Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – some research that I didn’t want to go to waste re: Christianity and Nazism

since this research took a little time, no reason to waste it since the Christian I was replying to has prevented comments that show him wrong from showing on his blog.  As usual, this Christian, Michael,  ignores what he doesn’t want to admit to, and resorts to false claims to defend his need to invent a Christianity that has done no wrong.  Nothing new here if you know your history.  

Let’s look at some of Hitler’s quotes from Mein Kampf and his speeches. There is no problem in imaging these words from any conservative Christian:
“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. ”
“This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.”
“And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God”
“Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.”
“For this, to be sure, from the child’s primer down to the last newspaper, every theater and every movie house, every advertising pillar and every billboard, must be pressed into the service of this one great mission, until the timorous prayer of our present parlor patriots: ‘Lord, make us free!’ is transformed in the brain of the smallest boy into the burning plea: ‘Almighty God, bless our arms when the time comes; be just as thou hast always been; judge now whether we be deserving of freedom; Lord, bless our battle!’”
And now Staatspräsident Bolz says that Christianity and the Catholic faith are threatened by us. And to that charge I can answer: In the first place it is Christians and not international atheists who now stand at the head of Germany. I do not merely talk of Christianity, no, I also profess that I will never ally myself with the parties which destroy Christianity. If many wish today to take threatened Christianity under their protection, where, I would ask, was Christianity for them in these fourteen years when they went arm in arm with atheism? No, never and at no time was greater internal damage done to Christianity than in these fourteen years when a party, theoretically Christian, sat with those who denied God in one and the same Government.
” That’s because he despised Christianity (or as he called it, “the religion of the catacombs”)”
– a false claim from our Christian.  no source for that quote at all. This is a false claim.

”The Nazi philosophy itself was antithetical to Christianity, and Hitler knew this and planned for the eventual elimination of Bibles, crosses, worship of Jesus, etc.”
Nope, not at all, as you can see from the quote above.
The swastika was a common sign of good luck in pre Nazi says. The state library here in Pennsyvlania has hundreds of swastikas in it that are part of the ornate railing around the floors. The swastika, also known as the fylfot was a common thing in Christian culture.
We also have the problem when Christians try to claim that Nazis weren’t christians when they banned books on evolutionary theory, just like conservative Christians try now. This list is from the 1935 Die Bucherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published these collection evaluation “guidelines” during the second round of “purifications” (saüberung).

1. The works of traitors, emigrants and authors from foreign countries who believe they can attack and denigrate the new German (H.G. Wells, Rolland).
2. The literature of Marxism, Communism and Bolshevism.
3. Pacifist literature.
4. Literature with liberal, democratic tendencies and attitudes, and writing supporting the Weimar Republic (Rathenau, Heinrich Mann).
5. All historical writings whose purpose is to denigrate the origin, the spirit and the culture of the German Volk, or to dissolve the racial and structural order of the Volk, or that denies the force and importance of leading historical figures in favor of egalitarianism and the masses, and which seeks to drag them through the mud (Emil Ludwig).
6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel).
7. Books that advocate “art” which is decadent, bloodless, or purely constructivist (Grosz, Dix, Bauhaus, Mendelsohn).
8. Writings on sexuality and sexual education which serve the egocentric pleasure of the individual and thus, completely destroy the principles of race and Volk (Hirschfeld).

