2.10.2012

Santorum, Apparently Forgetting Everything He's Ever Said, Says 'Government Control Of Your Lives' Has 'Gotta Stop'

Seriously, someone please have a discussion with Rick Santorum about self-awareness.

Speaking today at CPAC, Santorum actually said this (referring to the Obama contraception flap):
"It's not about contraception. It's about economic liberty, its about freedom of speech its about freedom of religion, its about government control of your lives and its gotta stop!"
For real. He said that.

The same Santorum who said he would invalidate all gay marriages.

The same Santorum who said that the right to privacy as it relates to having consensual sex with another adult in one's own home "doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution."

The same Santorum who said about contraception, "It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

The same Santorum who said he would "advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so."

The same Santorum who said this:
"They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.

That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I’m aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture."
Watch Rick's nutty remarks from CPAC:






Down With Erections: The Catholic Church Wants To Take Away America's Boners

The average man has 11 erections each day, and several more at night.

This may be shocking to many -- mostly to those who do not own a penis.

I heard this statistic yesterday. Perhaps it wasn't a coincidence that this statistic was circulating on twitter the same day that contraception regulations were being debated across the internet, and on every cable news show in existence.

If we must truly cater to the whims of the Catholic church, perhaps we need to tackle this problem of erections.

By Catholic standards, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil.

In other words, God created sex solely for the purpose of reproduction.

Which begs the question: Why did God create the erection? Certainly not for urinating, which is the only other Catholic-sanctioned use of the penis.

If we are to believe that God created sex solely for the purpose of procreation, we must also believe that the erection is intended solely for the purpose of sexual intercourse.

If the average man gets 11 erections each day (and several more at night), and if the human body, and all of its intricate functions, were designed by God, then certainly these erections have a special purpose.

If the average man gets a dozen or so erections a day, and he does not engage in the act of sex for the purpose of reproduction, then, each time, he is using his erection "contrary to its purpose," to borrow a phrase from the Catechism.

Perhaps Rick Santorum said it best when he said, "It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

If we are to accept the Catholic Church's logic, we must accept that an erection that is not being used for the purpose of procreation is nothing more than "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

It's a matter of time, folks. Rick Santorum said same-sex marriage would lead to "man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." By the same logic, we should assume that the Catholic church, and conservative theocrats like Rick Santorum, are not going to stop at contraception. They're coming after our boners.

America, we need to stand firm. Tell the Catholic Church to keep their hands off our erections.





2.09.2012

Hi, I'm Rick Santorum, And I Have No Self-Awareness

Rick Santorum has been talking a lot about freedom since his trifecta on Tuesday.

Take a look at some of his official tweets following his big day:

"Freedom is at stake in this election. America needs a president who’ll listen to the voice of the people."

"Our freedoms are slowly being eroded by Obama Admn. I will fight to restore them."

A press release from yesterday announced Santorum was "the first and only candidate to sign the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom."

If you've been following Rick Santorum for any amount of time, you might be wondering if the man is completely devoid of any self-awareness.

Certainly Rick Santorum does not mean the freedom to wear a condom while having sex:
"One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
Certainly he can't mean the freedom to have consensual sex with another adult in the privacy of your own home:
And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution."
And he can't mean the freedom for a doctor to practice his or her profession:
“I believe that any doctor that performs an abortion, I would  advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so.”
Clearly, he doesn't mean the freedom to be brown in an airport:
"Obviously, Muslims would be someone you'd look at [in airport profiling]."
The freedom to stay married to the person you legally married? Nah.
When asked if he would make same-sex couples get divorced, Santorum responded, "Well their marriage would be invalid."
The freedom to not have religion shoved down your child's throat in public schools? Nope.
"It's very interesting that you have a situation where science will only allow things in the classroom that are consistent with a non-Creator idea of how we got here, as if somehow or another that's scientific. Well maybe the science points to the fact that maybe science doesn't explain all these things. And if it does point to that, then why don't you pursue that? But you can't, because it's not science, but if science is pointing you there how can you say it's not science? It's worth the debate."
The freedom to terminate a pregnancy under the care of a licensed doctor? Of course not. Santorum pines for the good ol' days of back alley abortions:
Look at what’s happened just in our tolerance for abortion. Fifty years ago…60 years ago, people who did abortions were in the shadows, people who were considered really bad doctors. Now, abortion is something to that is just accepted. [...] This is the erosion. And it happens in the medical profession. It happened very fast.
I'm really curious about the freedoms Rick Santorum believes he represents. It sure sounds like he wants nothing more than to establish a Christian Taliban.




