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Chris Hedges: The Christian Right’s War on America

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Posted on Feb 6, 2007
Robert Scheer, James Harris and Chris Hedges

From left to right: Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer; Truthdig contributing editor James Harris; author Chris Hedges.

Robert Scheer and James Harris speak with Chris Hedges, the veteran journalist and author of the new book “American Fascists,” about the threat of the radical Christian movement, and about how getting it right on Iraq ended his relationship with The New York Times.


Listen to the full interview (running time: 44:56 / 41.1 MB)


Full transcript:

Harris: James Harris sitting down with Mr. Robert Scheer, and special guest on the phone is Chris Hedges, the author of the new title “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” Chris is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, and a former correspondent for The New York Times. Chris, how are you today?

Hedges: I’m all right—just flew in from Seattle.

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Harris: Let’s start by talking about your 2002 book, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” In this text, you talk about nations and their behavior during wartime. Looking back at our behavior over the last three and a half to four years, as we’ve been at war with Iraq, how have our citizens and our president—how have we behaved?

Hedges: Well, the book, because I spent almost 20 years covering various wars around the globe, the book tried to explain the patterns of war—what happens to individuals and societies in war, and how they react. Unfortunately, we reacted in the way that most countries react when they go to war. It wasn’t just the Bush administration that pushed us into war. The media was completely in complicity with very few exceptions. The population at large got off on it; the cable news channels pumped out this garbage over 24-hour news cycles with graphics and drum rolls. And this was part of the whole sickness that happened to the country after 9/11, where unbridled nationalism—which I think is a disease—was unleashed. It brings with it—it really is just a form of crude, self-exaltation, but it brings with it a very dark undercurrent of racism—racism towards Muslims, towards anyone, including the French, who disagreed with us. And our society was really enveloped with this sickness. It really was a sickness that I had seen on the streets of Belgrade. It wasn’t a new sickness to me, but of course it was disturbing because this time around it was my own nation. And that euphoria lasted basically until the war went bad, or until people realized that it was going badly. And then we forgot about it. There’s a kind of willful amnesia that is also a pattern of wartime society—certainly something I saw in Argentine society after their defeat in the Falkland war. And now these very cable news channels and media outlets that sold us the war virtually don’t cover it. They pretend the war doesn’t exist, and they feed us this trivia and celebrity gossip that unfortunately in American society is consumed as news.

Harris: The situation that constituents, that the media was complicit in starting the war, I think some people may take offense to that. How was that received at the time, and what do you say to the criticism of, “Chris Hedges, I think you’re crazy.”

Hedges: Well, as one of the very few people, along with Bob Scheer, who was speaking out against this war, I can tell you that it was a very lonely position to be in. And I worked at the time for The New York Times. The New York Times acted as nothing less than a stenographer for the Bush White House—pumping out the lies used to justify the war. And there were reasoned, thoughtful, well-informed voices questioning, for instance, whether Iraq was trying to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program, or whether it actually had WMD, or whether it was actually a threat or had links to al-Qaida—and they couldn’t get into the mainstream media at all.  I think you’d be very hard-pressed—with the exception obviously of the alternative press. But we live in a country where the press, like everything else, has become completely corporatized. I think it’s something like 80 percent of American newspapers are controlled by six or eight corporations. And it’s pretty hard to break through that wall. So there were people around the edges, and there were a few of us even within the mainstream who spoke out against the war, but our voices were pretty much drowned out in this cacophony of war rhetoric and fear.

Harris: I don’t know if you know the name Scott Ritter—you probably do.

Hedges: I know Scott.

Harris: I remember at the time hearing Scott Ritter say, without reservation, that there are no weapons in Iraq, but still we went in; still Colin Powell stood before the United Nations and showed them the video, showed them the footage where there were weapons in Iraq. And Scott Ritter all along said, “There are no weapons.” I do blame, and in retrospect say that there should have been more effort to bring these stories to the forefront. Are you suggesting that propaganda was used by the media, perhaps by the government to suppress these types of stories?

Hedges: At the inception of any war, the press is part of the problem. That’s a pattern I certainly saw—and there are almost no exceptions to that. When your nation goes to war, there’s a kind of knee-jerk kind of response on the part of most of the press that their job is to boost morale, maintain the myth of war, vilify the enemies. And that goes all the way back to the Crimean War when the first modern war correspondent was invented.

Harris: Chris, a lot of people may not know that you are a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, and your new text, “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” I like your perspective, because you, obviously from an educated standpoint, can speak to the theology around this war.

Hedges: I look at the religious right, the radical religious right, those people who want to create a Christian nation, as a mass movement. I don’t give them much religiosity at all. I think they have acculturated the Christian religion with the worst aspects of American imperialism and American capitalism. They prey on the despair of tens of millions of Americans in this country who have been completely disenfranchised and shunted aside with the creation of this American oligarchy. That is the engine of the movement. These people, their lives have become train wrecks, their communities have been physically obliterated with the flight of manufacturing jobs, or they live in these soulless exurbs, in places like Orange County, with no community center, no community rituals—you know, they don’t even have sidewalks. And they’re lonely, and they’re alienated, and they’re lost. And that’s the fodder that demagogues use to amass totalitarian movements. And they do that by offering these people a world of magic, of belief in destiny and miracles and angels, that Jesus has a plan for them. And they essentially remove them from the reality-based world. That’s what creationism is about. And everybody who’s written about despotic movements, from Hannah Arendt to Karl Popper to Fritz Stern to Robert Paxton, cites this despair as being the kindling that allows despotic, totalitarian movements to tear apart the open society. So for me the radical Christian right is very much a manifestation of the inequities and the injustices that plague American society. We now live in a country where the top 1 percent control more wealth, or have more wealth, than the bottom 90 percent combined. The absolute destruction of the working class—and much of my family has been a victim of this—has now been accompanied by an assault on the middle class. So anything that can be put on software, from engineering to finance to architecture, can get outsourced, where it’ll end up in India, where they’ll work for a third of the wages, with no health insurance, no benefits. These kinds of assaults against the working and middle class are absolutely deadly to a democratic state. And that’s something that even the Greeks wrote about. I mean, Plutarch and Thucydides understood that.

Harris: Clarify for me, though, the relation to the evangelical right, or evangelists in general. I understand the preying on a particular class—because they’re vulnerable. When you live without for most of your life, you’re vulnerable to anything that looks appealing to you. How are the evangelists using this to influence government? Because you seem to be implying that they have a profound effect on the way that American government works.

Hedges: Well, they are. When this notion of a new political religion was first articulated in the early ‘80s by people like Pat Robertson, the proponents of this were on the margins or fringes of American society. They’ve now moved into the corridors of power—into the House of Representatives, the Senate, the executive branch and the courts. And they’ve received under the Bush administration hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. They’ve gone a long way toward setting up hermetic, closed indoctrination systems through Christian radio and television. They’ve brought the teaching of this mythology of creationism into public schools in places like Kansas. The advances that this movement has made in the last 20-25 years, is frightening. There’s no question that unless we begin to rectify the imbalances within this country, this will become the dominant political force. And it is a force in which all who do not subscribe to this narrow, frightening ideology—which bears many similarities with classical fascist movements—and all those who do not submit to these so-called Christian leaders, will at best become second-class citizens.

Harris: As a country, aren’t we open to this by virtue of the phrase “One nation, under God”? We’ve never been—you may argue otherwise—we’ve never been terribly eager to disassociate ourselves with religion. All of our presidents, except for one, practiced some sort of religion. So the fact that 20 million or how many other million Americans find interest in this practice of evangelism isn’t really that shocking, is it? Is it problematic, Chris Hedges, when you see church and state joining hands like this?

Hedges: Well, of course. Because it essentially serves the same purpose as the fusion of party and state, which is what totalitarian movements do. The state implements the policies of the party; they become essentially one entity. And that is by its very definition what a totalitarian state consists of. I think we have to remember that this new political religion is a radical mutation from traditional fundamentalism, or traditional evangelism. Evangelical leaders in the past, like Bill Graham, always warned their followers that—and he of course got burned and used by Richard Nixon—to keep their distance from power. And fundamentalists have traditionally called upon their followers to remove themselves from the contaminants of secular society, and to shun political activity. This is something we have not seen in the past. And yes, the nation has had certainly a Christian component to it, but there was always that understanding that religious belief was a private, internal affair, and not something that would be propounded by the state. And of course the architects of the Constitution were terrified of going back into the kind of tyranny and repression that was practiced by the puritan states, and more importantly by the religious states in Europe, because they understood the danger of that sectarian violence. And I think we should also be clear that the early Christians in this country, most of them were Deists, which these radical Christians would consider as heretics, the notion that you could find God in nature, as Jefferson and others believed.

Scheer: If I could just interrupt for a second, I feel like—this is Bob Scheer—I’m sort of a bystander to a very interesting discussion about a world that I don’t inhabit. I know James here is a practicing Christian.

Harris: Yes, I am.

Scheer: And Chris, I know you’re a person who’s been involved with religion.

Hedges: My father was a minister and I graduated from seminary.

Scheer: And so when I’m sitting here thinking: Well, what about all those other Christians—I know I traveled around with Jerry Falwell once and wrote a piece for the L.A. Times. Almost everyone I ran into, even in Lynchburg, Va., everywhere, they said they thought the guy was something of a charlatan. “Why is he on TV? Why is he getting all this money?” And this came from other “born-again” ministers and other evangelical people. And I’ve looked at some of the polling data and so forth, and evangelicals, I think, were a bit disillusioned with George Bush’s use of religion. Isn’t there a tradition of skepticism? Isn’t this what the Protestant religion was all about—skepticism of too organized, too powerful a church?

Hedges: I think you raise a really good point. Even within a single congregation, people are not going to walk in lock step. But I think that what’s happened is that with this notion of the creation of the Christian state, it has managed to overcome these doctrinal schisms. When I would attend an anti-abortion event, I would see Priests for Life, Catholic priests with people from the Salvation Army, with Baptists, with fundamentalists, with charismatics, and traditionally fundamentalists have always looked at charismatics as Satan worshippers, because they speak in tongues. But they’ve all managed to come together—although these factional disputes remain, and these differences remain—under this notion that our goal is to create the Christian state. There is a very ruthless core of people who are better described as dominionists. One thinks of Dobson, Robertson, LaHaye, Benny Hinn. These people who are pushing through a radical Christian agenda, who essentially control all Christian radio and television, and who have been quite ruthless—as we saw in the Southern Baptist convention—in pushing aside those people who don’t accept that particular political agenda, even if they’re born again, and even if they subscribe to some of the hot-button issues, like thinking that homosexuality is a sin. And they count on the sympathy or support or tacit acceptance of 80 to 100 million evangelicals in the United States, because they have been very effective in using the religious vocabulary and religious iconography—in the same way that they wrap themselves in the American flag. But I think that when you look closely, which is what my book tried to do, at what their belief system is, it is really a theology of despair. It is about bigotry, intolerance, there’s not only a lust for violence, but a kind of pornographic fascination with violence. There’s a cult of masculinity. There’s a war on science, a war on truth. And what they do, like many totalitarian movements, is speak in a language that’s comforting to the rest of us, but hollow out the definitions so they mean something else. It has a kind of newspeak quality, so peace is war. The concept of liberty, for them, as it is defined, is not our traditional definition of liberty, but liberty that comes with giving yourself over to Jesus and complete submission to Jesus Christ. And of course, in their minds, leaders who speak to Jesus. So yes, there is a great deal of skepticism. And I actually think that the most virulent opposition will rise not from the liberal church, but from within the evangelical movement itself. But these people are well financed, oftentimes by corporate interests—Wal-Mart—a lot of right-wing foundations. They’ve harnessed the power of modern communications systems and they’ve locked tens of millions of followers in closed systems of indoctrination, where they get their news, their spiritual guidance, their health and beauty tips, their entertainment, all filtered through this ideological prism.

