Suffer the little children…

The Washington Post is reporting the appalling story of a Michigan pediatrician who is refusing to care for a 4-month-old baby girl because her parents are lesbian.

“The first thing Dr. Karam said was, ‘I’ll be your doctor, I’ll be seeing you today because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay,’ ” Jami told WJBK. “Dr. Karam told us she didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.”

The doctor later apologized for not coming in to the office that day, but made no apologies for her bigotry.

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Anti-evolution bill nixed by lawmakers

Good news from South Dakota. As the Argus Leader reports:

Senate Bill 114 was killed last week. More accurately, it was deferred by the state senate’s education committee to the “41st legislative day,” which doesn’t exist.

Senate Bill 114 was another one of those stealth creationism bills designed to encourage public school teachers to introduce kids to Genesis under the guise of “questioning” evolution. And you have to love this bit:

Language in the bill is also similar to model legislation from a group that has created intelligent design curriculum for private and home school teachers. Representatives for the Washington-based Discovery Institute say they don’t support teaching intelligent design in public schools.

No, of course they don’t support teaching ID in the public schools. They just design the curriculum (and help craft laws like SB 114) to make it possible for someone else to support teaching ID in public schools. See, that way, when the school district gets sued for First Amendment violations, and loses, the Institute doesn’t bear any of the liability, and are free to move on to the next school district.

Gospel Disproof #54: The wages of sin

There’s an old saying (frequently attributed to Mark Twain) that goes something like this: “Tell the truth. It’s easier.” Or alternately, “Tell the truth, there’s less to remember.” The trouble with untruths is that they never quite line up with reality, which means you have to keep lying in order to cover up the discrepancies. And even then you still have problems. It’s just too darn hard to keep one lie from exposing another.

Take, for example, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” According to the Bible, we’re all sinners, and that means we all deserve to die. But (the Gospel tells us) we can escape God’s judgment because Jesus paid the price for us, by dying in our place. His death pays the penalty for our sins, so now we can go to Heaven essentially for free. In fact, that’s the whole reason Jesus died in the first place: because he wanted us to go to Heaven, and that couldn’t happen unless there was a death to pay for our sins.

There’s just one little problem with this simple, appealing story. We still die. Believers die, unbelievers die, agnostics die, everybody dies. And that means everybody pays the price of sin anyway, even without Jesus’s help. So what do we need Jesus for?

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Court rejects “right-to-meddle” claim

WTAE News reports that a federal appeals court has rejected lower court rulings that granted Christian organizations a right to meddle in their employees’ personal medical coverage.

A federal appeals court has reversed lower-court victories by two western Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses and a private Christian college that challenged birth control coverage mandates as part of federal health care reforms.

The 3-0 ruling Wednesday by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the reforms place “no substantial burden” on the religious groups and therefore don’t violate their First Amendment right to religious expression.

The organizations in question had argued that their religious convictions required them to deny their employees coverage for birth control or abortions. The law, however, allows them to opt out of the mandate to provide such coverage, in which case someone else would provide it. That didn’t satisfy the Christian organizations, however, because they wanted the power to ensure that nobody could provide their employees with coverage that was inconsistent with the organizations’ religious principles. In essence, they asserted that their religious freedom gave them the right to meddle in their employees’ private, personal medical care. Fortunately, the appeals court didn’t buy it.

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Ted Cruz supports — and opposes — a national marriage amendment

We’re used to politicians flip-flopping on the issues as public opinion shifts, but it takes real skill to flip to both positions simultaneously. According to advocate.com, however, Ted Cruz has managed to do exactly that. Faced with an impending Supreme Court decision that is likely to end marriage discrimination against gay couples, Cruz announced that he is absolutely opposed to having the federal government overrule state laws regarding marriage, while simultaneously supporting the idea of having the federal government overrule state laws regarding marriage.

“I’m a constitutionalist,” Cruz continued. “From the beginning of this country, marriage has been a question of the states, and we should not have the federal government, or unelected judges, setting aside the policy judgment of the elected legislatures and imposing their own instead.”

