Fischer Explains God’s Inaction

Bryan Fischer explains why God didn’t intervene to save the kids in the tragic shooting in Connecticut. Answer: He’s a gentleman and he doesn’t go where he’s not wanted. And since we “threw God out of schools,” he isn’t wanted there so he isn’t going there. Um. When did God ever show up anywhere to prevent a tragedy? Never, of course.

And I’m so tired of this “God isn’t allowed in schools” nonsense. Kids pray in school every day and no one stops them. They pray individually and in groups. They gather around the flagpole and pray. There are literally thousands of Christian student groups at public schools all over the nation. They meet for Bible study and prayer sessions before and after school in classrooms and elsewhere on public school campuses. The only thing that can’t be done is the government cannot force a student to pray or read the Bible or be forced to listen to someone else pray.

118 comments on this post.
  1. Randomfactor:

    When that “god” person gets involved in a tragedy, the typical outcome is a solitary survivor of something like a horrific plane crash. Is that REALLY the kind of first responder they should be asking for?

  2. scienceavenger:

    So God’s a dick. Glad we got that straight.

  3. vmanis1:

    I’m sure that God’s a really nice guy. It’s Fischer that’s a dick.

  4. julial:

    school::prayer(exams)=TRUE

    Always and forever

  5. Thorne:

    Their god is throwing a temper tantrum because we don’t FORCE kids to pray? What a dickhead! Sounds just like one of those fundamentalist assholes. But that’s not surprising, since their god always wants just exactly what they want.

  6. grumpyoldfart:

    Another blogger said this but I can’t remember who it was.

    God was allowed in schools in 1927 when 38 children were killed by a psycho bomber at the Bath School Disaster.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

  7. octoberfurst:

    So according to Fischer, God WOULD have stepped in and saved those kids if only the school had mandatory prayers every morning? His God is such an egotistical prick that he lets kids die because they don’t kiss his ass every morning? What a great God he has!

  8. raven:

    Xpost from WEIT:

    Standard fundie xianity theology.

    God is in charge and everything happens for a reason.

    It even says this in the bible in a lot of places i.e. Isaiah.

    So according to their own theology, god caused or let this tragedy happen. BTW, god also elected Obama president, something the fundies still can’t believe.

    The reality is that their god is a sockpuppet. They just make stuff up and say that it came from god. God hates what they hate and wants them to have what they want.

    With 200 million sockpuppet xian gods in the USA, no wonder they never agree on anything.

    Fischer doesn’t know his own cult’s dogma. Or care.
    God is in charge and everything happens for a reason.

    I posted this on Jerry Coyne’s blog yesterday. A few hours later some xian showed up and…said exactly that.

  9. Marcus Ranum:

    At least they’re getting smart enough not to say stuff like that until they’re sure the killer wasn’t a crazed religiot. Because that’s kind of embarrassing.

    Although I’d say these spittle-speckling liars are beyond embarrassment. The words “no shame” come to mind.

  10. Ellie:

    @6

    Chris Rodda has an interesting and long list.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/rodda/2012/12/16/no-mr-huckabee-its-not-because-god-has-been-removed-from-schools/

  11. Michael Heath:

    I’m really sick of people whose effective* initial reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy is the reactive promotion of their pet political agenda. Reactive in terms of arguing a past position not considerate of what happened in Newton, CT.

    The WSJ commenters were predominately focused on pointing out how gun control laws caused this tragedy. Obama-haters claimed it was the president’s fault. I even received an email from someone whose reaction to this tragedy was that they hate people who advocate for gun control laws.

    It seems to me the best response by the larger public and politicians after a period of mourning is to ardently test all their positions and voting priorities. No sacred cows should avoid testing. Such an effort would require us to benchmark successes and failures, learn, and then adapt accordingly. Perhaps this tragedy won’t fade into the background quickly like Columbine, the VTU, and Gabrielle Gifford slaughters did. Such a path is admittedly not a simple proposition since the U.S. culture largely celebrates violence and the use of guns. That premise suggests merely transporting successful strategies elsewhere won’t necessarily work here, at least not unless we modify those policies to adapt to our unfortunately unique framework.

    *”Effective” meaning they mouth the words, “what a horrible tragedy blah, blah, blah . . .”, and then passionately pivot into their primary motivation for speaking out – the promotion of their policy prescriptions and support or condemnation for certain political groups and politicians.

  12. No One:

    So god does not protect schools because he is not invited? How do you explain the Amish School shooting? Are they of an inappropriate denomination?

    ” Notes left behind by Roberts also indicate the gunman was angry at himself and God because of the death of his newborn child, who lived about 20 minutes before dying on Nov. 14, 1997. ”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217240,00.html#ixzz2FEVstNXr

  13. raven:

    KJV Isaiah 45: 7:

    7 I form the light, and create darkness:

    I make peace, and create evil:
    I the Lord do all these things.

    I (god) make peace, and create evil:

    Sums up fundie xian theology. God also created satan and the demons and lets them run around doing whatever they do.

    Fischers god is clearly a right wing hate filled extremist. Like Bryan Fischer. A sockpuppet god.

    AFAICT, fundie xianity is a symptom of a dying religion. Most of them especially the leaders don’t seem to know their own dogma or magic book or care.

    It’s a hollowed out empty shell covering right wing extremist politics.

  14. dontpanic:

    My first thought when hearing this reasoningargument, was “the god they worship is a vampire who can’t enter without an invitation”.

  15. Modusoperandi:

    “The only thing that can’t be done is the government cannot force a student to pray or read the Bible or be forced to listen to someone else pray. “

    Oh, please! It’s not religious liberty if you can’t use the power of State to force it on everyone else.

  16. Michael Heath:

    raven,

    The KJV version is not as loyal to older translations. The RSV has Isaiah 45:7 as follows:

    I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the LORD, who do all these things.

    “Weal” according to the Oxford dictionary means, a red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow or pressure.

    I always get a kick out of how inerrantists proclaim the Bible to be the inerrant word of God, which frequently makes God look like a moron.

    In this case you’d think God would be smart enough to realize darkness is the lack of light, you don’t create darkness. And all-cap screamers suggest the advocate senses his argument is less than compelling and therefore needs some sort of rhetorical emphasis. Now I realize most inerrantists don’t claim the Bible was perfectly transcribed by humans from one manuscript to the next. But if God was supposedly able to convey his meaning, you’d think he’d also have enough power to make sure his transcribers framed his words in non-idiotic ways. Though at least he uses capitals.

  17. d.c.wilson:

    God must have mellowed since the days of the Old Testament, when his usual response to places where he wasn’t welcome was to burn it to the ground or drown it with a global flood.

  18. raven:

    The KJV version is not as loyal to older translations. The RSV has Isaiah 45:7 as follows:

    I actually know that. This passage is obscure and no one is quite sure how to translate it.

    But for the fundies that doesn’t matter. The KJV translation is the only Real True translation and all the others are Fake translations.

  19. dan4:

    @14: Well, Christ does instruct his followers, in the context of drinking wine at a church service, to “drink his blood”…so it’s not like Christianity is averse to inviting vampire analogies.

  20. gshelley:

    Fischer is despicable, a truly vile individual, which most people reading this will know.

    It comes down to the problem of Evil I think. The common answer is “free will”, but especially in this case, that is neither intellectually nor emotionally satisfying, so people like Fischer will try and find another excuse. Of course, in his world, people don’t really matter as long as god does well

  21. dan4:

    Yikes, meant “…has an aversion…”

  22. Chiroptera:

    Wow. Did those kids themselves decide that “God isn’t allowed in the schools”? Or did God allow kids to die because grown-ups made that decision? Me, I’m guessing that God “hardened the parents’ hearts” to make him unwelcome just so that he would have an excuse to kill kids — that seems to be pretty much in line with the way he does things.

    This is even worse than sending the bears to rip apart the kids who were making fun of Elisha. That was way over the top, too, but at least they were doing something more than just sitting in a class room not being forced to say a state-mandated prayer.

  23. Rodney Nelson:

    Michael Heath #16

    In this case you’d think God would be smart enough to realize darkness is the lack of light, you don’t create darkness.

    You’ve never heard of the Darkon Theory of Light:

    The results conclusively show that the customary theory of light and electromagnetic phenomena have been consistently misinterpreted by theoreticians and experimentalists alike. In short, the concept of the photon has been found to be a misleading, if not actually invalid, method of describing electromagnetic phenomena. In place of the photon considered as a quantized unit of light energy, it has been conclusively demonstrated by our experiments that the correct fundamental unit is a quantized unit of dark, which we have called the Darkon.

    It is important to grasp the significance at the outset of the concept of darkon sources and sinks. It is obvious that the sun, for example, in common with the other stars, is a powerful darkon sink. Everything which is not a darkon sink is a darkon source. Thus it can be easily seen that the boundary layer of the universe is a place where darkons are emitted in an unending stream which flows inward to be eventually absorbed by localized and/or discrete darkon sinks.

    In short, darkons are emitted throughout the universe and absorbed by “bright” objects like the Sun and light bulbs. The linked paper explains the concept in greater detail.

  24. Michael Heath:

    raven writes:

    But for the fundies . . . The KJV translation is the only Real True translation and all the others are Fake translations.

    That is simply not true. The predominant share of biblically inerrant denominations do not solely rely on the KJV. And many if not the vast majority depend on more accurate translations when studying their Bible for its apparent truthiness. I’m sure if heddle were around he could provide more perspective.

    There are of course a relative handful who claim the KJV is the only version Christians should use, one of which happens to be operate in my small town (Grace Baptist Church). But they’re the only denomination of several inerrant denominations who assert and practice from this perspective.

