Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – insisting on apologies for telling the truth

no-evidence-no-respectThere’s an op-ed by Christine Flowers, a conservative Catholic with a problem. She isn’t happy that her religion is presented in a less than favorable light by some emails that are supposedly from the Clinton campaign, released by Wikileaks. She demands that Ms. Clinton apologize for what one of her staffers said. Let’s see how this plays out.

Ms. Flowers is aghast that anyone would point out that her church is rather medieval in its outlook, and sophist in its approach. She, like many American Roman Catholics, has invented her own Catholicism, picking and choosing what she obeys. However, if you show that she and her church are without base for their claims and hypocrites, then the wagons get circled immediately. She claims she can’t bear to actually post what was said except for one excerpt, but we can do that easily enough.

This is the excerpt she posted “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the (Supreme Court) and think tanks to the media and social groups. It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Hmmm, now, is there anything untrue about this? Well, there is and it’s from the fellows assuming that there is anything called “Christian democracy” since that term is never supported or mentioned by the bible’s Christianity nor by the Roman Catholic Church. Some more liberal Christians from various sects (including Catholics) do go by this, but it is an invention to match modern mores, not biblical standards. The truths stated are that the RCC has very systemic thought (going all the way back to the Church fathers aka Thomism amongst others) that is still considered dogma, and the completely ignorant ideas about women and homosexuals that the RCC tries to instill as law in any country they can. We have blasphemy laws still on the books in majority Catholic countries, and we have such wannabe theocracies like El Salvador where the RCC is so strong, a woman can’t get an abortion for any reason and children are forced to have babies or die in the attempt. We also have the RCC’s efforts to prevent sex education and their concerted effort in countries in Africa where AIDS is rampant to prevent anyone from taking any precautions at all, including wearing condoms. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – insisting on apologies for telling the truth”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – pure hypocrisy

It’s no surprise at all that the woman who is doing her best to force her religion on others in Kentucky is a complete hypocrite.  Married many times, having children out of wedlock, and surprise, not considering anyone else as sinful when giving out marriage licenses to other divorcees, and evidently a couple, one of who was transgender.

She picks and chooses her bible.  She ignores the command not to be yoked to unbelievers, desperate to hold onto her job where she swore to obey the laws of the country.   She ignores the command to obey any earthly rulers since her god supposedly put *all* of them in their positions of power and thus evidently has no problem at all with the marriages between homosexuals.  She just dredges up the hate in the bible, so she can pretend her own hatred is divinely approved of.  She of course has no problem with ignoring all of those other commandments supposedly by her god.  She ignores her supposed savior when he said it was a bad thing to divorce.  for all TrueChristians claiming that atheists consider their god a vending machine, it takes a true believer to intentionally sin repeatedly and expect a deity to shell out that forgiveness they demand.

A matter of heaven or hell?  Shucks, if her version of Christianity actually is right, she’s already got herself a front row seat rubbing Satan’s bunions.

Post-script (09/07/2015 :

Best quote about this situation so far:

“A local Presbyterian pastor, Josh Akers, said Davis had a right to believe that same-sex couples shouldn’t wed. “What we don’t support is her right to impose that belief on others through the power of her office.””

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – now just where does it say “you shalt not do your job” in the bible

So… we have an entire bunch of clerks in Tennessee that have resigned their jobs rather than even have a chance of granting a marriage license to someone they don’t like, that being folks who want to marry whom they want, and not whom the clerks want them to marry.

It’s great that other people who don’t hate so much can get now some decent jobs (22% population below federal poverty level).  But where does it say in the bible that you don’t do your job or obey the government?  The bible repeatedly says obey the government.  Why?  Because the Judeo/Christian god put every government in place and every king or leader in place and this god doesn’t make mistakes.  It doesn’t say only follow it when you feel like it.

If the clerks want to cite not being yoked with others, well, they’re a bit late in that since I can be pretty sure that they’ve associated with plenty of people who have gotten divorced and remarried, Christians they don’t share beliefs with, etc.  As for calling on the “commandments”, I’m sure that the clerks don’t follow all of them though they are quick to claim that the bit about homosexuals is all-important.  How many people who work on the “Sabbath” have they murdered, in God’s name, of course.  Makes it hard to go out for lunch after church, doesn’t it?

