Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Santorum: I Don’t Believe In Separation Of Church And State

Everyday Mr Santorum opens his mouth and shows us all, yet once again, his desire for a theocracy in America

Santorum: I Don’t Believe In Absolute Separation Of Church And State

Rick Santorum on Sunday took on separation of church and state.

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” he told ‘This Week’ host George Stephanopoulos. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he “almost threw up” after reading JFK’s 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state.

Santorum also on Sunday told Meet The Press host David Gregory that separation of church and state was “not the founders’ vision.”

The GOP candidate has been doubling down on religious rhetoric in an effort to court evangelical voters ahead of Super Tuesday. Last week, he questioned Obama’s spiritual beliefs.

“[Obama believes in] some phony ideal, some phony theology … not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” he said.

We also have evidence of some of his other ‘thoughts’ in various speeches he has made and in the book that was published in 2005, It Takes a Family. Rick’s beliefs about a woman’s place in society are outlined in an op-ed piece on CNN.com, titled Santorum’s stone-age view of women and then there was the speech at Florida’s own Ave Maria College in 2008 in which Santorum said “Protestants Are ‘Gone From The World Of Christianity’”

Yet once again, a True Believer(tm) lays down the “No True Scotsman” argument. Simply another fine example of the mindset found in the modern conservative (‘conservative’, as defined by the modern American right – not the classic definition). The more they ‘know’, the less likely they are to accept new knowledge.

Chris Mooney writing at Alternet, pointed out the problem we face as rational beings with those who ‘know’ they are correct – also right in the political sense of ‘right’

Indeed, the rapidly growing social scientific literature on the resistance to global warming (see for examples here and here) says so pretty unequivocally. Again and again, Republicans or conservatives who say they know more about the topic, or are more educated, are shown to be more in denial, and often more sure of themselves as well—and are confident they don’t need any more information on the issue.

Although he was writing about the denial of the science that supports the theory of mankind being behind climate change, the studies referenced also reveal the seemingly innate tendency of the conservative mind to reject facts which don’t fit the ‘reality’ it has created.  So we have individuals with university degrees denying the science behind global warming, asserting that evolution is some kind of atheist plot and creating their own history of America.

Way back in the “good ol’ days”, some clueless, God-hater wrote the following:

Religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
James Madison (1822)
I wonder what Santorum would say to that guy.

GOP Debate Audience boos Birth Control Question

Debate Audience Boos Birth Control

Mitt Romney’s not ready to give up his status as frontrunner just yet. Romney denied that his health-care plan ever mandated contraception in a feisty exchange with Rick Santorum. Earlier, moderator John King raised the question of birth control—eliciting boos from the audience. Meanwhile, the candidates were frothing at the mouth. Newt Gingrich immediately lashed out at King, demanding why moderators never asked President Obama about his vote as an Illinois senator for “infanticide.” He then called Obama a baby killer and said he was more of an extremist than any of the GOP candidates. Romney chimed in to say there’s never been an administration in America more opposed to religious freedom. Santorum argued that teen sexuality should be a reason why contraception shouldn’t be free, and then shifted his focus to defunding Planned Parenthood and fractured families.

Seriously Newt – “infanticide”? Oooh, I know where he got that one. The question was about “birth control” – Don’t these clowns know that making contraception more readily available will result in less “infanticide” or as most rational folks say – abortions. Of course they know the facts but they are playing to the 27 percenters, otherwise known as the Republican “base”.

None of the candidates actually bothered to try and answer John King’s question and in fact used it as a basis for attacking the media (cheers from audience) and to kick off rants about “religious freedom” and the decline in moral values that they see as the reason for discontent in America.

Romney and the rest continue to rage on and on about Obama’s suppression of religious freedom. Doesn’t “religious freedom” include those who don’t hold to the same myths as the majority believe? Although some would think “religious freedom” means you can believe and worship and behave as you wish, as long as you cause no harm to others, there appears to be a large segment of the Republican base which sees it as them being allowed to impose their views on everyone else. When they can’t control society, they see it as “suppression” of their beliefs. When they don’t receive government support for their ideology (and xmas displays) they see an assault on religion.

Naturally, the theocrats have managed to reveal their true desires in a book promoted by Glenn Beck, who managed to drive the sales into best-seller numbers, The Five Thousand Year Leap. It is the arrogance engendered by their belief in the ‘rightness’ of their theology that is driving today’s assault not only on women but also on minority religious beliefs and atheists. Many, far too many, Americans believe stuff that just ain’t true and support those who promote such lies and fantasies. The end result of such twisted thinking was well described in the dystopias of Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

more on the drive for xian control of America may be found in the books of Frank Schaeffer and Jeff Sharlet’s The Family

All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher. – Lucretius (94 BC – 49 BC)

Anti-abortion bills spark heated debate in Virginia

First saw this story on Rachel’s show last night, during which she had pics of reader-supplied vaginal probes, including this one:
Anti-abortion bills spark heated debate in Virginia

The Tuesday passage in Virginia of two of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country has sparked fierce debate over abortion rights the battleground state, with Democrats decrying the acts as an unprecedented encroachment on women’s rights as Republicans push to move the legislation forward.