So, conservative Christians, do you recognize yourselves?
Again, I had to quote the information on the links given since our Christian tried to ignore what they said.  This is what got me banned, daring to show him wrong to his followers.
“The Fylfot was widely adopted in the early Christian centuries. It is found extensively in the Roman catacombs. A most unusual example of its usage is to be found in the porch of the parish church of Great Canfield, Essex, England. As the parish guide rightly states, the Fylfot or Gammadion can be traced back to the Roman catacombs where it appears in both Christian and pagan contexts. More recently it has been found on grave-slabs in Scotland and Ireland A particularly interesting example was found in Barhobble, Wigtownshire in Scotland.
Gospel books also contain examples of this form of the Christian cross. The most notable examples are probably the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels. Mention must also be made of an intriguing example of this decoration that occurs on the Ardagh Chalice.
From the early 14th Century on, the Fylfot was often used to adorn Eucharistic robes. During that period it appeared on the monumental brasses that preserved the memory of those priests thus attired. They are mostly to be found in East Anglia and the Home Counties.
Probably its most conspicuous usage has been its incorporation in stained glass windows notably in Cambridge and Edinburgh. In Cambridge it is found in the baptismal window of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, together with other allied Christian symbols, originating in the 19th century.” – Wikipedia
“Its “Discovery” and Meanings in Modern Europe The symbol experienced a resurgence in the  nineteenth century, as a result of growing European interest in the ancient civilizations of the Near East and India. During his extensive excavations, the German  archaeologist  Heinrich Schliemann discovered the hooked cross on the site of ancient Troy. He connected it with similar shapes found on pottery in Germany and speculated that it was a “significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors.” Other European scholars and thinkers linked the symbol to a shared Aryan culture that spanned Europe and Asia.
In the beginning of the twentieth century the swastika was widely used in Europe. It had numerous meanings, the most common being a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness.”  – US Holocaust Museum
So we have a symbol meaning good luck and auspiciousness (auspicious: showing or suggesting that future success is likely) taken by Hitler who wanted to pretend that his reich would exist forever, who was a Christian who knew the use of the symbol, and then used it.

Again, we see that Nazism was built from Christianity from Hitler’s own words in Mein Kampf.  “Not only because it incorporated those revered colours expressive of our homage to the glorious past and which once brought so much honour to the German nation, but this symbol was also an eloquent expression of the will behind the movement. We National Socialists regarded our flag as being the embodiment of our party programme. The red expressed the social thought underlying the movement. White the national thought. And the swastika signified the mission allotted to us–the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind and at the same time the triumph of the ideal of creative work which is in itself and always will be anti-Semitic.”  

And “Christianity was not content with erecting an altar of its own. It had first to destroy the pagan altars. It was only in virtue of this passionate intolerance that an apodictic faith could grow up. And intolerance is an indispensable condition for the growth of such a faith.”
And “Anyhow, the Jew has attained the ends he desired. Catholics and Protestants are fighting with one another to their hearts’ content, while the enemy of Aryan humanity and all Christendom is laughing up his sleeve.” 
The Nazis added their own spin to Christianity just like every Christians does, for weal or woe. However at its root lies the need for a religion to create an “other” to hate and the lie of being a chosen people who must strive against those who disagree with them.  Christianity isn’t not alone in this. 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Christian prayers don’t work again, news at at 11

This from the Pew Foundation:

“The virus also has impacted Americans’ religious behaviors. More than half of all U.S. adults (55%) say they have prayed for an end to the spread of coronavirus. Large majorities of Americans who pray daily (86%) and of U.S. Christians (73%) have taken to prayer during the outbreak – but so have some who say they seldom or never pray and people who say they do not belong to any religion (15% and 24%, respectively).”

So, we have Christians who fail.  Their prayers aren’t answered and they get sick and die just like the rest of us.  Their god does nothing.

Despite these promises:

“Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[d] to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands,[e] and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mark 16

Some Christians will know that these verses were added hundreds of years after.  They get upset if you mention that other Christians don’t have a problem with this claim.

12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[e] for anything, I will do it.”  – John 14

I’ve had a christian claim that John 14 doesn’t mention “miracles”.  I asked him if JC’s “works” were building a really great wall then.  He ran away.

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.” – James 5

For christians who claim that only the “apostles” could do miracles.

18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18

For christians who claim that its up to their god to do what it wants, it doesn’t answer prayers like this.

22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[d] 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;[e] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his[f] kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12

For christians who don’t like to be reminded that their god will supposedly take care of them and they should give up all they have.

All in all, evidence that Christianity/the bible is nonsense or that every single self-proclaimed Christian isn’t one or that Christians refuse to heal people when they can.

Quite a choice there.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My chat with Ray Comfort transcripted

After some personal uncomfortableness on my part, listening to my own voice, I have transcripted my chat with Ray Comfort that was recorded by Ray and a copy given to me for my use.

 

Here is the transcript, since I personally really hate to listen to talking heads.  I read much faster than that, and a transcript is my favorite way to see what people say.  I didn’t put much punctuation to keep the feel of the chat, but I think it should be pretty easy to read.   I started with the autotranscript function on YouTube, and it was better than I thought it would be.  But a couple of times, it had issues with Ray’s accent, and evidently mine too 🙂 although I’ve read somewhere that central PA is about as accentless as it gets for an American.

