A response to Judith Levy’s comment about a “religion versus science” post I wrote

Last week, I wrote about an image I saw in Facebook, which sought to disparage religion by showing that religion tears people down, while science builds them up:

Facebook poster saying religion demeans people

My response was to mock up an alternative poster that the little girl could have held up, one that shows that religion elevates the individual while pure science has no regard for the individual:
Religion versus Science
Somehow that post came across the radar of Judith Levy, who blogs at Ricochet. Judith believes that I used the wrong tactics in the battle against anti-religious bias:

The incredibly depressing photograph to the right has been flying all over the interwebs recently. As you can see, a cute little girl is being used as a prop to bash religion and tout science (which, of course, are assumed to be mutually exclusive).

I was struck by the response to this photo on a blog called Bookwormroom.com, the subhead of which claims that “conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions”.

At this point, Levy offers a few quotations from my poster, the one that has religion acknowledging life’s creation from the moment of conception, versus the scientific view that we are a bag of chemicals. She then wraps up by concluding that I offered the argument to defend religion:

Now, I understand the anguish of religious Christians when they see offensive tripe like the above photo disseminated, especially with the big steaming side of self-righteousness that always accompanies it. (One yearns to give the people zipping it out to all their Facebook friends a good patsch to wipe away the smirk.) Still, responding by announcing that religion = pro-life seems counterproductive: it reduces the issue down to pro-life vs. pro-choice and shuts the conversation down immediately. (It also discounts the reality of religious believers who are also pro-choice, but that’s a secondary issue here.)

What has always amazed me about the God vs. Science line of thinking on the left is how unimaginative it is. Why not attack on that line instead? Why not force a leftist to explain why the math behind the movement of the spheres disproves the existence of a creator? Put them on the defensive, don’t go into your own defensive crouch. A person who puts a sign like this in his own daughter’s hands is not going to hear a word you say if you open with a pro-life argument. That’s for later, no?

Aside from finding it amusing that Levy thinks that I, a vaguely theistic Jew, am a “religious Christian,” I think it’s worth clarifying what I was setting out to do.  Levy apparently believes that I somehow abandoned my commitment to facts by engaging in pro-Life propaganda, and others may also have misunderstood what I set out to do.

Contrary to Levy’s assumption about my goal in writing that post, I was not attempting to prove religion. Why not?  Because I don’t see disproving religion as the central point of the original photograph.  Look carefully at the poster.  It can be summed up as follows:  “According to religion I am [all sorts of negative things]” versus “according to science I am all sorts of [wonderful].”  The point that child’s parent is trying to make isn’t that God is dead, but that religious practices and people devalue humans beings, while pure science, especially as practiced on the Left, elevates them.

You don’t have to take my word for it.  Go back and read the poster carefully.  It doesn’t challenge religion at all. There is not a single word in there that can be interpreted to mean “There is no God.” Instead, it says only that those who believe in God do not value human life, while those who believe in science do. That was the central canard I was attacking.

Within the context of the poster’s implicit argument, every statement I made was a factually true challenge to the poster.  I wasn’t arguing religious doctrine or ultimate scientific fact.  Instead, I took on the poster writer’s world, in which religious people think humans are worthless, evil and valueless, and demonstrated that, in the real world — and the world of those facts I cherish — America’s religious Christians (as opposed to those Leftist’s who, like the Devil, can quote scripture) have a fanatic belief in each individual’s value. To that end, I focus closely on the way in which America’s religious class practices its religion.

On the flip side, I wasn’t challenging whether science is right or wrong. (Although I will say here that, to the extent science is based on data and conclusions that can be drawn from that data, it’s rather silly to think that hard, real science deals in value-laden terms as “beautiful,” “full of wonder” and “smart.”)  Instead, I pointed out, entirely accurately, that it’s the nature of science to reduce life to the lowest common denominator — a collection of chemicals.  Moreover, it’s the “scientific” Left that has taken this definition and concluded, in true Orwellian fashion, that not all lives are equally valuable.

In sum, Levy seems to believe that I failed to counter the original photo because I didn’t engage in a theological argument about God’s existence.  And she’s right, I didn’t and nor would I do it differently if I could re-write the post.  To the extent I believe that the original photo intended to say that religion and God place different values on human lives, I cut through the conclusory language in the original photo and replaced those value-laden terms with hard facts about the way in which religious people differ in their approach from those who elevate science to a religion when it comes to determining each individual’s true worth.

