July 13, 2007

Christian Right Activists Disrupt Hindu Chaplain In The Senate




Source: http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2007/jul/12/christian_right_activists_disrupt_hindu_chaplain_in_the_senate

By Eric Kleefeld | bio

Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.

We have video of the astonishing scene, and we'll be sharing it with you shortly.

The three protesters, who all belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, and who apparently traveled to Washington all the way from North Carolina, interrupted by loudly asking for God's forgiveness for allowing the false prayer of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.

"Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight," the first protester began.

"This is an abomination," he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."

More after the jump.





Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), serving as the presiding officer for the morning, immediately ordered them taken away — though they continued to yell at the Hindu cleric as they were headed out the door, shouting out phrases such as, "No Lord but Jesus Christ!" and "There's only one true God!"

The cleric, Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada, was visibly nervous and uncomfortable as he then delivered the morning prayer. But to his credit, he soon regained his footing and was able to make it through in a dignified fashion.

For their part, Operation Save America put out an interesting press release, claiming responsibility for the protests and castigating Senators for not joining in:
Theology Moved to the Senate and was Arrested

Theology has moved from the church house onto the floor of the United States Senate, and has been arrested.

Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god. The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ. This would never have been allowed by our Founding Fathers.

"Not one Senator had the backbone to stand as our Founding Fathers stood. They stood on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There were three in the audience with the courage to stand and proclaim, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' They were immediately removed from the chambers, arrested, and are in jail now. God bless those who stand for Jesus as we know that He stands for them." Rev. Flip Benham, Director, Operation Save America/Operation Rescue

A call for comment to Benham has not been returned as of this writing.

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Jul 12, 2007 -- 03:07 PM EST | Tags: Congress

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On July 12, 2007 - 3:29pm jeffgee said:

Talibangelists.
Sending 'em to jail will only fuel their feelings of persecution. They can all live their Revelations just like John did when he wrote the wackiest chapter in the bible. Little do they realize that their beloved GOP acts more like the Romans than the Christians.
Fundamentalism makes people crazy.
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:26pm Jim Ramsey said:

Here's an irony. There's a Christian praise song that originated in India, I think. This sort of event has me singing a slightly (though perversely) modified version of it.

And they'll know we are Christians by our hate by our hate. They will know we are Christians by our hate.



Sad.
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:35pm axolotlcheesehead said:

These nutcases will probably have to go to court and face punishment for their contemptuous behavior toward the Subordinate Branch. Their real crime of course is stupidity. If they had checked with Karl Rove ahead of time, they'd have pulled off their stunt with impunity and immunity.

However, as repugnant as this fanatical disruption was, it still doesn't rise to the level of Dick Cheney telling Pat Leahy to "go f*** yourself."

I notice, by the way, that Leahy seems to have taken that advice.
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:36pm marcNYC said:

Let's see how long it takes for Romney, McCain, Giuliani or any other of the Repug candidates who are pandering to these fascists to come up with some way to pander even more. Will one of these clowns denounce the arrest as abridging the First Amendment rights of right wing religious fanatics?
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:54pm pkafin said:

Is the total irony lost on those three protesters that the commandment stating 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' is from the Ten Commandments. That makes it originally from the Jewish tradition and, in that respect, has little to nothing to do with Jesus?
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:14pm gqmartinez said:

Jesus was, in fact, Jewish. It is widely believed that he was an apocalyptic Jew (see, e.g., Bart Ehrman). There were some interesting battles early on regarding the Jewish tradition in the early Christian movement, though. But contemporary Christianity--at least the vast majority of practicioners--do use much of the Old Testament.

What I find eerie is how similar the chants are to what Ayman al-Zawahiri was yelling from a jail cell a couple decades ago. It's quite scary to me.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:41pm mitch2k2 said:

I think the point was that Jesus himself, raised to godlike status, violates the commandment against worshiping "other gods before Me."
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:22pm freespeak said:

Nevermind that they sue to have the ten commandments posted all over the country and don't keep ANY of them.

No idols? Never seen a Christian bow to a crucifix, huh?

The sanctity of the seventh day? (check a calendar for the SEVENTH day -- and God was pretty damn specific if you ask me)

Respect your elders? Yeah, get rid of Social Security and let 'em eat Chinese dog food.

No killing? They're the most ardent war-mongers in the nation.

No adultry? Let's see -- David Vitter, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain...

No stealing? Halliburton.

No slander? Two words. Clinton Haters.

Have I missed any?
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:27pm terryhallinan said:

Nevermind that they sue to have the ten commandments posted all over the country and don't keep ANY of them.

You always do everything you believe is right?

No idols? Never seen a Christian bow to a crucifix, huh?

Lots of people have respect for the dead. Don't you? You think it's idolatry?

The sanctity of the seventh day? (check a calendar for the SEVENTH day -- and God was pretty damn specific if you ask me)

What does that have to do with anything? Saturday is more important to some. So what?

Respect your elders? Yeah, get rid of Social Security and let 'em eat Chinese dog food.

Sounds like the act of Libertarians to me.

No killing? They're the most ardent war-mongers in the nation.

No they're not.

No adultry? Let's see -- David Vitter, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain...

Modesty isn't wildly appreciated these days either. Never was really.

No stealing? Halliburton.

What on God's green earth makes you think Halliburton is Christian?

No slander? Two words. Clinton Haters.

Bill Clinton pounds a Bible with the best of them. I don't know about Hillary. It's nice you revere this Republican pair but do you have to bring your religion here.

Have I missed any?

You failed every question. I shudder to think what you would do with the answers.

If you have no respect for what other people believe, how can you respect your own beliefs?

Oh and no I am not a Christian nor any other religion including atheism but I suppose you hate me too. I will just have to live with that.

Best, Terry
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:41pm pkafin said:

Terry,

I believe the poster to whom you are responding started by pointing out that the Christian right has repeatedly sued in both state and federal courts to push the Ten Commandments into the public sphere and to have public monies pay for the posting of them.

That creates the possibility for a kind of hypocrisy that is worth pointing out.

Most people don't "do everything they[you] believe is right". But, most people don't ask the general public to pay for the promotion of their personally held beliefs regarding subjective spiritual commandments.

No idols? Never seen a Christian bow to a crucifix, huh?

Lots of people have respect for the dead. Don't you? You think it's idolatry?

Although there are different ways of splitting them up (which makes the posting of them in a public forum even more ridiculous), within the first two commandments, are the following ideas:
You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them;



Not being Christian, it's not my place to comment on whether a crucifix is an idol. However, Jews and Muslims tend to be very much more careful to steer clear of treating "graven images" as scared objects.

I'm sure mindful Christians have thought this one through. However, for many non-Christians it's hard to see how statues of Jesus jibe with the Ten Commandments, when some consider him to be legitimately divine.
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:13am terryhallinan said:

Terry,

I believe the poster to whom you are responding started by pointing out that the Christian right has repeatedly sued in both state and federal courts to push the Ten Commandments into the public sphere and to have public monies pay for the posting of them.

Freespeak obviously spoke to many of us when pointing to the ludicrous hypocrisy of such clowns that are equivalent to Alberto Gonzales' concern for voting rights.

