Archive for category Religious Fundamentalism
This one is a winner. This is why America is deteriorating. Republicans are uninformed, vacuous people.
And if so, in what ways?
In 2008, Republicans did everything they could to make Barack Obama’s religion an issue. Fox had 30 seconds of Jeremiah Wright on endless loop for ages. This year, with Mitt Romney’s candidacy we’re apparently not supposed to talk about religion at all.
There’s a video making the rounds which purports to have been secretly filmed inside a Mormon temple during the secret ceremonies. I’ve watched the video and it seems entirely consistent with what I’ve heard about those ceremonies. OTOH, I’ve never actually gone through Mormon temple ceremonies so I can’t vouch for its accuracy. As a non-Mormon the rituals certainly seem daffy. A hand comes through a veil, you grasp it a certain way and you answer a question, then grasp it another way and answer another question and so on.
Watching the video, the whole ritual seemed more than a bit daffy to me. But then I’m an inveterate skeptic and am subject to the church giggles at almost given moment in almost any worship service. I recognize that faithful Mormons take these rituals very seriously. The formal language, the gradual initiation into spiritual mysteries, the process by which previous initiates welcome new comers are serious and profound to the faithful. Mormon theology and mysticism seems structured around a similar pattern of advancing through a series of initiation, each leading into deeper knowledge of the spiritual mysteries. On the site I first saw the video, the headline read “Mitt Romney Believes in This.” Which brings me to the question I find myself pondering – is a candidate’s religion relevant? And if so, in what ways?
In a recent op-ed, Salt Lake Tribune writer George Pyle argued that:
Following no organized religion does not mean that individuals do not believe in God, or a higher power. It just means they are compelled to define and follow that power on their own, being responsible for their own decisions, not outsourcing their thinking to any Earthly leader. And that should make democracy easier, not harder.
When no single religion is in a superior position of power, participants in a democracy must find another common language, the language of civil society, in which to converse. Preferred policies must be argued in terms of rational facts, because no one can simply claim it is God’s will and shut down the conversation.
This assertion is not controversial and should not be controversial.
Paul Mero wrote a surprisingly arrogant response to Pyle’s editorial. Mero, for those who don’t know, is a leading Utah based recipient of Wingnut Welfare as head of the Sutherland institute. Mero’s main point is summed up:
. . . there is no civil society without religion. Religion is a basic human value; it is a human good. All but the secular mind pause to reflect persistently on the purpose of life. Not only is this reflection natural to every reasonable human being, it is a requirement for human excellence.
An article by Adam Streeter, born and raised in Happy Valley:
I grew up Mormon, and every year I endured a hair-raising interview to get my “temple recommend.” (Think of it like Mormon “security clearance.”) It was a firewalk in the guise of an annual interrogation. Everyone in my life would know if I failed. I’d be excluded from joining my family and friends in Temple rituals. Rumors would flood my neighborhood in Utah Valley. And every year, the same question threatened to consume me with shame.
“Do you touch yourself?”
Each time I lied, I plunged into a very Mormon kind of hell.
Mano Singham in response to the attacks on US Embassies in response to a movie that says mean things about Islam:
When private individuals have been attacked by religious zealots, the acts have been condemned but also resulted in calls for greater sensitivity to the feelings of religious people. That is wrong-headed. What we really need is a greater global sensitivity to the right of free speech. Muslims, like any other religious group, will have to come to terms with the fact that their religious beliefs cannot be allowed to put limits on the speech of others however deliberately offensive it may seem to them.
I work with teens on a weekly basis and that experience makes me find Rev. Benedict Groeschel’s statements even more reprehensible. The old bastard said:
People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.
He wasn’t done:
Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.
It’s an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers. [snip]
And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.
I may be wrong, but I don’t recall the National Association of Social Workers and the NEA and the state Bar Associations spending decades knowingly protecting pedophiles.
I’m stunned at the lack of understanding this man demonstrates. I’m beyond disgusted.
I’ve seen kids get very attached to their youth leaders and being young they sometimes confuse the love they feel for romantic feelings but the adult has responsibility for setting healthy boundaries and helping teens understand the difference between the very real platonic love they feel and romantic love.
