Leveraging religion into money and death

The Korean ferry Sewol that abruptly capsized and sank last spring sank because of an act of god … that is, the depredations of a scummy Christian cult. A story in the NY Times today summarizes the causes. The company that ran the ferry was a front for a religious cult run by Yoo Byung-eun, called the Evangelical Baptist Church of Korea. He had a whole network of enterprises, all funneling millions of dollars into the pockets of Yoo and his family. One of the ways they profited was by cutting corners on everything, including safety.

Scores of cabins and even an art gallery laden with marble were added to the ferry’s upper decks, making the ship top-heavy. So much extra cargo was crammed on board that there was sometimes no space to secure it properly with chains and lashings. And, prosecutors say, the ferry’s crucial ballast water, needed to balance all the additional weight, was deliberately drained so that the vessel would not sit too low — a telltale sign to inspectors that the ferry was dangerously overloaded to bring in more money.

“It was a miracle that the ship actually sailed as far as it did; it could have tipped over any time,” said Kim Woo-sook, dean of the graduate school at Mokpo National Maritime University. “For them, cargo was cash.”

The art gallery was there to feed Yoo’s monstrous ego — he fancied himself an artist, and with so much cash flowing through his hands, he spent millions to get his photographs displayed at the Louvre. He claimed to be just about everything.

Mr. Yoo, who in his guise as Ahae cultivated an air of mystery by only allowing himself to be photographed from behind or the side, is described by the website of Ahae Press as a sort of renaissance man: “an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, martial artist, painter, sculptor, poet, and photographer.”

Con artist. Murderer. Ruthless exploiter. Christian. Or at least, someone who saw Christianity as another easy gimmick to prey on the rubes.

But hey, they spent some money on safety.

In one of their more damning findings, prosecutors say that so much money was being siphoned away from the ferry company to Mr. Yoo and his relatives that it was starved of funds and spent just $2 last year on safety training for the Sewol’s crew members. The money went to buy a paper copy of a certificate.

There is no justice, though. The elder Yoo’s rotting corpse was found in his garden, cause of death unknown. Most of his family (apparently one son is still on the run), who all profited from his schemes, have been arrested so at least there’s that.

If only Christians weren’t so damned ahistorical

Here’s yet another of those pious Christian groups protesting same sex marriage, using a bogus argument. It’s infuriating: they know so little of human history that they think their local, recent mores are the universal and eternal dictates of their god, when Christian perspectives on marriage and politics and every damn thing have been evolving in all sorts of directions for two thousand years.

We get the same thing from creationists. They pretend their interpretation of the Bible is exactly as Jesus intended it, when really, modern creationism would have been regarded as heretical madness by Christians at any time before about 1960.

At least this bunch provides some comedy relief. Their strategy for dealing with same sex marriage is to fast for 40 days. Only not.

A Christian group that is planning a ‘fast’ in opposition to same-sex marriage has claimed that members don’t actually have to stop eating food to take part.

Like the rest of their platform, none of this makes any sense.

Minnesota Republicans are not nice

We try. We really try. But no matter how progressive the state might be, we’re still afflicted with horrible, demented people who run for office. Fortunately, there’s a tell: they always join the Republican party.

Look, here’s Michele Bachmann (she’s still around?). She thinks because a few immigrants committed crimes once upon a time, the entire recent influx of foreigners — including the children! — are all an invading horde of rapists.

“Foreign nationals that have come into the United States are between 300- to 500,000,” Bachmann told an incredulous Crossfire co-host Van Jones. “My heart is broken for a female college student in Minnesota who was raped, murdered and mutilated by a foreign national who came into our country. We had a school bus full of kids in Minnesota — four children were killed on that school bus because an illegal alien driving a van went into that schoolbus.”

“There are lines that can’t be crossed here,” Jones responded. “I’m sorry, congresswoman. Are you gonna scapegoat children for the crime of this despicable person?”

Uh-oh. Did you know the guy who kidnapped the Lindbergh baby was Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German? All you Germans — out of my state. Robert Hanson was a serial killer in the 1980s. Look at that name. Scandinavian. All you Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes…out. The Lakota…you can stay. Clearly all those European immigrants were a bad influence.

But Bachmann is a fading star, soon to be out of Minnesota politics altogether and persisting only to haunt the media, where a dumbass conservative is always welcome. Are there any others we should watch out for?

Meet the Freys.