Obama’s stupid crack about parochial education

Much is being made of Obama’s speech in Ireland, in which he managed to insult parochial education.  Catholics seem most disturbed, perhaps because (a) most parochial schools in America are Catholic and (b) Obama has been at war with the Catholic church by trying to make churches pay for abortifacients and birth control, which is a big First Amendment no-no.

Reading what Obama said, there’s no doubt that, once you work your way through his sloppy formulation, it’s right up there with the best of Obama’s offensive statements:

Because issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity–symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others–these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it,” said Obama. “If towns remain divided–if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs–if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

“Ultimately, peace is just not about politics,” he said. “It’s about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that don’t exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation.

“And I know, because America, we, too, have had to work hard over the decades, slowly, gradually, sometimes painfully, in fits and starts, to keep perfecting our union,” said Obama. “A hundred and fifty years ago, we were torn open by a terrible conflict. Our Civil War was far shorter than The Troubles, but it killed hundreds of thousands of our people. And, of course, the legacy of slavery endured for generations.

“Even a century after we achieved our own peace, we were not fully united,” he said. “When I was a boy, many cities still had separate drinking fountains and lunch counters and washrooms for blacks and whites.”

I actually understand what he’s trying to say:  in a country riven by past sectarian violence, it’s dangerous to perpetuate sect identity.  Put another way, he’s saying that the only way to live together in harmony is to abandon religion entirely.  “Hey, come on, guys!  We know you’re incapable of living together, so let’s just go all Soviet and renounce religion entirely.”

Understood properly, not as a slap at the Catholic church, but at the notion of jettisoning religion and religious identity entirely, Obama’s remark is even more stupid than it first appears.  He’s my age, so he should know exactly what happened when the stifling Soviet yoke was removed from regions that had mutually hostile religions that were suppressed under Communism:  they exploded into orgies of violence.  Suppressing religion didn’t make these hostilities vanish; it made them fester.  (Think:  Kosovo.)

James Taranto figured out that Obama’s problem is that he sees everything through a Civil Rights filter, despite never having lived through Civil Rights.  (He was only three when the Civil Rights Act was passed; he was in Indonesia when the last gasps of Jim Crow worked their way through the system; he was at a fancy school in Hawaii where Civil Rights were not an issue; and he emerged as a young adult into an Ivy League world.)  Here’s Taranto’s take on another facet of Obama’s colossal ignorance:

Note that Obama is talking–or attempting to talk–about Northern Ireland, a country that is unusual within Christendom for its recent history of sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants. His comments make a certain superficial sense in that context, whereas they would be completely out of place and objectionable in reference to America, where pacific pluralism is the rule.

Note also that Obama doesn’t actually seem to know anything about Northern Ireland. Viewed in context, his comments are actually a homily about civil rights in America. His criticism of Catholic and Protestant “schools and buildings” is just a poorly thought out analogy: It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that while there’s no good reason to segregate schools by race, there are differences in content between the education offered by Protestant, Catholic and secular schools.

Obama is why I’m sour about the Ivy League schools.  They take in bright people (and I do think that Obama is innately bright) and turns out ignoramuses, who have no real knowledge, just a warped ideological framework to which they try to attach, however, poorly, what situation greets them at any given moment.  Obama’s not the only example of this problem; he’s just the most embarrassingly prominent.

One more point worth noting, although I’m far from the first to make it, is that Obama would never have the courage to argue that religious teaching leads to violence if he were in a Muslim country.

God’s Chosen People

Michaelangelo hands of God and Adam

There’s a guy where I exercise who’s nice, but I’ve never really warmed up to him.  He’s not part of the ownership or the management team, so it’s never really mattered to me what I think of him.  Last week, though, I discovered that my subconscious might have been sending me messages when I couldn’t make myself like him.  After a tirade against capitalism, for ObamaCare, and in favor of restrictions on all things that could affect Global Warming (yes, let’s get rid of the sun!), he said, “And another thing….”  He then started to inform me how pernicious the message is that the Jews are “God’s chosen people.”

My exercise place is wonderful, so I wasn’t about to upset the nice dynamic there by getting into a debate with a hard-core Leftist.  Those debates usually end badly:  the Leftist doesn’t change his mind, while any people in the vicinity who aren’t hard-core but are still Left (this is Marin after all), get very upset and start thinking with their navels, not their brains.  The best way for me to handle situations like this is to leave, think my arguments through, and then have those arguments ready for the inevitable round two.  This blog is where I think my arguments through. . . .

