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December 2017

We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


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We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


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Geminids of the North

Earth’s annual Geminid meteor shower did not disappoint as our fair planet plowed through dust from active asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Captured in this northern hemisphere nightscape, the meteors stream away from the shower’s radiant in Gemini. To create the image, 37 individual frames recording meteor streaks were taken over period of 8.5 hours during the night of December 12/13. In the final composite they were selected and registered against the starry sky above a radio telescope dish of MUSER, a solar-dedicated radio telescope array at astronomically-named Mingantu Station in Inner Mongolia, China, about 400 kilometers from Beijing. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major, shines brightly just above the radio dish and the Milky Way stretches toward the zenith. Yellowish Betelgeuse is a standout in Orion to the right of the northen Milky Way. The shower’s radiant is at top left, high above the horizon near Castor and Pollux the twin stars of Gemini. The radiant effect is due to perspective as the parallel meteor tracks appear to converge in the distance. Gemini’s meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere traveling at about 22 kilometers per second. via NASA http://ift.tt/2BkhPVp


We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


  • Categories:

We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


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In small win for Democrats, the final tax bill will not include a provision allowing churches to endorse political candidates

President Trump ceremonially cuts the ribbon on a stack of government regulations Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in his push to reduce what he says are restrictions holding back businesses and the economy. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post).

In a minor win for Democrats, the final GOP tax bill will not include a repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a change that would have allowed religious institutions and all nonprofit entities organized as 501(c)3s to endorse political candidates.

President Trump had strongly advocated the repeal.

Trump promised to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment at the National Prayer Breakfast in February. Getting rid of it has been a priority of some spiritual leaders, especially in evangelical circles that have typically leaned Republican. The tax bill that passed the House in November scrapped the Johnson Amendment entirely for all non-profits, but the Senate bill did not, setting up a difference that had to be ironed out in this final week of negotiations.

“I’m pleased to announced that Democrats successfully prevented the repeal of the Johnson Amendment from being jammed into any final Republican tax deal,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. He added that he would “continue to fight all attempts to eliminate this critical provision.”

Democrats knew they would have little leverage to influence the final Republican tax bill because it was passed entirely with GOP votes in both the House and Senate. Republicans are using a process known as reconciliation to pass the tax bill, which only requires a simple majority in both chambers. But senior Democratic leaders in the Senate had one final card to play: They could challenge any part of the tax bill not actually having to do with taxes.

It is formally known as a “Byrd Rule” challenge. The Senate parliamentarian has the final say on what parts of the bill meet the Byrd Rule and which do not. Democrats were already successful in kicking out a provision in an earlier version of the Senate tax bill that would have allowed parents to start tax-preferred college savings accounts (known as 529 plans) for fetuses.

Some Republicans expressed frustration that the Johnson Amendment "fix" wasn’t allowed in the final bill.

"I’m disappointed in the decision of the parliamentarian to not allow the revised text of the Johnson Amendment into the tax reform bill," said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) "The federal government and the IRS should never have the ability, through our tax code, to limit free speech."

The Johnson Amendment has been in place since 1954 and is widely seen as a way to separate church and state in modern American life. Religious leaders are not supposed to give sermons endorsing specific candidates ahead of elections. Churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofit institutions are also prohibited from raising money for political candidates. If nonprofits or religious institutions want to engage in explicit support of a candidate, they have to give up their 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.

There were concerns that a repeal would create a new dark-money channel for powerful donors to quietly funnel funds to political candidates. Under the House plan, both the Clinton Foundation and Trump Foundation would be able to openly get involved in U.S. political campaigns, for example.

"Nonprofits are allowed to lobby Congress or their local elected officials, but the ambiguity of the current tax code keeps non-profits in constant fear that they might have crossed a line that no other organization has to consider," said Senator Lankford. He argued the repeal language that Republicans crafted would still have prohibited any campaign financing via non-profits.

But the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s official scorekeeper, estimated that the repeal of the Johnson Amendment would cost the government about $2 billion as the rich donated more money to religious institutions and nonprofits and got tax write-offs for doing so.

