Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Happy Fourth of July! Hobby Lobby is at it again with their 2018 ad

Unsurprisingly, we have a hobby lobby july 2018 ad (happily saved for posterity here), the folks that want to force their religion on their employees (and you) and who have no problem in depending on people working on the “Sabbath” whilst ever-so piously closing their stores on the same day. The people living under authoritarian governments who make the products that they sell and advertise on the Sabbath work on the Sabbath. The truckers and distribution center workers who work on the Sabbath, and the newspaper employees who work on the Sabbath. They certainly have their own shabbos goy so they can try to convince themselves and others how observant they are.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation has shown that all of their claims are wrong, and these TrueChristians continue to repeat lies.  In that the Green family supports a bible museum, they might actually want to read the thing to see that their god hates lies and liars.

This ad is a wonderful example on how so many conservative Christians have no problem in lying, despite their holy book repeatedly saying that lying is a no-no, even if a Christian is lying *for* their god (Romans 3). And it is a wonderful example of Christians who have nothing to refer to except for 17th, 18th and 19th quotes to support their bigoted and ignorant views and even in them they must quote mine to spread lies and misinformation.   They seem to feel that they have the right to remove the ability of humans to make informed decisions based on the facts.

The banner reads “Blessed is the nation whose God is Lord.” This is from Psalm 33, and from the Old Testament. Now compare how these Christians, the Greens, and so many others, follow their god. They support an adulterer, a liar, a cheat, and a self-admitted sexual abuser. It seems that the Greens forget that adulterers are to be stoned to death per the same divine commands that they follow to close their stores. Psalm 33 also says this “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.” But I guess that those laws are just too inconvenient for the Greens and Christians like them to care about as long as Trump promises them power.

The article goes onto quote presidents, founding fathers, SCOTUS rulings, SCOTUS justices, members of congress, words from Yale and Harvard from the 17th and 18th centuries, and “foreign opinion”.   Of course, they print all of the quotes that support their position and conveniently ignore the quotes, often from the same people, who don’t agree with them. Conservative Christians have no problem in cherry picking, as we can see from how they treat their own bible.

Now let’s look at a couple of these quotes that they gave.

They quote John Adams as saying “We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Now here is what is actually said

“While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while the continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep <gap in manuscript> simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by <gap in manuscript> morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition <deleted text “and”> Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

An Address so unanimous and firm from the officers commanding two thousand Eight hundred Men, consisting of such substantial Citizens as are able and willing at their own Expence, compleatly to arm, And cloath themselves in handsome Uniforms does honor to that Division of the Militia which has done so much honor to their Country. Oaths, in this Country, are as yet universally considered as Sacred Obligations. That which you have taken and so solemnly repeated on that venerable Spot is an ample Pledge of your sincerity, and devotion to your Country and its Government.”

No mention of Christianity, and most certainly not of the conservative Christian’s version of Christianity at all.

Of course they also ignore that he said “Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” – Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

And a second:

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.” – Thomas Jefferson

As soon as I saw it claimed to be from Thomas Jefferson, I knew what happened. It is entirely unsurprising that they misquote this and they do so intentionally. Now, let’s see what the actual quote says, with the real punctuation and the context. This quote is from “Notes on the State of Virginia – Query 18: Manners

“Manners – It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic, or particular.  It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us.  The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.  Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal.  This quality is the germ of all education in him.  From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do.  If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present.  But generally it is not sufficient.  The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.  The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.  And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other.  For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him.  With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed.  For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour.  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!  The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.  — But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil.  We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind.  I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution.  The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation. “

Why do such Christians find it necessary to lie about such things? Jefferson’s words do damn the actions of these Christians today, their turning into despots for their need for control. No wonder that they tried to pretend the rest of the quote didn’t exist.

The intent of the so tenderly placed Sabbath ad by our pious TrueChristians™ is to convince people that the United States is a “Christian Nation”. However, the Greens, and Christians like them, are certain that those Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t Christians at all. This shrinks the population of TrueChristians™ mightily and in this United States of ours, these Christians are a happily small fraction. By their ignorance and bigotry, the Greens and their ilk demonstrate themselves that we are not a “Christian Nation” and the majority are not in their theocratic image, wanting to force a Christian sharia law on everyone. The US is a nation of democracy and freedom, for everyone who wants to participate in those honorable institutions. Some Americans want to be hypocrites who will kneel to someone who ignores the laws they so piously claim to follow, in order to claw their way to power, so they might force everyone to agree with their version of one religion. The rest of us need to stand against such attempts to destroy what we have fought for.

Happy July 4th! Many thanks to those who fight for freedom, be they in our military or in our streets.

