Reply to Stephen Feinstein, round four »« Lady Godiva and a Forgotten Lesson about Honor

An open letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Based on this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cncbOEoQbOg&feature=BFa&list=FLry4eIS1_98ZxFO0geP7xJw

I sent the following letter to Mayor Villaraigosa and the Democratic Party:

Mr. Mayor,

I’m not a citizen of Los Angeles, but I am a Democrat. When Ted Strickland offered his amendment, calling for the party platform to recognize his god, I was disappointed, but not surprised. This sort of religious pandering has become common, but as someone who does not share his religious views, I continue to hope for the day when people will recognize that the party of inclusion should not be including divisive language that is disrespectful to and excludes anyone who doesn’t share the religious views of the majority.

Yesterday was that day – and you destroyed it.

In any rational society, that amendment proposal would have failed, but I expected it to pass. It’s clear that you expected it to pass, as well, and when it didn’t, you looked very puzzled. After calling for a second and third vote, you then had the audacity to toss aside the actual vote and declare that you heard a 2/3 majority in favor of the amendment.

You, sir, were lying.

I don’t care if the amendment called for the inclusion of pancakes at every breakfast – I’m upset about the utter disregard for the actual voting results.

As a representative of the party that has been preaching about the dangers of voter reform and the value of every vote, you willfully ignored the clear desire of the people, spat upon the democratic process, and collaborated to alter the party platform by lying about the result of that vote.

Your decision is an embarrassment to the democratic process, the Democratic party and the people you were chosen to represent. Your actions sacrificed the political high ground and brought disgrace upon the party.

I’m calling for you to issue a public apology and to request that the party respect the vote, as offered, and remove that amendment from OUR platform.

– Matt Dillahunty
Austin, TX

Comments

  1. Ceen says

    It sounds like he was going to pass it regardless of what the vote was. After the first vote it sounded like he was just going by a script, “In the opinion of the…” before realizing that the voters derailed him.
    But democracy be damned. Just keep calling for a revote until they learn to stay on script. And even if they don’t, pass it anyway and move on.

  2. Mike W says

    His name is Tony Valar, he changed it to Antonio Villaraigosa as a way to pander to the Hispanics. He failed the BAR exam 4 times, and then gave up, -still got elected.

  3. Dorkman says

    After all the times you guys had to apologize for Perry, it’s only fair that I should have to apologize for my guy. So: sorry about him.

  4. machintelligence says

    Finally! The amendment failed to get a simple majority, let alone a 2/3 majority. If he were honest he would have announced that failure and moved on to other business.

  5. PLink says

    Great post, Matt. I would also like to mention the other part that was added on, insisting that Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel. Jerusalem was an international city when the state of Israel was founded in 1947 and it was largely divided into East and West Jerusalem. In 1967 there was a war where East Jerusalem was taken by Israel and was named the capitol. This move later lead to the “Jerusalem Law” of 1980 which codified their conquest and said that Jerusalem was their capitol. A UN Security Council Resolution (#478) said this law was not legal. So adding a piece about God and Jerusalem were both bad ideas and added improperly and I have seen some reports that the additions were insisted on by President Obama himself.

  6. Pinkamena Panic says

    Wow, that’s pathetic.

    Pandering, self-righteous pseudo-skeptic center-whoring.

    Piss off. You and the rest of the Internet Cool Kid crowd.

  7. Anonymous Atheist says

    This move, the way it was handled, and the report that it was supposedly done at Obama’s insistence, are a disappointing situation marring an otherwise-great convention.

  8. Tisha says

    I’m confused as to why in 2012 we’re voting by yelling. I mean, you go to Disney World and play “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” with computer keypads that instantly tabulate and display the results, but I guess fake game shows are more important than running a country.

  9. Stan says

    I AM a citizen of Los Angeles and am both appalled and embarassed by Villaraigosa’s bald-faced pandering to religionists in both parties.

    I recognize Obama’s political motivation in (allegedly) insisting on these changes to the DNC platform, but Villaraigosa’s dishonesty is more than disappointing and really beyond the pale.

  10. Michael says

    Excellant Post, these letters get counted, it may not make a huge difference but its 100x more effective than not doing anything!