2.07.2012

Institute For Creation Research's 'That's A Fact!' Video Series Doesn't Contain Any

If, for some strange reason, you enjoy pounding your forehead into your desk, I have great news for you.

Head over to the Institute for Creation Research's Vimeo page and behold their new campaign entitled "That's a Fact!"

I'm not entirely sure what "facts" they're referring to here, as each video is the same old creationist nonsense, just served up Web 2.0-style.

Consider this entry in the series, entitled "Useless Body Parts," which discusses vestigiality.

The Institute for Creation Research states:
Body parts like tonsils and the appendix were once considered unnecessary organs left over from evolution. But scientists have discovered that these “unnecessary” organs are actually very useful.
The video states that scientists now know that the appendix is useful to our immune system, and that the gall bladder is now known to be useful for digesting fats.

With this information, the video draws the following conclusion:
"God doesn't create junk. When he made Adam and Eve, he declared them...very good! Their sin against god started the process of sickness, decay, and death even after God's judgment upon creation, he activated intricately designed backup systems, like the immune system, so that Adam and Eve, and all their descendants could survive after the fall."

I believe that by "facts," they mean "myths."

While their remarks on the appendix and the gall bladder are partly true, they leave out a lot of important information (this seems to happen a lot with creationist propaganda).

For instance, if a supreme being had designed the appendix as part of a human (a human which was designed and created in its current form), then the appendix would be kind of like the Ford Pinto's exploding gas tank. (OK, that's a bad example, you actually need a gas tank to operate a car, but you get the idea) Yes, the appendix may provide some minor functions in modern times, but it might also kill you. Brandon Miller wrote in LiveScience: "In 2000, in fact, there were nearly 300,000 appendectomies performed in the United States, and 371 deaths from appendicitis. Any secondary function that the appendix might perform certainly is not missed in those who had it removed before it might have ruptured."

(Side bar: we have to stop looking at biological traits and features as having "purposes." A chameleon's camouflage mechanism doesn't have a "purpose" (i.e. hiding from prey), it is simply a mechanism that evolved because the chameleons who were less capable of camouflaging themselves died before they could reproduce.)

Regarding the coccyx, I'm not sure the Institute for Creation Research has a true understanding of atavism. Humans occasionally are born with tails.

There are numerous examples of vestigial limbs, organs, and other features: Hind leg bones in whales, male nipples, human wisdom teeth, goose bumps, and wings on flightless birds.

If a designer were hired to create efficient organisms, she would certainly be sent back to the drawing board for many of these useless and extraneous features. She certainly wouldn't be receiving praise for efficiency or conservation of building materials.

The kind of silliness we see in these Institution for Creation Studies videos are straight from the creationist propaganda playbook. The willful ignorance is astounding.

These organizations are so fixated on the mission of proving the Bible's inerrancy, that they are willing to completely ignore all evidence except for the few pieces of evidence that work in their favor. If they can blind their captive audience with just a little science, then they believe they have done enough and can then swoop in with their message of hope and salvation.

"Those silly evolutionists say X is true! But what about Y and Z? Wait! Look over there, it's Jesus and heaven and salvation forever! Amen!"

It's the same approach every single time.

Watch for yourself. Watch them all. Or save yourself the headache.





2.06.2012

Bryan Fischer & The Creation Museum's Scientist Link Evolution To Hitler

Today, AFA spokesman and all-around horrible person, Bryan Fischer, had Dr. Georgia Purdom on his show.

For those unfamiliar with Dr. Purdom, she is one of the actual scientists employed by the Creation Museum. In other words, she is a scientist who has found a way to completely ignore science in order to indoctrinate children with the idea that the earth is only several thousand years old, and that God created humans in their present form.

As I've mentioned before in these pages, evolution deniers like Bryan Fischer, Ray Comfort, and the crew at Answers in Genesis love to play the Hitler card in their attacks on evolution.