Read more:

Final tax plan keeps medical deduction and tuition waivers for graduate students

Senate Republicans try to placate Marco Rubio as he threatens to vote "no"

What Trump supporters think of the tax plan

http://ift.tt/2C8AOii Source: http://ift.tt/11PLRFx



We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


  • Categories:

We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


  • Categories:

We Defeated Roy Moore!

Okay, to be fair, Augoeides probably didn’t have much to do with Doug Jones’ win over Roy Moore in yesterday’s special election for Alabama senate. I called for it and it happened, but I doubt many folks from Alabama even read this blog, let alone were motivated to vote for Jones by my article. At the same time, a win is a win, and there are few candidates I would be happier to see lose than Roy Moore. The guy is a crazy theocrat, dedicated to the notion that anybody who doesn’t follow his version of fundamentalist Christianity should be denied basic human rights, should not be allowed to run for office, and so forth.

As I said back in November, even if the allegations that Moore molested a 14-year-old, dated 16-year-olds, and creeped on teenage girls at a local mall – as a district attorney in his 30’s – were false, his theocratic beliefs render him entirely unfit to hold public office. That, and he’s been removed from office as a judge twice already for refusing to abide by the law. A common-sense law that would have prevented this whole situation from arising again would be to bar anyone who was formerly removed from office from running again. But even that would probably be controversial in today’s political climate.

And speaking of today’s political climate, when we talk about polarization between the parties, it should be clear that much of what is driving that polarization is fundamentalist Christianity. Check out what Roy Moore’s brother had to say about Moore’s defeat.

One would think, given Roy Moore’s record—being removed from office in ignominy both times he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, reportedly being banned from a mall for creeping out teenage girls, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to lose a Senate race in Alabama—that he is the “black sheep” of the Moore family. This appears not to be the case:

Roy Moore’s brother Jerry Moore spoke to @NPRDebElliott: "It might not happen on this earth right now, but Doug Jones will pay for what he’s saying. And them Democrat people that’s out there and those Republicans in Washington. They’re going to have to answer to God.”

— Arnie Seipel, NPR (@NPRnie) December 13, 2017

So to be clear, "Democrat people" – presumably Democratic voters – are evil according to Jerry Moore, and will be punished by God. The idea that it is somehow sinful or evil to vote for Democrats is quite frankly totally bizarre, but a lot of these fundamentalists seem to believe it. When political operatives talk about "demonization," they usually are talking about opposition research to dig up dirt on their opponents, and negative campaigning tactics like attack ads. But way too many of the fundamentalists apparently mean it literally.


The reason it’s bizarre is this – modern fundamentalism has twisted the Christian message such that the only "sins" it pays much attention to are homosexuality and abortion. These are issues that Jesus does not address anywhere in the Gospels. What he does talk about, all the time, is having compassion for the poor. So I could just as easily make the argument that it’s sinful to vote for the party that is most determined to cut taxes for people who are already rich, and dismantle programs that help the less fortunate.

But I won’t, because politics and religion should be two entirely separate things. Supporting current abortion law doesn’t mean you’re "pro-abortion." It means that you’re opposed to an abortion ban – and there are good reasons to oppose those, because they create all sorts of problems in countries that have them. Supporting the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry doesn’t mean you’re "pro-homosexual." Nobody is ever going to force a church to marry a same-sex couple. This is civil marriage we’re talking about, which has to do with things like tax benefits and has nothing to do with any marriage a church might or might not conduct.

But here’s why the Poor Oppressed Christians don’t see that. On a basic level, they can’t comprehend the idea that people who disagree with their dogma and theology have the same religious freedoms as they do. Or, even if they do comprehend it, they find it insulting and "oppressive" to have to share a society with people who don’t believe in every single thing that they do. And frankly, that’s just tough for them. America is a religiously diverse society by design, and this is a strength, not a weakness.

Source: http://ift.tt/1EqgG59


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