Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 'War on Xmas' 2011 is a go!



This gets tiresome doesn’t it? 
"Thanksgiving leftovers aren't the only things that get reheated this time of year -- so do the 'Christmas wars,' and with it people's tempers. While you may be chided for saying 'Merry Christmas,' don't lose sight of the many other real threats to religious expression by signing our petition to stand for religious liberty. 
 "American Atheists, a self-described 'premier organization for civil rights,' has announced that they are starting the Christmas wars early this year by putting up their 'You KNOW it's a MYTH' billboards in a handful of states. The most significant threat posed by groups like the American Atheists isn't that they take out billboards or insist on saying 'Happy Holidays.' It's their faithless vision that they want to impose upon our nation. Christmas is but one of many flashpoints in the ongoing struggle to resist those who want to sterilize the public square of any religious expression."
 - Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, via press release.  via Joe. My. God.

The fake “War on Christmas” wages on in the minds of Bill O’Reilly, ignorant Fox News viewers, the Christo-fascists and anyone else that gets all pissed off when someone says Happy Holidays. Yes, yes...your religious liberty is threatened by the fact that everyone isn’t the same as you or refuses to bow to your perceived superiority and Christian privilege. 


Stephen Colbert interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson



Neil deGrasse Tyson on the NASA Budget

Drop that knowledge Neil!





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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Myth of the Homosexual Predator


I just read this article in the Christian News Wire that made my blood boil.
The entire article is copied below with my comments in bold.

Peter LaBarbera: How Many Boy Victims of Penn State Homosexual Predator Jerry Sandusky Will End Up Thinking They are 'Gay'?

The discovery that former Penn State University defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been molesting boys as young as 10 years old -- and that university officials including head coach Joe Paterno did not do more to apprehend this predator -- has shocked America.  Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), said the scandal exposes the continuing problem of homosexual predators in society. He offers the following observations related to the PSU scandal:

Many openly homosexual ("gay") men, like CNN anchor Don Lemon, were molested as boys or experienced abnormally early sexualization. Yet many of these same men do NOT see their boyhood victimization at the hands of homosexual male predators as causing their homosexuality. (This is due partly to the success of the modern "gay" movement that falsely ascribes "gayness" to a person's (innate) identity, and emphasizes the ambiguous notion of "sexual orientation" as opposed to behavior that is sinful, destructive and changeable.)

I have written in the past about the tendency of the religious to paint homosexuality as a behavior, rather than a sexual orientation.   For those not convinced, take a moment to think on the time in adolescence when you decided who you were going to be attracted to and what societal norms you were going to adhere to.  Right, let’s move on.

Homosexuality is the sexual attraction to members of the same sex.  It is not a mental illness and is not caused by strictly environmental factors.  The evidence points to  a biological (genetic) preference. Like handedness.  Pedophilia is the sexual attraction to children.    The characteristics that define a pedophile’s attraction have little to do with the victim’s gender and much more to do with their age.   There are several different categories of sex offenders and lumping them into gay and non-gay is a gross over-simplification.  I would assume the author had not read any of the psychological research if he were not the head of an association discounting said research.

The descriptions of "sinful, destructive and changeable" are false and misleading as well.  Sinful is arbitrary and subjective to the Abrahamic religions.  Destructive only applies to the people who are convinced that it is sinful, the rest of us are just fine with it.  And you can see the previous link for the mountain of research proving how un-changeable it is.  I would argue that the trauma experienced by those who undergo Conversion Therapy is so destructive to the psyche that most theists would label it abuse if it were in any other context.  

Thus, how many boy victims of homosexual predator Sandusky will end up believing that being homosexual ("gay") is "who they are"? How many will struggle with sexual identity issues? And how many will be told by LGBT advocates and liberal-minded people just to "accept being gay" as "who they are" because they were "born that way"?

