Friday, October 30, 2009

Pat Robertson & Halloween

My post from yesterday involved the most bizarre article I've seen in a long, long time. Although I've heard uninformed people make such statements in the past, I never dreamed I'd read something like on Pat Robertson's CBN or in Charisma magazine. Never. While I have long said that Charisma is nothing more than Corinth Revisited & a place for Hucksters of the Word to hide with a sense of legitimacy, that article is beyond anything resembling rational thought.

Then I catch this link from Rob Boston's latest piece on the Americans United Wall of Separation. If you need a reason to be concerned about how outlandish the Religious Right has become; if you have forgotten why there needs to be a unified front to combat this sort of anti-intellectualism masquerading as faith; or perhaps you just need a good laugh. Regardless, take a gander at this link from good ol' Pat Robertson's CBN regarding the evils of Halloween.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demons & Halloween Candy

UPDATE: This article in question has been removed from the CBN website. I wonder why? I've posted several of the quotes below. Here is a cached copy of the original article. The same article is posted on the Charisma magazine's site.

Sometimes I read something that is so outlandish, so crazy, so out there, that words cannot express my utter dismay.

This article by Kimberly Daniels on Pat Robertson's CBN website has got to be the most down right silliest I've read all year. In fact, I'm going to nominate it for Goof Ball Article of the Decade. It will at least get Honorable Mention.

Ms. Daniels has declared war on Halloween, saying it is a Satanic holiday. OK. We've all heard that before from the uninformed. But Ms. Daniels adds a new twist to this: demons will come into your home through the candy your kids collect. Even worse, according to Ms. Daniels, if you buy Halloween decorations, demons are going to invade your home or church because they search for those colors & decorations.

That's right, ladies & gentlemen. You have just swung open the door to evil, crime, hate, Satanic worship, child sacrifice & even the Democratic Party if you buy M&M's to pass out to the kiddies during Halloween.

Let's get a load of some of these quotes:

If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy—Lucifer's! --- I can just see Church Lady saying this one.

Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son). --- Can someone point out a reference for this in the Scripture?

During Halloween, time-released curses are always loosed. A time-released curse is a period that has been set aside to release demonic activity and to ensnare souls in great measure. --- A time-released curse? Have you been drinking way-early egg nog, Ms. Daniels?

For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches. --- I'm just gonna let that one sink in for a minute.

Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. --- Ooooh K.

Even the colors of Halloween (orange, brown and dark red) are dedicated. --- Ms. Daniels, have you ever noticed the colors of the leaves in the Fall? Orange. Brown. Red. Is God dedicating things to Satan?

When nice church folk lay out their pumpkins on the church lawn, fill their baskets with nuts and herbs, and fire up their bonfires, the demons get busy. --- I am just amazed at this one.

I have prayed for witches who are addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon. --- Someone needs to take those people as well as Ms. Daniels to the nearest psych facility for a complete evaluation.

Then Ms. Daniels says that there is actually sex with demons & child sacrifice at Halloween. That's right: sex with demons. Child sacrifice. Really? Could we please have some evidence for these sex acts & the child sacrifice? In fact, the evidence is there is no child sacrifice. It's hype. Rumor. Scare tactics. Ms. Daniels is spreading gossip & falsehood, something that is certainly not a fruit of the spirit since there is no evidence there is any child sacrifice, & I doubt seriously she can prove sex with demons.

We believers are often portrayed as backward, ignorant, silly & gullible. It is stuff like Ms. Daniels has penned that only hurts the Message we proclaim.

Please, do us all a favor, Ms Daniels: don't say anything else. Just don't.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Theocrat Huckabee Leading GOP Polls for 2012

I guess if there is any consolation to the latest CNN poll it is that a Southern Baptist is leading the pack for the Republican nomination. Wait. What possessed me to say that? Must be a Fundamentalist Flashback. I need to turn on some Chris Tomlin & open up Peterson's The Message to bring me back into the fold of Grace.

Seriously, the latest CNN poll shows theocratic-leaning, former Arkansas governor, former Southern Baptist pastor & part-time political pundit Mike Huckabee to be leading in the poll of likely GOP voters for the 2012 presidential race. Oh, goodie! This only shows how far out of touch the likely GOP voters are with mainstream America, & how far extremist the GOP has gone as a party. 

Let's just have a round of Prohibition to celebrate.

I guess it is some consolation that Sarah Palin came in second. Second. Not first. How she can quit her position as governor to finish a book, go on the talk, e.g., rhetoric, circuit to whip the masses into a Gospel frenzy, & still come in second? Maybe Levi should have had an affair with Ms. Moose Hunter Herself instead of the 1st Daughter to get more support from the 20 Somethings out there.