Bob Frey is running for state office. His big issue is sodomy, and he has a theory, which is his, about what causes AIDS.

“It’s more about sodomy than about pigeonholing a lifestyle,” he explained. “When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there’s an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg.”

But Frey said that it was a different story when the “sperm is deposited anally” because “it’s the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail.”

“That’s why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,” he opined.

That’s an amazingly distorted version of the acrosome reaction. Yes, the sperm head releases enzymes like hyaluronidase to digest away matrix that surrounds the egg, and also triggers changes in the oocyte membrane to facilitate fusion at the entry point and to also inhibit fusion elsewhere. This has nothing at all to do with AIDS. For one thing, the reaction is specific; it requires recognition of receptors on the egg surface that are not present in generic epithelial cells. For another, we know how the HIV particles (which are not sperm) enter immune system cells and it doesn’t involve a mechanism anything like the acrosome reaction. We also know quite obviously that sperm aren’t the cells involved in transmission.

Mr Frey is an idiot.

Also, if his sperm is transmitting anything, it seems to be idiocy. His son Mike also has the same silly idea.

Last year, Frey’s son, Mike, used the exact same theory while testifying against a same-sex marriage before the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee.

And earlier this year, Frey distributed a DVD that claimed an anti-bully bill was part of a plot to infect the general population with AIDS through sodomy.

I’m trying to puzzle out how anti-bullying legislation would spread AIDS. Because…if bullies aren’t beating kids up, they’re … having …anal sex … with them?

I’m also reminded that years ago, when Cheri Yecke was on her crusade to get creationism into Minnesota public schools, Bob Frey was a particularly loony witness at state hearings, who would show up with a giant plastic bone, claiming he had proof that there were giants in the earth in those days, and therefore every word of the Bible was true. He also threatened the education committee.

Frey: I have about 25 hours of presentation material with lots of slides of dinosaurs, lots of slides of this sort of thing, and also the consequences of teaching known fraud and everything to society.

Kelley: Thanks very much Mr. Frey .. .

They’ve always got hours and hours of noise.

Oh well, if it’s any consolation, this dynasty of Freys will end with this generation. No one is ever going to marry a Frey ever again.

Todd Akin is sorry that he was sorry

Please, Republicans, welcome this man back into the fold, and make him a mouthpiece for the party. We are happy to see you drive women out of your camp. Todd Akin thinks there’s still a legitimate concern about legitimate rape.

"When a woman claims to have been raped, the police determine if the evidence supports the legal definition of ‘rape,’" Akin writes. "Is it a legitimate claim of rape or an excuse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy? Are the police warranted to take action against a crime or not?"

"In short, the word ‘legitimate’ modifies the claim and not the action. There have been women who have lied about being raped, as Norma McCorvey did before the U.S. Supreme Court. The infamous Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 was based on a lie."

"My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down," Akin adds in the book, "was directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google ‘stress and fertilization,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject."

Yes, sometimes women are bad and ignorant and dishonest, just like men. Sometimes people lie about being robbed in order to get the insurance money, too; that doesn’t mean we have such a cynical view of humanity that we dismiss all claims of theft as fraudulent.

I found his last challenge interesting, though. But don’t go to Google — that’s wide open and leads to a lot of garbage. I did his search on PubMed. It returns about 1500 peer reviewed papers on the subject, but the problem is that ‘stress’ has a rather specific meaning in biology, and it’s not about transient terror — it’s about relatively long-term metabolic changes. It’s also a big database, so it covers everything — plants, mice, insects, etc. So I narrowed the search to just humans, which gives me 136 results. That is not very impressive.

I browsed through them all. Some looked interesting:there’s stuff on the role of follicular antioxidants, how serotonergic modulation affects the stress response in zebrafish (they mention modulators developed for human research — they’re giving Prozac to fish larvae), issues in treating Jehovah’s Witnesses with in vitro fertilization, heat stress and DNA repair in sperm production, lots of stuff about oxidative stress, and surprising numbers of papers about the effects of stress on sperm in general. I guess sperm are just easier to work with. Maybe Akin should be arguing that stressed-out rapists are firing blanks? Nah, the research doesn’t support that, either.

I found one relevant paper in my search: Stress and anxiety do not result in pregnancy wastage, by Milad, Klock, Moses, and Chatterton, published in 1998. They were looking at the effects of the psychologically stressful process of IVF on fertility clinic patients. It has a small n of 40, so it’s not entirely conclusive, but the abstract concludes:

In conclusion, there is little association between psychological scores and physiological stress hormone concentrations. Also, it does not appear that high levels of anxiety and stress result in an adverse pregnancy outcome.