Scheer: In your [most recent Truthdig column] you refer to your original mentor, James Luther Adams. That paragraph that caught my attention—because your book has not been easily accepted this time around, right?

Hedges: No.

Scheer: It’s interesting, when I look at your place in American letters, on the one hand you’re often celebrated as this brilliant person, you get awards, high prestige, and then every once in a while you hit some third rail, whether it was the graduation speech on the war [which resulted in your dismissal from the N.Y. Times], or when you mention Israel, even in pieces for our site, we seem to get a lot of mail, and now with this book. And when I was thinking of the criticisms of your work, I was thinking you wrote something about Adams. You wrote:

His critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the piece to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort.

Is this what you’re experiencing with some of the criticism that you’ve been getting?

Hedges: Yes, although that’s not a new phenomenon, because when I was speaking out against the war, I was on the news staff of The New York Times, and I had been at The New York Times for 15 years. I knew what I was doing—that it was a kind of professional suicide. But at the same time I felt that it was morally incumbent upon me as someone who spoke Arabic and spent seven years in the Middle East, and because I had a platform because of my book—to avoid those questions or not answer them, or give non-answers to them, was not morally defensible. And then of course after I was booed off this commencement stage in Rockford, Ill., I was given a formal reprimand by the paper, and told to stop speaking out against the war. And at that point I knew my relationship with The New York Times was over, because I didn’t want to be muzzled for [the rest of] my career. And that comes out of the church. It comes out of having a father who was in the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, and finally the gay rights movement. And as a young boy I watched him take a lot of heat for that—not only from people in the community, but from the institutional church as well. And it was a pretty good reminder that you don’t get rewarded for taking a moral stance. And the sooner you learn that, the happier you are.

Scheer: What about the criticism of your current book? It seems petty in a way—again coming often from the universities. How do you respond to it?

Hedges: I try not to focus on it. I’ve had to deal with the Israeli lobby for so long that I really try and shut it out and try not to read it, because a lot of it is just completely untrue and unfair, and I don’t want to burn up a lot of energy. I’d rather just put the blinders on and keep going and say what I have to say. I don’t like it, obviously, and I especially don’t like it when it devolves—as it usually does—into character assassination. We saw that with the response to Jimmy Carter’s book [“Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”]. Nobody actually talked about the book; they talked about it as a controversy, at best; and usually they went after him. I sort of plow ahead. I’m not going to pretend that it’s pleasant. But at the same time I try not to waste a lot of emotional energy on it.

Harris: Do you validate or recognize any of the criticism that you’ve received? Does any of it mean anything? How do you support this? How do you stand by this point when there’s really no proof of that?

Hedges: Well, there is proof. We know Tim LaHaye has formed an organization where he matches donors with these organizations—groups like Sam’s Club have brought evangelical chaplains into their plants. There is evidence to that. And that relationship between these neocons and Christian radicals, there’s evidence within the Bush White House itself. I’m sure Cheney laughs at these people, but he finds them convenient allies. And of course, when you get people to believe in a system of magic and miracles and healings, then you don’t need health insurance; you don’t need unemployment [benefits]; welfare doesn’t matter, because as long as you get right with Jesus, you’re going to be taken care of. And I think there’s plenty of evidence to support that relationship between these sort of Straussians, like Richard Perle and others, and these Christian radicals who essentially get out the vote in places like Ohio.

Scheer: Is that an alliance that can hold?

Hedges: It’s always an uneasy alliance, and Paxton, in “The Anatomy of Fascism,” writes that, unlike communism, there’s no such thing as a purely fascist movement. Fascist movements make alliances with conservative sectors of society and often very uncomfortable ones. You saw that in Nazi Germany with Hitler and the German industrialists.

Divisions between the Bush White House and the Christian right arose over the issue of immigration, where Bush sided with the corporations—angering many within the base of the Christian right, because there’s a real backlash against immigrants within the Christian right. So it’s an uneasy alliance, but they both need each other. And in fact, this nonreality-based belief system, this ideology that is now peddled into the homes of many marginalized and desperate Americans, is one that plays into the hands of corporations that really want to defang the federal government. [The corporations] find in the ideology that’s promoted a very convenient vehicle to do that.

Harris: Have you seen Alexandra Pelosi’s movie on HBO?

Hedges: No.

Harris: She talks about the evangelicals and the extremist nature of their approach. So if you haven’t seen it—

Hedges: I don’t own a television.

Harris: A traditional man. A traditional man.

Hedges: No, I’m a freak.

Harris: [Laughs]

Scheer: We lump all these evangelicals together. But first of all, there is a racial divide.

Hedges: Yeah, and you know, the black church has been very wary of this movement traditionally, because this movement comes out of the John Birch Society, like Tim LaHaye, and the World Anti-Communist League, all the way back to the Klan. Jerry Falwell got his start as a racist demagogue who got up and talked about how desegregation was going to destroy the white race. That’s how he made his money, that’s how he built his church. And he went back in a kind of Stalin-esque purge and destroyed copies of almost every sermon he preached over a 10-year period, because it was so virulent and raw. He still preaches, in my mind, bigotry and racism. It’s just that he’s turned it on others, like homosexuals or liberals or feminists or immigrants, or whatever. But this man, he has the profile of a classic demagogue. And I think the African-American church has been very wary of these people—with good reason. Now, this movement realizes it has to bring African-Americans into the fold. So if you listen to “Focus on the Family,” this very popular radio program run by James Dobson, during Black History Month, every day they fall all over themselves to celebrate black history. I went to an event called Patriot Pastors in Ohio—this rally where they had adopted as their symbol an American flag with a Christian cross superimposed on it. They had a choir singing hymns while we watched video clips of American soldiers in Iraq. But they began by showing pictures of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, because they’re trying to co-opt the civil rights movement and present themselves as the natural heirs of the civil rights movement. Now not a lot of people of color were in the audience. Most of the people of color were sitting up on the podium. But one of the stars of the Christian right, a guy named Rod Parsley in Ohio, is being heavily promoted and bankrolled by people like Dobson and others because, although [Parsley’s] white, 40 percent of his congregation is African-American. So yeah, the African-American church traditionally has been sympathetic on issues such as homosexuality, on some of the hot-button issues. But as African-Americans they get institutional repression, because they’ve been a victim of it. They’ve been very wary of this movement because of the antecedents of the movement, and because they understand in a way that perhaps even whites who are at the same economic level don’t always understand, the way institutions work in places like the urban ghetto—to make sure that poor people remain poor.

Scheer: You know, one reason I don’t panic—I’m reading you and all that, and I think it’s probably that I’m just kidding myself—I just assume capitalism will triumph and that these people are at war with capitalism, for better or worse.  For instance, just the whole question of creationism—that you can’t have good science if you embrace creationism, you just can’t, and then you’re not going to be competitive with people who are doing good science, and it seems to me that, and I think this might be naive on my part, you know I’m very old-fashioned, but I have this idea that somehow they are out of step with the modern world, whether it’s controlling the lyrics in music or ... images that are shown on television or blaming Hollywood for everything. I guess I always assume they’re going to lose. Tell me why that’s wrong.

Hedges: They present themselves as a traditional movement, but they’re a distinctly modern movement, in this sense: that they promote an ideology that’s superstitious, magical and primitive, but they can only do it by co-opting the language of science, and there’s a huge industry of creationist scientists who will “prove” through scientific jargon and pseudo-science that the creation myth in Genesis is true. They don’t have a problem with technology itself, and I think that creationism serves the same role eugenics served in Germany, which was a pseudo-science about measuring people’s skulls and all this garbage, and they set up huge institutes. It was a way of turning lie into truth, of making facts interchangeable with opinion, of removing people from a reality-based world into the world they want them in, but at the same time the process of sort of building a machine is not going to interfere with that. And we’ve seen [that] Islamic groups which originally were, for instance, very distrustful of the Web have now adopted it. So I think sometimes you can have the marriage between very primitive superstitious belief systems and very advanced technology. I think one could argue that fascism in Nazi Germany did that.

That’s the first point. The second point is that this movement cannot come to power unless there is a period of prolonged instability or a crisis. I covered the war in Yugoslavia and we heard all these stories about ancient ethnic hatreds. The war in Yugoslavia had nothing to do with ancient ethnic hatreds; it had to do with the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia in the years leading up to the war, which, again, created deep despair and dislocation which the nationalist demagogues like Milosevic or Tudjman played upon. And I think that if we don’t enter a period of crisis, this movement can make creeping gains, as it has, but it probably can’t take power. But if we suffer another catastrophic terrorist attack—and I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York Times, and there was not an intelligence chief that I interviewed here or abroad that didn’t talk about an eventual attack as inevitable—should we suffer a series of environmental disasters, or an economic meltdown, if we watch petrodollars become petroeuros, if we enter a prolonged period of instability, especially if people become afraid, then I think this movement does stand poised to reshape the country in ways that we’ve not seen, probably since our founding.

Harris: Chris, aren’t people already afraid? I mean, you look at this event that happened in Boston, where they posted these little electronic devices around the city, and Homeland Security was alerted, traffic was shut down. Aren’t we afraid right now?

Hedges: I think we’re paranoid. I think there’s a difference. I think we’re paranoid and they work to make us afraid. But I lived in Israel when the suicide bombings began. I was in Sarajevo during the war. I know what it’s like to be afraid. And you start thinking with another part of your brain. You reach out to people like Dick Cheney, who talk tough and promise to stomp the vermin out—if we’ll just give them the power to do it. That’s the appeal of an Ariel Sharon at a moment like that. That’s the appeal of a Slobodan Milosevic. So you’re right that they’ve worked really hard to try and make us afraid, but real fear, to be gripped with fear, in the sense that, “If we get on the subway it could blow up,” that’s another state and another level. And if we reach that level, especially with instability, especially with chaos, then we’re in trouble.

Scheer: As you know, the Intelligence Estimate Report, which the Washington Post had, and even [Sen. John] McCain said in his questioning of [U.S. Army general in charge of Iraq operations George] Casey—that the last two and a half years have been a disaster. And then you’ve got [Sen. Joseph] Biden coming along with this plan to partition—the old imperialist model of “divide and conquer”—and break Iraq up into three states. As probably the most experienced person who’s looked at this thing, what do you think is going on, what’s going to happen, how do you see it?

Hedges: Well, let me stress the issue of partition. Because partition presupposes that Sunni, Shia and Kurds are divided up into neat little areas—and that’s not true. There are 1 million Kurds in Baghdad alone. A partition plan would mean the dislocation of millions of Iraqis and probably murder of many Iraqis—in the same way that we saw the disasters that befell India and Pakistan during the partition plan. Because they’re mixed together. You have a huge Arab population up in the Kurdish north in Kirkuk. A partition plan like that is going to be a bloodbath.