  25. Don Quijote:

    God isn’t allowed in schools, therefore, massacre.

    God is allowed into church, therefore, child rape.

  26. dan4:

    @22: “This is even worse than sending the bears to rip apart the kids who were making fun of Elisha?”

    What?

  27. Pierce R. Butler:

    Justin Griffith has a succinct & wearable reply to such babbling.

  28. heddle:

    Raven,

    I (god) make peace, and create evil:

    Michael Heath,

    The KJV version is not as loyal to older translations.

    The word translated as “evil” ( râ‛âh) is the Hebrew word for chaos or calamity or distress, as well as “the opposite of moral or good.” Here peace is being contrasted to calamity, not good to the common use of evil. That is, this verse has no bearing on the difficult problem of evil. It was not mistranslated by the KJV writers, it is an anachronism. At the time of the KJV the word evil also was frequently used for calamity or chaos or distress, while today we never or rarely use it that way. That is why the modern scholarly translations use, (e.g. the ESV) calamity.

    Back to OP–if you are interested in a conservative Christian’s view on Fischer’s comments, here is mine.

  29. otrame:

    @18 “Weal” actually has two meanings. The archaic meaning is “good”. Or “what is best” in a given situation.

  30. Michael Heath:

    Pierce R. Butler writes:

    Justin Griffith has a succinct & wearable reply to such babbling.

    Mike Huckabee, Bryan Fischer’, and many others argument seems to come from the vampire myths. That’s where you have to invite the vampire in, he was powerless to do so himself.

    Of course when confronted with this idiocy, they could pivot from that logical failure to, “God removed his veil of protection from us“.

    That begs the question on why more secular countries don’t suffer from the same violence we do here in the U.S., where I’ve yet to encounter a conservative Christian even confronting that inconvenient fact. Though in fairness to them I haven’t searched out responses; simply because their population at large doesn’t go there. So even if those explanations exist they’re are not attributable to the population.

  31. joachim:

    Whenever disaster strikes the atheists are right there to help!

    Not.

    But they are they to make points against Christians; only Dan Barker is more adept at skipping the sympathy and moving right on to the politics and get publicity.

    You are all scum.

  32. abb3w:

    Also, comparing the 2007 map of deaths from Gun Violence (from “The Geography of Gun Deaths” piece by Richard Florida in the Atlantic) to the 2007 map of the percentage of each state’s population that says religion in their life is “very important” from the Pew Forum religious landscapes survey, it would appear the correlation is the other way: more religion correlates to more gun violence.

    Of course, correlation isn’t causation, but it’s hard to argue causation when correlation is reversed.

  33. otrame:

    Joachim, coming from you, I consider that a complement.

    Thanks for once more being an example of how believing in God bolsters love in the human heart.

  34. octoberfurst:

    Oh look a troll! Hi Joachim, how are things in right-wing fundie land? It’s YOUR side that has politicized this tragedy. Fischer and Huckabee are saying that it is the fault of the liberals for taking prayer out of school that caused this horror to happen. But nice try trying to put the blame on us. Idiot!

  35. Chiroptera:

    joachim, #31: You are all scum.

    Speaking of scum, how are you doing, joachim?

    -

    …only Dan Barker is more adept at skipping the sympathy and moving right on to the politics and get publicity.

    You made a typo. I think you meant to write “Bryan Fischer.” He is the one in the video, after all, who is using this tragedy for publicity.

  36. ScottM:

    Joachim, we’re not the ones depicting your god as a mob boss:

    “That’s a lovely school ya got there. Be a shame if something bad happened. Accidents happen, ya know. But I’ll tell you what: You kiss my ass every day, and make sure those kids kiss my ass too, and you’ll be okay. If not…well…accidents happen. Dangerous world out there, ya know?”

  37. tacitus:

    @heddle:

    Bryan Fischer is just making stuff up. He competently demonstrates once again that while atheists are impotent when it comes to harming Christianity, Christians can land some devastating body-blows.

    Sly dig at atheists, there, I see, but you can’t have it both ways. Either Christianity can be harmed by the words and opinions of people or it cannot. If Christianity is not impervious to the nonsense bloviations of Christians like Bryan Fischer then nor is it impervious to the considered incites of atheists like Christopher Hitchens.

  38. dogfightwithdogma:

    vmanis1

    You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t and your comment was not some form of sarcasm, God can’t be a nice guy nor a dick. God is fictional. Only a real person or real self-aware entity can be a dick, which of course means Fischer more than qualifies.

  39. democommie:

    It ain’t just the kiddies being FORBIDDEN TO PRAY* that is the problem:

    “”I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him (the shooter) out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.’ (source: http://news.yahoo.com/senators-want-commission-look-mass-shootings-151936294.html).

    * A particularly vile and durable meme that the KKKristianists like ot trot out.

  40. cactuswren:

    This reminds me of a really vile story that made the rounds in email some years ago, that opened with a teenaged girl getting into a car with a group of her friends. The girl’s mother told her as she left, “May God go with you and protect you”, to which the girl jokingly replied, “If he does, he’ll have to ride in the trunk because there’s no room in here!”

    You can about guess what happened: the car rolled, burned, and everybody in it died. But not one of the dozen eggs in the trunk were even cracked.

    How can people regard stories like this as inspiring? “Wow,” says God, “that girl made a casual joke about how the car’s so crowded I won’t fit in it! I’ll show her — I’ll let her and all her friends die in agony while I protect this carton of eggs!” “Wow,” says God, “someone’s passed a law that says children can’t be required to pray to Me during school hours? I’ll show them — I’ll let twenty children die in terror while I sit back and watch!” This God is a monster.

  41. raven:

    This God is a monster.

    True.

    And as the ancient Greeks noticed, humans create their gods in their likeness.

    Which makes the fundies….monsters. Who have the additional property of being real.

  42. raven:

    joachim:

    You are all scum.

    Speaking of fundie xian monsters, looks like joachim is having a bad day and a not very Happy Holidays..

    At the least, more likely he is having a few bad decades.

  43. Ichthyic:

    I’m sure if heddle were around he could provide more perspective.

    then you really don’t pay much attention to where Heddle gets his information on religious subjects from.

  44. Ichthyic:

    looks like joachim is having a bad day and a not very Happy Holidays.

    well, he just got himself banned from Pharyngula for much inanity.

    He obvious had SOMETHING to say, but his utter lack of coherence made it really hard to pick out… it was better replaced with bunny vids.

  45. tomh:

    heddle wrote, in his screed that he links to:
    He starts with a correct observation: that God could have prevented the massacre.

    You state this as a self-evident fact, but how do you know this? It seems rather presumptious to say what God could or could not do. You then go on to say,

    Bryan Fischer is just making stuff up.

    And that’s different from what you are doing…how? You just made up the above statement about what God could do, yet you excoriate Fischer for the same thing. You then go on at length, making stuff up along the way, to show you are right and Fischer is wrong about just about everything. Unfortunately, you fail to notice that you and Fischer are two peas in a pod, both making stuff up, all the while referencing the Bible, all to support your, (both of you, that is), previously-held beliefs. Really, making stuff up to attack others for making stuff up … how very Christian of you.

  46. heddle:

    tomh,

    You state this [God could have prevented the massacre] as a self-evident fact, but how do you know this? It seems rather presumptious to say what God could or could not do

    Both Fischer and I are working from the assumption that the bible is the word of god. That gives us a playground. Within that playground the case for a sovereign god is easy to make. It would, on the other hand, be impossible (as far as I can tell) to make the case from scripture that god could not have prevented the massacre. There is no description or hint anywhere in scripture of a god who is not in control of all things. So in the playground of taking the scripture as god’s word–a playground anyone can play in because you don’t need to believe it, you can just do a “for the sake of argument” approach, it is not presumptuous, it is inescapable–in that sandbox. You are wrong.

    Really, making stuff up to attack others for making stuff up … how very Christian of you.

    Oh brother, that tiresome rebuke. Why not add: “It’s Christians like heddle that made me leave the church.” Go for the trifecta.

  47. billdaniels:

    I’m waiting for someone to say that the miracle here was that god prevented the killing of the rest of the people in the school. That would so comfort the grieving parents.

  48. heddle:

    Michael Heath,

    That is simply not true. The predominant share of biblically inerrant denominations do not solely rely on the KJV. And many if not the vast majority depend on more accurate translations when studying their Bible for its apparent truthiness. I’m sure if heddle were around he could provide more perspective.

    There are of course a relative handful who claim the KJV is the only version Christians should use, one of which happens to be operate in my small town (Grace Baptist Church). But they’re the only denomination of several inerrant denominations who assert and practice from this perspective.

    This is true. The KJV-only crowd is a non-negligible but definite minority–I would estimate something like 5-10% of the fundamentalist denominations. That is solely based on experience-I know of no statistics.

    Of course there is a big problem in trying to quantify–the definition of “fundamentalist” is malleable and will expand or contract as a matter of convenience. As a working definition I use, as you seem to use, those denominations with a view that the bible is inerrant.

  49. tomh:

    So, no logical answers, just keep making stuff up.

    Both Fischer and I are working from the assumption that the bible is the word of god.

    Two peas in a pod, as I said. You still don’t have any reason that your word of god is more accurate than his word of god. Just your beliefs (also known as making stuff up). In fact, his word of god is more convincing than your word of god – unless, of course, one already holds your beliefs.