Cruz also confirmed to the D.C.-based LGBT outlet that he is still planning to introduce a federal constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage nationwide…

Ta-da! The amazing inverted double back flip with a front flip and a twist. So as long as the federal government is telling the states they must discriminate against gays, he’s for it, but if the federal government insists on justice and equality for gays, then he’s resolutely opposed. He believes states rights trumps the federal government while believing at the same time that the government should decide the issue for all 50 states. I’d give it an 8.4 out of ten. It’s a difficult move, and he did pull it off, but it still looks like shit no matter how you do it.

Good without God

I like the phrase “good without god(s),” because it reminds us that morality does not come from supernatural sources. But there’s a flip side to that: if we can be good without God, then we can also be evil without the devil, as has been horrifically demonstrated in the Chapel Hill shooting.

The thing is, atheism is just a fact, like the speed of light or the law of gravity. We don’t get any moral impetus from the fact that we obediently accelerate towards the center of the earth at about 32 feet per second squared. Knowing the correct value for the acceleration of gravity may give us a scientific advantage over people who don’t know, or who choose to believe in erroneous values. But that give us no moral advantage.

And it’s the same with atheism. Seeing the absence of the gods, understanding the superstitions and rationalizations that lead people to believe in beings that aren’t there, knowing the history of religion with its triumphs and tragedies—these are all simply observations. They’re not a source of moral guidance or motivation.

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Darwin was wrong (even though he was right)

In response to a recent proposal to have February 12 recognized nationally as “Darwin Day,” Ken Ham has issued a counter-call for that date to be hailed as “Darwin Was Wrong Day.” Ironically but perhaps not surprisingly, the AiG web site demonstrates that Darwin’s most famous contributions—natural selection and new species arising by descent with variation from common ancestors—are not only correct, but are necessary prerequisites even for creationist “biology.”

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Obama’s evil, Christian twin

If you read the right-wing “news” outlets, you already know that President Obama is secretly a Marxist Muslim terrorist plotting to take your guns and force you to submit to Sharia law and possibly also gay weddings. But that’s not the true depth of his depravity, oh no. He, or perhaps his evil Twin President Obama, has an even darker secret.

President Obama’s out-of-the-blue statement voicing concern for allegedly growing religious intolerance in India is no surprise at all. There are reasons for this outburst. The US President is clearly under the superficial anti-India propaganda by a powerful network of the Christian lobby alleging that minorities face ‘existential challenges’…

Obama has shown himself to be more a Christian figure than statesman. Fact is that the missionary lobby fears an anti-conversion law that will prevent them from ‘harvesting’ Hindus as part of their demographic project. There were expectations during the Pope’s visit to India that he would advise evangelists to stop conversions. Far from it, he claimed conversion to be a right. Indian missionaries are perturbed by rising demands for a Central law against conversion. Obama’s statement is a part of the Vatican’s agenda in India.

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Postmodern vaccination

Much to the surprise of no one who was paying attention in science class, diseases that were once mostly under control are now experiencing a dramatic upswing, thanks to the efforts of the anti-vaccine movement in sowing hysteria and misinformation about products that have already been through a lengthy and vigorous examination of their safety and efficacy. How could such a thing happen in “enlightened” Western civilization? The answer is complex, but part of the problem stems from our cultural post-modernism. Rejection of science goes hand-in-hand with rejection of the idea that any kind of objective truth really exists.

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Obama calls for separation of church and state at National Prayer Breakfast

In a move that is sure to make right-wingers decide (again) that Obama is Muslim extremist out to destroy America, the president spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and called on religion to oppose violence and support decency and freedom.

“We see faith driving us to do right,” he said to more than 3,500 people attending the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or worse, sometimes used as a weapon.”

He urged believers of all faiths to practice humility, support church-state separation and adhere to the golden rule as ways to keep religion in its proper context.

Nothing like a National Prayer Breakfast, hosted by members of Congress and addressed by the President, to promote separation of church and state, eh?

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