stcynic https://scienceblogs.com/author/stcynic/feed en New Pro-Science Think Tank Formed https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/16/new-proscience-think-tank-form <span>New Pro-Science Think Tank Formed</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Paul Kurtz, founder of the Center for Inquiry and editor of Free Inquiry, has opened an office in Washington DC to act as that organization's <a href="http://www.cfidc.org/">Office of Public Policy</a>. The new think tank will work to promote science and reason in public policy. The Washington Post has a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/14/AR2006111401176.html">report</a> on the new group. </p> <blockquote><p>The announcement was accompanied by release of a "Declaration in Defense of Science and Secularism," which bemoans what signers say is a growing lack of understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry and the value of a rational approach to life.</p> <p>"This disdain for science is aggravated by the excessive influence of religious doctrine on our public policies," the declaration says. "We cannot hope to convince those in other countries of the dangers of religious fundamentalism when religious fundamentalists influence our policies at home."</p></blockquote> <p>Sounds reasonable to me.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Thu, 11/16/2006 - 03:40</span> Thu, 16 Nov 2006 08:40:34 +0000 stcynic 40721 at https://scienceblogs.com Walmart Protestor Wins Preliminary Injunction https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/16/walmart-protestor-wins-prelimi <span>Walmart Protestor Wins Preliminary Injunction</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In the case of Edward Crayton, the man protesting Walmart's pro-gay policies who is being represented by the ACLU, a Federal judge has <a href="http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061114/BREAKINGNEWS/61114018">granted a preliminary injunction</a> allowing him to continue his protests pending the outcome of the case. The case is scheduled to begin January 26th. </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Thu, 11/16/2006 - 03:04</span> Thu, 16 Nov 2006 08:04:41 +0000 stcynic 40722 at https://scienceblogs.com History Teacher Proselytizing in Class https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/15/history-teacher-proselytizing-1 <span>History Teacher Proselytizing in Class</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Here's a story I bet is far more common than gets reported. A high school history teacher in New Jersey, David Paszkiewicz, has been <a href="http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1163571262150640.xml&amp;coll=1">using his position</a> to proselytize students for Christianity. It's not a coincidence that he is also a Baptist minister. But this time, a student has been taping the class and has proof. </p> <blockquote><p> On Sept. 14 -- the fourth day of class -- Paszkiewicz is on tape saying, "He (God) did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sin on his own body, suffered your pains for you and he's saying, 'Please accept me, believe me.'"</p> <p>He adds, according to the tapes: "If you reject that, you belong in hell. The outcome is your prerogative. But the way I see it, God himself sent his only son to die for David Paszkiewicz on that cross ... And if you reject that, then it really is to hell with you." </p></blockquote> <!--more--><p>This is obviously completely inappropriate for a public school history class. And he went beyond that, pushing his religious views on other courses he does not teach:</p> <blockquote><p> Paszkiewicz didn't limit his religious observations to personal salvation, according to the tapes.</p> <p>Paszkiewicz shot down the theories of evolution and the "Big Bang" in favor of creationism. He also told his class that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark, LaClair said.</p></blockquote> <p>And naturally, being the good Christian that he is, he lied about it until he found out he'd been taped:</p> <blockquote><p> On Oct. 10 -- a month after he first requested a meeting with the principal -- LaClair met with Paszkiewicz, Somma and the head of the social studies department.</p> <p>At first, Paszkiewicz denied he mixed in religion with his history lesson, and the adults in the room appeared to be buying it, LaClair said. But then he reached into his backpack and produced the CDs.</p></blockquote> <p>But he was lying for Jesus, so I guess that makes it okay. And LaClair is absolutely right when he says:</p> <blockquote><p> LaClair, who described his own religious views as "non-Christian," said he wanted to complain about Paszkiewicz to school administrators, but feared his teacher would deny the charges and that no one would take a student's word against a teacher's.</p> <p>So, he said, he started taping Paszkiewicz.</p> <p>"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," LaClair said yesterday. "If I didn't have those CDs, everything would have been dismissed."</p></blockquote> <p>I suspect this sort of thing goes on all the time in some schools and the only reason it's not caught is that no one complains about it, or those that do are dismissed. But with modern technology, it's getting much easier to tape things and prove the charge. This teacher needs to be disciplined.