Our Republican choices

So North Korea is rattling the sabre again, and I’m hoping some serious, mature people on our side will step up and act responsibly…but I’m pretty sure we won’t find those people on the Republican side. So far, their responses range from the stupid to the evil.

Here’s Sarah Palin babbling away on the Glenn Beck show (Can you guess that this is the stupid part of the range?)

CO-HOST: How would you handle a situation like the one that just developed in North Korea? […]

PALIN: But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty –

CO-HOST: South Korean.

PALIN: Eh, Yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.

I really think calling North Korea was nothing but an accidental slip of the tongue, but even without that, the totality of her comments are vacuous, simple-minded chit-chat. And this insipid person wants to be president?

At least she’s better than the odious Glenn Reynolds.

JUST WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW: North Korea fires artillery barrage on South. If they start anything, I say nuke ’em. And not with just a few bombs. They’ve caused enough trouble — and it would be a useful lesson for Iran, too. We can’t afford another Korean war, but hey, we’re already dismantling warheads. . . .

Yeah, because the oppressed people of North Korea deserve to have the flesh seared from their bones in a nuclear hell. You might be able to easily convince me that the ruling dynasty of that sad country deserve it, but civilized people don’t commit such barbarities, and especially don’t commit them indiscriminately against entire populations.

Episode CXXXV: The Thanksgiving Thread

It’s Thanksgiving. Only two weeks left in the semester here. And I feel Nicholas Cage’s pain. Go ahead and chatter away, all you participants in the chattery thread, but I have to howl at the moon and pound at a keyboard for the next four days.

(Video not safe for work. May upset Grandma, too. If you have an appreciation for the craft of acting, it may make you weep, as well. Also, blame Drunken Science for exposing this.)

(Current totals: 11,398 entries with 1,194,220 comments.)

Awww, that’s kinda sweet and silly

There’s a campaign of sorts that’s beginning in the UK, in which Christians are urged to stand up and announce that they are not ashamed to believe in a zombie redeemer who will protect them from his flaming torture pit deep beneath the earth. In a way, I’m sure it’s very nice for them personally to sustain that kind of self esteem, but really…they should be embarrassed to believe in such absurd nonsense.

At least they’re mostly doing no harm. The action they’re calling for is for everyone to pray harder.

Please pray for the Not Ashamed campaign and especially that the official launch next week will increase the profile of the initiative and give rise to good opportunities to speak to leading figures in public life about Jesus Christ, the only true hope for our nation. Perhaps you could include such prayers at church this Sunday? For prayer suggestions, please click here.

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UN priorities are a little screwy

So, various factions at the United Nations have been pushing for anti-blasphemy motions — after all, we can’t go around picking on weak ideas. But do you know who the UN thinks are fair game? Non-heterosexual people.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people were once again subject to the whims of homophobia and religious and cultural extremism this week, thanks to a United Nations vote that removed “sexual orientation” from a resolution that protects people from arbitrary executions. In other words, the UN General Assembly this week voted to allow LGBT people to be executed without cause.

Jesus and Mohammed get a little cranky at the idea of someone being rude to their books of magic spells, but setting a gay man on fire? That’s just an excuse to party.

The United Nations is a wonderful idea in principle, except for the little problem of giving barbarians a vote.

Sick and crazy can have other causes than religion

John Fiala is a bad man, and he’s also a Catholic priest. I’ve got a flood of email telling me I ought to highlight the case because he’s a priest who forced a boy to have sex with him at gunpoint, and later tried to hire a hit man to kill him. What he has done has been awful and evil, but, you know, it’s not an indictment of religious belief.

Fiala is simply nuts.

If his religious order did cover up his crimes (and that is one of the charges here), then it is evidence of the moral bankruptcy of the Catholic church, but that’s still an open question — from the accounts I’ve seen, he was removed from the active ministry when his predilections were discovered, and transferred to administration. I don’t know how openly crazy he was; if it was known that he favored sodomy at gunpoint, then yes, that the church only tried to hide him in the attic for a few years is bad news for religion. But psychopaths can mask their nastiness fairly well.

But otherwise, I have to ask, if this guy had been an atheist, would I consider it a sign of problems in the atheist philosophy? And I have to say no. Emotionally disturbed individuals and psychopaths and just plain bad people can crop up as individuals anywhere, and the issue is whether the institutions towards which they gravitate ought to be held accountable for sheltering or promoting or enabling their behavior. This is a case where the wretchedness of John Fiala is obvious now, but is religion responsible? I don’t see a case for that.