Again, these are studies of long term stress — we know there are effects of overwork, worry, lack of sleep, poor diet, and fear that cause metabolic changes in the body that can reduce the likelihood of reproduction. But that’s a far cry from suggesting that a single psychologically traumatic event can instantly shut down ovaries and prevent pregnancy, like a switch.

Also, a search on PubMed on the subject of stress and pregnancy turns up many more papers. It’s easy to conflate the two issues, and it’s certainly the case that metabolic changes occur and can affect pregnancy. But it’s also easy to send people off on a wild goose chase on a complex topic to confuse them.

So far, I haven’t found any peer-reviewed papers that support the Akin Hypothesis. I probably need to dig deeper into fringe journals.

Christians setting a bad example

Every year, Minnesota Atheists participate in the gay pride event in Minneapolis — they don’t go in to make “conversions”, but to show support for our fellow citizens. There is no flaunting of trophies afterwards, no singling out of gay folk who Suddenly! Turned! Atheist! because of our godless proselytizing, because that’s not what it’s all about. In particular, the purpose isn’t to steal attention from the real goals of the event, which are all about equality and rights for same sex couples.

I expect there are also liberal Christian groups that participate as a show of support, rather than as an attempt to convert. But that’s not the case for Trinity Works, which sent evangelical teams to Twin Cities Pride, and afterwards bragged about bringing 80 people to the Lord (knowing how these groups play fast and loose with the numbers, they probably just got the Christian gawkers to reaffirm their prior beliefs).

Another devious ploy: they set up a free corn feed booth. It was a bait-and-switch, offering corn and serving loathing instead.

Trinity Works held a corn feed at 11th Street and Hennepin Avenue along the Pride parade route. According to OutFront, the support team had to counsel dozens who mistakenly thought it was part of Pride activities. “Pride-goers who went in, assuming it was LGBTQ-friendly, were surrounded by Trinity works people who said they would burn in hell because of their sexual orientation,” OutFront’s Monica Meyer said in a statement. “Our support team counseled more than a dozen people who unknowingly went in and left the corn feed shaken, crying and traumatized.”

I bet a lot also left furious and upset — emotions that aren’t part of the intent of the event.

I don’t get how people who are so into dictating other people’s proper sexual behavior can simultaneously be so into rat-fucking.

Dear Mr Atheist allow me to destroy evolution in 3 minutes!

That’s the title of a video I was sent that is supposed to utterly crush my faith in evolution. By the way, why is it that people who worship faith as a perfectly valid way of knowing so insistently insist that evolution is wrong because it takes too much faith to believe in it? Shouldn’t that be a sign to them that it’s even better than God?

I don’t know why anyone is impressed. It’s an ignoramus ranting at his cell phone camera, reciting tired, familiar creationist tropes.

evolution is not a science…because it was never observed…which is why it is called a theory.

But people have observed and documented evolution, and done experiments to test its predictions, gone out in the field and the lab to do science guided by the theory. Of course it’s a science! And it’s called a theory because it’s predictions have been successfully tested, and the mechanism has a lot of useful properties to inform the science. I don’t think he knows what “theory” actually means, but if you stuck it out to the end, you know his grasp of language is rather weak.

Then he blathers on with creationist misconceptions about evolution. We developed different characteristics because we willed it? “Will” doesn’t play any role in evolutionary theory. And of course he has to trot out Creationist Thermodynamics, which he defines as chaos can never produce order…because it defies the logic and laws of science, which is not something the laws of thermodynamics claim, and naturally he has to babble about tornado in a junkyard. Thanks, Fred Hoyle, your legacy lives on!

Then he wraps it all up with made-up etymology. You know what universe means, right? Uni, one; verse, like in a poem. Therefore Uni-verse means one single spoken statement, just like the book of Genesis says. Too bad the dictionary says otherwise:

late Middle English: from Old French univers or Latin universum, neuter of universus ‘combined into one, whole,’ from uni- ‘one’ + versus ‘turned’ (past participle of vertere ).

As long as we’re making up word origins, I think it’s clear that it’s like “united” + “versus”, meaning “everyone against”, reflecting the inimical, conflict-driven nature of existence, and therefore we have to all gather and laugh at the dumb-ass obnoxious mouth-breather who made that video.