  50. anubisprime:

    It is not what a dipwad like Bryan Fischer actually says…it is the fact that a significant collection of dipwadees nod brainlessly and enthusiastically at utter tripe!
    Seemingly the more such rhetoric seems to reflect the dying of the xtian meme in popularity and how their sky fairy is being kicked out of ‘respectable’ places like a thieving beggar, the more they nod like those artificial dogs in the back windows of cars when the driver goes over a bump!

    Without an audience the wingnuts only have each over to beguile with fantasy and bogus bollix.

  51. slc1:

    Re Tomh @ #49

    Shorter Prof. Heddle: Fischer no true Scotsman.

  52. heddle:

    slc1,

    Shorter Prof. Heddle: Fischer no true Scotsman.

    Yes I criticize Fischer as a Christian, pointing out that only Christians can harm Christianity–which again, since you seem to have trouble putting two and two together, implies that I am in no manner questioning his Christianity–and that somehow is the same as saying he is not a true Christian. Spot on.

    Tell me–is there a way in which a Christian can criticize another Christian without committing the No True Scotsman fallacy?

    You guys are a piece of work. It’s heads-i-win-tails-you-lose isn’t it? If no Christians criticize Fischer then we are guilty of not speaking out against the religious right. If we do criticize, we are guilty of No True Scotsman. Nice gig.

  53. slc1:

    Re Heddle @ #52

    Ah, Prof. Heddle is so predictable. Doesn’t take much to rattle his cage.

  54. heddle:

    slc1,

    Ah, Prof. Heddle is so predictable. Doesn’t take much to rattle his cage.

    Nor yours: “Israel”.

  55. tomh:

    heddle:
    Yes I criticize Fischer as a Christian

    Of course you do. Umpteen thousand Christian sects all criticize one another – you probably actually think there is some difference between you and Fischer. As they say, to sheep no doubt other sheep look different – or to the shepherd. From outside the flock you all look the same.

  56. heddle:

    tomh,

    From outside the flock you all look the same.

    Not true. I have heard many atheists, many on this blog– comment on the differences between Calvinists and Arminians, between premileenial “left-behind” dispensationalists and postmillennialists, between theistic evolutionists and YECs, even on more nuanced distinctions like the differences between literalists and inerrantists.

    You really making a blanket statement to cover your own ignorance. You are willing to throw thinking atheists under the bus because you can’t be bothered to do any homework. You are wrong that “from outside the flock” we all look the same–I could prove it from comments on this blog that specifically address the differences. I myself often get labelled (on this blog) an outlier–which makes no sense if we all look the same “outside the flock.”

    You should speak for yourself and only admit your own ignorance.

  57. slc1:

    Re Heddle @ #54

    Settlements today, settlements tomorrow, settlements to the far horizon, settlements forever.

  58. Michael Heath:

    heddle,

    Do you think Bryan Fischer generally behaves in a manner which influences U.S. conservative Christians, largely because a significant percentage of them already agree with him because they too think just like this when it comes to tragedy?

    I ask because I think if you are making a, ‘no true Scotsman’, argument that rings hollow given how many biblical stories and devout Christians who use such tragedies to point to our societal lack of servility to God. It’s an attribute of conservative Christianity, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be. However if you criticize Fischer because his point is an indefensibly bad argument where the Bible also doesn’t require one to accept his type of argument, than I think that is a warranted criticism.

  59. tomh:

    heddle:
    I have heard many atheists, many on this blog– comment on the differences … blah, blah, blah

    They are wrong.

    You should speak for yourself

    Who did you suppose I was speaking for?

  60. heddle:

    Michael Heath,

    I think he is preaching to his choir–so in that sense I don’t think he has a whole lot of influence. There is a sizable number of Christian-right culture warriors who agree with most of what he says–as opposed to being swayed by what he says. There is also, however, a sizable number of conservative Christians who do not agree with him. There is a tension between these two groups. I bump up against it all the time.

    In the New Testament you can point to the story of the tower of siloam as text that, in no uncertain terms, teaches that tragedy in this life should not be cavalierly correlated with sin.

    The only way you can use the bible to make this kind of argument is the way that Fischer and others like him in fact do: they extrapolate from the theocracy that god established in the OT to the NT era. The debate is then about whether or not this is warranted–I obviously think it is not, and I think I can make a compelling case. Fischer and his more intellectual cousins, the Prebyterian reconstructionists/theonomists (who would throw him under the bus in a heartbeat if they ever won the day) obviously think differently.

  61. heddle:

    tomh,

    Who did you suppose I was speaking for?

    Well, you wrote:

    From outside the flock you all look the same.

    That would imply, to anyone who speaks English, that we look, in general, the same to anyone outside the flock, not just to tomh. So it wasn’t much of a supposition–it’s your own words. If you were just speaking for yourself, I would have expected you to write: “to me you look the same.”

  62. tomh:

    heddle:
    That would imply, to anyone who speaks English, that we look, in general, the same to anyone outside the flock

    That must sound foolish even to you. How can anyone on this forum express anything other than their own opinion on any given subject? You want everyone to preface every sentence with, in my opinion? You’ve gone from just being silly to being ridiculous.

  63. Dr X:

    @tomh

    From outside the flock you all look the same.

    To some, to you, but not to everyone. That’s just a fact.

  64. Christopher Downie:

    It’s interesting that no kid was ever killed before 1962. So all of those little Jewish, Romany and slavonic children must have been spared by Hitler then?

  65. Michael Heath:

    tomh writes:

    From outside the flock you [Christians?, Religionists?, Believers?] all look the same.

    tomhw defends:

    How can anyone on this forum express anything other than their own opinion on any given subject?

    People frequently make factual assertions about populations in this forum all the time. In this case you did argue for a population and heddle rightly called you out on your lack of evidence, it’s actually an absurd statement so I doubt you ever could validate your claim. In addition there is an enormous difference between facts and opinions; I suggest learning what those differences so you no longer defectively conflate the two as you did here.

    You actually had a good argument regarding heddle’s criticism of Bryan Fischer @ 45 when it came their relying on factual premises for which there is no evidence. They can only refer back to their holy dogma. That was fair and I suggest pounding on that theme a litte more.

  66. tomh:

    Michael Heath wrote:
    In this case you did argue for a population and heddle rightly called you out on your lack of evidence

    Bullshit. I can see that for the slow reading group I’m going to have to preface every sentence with, “this is my own opinion, I speak for no one else.” What is wrong with you people?

  67. democommie:

    “From outside the flock you [Christians?, Religionists?, Believers?] all look the same, to me”.

    Removes any doubt.

  68. heddle:

    Democommie,

    Yes that is clear enough.

    But my real comment about tomh is not that his language was imprecise–we all are guilty of that, but at the absurdity that there is no difference among Christians or even among conservative Christians. He used me and Fischer as an example. There are certainly common beliefs that we would profess to share– but there are also many areas–including those most relevant to the discussions of Christianity that occur on this blog, about which we are diametrically opposed. To say that there is no difference is a dumbed-down version of “all Christians are morons.” At least an “all Christians are morons” argument has a certain honesty in that it implies you can’t even be bothered to look for distinctions because it’s irrelevant. Saying that there is no difference is just plain ignorant.

  69. Michael Heath:

    tomh writes:

    Bullshit. I can see that for the slow reading group I’m going to have to preface every sentence with, “this is my own opinion, I speak for no one else.” What is wrong with you people?

    What is wrong with us people is that facts matter. And factual assertions like the one you presented, which you now claim is a mere opinion, is itself a logical fallacy, something that is easily discernable even to us, “slow readers”. Heh.

    Facts are premises we use to derive a conclusion (opinion). Here again is what you wrote:

    From outside the flock you all look the same.

    This not an opinion, it’s a factual assertion based on your observation and whatever other evidence you’ve collected. Whether you speak for a population as commenters who reacted originally concluded or were speaking only for yourself is irrelevant, it’s still an assertion framed as fact. In this case we subsequently found you’re speaking only for yourself.

    But that observation is still not an opinion, it’s a factual assertion which is either objectively or qualitatively true or not true. As myself and others have pointed out, your ability to validate your observation is actually true is dubious.

  70. richardelguru:

    Surely the problem is that “all look the same” is a rather ductile statement.
    Look at a less controversial topic: I originally come from East Anglia (in the UK). There are basically two dialects there, Norfolk and Suffolk. Someone from the US (or even London, for that matter) might well say that the dialects all look the same. Native speakers of either one would disagree. Norfolk speakers probably think that Norwich has its own dialect. I (UK RP speaker) have been confused with an Australian on quite a few occasions down here in Texas. To a monoglot Mandarin speaker all dialects of English are likely to be the same. If there is such a thing as an alien from another star system and they somehow receive broadcasts from earth no doubt all of our languages look the same. (“What?? Earthers use mere sounds to communicate!!? Weird!”)

  71. fifthdentist:

    A few days before this happened a man went into a church and shot his ex-wife, as she played the piano IIRC. He left and returned five minutes later and re-shot the still living woman, this time fatally.
    So Bible-monster wasn’t inside a church on a Sunday? Or were they not praying hard enough for him to lower his cloak of godly protection over that particular church?
    It’s really hard to figure out what this deity wants and how to propertly grovel that he will prevent said groveler from being harmed on any particular day.

  72. Thorne:

    Both Fischer and I are working from the assumption that the bible is the word of god. That gives us a playground. Within that playground the case for a sovereign god is easy to make.

    Interesting that you should describe this as a playground, since you both are playing with imaginary toys here. An all powerful being/entity/god who watches over you to make sure you’re not being a bad child, who will punish you if you don’t worship him exclusively, or who will punish YOU if your PARENTS don’t worship him exclusively. A being who will kill your enemies indiscriminately, just because he loves you so much!

