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Jan 09 2013

Jebus Christ, guess who’s going to deliver the benediction at Obama’s inauguration?

Here’s a hint.

CHAPLAIN:
Let us praise God. O Lord,…

CONGREGATION:
O Lord,…

CHAPLAIN:
…ooh, You are so big,…

CONGREGATION:
…ooh, You are so big,…

CHAPLAIN:
…so absolutely huge.

CONGREGATION:
…so absolutely huge.

CHAPLAIN:
Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

CONGREGATION:
Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

CHAPLAIN:
Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and…

CONGREGATION:
And barefaced flattery.

CHAPLAIN:
But You are so strong and, well, just so super.

CONGREGATION:
Fantastic.

That’s pretty much a pitch-perfect imitation of Louis Giglio, the icky creepy pseudo-scientific preacher who has been picked to put on a piety show for Obama.

You’ve never heard of him? You’re lucky. You might want to give this video a pass then, because, oh man, he is so treacly stupid he might make you gag.

Here’s the Giglio schtick. He shows a Hubble space telescope photo. It’s really, really big. It’s huge. This thing is gigantic. And our god created it! Therefore our god is really, really, really big. He’s the biggest god ever! Here’s a diagram of the laminin molecule. IT’S SHAPED LIKE A CROSS! Aaaaaaaah! <swoons> <Meg Ryan imitation> <audience cheers wildly>

The man is a gushing idiot. And this is the clown who’ll be praying at the inauguration. Well, I won’t be watching any of it, anyway.

But at least they didn’t pick one of those ranty anti-gay homophobic conservative pastors, right?

Whoops.

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if someday a president just said, “No, we’re not going to bring one of those embarrassing loons onto the stage at all…let’s just have a secular ceremony”?

93 comments

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  1. 1
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    How nice. He chooses a gay poet to read on his inauguration, but then “balances him out” with a hater.

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    43 seconds

  3. 3
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    50 seconds

    I find this guy only marginally more convincing than that guy that sits on the tram station near the library, singing “God is great, God is good” in endless repetition.

    Also, the Monty Python quote is spot on.

  4. 4
    montanto

    Oh man, PZ! You got us all excited that it was going to be Micheal Palin and then this? Shame.

  5. 5
    gussnarp

    I have a dream that one day there will be an inauguration without a benediction. I will not be satisfied with anything less.

    Although when I saw the word Chaplain, I though of the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, who I may not like, but would be pleasantly surprised to be tapped for this role.

    Instead we get …. that?

    Ugh.

  6. 6
    gussnarp

    Lasted twenty seconds. Guy can’t even pronounce his own name.

  7. 7
    Alverant

    I think the President is just trying to appease the Jesus-freaks who will never accept him regardless of what he does. Trying to reach deals with people who refuse to comprimise has been a hallmark of his presidency.

  8. 8
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    46 seconds.

    That laminin nonsense had legs, too. I’ve seen continuing references to it.

    Guy can’t even pronounce his own name.

    :)

  9. 9
    robro

    So slick and smarmy you can almost smell the Brill Cream in the video. Pastor of Passion City Church and founder of the Passion Movement. Wow! He’s huge. And he’s a Southern Baptist, out of Southwestern BTS. Impressive.

    He’s got a wide reach: per the Ppppfff, 60k university students from 30 countries attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta last week. And nearly 170k watched on TV. Well, that’s not so great. Downton Abbey got 7+ million, but I’m sure that’s a lot more entertaining. I’m guessing Louie made some bucks off of that.

    I’m so moved by this. I can hardly wait to miss the inauguration.

  10. 10
    Sastra

    chigau beat me: as soon as I saw that the clip was over 40 minutes long I hit the ‘pause.’

    It’s funny when theists take a problem and try to turn it into a positive. One of the many arguments against the existence of God is called the Argument from Scale.

    Briefly, this argument points out the surprising disparity between the size and scope of the universe — and the presumed goal of God, which is watching humans choose to worship Him (or some other human-centric concern.) As I think it was Richard Feynman who noted, the stage is just too big for the drama. What the hell was the purpose of all that time, all that space, all that vast emptiness, if all God cared about was the teeny-weeny insignificant shred of history on the itsy-bitsy planet which contains human beings?

    This surprising disjunction ought to cause concern.

    But no, Giglio and other apologists simply spin this into God trying to impress us. WOW! Why, if the universe were small and only 10,000 years old and the earth the center, then God presumably wouldn’t be as likely to exist as if we find that hey, that’s not true! This helps us feel small. It makes God seem huge. It aids our worship.

    Oh, please. Faith is a commitment to spin every result into support, like a marketing wizard on crack. Which, though I have not actually listened to him, sounds like it might be a good description here of Giglio.

  11. 11
    David Wilford

    The selection of Myrlie Evers-Williams to deliver the invocation is at least in keeping with the day:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/obamas-inaugural-invocation-pick-breaks-with-200-years-of-american-tradition/

  12. 12
    AJ Milne

    What America needs most is a machine that converts nauseating displays of public piety cleanly into electrical power.