  11. astro says

    One weird thing though. The Right and Reverend Strickland looked genuinely surprised at the decision

  12. Gary says

    Matt said that what led him the path to atheism was that it was important to him that the things he believed were true. Our political parties have no interest in truth. Why a person who believes truth is important would become a member of an organization that has complete contempt for truth is beyond me, and a disappointment.

  13. says

    Setting aside this mistaken idea you have that the two parties are equally uninterested in the truth… clearly, because he wants to align himself with a party that best matches his social/fiscal views, and has the most power to actually enact those views, even if it’s not perfect from a “truthiness” standpoint, he’s apparently not allowed to try to fix the party through participation, and has forfeited his claim to skepticism. Right?

    No, is the answer.

    You have an additional misconception that aligning with a party means that you’re accepting some kind of dogma. For many people, you’ve got it exactly backwards – they align with the party because it most fits them.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    But they HAD to pass that amendment, or otherwise Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh and False Noise would have said rude things about them!!!1!

  15. Gary says

    I support trying to change the system but I don’t see the point of membership. If a person declares membership to the republican party many people would say that the party membership is an endorsement of anti-gay and misogynistic policies. It could be that the person supports a more conservative economic policy and wants to change the party from within. I doubt that the charity of argument that you are offering would be as well received. I’ll let Matt defend his reasons. But why not choose another party or crate a new one instead if choosing the lesser of two evils. The other is still evil and you don’t have to be a member of one if the two dominant parties to be a part of the political process.

  16. TychaBrahe says

    He won’t read it. He has the attention span of a gnat. He might get through the first two sentences before he starts thinking about his next press opportunity.

  17. says

    This is perhaps the part which offends me the most.

    The disregard of the vote is bad enough, but to make these changes based solely on public criticism based on false piety on the part of your opponents is the worst kind of spinelessness.

    Had Obama really used that “spine of steel” Biden referred to last night, he’d have totally ignored the criticism and “moved forward”.

    But as it is, now he’s handed the Republicans countless opportunities via a handy series of video clips of “godless Democrats” doing that “hating god” thing, plus disregarding the folks in his own Party – in substantial numbers from that voice vote – who object to that kind of language in their platform.

    Click my name to go to my blog where I’ve also written about this moment.

  18. tracieh says

    Political positions have as much to do with “truth” as any other job positions. If I say a doctor should adhere to AMA standards (in the U.S.), what on earth does that have to do with “truth”? It’s a qualification for a job position. Politicians are doing a job, not seeking out truth. Do their actions at their job require an understanding of reality? Sure, but no more than at my own job. And I hardly recall a question when I was certified for my position that read “And what is your position on truth?” Yes, I had to pass some ethics segment to earn the certification. But it would be one hell of a stretch to claim my job is about “truth.” Politicians are involved in a legislative process outlined within our legal precedents and the Constitution. All I care about is whether they can do *that* job, and it has about as much to do with “truth” as any other job I can think of.

  19. tracieh says

    Would have been excellent to see him confronted by actual numbers where he simply couldn’t lie his way out of it. I agree.

  20. Joy says

    I remember in my youth… well, when I was younger, watching Tip O’Neil do this same thing in Congress. The person with the gavel is a demi-god. Creepy, I know, and in this case very, very disappointing. I’ve got several FB friends posting a “they denied god three times” picture and feeling pretty smug about all this. Trouble is six months ago I would have felt smug. I’ve had my ‘this is all bullshit’ moment and have been deity-free since April 2012. (I was happy and tried to tell those nearest me how great this life is – WOW! was that a mistake.) So I’m writing to you from my closet and even from here I could see fear on Mr. Mayor’s face. We ALL know there is no reason to put god (in any form) in the Democratic platform. (what god-given potentials? this was kind of a weak ass nod to god) Those folks were also being asked to accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (besides Israel – does any other country believe this?). This all looked like a way to pick up a few votes. Sad. As powerful as Mayor Villaraigosa may have felt with that gavel last night (well, he probably felt powerful when he first picked it up) he did have a sad, little look on his face when the crowd DID NOT vote according to his script. Yes, this should be corrected.