Cause to celebrate!

I surprise myself. I actually have two positive things to say about the movie, God’s Not Dead.

First, the projection was excellent. The last time I wrote about the workings of the theater, I described the amazing elaborate old-timey gadgetry to show a movie print. That’s all gone now, replaced by a modern digital movie projector. Crisp, bright, reliable.

Also, the movie itself was an elaborate exercise in projection. The academics were all portrayed as dogmatic and authoritarian and rather stupid — even the debate which was supposedly the core of this movie consisted of the Christian protagonist and atheist professor exchanging rounds of quotes from their respective corners. Dawkins says this, but Lennox says that. Hawking asserts X, but Strobel trumps it with Y. That may be how dopey Christians argue, with dueling authorities, but sorry, that’s not how philosophers discuss much of anything.

It was also implied that all of the students at this university were atheists, or apathetic enough about religion to blithely agree with the statement that God is dead, as part of the filmmakers’ martyr complex: this straw America is populated almost entirely with godless unbelievers. Here I am at a secular state university, and even here, that’s simply not true. Most of my students are religious, although probably not to the degree that the hero of the film is.

The second bit of praise, though, is for the fact that this is the most profoundly anti-Christian movie I’ve ever seen. I left the theater filled with contempt and loathing for Christians.

You know, most of us atheists are able to respect believers as human beings — I can appreciate that they’re just as intelligent, just as capable of living a productive life as I am, but that they’re simply burdened with years of indoctrination. Not this movie. In the hands of whoever wrote this drivel, Christians are dumbasses. It has to set up a whole universe made of straw. All the atheists are callous, cruel, vindictive people, while the Christians are pious and sincere. A first year college student is knowledgeable enough to out-argue a philosophy professor…and every argument he makes is well-worn idiocy dredged from the bowels of people like William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, and C.S. Lewis, larded with bad quotes from Hawking or Dawkins, or good science mangled and distorted. It was little more than a Big Daddy style fantasy in which a Christian student can regurgitate tired, facile nonsense and send the godless professor reeling back in confusion and anger.

Really, the arguments for Jesus are: 1) the universe had a beginning, 2) life had a beginning, 3) there had to be a god to start things, and 4) how can you be moral without Jesus telling you what to do? And every time the professor would try to put the kid in his place by telling him that some other Big Name said otherwise, and how dare the credential-less punk disagree with them? It was appalling. I shall look forward to the young students who optimistically believe they will be able to crush the atheists with their brilliant strategies lifted from God’s Not Dead. This movie is setting up a lot of Christians with feeble assertions that will be so trivial to destroy — I fear my opponents have just been made stupider.

I would just like to thank Hunter Dennis, Chuck Konzelman, and Cary Solomon (the writers) for sabotaging the brains of another generation of proselytizers. You make it so easy for us.

But all that vapid noise was just the white bread foundation for the awesome mountain of fecal matter that would top this shit sandwich. I am going to tell you about the ending. You shouldn’t care — you don’t need a spoiler alert for a movie that is rotten from the first few minutes. This was the part that had me gawping in disbelief; it was the fate of the atheist professor that had me convinced that Christianity is actively evil.

He is crossing a street when he’s hit by a car and killed.

Not right away, though. He’s hit right in front of a car containing two missionaries, who get out and run to his ‘assistance’. Somehow, they are sufficiently knowledgeable about medicine to be able to tell that he’s going to die, and only has a few minutes left to live. So, with smiles on their faces, they tell him he’s going to be facing God in heaven in a few minutes, and that he must accept Jesus into his heart. It was my nightmare, that the last, brief, passing moment of life is spent with smug stupid assholes quoting Bible verses and pressuring the dying to affirm their superstitions, which is obviously the most important thing he could do.

See, projection. I just wish whoever made this film could imagine lying on their deathbed, when an atheist barges in and starts yelling that they are about to cease to exist, and there will be nothing forever, and slaps them a few times ordering them to reject God right now. That’s not going to happen, but of course all they can do is project their authoritarian proselytizing impulse on other. And of course, since this is the Christian straw universe, our atheist professor accepts Jesus with his dying breath.

After which, the two smiling missionaries tell each other that they have “cause to celebrate”. A man just died. They want to celebrate. They’re going to Disneyland!

Fuck me. All I felt was hatred. That was despicable.

