How Many Secularists and Non-Secularists Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

Poobah Self Disclosure: I’m an atheist. You may be a Christian…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

America is an unhappy place these days. Opposing forces not only bludgeon each other bloody, but as Mitch McConnell recently announced, they make it a political priority to wipe out their opposition like Genghis Kahn scorching the earth of the steppes. Nowhere is this fighting as pointless and picayunish as in the Secular v. Non Secular Death Cage Match.

As a rule of thumb Republicans are the logical home of the stupidly religiously zealous. Folks like the Family Research Council, Glenn Beck, and loopy Michele Bachmann trumpet vuvuzela the superiority of the God-ed while practicing the most shockingly unchristian behavior against the ungod-ed. Even their captive audience of soft-headed, opportunistic political drones have trouble with them – especially when they stop donating money and votes.

The religious zealots have a huge David and Goliath thing going on. “Dear God, give me a slingshot and guide mine rock into the eye of my Godless oppressors, the libruls.”

But fundamentalists have no lock on the asshat zealot market. Stop by a Jesus Freakery and read the comments. Go to a Atheisterie and the words seem plagiarized from the same source, “You’re a know-nothing asshole who’s a traitor intent on wiping out what crumbs of democracy we still have left.”

And one more similarity. Almost all the over the top bloviation mentions how much anyone who disagrees is some sort of hate-filled, brainless zot – as though we’re all Little Georgie Shrubs.

Most Christians are reasonably sane and the same goes for the secular crowd. All the reasonable ask is a bit of wiggle room because they’re entitled to it. They want to go to church (or not), put up the occasional Christmas Holiday tree (or not), and be safe from the incessant yawping of people who would staple the 10 commandments to everyone’s forehead or consign religious gatherings to a dank cellar with the lights turned out – sort of an ecumenical Gitmo.

But out there on the dark edge of Firebase Freedom lurk nuts to the left of us and nuts to the right of us, as unreasonably pissed about the, “In God We Trust” motto as they are by the, “Christians über alles and the hell with anyone else” brigade.

The balance between freedom of religion and freedom from religion is delicate and a very narrow gap. One person’s “absolute” freedom is another’s horrible shackle.

As with all Constitutional rights, we don’t get to vote on them or change them at will to suit our fancy. However, there’s nothing wrong with a legitimate argument about where the line lays. But, meanness for the sake of meanness is meaningless, rude, and counter-productive.

So everyone, let’s kiss and make up so we can go back to something important, like hating Congress and the President.

You know, something useful.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Arizona Church Dome: Why Hate When You Can Outsource?

Not so long ago, much of the nation looked at Texas as the Loon Star State – a place so weird that  Texans think of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity as dangerous far lefties in league with that socialist Kenyan pretender in the White House.

But, every Empire of Imbeciles must come to an end.

America, meet the new goobs on the block – Arizonans. As Hunter Thompson used to say, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”…and there’s no place more professional than Arizona.

It surely takes professional crazies to protest a Christian church because it looks too much like a mosque. Damn Mexican Mooslims!

Broken Light of the World
The point of contention for the good Christian folk of Phoenix seems to be that the Light of the World church topped their God garage with a dome. To Arizonans, domes are the illegal aliens of the religious world. Presumably the many Catholic missions doting the cactusophere are equally condemned for featuring domes in their designs too, but somehow I doubt that.

Tonya Somander of Think Progress asked, “…with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?”  Well Tonya, no, but it does make perfect sense in Arizona. They’re so jelly-kneed they don’t even have to have real Muslims to hate. All they need is a bold, but unsuspecting, church architect and some followers of the same faith most of them adhere to.

It’s odd that Christians – who are somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of the American population – are always worrying about atheists and Muslims trying to kill Christendom with a combination of dastardly Wars on Christmas and autographed baseball cards featuring Madalyn Murray O’Hair. This is especially true in Arizona where there are fewer Muslims than black people -  currently numbering about 6 people who must carry their papers at all times. But, there’s not a racist among them, so who’s counting?

