Est. May 2008

16 October, 2014

Gone Fishin’ ***UPDATE***

Someone one said, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’.  But something tells me whomever said that never experienced the fury of a lesbian scorned.

Down Houston way, somebody opened up a can of worms (hat tip Ian Tuttle):
Earlier this year [openly-lesbian Mayor Annise] Parker, a Democrat, spearheaded the passage of an “Equal Rights Ordinance” (ERO) that added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the city’s non-discrimination provision, which includes, among other things, “public accommodations” — for example, restrooms. Citizens, among them church leaders, balked. They launched a referendum petition that, with the requisite 17,269 signatures, would require the city council to repeal the ERO, or to put the measure up for a vote. They obtained 55,000 signatures. The city secretary, who has sole responsibility for certifying such petitions, signed off.

Enter Houston city attorney David Feldman, who, with no legal authority, disqualified 38,000 signatures. Names that were printed, rather than written in cursive, were discarded; names that were written in cursive were considered illegible — just enough names to get the petition below the 17,000-signature requirement, at which point the city council and Mayor Parker rejected it. And several citizens sued.

But the city’s shenanigans had only just begun. Unsatisfied with violating the rights of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the City of Houston has subpoenaed privileged communications of five pastors (none of them party to the lawsuit) who helped to organize the petition drive. Among other information, the city is requesting communications between the pastors and their attorneys pertaining to the ERO lawsuit, communications between the pastors and their congregants, and even the pastors’ sermons.
It’s almost needless to say that this got the attention of a great number of people, including Todd Starnes, Tim Brown, Bryan Preston, George Upper of BizPac Review, Michael Brown, Senator Ted Cruz and others.  Because of the bad press, the mayor and her minions look to be trying to backpedal on the subpoenas (hat tips Katherine Driessen and Ed Morrissey, who points us to Eugene Volokh for some legal analysis.

Terms like ‘witch-hunt’, ‘fishing expedition’, homofascism, ‘“Big Brother” overlords’ … well, you get the point.  As pointed out by Christiana Holcomb, Alliance Defending Freedom litigation counsel, “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

Nobody expects the Houston City Inquisition, I guess.

But the pastors have, for all intents and purposes, told Mayor Torquemada Parker and her henchman in the City Attorney’s office to pound sand – they will not comply with the subpoenas.  And with all the negative publicity falling on the mayor and her cronies, they ought to choose wisely their next move: as Ian Tuttle closes his article, ‘Does Parker think this gambit will succeed? If so, she must not be well acquainted with her state’s history. When it comes to defending their rights, Texans are not an easygoing bunch. Thankfully.’

***UPDATE***

Seems the Texas Attorney General decided to spank Mayor Torquemada Parker, too.

10 October, 2014

Liberals vs. Christianity

Starting off an article written for The Week titled, ‘Why do so many liberals despise Christianity?’, Damon Linker writes:
Liberalism seems to have an irrational animus against Christianity.
Later, he writes:
Contemporary liberals increasingly think and talk like a class of self-satisfied commissars enforcing a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision of the human good. The idea that someone, somewhere might devote her life to an alternative vision of the good — one that clashes in some respects with liberalism's moral creed — is increasingly intolerable.

That is a betrayal of what's best in the liberal tradition. (emphasis mine)
He’s right; it is a betrayal of what people call ‘classical liberalism’.  But look what Mr. Linker’s description again: ‘self-satisfied commissars enforcing a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision’ on society.  It must be secular society which determines what is good and what is bad, otherwise, as Mr. Linker points out, it’s ‘intolerable’.

It’s that notion of a ‘uniformly secular vision’ which is the sticking point. 

‘Contemporary liberals’ believe that ‘all truth is relative’.  Because of this, they believe the secular notion that all truths come from man.  It’s just the opposite for Judeo-Christians: we believe there is such a thing as absolute, objective truth, that its source is God, and that anything which runs contrary to that absolute, objective truth is false.  Because the source of this truth is God, it lies outside the sphere of human reason, something most ‘contemporary liberals’ have elevated to almost deific status.

Which leads me to the ‘religious liberal’, alternately known as the ‘liberal Christian’.  Napp Nazworth, in an article commenting on the article above, writes:
What is missing from Linker's article is that there are many Christians today who are liberal, and whose liberal views are inspired by their understanding of scripture.
IMO, that’s backwards: their understanding of Scripture is inspired by their liberal views.  Example: the tale of the rich young ruler.  Most liberal Christians see that as a call for renunciation of all wealth, and as an attack on the rich – this view is based on their liberal beliefs of equality of outcome – when, in fact, the story speaks of a young man who walks away in sadness because his love of wealth was greater than his love for God.  If you doubt, look to the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19.  Zacchaeus was a very wealthy and despised tax collector.  Upon meeting and dining with Jesus, he declares, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”   Now, if Jesus really hated rich people as much as liberal Christians say He did, it’s hard to see it in His response: And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”  Note that Jesus didn’t say to Zacchaeus, “No, that’s not enough – give it ALL away.”