</p> <p><b>Update</b>: It should be noted, though I wasn't aware of it when I posted initially, that this story was broken in the blogosphere by Jim Lippard. The newspapers actually got the story from <a href="http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/public-school-teacher-tells-class-you.html">his post</a> and other agitation from skeptics. </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Wed, 11/15/2006 - 07:26</span> Wed, 15 Nov 2006 12:26:00 +0000 stcynic 40720 at https://scienceblogs.com Another Nutball Rabbi https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/15/another-nutball-rabbi <span>Another Nutball Rabbi</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Thanks to Bartholomew for linking me to <a href="http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/">this blog</a> by a rabbi named Lazer Brody who almost makes Yehuda Levin seem sane by comparison. He is allied with Levin in trying to destroy the rights of gay Israelis to march through any means necessary, including violence. In <a href="http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2006/11/emuna_news_excl.html">this post</a>, he talks of Levin's partnership with equally authoritarian Muslims in trying to make sure no gay person has the right to protest and march that everyone else has:</p> <blockquote><p>What brings Rabbi Levin and Sheikh Temimi together? Temimi says, "The Gay Pride marches promoted by the highest levels of the Zionist Government... a wild campaign against Islam, the doctrine, and the holy sites!"</p> <p>Rabbi Levin adds, "Only this onslaught of homosexual radicalism could bring together such disparate voices."</p></blockquote> <!--more--><p>Indeed. Only their shared hatred of gays and their undying desire to see them destroyed could bring together Muslim theocrats and Jewish theocrats. But it hardly makes the world a better place for these two groups of madmen intent on destroying one another to join forces to destroy someone else.</p> <blockquote><p>Rabbi Levin warns that the Abomination community are down but not out. With strings in the highest levels of Israeli government, they'll keep trying to defile Jerusalem. Rabbi Levin wants their future efforts nipped in the bud. He has assembled a formidable coalition of world religious leaders - including the Pope - to preserve the sanctity of Jerusalem.</p></blockquote> <p>And by "preserve the sanctity of Jerusalem", he means "destroy the rights of gays to life and liberty." Surely if a gay pride event destroys the sanctity of Jerusalem, then the mere existence of gays in the "holy city" does the same thing. Like Levin, Brody argues that allowing gays to publicly exist in Jerusalem brings down God's wrath upon them, in the form of strengthening their enemies. </p> <blockquote><p>Many rabbis say that the threat of defiling Jerusalem triggered the recent Lebanon War, for by "virtue" of the war, the Impurade was cancelled last summer. Funny, as long as the threat to Jerusalem's sanctity isn't eradicated, the threat of Hizbulla missiles continues to loom like an ax over Israel's neck too. This is a dangerous measure for measure that the suicidal secular anti-Torah regime ignores.</p></blockquote> <p>This is every bit as idiotic as the Christian nuts in America claiming that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to destroy New Orleans as punishment for their sinful ways. In <a href="http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2006/11/the_pink_lion_b.html">this post</a>, he even offers praise to God for causing the violence both by ultra-orthodox nuts and by Palestinians in the occupied territories that prompted the need to move the event to a stadium due to lack of police availability:</p> <blockquote><p>Hashem, you're the greatest. Once again, You've shown us that you run the world. In retrospect, all the activism didn't do a thing. The way You manipulated events to create a security crisis led to the compromise/police demand that the Impurade be held on a limited scope in a confined space in an area that's spiritually contaminated anyway. The result - the whole thing fizzed out with a few dozen demonstrators in an empty stadium, even what the super-liberal Haaretz termed "Poor attendance*". The pink lion has become a paper tiger canary. This is none other than another wonderful lesson in emuna. Thank You, Hashem - everything You do is for the very best.</p> <p>Let's all take our activism time and turn it into Torah and prayer time; that way, we'll see a lot more miracles.