There are some interesting bit that I wanted to comment on since there were some questions unanswered, and some topics we never got back to.

Here’s the bit about creationism (and the start of the discussion about morality):

V: No, well some of that did. I mean after I read it because it’s not very often that the pastors I grew up with would mention anything except for the pretty plain vanilla fuzzy good Jesus parts of it. basically I knew enough science to know that there was no such thing as a 28,000 foot deep flood and you know went on through that then I know after I read the Bible I saw where this God killed David’s son to punish David but you know didn’t care about the child and oh you know the you know the usual stuff that you’ll hear from various you know non-christians

R: so you’re saying that the flood, the noahic flood which was said to cover the whole earth wouldn’t have covered Mount Everest with 29,000 feet do you realize there was no such things as mountains in those days, they hadn’t pushed up

V: there’s no evidence that mountains are that young and there’s you know to try claim that there was no mountains requires quite a energetic geology that would essentially release so much energy that would broil pretty much everyone on earth

R: yeah well that’s kind of what happened in the beginning the mountains pushed up like volcanoes do anyway…

V: those aren’t volcanoes

R; no they’re not but they are made of stone or rock I guess… I don’t know we’re talking about things I don’t know much about well um do you want to use that name Vel or do you want to use your real first name

It’s notable that a creationist admits not to know much about the earth.  As I’ve written before, willful ignorance is behind most creationist claims.  Creationists, be they Christians, Muslims, etc, all need to either ignore reality or intentionally lie about it.  This causes them problems because their claims about creationism are contradictory, since they don’t even start out at the same place.  We have contradictory claims about how creation happened by theists, and we have many different claims about how the Noahic flood “really” happened; all dependent on an ignorance of basic science.  The folks over at Talk Origins have a good article on the failures of creationists with the bible flood.

After this we get into the morality discussion starting with my question to Ray about his god killing David’s son.  Here’s a bit about that:

“R: yes yeah he killed David son okay did God actually kill, is it David son? or yeah David son when he committed adultery with Bathsheba it didn’t bless him with the child he said the child’s gonna die there are repercussions to his actions but he lets solomon live which is wonderful (?)

V: would you be happy if someone killed one of your children and let the other one lives

R: no of course not I love all my kids

V: then why would you accept that from your God

R: oh because he’s the giver of life he’s a giver and the taker of life and he’s the one that blesses with health and and in life itself and a peace if he deems fit to take a loved one what can I do about it I just trust him I trust his integrity so let’s go back to the issue David had a son died and God took him and God says your child’s gonna die did they actually happen

V: did resurrection actually happen

R: no did David have a son that god killed

V: no no I did if that didn’t happen why should I think that the resurrection happened

R: oh no not talking about the resurrection what I’m trying to get you to say is that did God kill the son of David

V: yes that’s what the Bible says

R: yeah but it didn’t happen did it cuz you’re an atheist so you say it didn’t happen because God doesn’t exist so why are you upset about something it didn’t happen it’s like being upset about the fairy godmother turning Cinderella’s coach back into a pumpkin.”

V: (laughter) well let me ask you if let’s just say that it did happen

R: okay

V: and you said that you would have absolutely no problem with a god doing something you would be unhappy with the human doing correct

R: oh yeah I’d be I wouldn’t be the happiest man on earth of one of my children died but I know that God is the giver and the taker of life he created every bone every every drop of blood and my children he gave me the gift of children and if he deem fit that one of my children dies I can’t do anything about it but I can trust him I can trust him in it and say Lord you know what you’re doing you allowed this for some reason it may not be a perfect will but it should permissive will you’re permitted it and in that I rejoice I trust you because that’s what faith is about it’s trusting when often often things aren’t right

V: so you believe you have an objective morality from your religion correct

R: yeah absolutely

V: so if if it’s not moral for a human to do something why is it moral for your God to do it?”

If I were Ray’s kids, I’d be more than a little disturbed by this.  I’d do anything to save my kids or anyone’s kids and that includes standing against anything, god or not, that would try to kill them.  Heck, I’d do that for my cats.  Here, it seems that Ray’s best answer is that I shouldn’t care about some kid since it was long ago.  My morals don’t work like that.  Injustice and unfairness are forever.  He goes on to claim that since everyone is going to die, it isn’t a problem and that I should only be considered with my salvation.

We went back to creationism for a bit, and Ray deflected my request for evidence about which creationism is right.