A particular bummer for me was freespeak suggesting Clinton's Bible pounding hypocrisy was somehow different.

Be that as it may,

Not being Christian, it's not my place to comment on whether a crucifix is an idol.

would you have objected to Kurt Vonnegut displaying his redeeemer dangling from a noose? I do believe that man had a soul though he might have screamed at me for that heretical notion.

I hypocritically love some idols while my only profession of religion is that I am an iconoclast. Agnostics are too damn certain of themselves.

Bill Clinton is not one of those idols I adore though he is - very sadly IMO - for many here.

Best, Terry
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On July 13, 2007 - 9:56am Zionista said:

freespeak,

Have I missed any?

"Thou shalt not bear false witness." Seen a congressional testimony or White House press gaggle, lately?
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:35pm hrebendorf said:

This relatively new American cult that evilangelicals like to call "christianity" is actually a horribly twisted form of Judaism. Their entire source of information is the Old Testament, and they quote it endlessly. They practically despise the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. How many of them will spend eternity burning in Hell for eating at Red Lobster and Long John Silver's we'll never know. At least they're not homos...

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Leviticus 11:9-12
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:38pm Gary Sugar said:

Kristen Sugar?! But we're Jewish. Oy, crazy converts.
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On July 13, 2007 - 10:02am Zionista said:

You don't really know any Jewish chicks named Kristen, do you?
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:40pm DaveW said:

The first image that came to my mind on reading this was the Taliban blowing up the ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. Americans are dying to fight off people with precisely the same mindset as these American fools.

One has to wonder whether their real agenda is to deepen the worldwide contempt America has earned under Bush and thus strengthen the hand of theocrat terrorists. They are doing vastly more damage to the United States than Saddam ever managed. Reverend Flip's abysmal ignorance of American history only deepens one's suspicions regarding their true loyalties.
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:42pm terryhallinan said:

Didn't these idiots hear the Pope tell them they weren't even Christians? Are they all deaf or something?

Best, Terry
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:43pm jeffgee said:

More fundie fun:
Brownback campaigns with Terri Schiavo's brother.
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:46pm dajafi said:

Hear our prayers, O God--and save us from your dumb-assed followers.

And we all say: Amen.
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On July 12, 2007 - 3:58pm MichaelCroft said:

"To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers or that the major sects have a right to govern the minor."--Founding Father James Madison on the problem with congressional chaplains

So, either Madison wasn't a Founding Father, or Flip is an idiot. I'll bet on the latter.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:05pm lonesomerobot said:

here's what some of our more prominent founding fathers thought about christianity:

JOHN ADAMS
"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
--in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

JAMES MADISON
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
--both quotes from his 'Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments'

THOMAS JEFFERSON
"Question with boldness even the existence of a god."
--letter to Peter Carr, 1787

"You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."
--letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, 1819

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England."
--from his essay, "Toleration"

Also, a Dr. Priestley, an intimate friend of Franklin, wrote of him:
"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers"
--from Priestley's Autobiography

THOMAS PAINE
"Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity."

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my church."
--from Paine's book, "The Age of Reason"
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:28pm hrebendorf said:

Thanks a million for the nice collection of misleading, out-of-context paraphrases.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:35pm manys said:

And thanks a million to you for the ironic comment in the context of evangelicals.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:45pm lonesomerobot said:

hmmm. if i'd have wanted to give you misleading or out of context, i could have simply quoted any one of several popular bible verses.

i think in these quotes, the context is evident. sorry it doesn't square with the belief that the founding fathers HAD to be christian. unfortunately for you, that's not the way it was.

it's really rather simple: if our founding fathers had wanted america to be a christian nation, they would have written it in the constitution, nice and clear.

it isn't there for a reason, and also for the sake of reason, which most of them believed was much more important than religion.

furthermore, many of them understood that it's bad for religion to be wrapped up in the dirty business of politics - it besmirches faith, kind of like we've been seeing recently.

until the profoundly religious can realize that being separated from politics is actually a good thing, we'll continue to have these colossally embarrassing displays of self-righteousness and hypocrisy a la david vitter, mark foley, pastor haggard and so forth.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:58pm lonesomerobot said:

jefferson is my personal favorite founding father and i have read his writings and other works about him extensively, including his correspondence with john adams.

maybe you should think before you make assumptions. it doesn't reflect well upon you in the least.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:57pm pbg said:

Jefferson died twenty years before The Origin of Species was published.
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:00pm hrebendorf said:

And...? Your point being...?
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:09pm pbg said:

My point is that Thomas Jefferson never even had the argument presented to him, let alone that he had the opportunity to assess the evidence that Darwin presented.

To put him on one side of a debate that didn't even exist during his lifetime makes about as much sense as saying that Francis Bacon was opposed to General Relativity.
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On July 12, 2007 - 10:08pm fauxreal said:

actually, Charles' grandfather, Erasmus, laid out the basics of evolution long before the voyage of the Beagle. Erasmus wrote a book, Zoonomia that had a poem, The Temple of Nature, that discusses this.

He was friends with Benjamin Franklin and when Franklin was in GB, he and Darwin and other "Lunar Men" got high experimenting with nitrous oxide. These people (esp. geologist John Woodward) were already collecting fossils to prove they were the remains of animals, not a "mystery of god."

The founders were nothing like the fundies now. The founders were interested in science, no matter where it took them; they were rational and believed in the ability of humans to govern themselves...that's the whole basis for the idea of a democracy.
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:36pm hrebendorf said:

You're talking about some of the same people who wrote this, right?:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."

I wonder what possible use rational people could have for that "Creator" crap, huh?
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:31am fauxreal said:

deism. the prevailing religious belief at the time believed that a creator set the world in motion and then humans had a responsibility to use reason (rational thought) to work out how to live in this world.

Rational thought would reveal workings of nature and from those workings a deity could be inferred. they did not believe in any revealed text or supernaturalism. Jefferson and others thought the bible was full of errors.

the quote you supply from Jefferson is perfectly fitting for a deist with a view of god based upon the observation of nature but NOT from a supernatural being that acts upon peoples' lives in day to day activity.

that's how rational people could include the words "endowed by their creator" because equality and self-government were "natural" and a rhetorical response to monarchy. but of course, the founders didn't actually live up to that ideal since Jefferson, for instance, held slaves and women did not have the right to vote. Democracy is a work in progress, as Jefferson also realized with his famous quote about revolution every few years.

Thomas Paine, who was definitely not a Christian (but whom Jefferson helped to support later in life) wrote about natural theology, or a creator revealed in nature in The Age of Reason -- he opposed the Christian belief in the supernatural over reason. He explicitly stated he did not believe in any religious system (i.e. Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, etc) because, in his words, "My mind is my own church."

It is a common fallacy to fail to understand context, or the historical, philosophical ideas and issues of a certain time and to instead overlay your own belief system on historical figures.
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On July 13, 2007 - 1:09am oleeb said:

H,

You quoted from the Declaration of Independence thus:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."