</p></blockquote> <p>Hashem is what many traditional Jews call God. He is here praising God for creating a "security crisis." Let's be a bit more specific than that. According to this loony, God himself is responsible for causing his fellow loonies to riot in the streets, setting fires, destroying property and trying to stone policemen and poltiical officials. He is further thanking God for his fellow theocratic fascist who placed a bomb in the doorway of a police station in Israel. And he is thanking God for causing Palestinian loonies to start rioting in Beit Hanoun, which prompted the Israeli army to open fire, killing 18 of them. God did all of this, you see. </p> <p>Now, when Muslims say things like that, praising Allah for the deaths of infidels and soldiers and innocent civilians, we rightly call them terrorists. And that is precisely what Levin, Brody and his fellow theocratic thugs are: terrorists. They praise God for the death of dozens of people because those deaths meant that a group of people who have no connection to them, who have done nothing at all to harm them in any way, would be deprived of the rights that Levin and Brody take for granted. Making sure gays can't march is worth killing innocent people over; that is a pretty good working definition of insanity. </p> <p>Want more proof? See <a href="http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2006/11/2_2_22.html">this post</a>, where he again praises the violence that led to the event being confined to a stadium and blames the Israeli government for even allowing that much. Complaining that the Israeli Supreme Court allowed the event to take place in the Hebrew University Stadium, he writes:</p> <blockquote><p>This week, the high court has done it again. Ignoring four different petitions, the justices turned a blind eye to public safety, majority (75-85%!) sensitivities, and to the essence of the Jewish State, and have upheld the Attorney General's order to allowing the Impurade to take place.</p></blockquote> <p>You especially have to love the sheer chutzpah (word chosen intentionally) of complaining about the police turning a blind eye to public safety when the only ones threatening public safety are Brody and his fellow crazies. There is absolutely no threat of violence from the people marching in the parade. The only violence comes from the nuts like Brody who want to destroy the liberty of gays, if not gays themselves. The only threat to public safety is the coalition of medieval thugs who have vowed to make Jerusalem burn. </p> <p>And this guy has the gall to complain that the government doesn't care about public safety? This is mafia logic at its most absurd. This is the logic of someone who says, "That's a beautiful city you got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it. And if you just do what we want, we'll make sure it stays beautiful." And then blames the person who didn't pay their protection fee for the city being destroyed. Only the protection money being demanded in this case is the rights of gays and lesbians to publicly assemble the way every other group can. </p> <p>This is like walking into a McDonald's, putting a gun to someone's head and saying, "Give me all your money or I'll shoot everyone in here." Then when they do shoot everyone in the place, they blame the person who didn't give them their money. Obviously, that person turned a blind eye to the safety of those citizens. It's his fault, not the guy with the gun. </p> <p>And this kind of moral insanity is being preached by someone who puts himself in a position of moral authority, for crying out loud. This is a guy who <a href="http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2006/11/3_exciting_new_.html">puts out CDs</a> teaching people how to gain self-composure and how to strengthen happiness. I picture this guy with a t-shirt that says, "Happiness is....crushing the rights of gays." It's particularly galling that a moral cretin like this is holding himself out as a moral leader. He makes Ted Haggard sound rational and consistent.</p> <p>Of course, that type of moral insanity is nothing new to these groups. Levin's website, ridiculously titled Jews for Morality, contains an <a href="http://www.jewsformorality.org/who_stabbed050711.htm">article</a> blaming the men who were stabbed at last year's gay pride parade for their own stabbings:</p> <blockquote><p> What do you think? Who caused the bloodshed at the march?</p> <p>Was it the young man, a quiet Talmudic scholar, father of five, with no police record, who stated that he acted "in the name of G-D..."</p> <p>...Or was it the left-wing politicians and the left-wing judiciary, who forced this abomination on an unwilling populace?</p></blockquote> <p>I'll make this really simple for you: The bloodshed was caused by the barbarian with the knife in his hand, who believed that he had the right to kill someone for daring to live in a way that you and your fellow nuts don't approve of. And by all of you with the same insane mindset.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Wed, 11/15/2006 - 04:06</span> Wed, 15 Nov 2006 09:06:18 +0000 stcynic 40719 at https://scienceblogs.com Bad Creationist Letter in Michigan https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/15/bad-creationist-letter-in-mich <span>Bad Creationist Letter in Michigan</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A small newspaper in Michigan, the Argus Leader, has had quite a series of letters to the editor over the last few weeks after printing an article about Dick DeVos and his position that ID ought to be taught. You'll get a good laugh out of <a href="http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006611070313">this one</a> from a youth minister named Jerod Jordan. He talks about how much research he's done to conclude that evolution is wrong while simultaneously proving his utter ignorance even of the standard creationist nonsense as he trots out the tried-and-false Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man. </p> <blockquote><p>In 1912, a scientist named Charles Dawson, a medical doctor and amateur paleontologist, discovered a mandible and skull in a gravel pit near Piltdown, England.