Pharyngula

In these times of economic crisis, war, and uncertainty, it is reassurring to know that our diligent representatives are hard at work in congress to make the country a better place.

Behold, House Resolution 847.

H. Res. 847
In the House of Representatives, U. S.,
December 11, 2007.
Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;
Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;
Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;
Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;
Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its Judeo-Christian roots;
Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;
Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God’s redemption, mercy, and Grace; and
Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;
(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;
(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;
(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;
(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and
(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

If you want to know who to credit for this lovely bit of significant legislation, here is the sponsor and co-sponsors.

Sponsor:
Rep. Steve King [R-IA]
Cosponsors [as of 2008-11-07]
Rep. Jeff Miller [R-FL]
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-WA]
Rep. Paul Broun [R-GA]
Rep. Lamar Smith [R-TX]
Rep. Ray LaHood [R-IL]
Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC]
Rep. James Forbes [R-VA]
Rep. John Doolittle [R-CA]
Rep. John Gingrey [R-GA]
Rep. Randy Neugebauer [R-TX]
Rep. Geoff Davis [R-KY]
Rep. Clifford Stearns [R-FL]
Rep. Darrell Issa [R-CA]
Rep. Walter Herger [R-CA]
Rep. Henry Brown [R-SC]
Rep. Nicholas Lampson [D-TX]
Rep. John Boozman [R-AR]
Rep. Michael Burgess [R-TX]
Rep. Rob Bishop [R-UT]
Rep. Ted Poe [R-TX]
Rep. Addison Wilson [R-SC]
Rep. Todd Tiahrt [R-KS]
Rep. Sue Myrick [R-NC]
Rep. Dan Burton [R-IN]
Rep. David Weldon [R-FL]
Rep. Jim Jordan [R-OH]
Rep. Thelma Drake [R-VA]
Rep. John Kuhl [R-NY]
Rep. John Kline [R-MN]
Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry [R-NE]
Rep. Samuel Johnson [R-TX]
Rep. John Carter [R-TX]
Rep. David Davis [R-TN]
Rep. Virginia Brown-Waite [R-FL]
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave [R-CO]
Rep. Robin Hayes [R-NC]
Rep. Tom Feeney [R-FL]
Rep. Michele Bachmann [R-MN]
Rep. Michael Conaway [R-TX]
Rep. Lee Terry [R-NE]
Rep. Joseph Pitts [R-PA]
Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R-TX]
Rep. John Shadegg [R-AZ]
Rep. Virginia Foxx [R-NC]
Rep. Bill Sali [R-ID]
Rep. Patrick Mchenry [R-NC]
Rep. Mike McIntyre [D-NC]
Rep. Todd Akin [R-MO]
Rep. Daniel Lungren [R-CA]
Rep. Jack Kingston [R-GA]
Rep. Donald Young [R-AK]
Rep. Timothy Walberg [R-MI]
Rep. Richard Baker [R-LA]
Rep. James Barrett [R-SC]
Rep. Louis Gohmert [R-TX]
Rep. Kevin Brady [R-TX]
Rep. Michael McCaul [R-TX]
Rep. Trent Franks [R-AZ]
Rep. Todd Platts [R-PA]
Rep. Doug Lamborn [R-CO]

Democrats must hate Christmas and Christians — there’s only two on that list.

Comments

  1. #1 God and a Half
    December 15, 2008

    I call (Ted) Poe!

  2. #2 Joseph
    December 15, 2008

    Democrats must hate Christmas and Christians — there’s only two on that list.

    Yeah, but how many Democrats will actually vote against it? They’re just as pandering as the Republicans when it comes to this sort of nonsense.

  3. #3 pvrugg
    December 15, 2008

    So what part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

    Do these idiots NOT understand?

    And WHY is this not plastered all over the news?

  4. #4 Kyoseki
    December 15, 2008

    Is the bill actually a full year old or is the date on the bill wrong?

  5. #5 Quatguy
    December 15, 2008

    Where are my shoes?

  6. #6 mothra
    December 15, 2008

    Seems like resolution #2 violates the separation of church & state. Of course the whole thing is bleep ridiculous.

  7. #7 Michael Russell
    December 15, 2008

    Bills like this make me want to wander out to the middle of a vast wilderness, find a passing goat, and punch it.

    Repeatedly.

    Did none of these people learn anything about the Constitution when they were in school? Or is this just a knee-jerk reaction to the FFRF’s signage campaign? Or both?

  8. #8 stevogvsu
    December 15, 2008

    Well, I must say, I wasn’t surprised in the least to see the R after each name. Watch, they will waste time with this garbage and then screech about how the Democrats are getting nothing done.

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2008

    Where are my shoes?

    beat me too it..

    Shocker that my Representative Henry “Gold old Boy” Brown is on that list.

    SHOCKER

  10. #10 Jesse
    December 15, 2008

    @ #7

    this comment made my laugh so hard I spit my coffee out!

  11. #11 Macron
    December 15, 2008

    Is this that exposé that Bachmann wanted? I think it’s a good start.

  12. #12 DuckPhup
    December 15, 2008

    Most christians seem not to realize that Christmas actually represents little more than a cultural hijacking.

  13. #13 Nankay
    December 15, 2008

    As an Iowan, I apologize for Representative King. He is an idiot and an embarassment. Why the poeple of his district keep electing him, I don’t know.

  14. #14 Bachalon
    December 15, 2008

    But the two [D]s are from Texas and North Carolina.

  15. #15 zer0
    December 15, 2008

    This is sooooooo last year.

  16. #16 Joey
    December 15, 2008

    Rep. John “Doolittle” [R-CA]

    Doolittle…fitting!

  17. #17 H.H.
    December 15, 2008

    pvrugg wrote:

    So what part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” do these idiots NOT understand? And WHY is this not plastered all over the news?

    Because this technically isn’t a law, it’s a non-binding resolution. It doesn’t carry any legal weight, it just expresses the legislatures “wishes.” Empty political pandering, in other words. They did the same thing last year.

    Actually, now that I look at it, I think this is the resolution from last year. H.Res. 847 passed on December 11, 2007.

  18. #18 Drew
    December 15, 2008

    PZ this is soooo last year. I wasn’t reading your blog at that point in time but I’m surprised that you missed it. It was even on the Flying Spaghetti monster site last year. There was another “non-binding house resolution” that was proposed about a month later (if I recall correctly) that was basically “The US is, and was founded as, a Christian Nation and we’re going to prove it by lying and misrepresenting history” I’ll look for the cite.

  19. #19 Sastra
    December 15, 2008

    Short version of House Resolution #847:

    Keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas! And America, too!

    This part is great:
    “Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its Judeo-Christian roots;”

    Yes indeed. Nothing inspires the concept of constitutional republics like the belief that every person in the universe was created for the sole purpose of following, obeying, praising, and worshiping a King — preferably while on their knees in complete and unquestioning submission. You can certainly see how you’d get the first view out of the second view.

  20. #20 Glen Davidson
    December 15, 2008

    It’s just a bit of pablum, really of no consequence.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  21. #21 Michael Russell
    December 15, 2008

    @ #15

    You’re correct. It passed the House by a landslide to boot.

