Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) urged Americans to realize that God “wrote the Constitution” and predicted an upcoming “awakening” during an interview on John Hagee Ministries’ Global Evangelism Television network on Wednesday.
“I think we got off the track when we allowed our government to become a secular government,” DeLay told host Matthew Hagee, the executive pastor of the Texas Cornerstone Church. “[W]e stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles.”
DeLay, who was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy charges before a Texas appeals court overturned the conviction in 2013, said that he has been trying to lead members of the House to Bible study. He then recounted an incident in which he “sealed off the rotunda of the Capitol … so that for three hours leaders of the House and Senate got on their knees seeking the face of God and praying.”
DeLay, aka “The Hammer,” also assured Hagee that “the Lord has heard us, I see the Holy Spirit moving,” before alluding to an upcoming “awakening.”
In October of 2013, DeLay made similar remarks in an interview with Matthew Hagee’s father, John Hagee, in which he claimed that after “a conference call with the Lord,” God instructed him to write a book advocating for the urgency of a constitutional revival.
"Jesus died for our freedom," DeLay, who became a born-again Christian in 1985, said in October. "And Jesus destroyed Satan so that we could be free and that is manifested in what is called the Constitution of the United States. God created this nation and God created the Constitution; it is written on biblical principles."
I can’t even…
(Source: The Huffington Post)
This afternoon, on a party-line 17-13 vote, Republicans in the Arizona Senate bucked the national trend and gave final approval to SB 1062, a GOP-led bill that would create a special “right” to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion.
Under the bill, which was introduced by Republican State Senator Steve Yarbrough, individuals and businesses would be granted the legal right to refuse services to people or groups if they claimed that doing so would “substantially burden” their freedom of religion.
In interviews with local media, Yarbrough made it perfectly clear that the specific purpose of this bill is to legitimize discrimination against the LGBT community. But during today’s nearly two-hour-long debate, Yarbrough took a different tack, claiming that the basic rights of LGBT people victimize anti-LGBT Christians.
"This bill is not about allowing discrimination. This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith."
Republicans in Alabama have introduced legislation that would require public school teachers to lead students in a daily prayer. The legislation would require teachers in Alabama public school classrooms to recite a prayer at the beginning of every school day, for up to fifteen minutes.
The law would require teachers to perform a “verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer.” That is, teachers would be required to read out loud to their students one of the opening prayers recited by chaplains or their guests before sessions of the U.S. Congress.
The Anniston Star reports State Rep. Steve Hurst (R) introduced the bill last month. The bill would require schools to set aside the first portion of the first class period every day “for study of the formal procedures followed by U.S. Congress,” which must include “a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers” given at the opening of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives.
A Synopsis of the bill, HB318, reads:
This bill provides for a period of time in the public schools for studying the formal procedures of the United States Congress including the verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer.
The following is an excerpt from the bill:
To prescribe a period of time in the public schools not to exceed 15 minutes for study of the formal procedures followed by the United States Congress, which study shall include a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the United States House of Representatives or Senate.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. At the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room in which such class is held shall, for a period of time not exceeding 15 minutes, instruct the class in the formal procedures followed by the United States Congress. The study shall include, but not be limited to, a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
Susan Watson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the bill was a clear attempt to sneak teacher-led prayer into schools through a back door.
“Religious practices and beliefs are best taught at home and in our religious institutions,” she said. “The Alabama Legislature can try to pass anything it wants, but our public schools must still abide by the United States Constitution.”
As the Friendly Atheist notes: “Of course, this is all well and good for Christians because the prayers always seem to reflect their beliefs…”
Raw Story confirms the obvious: the prayers would almost certainly be Christian in nature, simply because most chaplains of the U.S. House and Senate have been Christians.
This shameless attempt to force prayer into the public schools of Alabama is clearly unconstitutional, and yet another example of conservative Christians attempting to indoctrinate and corrupt innocent minds with their religious superstitions.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Dr. Stephen Hawking’s recent statement that the black holes he famously described do not actually exist underscores “the danger inherent in listening to scientists,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) said today.
Rep. Bachmann unleashed a blistering attack on Dr. Hawking, who earlier referred to his mistake on black holes as his “biggest blunder.”
“Actually, Dr. Hawking, our biggest blunder as a society was ever listening to people like you,” said Rep. Bachmann. “If black holes don’t exist, then other things you scientists have been trying to foist on us probably don’t either, like climate change and evolution.”
Rep. Bachmann added that all the students who were forced to learn about black holes in college should now sue Dr. Hawking for a full refund. “Fortunately for me, I did not take any science classes in college,” she said.
Bachmann’s anti-Hawking comments seemed to be gaining traction on Capitol Hill, as seen from the statement by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Science Committee, who said, “Going forward, members of the House Science Committee will do our best to avoid listening to scientists.”
Of course, that is not at all what Hawking is saying. Black holes exists, he has just found reason to rethink their “blackness”; the event horizon might not be as defined as previously thought. With objects as obscure and distant as black holes, we can expect that the science is subject to modification as we are still figure out the details. Climate change and (especially) evolution on the other hand, are far better understood phenomena than black holes.
EDIT: Turns out this is satire. My bad. It’s so hard with Bachmann because she would totally say this.
One of the Republicans lining up to challenge Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) for her seat representing the 9th District of Illinois told the Chicago Daily Herald that God is “angry” with the United States and has sent scourges to punish the American people.
Candidate Susanne Atanus believes that autism and forms of dementia are punishments sent by God because of the growing support for marriage equality in the country and the prevalence of abortion.
“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus said at an endorsement session with the Daily Herald on Monday.
God controls the weather, she said, and tornadoes are evidence of his wrath.
“God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”…