Considering that there must have been a lot of prayers going up to prevent same-sex marriage and those failed, one can make some guesses about what was going on:

This god is fine with same-sex marriage and indeed supports it.

The Christians praying were doing it wrong.

There is no God.

Buh-bye, Pope, Bell and Butler.  Don’t let the screen door hit you on the bum on your way out.

Post-script – in a amusing turn, we have a TrueChristian(tm) Colorstorm, being unable to quote his bible in support of the clerks, and himself, but claims that Thoreau’s “Life Without Principles” supports what the clerks did.  You can see the discussion in comments.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – marriage and a lovely example of TrueChristian hysteria

Remember this. credit - Greta Christina
Remember this.
credit – Greta Christina

Whoo-hoo, marriage for all!   I hope that everyone who chooses to get married is as happy as my husband and I.

Rather than reviewing the SCOTUS decisions since others have done a better job than me, I found a typical opinion piece by one of the horrified TrueChristians, or as he puts it “orthodox Christians” (not to be confused with Orthodox Christians, of the eastern varieties). It’s much more fun to watch the schadenfreude and hypocrisy that such people create and reap for themselves.

First, a few thoughts though on the decision. The reason rights are enshrined in the Constitution is because states shouldn’t have that power. We fought a war over that. We’ve constantly been adding classes of people who get to enjoy those rights.   The dissenting justices were amazingly unprofessional sounding in their writings and ended up using nothing more than personal attacks and the logical fallacy “appeal to tradition”. All of their arguments would have been just great in defending slavery or denying women the right to vote. It strikes me as they lost their minds as soon as their religion was under fire for simply being wrong. They aren’t special snowflakes any more. Another thing that these idiots can’t quite get is that there are churches that have no problem with people who are gay and lesbian. All they want to do is enforce their particular religion on everyone.

Now, let’s get to the fun bit. An opinion piece out on the Time magazine website was written by Rod Dreher, a writer for the magazine The American Conservative. For a bunch of people who claim to hate big government, they sure want it when it can force their religion on others. We wouldn’t expect anything less. Dreher is the person who claimed that the Roman Catholic Church wasn’t at fault for allowing priests to molest children, it was the gays!

This post is full of sarcasm. Anything that resembles agreeing with these twits isn’t.

At least the fellow is smart enough not to claim that the sky is falling, at least “not yet”.   It’s always so embarrassing when “orthodox Christians”, and Orthodox Christians (not the same), and evangelical Christians, and Protestant Christians, and Catholic Christians, etc ad infinitum fail repeatedly in their predictions of how their god is going to get us, honest, really soon now.

We’re supposedly now in “post-Christian America.”  Funny how that seems to be not the case because there are churches still on many corners, still hundreds of media outlets that are entirely Christian, my local screaming preacher on street corner is still there.  Bibles are in every library and every bookstore.  Scads of websites and blogs, and golly, Mr. Dreher is still writing his very own and very TrueChristian opinions on the Time magazine website!  You know you are persecuted when you are in Time. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – marriage and a lovely example of TrueChristian hysteria”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Did you miss the social anarchy? Cal Thomas and the usual deceit by Christian conservatives

as usual, from
as usual, from

Seems like we have a wealth of less than true comments here in the news from conservative Christians.

Here in the US, the Supreme Court has essentially abdicated its responsibility and has left a series of lower court decisions to stand when it comes to the legality of same sex marriage. They have let the Equal Protection Clause argument stand. From my perspective, it seems that the usual conservative justices are too afraid of speaking their opinions on the subject (mostly Roman Catholic) and want the whole issue to just go away so they aren’t exposed for the theocratic twits that they are.

Of course, this means that the usual conservative pundits are having a conniption that their ignorance and bigotry hasn’t a chance of becoming the law of the land. One pundit has a great column in my local Sunday paper; it shows just how nasty this type of person is. The pundit is Cal Thomas, the former VP of the infamous Moral Majority, which was neither moral or a majority, a sad collection of Christians who hated other Christians, other theists and everyone else. It, and its founder Jerry Falwell (see here for some good quotes from ol’ Jerry) did its best to make the US a theocracy. It died a deserved death when people realized its predictions of dire events were nonsense and money driven by fear dried up.