Of course, you can make the case that being in the presence of the Lord and being nestled in a holy sanctuary every single day didn’t seem to miraculously cure Fiala’s sickness, but we don’t believe in magic miracle cures anyway.

I get email

Would you believe I still get lots of mail from devout Catholics? I still even get these nice heartfelt letters via regular mail from little old Catholic ladies who think their flowery stationery will finally bring me around to the faith. But mainly I get something out of the blue where I can tell someone has stumbled onto one article that has offended them deeply, and they write to berate me for it. They usually don’t even bother to tell me what it is that has annoyed them so, not that it really matters.

Article

I am always amazed when I read an article such as yours and have a chance to witness the stupidity and ignorance of many of todays so-called professors. Before I point out your complete ignorance I will say this. A Catholic hater is the most easiest of all arogant people to recognize. I will also say this. You were either once a catholic or never had any strong affiliation with a church. The biggest haters of the church are catholics, who for various reasons no longer feel that it fits their lifestyle. They are usually divorced or have a deep personal resentment for the church that has “let them down.” They almost always find a church that “understands” their needs.

Ooh, ouch. Making predictions is a bad idea when you suck at it. I’m not a Catholic, and never have been, and never will be. I was brought up in the Lutheran church, but I left it in my teens. I am not divorced, and am in a happy relationship that has lasted for over 30 years; in fact, I don’t feel resentment about much of anything, since I think I’ve had a remarkably good and fortunate life.

Perhaps Mr Moore here was confused because he saw only one article and didn’t read very far. I’m not a Catholic hater; I think all religions are lies.

Now, your statement about priest. What you and others like you avoid saying is that the priests that do these type of things are gay. Priests that maintain the male orientation do not do these things. Bur if you spoke the truth you would offend your gay friends, and we can’t have that now can we. The other issue is that most of the crimes against young boys have happened over 30 years ago or longer. The rate of new cases is far under what happens with teachers in public schools and other denominations. Yes, it is even higher now among jewish rabbis. But no one is saying that so as not to offend. The catholic church will continue to be attacked by the likes of you because Christ predicted it. If you spent have the time that you spend on reaserching ways to attack the church and spend it on learning the truth, you would find peace. But you will never find peace. I will bet you that you are very unhappy and actually a miserable person inside.

Two flaws in Mr Moore’s reasoning:

  1. Raping children is not the same thing as consensual sex between two adults; these are not “gay” crimes, and equating abuse with consensual behavior is rather revolting. It is also not the case that only young boys are victimized; girls are mistreated, too.

  2. The “they do it, too!” excuse simply does not work. That some teachers are pedophiles does not mean it is unfair to pick on the poor child-raping priests. Catholics claim a greater virtue, so they don’t get to shuck all their guilt when they’re caught red-handed, and in fact ought to be held to a higher standard, according to their own views; and there’s also a significant difference between a priest and a secular professional. When a teacher gets caught diddling children, he will be arrested, fired, and banned from the profession. What we’ve learned is that when a Catholic priest fondles children, he’ll get sheltered, paid off, and transferred to a new parish and a fresh collection of kids.

I really do have a lot of Catholic mail that claims the real problem isn’t abuse of power by amoral abusers in the Catholic hierarchy…it’s those damned gays. And they accuse me of hate.

It is not too late for a change of heart but I will remind you that if you continue in this fashion you will have much to answer for in the next world. Your few years of study will have been for nothing. To many of us, it already has been for nothing. To come where you are now in life, with a heart full of hate, is very sad. If years of study can bring a person to this much lack of knowledge, it is easy to see why our colleges a places of complete ignorance of truth.

And now we get to it. I must note that Mr Moore is the one who says years of study are for nothing, who belittles institutions of higher learning, and then whines about how we are ignorant of the truth. Perhaps if he’d paid a little more attention to the minor niceties of spelling and grammar, as well as the more significant skills of logic and reasoning, it wouldn’t be quite so obvious who is the ignorant one in this argument.

I don’t have a heart full of hate, either. Although I begin to feel a good bit of anger at people who try to rationalize and trivialize child rape.

It’s Hawaii in Minnesota in November

You probably already heard that Christie Wilcox won the $10K blogging scholarship — I helped by plugging her most excellent blog as a worthy entry.

Now she has very nicely returned the favor by sending me a large care package from Hawaii with many tropical delectables. Unfortunately, some of them, like the boxes of chocolates, are not on my diet, so I can’t eat them…but there’s something else I can do, and that is offer them to any of my students who drop by during my office hours today, from 9-10 and 11:30-2. What a deal: bug the prof, get a piece of candy.

And thank you, Christie!