So, what’s going to happen? A lot depends on Iran, because if—well, we’re losing the war and we’re going to have to leave, is the short answer. But the wild card becomes a hit against Iran, because a hit against Iran would ignite a Shiite uprising throughout the Middle East and become incendiary within Iraq. Whatever constraints had been placed on Shiite forces in Iraq until now would be lifted. Iran, which I’m sure is supporting the militias, would do everything in its power to turn what is already a hell into a nightmare of unimaginable proportions for American troops there. It would ignite a regional conflict, I fear, because you have Hezbollah, which is Shia; Pakistan has a huge Shia minority; Bahrain is Shia; there are 2 million Shia in Saudi Arabia—most of whom work in the oil sector; the Straits of Hormuz would get shut down. Iran does not have the capacity in a conventional sense to hit us; they might find a way to hit us in a nonconventional sense. But they certainly can hit Israel. Israel would hit back. And we’re already fighting a proxy war with Iran in the Middle East now. It happens to be a proxy war that we’re losing, because Iran backs Hezbollah; they back Hamas; they back the Shiites in Iraq. And in all of those fronts, we’re not doing real well—us or our Israeli allies. So this proxy war, which is already under way, would devolve into a full-fledged war, and I think it does have the possibility to ignite within the region, something that comes pretty close to this catastrophic Armageddon that many people in the Christian right see as a great sign, because it’s the end of history and the return of Jesus Christ.

Scheer: Now why doesn’t that scare many of the Jewish—and if they’re not Jewish, secular—neocons? I don’t get it.

Hedges: Because the neocons have built an unholy alliance with a group that’s—these people are anti-Semites, and I think the smart ones know it. But it has built an alliance between messianic Jews and messianic Christians, who believe that they have been given a divine right to rule one-fifth of the world’s population who happen to be Muslim. And that alliance is very convenient. It’s shortsighted on the part of the Jews, but for now it works. And I think that’s where they converge. There is a horribly racist element towards Muslims and a belief that we can impose through military might massive social engineering to create a Muslim Middle East which we can control, and that is amenable to our interests. And that, the messianic Jews and the messianic Christians share.

Harris: Do you think the media has done a good job of making us hate Middle Easterners? If we see someone who looks Middle Eastern, even the most educated, I think we all question, we all say, “What are their intentions?” Do you think I’m a bit off base with that question, or that thought?

Hedges: No, I think the things we say about Muslims in this country could not be said about any other ethnic group. I think the racism is raw, the ignorance is appalling. The way we denigrate their culture, their religion, talk about how they only understand violence, or that they want their children all to be suicide bombers, it’s just a huge advertisement to our incredible lack of understanding and appalling ignorance. And for somebody who’s spent so much time in the Middle East, it’s almost impossible to counter. The notions that all Muslims—who are one-fifth of the world’s population, most of whom are not Arab—[the notion that they] all think the same way, or that there isn’t a moderate center, or that Algerians are the same as Iraqis—you don’t even know where to begin.

It’s so vast, and it’s pervaded the mainstream to such an extent that I think you raise a good point. We’ve turned 1 billion people into a caricature or stereotype—and not a very pleasant one. And it’s ominous, if we should have another catastrophic terrorist attack, it’s going to be pretty ominous for Muslims in this country. And ominous for us because once again we’ll be responding or at least supporting a violent response, probably, in the Middle East, without any kind of cultural understanding or sensitivity. And all we’ve done since the war in Iraq is essentially dumped gasoline over the best recruiter that al-Qaida has—the conflict. And it comes because we’re walking blind into an area of the world we know absolutely nothing about, and dealing with people we’ve turned into cartoon figures.

Scheer: Basic to that cartoon image, when people talk about Islamo-fascism—which Bush seems now to have accepted—is a very simple, crude idea of religious evolution, that they didn’t have the religious reformation, that there’s an arrested development to the Muslims. And that takes all responsibility off other people who interacted, say, with Afghanistan, with Indonesia—the role of foreigners. And the example I think of is Afghanistan, which was not particularly given to a virulent form of fundamentalism, at least not in Kabul, where, under the king, women could get doctorates and be gynecologists, and so forth. [There, under Jimmy Carter,] we weighed in on the fundamentalist side. It seems to me that that was a perfect example; it wasn’t that they reread the Koran. It wasn’t that they did or did not suddenly discover the reformation. But in fact they were responding to a set of circumstances. And I think that could be said about Iraq, which was, after all, a primarily secular country at one point.

I don’t know if you agree with that, but I just wonder what happens when you have discussions with people who are in the State Department, or pundits commenting on all this. What do they say to that?

Hedges: Well, the State Department actually isn’t the problem. The best Arabists in the government are in the State Department and in the intelligence services. Because they speak the language and they spend time there. They get it. And I have friend who are Arabists in the State Department. They’re pretty lonely figures, because nobody in the Bush administration gives them the time of day. Oh, the issue of the reformation: Islam itself is so varied; there are mosques in India where men and women pray together; Egyptians could drink me under the table, for the most part. The notion that there is any kind of strict Islamic code that is pervasive throughout the Muslim world is just not true. Most Muslims, although that moderate center is under attack, do not live lifestyles that are particularly different from most mainstream Christians. So I think you’re right. Fundamentalism, and Karen Armstrong has written about this, is very much a response to essentially despair—to being pushed, like the Christian right, to be pushed into corners where you don’t have any hope. Where the only hope you have if you’re a kid locked up in Gaza, the only way that is left for you to affirm yourself, is through death. And they are responding to real conditions around them, and real conditions of oppression. And that is far more influential in fueling their belief system than the reformation.

I think you’re right. It’s the conditions that they live in that form the ideological belief system, rather than antecedents. Because Islamic scholarship is quite profound, and certainly rivals the great Jewish thinkers, or the great early church fathers. This is a religion that has deep and an incredibly rich intellectual tradition. It’s just not a tradition we know about.

Harris: Thank you, Chris. That was Chris Hedges, who is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, and former correspondent for The New York Times. He’s also written the new and controversial title “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” For Bob Scheer, this is James Harris. And this is Truthdig.


Chris Hedges graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School and worked for many years as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, where he also served as Mideast bureau chief. Hedges’ latest book, based on two years of reporting, is “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” He is also the author of the bestseller “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”

Click here to read Hedges’ biweekly column on Truthdig


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By JT, February 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
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I think it is very clear that Chis Hedges is a propagandist!

All you have to do is look at his backgroung and his phrasiology and waLah! Bullshit!!!!!!!

This guy is so uninformed on so many issues. It boggles the mind. Anyone with a balanced perspective would leave a great deal room for possibility of personal errors, especially when it comes to philosophy and science.

Anyone so dogmatic on so many issues is clearly the product of an organized movement which has at its heart a desire to control people.

He is exactly like the ones he demonizes but the polar opposite on the issues.

I hope this obvious to all. It should be.

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By Lefty, April 16, 2007 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
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Re: #64266 by Fadel Abdallah on 4/15 at 8:08 pm
(1 comments total)

#64173 by Lefty on 4/15 at 10:33 am
(Unregistered commenter)

“This soulless character who calls himself “Lefty” hates all religions and goes out of his way to ridicule and blaspheme them; thus hurting the feelings of billions of people around the world. Obviously, this makes him a hatemonger who should be banned from the Truthdig blog, if they were to follow the rules they lately introduced. A faithless communist is a more fitting name for this type.

“Beware “Lefty”! Your unbound hate might catch with you one day and you might get consumed by it till you drop dead! A more sensitive and loving attitude is healthier for your soul.”
——————————————————————————-
Hey Fidel!  I guess this means that your multiple posts, each promising to be the last time you would address me directly, were all BS, hey!

In the mean time, your attitude is about as “sensitive and loving” as that of a car bomber.  In any event, your attitude it a matter of public record as long as Truthdig’s servers are up and running.  And, BTW Fidel, I think that you and I are equally souleless.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 15, 2007 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

#64173 by Lefty on 4/15 at 10:33 am
(Unregistered commenter)

This soulless character who calls himself “Lefty” hates all religions and goes out of his way to ridicule and blaspheme them; thus hurting the feelings of billions of people around the world. Obviously, this makes him a hatemonger who should be banned from the Truthdig blog, if they were to follow the rules they lately introduced. A faithless communist is a more fitting name for this type.

Beware “Lefty”! Your unbound hate might catch with you one day and you might get consumed by it till you drop dead! A more sensitive and loving attitude is healthier for your soul.

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By Lefty, April 15, 2007 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
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Revelations 1:1

HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE,
THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE,
THE COW JUMPED OVER THE MOOOOOOOON.

THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED,
JUST TO SEE SUCH SPORT,
AND THE DISH RAN AWAY WITH THE SPOOOOOOON . . . .

I think that says pretty much everything anyone needs to know about Christianity.

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By Skruff, April 13, 2007 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
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#63661 by old benjamin on 4/12 at 4:59 pm says:

“Ike was a great man. He handled the politics and let Ol’ Blood ‘n Guts do the fighting. But Ike didn’t shrink from what had to be done to kick Adolph’s sorry butt, including raining death and destruction on Germany’s populous cities. None of our presidents since Ike have been military men of his sort, unfortunately. He had the experience and judgement to use military force wisely and effectively. I must say, however, that Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were no slouches in that regard. For the rest, the less said the better. Derek Jeter once said that the ghosts of Yankees past still play a part in Yankee success. Would the same were true of old soldiers”


Intresting thoughts, BUT not a response to my post.  My point was that after actually EXPERIANCING war (first hand…down and dirty) he was ready for peace as President.  He said something along the lines of… The American people want peace ...and the politicians had better get out of the way and let them have it.

He warned us of the Halliburtons and Dow Chemical companies “Beware the military indrustrial complex”
He knew about financing expensive and unnecessary wars.. Every Gun that is made, every warship built, and every bomb dropped is a theft from our children….

Eisenhower was a hero in war, but knew how to keep peace.

In this regard you are right… too bad old combat veterans are not around to help with policy….If they were there would be far fewer wars.

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By old benjamin, April 12, 2007 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff,
Ike was a great man. He handled the politics and let Ol’ Blood ‘n Guts do the fighting. But Ike didn’t shrink from what had to be done to kick Adolph’s sorry butt, including raining death and destruction on Germany’s populous cities. None of our presidents since Ike have been military men of his sort, unfortunately. He had the experience and judgement to use military force wisely and effectively. I must say, however, that Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were no slouches in that regard. For the rest, the less said the better. Derek Jeter once said that the ghosts of Yankees past still play a part in Yankee success. Would the same were true of old soldiers

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By Skruff, April 12, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
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#63407 by old benjamin on 4/11 at 3:24 pm
(Truthdig Guest)


“Yes, Jesus taught that we should return good for evil….”

He also said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone…. complicated dude.

“Those are the same rules, by the way, by which we defend our country against foreign attack. We don’t just return evil for evil. We return overwhelming, merciless destruction. Sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities, but that’s how the Romans did things back in the first century, and that’s how you win wars. Those without the stomach for it should take up flower arrangement.”

Since you don’t know me, or where I’ve been, or whom I’ve defended, it makes no sense for you to level your sites at me.  I have been scrupulous about avoiding personal attacks….but I assume from your point of view, and with your aggressive patriotism, you are writing from Baghdad or Kabul?


Think about this… The most peacefull president of my lifetime was an exsoldier named Eisenhower.  The most war-like is a beer-swilling weekend warrior named Bush.

