“The President’s speech today will be viewed by terrorists as a victory,” said Chambliss, who recently golfed with the president, in a statement. > more ... (1 comments)
[A blogger] saw a video of one of the [Discovery] Institute’s researchers spouting all sorts of bad science from a lab setting. Although the video was datelined from the “Biologic Institute”, it turns out that the nonsensical rant was green-screened in front of a stock image.“Biologic”. Hahahaha
I don't have a copy of Jim DeMint's book Saving Freedom handy — although I'm thinking about braving the hog cholera down at my recycle center's book bin over the weekend and I might get lucky — so I can't check on the context for the following Dave Weigel quote on Slate:
“There is nothing in this oath about representing my district and state or helping the poor and downtrodden,” [DeMint] would remember. “There was nothing about responding to the woes of the American people.”
That said, great galloping gourmet. I just do not understand how that kinda sentiment can be reconciled with all the godbothering that goes on in certain quarters. I mean, I went to Catholic school for 12 years, I've read the relevant tracts — one would think that Jeebus would not approve of close-reading oaths to see how much care-for-thy-fellows you could, y'know, avoid or obstruct.
H/T For the Slate article to Jonathan Bernstein at plainblogaboutpolitics.
Fascinating story from TPM. Here’s the key chart:
I find this fascinating. The obvious interpretation is that the religious right is driving people away from Christianity, and that the New Atheists are finding success with their efforts. I think that’s part of it. What also needs to be mentioned here is how these trends match up with the rise of self-help pastors and prosperity gospelers as the increasingly dominant face of Christianity. It’s not like those kinds of guys weren’t around before, but during the mid-to-late 2000s, Rick Warren and Joel Osteen (and head P.G.er T.D. Jakes) became gurus in the way that Billy Graham and Pat Robertson were in the 1970s and 1980s. Say what you like about the latter two, but they didn’t reduce the complexities of Christianity into a way of making life a bit less of a bummer. The former contingent largely have. My feeling from the start was that the self-help pastors were a direct response to the previous generation of Christian leaders, an attempt to combine largely the same right-wing ideas (both Warren and Osteen are culture warriors, they just don’t shout about it) with a comforting, more positive religious message. Really, Christian culture has been consciously moving in that direction ever since the mid-90s at least, when Christian Rock was exhaustively marketed as positive and uplifting (as tacitly opposed to that Kurt Cobain guy).
It might seem deeply perverse that people would be more repelled by honey than vinegar. After all, Gen X placed only slightly below the other generations in terms of belief in God, and they faced an even blunter barrage of awfulness from the old school of political preachers. But perhaps it’s not so strange. If Falwell and Robertson are the religious right’s figureheads, it’s easy enough for Christians of a more tolerant bent to dismiss them and go about their lives. But Osteen and Warren aren’t offering a white-hot vision of morality, sin and redemption, they’re basically offering what Dr. Phil offers, what Oprah used to offer, which is feel-good airiness (though with a hint of scripture, unlike Oprah, who would naturally include citations from The Secret). This is a very different dynamic. All that sin and redemption stuff has a deep resonance, whether you attribute it to a soul or merely to cultural conditioning. But self-help, feel-good material doesn’t really work the same way. My instinct (and I’m sure this is true of a lot of people too) is to be skeptical of such things, to assume it’s a heist or something that semi-smart people will read and talk about how it changed their lives, but when you watch them, they don’t actually seem any different. Such thing are generally a target for mockery. There aren’t very many people who treat Bryan Fischer or Tony Perkins (two of the more visible classic religious right types who don’t have nearly the clout that Warren and Osteen do) as nothing but a target for mockery, because what they say works people into an enormous lather, agree with them or not. Their take on humanity, however backward and bigoted, is at least rooted in reasonably universal and deep currents of the psyche. That it makes you and me angry to read, proves it. With the self-help pastors, there’s nothing even to get angry about, because there’s nothing to get excited about on the other side, either. If the point of Christianity is just to live a slightly happier life, people are going to just figure, why should I care? And the answer seems to be that they don’t.
Anyway, this news doesn’t really upset me too much. I wish the Atheists success, actually. John Lanchester argued in I.O.U. that capitalism became complacent after the Cold War ended because there was no longer any need to compete to prove it was the best system–it was now globally ascendant and the argument was settled. Since then, the complacency has been nonstop in the form of Enron and Lehman and Bear Stearns, etc. A lack of competition breeds complacency, which is exactly what has happened in American religion. If Christians start to think they need to actually compete with Atheism in offering a compelling and nonreactionary creed instead of merely demonizing it, I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.
I am still trying to keep my head from exploding:
“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”
Mr. Robertson’s remarks echoed statements he made last week on “The 700 Club,” the signature program of his Christian Broadcasting Network, and other comments he made in 2010. While those earlier remarks were largely dismissed by his followers, Mr. Robertson has now apparently fully embraced the idea of legalizing marijuana, arguing that it is a way to bring down soaring rates of incarceration and reduce the social and financial costs.
“I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said.
I thought it would be cold day in h-e-double-hockey-sticks before Pat Robertson found his heart. I guess credit where it’s due.
Well, not really; but close:
In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Friday, Rick Santorum defended Kirk Cameron’s recent remarks that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “detrimental and destructive to society,” suggesting that “both sides need to respect both sides.”
I think both sides need to respect both sides… As someone who’s been very public about this, I respect people who disagree with me. I think they have a right to go out and make their case and sell it to the American public and try to change the law if they see fit. But, I don’t use language that, you know, calls them bigots or haters, and nor should they think that someone, because they simply disagree with them on that subject, should be treated the same. So I think rhetoric on both sides needs to be judicious and fair and respecting people’s difference of opinion.
It’s statements like these that really make me think that Republicans read Orwell’s 1984 as a bible on how to achieve and maintain power.
War is peace. Eastasia is our enemy, er, no, ally. Slavery is freedom. Repudiating lies is as reprehensible as lying. Ignorance is strength.
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