    How can rational people not see the childishness of these beliefs?

  73. Thorne:

    You are wrong that “from outside the flock” we all look the same

    I agree, to a point. When looked upon closely we can differentiate between the various types of sheep: Calvinists, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Scientologists. But when viewed overall, from a safe distance, you are all still sheep! The bleating of Fisher when he tries to justify his view of god is hardly different from the bleating of any other sheep. You are all basing your noise on the idea that this god exists without ever providing the evidence which might make your bleating more intelligible.

  74. dingojack:

    MAUDE: “Oh but thier not! Look, see, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals, All kinds of observable differences….’

    And yet they are all Compositae.

    Dingo

  75. heddle:

    Thorne,

    But when viewed overall, from a safe distance, you are all still sheep! The bleating of Fisher when he tries to justify his view of god is hardly different from the bleating of any other sheep.

    If you are merely saying that we look the same because we all theists then I commend your astuteness. We can extend this as a general theorem: All Jews are Jews. All gay people are gay.

    I ask you to consider the thought experiment where all politically-active culture-warrior types like Fischer and Lively and Dobson are replaced with equally conservative Christians of the type that includes me, that basically argue that we are not called to make sin illegal (for believers or unbelievers) but rather to refrain from sinning (i.e. to glorify god) and preach the gospel, and who believe that forming para-church organizations to advance a political agenda is not something we are called to do and for which there is no precedent in the New Testament.

    I am not asking to to say whether it would be better or worse, but just ponder whether it would be different.

    If there is no difference between the two groups then you must suppose there would be no change. I think that is completely irrational.

  76. Thorne:

    heddle,
    Your proposed thought experiment is irrelevant to my comment, though. I admit that, when viewed closely, there are differences, sometimes vast differences, between religious groups, and even between individuals within groups. Just as there are differences between Apennine sheep, Charmoise sheep, or Merino sheep. These differences can be obvious even to non-sheep. But when viewed from a distance they are all still sheep!

    Claiming that you disagree with Fisher over your god’s will makes no sense to someone who does not believe in gods in the first place. It doesn’t really matter what you claim, since neither of you can provide the evidence to justify your claims. Yes, I think your comments may be marginally more rational than his, but ultimately you are arguing over the median length of unicorn horns, while we atheists sit back and think, “But there are no unicorns!”

  77. heddle:

    Thorne,

    but ultimately you are arguing over the median length of unicorn horns, while we atheists sit back and think, “But there are no unicorns!”

    I see you didn’t answer the question and just spewed out some obfuscatory drivel.

    What we argue over is whether the civil government of the United States should attempt to codify what we view as sin into the law of the land.

    Is that “unicorns” to you? Really?

    Unbelievable.

  78. Raging Bee:

    I’m really sick of people whose effective* initial reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy is the reactive promotion of their pet political agenda.

    Thats’ not always a bad thing, if your pet agenda consists of policies that might have addressed any of the problems leading up to the tragedy.

    And why do we always hear this refrain of “how dare you use this tragedy to promote your agenda!” refrain in relation to gun violence, but not in relation to any other tragedy? I don’t remember anyone getting outraged about people talking about terrorism and US foreign policy right after 9/11. Nor do I remember anyone saying we shouldn’t talk about drunk driving after someone gets killed by a drunk driver.

    The answer is simple: it’s nothing more than routine shutuppery from the NRA. Who died and made them Miss Manners?

    And why should decent people be bound by a moratorium on political discourse, when, as this OP clearly shows, plenty of non-decent people keep on running their foul mouths with no restraint at all?

  79. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Within that playground the case for a sovereign god is easy to make. It would, on the other hand, be impossible (as far as I can tell) to make the case from scripture that god could not have prevented the massacre. There is no description or hint anywhere in scripture of a god who is not in control of all things. – heddle

    Indeed so – the god of the Bible is just the kind of loathsome shitbag who would sit by twiddling the celestial thumbs and grinning as mass murder is enacted – on those occasions when he hasn’t directly instigated it.

  80. PatrickG:

    Heddle, since you acknowledge that Fischer differs from your interpretation of the Bible, why don’t you go argue with him directly? You’ve won your acknowledgement that, like any group, not all Christians are the same. You won it, I might add, by expressing truisms as some sort of evidentiary wonder. Of [i]course[/i] not all people in a group are the same. Christians aren’t. Atheists certainly aren’t. And you don’t even want to mess with comic book fans, gamers, or philosophunculists.

    Therefore, I’m truly puzzled, given your statement above:

    I think he is preaching to his choir–so in that sense I don’t think he has a whole lot of influence. There is a sizable number of Christian-right culture warriors who agree with most of what he says–as opposed to being swayed by what he says. There is also, however, a sizable number of conservative Christians who do not agree with him. There is a tension between these two groups. I bump up against it all the time.

    Why not go argue with the “sizable number” who disagree with you and might be in some way “swayed” by your arguments? What possible gain do you envision by commenting here? I feel fairly safe in asserting that nobody here really gives a rat’s ass whether or not Fischer is preaching according to your interpretation of the Bible. Go “bump up” against this issue elsewhere. You’d do the world a lot of good if you actually managed to convince some people that shooting schoolchildren is not the will of a socially constructed fairy in the sky..

    But… you seem to care more about how atheists perceive you than decrying the fact that your fellow Christians actually think that dead children are the result of your God’s will.

    What [i]I[/i] care about is the “sizable number of Christian-right culture warriors” who seem to think that a busload of dead children is a fair price to pay to bring Gawd to the world. Stop arguing with atheists. I, at least, agree with your putative premise, though I don’t believe you actually hold it… because you’re here. Arguing with people about theology, instead of using your time to effect change in [i]your[/i] community.

    Go argue with the culture warriors. Or use this as an excuse to continue trolling. Your call.

  81. PatrickG:

    Bah, go from one site that uses [] to another that uses more conventional html notation, and everything goes to hell. Not as Heddle would define it, of course.

  82. dingojack:

    Patrick – did you read the tiny, tiny writing under the comment box? :D
    So heddle, are you a big-endian or a small-endian?
    Dingo

  83. PatrickG:

    @ dingo:

    What’s amusing is I obviously used blockquoting correctly, but failed to commute that to the italics tags.

    Obviously an error in my reading of the Holy Book of Pasta Making.

  84. heddle:

    Patrick G,

    Heddle, since you acknowledge that Fischer differs from your interpretation of the Bible, why don’t you go argue with him directly?

    Really, that’s a valid criticism of me? That I don’t argue with him directly? May I assume that anyone you have spoken out against, any of the usual suspects here, that you have argued with them directly?

    I feel fairly safe in asserting that nobody here really gives a rat’s ass whether or not Fischer is preaching according to your interpretation of the Bible.

    That may be but you can’t possibly know that–you are taking it upon yourself to speak for Ed and Ed’s readership. Based on other discussions I have had on this site I’d say there is good evidence that you are wrong–that some people do find such differences among us interesting–while most of those who don’t simply pass over my comments rather than troll, as you are doing.

    But… you seem to care more about how atheists perceive you than decrying the fact that your fellow Christians actually think that dead children are the result of your God’s will.

    I find it interesting that some people put us all in the same box without thinking. Like a member of any group who likes to point out the diversity within the group. I like pointing out that the statement you just made: the fact that your fellow Christians actually think that dead children are the result of your God’s will is false and stupid in its gross generality–I think people like you resent having it pointed out to them that their characterizations are stereotypes–as is always the case with those who negatively stereotype large groups.

    What possible gain do you envision by commenting here?

    Nothing. I have admitted I do it for fun. I simply enjoy arguing when I see what I think is stereotyping of Christians. Probably 90% of my comments are, rightly or wrongly, so directed.

    Why do you comment here? What do you envision as the result? What is your noble reason for giving your opinions here? Are you changing the world?

    I, at least, agree with your putative premise, though I don’t believe you actually hold it… because you’re here

    (ellipses in original, boldface added) Because I comment here, I’m lying about what I actually believe? Brilliant. Unsupportable, illogical and irrational, but brilliant in it’s own way.

    Stop arguing with atheists

    Why, exactly? Are you special? Besides, I don’t argue with atheists per se, I argue with people I disagree with. On this site that is usually atheists, but I have been banned from Christian sites (including Dembski’s) for arguing against Christians.

    Go argue with the culture warriors.

    I do, frequently.

    Or use this as an excuse to continue trolling. Your call.

    You should know, your contentless comment was classic trolling. Are you going to continue? Your call.

  85. Thorne:

    What we argue over is whether the civil government of the United States should attempt to codify what we view as sin into the law of the land.

    How do you define “sin”? Unless I’m badly mistaken, something is a sin because it violates your god’s laws. True, Fisher is advocating forcing those laws into the laws of the land, while you are advocating against that. But you are both making the assumption that there are, indeed, such laws. You are both accepting the existence of a god who has commanded such laws, with no real evidence that such a god even exists. Your god is the unicorn here, and sin is his horn.

  86. Michael Heath:

    heddle writes:

    I think he is preaching to his choir–so in that sense I don’t think he has a whole lot of influence.

    I don’t know whether Mr. Fischer has a lot of influence or not. I tend to be skeptical of heddle’s position because leading conservative Christian politicians go on his show, which strongly suggests Mr. Fischer is influential.

    I am confident that Mr. Fischer’s beliefs about church and state is the predominant view among conservative Christians because those politicians he supports, the policy positions he takes, and his reasoning; all convincingly show up in voting patterns, policy advocacy, his arguments are consistent with those used in the conservative media as arguments to keep voters in the partisan fold, and the arguments we observe from the conservative Christian voting base.