Apropos his anger that Jews think they’re special (along the lines of “Who are they to claim they’re God’s chosen people?”), it occurred to me that both the Left and antisemites are ferociously ignorant about their Old Testament.  Here is what the Bible tells (and all of you, who are more Bible literate than I, please correct me when I’m wrong):

Before he formed the covenant with the Jewish God, Abraham was polytheistic.  Ur, his original homeland, was certainly polytheistic.  God did not originally appear as a monotheistic God.  Instead, he just appeared as a divine being who selected Abraham (or, as he was initially, Abram).  If Abraham joined in a covenant with God, aligning his family with God, and circumcising all males as a sign of that covenant, God would treat Abraham and his descendents well.  Provided that all of them, through the centuries, abided by the covenant (and circumcision is a harsh demand) they would have land and good fortune.

The Bible acknowledges more than once that there are other gods swirling around in the ancient world.  For example, when Jacob and Rachel flee her father, Laban, Rachel takes her father’s “Household Gods.”  Significantly, in the Ten Commandments, God himself acknowledges other Gods.  It’s just that, as to the Jews, if they wish to keep the covenant, he must be the only God they claim and worship:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Those words make sense only if there was competition. Otherwise, God would have said, “There are no other Gods, but for me.”

While God promised much to the children of Abraham, he also placed heavy burdens upon them in addition to circumcision.  In a time when people were comforted by a panoply of gods, all of whom were physically present and whose favors could be bought with human or animal sacrifices, the Jews had just one abstract God in whom they had to believe, regardless of his invisible nature.

During the Greek occupation in Palestine, the Jews could not partake of the physical libertinism that characterized the Greeks.  Jews could not hold on to slaves for more than seven years, and had to treat their slaves humanely, which placed them at an economic disadvantage compared to others in the ancient world.  They were prohibited from eating all kinds of foods, which may have conferred some health benefits on them (e.g., no trichinosis), but which also limited their ability to thrive.

And so it goes, rule after rule that gave the Jews a spiritual advantage, but that limited their options in the ancient world.  In exchange, absent periodic miracles, such as the exodus from Egypt, being God’s chosen people wasn’t so great:  they were isolated and often at war with the world around them, their lives were constrained by God’s stringent rules, and God was big on punishing individuals or whole groups for any failure properly to abide by His rules.

The end result was that, in the ancient world, Jews were considered everything from fellow imperialists, to slaves, to an occupied people.  The one thing that they weren’t considered to be, though, was arrogant and special.  Indeed, in the ancient world, they were considered foolish for hewing to one invisible God rather than taking advantage of the panoply of gods then benefiting everyone else.

What changed was Christianity, which looked at the Jewish God and the whole notion of monotheism and concluded that it was a good idea.  The early Christians were Jews and, when they split from Jews who didn’t recognize Christ’s divinity, they still considered themselves God’s Chosen People — only they were even more chosen because they had taken Christ as their savior.  Suddenly, the Jews’ claim to be God’s Chosen People seemed (a) wrong and (b) arrogant, considering that both Jews and Christians were claiming the same God as their own.

All of which is to say that the Leftist at the dojo was wrong when he sought to insult Jews because they somehow think they’re “special.”  That’s not the issue at all.  Jews have simply chosen, for thousands of years, to abide by a very challenging covenant that Abraham made with a God who came to Abraham and said, “If you pick me, and you play by my rules, we’ll be a team forever.”  In the beginning, everybody thought Abraham made a bad deal by letting himself and his descendents get tagged by this jealous God.  It was only with the passing of time that others began to think that they’d like to be tagged too.

Certainly now, Jews do not display religious arrogance.  They do not demand, either with words or swords, that others worship their God; and they do not enslave or tax or otherwise discriminate against those who don’t.  Yes, amongst themselves they think they’re doing the right thing, but so does every group, whether religious or otherwise.  Why bother to be a group if you don’t have special bonds that distinguish you from others?  But there’s a profound difference between thinking “Yup, I’m engaging in correct religious behavior,” and thinking “You all are evil and doomed.  You deserve to die and then go to Hell.  And while you’re on this earth, I have the right to make it a Hell on earth for you.”  Now that’s arrogant.