  21. says

    A million times yes. This mirrors a conversation I had with a friend yesterday, although the way matt said it is much more clear than my own. As much as I hate the actual amendment, the simple fact that the vote failed and it was declared passed anyway is what really boils my blood.

  22. says

    If a person declares membership to the republican party many people would say that the party membership is an endorsement of anti-gay and misogynistic policies.

    If those actual policies of the platform, yes. This is only pertinent if the Democratic party has lying and disdain for truth as part of its platform.

    What you’ve done instead is set up an association fallacy that because some loudmouthed individuals within the party are more concerned about political gain than true, that therefore anyone else who associates with the party cannot claim to care about the truth too. It’s a “guilt by association” setup – a logical fallacy.

    It could be that the person supports a more conservative economic policy and wants to change the party from within. I doubt that the charity of argument that you are offering would be as well received. I’ll let Matt defend his reasons. But why not choose another party or crate a new one instead if choosing the lesser of two evils.

    As I already explained, the party exist, functions, and manages (despite the Republican obstructionism) to accomplish things. Why reinvent the wheel when one can merely fix an existing one?

    The other is still evil and you don’t have to be a member of one if the two dominant parties to be a part of the political process.

    I agree, but now you’re moving the goal posts. Your original assertion was that joining a political party was incompatible with being a skeptic, which is absurd.

  23. Stephen says

    My question is what is Jerusalem doing in any United States political party platform in the first place? Wouldn’t that be a question for Israelis, not Americans? If Israel wants to consider Jerusalem as it’s capital, do they have to ask ask the US government first?

  24. Tx Skeptic says

    Ditto. That was my first thought on the Jerusalem issue. As my father-in-law says, “that doesn’t come under the heading of your business”

  25. eric says

    In this case, it’s good to see the liars and panderers getting what they deserve. They chose to chase public perception rather than stand on principle. As a result, they have alienated those who would have supported a principled stance, and they have provided excellent ammunition to their opponents. I saw headlines today indicating that clips from this fiasco are already being included in ads against the Democrats.

    I understand the ‘lesser evil’ rationale, but those using that rationale should try to remember that the lesser evil is still evil. Both major U.S. parties are primarily unprincipled populist panderers. It is amusing to see this pandering explode in their faces.

  26. pyrobryan says

    That “vote” was pathetic. How he could stand there and pretend there was a 2/3 vote is beyond me. It was disgraceful and an embarrassment. That kind of fraud can not be tolerated.

  27. says

    He wasn’t lying, it was just being a good errand boy. They have shots of his teleprompter which already read “I heard 2/3 in the affirmative”. The vote itself was just a formality, the decision was already made before he opened his mouth.

  28. Soli Deo Gloria says

    C’mon. He was engaging in voter fraud. Democrats love that kind of stuff. I guess for you it’s only OK to steal sovereignty from other people if you disagree with those people.

    Also, it is a fact that people who attended the convention were required to have photo ID. Ironic?

    Do you have any objection in principle to purging voter registration rolls of dead voters and providing photo ID free of cost, but requiring it for people to vote?

  29. Jed Deemer says

    As a recovering Conservative (awaiting my first badge at CA) I[m reminded of a conversation I once had with a Democrat. Back then, I was still a Republican–for reasons I’ll not go into here–and also an atheist. I said to the young man, “The only thing the Democratic Party gets right is hostility to religion, and now they’re screwing _that_ up.”

    I thought what I said was a joke. Now that I’m a supporter of the party, it’s no longer a joke. It’s serious!

  30. Nicole says

    What’s sad is that I moved from Dallas to LA to get away from ideas like that! So sad that Mayor V is is pulling stunts like that!

  31. Tim H. says

    Always thought I’d register as a Democrat if I ever picked a party. This sets that possibility back many years. When your actions make your party’s name ironic, that’s serious trouble.

