Saturday, April 4, 2015

God is fine with marriage equality

[The following article is by Max Mills and appears at]

The Presbyterian Church USA has made an important decision. With a landslide vote in favor, they have changed the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples. This decision has created a flurry of extreme responses.  Churches have received threatening letters, some have left the denomination, and they have lost hundreds of thousands of members. Some are even asking whether the Presbyterian Church USA is still Christian.

In the midst of this controversy, and with this recent addition to the pro-LGBT Christian movement, it is important to examine the arguments that progressive Christians (like myself) use to defend homosexuality from all of the arguments other Christians use against it:

It Is An Abomination

The first verses that inevitably come to mind when discussing homosexuality are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. They both say roughly the same thing:
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” – Lev 18:22
“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” – Lev 20:13
I want to kick off our analysis of these verses by taking a look at the Hebrew word translated here as “abomination”.

The general understanding is that this word is condemning these acts as intrinsically, objectively immoral. This understanding is false. The Hebrew word, to’ebah, is most accurately understood to mean “that which goes against the accepted order”. Dr. Friedman offers several examples in his book, The Bible Now:
“…in the Bible the term is in fact relative. For example, in the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis, Joseph tells his brothers that if the Pharaoh asks them what their occupation is, they should say that they are cowherds. They must not say that they are shepherds. Why? Because, Joseph explains, all shepherds are an offensive thing (tō‘ēbāh) to the Egyptians. But shepherds are not an offensive thing to the Israelites or Moabites or many other cultures. In another passage in that story, we read that Egyptians do not eat with Israelites because that would be an offensive thing (tō‘ēbāh) to them. But Arameans and Canaanites eat with Israelites and do not find it offensive. See also the story of the exodus from Egypt, where Moses tells Pharaoh that the things that Israelites sacrifice would be an offensive thing (tō‘ēbāh) to the Egyptians. But these things are certainly not an offensive thing to the Israelites. 
A former student of ours pointed out that right here in the list of laws that we are considering in Leviticus 18, naming acts that are tō‘ēbāh, are some that prohibit actions that the great patriarchs of the Bible had done. For example, Abraham marries his half sister Sarah.. (Gen 20:12) But the law in Leviticus explicitly forbids such relations with a half sister… (Lev 18:9) So what is not a tō‘ēbāh in the generation of the patriarchs has changed and become one in the generation of Moses. In a somewhat different way, the land itself can change from not being a tō‘ēbāh and can become a tō‘ēbāh as a result of the behavior of its residents on it. The prophet Jeremiah says: You defiled my land, and made my possession into an offensive thing (tō‘ēbāh). (Jer 2:7) An act or an object that is not a tō‘ēbāh can become one, depending on time and circumstances.”

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Sylvia Allen & Mikey Huckabee - Two nuts from the same tree

Two items from People for the American Way

The first one is rather silly but emphasizes the dilemma we are in today with so many stupid people voting into office even more stupid people.

Sylvia Allen is an Arizona State Senator.  The best way to characterize her is simply to say she is quite stupid and ignorant and has no problem trying to force her idiocies on the rest of us.

For example, she “defended uranium mining in her state by insisting that the earth is a mere 6,000-years old.”  Now lots of people believe that crap and disbelieve in Evolution because of the BS they learn from their ignorant and reprehensible pastors, but these are precisely the people that should never get within shouting distance to any kind of political position.

Sylvia also loves guns.  She thinks there’s no problem with allowing people to carry concealed weapons in public buildings.  Why does she believe this? Because it’s “individual souls — not guns — [which] are the real source of gun violence. […]

Therefore, saith Ms. Allen, “we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday.”

Dumb, de dumb, dumb!

Just watch, Sylvia the gunslinger, will soon be wanting to run for president, ‘cause of all these pesky gay people and stuff.

One sleaze bag who IS running for president is Mike Huckabee.  And Mikey is soooooo upset that people are complaining about these “religious freedom” bills being bandied about in Indiana and Arkansas and other states.

Why, these statutes are just trying to protect good Christians from being forced to violate their consciences, dontcha know?

Mikey is also irate with Walmart?  Walmart, from his own state!  How could that company complain about good Christians living out their faith-hate?

It’s all the fault of liberals, says Huckabee.  There’s no war on women - the libs made that up.  There’s no war on gays - that’s liberal nonsense.  But Huck also thinks that it’s the gays and their liberal friends who are beating up on all of the good Christians!

