Poll: National Day Of Prayer?

Should there be a national day
When all of us will join and pray;
A day to send our thoughts to heaven—
And should this day be 9/11?

To show God’s love is everlasting
Join with us in prayer and fasting
Our nation’s ills won’t go away
Through just our work—we all must pray!

It’s time to get down on our knees
And humbly beg, “Oh, pretty please,
God, fix this mess—we know you can—
It’s far beyond the reach of Man”

The nation, having prayed as one,
Can now relax—our job is done;
The troubled nation’s worst demands
Are safely passed to God’s great hands

No need for us to try to mend
The problems we can’t comprehend—
No need to try to be aware
So long as God will hear our prayer

But… surely some will not believe;
They will not pray; they can’t conceive
That God will fix our problems quick…
These unbelievers make me sick.

Their lack of faith could cost us dearly—
Send us all to hell, or nearly—
If God won’t help, unless they pray
We’ll have to work hard anyway!

A day of prayer? No, not for me—
It’s just a waste of time, you see—
But prayer’s the choice of those who shirk…
It beats the hell out of doing work!

So, yeah… I accidentally clicked on an advertisement here.

IntellectualConservatives.com, is conducting a poll about an important issue. The results of these polls will be published online and are shared with major news networks and policymakers.

So you know it must be an important question.

1) Would you support a National Day of Prayer and Fasting on 9-11-13?

- No, there is no God.
- No, God doesn’t hear our prayers.
- No, we’re doing just fine without God’s help.
- Yes, our problems are so overwhelming, only God can save us.
- Yes, He promises to heal our land if we repent, pray and humble ourselves.
- Yes, this is what the founder of this country did frequently—and it worked.

2) Whom do you believe has better solutions for the nation’s problems?

- Conservatives
- Liberals
- Neither

You must include a valid email address and your postal code. “Votes with invalid emails will not be counted.” Oh, and “I understand that as a voter in this poll I will be signed up for FREE Intellectual Conservative alerts. I can unsubscribe at any time.”

Yeah, that couldn’t possibly bias the poll. I’d link to said poll, but I’ve tried everything and it seems like the only way to get there is through the ad itself–the URL for the poll itself won’t open the page for me. So, sadly, we won’t be able to sic PZ’s horde on them, and yet another bad poll will be sent to the networks and legislators, where the proper response (ignoring it) will be a secondary concern–the first concern being whether it is a slow news day and this fits their narrative.

“He Will Not Be Mocked!”

The congressmen were surely shocked
To hear the scream “He won’t be mocked!”
It’s not which words they were, but whose:
Such language usually means Ted Cruz.

During the House vote last night, after the vote timer had ticked to zero, but before the vote was called, a House stenographer made her way to the speaker’s microphone and yelled:

Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand. He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don’t touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. it would not have been… the Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.

After about the first three sentences, she was dragged out escorted out by the Sergeant-at-Arms, yelling the rest as she left.

She is being evaluated at a local hospital. I wish her well.

No word on whether the representatives and senators who use similar language will likewise be evaluated.

The Senate Chaplain Prays In Vain

The Washington chaplain attempts, every morning,
To start off the day with a prayer and a warning
A message for senators, angry and bold
As it offers a chance for the chaplain to scold
(They all say they’re Christian, except for a few,
So you’d think there’s a chance that they’d listen to you!)
But the senators listen, and nod with a smile
To a prayer that is aimed at the folks ‘cross the aisle
(It just couldn’t be that our side has done wrong,
So we’ll do what we do, as we’ve done all along.)

So, yeah… keep on praying; go nuts. What the hell…
I mean, why would you quit, when it’s working so well?

“Save us from the madness,” the chaplain, a Seventh-day Adventist, former Navy rear admiral and collector of brightly colored bow ties named Barry C. Black, said one day late last week as he warmed up into what became an epic ministerial scolding.

“We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride,” he went on, his baritone voice filling the room. “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.”

