Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Opening a new defensive front from the Left against the Left, Garrison Keillor entered the War on Christmas with a column bashing Ralph Waldo Emerson, following your own path, Unitarians, and Jewish songwriters penning Christmas songs:

...Emerson tossed off little bons mots that have been leading people astray ever since. "To be great is to be misunderstood," for example. This tiny gem of self-pity has given license to a million arrogant and unlovable people to imagine that their unpopularity somehow was proof of their greatness...

...Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.

Christmas is a Christian holiday -- if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

Christmas does not need any improvements. It is a common ordinary experience that resists brilliant innovation.

While Garrison Keillor is upset about Unitarians messing with "Silent Night," it should be noted that "Jingle Bells" was written for a Unitarian congregation in the 1800s. As for Christmas resisting innovation, the whole holiday seems to be lifted from other traditions. Here Stephen Fry speaks up for the sun worshippers, pagans, Celts, Teutonic tribes, the god Mithras, and Saturnalia.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Virgin Births

From the Mahabarahta: "The sun-god said: O beautiful Pṛthā, your meeting with the demigods cannot be fruitless. Therefore, let me place my seed in your womb so that you may bear a son. I shall arrange to keep your virginity intact, since you are still an unmarried girl."
More virgin births from the world of science can be found at:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wise Bible Quotations

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

R.I.P. Oral Roberts

I just saw the news that Oral Roberts died. To some, Roberts was a larger than life figure, but I'll always remember him for his vision of a larger than life Jesus. I searched the net but could not find Robert Mcafee Brown's analysis of how Roberts must have used the Pythagorean theorem to triangulate Christ's height, but Roberts revealed that Jesus was exactly 900 feet tall in his vision back in 1980. Not only did the Reverend Roberts inspire the faithful to send him money for his ministry, he also inspired rapper MC 900 Foot Jesus.

Friday, November 27, 2009


The Vast Right Wing blogosphere is gleefully denouncing... "Climategate," printing excerpts of emails hacked from The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, which is apparently the command center of the Global Warming Hoax Conspiracy. Even Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner has jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon, appearing on Fox "News" to promote Superfreakonomics and give aid and comfort to talking head David Asman, who compared Stalin and Hitler's practices to those of the scientists who wrote the emails. On the other hand, you can go to Discovery News and read that climate change is exceeding scientists' worst predictions.

So if global warming is a hoax,the conspiracy to promote it is unprecedented. Not only are Al Gore, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, mainstream media, and most universities in on it, so too are the melting glaciers, coral reefs, marine life, and thermometers. This thing is HUGE.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Week's Liberal Agenda

ATTENTION LIBERALS!!! I received next weeks's marching orders early (courtesy of Marc Maron via the Streisand Compound) so here they are...

1. Tell a group of pre-schoolersl the horrific details of the U.S. sponsored exploitation and near-genocide of Indigenous people here and around the globe.

2. When secretly sneaking out to get junk food from Burger King or Dairy Queen, bow down as low as possible to the royalty that works there.

3. Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with your kids and identify the Porky Pig balloon float as gi-normous hot air gas bag Rush Limbaugh.

4. During Thanksgiving Grace humbly beseech the Goddess for passage of Single Payer Health Care.

5. Invite your tea-bagging birther in-laws to your house and self-righteously serve 20 pounds of organic Tofurkey then eat mouthful after mouthful of bean curd while forcing yourself to shout, "MMM mmm! This is delicious! I t doesn't get any better than this!"

6. Impress your sports obsessed acquaintances by analyzing the homo-erotic tension and symbolism of American Football.

7. Call the Blue Dog Democrats and thank them for NOTHING!

8. Unpack and display War on Christmas decorations.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sex Money and Politics

For many Conservative Christians, virtue equals wealth. Listen to almost any televangelist and you'll hear that money, power, happiness and prestige are all due their loyal followers...at least until Jesus returns and punishes corrupt liberals who've been advocating for birth control, sex education, equal rights and the homosexual agenda.

Power seeking and control have replaced the notion that God sides with the poor and oppressed. America is seen as God's Promised Land. Watch Fox News and you'll discover that military spending is a virtue, spending on social services for the poor an abomination. The most outrageous example of lust for power disguised as Christianity is The Family or the "Fellowship." Here's author Jeff Sharlet from an interview on the Daily Show back in August talking about this organization.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jeff Sharlet
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Inna Gadda da Vida

My 4 year old daughter asked to hear more of "that story about the snake." I told her it was too late, that we could listen tomorrow. She than asked "Did God make the bad things?" I asked which bad things.

"The bad things on the Simpsons."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The New World Order Begins

While some people credit President Reagan for bringing down the Berlin Wall, this video shows clearly that it was David Hasselhoff.

Find more videos like this on HoffSpace

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The beginning of critical thought

My 4 year olds have been restless at bedtime recently, thanks in part to the time change. The past two nights I've turned the lights down and played them a cd collection I checked out from the library-The Bible Experience. Just after the first version of creation, my son asked "Is this a scary story?"