Nonetheless, it was only 2 months ago that Mitt Romney held the lead of likely GOP voters, another interesting fact since most Fundamentalists view Mormons as 2 steps removed from Islamo-Fascists & only slightly better than Satanists.

Then there is the other part of the poll: none of the names on the GOP Likely List comes close to beating Obama. Hmmm. For all the complaining about Obama; the scare talk; the rantings & ravings; the whatever; Obama still has the edge over any GOP challenger.

Maybe there is hope for the Libertarian Party yet ... & America too, for that matter.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

TX Executed an Innocent Man: Cameron Todd Willingham

Let me make this perfectly clear at the beginning: I am all for the death penalty. I have no problem with the state extracting the ultimate liberty from a person when the crime is so heinous & so indisputable that no other punishment would be suitable. No problem with death penalty in those cases.

The problem is those cases are so rare that the death penalty is almost not an option.

Since 1973 & as of March 2009, there have been 132 death row prisoners exonerated. That is a huge number. 132. People who were sentenced to die but were innocent. The jurors were convinced the evidence was undeniable & after all the expensive appeals, the sentence stood. It wasn't until new evidence was found that innocent people were set free.

How many more innocent people were actually executed by the state?

And when we look at the disparity of race & economics & educational levels of people on death row, verses the sentences for the same crime of middle-to-upper class whites, it should cause another pause: we are executing the poorest, the minorities, & the people with the least ability to have an adequate defense.

Then there is the case of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in TX for the arson murder of his children. The saddest part of it all is that the investigation findings were that of old wives tales instead of real science. The forensics is that it was an accidental fire & not arson. (See New Yorker article by David Gann.)

There was a 20/20 piece on this a few months ago & the judge who heard the case was adamant: the fire was set by Willingham. The evidence proved it, evidence, he said, was based on Willingham's past as a down-right mean human being. Fine. Maybe Willingham was an SOB but we don't execute people for being mean.

And the judge said there was a Devil Worship angle. That's right: Willingham liked heavy metal music, a sure sign of Devil worship. (No, I'm not making this up.) And to make matters worse, the burn pattern was in the design of a pentagram, something the educated fire researchers say was mere happenstance (if even believed the burn pattern made that at all.)

Now we learn that the TX governor may have been playing politics with the Willingham case & tried to stone wall efforts to look into the possibility of executing an innocent man. (See article.)

The problem is that we cannot go back & apologize to Willingham if we find out TX made its decision based on bad science, bad logic, a completely ignorant judge, & a political motivation to get votes by a TX governor. Once we carry out the sentence, it cannot be reversed.

There is a reason why the death penalty appeals process is lenghty & costly for the state: we value human liberty so much that we are willing to go to enormous lengths to keep from executing an innocent person. We even hold as a regal truth that we would rather 9 guilty go free to make sure just 1 innocent is not deprived of liberty. However, in our quest for vengeance --- not justice --- we have lost sight of liberty & how valuable that liberty should be, & that the priority of gov't is to protect all people, even those who have committed heinous crimes.

As much as I think some criminals deserve to be fried like a Crispy Critter, the cost is just not worth it --- the cost to the tax payer & the cost to our collective soul if we blow it, as in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Life without parole is cheaper & puts criminals in a place where he will always be subject to to the penalties deemed by society, but with the chance to live should new evidence come to light later on.

It's time we told our brethren in TX to stop with the vengeance of the Taliban & start acting like Americans who value liberty.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Somebody Finally Standing Up to Orly Taitz

Orly Taitz. The button works but the doorbell ain't ringing. 

That about sums it up.

Now a Federal judge in GA has finally told her "no more."

A summary is not good enough. You really need to read the whole article to get the full effect.

Thanks to my good friend at GA Mountains and Beyond for the update.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Demons & Berry College

Ok. This is a bit personal to me because my oldest (of whom I am extremely proud) is a Resident Advisor at Berry College. Berry is a good school; a dang fine school. I'm glad he made the decision to go there, though I still sometimes wish he had gone to Shorter College. But I digress ...

Here's the link to the Berry College Viking article. My son won't really discuss this with me, saying they have been told not to. So I didn't pry & he didn't volunteer.

The story is that another Resident Advisor at the Winshape portion of Berry College performed an exorcism on another student. That's right: an exorcism. The RA had gone on a mission trip to India & had supposedly seen many exorsims performed over there & somehow decided that was the warranted situation in his dorm room during this Bible study.

And then, to really make things worse, he sent out a campus email detailing the event.

So here's the problem: it looks bad. There is no verification process. It sounds so backwards. And it gives Christians & Berry College a black eye.

Winshape is supposed to be a subset of Berry for Christian students committed to their faith. It was begun by Truett Cathy as a means to assist students & these students used to be required to work at Chic-fil-A while in school, though that requirement has since been lifted.