  32. Pacemaker of Peace says

    Bible Thumper Here!
    I know nothing I say to you will convince you of God’s existence, I’m here to just give you some “good’ol’prophecy being fufilled” news, as a “look! there’s proof” kinda thing. Though don’t take as me trying to convince you.
    Revelations 16:13 then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea and it turned into blood like that of a dead man and every living thing in the sea died

    Isiah 17:1 the burden of damascus behold damascus is taken away from being a city and shall be a ruinous heap

    Luke 21:11 and great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, famines and pestilence

    Okay so Damascus is being blown to bits as we speak,
    several Earthquakes have been happening in the past few weeks, or shall I say days? With Science showing a drastic increase in quakes lately.
    And the Yangtze River just turned red, even though several years of China being a polluted toilet hole, it JUST turned red…

    Anyway, not trying to convince of God’s existence, just want you to know what you all think?
    And the Yan

  33. says

    Wow. And here I was thinking that earthquakes had something to do with plate tectonics, and that they’ve actually been occurring for millions of years.

    And war in the Middle East? Holy cow! That’s never happened! ;-)

  34. terrypinder says

    Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.

    anyway:
    Okay so Damascus is being blown to bits as we speak
    Civil wars have that effect. There’s always one going on. Right now? In Syria.
    several Earthquakes have been happening in the past few weeks, or shall I say days? With Science showing a drastic increase in quakes lately.
    Normal because of plate tectonics and so on which have been going for roughly 3 billion-plus years, and no, science does not show a drastic increase, except in the Midwest where they’re possibly inferred due to mining/resource extraction.
    And the Yangtze River just turned red, even though several years of China being a polluted toilet hole, it JUST turned red…
    It turns red quite often, actually, especially after heavy rains. Which they’ve had in the Yangtze Basin.

    So, no. Your changed-and-edited-over-and-over-and-over-again-by-people-and-poorly-translated-and-hacked-up-by-the-council-of-nicea-and-by-martin-luther-and-by-king-james bible didn’t foretell anything. Yawn.

  35. Gary says

    Being a member of a political party is a big step from being apolitical. It is one thing to say that you have a political ideology but a party endorsement through membership invites an assumption of all party stances onto you. You have to disavow anything that is contradictory to party policy in a discrete act or else that behavior or stance is a default stance that you hold. Given the disregard for truth among our parties, being a skeptic and a party member makes the situation that you must be in a constant act of clarifying your position. It is one thing to vote for someone but I am curious as to what Matt or any other skeptic actually accomplishes, or thinks they accomplish through party membership.

  36. says

    Agreed. I looked his Wikipedia page up. Apparently he did change his name, but I did not see a reason given. I am highly skeptical that he would have needed to do so to pander for votes, unless there is something key in the name “Villaraigosa” that I am unaware. Nothing was said about failing the bar. However, the page did mention some controversies involving ethical behavior. Can’t say that surprises me after this voice-vote debacle.

  37. Cylis says

    Perhaps I missed the memo, but when the hell did caring about truth, or declaring oneself an atheist preclude them from having political opinions or being a member of a political party?
    And if you’re so damn interested in the truth, by what logic and reason did you arrive at the conclusion that simply by stating he is a member of the Democratic party that you know much of anything thing about his specific political ideology?
    You’ve made absolutely no attempt to investigate why Matt is a member, what that membership means to him, or any thing else related to the issue. Yet you claim to know with such certainty that its somehow wrong. Not only that, you give very little in the way of a clear argument as to why party affiliation should be cause for investigation in the first place, aside from what boils down to “I don’t trust politicians.”
    Snap judgements, lack of evidence, and personal bias is not a good path to truth. I’m disappointed in you, sir.

  38. Cylis says

    Do you really think that any rational person -or even slightly irrational ones, for that matter- thinks that being a member of a political party means you therefore fall in lock-step with the entirety of the party’s platform?
    And to a larger point, do you really think that perpetuation the quite irrational assumption that political membership implies partisanship is doing anything to help the “disregard for truth” in politics, as you state it?

  39. jacobfromlost says

    Pacemaker of Peace, if that indeed is your true name, let’s say the “internal conflict” is unprecedented.

    If that is meaningful in some way, and prophetic, then what happens next? Be specific. I want names, dates, times, circumstances that are confirmable later. If you can’t give those things, then WHATEVER new thing happens, I can just as easily claim my general proclamations about it have come to pass and thus *I* am Wizard Prime.