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr110-847

    Now where is that goat…

  22. #22 Alverant
    December 15, 2008

    I notice there’s nothing there rejecting bigotry and persecution directed BY Christians, both in the United States and worldwide.

  23. #23 Larry
    December 15, 2008

    I guess the financial crisis has been solved and there are no more pressing issues so that xtians can be given a warm-fuzzy seeing how persecuted they’ve been.

  24. #24 Bill Dauphin
    December 15, 2008

    Well, this is annoying, but let’s not give the goats too awful much grief, shall we? This is just a piece of ceremonial puffery… a legislative pat on the head that has no legal force, and no more import than resolutions recognizing the cultural contributions of left-handed Croatian-Americans or proclaiming National Canadian Bacon Week.

    I suspect (though it’s not really worth my time to verify) that if you dug through the congressional record, you’d find reams of similarly inconsequential resolutions, probably including some celebrating the social contributions of Buddhists and Muslims and Zoroastrians.

    Should Congress be wasting its time praising Christianity? Clearly not. Will the Constitution live to fight another day? Pretty sure.

  25. #25 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2008

    “gold old boy” should be “good old boy” of course.

    sheesh

  26. #26 Drew
    December 15, 2008

    Ahh the other resolution I was referring to in #18 was House Resolution 888, it, thankfully, died in committee.

  27. #27 H.H.
    December 15, 2008

    Drew wrote:

    PZ this is soooo last year. I wasn’t reading your blog at that point in time but I’m surprised that you missed it. It was even on the Flying Spaghetti monster site last year. There was another “non-binding house resolution” that was proposed about a month later (if I recall correctly) that was basically “The US is, and was founded as, a Christian Nation and we’re going to prove it by lying and misrepresenting history”

    Actually, PZ blogged about that one last year. I could have sworn he mentioned this one too, but I can’t seem to find any old posts on the topic.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/01/are_we_a_christian_nation.php

  28. #28 Lowell
    December 15, 2008

    Yeah, it’s from last year. Here’s the link to Thomas, the Congress’s official bill tracking service. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.RES.847.EH:

    The resolution passed 372-9 with 10 voting present. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.res.00847:

    And, as has already been pointed out, although the resolution is a waste of time and certainly contrary to the spirit of a secular state, it’s not a violation of the First Amendment because it’s not a “law.”

  29. #29 dean
    December 15, 2008

    “So what part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

    Do these idiots NOT understand?”

    I think (assuming this is real) this is their point. If the Democratic folk vote this down, the republicans can claim the high ground with their conservative base.

    If it passes, they get the high ground with the base.

    win-win (for them), no matter what. what a bag of well-thought-out shit.

  30. #30 ggab
    December 15, 2008

    Whew!!
    For a moments there I was worried that the damned commie/socialist/homo democrats wouldn’t let it pass.
    Praise the lord!
    Our tax dollars at work!!

  31. #31 Sven DiMilo
    December 15, 2008
  32. #32 Random Constitutional Chimp
    December 15, 2008

    GOP wipes their arse with the constitution, yet again…

    To paraphrase Neil Armstrong:

    “That’s one small step for Christianity, one giant leap (backwards) for Mankind.”

    Before reading this, I estimated that it would be 50 years before the “United States of America” became the “Dysfunctional Theocracy of America.” Now, I think I was being too generous. (Now I’m knocking 10 years off my estimate.)

    39 Years, 364 Days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 42 seconds left of democracy in this country.

  33. #33 Rheinhard
    December 15, 2008

    Being from last year also further explains one of the 2 Dems on the list: Nick Lampson from TX-22, where I used to work. This is Tom Delay’s former district. Lampson got elected there in the wake of Delay’s ouster, in part due to staggering incompetence and infighting among Harris County republicans. As such he has to be a pretty conservative Blue Dog in any case, but even so was thrown out of office in favor of “NotDemocrat- R” in November’s election.

  34. #34 IST
    December 15, 2008

    @ Bachalon (14)> Yea… I actually voted for McIntyre once, as he was less of an asshat than the alternative. I just wrote an email asking him why he feels the need to waste our time on such things. As I’m no longer a constituent, it probably won’t get answered.

  35. #35 ggab
    December 15, 2008

    How many of the nays are still in office?
    I’d like to send some cash for their re-elections.
    At least someone showed some balls.

  36. #36 pvrugg
    December 15, 2008

    H.H. @ #17

    Yeah I realized that was likely the case right after I posted and before I googled it.

    Note to self: Gather info first, THEN react…

  37. #37 karen
    December 15, 2008

    #7 Michael Russell, why would you want to abuse a goat for what a bunch of pandering Congressmen have done?

  38. #38 Guy Incognito
    December 15, 2008

    Utah scores one of the few nays. Go Jim Matheson!

  39. #39 Guy Incognito
    December 15, 2008

    Crap. I totally read that wrong. He merely didn’t vote.

  40. #40 Jello
    December 15, 2008

    I could go all conspiracy theory and state that this resolution should remove all doubt that the republican party now exists entirely for the establishment of a theocratic state but really, is there even any doubt of that anymore?

  41. #41 Greta Christina
    December 15, 2008

    rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. They still think they’re being thrown to the lions. They are, by the acknowledgement of this very resolution, by far the largest religious group in the country. They are the ones in the halls of power. And they still whine about how they’re being persecuted. (“Persecution” usually meaning “people saying they don’t agree with them and think they’re silly.”)

    Listen up, Christians: You haven’t been thrown to the lions for almost 2,000 years now. You are running the show. Give it a rest already

  42. #42 Lowell
    December 15, 2008

    Interesting that Rahm Emanuel, the honorable congressman from Illinois and soon-to-be presidential Chief of Staff, voted in favor of the resolution.

  43. #43 BobC
    December 15, 2008

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
    (1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

    From our constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

    I consider any disrespect for our constitution to be treason. The theocrats who voted for this insult to our Bill of Rights deserve to be put in prison. (Yeah, I know that will never happen. I’m just saying that’s what these traitors deserve.)

  44. #44 S.Scott
    December 15, 2008

    This is a non-binding resolution. The following should help you feel better:
    “Unlike a bill, a non-binding house resolution has no legal consequence. Resolutions are often passed so Congress can approve or disapprove of something they would not otherwise have the ability to pass a bill on – even if they are barred from doing so because of its unconstitutionality. Since joint resolutions have legal impact, most major Congressional action hinges on their passing rather than non-binding resolutions. Many non-binding resolutions focus on ceremonial gestures, such as congratulating the Boston Red Sox on winning the 2007 World Series , recognizing the talent of Lucian Pavarotti , and celebrating the 95th anniversary of the Girls Scouts …”

    http://org.law.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/new_devs/HR847.doc

  45. #45 Brownian, OM
    December 15, 2008

    Good thing. Wandering around the malls this weekend, hearing Christmas carols, seeing trees, lights, cherubs, and angels everywhere, I wondered to myself:

    “Who’s going to stand up for Christians’ rights to celebrate Christmas with carols, trees, lights, cherubs, and angels?”

    Next bills on the docket: A resolution to protect domestic cattle from the threat of extinction, and an act to recognise the historical and cultural value of pollution.

