Tag Archives: Christian nation

An Old Ghost Could Come Back to Haunt

jesus-flag1If you were paying attention, you may have noticed a shift in the orientation of the bills coming out of the Republican-controlled state legislatures in the past few months. As with the recently vetoed bill in Arizona, they increasingly use the term “religious freedom” to justify intolerance and bigotry. Much of this pandering on social issues is to give their voters a reason to support them at the polls, and continue to vote against their own interests. They were doing very well using the old “family values” ploy to do this for so many years, so one might wonder what’s behind this new framing.

The right has long used religious freedom to fight various aspects of Obama’s healthcare plan, make changes to the educational system, and justify the oppression of women. Now it is the go-to excuse for most issues. All of these measures are unconstitutional, regardless of the justification for them—every single one. Even the present Supreme Court has refused to allow any of these measures to remain law. In light of that, why do they keep bringing them up and passing them, and why do the voters keep supporting them? What do they have to gain? Continue reading

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New Atheism, Accommodationism, and Humanism in a World Gone Mad – Part One

My Humanist group, “Humanists & Freethinkers of Cape Fear,” has invited me to be their speaker at the regular monthly meeting on Sunday afternoon, May 8th at 5 PM.  I was going to be in town anyway, and they could get me cheap, so they decided to take another chance and let me address them again. The last time I spoke there was two years ago, when I addressed the question of whether or not America was founded to be a Christian nation. With everything that’s happened in the last two years, it seems like a minor point, almost a moot question. Anyhow, as I have to write another paper for the group, I thought I might as well serialize it here on this blog as I haven’t used it for months. The first part, presented here, is the abstract for the talk. There will be more material here, over the weeks to come, then I will have time to present to the group in May.

If some modern “Rip Van Winkle” went to sleep two years ago, just after I made my last presentation to you on the “Christian Nation” question, what do you think would be their impression of the world we wake up to now? All that “hopey, changey” stuff is long gone, for most of us, replaced with fear, outrage, and uncertainty. Not only in the halls of Congress, but in State Houses all over the country, it seems that the bulwarks of democracy are being torn down, and with them, our First Amendment protections are being stripped by politicians eager to pander to their right-wing religious base.

Or are they? Who is it they are really pandering to? Is it the Religious Right, or is the Corporate Oligarchy who put them where they are, and does it make a difference as far as we’re concerned as Humanists? When you’re on the rack, does it matter who’s turning the screw and why? I would like to investigate the possibility that what’s going on in Congress and in the various States, is nothing but another diversion, as was the Astroturf, big business-funded “Tea Party,” designed to further divide us as Americans, and make us less likely to unite against those who would steal our remaining liberties. Continue reading

Still Demon-Haunted

We watched “The Ghostbusters” the other night, and I was struck by a bit of dialog that kind of jumped out at me, even though I had heard it many times before. The Roman Catholic Cardinal character, commenting upon the ghostly goings-on around town says to the Mayor Character: “Personally, Lenny, I think it’s a sign from God;” to which the embattled Mayor of New York character responds:

“Well, what can I do? I can’t call a press conference and ask everyone to pray about it!”

What struck me was that in spite of the dialog in this mid-80’s movie, that’s precisely what we do now! At the behest of our elected representatives, we are asked to pray for rain, for the dissolution of oil slicks, for protection from hurricanes and floods, for the success and safety of our “brave men and women on the battlefield,” and almost anything else that would detract, in any way, from the myth of American exceptionalism.

A huge percentage of our citizens, perhaps a majority, believe the earth to be less then ten-thousand years old, and that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. Over half the country rejects the overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion that that the climate of the earth is warming, and mankind is the cause. Thanks to psudoscientific babbling by Deepak Chopra and others, supported by trash like “The Secret,” large numbers of otherwise intelligent people believe they can change reality simply by “thinking” about it! Continue reading