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By old benjamin, April 11, 2007 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff,
Yes, Jesus taught that we should return good for evil. No question about it. He also said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” There is the realm of personal behavior and there is the realm of public responsibility. Jesus rules the former and Caesar the latter. We may occasionally disagree about where one ends and the other begins, but we usually know. If someone kidnaps one of your kids, you know. If someone insults you privately, you know. If someone tells public lies about your kin, you probably know. If someone tells public lies about my Lord and Savior, I know, and I must defend him in public, with Caesar’s rules. Those are the same rules, by the way, by which we defend our country against foreign attack. We don’t just return evil for evil. We return overwhelming, merciless destruction. Sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities, but that’s how the Romans did things back in the first century, and that’s how you win wars. Those without the stomach for it should take up flower arrangement.

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By Skruff, April 11, 2007 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
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#63203 by billy flynn on 4/10 at 4:11 pm says:


“You are an argumentative sort, aren’t you.”

That is a joke right? 


If you read a bit further in Acts 1, you would have discovered that Judas hanged himself after he betrayed Jesus. The Judas in verse 13 is clearly a different Judas, unless he too was resurrected. There is no implication whatsoever that Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was in the upper room.
Thus, he is not called a “brother.”


“The twelve” were bretheren, and since Judas was replaced by Matthias AFTER Judas death, (he reportedly hung hi9mself on the day Jesus was crucified) it is assumed by most that Judas was indeed at the last supper one of the twelve bretheren. Indeed the Michelanglo painting has Judas there front and center.


“You are, of course, entitled to held whatever doctrinal beliefs you choose. Whether they are defensible is quite another issue. In any case, I have no interest in changing your mind.”

Thank you for that

Your last point is a real piece of sophistry. Jesus would condemn leading children astray but not condemn leading adults astray? Come on, dude. Use your head. You can’t claim that verses 7 -10 apply only to leading children astray. The text makes clear that a person can be a stumbling block to his own self. Is that restricted to children. I’m afraid not.


You said “words mean what they say” The words absolutely refer to children. why else would he use “little ones”?

Xtians with whom I have had the privledge of association tell me their god grants “free will” (choice?) to adults while enjoining these adults to keep their young on the path. 

One more question:

When jesus said “Let the children come unto me” was he speaking literally, or figuratively?

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By old benjamin, April 10, 2007 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment
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Jim Hanley,
Christianity has been around for over 2000 years and has hundreds of millions of adherents worldwide. You’ve been around for less than 100 and have no adherents. I think you’ll have to do a bit better with your arguments than name-calling and citing an obscure cleric if you wish to dismantle Christianity. It’s like gravity, dude. It’ll take an Einstein to change it. That clearly leaves you out. Now go ride your dirt bike and leave the theological stuff to your betters.

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By billy flynn, April 10, 2007 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff,
You are an argumentative sort, aren’t you. If you read a bit further in Acts 1, you would have discovered that Judas hanged himself after he betrayed Jesus. The Judas in verse 13 is clearly a different Judas, unless he too was resurrected. There is no implication whatsoever that Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was in the upper room. Thus, he is not called a “brother.” In all probability, the reference to “brother” is to Jesus’ literal kin.

You are, of course, entitled to held whatever doctrinal beliefs you choose. Whether they are defensible is quite another issue. In any case, I have no interest in changing your mind.

Your last point is a real piece of sophistry. Jesus would condemn leading children astray but not condemn leading adults astray? Come on, dude. Use your head. You can’t claim that verses 7 -10 apply only to leading children astray. The text makes clear that a person can be a stumbling block to his own self. Is that restricted to children. I’m afraid not.

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By Skruff, April 10, 2007 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
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1 Peter 4:17
“....What will be the end of those who do not obey the Gospel of God?”

2 Peter 2:21
“For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

Corinthians 13:2
“.......if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Galations 5:6
“.....faith working through love [will be justified]”

1 John 2:4
“He who says, “I know him” but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

1 John 3:10-11
“By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

Heavy stuff… seems to heavy for this generation of “xtians”

 

Jesus also says;

“Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

“And everyone who hears these words of mine, and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew: 25: 31-46
This is some of what Jesus said about being “saved.” This implies that “believing” in him is more than the mere acknowledgement of Jesus as the son of God. It means you also have to believe in what he said and try to live by his commandments.

Here is some of what Paul said which echoes what Jesus said:

Romans 12:14
“Bless those that persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”

Romans 12:17-21
“Repay no one evil for evil , but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink…. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 13:8
“...and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Galations 5:14
“For the whole law is fillfilled in one word, “For you should love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 6:9-10
“And let us not grow weary in well-doing….........So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men.”

Colossians 3:14-15
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule you….”

1 Thessalonians 5:15
“See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.”

Hebrews 10:34
“.....and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”

Here James is implying that the righteous man does not resist violence toward him and echoes Jesus’ idea of turning the other cheek:

James 5:5-6
“.........you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.”

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By Skruff, April 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John 4:1-21

These are the main examples. The Ethics of Reciprocity can be found in many of the other comments as well (e.g.; “The last shall be first,” “They have their reward,” and “The measure you give will be the measure you get,” etc.). It is abundantly clear, without interpretation, guessing, or contradiction, that he was preaching love over everything - including how to respond to hatred, violence, or your enemies.
Colossians 1:23
“Provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard…”

Ephesians 2:17
“And he came and preached peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

Hebrews 12:14
“Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

James 2:14-17
“What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

James 2:24
“You see that a man is justified by works and not faith alone.”

James 2:26
“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”

So here we have the other side of it. Just as works without faith will not get you into heaven, faith without works will not. If you have faith in the Word, you will live by the Way. The Word and the Way are perfectly embodied in Jesus. He gave the Word and he demonstrated the Way by living it out to its fullest extent.

4- That if you are not advocating or trying to live by, or if you are advocating or living by the opposite of his commandments, you can’t be considered a child “of God”.

James 4:17
“Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is a sin.”

Titus 1:16
“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed.”

2 Thessalonians 1:8
(Jesus’ angels will be) “...inflicting vengence upon those who do not ....obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

Romans 1:32
“Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.”

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By Skruff, April 10, 2007 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
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#62836 by roxy hart on 4/08 at 12:11 pm says:

“What is indeed amusing is that you, of all people, expect Christian charity from those you regularly attempt to discredit, defame, and ridicule.

The Lord requires justice and mercy. Think of me like the Guardian Angels, or like Bill O’Reilly. I’m lookin’ out for the folks.”

Hummm What does Jesus say about that?

(Matthew 5:5) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”

(Matthew) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well…”

(Matthew) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust….”

(Luke) “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well.”

(Luke) “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return (despairing of no man); and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.”

(Luke) “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

(Matthew) “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

(Matthew) “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

(Luke) “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you…. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

(John) “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone…”

(Matthew) “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”

(Luke) “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.”

(Matthew) “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven’.”

(Matthew) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

(Matthew) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

(Matthew) “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

(John) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another - even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

(John) “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

(John) “This I command you, to love one another.”

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By Skruff, April 9, 2007 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
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#62878 by Billy Flynn on 4/08 at 6:31 pm
says;

“In the first place, Hedges is no ‘brother.’”
Jesus considered Judas “a brother” despite his trechery (Acts 1;14)Do you contend Mr. Hedges is further beyond “redemption” than Judas?

“Second point: orthodox Christianity holds to the notion of fallen nature of mankind. One’s soul is in mortal danger from the get go. So your question is really moot. The real question is whether one accepts or rejects God’s plan for reconciliation.”
The question would be “moot” only if I held the beliefs of an orthodox xtian.  I do not.

“To summarize, the first passage is concerned with a reprobate, someone who discourages belief in Jesus.”

It would seem to me that this “sumarization would contridict your statements in post

“...if you believe words mean what they say. Whatever context you imagine, the words could not be more clear nor the meaning more certain.”

BUT

““but whoever causes one of THESE LITTLE ONES [emphasis added] who believe in me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.”” As you point out, words DO mean what they say. Jesus is speaking of “little ones”

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By Billy Flynn, April 8, 2007 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff,
In the first place, Hedges is no “brother.” If he were, he wouldn’t air his dirty laundry for all to see. It should be clear, from the preponderance of the posts on this thread, that he gives aid and comfort to the Christian haters, such as Lefty. If he had the welfare of the Chistian community in mind, he would make his criticisms known in a different spirit and venue. Does he expect to influence fundamentalists by posting on this left-wing site? In your dreams. This guy is simply a bomb thrower who couldn’t care less about the collateral damage. His rants will serve to harden the positions of those he criticizes, not to moderate them. As late as 1965, Jerry Falwell said that the clergy should refrain from political involvement. It was Roe v. Wade in 1973 that lead to a change in
Falwells views and practices. Anyone who has any knowledge of history knows that persecuting Christianity just makes it stronger. It survived Rome and the Soviet Union and it certainly will surive this pipsqueak Hedges.

Second point: orthodox Christianity holds to the notion of fallen nature of mankind. One’s soul is in mortal danger from the get go. So your question is really moot. The real question is whether one accepts or rejects God’s plan for reconciliation.

To summarize, the first passage is concerned with a reprobate, someone who discourages belief in Jesus. I presume his fate is an unhappy one, regardless of the age of his listeners. The second passage speaks to how believers should resolve disputes. Clearly, Hedges has not chosen the latter path and must therefore abide in the contempt of the Christian community.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 8, 2007 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
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As Christians celebrate the Death and Resurrection of the good Jesus Christ, who was supposed to have died for our sins, and for the glory and preservation of human life, the later day Christians fundamentalists continue to send their young people to far away lands to be sacrificed for the sins of evil Bush, Blair, Howard and gang and for the glory of the empire and the mighty dollar. What a contrast and what a continuing sad story!

For during this Easter weekend 10 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq and 6 more so-called coalition forces were killed in Afghanistan; not to mention the hundreds of Iraqis and Afghanis killed.

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By Skruff, April 8, 2007 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
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#62736 by Billy Flynn on 4/07 at 5:25 pm relates:

“Skruff,
I stand rebuked. I forgot the most important part of Matthew 18:6. I’m quoting verbatim now from the NASB:

“but whoever causes one of these little ones WHO BELIEVE IN ME [emphasis added] to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

I’m afraid Mr. Hedges is in serious jeopardy if you believe words mean what they say. Whatever context you imagine, the words could not be more clear nor the meaning more certain. “

Ahh yes, but as I said there is context.

The setting:

Jesus is sitting with his diciples and telling them how they must live their lives in order to get “into heaven” (no one has ever clearly stated what that means)

Jesus brings a small child into the group, and says that the diciples must “be as a child” (I’ll leave that to your imagination) in order to “see god.” The KJB quotes “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believes in me it were better if…and etc etc etc… As I read this verse it applies only to “offending children”  you disagree?

HOWEVER later in the same chapter Jesus tells the diciples;

Matt 18;15 “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault; between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee thou has gained thy brother.”

Now for the sake of argument, does that mean that one is endangering his immmortal soul by rebuking others for their beliefs and practices on this board in front of others?

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By roxy hart, April 8, 2007 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lefty,
Glad to help with your problem, but I recommend liposuction in your particular case.

What is indeed amusing is that you, of all people, expect Christian charity from those you regularly attempt to discredit, defame, and ridicule.

The Lord requires justice and mercy. Think of me like the Guardian Angels, or like Bill O’Reilly. I’m lookin’ out for the folks.