Please note that Jefferson and the other members of the Continental Congress used the term Creator very purposefully and did not use the word "God". The Declaration sets out a political, NOT a religious framework for government. By following the Lockean principle of asserting that Man has certain "natural rights" that he is born with and entitled to, this instantly provides for the individual a substantial degree of freedom and independence that is simply unattainable under a typical 18th Century monarchy. That is the purpose of atributing that we are endowed by our creator as opposed to our King. The founders did NOT, however, assert that God endows us. They were deliberately nonspecific about who or what the creator is because, as I believe most of them would admit: none of us knows whether or not there is a God per se nor do any of us know who or what our creator is. We just don't know. But the founders firmly believed in the natural rights of man and of the ability of the individual to determine his own destiny. That's what that statement is about. But it is in no way an endorsement of a belief in God in the sense that God might be viewed from a Christian perspective for example or for that matter from a Jewish or Muslim perspective.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:18pm hrebendorf said:

Hey lonesomerobot: Did you give my post a 1 rating because you didn't want to hear what I had to say, or because you didn't want to hear what Jefferson had to say?
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:08pm lonesomerobot said:

well, you accuse me of ripping the quotes off an atheism site, which i have no reason to frequent, not being an atheist.

and then you go on and make the assumption that i think jefferson is simpleminded...nothing could be further from the truth.

so it was specifically what you said that earned your rating. i take no offense with (nor find no inherent contradiction in) the respective jefferson writings that we've both provided. jefferson was a proponent of knowledge and reason, and certainly advocated the rule of the laws of men over theocracy. there is a big difference between jesus and the church that purports to worship him. that is my point.

i am perfectly fine with the idea that jefferson could believe in the christian god while at the same time decrying the institution of christianity and its adverse influence on society.

your whole point here has been very weak - you only brought forth (supposedly) contrary statements from one of the several individuals i quoted, yet you've made sweeping proclamations that have been both baseless and presumptuous.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:07pm lonesomerobot said:

to paraphrase is to restate the words of another, not in their original formation.

to directly quote, which i did, is to exactly restate the words of another; in this case, the written words of thomas jefferson.

you're trying to insinuate here that i've slandered by approximating or twisting jefferson's words. i've merely repeated exactly what he said. and really, the statement "question with boldness even the existence of a god" isn't exactly begging for context.

nor is this, from the very letter you seem to be enamored with quoting:

"The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."

jefferson, being a man of reason and freedom of thought, would not have been milquetoast by fairly considering the science that charles darwin had to offer. evolution and faith don't have to be mutually exclusive, as you seem to be positing here. i believe jefferson may have said that was merely part of the design, and a brilliant part, at that.

for, as you said yourself, jefferson was not simpleminded.
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:54pm lonesomerobot said:

i suspect that you are completely missing the point.

i'm not arguing against god, jesus or the concept of a creator. i'm arguing against the institution of christianity and the concept that america is a christian nation. i didn't just 'accidentally' put those words in bold -- go back and re-read them, as they are the crux of the argument. sorry you don't seem to be able to tell the difference.

now you are approaching troll level, if you refuse to comprehend something that by now should be abundantly clear.

you have a bad tendency of projecting a sense of superiority in your posts. people might respond to you better if you didn't write as if you thought you were the smartest person on the thread. you don't have secret powers of comprehension that the rest of us could only wish to possess, so quit acting like it.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:49pm cscs said:

Sigh...

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On July 12, 2007 - 7:47pm cscs said:

Yo, peeps.

The standard for a troll rating is a bit higher around here. Sorry, but this doesn't cut it. Rated up.



"Thank God George Bush is our president." -Rudy Giuliani
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:08pm lonesomerobot said:

i agree. i don't think hrebendorf deserves a troll rating.

i don't agree with his arguments, but at least they're arguments (for the most part) and not just troll junk.
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:33pm cscs said:

Thank you. That's exactly right. Just because you don't like what someone has to say doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to say it.

Ironic, of course, they we're debating free speech, and people are going through and censoring comments.

Gotta love bloggers. :-)
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On July 13, 2007 - 9:02am cscs said:

I understand the "bring it on" sentiment, but the problem is it only perpetuates the idea that you can downrate people because you don't like what they say.

Troll-rating someone is an act of censorship, and should be used sparingly, and only in the worst of offenses.

Many of us old-timers here on this blog have worked hard to try and make this site a place with good quality comments, one where everyone gets a say. It's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good.

This kind of petty troll-rating to which you were subjected has no place here.



"Thank God George Bush is our president." -Rudy Giuliani
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On July 12, 2007 - 10:43pm The Facilitatrix said:

This one is hard to call "out of context." I think it stands on its own:

"One day the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in the United States will tear down the artificial scaffolding of Christianity. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

--Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

Oh, I guess if you think that Jefferson thought that reason and freedom of thought were bad things, then this might not be a good thing to Jefferson. But everything else he wrote tells me he thought this was something good to look forward to.

Words here that support this are "artificial," "mystical," and "fable." Hope this passes muster.
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:56pm hrebendorf said:

You're getting these crappy, inaccurate quotes from Internet sites, aren't you? That one is so far from what Jefferson actually said as to be laughable. Seriously--you should read a book.
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On July 13, 2007 - 1:15pm lonesomerobot said:

that is paraphrasing, but it's hardly 'so far from what jefferson actually said as to be laughable'.

compare it to the actual quote...

"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."

wherein the "artificial scaffolding" is the decorum of christian dogma. it's incorrect to present it as an actual quote, but it's not like the meaning changes.

quit acting like a hyper-superior thread boss.
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On July 13, 2007 - 8:59am cscs said:

You should provide a link when you quote. Or, if not from an online source, then provide a citation.

There's a credibility factor here, and it just cuts down on people accusing you of getting quotes from crappy Internet sites.

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On July 12, 2007 - 4:09pm oleeb said:

How disgusting and horrifying!

I hope the idiots who did this are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and locked up for a very long time.

These people are such morons they don't even have decent manners. I wish they would not be referred to as Christians at all as they are just political fanatics and as such, they should be labeled that way instead of labeling them as though just because one calls him/herself a Christian that it makes it so. On second thought, perhaps instead of sending them to jail, they should be sent to Peshawar for a year and forced to wear T-shirts that say in the local language: "Jesus and Jesus alone is the one true Lord and all should bow to his name!" They might then receive the punishment they deserve.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:19pm hrebendorf said:

"I hope the idiots who did this are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and locked up for a very long time."

You're pretty sure about that? Because last I heard, freedom of speech and religion were still protected under the Bill of Rights. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, though. Try pleading temporary Republicanism. It might hold up in court...
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:31pm Gee said:

last I heard, freedom of speech and religion were still protected under the Bill of Rights.

Why, yes. Yes, they are.

Disrupting the proceedings of the United States Senate chamber, however, is not. I'm fairly certain that it is in fact a crime. Which would explain why they were arrested.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:41pm hrebendorf said:

"Disrupting the proceedings of the United States Senate chamber, however, is not. I'm fairly certain that it is in fact a crime."

So you're advocating muzzling these troublemakers. Yeah, makes a helluva lotta sense. Can't have this kind of mayhem going on when our politicians are trying to get their work done. This is, after all, the United States of America. To quote Ari Fleischer: "People need to watch what they say..."
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:50pm mopper8 said:

You do realize that you can be arrested for what you say and how you say it, right? That free speech does not mean there are no consequences to voicing your opinion? Right?

