The impact of religion

I forget what it was, but the other day I was reminded of an experience I had as a Christian, many years ago. I was listening to a preacher talk about the creation and Adam and Eve, and he mentioned almost in passing that, “God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, and that’s why to this day women have one more rib than men.”

Do you know, I believed that for years before it occurred to me that it might not be true. I simply never questioned it. I heard it from an authority I trusted, and I never imagined that it might not be true. Plus it reinforced my religious faith, so I had even less reason to question it at the time.

I’m not sure there’s any really profound lesson to be gleaned from my experience, but it does go to show religion’s power to misinform and keep people misled long after they’re old enough to really know better.

A martyr for “clarity”

Poor, persecuted Roy Moore. As you may have heard, he’s been suspended (with pay!) pending the outcome of proceedings against him in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. The suspension follows a complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center after Moore’s refusal to comply with the Supreme Court decision upholding the right to gay marriage. But according to the Christian Post, this is all just a big misunderstanding. Moore wasn’t trying to obstruct justice. Not at all! He just was a little confused about a few things.

Travis S. Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Washington, DC-based Family Research Council, told The Christian Post that while the Supreme Court decision is clear, Alabama’s high court has not contemplated the full impact of this decision on all pending orders. Chief Justice Moore was simply stating that fact.

“Chief Justice Moore has merely pointed out this lack of clarity, and noted that until the state’s high court rules with finality, the administrative order to probate judges from last March remains in effect,” said Weber.

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Christian colleges shamed by discrimination disclosures

Over 200 Christian colleges, and growing, have claimed a Title IX exemption in order to discriminate against transgendered students. But, according to the Christian Post, that’s not the story. The story is that the Department of Education is publishing a list of the schools that have done so, at the behest of those mean old human rights activists, in order to bully and embarrass those poor helpless Christians once again.

LGBT activist groups have been calling on the government to publish the list as part of a shaming campaign called the “Shame List” to pressure Christian colleges to consent to their agenda…

The article goes on to quote Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) saying, “the Department of Education has been bullying schools to comply with policies that simply do not have the force of law.”

But here’s the thing: why don’t Christian colleges want people to know they’re using taxpayer money to fund discrimination against transgendered people, as an expression of their religious belief? If they’re doing God’s will, and if God’s will is supposed to be a good thing, why are they upset that their counter-cultural witness is getting free publicity from the government?

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The name is not the problem

When I was young there were still a fair number of fundamentalist Christian churches around, and by that I mean churches that were proud to be fundamentalist and often even used the term “fundamentalist” as part of the name of their church. To them, fundamentalist meant they had abandoned the accumulated centuries of man-made traditions, and gotten back to the fundamentals of the faith. They had separated the wheat from the chaff, the gold from the ore, the essentials from the distractions. And they were proud of it.

As time went on, though, these groups became famous for other things: narrow-mindedness, judgmentalism, dogmatism, and ignorance. The term “fundamentalist” started accumulating negative connotations, and being linked to stereotypical attitudes and behaviors. Believers grew reluctant to identify themselves as fundamentalists, and wanted to be known as evangelicals instead. Evangelicals, you see, were the ones who understood what was really important about the faith. They wanted to get away from all this divisiveness and denominationalism, and go back to what was truly important about the faith.

As a young believer, I was glad I was an evangelical rather than a fundamentalist. Fundamentalism was bad. Fundamentalists did bad things and had bad attitudes. But you know what? As time went on, I realized that the evangelicals were doing the same things and promoting the same attitudes. Narrow-mindedness. Judgmentalism. Dogmatism. And a really, really proud and defiant ignorance. They weren’t called fundamentalists any more, but they were still doing the same behaviors and preaching the same attitudes, and thus acquiring the same stigma.

What I learned from that experience is that, in the long term, changing the name does no good if the underlying attitudes and behaviors don’t change with it. It happened with fundamentalism and with evangelicalism, and now it’s happening with plain old bigotry.

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Voting for Bernie

I’ve seen it in a few places, and especially after yesterday’s primary results, that there’s no way Bernie can win the nomination at this point. Hillary has locked up too many party-insider super-delegates, and has too much dark money, to falter at this point in her campaign. She is “too big to fail,” with all that that implies.

At this point I don’t care. I voted for Bernie in the primaries, and I’m voting for him again in November. No matter who the “official” candidates are.

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How to be “politically correct”

Since a lot of people seem to have trouble with the idea of “political correctness,” I thought I’d post a short guide to what it means to be politically correct. You know, so everyone can be on the same page as far as what people are complaining about. It’s a short list. “Political correctness” means simply that you

  1. Understand and agree that merely being different is not, in itself, doing anyone any harm, and
  2. Recognize that it’s wrong to punish people who are doing no harm, even if they are different.

And that’s it. That’s what all the fuss is about. When people complain about political correctness, as if it were some kind of horrible tyranny, what they’re saying is that they object to one or both of these elementary moral principles. [Read more…]

Why can’t conservatives discriminate too?

Writing for townhall.com, Christian apologist Frank Turek asks, “Can Bruce Springsteen Refuse to Play a Gay Wedding?”

I agree with Bruce Springsteen who cancelled his concert in my adopted home state of North Carolina because he objected to HB2 (the bathroom law). I also agree with Paypal, which cancelled their plans to expand in Charlotte because they think the law is “discriminatory.” Why? Because I believe that performers and businesses have every right not to do business with whom they disagree. In other words, they have the right to discriminate against the people of North Carolina.

But if liberals can deny services to people with whom they disagree, then why can’t conservatives?

And while we’re at it, why can’t you peel an apple the same way you peel an orange? Life is just so darn unfair!

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