However, maybe this does make sense. Clearly there are too few actual Muslims in Arizona to absorb all the fear Arizonans have for those tricky Islamists. It’s hard to get worked up over a bunch of New Yorkers who prefer titty bars to houses of worship in Lower Manhattan. After all, the titty baristas don’t get too exercised over Mexicans leaving piles of dead bodies at the Tuscon city limits, no do they?

A state as proud as The Grand Canyon Crackpot State must have it’s own Muslims to persecute. Period. Doing it vicariously through castoffs from Jersey Shore is just no fun at all.

So why not outsource Islamic fear?

It’s a Win-Win for Arizona
Arizona already has a surplus of Christians on hand. They represent a trained workforce that could easily make the transition from law abiding Jeezlets to evil burka wearers with little trouble. They have the religious training. Christian churches always need money to Save the Children in all those countries they’d never be caught dead in. It’s a win-win and best of all, Americans could corner the market on faux Muslims before the Indians or Chinese could get a foothold.

So it’s settled. Light of the Worlders, stop by Home Depot and hire a few illegal immigrants to get that dome up as fast as possible. Maybe even add a minaret here and there, nothing too ostentatious. And you can find someone who yodels to simulate the calls to prayer can’t you?

As for pay, $2 an hours seems fair – and no benefits, because they’re a socialist plot. We’d like to pay more, but we just can’t pay minimum wage because, well, we could get the Mexicans to work cheaper if we wanted and we don’t want to create a monetary imbalance in the Arizona economy. There’s no way strings of varnished chillies could make up the shortfall.

Muslims, our people will call your people. We’d like to talk outsourcing Christians to Yemen.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Glenn Beck's Horrific Lie

As much as I disagree with the hosts on Fox News, I have never called for any of them to be fired. I defended Don Imus when he got in trouble with his incendiary comments. That's because I believe a talk show host should have wide berth, even to offend. They are the conversation starters and at the heart of our political discourse.

Of course, as a talk show host I'm very biased on this issue, but I think it helps the national conversation to hear everyone out. That's even if what they're saying is outrageous or not even remotely true. Let there be a battlefield of ideas and I think the truth will win out in the long run (though it loses many battles in the short run).

Now that you know how strongly I feel about that -- I think Glenn Beck should be fired. He has told a lie so grotesque that it goes beyond the pale of even dirty politics. Just when I thought he couldn't shock my conscience anymore, he has done it. Let me explain.

George Soros survived the Holocaust. He is Jewish and when the Nazis caught up with his family his father saved his life by bribing an agricultural official to pretend Soros was his Christian godson. At one point, that man took the fourteen year old Soros to survey and appraise the property that had been confiscated from another Jewish family. Obviously Soros did not have a choice in the matter. Soros eventually survived the Holocaust.

To most this would be an amazing and harrowing story of survival during the Holocaust. To Beck it was an opportunity to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and smear him with one of the worst lies I have ever heard.

First Beck started by horribly warping this story on his Fox News show. He said of Soros:

[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.

That's not what happened at all as you can see from above. He didn't help confiscate people's land. He didn't actively participate in betraying his Jewish neighbors or friends. The implications are horrible. But what Beck did next is much worse. He twisted the story further until he came out with this inexcusable lie on his radio show:

[H]ere's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

That lie takes my breath away. That is a lie that cannot be told.

The ADL has now condemned Beck's statements as "horrific."

Michelle Goldberg has aterrific article in The Daily Beast explaining how Beck's two part series on Fox News Channel about George Soros was classic anti-Semitism. He even named the series "Puppet Master." Nazi propaganda used to call Jews the "wire pullers."

The Nazis would say in their propaganda pieces that Jews secretly controlled everything and brought down whatever governments they didn't like. Beck's two part series on Soros talked about how he was the secret force behind the progressive agenda and surreptitiously brought down governments he didn't like (Communist governments by the way, but apparently he doesn't get credit for that). And Beck concludes by saying that we might be next. Soros might destroy our country. This is anti-Semitism 101.

One man has already tried to assassinate people who worked for the Tides Foundation because Beck accused them of being tied to George Soros. That man was caught in a shoot-out with cops before he could kill the people who worked there. Beck undeterred by what he is spurring people to do, has put his foot on the gas pedeal to try to stoke the fires more.