The reason that liberals hate Christianity, but ignore Islam

One of the things that’s frustrating for non-liberals and non-Progressives is Leftists’ refusal to look Islam in the face (so to speak).  Yes, there are crazy people who are Christians and there are entire Christian sects that are crazy (such as the Westboro Baptists or Warren Jeffs’ polygamist Mormon cult).  The fact remains, however, that Christians as a whole, whether they belong to big churches or small ones, do not embrace or practice terrorism to achieve their political or religious goals.

Muslims, by contrast, routinely practice terrorism to achieve goals that are simultaneously religious and political, owing to Islam’s fusion of God and state.  Even though it’s remarkably simple to tie Islam to terrorism (9/11, the underwear bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, the attempted Portland Christmas tree massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing), Leftists scurry around like cockroaches exposed to the light in their desperate attempt to avoid acknowledging Islam’s violent heart.

Today, I read one thing and wrote another, both of which address Leftist hatred for Christianity, even though modern Christianity and genuine Judaism (as opposed to the hard Leftism that masquerades as “reform Judaism”) are the most humane, civilizing forces the world has ever seen.  With their focus on justice and grace, they rid the world of slavery, ended child labor, advanced women’s status and, in Israel’s case, fought a 60-year war without sinking to the level of her enemies.  But the Left truly hates them and seeks to undermine them at every turn.

The article I read on this subject is Benjamin Wiker’s “Why aren’t liberals more critical of Islam?” In it, he posits that, because secularism arose within and in opposition to a Christian Europe and America, Christianity was its original enemy.  Giving proof, however, to my repeated claim that “Progressives” are actually profoundly “regressive,” secularists (i.e., Leftists) continue their battle with Christianity despite that particular war having ended long ago. Judaism and Christianity absorbed the better parts of secularism while holding on to their core religious principles.

Because they are locked forever in an ideological time warp, says Wiker, liberals (or Progressives or Leftists or whatever else they call themselves to avoid the taint their ideas leave behind) cannot contemplate the possibility that there is another enemy, greater than their old foe Christianity.  Which brings me to a post I did today for Mr. Conservative.  It concerns Michael ‘Mikey’ Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and one of the most rabid anti-Christians you will ever meet.

When I wrote the post this morning, it made me uncomfortable that such a venomous man is somehow Jewish, whether genetically or in actual practice.  I hate to see that kind of hatred emanate from a group with which I’m affiliated.  However, having read Wiker’s essay, I realize that my concern is unfounded.  Weinstein’s hostility to Christians isn’t because he’s Jewish, it’s because he’s a Leftist.   (Not all Jews are Leftists, and not all Leftists are Jews, but those Jews who are Leftists are amongst the most extreme Leftists.  Mikey’s in that category.)

Here’s my Mr. Conservative post.  See what you think:

SECNAV prayers with Marines and Sailors at Fallujah in 2006

The Obama government sure knows how to pick ‘em. Right now, the Pentagon is concerned about religious intolerance in the American military. When people who are neither Leftists nor career politicians in thrall to the White House think of intolerance in the military, they think of Major Nidal Malik Hasan who went on an “Allahu Akbar” shooting spree at Fort Hood, killing 13 people and injuring more than thirty. The Pentagon, though, isn’t fooled by these false trails. It knows who the really intolerant people in the military are: Christians.

To that end, the military has brought in Michael Weinstein, Esq., a “religious tolerance” specialist and the man who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”). Michael knows all about tolerance. Or at least, he knows all about tolerance in the Obama era. To Michael (or “Mikey” as he likes to be known), a good way to express tolerance is to call Christians “monsters” or, even better “bloody monsters.”

According to Mikey’s tolerant world view, Christians who serve in the American military are “well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.” And that’s just Mikey’s throat-clearing.

Troll through an article Mikey wrote in The Huffington Post to justify his tolerant attack on alleged Christian intolerance in the American military, and you’ll learn quickly that the people he’s out to destroy (tolerantly, of course) are “evil, fundamentalist Christian creatures.” They are “bandits” who “coagulate their stenchful substances” in religiously-based organizations that support traditional marriage and oppose abortion. Don’t be fooled by these old-fashioned values, though. In fact, says Mikey, “The basis of their ruinous unity is the bane of human existence and progress: horrific hatred and blinding bigotry.”

