Scalia going all Catholic again

How Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court is mysterious — oh, wait, no it’s not, he was appointed by Reagan and congress basically rolled over for him — but he’s always saying such stupid stuff. The latest is a dismissal of the right of atheists to exist in America.

[Scalia] told the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School that there is no place in the country’s constitutional traditions for the idea that the state must be neutral between religion and its absence.

To tell you the truth there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from? he said. To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another but can’t favor religion over non-religion?

That’s right. I thought it was clear: the government doesn’t get to interfere in private matters of conscience. It’s a concept that really isn’t that hard to understand. There should be no federal bias in favor of Baptists over Catholics, or Christians over Muslims, or religious vs. non-religious — it’s just not their job. It’s worrisome that a Supreme Court justice thinks it is their job.

His excuses are also incredibly stupid.

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The goober militia

I’ve been through Burns, Oregon a few times — don’t remember a thing about it. It’s a nice long empty drive through fairly arid country: lots of rock and sagebrush, and an occasional shallow marshy stream adding a little green to the landscape. There are towns, mostly consisting of a gas station, a tiny post office, and maybe a little cafe, but you just drive on through, because it’s two hours to the next town, and you really want to get this trip over.

So having a mob of ‘militia’ take over a town there isn’t just a criminal act, it’s a cowardly act. They picked a quiet little place which is probably mostly conservative, but conservative in an old-fashioned way that says you leave your neighbor along, and they found themselves a target that is far away from anyone else who might tell them “no”.

I know the kind of people who committed this criminal invasion, too. They also come from small isolated places, the kind where there aren’t many people to talk to, except a few family and friends. They work all day at something mindless and get out of the habit of thinking; they get together with their buddies, or their father, or their grandfather, and they start bouncing their resentments and theories and lonely thoughts off of one another, and there’s no check against reality — it all just reverberates back and forth and gets fed now and then by talk radio and pretty soon they’ve got a goddamned mythos that ennobles them as heroes of the land and the government as their enemy. It’s the only enemy they’ve got. It’s pretty empty out there on the edges of the Palouse. The struggle is against loneliness and low wages and hard work and a future of low prospects, and there isn’t much heroic about fighting those. It’s hard to get your ego fed raging against a hay-baler or that danged bitter wind.

The worst of them are little angry men who get a rush from carrying a gun. And they egg each other on over some little bit of news that frustrates them, and soon enough a gang of idiots are carrying out an act of armed sedition. Nothing too dangerous, it’s not like they rushed a National Guard armory, where they might have gotten shot and where the government might have felt compelled to act fast. Nope, they picked their target with a complete lack of courage.

They took over the headquarters of a regional bird sanctuary, and terrorized the nearby small town. You really can’t get much more picayune than that.

What the government ought to do is bring up a unit of trained soldiers, fire a few warning shots, and tell the criminals to lay down their weapons. But I’m sure that’s what is causing some hesitation is the fact that a battle over a bird sanctuary occupied by twits in gimme caps isn’t exactly going to get featured in the curriculum at West Point. It’s not as if Burns, Oregon is a strategic chokepoint in the War on Terror.

These are clowns who got to caper on the evening news in their prior stunt at Bundy Ranch, and now they’re escalating. Their next act of treason will be bolder. I’m afraid it’s time to stop pussyfooting around and shut these bozos down, call them what they are — domestic terrorists — and bring the whole ratpack into court. Without their guns.

It’s not even as if they’re protesting an injustice. The two ranchers they claim to be defending were convicted of setting fires on federal land, and they aren’t arguing against that: instead, they’re trying to claim that these few farmers have right of ownership over land held in federal trust for all of us — they aren’t demanding fair play, they’re demanding to be given big chunks of property which they’ve already been allowed to use for grazing. They aren’t out for truth, justice, and the American way — this is simply a bunch of yahoos committing extortion for personal gain.

Oh, but there is a little something else: religious fanaticism. These are yokel terrorists, high on self-righteousness, believing god has called on them to die for their cause. To die for an undefended building on a bird sanctuary.

What a bunch of goobers.

Do you know who John C. Wright is?

He’s a writer, sort of. He’s mainly an indignant Christian. Here’s a sample: he starts off furious that historians use “CE” rather than “AD”, which is solely intended to insult the Christian religion, and segues into fulminating rage against all that modern stuff — you know, sodomites and leftists.

We must pry their hands from the levers of power, slap their megaphone from our ear, remove their boot from the neck of our economy, drive the swine from the public trough, remove the leprous private parts from their plundering the soul of innocence.

The Sexual Revolution, and no fault divorce, has done infinite harm to the public weal, and ruined countless private lives, including those in my immediate family and immediate circle of friends. Femininity, motherhood, fidelity, charity, chastity, honor, honesty, monogamy and family, all these things were demeaned and repudiated in the name of freedom. Freedom did not result, but slavery. Those chains must be broken. The feminist movement has grown into a corrupt parody of itself.

We want our men back. We want our women back. We want masculinity for the men and femininity for the women. The man-haters have no more arguments to make and nothing more to say.

How have we come to the pass where to indulged in unspeakable sexual perversion is a constitutionally protected right which overrides the rights of the faithful not to participate in the celebration of an abomination their religion, as well as common decency, condemns: but to use the word ‘pervert’ is to be shunned by the elite, subject to harassment and lawsuit, and in our neighboring countries, to jail?

Leftists have proven themselves unfit for positions of command and trust in our society. Even my little corner, the science fiction field, has been overrun by the termites that enter the moldy walls once the sunlight of truth is absent.

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What? Another book I don’t have to read?