The problem is that Winshape --- as with any faith --- can become a hotbed of extremism, be it Christian or Muslim or anything else. And that can get dangerous, even doing serious harm.

I have no doubt the student believes what he did was right & that it was an actual exorcism. Maybe. I seriously, seriously doubt it, but maybe. However, that student on whom the exorcism was performed needed medical & psychological help in addition to genuine spiritual counseling. What the RA did was to run like a bull in a china shop into a situation he knows little about, has no training, & could have done more harm than good.

Berry College is a good school but with such a program like Winshape --- & the mega bucks that come with it --- there is a danger that a good school with a long, rich tradition could become the hotbed of a fanaticism. Tali-Christian.

And the world laughs at genuine faith over things like this. 

Christians are the faith's own worst enemies.

Interview with the Student who was exorcised

Fox News article

Atlanta Journal Constitution article

US News & World Report article

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Only in Alabama

Sometimes a story is just too good to pass up without comment. & such is this most worthy news event, from Albertville, Alabama. That's right, Alabama: the only thing that separates the great state of Georgia from Mississippi. Thankfully.

This story is almost as good as the one about the two guys in Alabama playing catch with a rattlesnake --- the one who died, lost the game.

Not quite as good as that one, but close.

No, this is about a mom who lets her teenage daughter ride in a cardboard box atop a minivan, but it was all safe because the box was secured to the van with a coat hanger. 

Honest to Pete. Can't make up this stuff.

Here's the news story.

Only in Alabama.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Godslingers Taking Over Politics

A great piece by Neal Gabler can be found in LA Times opinion section, saying that the American conservative movement has been hijacked by the religious right. The problem is that --- like the Taliban in Afghanistan --- when a political ideology is melded with the righteousness of God, there is nothing that can stand in its way, even if it is bad theology, bad politics, or just evil run wild. There is no evil men won't do when they believe God is on their side.

Here's a quote:

You cannot beat religion with politics, which is why the extreme right "wins" so many battles. The fundamentalist political fanatics will always be more zealous than mainstream conservatives or liberals. They will always be louder, more adamant, more aggrieved, more threatening, more willing to do anything to win. Losing is inconceivable. For them, every battle is a crusade -- or a jihad -- a matter of good and evil.

There is something terrifying in this. The media have certainly been cowed; they treat intolerance as if it were legitimate political activity. So have many politicians, and not just the conservative ones who know that if they don't fall in line, they will be run over. This political fundamentalism has also invaded the general culture in deleterious ways. The ugly incivility of recent months is partly the result of political fundamentalists who have nothing but contempt for opposing viewpoints, which gives them license to shout down opponents or threaten them, just as jihadis everywhere do. 

Those who oppose the religification of politics may think all they have to do is change tactics, but they are sadly, tragically mistaken. They can never win, because for the political fundamentalists, this isn't political jousting, this is Armageddon.

Thanks to Dr. Bruce Prescott for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fort Oglethorpe, GA, God & High School Football

I swear. Do high school administrators not have a clue about coercion of a religious message? This is no brainer but apparently the administrators of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School don't have much of a brain to consider such matters.

It seems that since 2003 the cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School have displayed religious banners that the football players crash through at the beginning of games. But these banners went far beyond Go Team. Oh, no. These banners were overytly religious & urged fans & players to commit to the Lord and take courage and do it. 

I suppose that would be all fine & dandy at a private school but LFO is not a private school & the tax payer dollars of all citizens are at work on that football field.

So finally --- after 6 years, evidently --- someone had to nads to stand up, complain, & tell the school superintendent that those banners with Scripture quotations are illegal. Finally.

So the school system did the right thing & made the cheerleaders stop using Biblical quotes on the banners. According to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, the school system issued a proper statement about respecting the law & the religious beliefs of all citizens of the county.

But let's not let a little thing like the Constitution stand in the way of a politician looking for votes, or a minister in need of a cause to stir the passions of the flock, not to mention the coffers.

Such is Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb who said: "If it's offensive to anyone, let them go watch another football game. Nobody's forced to come there and nobody’s forced to read the signs." 

Ok. Thank you very much, Mr Cobb. Perhaps you will be so kind as to tell all non-Christians they are not welcome in your fair city & they should take their shopping dollars elsewhere. Please. I'm interested in how you would frame that scenario.

Or The Reverend Scott, who has several of the cheerleaders attending his church, said the most recent sign he saw quoting from Timothy 1:7 could be considered inspirational in many settings.

Sure it could, Rev. Scott. In many settings. But it is not appropriate at a public school anymore than a banner quoting the Koran would be. Not all that complicated.

Sigh. More Godslingers in action. I bet Jimmy Madison & Tommy Jefferson are rolling over in their graves.