Another example: liberal Christians believe that Jesus would have endorsed universal health care because He went around healing people.  What’s missing is the facts that Jesus’ focus was on saving sinners from their sins, not their impairments; that His miracles performed the double function of assisting those upon whom He had compassion and as signs of his Godhood and Messiahship; and that if He had desired universal good health, He could have provided it to everyone in the world with a single thought or word – but He didn’t.

I could go on and add plenty of examples of the wrongness of liberal Christianity’s interpretation of just those two topics, but I haven’t the room.  Suffice it to say that the term ‘liberal Christian’ perfectly describes their ideological focus – ‘contemporary liberalism’, then Christianity.

That there is animus toward Judeo-Christians in the world – more so outside the US, but gathering steam even within our borders – is obvious.  It’s also to be expected.  Jesus warned His disciples and apostles repeatedly that the world would hate them and would do whatever they could to silence them.  But He also promised His Holy Spirit to give us strength to combat this animosity.


And I’ll take the Triune God over man any day.

02 October, 2014

Okay, Okay We Get It

It’s the silly season once again, folks: a month until we enter the booth and pull the lever (or fill in the dot) for yet another midterm election.  And, like every election season since 2008, we’re being given ‘encouragement’ from Republican backers to just ‘suck it up and walk it off* because, ya know, this election is ‘a corrective one, and it is part of a multi-cycle correction of the drastically horrible mistakes of the 2006 and 2008 election cycles’.

So we’d just d@mned-well better pull the lever for the ‘R’, because, you know, if we don’t vote, we might as well have voted for the Democrat’, don’tchaknow?

Forget all that stuff about, you know, candidate qualities, and candidate stances – none of that makes any difference. 

A Republican candidate that’s pro-abortion? 

Vote for ‘em.

They’re for amnesty?

Vote for ‘em.

They’re for Obamacare?

Vote for ‘em.

Why?

Because they’ve got an ‘R’ behind their name, stupid!

Let’s make this next election a corrective election – by voting for the same old, same old in our Republican party.

Because, don’tchaknow, the only way to correct things is to do them the same way over…

…and over…

…and over again.


(* - these guys aren't the only ones pushing this kind of thinking - I just happened to be reading this particular article when I snapped)

28 September, 2014

Talents

This is interesting:
The parable in question is the one concerning the rich man who gives talents to three of his servants and then sets out on a journey. Upon his return, he assesses the situation and discovers that the servant to whom he had given five talents had invested them fruitfully and that the servant to whom he had given three talents had done the same. But he finds, to his chagrin, that the slave to whom he had entrusted one talent had simply buried the wealth and had garnered neither gain nor interest. Angered, he orders that the one talent be taken from the timid servant and given to the servant who had invested most boldly.

And then comes the devastating moral lesson: "For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

The standard reading of this story -- on display in thousands of sermons and fervorinos -- is that the talents symbolize gifts and abilities that God has given to us and that he expects us to "spend" generously or "invest" wisely. This interpretation is supported by the fairly accidental relationship that obtains between "talent" in the ancient Biblical sense of the term and "talent" in ordinary English today.
However…

Yeah, yeah, I know.

I’m not going to give it away; you’ll have to go over and read the rest.

26 September, 2014

Haven’t Got A Prayer

North Alabama Freethought Association board member Kelly McCauley will open the Huntsville City Council meeting Thursday in a non-religious invocation after a secularist group threatened to sue the council over its tradition of Christian Prayer.

McCauley, who according to his Meetup page was confirmed in the Lutheran Church and "dropped out" at age 23, told AL.com, "My goal is to offer a non-sectarian invocation that, I hope, will lend gravity to the meeting and point to our civic values."

– snip –

McCauley was invited by Huntsville leaders to give the body's first atheist "prayer" after secularist group Freedom From Religion Foundation complained about its Christian opening prayers. (all emphases mine)
The question is, can atheists truly pray?

I’ll go out on a limb and say ‘yes’.  Look at the definition of prayer:
A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
What makes this definition work for atheists is ‘another object of worship’.

So what do atheists worship?  There are lots of folks out there who’ve said (and still say) that atheists worship the self, or reason, or knowledge, or rationality, or science, or a host of other non-metaphysical objects.  So as long as their ‘prayers’ (or ‘invocations’) are directed at one of those, the terms used for them are being used correctly.

However (you knew this was coming) … you cannot put the terms ‘prayer’ or ‘invocation’ together with ‘non-religious’ or –non-sectarian’ – that doesn’t’ fly.  Prayers and invocations are by definition religious and sectarian, because they are directed at an ‘object of worship’, whether that object is physical or metaphysical.  You cannot pry religion and sectarianism off prayers and invocation no matter how hard you try.

So my suggestions is, quit trying.  Admit that your atheism is as valid a religious belief as Christianity or Judaism or Islam or Baha’i or any of the other religions on this planet.