“V: Christians are all they all have the one real truth but I what need to see is evidence that that is actually the case

R: well that’s it’s provable um now let me ask what’s that

V: how is it provable

R: we’ll come up to that in a few minutes

V: Laughter.”

And of course we didn’t.   That was fine with me since I knew at some point he would have to intentionally change the subject from something he didn’t like where it was going.

We discussed the Big Bang Theory a bit and unsurprisingly he intentionally misrepresented it.  That also wasn’t a fruitful path for him (get it? Fruit?).  So we ended up with the questions that Ray loves and are on more than few of his videos e.g. “Do you think you are a good person? Have you ever lied?”  Have you ever stolen anything? etc.

R: how do you think you’re a good think you’re a good person

V: I’ve heard you do this before yes I do think I’m a good person and I do not use your Bible or your interpretation to define what good is.

R: that’s what we often do that’s what I did before I was a Christian that’s what Adolf Hitler did I no doubt if I talk to Hitler he would say he was a good person because he had his own moral standard he cleaned up Germany got rid of brothels more than full employment got rid of the scum of the earth clean the German race and …

V: know that a lot of Christians think that he did a very good job you can see that on the news with the various Trumpies thinking having no problem with Nazism at all

R: you know what if I were you I wouldn’t cover the whole church with one blanket because Jesus spoke of true and false conversions he spoke of hypocrites he spoke he spoke of fake Christians and they’re the ones that often speak the loudest so don’t sweep with such a broad broom there are genuine Christians that believe the Bible love their enemies that do good they’re kind to other people they’re not nasty and if you find someone who is professing Christian and they they lack love you can say to yourself I don’t believe that person’s a genuine Christian, they are a Jew. “

Now, when he said this initially it caught me by surprise. The auto transcript picked it up as “ they are junius”. I had to rewind this several times and listen because I didn’t want to believe it but this does seem to be what he said.

We ended up at the questions about lies and stealing, oh and taking god’s name in vain later:

“R: let’s get back the question let’s get back to the question because we’re going down a rabbit hole um if you think you’re a good person how do you measure up to those Commandments

V: I don’t care about your Commandments

R: But how do you measure up to them

V: I don’t need to measure up to them

R: well let me ask you let me let me put you on the stand and see how you do how many lies do you think you’ve told in your life

V: I’ve told some and some were for a good reason just like the folks who did Anne Frank were lying to the Nazis”

This was again not working for Ray, and he had to claim I hate his god because I use his god’s name as a cuss word.  There was more about how I have to be hating his bogeyman.  There is more about morals, and I had a good time pointing out just how evil his god is.   That got me told that I was “misinterpreting” the bible, but no explanation on how this was the case.

Then Ray was revved up and his words got faster and faster as he tried to preach at me.  That preaching was interspersed with my laughter and refutations.  His attempts at sowing fear didn’t work and that did appear to confuse him, leading to more repetition and appeals to how much my parents love me.

After trying to tell me, a former Presbyterian/calvinist, that I didn’t understand predestination “correctly”, we ended up with Ray trying to tell me that this god of his was finally answering my prayers said 40 years ago.   That his god is timeless, yada, yada. Which again doesn’t match up with what the bible actually says.

“R: okay let me answer that God sometimes takes his time a day of the Lord is a thousand years to us and God is answering that prayer today and I’m trying to help you to restore your faith so you thank God that he chooses the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe. he speaks through donkeys he’s speaking through me today and telling you that he has no pleasure in your death and he’s answering your prayer and he wants to restore your faith. Okay”

And yes, I was very very hard pressed not to use the obvious joke here. 🙂

This whole thing had a great ending when Ray sent me a signed copy of his book “Banana Man”, and it had two Subway gift cards in it.  I guess that’s what happened to the other $7000 went.  You can see the saga of the subway cards here.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – when a Christians doesn’t think things through….again

A question Christians really can’t answer

I’ve noticed that Atheists like to play the “prove it” game. They use this game to shift the burden of spiritual responsibility to God off of themselves, trying to replace it with a burden of proof for the Christian.

This bit of nonsense came from this blog.   Christians often don’t think their arguments through.

we can have this by just changing a couple of words:  “I’ve noticed that Christians like to play the “prove it” game. They use this game to shift the burden of spiritual responsibility to Ahura Mazda off of themselves, trying to replace it with a burden of proof for the believers.” This, of course, can have any other god put in place of Jason’s personal version of the Christian god, even other versions of the Christian god.