Fox News has told and spread many lies, ranging from the absurd (President Obama is going to spend $200 million a day in his trip to India) to the politically devastating (they invited John Kerry's accusers on-air to smear his Vietnam service repeatedly during the 2004 election). I know that's what they do. But even I didn't know it went this far. If Beck doesn't get fired over this, what else can he say? I literally cannot think of anything more outrageous.

They call themselves a "News Channel." Is this the kind of "news" people want to participate in?

This is the kind of thing people should resign in protest over. This is the kind of thing that guests shouldn't go on the channel over. This is the kind of thing that people shouldn't want their names associated with.

If Fox doesn't fire Beck over this, well then you know exactly where they stand. It certainly isn't as a news channel.

 

 

Glenn Beck's Horrific Lie

As much as I disagree with the hosts on Fox News, I have never called for any of them to be fired. I defended Don Imus when he got in trouble with his incendiary comments. That's because I believe a talk show host should have wide berth, even to offend. They are the conversation starters and at the heart of our political discourse.

Of course, as a talk show host I'm very biased on this issue, but I think it helps the national conversation to hear everyone out. That's even if what they're saying is outrageous or not even remotely true. Let there be a battlefield of ideas and I think the truth will win out in the long run (though it loses many battles in the short run).

Now that you know how strongly I feel about that -- I think Glenn Beck should be fired. He has told a lie so grotesque that it goes beyond the pale of even dirty politics. Just when I thought he couldn't shock my conscience anymore, he has done it. Let me explain.

George Soros survived the Holocaust. He is Jewish and when the Nazis caught up with his family his father saved his life by bribing an agricultural official to pretend Soros was his Christian godson. At one point, that man took the fourteen year old Soros to survey and appraise the property that had been confiscated from another Jewish family. Obviously Soros did not have a choice in the matter. Soros eventually survived the Holocaust.

To most this would be an amazing and harrowing story of survival during the Holocaust. To Beck it was an opportunity to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and smear him with one of the worst lies I have ever heard.

First Beck started by horribly warping this story on his Fox News show. He said of Soros:

[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.

That's not what happened at all as you can see from above. He didn't help confiscate people's land. He didn't actively participate in betraying his Jewish neighbors or friends. The implications are horrible. But what Beck did next is much worse. He twisted the story further until he came out with this inexcusable lie on his radio show:

[H]ere's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

That lie takes my breath away. That is a lie that cannot be told.

The ADL has now condemned Beck's statements as "horrific."

Michelle Goldberg has aterrific article in The Daily Beast explaining how Beck's two part series on Fox News Channel about George Soros was classic anti-Semitism. He even named the series "Puppet Master." Nazi propaganda used to call Jews the "wire pullers."

The Nazis would say in their propaganda pieces that Jews secretly controlled everything and brought down whatever governments they didn't like. Beck's two part series on Soros talked about how he was the secret force behind the progressive agenda and surreptitiously brought down governments he didn't like (Communist governments by the way, but apparently he doesn't get credit for that). And Beck concludes by saying that we might be next. Soros might destroy our country. This is anti-Semitism 101.

One man has already tried to assassinate people who worked for the Tides Foundation because Beck accused them of being tied to George Soros. That man was caught in a shoot-out with cops before he could kill the people who worked there. Beck undeterred by what he is spurring people to do, has put his foot on the gas pedeal to try to stoke the fires more.

Fox News has told and spread many lies, ranging from the absurd (President Obama is going to spend $200 million a day in his trip to India) to the politically devastating (they invited John Kerry's accusers on-air to smear his Vietnam service repeatedly during the 2004 election). I know that's what they do. But even I didn't know it went this far. If Beck doesn't get fired over this, what else can he say? I literally cannot think of anything more outrageous.

They call themselves a "News Channel." Is this the kind of "news" people want to participate in?

This is the kind of thing people should resign in protest over. This is the kind of thing that guests shouldn't go on the channel over. This is the kind of thing that people shouldn't want their names associated with.

If Fox doesn't fire Beck over this, well then you know exactly where they stand. It certainly isn't as a news channel.