We have no way of knowing the number of pedophiles in the world.  But we can say with relative certainty that there are far more victims of sexual abuse than those who identify as gay.  Part of the title of the above article is true, the male victims of sexual abuse by men often become confused about their sexuality.  This is a result of the grooming process perpetrated by sex offenders.  The victims are often from broken homes, are abused and/or neglected by their families.  They are given gifts and praise.  In some cases the physical act can feel good to the child, further confounding the guilt and shame.  These are the tools the offender uses to prey on children without the resources and intellectual capacity to protect themselves.  In most of these cases, once the abuse stops and the victim receives some type of distance and closure (with or without treatment) their natural sexual orientation emerges.  

Because the media and academia have largely become apologists for the modern homosexualist movement, they downplay or ignore obvious causative factors in the formation of "gay" identity -- including pederastic molestation. CNN's Lemon is a case in point: he is now an "out gay" celebrity, yet few question the absurdity of him not associating the molestation of his youth with his later embrace of homosexuality as a positive identity.

There IS a long history connecting homosexuality to pederasty, and a disproportionate link between homosexuality and pedophilia: why else would so many child molestation victims be boys when only 1-3 percent of the population is homosexual? Since cases of women molesting boys remain rare, if homosexuality were not such a strong factor, nearly all of pedophile victims should be girls, which is far from the case.

Homosexuals make up approximately 4% of the population (self-identified in 2008 poll).  True the majority of child molesters are men but the victims of abuse are of both genders.  According to the Dept of justice:  “1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will become victims of sexual abuse by the time they reach their 18th birthday.” It is widely believed that sexual abuse of males by women is significantly under reported.  That said, there are too many victims of sexual abuse to imply that it causes homosexuality, and there are not enough gays to account for the number of pedophiles.  It's just math.

There is indeed a long history of connecting homosexuality to pederasty.  This history is built on fallacies that have been perpetuated by anti-gay bigots and religiously motivated hate mongers.  There is no “disproportionate link” between homosexuality and pedophilia.  This is a very old stigma that will not go away because it plays into the narrative of the immoral queer preying on children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in Pediatrics in 2004:
"Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences. In recent decades, biologically based theories have been favored by experts. Although there continues to be controversy and uncertainty as to the genesis of the variety of human sexual orientations, there is no scientific evidence that abnormal parenting, sexual abuse, or other adverse life events influence sexual orientation. Current knowledge suggests that sexual orientation is usually established during early childhood."

Sandusky is married but obviously has a homosexuality (perversion) problem. Yet pro-"gay" liberals will deny any linkage between homosexuality and Sandusky's rape/seduction of boys. In fact, after news of the Penn State scandal came to light, "gay" activists stressed that Sandusky is married and that most pedophile cases involve "straight, married men." However, behavior is what matters -- not a person's marital status or self-described "sexual orientation." Sandusky was married but was he really "straight" (sexually or morally)? Some inner demons or life traumas -- probably in his own youth -- caused him to lust for boys, wrecking untold misery in the lives of his victims. Behavior is the issue, and this was a case of a serial homosexual predator raping boys.

Nice work inserting "perversion" between homosexuality and problem. Real subtle.  The view of homosexuality as a perversion is an attempt to shift the focus.  I reject the implication that pedophiles that abuse girls are somehow more normal than those who sexually abuse boys.  On the scale of immorality, is the rape of a boy by an adult male somehow more atrocious then the rape of a girl?  

The majority of sex offenders identify themselves as heterosexual.  The author is tying to discredit their self-report by saying that their sexual offending behavior is the true measure of their sexual orientation.  Again, we are blending attraction to an adult of the same sex with the attraction to a child.  An attraction to another consenting adult who is one’s equal in physical, emotional and intellectual maturity is very different from the desire to injure, intimidate, threaten, coerce or rape an actual child.  These attractions have little in common other than as aspects of human sexuality.  Unless of course, you are throwing homosexuality into the category of immoral behavior.  