    I know of no other large U.S. voting base more monolithic and consistent in their politics than conservative Christianity, which of course doesn’t mean outliers don’t exist in this group either – but they have no political sway with the exception that young evangelicals aren’t buying institutionalized bigotry against gays in the public square (though they continue to support bigotry towards females and gays via their religious affiliation).

    So I continue to find heddle’s continued to attempt to claim Mr. Fischer’s kind of conservative Christianity isn’t a general attribute of conservative Christianity both baffling and absurdly wrong. I wish I were wrong and heddle was right, but the last twelve years of electoral politics reveals otherwise where we continue to also observe them becoming ever-more extreme in their politics as the base becomes the source of new politicians rather than the plutocratic class which panders to them.

    Yes Fischer takes his politics to more of an extreme than the non-Palinite conservative Christians would take their arguments; but they all still end up on the same side when it comes to politicians they vote for in the general election and many if not most primaries, and their positions on policies which reach a vote in the legislature are identical. Here in Michigan our lame-duck Congress ran a whole slew of Fischer-friendly policies through and presented to to governor. These policies are not even W. Bush friendly, they are Fischer-friendly, and they had the overwhelming vote of all MI GOP legislators, where Michigan was never Mississippi until conservative Christians became the dominant voting base with the GOP.

    Conservative Christians’ increasing political extremism is causing them to decrease the number of people who identify as Republicans and Americans at-large who support most of their political platform. Which is exactly why Gallup’s and Republicans’ polling was so wrong and non-partisan polling was correct leading up to the ’12 election and why heddle is wrong that Fischer and his ilk don’t define conservative Christianity, they do. heddle remains an outlier, not Fischer.

  87. heddle:

    Thorne,

    How do you define “sin”? Unless I’m badly mistaken, something is a sin because it violates your god’s laws. True, Fisher is advocating forcing those laws into the laws of the land, while you are advocating against that. But you are both making the assumption that there are, indeed, such laws. You are both accepting the existence of a god who has commanded such laws, with no real evidence that such a god even exists. Your god is the unicorn here, and sin is his horn.

    Again you ignore the question. You are now simply saying “you’re both dumbass theists, hoop-de-do.”

    Michael Heath,

    It is from experience. I know of and am involved with large numbers of conservative Christians that have contempt for the political Christian-right. Many of them (not all) vote Republican, but that does not imply an love-alliance. There are, presumably, groups that are solidly Democratic but still have a mutual animosity.

    If your claim is that conservative Christians tend to vote Republican, then I would agree.

    My claim is something different–that while many conservative Christians vote Republican, they are not friends of the Fischers of the word.

    The effect you continue to ignore is self-selection. Those of us who prioritize the gospel over politics will naturally be in the background. We are not going to band together and create counter talk-shows and para-church organizations–because by definition we eschew such tactics. It’s what we don’t like about the Fischers. We are not going to mimic their tactics. Not to mention it is the extremists who garner attention, not the boring normalcy advocates.

    We (conservative Christians in general) may not vote how you like, but it is not because, for example, same-sex marriage is a hot button issue for us and we must stop it at all costs, but because it is not that important (one way or another) so we vote for other reasons. And for some reason that I have never figured out–it certainly is peculiar to Americans, conservative Christians often vote for Republicans for (truly delusional in my opinion) economic reasons.

    Anecdotally I can tell you that I spoke with many conservative Christians during the recent election. They were voting Republican (at about the 70-80% level) not because they were concerned with same-sex marriage, but because they believed it was the correct choice for the economy and their own job security.

    Another example is Israel. There is great deal of Christian political activism associated with supporting Israel because of the sizable (but thankfully dwindling) number of Left-Behinders. I find their actions–lobbying the government not as citizens but as para-church organizations, deplorable. But at the same time I too support Israel–just not for biblical, eschatological reasons. So I am often aligned with them in supporting Israel, but this does not mean we are monolithic.

    I am beginning to think this is why we never agree on this issue. You are simply looking at voting patterns. I am looking at the reasons conservative Christians vote as they do and if the priority is to squeeze Christians mores into the legal code. On that I am sure that disagreeing with the Fischers of the world does not make one an outlier.

    The only way to know for sure would be if the religious right of the Republican party split off and left behind (if there are any left) the libertarian-leaning politicians. If that happened and I’m correct, a sizable number of conservative Christians would be delighted and not bolt to the new party. I might even start voting again.

  88. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    I know of and am involved with large numbers of conservative Christians that have contempt for the political Christian-right. Many of them (not all) vote Republican, but that does not imply an love-alliance. There are, presumably, groups that are solidly Democratic but still have a mutual animosity. – heddle

    The political Christian-right is now so influential within the Republican Party that no-one who had contempt for the former and even a nodding acquaintance with reality would vote for the latter – unless that contempt was that of the manipulator for the useful idiots they manipulate, as in the case of the party’s plutocratic backers. A parallel would be if Marxists were powerful enough to dictate large parts of the Democratic Party’s platform; I doubt that liberals and democratic progressives would continue to vote for the party.

  89. Raging Bee:

    I know of and am involved with large numbers of conservative Christians that have contempt for the political Christian-right. Many of them (not all) vote Republican, but that does not imply an love-alliance.

    Yes, it very much does, when the party they vote for is run by those for whom they PRETEND to “have contempt.” If you consistently vote to put someone in power, for whatever reason, then it’s utterly meaningless to say you don’t really like the guy you keep on voting for.

    So if they have such contempt for the political Christian right, why do they give said Christian right any significant support at all? Is their hatred of liberals, pagans and atheists more important to them than honestly dealing with the evil done in the name of their own God?

    Those of us who prioritize the gospel over politics will naturally be in the background. We are not going to band together and create counter talk-shows and para-church organizations–because by definition we eschew such tactics. It’s what we don’t like about the Fischers. We are not going to mimic their tactics.

    If you knowingly refuse to do what is necessary to stop them, then you’re condoning them, and again, it’s meaningless to pretend you don’t “really” support that sort of distasteful thing. You can’t clean anything up without getting your own hands dirty, at least temporarily.

  90. PatrickG:

    Heddle, if you found my comment devoid of content, it was probably due to the sheer contempt I have for your position.

    My claim is something different–that while many conservative Christians vote Republican, they are not friends of the Fischers of the word.

    If this is true, should we not be seeing a great outcry from the ranks of these conservative Christians? And no, weaseling comments along the lines of “I deplore what he said, but you know, he has a point about school prayer…” don’t count. If Fischer’s remarks were really that inflammatory to conservative Christians, he’d be doing his preaching from a street corner. Instead, according to the New Yorker*, his radio show reaches more a million people a day.

    For the sake of argument, let’s posit that there does exist a quiet, sleeping mass of “reasonable” Christians who are just being given a bad name by visible extremists. Given that, your best argument seems to be ‘well, but they don’t really believe that stuff, they’re just unable to shake off the extremist minority.’ So why do they support the extremists through voting, campaign contributions, and the like? I certainly don’t know, but fortunately you have anecdotal evidence for us:

    They were voting Republican (at about the 70-80% level) not because they were concerned with same-sex marriage, but because they believed it was the correct choice for the economy and their own job security.

    Now, just to be clear: I’m perfectly willing to concede that there are some very nice, very active Christians out there, who actually understand that Jesus really was a socialist(!), and do work to make our society a just and equal one. I’ve met some of them! They’re great people. Oddly, they don’t vote Republican… But let’s get back to the people you describe here.

    First, why aren’t those people who don’t agree with the Party on same-sex marriage speaking up about marriage equality? Or, for that matter, abortion, contraception, climate change, environmental protection, voting rights, etc. Could it be that they actually do agree with the Party’s positions? Or is it just that they don’t care, and are willing to sacrifice any number of important issues in the name of their own job security? What gospel reading is required to make that mental leap?

    Second, your postulated reasonable Christians are willing to prioritize their job security by supporting a political party that for decades has been doing its best to shut off support services to the poor, deny people access to health care, cripple our educational system, abandon any pretense of “stewardship” over our environment, and let our infrastructure crumble. So we can finally get rid of that pesky capital gains tax. And stick it to liberals.

    That Jesus guy must be rolling over in his grave.

    * link below , as it came out really borked in the preview.

    New Yorker article on Fischer

  91. Raging Bee:

    They were voting Republican (at about the 70-80% level) not because they were concerned with same-sex marriage, but because they believed it was the correct choice for the economy and their own job security.

    In other words, they knowingly supported people and policies they KNEW were contemptible and evil, just to protect (or believe they were protecting) their own job security? They were that quick to sacrifice their most basic principles of right and wrong?

    heddle, if you’re trying to make excuses for your fellow conservative Christians, you’re doing an amazingly poor job of it. In fact, every paragraph you write is making them look worse, not better.

    I don’t know any of these people you’re talking about, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt — but you gotta stop taking the doubt away.

  92. heddle:

    Heddle, if you found my comment devoid of content, it was probably due to the sheer contempt I have for your position.

    No I think it was because it was devoid of content. This one is much better.

    Now, just to be clear: I’m perfectly willing to concede that there are some very nice, very active Christians out there, who actually understand that Jesus really was a socialist(!), and do work to make our society a just and equal one. I’ve met some of them! They’re great people. Oddly, they don’t vote Republican… But let’s get back to the people you describe here.

    I have met some too–in fact most European conservative Christians are politically liberal. I have expressed many, many times that I have no clue why this is so, that American conservative Christians tend to be politically conservative–a sort of perplexing question in my opinion. I have speculated in the past that it has something to do, at least historically, with the so-called “Protestant Work Ethic”–but that’s just a wag from studying Max Weber in an intro sociology class.