Cal does want some attention, so I am inclined to give it to him, if only to show that such people still exist. They occasionally crawl back into the light and it is worth seeing what misery they might be fomenting in the darkness.

In Cal’s column, titled What Next? (my local paper doesn’t have a link to it, so we’ll use the Albany Herald’s), he says that there are three points that need to be made about the SCOTUS action to allow the Equal Protection Clause (EPC) argument to stand without challenge. The EPC states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This was originally just applied to states but it was expanded to the federal government in the 1950s with the Bolling vs Sharpe decision.

Point number one is a baseless claim which may or may not be partially true. Cal is sure that the conservative justices are all about states’ rights and simply must have wanted the states to decide for themselves on matters of equal protection under the law. He is sure that the liberal justices must have wanted to accept these cases where states banned same sex marriage and that the lower courts over turned those laws. This doesn’t make much sense because if the SCOTUS let the lower courts ruling stand, as it did, the liberal justices would have to do nothing and still agree with the result and still have the overturning of DOMA on their side. If the conservative justices thought their arguments had merit, they would have wanted to establish that states rights trumped federal. They intentionally chose not to. Why would they allow lower court decisions that they did not agree with stand? It seems that they were not confident in their arguments at all and again, did not want to be forced to declare what they really believed, that some people have more rights than others according to religion.

Cal tries to make the argument that maybe (!) they conservative justices didn’t want to have another Roe vs Wade, because they didn’t want to create a controversy that would exist for a long time. Umm, Cal? Roe vs Wade didn’t create a controversy; it came about because of a controversy, if women could exercise their rights without interference from the government.  Same sex marriage has been a controversy for years; having one more ruling on it would make no difference to that controversy. You and yours would still be claiming that the sky will fall if you don’t get your religious beliefs made law.

Point number two is Cal trying to claim that it’s fine for the court to ignore its responsibilities because it stops “judicial activism”. If there is no ruling, then the judges weren’t activist and no one can complain about conservative justices being the same activists as they say liberal justices are. What an attempt to claim that well it’s no our fault if something bad happens and oooooh, it will, honest, really, just like every other prediction of disaster if we go against some religion. I live about 20 miles from Dover, PA, where another Christian conservative predicted dire consequences for saying that his religion was wrong and still nothing. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Did you miss the social anarchy? Cal Thomas and the usual deceit by Christian conservatives”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Study has evidence that religion does not make one more moral. Theist shakes his head furiously, hoping that equals evidence

threat__-650x487A research report “Morality in Everyday Life” was featured in the September 2014 issue of Science (this is just the abstract, there’s a fee to read it in its entirety). This research demonstrated that religious people and non-religious people did not differ in the number of moral acts that they did And of course, this sent the theists into a tizzy, because a common claim is that no human can be a decent moral human being without some magical being to enforce this behavior by promises of reward or punishment after a human dies. I’ve had more than a few Christians tell me how horrible a person they would be/were if they didn’t have their god requiring them to be decent so they can get their magical prize in the afterlife. (One can read more about the study in some articles at the NYT, a blog about empirical research on morality, the Daily Mail article mentioned below, and a pdf of an article from one of the participating universities in the study. As always, this study is not the final word on such things, until it is supported by more research.

Now with that as background, you’ll understand more as I address an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette claiming that the religious have one up on the rest of us because religion is a moral “safety net”. This is by a fellow named Tom Purcell, a conservative who has been featured on such lovely things as the Rush Limbaugh show (one of the more verminous conservative liars in the US), the Laura Ingraham show (a woman who subs for Bill “I have no idea how tides work” O’Reilly on Fox News, and why yes, she *is* blonde and finds homosexuals e.g. “sodomites” and feminists abhorrent. Well, she does think that homosexuals should have some rights now just like so many conservatives who suddenly have an out family member.)