An addendum (7/2/18)

Our ostensible TrueChristians did the same as above regarding Alexander de Tocqueville.  They quote this:

““The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is

impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.” – Alexis de Tocqueville: French observer

of America in 1831, author of Democracy in America”

The below is part and parcel of the same book, and we can now see the context of what he says:

” To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and explained my doubts. I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.This led me to examine more attentively than I had hitherto done the station which the American clergy occupy in political society. I learned with surprise that they filled no public appointments; 4 I did not see one of them in the administration, and they are not even represented in the legislative assemblies. In several states 5 the law excludes them from political life; public opinion excludes them in all. And when I came to inquire into the prevailing spirit of the clergy, I found that most of its members seemed to retire of their own accord from the exercise of power, and that they made it the pride of their profession to abstain from politics.

I heard them inveigh against ambition and deceit, under whatever political opinions these vices might chance to lurk; but I learned from their discourses that men are not guilty in the eye of God for any opinions concerning political government which they may profess with sincerity, any more than they are for their mistakes in building a house or in driving a furrow. I perceived that these ministers of the Gospel eschewed all parties, with the anxiety attendant upon personal interest. These facts convinced me that what I had been told was true; and it then became my object to investigate their causes and to inquire how it happened that the real authority of religion was increased by a state of things which diminished its apparent force. These causes did not long escape my researches.

The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urge his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope, and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself. Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind. If we consider religious institutions merely in a human point of view, they may be said to derive an inexhaustible element of strength from man himself, since they belong to one of the constituent principles of human nature.

I am aware that at certain times religion may strengthen this influence, which originates in itself, by the artificial power of the laws and by the support of those temporal institutions that direct society. Religions intimately united with the governments of the earth have been known to exercise sovereign power founded on terror and faith; but when a religion contracts an alliance of this nature, I do not hesitate to affirm that it commits the same error as a man who should sacrifice his future to his present welfare; and in obtaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks that authority which is rightfully its own. When a religion founds its empire only upon the desire of immortality that lives in every human heart, it may aspire to universal dominion; but when it connects itself with a government, it must adopt maxims which are applicable only to certain nations. Thus, in forming an alliance with a political power, religion augments its authority over a few and forfeits the hope of reigning over all.

As long as a religion rests only upon those sentiments which are the consolation of all affliction, it may attract the affections of all mankind. But if it be mixed up with the bitter passions of the world, it may be constrained to defend allies whom its interests, and not the principle of love, have given to it; or to repel as antagonists men who are still attached to it, however opposed they may be to the powers with which it is allied. The church cannot share the temporal power of the state without being the object of a portion of that animosity which the latter excites.”

we can see that Tocqueville wasn’t supporting how religion was in the US, and certainly speaks against the type of religion that these TrueChristians want, supporting the separation of church and state.    And yep, he does insist that “unbelief” is an accident, being a good Catholic.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – hypocrisy on parade again in the US Supreme Court, the Hobby Lobby decision

hobby-lobby

Again, we have wannabee theocrats making decisions based on their religion that affects many people in this country. The usual suspects on the US Supreme Court have decided that some people’s religion trumps other people’s religion (or lack thereof) in the US. They have also decided that corporations can have religion.

The case was if companies, Hobby Lobby is the cited one, can deny any medical procedure it wants, in this case birth control, to its employees because of religious beliefs. The decision now declares that the assenting justices are “only* supporting the RFRA, and it’s okay for some people can force their religions on others when it comes to birth control on people who work for them for fair compensation. This makes one set of religious beliefs more important than others. It also declares that a corporation can have religion beliefs, which can be pretty amusing to contemplate.   This is q quote from Hobby Lobby’s website “We believe that it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured.”  How great this god is for allowing a craft store to flourish and not getting around to, oh I don’t know, help people who need safety and food around the world.

Now, how can one determine if a corporation has beliefs and, perhaps more importantly, that it is following these beliefs as defined by some officially recognized religion? If we have a Christian corporation, is it going to heaven? Is it “saved”? Evidently the lawyers and owners of Hobby Lobby think so. Does it have to follow the commandments listed by its god?  It certainly seems like they should considering this quoe from their website: “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.”

Does Hobby Lobby advocate murdering everyone working on a Sunday? We do know that they aren’t open on Sundays but I’m sure that they rely on suppliers who have distribution centers that are open on Sundays, factories open on Sundays (oh say in Asia where most of their stock comes from, like Gildan tshirts ), container ships and their crews who bring these supplies to our shores, truckers who must work on Sundays to get their product on the shelves and I’m sure they will complain if those supplies aren’t on time where they want them.  Golly, do they pick and choose just like human believers do?