What inspired Weinstein’s apopletic rage is the fact that conservatives took offense when the military piggy-backed on a delusional Southern Poverty Law Center screed and identified conservative Christians as the greatest terrorist threat in America. Because these groups use hate-filled language, Mikey says, such as “God Hates Fags” or “Thank God for IEDs,” they’re obviously one step away from committing a bomb attack in a major American city. (It’s so magical. It’s as if 9/11, Fort Hood, and the Boston bombing never happened!)

If Mikey is correct, that toxic, hate-filled rhetoric is all one needs to prove that a person or organization constitutes an imminent danger, then Mikey better start looking over his shoulder. Considering the “evil, fundamentalist Christian creatures,” “bandits (who) coagulate their stenchful substances,” and “monsters” who inhabit his rhetorical world, he looks like he’s ready to blow.

What Mikey can’t comprehend is that, while mainstream Christians and conservatives routinely condemn and distance themselves from organizations such as the Westboro Baptist Church, Mikey gets to disseminate his particular brand of hate-filled, toxic intolerance at a major Progressive internet outlet.

Even worse than the applause he’s getting from the mainstream Left is the fact that he’s been taken on by the Pentagon as a consultant to help develop new policies on religious tolerance in the military. These new policies will include rules for court-martialing military chaplains who use the Christian gospel when they counsel the American troops under their care. Or, as MRFF Advisory Board member Larry Wilkerson told The Washington Post, they essentially sexually assaulting the troops with their God talk.

No kidding. Wilkerson says that “Sexual assault and proselytizing are absolutely destructive of the bonds that keep soldiers together.” Lest there be any misunderstanding, Mikey clarified to The Post what Wilkerson really meant:

This is a national security threat. What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs is to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.

Mikey hates everything. Or at least he hates everything that has to do with Christianity. He foams at the mouth, spittle flying, when he talks about Christians, imagining them guilty of the most heinous crimes. The problem is that it’s not Christians committing the crimes he imagines. The major terrorist crimes come from the Islamists, something that Mike and his friends on the Left refuse to acknowledge. It’s bad when even arch-liberal Bill Maher calls this denial “liberal bullshit.”

Speaking of committed, though, in a sane world Mikey’s delusions would have him being checked out by psychiatrists as a clear and present danger. In our insane world, psychiatrists are used to disarm our veterans and the delusional, hate-filled, spittle-flecked Mikey gets to work with the Pentagon to create a tolerance policy that ensures that military chaplains will be court martialed for doing their jobs.

If troops are indeed being punished or ostracized because they don’t embrace a particular form of Christianity, the military has to address that. But Mikey makes it clear that, for him, being Christian is the real problem. In that regard, he’s the typical Leftist who says that the First Amendment, rather than giving people the right to worship, means that the Christian religion must be erased from America.

(End of the Mr. Conservative article, beginning of my last comment on the subject.)

As for me, I think that people who are willing to fight and die for their country in a constitutionally-bound military run by civilians, in a nation controlled by the First Amendment, should be allowed to practice their religion without Leftists denying them the comfort of knowing that, as they go into battle, God walks at their side.

Charles Krauthammer has been reading Bookworm Room about gay marriage

That post title is, of course, a wild leap of faith.  But there’s no doubt but that Dr. Krauthammer has come to exactly the same conclusion I’ve been trumpeting forever at this blog:  making gay marriage a civil right protected by the Constitution will cause a headlong crash into the First Amendment’s promise that government will leave religious doctrine and practice alone.

I’m going to quote myself from March 2009, long before gay marriage got to the Supreme Court:

As you know, one of my main reasons for supporting Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, was because I believe that move to redefine marriage has the potential to put the State and religion organizations — especially the Catholic church — into a head-on collision.

Liberals, when confronted with this notion, will often argue that, while the Catholic Church objects to abortion, that’s never created a constitutional crisis.  What they ignore is the fact that, while the church is not in the business of providing abortions, it is in the business of providing marriages.  It also ignores the fact that abortion is a legal right, not a constitutional one, while gay marriage proponents have been framing it in the opposite way:  they say gay marriage as a constitutional, rather than a mere legal right.

Keep in mind that, for Catholics, marriage isn’t just a white dress, cake and Mendelssohn’s wedding march.  Instead, it’s a sacrament.  A basic tenet of the religion is the joining of man and woman before God.