If Groeschel is an example of the moral leadership in the Catholic church, it’s no wonder the church is full of priests who spend their afternoons diddling children.
A brutally honest article from Martha Spong, UCC minister, at HuffPo. The Money Quote:
Old Husbands’ Tales are based in a belief that women are unequal to men, that they are in effect property to be used at will. What’s a “legitimate” rape? An attack by a stranger on an innocent virgin? It’s an Old Husbands’ Tale that there can be no rape in marriage, because a man has the right to do what he wants with his wife. It’s an Old Husbands’ Tale that a woman can run faster with her skirt up than a man with his pants down. (Yes, some people call that a joke.) It’s an Old Husbands’ Tale that “men have needs,” and that takes us down other roads that show a disregard for women as a class. It’s an Old Husbands’ Tale that women don’t even know if they’ve been raped.
The whole thing is worth a read.
The Family Research Council (a group the SPLC identified as a hate group for its ongoing use of lies, distortions and untruths about glbt persons) and Liberty Institute, another right wing organization, recently released a study which they claim documents more than 600 instances of hostility toward religious liberty:
Liberty Institute attorney Justin Butterfield tells OneNewsNow what his group hopes to accomplish with the study’s findings.
“We want to raise awareness of the issue. A lot of people think that hostility because of people’s religious beliefs and attacks on religious liberty are things that happen elsewhere in the world, not in the United States,” he notes. “We just want to show that it actually happens with increasing and alarming regularity here in the United States.”
Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford and FRC President Tony Perkins are presenting the study before the Republican Party Convention platform committee to raise that awareness.
I’ve been very skeptical about claims made by the religious right concerning discrimination against and bigotry towards Christians. However, this report is based on an audacious claim – 600+ incidents of hostility towards religion? Documented and published? As a matter of due diligence I figured I owed it to myself to check out the report. I downloaded the report. It’s 135 breezy pages long consisting of short summaries of instances the authors identify as hostility to religion and citations (either the case information or links to online news reports). The report is helpfully broken down in sections based on what type of hostility the authors deemed to have occurred (i.e. public expressions of faith, in schools, workplaces, about monuments and public displays, etc.)
I picked a few cases at random. Read the rest of this entry »
In a “What the actual fuck?!” moment yesterday (possibly the leading WTF? moment of the year), Rep. Todd Akin (conservative Republican, of course) said:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” said Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”
First off, “a legitimate rape”? As opposed to an illegitimate one? And what the hell kind of distinction is that?
Second, the notion that a woman’s body has some magical way of preventing a rapists sperm from swimming to her ovum is completely nuts.
Third, Akin was simply spouting the anti-choice, women controlling slut shaming party line.
The myth that “real” rapes don’t result in pregnancy is widespread among anti-choicers—and not just the fringe (Akin, for instance, used to be on the board of Missouri Right to Life). You can see a variation of this myth at the anti-choice website Abortion Facts:
To get pregnant and stay pregnant, a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy.
As Marcotte explains:
Akin’s comment should serve as a reminder that despite its sentimentality surrounding the fetus, the anti-choice movement is motivated by misogyny and ignorance about human sexuality. In this case, what underlies the rape-doesn’t-get-you-pregnant myth is the notion that sex is shameful and that slutty women will do anything—even send an innocent man to jail to kill a baby—in order to avoid facing the consequences of their actions.
Kaili Joy Gray at DKos:
Yes, Rep. Todd Akin is the latest Republican to explain how rape just ain’t no thang, but he’s not the first. In fact, he joins a long and proud tradition of the Republican Party explaining why women who are raped are probably lying, are making much ado about nothing, and should learn to enjoy and appreciate the plus side of being raped.
Gray then offers a series of quotes from Republicans such Rick Santorum:
As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. [...] I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.
Akin’s statement is completely nuts, shows no knowledge of biology, and attributes magical powers to ladyparts . Santorum’s statement is equally an expression of the party line. “Oh it’s so awful but there’s a special magical gift – you get to have your rapist’s innocent baby to comfort you.” I find it offensive and dress it up in religious cant all you want, it’s still offensive. It’s about colonizing women’s bodies in the name of an abstract deity who commands suffering and it has nothing to do with the Christianity of the Gospels.