I’ve got to start carrying a knife now. Just so all you Christians know, if I’m in a fatal accident, and I’m lying in the street dying, and you’re not running over to stop the bleeding or otherwise physically help me, and you try to pull that prayer-and-conversion shit on me, I’m going to stab you. I’ll have nothing to lose, and you sure as hell don’t deserve to continue living. I don’t like violence, but I will make an exception for this one possible circumstance.

Now I know a lot of Christians aren’t like that, and that there are many who are also appalled at this wretched excuse for a movie. You can have another reason for disliking it: it has hardened the heart of an atheist even further against your religion.

Christianity is barbarism, evil, and gibbering insanity. Thanks, God’s Not Dead. When your religion is extinct, then I’ll have cause to celebrate.

Right-wing lies flourish on their propaganda organs

Wheee! I’m featured on OneNewsNow, the Far Right Christian online ‘news’ organization. It’s the same old thing.

University of Minnesota-Morris Professor Paul Z. Myers has encouraged students to gather up and trash all copies of an independent student newspaper [Not true. I said the university ought to prohibit their racist rag in the same way we would refuse the Ku Klux Klan the right to insult our non-white students on campus] with which he disagrees [Not true. I said we do have conservatives on campus; the basis of my disagreement wasn't their politics, but the racism of this particular small group of extremists. And also their incompetence.]. The politically radical [Sorry, no. I'm pretty much a rock solid liberal/progressive. Not very radical at all.] professor blogged that the Morris NorthStar student newspaper was a disgrace and has "worn out its welcome and must go."[Correct! When your approach is to hide behind Trayvon Martin's corpse and accuse university administrators of racism because they aren't nice enough to white people…you're not really bright enough or responsible enough to appreciate an education, let alone benefit from it.]

"We ask UMM to publicly condemn these instances of theft and destruction [They did!], investigate what happened [They did! Although I haven't seen any evidence that this 'theft' even occurred; it was a free paper, widely distributed across campus, and all of a sudden, we have known far-right media clowns claiming some were "stolen". Really? How could you tell?], and prosecute those responsible, [Yes, even if it is a stunt by the students who put out the North Star. So why are you harassing me? I had nothing to do with it.]" Theriot says. "The university must take steps to protect the NorthStar [Not necessarily. They could also banish it from campus as a disruptive, dishonest, and scurrilous pile of shit.] and all other student publications from such viewpoint-based [Is that what Republicans are calling their racism now?] censorship [There is no evidence of censorship! Saying it over and over again doesn't make it true.] in the future."

While copies of the newspaper were being stolen, trashed, and defaced, ADF attorney David Hacker says the university quietly stood by.[Again: no evidence of theft, except the claim by the North Star. It's a free paper that students were encouraged to take. What was the university supposed to do, put guards around the distribution racks and yell at anyone who takes a copy?]

It is simply bizarre. The university throughout has repudiated any attempt to destroy the paper; the chancellor sent out a campus-wide email saying so way back in December. They’ve got no case against the university. I used my free speech rights to say that the paper is garbage and that we ought to have some standards and reject the distribution of the libelous, poorly written crap, and yet they’re claiming that there must be an absolute right to free speech everywhere and at all times. They are going to have a hard time making a case that a free paper could be or even was stolen, and they’ve made this patently bogus case against me based on the idiot editor’s claim that there was a sciencey smell around one of the racks. That’s it. A contrived and implausible claim by a dope with an agenda, and that’s what these right-wingers are leaping upon.

It’s the same dishonest O’Keefeian tactics again. We’re just waiting for someone to ask if these people have any decency at all.

The Christians are climbing up on that cross again!

The dominant, oblivious majority in the US are once again preparing to moan about how oppressed and persecuted they are. The Christian Right is coming out with a movie quite literally called Persecuted, a drama about what they expect will happen to them in the next few years.

On the surface, "Persecuted" plays out like many government thrillers. Similar to movies based upon Tom Clancy novels, it has a hero with limited resources faced off against corrupt politicians and government officials. Central to the plot, though, is an effort by the president and his cronies to pass the "Faith and Fairness Act," which would be similar to a "fairness doctrine" for religious groups. If this law were passed, religious broadcasters would be required to present all religious points of view when presenting their own point of view.

The notion that such a law could actually be passed in the United States is not out of the realm of possibility, Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, explained to The Christian Post. The law is similar to a resolution that was passed at the United Nations about the defamation of religion.