Like, you can't walk into a grocery store and scream "FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK" at the top of your lungs and expect no legal consequences, claiming your free speech rights. You're on private property and your speech isn't nearly as protected there. Disturbing the peace, trespassing, etc...all reasonable.

Same with this. They can't be arrested simply on the basis of what they said. Someone wants to write an op-ed echoing and expanding on their argument? By all means, nobody will censor you. The content of their speech is protect.

Its the whole, you know, public disruption/disorderly conduct aspect of their protest that's the problem.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:07pm hrebendorf said:

"Like, you can't walk into a grocery store and scream "FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK" at the top of your lungs and expect no legal consequences, claiming your free speech rights."

I'm pretty sure you can. And as long as there are people in this country who are willing to stand up and defend the right of these idiot hillbillies from North Carolina to express their views in public (and in Congress, if necessary), we'll continue to have that right.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:18pm zk0sm0 said:

disorderly conduct??
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:30pm zk0sm0 said:

the right to express one's views in public is not an absolute right. there are limits to the how, when, and where and anyone who commits an act of civil disobedience violating these limits can most certainly face criminal charges.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:44pm hrebendorf said:

Yeah--you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater. You CAN flip off a cop, though. And unless the fascists finally get their way, you CAN yell shit in Congress even if some closed-minded, self-appointed censor doesn't like what you have to say.

Sweet deal, huh?
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:00pm pbg said:

But according to the current Supreme Court, you can't put up a banner that says BONG HITS 4 JESUS in a public place.
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:47pm hrebendorf said:

Not true. Let me make a suggestion: Next time you're at a parade, please bring along a sign that says "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" and hold it up all day long. Unless you're a high school student and your principal is there, I suspect the worst you'll get is a punch in the nose from some winger. But the Supreme Court will be on your side.

The Supreme Court's decision was pure B.S., but it applies to high school students, and unless you are one, you really don't need to worry.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:48pm chaunceyatrest said:

"I'm pretty sure you can."

Yeah, but you'll probably be asked to leave. And if you refuse to leave when you're asked, you'll probably be arrested -- which sounds like what happened here.

This episode speaks to one of the problems we've got with the country right now. We've got a president who likes doing things because he can, not because he should. He's got a bunch of supporters running around the country, sticking their fat faces in the middle of congressional proceedings simply because they can, not because they should.

We're run by a group of eejits who think theirs is the only way to pray, the only way to think, the only way to act.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:56pm hrebendorf said:

"He's got a bunch of supporters running around the country, sticking their fat faces in the middle of congressional proceedings simply because they can, not because they should."

May I suggest you do a Google search using the terms "protesters disrupt" (no quotes necessary) before you get too upset about people sticking their fat faces into things? Censorship is an awfully slippery slope...
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:10pm chaunceyatrest said:

And I suggest you show me where I argued anywhere for censorship. I do, though, suggest that people engage themselves in a little self-censorship & spare the rest of us their moralizing. You might do that yourself. It would spare you the embarrassment of attributing statements to people who haven't made them.
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:26pm hrebendorf said:

"You might do that yourself."

We all might, amigo. We all might.
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:28pm cscs said:

boogledy -- please learn the appropriate use of ratings. This ain't it.
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On July 12, 2007 - 10:11pm mopper8 said:

I'm pretty sure you can.

And you'd be wrong.

Disorderly Conduct

Almost every state has a disorderly conduct law that makes it a crime to be drunk in public, to "disturb the peace", or to loiter in certain areas. Many types of obnoxious or unruly conduct may fit the definition of disorderly conduct, as such statutes are often used as "catch-all" crimes. Police may use a disorderly conduct charge to keep the peace when a person is behaving in a disruptive manner, but presents no serious public danger.

You should educate yourself on the law before spouting off about it.

Findlaw
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:23pm fauxreal said:

The point is that THEY were trying to disrupt HIS freedom of speech AND religion. They would scream bloody murder if a Hindu believer did the same.

that's the issue in this instance.

You and they can believe whatever you want, but your freedom of speech about these things stops where my freedom of/from religion begins.

Is this really so hard to understand? Do unto others? The good samaritan? don't be the pharisees who pray in the temple...
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On July 13, 2007 - 2:09pm cwr said:

I was wondering when someone would get this point: The protest was directed against the public presentation of religious beliefs contrary to the protestors' own religious beliefs. It was an attack on another religion.

Free speech, disturbance of the peace, importance of place or event--we can argue these matters til the cows come home. What matters is that these scumbags (deliberate word choice reflecting my personal bias toward such persons) were attacking someone else's religious beliefs in public in a highly derogatory and inflammatory manner.

How dare they?

While I personally don't care for the presence of chaplains of any religion in the legislative chambers of any level of our government nor do I subscribe to the belief system of any organized religion, I do have a strong belief in our inherent right to hold religious beliefs and even to express them in public (sparingly would be my preference on the latter). What seriously upsets me (read: pisses me off) is seeing believers of one religious group attack the beliefs of another. In the context of this protest, the "prayer" offered by these protestors was nothing less than hate speech and verbal violence directed toward the day's chaplain.

What comes after the hate speech is pogroms and jihads and crusades and other religious violence. Personally, I've had enough of that crap.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:46pm DaveW said:

I'm afraid you heard wrong. Freedom of speech and religion are still protected for the American Taliban and other Bushites. Those who take a different view are not so favored, according to our Supreme Theocratic Court in the case of the kid who advertised bong hits for Jesus on a poster.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:59pm hrebendorf said:

The "bong hits for Jesus" kid got screwed by the court--no doubt about it. But claiming that only the wingers have free speech rights is a bit shrill, don't you think?
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:53pm MrLark said:

True. More appropriate would be to say that wingers wish only wingers to have free speech rights. And since wingers now currently control the primary mechanism by which non-winger free speech rights would be protected (aka, the Supreme Court), they are chipping away at the right in hopes of one day seeing their wish become true.
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:08am hrebendorf said:

I suspect a lot of self-proclaimed "liberals" would wish the same for themselves. I'm reading some incredibly intolerant statements here that seem to suggest that the people who so rudely interrupted our Hindu friend today should be punished for doing so. I'd expect that sort of nonsense on a right-wing site, but it gives me the heaves to read it here.
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On July 13, 2007 - 1:32pm MrLark said:

Your "heaves" are at best misguided, but more likely I suspect just disingenuous. The people who interrupted the Hindu prayer were not seeking to exercise their right of free speech, they were seeking to prevent another from speaking in a place and a forum where he was specifically authorized and invited to speak. The interrupters have every right to voice their disapproval of the prayer in some other appropriate forum, but have no legal right to disrupt Senate proceedings, for which they can be duly punished. Ignoring this distinction requires either willful ideological blinders, or a serious misunderstanding and application of the concept of free speech rights.

People of all political stripes can often be hypocritical about the 1st amendment. But being critical of the disruptive behavior in this incidence is not of that character. It's an illustrative occurrence, one that brings many of the problems with the current evangelical/christianist right into sharp relief.
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On July 13, 2007 - 1:20am oleeb said:

Yes, H, I'm damn sure about it.

