Is Christianity killing the GOP?

One reason why the separation of church and state is a good idea is that uniting religion and politics tends to do more harm to both than either could self-inflict on its own. Indeed, many of the early settlers in America were people who came here to escape from the Christian nations of Europe, which is why the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights contains a prohibition against government establishment of religion. But the same phenomenon applies on a smaller scale as well, and the current woes of the Republican party may be a case in point.

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Gospel Disproof #52: Christians and cannibals

One of the early accusations against Christians was that they were cannibals who practiced ritual human sacrifice and then devoured their victims in secret rites hidden away among the catacombs. If you’re familiar with the Christian sacrament of communion and its meaning, it’s easy to see how such a rumor could get started. The cup that Christians drink is a sharing in the blood of Jesus, and those who eat the bread are eating his body as well, at least according to the liturgy. The language and terminology they use is certainly the vocabulary of cannibals and vampires, and Christians attach great importance and reverence to that vocabulary. Small wonder, then, that some people took them for wanna-be cannibals and vampires.

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Feminism in outer space

I have a long-ish commute, and I drive an “affordable” car. Apparently, though,  it has a really good radio, because I think I was picking up a talk show from another planet. The guest and hosts were discussing feminism in the context of the guest’s new book about “God’s 10 Gifts for Women,” and the description of feminism was like nothing I’ve seen on this Earth. Did I mention it was a Christian radio station?

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The ongoing redistribution of America’s wealth

Ed Brayton writes about Romney’s latest ploy: accusing Obama of planning a major “redistribution” of wealth—the “socialist” boogeyman. As Ed notes, redistribution of wealth isn’t a new thing. It’s going on right now.

Crop subsidies, for example, go almost entirely to huge agribusiness interests, to the tune of billions of dollars per year. The billions in tax subsidies for oil companies are also redistribution of wealth, but it’s redistributing it up rather than down. Romney never seems to mention those things to the fabulously rich people at his $50,000 a plate fundraisers, likely because a lot of them are a good deal richer because of such redistribution.

This is one area where the left may have common interests with rank-and-file conservatives. Conservatives know that a lot of the tangible wealth generated through their honest labor is being shifted to people who didn’t do the work to earn it. But they haven’t followed the money. They think the poor are taking it, but the poor haven’t got it. And neither, for that matter, does the government. Our multi-trillion-dollar debt is because the government is distributing wealth it doesn’t even have yet. And 85% of the wealth is ending up in the pockets of the top 20%, with most of it being concentrated in the hands of a very few families.

We need to end this lobbyist-driven, obfuscated, and manipulative redistribution now. The last thing we need is someone like Romney running the program.

Reducing men’s participation to the level of women’s interest

Thanks to some links by Jay, I’ve found some of the original writings of Christina Hoff Sommers, and while it’s interesting reading, it does tend to raise some questions in my mind. For example, just clicking around the AEI website, I came across one of her articles entitled “The Gender-Equity Hammer Comes Out.” She’s making the argument that it will be harmful to apply Title IX standards to academic science because, well, look what it’s done to sports.

Although Title IX has contributed to the progress of women’s athletics, it has done serious harm to men’s sports. Over the years, judges, federal officials, and college administrators have interpreted it to mean that women are entitled to “statistical proportionality.” That is to say, if a college’s student body is 60 percent female, then 60 percent of the athletes should be female–even if far fewer women than men are interested in playing sports at that college. But many athletic directors have been unable to attract the same proportions of women as men. So, to avoid government harassment, loss of funding, and lawsuits, educational institutions have eliminated men’s teams–in effect, reducing men’s participation to the level of women’s interest. That kind of regulatory calibration–call it reductio ad feminem–would wreak havoc in fields that drive the economy such as math, physics and computer science.

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Spirit of the Sith

Today’s link goes to Mano Singham’s post, The Obama administration considers constitutional rights to be dangerous. The administration is correct: constitutional rights are dangerous, at least to those who are exploiting others from positions of privilege and power. But the absence of rights is far more dangerous, in terms of the scope and extent of everyday harm.

Fire brigades

Thanks to the Atheism+ debate, I’m getting to learn about something called “equity feminism” versus “gender feminism.” The difference seems to revolve around the degree of activism required. I’m new to this particular debate, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I thought I’d put my initial impressions out there so I can see what people say in response.

The equity feminist seems to be saying, “Look, I know that women are equal, and so I don’t personally discriminate against them, and that should be good enough. We don’t need to be gender feminists and try to make society better for women in general.” If that’s not an accurate assessment, feel free to inform me where it goes astray, but if it is, then I have to say I don’t think that equity feminism is sufficient, and I can explain why, using the analogy of the fire brigade.

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Neiman Marcus vs. battered women

I’m likely to find time in short supply for the next few weeks as the day job intensifies, so I’m going to supplement my original posts by highlighting what some of the other FtB folks are posting (hey, that’s what networks are for, eh?). Today’s link goes to Ashley Miller and her story on a ritzy, high-end clothing store that likes to sic their lawyers on a charity benefitting a shelter for abused women. Shame, Neiman Marcus, shame.

Read more at Neiman Marcus attacks Women’s Shelter over name.