So, what does Mr. Purcell have to say? Well, boiled down, it comes down to a grudging acknowledgement of the study but a baseless claim that religion somehow “helps” having morality, even though the study showed that it did not. Unsurprisingly, this is another example of how a type of theist will do anything to ignore reality in favor of making false claims to shore up their religion. It isn’t only creationists…

In this study, the researchers reviewed the acts recorded and assigned them as they related to six principles related to morality: authority, caring for others, fairness, liberty, loyalty and sanctity, which I assume must mean the dictionary definition: the quality of being worthy of worship.   Again, the research says that religion has no impact on acts based on these things. All the research came down to is that theists may feel more positive emotions when doing/observing moral things, aka “I did good so I feel good. I see someone doing good, I think they should be rewarded.” and more negative emotions when doing/observing immoral things aka “I did bad so I feel guilty. I see someone doing bad, I think they should be punished.”

After reviewing the study, Mr. Purcell says “It is certainly true that nonreligious people can be principled and that regular churchgoers can be crooks in their business dealings.” Here seems to be the usual claim that not all Christians are “TrueChristians”, with the attendant circular argument that TrueChristians are Good are TrueChristians, etc.

Mr. Purcell argues that “many religions people” have a framework and community that helps them lead “more” moral lives. Which is again not supported by the evidence presented in the study. He claims that religion gives theists a “methodology”, that allows them to decide what is moral and what is not, what is “good” and what is “bad”. This is a problem since many things that are god-approved and deemed moral in the various holy books are seen now as very immoral and bad. This shows that religions are no objective way to know what is moral and what is not and thus, this “framework” is not to be trusted at all. This lack of any special powers of religion also jibes with the evidence that there is no difference between theists and non-theists when it comes to actions.

Mr. Purcell mentions that Greek philosophers had names for what is good: prudence, temperance, etc. They did indeed, and again it shows that no particular religion has anything special about it. The ancient cultures, from Greek to Chinese to Egyptian, were talking about morality long before any Abramic religions were around. The idea of the “golden rule” was nothing new. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Study has evidence that religion does not make one more moral. Theist shakes his head furiously, hoping that equals evidence”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – on the anonymous ad about the same sex marriage decision in the Harrisburg Patriot News

Support-Traditional-MarriageTo get myself in the mood for ridiculing bigots, I’m watching Blazing Saddles and The Constitution USA with Peter Sagal as I write this post. On June 22, 2014, there appeared an anonymous advertisement on page A16 of the Harrisburg Patriot News (Harrisburg, PA). It was ostensibly about how “wrong” Judge Jones III was when he struck down Pennsylvania’s protection of heterosexual marriage nonsense.

It’s quite a word salad, always using a $5 word where a $1 word would do. What it boils down to is the old claims that if we allow homosexual marriage, then we’ll allow people to marry trees and that the marriage of two heterosexuals is the only “natural” marriage because it’ll result in children. I guess that my marriage of 20+ years isn’t a “natural marriage”. I’m guessing that we can safely assume that our anonymous ad poster is a Roman Catholic, since they are so impressed by claims of “natural” whatever and having children. Of course, I probably offended our anonymous source by saying that such a TrueChristian is a Catholic since, you know, Catholics are sun worshippers, or Satanists or Papists, or whatever Protestant Christians want to call them in their Christian “love”.

The above is all I really need to say about the ad, thanks to the usual lack of creativity of the average TrueChristian. However, it’s just too much fun to actually read this mess and point out its failures. Let’s proceed, shall we? Alas, this isn’t available online, since it’s just an ad and not actually part of the paper. I’ll do my best of picking out the best and most representative quotes from our anonymous TrueChristian source. I think I’ll call them “Annie”, just like a character I particularly revile from the unfortunate prequels from the Star Wars universe….. (If someone really wants to look at this mess in the original, just ask and I’ll scan it in.)

First Paragraph: “In effect, he (Judge Jones) reinforced the truth that all are created equal and have individual rights that can’t be denied; thereby, proving that homosexual individuals have been discriminated against.”