  46. #46 strangest brew
    December 15, 2008

    Methinks there is a quite desperation in religious coven’s that they felt moved to hassle their respective puppets to make a song and dance about the situation regarding xians.

    They feel threatened, this is just an attempt to puff themselves up to make themselves look bigger then they actually feel, and hopefully to frighten off the nasty Atheists and Secularists that are circling their rotting corpse just waiting for them to break eye contact !

  47. #47 Whomever1
    December 15, 2008

    This vote was cast in fear of the mutant menace. Note how many superheroes are Christians: http://www.comicbookreligion.com/index.php

  48. #48 Michael Russell
    December 15, 2008

    karen @ #37

    The Christians teach that what is done to one of God’s creatures is done to all of God’s creatures. If they believe that the goat is one of God’s creatures, then by punching the goat, I am punching them in a purely metaphysical sense.

    (kidding)

  49. #49 Dax
    December 15, 2008

    Funny how most Christians only count Catholics as Christian if it suits the numbers…

  50. #50 Stephen
    December 15, 2008

    Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world …

    But how many of those are true Christians?

    For bonus marks: how can you tell?

  51. #51 Dark Matter
    December 15, 2008

    Yeeeahhh, Dan Burton. I apologize on behalf of my state. Honestly, I’m just shocked Steve Buyer didn’t jump on this bandwagon too – he’s usually at the head of the line.

  52. #52 Marcus Ranum
    December 15, 2008

    This is just a piece of ceremonial puffery… a legislative pat on the head that has no legal force, and no more import than resolutions recognizing the cultural contributions of left-handed Croatian-Americans or proclaiming National Canadian Bacon Week.

    Yeah, it’s so pointless that they didn’t do it.

    No. Wait. I said that wrong. If it’s just puffery, why would anyone bother? Maybe it does mean something to someone…?

  53. #53 Breakfast
    December 15, 2008

    Whereas Christianity is just so super important,
    Whereas we think it is really really great,
    Whereas it doesn’t exercise enough clout in our culture already,
    Whereas it desperately needs our arbitrary show of affirmation,
    Whereas Christians above all other groups require public recognition and legitimation in our society,
    We hereby all masturbate onto this piece of paper. I mean, write this legislation.

  54. #54 Katharine
    December 15, 2008

    What is this stupid country, the fucking American Christian Jamahiriya?

    We need to put a stop to the Republicans’ attempted theocracy. If they get far enough, they’ll put our backs against the wall.

    I’m an atheist, and I don’t want the Christians to silence us.

  55. #55 Douglas McClean
    December 15, 2008

    Perhaps most troubling to me is the modality here:

    “Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;”

    Couldn’t we at least get “… of Jesus Christ, whom they celebrate as their savior”?

  56. #56 Bjørn Østman
    December 15, 2008

    Isn’t that a violation of the separation of church and state, singling out one religion like that?

    (6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world

    Would that mean that everyone in the House has to say it out loud or sign something to that effect?

    As a foreigner in the US, I’d like to say how much this [censored] sucks!

  57. #57 Ian
    December 15, 2008

    Er…looks like this was proposed on Dec 6, 2007 and passed on Dec. 11 of that year.

  58. #58 charles
    December 15, 2008

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-1143

    195 Democrats voted for this measure as well. There were very few in the House that objected to it. We’re doomed on a bipartisan level in this country.

  59. #59 Katharine
    December 15, 2008

    Time for an angry email to Tammy Baldwin.

  60. #60 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    December 15, 2008

    back to its Judeo-Christian roots

    So celebrating Christmas is a key component of Judaism?

  61. #61 Cheshire
    December 15, 2008

    But how many of those are true Christians?

    For bonus marks: how can you tell?

    1.) The ones which are convienient to side with

    2.) I vote a rigorous and biblically endorsed method of venomous snakes and cyanide.

    Actually, I detest violence so scratch number two. I guess we’ll just have to rely on whoever’s spoken to the sky fairies themselves.

    Ooooh…but this causes a problem with some of those 4 billion other crazy people, doesn’t it?

    Looks like we’re going to have to resort to a screaming contest for this one.

  62. #62 Ranson
    December 15, 2008

    I’m shocked that my douchebag rep Howard Coble (R-NC)wasn’t a co-sponsor. He did vote “Aye”, though.

  63. #63 senecasam
    December 15, 2008

    Apparently their xtian god and his issue, Jeebus, aren’t so omnipotent after all, needing this assistance and recognition from congress.

    All the sponsors are just a box of (Billy) Graham Crackers.

  64. #64 young european
    December 15, 2008

    Couldn’t someone sue the sponsors of this resolution for harassment of the non-christian minority?

  65. #65 Leon
    December 15, 2008

    I actually liked where #5 was going, until it singled out Christians to be protected. Why not simply say “rejects bigotry and persecution” and leave it at that? Am I just being paranoid, or it is partly because so many Christians consider bigotry against and persecution of other religions is a legitimate way of exercising their freedom of religion?

    Figures my caveman Representative would be a cosponsor of this bill. I hate gerrymandering.

  66. #66 CJO
    December 15, 2008

    As regards issues of Constitutionality, it’s a resolution and not legislation, so it dodges “Congress shall make no law…” but is there any case at all to be made that this impinges on the clause against a religious test of office?

    By calling for a vote on upholding tenets of Christian faith (Jesus is a savior, Christinaty is instrumental in secular affairs) do they not expose dissenters and abstainers to an unwarranted “test” by which constituents could judge them as insufficiently deferent to Christianity?

    Probably not, but somethin’ stinks!

  67. #67 Reginald Selkirk
    December 15, 2008

    Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;

    Tsk, tsk. Not unless they count those awful Catholics as Christians, and True Baptist fundagelicals know that they are not.

  68. #68 Bill Dauphin
    December 15, 2008

    BobC (@43):

    Are you insane, or is this…

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
    (1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

    From our constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

    I consider any disrespect for our constitution to be treason.

    …intended as snark?

    Treason??? Really?

    First, in point of fact, Christianity is one of the great1 religions of the world. You and I would no doubt disagree with the resolution’s sponsors about whether that’s a good thing… but the scope of Christianity’s impact (for good and, more often, ill) on global history and culture is undeniable.

    Second, nothing about this nonbinding resolution, which states that Christians have been around for awhile and a lot of them have been involved in big things and it’s not very nice to be mean to them, even comes close to violating the establishment clause. I don’t think it consitutes “disrespect for the constitution,” either, but even if it did…

    Third, treason has a very specific legal definition, and the House of Representatives saying nice things about Christians isn’t even close. It’s easy for an act of Congress to be unconstitutional; extremely difficult (and unlikely) for one to be treason. We have courts — not to mention blog comment threads — to hash out what’s constitutional and what isn’t; do you really think we need to add firing squads to the mix?

    1 That is, in the same sense that Stalin was a “great” despot. The word doesn’t necessarily indicate approval, merely significance.

  69. #69 Matt Heath
    December 15, 2008
    back to its Judeo-Christian roots

    So celebrating Christmas is a key component of Judaism?