So imagine this scenario:  Two men go to the local Catholic parish and demand that it marry them.  The priest, sympathetic to their love for each other, nevertheless states that he cannot, at a purely religious level marry them.  The men turn around and sue the Church for violating their Constitutional rights.  Suddenly, the judicial system is called upon to examine doctrinal issues to determine whether they mesh with Constitutional issues.  It’s a scary scenario for anyone who takes seriously the principle that government may not interfere with religious doctrine.

The only thing that’s changed now is that, thanks to ObamaCare, which requires that Catholic institutions pay for birth control and abortifacients, the Obama administration has already managed to create a Constitutional crisis with regard to abortion.  I hadn’t seen that one coming back in 2009.

Does charity begin in the home or in the State House?

With Paul Ryan shooting across the political sky with a blazing light, the Left is getting worried.  The latest attack is to trot out Catholics who claim that, because Paul Ryan objects to wealth redistribution, he’s anti-Catholic.  After all, say these Catho-Lefto pundits, what could be more generous than allowing the government to use its overwhelming police power to rob from the rich to give to the poor?  Not everyone is buying that, with some thoughtful people pointing out that, to the extent that charity is supposed to enrich the giver as much as the beneficiary, forcible redistribution fails completely at a moral level.

Incidentally, the fear that allowing the state to step in for charity dries up the individual conscience isn’t unfounded.  The numbers prove that fewer people practice personal altruism if the state does it for them.

Two Hollywood movies, made a decade apart, revel in the Church of Progressive Government

My husband and I are current watching The Ides of MarchThat I am staying awake during a movie that stars the bovine George Clooney, the insipid Ryan Gosling, the obscenity-spouting Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and the “I don’t get why he’s famous” Paul Giamatti and that, forty minutes into the movie, still has no discernible plot, testifies to my ovarian fortitude in the face of great mental suffering.  (I toyed with the idea of saying “testicular fortitude,” but decided it just didn’t work.)

Actually, there is a reason I’m struggling through this so-far pointless, plotless movie about a Democratic primary in Ohio.  I’m quote-gathering.  The very first lines in the movie piqued my interest.  Ryan Gosling speaks them, presumably while standing in for his employer and candidate, George Clooney, who later repeats those same words during a debate in which the opposing primary candidate challenges his religious beliefs:

I’m not a Christian. I’m not an Atheist. I’m not Jewish. I’m not Muslim. My religion, what I believe in is called the Constitution of United States of America.

If the above quotation sounds familiar to you, it should.  Although it’s not identical to a speech in the movie The Contender, it’s certainly similar in content.  In that movie, a Democrat Vice Presidential candidate who has been grossly slimed and maligned by evil Republicans, defends herself thusly:

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism. Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.

It sounds as if both those movies are saying “My religion is a Constitutional democracy,” but that’s not true.  If that were true, the Progressives writing, producing, and acting in these movies would be strict constructionists and, quite possibly, libertarians.

Instead, those quotations boil down to “My religion is government.”  Progressives’ faith in this religion is unswerving, and their doctrinal attitude as rigid as any that Torquemada supported.  The Church of Progressive Government requires unswerving fealty to abortion, welfare, open borders, redistribution of wealth (except for that wealth held by those Progressives who have already obtained great wealth and power), racial categorizations every bit as rigid as those practiced in the Old South, and continuous American obeisance to the other nations of the world.  Deviate from this doctrine and, even if you’re not stretched on a rack a la the Spanish Inquisition, as Corey Booker just learned, you are dead.

Religion is a harsh taskmaster, especially for those foolish enough to cross the true believers.

 

The Obama administration engages in full-out war against pro-Life people *UPDATED*

As others have commented, the Catholic Church is making the loudest noises about the new Obama Care mandate regarding birth control, abortifacients, and sterilization, but the policy is really a strike against everyone who is pro-Life in America.  If you’re a pro-Life employer, you have to pay for your employees’ abortion pills.  If you’re a pro-Life health insurance company (or health insurance company employee) you must write policies that cover every woman’s birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients.  If you are a health insurance consumer (as we all must be in Obama’s America), you will pay for abortions.

Anybody with a pro-Life conscience, even if that person has arrived at that position without benefit of organized religion, is in the line of fire.

But if you’re thinking that Obama is hostile to religion, you’re right about that too.  Check out the first update to the Anchoress’ post about the health care mandate, and you’ll see that Obama is starting to put the squeeze on in other areas when it comes to people of faith.

