Standard Lunacy From the Religious Right

Well, I've been grading exams for about ten minutes, and I'm already depressed. (One of my students seems to think that one fourth is an integer. Get the idea?) So how about another post?

Here's Keith Olbermann from last nights' edition of Countdown proving once again why he is the only one worth watching on cable news:

Tonight's winner, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, responding to the two shooting nightmares in Colorado Sunday by e-mailing this to his group, quote, “it is hard not to draw a line between the hostility that is being fomented in our culture from some in the secular media toward Christians and Evangelicals, in particular, and the acts of violence that took place in Colorado Sunday, but I will say no more for now other than that our friends at New Life Church and YWAM are in our thoughts and prayers.”

You hypocritical holier-than-thou opportunistic fraud. You say it's the wrong time to say anything more than prayers to the victims' families while you're trying to make political hay out of the victims' bodies. Oh, the psychopath of the shooting did so because of “hostility fomented in the secular media”, had nothing to do with him getting out of the church's missionary program. And the hostility you think is directed towards Christians? No, sir, it's directed toward sub-human snake oil salesmen like you, Tony Perkins of the so-called Family Research Council, today's “Worst Person in the World”.

Well said, though I think Olbermann meant that the shooter had been thrown out of the missonary program.

Any time some crazy sick lunatic goes on a shooting rampage, people like Perkins cross their fingers in ths hopes that somewhere, at some point in his life, the lunatic said something nice about evolution or natural selection. That way they can blame secularists, and all the evil entailed by that word, for the shooting. But when the lunatic was up to his neck in religion and thoroughly steeped in Christian influences? Turns out that's secularism too.

While we're at it, here's Town Hall columnist Bill Murchison endorsing Mitt Romney's contempt for secularism:

The preachers didn't start this business; the secularists did. Out of the celestial blue came the news from the U.S. Supreme Court, in the '60s, that the public schools enjoyed no right to allow prayer of any kind or the reading of the Bible.

Along came the justices a few years later to assure us that the Constitution forbade legislative restrictions on the right to abort a pregnancy. That religious-based morality generally disallowed abortion was a matter over which the justices passed in embarrassed silence.

We might not equate these pronouncements -- untouchable because of the untouchableness of the federal judiciary itself -- with assault and battery against religion and, especially, against Christianity. Yet, coming so soon after the comparative serenity of the churchgoing '50s, such developments shocked. And still do.

Just what gives secularists the supreme confidence there's nothing to this religion business? The weight of tradition is on the opposite side. You sense, while taking in the scurryings of the secularist brotherhood, an anxiety to get things done and nailed down lest through a sudden opening in the heavens a thunderbolt should shoot downward.

Murchison, of course, is very confused. Secularism has nothing to do with atheism. It is merely the idea that societies function best when there is a firm wall of separation between church and state. That is a premise religious folks ought to endorse as strongly as atheists.

And that's charming logic Murchison's got there. As he tells it, all through the fifties people like him were happily trampling on the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens by using the organs of government to promote sectarian religious views. When, starting in the sixties, some people got sufficiently annoyed by this to force the courts to acknowledge the obvious, he thinks this constitutes the secularists “starting it.”

Not dumb enough for you? Well, he's not finished:

The brouhaha over Darwin vs. intelligent design gives evidence, if not of fear, perhaps of exasperation with folk who just won't quit wanting to affirm the agency of God in creation. A world without a creative principle -- hence without purpose -- suits secularists well enough. Nor can they see intelligent designers as working at anything short of the subversion of science.

Whatever is waiting for me on my students' exams just has to be smarter than that.

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"Adrienne was using a literary device called irony."

Yes. I knew that. That's why I wrote this: "I don't know who's being more tongue-in-cheek, you or I."

And I don't support Huckabee...anymore.

First the news about Huckabee up in the polls, now this. Dear nonexistentGod, please make it stop.

This one leaves egg all over the faces of the fundies. Of course I'd still like to see WHY the shooter was thrown out.
I'm just hoping it was because he was found having sex with another one of the male Christians. That would be fun to see the fundies have apoplectic fits over that.

The preachers didn't start this business; the secularists did. Out of the celestial blue came the news from the U.S. Supreme Court, in the '60s, that the public schools enjoyed no right to allow prayer of any kind or the reading of the Bible.

Yeah, right. Supreme Court cases don't come out of the blue. The groundwork for these cases was laid years ago by protestants fighting catholics.