The next night we heard about the serpent and the forbidden fruit. (It's too bad there weren't any child psychology books or safety products available at the dawn of creation, but I digress.) Listening to the rumbling African American baritone voice of the Lord, my daughter asked "Is that the way God sounds?"
"Yes, in this story."
She shook her head and grew stern. "Daddy, this story isn't real."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obama for Pope

Fans of Left Behind-Ignore this Quote

"The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
-Luke 17: 20-21

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I've got tomorrow off work in honor of Columbus Day. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Columbus read the apocryphal "2 Esdras" (6:42) which states that the Earth is six parts land to one of water, leading Columbus to believe that a voyage across the sea would be shorter and less hazardous than it turned out to be.

Columbus was also influenced by the medieval theologians' racist interpretation of Genesis. Ham, who commits the offense of accidentally seeing his father Noah passed out naked in a drunken stupor, is consigned to serve his brothers, as are Ham's descendents, thought by Western Christian theologians at the time to be Africans. Columbus saw the dark complexion of the natives living in the land he had discovered, Hispaniola, as evidence of their inferiority, making his slaughter and enslavement of them part of the divine natural order. Happy Columbus Day everyone!

No Book Left Behind

A Secret of the Universe, by Stephen Gibson, begins on Sunday, October 11th, 2009, with the destruction of downtown Chicago. It's a skeptic's well reasoned response to the fire and brimstone of popular Christian End of Days fiction. I'm only two thirds through the book, so hopefully I'll still be able to finish it tomorrow. I've been reading A Secret... and the right wing-Christian apocalyptic best seller Left Behind for over 2 years now. I'm sad to give my opinion that Left Behind is better written, but A Secret of the Universe is a better book. Gibson writes non-fiction beautifully and sincerely- just check out his blog at: http://truthdriven.wordpress.com/

When Gibson writes fiction however, he provides far too much explicit information, rather than letting the prose itself give insight into the characters and situations. The worst example of this comes when the main character begins to muse about marriage. Suddenly the narrative diverges for 2 paragraphs with a book summary: "As the controversial Dr. Laura Schlessinger aptly described in her later book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands..." The passage is even footnoted. It's a shame that there was no merciless editor with a blue pencil on this project. Even the evangelist Tim LaHaye had a co-author to whip his Pre-Millenial-Dispensationalist visions into best selling literary form.

So another deadline has come to pass. I now hope to have read both Left Behind and A Secret of the Universe by December 21st, 2012, the day the Mayan (or is it Aztec?) calendar comes to an end.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bible V. 2

Like a dutiful liberal, I was sorting through stacks of old papers looking for items to recycle. I came across some notes I had copied from Francis Schaeffer's Addicted to Mediocrity, p.121 :
Bible as divinely inspired, error free, comprehensive, and unambiguous message from God to man. Bible as final authority in history, geography, biology, physics, zoology...OBEYED
Almost everyone who identifies herself as a Christian seeems to believe the Bible is divinely inspired, and many Christians seen on TV or who write letters to the editor share Francis Schaeffer's view that the Bible is inerrant.
I overheard a couple of my coworkers discussing the Bible a few days ago. They remarked on its wisdom and concluded that everyone had to read it and see the Truth for himself. I wanted to blurt out that Christianity went without a Bible for 300 years, and even for hundreds of years after that most people couldn't read it. Even if a translation was available, most people couldn't read. Some Christians may have the gift of tongues, but the gift of spontaneous literacy in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic is one I've never seen recorded.
Parts of the Bible are certainly out of date and ignored by most Christians, although the occasional Christian Crazy surfaces to demand stoning of homosexuals and death to witches, just like it says in the Bible. Some of the more literal minded Christians seem to be livining in the wrong era.
If a counsel of wise Christian Patriarchs were to convene and update the Bible so it truly were the final authority in history, geography, biology, physics, zoology, what would be included? Would the theory of relativity or evolution be included? Maybe writings about"Creation Science" and "Christian Capitalism." Would modern day miracles like Marian Appartitions be documented? Would televangelist Oral Robert's vision of a 900 foot Jesus be included? Some might include a sermon by Martin Luther King, while others might want to include a Sermon by Jerry Falwell bashing King. Would the new editors favor theological works from Johann Metz and Sallie McFague, or excerpts from Christian bestsellers like Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life or Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth.
Obviously, it would take a miracle to get a simple majority of the largest Christian organizations to agree on anything. The Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, and that believing it is divinely inspired, error free, comprehensive, and an unambiguous message from God to man is not necessary to being a Christian or a good person. To quote a book I read:
What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I heard an ad for artificial Christmas trees last week while driving home from work. Seems like the War On Christmas starts earlier every year!

Alternate Realities

I live in a world where the President of the United States is governing like a moderate Democrat, continuing in the same direction of the military and economic policies of the administration before his. Same Secretary of Defense, same bailouts, same Chairman of the Fed.
Others live in a world where a Kenyan born Islamic/Fascist/Socialist/Racist usurper is creating secret concentration camps and indoctrinating the youth of America in our Godless public schools. The first sign of the impending fascist power grab is an attempt to get a bipartisan bill to provide universal health insurance!!! The horror!
And then there is this oath. Is it the battle cry of a stealth army of brownshirted Obama Youth being readied for the upcoming take-over? Only time will tell, although Glenn Beck has already made up his mind.