 

 

We’ll Leave a Light On

The numbers evidently originate with the Press Trust of India, whose report was linked on the Drudge Report and picked up by Fox News host Glenn Beck. The news agency also wrongly said that the White House had blocked off the entire Taj Mahal Palace hotel for Obama's visit and that the U.S. was stationing 34 warships—roughly 10 percent of the naval fleet--off the coast of Mumbai for security reasons. Yahoo News

The one thing about the wing-nuts is that they are consistent. If they find a game plan that works they continue to use it no matter what. Remember how they sold the Iraq War by quoting unnamed sources who would then quote other unnamed sources until they created this circular argument based on no facts. Well it appears they are back to their old tricks again only this time it is concerning the President’s trip to India. Let’s be clear this isn’t about spending or belt-tightening. This is about whether this President deserves to travel as past Presidents have done while representing American interests around the world.

Here is what is troubling to me about this canard and all of the other “concerns” about this first family’s trips no matter where they are to, there is this underlying current that they somehow do not deserve to travel as other Presidents and first families have traveled in the past. This President and this first family are being asked to travel in coach while no one has ever questioned the travel arrangements of any of our other chief executives. The question then becomes why now? I don’t recall anyone questioning how much it cost to create W’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” landing and potential political ad funded by the American taxpayers. It is as if for some reason the current President is not worthy of all of the trappings of the office of the Presidency of the US.

The crazy part is this. When he was first elected the wing-nuts attacked the first family because they were going to “ghettoize” the White House with bar-b-ques and drunken parties on the front lawn and now they are attacking him for keeping the prestige of the office when he travels. Here is the thing this isn’t about the recession or the amount spent on this trip. This is about whether this President deserves the privileges given to other Presidents? For some reason this President doesn’t measure up to past Presidents and therefore doesn’t deserve to travel as all other Presidents have traveled. America has always prided itself on providing every President what he has needed while conducting business in the name of America. Our national prestige is now being sacrificed for what particular purpose?

Despite continued denials from the wing-nuts their goal from day one has been to delegitimize this President and to subtly and not so subtly attack him personally. This isn’t about the health-care reforms, or the financial reforms, or even the stimulus. This is about President Obama’s personal character and not just his but his family as well. Would we allow the children and First Ladies of previous white Presidents to be treated with such disrespect? The troubling fact is that regardless of our personal feelings about the officeholder we as a nation have always respected the office, but today that concept that we were taught as children is now being undermined. If we as Americans regardless of our political leanings continue to allow this constant chipping away and undermining of our institutions it won’t be long before we are faced with all-out anarchy.

With confidence and trust in our institutions at an all-time low there are those who would further undermine our system for the sake of short-term political gain. The time has come for all Americans to stand up and put an end to this practice of attacking the President not because they disagree with his policies but that they disagree with his legitimacy to be the President. After the results of the last election I am not so sure that we as a nation are prepared to repudiate these unsavory tactics and to elevate our political discourse back to policy issues. The last election has shown us that fear and obstructionism are still running rampant and are still working to motivate a proportion of the electorate.

President Obama just like any other President deserves to be treated with the same respect as all previous Presidents. He does not deserve to be housed at Motel 6 and fly commercial just because he is black. This is the type of hypocrisy that continues to undermine our standing in the world and especially towards non-white and non-Christian populations. One of these days we are going to learn that there are far more non-whites in the world than whites and if we continue to treat this President as if this is the Jim Crow south we will do so at our own peril.

Not only is it a bad precedence for the world it is a bad precedence for our own democracy. If we continue to weaken our institutions then no one should be surprised if they collapse. If government and our institutions do not function then what shall they be replaced with? Corporations? God help us if that is our alternative. The funny thing is that most of those who are attempting to undermine this President’s legitimacy are the same ones who claim to support “Constitutional Government”. I guess they missed the part about the office of the President and its place in our history.

Like Bachmann, several right-leaning pundits -- including Michelle Malkin and Fox News personalities like Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity -- have run with the $200 million per day number, touting it as proof that wasteful spending is alive and well. - AOL News

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy - Charles de Montesquieu

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