I’m torn. Partly I view his prayers as an exercise in futility, a useless waste of time where he might as well be talking to a wall. And frankly, that’s about as much influence as I want him to have. I’d rather have him outside the senate, literally talking to walls. But there is a hint that maybe some senators are listening:

During his prayer on Friday, the day after officers from the United States Capitol Police shot and killed a woman who had used her car as a battering ram, Mr. Black noted that the officers were not being paid because of the government shutdown.

Then he turned his attention back to the senators. “Remove from them that stubborn pride which imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism,” he said. “Forgive them the blunders they have committed.”

Senator Harry Reid, the pugnacious majority leader who has called his Republican adversaries anarchists, rumps and hostage takers, took note. As Mr. Black spoke, Mr. Reid, whose head was bowed low in prayer, broke his concentration and looked straight up at the chaplain.

In which case, he’s moved from ineffectual to evil. “Attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable” is an apt description, but not of both sides. When negotiating with a firebug, finding a reasonable number of fires he can be allowed to set should not require one side to move from a strong position of “zero”.

Eating The Monkey Brains

No time for anything right now, but I had to share with you a wonderful piece of writing on the shutdown. Charles Pierce, writing for Esquire, pens “The Reign Of Morons Is Here“, and it is beautiful. First, the succinct summary of the situation:

In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress — or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress — a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party’s 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning.

Then the analysis (this paragraph closing with the most appropriate metaphor I’ve seen on the topic):

This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way.” Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.

I’ve only highlighted 2 paragraphs–the whole thing is well worth the reading.

And now I have even less time… dammit.

Did You Notice How Quickly The Free Market Swooped In To Take Over Head Start And Do It Even Better? Me Neither.

There’s nothing the government does, so I’m told,
That the free market doesn’t do better
So now with the government shutting its doors
And the market cut loose from its fetter
There is nothing to stop it from jumping right in—
Taking over, and doing things right—
Bureaucracy stood in its way until now,
But with government down, now it might!
So the kids who are staying at home for a bit
Cos the money was cut from Head Start?
The market should see an investment to make…
But they don’t. So the world falls apart.

“We Want To Patriotically Ignore The Will Of The Voters. Patriotically!”

The last time constituents voted, they noted
That one of the issues was health care reform
One candidate promised, “don’t heal it—repeal it”
And promised to take on the nation by storm
The nation, by whom they elected, rejected
The notion that healthcare was nothing but trash
The losing Republicans, routed, just pouted,
And bought local races with shitloads of cash

The courts said the law, despite bluster, passed muster,
So now, on the books, it’s the law of the land
Too late for opponents, so screaming and scheming
Is all they have left, which they simply can’t stand.
Within their own party, the fractions of factions
Are zealously fighting their way to the right—
Where once there were moderate voices, no choice is
Allowed to seem soft, or unwilling to fight

The ideologically driven are riven
By forces that split them and make them unwise
They’ll claim they’re just heading where freedom will lead ‘em
And death’s on the table, before compromise
But the thing is, they lost! There’s no mystery—history
Shows that such losses have happened before!
With the pathway the voters selected rejected,
Democracy fails… the alternative’s war.

Oddly enough, the Tea Party Republicans put me in mind of this verse… I wonder why. Man, for people who loves them some constitution, they sure are quick to abandon it when the process leads to someone else winning.

GOP’s Toddler Tantrum Tactics

You won’t make a deal with me?
Two can play that game, you see—
So now I will not negotiate with you!
Since we’ve talked this thing to death
Now it’s time to hold my breath—
And we’ll know that you’re to blame when I turn blue

Hey, you guys, it isn’t fair
That you keep me from my air
And my pipeline, and my drilling, and my coal
And Obamacare’s repeal
And Paul Ryan’s budget deal
It’s a battle for the nation’s very soul

You keep telling me to note
That Obama won the vote
I don’t like it, but I’m very much aware
When the nation had their say,
Though, they didn’t vote my way,
So I’m telling you, quite clearly, I don’t care

So I’d better get my way
When you hold your vote today
And you’d better give me everything I want
Cos if not, you’d best believe
I’ll just take your ball and leave
And condemn you for your politicking stunt

We’ve moved from political negotiations to hostage negotiations in Washington.

