the gov't place to decide what religious instruction should be given to the kids. That is the role of parents & private places of worship. On school grounds, faith is not to be subsidized to a captive audience. It is common sense & common courtesy.

Evidently not true in one MO school district.

When a school system fosters one faith by allowing religious text distribution, it is opening the door that one day a different faith may do the same should it become the majority. It was that very argument that Madison said was just common sense in Remonstrance.

Evidently not true in one MO school district.
When a school system allows one faith to encroach upon children regardless of the wishes of the kids' parents, it is just plain rude.

Evidently not true in one MO school district.

So when a school system is told that allowing students in its charge to be proselytized by the faith it deems most appropriate, it is also breaking the law.

The court finally ruled that Bible distribution is simply not allowed. That means any religious text is not allowed. The only way my faith can be protected is if we maintain the strict separation of church & state --- that means I must treat others the same way I want to be treated. That concept should be written down somewhere. It's important.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sotomayor and the Rule of Law

On my way to a meeting this afternoon, I had the chance to listen to an NPR interview with Senator Grassley about Judge Sotomayor & found the sentiment he presented to be troubling.

I should never be surprised but hypocrisy does rile me up a bit.

Grassley made the charge I've heard several times from conservatives: judges should never legislate from the bench. Now that is a fair statement. I agree with it. In fact, I don't think any reasonable person would disagree with it. It is the job of the legislators to make laws & the job of the courts to interpret & apply, but never change laws by simply re-interpreting them. Obviously, that doesn't mean courts shouldn't apply laws in newer ways as society evolves, e.g., the 4th Amendment not only says the gov't can't search my home without a warrant, but the gov't cannot snatch my emails from cyberspace or listen to my phone calls without a warrant either.

Sen. Grassley, evidently, agrees with me that judges should interpret the law, not make laws. He said to NPR:

"...I'm concerned that judging based on empathy is really just legislating from the bench."


"A legislator is to pass laws, because if you don't like the laws, you can vote them out of office. But in the case of a judge, they have lifetime appointments. You can't vote them out of office. So under our checks and balances system of government, it's very important that judges judge — in other words, interpret the law — and that legislators make law," he says.

Thus, I was a bit confused when my fellow conservatives were so elated when the NJ Firefighters case in which Sotomayor wrote for the majority was overturned by the Supreme Court. The case dealt with 18 white firefighters who scored high on a promotions exam, but where not given promotion based on that test since no black firefighters passed the particular exam.

Not fair! say most of my fellow conservatives. Agree. It is not fair. The problem is, it is what the law has said since the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. The rules were interpreted & the courts always ruled, that if a test was not passed by enough minority participants, it was assumed the test was unfair. That's was it. 'Nuff said. It was simply a given that there needed to be a Do Over.

The rational behind this interpretation was sound: if this was not the way the law was going to be applied, then it would be fairly easy to design a test to intentionally exclude minorities who, in1965, were generally much less educated due to intentional discrimination. Thus, it was interpreted that there had to be an automatic re-test because proving a city intentionally designed a test to discriminate would be difficult, & proving a test was internally flawed is even harder. So the law was interpreted & applied that if minorities didn't pass the test, there had to be a re-test.

And that is precisely how Sotomayor ruled in the NJ firefighter case. It might not be fair in 2009 but that is the law.

Then the hypocrisy comes to bat: the US Supreme Court disregarded the law as written, applied & interpreted, & instead legislated from the bench a new law. It is no longer enough that for 45 years we've said the results are enough for a Do Over; now there has to be hard evidence to throw out the results.

Ok. I can see how that might be fair (maybe.) But isn't that the job of the legislators? Is that not doing the very thing the conservatives railed at the liberal judges for doing? If they want the law to say that test results are not enough to prompt a retest, shouldn't that be written into law instead of changing 45 years of established legal principle?

Sotomayor followed the law in her ruling. It was the conservative US Supreme Court that "legislated from the bench" this time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Linux & the Great Computer Crash

I should have known it was coming but like the procrastinator I am, I didn't do anything about it. My laptop was a screamer four years ago: sleek; up-to-date; da bomb. After four years I knew it was on its last sector malfunction but I just didn't want to buy another.

Now, it has died.

Well, sorta.

It died but my oldest son performed a resurrection miracle of sorts. My oldest is a senior at Berry College & is --- literally --- a rocket scientist. I should say, rather, he will be officially in another 7 months. He has been on me to use Linux for a while now but I was too familiar with Windows & really didn't understand all he was saying. Yes, I'm getting older.

So when the dinosaur died & the bad sectors meant no restoration, he put Linux on the machine.

Why didn't my machine die earlier? I love it! I don't think there is any reason to use Windows anymore.

The bad things is that having a computer again means less time spent doing other things & the last few weeks have been, I must say, rather productive.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Small Weddings

I've no idea how many weddings I've performed over the years. At least a hundred. One weekend I had 3 weddings. That was a killer. I can remember quite a few weekends where I've had an early afternoon & then a late afternoon wedding.

And I really don't like weddings.

Really. I don't.

Now before you call me a grouch & all, just hear me out. Weddings are fun; the fuss & mess & expense just doesn't cut it. I don't get it. None of it.

At larger weddings, the weekend is shot & my nerves need a serious vacation. Mothers are always in a tizzy. Bridzilla is ready to explode. The groom just wants it to be over. The guests are either snobs or ticked off --- or both. No such thing a a perfect wedding but the Cinderella Story is all the Miss Princess has dreamed about & her dad will pay anything to give her a helluva party.

I've had everything go wrong at weddings: fires; a streaker; storms; electrical outages; people pass out; kids being disruptive; rings dropped; ticks (no joke) found on the flower girl; never had anyone back out at the last minute --- yet.

Big weddings are just too stressful on everyone. Too expensive too.

Oddly enough, the weddings I most fondly remember are the small events. Outside or inside. Just a few friends & family. A small snack-finger food buffet. Lots of soft drinks, wine & beer for the guests. A cookout or cozy dinner reception at a non-upscale resturant. Good music. More like a family get together than a "wedding." No stress. No fuss. Everyone is happy. Everyone has a good time. And the couple starts out their life together without a debt.

Then there are the pictures at the Super Bowl Weddings. Sure, the professional photographer can give the really neat album but honestly, how long is that album even noticed? I don't think we've looked at our wedding album in 20 years. I know no one else has. But guess where it is? Sitting right slap dab in the middle of the living room as if it is the single most important thing in the whole danged house. I keep waiting for a guest to come in one day & ask to see it. Never has happened.

However, if there is ever a house fire & the people are interviewed on TV, what is it that the woman always says? We can't replace sentimental things like wedding pictures. Geez Almighty! Take a few snapshots with a disposable camera & put 'em in a safe deposit box for Pete's sake.

If there is ever a fire & I have a chance to get anything out, I'm grabbing my lap top & every old T-shirt I can carry --- you know, important stuff.

Smaller weddings are just better on everyone.