    Just imagine. The supply, after all, is effectively limitless. How about it, Science?

  13. 13
    Gregory in Seattle

    Same shit, different day.

    Obama is really good at saying pretty things. His follow-up, however, leaves a great deal to be desired.

  14. 14
    reasonquest

    I was a regular church goer until 4 or 5 years ago, and the video from Louis Giglio honestly was one of the key things that helped me wake up out of believing supernatural nonsense. He shows an image of a galaxy that looks like an eye, and he says something like, “this just shows that God is watching over us.” I said to myself, “are you serious? People really think like this?” Then a few years ago my mom came to visit us, and brought the Louis Giglio video, and a video from the Discovery Institute to show the grandkids. I didn’t allow her to show this to my kids, and soon after told my wife and family I was no longer a Christian, and held no supernatural beliefs. So, I am evidence that the kind of nonsense preached by people like Louis Giglio can actually help people get out of religion.

  15. 15
    Gregory in Seattle

    After reading the referenced article…. To be fair, the mentioned anti-gay sermon was almost 20 years ago. Is there anything more current?

  16. 16
    SallyStrange

    Briefly, this argument points out the surprising disparity between the size and scope of the universe — and the presumed goal of God, which is watching humans choose to worship Him (or some other human-centric concern.) As I think it was Richard Feynman who noted, the stage is just too big for the drama. What the hell was the purpose of all that time, all that space, all that vast emptiness, if all God cared about was the teeny-weeny insignificant shred of history on the itsy-bitsy planet which contains human beings?

    Indeed; if, as many Christians claim, God created the universe FOR humans, expressly for the purpose of having humans grow and live (and worship his insecure ass, of course), then he did a pretty fucking awful job. Humans exist in 0.001% (approx.) of the known volume of space, for 0.001% (approx.) of the known length of time the universe has existed. If God made it for us, he’s an extremely poor planner. Logic would lead us to suspect that if the universe was created FOR something or someone to inhabit, we don’t know about those beings yet.

  17. 17
    David Wilford

    I’m all for promoting astronomy, even when it’s done on behalf of theism. If the sensawonda that’s fostered helps to get better funding for space science, what folks like Giglio have to say is behind it all is no skin off my nose.

  18. 18
    Zeno

    Right-wing loons insist that Obama is either a secret Muslim or — gasp! God forbid! — an atheist. I wish he were a nonbeliever, but the right-wing loons are wrong yet again. Obama actually feels pretty comfortable with Christian platitudes, even if he’s not a wacky fundie. He’s a cultural Christian, at the very least.

  19. 19
    DLC

    Why can’t we have a President who doesn’t have an Imaginary Friend ?
    Or, if the President has to have an imaginary friend, why not one like Melvin’s friend Bobby ?
    http://teentitans.wikia.com/wiki/Bobby

  20. 20
    No One

    This clown gets paid to do that?
    Proof positive that there is no god and the universe is random.

  21. 21
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Indeed; if, as many Christians claim, God created the universe FOR humans, expressly for the purpose of having humans grow and live (and worship his insecure ass, of course), then he did a pretty fucking awful job. Humans exist in 0.001% (approx.) of the known volume of space, for 0.001% (approx.) of the known length of time the universe has existed. If God made it for us, he’s an extremely poor planner.

    But they’d just say, “He’s just trying to trick us into not believing; to see the truly faithfull”. But wouldn’t an Omniscient God know already? errrr…uhhh… Too silly (i.e. too ridiculous)

  22. 22
    AJ Milne

    This surprising disjunction ought to cause concern… But no, Giglio and other apologists simply spin this into God trying to impress us.

    Interesting, and yeah, pretty typical, from what I’ve seen.

    Funny thought for the moment: I’ve heard it mooted this very sort of principle of awkward explanations* stands to a degree as supporting the notion the Christian saviour may have been in some form a historical figure and the crucifixion may actually have happened in some form… Insofar as the whole somewhat bizarre doctrine that now survives as explanation does look a bit like it could have originated as one of these ‘umm… god meant to do that… yeah, that’s the ticket’ things…

    As in: they had this figure who got the whole cult following going (as such figures tend to do, regularly enough), who then managed to get talked up as the reincarnation of the god, held up as immortal, so on…

    And then he managed to get himself killed. The somewhat awkward explanation with which they came up is what we have today.

    I think that’s pretty tenuous, mind. Still, fair enough, watching clowns like this one in action, especially, I suppose such a development would be quite in character for popular theological thinking, such as it is. And it’s not like we haven’t seen similarly comic ‘meant to do that’ explanations for similar events more recently. Hubbard ‘dropping the body’, and so on.

    (*/My term. I believe it’s more commonly called the ‘principle of embarrassment’ or something… As in: things that don’t look so good or so convenient to the larger story are more likely actually to have happened.)

  23. 23
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Oh, fuck. The Hubble. The religious loons crawl out of the woodwork on any site posting images of deep space, thanking gawd for his beauty and glory. They are otherwise conspicuously absent, and obviously not reading up on the science behind the pretty pictures.