The AmeriCorps Pledge

I will get things done for America -
to make our people safer,
smarter, and healthier.

I will bring Americans together
to strengthen our communities.

Faced with apathy,
I will take action.

Faced with conflict,
I will seek common ground.

Faced with adversity,
I will persevere.

I will carry this commitment
with me this year and beyond.

I am an AmeriCorps member,
and I will get things done.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Twisted Folk's Tales

Presenting the great Ronald Reagan's version of "The Little Red Hen," populated with lazy American farm animals expecting hand outs and one hard working entrepreneurial chicken.

My version approaches it from a different angle:

The Little Red White & Blue Pig
Once upon a time there was a little red, white and blue pig who had inherited bags and bags of wheat grain. He called his neighbors and said “If y…-er we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to sell. Who will help me plant it? I can pay four dollars an hour'
"Not I, I need a job with medical insurance," said the cow.
"Not I, I need to earn enough to send my kids to college," said the goat.
"Not I, I need to earn enough to invest money for my nest egg," said the goose.
“You are all lazy and unproductive,” said the little red white and blue pig.
“I will,” said the chihuahua, who had snuck onto the farm looking for food.
"It pays fo…er three dollars an hour," said the little red, white and blue pig. “You can work from sunrise to sunset, and I’ll even let you have a half hour for lunch, plus one toilet break!”
And he did. The wheat grew tall and ripened into healthy golden grain. "Who will help me add chlorine dioxide gas to my wheat?" asked the little red, white and blue pig.
"Not I, it’s too dangerous" said the goat.
"You’ll take out all the vitamins," said the goose.
"A low fiber diet is linked to constipation and diarrhea" said the cow.
"I will," said the little chihuahua. He was still hungry, so his wife and puppies came along to help.
And so the little chihuahua and his family helped with the chemicals and grain while the little red, white and blue pig went to his air-conditioned office and called his business manager about starting a new company to manufacture vitamins and anti-diarrhea pills.
At last the time came to bake the bread. "Who will help me bake bread in my sweatsho…er bakery" asked the little red white and blue pig.
"That facility is unsanitary" said the cow.
“I demand overtime and a safe workplace!” said the goose
"You’re violating labor law," said the duck.
"Bunch of socialists," said the little red, white and blue hen, so she hired some goons to knock sense into the barnyard animals.
“I will help you,” said the little chiuahua, who was now supporting many family members on the farm and back in his desert home. So the chiuahua family worked and worked, until one early morning they arrived to find the bakery door padlocked shut.
“Go back to where you came from, wetback” said the little red, white, and blue pig. “I’ve sold all my wheat and don’t need you anymore. I’m into venture capital investments now.” Soon the pig couldn’t keep track of all the places he had invested his money.
One day the eagle came to the farm and said it was time for the little red white and blue pig to help pay for the water, fences and roads on the farm that the pig had used for his businesses. “I’d like to help, but I’m incorporated in the Cayman Islands. You’ll have to get it from the animals that live here.”
Later the little red white and blue pig bought the barn with money he had borrowed from the big red chen. When the pig’s investments collapsed, the pig convinced the eagle and other animals to loan him money at 0.9% interest so he wouldn’t have to turn over the barn to the big red chen. Maybe one day the little red white and blue pig will return the money, although he recently was forced to award himself a bonus for all the hard work he was performing.

Money Driven Medicine

DR. DONALD BERWICK: It is, I guess, politically correct, widely believed, that to say that American health care is the best in the world. It's not. There's a much more complicated story there. For some kinds of care my colleague Brent James calls it rescue care. Yes, we're the best in the world. If you need very complex cardiac surgery or very advanced chemotherapy for your cancer or some audacious intervention with organ transplantation, you're pretty lucky to be in America. You'll get it faster and you'll probably get it better than in at least most other countries. Rescue care we're great. But most health care isn't that. Most health care is getting people with diabetes through their illness over years or controlling the pain of someone with arthritis or just answering a question for someone who is worried or preventing them from getting into trouble in the first place. And on those scores: Chronic disease care, community-based care, primary care, preventive care. No no, we're no where near the best. And it's reflected in our outcomes. … We're not the best health care system in the world in infant mortality rates. We're like number 23. There is an index that is used in rating health care systems, which is the rate of mortality that could have been prevented by health care. There are at least a dozen countries with lower rates of preventable mortalities than the United States and not one of those countries spends 60 percent of what we do on health care.