He goes on “God has proven Jesus is our Lord and Savior to everyone who hears the Gospel:”   Hmmm, I’ve heard the gospel and nothing was proven to me.  What the gospels, and the rest of the bible, happen to be are claims, not proof.  A book that says it is true is not evidence for that book being true.   Other holy books make the same claim and gosh, Jason, doesn’t blindly believe them.  Tsk.

Then we have this “Because let’s be honest, there is no naturalistic argument that proves Jesus rose from the dead. At best the historical evidence shows that the resurrection of Christ is more likely than not, but this does not meet the standard of proof the Atheist is asking for. God will never allow a naturalistic argument to prove the resurrection of Jesus, because then people would not have to turn to God from their heart.

Hmmm, other Christians say that this god does want a naturalistic argument. Such a shame, contradicting Christians.  At least Jason admits that his nonsense is just as silly as any other religions, and that he must make baseless claims for it too.  The historical evidence shows that the resurrection of Christ is not likely, though there might be some evidence for a crazy Jew who thought he was the messiah, not what Jason claims to worship.

Poor Jason, he whines about evidence, but then demands the same thing from other religions he doesn’t believe in.

I could close this post out with links to articles or videos presenting the historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ, but I’m not going to do that.

He doesn’t do that because he knows they fail and he doesn’t want to be held responsible for failed arguments.   Such a coward, he wants to address atheists, but is too afraid of having comments where they can reply to him.   Yet one more failed apologist for this god which points to two possibilities:

This god needs a better HR staff.
This god is imaginary.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and now the reason for all of the banana nonsense

So, about a week or so ago, I was looking around YouTube and I ended up on Living Waters’ channel. Those of you who may not know, this is Ray Comfort’s ministry, yes the fellow who tried to claim that the common banana, and orange and coconut, are evidence of his version of the Christian god’s existence. Unfortunately, Ray’s attempt to compare his god’s work gets tangled up in the fact that humans have made all of these edible from inedible progenitors.

There on one of the channel’s videos was an offer for any atheist to send their contact info to Ray and maybe get selected for a chat with him. And yes, my friends, I was at least one of those selection. Maybe you can be too by sending an email to atheisthotline@livingwaters.com I’m not sure if the offer is still valid or not.  Maybe not after this.

I sent this “Hi, I’m an atheist, a geologist and a former Christian.  I see on your youtube, you are offering to chat with atheists. I’d be happy to do this, handle the recording and let everyone see both sides.

Vel” – 4/13/2020

I got back an email from Jen, Ray’s assistant, for dates and times to set up a Zoom conference call. I gave some dates and times and then I made this request. (I do have the emails but won’t directly present them here unless needed. I will paraphrase LW’s reponses.) Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and now the reason for all of the banana nonsense”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – thousands of selfish ignorant fools in PA

photo – Josha Bickel

Yep, we had our own idiots who are whining about the stay at home orders.   Thousands of these fools gathered together on the capitol’s steps, ignoring the saftey guidelines and whining about their “rights”.

These are the Trumpies, who are selfish and ignorant, who want their rights but don’t want anyone else to have any.   They would have been the ones in Nuremburg at the rallies.

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/04/thousands-gather-in-pa-capitol-rally-to-reopen-pa.html

Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – thousands of selfish ignorant fools in PA”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A Pew Research Study “Half of Americans say Bible should influence U.S. laws, including 28% who favor it over the will of the people”

The Pew Research Center has a new study out about religion: “Half of Americans say Bible should influence U.S. laws, including 28% who favor it over the will of the people

“The U.S. Constitution does not mention the Bible, God, Jesus or Christianity, and the First Amendment clarifies that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Still, some scholars have argued that the Bible heavily influenced America’s founders.

Today, about half of Americans (49%) say the Bible should have at least “some” influence on U.S. laws, including nearly a quarter (23%) who say it should have “a great deal” of influence, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Among U.S. Christians, two-thirds (68%) want the Bible to influence U.S. laws at least some, and among white evangelical Protestants, this figure rises to about nine-in-ten (89%).”

As you see above, it’s pretty much what is expected.  Conservative Christians make false claims and then believe them. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A Pew Research Study “Half of Americans say Bible should influence U.S. laws, including 28% who favor it over the will of the people””