</p> <p>The jaw bone was ape-like, but the teeth had human characteristics.</p> <p>The two pieces were combined to form "Dawn Man," who was supposed to be about 500,000 years old. After several critical advances in science, the whole thing was proven to be an elaborate hoax.</p></blockquote> <!--more--><p>I don't know where "Dawn Man" comes from; the find was named Piltdown Man. But what on earth is his point? Yes, a hoax was perpetrated nearly 100 years ago in England. Scientists, recognizing that the find was extremely anomolous compared with all the other hominid fossils, discovered the hoax when new dating techniques allowed more detailed testing. And this is a problem....why? It's a textbook example of how science is self-correcting and how false data is discovered and corrected.</p> <blockquote><p>In 1922, a mysterious Mr. Cook discovered a tooth in the Pliocene deposits in Nebraska that was used to produce a photo of "Nebraska Man" and his wife, which was published in the London Daily News. All from a single tooth.</p></blockquote> <p>I love that first line: the <i>mysterious</i> Mr. Cook. I'm not sure what exactly is supposed to be so mysterious about him. Harold Cook was a rancher and amateur geologist from Nebraska, found the tooth on his property in 1917 and sent it to HF Osborn, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History. There was no "photo" of Nebraska Man and his wife; there was a <i>drawing</i> of such, but it was from the Illustrated London News, not the London Daily News. </p> <p>That picture was an artist's imagination and it had nothing at all to do with Osborn's report on the find. Indeed, Osborn himself said that "such a drawing or 'reconstruction' would doubtless be only a figment of the imagination of no scientific value, and undoubtedly inaccurate." Osborn himself had been very careful to note in his 1922 article that he was speculating that the tooth, which was highly weathered, might belong to a simian or hominid, but that much more research was needed:</p> <blockquote><p>"I have not stated that Hesperopithecus was either an Ape-man or in the direct line of human ancestry, because I consider it quite possible that we may discover anthropoid apes (Simiidae) with teeth closely imitating those of man (Hominidae), ..."</p> <p>"Until we secure more of the dentition, or parts of the skull or of the skeleton, we cannot be certain whether Hesperopithecus is a member of the Simiidae or of the Hominidae."</p></blockquote> <p>Yet creationists still peddle this tired and ridiculous notion that "scientists" constructed a whole human being from a pig's tooth. And lies like this one:</p> <blockquote><p>This same tooth was used as irrefutable evidence to the existence of evolution during the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.</p></blockquote> <p>Bzzzt. Thank you for playing. This is nonsense. There was no scientific testimony at all in the Scopes trial, the judge refused to allow any because it was not relevant to the question of whether Scopes had broken the law. This is yet another creationist tall tale that will not die.</p> <p>When the remainder of the skeleton was discovered in 1927, it became readily apparent that it was nothing more than the tooth of an extinct pig.</p> <p>This is almost true. No one knows if they actually found the remainder of the skeleton that the tooth came from, but they did go back and dig at the same site and found that the tooth likely belonged to a peccary, an extinct descendant of modern pigs. But again, what on earth is his point? That 80 years ago, a scientist made a very tentative identification of a fossil that turned out to be true and was retracted immediately? So what? </p> <blockquote><p>There are many other examples of how evolutionary thought is based on erroneous data.</p></blockquote> <p>Yes, of course there are. That's why you had to go back nearly a full century to find two highly distorted examples. Just more of the same nonsense from creationists. </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Wed, 11/15/2006 - 03:44</span> Wed, 15 Nov 2006 08:44:48 +0000 stcynic 40718 at https://scienceblogs.com Another Creationist Textbook https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/15/another-creationist-textbook <span>Another Creationist Textbook</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Zenoferox has a <a href="http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/2006/11/creationists-secret-weapon.html">blog post</a> about a new book put out by Answers in Genesis, a book they said previously was a secret project "to overcome the widespread censorship found in public schools concerning the creation/evolution issue." As it turns out, however, this "big secret" is just another anti-evolution book that pretends not to be pushing Biblical literalism:</p> <blockquote><p>We got copies of the three major biology textbooks used in most public school systems across America. AiG's Roger Patterson carefully went through each of them and noted every place where there's a reference to millions of years and evolution.