Category Archives: Religion

Needing 2-3 witnesses to make a rape alligation viable.

​What the serious F! Rhe whole email is shared below, but here’s the most disgusting bit:

One great perspective on these reprehensible tactics came from our own Bryan Fischer. He believes that, unless the biblical standard of two or three witnesses is met, an accusation should not be considered credible. I couldn’t agree more and think you will too.

Please send the American Family Association a message saying how disgusting they are!

American Family Association

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dear Cathy,

If you’ve kept up with the news, you know that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has been accused of one incident of sexual misconduct dating back some 36 years ago. The accuser is a woman named Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

We’ve seen this game played before. Clarence Thomas. Herman Cain. Roy Moore. Do these names sound familiar? In some shape or form, each of those men had charges of sexual misconduct lodged against them, during seasons of political rancor, when it was impossible to prove – or disprove – the charges. In some cases, the fallout negatively affected their careers. Each of them are rock-solid conservatives who love our country and respect the Constitution.

It is no surprise that the Democrats have resorted to the same tactic with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This is all about one thing – stopping a judge who is a constitutionalist from being confirmed to the Supreme Court. The Democrats will do anything and everything to stop a Trump nominee, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

One great perspective on these reprehensible tactics came from our own Bryan Fischer. He believes that, unless the biblical standard of two or three witnesses is met, an accusation should not be considered credible. I couldn’t agree more and think you will too.

I urge you to read and share Bryan Fischer’s blog on this subject, “What Should Be Done About the Kavanaugh Nomination?

If our mission resonates with you, please consider supporting our work financially with a tax-deductible donation. The easiest way to do that is through online giving. It is easy to use, and most of all, it is secure.

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

P.S. If you’d like to contact your senator regarding this issue you may contact the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121

 


 

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REBUTTAL: Should Your Past Sins Disqualify You Today?

https://www.christianpost.com/voice/should-your-past-sins-disqualify-you-today-michael-brown.html

First, I want to lay out a couple facts.

1. The US Constitution has no rules for who can and cannot be a Supreme Court Justice. While Articles I and II have age and residency requirements for who can be a Senator, Representative, or President, there are no such rules for the SCOTUS. Article III

2. Thus, there are more than 250 million individuals 18 and over in the US with varying degrees of appropriateness to be a Supreme Court Justice. From the Census Bureau

While I agree that not all sins are equally damning, and I like Mr. Brown’s identification of 4 different scenarios of dealing with a shady past, his examples fairly suck and he approaches the problem from the position that Kavanaugh is the only choice available. Ultimately for Brown, it doe matter if Kavanaugh is lying because like Trump, he’s the lesser evil. People like Brown are afraid that a Democratic Wave in November will cause Trump to have to nominate a less Conservative Justice.

Brown comes across as ironically clueless when he keeps likening Kavanaugh to Obama. Remember those 4 scenarios?

  •  Own it always (it was never a secret)
  • Own it from the minute it was outed
  • Deny it even though all the evidence is against you
  • Keep offending because you were never in the wrong (even though everyone knows otherwise)

Obama has owned his past, even when it was outed. There was nothing to hide even if he wasn’t purchasing billboards. Kavanaugh “categorically denies” even as his accuser has a reputable occupation and therefore might be telling te truth (sarcasm; I believe her).

It’s also important to remember that in Brown’s world, all sins are equal. Attempted rape = marijuana smoking = alcoholism = consensual premarital sex. I’d assume rape and murder would also fit in that equation.

Trump Hosts White House Dinner For Evangelical Supporters : NPR

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/29/642871570/trump-hosts-white-house-dinner-for-evangelical-supporters

MARTIN: When you think about how this president has advanced an evangelical Christian agenda, what are the ways in which evangelical Christians have been treated – or do you believe they have been treated as a persecuted minority in this country?

JEFFRESS: Well, I think there are certainly ways in which they have been marginalized. And I mean, here’s the question you have to ask yourself. I mean, why is it that, for the first 150 years of our nation’s history, prayer in schools, reading the Bible, Nativity displays – all of those things were not only allowed but they were welcomed? But then suddenly, 70 years ago, the Supreme Court decides these things are unconstitutional. I ask liberals all the time, what changed suddenly?

MARTIN: It became more religiously diverse, the country.