I have no respect at all for these creeps who disrupt the United States Senate. They weren't excercising their freedom of religion. What recognized religion has as a part of it's creed the disruption of the US Senate? I'll tell you: none. Period. And even if there were one that actually "believed" this they should still pay a heavy price for their idiotic, boorish and contemptible behavior. Lock em up!
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:17pm hrebendorf said:

The hillbillies were right about God, of course. There is only one true God. According to Hindu beliefs, the names for that God are as endless as its manifestations. According to the hillbillies from North Carolina, God is an old man with a white beard, sitting on a cloud on a golden throne in a magical place called "Heaven". His given name is "God", but you can call him YHWH.

According to the Bible, the hillbillies are totally full of shit, but I doubt they've bothered to actually read the book.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:47pm jhc said:

As a fairly serious student of Buddhism (the Buddha was from India just like the Hindu priest, and Buddhism has its origins in Brahmanism) I am at least as appalled as you are. However, I object to your use of the derogatory term "hillbillies." You would never use derogatory terms for other races or ethnic groups. Your point would be more solid if you would stay on topic. It is quite sufficient to speak in favor of religious freedom and against intolerance.

As a matter of fact, I have heard Masonic funeral services read for people you would probably call "hillbillies." The Masonic funeral service is as Deistic as anything the Founding Fathers ever said.
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:10pm amike said:

I used the term "homos" somewhere else in the discussion, so I'm pretty sure I would.

Yup, you did, and that tells me a lot more about you than it does about them.

aMike
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On July 12, 2007 - 10:39pm terryhallinan said:

I used the term "homos" somewhere else in the discussion, so I'm pretty sure I would."

Yup, you did, and that tells me a lot more about you than it does about them.

We hillbilly, trailer court trash get real upset when such language is used. Awful being blonde too.

Derogatory language says nothing whatever about the object of derision but I wonder how many here have ever considered the venom behind the casual mockery of "rednecks?"

It sometimes get dizzying for us old folks trying to keep up with who's in and who's not.

I had an extended commucation with a Gypsy - er, Roma that was most educational and somewhat disturbing. He insisted the only correct spelling was Rroma, complained about always being accused first of stealing anything that was missing. I frankly was mystified at how to respond. For certain I can tell you that I would keep a wary on a - ummm - Rroma entering a shop or booth that I once had. Theft was an omnipresent problem. Sometimes there are no good answers. :-(

BTW I am very glad "homo" is now considered very bad form. Be a wonderful day when it loses its sting altogether.

Best, Terry
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On July 13, 2007 - 4:02pm jhc said:

"all words are provisional and without a basis in any reality whatsoever"

That is Humpty Dumpty's position, not Buddhism as I understand it.

If I were an enlightened person, I would think that would include the ability to cut through the clouds of words to see things as they are.

The Buddha said, "Hatred has never been known to have dispelled hatred."

I can understand why the perpetrators in this case inspire anger, but I do not understand why they insire so much anger (that is, why do they inspire so much attachment to anger). As far as I know, the perps represent hardly anybody but themselves.

This makes me suspect that what we are seeing is a lot of unacknowledged karma.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:57pm boogledy said:

As an actual student of Buddhism, having read your discussion about Jefferson and creationism above and this discussion about hillbillies and Buddhism here, I have become convinced you are an enormous troll posting these comments only for your own amusement, and I am going to rate you 0 out of the hope that you will be dissuaded from this stupidity and do something more productive.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:19pm Northern Observer said:

Very embarassing for America. These kinds of things make it impossible for the United States to be the world leader or first among equals. The USA is too particular for that, and nothing emphasises this like the American practice of Christianity.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:56pm amike said:

Very Embarrassing for America, yes.

American practice of Christianity, no. Many millions of us didn't do this, nor would we, not in a million years.

aMike
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:25pm gcs said:

I am so goddamned furious I cannot even see straight!!

TELL WHERE IT IS WRITTEN THAT WE HAVE TO BE SUBJECT TO THE WHIMS AND DEMANDS OF A BUNCH OF DELUSIONAL CHILDREN.

SINCE THEY CLEARLY DO NOT RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION, ONE CNA ONLY CONCLUDE THAT THEY ARE THEOCRATIC TERRORISTS WHO INTEND TO BRING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES - AND CHRISTIAN TERRORISTS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN MUSLIM TERRORISTS.

IT'S BECOMING MORE AND MORE CLEAR THAT CIVIL WAR MAY BE NECESSARY TO TEACH THESE PEOPLE THE RULE OF LAW, AND NOT THE INANE RAMBLINGS OF THEIR IMAGINARY "GOD."

CHRIST, BUT I HATE THESE PEOPLE!!
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:48pm hrebendorf said:

You should calm down. It's maddening, but the fact is, George W. Bush and his crew of D-squad clowns have emboldened these morons. When he's gone, they'll slither back to their trailer parks, hopefully never to be heard from again. They're just excited because George Bush has given them hope: "If thet guy kin be come prezdint, then it jes prooves innybuddy kin be come prezdint."
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:28pm Legalize said:

These doucheclowns shouldn't be arrested, tried, or convicted of anything. They should be simply held out as GOP activists - the ones with the keys to the Primary - and then mocked.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:37pm AJ MA said:

Theology Moved to the Senate and was Arrested

Theology has moved from the church house onto the floor of the United States Senate, and has been arrested.

Does that even make sense? Is Theology the name of a Christian Hip-Hop artist I am unaware of? Perhaps, Ante, Kathy and Kristen are his dancers.
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On July 12, 2007 - 4:38pm bassicdave said:

Perhaps Jesus was late to the party - he didn't come along until at least 2000 years after Hinduism... He can declare he's in charge, and people are free to believe whatever they want, but please don't jam your sh*t down our throats.
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:50am SeeDee said:

SeeDee

For that matter, the Democracy that WE all Cherish, (well, most of us, anyway) even defend with our lives, did not get to the party 'til 1700 years after Jesus arrived...what does that timeline have to do with any of this?
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:00pm Blue in IA said:

Standing on the Gospels? I thought there was a Constitutional Amendment in the works to ban such sacrilege. "Thou shalt not stand, sit, jog or assume any Hatha yoga positions atop the Holy Word."
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:04pm MichaelCroft said:

I'm partially with Legalize, but don't give these guys too much credit. It should be noted that Brother Benham's previous endeavor was called "Operation Rescue" and represented the minority position that Abortion was best ended by illegal means.

So they can do big, attention-getting stunts, but they're not really representing the mainstream.

It's my hope that we don't overreact to this. Disrupting Congress is bad and it's a crime, but if it was an anti-war protestor, or an anti-corruption protestor, I'd want a balance between throwing the book and just getting them out of the way.

Being a jackass in Congress is a political statement.
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On July 13, 2007 - 10:35am Zionista said:

MichaelCroft,

It's my hope that we don't overreact to this. Disrupting Congress is bad and it's a crime, but if it was an anti-war protestor, or an anti-corruption protestor, I'd want a balance between throwing the book and just getting them out of the way.