    “Judeo-Christian” adj: Euphemism for “Christian”, used by American politicians as long as there is at least one important swing state where Jewish voters are likely to be decisive

  70. #70 Newman
    December 15, 2008

    Is there really no one from Alabama on that list?? I figured we’d be right up there at the top….

  71. #71 SOCR-4735
    December 15, 2008

    This…thing, whatever it is, is stupid.

    That’s actually the only thing I can say about it. It’s just stupid. Really, really stupid.

    Well. I thought the US was steadily moving from a Democracy to an Aristocracy, and I guess from there a Theocracy isn’t such a big step.

  72. #72 Voltaire
    December 15, 2008

    Yep, one of those co-sponsors is my congressman. I feel so proud.

    Argh.

  73. #73 BobC
    December 15, 2008

    Bill (68), I stand by my statement. I consider any disrespect for our constitution to be treason. Perhaps I’m not using the dictionary definition of the word treason, but I still think Christian theocrats are traitors and I think they are doing more damage to this country than the 9/11 terrorists did. Sorry, but I refuse to suck up to religious insanity. The Christian death cult is destroying America, and I see nothing wrong with saying the Christians who don’t respect our Bill of Rights belong in prison, even though that will never happen.

  74. #74 Bill Dauphin
    December 15, 2008

    195 Democrats voted for this measure as well. There were very few in the House that objected to it. We’re doomed on a bipartisan level in this country.

    Or maybe we’re not doomed at all. Maybe this just means that our representatives have some sense about what fights are worth fighting. Maybe they realize that the trivial (in the strict, mathematical sense) impact of this resolution doesn’t merit the expense of even a penny’s worth of political capital.

    Really, people! I bow to none of you in my desire for a purely secular government, but the inability to distinguish this toothless old resolution from real threats to secularism is roughly equivalent to the inability to distinguish shoes from cruise missles.

  75. #75 Peter Ashby
    December 15, 2008

    @Michael Russell

    Besides the tradition of the scapegoat is a long one. Tough on the goats, though they are tough beasties, in many senses. Never had tender goat . . .

  76. #76 Zeno
    December 15, 2008

    Ha! That little weasel John Doolittle (R-Lame Duck) is on the list of cosponsors. He’s leaving Congress one step ahead of the criminal investigators. I remember he was in the state legislature in Sacramento when I was a civil servant. His first major tasks as a freshman state senator was to write a resolution in honor of Mother’s Day. He jammed it all up with excess junk about the importance of taking Mom to church that day (I think he forgot about synagogues, mosques, and entirely secular national parks) and produced such a mess that the legislature declined to adopt it. That’s right: so incompetent he couldn’t get the legislature to endorse Mother’s Day.

    Now, on the way out the door, he endorses Christianity. Even though he’s really not a Christian in the usual sense. Doolittle is a Mormon.

  77. #77 Walton
    December 15, 2008

    BobC: …and I see nothing wrong with saying the Christians who don’t respect our Bill of Rights belong in prison, even though that will never happen.

    Erm, irony… surely one of the most important purposes of the Bill of Rights is to ensure that people aren’t arbitrarily sent to prison simply on the basis of the opinions they hold?

    BobC, you really are the atheist counterpart to Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. Normally I dislike the term “militant atheist” – since atheists, as much as anyone else, have a right to express their opinion in the public sphere – but in your case, it’s highly applicable.

  78. #78 Jonathon
    December 15, 2008

    Reading this proposed resolution makes me sick to my stomach. It is unnecessary, unneeded and unwarranted. It is a waste of Congress’ time and taxpayers’ money. It is just plain wrong.

    What, exactly, is the purpose of this resolution? What interests of the United States are furthered? What possible positive benefit could there be to the writing and passage of such a resolution?

    Christians have convinced themselves that they are under attack and that someone, somewhere is conspiring to make their religion illegal.

    Given the numbers cited in the resolution (i.e., large percentage of the American population self-identifies as “Christian”; “Christians” make up about 2 billion people, etc.), there is absolutely no need whatsoever for Congress to express support for a non-threatened, non-minority group.

    Such resolutions are an EMBARASSMENT to the democratic process.

  79. #79 GrahamGirl
    December 15, 2008

    this is very funny. Sceintists in a couple weeks ago said that the shiney star shown during christ birth was in late may to early june.

    in the bible, it said something about him being born during a warm but cold season, so it cannot be winter.

    easter use to be the be christian holiday because that when christ came back to life.

    christmas is more pagan than christian or more comuserism.

    so that means, these people are pagans. lol.

  80. #80 BobC
    December 15, 2008

    Walton, if Christian theocrats did nothing but express their opinions I would have no problem with them. But obviously they are not just expressing opinions. They are trying to pass laws that violate our Bill of Rights. They yell at biology teachers. They try to stick their religion into our public schools. I could continue but I think you get the idea. How are these Christian theocrats any different from the 9/11 terrorists? I don’t see much difference at all. Both the terrorists and the theocrats are trying to destroy my country. They both deserve the same contempt. I of course know they will never go to prison for disrespecting our constitution, but I see nothing wrong with saying that’s where they belong. You disagree? That’s fine with me. You be nice to those assholes. Personally I’m against appeasement. I’m in favor of eradicating the Christian death cult. I don’t think sucking up to assholes is an effective way of doing that.

  81. #81 charles
    December 15, 2008

    @Bill Dauphin

    Good point. But don’t you wish they would spend just a minute to be like, “Hey, wait a minute here, this is ridiculous and completely anti-Constitution!”??

  82. #82 Chris
    December 15, 2008

    Wooooow. I voted for Mike McIntyre (D-NC) in November as the lesser of two evils. I couldn’t help dirty doing it, and I feel absolutely sick now. McIntyre falls slightly right of center in my opinion (despite party affiliation), but his opponent was a FAR right wackaloon. This is too much though.

    He’ll be hearing from me.

  83. #83 Davis
    December 15, 2008

    Hey, they said that Christianity was one of the great religions of the world and not THE greatest. That’s showing some restraint!

    To begin with bragging about how Christians are by far the biggest majority in the nation, then ending with concerns about persecution against them tells you everything you need to know about these charlatans.

  84. #84 Chris
    December 15, 2008

    errr, should read “couldn’t help FEELING dirty doing it” not just “couldn’t help dirty doing it” above

  85. #85 Conor H.
    December 15, 2008

    Did anyone look at the roll call for that vote and notice that King didn’t even vote! What a jackhole. We ought to make these idiots punch a clock on the floor so they’ll show up to work.

  86. #86 Jeremy
    December 15, 2008

    I see my soon-to-be-former congressman Tim Wahlberg was a co-sponsor. Thankfully we just voted his religotard ass out.

  87. #87 SteveM
    December 15, 2008

    …do they not expose dissenters and abstainers to an unwarranted “test” by which constituents could judge them as insufficiently deferent to Christianity?

    Yes, but that is not unconstitutional. The constitution defines what the government can and cannot do. It does not say what citizens can and cannot do. Voters are perfectly permitted to vote or not vote for a candidate because of their religion or views on religion. That is not the kind of “religious test” the constitution is referring to. If congress passed a law that muslims were ineligible for the office of senator (for example), then that would be unconstitutional. People refusing to vote for a candidate because he is muslim is not unconstitutional. Passing a law that requires a candidate to state their religion, I think, would be unconstitional. Voting on a non-binding resolution is not required, therefore not a test for qualification for the office.