Pro-life/Pro-lies Part 2

I've read a few conservative blogs that address health care without mentioning death panels and Obama's secret plans to...dare I say it...enslave hard working white Christians all over the world! Buried in with all the liberal loathing and France bashing are some good points. For example, comparisons between nations' infant mortality rates usually have the U.S. placing in the upper 20s, 30s or 40s, depending on your source. Actual conservatives (not the paranoid conspiracy theorists) have been quick to point out that this is comparing apples and oranges. While the U.S. is following the World Health Organization's methodology, all those dozens of other countries with lower rates are holding back data, according to the critics.
Similar arguments are made about life expectancy ratings. You'd think that the death panels and inferior care provided by socialized medicine, the French, Germans, and Canadians would be dying faster than US citizens and our superior health care. Instead the US comes in at #35 or #50, depending on the source. Does this mean that countries with universal care have a better system than ours? Not according to Steve Chapman:

One big reason our life expectancy lags is that Americans have an unusual tendency to perish in homicides or accidents. We are 12 times more likely than the Japanese to be murdered and nearly twice as likely to be killed in auto wrecks.

Chapman and the conservatives are right to point out that there are a lot of factors that go into a nation's health and well being than simply having health insurance. It's the "unusual tendency" Chapman refers to that intrigues me. We can argue about the validity of statistics, but there is obviously something unusual going on.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

God's Protection Racket

You can read about Florida's Governor Charlie Crist's divine hurricane prevention plan here.
Crist told a group of realtors that in 2007 he left a note in Jerusalem's Western Wall that read, "Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie." Crist said that he's had friends place the same prayer in the wall for the last 2 years, and Florida has been spared hurricanes since. Crist isn't taking credit for the lack of hurricanes. "I give that to God," Crist said. "But it's nice."
In 2008 Candidate Obama also visited the Western Wall. The full story is here. There was a scandal when someone allegedly stole Obama's note where it was then published in a newspaper. The note read :
Lord - protect my family and me. Forgive my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.
President Obama is now on vacationing in Martha's Vinyard. His arrival there was delayed a few hours by Hurricane Bill.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pro-life & Pro-lies

I just read the Conservapedia -"The Trustworthy Encyclopedia"- entry on "Obamacare," which features graphics that incorporate a hammer and sickle, stormtrooper jackboots and snakes attacking a balding middle aged white male in a suit. A far more trustworthy, less hysterical analysis can be found at Factcheck.org's 7 falsehoods about health care reform .

One of the biggest concerns of the anti-health advocates (besides death panels, bureaucrats and nazis) is the poor quality of care that a "socialized" system would provide, since the U. S. obviously has the best system around. So why do so many countries with "socialism" have healthier citizens?

Just check out the CIA World Factbook's country by country comparison of infant mortality rates. According to the CIA entry, this "rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country." The United States come in at 44th, with 6.26 deaths per 1,000 during the first year. Compare that with Singapore, that had the best rate at 2.31 deaths per 1,000. The wealthy U.S. ranks behind places like Canada and France. And Sweden. And Japan. And Ireland. And Singapore. And Hong Kong. Don't forget Cuba. We did manage to edge out Croatia.
Since the far right usually postures itself as being concerned for the lives of "unborn" babies, the high infant mortality rate of the US should probably bother them as well. Too bad no one has yet stepped forward with any alternatives to the ones offered by the evil socialists and baby killers of the left. As the cliche goes, the right to life ends once you have been born.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Protect our right to bear assault weapons, bullet proof vests and armor piercing bullets!

CNN and the mainstream media have been reporting how right thinking individuals who love liberty and hate oppression have been bringing firearms and assault weapons to Obama rallies. For example, here.
It should come as no suprise that a group of brave men who love God and hate the corruption of Washington would want to bear arms when near that fascist apostate Barack Hussein Obama. And that group is called al-Qa'eda.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Divine Medicare

Twenty years ago I would watch Pat Robertson perform remote faith healings on the 700 Club. He would close his eyes and say things like "a woman in Topeka is suffering from liver problems," then say God was curing her at that very moment (unless you were watching the later rebroadcast.) Like the proposed reforms in health care, such treatment required payment. Just send your money to Jesus in care of Pat Robertson at the Christian Broadcast Network.

Robertson is now promoting health products like diet shake mixes. His"age-defying protein shake" helped him leg press 2,000 pounds a few years ago. See the CBN promo here.

James Randi debunked such nonsense in his book The Faith Healers over twenty years ago. He describes how Pat Robertson rebuked the aid virus in one viewer, while fellow televangelist Oral Roberts claimed to have "frequently resurrected the dead at his services."

Back in college I had a Pentecostal roomate who described seeing a faith healer cause a man's leg to grow 2 inches. This clip from Youtube describes how such a "healing" can be done.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Unhealthy Outrage

The AP has yet another story about outrage of the non-existent Obama health care reform, this time concerning Republican Senator Charles Grassley:
Grassley says only people in the country legally should be covered by a government-funded health care program, and opposes any plan that "determines when you're going to pull the plug on grandma."
None of the bills in Congress would provide health insurance to illegal immigrants, but it didn't keep people from expressing concern about it.
Who picks the vegetables found in stores, plucks chickens in sweatshops and packages the beef for old fashioned American dinners? At least some of these laborers are undocumented, and preventing them from having access to healthcare is a bad idea. Germs don't care if you are born in Kenya, Mexico or Iowa.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Science and Religion

Sex, money, politics, business, and religion. Combine any of these ingredients for an outrageous scandal, but is anyone going to be suprised? Are scientists above that sort of thing? The July 4th edition of the Economist had an article about fraud in science. The details weren't the stuff of a National Enquirer expose. Big scandals involved false reports of cloning stem cells and fabricating data about superconducters. Lower level fraud is apparently much more common.
About 10% of the scientists confessed to “dropping data points based on a gut feeling” or “failing to present data that contradict one’s previous research.” As the article notes, "fabricating data is a heinous scientific sin."

