Ramona's picture

    The Pope's Parting Gift to Bigotry

    While much of the country was still coming off of the Papal Visit high last week (it was a trip, wasn't it?), that parade was not only rained on yesterday, it was deluged.

    Less than a week after Pope Francis the Terrific thrilled the country with a visit that filled our very souls with joy (Right?), the Papal love-fest is threatening to become a veritable wash-out. How did this happen? How could it happen?

    (Posting at Crooks and Liars.  Read more here.)

    Ramona's picture

    Okay Meanies, You Can Come Out Now. The Pope Is Gone.

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how quiet the resident meanies were while the Pope was here? Even Donald Trump gave it a rest for a few days.  Or am I wrong?  Did I just not notice because, to their credit (and my relief), the press took to covering the Pope every day in every way and kept it nice?

    Ramona's picture

    How Do You Shame The Shameless?

    Every now and then I get to thinking about shame; about its legitimacy as a teaching tool ("Kids are starving in China and you won't eat your peas?"), about its necessity in a civilized society ("Shut the door! Were you born in a barn?"), and about its mean-spirited use as a weapon ("What kind of #$&*% are you, anyway?").

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    In Praise of Fred Rogers

    A county clerk down in Kentucky, Kim Davis, is refusing to do her job, getting herself thrown in jail for contempt, and posing as a martyr. Once again, an extremist and divisive version of Christianity, obsessed with minor points of doctrine and followed by only a minority of Christians, is presented to the American public as "Christianity." This is nonsense, of course. Only a tiny, tiny minority of Christians believe that handing same-sex couples a wedding license is somehow sinful.

    Ramona's picture

    "Onward, Christian Soldiers". Not just a hymn anymore.

    I guess you've heard that the Rightward so-called Christians have a flag, yes, a flag, and some of them think it would be cool to fly it above the American flag on the same pole, even though flag etiquette has said forever that no flag should fly above Old Glory.  Their reasoning?  Something about God coming first, which they assume any good American should obviously recognize.

    Ramona's picture

    Christian Guy talks up rape and murder of Atheist Wives and Daughters at Prayer Breakfast. More Coffee, Anyone?

    Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty actor and self- professed loyal follower of Jesus Christ, Son of God--the same guy who's been in trouble before for saying bad stuff he heard straight from God's mouth--had this to say at a prayer breakfast the other day:

    "I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’ "
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Religious Freedom vs, Religious Privilege (or, Franklin vs. Penn)

    The version of "religious liberty" currently promoted by the American right, best exemplified by the Hobby Lobby decision and the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," is not only a recipe for future religious disputes and persecution. It represents an approach to religious freedom that has already created trouble. It was tried and abandoned so early in the American Experiment that most of us don't learn it in school.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Religious Liberty vs. Hobby Lobby

    Let's start with one thing. It is not acceptable for my boss to make my religious decisions. It is not acceptable for your boss to make your religious decisions, or for somebody else's boss to make religious decisions for them. Your religious freedom is yours, alone. It does not belong to your employer, to your landlord, or to anybody else. The deepest stupidity of the inane Hobby Lobby decision is that it uses religious freedom to let your boss take away your religious freedom. That is not acceptable. And it is not sustainable.

    Ramona's picture

    Will the Real God Please Stand Up

    I don't know God personally, of course, but it's a good bet He isn't looking kindly upon His follower, Tristan Emmanuel, who was out there defending His Good Name by calling for the flogging or hanging of a comedian (a comedian) because this "pugnacious degenerate" made some jokes about God and the proven nature of His wrath. (Proven, I should mention, because the Old Testament is full of stories about a God who is just scary angry. It's all in there.)

    Ramona's picture

    The Story: Pentecostal Snake Handler refuses help and dies. My Reaction: Surprising, even to Me


    For days now, since I heard about the death of Jamie Coots, the snake-handling preacher from Middlesboro, Kentucky, I've been struggling with my own thoughts about it.  There is no reason in the world why I should be involved in any of it.  I didn't know him.  I had never before heard of his church.  And I didn't know before this weekend, when I read about his death, that he had been the star of a National Geographic Channel series called "Snake Salvation".