    (For the record, I predict brother will fight brother, that blood will be shed, that leaders will rise who ultimately do much harm, horrible disasters that haven’t happened before…or at least not in memory…will happen, and that many people will cry over all of this. If this comes true, you must acknowledge I am Wizard Prime–Wizard of all Wizards. That it CAN’T be a coincidence and only my magic could be this prophetic.)

  40. says

    Things were pretty dicey in Damascus in 1918. Just sayin’.

    But jacobfromlost is right. It’s easy to retrofit any current event into a claim that its occurrence “proves” some ancient supernatural or divine prophecy true. The Nostradamus crowd does the same thing.

  41. Stan says

    You want to know what I think? I think that your assertions and conclusions are not worthy of serious consideration.

  42. jdog says

    Anyway, not trying to convince of God’s existence, just want you to know what you all think?

    I think you’re a liar.

  43. Pacemaker of Peace says

    The Land and Vegetation is Destroyed- The wicked will not escape from God’s.
    Revelation 8:7 says that touching the first angel’s trumpet hail and fire fell on the earth, “and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass burned.” Statistics show that in recent years deforestation has advanced so far that have already burned more than 36,000 square kilometers of forests and jungles. The massive burning of forests and jungles is an alarming phenomenon for today. To this we must add the logging will soon leave you green areas on the planet. It is estimated that already has destroyed about half of the world’s rainforests, and look away at a rate of 20 acres per minute. In its quest to dominate nature, man kills daily 160 species of plants and animals.

  44. jacobfromlost says

    You: “In its quest to dominate nature, man kills daily 160 species of plants and animals.”

    Your god: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    Why do you disagree with your god? Just wondering, as it is a very odd thing to do–advocate for the existence of your god, and then by way of contradicting your god attempt to provide evidence he exists. Very odd indeed.

    It’s like me saying Poseidon exists, but that I disagree that he has any power over storms as we have evidence the storms are caused in other ways. But look at the storms! Poseidon exists because he said he has control of storms!

    (Also FYI, the usual line I have heard from believers is that humans CAN’T affect global change in the environment because god won’t let them. I have also been told we can do whatever we want to the earth or animals because, as I quoted above, the bible says so. We can always show grace to the earth an animals, I have been told, but it is not required.)

  45. Timelessapologist says

    Jacob

    “It’s like me saying Poseidon exists”

    Poseidon is not analogous to God, so your argument fails as analogies need to be analogous

    Poseidon isn’t even on top of his own food chain of gods ie: Zeus LOL

    God = maximally great being

    So if something created Poseidon he =/= God

    Why are village atheists so bad at philosophy?

  46. says

    Yes, if a Christian wants me to be impressed by a “prophecy,” they should show me the passage that gives me the exact time and description of the 9/11 attacks.

  47. says

    Ah. Well, that’s a brilliant rebuttal. Let’s do it this way, then: just replace “Poseidon” with “Great Green Arkleseizure.” The Great Green Arkleseizure, who sneezed the universe out of his nose, is a maximally great being, because I say he is. There: religion!

  48. jacobfromlost says

    Timelessapologist,

    My analogy was analogous directly in terms of the point I was making. (Analogies are not analogous in all possible ways; if they were, then you’d be talking about the same thing and not making an analogy.) Please follow along.

    God exists.
    Analagous to: Poseidon exists.

    God exists because god says in the bible says the earth will be destroyed in various ways, and those various ways are happening.
    Analagous to: Poseidon exists because Poseidon says he is in charge of storms, and storms exist in various ways today.

    Now, if you can follow the analogy, Pacemakerofpeace said god existed, supported that with “prophecies” of destruction of the earth, while IGNORING the fact that the bible says humans have dominion over the animals and earth…and thus are able to do whatever they want to it.

    Analogously, if I said that storms exist, that they exist via natural processes, and since they exist Poseidon is real because Poseidon said he makes the storms, I have just IGNORED the fact that I already acknowledged Poseidon DOESN’T make the storms–an acknowledgement that goes against my main claim! (Just as acknowledging that humans are destroying 160 species a day goes against pacemakerofpeace’s claim that the prophecies of destruction are evidence of god, as god already said we have dominion over the earth! So is god prophesying that it will ultimately be bad that gave dominion over the earth to humans? And if so, that’s the lamest prophesy ever, ie, people will screw stuff up in the future.)

