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."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

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.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Why I Am an Anti-Fundamentalist...

confrontingbabble-on:

"I see four main things in both fundamentalist and (in a slightly more sophisticated form) evangelical Christianity which I believe need to go:

1.  The notion that a book can be infallible.  This view is completely indefensible (despite the fact that several religions believe that their particular book is uniquely inerrant among all others). But more than that, it codifies and makes permanent the views of people from ancient cultures. It forces people in 2013 to see the world and each other the same way people saw them in 1200 BC, or 450 BC, or 45 AD (I have to list multiple dates because a book as diverse as the Bible isn’t from just one context and therefore it’s not even consistent with itself). This leads to innumerable prejudices and injustices.  It convinces modern Americans, for example, to work to outlaw marriage benefits for same-sex relationships primarily because a Mediterranean tentmaker in the first century AD would likely be against such things.  It leads men today to conclude that women should not be allowed to hold positions of leadership, and in some cases not allowed to work outside the home. Why not?  Because a particular culture two thousand years ago believed that’s how it should be.  American Christians think it’s silly for Muslim women to wear the hijab because they see it as a holdover from an earlier time and culture.  But then they do the same sorts of things with the Bible.  That’s just what you get when you consider a book above reproach or correction.

2.  The notion that people are fundamentally bad, or weak, or that something which is now natural to them by their birth predisposes them to do bad things. Once a person is taught to believe this, they will only look at those things which confirm the idea, thus reinforcing it for themselves. But this is a pernicious and hurtful thing to teach people, and it, too, leads to innumerable injustices and offenses.  It leads many Christians I know to always view themselves in the worst possible light.  The songs they love to sing speak volumes about how they view themselves.  The lyrics magnify personal weakness, shortcomings, failures, and neediness.  Today’s evangelicalism seems to positively wallow in it.  There’s something terribly unhealthy about this, and in retrospect I’m amazed I never saw it before.

Incidentally, some feel that if the doctrine of original sin were tweaked and framed in just the right way, it wouldn’t really say that we’re “fundamentally bad,” it would simply say that we’re neutral…but under the control of a malevolent presence called sin.  This to me is frankly a semantic game.  In the end, the effect is the same:  ”You’re bad, and you should be ashamed.  You are unworthy without someone else coming in and making you worthy.”  Wow.  Please don’t teach that to my children, or anyone else’s for that matter.  What an awful thing to teach!

3.  The idea that eternal conscious torment is a reasonable punishment for anyone, even the worst imaginable criminal. It’s so intrinsically horrifying that even those who believe in it make exceptions for some (like small children), not because the Bible warrants the exception, but simply because it’s such a horrifying idea.  I know from my days as a Christian (remember, I’m not speaking out of school here…I was a committed Christian for twenty years) that most people who were taught to believe this wish it weren’t even a part of their doctrine.  It’s embarrassingly unjust even on its face.  It’s my observation that this particular belief can serve to excuse all manner of mistreatment on the part of concerned evangelicals/fundamentalists.  As long as you think someone is going to Hell, anything short of that is being merciful to them, right?  You’re just trying to warn them that things will be so much worse if they don’t straighten up.  I believe that this particular doctrine has led many a Christian to treat others in an awful manner, and has convinced them that doing so was an act of love.

4.  The notion that rationality, and critical thinking skills, cannot be trusted because see #2.  These concepts fit so well together, and the net effect is to cause you to distrust any thought process which would allow you to question everything else in this list.  Have doubts that an ancient book can be perfect?  Well, who are you to question it?  You’re just a fallen soul being led astray by (whatever).  You don’t believe the concept of eternal torment is consistent with a loving, forgiving deity?  That’s just because his ways are so much higher than your ways that you cannot fathom his actions.  You think the story you’ve been told about how the world came to be doesn’t fit with anything science has discovered in the last 100 years?  Well scientists are all fallen sinners who just wanna live the way they wanna live.  You don’t have to listen to anything they say.  Just believe the Bible.