JEFFRESS: What did – but did the Constitution change? No. The establishment clause of the First Amendment simply says Congress cannot establish a state religion. That’s what it says. But somehow, that has been perverted and twisted into outlawing prayer and Bible-reading. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the marginalization of Christianity. And I believe that’s why evangelicals are rallying around this president who recognizes that marginalization.

The question I wanted Martin (or any reporter) to ask was:

 “What do you think about a Jewish or Muslim teacher leading a Jewish or Muslim prayer in schools? If we’re going to put religion back into schools, don’t we have to let all religions in?”

(There’s a big hissy fit going around about Yoga for P.E. Also cue debates about real vs. fake religions.)

REBUTTAL: Greg Laurie Describes ‘Awkward Moment’ With Melania Trump During White House Dinner

https://www.christianpost.com/news/greg-laurie-awkward-moment-melania-trump-white-house-dinner-227416/

The awkward moment: 

“Franklin Graham spoke right before me and I was told to go up right after Franklin and say what you are going to say and lead the prayer because the president is tired and wants to go to bed,” Laurie detailed. “So, I am waiting for my queue and Franklin was done, so I got up and walked to the podium. At the same moment, the first lady had gotten up out of her chair and she was walking to the podium as well.”

“I saw her and a I went and gestured her and said ‘Oh, please [go ahead and take the podium].’ She gestured back [to insist I take the podium.] Then, I gestured back, ‘Oh please [you go ahead],” he added. “It was a very awkward moment.”

Laurie told the crowd that he finally went ahead and spoke after the first lady again insisted that he speak.

So…someone didn’t understand the schedule…in the White House, where things are supposed to run like clockwork and where there is usually a program that lists the order of speakers. It’s not exactly rocket science. Most organized events have a program (charity dinners, graduations, awards ceremonies immediately cone to mind).

Or it could be that since Trump was bored tired, he told Melania to try to skip ahead of Laurie and close out the show early. I wonder what would have been said if Laurie had insisted Melania go first…

Since his sermon was based on Daniel 12, Laurie stressed that Daniel would also “try to help any king that was in power” whether that was Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar or Darius.

“I think when God puts people in power that we want to do what we can to influence them with what the word of God says,” Laurie said. “That was an honor to stand up there.”

Laurie implied that he may have been a bit overwhelmed by the fact that he was speaking to a room that included President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and the countless prominent Christian leaders.

“I have to be honest with you, I couldn’t look at the faces of people. It was very distracting,” Laurie explained. “I [was] just [like], ‘I am not going to look at any of you. I am just going to look over your heads and sort of say what I believe the Lord is putting on my heart at this moment to say.”

Me thinks that if Laurie had been skipped, he’d have spun it into something about how he’s happily unworthy to speak before these “great men”. 

Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson feeling too unworthy to metaphorically stand up and spit in George III’s eye with the Declaration of Independence? Keep in mind that the “Divine Roght of Kings” was a thing in 1776.

The Turpins – This is What Homeschooling to Hide Abuse Look Like

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2018/01/turpins-homeschooling-hide-abuse-look-like/

One of the things that my conservative relatives say about stuff like Stop and Frisk is that (black) people shouldn’t mind police checking on them if they have nothing to hide.

Of course, there’s a big difference between driving while black and parents not wanting a social worker to see that their children are emaciated and aren’t educated on grade level. One is racism on the part of society and the other is society turning ablind eye on abuse in the name of…what…freedom? Independence? Religion?

State tests are the BARE MINIMUM that a student should know at their age. They are an absolute joke for any AP student. Which means that they should also be a joke to any homeschooling parent worth their salt. Any homeschooling parent who refuses such tests should be suspected because it means that they are uncomfortable with their child’s education so far. A teacher who is equally uncertain about their students’ performance on these tests should also be suspected.

And yes, I am in school to become a teacher. If I’m ever uncertain that my students will pass these tests, I will take a good long look at my career choice.

Homeschooling students should have to take these tests yearly in person at some kind of government facility.  Hell! The DMV would work! Just some place where a trained set of eyes can see whether the children are being neglected or abused. Guess what? If the parent doesn’t have anything to worry about, they shouldn’t oppose in person testing. It’d be no different from routine checkups and dental appointments.

