Vatican vows to fight equality

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Vatican is determined to fight to limit marriage exclusively to heterosexuals, calling the privileged status of heterosexuals “an achievement of civilization.”

“It is clear that in Western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union,” Father Federico Lombardi, said in a tough editorial on Vatican Radio.

Hmm, special privileges for people like us, with vigorous enforcement of laws excluding people who are not like us. Where have I heard that before?

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Good news from Kansas

Hutchnews.com reports more good election results:

Democrat Carolyn Campbell of Topeka won a second, four-year term on the State Board of Education in Tuesday’s election in the 4th District of northeast Kansas. She defeated Republican Jack Wu of Topeka.

Jack Wu moved from California to Kansas to attend the Westboro Baptist Church, and was running for the school board on an “I hate evolution” platform. Apparently Westboro’s famous “God hates America” stand doesn’t play too well in Kansas these days.

What to do in your second term

Congratulations on your re-election, Mr. President. I’m glad you got a second term, because there are still a few items that need to be finished up from your first one. And now that you don’t have to worry about being re-elected, I hope you’ll have the time, the freedom, and the will to fix some of our worst problems:

  • Transparency. We cannot afford to elect a government that can be blackmailed by anonymous power brokers with big bank accounts. We the People need to know who is writing the actual text of our laws, and who is profiting from them.
  • The Constitution. I know you’re busy, but can we have our Constitutional rights back, please? Particularly the First and Fourth Amendments? Bin Ladin is dead, yet as long as our nation remains so terrorized that we won’t take our families on board airplanes without government agents fondling our kids, the terrorists are winning. I’d like to live in a FREE country again.
  • Wall Street. It shouldn’t be legal to cheat people out of house and home. Nuff said?
  • The deficit, aka tomorrow’s taxes. Yes, that needs to come down, but can we start with wasteful “defense” spending? It’s one thing to speak softly and carry a big stick, but that stick gets kind of hard to carry when it reaches sequoia proportions.

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Blood drives

The last time I gave blood, there was a sign outside that says, “Giving blood saves lives.” As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’d like to ask a question. If giving blood saves lives, why don’t we have people roaming the streets, grabbing healthy-looking individuals, and taking their blood by force? I think most people know the answer: it’s because each of us has a sovereign right to bodily autonomy that no one else has the right to violate, even if it might mean saving someone else’s life.

This to set the stage for a question posed in a couple comments by NotAnAtheist on yesterday’s post, concerning my remark about how the unformed child does not become a person until later on.

When does this “becoming a person” happen? … The child that is 1 hr from being born, anatomically, genetically, and in all other senses I know of, is the same child right after birth (If someone knows of some big difference, let me know).

If there is that similarity, how can it be that the child after birth is a “person”, and the child before is not? Or is it just that the idea of “personhood” has no objective referent and is simply up to the whim of the court?

I’m glad you asked.

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When is it ok to legalize murder?

One of the differences between the Obama/Biden campaign and the Romney/Ryan campaign came out during the VP debates. Biden said he was a faithful Catholic and believed his church’s teaching on abortion (in the true spirit of faith as “believing what you know ain’t so”), but he wasn’t willing to impose his religious beliefs on others (and rightly so). Ryan, on the other hand, was adamant that abortion was murder and should be immediately outlawed, except in cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother. And that’s a very interesting set of exceptions.

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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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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.

Family values?

Years ago I used to be very interested in Mormonism, though that was when I was an evangelical Christian and my main interest was in converting them. But I learned quite a lot about them and even attended a Mormon church for a while (incognito, as it were).

One thing I learned was that, according to Mormon theology, every human soul born on earth was originally procreated in heaven by God the Father having sex with one of His many wives, who then gave birth to a “spirit child,” which in turn had to be born into a physical body in order to progress into eventual godhood. Considering that the current birth rate is something like 200,000 per day, that’s a whole heaping helping of heavenly humping!

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Luke 4 (the longer text)

And the devil, taking Jesus up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”

And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

And he departed from thence, and the devil was filled with rage. But as he lingered upon the mountain, behold, three of Jesus disciples approached him and said, “O great one, give us this power also, that we may have power over the kingdoms of the world. For we are not mighty like our Lord, and we fear lest our preaching be without effect, because of our weakness.”

And the devil said, “Behold, to you I shall give great power, and you shall build mighty empires, and at your word rulers will rise and fall. But there is a price you must pay.” And they said unto him, “Tell us.” And he saith unto them, “Behold, one day a man will arise who worships many gods, yea even a god with many wives. And you shall command your followers, that they obey this man and make him their ruler, for by such blasphemies does my own power grow.” And they said unto him, “How shall we do this? For our people will never elect a man who worships many gods having many wives.” And the devil said, “Go, for I will raise up a ruler before him, who will be different from his predecessors, and I will stir up hatred and enmity against him (for in hatred and enmity are my strength) and your people will vote for anyone just to be rid of him.” And they said unto him, “May it be as you have said.”

And their names were James and Jerry and Pat. And he gave unto them great power, and wealth, and many followers, and they commanded them to elect whomever their party proposed, even a ruler who worshipped many gods having many wives, and they obeyed, for they had grown accustomed to obedience.

And the devil was well pleased.