I submit that what is needed is less balance than perspective. This isn't really a case of "speaking truth to power," as an anti-war or anti-corruption protester would be doing. This is more a case of giving grief to Rajan Zed.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:06pm mmanion said:

Extremists that close to the Senate? Isn't that a national security threat? Hope the Patriot Act Patrol was around to extraordinarily render these folks somewhere--a nice synagogue would be ironic justice.

Apparently Jesus commands his followers to have appallingly bad manners. Who knew?
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:26pm rmurf62 said:

To paraphrase Gandhi, I have noticed that most Christians don't behave in a very Christ-like manner.

[beats head against desk, pours another shot]
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:40pm hellonwheelstoo said:

Never have I been prouder to be a Unitarian-Universalist (as was Thomas Jefferson - and my spirituality is in my head too), and more shamefaced over the actions of a few fellow Americans.

Just think: if we respected each others' beliefs, we might be less disposed to kill each other.
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:51pm audiophileguy said:

Reminds me of some of my favorite recent bumper stickers:

Dear God: Please protect me from your followers.

God bless everyone---no exceptions
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:21am hrebendorf said:

Totally O.T., but I had to mention it. I just saw the best bumper sticker I've ever seen in my life the other day. It was on the back of a black guy's car. It said: "Oops! I'm a negro. Sorry."

THAT'S a guy who gets it...
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On July 12, 2007 - 5:59pm libra said:

And the whole thing wouldn't have happened at all, if only we had proper separation between state and church. NO prayer in the Senate; not by Christians, not by Hindus, not by Muslims, not by Wiccans, not by Spaghetti Monster's accolytes.

You need something proper read to open the proceedings with? I'd suggest the Constitution.
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:23pm hrebendorf said:

Damn straight.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:40pm hellonwheelstoo said:

Dear Libra,

In a perfect world, I agree. In THIS world, we've been killing each other for a long time (pick up a history book or three) using religion as an excuse. We need to deal with the here and now and seek to understand each other.

By the way, Unitarianism contains atheists, agnostics, etc., etc. I'm just saying that it's time to respect each others' beliefs or nonbeliefs. In the current world we're in. Might help, might not.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:49pm hrebendorf said:

Is this some new form of Unitarianism? Because the Unitarianism I'm familiar with is a branch of the Christian faith and they definitely believe in God. The only difference is that they don't believe in the Trinity. I can't imagine an atheist being at all attracted to Unitarianism--it's a God-based religion, which would seem to go completely counter to the beliefs (non-beliefs?) of atheists.
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:41pm hellonwheelstoo said:

Pick up a book. Go on a website. UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST.
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:22pm hrebendorf said:

Ahh... yes. Different religion completely. You forgot the Universalist part. Sort of majorly important.
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:16pm terryhallinan said:

the Unitarianism I'm familiar with is a branch of the Christian faith and they definitely believe in God.

Surprising comment to me.

The few Unitarians I met were atheists or maybe more precisely "don't cares."

One fellow described the atheists sitting on one side of the church and the Christians on the other side.

BTW I gave your post a 5 just to balance out all the troll ratings elsewhere. Besides I want to keep my championship unchallenged in troll ratings. :-)

Appreciate your comments though I seldom agree.

Best, Terry
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:18pm hrebendorf said:

"BTW I gave your post a 5 just to balance out all the troll ratings elsewhere. Besides I want to keep my championship unchallenged in troll ratings. :-)"

Thanks. You're a bud. I owe you one. *:o)

My Mom's a Unitarian minister. I asked her if I was wrong about the religion. She said, "You should probably look it up on Wikipedia. I can't tell anymore. I think Unitarianism has become a catch-all religion for people who can't make it as Methodists." She was joking, of course. Sort of.
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:45am libra said:

But... But... You mean my husband *lied* to me, when he said that US was *different* than my Old Europe??? Well, I never...
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On July 12, 2007 - 6:38pm cevrero said:

Keep your Jesus in your pants for Christ's sake!
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:08pm hellonwheelstoo said:

I am not a follower of Jesus, and I don't have one of those things in my pants that you guys are so obviously proud of, thank Goddess.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:11pm rumrunner said:

There is a Christian lunatic fringe in this country that seems to be growing exponentially. Are there any sensible and reasonable Christian leaders out there willing to speak out against these crackpots and their appalling intolerance and hatred?
The ignorance of Christian fundamentalists about the principles this country was founded on is appalling and sickening.
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:22pm hellonwheelstoo said:

"Are there any sensible and reasonable Christian leaders out there willing to speak out against these crackpots and their appalling intolerance and hatred?"

Yes. My UU Church, and our sister UU church, have been joining gay rights marches and Martin Luther King parades for years. Recently, our two UU churches fought an amendment to our state constitution to outlaw gay marriage, and we were joined by many progressive churches. Also recently, one of our own children, a boy, (didn't have to be our own) was harrassed for holding hands with another boy. We demonstrated downtown, and were joined by other progressive churches.

I am not Christian, but I have a new respect for progressive Christians, and those of other faiths. We stand up in spite of opposition.
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On July 13, 2007 - 10:49am rumrunner said:

I admire your efforts, but they don't represent a specific response to the hate and the idiocy that's being perpetrated by the Christian far right.
I haven't seen a single nationally significant Christian leader (ordained or otherwise) speak out against the actions and words of people like those who disrupted the Senate prayer by the Hindu gentleman. Or the political rantings of the likes of Robertson, Falwell and Dobson.
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:51pm amike said:

There is a Christian lunatic fringe in this country that seems to be growing exponentially.

Probably not. The best source for reliable polling information on religion in this country is the Pew Forum on Religion and American Life. All is not rosy, but all is not dire, either. When one feels like freaking out because of an event like Kleefeld brings to our attention a look at one of the surveys should be a little reassuring.

I remember a little plaque some people use to nail on their house in the era of the bicentennial: On this site 200 years ago nothing happened. My point is that very few newspapers would be sold with under the banner headline "nothing of importance happened...details inside".

aMike
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On July 13, 2007 - 11:08am rumrunner said:

I think your point is valid to a degree, but the surveys you cite measure voters' reactions to elections and political parties. They don't estimate the level of belief among many far-right Christians that anyone who doesn't share their faith is to be censored or worse. Nor do the surveys indicate the very strong, and ridiculous, sentiment in the country that the United States was founded as a Christian country and continues to be so.
The Pew Trust pollsters' comment regarding the 2006 elections is as follows:
"Exit polls find that the Democrats' gains were concentrated among non-Christians and secular voters, indicating an even larger political divide between highly religious voters and the rest of American society."
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:34pm hrebendorf said:

"Are there any sensible and reasonable Christian leaders out there willing to speak out against these crackpots and their appalling intolerance and hatred?"

No. To judge another is antithetical to the teachings of Christ. To speak out against them would be to become one of them.
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On July 13, 2007 - 11:21am rumrunner said:

"To judge another is antithetical to the teachings of Christ. To speak out against them would be to become one of them."

I appreciate your comment, but I only wish it was true.
I had 12 years of Catholic schooling. I don't recall ever reading or hearing that Christ forbade his followers to speak out against those who blatantly misrepresent his teachings, or those whose actions are patently contrary to those teachings.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:43pm MollyNYC said:

Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested . . .

. . . and Benham wasn't.

So he found these gullible people and talked them into getting arrested for this stupid, mean grand-standing gesture, for which they may pay dearly in terms of legal fees and penalties, etc. But he wasn't quite willing to expose himself to such things.

Scumbag.
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On July 12, 2007 - 7:48pm starwheel said:

"For God so loved the world", my ass.
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:25pm cscs said:

The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ. This would never have been allowed by our Founding Fathers.

I always felt any religiosity within the Founders was at least tempered by the fact that they owned slaves. Maybe that's just me, though.

Anyway.....

For those so inclined, here's an excellent exhibit from the Library of Congress on "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic."

To lump the "Founding Fathers" into one monolithic thought or statement ("they never would have allowed this") is an extreme oversimplification of how they seemed to wrestle with the issue of religion:

Aside from Article VI, which stated that "no religious Test shall ever be required as Qualification" for federal office holders, the Constitution said little about religion. Its reserve troubled two groups of Americans--those who wanted the new instrument of government to give faith a larger role and those who feared that it would do so. This latter group, worried that the Constitution did not prohibit the kind of state-supported religion that had flourished in some colonies, exerted pressure on the members of the First Federal Congress. In September 1789 the Congress adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, which, when ratified by the required number of states in December 1791, forbade Congress to make any law "respecting an establishment of religion."

Bold, courtesy of me.

"Thank God George Bush is our president." -Rudy Giuliani
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On July 12, 2007 - 8:41pm destor23 said:

I would like to hear Rajan Zed's comments about this. I don't share his faith but there was a man who was already a bit nervous about addressing the Senate who found himself heckled and he pulled through and did very well.

I'm all for heckling public speakers, whether they're religious or not. But only if the speaker provokes the audience. Rajan Zed approached the podium with humility and was slapped in the face for it.

He did a great job. But I want to know his thoughts now. I have no doubt they're more charitable than mine.

thosethingswesay.blogspot.com
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:16pm tomkdalglish said:

THE PROVIDENCE STATEMENT

Written and Adopted by the Adult Religious Education Study Group on “The Future of Liberal Religion,” (March 8, 2006), and Endorsed by the Social Action Council (April 30, 2006)
of
First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island

As liberal people of faith we are gravely concerned about religious extremism in our country and elsewhere in the world. We seek a community of love, acceptance, and mutuality that fosters our freedom to examine our faith and the beliefs on which our individual and common lives are founded. With our goals endangered, we make this Statement as an urgent call to action, inviting others to join us.

We see in current trends a dangerous drift towards authoritarianism. Religious extremism divides and polarizes our communities when some claim, by divine favor, to be superior to others. This arrogance fosters suppression, breeds conflict, and spawns violence. Zealotry by any faith compels us to be vigilant, to stand ready to defend the right to our beliefs. Such uneasiness disrupts the peace. We want to live in beloved community, free and in harmony with others of all faiths.

We believe that this Statement, with its call to action, is an extension of our faith and, in today’s climate, a necessary accompaniment to it. By speaking out or bearing witness, by letters, publications, and intellectual discourse, by appearing in public forums, by non-violent action, and by a host of other means, we must create and protect the community we seek, and resist the extremism that so threatens it.

We embrace the principle of freedom of religious faith and believe there is wisdom in the injunction against official establishment of religion. Our national and local culture today is shared by people of widely diverse beliefs who reflect and belong to many ethnic, racial, linguistic, and national communities. We have come a long way since our country was founded. We are now a people and a country of many faiths. All of us have a right to beliefs and values we hold dear, that we seek to practice in our daily lives, and that we try to foster in our children. We love our country, and value its diversity. We affirm the tolerance and the democratic principles it fosters and depends upon.

We reject any form of coercion in the name of religion, and the nascent violence it reflects, just as we more generally reject the use of force as a means for change. We oppose the use of religion to promote conquest, whether on our playing fields or in war, or to create a moral basis for harming others and for killing. We do not accept the use of religion to mandate change in the private, harmless, personal behavior of others. We reject the use of economic power, or of government and our legal institutions, to impose particular religious beliefs, practices, or orthodoxy on others.

We are troubled by a decline in respect for our nation’s wonderful diversity. We abhor any denigration of others’ faith. We deplore religious expression that seeks occupancy where others work or go to school, demanding adherence from those with different beliefs, warning of constraints or harm or isolation. We resist actions in the name of religion that invade our private realms, breathe threats into our lives, or discriminate against and worry us with condemnations.

Examples abound that compel us to make The Providence Statement. Religious zealotry by some weighs oppressively on the private lives of others, unjustly interfering in marriage and loving commitments, and with women’s reproductive rights. Our courthouses, parks, town halls and public squares, and other civic venues, have become battlegrounds where some demand that others stop and listen, behold their icons and commandments, or pledge allegiance to their particular articles of faith. Religious zealotry imperils public health when doctrine and belief seek to overwhelm medicine, science and common sense by, for example, opposing vaccinations for cervical cancer, the treatment and prevention of AIDS, stem cell research, and sex education. Public classrooms and public education are targeted as opportunities for the indoctrination of students in particular faiths. Knowledge gained from scientific research and the lessons of history are ignored or perverted. Even our system of justice risks being compromised when religion, and a judge’s willingness to use it in decision-making, becomes a basis for judicial appointment.

Providence, Rhode Island, for which this Statement is named, and which was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams with the generous cooperation of the indigenous Narragansett people, was created as a community where freedom of mind and conscience could flourish. It was a haven for dissenters of faith who had been hounded from religiously repressive communities.

But times are different now. Four hundred years later there is no haven or redoubt, to which religious liberals or dissenters can flee. We must now reach out and work with others to resist extremism. Let us act with courage rather than seek refuge. We call upon those who agree with and endorse these sentiments, to join with us and others to take such actions, individually or collectively, as may help bring our communities back in harmony with others of all faiths.

In this common endeavor we will be guided by the following objectives:
1. To promote tolerance, as logically necessary for living in a diverse world;
2. To seek justice, promoting equality and practicing fairness in our processes;
3. To build community and to practice the respect and sharing it requires;
4. To act with courage and integrity;
5. To practice caring and compassion, as ways that love is expressed;
6. To make commitments, to ourselves and others and our principles.

-end-
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:20pm Ben Franklin said:

Whenever this sort of thing happens I can't help but feel a slight amount of gladness that yet another entire group of people will be turned off by these sick conservatives.