    First, why aren’t those people who don’t agree with the Party on same-sex marriage speaking up about marriage equality? Or, for that matter, abortion, contraception, climate change, environmental protection, voting rights, etc. Could it be that they actually do agree with the Party’s positions? Or is it just that they don’t care, and are willing to sacrifice any number of important issues in the name of their own job security? What gospel reading is required to make that mental leap?

    We do speak up, but it is primarily within the family. As I explained to Heath we do not have a bully pulpit because–that’s exactly what we criticize the Fischers of the world for– for getting distracted from what the bible calls us to do and supplanting it with what we are not called to do. As for what gospel reading–some of the very same people who are against what they call the welfare state are among the most generous in terms of our ministry to the poor in our community. It is a perfectly reasonable/arguable position that you want to help the needy, and you do help the needy, but you prefer to do it voluntarily rather than through the government. (The counter-position is also arguable.) You are, I think, making some kind of assumption that they/we neglect those in need. Not true. Stop by our church this very evening and help out–we are giving food and toys to needy people in our neighborhood.

    The demand here, which is quite unreasonable in my opinion, is that you just can’t be in favor of something, but the level of importance must also surpass some arbitrary threshold. I am in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage–but it would have to be something close to an “all things being equal” choice for it to be a deciding factor in my vote.

    Second, your postulated reasonable Christians are willing to prioritize their job security by supporting a political party that for decades has been doing its best to shut off support services to the poor, deny people access to health care, cripple our educational system, abandon any pretense of “stewardship” over our environment, and let our infrastructure crumble. So we can finally get rid of that pesky capital gains tax. And stick it to liberals.

    Yep (approximately). I think people who work at say, Newport News Ship Building will vote for candidates that will likely procure a new aircraft carrier (securing their job for another 5 years) rather than one who might cancel the next one in line. Christians are not immune to worrying first about how they will put food on the table. At the same time your assumption about helping the poor is off, as per my previous discussion.

  93. Raging Bee:

    Christians are not immune to worrying first about how they will put food on the table.

    “Worrying” is one thing. Consistently sacrificing your (allegedly) most deeply-held religious principles, year after year, with little or no long-term thought, in response to the same dishonest dog-whistles, is another. Where’s that spirit of self-sacrifice in the service of God you Christians used to preach about when you really seem to need it?

  94. Raging Bee:

    Beaides, if so many of you conservative Christians are so worried, for so long, about how to put food on the table, couldn’t you have taken your concerns to the Democrats? If you really cared about kicking the Christian Reich to the curb, you could have told the Democrats you’d gladly vote for them if only they’d address your job-security concerns. And if there are a many of you disenchanted with the Christofascists as you say there are, there’s no way the Democrats would have ignored you. (It’s not like they’re not visibly concerned about economic security already.)

  95. Michael Heath:

    heddle writes:

    If your claim is that conservative Christians tend to vote Republican, then I would agree.

    As I’ve repeatedly noted, it’s not merely that conservative Christians vote Republican, but how they’ve radically transformed both the policies of the GOP and the qualifications needed for politicians to succeed within the GOP. If you re-read my post you’ll see I’m both explicit about this and refer to how it’s even radically transformed a state like Michigan whose legacy was one of moderate Republicans who were more like Barack Obama than Bryan Fischer.

    heddle writes:

    The effect you continue to ignore is self-selection. Those of us who prioritize the gospel over politics will naturally be in the background.

    They are defining your religion in the public square, whether you like it not. Because again, it’s not merely voting patterns, but policy positions taken and the type of politicians running who are in perfect sync with the goals of the religious right – they now define the GOP’s voting base and have since 2000 when they comprised, IIRC, 56% of the party’s base (it’s now larger, IIRC, it’s in the low-70s per the CNN presidential exit poll). And I’m not self-selecting, I watch the polls and surveys and watch the policies promoted, and the evolving nature of the politicians running.

    heddle writes:

    I have never figured out–it certainly is peculiar to Americans, conservative Christians often vote for Republicans for (truly delusional in my opinion) economic reasons.

    I’ve repeatedly provided cites on why this is. Thomas Frank’s, What’s the Matter with Kansas, goes a long way towards explaining how this happened from a political perspective and Chris Mooney’s Republican Brain explains the psychology of how this happened.

    Several weeks ago you claimed you were fiscal conservative and social liberal and therefore didn’t have the kind of choice you’d like. I found this a stunning statement given that those are the defining attributes of the Democratic party and have been since 1993, not just in rhetoric, or in legislative efforts, but in actual performance in terms of passing bills which are both. This is not unusual, people’s claimed overt motivations are frequently very different than their actual motivations, I’m not claiming this is true of you, but I am claiming we see it now. In fact Ed repeatedly blogs about how initiatives championed by prior conservatives, including Reagan and Nixon, are now considered socialist.

    I’m also surrounded by conservative Christians and I’m well aware of how many of these people are very smart and reasonable in all aspects of their lives with the exception of religion and politics. Where some appear reasonable on the surface when it comes to politics, but all you have to do is ask probing questions and listen patiently. And the people you’d think who are reasonable will easily work themselves up into a frenzy that shows they only appear to be more like a Gerald Ford than a Bryan Fischer. And guess what, this type of frenzy is exactly what is being marketed by the GOP, this frenzy behavior represents the new Republican candidate, and this is how these supposed non-Fischer types are both voting for and we’re getting in policies where Republicans enjoy a majority.

    heddle writes:

    Anecdotally I can tell you that I spoke with many conservative Christians during the recent election. They were voting Republican (at about the 70-80% level) not because they were concerned with same-sex marriage, but because they believed it was the correct choice for the economy and their own job security.

    I have no idea why you thought gay marriage would drive them this cycle, it was not a plank promoted by the GOP with the exception of Minnesota, certainly not at the national level. That was 2004. And I’d bet big bucks that the premises these people used to justify their preference of candidates for the economy and jobs were all false. Which is exactly what is predicted and observed, they’re easily susceptible to their authoritarian leaders’ lies, rather than the truth as understood by experts (read economists) that’s presented outside their epistemic bubble. They’re in the same bubble as Bryan Fischer. Your observation is a perfect illustration of how the facts play out, which I became aware of in the mid-2000s which led to my leaving the GOP in 2008. You’re now making my argument by providing the exact illustration of how this plays out.

  96. Michael Heath:

    heddle writes:

    They were voting Republican (at about the 70-80% level) not because they were concerned with same-sex marriage, but because they believed it was the correct choice for the economy and their own job security.

    Raging Bee responds:

    In other words, they knowingly supported people and policies they KNEW were contemptible and evil, just to protect (or believe they were protecting) their own job security? They were that quick to sacrifice their most basic principles of right and wrong?

    The evidence is convincing, not merely compelling, that Republican policies have been the predominant reason the U.S. labor market is weak. The evidence is convincing, not merely compelling, that Democratic policies have not only resulted in an impressive recovery of the labor market for a recession of this size which came with a financial crisis.

    In addition economists predominately argue for policies far more consistent with the Democrat’s agenda at the federal level than the Republicans. The evidence is also convincing, not merely compelling, that the Republican’s antidotes for how to recover from this recession would have been far worse than what we achieved with a mediocre Democratic plan, “mediocre” given Republican obstructionism which diluted the policies passed.

    So we’re left wondering why these supposedly non-Fischer types voted against their economic interests in spite of claiming economic interests was their highest priority. Here’s a list of factors that come to mind, they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive:

    1) One is their motivation wasn’t driven by economist factors but other motivating factors. A black president, social issues, or the desire for Christian privilege to dominate our government.

    2) Another reason is these people are deluded authoritarians; they buy the Fox News lies because they’re a member of the tribe, just like Fischer.

    3) Another reason is they’re mundanely ignorant regarding economics. However if that were tru,e you’d think the far more cogent arguments of the Democrats would win them over rather than the Republicans. Republicans didn’t even bother to cite economists like the Dems did but instead relied on falsified ideologically-driven talking points. Perhaps they didn’t even encounter the economist-friendly Democratic arguments, if not, see #2 above.

    The point Raging Bee is this, their motivation didn’t match their voting behavior. Not even close.

  97. Thorne:

    heddle said:

    Again you ignore the question. You are now simply saying “you’re both dumbass theists, hoop-de-do.”

    I’m not sure which question you think I’m ignoring. I’ve already conceded that you and Fisher don’t necessarily have the same points of view all down the line. I agree that your comments, at least, seem to condemn Fisher for his radical viewpoints. And I’m not claiming that anyone’s a “dumbass”, but let’s face it: you are both theists, by definition.

    As others have noted, you claim to support the Republican Party primarily for fiscal reasons while ignoring their idiotic social platform. I think a lot of this has to do with your religious beliefs and indoctrination. Theists certainly would rather see the care for the poor and disadvantaged being handled by the churches rather than the government. That allows the churches to maintain control over a large portion of the population. Since the government has taken over the social safety nets of this country the churches have been losing ground. And that’s a problem for them. By supporting the theocratic base of the GOP, you are also supporting their lack of social support programs, relegating that support back to the churches.

    By remaining silent (within the religious community) about the atrocious comments of people like Fisher, you are providing tacit approval. While I realize that not everyone has the ability, or the desire, to place themselves in the front lines of the struggle, it seems rather strange that there are no moderate theists coming out against the far right. To those of us on the outside, therefore, it looks as though all of the theists are joining together to provide a unified front, keeping any dissent hidden within the ranks.