Back in the day, schools used to start class with strongly protestant (and anti-Catholic) prayers. Catholic churches funded their own schools to get away from this nonsense, but then tried to get the government to pay for these schools. Protestants sued the government for supporting schools where nuns taught class and (Catholic) prayers were said.

The group "Americans United for the Separation of Church and State" used to be called "Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State." They formed to fight this Protestant v. Catholic war.

The religious people were all shocked when the Supreme Court extended decisions saying "No sectarian prayer" to say "No prayer". We study these cases in law school and laugh about how blind they were not to see this coming.

Protestants and Other Americans United fractured over the no-prayer decision. Half wanted to support it (because they knew attacking it would undermine the groundwork they spent so long laying) but the other half wouldn't accept that protestant prayers should be removed. That's why the group we know and love today is just called "Americans United".

The way these assholes try to scapegoat secularism runs almost perfectly parallel to how they try to scapegoat video-games. Whenever a disaffected kid lashes out violently, and it turns out that he was somewhere near a video game at some point in his life, you'll have opportunistic gasbags like Jack Thompson on TV touting it as further proof of the depravity caused by violent video games.

It's all the same game, really. Take a tragedy and exploit the shit out of it to further a preconceived political agenda.

Your student thought that 1/4 was an integer?

That's silly. Everyone knows its TWO integers!

I guess we can assume that Perkins feels that promoting xtianity is a more effective way to prevent future tragedies like this than something as radical as tougher laws on gun ownership?

That student needs a lesson in integrity!

Did this post start with students doing poorly writing exams and end with prayer in schools?

Following the line of thinking employed by a certain poster here, I'll argue that if you take the integral part of 1/4 you have an integer, which means that 1/4 is actually an integer.

"That religious-based morality generally disallowed abortion was a matter over which the justices passed in embarrassed silence."

That religious based-morality is incapable of producing a population with a reduced rate of teen pregnancy and abortion is a matter that continues in embarrassed silence to this day.

If your religion forbids abortion (and none actually do if you look carefully, but that's a story for another day), then don't have an abortion.

If religious people ever do manage to get their abortion numbers under that of us "godless securlarists", then they can have the right to complain (not take away other peoples' rights, mind you, just a right to complain without making complete hypocrites out of themselves)

However, I don't expect that this will happen (what with their love of abstinence-only education), nor do I believe that they will realize that if Christian Law is not even binding on Christians, they have absolutely no right to try to make it binding on nonChristians.

By Jason Failes (not verified) on 13 Dec 2007 #permalink

You must be mistaken, Tyler. ¼ is not an integer, but it is actually 25% of an integer, which means that the student should get partial credit.

"Murchison, of course, is very confused. Secularism has nothing to do with atheism. It is merely the idea that societies function best when there is a firm wall of separation between church and state"

I know what you getting at with this but I am not sure it is quite true if you mean separation as you have in the US. Here in Europe several countries have official, established religious (such as Anglicanism in the UK) and yet are far more secular than the US, where there is no established religion.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 14 Dec 2007 #permalink

PZ, that was a cruel and evil thing of you to say.

... it reminds me way too much of what I've graded as a TA, and what the students have said about it. ;_;

By Michael Ralston (not verified) on 14 Dec 2007 #permalink

I was on another blog talking about teaching math to elementary students. I am teaching my 2nd grader extra math:

I've been teaching my second grade son:

A farmer has 1,000 bales of hay and need to sell some to buy grain for the 5 months of winter. He has 5 horses and 10 cows. A horse eats 3 bales a week and a cow eats 2. A bale of hay sells for $2 and a bag of grain costs $60.

How many bags of grain can the farmer buy?

Bonus: The clerk at the feed store said grain was 10% off today. How much does the farmer save?

and:

The class is going on a trip. There are 400 students and ten teachers. Each bus has two rows of ten seats that seat two on each side of the aisle. Each bus needs two school monitors. Parents will fill in if you don't have enough teachers.

How many parents need to go on the class trip?

Bonus: If all the other buses are full, how many people are on the last bus?

So far I've gotten more hassel than applause. Anyway I thought they were good questions. There is one standard: Could the 1/4 = integer student solve them?

"Dear nonexistentGod, please make it stop." Beautiful logic, just beautiful. I don't know who's being more tongue-in-cheek, you or I.

HannahJ-
I suppose that, like most Huckabee supporters, you probably wouldn't recognize it but Adrienne was using a literary device called irony.

Following the line of thinking employed by a certain poster here, I'll argue that if you take the integral part of 1/4 you have an integer, which means that 1/4 is actually an integer.