One bill, Republican Del. Bob Marshall’s House bill 1, would define personhood at conception and “provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.” The second bill requires that women be required to undergo an ultrasound procedure prior to having an abortion.

Now here’s fun part

there are more than 25,000 references to the word “person” in the Virginia legislative code, and that applying all of the laws pertaining to “persons” to all existing fertilized eggs would inevitably become complicated.

She pointed to an example in which a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization successfully becomes pregnant without using as many eggs as were fertilized in the procedure. Those additional eggs would thus be considered “persons,” and the couple could use exploit those “persons” to get additional tax breaks, she argued.

The other bill requiring ultrasound examination before a woman can have an abortion has a rather dangerous, and shall we “intrusive”, requirement that the woman is not allowed to protest – “its requirement that some women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound probe”

The FBI defines rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object”

Virginian-Pilot editorial

Inserting something into the vagina of an unwilling woman is a violation in every sense of the word. But not to a majority of Virginia’s Senate.

This week, the Senate passed a bill, largely along party lines, that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and wait as long as a day for the procedure.
(…)
This isn’t about whether abortion is right or wrong.

This is about the scope of government. Even those opposed to abortion should have qualms about the government mandating medical procedures and waiting periods.

Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.

Will those screaming about “government intrusion into our lives” when commenting on a silly mixup over a 4 year old’s lunch say the same thing about this Virginia LAW?

This is just one more example of the hypocrisy of so many on the right; a hypocrisy extending from the Tea Partiers shouting about socialised medicine while simultaneously screaming “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”, from Catholic bishops complaining about paying for often medically necessary procedures while denying for years that they were covering up even more morally offensive acts in their own churches and schools, from ‘small government‘ activists who claim the feds are after your guns when their is a push for gun registration laws while complaining about the high crime rates in urban neighbourhoods, from sexually conflicted pols and preachers decrying the “attack on marriage” while simultaneously hiring rentboys to “carry their luggage”, and now to this state legislature controlled by “small government” types mandating something far more intrusive than contraception insurance.

It does seem to me that “intrusive government” is often defined as one that does something I don’t like, otherwise – as long as it affects only those “others”, its all cool with me. Like I wrote – hypocrisy.

 

The World Reacts to Clinton’s Gay Rights Speech

The World Reacts to Clinton’s Gay Rights Speech – summation of articles from around the world

In the American rightie blogosphere, we find the usual reaction: claims that Secretary Clinton said something that she didn’t actually say.

The first time in over 60 years a United States President imposes a “gay rights” speech on the UN

and
Clinton Says Obama Wants Gay Rights Over Religious Freedom in Key Speech
and
Liberty Counsel, Family Research Council Enraged by Move to Consider Gay Rights in Foreign Aid

What far too many commenters on the tubez of the internets are failing to note is the actual bigotry and intolerance against gays in other nations which was the target of Secretary Clinton’s speech. She was not advocating for gay marriage or gay adoption or gay bars, rather she was focusing on the actual human crimes that are being perpetrated by far too many third world governments.

With the aid of various evangelical missionaries, particularly in Africa, local governments have been passing laws that demand the death penalty for gays, or if they are a bit more ‘tolerant’, just life imprisonment. The developed nations, particularly in Europe have been pushing for the decriminalisation of homosexuality for years, all while mostly American fundie ministers promote the death of gays. In the normal manner of such proselytisers, they say one thing at home and something else altogether different in the church halls of the third world countries.

Of course the right wing talking heads have done exactly the same thing as our reliably righties always do, and as “Good Hair” Perry did in his recent ad (the one with the Brokeback Mountain jacket) – attempt to conflate the civil struggle in the US for gay marriage and equal (not separate) rights for gays with the battle for saving the lives of gays in other, mostly poor, nations.

and before someone else says I’m excusing them – Yes, fundie Muslim clerics are advocating the same type of atrocities as the fundie Xian clerics. Religious interpretations have been used to justify crimes since the days we were painting shadows on cave walls. Take note of the following quote from some old guy

“To the common man religion is true, To the wise it is false, and to the rulers it is useful”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca 5BCE – 65CE

One Thing Americans Need – better history education

This post is a comment I made on another WordPress blog,
A Father’s Apocalypse
with a few edits to clarify the points I was trying to make.

Go and read the post there to understand what I have written here. My first clue as to the blogger’s take on things was found in his blogroll where he includes Glenn Beck, Drudge and David Barton.

The years leading up to the creation of the Constitution with the influence of the various churches upon the governance of the colonies were exactly why the men who wrote that document intended to keep religion, of any nature, out of the government, not out of civil society but certainly away from the halls of legislation.

Thomas Jefferson was justly proud of three actions he had undertaken during his political career, so proud of them that he had those three acts placed on his tombstone:

“Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.”

from Jefferson’s autobiography, writing about the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.