</p> <p>Roger researched the evolutionary claims, and then read hundreds of articles and contacted experts in their fields to ensure he'd write the best rebuttals possible.</p> <p>Roger then compiled this research into a series of chapters and created AiG's newest book: Evolution Exposed--Your evolution answer-book for the classroom.</p></blockquote> <!--more--><p>As Zeno asks - this is news? This is the big secret? Creationists have been doing this for decades. How is this any different from <i>Icons of Evolution</i> from the late 90s? , or <i>Scientific Creationism</i> from the early 70s? This is the standard nonsense about every creationist book, that it refutes evolution without mentioning the Bible. But Ken Ham apparently thinks he's come up with a brilliant new idea:</p> <blockquote><p>Friend, here's how practical this groundbreaking work is.</p> <p>Just about any public high school student will now be able to use Evolution Exposed whenever there's a reference to millions of years/evolution in their texts. Praise God, it will give them scientific answers against evolutionary beliefs.</p></blockquote> <p>*yawn* Yeah, where have we heard that one before? That was the same claim made in defense of the state policies in <i>McLean</i> and <i>Edwards</i>; it didn't work then, it won't work now. Such books consist of nothing but a laundry list of distortions and lies to prop up a failed theology.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Wed, 11/15/2006 - 03:39</span> Wed, 15 Nov 2006 08:39:39 +0000 stcynic 40717 at https://scienceblogs.com More Evidence of Rumsfeld's Incompetence https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/15/more-evidence-of-rumsfelds-inc <span>More Evidence of Rumsfeld&#039;s Incompetence</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>And it's yet another outgoing military commander <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/13/national/main2177031.shtml">saying</a> that there was no plan for the post-war occupation of Iraq:</p> <blockquote><p>Unfortunately, Hagee's comments only deepen the mystery. He says he was deeply concerned about who would take charge of major Iraqi cities, like Najaf, as the Marines pushed through them on their way to Baghdad.</p> <p>Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of those cities. He wanted to know what the plan was for Phase IV -- military terminology for the phase that follows the end of major combat operations. Phase IV is, in other words, what comes after "mission accomplished." Hagee says that he sent his questions up the chain of command, as they say in the military -- and never heard back.</p></blockquote> <p>How many times do we have to hear this from one general after another before it becomes true?</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Wed, 11/15/2006 - 03:24</span> Wed, 15 Nov 2006 08:24:18 +0000 stcynic 40716 at https://scienceblogs.com New Catchphrase: Neo-Paganism https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/15/new-catchphrase-neopaganism <span>New Catchphrase: Neo-Paganism</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In the 80s, the standard name for the enemies of the religious right was "secular humanist." The secular humanists were on the march everywhere. Roving gangs of literature professors and philosophers were alleged to be at the very gate of civilization and, like the Jews previously, they were said to be in control of virtually every institution. Somewhere along the line, the preferred term changed from "secular humanist" to "pagan". Now, the dictionary definition of pagan is simply anyone not a Christian, Jew or Muslim. But they like to use it to mean "non-religious" as well.</p> <p>I've noticed that lately that term is changing as well and we're hearing about "neo-pagans" and "neo-paganism". On the ADF blog, Jeffrey Ventrella is <a href="http://www.constitutionallycorrect.com/archive/2006/11/13/208.aspx">claiming</a> that "neo-paganism" is the "unacknowledged philosophy" of "the left." And he's lumping a whole bunch of distinct and disconnected ideas together to make the case:</p> <!--more--><blockquote>The real driving force for such antics, however is not "liberty" or "eliminating discrimination." Rather, what is operating here is neo-paganism--an irrational effort to obliterate distinctions, particularly creational distinctions. <p>Think about it: same-sex "marriage" seeks to obliterate the distinction calling for gender complementarity in marriage. Transgenderism seeks to obliterate the distinction between maleness and femaleness. So-called animal rights efforts seek to obliterate the distinction between humans and animals. No-fault divorce schemes seek to obliterate the distinction between valid reasons to annul the marriage covenant and just any reason--or no reason--to do so. So-called non-discrimination provisions seek to obliterate a group's ability to choose leaders who concur with their ideology and hence draw leadership distinctions predicated upon that ideology.