  24. 24
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Oh, you bunch of Obamabots…

  25. 25
    anubisprime

    Wot?..Warren busy this year?

    Oh yeah probably getting all hot, sweaty, and breathless waiting for the first homosexual to be executed in Uganda?
    Not since they were allowed to burn sassy wimmins’ has there been such excitement in their circle jerking!

  26. 26
    machintelligence

    Some bright sides to look at:
    He isn’t a young earth creationist since he throws out terms like 31 million light years (disclaimer — I didn’t watch the whole video).
    He also doesn’t seem to be generating much enthusiasm in his audience. It was that or there were not many people in attendance. I heard damn little cheering and no amens. (But see disclaimer above.)

  27. 27
    Gregory in Seattle

    @AJ Milne #22 – From what I’ve read, many scholars believe that there actually was a Yeheshua (Joshua, by way of Hebrew, or Jesus, by way of Greek.) He was likely a leader in the Kanai (Zealot) movement, a mostly political movement which held that the Herodian Dynasty were usurpers and that the promised descendant of David would return as a meshiach (priest-king appointed by God) to wrest Judah away from foreign control. As such, he was almost certainly one of the MANY kana’im who declared himself to be the meshiach and as a result was arrested, convicted of treason and executed.

    There is internal evidence in the New Testament that Yeheshua’s brother, Yakov (Jacob, by way of Hebrew, or James, by way of Greek) succeeded as head of this group. The group would have died along with the rest of the Zealot movement between 70 CE and 100 CE, except for the work of Saul, who had heard of Yeheshua (he, supposedly, was an agent of the Empire in hunting down Zealot groups) and, for reasons unknown, bought into the myth and added many elements of Greek and Roman mystery religions, thereby creating Christianity.

  28. 28
    Moggie

    SallyStrange:

    Humans exist in 0.001% (approx.) of the known volume of space, for 0.001% (approx.) of the known length of time the universe has existed.

    Sorry, I know those figures weren’t intended to be a factual statement, but I couldn’t resist a back-of-the-envelope calculation. If humans were to exist in 0.001% of the known volume of space, I reckon known space wouldn’t even reach the moon! As the good book says: space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. You’re in the right ballpark with the time figure, though a bit on the low side.

    Speaking of the Hubble, remember how at first it was regarded as a disaster, because of the flawed main mirror? And remember how this was solved by prayer? No, wait, my memory’s playing tricks: the problem was solved by science. Fuck these loons for the way they glom onto achievements which owe nothing to their way of thinking about the world.

  29. 29
    a3kr0n

    No, not the laminin guy. There’s NO WAY a president of the United States of America would let the laminin guy anywhere near him/her. I mean, what fucking universe did I wake up in this time.
    D’oh!

  30. 30
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Didn’t Lois Prima sing a song about him?

    I’m just a Giglio
    And everything I know
    Is wrong, because it came from praying.

    I could have been quite bright
    But instead I saw the light
    So ignored what my teacher was sayin’

    There’ll never come a day
    When I won’t kneel and pray
    Wha-wha-wha-wa -
    What does that say about me?
    When the end comes, Illl know
    That god loves Giglio
    He can’t get on, without me
    ‘cos
    IIIIIIII am just nobody…etc.

    Thank you. I’m here all week!
    </blockquote

  31. 31
    gijoel

    I award the Hero of the Peepolz of the Internet medal to Acolyte of Sagan.

  32. 32
    grumpyoldfart

    Hey, wouldn’t it be great if someday a president just said, “No, we’re not going to bring one of those embarrassing loons onto the stage at all…let’s just have a secular ceremony”?

    Oh for crying out loud – there will never be an American President with the courage to do that.

  33. 33
    ednaz

    Acolyte of Sagan @ 30 – Damn. I like that.

    *thumbsup*

  34. 34
    SnowyBiscuit

    Instead of prayer — which obviously isn’t working for the country — I’d much rather see RuPaul in full drag, saying, “And Mister President, don’t fuck it up!”

  35. 35
    bassmanpete

    The group would have died along with the rest of the Zealot movement between 70 CE and 100 CE, except for the work of Saul, who had heard of Yeheshua (he, supposedly, was an agent of the Empire in hunting down Zealot groups) and, for reasons unknown, bought into the myth and added many elements of Greek and Roman mystery religions, thereby creating Christianity.

    The bolding is mine. My theory is that the revelation he had on the road to Damascus was along the lines of “So many people believe this shit. I reckon there’s a buck or two to be made here!”

  36. 36
    Glen Davidson

    Oh Lord, what a monstrosity you are…

    You know what I mean, about as monstrous as any fictional being has ever “been.”

    Glen Davidson

  37. 37
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Well it could’ve been worse at least its not pastor Jeremiah “god damn America” Wright.

    Or Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, Ken Ham or suchlike.

    A guy who knows and appreciates astronomy – sorta albeit in a weird askew way doesn’t seem all that terrible.