When Jefferson wrote, “priest-ridden people” he was not writing about the Roman Catholic Church as some revisionists would have you believe, but of all religions that demand the presence of a person with ‘special knowledge’ to lead any group of “believers”. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander von Humboldt (6 December 1813)

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

Explaining to John Adams as to why and how he came to create what we know today as the “Jefferson Bible”, Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, on Christian scriptures (24 January 1814)

The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

Were the Founding Fathers as religious as David Barton and others would like you to believe? Certainly those who were lived closer to their time didn’t think so –

…the proceedings as published by Thompson, the secretary, show, that the question was gravely debated in Congress whether God should in the Constitution or not, and after solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it: … the men whose arguments swayed to vote God out of the Constitution, to declare that there should be no religious test, and that Congress should make no law to establish religion, were atheists in principle; that among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was professor of religion, at least not of more than unitarianism;

a quote from a sermon given by Rev. Bird Wilson in 1831, to be found in Discussion on the existence of God and the authenticity of the Bible by Origen Bacheler, pgs 230-231

Senate votes to support violation of the Constitution

from the ‘conservative’ Washington Times

Senate defies veto threat in terrorist custody vote

Defying a veto threat by President Obama, the Senate voted Tuesday to give the U.S. military first crack at holding al Qaeda operatives, even if they are captured in the U.S. and are American citizens, and also reaffirmed the policy of indefinite detention.

“We’re no longer going to have an absurd result that if we capture you overseas where you’re planning an attack on the United States, we can blow you up or put you in a military prison indefinitely, but if you make it to America, all of a sudden you get Miranda rights and you go to federal court,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has fought the Bush and Obama administrations on treatment of suspected terrorist detainees.

Tuesday’s 61-37 vote to buck Mr. Obama and grant the military dibs exposed a deep rift within the Democratic Party. Sixteen Democrats and one independent who caucuses with them defied the veto threat and joined 44 Republicans.

Sounds good, right?  Well, Senator Ron Paul (R-KY) doesn’t think so

Senate Votes To Let Military Detain Americans Indefinitely

“I’m very, very, concerned about having U.S. citizens sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the Senate’s most conservative members.

Paul’s top complaint is that a terrorism suspect would get just one hearing where the military could assert that the person is a suspected terrorist — and then they could be locked up for life, without ever formally being charged. The only safety valve is a waiver from the secretary of defense.

“It’s not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist,” Paul said, echoing the views of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s part of what due process is — deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it’s important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken.”

Bet you never thought you would see Rand Paul agreeing with the ACLU, did ya?

This should make for some interesting discussion, not only here but also in the media and on the campaign trail.

Do you believe in the rule of law?

OR

Do you think threats to your safety and security call for negation of basic rights conveyed upon us by the Constitution?

What happens the day an American citizen resists an attempted arrest by US military personnel?  Well, that citizen would probably end up dead but his family might be able to use the argument laid out in Runyan v. State (1877) 57 Ind. 80, 20 Am.Rep. 52 in which the Court ruled

When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justiciable.

Or maybe the argument in John Bad Elk v. U.S. (1900) 177 U.S. 529, 44 L.Ed. 874, 20 S.Ct. 729 would be more relevant

Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.

Ceding Liberty to Terror: Senate Votes Against Due-Process Rights

PZ Myers is angry

During Skepticon IV, which took place this past week in Springfield, MO, a local gelato shop owner put a hastily scribbled sign on the door of his location.

 

Response to this little bit of bigotry was rather strong and Gelato Guy quickly removed the sign and began posting apologies all over the internets, including a direct one to PZ.

Not good enough for Dr Myers

Apology not accepted. What I see in you is a person who hates me for not believing in the nonsense of your religion; while you may now be in a panic because your actions were unethical and illegal, and you were caught out, and face economic consequences for them, I don’t see any sign that your attitudes have changed in the slightest.

You’ll just have to live with the fact that I won’t be buying your ice cream on the rare occasions I visit your town, while I have to live with the fact that I live in a country where my rejection of your religion makes me a pariah. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to make up for that.

PZ goes on a long rant about the bigotry and hatred toward atheists in America, of which I am only posting a small portion.

Meanwhile, we will still be regarded as the least trustworthy minority in the country; we still have to deal with the fact that we are excluded from the political discourse; we still have to walk into courtrooms with the ten commandments on display; we have to watch these nice, sincere, classy people elect gay hating bigots, anti-science know-nothings, and flaming misogynists to high office…but hey, they’ll apologize to our faces when they risk losing our business. And then go back to church to listen to their priests fulminate against the godless, go into the voting booth and vote against civil rights, go to their school board and piously try to ram their faith into our children’s faces.

I don’t give a good goddamn what they say, I care about what they do. And until 150 million Christians rise up and show some respect for common humanity and reason, and apologize to me and every godless citizen in this country, I will not be magnanimous. I do not call for a vendetta, and I’m not demanding that he be punished — it’s a guy selling ice cream — but I do not forgive. I do not forget. I set him aside, I ignore him, but I do not call him ‘friend’ or ‘brother’, I do not call him sincere or classy.

Oh yeah – I agree with what the good doctor has written.