The selection of the victim is equally complicated and the motives can range from availability to a specific physical traits.  Most sex offenders have a type of preferred victim but many are opportunists who are grooming  whatever children are available to them; often several at a time.  The gender of the victim is not always significant to the offender.  Some offenders cruelly choose to use a child’s body as an instrument of self-gratification.  Others, who may be developmentally delayed may view their offense as a type of consensual romance. There is a significantly high percentage of offenders who were abused themselves.  Many of these individuals are playing out the abuse and reversing the role.  In many of these cases the victim is chosen because of their similarity to the abuser’s memory of himself as a child.  This type of a predator is not committing a homosexual action.  It is a crime of power and control.  A ritual manifestation of a cycle of abuse rooted in deep psychological dysfunction.  Predator indeed.  Homosexual Predator: not so fast.

As someone who works with a population of abused children, I am much more concerned about the laundry list of potentially crippling psychological and developmental issues that stem directly from sexual abuse.  Any abuse is damaging but sexual abuse is particularly destructive to a child’s psyche.  The majority of victims know their offender (they are most often a member of the family).  This only enhances the guilt/shame aspect of coming forward.  Although many offenders have a history of abuse, the majority do not grow up to be offenders themselves.  An abuse victim who grows up to have a successful adult same-sex relationship isn't a "perversion." The appropriate word for that individual is "survivor."

The national conversation does need to take place about trust, institutionalized corruption, and the legal and moral responsibilities of the authorities.  Identifying the victims and making sure that they receive treatment is paramount.  LaBarbera seems to be using this event to reignite fear of the gays in a culture that is becoming ever more tolerant.  Dismissing sexual abuse to the casual act of a homosexual does nothing but perpetuate the social shame that keeps victims silent.  LaBarbera’s agenda is transparent.


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Monday, November 28, 2011

Part 4: A Brief Comparison of Christian Reconstructionism & the New Apostolic Reformation

This is just a quick discussion of the relationship between and differences of the two main Dominionist movements within the United States of America: Christian Reconstructionism (Recons) and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). After writing the first two parts I am really tired of typing out their names so for this post they will be known by the above acronyms. Brevity people!

As a starting point it is fair to say that the Recons have had a significant influence on the NAR. As the name of Part 2 implies, Christian Reconstructionism is the template for modern American theocracy. They weren't the first to integrate right-wing Christianity into American politics, but their modus operandi has served them, and now others, well during the past 30-40 years. Recons take the concept of a Christian Nation founded by and for Christians to an extreme and bolster these beliefs with demonstrably incorrect revisionist history and political propaganda. They implemented a movement and created a structure with thousands of materials for Christian homeschooling in order to teach this revisionist history and ignore scientific fact. The Recons have subtly influenced the “mainstream” Religious Right whether the “mainstream” knows it or not. Modern right-wing political rhetoric such as small civil government, the revisionist history of the founding of America, the dismantling of the wall of separation, obsession with free market capitalism, fear of anything labelled “Socialist”, homeschooling, etc., have much of their basis in or are propagated by the Recon movement. Of course, these concepts have existed before and an individual that holds these beliefs is not necessarily a Recon, but the coming together of these concepts in the Religious Right is largely attributed to their influence.

While obviously similar, the differences between Recon and the NAR are definitely there. Both groups have the same wish for Dominion, the same wish to implement God's Laws on Earth, the same wish to rule the 7 Mountains (though the NAR has picked up on that concept and run away with it), the same wish to Christianize the world to enable Christ's return (postmillennialism), etc. They probably differ more than I can discern (inside joke to anyone who has read as much of this stuff as I have) as an outsider, but I think three areas are worthy to point out.  The three areas where I think they differ on a fundamental level:

1) Differences in postmillennialism beliefs
2) The NAR deals in mixing the charismatic with politics vs. the Christian Reconstructionist pure politics
3) Theonomy vs. Theocracy

There is a quirk in the postmillennialism belief of the NAR that the Recons do not adhere to. The NAR, based on Kingdom Now Theology, believe that Christ did not defeat Satan on the cross and this is why Satan currently rules the world and the church has to actively take it back. Conversely, Recons believe that Christ did defeat Satan on the cross and the Kingdom of God was established on Earth. They just have to finish the job.