  88. #88 Dave X
    December 15, 2008

    So if they passed this resolution last year, do they have to re-recognize that 2Bpersons and 0.25Bamericans still belong to “one of the great religions of the world”? Or do they think it was worthwhile last time?

  89. #89 zaardvark
    December 15, 2008

    “The House will now consider the Flags for Orphans bill.”

  90. #90 Ouchimoo
    December 15, 2008

    RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR say the pirates of the spaghetti monster.

    Oh wait. . wrong religion.

  91. #91 Kel
    December 15, 2008

    (5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States

    It’s probably been asked, but what persecution?

  92. #92 5ive
    December 15, 2008

    What we really need to do is get a resolution passed like this for each and every religion (or lack thereof) out there. I mean every single one. Replace the “Christian” with “Bhuddist” or Jainist”, or “atheist”. It is only fair and seems to be working with the whole ‘Let’s put religious displays on government property” thing. Inundate them with fairness and let them see the error of their ways.

  93. #93 Bill Dauphin
    December 15, 2008

    Ahh, isn’t irony delicious?

    BobC:

    I consider any disrespect for our constitution to be treason. Perhaps I’m not using the dictionary definition of the word treason,…

    Did you not notice that the definition I linked to comes not from any dictionary, but from… (wait for it)… the Constitution? So since you refuse to respect our Constitution’s definition of treason, doesn’t that make you a traitor according to your definition?

    Now take this blindfold, please, and hold still while I round up a group of guys with rifles, won’t you? ;^)

  94. #94 Sven DiMilo
    December 15, 2008

    #93: Ha! That’s a gotcha!
    Maybe, in this case, a shoe-throwing squad?

  95. #95 john Huey
    December 15, 2008

    How about instead of a similar resolution to this one for each religion, we get one that is just (and I hate the word) inclusive.

    Such as:
    Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually as both a religious and a secular holiday by people of various faiths and by people that have a strictly naturalistic worldview throughout the United States and the world;

  96. #96 Lowell
    December 15, 2008

    #93, Ouch!

    BobC, you’re in a big hole. May I humbly suggest you stop digging and refrain from accusing people–no matter how willfully ignorant they may be–of committing treason. It’s pure hyperbole, and not very effective.

  97. #97 DrBadger
    December 15, 2008

    PZ you scared me. I remember reading a similar bill last year (that passed) and I almost vomited thinking they’re doing it again. I e-mailed my congresswoman (who I otherwise like) about this last year and she said that she saw no reason to not vote for it and that similar bills have been passed for other religions.

  98. #98 Vic
    December 15, 2008

    (5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States

    It’s probably been asked, but what persecution?

    They probably meant persecution BY Christians.

  99. #99 Stacy L Mason
    December 15, 2008

    I see the slimy partisan hack from my district amongst those names.

    John (Phil) Gingrey formerly a ‘Pro-life’ gynacologist currently a full time national douchebag. Looking at his website I see he’s a Cobb county export, how surprising. I also see he’s shaved off his mustache, guess finding out about Tom Selleck’s orientation killed the interest in maintaining the superficial resemblance.

    Flailing economy, two futile, failing wars, utter lack of a viable energy policy etc. Nice to see getting their teeth kicked in this election cycle hasn’t clouded their irrelevant priorities.

  100. #100 Jason A.
    December 15, 2008

    (5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians

    Ah, so bigotry and persecution against non-christians is fine.
    At least they’re being up-front about it.

  101. #101 mayhempix
    December 15, 2008

    What a bunch of ignorant groveling pandering hypocritical idiots those congresspersons are.
    We’re going to need a lot of shoes to deal with this.

  102. #102 scooter
    December 15, 2008

    Whereas Christmas falls on the 25th of December.
    Whereas Christmas is celebrated annually.
    Whereas Christmas is less than two weeks from this date.

    Let it be resolved that the unforementioned drafter of this resolution would like a remington three head razor that plugs into a cigarette lighter so that he might shave on the way to work.

  103. #103 BobC
    December 15, 2008

    Lowell and Bill Dauphin are nitpicking. Christian theocrats who never stop trying to throw out our Bill of Rights are enemies of my country. Call what they’re doing treason or call it something else. My point was these people who are actively trying to destroy America are world class assholes and they deserve nothing but contempt. How to make them stop sticking their death cult into our schools and our governments? I don’t know, but I think sucking up to them hasn’t been working.

  104. #104 Matt
    December 15, 2008

    This might have been said before in this comment section (tl;dr), but I feel like this might be 2010 and 2009′s “voted against the troops” political issue for the Republican party…

  105. #105 scooter
    December 15, 2008

    Leon@65 Why not simply say “rejects bigotry and persecution” and leave it at that?

    Oooops, there goes our foreign policy

  106. #106 Scooty Puff, Jr.
    December 15, 2008

    Why am I not at all surprised that Steve King sponsored the bill? He represents the hometown to which I will only begrudgingly admit hailing from, Sioux City, IA. And let me tell you what: it’s a freaking dump. I happened to go back to visit relatives a week or two before the election, and you had never seen so many McCain/Palin signs in the lawns of so many poor homes — of which there are tons.

    Western Iowa is really an aberration. Most of the state is quite blue, for both traditional reasons (farmers and unions, mainly) as well as progressive reasons (we might be getting gay marriage here… stay tuned). Really, Nebraska and/or South Dakota can have Western Iowa. It would be a small, probably imperceptible, loss.

  107. #107 me
    December 15, 2008

    You may want to check out H. RES. 635, just an FYI.

  108. #108 Davo
    December 15, 2008

    I wonder how many on that list are atheists.

  109. #109 jove
    December 15, 2008

    They do this every year.

    It’s idiotic, but it doesn’t actually do anything.

    They also typically do one for Ramadan.

    (http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2007/October/20071003165444mlenuhret0.9762384.html)

  110. #110 sam
    December 15, 2008

    This resolution has been passed in the House, which is the end of the legislative process for simple resolutions. The resolution now takes effect. [Last Updated: Nov 6, 2008]

  111. #111 Rob
    December 15, 2008

    @Bill Dauphin:

    It’s still (arguably) treason even under that definition. Undermining the Constitution is not giving comfort to enemies?

  112. #112 Lambert
    December 15, 2008

    Totals Democrats Republicans Independents
    All Votes
    Ayes: 372 (86%) 195 177 0
    Nays: 9 (2%)
    9 0 0
    Present:10 (2%) 9 1 0
    No Vote:40 (9%) 19 21 0
    Required: 2/3 of 391 votes (=261 votes)

    (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-1143)

    So 195 Democrats either don’t know the constitution or don’t give a damn about it. The D’s were the majority in of the Ayes in the roll call vote!!! Damned fools.

    But then name me one politician in national office who got elected while neglecting to utter ‘god’ or any of its variants on the stump.

  113. #113 Lambert
    December 15, 2008

    P.S. At least my congresswoman was in the nays. Here’s the complete list.