It reminds me of a Thomas Merton line from Cargo Cults of the South Pacific: "We Westerners delude ourselves that we are utterly scientific and reasonable." For evidence of such delusions, just turn on Fox News or watch clips from the Town Hall meetings about healthcare on Youtube.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Biblical Humor

I've got a twisted sense of humor. Normally the bible isn't the best place to look for jokes, but there are a few.

In Exodus 33:23, God tells Moses, "And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." Some scholars argue that God wasn't mooning Moses, but that's the way I see it.

Most public speakers like to have at least one laugh line. Jesus must have received a few chuckles with this bit: "And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19: 24)
Then there's the old paradox (it was even old in the year 90 A.D.) in Titus 1:12-13 “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true."

One of the more twisted and shockingly funny stories in the Bible can be found in Genesis 34. Dinah the daughter of Jacob and his concubine, was defiled by Prince Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite. After raping the unfortunate girl, Shechem had a change of heart. His "soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel."
So King Hamor and Shechem went to Dinah's family and asked that a marriage be arranged, and offered Jacob and his family wealth and citizenship.
Dinah's brothers said We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
So Hamor and Shechem returned to their city and somehow convinced every male there to be circumcised.
And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If you think abortion is bad...

I just finished trying to post a comment on an Islamic article accusing Christians of being cannibals. Narrow minded, gluttonous, self righteous, hypocritical, and self-centered? Maybe. Cannibals? NEVER!

There are several passages in the Old Testament describing baby eating. If you take them out of context, it does look like God is instructing people to eat their children. I saw the following passage from Deuteronomy 28:53 (New International Version) listed by a couple of people to taunt cannablistic Christians:
...you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you.
You can also find cannibalism mentioned in Jeremiah 19:9, Leviticus 26:29, and Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10. Here's an exceptionally horrifying section from 2 Kings, Chapter 6: 25-33:

Because of the siege the famine in Samaria was so severe that an ass's head sold for eighty pieces of silver, and a fourth of a kab of wild onion for five pieces of silver.

One day, as the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him, "Help, my lord king!"
"No," he replied, "the LORD help you! Where could I find help for you: from the threshing floor or the winepress?"

Then the king asked her, "What is your trouble?" She replied: "This woman said to me, 'Give up your son that we may eat him today; then tomorrow we will eat my son.'

So we boiled my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, 'Now give up your son that we may eat him.' But she hid her son."

When the king heard the woman's words, he tore his garments. And as he was walking on the wall, the people saw that he was wearing sackcloth underneath, next to his skin.

"May God do thus and so to me," the king exclaimed, "if the head of Elisha, son of Shaphat, stays on him today!"

Meanwhile, Elisha was sitting in his house in conference with the elders. The king had sent a man ahead before he himself should come to him. Elisha had said to the elders: "Do you know that this son of a murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? When the messenger comes, see that you close the door and hold it fast against him. His master's footsteps are echoing behind him."

While Elisha was still speaking, the king came down to him and said, "This evil is from the LORD. Why should I trust in the LORD any longer?"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What Would Jesus Carry?

Pastor Urges His Flock to Bring Guns to Church
Published: June 25, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church here, is passionate about gun rights. He shoots regularly at the local firing range, and his sermon two weeks ago was on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.” And on Saturday night, he is inviting his congregation of 150 and others to wear or carry their firearms into the sanctuary to “celebrate our rights as Americans!” as a promotional flier for the “open carry celebration” puts it.

Full story can be found here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More Obamamania

I watched the first 40 minutes of The Obama Deception, a conspiracy themed anti-Obama documentary by Alex Jones. Watch the film and you will hear Jones say that "private central bankers actually wrote the ideas that Marx and Engels put out," that Barack Hussein Obama is a puppet of the international bankers, and that he is creating a domestic spyfore and militia to help create a totalitarian one world government. It was this same group of bankers that was behind Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao. It was this conspiracy of bankers that caused the Kennedy assasination, 9/11 and the current econmic collapse. Here is Alex Jones "predicting" 9/11 in July 2001...

Now here is the Fox TV show "The Lone Gunmen" acting out the same scenario several months earlier...

David Byrne had it figured out back in the eighties...

And if you go waaaaay back to 1922, Henry Ford believed the same sort of conspiracy theory in his book The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem . See the chapter on the Economic Plans of International Jews. This conspiracy stuff never gets old.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Are We Rich Yet?