    Similarly (and analogously), you can’t claim god exists because man is destroying the earth in various ways that the bible prophesied, while ignoring the fact that your god gives man dominion over the earth to do whatever he wants with it. I might as well say Poseidon said if there are sandcastles, he exists, so I (and my fellow Poseidonists) run out and make a bunch of sandcastles, point to Poseidon’s proclamation that sandcastles proves he exists, and look down my nose at all the nonbelievers.

    Heck, I don’t even need to MAKE any sandcastles. I can just point to other people making them. Prophecy fulfilled. Poseidon exists!

  49. Stan says

    Poseidon is directly analogous to God, as neither of them can be demonstrated to exist; neither through empirical evidence nor with all the logical constructs and pseudo-philosophical drivel that has yet been concocted.

    Also, I find it amusing that Cluelessapologist claims such a mastery over the disciplines of logic and philosophy yet appears unable to grasp the concepts of simple grammatical structure and proper punctuation.

  50. grumpyoldfart says

    Land of the free and home of the brave. What a joke that is. The people at the convention just rolled over and took it up the arse.

  51. Sean Boyd says

    An excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Mayor Villaraigosa:

    After UCLA, Villaraigosa attended the Peoples College of Law (PCL), an unaccredited law school that promotes labor union causes in Los Angeles. His desire to practice law has been prevented due to his repeated inability to pass the California Bar Exam, which he has failed four times.[8]

    The footnote at the end of the above quote refers to this LA Times article on the difficulty of the California Bar, which is failed by about half of all who sit for it.

  52. Pacemaker of Peace says

    Revelation 8:8…The second angel sounded the trumpet and something like a huge mountain,all ablaze,was thrown into the sea..(This happened in 2011 in iceland…where volcanic eruption happened and affected all flights in Europe….for days…if not even weeks….it attracted international attention.Rev 8:8 continues….a third of the sea turned into blood(red)!…..to prove more about this accuracy that its not a coincidence…verse 8 says..a third of d sea (this river is the 3rd largest river in China!)….the second trumpet is sounded already…!

  53. says

    Okay, so you can find some current event and retrofit it to apply to something in an ancient book of myths and legends. So what. You’re not exactly the first doe-eyed believer to do this, and your messiah still hasn’t returned.

  54. jdog says

    What makes you think that your interpretation of the biblical prophecies is correct when every other interpreter before you has failed? Why do you think that these passages are references to real events at all?

    If the answer is “faith”, then you have no proof.

    Don’t waste our time with more bible verses unless you can give a good reason why we should find them believable. Claiming that you think they match real events doesn’t cut it.

    Given enough creativity, you can link many written passages in various old books to recent events. Why should we take any of them seriously? Once you’ve answered that, you can answer the question of why we should take your book seriously but disregard the others. Quoting lines from the book does nothing for your case.

  55. says

    Okay so Damascus is being blown to bits as we speak

    But even if it was to be bombed with an atomic weapon (which is extremely unlikely) it still wouldn’t be “taken away from being a city”.

    Just look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were blown to bits with atomic weapons.

    Luke 21:11 and great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, famines and pestilence

    Unfortunately, humans still haven’t figured out how to create an economic system that allows all of humanity to feed itself despite being able to produce enough food to do so, therefore we still have famines.

    Pestilence will probably always exist (due to diseases evolving) but could already be much lowered if not for a combination of the famines talked about above, a similar economic distribution problem with medecine AND a lot of preventable diseases being contracted because of religious superstition (like the Catholic church immorally causing people in Africa to contract HIV due to their false teachings about condoms).

    Earthquakes are a natural consequence of a cooling planet and thus happen all the time (millions a year).

    So excuse me if I do not find prophecising about things that happen all the time to be a compelling proof.

    Revelations 16:13 then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea and it turned into blood like that of a dead man

    And the Yangtze River just turned red

    The Yangtze river is not a sea, let alone the sea (didn’t the writers if the literally true bible know that there is more than one sea?) and it turned red, not into blood (or was into not literally true?).

    Also it didn’t just happen, it’s a common occurence.

    So that’s zero fulfilled prophecies (the earhquake/famine/pestilence one doesn’t count unless you want to call me a prophet for predicting that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow).