Isn’t it great that a TrueChristian has admitted that they’ve been lying all along and that everyone is created equal and deserves individual rights? Why, Annie is admitting that there is indeed discrimination. I wonder, would Annie support the attempts to pass laws in PA to prevent discrimination of homosexuals in jobs and other daily activities? I somehow doubt this but alas, we can’t ask Annie since he/she is hiding.

Ah, but then Annie decides that the problem with Judge Jones’ decision is that homosexual marriages and heterosexual marriages are innately different and thus can’t be considered “equal”. Our Annie claims that Judge Jones did this “In doing so, he immediately stepped away from the Constitutional protections of due process, and the rights and equality of individuals.”   Annie wants to claim that unions are different from individuals and thus have different rights. If the marriages aren’t “equal”, then Annie claims, they can’t be treated as equal.

So, how aren’t these marriages equal? Why yes, dear reader, it’s because marriages are only expected to produce children. Again, per Annie, my marriage of over 20 years isn’t a real marriage, only marriages that he/she approves of are “real”. Let’s see what Annie says: “An essential importance that focuses on the core difference is that a homosexual union hasn’t the physical structure, or capability within itself, to conceive another human being, or raise offspring with a male (father) and female (mother) influence as intended by a marriage.” Just like our other TrueChristian, Brandon McGinley, we get to see TrueChristians insisting that no one but them and those who agree with them have real marriages and real families. At least our Annie has decided that families with adoptive children are real families as opposed to Mr. McGinley. Alas, they are only “real” families if they have a male and a female in the household, so sorry you folks who have single parents thanks to divorce, death or any other reason. You simply don’t qualify. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – on the anonymous ad about the same sex marriage decision in the Harrisburg Patriot News”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Pennsylvania’s anti-equal marriage rights law struck down; let the whining commence

330-Morality-Slavery-or-Homosexuality-Guess-which-one-the-bibles-ok-with-biblical-ethics-insanity-bigotryFinally, a break from work and a chance to kibbitz on the interwebs. Here in the US, we are celebrating Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have fallen in combat during our various wars. It’s also a time for celebrating the summer, even though it isn’t officially summer yet. Everyone wants to grill something outside, so the meat department is very busy.

Oy, I’m tired.

But that’s nothing new. We did have a great development here in PA when Judge John E. Jones III struck down the PA anti-marriage law, which said only certain people approved of by certain religions can enjoy the benefits of marriage. Judge Jones, you might remember, also was the judge for the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial which showed intelligent design to be the same as creationism much to the disappointment of those who were doing their best to sneak their religion into public schools. Judge Jones may be one of the few Republicans left who respects the rights of people and the existence of the US Constitution. They are still out there, those who favor the government to stay out people’s lives and to be fiscally responsible, but they are a vanishing breed. It may interest you to know that even Rick Santorum supported this judge’s confirmation. So much for claim of “activist liberal judge”. I wonder, does he do so now that Judge Jones dares to disagree with him and his desire to make the US a theocracy?

Of course, we do have the usual suspects throwing fits about this. Rep. Metcalfe, often a target of derision on this blog, has suffered quite a bit lately, with this and with the defeat of his attempts at requiring everyone to have “papers” to vote. We also have the Pennsylvania Family Institute (aka the Pennsylvania Family Council, and Independence Law Center, all the same organization) insisting that the sky is falling again. It’s always amusing when people who are so virulently anti-family, always have to add that to their official names of their organizations. It’s as if no one would realize that they cared about families at all if it wasn’t in their name. They may be interested in families but only those they approve of. One does wonder, do they approve of any family that doesn’t teach their particular religion? I do have reason to doubt that, with their carrying on about how marriage is *only* for a few.

Brandon McGinley, their “field director”, and he of claims that homosexuality can be “overcome” and that homosexuality is going to destroy any vision he has of appropriate “masculinity”, has an interesting op-ed in the local Sunday paper today. Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty much what you might expect from someone like Mr. McGinley. For a fun read about Mr. McGinley’s views, PA GLAAD has a great series of screen caps of Mr. McGinley’s tweets.

