Christians are “broken people” who “cause poverty”

A Democratic Mayor of a prominent city recently said that Christians are “broken people” who are not “productive members of society.” She said that they were the “deepest systemic causes of generational poverty.”

This kind of bigotry is unacceptable, of course. We are a land that values our beliefs, and in fact, guarantee the right to believe or not believe in the very first Amendment. To degrade an entire group of people simply because of their beliefs is about as unAmerican as you can get. So you can imagine how people who strongly believe in the 1st Amendment and the values of our country are protesting this woman.

Oh.  Wait.  My mistake.

She didn’t say that about Christians. She said it about atheists.

Well, that’s completely different, isn’t it? Even though some estimates place non-believers in America somewhere in the 30% range (much larger than Jews or Muslims or Mormons or any non-Christian religion), it’s still perfectly acceptable to degrade, insult, and demean non-believers in a way that would ruin the career of any politician saying that about a religious group.

“You must pledge to support the laws of this land that I don’t agree with!”

Here we go again.

Another teacher is in trouble for demanding that a student participate in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, but this time it’s the teacher’s response that makes me giggle.

The student refused because the pledge contains the words “Under God” and stated (correctly) that it is illegal to force someone to say the pledge. The teacher replied, “I don’t care about the law.”

The Justice League saying the Pledge of Allegiance from a comic book in the 40s. Notice something missing?

The Justice League saying the Pledge of Allegiance from a comic book in the 40s. Notice something missing?

Got it? The teacher wants to teach respect to our country and wants everyone to pledge allegiance to that country while at the same time ignoring the very laws of that country.

The teacher then called her “disrespectful.” Let’s see — which one said that people should ignore the laws of this country? Was it the student?

Such a patriotic attitude this teacher has! (Insert comic German accent) “You vill obey und salute the government. Ve do not allow individual thought here!”

This is America — where we don’t force people to love the government. After all, of what use is a forced pledge? If someone forces you to say something against your will, what’s the point? How is it meaningful? Does the irony not hit people? “We are forcing you to pledge against your will — for freedom!!!”

The United States Supreme Court held that no one could be forced to say the pledge over fifty years ago in a case involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who persuasively argued that such a pledge violated their religious beliefs concerning worshiping objects or something.

I am always amused by patriots who want to force Americans to do things like this — which seem to me to be one of the most unAmerican thing you can do. Say the pledge because you mean it, and not because you have to. That’s true patriotism.

Much of the debate against the pledge would be neutralized if we could just remove the “under God” part that was added in the 50s. (I personally just remain silent whenever it comes to those words.) Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pledge that includes all Americans? Isn’t that what America is supposed to be about?

Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” law is different

The outcry over Indiana’s new law allowing discrimination is valid. Arguments that “other states have similar laws” is not.

Many states have religious freedom laws, and they’re good laws. They prohibit the government from interfering with one’s religious practice, as provided for in the 1st Amendment.bigots For instance, such laws protect a Catholic school that only wants to hire Catholics to teach their classes. That makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s the same concept that says a church cannot be forced to perform a marriage they disagree with. These laws often apply to various non-profit charities and businesses where it makes a difference who gets treated and/or employed. Charities often have religious foundations, for instance.

Indiana’s law is different.  Indiana’s law explicitly allows for-profit businesses to have these same rights. Thus, Jim-Bob’s restaurant is allowed under this law to discriminate when it violates Jim-Bob’s personal religious views. “Sorry, my religion says no coloreds can sit at my lunch counter.” (This, of course, is exactly what we predicted would happen when the Supreme Court decided the terrible Hobby Lobby case, giving corporations a religion.)

This is unprecedented. Here in Pennsylvania, for instance, our “religious freedom” law specifically prohibits for-profit businesses from doing this.

If you want to open a business, you need to open it to everyone. Don’t give me that tired libertarian argument that the marketplace will solve this. It didn’t do that for a hundred years before civil rights laws were passed, and clearly it is not doing that now or else we wouldn’t even be discussing this. In some small communities, there may only be one store within close distance, so don’t go arguing that this is a minor inconvenience.

Bigotry has no place in our laws, and the government should be supporting the people who are being discriminated against, and not those who wish to discriminate.

Yes, the Mohammad Cover is Insulting. And?

NBC just did a segment on their news about how brave Charlie Hebdo magazine is for putting a drawing of Mohammad on their cover after what happened to them. I couldn’t help but notice that NBC specifically refused to show the cover themselves and only described it.

Here it is, in case you are interested.FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-MEDIA-FRONTPAGE

They then interviewed French Muslims who were upset about it, calling it insulting. “I don’t go around insulting your religion,” they said. “Why must you insult mine?”  Fortunately, none of the ones interviewed showed any sign that they intended to cause harm to the cartoonists.