The NAR relies on apostles and prophets to guide the Church. The Bible is important, but as the name New Apostolic Reformation implies, they are reforming Christianity and the world through the new apostles. They do this through charismatic gifts of prophecy, faith healing, and spiritual warfare. The Recons do not operate in this manner and are more of a politically minded movement within Dominion Theology.

Both Recons and the NAR want to control the U.S. and eventually the world to prepare for Christ's return. The differences between the two movements is how to accomplish this and the end result, in many ways, is a diametrically opposed political systems to implement dominionism over the Earth. The NAR wants to take over via the Seven Mountains Mandate where they infiltrate, influence, and reign in the seven kingdom of culture. This is a power grab from the top down. Recons have similar language and goals, but would do it from the ground up. The Recons say they wish to operate within the laws of the United States and they mean it...until they don't need to; which is the goal. This is clearly articulated in the following quote:

We must use the doctrine of religious liberty…until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. —Gary North

They are only using democracy and the First Amendment's Establishment Clause as a cover. Once they can discard it they will and then they will dismantle it. All of it.  
Basically the NAR wants to be a Christian pop culture version of America with big budget Hollywood movies, mega-churches, CreationFests, and Republican Jesus on the American Flag. The Christian Reconstructionists want to be the The Scarlet Letter.

Both are profoundly anti-democratic.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why The Roots Were Right


or Why Michele Bachmann is, in fact, a Lyin’ Ass Bitch.

OK...OK, I hesitate to call her a bitch, because it is sexist. I advocate taking Maya Rudolph’s lead and for everyone to start adopting the term “Lady Bastard.” It’s just funnier.

So by now everyone has heard about the The Roots playing Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch on Jimmy Fallon during Michele Bachmann’s intro. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about please see the video below. Otherwise, skip it and keep reading.





Of course this was followed by apologies from NBC, Jimmy Fallon, and ?uestlove of The Roots. The band issued a statement that said "the performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur-of-the-moment decision." which, admittedly, is a pretty lame apology. No one believes that shit. Why? Because Michele Bachmann is a lyin’ ass bitch. Superficially the Bachmann camp has a point about how if it was Michelle Obama (with two L’s...like a real American!) being introduced that way people on the Left would freak out. And they would. Here is the big difference: Michelle Obama is not a liar. Bachmann is a confirmed liar. She is a liar and delusional.

Some examples after the jump....

Friday Link Dump 11/25/11


Kingdom Now Theology & The New Apostolic Reformation Part 3 in my Dominionism series. I like the part where they’re crazy.

Burnout & Apathy: Symptoms of a Stagnate Movement Yeah, so I kinda had a slight moment of “what the hell are we doing this for?” I blame Martin Pribble and Paul Fidalgo.

The aforementioned gentlemen's blog posts that are related to mine.


My Atheism Will Not Save the World by Paul Fidalgo on Near Earth Object

Why Doubt? Dismissing Faith (Positively) Embracing doubt and utilizing reason over saying unanswered prayers or attributing all good occurrences to God has been a positive experience. Dismissing faith is not a loss.”  The always on-point Ms. Mason. Aside from her usual awesomeness, you can’t look away or you might miss her posting screenshots of some of the most horrifically ignorant things Americans say. Huzzah!

Ultimate Christmas Quiz – With Answers /Prints this out. /Folds it up. /Stuffs in Wallet. /Waits for Xmas dinner.

The Roots play "Lyin' Ass Bitch" for Michele Bachmann on Fallon Tasteless. Wrong. Hilarious. This ballsy episode aside, this is one of the few hip-hop groups that I not only like, but I love! I have seen them three times live and they always rock. If you pay attention around here you know I am a metalhead through and through. So...that is high praise from me.



"In some cases babies too young to be vaccinated have contracted the illness from contact with infected older children who have not been given the jabs."

Repeat after me: "VACCINATIONS DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM!"

The Religious Right's disingenuous interest in history Somehow, despite the obvious problem of overzealous Christians in the military, we are asked to believe that reasonable observers should understand a 13-foot cross towering over military property as being something other than a pro-Christian endorsement.”