In fact, right now gays are working toward getting rid of all Christian churches.  Yep.  That’s what they want to do!  “It won’t stop,” claimed old the old hick, Huck, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel…”

Read more of these kinds of stories Right Wing Watch, “a project of People For the American Way."

Sam Brownback, The State of Kansas and the State of the Wild, Wild West

 [Image of Sam Brownback from the Huffington Post.]

Sam Brownback is the Repugnican governor of Kansas.  We've all heard the stories how he believes in and has followed the mantra of a "trickle-down" economy in that state which has turned out to one big horror story.

Giving huge tax breaks to his (and the legislature's) corporate friends in the belief that they would, out of the goodness of their hearts, return money to the state coffers by enlarging their business efforts and creating new jobs, turned out to be nothing more than a Repugnican con job.

But everyone should know by now that the "trickle-down" thing has, since the beginning of time, been a ruse used by the Repugnicans to pick the pockets of the taxpayers in order to line their pockets and the pockets of their wealthy friends with freshly-minted cash.

And, at this moment, the state of the State of Kansas' economy is in the toilet.  Kansas is dying.  Everyone is in trouble including the schools.  Sam Brownback, though, being a fine lover of Jesus, thinks this is just what Jesus wants.  More for the rich, and less for the poor.

Now, Mr. Brownback, maybe not so much stupid as he is crass and incorrigible - like an educated criminal - along with his sing-in-tune legislature, has decreed that shortly (July, I think) any Kansas citizen may carry a loaded gun hidden in their pocket or belly button or  the crack of their ass with neither any training nor a permit.

Just like in the old west.  The Wild, Wild west.

But, dear reader, that's NOT the way it was in the old west.  Not even in Dodge (Ks), Mr. Brownback.  Guns were feared in the old west.  The people of the old west were smarter by far than the NRA goons and their paid supporters in our Congress and state legislatures.  They knew how dangerous guns were, especially if in the hands of the young, the crazy and the stupid.

So, in most places in the old west - the Wild, Wild west - unlike what you see in the movies - you were NOT allowed to carry a gun, concealed or not, permit or not.  When you came to town, the first thing you did was to turn your gun in to the sheriff where it would be kept safe until such time as you decided to leave town.

Finally, Mr. Brownback, not being a Constitutional scholar, or a scholar of anything else (including the Bible which he claims to love so much), said that this new Kansas law is necessary and right because the Constitution gives everyone the right to own and carry guns.

Mr. Brownback is dead wrong.  I would guess there will be not a few incidents in Kansas come July to prove him dead wrong.  The Constitution does no such thing - it does NOT (and the Supreme Court is dead wrong here, too, just like they were dead wrong about slavery some years back and about Corporations being people more recently) - give anyone the right to carry a gun!

The Constitution gives the state the right to assign certain people in the STATE MILITIA the right to carry a gun in case the state needs defending.  That's it.  That's all there is to it.  It does not give anyone else the right to carry a gun.

Here is the 2nd Amendment:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Notice that the "right" to keep and bear arms is within the context of a "well-regulated Militia."  In other words, if the free state is threatened, people will be allowed to keep and bear arms as part of a well-regulated militia" [such as the National Guard]. 

You'd have to be crazy to allow anyone to carry a gun without training or a permit. 

Guess what that makes Mr. Brownback and the NRA and all the goons who bow at the altar of the latter?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Passover Pesach 2015 Seder Rube Goldberg Machine from Technion in Israel

h/t to Bob Poris

A Dose of Stupid

This is April 1st.  April Fool's Day.  Maybe all the assholes who inhabit the dark caverns of the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, county commissions and city councils, as well as the myriads of other committees and organizations that comprise our political life will "come out" and tell us they've just been fooling around.  They're really not as stupid as they seem and they really do care about this country and its people and they are finally going to get down to business and take care of business.

Don't hold your breath.  And here's some reasons why:

The US is sending troops to Ukraine to train their armed forces.  Unfortunately one Ukraine unit, the Azov Battalion, is comprised of neo-Nazis.  It “uses Nazi symbols and openly declares its belief in white supremacy and antisemitism.”

Well, what the hell.  We've supported all kinds of crazy, brutal, anti-Semitic dictators down through the years.  If it's good for General Motors (read the Corporate Oligarchy) it's got to be good for the rest of us, right?