I’m hoping that hubris is driving the administration’s unpopular decisions now, in an election year.  To date, though, the administration has shown itself to be sufficiently Machiavellian that I wonder if it knows something about the upcoming elections that the rest of us don’t know.

UPDATE:  Oh, and for the pointedly humorous take on Obama’s policy stand, I know you’ll enjoy this.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we live in a very peculiar world, one that sees me, a loosey-goosey theist (sort of), deeply offended by the federal executive’s full force attacks on religious freedom in America.

(And please sign the petition.)

Using the First Amendment to nullify God — Air Force edition

There are no more aggressive religious proselytizers than atheists.  They sell their religion with ferocity and would willingly burn at the stake anyone who stands in their way.

Last I looked, the First Amendment prevented the government from creating a religion from above or interfering with someone’s religion.  It didn’t nullify God.

Apparently someone forgot to explain those simple constitutional facts to the suits running the Air Force:

The patch logo was changed after a military atheist group, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, protested the reference to God on the patch. The patch has a saying on it in Latin, which is common for military patches, that tranlates [sic] to: “Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money.”

The saying was then changed last month to say: “Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money.”

Open warfare between the Left and America might be a good and clarifying thing

We are now at the point of open warfare between the Left and the traditional Judeo-Christian faiths in America.  We all know that there’s long been a covert war, but it’s finally out in the open now.  As I’ve pointed out on my blog, this week alone, the open war has played out in the Susan G. Komen versus Planned Parenthood fight, the ObamaCare versus Catholic Church fight, and the gay activists versus any religion fight.  Now, we can add one (or maybe two) more to the list:  the Leftists and Muslims versus Christians at West Point attack, with, as a companion piece, the silencing of military chaplains.

West Point Chapel

A flurry of very high profile attacks might actually be a good thing.  Covert attacks are very difficult to defend against.  There are a lot of Cassandras in covert wars, people who realize what’s happen, but whose are disregarded on the ground that their confused or paranoid.  It’s only when war is well and truly declared that people get energized and are willing to man the barricades.

Cassandra prophesying

America is a religious nation.  Ordinary Joe and Josephine might be willing to sit in their recliners in the face of one or two of these attacks, showing the same inertia seen in Martin Niemöller’s famous “First they came. . . .” poem. These sustained attacks against all aspects of religion in public life, however, might make Joe and Josephine worry that they’re the next ones the government and its cohorts will come for.

Gay activists’ alleged attack on prayer, even if not true, highlights the Left’s profound animus to traditional Judeo-Christian religion

Cassie Jay is a young woman who makes unabashedly Leftist films.  Back, in 2010, she made a documentary called “Daddy I Do” that attacked abstinence-only education.  Even in liberal Marin, this movie caused a bit of a kerfuffle, as the local art cinema first agreed to show it, then backed off from that agreement, and then, when the liberal fit hit the media shan, finally agreed to show the movie.  The debate garnered headlines, and undoubtedly drew more people to the movie than would otherwise have attended.  My bet is that, at the end, a lot of people paid for tickets, not because they actually wanted to see her movie, but because they wanted to show solidarity.

Ms. Jay now contends that she’s stumbled into cultural clash, and she didn’t see this one coming at all.  On its face, Jay’s newest movie ought not to have ruffled any feathers on the Left.  It’s a straight down-the-line Progressive encomium for the virtues of gay marriage.  The Marin Independent Journal assures readers that her latest, “The Right to Love: An American Family,” is “a compelling case for legalizing gay marriage.”  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I haven’t seen it yet — indeed, few have — so I’m not qualified to comment.

(Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto)

Jay claims, however, that there are those in the gay community who have seen it and they are very unhappy with the movie.  You see, in addition to promoting gay marriage, which is a good thing, the gay activists watching the preview discerned a Christian subtext, which is a very bad thing indeed:

“The Right to Love,” which premieres Monday at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, focuses on the Leffew family of Santa Rosa, a legally married gay couple and their two adopted children. When the trailer was released this past fall, it included a scene of the family saying a Christian prayer at their breakfast table.

The reaction it unleashed from a segment of the gay community was angry and venomous, and caught Jaye off guard.

“It just erupted online,” she recalled. “It totally caught me by surprise. I was shocked by the backlash. All these LGBT (lesbian-gay-bixexual-transgender) people were attacking the Leffew family for being religious, saying, ‘How can you be a part of an institution that doesn’t see us as equals and thinks we’re an abomination? How can you be a member of that club?’ I never intended to include that prayer as a controversial issue, but there was a lot of hatred toward them being Christian.”

