A surprising enemy

Over at latimes.com, they’re reporting that the dishonestly-named “Defense of Marriage” Act has an enemy that may surprise you.

One of the nation’s leading gay-rights advocacy groups, the Human Rights Campaign, has formed a coalition of major companies calling for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

It’s no surprise, of course, that the HRC in Washington would use its considerable clout to organize big businesses to fight DOMA, the law that excludes recognition of same-sex marriages.

What will be a surprise to many is that one of the first companies to join the effort was Marriott International Inc., which was founded by a devout Mormon, John Willard Marriott.

Granted, they may be more motivated by the potential for an increased consumer base—more marriages mean more honeymoons, and those honeymooners need a place to stay—but still, this is a great sign.

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More thoughts on gun control

I confess I have mixed feelings about gun control. On the one hand you have situations like the recent shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where something clearly needs to be done to protect children against mass murder. That one seems like a no-brainer.

On the other hand, I don’t trust the 1% and I’m increasingly unhappy with the increasing subversion of democracy that is being used to turn our free country into a vast machine piping wealth out of the lower and middle classes and into the bank accounts of the very wealthiest, at the risk of financial disaster for the other 99%. Nor am I pleased with ever-encroaching “State secrets” covering up detention, torture, and assassination of “enemies,” including US citizens.

Is it possible that the Founding Fathers, in protecting the people’s right to keep and bear arms “necessary to the security of a free state,” were showing more foresight than expected? Fortunately, a comment on last Friday’s post gives me an opportunity to dig into this a little more.

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Religion and gun control

So I was browsing around the Internet (again), and I found this story:

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of over 45 religious leaders and clergy have signed a letter addressed to the members of Congress, urging them to take immediate action to prevent more gun violence.

The group is calling for three things: criminal background checks for gun buyers, a ban on high-capacity weapons and ammo magazines, and a federal law against gun trafficking. Sounds like a good idea, right? I thought so too. Then I read the headline on the article: Religious Leaders’ Godless Letter to Congress on Gun Violence. Here’s the author’s analysis.

When I read through their website and the letter they sent to Congress, I saw nothing that addressed the real reason for the increase in gun violence, which is the removal of God and the Bible from all aspects of life, public and private.  Once they were gone, so were the standards used for all morals and values…

The response of the religious leaders that signed the letter to Congress have all fallen victim to the secularization that has corrupted the rest of American society.  They aren’t turning to God and Bible for their answers, but to manmade devices that are totally devoid of anything to do with God.

Which sounds all pious and shit, but here’s my question: If you’re a Christian, and you believe that society has become all evil and immoral and wicked and stuff, why are you trying to make sure that you’re outnumbered, not just by evildoers, but by evildoers with high-powered, high-capacity weaponry?

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About the billboard contest…

Just a quick note about the billboard contest I announced at the beginning of the month. Only two people submitted any actual artwork, and one of those was ineligible due to licensing issues, so I’ve decided to cancel the contest. Some of you might enjoy browsing the entries submitted by Sam D., though, so I’ve included the link below.

https://picasaweb.google.com/108174202895295790196/AtheistBillboards

I like the “Atheists Exist” one myself. Thanks, Sam!

The presuppositional proof of atheism

I was thinking this morning about the presuppositionalist’s argument for God, and it occurred to me that in fact, presuppositionalism is really rather an effective disproof of theism in general and Christianity in particular. Consider this snippet from Pastor Stephen Feinstein’s third post in his debate with Russell Glasser.

I am not sure how familiar you are with Thomas Aquinas’ Cosmological Argument… Have you studied the 10-step argument as outlined in Summa Theologica I, Question 2, Article 3? Just for the purpose of classical education, I recommend it. Although I reject the semi-pelagian presuppositions of the classical argumentation for the existence of God, Aquinas actually gets somewhere good between the 5th and 6th step.

The Gospel tells us that God is a loving heavenly Father, more so than any earthly father. And yet, how many children do you know, who have loving earthly fathers actively and personally involved in their daily lives, who need to resort to an advanced study of medieval philosophy, ontology, and epistemology, just to find a line of reasoning abstruse and convoluted enough to persuade them that their father necessarily even exists?

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In the woo zone

Everybody get out your patented Gullibility Boots, you’ll want them buckled up to about mid-thigh for this one:

“Every cell in my body tingled with pure joy,” that is a common statement made by anyone who just entered “The Zone” state of consciousness. The euphoria reflects the fact that anti-aging and stress hormones are surging through our body, a signature of “The Zone” experience. Faith-based athletes are more likely to experience this elevated state of consciousness, simply because they have streamlined their thoughts and emotions to be focused on the highest vibration frequencies.

Mmm, faith-based higher vibration frequencies, oozing into your bloodstream and cleansing away all those icky, stinky toxins. But wait, I left off the last sentence of that paragraph.

We see this focus, each time they do the “Heart Pump” and point to the Heaven’s, a gesture birthed from my book.

OMG, this article is written by the guy who invented fist pumps? Wow! Like, I mean, wow, man.

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Atheism on CNN

An atheist mother got a big reaction when one of her posts got published on CNN iReport.

[Deborah] Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas who feels “immersed in Christianity,” started a blog about raising her children without religion because she felt frustrated and marginalized. She didn’t want to feel so alone, she says.

This week, she gained a whole new audience and the reassurance that she’s not alone. Her essay on CNN iReport, “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” drew 650,000 page views, the second highest for an iReport, and the most comments of any submission on the citizen journalism platform.

As you might expect, a lot of the reaction was critical and knee-jerky, but there were also a number of responses like this one:

“Thank you for writing this. I agree with everything you say, but I’m not brave enough to tell everyone I know this is how I feel,” a woman who called herself an “agnostic mommy of two in Alabama” posted in the comments. “Thank you for your bravery and letting me know I’m not alone.”

A great read to start the week with.

Scripted bows and bald assertions

Over at Evangelical Realism, we’re finishing up Pastor Stephen Feinstein’s third post in his debate with Russell Glasser, and watching him congratulate himself on how thoroughly he has, in his own opinion, refuted atheism in its entirety. He’s the good guy, and he’s read through his whole script, so of course he’s won by now. Right?

Doggy disciples

The name “Islam” means “submission” or “obedience,” but move over, Mohammed, the Christians are about to take obedience to a whole new level with their program to raise up ministers of the Gospel—on four legs.

A program offered at one Wyoming church gives dogs with their owners the opportunity to spread comfort and the message of Christ.

The eight-week Canines for Christ session will be at Ascension and Holy Trinity Church, at 334 Burns Ave., beginning Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Canines for Christ is a Christian-based, animal-assisted therapy ministry. Dogs and their owners work together to train the pets to visit places that include hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities, special-needs facilities and cancer centers.

Yeah, friendly, well-trained dogs are a great way to overcome people’s natural wariness around strangers, and make them more vulnerable to your attempts to exploit them in their weakness. Still, believers are always preying on the young and/or the helpless, so this program doesn’t change much. I can’t help wondering, though, what will happen when the revival comes to town, and the minister lays his hands on the sick and shouts, “Heal!”