I found an old newspaper clipping from 1999 about Suze Orman promoting her book The Courage To Be Rich at New York's Trinity Church, just one block from Wall Street. Orman promoted the power of mind over money, mixing positive thinking, some common sense get out of debt advice and a smattering of spirituality to make millions telling others how to get rich.
A year later a new self -help manual would top the NY Times Bestseller List, The Prayer of Jabez, prescribing one month of prayer to become successful. Soon you could buy "Prayer of Jabez" key chains, mugs, backpacks, Christmas ornaments, scented candles, mouse pads, and jewelry. The prayer certainly made its author Bruce Wilkinson rich.
That same year, George W. Bush would be elected/appointed president, mixing a more lethal brand of self-righteous spiritual-neocon snake oil. With a Born Again President and Christian Capitalists like Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Billy Joe Daugherty, Creflo DollarBenny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rod Parsley, Peter Popoff, Pat Robertson,  Robert Tilton all preaching the Gospel of Prosperity to millions of free enterprising Americans, who would have thought that the US would be the epicenter of the current economic near collapse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nerds of the World Unite!

When I taught in a San Francisco Public High School back in the 20th Century, the kids all self-segregated. African Americans, Latinos, Pilipinos, and Samoans all had their territories during lunch. The few white students often ate in classrooms with the teachers. However, there was one small table in an isolated area of the courtyard that was multi-ethnic, and that was the table of the NERDS, my kind of people!

Friday, June 19, 2009

End Daze

One of the advantages of having multiple messy kids is that customs officials and Jehovah's Witnesses will cut you some slack.
A nice pair of Jehavah's Witnesses gave me this tract- rather than spend ten minutes describing the End of Days- because they had to avoid my kids' stampede down the front steps on the way to the library to enlist in the summer reading program.
It's a shame the citizens of Iraq or Iran aren't Jehovah's Witnesses who won't join the military or meddle in politics. The world is ending sometime soon, and after some unpleasantness we will have people, moose, lions and lambs all lying down together and having nice afternoons together.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today's Bible Readings

Exodus 31:12-15
12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death

Of course there are exceptions to the kill anyone who works on the Sabbath rule like Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, your local minister or neighborhood firefighter. Blogging probably isn't allowed, but then I'm not allowed to blog at work either.

Other capital offenses include homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13) being a wizard (Leviticus 20:27) cursing your mother or father (Exodus 21:17/Leviticus 20:9) and seeing your relatives naked...

Leviticus 18

7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman. 14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. 15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness. 17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. 18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

So remember to knock before you open the bathroom door and happy stoning!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

R. Crumb's GENESIS Project

The June 15th edition of the New Yorker features an excerpt of Robert Crumb's faithful-and therefore adult themed-comic book adaptation of the Book of Genesis. 
In Crumb's versionyou can see how God creates light on the first day, water and the heavens on the second day, dry land and plants on the third, then finally gets around to creating the sun  on the fourth day. Since a day is the time it takes the Earth to travel around the sun, the first three days in Genesis weren't "days" in the 24 hour sense. This is a critical thinking sticking point for literalists wishing to teach creationism in science classes.
Crumb also includes both versions of the creation of humans. In the first chapter, God seems to create both Adam and Eve at the same time. In the second chapter, God forms man out of dirt, then has Adam meet and name all the animals in the garden.  After finding no fitting helper, God casts a deep sleep on Adam, removes his rib, and magically transforms the rib into Eve. While the story is as interesting as any other creation myth, it won't do much to advance science or Christianity if required reading in biology classes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Test Your Bible Knowledge

1. Can a human see the face of God and survive?
A. Yes, for "The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Exodus 33:20)
B. No, for "The Lord said, 'Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." (Exodus 33:20)

2. Who inspired King David's Census?
A. The Lord (2 Samuel 24:1)
B. Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1)

3. How many sons did Saul's daughter Michal have?
A. "Michal the daughter of Saul had no children unto the day of her death." (2 Samuel 6:23)
B. "The five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel..." (2 Samuel 21:8)

4. Where Was Jesus Born?
A. In a house in Bethlehem (Matt 2: 1,11)
B. In a manger in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7)
C. In Galilee, not Bethlehem (John 7:41-42)

5. How many generations were born between Jesus and King David?
A. 28 (Matt 1:1-17)
B. 41 (Luke 3: 23-31)

6. What is the name of Jesus's paternal grandfather?
A. Heli (Luke 3:23)
B. Jacob (Matt1:16)

7. How did Judas die?
A. Hanged himself (Matt 27: 3-5)
B. Fell "and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts 1:18)

8. What were Jesus's last words on the cross?
A. "It is finished." (John 19:30)
B. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46)
C. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46)

9. When was Jesus crucified? 
A. "And it was the third hour, and they crucified him." (Mark 15:25)
B. "...about the sixth hour..." (John 19:14)

10. Who was found in Jesus's empty tomb?
A. An angel of the Lord whos "countenance was like lightning, and his rainment as white as snow." (Matt 28:3)
B. A young man in a white robe (Mark 16:5)
C. Two men in shining garments (Luke 24:4)

Answers: They are all correct, and all literally true. Pay no attention to the seeming contradictions. Obviously I or someone like me copied the information down wrong.