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll1143.xml

  114. #114 Caveat
    December 15, 2008

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    How do they ‘know’ how many Xtians there are in the US? The world? The only way Xtianity is the ‘biggest’ religion in the world is by combining all the different (usually warring) sects into one ‘religion’.

    I’m pleased to see that according to this source, we non-believers are right behind Muslims in the number 3 spot:
    http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    The way it’s worded, it looks as though bigotry against non-Xtians is acceptable.

    What a bunch of weak-minded idiots.

  115. #115 cookiegirl
    December 15, 2008

    I’m pretty sure that Christianity is not the biggest religion in the world. Isn’t Islam? If this was a real bill does having an incorrect fact in the preamble nullify it? Can you make that argument?

  116. #116 dc-agape
    December 15, 2008

    I know that this is a horrible bill, but YEAH! only one rep from my state of Tennessee is backing it. Maybe there is hope for us yet!

  117. #117 Lowell
    December 15, 2008

    @111 “Undermining the Constitution is not giving comfort to enemies?”

    Forget it. The closest you’re going to come on this argument is WWII era cases holding that Americans who aided in Nazi propoganda could be prosecuted for treason for their part in the “psychological war” effort and were not protected by the First Amendment.

    There is absolutely zero chance of extending those cases to this situation.

    The framers drafted the definition of treason in Article III narrowly for a reason. They didn’t want people being charged with “crimes against the state” on the whims of those in power. Seems like a pretty good idea to me.

  118. #118 Bill Dauphin
    December 15, 2008

    Lowell and Bill Dauphin are nitpicking.

    I’m not picking nits; I’m picking fights… and in this case, the prize is probably not worth the game.

    Christian theocrats who never stop trying to throw out our Bill of Rights are enemies of my country.

    I don’t disagree… but otherwise acceptable members of Congress didn’t suddenly become “Christian theocrats” because they voted for this harmless piece of tissue paper.

    I haven’t bothered to check on how my own Congressman voted on this (because I don’t care, because the vote has nothing to do with his quality as my representative), but I assume he either voted yea or abstained. He won his seat in 2006, as a solid progressive in a fairly centrist district, by 83 votes out of almost a quarter million cast. As it turned out, he won reelection last month by a substantial margin, but in December 2007 he had every reason to expect another razor thin race, which a “ Voted NO! on Respect for Christians” TV spot could very well have cost him. (Note that I won’t even put his name in that sentence as a hypothetical. I’ve mentioned the name here before, and this story includes enough details to figure it out, but I won’t actually type it in that sentence for fear of quote mining.) I value having him represent me in Congress; if he’d risked his seat by raising a stink over such a trivial matter as this meaningless resolution, I’d've been pissed!

  119. #119 Lowell
    December 15, 2008

    BobC @103 “Call what they’re doing treason or call it something else.”

    Yes, please call it something else. That’s all I was asking for.

  120. #120 Chris A.
    December 15, 2008

    Thank you for making it easy to know to vote for, repugs

  121. #121 fmitchell
    December 15, 2008

    I’m pretty sure that Christianity is not the biggest religion in the world.

    According to Wikipedia and this site, the various Christian denominations are about 1/3 of the world’s population. Islam is second. Interestingly, Wikipedia lists Hinduism as third by splitting up atheists and other “nonreligious” people, while Adherents.com lumps them together to make the third largest block.

  122. #122 LoewLife
    December 15, 2008

    ugh, i’m ashamed to be an Iowan every time that jackass King does anything. Glad I don’t live in his district, but i still have to deal with a different republican.

  123. #123 Ukepappy
    December 15, 2008

    “Whereas” my ass.

  124. #124 melior
    December 15, 2008

    I’m disgusted that my Representative is one of the two non-Republicons to endorse this tripe. I voted against him, but it was a lost fight. We’ll try again to boot him out for incompetence at his next performance review.

  125. #125 Levi in NY
    December 15, 2008

    Well, our local Republican douchebag Congressman may be a douchebag, but I guess I’m glad he isn’t douchebaggy enough to support this anti-Constitutional douchebaggery.

  126. #126 The Adamant Atheist
    December 15, 2008

    I’m certainly not in favor of “persecuting” Christians.

    However, they often seem to confuse honest, vigorous disagreement with persecution. As in, “Hey, your religion is founded upon dubious miracle claims no one should take seriously,”…”persecution, whaaa!!!”

  127. #127 Tasida
    December 15, 2008

    I’ll second #13. My neighbors voted in King. I’m having a really hard time loving my neighbor right at the moment.

  128. #128 Ryan in VA
    December 15, 2008

    Well I know that at least one of the VA reps on the list, Thelma Drake, got booted this election. Replaced by a Democrat, too, but I doubt he’d vote against something like this…

    Someone needs to write a filibuster speech about how Congress does stupid shit like this when they could be spending their time doing something useful.

  129. #129 John Marley
    December 15, 2008

    This was news last year.

  130. #130 Donovan
    December 15, 2008

    Mr. Hodes,
    It has come to my attention that there is currently, on the floor of the US House of Representatives, a bill that wishes to recognize, formally, not only Christmas but the Christian faith: House Resolution 847. I am dismayed and worried by such a move.
    The presupposition that our nation was founded as a Christian nation is an absurdity that should be apparent to any member of Congress. As the men and women elected to lead our nation; protect her, nurture her, and guide her; it should be known fully that our nation is based on civil discourse and reason, not divine rule. Let us not mix words, Mr. Congressman. This nation is of the people, by the people, for the people. No gods need apply.
    I hope I have not offended you, but of course, such legislation as the piece on the floor is intended for the sole purpose of singling out, viciously, the millions of Americans who do not share the Christian faith, many proud and devout New Hampshire citizens included. Or would you seriously ask me to entertain the idea that “whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population(H. Res. 847),” they are in need of government protection? Again, let us not mix words. I am not so foolish.
    There is little reason, I hope, to hide that I am an atheist. But this is not at issue. In officially recognizing Christianity, in direct and unforgivable defiance of our Constitution, the House of Representatives sets a course to destroy, utterly, the religious freedom that so many Americans, yourself included no doubt, hold so very dear. How many Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or Atheists have given their lives in military service to have Christians spit on their memories now? Which of the thousands of Christian religions does this bill really support, and how dare the government dictate that?
    I know you did not sponsor the bill, nor did our wonderful neighbor, Mrs. Shea-Porter. So please, last of all, do not think I am not proud of your efforts on my behalf. I ask only that you work to defeat this bill as strongly as I would. You may lose that fight, as I might in your place. I ask only for your effort, your best effort. Defend our constitution and defend your constituents from this hideous and ridiculous hijacking from the American Taliban.

    Thank you for your time and thank you for the time of the poor staff member that had to read this rant in your place. I hope to continue to offer my support in the future.

  131. #131 Donovan
    December 15, 2008

    Yea, I feel like an ass. I didn’t catch the date. Thanks PZ. *sigh* Not the first time I made a fool of myself publicly. Damn those pygmy squirrels!!! Yup, I’m an ass.