NPR audio: would the world be better off without religion? Rabbi Wolpe, while I disagree with him, seems like a perfectly nice guy. Conversely, Dinesh D'Souza is a weaselly, intellectually dishonest prick.

Prayer Warriors and Freethinkers by Sikivu Hutchinson

City lights could reveal E.T. civilization “Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn’t require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe,” (emphasis added)





Survey: People Who Watch No News Know More Than Fox Viewers Fox News has become this unique organism that evolved to eat its own shit in order to sustain itself.

Why Mozart Rocks So Hard. Artistic Genius Explained.

Perry Promises To End Civilian-Controlled Military This is straight out of the Dominionist handbook. Why? Because the American military is already frighteningly infested with Evangelical Christians. I’m pretty sure America isn’t stupid enough to elect this man as Commander-in-Chief. Notice I said “pretty sure.”


Sexy eyes offend Saudi purity police Ah yes. It's women's fault that men cannot control themselves and their junk.

Sam Harris ~ Not Being Indoctrinated Into Christianity I think my comment on that page sums it up.


Down with Agnosticism

To GOP candidates: Enough already with God–our nation has real problems and lack of religion in politics isn't one of them Co-signed, but the assumption that they care about much of anything else is...naive.

Open Letter to America's Liberal Christians This is related to the “burnout & apathy” I discussed earlier this week. I know atheists and Christians in America have a tenuous relationship, if any, but it would be nice if they would pick up the slack every once in awhile when it comes to the fundies. Aside from the obvious mutual benefit of keeping the crazy people away from power, it would also do them the added benefit of negating some of that “moderate Christianity tacitly allows fundamentalism and extremism to take hold” thing. Just sayin’.




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Censorship and the Religious Right

Once again a group of prominent  republicans has joined forces with he Catholic League to put pressure on an exhibit that offends them.

Last year, A Fire in my Belly: a compilation video by David Wojnarowicz was successfully banned from a Smithsonian Exhibit called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture thanks to political and financial pressure from House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader, Eric Cantor and the machiavellian Bill Donahue of the Catholic League.  I responded with (Hell)Fire in my Belly(video included) after the event.

This year the Brooklyn Museum is under pressure to remove the same video.  Per Right Wing Watch:

Republican state senator Andrew Lanza introduced legislation to have the government withdraw “all public funding of the museum”:

“It is outrageous for an institution that accepts funding from city, state and federal governments to display content that is so blatantly disrespectful and offensive to Christians during the holiday season,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for hatred and ignorance.”
Senator Lanza believes that the actions of the Museum are analogous to a hate crime. He is calling for all public funding of the museum to be withdrawn.

That’s right, he actually said that without a hint of irony.  “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for hatred and ignorance.” As if we didn’t do that already by paying his salary.  For that matter, you can find tax-exempt hate every sunday morning.    The image in question is 10-12 seconds of ants crawling on a plastic crucifix.  

The good news is that the Brooklyn Museum is not backing down.  A statement from the museum spokeswoman Sally Williams said that Wojnarowicz's video “is an expression of the artist’s outrage at indifference to human suffering during the early years of the AIDS crisis... We strongly encourage anyone who has concerns about ‘Hide/Seek’ to visit the museum and view it in person."

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Earth-Time Lapse Flyover From ISS



via 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Open Letter to America's Liberal Christians (UPDATED)


This post is directed at American liberal/progressive Christians. 