But enough of that, let’s take a look at the claims that Mr. McGinley makes. First, there is the claims of how dare anyone reject the “traditional” meaning of marriage and how marriage is somehow only a “unique” thing that only means man marries woman, they must have kids and nothing else. I guess that Mr. McGinley would be sure that my marriage of 22+ years isn’t a “real” marriage. But the state already disagrees with him and has for years. It’s a shock that he isn’t protesting my marriage, but that would be a bit of a problem since he also isn’t whining about divorces too, something else that his bible says is a “very bad thing”.

We get right into the claims of how this was an “activist” decision “unnecessarily broad in scope, faulty in reasoning and, to many, malicious in rhetoric”. Of course, there is nothing about this supposedly “faulty” reasoning, just vague claims of that. Silly of me to expect someone like Mr. McGinley to actually say how the reasoning if faulty. He also does skirt around the fact that more than half of Pennsylvanians approve of equal marriage laws and it was only our representatives that voted to have a law restricting marriage.

Then we get into the meat of the baseless accusations. Mr. McGinley is horrified by Judge Jones’ phrase “We are a better people than what these laws represent. And it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history”.  He is sure that anyone who uses such a phrase isn’t interested in “healthy public discourse”, aka allowing people like Mr. McGinley attempt to make homosexuality a thing to be hated, as he has admitted he wants to do. Mr. McGinley can continue to try spread his claims as much as he wants, but not with the tacit blessing of the government by its restriction of equal treatment under the law. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Pennsylvania’s anti-equal marriage rights law struck down; let the whining commence”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Pennsylvania legislator at it again – Arizona redux

330-Morality-Slavery-or-Homosexuality-Guess-which-one-the-bibles-ok-with-biblical-ethics-insanity-bigotryFirst, I’m happy that Arizona got rid of the legislation that would have legalized discrimination.

Of course, that doesn’t prevent more people from trying the same thing.  If you’ve been reading this blog, we often have our state legislators doing something ridiculous when trying to get their versions of their religions into the law.  Gordon Denlinger, a Republican  State House member from Lancaster County (and graduate of Bob Jones University) says he will be crafting a bill that will change PA’s state constitution so that….well let’s see what the Representative says for himself in the memo announcing this nonsense:

“William Penn, for whom our Commonwealth is named, established Pennsylvania as a haven for those seeking freedom of conscience and freedom to worship.  These ideals have been debated and reexamined throughout our history and remain timely and important today.  I believe that in a modern Pennsylvania we must be vigilant in protecting individual rights of conscience and those who live and act based on their sincerely held beliefs. 
That is why I believe that the time has come to propose an amendment to the Commonwealth’s Constitution that will strengthen right of conscience protections for all Pennsylvanians.  Specifically, I plan to propose a new section in Article I – the Pennsylvania “bill of rights” – that will prohibit government from punishing an individual or entity if the individual or entity makes hiring or other employment decisions, or provide services, accommodations (including housing accommodations), advantages, facilities, goods or privileges based on sincerely held beliefs. 
Further, under my proposed constitutional amendment, an individual or entity may not be found to have discriminated in making employment related decisions or providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges if the action was based on the sincerely held beliefs of the individual or entity.  
We must be vigilant in protecting this core founding principal of our Commonwealth.  I believe that my proposed constitutional amendment will serve to ensure that the actions of our modern-day government do not infringe upon individual rights of conscience.
I encourage you to consider cosponsoring this important and timely proposal.  Thank you.”  

A good take down on why Denlinger is merrily pandering away and wasting everyone’s time can be found here in a blog post by John Micek, Opinion Editor of the local paper, the Patriot News.  However, I want to take a look at this nonsense and use the wonderful powers of ridicule against its utter wrongness.

Big-BrotherDenlinger wants to protect the rights of people to do whatever their “conscience” tells them to do and whatever their “sincerely held beliefs” tell them to do.  Whatever language he will propose (supposedly under review by “constitutional law experts” at this very moment), will keep government from punishing any person or entity who intentionally discriminates in employment decisions or providing various services.  It also will protect them if they intentionally discriminate against people in giving “advantages” and “privileges”; I’m not quite sure what those words mean in this context but it certainly does sound vague and broad.  He also seems to want to declare that no one can say that a person or entity can be called discriminatory even though that is exactly what they are doing.  Shades of 1984, if we declare that discrimination isn’t really discrimination, we can pretend that it isn’t happening.   Rep. Denlinger claims to be shocked that anyone could possibly thing that his proposed legislation would lead to discrimination “Most disturbing to me is that some have chosen to portray the bill as being an open door to renewed discrimination.”   Rep. Denlinger, people think it will lead to discrimination because that is *exactly* what you are proposing to legalize.  Just because you don’t want to call it discrimination doesn’t  magically make it something else.  “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;”  or stink  like this legislation does.