  132. #132 Parker
    December 15, 2008

    You know, being an ‘okie’ and in the heart of the Bible belt, I’m a little surprised that my representatives aren’t on that list. Surprised, in a good way. They must have been sick…

  133. #133 Dave
    December 15, 2008

    Oh for Fsck’s sake: They pass one of these things at the drop of a hat. Theres one for Mother’s Day, one congratulating the NCAA Division III (yes Virginia, thats Division III!) football champions, one congratulating Chi-Chi Rodriguez and one for just about any other stupid thing you can think of. Im annoyed that Congress wastes its time on these things, but this one doesnt bother me any more than any other. Theres even one from a few years ago congratulating some git with my last name on becoming a priest.

  134. #134 defectiverobot
    December 15, 2008

    Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;

    Whereas Congress shall completely ignore the fact that it was Muslim clerics who transcribed and preserved the surviving volumes of the library at Alexandria, thereby contributing mostly (and ironically) to the development of western civilization;…

  135. #135 FrodoSaves
    December 15, 2008

    I’m still not exactly clear on what that does…

  136. #136 BobC
    December 15, 2008

    Bill Dauphin called “Resolved, That the House of Representatives– (1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world” a harmless piece of tissue paper.

    There is nothing harmless about Congress going out of their way to show their total disrespect for the Establishment Clause. If our politicians can’t respect our constitution how can anyone else be expected to respect it?

  137. #137 Julian
    December 15, 2008

    Their numbers are wrong; if 225,000,000 americans were Christians, then, with a pop of 305,890,650, over 3/4 of U.S. citizens would be Christians. This is obviously not the case, as many polls have shown.

  138. #138 Miranda Hale
    December 15, 2008

    Oh, wonderful. And Cathy McMorris is my city’s rep. She’s such an embarrassment.

  139. #139 Holydust
    December 15, 2008

    One more reason I continue to support my local representative. ;_; I’m from Texas. I consider myself ridiculously lucky in this regard.

  140. #140 Monado
    December 15, 2008

    Hang on! If “atheism is a religion,” as some religious folks claim, and China (population 1.3 billion) is officially atheist, then atheism is the largest religion in the world and the next puff-piece law should pat them on the head and protect them. And then, I suppose, Communism would be the second-largest religion. Or maybe the first, unless you want to divide it up into denominations. It has at least 66 million adherents, 60 million of them in China.

  141. #141 Monado
    December 15, 2008

    Kathy @ 37, putting your sins into a goat and punishing the goat is an Old Testament tradition, the rationale for torturing and killing an innocent man to save US from OUR sins in the New. I think you could safely describe that as Jewish voodoo and Christian necromancy or black magic.

  142. #142 Monado
    December 16, 2008

    Sorry, I should have typed, “Karen.”

  143. #143 CodyR
    December 16, 2008

    Fuck Randy Neugebauer. He’s trash.
    Not only because he voted on this non-binding resolution, but also because he’s a bitch in general.

    But alas, in Lubbock, TX, what can you do?

  144. #144 Hitek777
    December 16, 2008

    @ #14

    Don’t knock NC that much. We’re on our way to reality.

    I’m still disappointed, though.

  145. #145 skeeelz
    December 16, 2008

    the absolute height of douchebaggery.

  146. #146 Liberal Atheist
    December 16, 2008

    There are a lot of Christians, and they celebrate winter solstice thinking it has anything to do with their god, so let us all respect them a lot. Amen.

  147. #147 Liberal Atheist
    December 16, 2008

    “There IS a lot…” is what I should have said, isn’t it?

  148. #148 Samantha Vimes
    December 16, 2008

    Congressman Doolittle always lives up to his name.

  149. #149 tielserrath
    December 16, 2008

    Perhaps they’re just relieved that they actually got to celebrate Christmas:

    http://the-end.com/2008GodsFinalWitness/?gclid=CLKG_a_DxJcCFRskbwodgCvRRw

  150. #150 JStein
    December 16, 2008

    This is ridiculous. Can we bring up a lawsuit here? Seriously.

  151. #151 Ichthyic
    December 16, 2008

    “There IS a lot…” is what I should have said, isn’t it?

    If I take your meaning to be that your label “christian” applies to the group of 30,000 or so independent sects that all utilize the same generic label, then, no, your use of plural was correct.

    kind of like using the phrase:

    “There are many kinds of fishes” when talking about all families and genera of fishes, instead of a single group.

    …and yes, there ARE a lot of xians.

    it’s a nice, simple, authoritarian social organization (just like Islam). Easy to advertise, too. hardly surprising (though continuously disappointing) that the two comprise by far and away the most popular religions.

  152. #152 Liberal Atheist
    December 16, 2008

    Indeed. But wouldn’t “a lot” be singular? Sorry, I’ll stop derailing now.

  153. #153 Patrick
    December 16, 2008

    Idiots, one and all. I am going to write my rep, who’s on the list, and verify that this is how he thinks he should be spending his time and effort as an elected official. Stroking christmas? Were there no bills of ANY importance up for a vote? Nothing to do for Veterans? Budget? Economy? Auto industry? ANYTHING?

  154. #154 Ichthyic
    December 16, 2008

    Indeed. But wouldn’t “a lot” be singular

    it depends on the form of noun used to follow.

    in your case, you used the plural form of the noun, namely “christians”, so, no, you would match case by using “are” instead of “is”.

    There is a lot of food – correct
    There is a lot of drinks – incorrect

  155. #155 Wowbagger
    December 16, 2008

    Ichthyic – you’re back! How did the move go? Obviously you haven’t come off second-best with any of the fiercer NZ wildlife…

  156. #156 Ichthyic
    December 16, 2008

    there was an unavoidable delay, and I had to shift my plans to leaving this sunday (the last 2 months have been a total nightmare, not least of all attributable to the current economy).

    I’ll be there on the 23rd.

    I’ll start posting regularly again once I have internet access down there.

    so far, plan to spend xmas on the beach drinking mai tais.

    I’ll post pics.

  157. #157 SC, OM
    December 16, 2008

    Ichthyic!!!

    How nice to see you back!

    I’ve been meaning to drop you a line, but have been even worse in that department than usual. Planning to get caught up after when the semester’s over.

    Sorry to hear you’ve been having problems, but it’s great to hear things are coming together.

    Missed you here!

  158. #158 negentropyeater
    December 16, 2008

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

    Congress : oh but then that means we can pass a worthless non-binding resolution respecting the establishment of [the currently dominant] religion, supporting it, acknowledging it’s importance, and rejecting persecution against its members.

    Questions to con(wank)gress :
    1. is there any difference between this and intellectual masturbation ?
    2. did those representatives who sponsored this bill at least enjoy a good orgasm after passing this ?
    3. do you mind if we spit on that worthless piece of shitty paper you just wanked yourself with ?

  159. #159 RickrOll
    December 16, 2008

    -S’E'ter @159: yeah, that prettymuch sums it all up. comments, thread and all.

  160. #160 Plex Flexico
    December 16, 2008

    I think everyone is forgetting the REAL reason for the season:

    Axial Tilt.

  161. #161 Muffin
    December 16, 2008

    “[...] be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives– (1) recognizes the Christian faith [...]”

    Isn’t that bit already unconstitutional?