There is npo boogeyman. There is not conspiracy to place all children in foster care. But honestly, if this is your fear, you need help.

There’s NOTHING inherently wrong with homeschooling! But it is all too easily a vector for abuse and neglect.

Klansville U.S.A. | American Experience | Official Site | PBS

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/klansville/

It’s way too easy to draw connections to what was going on in 1960s North Carolina and 2017 in Charlottesville and other places where the Alt-Right has been causing trouble.

The Case for Christ (book and film–spoilers)

I was sent this book a few years ago by someone who thought it’d convince me of the divinity of Jesus. I felt that the book didn’t prove it’s point. I saw that the film is now on Netflix, so I figured I’d better watch it to see what points are emphasized (since the film can’t hope to bring in as many arguments and evidence as the book did).

Since it’s been a couple years since I read the book, I have decided to A) not re-read my previous review and B) look back at the book as I feel is appropriate.

In watching this film (currently paused at exactly 29 minutes), I am struck by his outward hostility to Christianity. I view Lee Strobel as a very passionate person. Passionate people tend to be all or nothing. So, while it seems like he’s a “devout” atheist, I’m more inclined to believe that he’s just the kind of person who views the world as black or white. There is no grey for him. So he either believes or he doesn’t believe; nothing else matters.

I got this from the book, too, I think. For him, he’s able to drum down the truth of Christianity to just the Resurrection. I find it ironic that he got this idea not from his own investigations but (by film-lore) by his editor, I think. This strikes me because, well, what if his editor had told him that all of Christianity revolves around the Virgin Birth? Or the Literal Interpretation of the Bible?

There are a lot of atheists who come to the conclusion that there is no god after years of studying the Bible. Here’s an excellent example.  These are people who know the Bible inside and out and have many, many reasons why they don’t believe it. Yet, Strobel, a “devout” atheist has no clue what even the basic tenants of Christianity are. He’s saying he doesn’t believe in something he knows absolutely nothing about. It’s then not a surprise that when given a glossy bit of the faith, he believes that there must be something there and since the world for him is black and white, he now must do everything in his power to prove it correct.

Which brings me to why I just hopped off the couch and grabbed my copy of the book. I don’t read bibliographies very often. Mostly I just look at them to see if they exist and to what length research was done. In this first 29 minutes of the film, I realized that Strobel is the kind of journalist who likes to talk to experts and read their books, but I wasn’t sure if he’d spend much time in a library looking at the primary sources.

Guess what? Out of about 140 citations, 4 seem to come from primary sources. All the rest appear to be secondary sources or not contemporary to Jesus sources (depending on the nature of the source).

I’m not saying that this is a bad way to do academics, but one of the things that I recall from the book was the chapter on how immediate to the Resurrection the sources were. What I mean is, Strobel spent some time discussing when the Gospels were written and other sources and concluded that most were written 30 to 80 years after the Resurrection. But, every subsequent mention of this dating used the low end of the spectrum. Since I was reading this like a regular book and not as an academic challenge, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to what sources he was directly referencing when talking about a particular date, so maybe he was always using evidence from an earlier source rather than a later one, so claiming it was written 30 years after the Resurrection was appropriate, but my memory has him speaking very generically about all his sources, yet using the earlier date.

By the way, shortly before the 29 minute mark, Strobel is talking to a scholar who claims that some sources are from mere months after the Resurrection seeing Jesus walking around. Strange, that sounds like what the Gospels say but these weren’t actually written down for that 30 to 80 years. Plus, I don’t recall Strobel writing about such a short time frame. The way it’s presented in the film, you’d think you can go to an archive and pull out a bunch of bound diaries where folks wrote:

3 June 0001

Today I saw Jesus walking around the market place, buying some sugar. Funny, I swear he was crucified 2 months ago!

Okay, the film is resumed. I don’t know if I like the way it’s focusing on his family life and “transformation” from atheist to Christian. I guess it’s because I don’t buy him as being particularly strong in his atheism (he seems to not know why he’s atheist, since he doesn’t even know what it is that he doesn’t believe in). It seems fake and I’m not sure how many people can really identify with him. I mean, I know that there are plenty of people like him, but I think that there are a vast majority more who are atheists because they know the Bible and other religions well, are agnostic because they’ve never had an interest one way or the other and don’t care about what they don’t know, are “spiritual” because they don’t know about theism, or are deist because they don’t believe in the power of prayer.