    Also seconding (#15) Gregory in Seattle’s request for newer data – fifteen years ago is a hugely long time especially in this area where general attitudes on teh gheys have changed for the better pretty quickly recently.

  38. 38
    strange gods before me ॐ

    StevoR,

    Well it could’ve been worse at least its not pastor Jeremiah “god damn America” Wright.

    Fuck off with your racist dogwhistles.

  39. 39
    SallyStrange

    Yeah, seriously SteveOr. I thought you were dealing with your racism issues. What happened? Fall off the wagon?

  40. 40
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    StevoR, you mean this guy: http://youtu.be/Ix-AMYos0Js

    Hmmm, even with the god nonsense I found it quite moving. Perhaps you could quote the bits that you find bothersome?

  41. 41
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @32. grumpyoldfart :

    Oh for crying out loud – there will never be an American President with the courage to do that.

    Wouldn’t say that if I were you. “Never” is a ve-erry long time (won’t be an America at all at least landmass ~wise after our Sun becomes a red giant and the Earth’s crust is at minimum turned into a lava ocean) and the trend is favouring nonreligious in the USA from what I gather.

    My guesstimated prediction is that in maybe a century or two, the USA will have its first (of many) openly nonreligious and even atheist Presidents. Possibly even earlier if the current trend against theism increases. Could be wrong of course and probably won’t be in our lifetimes but maybe our ( in my and many cases hypothetical) children’s?

  42. 42
    robro

    StevoR — I’m not sure he appreciates astronomy so much the marketing power of good photography. The “Passion Movement” certainly sounds like shrewd marketing, a sort of Christianized new age claptrap. He’s probably seen the rating numbers that sciencey stuff like Nova gets, so he’s trying to own the “wonderment” brand. Perhaps he owes a bit to Deepak, too. You know, quantumthisandthatandtheother and therefore GOD. It’s huge! Or miniscule. Of course, if you want to see god everywhere, the big and the small, the magnificent and the mundane, then you can…particularly if it sells tickets.

  43. 43
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @38.strange gods before me ॐ
    & 39. SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius :

    Not a racist dog whistle and I’m not racist. Don’t want to derail the thread but I’m certainly trying to behave and think better here.

    Pastor Wright would obviously be a highly inflammatory choice and the problem is that he is so willing to call down the wrath of God on the nation the US president represents and is supposedly working for so .

  44. 44
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Not a racist dog whistle

    False. It’s actually a canonical example.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

    “During the 2008 Democratic primaries, in a rare example of a centrist or liberal candidate being accused of dog-whistling, several writers criticized Hillary Clinton’s campaign’s reliance on code words and innuendo seemingly designed to frame Barack Obama’s race as problematic, saying Obama was characterized by the Clinton campaign and its prominent supporters as anti-white due to his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright”

    +++++

    and I’m not racist

    The shut the fuck up with your racist dogwhistles.

    the problem is that he is so willing to call down the wrath of God on the nation the US president represents

    What is this, 2008? Get over your racist fixation, StevoR.

    and is supposedly working for so .

    Supposedly? You now suggest Barack Obama is not working for the USA?

  45. 45
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Pastor Wright would obviously be a highly inflammatory choice

    Yes, to racists and jingoists (I suspect the venn diagram there looks very much like a circle)

    and the problem is that he is so willing to call down the wrath of God on the nation the US president represents

    Do you think he was literally asking god to punish America? Have you actually watched the sermon that has you so afeard?

    and is supposedly working for so .

    Did you leave out a word or something?

  46. 46
    futurechemist

    @15

    After reading the referenced article…. To be fair, the mentioned anti-gay sermon was almost 20 years ago. Is there anything more current?

    From his speech at Liberty University’s convocation last November: “I started bawling, I mean, sobbing. Not crying like men cry. I started crying like women cry.” Continuing, he explained what he called the unwritten rules for men who cry, telling the students, “A man never looks at another man that’s crying. That’s the rule.”

    Isn’t he charming?

  47. 47
    Ze Madmax

    StevoR @ #37

    Well it could’ve been worse at least its not pastor Jeremiah “god damn America” Wright.

    You know, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t understand where Wright is coming from. I’ll assume you just heard on the news he said “God damn America” and that sounds a lot like, say Falwell’s “9/11 is divine punishment”

    Which would be terribly, horribly wrong. Here’s some context:

    An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of African Americans.

    “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

    Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4443788

    Ditto on his comments about how the U.S. brought 9/11 upon itself. He specifically said it was due to U.S. actions abroad, which while broad, is accurate. None of that “9/11 is divine punishment for [idea I don't like]” bullshit the American Taliban loves so much.

  48. 48
    ChristineRose

    I made it about halfway.

    It’s kind of interesting because just about everything he says is contradicted by his holy book. Heaven is a dome made of sapphire; it’s about a mile up and the gods walk around on top of it, the earth is a flat disc floating in a sea of chaos, humans were made out of clay and came to life with divine mouth-to-mouth, the sun rotates around the earth and can stop or start without causing seismic collapse, etc., etc.