I am an atheist. You probably think I am misguided, angry, foolish, and maybe even unfortunately going to Hell. Conversely, you are Christian. You believe in Jesus, God and a “Host” of supernatural things I reject. I wholeheartedly, unequivocally reject these concepts. They are absurd to me. We are diametrically opposed when it comes to the belief in a supernatural deity. Fine. Let’s accept that and put it aside. Now that we got that out of the way let’s have an adult conversation about what direction our country is heading.
We are not supposed to accept each other, let alone work together. There is one problem with that: as Americans, you have the freedom of religion and I have freedom from religion. We have a secular government to protect all people. Contrary to popular opinion (*cough* Fox News *cough*) secularism does not equate to atheism or anti-religion. It is institutionalized religious neutrality. It’s a nice little concept that was integral to the foundation of this country and allows everyone to coexist without repeating the horrors of the past. However, there are those that wish to utterly destroy this concept.
Last weekend far-right, anti-democratic conservative Christian organizations sponsored the “Thanksgiving Family Forum.” Of course the media, for whatever reason, felt compelled to completely ignore this event. All of the major GOP presidential candidates were there minus Romney and Huntsman (why were those two not there? Because they are Mormons and therefore considered members of a cult). This event was a profound open declaration of visions for an American theocracy. If you don’t think for a minute that these people despise you (as “liberal” Christians) as much as me (an atheist) you are mistaken. They think your religion is heresy, a sin, evil, and the work of the Anti-Christ. Their theology requires—requires—everyone to be obedient to Mosaic Law. If you don’t know what that means then you do not know your own religion. Mosaic Law will require the strict enforcement of Old Testament Biblical restrictions. This means codified, enforceable punishment, imprisonment, or death for crimes including; but not limited to blasphemy, heresy, Christian apostasy (leaving one’s religion), witchcraft, assaulting ones parent(s), females (and only females...) guilty of premarital sex, repeat juvenile delinquency, adultery, incest, sodomy, homosexuality, etc.
Read the quotes from the candidates below and ask yourself if you agree with them. Ask yourself do you, in any way, wish to live in a society that operates this way. Because the current status quo of not talking about it and ignoring it is how they are close to putting someone in the White House to say nothing of the military and Congress which is already full of these people. It’s called Dominionism. It is not some left-wing conspiracy theory. Look it up! It is not hard to find concrete evidence of it.
I had commentary to point out the constitutional (and moral) flaws in each one of these statements and I deleted them. I want you to read them and think about what each quote means on your own. If you don’t have any problems with this and you could sleep well at night knowing they could represent you then so be it. Thanks for reading.
Excerpts provided by Church and State in their article The Republican plan to nullify the courts and establish Christian theocracy.