What would Jesus put on his bumper? Part 1

I saw the bumpersticker above on a pickup truck last week. Another angry white male outraged over lazy poor people living the good life on welfare. I thought of different variations, like WORK HARDER: Dozens of CEOs need millions, or WORK HARDER millions in prison depend on you. I thought about a bumper sticker proclaiming"Blessed are the Poor" but remembered it's the Poor in Spirit. This sent me back to the bible, where I found...

Mark 10:21 ... go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

...but that's a bit wordy. There's also the great line about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven, but that's not bumper sticker material either. Maybe Jesus would simply take the bus.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Power of Prayer

One of my teaching assistants has been out since Easter with back problems and terrible pain. She is a woman of faith who attends church every Saturday and works three jobs. Her substitute for the last 2 months is a generous woman who goes to the same church. Over the weeks the substitute began witnessing to one of my other assistants. She told him how her family has prospered due to their tithing and prayers, and how she miraculously recovered from an illness that the doctors say should have killed her, thanks to you know who.

I kept my mouth shut, but wanted to point out the setting where she was praising God and the power of prayer to bring wealth and health. Maybe God could have sent someone to interfere before a disabled fourteen year old girl got pregnant. Maybe God could cure at least one of the severe and profoundly disabling conditions of the students down the hall. Why didn't God intervene when a little boy with autism and cerebral palsy was abused, or when the same little boy received lead poisoning? Apparently the families of kids with severe and profound disabilities or extreme emotional disabilities don't give enough money to the right churches, or they aren't praying hard enough.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In which Lucifer receives three new residents in Hell

I wrote this back in the early nineties. Within days I saw Rowan Atkinson on comedy Central do a bit wearing horns and addressing newcomers to Hell, so I shelved it. A couple years later, South Park did a hiliarious scene where Satan tells the recently deceased "The correct answer was...MORMONISM."

Three infants, having died at the exact same moment, materialized atop a tangled mass of rotting bodies. Worms and parasites began crawling onto the infant's newly reconstituted bodies. Hot fumes and the smell of decomposing flesh rose from the ground. The foul air choked the infants, who could barely manage to scream and cry.

The hysterical wailing and sobbing were sharply interrupted by a long shadow cast over the infants. In a voice having much the same impact as a dentist's drill, the shadowy figure said "Welcome to Hell. I am Mr. Lucifer. You must be Gitanjali, Wing Chu, and..." Turning towards the last infant, Lucifer glanced at an electronic memo pad, then snapped a pair of smooth, sharp fingers. "Ah yes, never lived long enough to be named. You came from the States I see. They just made abortion illegal there, you'll be happy to know, but they still haven't go their infant mortality rate under control. What a shame."

Like sleepers slowly shaking off a dream, the infants became aware of their own consciousness. This was their first experience with symbolic thinking and perception. As children focused on Mr. Lucifer, they sensed there was something not nice about him, despite his remarkable physical beauty (overlooking the cloven hooves, indefatigable wings, and horns sprouting from his forehead.) Despite the reeking air, the insect bites and the burning of their flesh, the babies remained transfixed by this creature.

"Now I know this is all quite a shock, and you probably feel that the present situation is simply unfair, so allow me to explain." Lucifer hovered closer. "When grown ups have sex, they're doing something very nasty. Sex should only be done to make babies, but the grown ups often can't stop themselves from doing it. Even having lustful thoughts is very bad and sinful. The grown ups are bad, and the babies they make are bad. Conceived in sin. That's why you are here. You are the product of original sin, you are tainted by evil, an offense to the Allmighty and therefore damned. Damned for all eternity."

Gitanjali struggled to form here first word. "Why?"

"It's nothing personal. You were all born human, cursede by the sin of a man and a woman made from mud who were put in a garden a few days after the universe was created a few thousand years ago, if memory serves. These two humans were told by God not to eat a certain fruit which would give them knowledge, and of course Yahweh had to show them where the tree was heh heh. You think an All Knowing being would know better to have one of those plants just sprouting up where his children could get it, but I digress. The female human let a talking snake persuade her to take a bite of the fruit of knowledge, then she had the man try it, then they suddenly knew they were naked and hid from Yahweh. Yahweh was worried they would eat from a tree that would make the humans live forever, so he chased them down and cursed them, then sent them out of the garden paradis. He told the couple to make more people, even though the new people would end up here to be tortured forever after they died.

The nameless baby protested. "I've been good. I won't do anything bad."

Lucifer chuckled and shook his head. "Pride and vanity. All people are sinners. Even babies. You are despised by God, for you are wicked worthless bags of pus, blood, snot and shit that must be condemned to an eternity of pain and suffering. Understand this: you deserve to be tortured, and the torturing will never stop. I didn't plan things this way, but Yahweh the Allmighty All Loving Lord finds you unclean and you mujst burn."

Wing cried, "Not fair!"

"Oh but it is!" protested Lucifer. "A few people don't burn. They are called Born Again or sometimes Evangelical or Fundamentalist, things like that. A third of God came down to Earth and grew up there so he could be sacrificed, that is tortured and killed, so if you believe in him and accept him as your personal saviour, then you can live happily ever after in a place called Heaven. Of course, Kitanjali and Wing, your parents weren't Christian. They followed false religions, so even if you hadn't starved to death, you probably wouldn't have converted to true Christianity when you were older."