    So don’t be surprised if we seem to see you as being one of them. As far as I’m concerned, using your faith to support your position, rather than using rational thought, you are very little different from the more radical wing of the GOP. Claiming to protect your own jobs and financial security while allowing theocrats to strip millions of other Americans of their rights only points to the selfishness of your position and not to the supposed love of your god.

  98. Rodney Nelson:

    I have been quite impressed with how Karl Rove and other Republicans have managed to convince people like Heddle to vote against their own economic interests by telling them that if the rich pay less tax and if financial institutions are unregulated then the middle and working classes will benefit.

  99. heddle:

    Thorne

    As others have noted, you claim to support the Republican Party primarily for fiscal reasons while ignoring their idiotic social platform.

    No I don’t. In addition to failing to answer the question you (and the chowderhead Rodney Nelson who, if he is like most people on here has listened to karl rove and other fox news people infinitely more than i have) seem to think I vote Republican. Go back and read again and you’ll see that I nowhere make such a claim.

    To those of us on the outside, therefore, it looks as though all of the theists are joining together to provide a unified front, keeping any dissent hidden within the ranks.

    That’s convenient. Does every Muslim who is against terrorism, who speaks against it in his home and mosque but otherwise quietly goes about his life–is he part of the problem of Islamic terrorism?

    You stereotype the same way any other bigot does. And you excuse and justify your bigotry by charging people you target with not making it clear enough to you that they are different. Gee, if you just told me you had a job, maybe showed me some pay stubs, I wouldn’t assume all black people are on welfare. How am I supposed to know? To those of us on the outside you all look the same.

  100. heddle:

    Michael Heath,

    So we’re left wondering why these supposedly non-Fischer types voted against their economic interests in spite of claiming economic interests was their highest priority. Here’s a list of factors that come to mind, they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive:

    Of course one of the possible reasons, according to Heath, is that they are racists.

    What hubris. You cannot assert that they voted against their economic interests either knowingly or out of ignorance. You, Michael Heath, do not have a economic model guaranteed to bring prosperity to the land. Economics is not science–it relies too much on unpredictable human psychology and sociology, local effects, and uncontrollable and unforeseeable decisions of other nations. You may be able to explain what went wrong with past policy, and you may be able to make plausible arguments about what would be good policy in the future, but you will never know for sure because the problem is too complex and, I know it’s sacrilegious to say, some of your assumptions might be wrong and your models or the models you champion, which should contain non-linear feedback loops, just might not be as accurate or predictive as you imagine.

    You continue to speak as if the national economy is a solved problem or at least you, Michael Heath, have your arms around it.

    Bullshit.

    I am not saying policy you derive from your incredibly naive assumption that you’ve pretty much got the economy figured out is wrong–I am saying you have unjustified confidence in it. And then have the balls to cast aspersions on those who don’t agree with your analysis, or favor the economists you favor.

    Sorry, you cannot state as a fact — only as an opinion– that how someone votes tomorrow is or is not in their economic interest.

  101. Michael Heath:

    heddle to me:

    Of course one of the possible reasons, according to Heath, is that they are racists.

    What hubris.

    Science is hubris? Recent polling shows 90% of Republicans consider race as a factor. In addition the racism on display at Fox News and from the leaders of conservative Christians has been obvious for years now. Your denial here is not attractive, nor are the facts.

    I can’t cover the rest of your post now but will later today.

  102. Raging Bee:

    Does every Muslim who is against terrorism, who speaks against it in his home and mosque but otherwise quietly goes about his life–is he part of the problem of Islamic terrorism?

    Now that you mention it, I hear more Muslim voices raised against Ilsamist terrorism than I hear conservative Christian voices raised against the relentless hatemongering of people like Hagee, Huckabee, Fischer, Falwell, and others too numerous to mention here. And when liberals like me speak up against it, I don’t hear any “conservative” Christians saying “Hey, the liberals are right this time.”

    (I still have yet to hear heddle, or any of his allegedly decent conservative Christian friends, raising anything like full-throated condemnation of Mike Huckabee’s recent attempts to blame gays for the Sandy Hook atrocity. Where’s that silent majority, dude? You certainly can’t claim you were caught by surprise — Hickabee and his kind have been saying shit like that for DECADES!)

    heddle’s support for present-day “conservative” Christianity is beginning to sound a lot like slc1′s support for Israel.

  103. Raging Bee:

    Economics is not science–it relies too much on unpredictable human psychology and sociology, local effects, and uncontrollable and unforeseeable decisions of other nations.

    It has a LOT more predictive power than your Bible.

  104. heddle:

    Raging Bee,

    heddle’s support for present-day “conservative” Christianity is beginning to sound a lot like slc1′s support for Israel.

    You’re such an ass. How often will you pull this “heddle is starting to sound like [blank]” shtick? Not long ago you said I was starting to sound like someone named lancifer, whoever that is. I can’t wait to hear whom I start reminding you of tomorrow. Am I trending up or down? Will it be someone big and famous? Maybe someone from Fox News? Maybe Ron Paul? Sarah Palin? Fred Phelps? It is very important to me to learn who I next resemble in your mind.

    It’s nice how my frequent and unrelenting condemnation of political conservative Christians (like Huckabee, Fischer, Hagee, etc) translates in your brain to support.

  105. slc1:

    Re heddle ! @104

    Just for the information of Prof. Heddle, Lancifer, aka Sir Lancelot, is a troll who comments on any thread in which the issue of climate change comes up. He is a sometime global warming denier who, apparently, has now accepted that scientific consensus and currently argues that it’s no big deal. A textbook example of the Racehorse Haynes strategy. He and the good professor’s sparring partner, Michael Heath, engage in rather vituperous exchanges which shed more heat then light on the subject. The back and forth name calling really is appalling, even to a hardened individual like myself.

  106. dingojack:

    David – sadly, I doubt you’ll ever be someone famous. Join the rest of us plebs.
    Dingo

  107. heddle:

    DJ,

    David – sadly, I doubt you’ll ever be someone famous. Join the rest of us plebs.

    I don’t know. You have to sell 10,000 copies of a novel to get on the NYT best seller list. According to my calculations, I have only about 9,875 to go. (And it’s only been out since 2005.) Then it’s Oprah, a movie-deal, and fast cars.

  108. dingojack:

    Heddle – at least you’ll get to bask in the (reflected glory of) ‘He’s the father of that really, really talented piano player’ … :)
    Dingo
    ——–
    PS: Have you got around to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ yet?

  109. Raging Bee:

    It’s nice how my frequent and unrelenting condemnation of political conservative Christians (like Huckabee, Fischer, Hagee, etc) translates in your brain to support.

    You and HOW MANY of your co-religionists? That’s the point we’re making here: you claim there’s a huge number of people like you who don’t support insane bigotry within your faith, but then (after a bit of No True Scottish Dance ritual) you start making lame excuses for the lack of significant visible opposition to said bigotry.

    You sound like the child-rape apologists I’ve heard from within the Catholic Church: first they cry about how the whole Church is being tarred for the actions of a minority of priests, then they start making excuses for why the rest of the Church isn’t rising up in unified outrage against the actions of this minority.

  110. Thorne:

    Does every Muslim who is against terrorism, who speaks against it in his home and mosque but otherwise quietly goes about his life–is he part of the problem of Islamic terrorism?

    Actually, he IS part of the problem. By allowing the radicals to become the public voice of Islam, or Christianity, the “silent majority” is permitting, and even encouraging, such radical thoughts and actions. Those easily swayed by rhetoric hear only the radicals, not the moderates, and assume that there is only one point of view. This is a problem in religion and politics and almost every other kind of human group.

    It’s the problem with the GOP. The religious right fanatics have taken over the ideology of the party, demanding oaths from elected officials which may violate their oaths of political office. But the politicians don’t hear any dissent from the more moderate members since any kind of dissent is automatically slammed as treason and un-American. And you hear that kind of nonsense from people like Fisher, Robinson, Beck, Limbaugh, Huckabee, Hannity, etc., etc., etc.

    All that aside, though, the problem here is people, like Fisher, trying to rationalize their religious beliefs by blaming an atrocity on those who don’t agree with them, whether it’s gays or atheists or secularists. You claim that those people don’t speak for you, but by not speaking out against them, in their own forums, you are providing them with tacit approval. If you cannot speak against them on their websites (not an uncommon occurrence with the religious nuts), then make sure that your pastor/priest/imam/rabbi is aware of your concerns, and agrees with them. If not, maybe it’s time to find a different church.

    Indeed, that seems to be what we’re seeing happening. Church attendance is down, and young people are leaving religious communities in record numbers, despite the brainwashing they endure their whole lives. People, like you, are seeing the ridiculousness, and callousness, of their leaders as the flail helplessly against the tides, and are turning away from them. Their frothing screeds become louder and more angry as their income drops, but with none of their followers willing to point out their mistakes they just don’t seem to learn.

  111. Modusoperandi:

    Michael Heath “Science is hubris? Recent polling shows 90% of Republicans consider race as a factor. In addition the racism on display at Fox News and from the leaders of conservative Christians has been obvious for years now. Your denial here is not attractive, nor are the facts.”
    To be fair, ganster-rapping thug Common did go to the White House. His DJ was Van Jones, he was backed up by Shirley Sherrod and his brass section was two New Black Panthers. All that and his entourage was every other black person maligned on FoxNews, Drudge, etc over the last four years. True story.

  112. heddle:

    Raging Bee,

    You sound like the child-rape apologists

    Ah that answers the question I posed in #104!

    First you say I sound like lancifer,
    Then you say I sound like slc1,
    Now I sound like child-rape apologists!