Take Fischer and Purdom from today's Focal Point (video segment is below)

FISCHER: So it seems like you could draw a straight line between Charles Darwin, Margaret Sanger, the eugenics movement, and Adolph Hitler. You have an unbroken line from the theory of evolution to Hitler's Germany. Is that an over-exaggeration?

PURDOM: No it's not.
What Fischer and Purdom are trying to do is sully Darwin's name, and his theory of evolution -- a theory which is considered to be a fact by most modern biologists -- by association.

I guess the idea is that if they keep repeating over and over that "evolution = Hitler," the poor souls who pay attention to these loons (over 200 radio stations and over 1 million visitors to the Creation Museum) will simply say, "Welp, Hitler was evil, so evolution has to be a lie!"

Here's the thing:

Evolution doesn't care. Evolution happens, has happened, and will happen, regardless of who embraces it, or who mirrors its mechanisms for whatever nefarious purpose.

It doesn't matter if Mother Theresa, Pope Benedict, or Adolf Hitler embraced the theory of evolution. It doesn't change anything. Because change is always occurring, and it doesn't give a shit about you, politics, religion, or Bryan Fischer.

Next thing you know, Fischer and Purdom will be bad-mouthing Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of gravitation because of the millions who have died by falling.




2.05.2012

Faith-Based Support For Same-Sex Marriage

You will often hear, during arguments for or against same-sex marriage, that "it's not about religion."

I have personally been urged on occasion (by religious and non-religious folks) to not stress the religious aspects of the debate. It makes sense that people would want to avoid the faith discussion while fighting for something so important. Mostly, because people do not like to have their faith challenged.

While Americans are not reluctant to inject religion into politics, faith is, at its core, a very private matter. An assault on faith, or even aspects of one's faith, is often perceived as an assault on one's very being.

I don't think we need to shy from the discussion. It's the elephant in the room. It is in many ways the crux of the entire debate.

While many point to scripture to argue against LGBT equality and same-sex marriage, there are many devout religious folks who are pointing to scripture to advocate for acceptance, tolerance, and change.

Via the LA Times:
State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen is a committed Christian who was a swing vote on Washington's gay-marriage bill. When she finally decided to vote yes late last month, she wrote a blog post explaining her reasons, which beautifully lays out the case for why people of faith should set aside their personal prejudices in the name of equality.

"I have very strong Christian beliefs, and personally I have always said when I accepted the Lord, I became more tolerant of others," Haugen wrote. "I stopped judging people and try to live by the Golden Rule. This is part of my decision. I do not believe it is my role to judge others, regardless of my personal beliefs. It's not always easy to do that. For me personally, I have always believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day. But this issue isn't about just what I believe. It's about respecting others, including people who may believe differently than I. It's about whether everyone has the same opportunities for love and companionship and family and security that I have enjoyed."
In addition to Haugen, Gov. Christine Gregoire, who introduced the legislation, reconciled her religious views with equality, changing her views that she had held for years.
“It’s time, it’s the right thing to do,” Gov. Christine Gregoire said Wednesday as she introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

It was clearly an emotional day for Gregoire, who is in her final year in office and who up to now has publicly opposed gay marriage. Indeed, she let it be known that since being elected she has struggled privately with this issue.

“I have not liked where I have been for seven years,” she said Wednesday at an event with several gay marriage supporters to announce her proposal. “I have sorted it out in my head and in my heart, and what’s more important to me is, I believe in equality and respect of all citizens.”

Her struggle, she said, was her religion. She’s a practicing Catholic, a church that doesn’t support gay marriage.

“Some say domestic partnerships are the same as marriage,” the governor said Wednesday. “That’s a version of the discriminatory separate but equal argument of the past.”

The governor announced what she called historic legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

“Our gay and lesbian families face the same hurdles as heterosexual families—making ends meet, choosing what school to send their kids to, finding someone to grow old with, standing in front of friends and family and making a lifetime commitment,” Gregoire said.

“For all couples, a state marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and those of their children, if any, are protected by well-established civil law.”
Here in North Carolina, opponents of the same-sex marriage ban have an uphill battle. This is, after all, the Bible Belt.