Lucifer turned towards the nameless baby. "Now your mother was Christian, so she is in Heaven since she died in the drive by shooting that killed you both. A pity you will never be with each other again, since she did love as much as her God and Jesus. I'm sure she has accepted the fact that you must burn in for all eternity, since that is divine will."

"You lie!" wept the damned an nameless infant soul.

Lucifer shrugged and, just before kicking the dead child into a flaming pit of snakes, said "I am the prince of all liars, that is true. However, everything I have thus far told you is the gospel truth."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

MANCOW Is Soaked

Shock jock turned conservative morning radio host MANCOW was waterboarded Friday and concluded it was torture. Details here.

Sunday Morning quotes for Contemplation

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
-George W. Bush
Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 20, 2001

"Forbid him not, for he that is not against us is for us."
-Luke 9:50

"He that is not with me is against me..."
-Luke 11:23

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quotes for Today

"God had a divine purpose in placing this land between two great oceans to be found by those who had a special love of freedom and courage." -Ronald Reagan
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." -Thomas Jefferson
"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions, but I don't have to be nice to them." -- Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

“Catholic, Protestant and Jew, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu / I bet they want the devil too / In the ecumenical movement."
-Jerry Falwell LP Feudin’, Fussin’ & Frettin’,

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Alan Keyes was arrested for a second time in 2 weeks protesting Notre Dame's endorsement of baby killing and communism by inviting the baby killer Obama to speak at graduation. Details can be found at the right wing propaganda site World Net Daily here.

Less than five years ago, Keyes moved to Illinois so the GOP could appoint him to run against some black guy named Obama for the US Senate. Keyes lost the election, moved back to Maryland, but refused to concede because one does not concede to immorality and evil.

Imagine what Alan Keyes' state of mind must be like now. Keyes had run for president twice before, and somehow this African American Chicago liberal hack comes along and gets the job. Keyes filed lawsuits against Obama after the 2008 election challenging Obama's citizenship. Now Mr. Keyes refuses to refer to Obama as "President," preferring the title "Usurper" instead. What does a conservative demagogue have to do to get some attention around here?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where we've gone before

Curious about the new Star Trek 90210 film? The Onion has all the coverage you need...

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tortured Logic

The past few weeks have had a lot of commentary on the use of "enhanced interrogation."

From Wikipedia:

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery... After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda "confession". He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine."

Senator McCain's "confession" to war crimes was false, but he lied because he had reached his breaking point. Are enemy combatants any less likely to lie to their captors in Abu Gharib or Guantanamo?

Assistant Teacher/Messiah Wanted

Spiderman's Greatest Bible Stories link

Every few weeks I get an email from career builder dot com with classified job announcements. here's one that I am only partially qualified for:
Assistant Teacher (Messiah) - Chicago, IL
New! Lutheran Social Services of Illinois - Chicago, IL
(Few applicants) (Fair Match)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Life in the Big City

My fantasy of moving to the suburbs has ended- at least temporarily-since two of my kids got admitted to elite Chicago elementary schools for next year. After I heard the news, I took the garbage out and saw a pair of soiled plaid pants and large BM in front of the garage door. I thought about taking a photo and posting it, but decided against it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April is the cruelest (National Poetry) Month

How have you been enjoying National Poetry month so far?
Here's Coleman Barks reading his translation of a poem by 13th Century Persian mystic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūm. According to tradition, Rumi was born in Balkh, Bactria, which is now Afghanistan.

Happy Birthday to Samuel Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989)

and finally, here's a link to America's favorite and most idolized African American Islamic poet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hee Haw: The Next Generation

Time Magazine reports that the Obama gun sales boom started the day after election day is still booming.

While "The Greatest Generation" and baby boom conservatives all loved Westerns, the genre lost relevance following the civil rights and anti-war movements. Obama doesn't have the same Hollywood Texan swagger of conservatives' favorite presidents. With stories like Obama Calls Space Shuttle and President Reassures Americans of Future, we're clearly in science fiction territory. I mean, a black President of the USA?!? C'mon, get serious.
Just as I was beginning to feel smug about the decline of the Cowboy as president image, I remembered that Gene Roddenberry sold Star Trek to network executives as a disguised Western, "Wagon Train" to the stars. D'oh.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy St. Stupid's Day

The First Church of the Last Laugh is having its 31st celebration today in San Francisco. Part of the ritual is going to the stock exchange and exchanging a sock. For more holy details, check out:

By coincidence- or the unseen hand of the divine- this year's parade coincides with the G20 meeting:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary

After all we've done to the Iraqi people, protesters in Iraq are setting US flags on fire. Why just six years and a couple of days ago that would have been illegal. Well, maybe not burning the US flag, but burning the Iraqi flag would have been illegal. Welcome to democracy.

"We're on the way to the Persian Gulf. It's a mistake! I thought they said Persian Golf."
-Mr. Bob Hope

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