  162. #162 AJS
    December 16, 2008

    Advance warning: I am not American. I am British, and we have a different set of problems: our Government, instead of pushing God onto us, want to be God. Therefore, my understanding of American politics may be a little shaky.

    But,

    Which part of that doesn’t violate first amendment separation of Church and State?

  163. #163 Norman Doering
    December 16, 2008

    Donovan wrote:

    Yea, I feel like an ass. I didn’t catch the date. Thanks PZ. *sigh* Not the first time I made a fool of myself publicly. Damn those pygmy squirrels!!! Yup, I’m an ass.

    Don’t feel too bad, at least you’re not too stupid to educate and a conscious liars to boot:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/12/too-stupid-to-educate-and-conscious.html

  164. #164 Paul Flocken
    December 16, 2008

    Why do two people claim voting for Mcintyre was the lesser of two evils? There was a third choice: I left the ballot blank for the House election. Mcintyre was never going to lose against the wackaloon, so why necessarily inflate his vote total. THAT really is encouraging to the bastards.

  165. #165 negentropyeater
    December 16, 2008

    Which part of that doesn’t violate first amendment separation of Church and State?

    The whole text is a clearly in violation of the 1st amendment. But this a non binding resolution, and not a Bill :

    Unlike a bill, a non-binding house resolution has no legal consequence. Resolutions are often passed so Congress can approve or disapprove of something they would not otherwise have the ability to pass a bill on – even if they are barred from doing so because of its unconstitutionality.

    Many non-binding resolutions focus on ceremonial gestures, such as congratulating the Boston Red Sox on winning the 2007 World Series , recognizing the talent of Lucian Pavarotti , and celebrating the 95th anniversary of the Girls Scouts of the USA.


    A more important consideration may be if it even matters. Some say we shouldn’t be bothered about what Congress says on religion when it has no legal effect – let it fall by the wayside with other meaningless pieces of legislation that congratulate the Red Sox and praise Pavarotti.
    When it comes to religion though, this seems to be a misguided approach. Whether it be a crucifix, a star of David or a crescent moon, symbolism is important in almost every religion. House resolutions may have no binding legal effect on our nation, but when their subject is religion, they are still significant. The symbolism any Congressional legislation has by affirming the importance of a religion or a religious holiday is profound.
    It is not wrong to say that Christianity is important and Christmas is a special time. It is also not wrong to recognize the importance of Ramadan. What is wrong is when lawmakers say this in their official capacities. Although the restraint of the religion clauses may not reach nonbinding resolutions, they should serve as boundaries nonetheless. When Congress passes a resolution affirming religion it crosses this boundary – even if its effect is the same as the one celebrating girl scouts.

    “Attack on the Separation of Church and State or Mere Congressional Puffery: Examining House Resolution 847″ By: Lian Skaf

    http://www-camlaw.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/new_devs/HR847.doc

  166. #166 Paul Flocken
    December 16, 2008

    Protecting religion is a regular sport for politicians.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98321049

  167. #167 XaurreauX
    December 16, 2008

    Whereas law making should be restricted to mature adults who have read and understand the U.S. Constitution, are secure enough in their religion to have no need for the government to give special support for same and should be able to trust their co-religionists to also do same without government assistance: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, that the members the U.S. House of Representatives who affixed their signatures to the above puerile, grandstanding, pandering, unconstitutional, insulting H. Res. 847 be hereby advised to grow up.

  168. #168 SteveM
    December 16, 2008

    Which part of that doesn’t violate first amendment separation of Church and State?

    The Constitution only says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Since this is not a law, it does not violate the Constitution. Regardless of how stupid it is.

  169. #169 Voltaire Kinison
    December 16, 2008

    To see how our politicians voted on any and all religious bills, go here… http://www.secular.org/scorecard/2007/

  170. #170 Chris N
    December 16, 2008

    I saw Kline and Bachmann. This reflects poorly on us.

  171. #171 Sacoglossan
    December 16, 2008

    Whereas Halloween, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by people who believe in ghosts throughout the United States and the world;
    Whereas there are approximately 156,000,000 Americans who believe in ghosts, making Ghost Belief the religion of over 50% of the American population;
    Whereas there are approximately 4,000,000,000 people who believe in ghosts throughout the world, making ghost belief one of the largest unsupported assertions in the world and the religion of about one-half of the world population;
    Whereas ghosts have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;
    Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its history of scary ghost stories;
    Whereas on October 31 of each calendar year, Americans who believe in ghosts observe Halloween, the holiday celebrating the ghostly apparitions of the dead people who previously owned their home and were probably were axe-murderers;
    Whereas for people who believe in ghosts, Halloween is celebrated as a recognition of the power of the undead to walk through walls and reign terror upon the land; and
    Whereas many people who believe in ghosts and people who do not believe in ghosts throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Halloween as a time to dress up and give candy to others: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
    (1) recognizes the belief in ghosts as one of the great religions of the world;
    (2) expresses continued support for people who believe in ghosts in the United States and worldwide;
    (3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Halloween and the belief in ghosts;
    (4) acknowledges and supports the role played by ghosts and ghost believers in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;
    (5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against people who believe in ghosts, both in the United States and worldwide; and
    (6) expresses its deepest respect to Americans who believe in ghosts and ghost believers throughout the world.

  172. #172 Bill Dauphin
    December 16, 2008

    neg (@166):

    I just want to briefly make clear that I haven’t been arguing that the resolution was a good thing, nor even that it doesn’t cross a line in the way described by the article you quote.

    I only meant to say that, because it’s so totally inconsequential, it’s not worth fighting about… not by us, and not by our representatives, who have more important things to worry about.

    It’s not possible to fight every righteous fight, so it behooves us to focus on the fights that are not only righteous, but also impactful. It is, I suppose, a natural hazard of the very idealism that makes us liberals in the first place, but we liberals have a maddeningly quixotic habit of getting distracted by every windmill we pass, instead of tilting only at the ones that really matter.

  173. #173 Smidgy
    December 16, 2008

    I wonder what the reaction would be if a similar resolution was proposed, expect it started ‘Whereas Ramadan, a holiday of great significance to American Muslims and many other Muslims of many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Muslims throughout the United States and the world’, etc, etc, etc?

    Or what about one starting ‘Whereas Pastmas, a holiday of great significance to American Pastafarians and many other Pastafarians of many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Pastafarians throughout the United States and the world’, etc, etc, etc?

    Do you think either of those would pass the House?

  174. #174 Robert Gartner
    December 16, 2008

    Ted Poe recently posted an endorsement for Mr. Randy Burton and his Justice for Children organization. Burton and his henchmen with the Fulbright and Jaworski

    Ted Poe must be one of the last from Salem Massacheusetts. We really need him out upholding and conscrpiting government into its upholding, a religion that has caused more genocide and sicietal destruction than a Hitler ever dreamed of. Read Matthew Fox on this subject.

  175. #175 Marek
    December 16, 2008

    Wow! That has to be just about every Republican that’s left after Nov. 4!

  176. #176 Nietzsche
    December 20, 2008

    Please krixstains come here quickly and kiss my f–king ass!!!! But, please, do it as fast as possible…. I’m an old man and I can’t bend over for too long a period of time!