    I briefly toyed with the idea of deism and the God of the freakin’ incredible universe, but truth to tell, there’s no content there. We know nothing about this God, he does not share with us, he certainly doesn’t make sons and crucify them or write confusing holy books full of bad science. He does not obey the laws of physics as we know them, and he is not necessary to explain the laws of physics as we do know them. Plus the “real” Christians hate you just as much as they hate atheists. Reality is enough, thank you.

  49. 49
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Oh, dammit, I was hoping for one of the Pythons. Oh well.

  50. 50
    Snoof

    What America needs most is a machine that converts nauseating displays of public piety cleanly into electrical power.

    Like a prayer wheel in reverse?

  51. 51
    mikeyb

    Gosh darn I was half hoping he’d go a couple rungs lower to really rub it in our face-
    No not Glenn Beck or Ray Comfort

    I’m talking about Mike Huckabee

    If your gonna go all out = why not choose the best

    But as usual Obama goes for half measures……

  52. 52
    David Pearce

    The Pythons should really be suing him for plagiarism. I’m pretty sure that he also comes close to reciting ‘The Universe Song’ as well.

  53. 53
    =8)-DX

    It’s so BIG!*

    *Why is religion always about penises?

  54. 54
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Its the “goddamn America” line I object to.

    I couldn’t give a shit whether Pastor Wright’s skin colour is white, black, green or blue, his comments tell us that he hates the country he lives in and wants the worst rather than the best for it.

    So how the blazes is that supposedly racist?

    Also, if Wright were white would you be so willing to excuse his words?

    Are people who have white skins totally forbidden to criticise those who have black skins regardless of what those who have black skins may say? Really? Ain’t that in itself racist?

    Maybe I don’t get it it but surely you love and support your home country or you don’t – and if you’re calling for home country to be damned then, clearly, you are NOT supporting and loving your home country.

    If I’m wrong, then, please, do explain how.

    (You can I’m sure criticise some aspects of your home country such as tragic events and policies of the past without calling for your nation to be damned in the future as a result of that.)

    To me, Pastor Jeremiah Wright is calling for pretty much the exact same thing the Westboro Phelps clan homophobes are calling for -albeit with different less homophobic more “race”* based motives. **

    +++++++++++++++

    * I think the whole concept of separate human “races” is bullshit. We’re all human, race is a cultural construct not a biological one and all humans have equal human rights tolife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of us are just lucky enough to have more melanin in our skins due to our individual genetic histories than others.

    ** Note : I am NOT,repeat NOT saying that Pastor Wright and Westboro cult are *equally* bad merely that both are calling for the same thing – God’s wrath upon the land they live in. The Westboro fuckers call for that far more often and behave far worse.

  55. 55
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    .. than Pastor Wright does.

  56. 56
    LykeX

    Here’s a diagram of the laminin molecule. IT’S SHAPED LIKE A CROSS!

    But if you try to tell them that the clover-like shape of a tRNA is proof of leprechauns, suddenly they accuse you of not taking them seriously.

  57. 57
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @45. dysomniak, darwinian socialist :

    Do you think he was literally asking god to punish America?

    Do you think he wasn’t?

    Yes, I think he was.

    The fact that that call is utterly ineffective given the absence of Wright’s god’s existence doesn’t make those sentiments different or less hateful does it?

    Context doesn’t excuse it either. Slavery was fucking awful and, yes, the USA has some grim and terrible aspects in its past – I think there’s no nation that does not to varying degrees. Call out the problems of the past and argue that amends should be made sure, but don’t call for the whole nation (incl. people who had nothing at all to do with that past bar only ancestry) to suffer – especially suffer hellfire & “godwrath” – because of it.

    Does that not make reasonable sense to y’all?

    Had Pastor J. Wright said the USA has to face up to its past slavery and present unofficial but real “race” issues then I’d be fine with that and agree. But that’s not what he said. Pats generations should recognise past wrongs – not be damned for them.

  58. 58
    LykeX

    Regarding the size of the universe and all, I just found this. It’s pretty awesome.

  59. 59
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @57. Arrrrggh! That was meant to read :

    Present generations should recognise past wrongs – not be damned for them.

    Natch.

    Plus, yeah, be aware of those past wrongs and compensate for them where that is possible, ‘k?

    (With this comment made I am leaving this specific thread for at least a day – my time – 24 hrs minimum.)

  60. 60
    sugarfrosted

    @48 Later he did actually mention parts of those passages, like the night sky being like a curtain spread ove the Earth, but totally failed in realizing that this was in fact meant quite literally.

  61. 61
    carlie

    That guy was part of the final straw that got me out of church altogether. I had already realized I didn’t believe a bit of it any more, but was still attending for family reasons and just grinning and bearing it through the sermons, but then the pastor got all excited about this specific video and showed it and based a sermon series around it, and I was all “hell no, you don’t start doing that to my science”, and realized I just couldn’t take it any more.