This discouragement of critical thinking skills may ultimately be the worst effect of fundamentalism because those analytical skills are the very things that would expose the flaws in each of these four bad ideas.  I have watched as people have had their ability to question things filed down by the repetitive and daily grinding of religious indoctrination.  The evangelical “bubble” is an anti-intellectual sphere that celebrates not knowing and not understanding all manner of things in life (again, the emphasis is on our own weakness and shortcomings).  This makes for docile, moldable people who will think however you tell them to think and vote however you tell them to vote (don’t think the politicians haven’t figured that one out, btw!).  Surely we have not spent millions of years evolving only to begin regressing back into group think and gullibility?

Now here is where I pull back and say not all Christians buy into this kind of talk.  I’m grateful to know that many have a stronger commitment to following their instincts than this.  Maybe they were even taught to think like this from the time they were young, but they have too much sense now to let someone tell them this stuff anymore.  Those are my allies in this culture war we are in.  I’d like to see those folks stand up and admit that these things just don’t make sense, and that they lead people to behave badly towards one another (and towards themselves). These are the legacy of fundamentalism (and evangelicalism) and I have no qualms expressing my opposition to them.”

http://godlessindixie.com/2013/05/13/why-i-am-an-anti-fundamentalist-and-not-an-anti-theist-part-2/

Evangelicals love the Jews like the audience in The Capitol loves the Hunger Games contestants.

Bill Maher

(Source: facebook.com)

Ethiopia: Religious Groups Making ‘Progress’ Toward Capital Punishment For Homosexuality

Evangelical groups are spreading anti-gay hate in Ethiopia causing a climate of moral panic and forcing the LGBT community to flee the country.

A death penalty against homosexuality may be introduced soon in Ethiopia, according to anti-gay organizations that ran a recent workshop on the topic.

The workshop, dealt with the social ‘evils’ and ‘disastrous’ effects of homosexuality in Ethiopia, and was led by United for Life Ethiopia, a Western Evangelical organization with local representation.

Government officials, religious leaders, leading heath professionals, charities and members of the public attended the event at the Bethel Teaching Hospital in Addis Ababa, last week.

In the workshop police alleged ‘homosexual family members and neighbors’ have sexually abused 117 boys last year.

Participants agreed that the Western gay motto ‘born this way’ is unacceptable to Ethiopia, stating that not only has homosexuality nothing to do with nature, but the ‘condition’ runs against it.

A representative, from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality (EICAH) organization, underlined to workshop participants that gayness is not natural and has nothing to do with human rights, but ‘a result of a result of inappropriate upbringing, identity crisis and moral decay.

‘So we have to work hard to teach our children the bible and ethics and also protect our nation from the dirty western imposed culture of homosexuality.’

Sultan Muhe, chair of Bright Children Voluntary Association (BCVA) testified that as a child he was gang-raped, an experience that ‘made him’ gay as well as a sex worker.

Muhe also stated that he was now cured (ex-gay) and now campaigns for others to be ‘healed’, stating: ‘Homosexuality should be discouraged by whatever means and the government should do whatever it takes to stop it.’

At the conclusion of the workshop, the EICAH representative stated that the council is ‘making progress’ in convincing the government to be stricter on homosexuality and introduce the death penalty to punish ‘such acts’.

The ECIAH representative added that prospects for capital punishment being legislated against gays ‘seems promising’.