    What will tomorrow bring??

    You really are a one-trick pony!

  113. heddle:

    Thorne,

    Actually, he IS part of the problem. By allowing the radicals to become the public voice of Islam, or Christianity, the “silent majority” is permitting, and even encouraging, such radical thoughts and actions.

    You are a complete idiot if you think normal every day Muslims who oppose terrorism are part of the problem. Is your voice heard louder that blog comments? I doubt it. How do you expect their voices to be heard? Do you think the New York Times will write a big story on A Muslim named (whatever) who works as an auto mechanic in Flint, Michigan opposes Islamic violence. Here is his story, and the editorial section you’ll find his op-ed.

    Or do you think they’ll write a story about a famous British imam who calls for a British Muslim state by any means?

    How exactly did such a person “allow the radicals to become the public voice of Islam?”

  114. Raging Bee:

    How do you expect their voices to be heard? Do you think the New York Times will write a big story on A Muslim named (whatever)….

    Gee, I dunno…such a touch question…how about some of the bigger denominations use their organizational advantage and PR skills to get the message out that they flatly reject, at the global policy level, beliefs that are clearly evil, destructive, dishonest, and contrary to the values embodied in the teachings of Jesus? How about some large-scale political/PR campaigns to expose, attack and discredit evil falsehoods, like they did against Atheistic Communism, dangerous non-Christian cults, and school segregation?

    Seriously, heddle, thre’s plenty of things your big established Christian denominations can do here — things they’ve already done before for other causes, and done successfully.

  115. Michael Heath:

    heddle writes:

    You cannot assert that they voted against their economic interests either knowingly or out of ignorance. You, Michael Heath, do not have a economic model guaranteed to bring prosperity to the land. Economics is not science–it relies too much on unpredictable human psychology and sociology, local effects, and uncontrollable and unforeseeable decisions of other nations. You may be able to explain what went wrong with past policy, and you may be able to make plausible arguments about what would be good policy in the future, but you will never know for sure because the problem is too complex and, I know it’s sacrilegious to say, some of your assumptions might be wrong and your models or the models you champion, which should contain non-linear feedback loops, just might not be as accurate or predictive as you imagine.

    You continue to speak as if the national economy is a solved problem or at least you, Michael Heath, have your arms around it.

    Bullshit.

    What an incredible strawman of economics and what we do understand about economics. And you claim I’m the one with hubris because I make conclusions based on what economists both understand with a high level of confidence and repeatedly validate with past and current observations.

    Have you ever formally studied economics heddle? You certainly demonstrate not, or that you know, like I do, the source of arguments which is used to motivate voters and policy makers. If you had studied economics, and if you’d actually done the hard work of keeping up with what economists observe, you’d discover who is making statements with “hubris”, which political groups rely on economists to develop policy, and which groups reject what economists both understand and prescribe. Your description of their capability is not only wrong, but the exact type of disdain creationists show for the natural sciences.

    Your argument here is equivalent to a creationist when confronted with facts that falsify their positon, where they claim the messenger is arrogant and “doesn’t know”. Just because the creationist demonstrates knowing nothing about what the experts understand and the approach they use to observe, make predictions, and validate their findings. That’s a particularly ripe form of projection.

    In this last recession we had even more validation of what works and what’s doesn’t work where the results were true to form, especially when comparing these results to past recessions which had an attendant financial crisis. Both here in the states, in the U.K., where their austerity approach failed just as economists predicted (and our conservatives advocated we do), and in China, whose great recovery was predicted given they were the most faithful country following the prescriptions economists have long known and long validated work. Here in the states our results also matched the size of our response, also as predicted (as confirmed by the CBO, and the Blinder and Zandi studies, and I’m sure sure others – those were the studies I read).

    Your ignorance on both economics and what motivates the voting base is not an argument that such behavior doesn’t exist. Just because it makes conservative Christians look bad doesn’t make it untrue if you avoid dealing with the facts which reveal such, as I have. I’m merely repeatedly what we find. To claim the person doing the hard work of finding out what the experts understand in order to defend one’s own demonstrated ignorance; whose the arrogant one?

    heddle writes:

    I am not saying policy you derive from your incredibly naive assumption that you’ve pretty much got the economy figured out is wrong–I am saying you have unjustified confidence in it. And then have the balls to cast aspersions on those who don’t agree with your analysis, or favor the economists you favor.

    Sorry, you cannot state as a fact — only as an opinion– that how someone votes tomorrow is or is not in their economic interest.

    We empirically understand why the national debt has risen since 2002. We empirically understand the structural and cyclical components of the current deficit. We empirically understand the stimulate effects of certain government investments and expenditures. Those stimulative effects are predictive and have been validated.

    So when a political party claims the debt is due to spending; we know this is false. We also know that federal revenues are a function of national income, which itself is a very large component of GDP. So we can predict with very high confidence that if we were cut certain types of discretionary spending which magically happen to be the very items Republicans always attack when in the minority party, that would increase the deficit.

    We also empircally understand that an effective tax hike on the highest income earners from around 25% to 30% will not lead to economic contraction except when in certain types of economic conditions when the economy is contracting. We empirically understand that taxes are at their lowest share of GDP since 1950.

    In 2001 when President Bush argued that his tax cuts would lead to economic growth sufficient enough to increase federal revenues in spite of an effective decrease in tax rates, he had to go to Heritage to get an, “expert”, to support his now-falsified claim. Economists understood back then given past observations in many developed economies and understanding how economics work, his policy would lead to increased debt. As it did. So when Republicans argue to even more of the same, where they continue to avoid their not having the support of economists, we have high confidence other motivations are play. Motivations which we can research and have done so in order to understand what they are. Social science is not religion, it doesn’t require faith, we can make observations.

    So when people make factual assertions which are false, “Spending is why our debt is so high”, the experts seek out reasons on what’s motivating these people to make such false claims and why people would believe this lie and others. This work has been done.

    We understand with high confidence both these lies, the motivations behind them, and through surveys the reasons people buy into these lies and as I previously noted, the psychological reasons why they do so Your ignorance is not an argument, your avoidance of these inconvenient facts remains troubling. You as an academic should be better than that, since you demonstrably reveal you don’t understand these observations, you’d be better off going and doing some research rather than criticize the messenger who merely reveals some of the worst attributes observed by those you attempt to once again defend.

  116. Michael Heath:

    Raging Bee @ 102 writes:

    heddle’s support for present-day “conservative” Christianity is beginning to sound a lot like slc1′s support for Israel.

    I strongly disagree. slc1′s relies on a very well-informed set of premises to defend Israeli policy whereas heddle continuously demonstrates a very determined type of ignorance regarding both:
    a) conservative Christianity behavior in the public square and,
    b) the observations of experts regarding conservative Christian behavior.

    Now I find slc1′s advocacy of Israel reprehensible, along with his constant misrepresentation of people who either criticize Israeli policy or refuse to unconditionally support Israeli policy regardless of the policy promoted. But he’s making an argument whose quality is far superior to heddle’s; whose argument is solely dependent on his avoiding what experts observe and understand while relying solely on what personal observations he admits to his own consciousness as reported in this venue. Observations which do not align with the results we encounter in the public square, including voting results, exit polls, and other surveys representative of the population being referenced.

  117. Michael Heath:

    Thorne writes:

    [Fischer's type of conservative Christianity] the problem with the GOP. The religious right fanatics have taken over the ideology of the party . . .

    I’ve been recently using the range 73% to 78% as the share of Republicans who are politically conservative Christians. So they earned their dominance from a political perspective, certainly not when we consider their performance. We know their share has been rising, partly partly due to less non-conservatives affiliating with Republicans. In the 2000 elections IIRC the share of Republican voters was about 56%; so we observe an increasing number of moderates no longer affiliating or leaning Republican.

    The latest Pew survey appears to report conservative Christians now comprise about 80% of the GOP. To derive this number I used the table titled, Party Identification Among Registered Voters, to calculate the number of Republicans and GOP-leaners and each category’s share of that total. My “GOP N” was not 5774 (43% x an N of 13,429) but instead 0.1% higher at 5830. 5830 was the total ‘GOP N’ after breaking out the numeric values of the categories I mentioned below. My results of the share of each detailed group noted came out as follows:

    Atheists/Agnostics – 2%
    None in Particular – 7%
    Non-Christian though religious – 6% (Affiliated but not Christian)
    Other Christian – 3% (The difference between the total category for Christian minus the sum of each sub-group)

    White Evangelical – 36%
    White Mainline – 23%
    Catholics – 21%
    sub-total: 80%

    I didn’t count the “Other Christian” value of 3% in as conservative Christians since I don’t know whether that demographic is fairly labeled conservative. We know that white mainline and Catholics denominations are split between religious/political conservatives and non-conservatives.

    While I think these surveys do a good job with political affiliation, I’m skeptical a straight-forward question accurately identifies political ideology like the table below the one I used. A lot of people, including both liberals and conservatives, mistakenly perceive themselves as moderates. A sufficiently extensive list of questions which help locate someone on a political compass is a more compelling method to assign political ideology.

  118. slc1:

    Re Michael Heath @ #116

    I hope that MH is sitting down when/if he reads this but, after some cogitation, I find myself supporting Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, despite some of his supporters, like Stephen Walt. I am convinced that somebody is needed in the administration who will be willing to figuratively punch Bibi in the nose. It appears that the president is not willing to send attack dog James Carville over to Israel to run an opposition campaign in the upcoming elections, like the Clintons did in 1999 so the former will be stuck with Bibi for the rest of his second term. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. Bib yells loudly and carries a twig.

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