Ooh…We’ve hit the first bit of historical flubbery in the film. Comparing the Iliad to the Bible for historical authenticity. Yes, we believe that copies of the Iliad are accurate to what was originally written by Homer. But this doesn’t prove that Hera and Zeus actually had the conversations that are written there. Or, since I know the Odyssey better than the Iliad, Odysseus didn’t actually fight a cyclops or deal with Circe. Just because it’s a reliable copy doesn’t make the subject matter as written true. Supernatural events are probably made up.

Ugh. Lee is an asshole. Telling his wife that she’s “cheating on him with Jesus” while he’s staying up all night and obsessing about disproving Christianity.

Ooh! He’s actually discussing the evidence. Yes, the questions are good and the answers probable. But, they still miss a certain bit. When a Biblical scholar asks an atheist if they want the truth or just want to prove what they already believe, ding, ding, ding! That’s exactly what Biblical scholars are doing! If they’re Christian, then they’d be hard pressed to come up with an explanation that doesn’t lead to their Christian faith.

And boom! The scene ends with a hanging issue: sure, it’s reasonable that the 4 gospels would have varying accessory details about the main story of “a group (or single) woman visits Jesus tomb and found it empty”–cool! I can believe this. Except: where’s the evidence that no one removed the body during the 3 days?

Answer: I remember that he’ll get to this in a little bit, and the answer is that there was a guard and moving the stone and other stuff that’s a great argument if we knew for certain that there’s no evidence of tampering. Except, I’ll refer you back to the Iliad: a work of fiction that is taken as a very reliable source for what it says about historical facts. It’s still full of conversations between the gods that are obviously made up, unless they were divinely inspired, of course. There are plenty of contemporary sources that aren’t included in the New Testament. Why? Because of tradition and because they alter the story a bit (don’t do anything to prove the supernatural bits).

Power: what’s the agenda. It’s not a new thing.

Ugh. Why is the wife getting advice that she’s supposed to listen to Lee? She tries to talk and he shuts her down, but she’s supposed to just listen to him and take his abuse while he gets away with abusing her?

I guess I wasn’t paying much attention in the book about his story of the cop shooting gang informant (I don’t remember this). But wow. What a way to seriously prove my hypothesis about him seeing the world as black and white. All he cared about was telling the world about how the police were protecting their informant. He didn’t think twice about exposing the truth (as he saw it) without considering the consequences. He didn’t wonder why the cop got shot (since the cop and the informant had a history, there’s definitely a motive that needs to be addressed, especially with the history of abuses in the Chicago PD) or consider what information the informant was giving police. Was it worth keeping quiet about? In Lee’s world, shooting a cop is a black and white event and the guy deserves to go to jail for life without any consideration of extenuating circumstances.

I’m not saying that the informant doesn’t deserve to go to prison, but depending on what information he gave and why the shooting occurred, he doesn’t deserve to have any “friends” in prison knowing that he’s a snitch and killing him for it. The world is a very gray place!

God. Lee is such a misogynistic asshole. He’s decided that his wife is incapable of deciding for herself what she believes and that she’s being manipulated. Excuse me, but she’s a grown woman who can decide for herself what she thinks. She doesn’t need a husband to tell her what her opinion is. Strange, he sounds like most Evangelical Christians who buy the whole “Umbrella of Protection” crap and that women need a keeper.

Why do I expect he won’t change a bit once he becomes a Christian? Oh wait, he doesn’t have to!

Wow! “She’s different”–like, she’s her own person with her own mind and her own thoughts! Why is this so baffling to assholes? Oh yeah. Because they’re assholes!

Ya know, I don’t recall being this upset with Strobel while reading the book. I mean, I disagreed with his arguments, but I didn’t judge his character. But with this film, his character disgusts me!

Sigh, I wish that Lee had gotten a tougher lecture when it came out how crappy a journalist he’d been with the Hicks trial. Oh yay, he got to go get drunk and have his own pity party. Because he’s the smartest man in the world! Grr.

Sigh. And of course, the film ends at the exact same place the book does: he still has questions and doubts, but can’t deny what evidence he’s gathered. There still isn’t any proof, but there’s enough probable cause to get him to become a Christian.