1. Religious Americans must fight back against nonbelievers. To quote Herman Cain:
What we are seeing is a wider gap between people of faith and people of nonfaith. … Those of us that are people of faith and strong faith have allowed the nonfaith element to intimidate us into not fighting back. I believe we’ve been too passive. We have maybe pushed back, but as people of faith, we have not fought back.
2. The religious values we must fight for are Judeo-Christian. Rick Perry warned:
Somebody’s values are going to decide what the Congress votes on or what the president of the United States is going to deal with. And the question is: Whose values? And let me tell you, it needs to be our values—values and virtues that this country was based upon in Judeo-Christian founding fathers.
3. Our laws and our national identity are Judeo-Christian. Michele Bachmann explained:
American exceptionalism is grounded on the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is really based upon the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were the foundation for our law. That’s what Blackstone said—the English jurist—and our founders looked to Blackstone for the foundation of our law. That’s our law.
4. No religion but Christianity will suffice. Perry declared,
“In every person’s heart, in every person’s soul, there is a hole that can only be filled by the Lord Jesus Christ.”
5. God created our government. Bachmann told the audience:
I have a biblical worldview. And I think, going back to the Declaration of Independence, the fact that it’s God who created us—if He created us, He created government. And the government is on His shoulders, as the book of Isaiah says.
6. The U.S. law should follow God’s law. As Rick Santorum put it:
Unlike Islam, where the higher law and the civil law are the same, in our case, we have civil laws. But our civil laws have to comport with the higher law. … As long as abortion is legal—at least according to the Supreme Court—legal in this country, we will never have rest, because that law does not comport with God’s law.
7. Anything that’s immoral by religious standards should be outlawed. Santorum again:
God gave us rights, but He also gave us laws upon which to exercise those rights, and that’s what you ought to do. And, by the way, the law should comport—the laws of this country should comport with that moral vision. Why? Because the law is a teacher. If something is illegal in this country because it is immoral and it is wrong and it is harmful to society, saying that it is illegal and putting a law in place teaches. It’s not just—laws cannot be neutral. There is no neutral, Ron. There is only moral and immoral. And the law has to reflect what is right and good and just for our society.
8. The federal government should impose this morality on the states. Santorum once more:
The idea that the only things that the states are prevented from doing are only things specifically established in the Constitution is wrong. Our country is based on a moral enterprise. Gay marriage is wrong. As Abraham Lincoln said, the states do not have the right to do wrong. … As a president, I will get involved, because the states do not have the right to undermine the basic, fundamental values that hold this country together.
9. Congress should erase the judiciary’s power to review moral laws. Newt Gingrich suggested:
I am intrigued with something which Robby George at Princeton has come up with, which is an interpretation of the 14th Amendment, in which it says that Congress shall define personhood. That’s very clearly in the 14th Amendment. And part of what I would like to explore is whether or not you could get the Congress to pass a law which simply says: Personhood begins at conception. And therefore—and you could, in the same law, block the court and just say, ‘This will not be subject to review,’ which we have precedent for. You would therefore not have to have a constitutional amendment, because the Congress would have exercised its authority under the 14th Amendment to define life, and to therefore undo all of Roe vs. Wade, for the entire country, in one legislative action.
Gingrich said the same strategy could secure the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages and protects the right of states to disregard same-sex marriages performed in other states. In his words, “You could repass DOMA and make it not appealable to the court, period.”
10. Courts that get in the way should be abolished. Gingrich again:
The simplest first step which I would take is to propose—and I hope this will be a significant part of the campaign next year—I have proposed to abolish the court of Judge Biery in San Antonio, who on June 1 issued an order that said, not only could students not pray at their graduation, they couldn’t use the word benediction, they could not say the word prayer, they could not say the word God, they could not ask people to stand for a moment of silence, they couldn’t use the word invocation, and if he broke any of those, he would put their superintendent in jail. I regard that as such a ruthless anti-American statement that he should not be on the court, and I would move to literally abolish his court, so that he could go back to private practice, as a signal to the courts.
Biery’s order was an overreach. In fact, it was overturned two days later by an appeals court. But he’s only the first target of the anti-judicial purge. The next words after Gingrich’s threat came from Santorum, who said: “I agree with a lot of what has just been said here. I would go farther—one step farther, Newt. I would abolish the entire Ninth Circuit.” (emphasis added)
11. The purge of judges should be based on public opinion. Gingrich once more:
Part of the purpose of singling out Judge Biery and eliminating his job is to communicate the standard that the two elected branches have the power and the authority to educate the judiciary when it deviates too far from the American people. And I think you would probably take that approach.
12. Freedom means obeying morality. Santorum concluded,
“Our founders understood liberty is not what you want to do, but what you ought to do. That’s what liberty really is about.”

Most Christians I know do not agree with the right-wing Christian theocratic lunacy that has taken over the Republican Party. So my question is...why do you accept it? Why the silence? Why does the Religious Right get to speak for you? Why are the godless and very few progressive Christians the only ones in active opposition, let alone even acknowledging this? I know you vote against them, but that isn’t enough. This is your religion. Whether you like it or not it represents you as much as you represent it. Do you attend a church where the preacher or congregants have conversations sympathetic to these concepts? Are you a preacher and have large sections of your congregation believing in these things? It is your responsibly to have that uncomfortable conversation with them. If you are not or are too afraid to because of the consequences then they have won by cowing you into silence. I get emails and direct, private messages on social sites from Christians who say they agree with me on a lot of these criticisms and they don’t believe this or that. Few ever admit this in public though. Let me tell you…that is maddening! This letter isn’t an attempt to change anyone’s worldview. I don’t care whether or not you reevaluate your religion. I care even less if anyone thinks I shouldn’t have written it.  

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.



UPDATED: Below is a 12 minute, "highlight" reel of some of the discussion at the Thanksgiving Family Forum.