    Now, can you produce a Jewish person of about 2000 years of age to prove that Jesus’ prophecy that he would come back before all of the people he was talking to at the time are dead is not yet falsified?

  56. Cylis says

    It’s odd, really, that the actions of one person can fill me with such anger and shame, while the response to that action by another single person can fill me with even greater hope and pride.
    Thank you, Mr. Dillahunty.

    Also, since I’m already typing, I just want to add this:
    Not to detract from, or at all mitigate the travesty of what Mayor Villaraigosa did…
    I think we all deserve to take a small step back and realize something awesome: The platform did not initially include direct mention of god, and the only way it got included was through cheating.
    We’re by no means done… but by god (ha), that’s progress!
    I think we should all allow a bit of pride for ourselves, and our nation, for that fact.

  57. says

    Not to be Captain Obvious, but is there room for the fact this whole mess is blatantly racist towards the Palestinians and furthers a genocide akin to our American Holocaust of the Native Americans? Othodox, Coptic, and Roman Catholic Christians, as well Muslims, have been ghetto-ized in the name of the military-industrial complex’s desire to maintain political and economic hegemony of key energy shipping routes in the region. Even the guy who covers for his diddler employees, the Pope, has been more progressively humane than the USA has been. The reason this plank was added was to counter the Romney-Shambles last month in Jerusalem and the fact that Romney has a longtime business-based association with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is one of the most hawkish and right-leaning ideologues to serve in the Knesset in the 60+ years of that body’s existence. It is time that American atheists begin to recognize that ethnic discrimination in Israel, based both on religion and nationality, goes far beyond critiquing militant Zionism in opposition to militant Islamism and truly is an issue of what is called ‘race politics’.

  58. Cylis B. says

    I’m not going to agree or disagree with you. Nor am I going to claim that what I’m about to state is right, wrong, or anything even approximating correct. I’m just going to point out the elephant in my particular room.
    I am 27 years old. I have lived in the US my entire life. I have never been a member of either the Jewish or Islamic faith.
    For me personally, the fact the matter is I have a remarkably hard time discerning “facts” in the matter.
    My age alone puts me at coming in over half-way through the current narrative, without even going into how personally removed from the conflict my life has been. All I know for sure is that it *is* a narrative, from both sides. Honest facts, and pure intent have been perverted by personal and cultural bias on both fronts. Unfortunately I am not in a position to gauge with any accuracy where, and to what extent, those biases lie. Hell, I can’t even say with any certainty that the biases in question are not worthy of having; moralistically or logically speaking.
    What I can say, ultimately, is this: I am hard pressed to think I’m overly unique in my position. Many people aren’t quite sure what to truly make of the situation. Yet the battle lines have been drawn, sides have been vehemently staked, and so any attempt at saying “I’m sorry, but could you please explain where you’re coming from more” is more often then not taken to be an attack on one’s position instead of open and earnest inquiry.
    That, in my personal opinion, is the largest obstacle to progress. Many people who see this conflict as a horrible human travesty, are afraid to get involved, or even ask questions, for fear of “siding with oppressors,” even if we have no idea which side, if either, can be painted as such.
    So forgive me in my ignorance, but could you please explain where you’re coming from more.

  59. says

    If you are not registered in a party, you can;t vote in most states’ primaries, and you can’t cross-party in those primaries in most states.

    If you DO register in a party, you can vote in that primary and hope to have an effect in choosing one of the two people who will compete for and win the full election. You can also choose to vote for a 3rd party candidate or an independent.

    If you DON’T register as a member of a party, you DON’T get to have a say in who gets nominated.

    That’s a good enough reason to join a party. I was an independent for most of my adulthood and only registered with a party relatively recently. I voted in that party’s primary. In the general election I will not be voting for that party’s top candidate, nor the other major party’s top candidate.

    A single primary vote has very little power. About the only thing that has LESS value is the glib, imagined sense of moral superiority you get as you sit smugly alone having NO impact in the primary.

  60. says

    What I read says he was named at birth Antonio Villar, Tony for short.
    Would not surprise me to find that he had restored what had been an Anglicized surname.

    Wouldn’t be the first person to do that.

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