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By Lefty, April 8, 2007 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: #62736 by Billy Flynn on 4/07 at 5:25 pm
(Truthdig Guest)

“Skruff,
I stand rebuked. I forgot the most important part of Matthew 18:6. I’m quoting verbatim now from the NASB:

““but whoever causes one of these little ones WHO BELIEVE IN ME [emphasis added] to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.””

“I’m afraid Mr. Hedges is in serious jeopardy if you believe words mean what they say. Whatever context you imagine, the words could not be more clear nor the meaning more certain.”
————————————————————————-
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  Yes, I’m so sure Mr. Hedges is in jeopardy from the nothingness of Christian myth and fable.

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By Billy Flynn, April 7, 2007 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Skruff,
I stand rebuked. I forgot the most important part of Matthew 18:6. I’m quoting verbatim now from the NASB:

“but whoever causes one of these little ones WHO BELIEVE IN ME [emphasis added] to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

I’m afraid Mr. Hedges is in serious jeopardy if you believe words mean what they say. Whatever context you imagine, the words could not be more clear nor the meaning more certain.

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By Skruff, April 6, 2007 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
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The meanest comments, the most hostile speech, the most assaultive posts seem to be from self-identified xtians… For shame… Xtianity could have been a wonderfull religion…. too bad no one ever practiced it.

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By Lefty, April 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #61823 by roxy hart on 4/02 at 2:50 pm

“Lefty,
“When was the last time you saw the birth of George Washington? Did he exist or do we need repeatable evidence? When was the last time you saw birds evolve from reptiles? Did it happen or do we need repeatable evidence. I’m afraid your methodology is just a wee bit inadequate. By your logic, you couldn’t even prove that you were born. At least it’s my fervent hope that that sad event isn’t repeatable. Give my love to Madalyn.”
——————————————————————
LMAO! Spoken like a “real christian,” Roxy! You’ve helped to prove my point about Science and Christianity being mutually exclusive.

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By Skruff, April 3, 2007 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #61825 by billy flynn on 4/02 at 3:06 pm says:
“Skruff,
I can’t quote verbatim, but I think Jesus had some rather harsh things to say about reprobates of the Chris Hedges class. “If anyone offends one of these little ones, it would be better if a millstone was hung around his neck and he was drowned in the depths of the sea,” or something close. Given Chris Hedges on-going assault on things religious, I think my preview of his destiny is quite mild. He should be so lucky.”

Then get it right, and in context

Find it in Matthew 18:6

“Will they have Mogan-David in heaven?
Oh lord we all want to know.
Will they have Mogan-David in heaven sweet jesus?
If they don’t, who the hell wants to go?”

(Gatlin Bros)

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By billy flynn, April 2, 2007 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff,
I can’t quote verbatim, but I think Jesus had some rather harsh things to say about reprobates of the Chris Hedges class. “If anyone offends one of these little ones, it would be better if a millstone was hung around his neck and he was drowned in the depths of the sea,” or something close. Given Chris Hedges on-going assault on things religious, I think my preview of his destiny is quite mild. He should be so lucky.

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By roxy hart, April 2, 2007 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
When was the last time you saw the birth of George Washington? Did he exist or do we need repeatable evidence? When was the last time you saw birds evolve from reptiles? Did it happen or do we need repeatable evidence. I’m afraid your methodology is just a wee bit inadequate. By your logic, you couldn’t even prove that you were born. At least it’s my fervent hope that that sad event isn’t repeatable. Give my love to Madalyn.

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By Skruff, April 2, 2007 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
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Comment #61517 by billy flynn on 3/31 at 10:20 am says:

“Let him rant. Like Madalyn Murray O’Hare, ”

There’s a lot of that going around.


“.... he is destined for the trash dump of history. God speed…”

a xtian expression of love no doubt.

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By Lefty, April 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #61253 by ROXY HART on 3/29 at 4:21 pm

“Actually, Michael Behe is a Roman Catholic. That no more discredits him as a scientist than does Richard Dawkins atheism discredit him.”
———————————————————————-
Yes it does! 

Science and faith are mutually exclusive.  Science is based on the presence of empirical, observable, repeatable evidence.  Faith is based on the absence of empirical, observable, repeatable evidence.  When you have proof, you don’t need faith.

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By billy flynn, March 31, 2007 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
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Susan28,
You couldn’t be more wrong. Hedges is virulently anti-Christian. If you doubt it, read his latest diatribe on this site, “A World Where Lies are True.” He apparently thinks he has to debunk Christianity to promote his version of reality. It’s been tried before by men (and women) far more capable than he. They are gone and Christianity is alive and well. If the Soviet Union couldn’t extinguish it, we needn’t worry about poor, pathetic Chris Hedges. Let him rant. Like Madalyn Murray O’Hare, he is destined for the trash dump of history. God speed.

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By susan28, March 30, 2007 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
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again these discussions of religion in politics seem to keep coming down to whether a particular religion (usually Christianity) is “true” or not (we get sidetracked and i’m as guilty as anyone here) but Hedges’ article has nothing to do with whether or not Christ rose from the dead or any other Christian tenet. it’s about the question of imposing one’s religious values on others via secualr law, with the subtext of whether or not Christian values are in keeping with right-wing politics to begin with. 

i have a friend where anytime you dispute the right wing (political) agenda - anything from Iraq to corporate welfare - she says things like “there are lots of Christians out there, you shouldn’t attack them”, as though Christianity and “right wing” were somehow inseperable, which they clearly aren’t, but the Right, sadly, is succeeding in painting it that way.

this seems more about the political overthrow of a religion than vice versa.   

i’ve oft noted Antipas Ministries as an example of a Christian organisation that is not allied with the radical right, and provides ample Biblical text to explain why, and who do not advocate codifying the Bible into secular law. whether or not they should is up for debate, but the arguments of Antipas and of the Focus member who disagrees with Dobson - for better or worse - shows that believing in Christ does not necessarily lock one into the political Right, and, more importantly, that challenging the Right is not tantamount to challenging Christ, as the Right would have us believe.

this is what i get from Hedges’ article. it wasn’t about attacking Christianity, it was about attacking the Right’s co-opting of same. as with women in the Mafia, they don’t use the Mob, the Mob uses them, and i fear it’s the same with the Right’s exploiting of the social anxiety of sincere Christians like my friend, who views any critique of the Right as an attack on Christianity. but i think the “war on sin”, now as with the Pharisees, is just another attempt to distract the faithful from the (rich) man behind the curtain, who pays lip service to virtue while delivering Christ to the Romans.

and Skruff you’ve got some good points on the “21” thing. i fully agree that whatever we set as the “age of consent” should apply across the board, from military service to court proceedings to substance use. the latter is an emotional issue for people and the “brain development” thing seemed to be a nice objective way to arrive at the “magic number” without sacrificing individual rights at the altar of “moral panics”. as you said those studies are debatable (especially as they were politically motivated), but that’s the nice thing about science; it *is* debatable and can change as new facts are learned (or frauds exposed).

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By Lefty, March 29, 2007 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #61183 by Ethan Baker on 3/29 at 10:01 am

“As to Dobson, I stand by the positive things I said about him a while back.”
————————————————————

Well, there you have it.  Ethan Baker is cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo . . . .

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By ROXY HART, March 29, 2007 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
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Actually, Michael Behe is a Roman Catholic. That no more discredits him as a scientist than does Richard Dawkins atheism discredit him.

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By Skruff, March 29, 2007 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #61183 by Ethan Baker on 3/29 at 10:01 am

“...Many of scruff’s on religion seemed narrow-minded and came out of ignorance…”

I have attempted to be civil. If what you read offends you I think you are correct to take the action (not responding) that you see fit.

Attacking folks in an enviornment such as this (where one does not have to look into the eyes of those they insult) is a cowardly pursuit… and one who echews “name-calling” should refrain from “naming” (labeling) others. 

As for foaming at the mouth vehemence… you proved your point by showing the rest of us what foam is.

I’ve got plenty left, and will be happy to respond to you.

I suggest if you don’t care for argument, a “liberal” (sic) chat-board is a poor place for a self identified Conservative to hang….

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By Ethan Baker, March 29, 2007 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
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Wow, this forum is a mess. Squabbling back-and-forth name calling, “bigot” thrown around as a catchphrase, unfounded claims on both sides, he said - she said nonsense. Apparently, almost everyone here believes EVERYTHING they hear or read (as long as it seems to back up their opinion). The only attempts at even half-intelligent argument I’ve see here are the ones on the legal drinking age and abortion. (most of the time) This page has turned into a joke.

Reading many of the posts by lefty made me alternate laughing and rolling my eyes throughout. The ones by billy flynn were not much better. Lefty said to billy: “Your comments are a combination of false premises, misrepresentations, and conclusions based thereon.” If that’s true, Lefty’s comments are just as bad if not worse. Many of scruff’s on religion seemed narrow-minded and came out of ignorance.

On a side not, I’ve always wondered why the typical liberal-minded person’s response to opposition is to foam at the mouth. If their positions are so absolutely righteous, why do they feel the need to defend them so vehemently? What are they afraid of? They also seem to believe that calling others bigots somehow nullifies their own overwhelming bigotry. “All Christians” are a favorite target.

As to Dobson, I stand by the positive things I said about him a while back. To those who think he’s a cruel villain, don’t believe everything you hear…not even misguided babble from Focus on the Family co-founders.

I will not respond to any of the posts here directly (anymore), but I will leave a small list of good books for those ready to learn a thing or two.

1. Darwin’s Black Box by Michael J. Behe - guaranteed to shoot a gaping hole in the irrational, scientifically bankrupt myth of evolution. (this guy’s not even a Christian.)

2. More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell - The Bible may be more valid than you know.

3. In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph.D. - Religious belief and science are quite reconcilable.

4. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel - Take it from a guy who spent years trying to disprove the claims of Christ.

And please don’t go off and simply download some dumb review off an atheist website like some I’ve talked to have done. READ the book. These can probably all be found in a library.

Be careful about believing everything you read…

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By Harry H Snyder III, March 29, 2007 at 5:12 am Link to this comment
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Comment #61030 by old benjamin on 3/28 at 3:37 pm

I am in fact an ANCIENT jarhead. Another senior moment

Vietnam?