Denlinger of course hides behind the skirts of William Penn, a Quaker who did indeed create Pennsylvania as a place of religious freedom.  Alas, Rep. Denlinger doesn’t seem to realize that religious freedom can only be practiced until it hits upon the freedoms of another human being.

Let’s take a look at what it would “really” take to make this law work.  If you want the right to discriminate and not be “yoked” to those who don’t agree with you, we need a few ground rules so we know who you don’t want in your stores, your neighborhoods and anywhere else.  And again, this is entirely to ridicule those who want such things as Denlinger’s proposal.  Some may claim I’m on the verge of, or sliding down, a slippery slope fallacy here, but we know that the only societies that have approved of baseless discrimination weren’t the best examples of human civilization. Is it so hard to see where this could go again?

First the general public needs to see just who is taking advantage of this “freedom”.  Most of us usually don’t want to be where we aren’t wanted. There needs to be a uniform set of signs that you can put up so everyone can see who isn’t wanted where.  Maybe we can even have degrees of how much you don’t like a group by the degree of bigoted term you use on your signs. For instance rather than just saying “Homosexuals not served.”, you can go with one of the many nastier terms for homosexuals.  Then everyone can really know just how much of a jackass you are.

Another problem is how do you tell if someone is part of a group you don’t like?  You won’t know if those people you don’t like are daring to use your services and they might be infringing on your “freedom”.  Granted, some attributes that you don’t like are hard to hide, like skin color, but what about the LGBT person who isn’t the stereotype that the righteous bigot expects?  Indeed, what about atheists?  Can you tell if I’m an atheist just by looking at me?  What about people of different religions?  Hmmm, do we need to wear badges so you can be “free” to know who to chase away?

So much for that, eh?

Rep. Denlinger seems to believe that he and his socially conservative and right leaning neighbors are under attack by the government: “As I seek to initiate a public dialogue on conscience-level protections, I need to share my strong sense that many of my socially moderate and left-leaning friends do not realize that their social and religious conservative neighbors all across Lancaster County (and I count myself among this cohort) are fully convinced that government-sanctioned persecution of individuals and entities holding to traditional beliefs is not only coming — it is already here” 

Shucks, how dare the US government support the idea that all people are created equal and expect Americans to follow that.  And the claims of persecution…  Really, Rep. Denlinger?  You’re persecuted if you can’t discriminate against anyone that is different than you?  Such “wonderful” traditional values you have.  Oh noes, I can’t punch someone in the nose so I’m persecuted!  Sigh.   As always, it seems that so many of these people who claim persecution have no idea what persecution is.  Theists of various types can and are persecuted in various places around the world, including being killed for what they believe by other theists.  To claim persecution here in the US, where there are hundreds of radio stations and tv stations entirely devoted to religions, where there is a tax exemption for religions, where religious institutions do not have to follow most, if not all, anti-discrimination laws, and where there are multiple churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc in every community, is ridiculous.  No one is saying that anyone has to give up their “sincerely held beliefs”.  You can be as much of a prejudiced twit as you want, in your home, in your church, or at a rally or online.  You just can’t try to have your cake and eat it it too when it comes to interacting with a free society.  You can hate me as much as you want but you can’t interfere with my life.