  62. 62
    Kilian Hekhuis

    SHAPE LIKE A CROSS

    Aaargghh… why did you put in that link? “Dr. Wile” is a creationist! Just when I thought he said something rational about the cross-shaped protein, I inadvertently burnt my mind with this and this.

  63. 63
    TW Nessel

    Funny. The re-realization of how vast the universe was slapped me upside the head back in 2007 and firmly solidified my understanding that there is no god. At least not as portrayed in the babble.

    The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field photo showed me the utter folly and horrifying chutzpah of those who claim that a supreme creator who made all of that vastness chose to reveal itself to a tribe of warmongering desert-dwellers. And that this tribe were the most-favored “chosen” of this god, which gave them justification for their brutal, murderous conquests and confiscations. Nope, wasn’t buying it anymore.

  64. 64
    Nick Gotts

    I couldn’t give a shit whether Pastor Wright’s skin colour is white, black, green or blue – StevoR

    This kind of assertion (particularly the “green or blue” or similar) is in my experience an infallible sign of a serious degree of racism.

    Are people who have white skins totally forbidden to criticise those who have black skins regardless of what those who have black skins may say? Really?

    No-one has said or implied anything of the sort, of course.

    Ain’t that in itself racist?

    In a white-dominated society such as the USA, UK or Australia, no, it wouldn’t be, since racism is prejudiced behaviour which reinforces existing inequalities between ethnic groups – like your tirades against Muslims, and your racist dogwhistling @37. It would be wrong, but it wouldn’t be racism.

  65. 65
    hexidecima

    SteveR, funny how lots of Chrsitian idiots call their god’s wrath down on the US. Pat Robertson, Fallwell, Wright, Phelps. But it seems you can only remember Wright.

    It may not do much, but then again it may. go to whitehouse.gov and contact the administration about how stupid it is to have Giggly offer the benediction.

  66. 66
    Gregory in Seattle

    @bassmanpete #35 – There is evidence in his letters that Paul had epilepsy, and it has long been supposed that his conversion was the result of a bad seizure, possibly combined with a psychotic break along the lines of “Why am I helping to kill these good people?” From his writings, it is clear that Paul was not out to get rich: all of the money he had or could get went toward his missionary work. Paul was definitely a True Believer.

  67. 67
    AJ Milne

    “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

    … y’know, very seriously, apart from the theistic aspects of it taking what I’d say is the wrong side in a certain way, I actually have no issues whatsoever with this sentiment.

    Seriously, allow me my own god-free rewrite:

    The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, fuck America, that just ain’t right. Fuck America in the ear, hard and repeatedly for treating our citizens as less than human. Fuck America for as long as she pulls this I’m so fucking pious bullshit with the one hand while beating those already on the bottom repeatedly about the skull with a lead pipe to keep them there with the other.

    And seriously, if anyone has any problem with that, they can go explain it to any of the poor bastards who had the misfortune to appear in court in Texas while black and poor.

    I don’t know that much about Wright. Don’t know what else he might have done and said. But the general sentiment of that statement, at least, doesn’t bother me in the fucking least. What, someone here’s got a problem with ‘God damn America’. Seriously? Someone has a problem with that?

    Well, dearie me. Go clutch your fucking pearls somewhere else, sweet cheeks. And God damn America. And Fuck America.

    Does Stevie-O have an issue with Lou Reed, too? I really don’t. That bit where he writes ‘Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ‘em/That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says’… seems to me that’s been about right, too much of the time, from what I can see from here…

    Wright, from what I can see, Stevie, isn’t the bad guy here. Wright’s just saying something anyone with a fucking conscience might just do, in his own peculiar preacherly way.

    And seriously, the fact that fucking conservatives had a problem with that is deeply revealing of the utter ethical vacuum within themselves, among other things. The dog-whistle is only half of what’s disgusting about it.

    Me, I’ll borrow my standard line on the issue, from someone from my own backyard, once more, thanks: ‘What is hateful…is not rebellion but the despotism which induces the rebellion; what is hateful are not rebels but men, who, having the enjoyment of power, do not discharge the duties of power; they are the men, who having the power to redress wrongs refuse to listen to the petitioners who are sent to them; they are the men who when they are asked for a loaf, give a stone.’

  68. 68
    Gregory in Seattle

    I looked at PZ’s post above, and for a moment I saw the preacher’s name as something Glenn Quagmire would say.

    “I like where this is going. Alright, Giglio, Giglio!”

    Meditate on that.

  69. 69
    bartmitchell

    At least he chose Myrlie Evers-Williams to give half the benediction. This is a historical precedent, that half of the benediction is being done by someone who isn’t ordained in any religion.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Evers-Williams on many occasions. The idiocy of Giglio will be overshadowed by her, she’s one hell of a woman.

  70. 70
    jnorris

    I plan to invite Father Guido Sarducci to do the benediction at my inauguration.

  71. 71
    Ze Madmax

    StevoR @ #54

    You know, that thing I said about the benefit of the doubt… yeah. Clearly a mistake.