Is the drawing insulting to Muslims?  Of course.  Just like the thousands of examples I can find of the way Jesus has been portrayed in comics, movies, cartoons, and comedy bits is insulting to Christians.

Tough.

If your faith is so weak that you can’t handle criticism of it, maybe you should rethink your beliefs.

And, just as an aside, killing people who disagree with your religion isn’t really a very smart way to gain converts.  Just saying.

 

Just because it’s historical doesn’t make it not religious

“But it’s a historical statue!” was the weak-ass defense of the legislators who placed a huge monument to the Ten Commandments in a courthouse in New Mexico.  “The fact that it promotes a specific God and religion to the exclusion of all others, and the fact that there are absolutely no other similar monuments anywhere else on this property is meaningless.”

Fortunately, a judge who actually took the time to read the Constitution (you know, that document all the legislators swore on their Holy Book to obey) said “Give me a break, what are you, stupid?Ten Commandments Memorial Ordered Removed In Alabama

Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but you get the gist.

We’ve been through this many times before, and will continue to go through it again and again as Christians in America think that since they are the majority religion, everyone else can just suck it up.  And then when people say, “Hey, you know, I don’t really think this is allowed under the Constitution” and fight back, the Christians respond that we’re waging a War on Christianity.

Trust me, if Muslims, Hindu, Jews or Wiccans were doing this, it will still violate the Constitution.  That’s how it works, you see.

You want a monument to the Ten Commandments?  Fine, put it on your own property.  But public property belongs to all of us, which means you can’t favor one and not the others.  This is why even Satanists have been able to fight to get equal time on public property.

Don’t like it?  Then stop doing it.  Prohibit all religious symbols on public property and there’s no problem.

No, your freedom of speech was not violated

Once more, a contingent of People Who Don’t Understand The Constitution are complaining because it doesn’t mean what they think it means.

Not surprisingly, it’s mostly religious folks, who also don’t understand the Bible either.

This time, it’s a woman who was fired from her job, violating her Freedom of Speech!  Or so she says.Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

A Kentucky bank teller is complaining that her 1st Amendment rights were violated because she was fired for saying “Have a blessed day” to her customers.  She also criticized patrons for “taking the Lord’s name in vain” and talked to people about “salvation”.

She was told by her boss to stop that, but she didn’t, because Jeebus demands her to do so or something.   And now she’s fired.  And whining that her speech and religious rights have been violated.

Well, no.  As anyone who understands the first thing about freedoms will tell you.   An employer has the right to tell their employees not to discuss religion, or politics, or anything of the sort with the customers, in the same way they can tell you to not wear boxing shorts and tank tops to work.

I certainly wouldn’t want to go to a bank and have the teller tell me “All praise to C’thulu” as I left. Or “Be sure to vote for my candidate!” or “Remember: oral sex is a sin.”

There’s a place for everything, and that is not the place.  It’s a business decision.

If the business fired her simply for being a Christian, she would have a wonderful case, because her rights were clearly being violated.  For that matter, if the bank fired her for saying any of those things on her own time when she wasn’t working, then I would happily take her case and fight against such a clear violation.  But reasonable work rules such as “Don’t piss off our customers” don’t get that kind of protection.

And let’s once more make it clear, since this is one of the biggest mistakes People Who Don’t Understand The Constitution make:  The 1st Amendment prevents the government from taking away your freedom of speech.  It does not mean that you have the right to say whatever you want at any time and not take criticism for it or never have to face the consequences.

 

 

 

We should be able to discriminate because religion

The photographer who refused to provide service to a gay wedding because it went against his religious beliefs lost again, this time with an appeal to the Supreme Court.

This has some religious people quite upset, because they believe — try to follow this logic — that laws that prevent cruelty to and discrimination against other human beings violates their rights.  Their right to deny rights to others.

I know, right?

The law in that particular state prohibited this exact kind of discrimination, so the photographer thought that there should be an exemption for those who disagree with the law.  You know, in the same way that there are exceptions in other laws that allow you to disobey them if you don’t like them.  In the same way some religious folks were able to ignore laws that struck down interracial marriage back in the ’60s.

Oh, right, I remember now.  That never happened.

Republican leader Mike Huckabee thinks this decision is just terrible.  After all, the Bible is against this and our laws should do whatever the Bible says.  Which means that not only should we be stoning gays to death, we should also bring back slavery.

As Huckabee stated, “unless God re-writes it, edits it, sends it down with His signature on it, it’s not my book to change.” I wonder how many gays Huckabee stoned to death this week?

Here in this place called the United States, we have a Constitution in which the Founding Fathers said, in the very first amendment, that our government would not promote a religion in any way (the “establishment clause.”)  There are other parts of the Constitution that prohibit any sort of religious test be given to anyone in our government, too.

Is it all that surprising that people like Mike Huckabee pick and choose what parts of the Constitution they think should apply to them in the same way they do with the Bible?