In a twisted way, I almost want to cheer them on as they work to offend every non-white-christian-male in the country so much that they vote for democrats for several generations to come.
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:24pm BPinMD said:

It seems to me that questions raised by this morning's outbursts in the Senate have nothing to do with this or that belief or how the founders viewed their own spirituality. Today was about intolerance. And at the risk of sounding naive, there's a very simple, practical way to reconcile one's temptation to engage in intolerance: ask yourself how you would feel if the tables were turned. This shouldn't be a radical notion to today's self-proclaimed Christians; it's expressed in Matthew 7:12, and more commonly known as the Golden Rule. We teach it to little kids, because without it, people end up hanging from tree limbs, at the wrong end of firehoses, in the mouths of lions and and burning at stakes.
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:37pm lamanu said:

At the risk of sounding somewhat callous - why is there a daily morning prayer in the Senate anyways? Does anyone know when it was started and why? (my money's on the 50s, like the pledge of allegiance). I fail to see how a priest - or a Rabbi, or an Imam for that matter - help with legislative work.
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On July 12, 2007 - 9:56pm agathena said:

All this fuss over an imaginary friend.
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On July 12, 2007 - 10:20pm mopper8 said:

I wonder if the men who've spent their lives fanning the flames of religious hate and zealotry in this country sleep well at night. I hope not.
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:07pm The Facilitatrix said:

I fear that they do, just as Bush, Cheney, Charles Taylor, Kim Jong Il, and Osama bin Laden probably do.

What keeps someone from sleeping is uncertainty--everything from "Did I lock the door?" to "Will my child live through another day in Iraq?"

What lets someone sleep without a moment's unease is absolute certainty. Each of those people I mentioned above has one thing in common: Each of them is absolutely certain that they are right and that anyone who doesn't agree with them is wrong. In its own way, that's a mental illness.

Too much uncertainty can assuredly be paralyzing, but absolute certainty can be psychotic. All in all, I'd rather lose some sleep and keep the likelihood that I still have something to learn from others' opinions and beliefs than become so sure of what I know and believe that I reject any other possibility.

The need to be right must be crippling, but once it has settled into certainty, all problems become everyone else's.
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On July 12, 2007 - 10:21pm SeeDee said:

SeeDee
The demented band of extremists had no business staging their 'protest' in the Senate chamber...

But, I wonder how (why) Sen Casey chose the Hindu invocationist? Did some Hindu organization kick in some money to his last campaign fund?

Frankly, I'm with the commenter who suggested reading the Constitution (or excerpts therefrom) to begin Congress' day's work...but, having SOME 'prayer' to start the day is hardly a BIG issue with sane people.
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On July 13, 2007 - 1:18am MichaelCroft said:

Why should the government, on our dime, spend any time at all in official prayer? Calling anyone who doesn't want to pay for religious services to our public servants not sane isn't really helpful.

Calling people who aren't near enough the mainstream to suit you insane doesn't really help. I think Flip Benham is a sleazy, morally bankrupt publicity hound, but I don't think he's insane. Not in any actionable way, in any case.

If members of Congress want to pray, let 'em do it on their own time. If they're Christians, I'm sure they have closets in their offices that they can pray in.
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On July 13, 2007 - 10:40am SeeDee said:

SeeDee
Where did you see that I advocated that "the government" should spend any time in official prayer???
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On July 13, 2007 - 8:25am amike said:

Just a quick correction. Senator Casey did not choose the person to give the invocation. The Presiding Officer of the Senate has perhaps the most boring job in the world, which is why a very junior senator usually does it. He sits there, trying to look interested, while a handful of Senators (literally) sit in the Senate and the rest attend committee meetings, meet constituents, or take a snooze.

The Vice President is Constitutionally the presiding officer, but most of the time he never shows. No Senator chose the person who gave the invocation. That duty lies within the purview of the Office of the Chaplain, elected by the Senate by Majority Vote. The position is non-political and normally the vote is unanimous. The current Chaplain is a member of the Assemblies of God denomination.

The Senate elected the first Chaplain in 1789. The office itself has always been held by a Christian. A list can be found on Wikipedia.

In recent times the Senate Chaplain has chosen representatives of many faiths to offer the invocation...including Judaism and Islam. (Religious Tolerance is a cool website. Check it out). I'm sure a list of those offering the invocation exists someplace...I just haven't located it yet. I do remember reading that a Native American sang it once, accompanying himself on drum.

The comment implying that this ceremony is bought and sold is out of line, and really indicates a lack of knowledge about how this particular arcane and ancient tradition actually works.

aMike
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On July 13, 2007 - 10:51am SeeDee said:

SeeDee

Thank you, thank you, aMike for your tutorial...

Sorry you missed the REAL implication in my comment RE the money bit....which is that almost EVERY act affecting our National legislators' (and many other Government officials') decisions and conduct seems to be related to lobbyists' or pressure-groups' 'contributions'.

BTW, I was aware of most of the info you supplied.
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:22pm fishbrake said:

Why didn't you include the whole prayer? What was there sounded like pretty good theology for a change.
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On July 12, 2007 - 11:23pm thac0 said:

Pity these folks are taking over the military, eh?
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On July 13, 2007 - 12:11am hrebendorf said:

I've gotta quit arguing about this crap now, but I'd like to leave you all with a song:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39182

Good night, citizens. It's been a total honor being hated and downrated by you guys.
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On July 13, 2007 - 2:00am mcrose68 said:


Maybe we should send them to Gitmo.
Wait, maybe that would embolden them by angering them and making them feel like martyrs.
Maybe having a few martyrs held in indefinite unlawful dentention would provide a rallying cry for their breatheren.

Hrmmmm.....

Maybe Gitmo wasn't such a great idea.
Oh well, as long as it isn't my children dying.
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On July 13, 2007 - 10:13am seth edenbaum said:

Marc Lynch:
"No time to go into as much detail as I'd like, but I wanted to draw attention to two fascinating exchanges recently about Islamism and secularism in the Arab public sphere.
First, the most popular political program in the Arab world, Faisal al-Qassem's The Opposite Direction just presented an explosive debate on this topic: who poses the greater threat to democracy - Islamists or secularists? As always, he frames the debate by posing a series of tough questions from each direction: With secularists backing autocratic leaders across the Arab world, from Mubarak and Abdullah to Mahmoud Abbas, how democratic are these liberals really? vs. don't Islamists just speak sweet democracy talk in order to fool people into giving them power? What made the program really interesting was his choice of guests: Hani al-Siba'i and Sayid Qemni."
----

FireDogLake
"I'm not surprised that Michael Gerson, who reportedly coined Bush’s Axis of Evil framing, would conclude that atheists are inherently incapable of answering the more interesting moral questions merely because they lack an objective basis for discerning good from evil, whereas those who believe in a God have the advantage of knowing that God handed them the only objectively correct answers."
---
The Guardian
"Protestant churches yesterday reacted with dismay to a new declaration approved by Pope Benedict XVI insisting they were mere "ecclesial communities" and their ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion.
Coming just four days after the reinstatement of the Latin mass, yesterday's document left no doubt about the Pope's eagerness to back traditional Roman Catholic practices and attitudes, even at the expense of causing offence."
---

From the last pareagraph of Marc Lynch's post about the debate on al-Jazeera:
"While the liberalism debate here obviously plays out in distinctive ways in the Saudi case, the issues raised resonate throughout the region. What's striking throughout is the intensity of these debates, and the extent to which the liberal-secularist side has been so consistently, thoroughly undermined by association with US foreign policy. Again and again, open American promotion of 'liberal Islam' is used as a weapon against them, and now Bush's abandonment of democracy promotion has left the liberals even more exposed and vulnerable. The debates can get ugly, and will get uglier... but they really are important, and it's good to see them on the air. "
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