"It’s backed predominantly by Islamic countries, but in the name of tolerance, so that they can criminalize defamation or defamatory speech so that you effectively become a criminal if you say Jesus is the only way, that becomes criminal. So it’s real," Sekulow said.

Do I need to point out that their fictional law, this “faith and fairness act,” is something atheists would oppose, and that atheist organizations, such as Atheist Ireland, have openly rejected the UN declarations against defamation of religion? And that American Christianity has a long tradition of supporting blasphemy laws? The closest thing to this imaginary “faith and fairness act” in this country isn’t official, but is the social sanction against people who dare to drop “under god” from our semi-mandatory loyalty oath, the pledge of allegiance.

Oh, wait, that’s right: Jay Sekulow is all in favor of requiring everyone to present the theistic point of view in that case — he was shit-spewing furious when a television broadcast dared to omit “under god” from the pledge. He’d love a version of that act that required everyone to acknowledge god all the time.

You know what is out of the realm of possibility? That the US would pass a law making it illegal to say “Jesus is the only way.” Christianity is a de facto standard to get elected to office, and no one dares to annoy faith-based bullshit artists ever. You know what is in the realm of possibility? That our nation, with its constitutional promise to never allow religion to meddle in government and vice versa, would make “In god we trust” our motto, slap it on all the currency, and demand that school children acknowledge our subservience to a god in a daily promise.

But that’s not what all the furor is about. You know what it is. It’s because those damn liberals are all insisting that it is perfectly reasonable to put contraception in an insurance package, and that it is also perfectly fair to expect employers to meet the needs of their employees. It’s because Christians are being told that they cannot pretend that gay people are not human. They have been told that their ignorant superstitions are hurting other people, and that while they are completely free to live lives in which they marry one person of a specified sex in a religious ceremony and have unprotected sex monogamously with them for the rest of their lives — jebus, that’s my lifestyle — they do not have the right to tell everyone else how to live their lives, nor do they have the right to punish people for not being Christian.

This seems to be a very difficult point to get across to some people.

Here’s a handy chart. Maybe this will help.

It says something that when these loons make a movie about how they’re being persecuted, they can’t openly say what offends them right now — that invariably makes them look like bigots — but have to invent an imaginary law and bring on hypocrites like Sekulow to claim that it is “real”. No, it’s not.

Christianity has always endorsed gay marriage? WTF?

This long-winded Christian apologist (well, that was redundant) Damon Linker has been making bizarre arguments for some time: he’s one of those deeply dishonest twits who argues that god is the transcendent source, the ground, or the end of the natural world while simultaneously ignoring the specifics of Christianity — and his primary argument against atheism always seems to be that old canard, that good atheists are supposed to be miserable, like Nietzsche — it’s always Nietzsche. His specialty seems to be making overwrought counterfactuals based on how he thinks the world should be…that is, Christian and pious.

His latest? Christianity invented gay marriage. Somehow, he manages to mention the near-universal Christian unity in opposing gay marriage, waves it all away, and then declares,

The ultimate source of the democratic revolution — the motor behind its inexorable unfolding — is the figure of Jesus Christ, who taught the equal dignity of all persons, and declared in the Sermon on the Mount that the last shall be first and the first shall be last, and that the meek shall inherit the earth.

Nothing in the history of the Christian church suggests that they ever followed this rather idealistic interpretation of doctrine. Would the Jews of his time been tolerant of gays? Don’t you suspect that when he said, “the meek shall inherit the earth”, he was actually preaching to a conquered people and promising that the conquerors will get their comeuppance?

But stretching the truth is not an activity Linker confines only to his Bible readings. He’s got a strange view of American history.

They already did touch in the United States, the world’s first nation settled by egalitarian Christians (the Puritans) and explicitly dedicated in its founding documents to the principle of universal human equality.

Puritans were egalitarians? Only if you were a man.

The US was founded on universal human equality? Only if you were white.

Marriage equality is inevitable. It’s also inevitable, I guess, that some Christians are now maneuvering to take credit for it.


Wait, who’s right, Damon Linker or Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, United States Army, (Ret.)? Boykin has made some interesting comments about Jesus.

The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 is says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior. A might warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.

And I believe now – I’ve checked this out – I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.

I guess I’m going to have to bet on Boykin’s Jesus. Good, bad, he’s the one with the gun.

For further historical revisionism, guess who wrote the second amendment to the US constitution?

Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? … From the Founding Fathers, it’s in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus…

I’m not handing out prizes for guessing correctly, you all saw that one coming.