Continue

Praying is, of course, meant to convey piety and sincerity and concern. But the intended piety is betrayed by the public judgment – that Driscoll assumes to know, with almost complete certainty (enough certainty to tweet, at least) – the unsaved state of the President’s soul. It is betrayed by the sheer pride of such an accusation; the palpable rush of superiority and arrogance amidst the words. The piety is further betrayed by the implication, clear to anyone familiar with Pastor Mark’s inhumane position on hell – that Obama is currently an object of God’s wrath fitted for eternal fire, barring any unforeseen change before death. Most obviously, the change from liberal to conservative, Democrat to Republican. Because, after all, this is an inherently political statement about inherently political things; which means the piety is even further betrayed by the clear assertion of power. The truth, then, of the tweet becomes clear: that Pastor Mark wants his audience to think, to know, and to live according to the prideful judgment that the President is bound for hell because of his political views, and, thus, that someone else ought to be in power. This is, essentially, dehumanization. Obama is declared to be the Church’s political enemy in this well-timed Inauguration Day tweet. As such, he is to be pitied and opposed, if not scorned; after all, God probably hates him, and will likely send him to hell. And the watching world knows one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt: that this is definitely not the thing that every evangelical, Driscoll included, claims to believe in, namely, love.

confrontingbabble-on:

False Messengers - the proverbial wolves in woolen suits…
Obama’s re-election, indisputably, concisely, single handedly…disproves god…or, at the very least, proves conclusively that all those insane god-pretenders who claim to speak on behalf of god…are liars, frauds, and charlatans.
This further means that everything else they proclaim as god’s views…against gays, or Pro-Choice, or evolution, or health care for all, or for the marriage of state and church, is also just their own personal bigotry, and not from “god”!
Not only did the right wing Christian conservatives go all out to hurt the average American, with their hell bent obsession to try and deny Obama a second term, claiming that god wanted them to stand for election, or take a stand against Obama…they all  failed, and got their ‘god-given’ election result predictions completely wrong.
Biblically…they should all be stoned to death as false prophets!! (Note: I condone nothing in the primitive, immoral bible) (Deuteronomy 18 v 20 “But a person who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a person who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?” 22 If what a person proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.” Also: Matt 7:15 “”Watch out for false messengers of God. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves”)
Further:
“In January, televangelist Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that in his annual New Year’s “conversation” with God, the Almighty had revealed to him who the next president would be. Up through Election Day, Robertson harshly criticized President Obama and the Democratic Party while praising Mitt Romney. Then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network predicted a GOP sweep, leaving Robertson utterly confounded by Obama’s victory.”
Watch Pat’s bewilderment… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF14lBHrQaU&feature=player_embedded
Right Wing Watch does a great job keeping an eye on the stupidity and hate speech of old white Christian (mainly) men see: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/robertson-admits-blew-election-prediction
Bonus:
Benny Hinn gets it wrong time after time…
see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fWXTyLDnqwo#!

confrontingbabble-on:

False Messengers - the proverbial wolves in woolen suits…

Obama’s re-election, indisputably, concisely, single handedly…disproves god…or, at the very least, proves conclusively that all those insane god-pretenders who claim to speak on behalf of god…are liars, frauds, and charlatans.

This further means that everything else they proclaim as god’s views…against gays, or Pro-Choice, or evolution, or health care for all, or for the marriage of state and church, is also just their own personal bigotry, and not from “god”!

Not only did the right wing Christian conservatives go all out to hurt the average American, with their hell bent obsession to try and deny Obama a second term, claiming that god wanted them to stand for election, or take a stand against Obama…they all failed, and got their ‘god-given’ election result predictions completely wrong.

Biblically…they should all be stoned to death as false prophets!! (Note: I condone nothing in the primitive, immoral bible) (Deuteronomy 18 v 20 “But a person who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a person who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?” 22 If what a person proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.” Also: Matt 7:15 “”Watch out for false messengers of God. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves”)

Further:

“In January, televangelist Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that in his annual New Year’s “conversation” with God, the Almighty had revealed to him who the next president would be. Up through Election Day, Robertson harshly criticized President Obama and the Democratic Party while praising Mitt Romney. Then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network predicted a GOP sweep, leaving Robertson utterly confounded by Obama’s victory.”