I would take a moment to point out a certain sentence to Rep. Denlinger, a sentence of his own: “I believe that in a modern Pennsylvania we must be vigilant in protecting individual rights of conscience and those who live and act based on their sincerely held beliefs.” Sounds great doesn’t it?  But as always, such interest in individuals’ rights only seems to apply to one group of people, e.g. Rep. Denlinger’s “social and religious conservative neighbors”.   For someone who is so concerned with individual rights and the ability to practice one’s beliefs, he does his best to make sure those who he doesn’t agree with don’t have that freedom at all (he was a co-sponsor on HB 2381 back in 2006, one of the first attempts to get a constitutional ban on marriages other than what Denlinger et all want as marriages.  He was also a co-sponsor of good ol’ Rep. Metcalfe’s 2013 bill HB 1349 trying the same thing last year  *and* a co-sponsor of the “turn your head” ultrasound bill).   Why can’t other people believe what they want and do what they want, Rep. Denlinger? Some religious believers have no problem with gay marriage and you have repeatedly taken away their right to do what they believe so who’s religious freedom are we talking about here?  Certainly not everyone’s.

Again it seems that yet one more TrueChristian is trying to legislate his beliefs into law. There is no concern for real freedom here, only the usual attempts at controlling others.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 2, The lie of “think of the children” Pennsylvania style

040-If-you-want-to-assert-a-truthPart 1 here.


A rather pathetic example of one of those Christians who want to pretend their personal beliefs should be made law is a recent op-ed “Defend marriage, for the kids’ sake” (yep, he went there) It was written by Brian McGinley of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, another one of those organizations that has to put “family” in its name since no one would notice it from their actions.  It should read the “Pennsylvania Family As We Define It Institute”.  Mr. McGinley starts off with the usual emotional appeal  “Think of the Children!” nonsense citing how much kids are hurt by single parents(women of course), fatherlessness, divorce, etc.  Funny how Mr. McGinley and his ilk are never advocating laws to stop divorces, to force parents to stay together.  Of course, they don’t; since their ignorant constituencies want their divorces.  And funny how Mr. McGinley can’t actually cite one actual study showing his claims to be true.

And what does the opening salvo have to do with gay marriage?  Well, nothing as we can see.  And what’s hilarious that gay marriage between two guys would supply that supposed need for fathers doubly!  Surely, Mr. McGinley would be for such a thing.  Oh, but they wouldn’t be “real” fathers per Mr. McGinley.  Mr. McGinley of course wants to declare that marriage is only “real” if the biological parents are the ones raising the kids and who are stuck together with no other choice.  Sorry, folks who care enough to marry another person with kids, sorry those parents who had a mate that was dangerous and worthless and are doing it on your own,  you aren’t good enough per Mr. McGinley and his “Pennsylvania Family Institute”  even if you are straight.  They want to deny your rights too.

My husband and I have been married 22 years.  That’s far longer than his many brothers and sisters who have kids and who have had multiple divorces.  We got simply lucky in that we married someone that some ignorant people deign to “approve of”.  If I add that we have no children and chose to do that, there are those who would say we aren’t “really” married either and who would take our rights away.  Just like Mr. McGinley “Makes no mistake about it: If marriage is not about children, there is no reason for it to exist at all.”  My rights are at risk too.

Mr. McGinley is a sad little man and one helluva hypocrite.  “Surely we don’t need the government to bless our private sexual relationships to give them value and meaning.”  He cries crocodile tears when he says “How sad it would be if our relationships depended on the blessing of the state?”  But that is exactly what he wants done by the state, since we depend on the state to do more than just approve our sex.  It approves our relationships, and Mr. McGinley wants to declare that no one but those he approves of can have legal rights to share our loved one’s life.

Mr. McGinley does do one thing that I’m sure he doesn’t intend “But we don’t (and shouldn’t) make public policy based on cultural trends. We make public policy based on reasons and arguments about the common good—and especially the good of the voiceless and vulnerable who are our society’s future.”  Hmmm, but we do make public policy on cultural trends that come from reason and arguments for the common good, not just the good of those selfish and ignorant, be they majority or minority, who want to deny equal rights to everyone.  That’s how the stupidity of miscegenation was destroyed.  That’s how integration came about.  We used reason and arguments about the common good, not the whining of a few religions (Christian, Islam, Jewish, etc) that want to pretend that their god agrees with them.  We are speaking up for the voiceless and vulnerable, those who Mr. McGinley would love to deny equal rights.

It’s not about the children for Mr. McGinley.  It’s only about Mr. McGinley.