It’s true: there are far more books in the world that I have not and will not read than books that I have read. I scratched off one yesterday, and here’s another one I can toss in the trash: Rafael Cruz’s promo for his son Ted’s candidacy.

Rafael talks about the dangers of secular humanism and makes a glancing reference to Seven Mountains dominionism, the belief that conservative Christians must gain control over the “seven mountains” of American culture.

In no way, shape, or form was Jefferson implying that the church should be restricted from exerting an influence upon society. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that we are the salt of the earth and light of the world…Doesn’t that suggest that our influence should touch every area of society – our families, the media, sports, arts and entertainment, education, business, and government?”

Like Barton and Lane, Rafael makes his case for the Christian nature of the U.S. government by conflating the Pilgrims and Puritans with the founding fathers who gave us the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution more than 150 years later. Rafael declares that “the concept of separation of church and state is found nowhere in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States of America,” which leads into this:

To understand this clearly, we need to go back four centuries to the time of the first settlers in America. If you lived in England in the early 1600s and were not a member of the Church of England, you would be considered a heretic and subject to persecution. So the early settlers immigrated to the New World in order to freely worship the Lord their God. What a remarkable heritage of religious freedom this exceptional country gives us! The only country on the face of the earth founded on the World of God!

It looks awful and inane. I’m satisfied by a small taste to know that I’d rather not consume the whole feast.

But all the Sam Harris fans who spent the evening dunning me with demands that I have to go read his book, who accused me of intellectual bankruptcy because I dismissed his pompous nonsense out of hand, well, I’m sorry…to be consistent, you now have to go read Rafael Cruz’s A Time for Action. You can’t possibly criticize it on the basis of a few ahistorical quotes snipped out of context, don’t you know.

Jebus, but the War on Christmas is stupid

It’s really just an excuse for conservatives to claim persecution where none exists. Like this Texas restaurant that proudly displays this sign.

Notice: This store is politically incorrect. We say 'Merry Christmas,' 'God bless America.' We salute our flag and give thanks to our troops, police officers and firefighters. If this offends you, you are welcome to leave. In God we trust.

Notice: This store is politically incorrect. We say ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘God bless America.’ We salute our flag and give thanks to our troops, police officers and firefighters. If this offends you, you are welcome to leave. In God we trust.

A couple of things annoy me here. One is that no, he is not being politically incorrect. He’s being stupid.

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I think the chemtrails have been destroying the brains of Arizonians

It’s the only possible explanation. The Arizona senate has just appointed Sylvia Allen to be chair of the Education Committee. This Sylvia Allen:

Allen is best known for her controversial public comments over the years. During a legislative hearing in 2009, she said the Earth is 6,000 years old, a belief held by “Young Earth” biblical creationists. In 2013, a Facebook post about chem-trail conspiracies gained widespread media attention, as did a March comment suggesting mandatory church attendance.

She was appointed to regulate the educational policy in Arizona by a fellow Republican, the senate president. I don’t know what he was thinking — she sounds like the kind of loon you steer into positions where she can’t do much harm. Maybe it’s just the standard Republican game of blowing up the government from within?

But you can’t just blame this on Republican idiocy.

Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who had criticized Allen’s church comment, said he looks forward to working with her on education issues.

“She’s made some interesting comments to the public, but it’s not like she’s going to be teaching,” he said. “We have accredited teachers for that.”

He said Allen has always had an open door for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“I think she’ll do a pretty good job,” he said.

A pretty good job. Of what? Saying stupid stuff to make the Republicans look even more nuts? Or did the chemtrails get to him, too?

Getting ready for the Christmas myth

birth-of-jesus-freethunk

I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year when I get all kinds of amusing messages affirming the literal accuracy of the Christian myth of a virgin birth 2000 years ago. When someone tells me that they have Compelling Historical Evidence for the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, as they so often do, I pay attention, because it is always so enlightening. Not enlightening in the sense that they convince me their beliefs are reasonable, but enlightening because they always show off how weak their evidence is. Here’s the initial puffery I was sent.

Here are some historical evidences for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ:

  • A physician and world-class historian documented it

  • Modern archaeology affirms it

  • An agnostic professor of mythology is convinced

  • Old Testament prophets predicted it centuries in advance

  • The earliest Christians believed it universally

  • Oooh. Well, gosh. An authority and a whole scientific discipline have said it’s so, to the point that it convinced an agnostic? Must be true. Until you read a little further.

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    Social Justice Warriors for Trump

    Guess whose fault it is that Trump is running for president, and has some popular support? It’s not the mobs of bigoted known-nothings who cheer his every simplistic solutions. It’s not the right-wingers who have been feasting on a steady diet of Fox News. It’s not the beady-eyed monomaniacal fanatics who love their guns and god.

    Nope. It’s all the fault of the leftists who oppose every single thing Trump stands for.

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    In our apocalyptic zombie wasteland of the future, there will be no zombies

    Just evangelical Christians, which is even worse.

    Jim Bakker has taken his apocalyptic Christian ministry to the next logical step. Since the world is going to end soon, with years and years of tribulation, his flock is going to need to eat, and with no more senior discounts at the Sizzler he’s going to have to provide for them. So after stirring up fear of doom for a while, he now tells his audience to hoard gold and silver and buy great big buckets of food to store away for Armageddon. Nice racket.

    One little problem: somebody actually tasted the food in buckets. Their sole virtue is that they’re so loaded with preservatives that they should last for 20 years.

    They taste, he says, like, “paper-mache,” “a bathroom at a bar at the end of the night in a college town,” and, simply, “one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

    Religion poisons everything. Including, literally, food.