    Its the “goddamn America” line I object to.

    I couldn’t give a shit whether Pastor Wright’s skin colour is white, black, green or blue, his comments tell us that he hates the country he lives in and wants the worst rather than the best for it.

    So how the blazes is that supposedly racist?

    It is racist because you’re using a line of argument (as sgbm mentioned above) that was used in an explicitly racist way, specifically to exploit the scare-potential of radical speech as “anti-White.”

    Also, if Wright were white would you be so willing to excuse his words?

    Are people who have white skins totally forbidden to criticise those who have black skins regardless of what those who have black skins may say? Really? Ain’t that in itself racist?

    Just in case you didn’t know: there is more to racism than merely prejudice/discrimination on the basis of race. The power differential between racial groups plays a big part in it. And if Wright were white, I would have no problem with his argument. Because, in case you weren’t aware, American history is essentially 250+ years of wealthy whites shitting on everybody else and then demanding they’re thankful for being shit on. And it keeps going on fucking today.

    Furthermore, who the fuck said whites couldn’t criticize a black man’s words? But if your “criticism” relies on racist dog-whistles and an embarrassing ignorance of past and present social dynamics, then expect to be called on your racism and ignorance.

    Maybe I don’t get it it but surely you love and support your home country or you don’t – and if you’re calling for home country to be damned then, clearly, you are NOT supporting and loving your home country.

    If I’m wrong, then, please, do explain how.

    “Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.”

    -Emma Goldman, “What Is Patriotism?”

    “Loving your country” is a fucking stupid thing to say. And it is particularly fucking stupid when said country has a history of shitting on you and those like you.

    (You can I’m sure criticise some aspects of your home country such as tragic events and policies of the past without calling for your nation to be damned in the future as a result of that.)

    Tragic events of the past? Of the PAST? DO YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING BUBBLE? Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. You know, ignorance is a lot like a penis. Just because someone may appreciate it, it doesn’t mean it’s OK to go around waving it on everybody’s faces.*

    To me, Pastor Jeremiah Wright is calling for pretty much the exact same thing the Westboro Phelps clan homophobes are calling for -albeit with different less homophobic more “race”* based motives. **

    Right. Because there is a history of LGBT-driven oppression of Christians in the U.S. Please make sure next time you feel like saying something that is even remotely related to race dynamics you educate yourself. It will help avoid headaches for everybody.

    * I think the whole concept of separate human “races” is bullshit. We’re all human, race is a cultural construct not a biological one and all humans have equal human rights tolife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of us are just lucky enough to have more melanin in our skins due to our individual genetic histories than others.

    I really don’t understand your point here (other than faux egalitarianism). Just because something is a cultural construct it doesn’t mean there’s no consequences to it. And your ignorance to this fact is the crux of the issue: you seem unable to understand that pretending everyone is equal while ignoring past and present systemic inequalities reinforces inequality.

    ** Note : I am NOT,repeat NOT saying that Pastor Wright and Westboro cult are *equally* bad merely that both are calling for the same thing – God’s wrath upon the land they live in. The Westboro fuckers call for that far more often and behave far worse.

    Bullshit. That’s EXACTLY what you said. Fuck your false equivalence, and fuck your poor and transparent attempt to cover your ass.

  72. 72
    gussnarp

    Having thought this over a bit more, I’m still not going to be really happy until we see these official benedictions eliminated, but couldn’t he have made a different choice? I realize he wants to reach out to everyone, so this is his way of reaching out to evangelicals, but doesn’t he get that they’re not listening?

    Not every Christian in this country is a mega church evangelical, popular as they seem, yet he gets two shots at this and both times they’re mega church evangelicals? WTF?! Catholics are obviously not much better, but that would show diversity and be a much better outreach for him. Or he could really go liberal and get one of those subversive nuns to do it.

    Or he could do something that would probably be supported by his base broadly, without really pissing anyone off and use a nice liberal Episcopalian or Methodist (not one of those crazy Footloose Methodists). Maybe even a gay Episcopalian. Or make the right apoplectic and go with a Muslim. Or hey, since people think he’s anti-Israel and are calling his Defense appointee an anti-semite, maybe he could have a Rabbi do it. That would be fracking awesome, actually. It would address criticisms of him from the right, while still pissing the evangelicals off and they’d have to pick whether to come out as anti-semites themselves. Meanwhile it would seriously embrace religious diversity.

    Then there are all the other religions in the world. We’ve got a lot of Hindus living in this country now.

    But no, just another mega church evangelical. How disappointing.

  73. 73
    carlie

    Latest news from ThinkProgress is that he’s been disinvited, now that a speech he once gave on how to de-gay people has exploded all over the internet.

  74. 74
    carlie

    link

  75. 75
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    AJ Milne and Ze Madmax, thank you for saving me the trouble of typing out my own reply. Cosigned, all of it.