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By susan28, March 28, 2007 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Skruff:

i *totally* agree that the “adulthood” distinction should be applied across the board and not selectively. i said 21 because that’s what i’ve gathered from what i’ve read in various places, but am very much open to all discussion on the matter (perhaps in private so as ot to hijack the thread too much.. these are “moral law” issues so it kind of fits in, but we may be pushing it).

the main thing is, whatever we can agree upon as “the age of reason”, or the age when we are at full steam mentally - or even if *not* fully developed, but able to understand the risks and ramifications of our actions, thereby providing yet another valid challenge to my “21” statement - should be the age at which we can legally join the military, drink, smoke, toke, trip, roll, freak, tweak, gamble, view porn, engage in prostitution, pay a willing doctor to help us end our lives, and be tried as an adult for any transgressions we may commit upon the liberty of others - excluding, of course, their liberty to infringe upon ours with anti-freedom “blue laws”.. i’ll fight *that* nasty bit of puritan fascism til the day i die..

bottom line: one age, one status in all arenas. i advocate complete consistency on this matter and didn’t mean to convey otherwise. no one-upsmanship here, Skruff, except against the moral bigotry of those who claim the non-existent right to make others conform to their own standards of personal behaviour. i’ll see that ante and raise it every time..

regarding trying kids as adults based solely on the offense, that’s bollocks, as is asking people to fight but not letting them drink when they get home after risking their lives for their country. either don’t draft ‘em til 21 or let ‘em drink at 18, one or the other, stats be damned. basing the legal drinking (or smoking etc) age on accident stats is bollocks. that’s punishing a whole group for the actions of some.. unacceptable! insurance is a private business that has a right to profile people demographically (though it could be argued that since driving insurance is legally required there could be some regulation there) but the law is public and needs to presume innocence or all is lost. you’re either old enough to be held accountable (and therefore be legal) or not. 

so i hope you can see from this that fairness is priority one for me, Skruff, and i’ll be nothing but grateful to you for calling me on anything that suggests it’s not, as you did above. i respect your perspective a great deal.. it’s saved me alot of posting, infact smile

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By old benjamin, March 28, 2007 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Skruff;
I dun it, accidentally. I meant to address it to you but put your name in the wrong place. My apologies. I am in fact an ANCIENT jarhead. Another senior moment…

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By Skruff, March 28, 2007 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I did not write Comment #60753 although it is listed as; “by Skruff” 

I disagree with most of the ideas put forth in the post, as well as the cowardly posting under the identity of another.

I don’t believe a marine, former or otherwise, would post in this manner
Semper Fidelis

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By Skruff, March 27, 2007 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Being an ancient jarhead, I speak with some authority. Eighteen-year-olds (especially males)make bold warriors. They also make aggressive drivers, especially when they are DUI. They get into accidents far out of proportion to their numbers; hence their auto insurance rates. They don’t have to volunteer for military service if they feel the law is unfair. I prefer the drinking stay at 21 for the sake of those who are more likely to stay alive as a consequence.

Fact is, 18 year-olds were able to drink on base when I was one, but we were relatively isolated from the civilian population and just ended up in the local brig if we got out too rowdy. I see no need to rush things.

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By Skruff, March 26, 2007 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #60369 by susan28 on 3/25 at 1:48 pm says

“i would advocate the legal age being 21, as that’s when studies have shown the brain is essentially developed. anything before that and you risk stunting development - a Very Bad Thing.”

actually there are as many results on this as there are studies.  The Insurance companies (who insure “young adult” drivers say 25, but most of our common law is based on a study which says 18.

Now here’s a question on the above.  If a person is not considered “legally” a full adult until they are 21.  Why are they charged, and tried as adults for crimes committed after their 18th birthday? (sometimes much younger)

AND when my young friends return from fighting in Iraq (and elsewhere) shouldn’t I be able to take them out for a beer here at home?

Is anyone on this board interested in fairness… or is it just oneupsmanship.

Folks under 21…. the last minority it is still safe to dump on!

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By susan28, March 26, 2007 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
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when i said “and there could reasonably be said to be a social contract between mother and child if the latter knowingly engages in potentially procreational behaviour”.

sorry, i meant “former” .. long day yesterday..

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By roxy hart, March 26, 2007 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Skruff,
I believe “that our collection of thieves, wife batterers, and childmolesters that we refer to as “congress” are the same bunch that we elect. Water rises no higher than its source. But good luck to you anyway. Maybe you’ll discover an exception to the laws of nature

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By Skruff, March 26, 2007 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
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Comment #60335 by roxy hart on 3/25 at 9:12 am Says:

Skruff,
You and I are basically in agreement. Where we diverge is that you long for a perfect world and I am resigned to an imperfect one. Yes, in a truly civil world, there would be no need for law, but this one is far from that. As Judy Garland put it:

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

I don’t know where you get the idea that I
“long for a perfect world”
or believe one is possible.

I believe the folks making the laws are as flawed as those they are attempting(unsuccessfully) to stiffle.  Do you believe that our collection of thieves, wife batterers, and childmolesters that we refer to as “congress” are the best people to tell the rest of us how to live.

Sorry Ms Hart… I want better than that for myself and my family…. and the devil take the rest.

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By Lefty, March 25, 2007 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #60251 by Billy Flynn on 3/24 at 3:46 pm

“Lefty,
Prove that you are not an empty-headed, vicious bigot; then I’ll be happy to prove whatever you like.”
————————————————————————-

Just what I expected from a real Christian like you, Billy, more childish name calling and non-sequiturs. 

I’ve already proven my intellect to everyone who is willing to be honest, which you, the Christian, are not.  Further, merely pointing out the truth of your Christian arrogance, ignorance and bigotry does not make me a bigot.  It makes me an observant bystander.

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By susan28, March 25, 2007 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
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“In conclusion, I don’t care what you are anybody else does in private, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. If it harms me or mine, then we have a problem”.

glad we agree smile 

regarding parental consent, i wouldn’t propose violating that, but that’s not a function of prohibition or the lack thereof, it’s a parental rights issue and has nothing whatsoever to do with drugs. and the fact is that prohibition faciliatates the black market that gives kids unrestricted access to drugs. the “think of the children” argument for prohibition is simply backward. requiring ID for purchase protects the children; driving the market from licensed retailers onto the mean streets is responsible for early access to drugs, which is why i was offered my first joint at age 11, but my first beer at age 17 - the age was 18 at the time and that’s the age my friends began to look legal, and if the merchants did their job they couldn’t have bought any. but no clerk would have *ever* sold beer to an 11 year old. the financial incentive just wouldn’t be there for a peon employee or a stray customer - but it *is* there for a black-market dealer. nuff said.

i would advocate the legal age being 21, as that’s when studies have shown the brain is essentially developed. anything before that and you risk stunting development - a Very Bad Thing.

regarding the 2A, yes those rights are being violated - but i was being facetious with that comment; what i meant was that when negotiations break down the only thing *left* is violence, which is why we mustn’t *let* them break down, and why no one group must ever try to lord it over another so severely and rigidly that the other side has no choice but to either fight or “conform” to a situation they view as untenable.

this is why i advocate not legislating anything that falls outside the parameter you expressed above, and with which i wholeheartedly agree. people’s personal “morals” are not negotiable, provided those morals don’t involve robbery, fraud or assault - and that means not punishing non-violent drug users for the acts of an extreme minority of unscrupulous ones.

adults potentially harming themselves is their own business, and i don’t think “social costs” like “lost productivity” or “impact on insurance costs” are justification. the notion that we “owe society productivity” is a socialist concept, not a conservative one, and the insurance thing can be handled as with smoking and seatbelts, where payouts are reduced and/or premiums raised if the person eschews belts or endangers their health with ciggies. and anyone who isn’t capable of embracing or rejecting the “message” sent by others’ lifestyles, seem to me to be the ones with the defective moral compass? “but children don’t have that judgment”, you say? right! so we need to keep them away from drugs til they’re 21, which regulation does and prohibition doesn’t. it would also eliminate almost all “drug related” (ie turf war) violence over night. but we’d rather see our kids on drugs than be accused of “sending the wrong message”,  and that’s just plain irresponsible. parents need to send the messages while society finds ways to repect people’s eights in ways that keep kids safe. 

don’t believe me? ask the cops

regarding abortion, there really is valid arguments on both sides. it’s a real corker, even for Libertarians, and there could reasonably be said to be a social contract between mother and child if the latter knowingly engages in potentially procreational behaviour. as for me, i claim right of ownership of my body and won’t take any passengers i didn’t invite, such a sin case of rape - and as far as rape prevention i refer once again to the 2A smile

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By roxy hart, March 25, 2007 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
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Skruff,
You and I are basically in agreement. Where we diverge is that you long for a perfect world and I am resigned to an imperfect one. Yes, in a truly civil world, there would be no need for law, but this one is far from that. As Judy Garland put it:

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

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By Billy Flynn, March 24, 2007 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lefty,
Prove that you are not an empty-headed, vicious bigot; then I’ll be happy to prove whatever you like.

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By Skruff, March 23, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #60066 by roxy hart on 3/23 at 11:27 says:

“Civil society depends on law.”

No Ms Hart, A controlled civility may depend on law in some cases, BUT a truely “civil” society would need no law.

My objection to “the rule of law” is that it has become a race to the bottom. 

Laws should be simple and few.  When Lincoln studied for the law, there were two skinny books that contained all the laws of the land… Now one fat library couldn’t hold enough books to contain all the US law.

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By roxy hart, March 23, 2007 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
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Susan28,
You say the Second Amendment is the answer to potential abuse by the courts. So how is that working for us? I haven’t seen any moderation of the courts activism that is attributable to exercise of Second Amendment rights. The only moderation, if there has been any, is attributable to Bush’s recent appointments to the Supreme Court.

Your analogy with vehicles and mothers’ bodies isn’t very close. If you pick up passengers and get in an accident, you will very likely be liable for injuries they may have suffered. You sound like a Libertarian. I am very sympathetic with that perspective, but there are no unfettered rights. My rights extend no further than my neighbors nose if I am swinging my arms. We have laws because it’s necessary to have some objective standards about what is permissible. None of us can be relied upon to be as fastidious about others’ rights as we are about our own. Civil society depends on law. Those who can’t or won’t conform simply can’t coexist peacefully with the rest of.

With respect to the “right to privacy,” I find it curious that it was only discovered in the Constitution about 35 years ago. In the previous 180-plus years of our history, no one, no court knew about it. Are the modern crop of judges more astute then all their predecessors? No, I think not. Rather, the Supremes wanted to find for Roe and needed a rationale. Roe V. Wade was the best they could do. What we have is clearly legislation from the bench, a function limited by the Constitution to the Congress.

In conclusion, I don’t care what you are anybody else does in private, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. If it harms me or mine, then we have a problem. With respect to illicit drugs, I don’t see decriminalization as the way to go. Take a look at what’s going in California. Physicians can prescribe pot for just about anything and even to juveniles without parents’ consent. In this case, the cure is worse than the disease, individually and societally.

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By Lefty, March 22, 2007 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #59593 by billy flynn on 3/20 at 6:01 pm

Wrong on all counts, Billy Boy!  Like the Christo-fascist, republican that you are, you are unable to make an argument without the aid of false premises and non-sequiturs.

Clinton never did charge Newt Gingrich with infidelity.  Rather, the hypocrisy was Gingrich seeking Clinton’s impeachment for lying about his infidelity.  If history doesn’t support your argument, as a Christian, you are quite capable of inventing a history that does, right Billy!  This also proves that you are quite able and willing to be as big a hypocrite as Nutty Newt.

The founding fathers did not engage in religious babblings, Billy.  They repudiated Christianity.  Your pejorative comments about this repudiation are quite pathetic and childish.  Whether they are authorities on science is a non-sequitur, Billy.  They were authorities on, and first hand witnesses of, the evil of Christianity, which they took great care to remedy with the “wall of separation between church and state” created by the 1st Amendment. 

It’s funny you should declaim that the founding fathers have no particular religious expertise when so many of your fellow born again Christian psychopaths insist that the founding fathers were all ordained ministers.  I think your arguments would be more effective, and less comical, if you Christians could get your story straight on that one.

What is supremely laughable is your comment that a particular scientist’s atheist agenda drives his science.  There is nothing more irreconcilable than science and faith, Billy.  They are mutually exclusive.  The basis of science is the rejection of faith, and the reliance on empirical, observable, repeatable evidence.  For 2000 years Christians have insisted that blind faith was required by God because there was absolutely no proof of the existence of their God, or any other Christian myths and fables.  The concurrent arrogance and stupidity of you modern day Christians is revealed in your willingness to now accept the dogma of your demagogue Christian leaders that Christianity is both faith and science (intelligent design).  How embarrassing for you, Billy.