And that second commandment, no graven images. Seems like HL stocks at least one image that breaks this gem and damns them to hell. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” (the commandment goes onto add that you shouldn’t worship this image either, two distinct commands.) Of course if we keep going, we can see that Hobby Lobby the corporation has to approve of slavery since that is part of their god’s commandments too.   The bible also has that any believer should accept whatever its government says as law, without question since its god put those people in power.  Putting up a defense against the gov’t is saying that their god is wrong for allowing Obamacare to be enacted into law.  It did, didn’t it since this god controls everything in the world?  Oh but not all Christians believe in this.  Hmmm.

Insert "birth control" and still watch the tumbleweeds blow when it comes to inconvenient things that theists don't like to mention.
Insert “birth control” and still watch the tumbleweeds blow when it comes to inconvenient things that theists don’t like to mention.

So, is Hobby Lobby the corporation really Christian? Many Christians would claim otherwise, even if the family who created Hobby Lobby claimed to have created the company with religious concepts in mind.  The court now has put its toe in the water of deciding who has the “right” beliefs.

Ah, hypocrisy, isn’t great? It against shows that religion is nothing more than the claims that some imaginary powerful being agrees with human. It’ll be great to watch any company that tries to invoke this decision will be shown to be just as hypocritical and dishonest as any individual believer.

The decision is limited to a not publicly traded company, e.g. “closely held” e.g. family owned like the Westboro Baptist Church, eh?  (which should be fun if the family doesn’t agree amongst itself). It also says that the government can still step in and say that anything else that these corporations wants to do regarding their religions, e.g. you can’t claim that taxes are against your religion or that public health issues are against your religion, can’t be done. Essentially, this law only applies to certain kinds of contraception, and women can still get birth control thanks to Obamacare. I’m sure that theists will whine about this, because it says that they can’t force their other nonsense on people.  Of course, other corporations will try to push other ideas in front of the court.

In my opinion, the worst problem with the SCOTUS saying that its only supporting the RFRA, is that it directly says that some people’s religion trumps others. The RFRA says “ (a) IN GENERAL. — Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b). (b) EXCEPTION. — Government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person — (1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (c) JUDICIAL RELIEF. — A person whose religious exercise has been substantially burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.”

So whose religion gets primacy? If I believe that my god supports birth control, then why does another person get to say my religion is wrong and theirs is what is to be followed? If I believe that my religion supports multiple partner marriages, how can my boss, or the government, say that my religion is wrong and only certain ones is right? Can I say that my religion says that people of a different ancestry are demonic and I don’t have to hire them? Can the government, or anyone else say that my religion is wrong if it doesn’t bother government at all?

There is another possible twist to this. Seems like the conservative justices on the SCOTUS, by citing the RFRA, have now reinforced the idea that they can’t forbid much of anything as long as religion believe is invoked. So, now we come to the problem, who has the “real” religions, and who has the most “sincere” claim a la Linus in the pumpkin patch? Are theists willing to have each of their sects and religions judged as “real” by others? Shucks, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Thomas, all Catholics and on the SCOTUS are sure that any other Christian sect are false at worst and badly misguided at best. You want them to decide that your big ol’ mega church isn’t a true religion? You want the Jewish justices to decide that Christianity isn’t a real religion since there’s no reason to believe that Jesus Christ was the “messiah”? I’m guessing that my theist readers would be horrified if religions were judged on whose qualify, but now that’s what we can have so we can know for sure that the RFRA is being applied correctly. How can we know if someone has a “real” religion, and hasn’t just made one up to get its nonsense accepted as legal?

Now, what I would like to see is that since the SCOTUS says that they can step in to protect people from other stupid religious claims, i.e. refusing blood transfusions, no vaccines, no medical care, this would mean that parents who kill their children, or attempt to kill them, because of their religious beliefs would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This decision does give support to the idea that religion isn’t quite the legal cover that many wannabe theocrats would wish it is. I’m guessing that there’s not a chance of this, because, as much as the conservative justices want to claim that they can refuse some religious claims, they won’t go that far to save lives, no matter how much they claim to be “pro-life”.

Again, hypocrisy always rules religion.

Postscript: Found this whilst looking at commandments “26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.” – Exodus 20. So this god can’t tell its believers about underwear? The Israelites have nothing like underwear? God is offended by seeing body parts it supposedly created? Or is there some magic that suddenly exposes your penis if you use steps near an altar?

Postscript 2 – Congratulations to the usual teabaggers.  You were so afraid of Obama introducing Sharia law.  And now, we have your fellow conservatives enabling it!   Yep, you now have precedent to allow anyone to claim the right to do anything, as long as they sincerely believe it.