That being said, you will not find a shortage of religious leaders, pastors, and organizations, who have no problem reconciling their religious beliefs with support of same-sex marriage.

Take the following Statement of NC Clergy and Faith Leaders Against the Anti-LGBT Constitutional Amendment, with over 300 signatures, posted at Equality NC's Website, as well as the Website of the Coalition to Protect All NC Families:
As people of faith, clergy and leaders in our faith traditions, we are mandated by God to demonstrate and protect love in all its forms and to stand for justice for all of creation. In faithful response to this calling, we commit ourselves, along with thousands of other Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people of faith around North Carolina, to these basic principles:

While we respect the fact that debate and discussion continue in many of our religious communities as to the scriptural, theological and liturgical issues involved, we draw on our many faith traditions to arrive at a common conviction. We oppose the use of sacred texts and religious traditions to deny legal equity to gay and lesbian people.

We oppose any amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would prohibit gay and lesbian couples from receiving the protections like health benefits and hospital visitation afforded by recognition of their relationships.

We affirm freedom of conscience in this matter. We recognize that the state may not require religious clergy to officiate at, or bless, gay and lesbian marriages. Likewise, a denial of state civil recognition dishonors the religious convictions of those clergy, supported by their faith communities, who officiate at and bless gay and lesbian marriages.

As people of faith, we, the undersigned, urge the North Carolina State Legislature to protect families in North Carolina by opposing the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.
Conservative Christians might believe that the 300-plus who signed the statement would belong solely to the liberal persuasion, i.e. those who subscribe to a lenient and unrecognizable Christianity. That would be untrue. The list features signatures of leaders from a broad spectrum of religious affiliations: Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish synagogues, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Quaker, Mennonite, Buddhist, etc. Truly an example of unity in faith.

The list of signatories is astounding, including the President of the NC Council of Churches (as well as former presidents and board members), the Chair of Religious Affairs for the NC-NAACP, several bishops of the Episcopal Diocese, deacons, elders, rectors, military chaplains and priests.

Pastor Richard Edens of United Church of Chapel Hill states, "I think there are a growing number of people who want the Constitution to reflect the inclusiveness represented in the Gospel."

Rev. Robin Tanner of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church states:
"When we vote on the rights of others, it becomes a moral and spiritual issue."

"We are called as religious leaders to speak with the depth of our faith and to speak truth to power in the face of injustice. If I were to be silent, in some ways it would be easier. But I have the opportunity to speak in behalf of my congregation, to speak up for those who don't have a voice."
Donna Miller, a wife and mother of two who attends Morning Star Lutheran Church in Mint Hill, states, "I believe I'm well inside my beliefs as a Christian to believe in same-sex marriage...Above all, you love everyone, and you don't judge."

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber III, of the NAACP, wrote in an official statement on the ban initiative:
"A vote on the same sex marriage amendment has nothing to do with your personal opinion on same sex marriage but everything to do with whether or not you believe discrimination should be codified and legalized constitutionally...No matter our color. No matter our faith tradition...No one, especially those of us whose forebearers were denied constitutional protections and counted as 3/5ths of a vote for their slave-masters and mere chattel property for other purposes in the old Constitutions-none of us should ever want to deny any other person constitutional protections."
As should be clear, it is entirely possible, and in many cases, quite easy, to reconcile one's religious beliefs with a vote against the same-sex marriage amendment to the NC state constitution.

If, as a person of faith, you can't bring yourself to vote against the amendment, ask yourself why. How are these 300+ religious leaders and members of clergy able to reconcile their faith with a 'No' vote? Which approach is truly aligned with justice, love, and charity? Which approach is truly aligned with the freedoms and liberties afforded to all citizens of our great state? As Rev. Dr. Barber asked, do you believe discrimination should be codified and legalized constitutionally?

Whether or not your beliefs allow you to do so, you must remember that same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina. What you are doing, by voting for the same-sex marriage ban amendment, is quite simply enshrining discrimination into our state constitution.

If there is a common denominator found in all humans, religious or not, it is the desire to go about our lives on earth with a basic set of rights, including the freedom to pursue happiness in a peaceful society. We are sophisticated enough to stop attacking each other for our differences, and to start focusing on our similarities. We are too good to spend time denying others the very things each of us desires in life.