My assertion that the bible is supported by nothing other than primitive superstition, is no less true than my assertion that water is wet, fire is hot, the grass is green and the sky is blue.  Christianity arises out of the same primitive ignorance that every other religion arises out of - fear of the unknown and the instinctive drive to understand and explain what isn’t understood, to wit, because a Christian cannot understand something, he therefore concludes that God must have done it.  If my assertions are false Billy, prove it!  Prove that there is an invisible God in the sky, an invisible demon under the ground, that Jesus is both the son of God and God at the same time, that Mary was impregnated by God and remained a virgin, that Jesus was dead and then came back to life, that humans have immortal souls and that after their bodies are dead, these souls will spend eternity in 1 of 2 invisible places, heaven or hell, prove that there are such places as heaven or hell.  Prove that any of THESE foundational Christian beliefs are founded upon anything more than blind faith, Billy.

Your observation that Christianity is gaining popularity in the 3rd world only serves to support the fact that Christianity is founded upon superstition and ignorance.  Where else would such myths and fables as Christianity be faster accepted than the uneducated 3rd world.  It’s quite disgusting the way Christians pray on and brainwash the most vulnerable.  It didn’t occur to you that your comment supports my argument because you are so brainwashed yourself that you are unable to engage in objective, independent, critical thinking.

As for the cookie monster, he is equally likely to save you from the dark as the 2000 year old dead Jew, Jesus, Billy Boy.

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By Skruff, March 22, 2007 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #59772 by ROXY HART on 3/21 at 4:29 pm asks:

Skruff,
Yes, I gathered you were talking about “Dr. Dobson’s anti-child hate.” I just have no clue what you mean by that. I have listened to him for years and never detected anti-child hate. Please elucidate.

BTW: You are to be HIGHLY commended for fostering even one child, let alone over a hundred. Truly awesome.

I’ll start with the children ... I deserve no commendation for having the privledge of knowing the children I fostered over the years.  Some were harder to live through than others, BUT ALL made my life richer, and I dare say they taught me far more than I taught them.

As to Dodson and his teachings.. Violence begets violence, his advocacy condoning the striking of children (as punishment) and his unprofessional advice concerning children who wet their bed are my chief bugaboos… HOWEVER there are whole websites dedicated to these subjects, so I won’t clutter up this page.

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By ROXY HART, March 21, 2007 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff,
Yes, I gathered you were talking about “Dr. Dobson’s anti-child hate.” I just have no clue what you mean by that. I have listened to him for years and never detected anti-child hate. Please elucidate.

BTW: You are to be HIGHLY commended for fostering even one child, let alone over a hundred. Truly awesome.

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By susan28, March 21, 2007 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
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“Here’s something to ponder. What protects us from the abuse by the courts?”

Answer: the 2nd Amendment..

i do believe we own our bodies, however. they’re our vehicles, and as with our cars, we have right of refusal over who we carry inside them. we’re under no obligation to pick up passengers, or to carry them to their destination if we do, even if not to would result in their doom.

a mother isn’t claiming ownership over the baby, just her own body. for the government to control that is for it to own her body. she doesn’t own the kid anymore than it owns her. 

infact, old Prussia and Nazi Germany, and Stalin’s Russia as well i think (not sure of the latter) required monthly menstruation reports from all women of birthing age, to track pregnancies and make sure the state wasn’t being deprived of its rightful property. abortion was considered treason; the destruction of a national resourcre.

the same goes for drug use. for the government to have jurisdiction over what goes in the body constitutes ownership of it, which is communism. the ownership of the individual by the collective. this is why drug prohibition could only be done thru the tax code, otherwise it runs afoul of the Constitution, as with gun prohibitions - the former being patterned after the latter. both falied in their initial direct attempts until some traitor figured out the “insterstate commerce” angle and the Court rubber-stamped it “for the good of the country”. this is why alcohol prohibition required an amendment, because they hadn’t yet figured out the tax angle. don’t believe me? then ask why the DEA is a branch of the Treasury dept. now *that* was judicial activism. all “for the children”, of course.. guess, as they say, “the children” win some and they lose some..

so yes, we do have a right to privacy, as privacy is a function of self-ownership (our bodies are our private property). but as shown above, this right is summarily violated in the name of “blue laws” (drug prohibition, prostitution laws, gambling laws, even seatbelt laws), or “public safety” (gun control), so the somewhat inconsistent respecting of that same privacy in the Roe decision, which i believe was correct, could absolutely be called “selective” respecting of privacy.

we need to somehow link Roe to these other issues, as only when the law takes its hands off our bodies, minds, gaming habits, and arsenals can we truly lay claim to the word “private”, that all-important precursor to any free society.

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By Skruff, March 21, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #59595 by roxy hart on 3/20 at 6:05 pm asks

Skruf

“I have fostered over 100 children over thirty years, and wouldn’t subject ANY of them to “dr” Dobson’s anti-child hate.”

Whatever are you talking about?


I’m talking about ““dr” Dobson’s anti-child hate.”

I thought that was fairly clear… But my first language is German, so if I have erred, please elucidate.

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By Roxy Hart, March 21, 2007 at 11:41 am Link to this comment
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Dave-el,
I’m afraid your post is a hopeless muddle. The Constitution was never at issue. The Supremes simply wanted to legislate from the bench. Viola’, Roe v. Wade. They knew the outcome of the hearing before they heard the case. The rest is window dressing, and very tacky at that.

Yes, certainly, the Court could have and should have declined to hear the case - on the grounds that there was no federal issue at stake. Your allusion to “reading between the lines” is tantamount to admitting that there was no federal case to be made. Why else would the Court decline to hear the case? Even Ruth Ginsburg said the states should have had the opportunity to enact their own legislation regulating abortion, as they saw fit. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

You seem to be unaware that we have a federal system of government wherein power is shared between the states and the federal government. Powers not expressly granted to the federal government REMAIN with the states. The “right to privacy,” from which the right to abortion was derived, is a preposterous notion that could be stretched to protect all sorts of mischief. It could have been argued, for example, that, since slaves were property, the right to privacy rendered their owners’ treatment of them a matter of personal discretion. Such an argument is not far removed from the fact of Roe v. Wade. Women, in effect, own the child they are carrying and have life and death authority over it.

You are largely correct in saying the states don’t have the right to interpret the Constitution in the sense that it is the Supreme Court that has ultimate authority. What you overlook is the fact that it is the legislative bodies that make law, not an unelected bunch of elitists that think they what is best for everyone else. Here’s something to ponder. What protects us from the abuse by the courts?

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By Dave-el, March 20, 2007 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment
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The fact is, abortions were performed routinely by doctors and hospitals under procedures that had code names such as D&S. The unpopularity of the case is because it brought out into the open that which all the authorities knew was being done in secret. I think the court could have chosen not to hear the case. If you could read between the lines that’s what all the rational people are saying.
In any case it was most certainly NOT a userpation of power,nor an impudently claimed authority. The states do not have the right to interpret the Constitution. For that matter the congress nor the president do not have that authority. All elected officials are subject to populism. The justices are appointed for life to keep us from mob rule,or take over by a faction.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

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By roxy hart, March 20, 2007 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
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Skruf

“I have fostered over 100 children over thirty years, and wouldn’t subject ANY of them to “dr” Dobson’s anti-child hate.”

Whatever are you talking about?

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By billy flynn, March 20, 2007 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
What is truly laughable is your hypocrisy. Your charge of arrogance is like Bill Clinton charging Newt Gingrich with infidelity. It’s unclear whom you include among the “most respected thinkers in modern history.” I did and do dismiss the religious babblings of Adams, Jefferson, and Paine. For one thing, Jefferson and Adams come down on both sides of the fence. For every quote by either of them that you cite supporting your views, I will find at least two supporting mine. For another, they have no particular religious expertise. Should I consider them authorities on science simply because their political views still hold sway? I think not, any more so than I would accept the scientific views of Robespierre. Similarly, I have respect for their religious views simply because their politics may have utility. If you are talking about Sam Harris being a respected thinker, he has no scientific credibility at all, zero scientific publications. What he has published are polemics against religion based upon his atheistic presuppositions. The likes of him attempting to vilify Francis Collins, a real scientist, is hilarious, not to mention ridiculous. The methodology he proposes to use to unlock the secrets of the brain is truly laughable, but that’s another story. With respect to Richard Dawkins, he is indeed a real scientist. Unfortunately, he is as objective as Dan Rather on the subject of George Bush’s National Guard service. His atheist agenda drives his science. Check out what Stephen Gould had to say about his religious views. They are almost as biased and backward as your own. Yes, I do look for a degree of competence and objectivity before I seriously consider anyone’s views, especially yours.

Your assertions about the primitive nature of the supernatural in the Bible are simply that, assertions, as are all of your attempts to discredit religion and Christianity. It is again YOUR arrogance that dismisses what you cannot understand or explain on the basis of YOUR presuppositions. Your assertion that the Bible contains plagiarized nonsense is simply false. As usual, you make ignorant statements that you cannot and will not back up.

As for being “doomed to extinction,” I think you will find the Christian population of this country to be in the range of 85 percent. In fact, Pentecostalism is making great gains across the globe. Seems it has particular appeal in the Third World, where your kind of tripe is rejected as the nonsense it is. The Christian population in South Korea has grown from nothing to 50 percent since 1900. Even the Post Moderns reject your flaming anti-Christian bigotry as an example of backward, 18th century rationalism. I am afraid it is you, Lefty that has been left behind. Even Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s kid saw her and her campaign against religion as disgusting and pathetic frauds. I hear she came to a bad end and ultimately brought nothing but discredit on her failed cause. Look out, Lefty. You could be next, after Sam Harris and Chris Hedges.

BTW: I will accept your refutation of ID, because I know you did stand naked in front of a full-length mirror. No one could view such a horror and maintain his faith. Wait, didn’t old Charley say something about the survival of the fittest? Hmm, well, don’t feel too badly. You may not make the cut, but just think of the glorious future in store for the human race as we evolve always upward. Speaking again of extinction, how do you think your kind are going to fare when our sun goes dark? They’ll think of something, I’m sure. Maybe a Cookie Monster from space will rescue them. Well, good luck and may Richard Dawkins bless.

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By Skruff, March 20, 2007 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
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“Dobson is a good, decent, godly man and a hero. He stands for decency and integrity in the middle of a fallen, rotting American culture.”

Finally… MEAT!!!

Dobson is a pioneer in the right wing’s effort to “know everything about everything.”

  I have fostered over 100 children over thirty years, and wouldn’t subject ANY of them to “dr” Dobson’s anti-child hate. As to the “rotting American Culture I ask:

What breed is a mutt?

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By Lefty, March 20, 2007 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
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Billy Flynn,

Your typical Christian arrogance is laughable.  You declaim that you summarily dismiss the opinions of some of the most respected thinkers in modern history, because you are unable to refute their conclusions substantively, all of which serves to prove that your Christian brainwashing has robbed you of your ability to reason. 

Although the bible may contain some accurate accounts of historical events, the accounts of the supernatural in the bible are exclusively primitive, superstitious nonsense, plagiarized from the prior superstitious nonsense that preceeded it, and equally doomed to the scrapheap of mythology - where it belongs.