Watch Pat’s bewildermenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF14lBHrQaU&feature=player_embedded

Right Wing Watch does a great job keeping an eye on the stupidity and hate speech of old white Christian (mainly) men see: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/robertson-admits-blew-election-prediction

Bonus:

Benny Hinn gets it wrong time after time…

see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fWXTyLDnqwo#!



How The Bible began saying life begins at conception

Evangelical anti-abortion advocacy rests on a surprisingly flimsy foundation. And exposing that fact makes establishment evangelical leaders nervous.

Evolution Beats Creationism in South Korea Textbook Battle

There’s been a victory for sense and science in South Korea, as the government there has rejected calls to drop references to the evolution of birds from the national school curriculum.

As previously reported on Wired.co.uk, pressure group Society for Textbook Revise had managed to persuade textbook publishers to drop sections from their books that discussed the evolution of horses and the Jurassic-era early avian-like dinosaur Archaeopteryx.

Now, however, a special panel convened by the South Korean government has recommended that the publishers ignore the creationists’ arguments — which should mean that textbooks reintroduce the old segments before the start of the next school year.

The argument of the Society for Textbook Revise — an offshoot of the Korea Association for Creation Research — rested on there being debate among evolutionary scientists over whether Archaeopteryx could fly, or glide, or merely had feathers for decoration. This disagreement was extrapolated to cast doubt on the whole evolutionary history of birds.

In response, South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology set up a panel experts to assess the campaign’s claims. They disagreed that their Archaeopteryx objection was a valid argument, and said it should remain in the textbooks. The campaign group also claimed that a section on the evolution of the horse was too simplistic, which the panel agreed with — but they have merely recommended replacing it with a more thorough explanation, or a new section on the evolution of another animal like the whale.

Creationism is a growing issue in South Korea, which has experienced a surge in evangelical Christianity over the past few decades — over 20 percent of South Koreans claim some kind of Christian faith as of 2005, and a 2009 survey found 41 percent of those asked said they didn’t think there was sufficient evidence to support evolution as a theory.

religiousragings:

gloriousunderstanding:

religiousragings:

This is a seriously good question.  How it is possible to mistranslate inerrant words?

I love this man’s books.

Thank you.  Your comment inspired me to put some of them on my reading list.  :)

religiousragings:

gloriousunderstanding:

religiousragings:

This is a seriously good question.  How it is possible to mistranslate inerrant words?

I love this man’s books.

Thank you.  Your comment inspired me to put some of them on my reading list.  :)

(Source: athenostic)

How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren

deconversionmovement:

Good News Clubs’ evangelism in schools is already subverting church-state separation. Now they justify murdering nonbelievers.

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.
The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:
Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.

Continue Reading

How incredibly disconcerting. There must be a way to combat the spread of this CEF/Good News Club bullshit in public schools. If anyone has an idea on how to fight this menace, I’d love to hear it.

ryking:

quickhits:


	Conservatives: Let’s not take the term ‘pro-life’ too seriously.

	
		The Hill:
	
		A green evangelical group won’t bow to conservative anti-abortion-rights leaders or Republicans who are pressuring them to stop casting support for new EPA pollution rules as a “pro-life” position.
	
		The Environmental Evangelical Network (EEN) is under attack from the religious right over its campaign in favor of EPA’s new restrictions on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants — rules the EEN calls vital to protecting the health of the unborn.
	
		Alexei Laushkin, an EEN spokesman, said in an interview Thursday that the group won’t back off the way it frames support for the rules issued late last year.


	“We believe protecting the unborn from mercury poisoning is a consistent pro-life position,” Laushkin said. “An issue that impacts the unborn – that’s where we resonate as a pro-life organization.”

	According to the report, EEN is now “under attack from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and a suite of other prominent religious conservatives.” The problem? It seems they’re spending too much time giving a damn about babies after they’re born.

	“The ‘life’ in ‘pro-life’ denotes not the quality of life, but life itself,” said Republican Rep. John Shimkus. “The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies.”

	Sick babies — who also happen to be actually and not the hypothetically alive — that’s fine. No problem. Once you’re born, you’re on your own. Get a job, slacker.