</p></blockquote> <p>This is just plain weird. Neo-paganism is a term generally used for a large, diverse group of religious traditions, most obviously Wicca but also including lots of fairly vague forms of animism, shamanism and polytheism. What that has to do with any of those allegedly bad things Ventrella mentions is beyond me. It appears that he's just randomly choosing this term for everyone he disagrees with, as well as lumping them in together for no apparent reason.</p> <p>He would certainly classify me as part of "the left" given my frequent disagreements with the ADF over church/state matters, but I would have a hard time dredging up any less concern over animal rights than I have now. I see no point in abusing any animal, but I gleefully consume all manner of animals. My idea of animal rights is believing that every animal has the right to be matched perfectly with an appropriate dry rub before being put into the smoker. </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Wed, 11/15/2006 - 03:15</span> Wed, 15 Nov 2006 08:15:12 +0000 stcynic 40715 at https://scienceblogs.com Sheldon Knew Haggard Was Gay https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/14/sheldon-knew-haggard-was-gay <span>Sheldon Knew Haggard Was Gay</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This is interesting. According to an <a href="http://thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=13253">interview</a> with Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, he and many others knew that Haggard was gay long before the gay prostitute came out publicly over it. </p> <blockquote><p>Then, as if things could not get worse, there was the disgrace of Sheldon's own friend and colleague, Rev. Ted Haggard, the Colorado mega-church leader and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an even bigger pillar of Republican support on the Christian right. Sheldon disclosed that he and "a lot" of others knew about Haggard's homosexuality "for awhile ... but we weren't sure just how to deal with it."</p> <p>Months before a male prostitute publicly revealed Haggard's secret relationship with him, and the reverend's drug use as well, "Ted and I had a discussion," explained Sheldon, who said Haggard gave him a telltale signal then: "He said homosexuality is genetic. I said, no it isn't. But I just knew he was covering up. They need to say that."</p></blockquote> <p>The plot thickens.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Tue, 11/14/2006 - 13:37</span> Tue, 14 Nov 2006 18:37:37 +0000 stcynic 40714 at https://scienceblogs.com Rabbi Declares Victory on Jerusalem Event https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/11/14/rabbi-declares-victory-on-jeru <span>Rabbi Declares Victory on Jerusalem Event</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the wingnut American rabbi who has been trying to destroy the Jerusalem gay pride event, is <a href="http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/11/102006c.asp">declaring victory</a> after confining the event to a stadium and keeping it off the streets. </p> <blockquote><p>Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the New York-based organization Jews for Morality is in Jerusalem to protest the parade. He feels Israel's ultra-liberal Supreme Court has been very accommodating to homosexual activists; but nevertheless, he says, "the strong showing by the religious people of the city [of Jerusalem] was very effective in banishing the homosexual militants to the periphery, and as such, this is definitely a victory."</p></blockquote> <p>But of course, he also reveals that he has much bigger goals:</p> <!--more--><blockquote>Still, Levin observes, it is "sad" that homosexuals are being allowed to cavort publicly in a stadium in Jerusalem. He finds it regrettable that Jerusalem officials have made even this much of a concession to the homosexual activists, and laments that America has exported its "anti-cultural smut" abroad.</blockquote> <p>Apparently, the mere fact that gays are allowed to gather in groups is too much of a concession...to what, exactly? His reasoning suggests the larger answer:</p> <blockquote><p>"The reason this is so important, this issue, is first of all because this is an assault on the very essence of holiness," the New York rabbi contends. Jerusalem and Israel are "universally acknowledged as the Holy City and the Holy Land by people of all faiths," he says, "so this is like an attack to the epicenter, to the spiritual nerve center of world."</p></blockquote> <p>If gays gathering in groups is an "attack" on the "holy land", isn't the existence of homosexuals there at all also such an attack? After all, the Bible declares homosexuality itself to be an abomination, not homosexual gatherings. It isn't gay pride events that Levin and his fellow nuts object to, it's their very existence. Their ultimate goal is to remove them entirely, not merely to take away their right to association and protest.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/stcynic">stcynic</a></span> <span>Tue, 11/14/2006 - 04:01</span> Tue, 14 Nov 2006 09:01:47 +0000 stcynic 40712 at https://scienceblogs.com