You would hope that the bigots like Mike Pence and his friends in Indiana could at least be honest as to what they’re doing.  But NO, they retreat into spewing nonsense phrases or complaining they've been misunderstood and insist they’re not about discrimination which is, of course, total bullshit.  It's ALL about discrimination!

All of the anti-gay rhetoric and anti-gay legislation has NOTHING to do with religion or religious beliefs.  It has EVERYTHING to do with bigotry and hate.  If these religious fruitcakes were concerned about religious things they would be involved in many other crusades - based on the Bible.  They would want to stone children who do not observe the Sabbath; they would raise hell about women who have the audacity to speak up in church; they would be most concerned to follow the WHOLE LAW for their legendary Jesus said he came to ensure that every jot and tittle of the Jewish Law be obeyed; and all these bigots who have been married and divorced or involved in faithless affairs would shut up about the "sins" of others as their passage on the road to hell has already been paid for!

Will FAUX News please fire the compulsive and repulsive liar Bill O’Reilly?  It’s time for him to go.

Arkansas is in process of passing an Indiana-type anti-gay law.  (Today the Arkansas guv said he ain't signing it until it's been "fixed.")  Georgia is working on one.  The other southern states will soon follow.  Sometimes, even though I live in Florida, I think it would have been best to let the south secede and go their own way.  Of course, the U.S. would probably have had to be giving them foreign aid down through the years.

Florida’s criminal governor Rick Scott, has forbade his minions to use the terms Global Warming or Climate Change.  Wouldn’t want to scare off the tourists walking around downtown Miami in knee-deep water.

Arizona passed a law signed by the governor, an ice-cream CEO, Doug Ducey, which forces doctors to tell women that drug-induced abortions can be reversed even though that is junk science and not true.  It also blocks the purchase of insurance on the Obama care exchange that includes abortion coverage.

Jeb Bush, the guy who screwed up our state (Florida) royally during his time as governor thinks that Obama is not defending NSA spying on US citizens as well as he should.

Scott Walker, the gov of Wisconsin who wants to be president is just plain stupid.  He can handle the office of the presidency, he says, because he was an Eagle Scout.

Everytime Ted Cruz opens his mouth a pile of stupid falls out - not that he’s stupid but he’s full of stupid.  Things would be much better in this country, said Mr. Stupid, if Texas was the U.S. Capital.  He thinks the White House should be moved to Texas.  He didn’t say where in Texas.  Maybe Brownsville?  El Paso?  Mineola?

On Easter Sunday morning at the National Mall, there’s going to be a sunrise service at the Lincoln Memorial.  Pastor Amos Dodge and his Capital Church have done this 36 times times.  The Lord told him to “reclaim America for Jesus.”  Yeah!

There’s a megachurch in New Jersey which has four “campuses” in the area. They plan to hide 100,000 Easter Eggs for the kiddos to find on Easter Sunday morning.  That sounds about right.  What would Jesus do?

Rick Santorum - you remember him…the faux Christian douchebag - says that ISIS is all Obama’s fault.

Texas - Jesus, what a state!  It has the 3rd highest HIV infections in the US, but Repugnican legislators there voted to take $3 mil from the HIV/STD prevention program and give it to abstinence-only sex ed programs.  The latter have been proven not to work, but what the hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Ted Cruz again, cruzin’ to victory.  When he made his coming out speech at the fundy college, Liberty University (which is pretty much a joke kept running at taxpayer expense), he ranted about the educational Common Core standards and how he would repeal “every word” of them.  The problem is there’s nothing to repeal as these standards appear in no federal law. 

Rand Paul, the doctor who won’t take the doctor tests, says he’s against gay rights and gay marriage because…well, he’s against them.  Oh, he wants to be president, too.

There's much more, but I've suddenly got a headache!

Climate Change a Hoax!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Armed Anti-Government Contingent to Swarm Carson City

Armed Anti-Government Contingent To Swarm Carson City On Tuesday

It seems like the best way to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Bundy Ranch Seige: a big Teabag protest where a tax-dodging, bigoted Mormon garnered the sympathy of fellow ammosexual anarchists. In Carson City, tomorrow, the Nevada Assembly will vote on a few controversial bills, one being AB408. Outspoken Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy told…