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Your Top Ten Anti-Christian Acts of 2013

    The title of this post comes from the subject line of an email that I received from Dr. Gary L. Cass, head of the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission." If you read on, you'll notice that none of the "top ten anti-Christian acts of 2013" represent actual discrimination against Christians. Most of them are about Christians' "right" to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Sunrise and Sunset

    When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Amy Winehouse was still alive and the launch of Apple's first iPad was a month away.  We are talking ancient history, here.  Yet, as I write this, we are less than 12 hours away from a government shutdown caused by a budget impasse caused by Republican insistence that the law now known as Obamacare be delayed and then defunded.  The Republican struggle to unpass the ACA has not ceased since it became law.  Along the way the name "Obamacare" changed from a term of derision to one that the President now owns.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Tribal Knowledge

    Fox News's hostile interview with Reza Aslan has lit up the internet. (See Michael Maiello and Historiann for two of the smarter takes.) Obviously, interviewer Lauren Green's insistence that something must be very wrong for a Muslim to write a book about Jesus, and that such a book must be wrong, is a problem.

    Ramona's picture

    Forcing Religion in Public Schools is not Frowned on in Mississippi. I'm Shocked.


    So one day somebody at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Mississippi came up with the idea to hold a series of mandatory Christian assemblies, where students would be required to watch a Christian video and listen to ministers (and fellow students) from the Pinelake Baptist Church preach to them about the importance of being a Christian. 

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Justice Roberts's Gay Marriage (and Mine)

    The Supreme Court spent Holy Week (or, as Jesus would call it, Passover) debating gay marriage, which Chief Justice John Roberts clearly opposes. Religious opponents of gay marriage like to argue that the purpose of marriage is to beget children, so that only heterosexual marriages are "real," because only biological fertility makes a marriage "real." By this standard John Roberts's own marriage is not real, and neither is mine. I do not believe that, and neither should he.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Islam and Intolerance

    There is a touch of hypocrisy in Mitt Romney's strident defense of free speech. It is hard to imagine that "freedom of speech" would be the first words out of his mouth if Jesus Christ were the target of ridicule instead of Muhammad.

    Still, though Romney and his supporters would surely bristle at an offensive caricature of Jesus, the ambassadors of Muslim nations have nothing to fear from mobs of Christian fanatics. The United States has its fair share of religious zealots, but they are not prone to rioting and violence when their sacred symbols are profaned.

    Why is that? Why are the Middle East and Indian subcontinent so much more more susceptible to religious explosions of mob violence than Western countries?

    DF's picture

    Debate The Controversy!

    As we all know, there are two - and only two - sides to every story.  It's an article of faith in contemporary American political life.  He said one thing, she said another.  We must, of course, exhibit both sides in order to get a fair and balanced view of any issue.  After all, the truth will invariably be found somewhere in the middle.

    Ramona's picture

    Hatred in a Lovely Church

     As I watched that hideous video showing Pastor Charles Worley's recent headline-grabbing rants about penning gays and lesbians inside miles-long electrified corrals until they die, I couldn't help but notice his surroundings. (Okay, go and watch it if you haven't seen it.  But then come back and we'll talk.)

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    A Cardinal's Regret

    In 1975, the Catholic Church of Ireland sent Father Sean Brady to interview two teenage boys who had been abused by their priest, Brendan Smyth. Brady recorded their harrowing testimony and submitted it to his superiors, who transferred Smyth to a different parish, again and again. Twenty years later, Smyth was finally imprisoned after being convicted on 153 counts of child abuse in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Meanwhile, Father Sean Brady moved up the Church hierarchy. He is now Cardinal Sean Brady.

    After the BBC recently reported his role in Smyth's investigation, Brady publicly expressed regret. He regrets that his superiors dealt inappropriately with Smyth. He regrets that the Church had no "guidelines" for handling pedophilia by priests. He regrets that he and others did not understand the "full impact of abuse" on the lives of children.

    But for his own role in abetting child abuse, Cardinal Brady's regret is rather meager. He explained that he was nothing more than a note-taker without any authority to act. As to why he remained silent when his superiors transferred Smyth, he reluctantly conceded, "I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church."



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