As George Carlin said about anti-choice right-wingers: “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re fucked.” — Ryking

ryking:

quickhits:

Conservatives: Let’s not take the term ‘pro-life’ too seriously.

The Hill:

A green evangelical group won’t bow to conservative anti-abortion-rights leaders or Republicans who are pressuring them to stop casting support for new EPA pollution rules as a “pro-life” position.

The Environmental Evangelical Network (EEN) is under attack from the religious right over its campaign in favor of EPA’s new restrictions on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants — rules the EEN calls vital to protecting the health of the unborn.

Alexei Laushkin, an EEN spokesman, said in an interview Thursday that the group won’t back off the way it frames support for the rules issued late last year.

“We believe protecting the unborn from mercury poisoning is a consistent pro-life position,” Laushkin said. “An issue that impacts the unborn – that’s where we resonate as a pro-life organization.”

According to the report, EEN is now “under attack from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and a suite of other prominent religious conservatives.” The problem? It seems they’re spending too much time giving a damn about babies after they’re born.

“The ‘life’ in ‘pro-life’ denotes not the quality of life, but life itself,” said Republican Rep. John Shimkus. “The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies.”

Sick babies — who also happen to be actually and not the hypothetically alive — that’s fine. No problem. Once you’re born, you’re on your own. Get a job, slacker.

As George Carlin said about anti-choice right-wingers: “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re fucked.” — Ryking

YOUR GOD IS MY GOD- 
What Mitt Romney Could Say to Win the Republican Nomination

By Sam Harris


Governor Mitt Romney has yet to persuade the religious conservatives in his party that he is fit to be President of the United States. However, he could probably appease the Republican base and secure his party’s nomination if he made the following remarks prior to the South Carolina Primary:
My fellow Republicans,

I would like to address your lingering concerns about my candidacy. Some of you have expressed doubts about my commitment to a variety of social causes—and some have even questioned my religious faith. Tonight, I will speak from the heart about the values that unite us.
First, on the subject of gay rights, let me make my position perfectly clear: I am as sickened by homosexuality as any man or woman in this country. It is true that I wrote a letter in 1994 where I said that “we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” and for this I have been mocked and pilloried, especially by Evangelicals. But ask yourselves, what did I mean by “equality”? I meant that all men and women must be given an equal chance to live a righteous life.
Yes, I once reached out to the Log Cabin Republicans—the gays in our party. Many people don’t know that there are gay Republicans, but it is true. Anyway, in a letter to this strange group, I pledged to do more for gay rights than Senator Edward Kennedy ever would.
Well, Senator Kennedy is now deceased—so I don’t have to do much to best him and keep my promise. But, more to the point, ask yourselves, what did I mean by “rights”? I meant that every man and woman has a right to discover the love of Jesus Christ and win life eternal. What else could I have meant? Seriously. What could be more important than eternal life? Jesus thought we all had a right to it. And I agree with him. And I think we should amend our Constitution to safeguard this right for everyone by protecting the sanctity of marriage.
I don’t have to tell you what is at stake. If gays are allowed to marry, it will debase the institution for the rest of us and perhaps loosen its bonds. Liberals scoff at this. They wonder how my feelings for my wife Ann could be diminished by the knowledge that a gay couple somewhere just got married. What an odd question.
On abortion—some say I have changed my views. It is true that I once described myself as “pro-choice.” But again, ask yourselves, what did I mean? I meant that every woman should be free to make the right choice. What is the right choice? To have as many children as God bestows. I once visited the great nation of Nigeria and a met woman who was blessed to have had 24 children—fully two-thirds of which survived beyond the age of five. The power of God is beyond our understanding. And this woman’s faith was a sight to behold.
Finally, I would like to address the scandalous assertion, once leveled by the Texas Pastor, Robert Jeffress, that my church—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is “a cult.” In fairness, he almost got that right—the LDS Church is a culture. A culture of faith and goodness and reverence for God Almighty. Scientology is a cult—this so-called religion was just made up out of whole cloth by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. But the teachings of my Church derive directly from the prophetic experience of its founder, Joseph Smith Jr., who by the aid of sacred seer stones, the Urim and Thummim, was able to decipher the final revelations of God which were written in reformed Egyptian upon a set golden plates revealed to him by the angel Moroni. Many of you are probably unfamiliar with this history—and some of you may even doubt its truth.
I am now speaking to the base of our party, to the 60 percent who believe that God created this fine universe, and humanity in its present form, at some point in the last 10,000 years.  Let me make one thing absolutely clear to you: I believe what you believe. Your God is my God. I believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and the Son of God, crucified for our sins, and resurrected for our salvation. And I believe that He will return to earth to judge the living and the dead.
But my Church offers a further revelation: We believe that when Jesus Christ returns to earth, He will return, not to Jerusalem, or to Baghdad, but to this great nation—and His first stop will be Jackson County, Missouri. The LDS Church teaches that the Garden of Eden itself was in Missouri! Friends, it is a marvelous vision. Some Christians profess not to like this teaching. But I ask you, where would you rather the Garden of Eden be, in the great state of Missouri or in some hellhole in the Middle East?
In conclusion, I want to assure you all, lest there be any doubt, that I share your vision for this country and for the future of our world. Some say that we should focus on things like energy security, wealth inequality, epidemic disease, global climate change, nuclear proliferation, genocide, and other complex problems for which scientific knowledge, rational discussion, and secular politics are the best remedy. But you and I know that the problem we face is deeper and simpler and far more challenging. Since time immemorial humanity has been misled by Satan, the Father of Lies.
I trust we understand one another better now. And I hope you know how honored I will be to represent our party in the coming Presidential election.
God bless this great land, the United States of America.