Impeach… um… Eisenhower!

In my in-box, there was drama—
We must now impeach Obama!—
And a screed without one comma
Made the case why this was so.

Since he won his last election,
This is cause for insurrection!
(It’s assumed there’s no objection
And the man must simply go)

Once the president’s elected
It has come to be expected
The mistake must be corrected
When the losers raise their voice

But it seems, each generation
Has the chance to save the nation
By suggesting usurpation
Of the people’s lawful choice

Oddly enough, I got a bunch of spam email this morning telling me how wonderful it is that there are Republican lawmakers making noise to their constituents about impeaching Obama. They’ve reached the bottom, the email rejoiced; this has replaced even the meaningless posturing about Obamacare that had previously represented the dictionary example of “exercise in frustration”.

And then, in a bit of synchronicity, NPR has a story up today about how pretty much every president gets the impeachment rhetoric from somebody. Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter… and the reason I am writing today, Eisenhower.

But this post is not really about impeachment. Rather, it’s about poetry, and yet one more example that what I write is not poetry (and I’m cool with that–it’s verse, or better yet doggerel, and I am proud enough of it without calling it poetry). You want poetry about impeachment? The NPR story linked to a poem, “Tentative Description of a Dinner Given to Promote the Impeachment of President Eisenhower“. Now, that’s poetry (and anyone who thinks that not rhyming makes writing easier, I’m here to say otherwise). Read and enjoy.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

“Religious Values” classes have been fading from the schools
Although, strangely, their inclusion wasn’t breaking any rules
It didn’t take a lawsuit, or a dozen, or a score
Just… the Christian volunteers weren’t volunteering any more

A story out of New Zealand, with a title I wonder if I’ll live long enough to see in the US: Adherence to religion falling fast.

For generations of pupils at Midhirst’s closeknit primary school, the weekly routine included half an hour of religious instruction.

“No-one ever opted out and the children loved it,” principal Stuart Beissel says.

“Things have changed over the years. We don’t have all the people going to church any more, but I think people still hold the basic values of the Bible.”

But after decades without interruption, religious instruction has ended at Midhirst.

“All the great people that took religious instruction moved out of the district or retired,” Mr Beissel says.

It’s a trend being seen across the country. A survey of 1800 primary and intermediate schools carried out by rationalist David Hines showed 62 state schools had dropped religious instruction since 2011, mainly because of a lack of volunteers able to teach it.

It’s quite a lengthy article, actually, which gives it the space for a really nicely thorough analysis of the situation, with the input from reasonable people all around–some who find the change alarming, and others who are actively encouraging it. This is a big social change, and that is explored as well.

“I asked a principal who just cancelled Bible In Schools – I said ‘would you say it’s biased?’ – he said it was biased by omission. They mention there are good Christians around. They don’t mention there are good Muslims and Hindus around, so they create a bias by just what they don’t say.”

The bias is not just against other religions but against those without religion – a group to which 36 per cent of the population claimed to belong in the 2006 census. Should trends continue, the 2013 census is likely to show this group has grown to 40 per cent.

This is a stunning turnaround from 1956, when just 0.5 per cent of New Zealanders indicated they had no religion. But it was in that religion-soaked climate that the Education Act 1964 was passed and it is this act that allows religious instruction in otherwise secular state schools.

I also like that the story closes with specific definitions of “secular state” and “secular education”. Such inclusions might spare a lot of rancor on sites like Fox or CNN, where it’s not so much a duel of definitions, but a mob of them.

Oh, and for those who like such things, there is a poll at the article: Do you think state schools should conduct religious instruction for primary-aged children?

But wouldn’t it be nice to have establishment clause battles cease here in the US, simply because (e.g.) nobody was motivated enough to get on the school public address system and recite a prayer?