Here’s the incendiary trailer (the prayer shows up 38 seconds in):

As for me, I think this is a publicity stunt.  I scrolled through the 280 comments at the trailer and found a few comments to the effect that “religions should let us marry and they’re bad ’cause they don’t” stuff, but I don’t see any evidence of the firestorm Jay claims erupted over her film — more specifically, that she claims erupted because of that two second prayer scene in the trailer.  Unless Jay deleted all the hardcore anti-Christian comments as spam, they’re just not there.  I also did a couple of Google searches for the name of the film along with the words “Christian” and “religion” but, aside from several dozen sites singing rapturous praises about a pro-gay marriage movie, found only a few newspaper articles quoting Jay about the claimed firestorm.

I’m willing to acknowledge that my research skills may be abysmal, and that I’ve managed to miss the dozens of comments and posts in which activist gays threaten to burn crosses on the lawns of those gay families who are stupid enough to cling to Christianity.  I may also have a different idea of Jay as to what constitutes a truly controversial issue.  She may think one crackpot makes a controversy.  I don’t.

What’s rather amazing, though, is that Jay is promoting her film by pointing to a subject that has nothing to do with the film itself.  The film is about gay marriage.  There is a built-in audience for this movie.  Gays will see it.  Elites who want to prove their moral superiority on the issue will see it.  But Jay is promoting it, not by pointing to its substantive issues, but by talking up the fact that (according to her) many in the GLBT (or LGBT or whatever other order the letters should appear) community are no longer asking for religion to change.  Instead, they’re attacking religion at the root.  For her, this is a selling point.

Jay’s right, too, in her assessment that, in Obama-world, attacking religion is a selling point for any movie that one markets to the Left.  The Obama administration’s direct, frontal attack on the Catholic church (and other religious institutions) demonstrates as nothing else could that the Left, now that it holds two out of the three seats of power in American government, intends not to amend religion, or carve out secular exceptions, but to destroy it entirely.  Under the new ObamaCare mandate, the churches are left with only three choices all of which range from damaging to destructive:  they can deny their principles and provide insurance, which destroys them morally; they can refuse to provide the insurance, which will trigger penalties or lose them so many employees they’ll be destroyed financially; or they can simply shut down their outreach, which destroys their place in their community and the missions that are an intrinsic part of their doctrine.

Destruction of Damascus Christian Quarter, 1860

My guess is that Jay is astutely tuning into a strong cultural subtext roiling the Left in order to market her film.  Even if there is no fight between gay activists and religion, there ought to be, and she’s going to use that paradigm to broaden her audience beyond the Prop. 8 crowd.  She can expect to see attendance increase as those on the Left attend the film, either to show their solidarity with religion (Christ’s gospel is good, even if the church has perverted it) or to protest the fact that anyone in the LGBT (or GLBT) community would dare to ally itself with a hate-filled, archaic institution that should be destroyed, rather than reformed.

I think the saying is that, in show business, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

What do you think?

Nancy Pelosi — tough and confused about principles

David Axelrod’s talk yesterday included a shout-out to the lovable Nancy Pelosi, whom he feels is unfairly maligned by the Rushes of this world.  Per David, Nancy is not an effete San Francisco liberal.  Instead, she’s a tough political operative — for all the right, i.e., Progressive, reasons, of course — who was trained in her Dad’s old-fashioned, rough-and-tumble ward rooms.  He described with affection Nancy ramming her finger repeatedly in his chest when she felt he’d failed to deliver on something or other.

What a charmer.

I can readily believe Axelrod’s talk about Nancy’s toughness and finger strikes.  The “principled” part, though, is a little harder.  Isn’t this the woman who recently castigated Catholics for having “this conscience thing“?  Hmmm….  Conscience?  Principles?  They kind of seem like a matched set to me.

Just the other day, Pelosi again stumbled on her principles when she complained that Bishops who object to forcing Catholics to subsidize things that they think are morally evil (abortions, for example) are “lobbyists.”  The Anchoress has more on this one.  When I think of Nancy Pelosi and principles, I keep getting a mental image of Jon Lovitz doing his compulsive liar shtick.  “Yeah, principles.  That’s the ticket!”