 

 

YOUR GOD IS MY GOD- What Mitt Romney Could Say to Win the Republican Nomination

By Sam Harris

Governor Mitt Romney has yet to persuade the religious conservatives in his party that he is fit to be President of the United States. However, he could probably appease the Republican base and secure his party’s nomination if he made the following remarks prior to the South Carolina Primary: My fellow Republicans,

I would like to address your lingering concerns about my candidacy. Some of you have expressed doubts about my commitment to a variety of social causes—and some have even questioned my religious faith. Tonight, I will speak from the heart about the values that unite us.

First, on the subject of gay rights, let me make my position perfectly clear: I am as sickened by homosexuality as any man or woman in this country. It is true that I wrote a letter in 1994 where I said that “we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” and for this I have been mocked and pilloried, especially by Evangelicals. But ask yourselves, what did I mean by “equality”? I meant that all men and women must be given an equal chance to live a righteous life. Yes, I once reached out to the Log Cabin Republicans—the gays in our party. Many people don’t know that there are gay Republicans, but it is true. Anyway, in a letter to this strange group, I pledged to do more for gay rights than Senator Edward Kennedy ever would.

Well, Senator Kennedy is now deceased—so I don’t have to do much to best him and keep my promise. But, more to the point, ask yourselves, what did I mean by “rights”? I meant that every man and woman has a right to discover the love of Jesus Christ and win life eternal. What else could I have meant? Seriously. What could be more important than eternal life? Jesus thought we all had a right to it. And I agree with him. And I think we should amend our Constitution to safeguard this right for everyone by protecting the sanctity of marriage.

I don’t have to tell you what is at stake. If gays are allowed to marry, it will debase the institution for the rest of us and perhaps loosen its bonds. Liberals scoff at this. They wonder how my feelings for my wife Ann could be diminished by the knowledge that a gay couple somewhere just got married. What an odd question.