  76. 76
    truthspeaker

    Alverant

    9 January 2013 at 3:45 pm (UTC -6)

    I think the President is just trying to appease the Jesus-freaks who will never accept him regardless of what he does. Trying to reach deals with people who refuse to comprimise has been a hallmark of his presidency.

    QFT.

  77. 77
    truthspeaker

    carlie

    10 January 2013 at 10:39 am (UTC -6)

    Latest news from ThinkProgress is that he’s been disinvited, now that a speech he once gave on how to de-gay people has exploded all over the internet.

    Presumable Obama has people who vet choices like this. Are they so lazy they didn’t no about his anti-gay views, or so out of touch with the electorate that they thought Obama supporters wouldn’t object?

  78. 78
    truthspeaker

    *presumably. That’s what a get for abusing an adverb.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    My heart breaks.

    What gobshite will replace him?

  81. 81
    chigau (違う)

    So Father Guido Sarducci is back in the running?

  82. 82
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, fuck America, that just ain’t right. Fuck America in the ear, hard and repeatedly for treating our citizens as less than human. Fuck America for as long as she pulls this I’m so fucking pious bullshit with the one hand while beating those already on the bottom repeatedly about the skull with a lead pipe to keep them there with the other.

    Er,…

    ***

    Latest news from ThinkProgress is that he’s been disinvited, now that a speech he once gave on how to de-gay people has exploded all over the internet.

    You’d think they’d want to do their research before extending the invitation.

  83. 83
    frog

    The NYT phrases his removal as a “withdrawal” from the post. link

    Presumably this was a “It would be better if you voluntarily step down and save us the embarrassment of having to fire you” sort of withdrawal.

  84. 84
    alastor

    As repugnant as this guy is, I don’t know why so many people are surprised this. Can anyone name a mainstream Christian pastor who hasn’t said something homophobic?

    Part of the problem is the president is compelled to have the benediction in the first place. Then there’s the grandiosity of the event, which almost mandates he or she choose a religious figure with widespread popular appeal. Combine those with the fact most mainstream Christian preachers are of the literalist stripe, and the president finds himself/herself with a very ideologically limited pool of candidates.

  85. 85
    LykeX

    Or hey, since people think he’s anti-Israel and are calling his Defense appointee an anti-semite, maybe he could have a Rabbi do it.

    That’s not a bad idea, but it should be a specifically Jewish blessing. As Jewish as they could possibly make it, with not an inch given to “Judeo-Christian” nonsense. Watch the evangelical fuckers squirm as they try to figure out whether to be for or against it.

    If we have to have a benediction, at least we should get a bit of fun out of it, right?

  86. 86
    gussnarp

    LykeX – Exactly! I started just thinking about Episcopalians, but man when I hit on the idea of a rabbi, I realized I had struck gold. And not just comedy gold. I wish I could reach the White House team on this, because I’m so serious and excited by the idea now. Truly the next best thing to no benediction.

    alastor – Gene Robinson probably qualifies.

  87. 87
    chigau (違う)

    They could have a cage-match, the last priestoid standing gets to do the benediction.
    or
    Survivor: The Blessing…

  88. 88
    alastor

    @gussnarp

    Robinson would, theoretically, be a good choice.

    Another part of the issue, though, is the politicization of these events. I can’t speak personally to what Obama is trying to do this time around, but many viewed his decision to have Rick Warren deliver the benediction at his previous inauguration as an attempt to “cross the aisle”, to include those with whom he may have ideological differences. I would like to think he has by now realized any attempt to ingratiate himself with Republicans is beyond futile, but he does have the annoying tendency to choose doomed pragmatism over speaking to his base.

  89. 89
    Rich Woods

    Maybe they should get a Scientologist to do the benediction. It would certainly make a point.

  90. 90
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Re: Jeremiah Wright: I think at the time of the original blowup over him, someone or another revealed in a shocked tone that Wright indicated that he believed that HIV was engineered and/or released by the CIA/similar in order to decimate the population of brown and black people, as well as other “undesirable” groups in society (i.e. LGBT people and drug users).

    What this person did not say is that this belief (while incorrect) is apparently widespread in some segments of the African-American population. And, for what it is worth, I have heard it claimed by some LGBT people.


    As for the “God damn America” sermon, having read the whole thing (context!) my conclusion is that except for the religious talk, I don’t really have a problem with condemning a government that so willfully mistreats and ignores a significant segment of the population. And as for the “9/11 is God’s judgement,” I’ll point out that (1) a lot of religious types were saying this,* and (2) Wright – unlike a lot of them – was at least pointing in the right direction (i.e. that a lot of the problem was U.S. foreign policy).

    *Look up Falwell’s truly offensive comments on the topic, if you like. 9/11, apparently, was the fault of LGBT people and feminists.

  91. 91
    Acolyte of Sagan

    gijoel ’31 and ednaz #33, thanks folks, glad you liked it.

  92. 92
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Does our resident racist think that racial discrimination and bigotry against African Americans ended with slavery? Silly me, I thought if you’re going to make “insightful” comments about the history of race relations, you should, you know educate yourself on the history of race relations in the US.

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