That’s probably the thing that makes me mad at Christians like Strobel. They claim to have all the answers (or rather that all the evidence points to where they want it to) and declare that to believe otherwise is wrong. Here’s the thing! A lot of people are presented with every bit of evidence that Strobel was and they have decided that it’s just not enough proof. Or rather, there is plenty of room to doubt.

Like I said, the Iliad and the Odyssey are a good example because they show how easily fact and fiction can be intertwined together. It doesn’t really matter that the Bible had multiple authors because there was always the one narrative: the one that Jesus wanted publicized.

Erm…Hmm…

Okay. So, here was my thought process as I wrote the above paragraph about Jesus’ end-game. “Huh. I wonder if the author’s were present at the Loaves and Fishes Miracle (since it’s one that I happen to remember).” So, I went and pulled up the Loaves and Fishes and read the Wikipedia Article. Which led me to take the link to a chapter of Mark that talks about Jesus feeding 5000 and then 4000 in two separate miracles.

This is a chapter written by “Mark”. I’m not a theologian, but a quick Google search led me to another Wikipedia article that says that historians believe that Mark is actually written by an unknown person. Which is fine for the point I will be making here.

2Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

–Mark 9: 2-8

 The author of this is using a third person omniscient perspective. They know all, yet weren’t actually there. In this case, the only people on the mountain were Jesus, Peter, James, and John. So,unless one of these men is the anonymous author of Mark who writes of themselves in third person, the author wasn’t there and this is a bit of he said, he said. John, who apparently is the same John that authored a gospel, doesn’t seem to mention this event, but if he did mention it in passing (debatable) he’s very vague on details. If God had spoken so blatantly to me, I’d definitely write all about it! So, did it happen? I’m dubious. If the 4 did go to the top of the mountain and decide that Jesus would be labeled the Son of God, but didn’t decide on the details, then yes, artistic license 30 to 80 years later is very probable. The exaggerator and the circumspect.This makes as much sense as any explanation.

Which is why The Case for Christ doesn’t make as strong an argument as it claims to.

Texas Church Shooting Video Shows Gunman’s Methodical Attack, Official Says – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/us/texas-shooting-video-devin-kelley.html

If there are no criminal negligence charges filed against those people in the Air Force who didn’t do their job and report his assault convictions to the federal background check system…I don’t even know.

Will Republicans who have been bitching for years about how perfect the background check system is (“there can’t possibly be a way for someone who shouldn’t get a gun to get through the system! We don’t need more gun laws!”) finally understand what we (moderate) gun control folks want?!?!

1) A comprehensive background check (extreme vetting? Sure, IF we’re going to be assholes to refugees, too.) And a life sentence in prison if your negligence leads to someone purchasing/using a weapon that they use to do harm.

2) Comprehensive and regular gun safety training. No one should be stupid enough to leave ANY gun where a child can find it! Regular reminders of how badly gun ownership can go IS A GOOD THING! And, yes, I’m cool with having similar retraining for a driver’s license!

3) A limit on the number of guns a person can buy in a month (ideally in a lifetime). A gun is a WEAPON, not a toy! It should NEVER be an impulse purchase. If you start crying like a three year old because you can’t get a toy RIGHT NOW!! you are part of the problem. Grow up!

Guns become illegal when a person with no (recorded) criminal past purchases guns to sell to people who can’t purchase guns themselves. Period. Limiting the supply (with limits on purchases) not only increases the price on the black market (which will cause purchasers to need more money, leading to more non-gun using crimes (because they can’t afford one yet) that will make it easier to catch them before they buy the gun), but will obviously reduce the total number of illegal guns on the streets… eventually. TL;DR: Make it harder for criminals to buy guns on the black market=more slip ups=more arrests=ultimately less crime.

No, these 3 demands AREN’T perfect! Probably nothing would have stopped Paddock in Las Vegas. But I live in a place where between the 7 cities where is usually a gun related murder (or 2) every night. The status quo doesn’t work. There is a hole in the system that can be closed IF we quit pretending it doesn’t exist or worse care so much about our own ability to purchase guns like candy that we feel no guilt when someone’s death is directly related to our own greed and entitlement.