On abortion—some say I have changed my views. It is true that I once described myself as “pro-choice.” But again, ask yourselves, what did I mean? I meant that every woman should be free to make the right choice. What is the right choice? To have as many children as God bestows. I once visited the great nation of Nigeria and a met woman who was blessed to have had 24 children—fully two-thirds of which survived beyond the age of five. The power of God is beyond our understanding. And this woman’s faith was a sight to behold.

Finally, I would like to address the scandalous assertion, once leveled by the Texas Pastor, Robert Jeffress, that my church—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is “a cult.” In fairness, he almost got that right—the LDS Church is a culture. A culture of faith and goodness and reverence for God Almighty. Scientology is a cult—this so-called religion was just made up out of whole cloth by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. But the teachings of my Church derive directly from the prophetic experience of its founder, Joseph Smith Jr., who by the aid of sacred seer stones, the Urim and Thummim, was able to decipher the final revelations of God which were written in reformed Egyptian upon a set golden plates revealed to him by the angel Moroni. Many of you are probably unfamiliar with this history—and some of you may even doubt its truth.

I am now speaking to the base of our party, to the 60 percent who believe that God created this fine universe, and humanity in its present form, at some point in the last 10,000 years.  Let me make one thing absolutely clear to you: I believe what you believe. Your God is my God. I believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and the Son of God, crucified for our sins, and resurrected for our salvation. And I believe that He will return to earth to judge the living and the dead. But my Church offers a further revelation: We believe that when Jesus Christ returns to earth, He will return, not to Jerusalem, or to Baghdad, but to this great nation—and His first stop will be Jackson County, Missouri. The LDS Church teaches that the Garden of Eden itself was in Missouri! Friends, it is a marvelous vision. Some Christians profess not to like this teaching. But I ask you, where would you rather the Garden of Eden be, in the great state of Missouri or in some hellhole in the Middle East?

In conclusion, I want to assure you all, lest there be any doubt, that I share your vision for this country and for the future of our world. Some say that we should focus on things like energy security, wealth inequality, epidemic disease, global climate change, nuclear proliferation, genocide, and other complex problems for which scientific knowledge, rational discussion, and secular politics are the best remedy. But you and I know that the problem we face is deeper and simpler and far more challenging. Since time immemorial humanity has been misled by Satan, the Father of Lies.

I trust we understand one another better now. And I hope you know how honored I will be to represent our party in the coming Presidential election. God bless this great land, the United States of America.    

christiannightmares:

‘Evangelicals Flocking Toward Newt Gingrich’ (To read the story, click image or here; For a related video, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/13051767352/newt-gingrich-to-occupy-wall-street-go-get-a-job)

Vote for me or the secular jihadists will getcha! Is it any wonder why they would flock to him?

christiannightmares:

‘Evangelicals Flocking Toward Newt Gingrich’ (To read the story, click image or here; For a related video, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/13051767352/newt-gingrich-to-occupy-wall-street-go-get-a-job)

Vote for me or the secular jihadists will getcha! Is it any wonder why they would flock to him?

There are people in this country who belong to fundamentalist Christian religious groups and who believe that they have the right (and perhaps the duty) to run your life.

abaldwin360:

Special Delivery: Fourteen Writers Remind Jim Wallis That The Religious Right Is A Real Problem

By Rob Boston

Some folks would like to pretend that these people don’t exist, or that they are a fringe group that can be easily dismissed. Some evangelicals are embarrassed by the antics of politically active, extreme fundamentalists, but instead of standing up to them, they’ve decided instead to criticize those of us who write about the Religious Right.

…People like Fred Clarkson, Rachel Tabachnick, Adele Stan, myself and others write about this. We believe people ought to know what’s going on. None of us believes that the United States is on the verge of becoming a Christian fundamentalist theocracy out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but we realize that what could happen (and indeed is happening) is bad enough: Your gay neighbors lose their rights. A girl who has been raped finds it difficult to get a legal abortion. Your tax money is plowed into religious schools that teach things you find offensive. A giant cross is erected in a public park. Your kid gets a lousy science education in public school…

[FULL STORY]