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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How to deny global warming

Since last month is, yet again, a record-setter for abnormally high global average temperatures, I thought now would be a good time to post this list of tactics used by denialists to deny, obfuscate, misdirect, or otherwise impede our willingness to take action to reduce global warming.

#1. Deny that global warming exists. Contradict or disparage the data. Accuse scientists of cherry-picking, and publishing biased interpretations. Dismiss all signs of global warming as “just weather.”

#2. Where global warming is undeniable, deny that it is man-made. Compare the emissions of a single car to the emissions of a volcanic eruption, in order to make man-made sources of carbon seem trivial. Point to climate variations in prehistoric times as evidence that the climate change is a purely natural phenomenon. Ignore the fact that “natural disasters” are also natural.

More below the fold.

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Unintended comedy

I happened to run across an intentionally offensive meme about the bigoted NC bathroom laws, and my first reaction was to take offense, naturally. But then I looked again, and realized that the memester had added a bit of unintended humor at his own expense. I’m going to put it below the fold so people can decide whether or not they want to see it, but I thought it turned out pretty funny.

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