As for Deism, which you declaim to be extinct, I would argue that a significant number, if not a majority, of those who you would call Christians today are, in fact, Deists.  Does the term “higher power” ring a bell, Billy?  But, unlike Christianity, it isn’t dogma, brainwashing, torture and murder that brings people to this conclusion.  Unlike Christianity, there is no Deist church, no Deist army of God, no Deist corruption of public government.  Deism arises out of logic, reason, rationality, and the inate human desire to do good and be good, all of which is utterly irreconcilable with the blind faith demanded by mythological Christianity, and the threat of punishment, torture and death for rejecting the preposterous myth of Christianity.

As for intelligent design, Billy, I will, with ease, conclusively disprove it for you once and for all - take off all of your cloths and stand completely naked in front of a full length mirror.  smile 

Evolution has left you and your kind behind, Billy.  It is you who have failed to adapt and who are doomed to extinction.

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By Billy Flynn, March 19, 2007 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment
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Joe,
Yes, indeed I did dismiss what they (Jefferson, Adams and Paine) said, just as I would dismiss what Ptolemy said about the solar system. Ptolemy is outmoded and so are they. They were politically astute but their religious sentiments belong to the 18th century. They arose within the mechanistic framework of Newtonian science, which was consistent with Deism. Look around you now and let me know how many Deists you find. They are an extinct breed.

As for your assertion that one needn’t know modern science or the results of modern literary criticism, you are right in the sense that that doesn’t stop no-nothings from spouting off. There is a large body of bibliographical and archaeological evidence that confirms the reliability of the Bible. I would go so far as to say “mountains of evidence.”  Certainly, Jefferson, Adams and Paine knew nothing about it. The evidence was accumulated largely within the 20th century, a bit after their time. The Big Bang, the Anthropic Principle, and Intelligent Design are consistent with a creator God. Again, Jefferson, Adams and Paine knew absolutely nothing about these scientific discoveries that are at least as supportive of creation as they are of anything else. Those who say otherwise are speaking from sheer philosophical bias, scientism but not science.

On to Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I’m glad you brought them up. Please cite for me Harris’ scientific publications. Until you do, I dismiss him summarily. BTW: he has none. As for Dawkins, even Stephen Gould (no friend of religion) has taken him to task for his polemics against religion. It’s fair to say that Dawkins uses his “science” as a battering ram in support of his atheistic presuppositions. Unfortunately for him, as Gould has pointed out, his science neither proves nor disproves religion. His theory about “memes” is every bit as speculative as anything in religion and is utterly without substantiation. He is as convincing as Madalyn Murray O’Hair and equally disingenuous. You could hardly have chosen two more disreputable shysters to make your case.

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By susan28, March 19, 2007 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
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re: Comment #59273 by Ethan Baker

“Everything Hedges has said about Christians in this interview is utter hogwash. I have never seen the racists, the addicted to violence, the anti-immigrants, those desiring to create a so-called “Christian State”, or those that believe that health insurance and unemployment benefits are irrelevant”.

and: “Dobson is a good, decent, godly man and a hero. He stands for decency and integrity in the middle of a fallen, rotting American culture. Hedges must be a lunatic is all I can figure”.

regarding the first bit, google “Rushdoony” and you’ll find both a *huge* movement of (in my opinion, “non”) Christians that support him and his racist/violent/hate-based philosophy, and the theology he uses to back it up. they openly advocate both slavery and “morality killings” as well as openly condemning democracy as “satanic” and calling for Taliban-style theocracy.

regarding Dobson, maybe you’ll believe this Public Apology and Appeal by Gil Alexander-Moegerle Co-Founder of Focus on the Family, excerpted below: 

  “I have come to issue.. an apology for certain actions and attitudes on the part of the Christian Right in general and James Dobson and Focus on the Family in particular: First, I apologize to the women of America for the sexist attitudes all-too-often displayed by James Dobson and the organization I helped found. I apologize to African Americans and other ethnic minorities who are concerned by the continuing vestiges of intolerance in the land and by the dangerous role James Dobson, a wealthy, powerful, white, heterosexual male, plays in promoting intolerance.

  I apologize to lesbian and gay Americans who are demeaned and dehumanized on a regular basis by the false, irresponsible, and inflammatory rhetoric of James Dobson’s anti-gay radio and print materials.

  I apologize to Jewish Americans as well as Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and atheist Americans who are also victims of the dangerous words and divisive political actions of James Dobson, who claims quite falsely that this is a “Christian nation” that should be “ruled” by fundamentalist Christians and their doctrines.

  I am ashamed of my former colleagues for their attacks on you and for their pattern of slamming the doors of reasonable access in your face. And I encourage you to bang those doors down, to investigate, and to report the truth about the threat James Dobson and other religious extremists pose to the American tradition of tolerance, inclusivity and the separation of church and state.

  And I apologize to my fellow Christian Americans, many of whom have been misled by a man I once loved and trusted. I hope you will not make the same mistake I made in letting my personal loyalty to an old friend blind me to the unchristian and un-American words and actions of James Dobson and so many of his Focus on the Family guests.

  I apologize to any American who has felt the sting of James Dobson and the Christian Right wagging their holier-than-thou fingers in your face, shrieking that because your views differ from theirs, you are ungodly, evil and unworthy of the rights of full citizenship.

  Please don’t let these extremists confuse you about the life and teachings of Jesus. He spoke in love. I regret that Jim and Focus have not”.

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By billy flynn, March 19, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
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Ben Takin,
I don’t see what Tom Jefferson, Jim Madison and “secular revolution” have to do with the essence of Christianity, which was the question put to eClaire. Yes, they advocated “separation of church and state,” whatever that means. Obviously, Jefferson was equivocal on the matter, having attended church services in the Capitol. But I digress. These two relics are no more authorities on the true meaning of Christianity than is Joe Sixpack. They were not theologically educated. Rather, they were a product of 18th century rationalism, another discredited Weltanschauung in a long and hoary line. In case you haven’t noticed, Post Moderns are much more accepting of religion, even though they themselves may not claim religious sentiment. They, from the vantage point of today, are much more aware of the limitations of human reason than were the rationalists of the 18th century. Awareness of ones limitations promotes humility and tolerance, not hubris and exclusivity. To the extent that Hedges or the Dominionists claim a monopoly on truth, I condemn them all. To the extent that they practice and promote free speech, I commend them all.

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By roxy hart, March 19, 2007 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
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Dave-el,
I’m not suggesting all abortions are murder. I am insisting that some are, so called partial-birth abortions being a prime example. In any case, my objection is to Roe v. Wade, a usurpation of states’ rights and a hideous example of jurisprudence. Seven unelected judges presumed to speak for all us on what should have been an issue decided legislatively, not judicially. Even Ginsburg is on record as having preferred that the individual states establish their own rules. Abortion is simply one more issue over which the Supreme Court has impudently claimed authority. State regulation IS the way to go. I’ll let it sit with states, even if I disagree with their decisions. That’s the way it’s ‘sposed to be.

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By eddie valiant, March 19, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
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Bill Blackolive,
If you have evidence of a 9/11 coverup, please let the New York Times know. Even if you don’t, let the Times know anyway. Just make sure you clear it with Mary Mapes in advance. She’ll add some authenticity, like she did for Dan Rather in that George Bush National Guard expose. I don’t know why the Times or the Washington Compost hasn’t already broken the story. It certainly has nothing to do with the facts, because they didn’t stop the Times from reporting two non-existent cases of infant dehydration in the row house fire of last week. No, I think it simply requires a suitably disreputabale source. YOU DE MAN, Bill.

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By Bill Blackolive, March 19, 2007 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
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Ah, should we flap onward like a selected rooster or admit there is 9/11 coverup and start all over again from ground zero?

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By dave-el, March 18, 2007 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment
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Roxy Consider this. If the fellows you choose to follow were successful in getting the legislature to designate abortion as murder than any pregnant woman who was responsible for an accident or for any reason experienced a miscarrage, would have to be charged at least with manslaughter,otherwise that would create a loophole. Furthermore,a policy would have to be included to alert some govt. agency whenever it was determined that a woman had concieved and than a followup would have to be done to make sure a live birth resulted.
These fellows know that the law makers and courts are not going to go that route. By insisting that it is murder keeps them in chips. While I would like to see it re-regulated, obviously this is not the way.

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By Ethan Baker, March 18, 2007 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
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Everything Hedges has said about Christians in this interview is utter hogwash. I’m a Christian, I’ve lived among Christians all my life across two countries, I’ve been to dozens of churches, and I have never met a Christians that comes even close to the monsters Hedges portrays. I have never seen the racists, the addicted to violence, the anti-immigrants, those desiring to create a so-called “Christian State”, or those that believe that health insurance and unemployment benefits are irrelevant. These people are a minority at best. I have never encountered the so-called “closed systems of indoctrination”, or the “theology of despair”. Christianity is a theology of hope, love, and obediance to God. I found Hedges’s character assassination of Dr. Dobson especially disturbing. Dobson is a good, decent, godly man and a hero. He stands for decency and integrity in the middle of a fallen, rotting American culture. Hedges must be a lunatic is all I can figure.

(Note: Jerry Falwell is a worthless fraud; he does not represent me or my faith.)

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By Ben Takin, March 18, 2007 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
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Erudite Billy Flynn,
You might find this article informative:
America’s successful democratic secular revolution was the work of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) & James Madison (1751-1836). They met in 1776, after Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, & worked together until his death.

Their 1st joint task was disestablishing Virginia’s Episcopal church. Jefferson drafted a Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777. Introduced into the Assembly in 1779, it wasn’t adopted, due to the opposition of Patrick Henry, master orator & religious ranter. Madison reintroduced it in 1785. It passed in 1786.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/brenner12042004.html

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By joe, March 18, 2007 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
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Billy Flynn,

You dismiss Jefferson, Adams, and Paine as “relics” but fail to address what they actually said. Anyway, one does not need to “know” modern science or modern literary criticsm to critique the christian church/religion.

If you want more modern critics of christianity with scientific credentials check out Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

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By Lefty, March 17, 2007 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #59046 by billy flynn on 3/16 at 5:14 pm

“Lefty,
“Your quotes from Jefferson, Adams, and Paine reveal nothing more than their disdain for Christianity. And I hardly consider these relics authorities on religion of any sort. They thought themselves enlightened but knew nothing about modern science or modern day literary criticism.

“Today, we know the universe had a beginning and that the Bible is by far the best attested book of ancient literature. The bibliographical evidence for the reliability of the Bible is far and away better than any book of comparable age. These 18th century would be experts knew nothing about the Big Bang, the Anthropic Principle, or DNA, let alone the voluminous information content in the human genome. Thus, they were ignorant of or possessed by an unwarranted skepticism about virtually all of the modern evidence that supports the theist position and the Christian religion.

“Sadly, I must conclude that your witnesses have no special expertise at all and that your attempt to represent their opinions as “real Christianity” is misguided. I’m still anticipating enlightenment from eClaire, however. I hope he/she can do better than you did.’
————————————————————-

Billy,

Your comments are a combination of false premises, misrepresentations, and conclusions based thereon.

The bible has no basis in science or history or any other verifiable basis.  We now know that the bible is a myths and fables plagiarized from the numerous primitive superstitions that came before it.  And, your failure and/or refusal to acknowledge the wisdom of America’s founding fathers is the result of your Christian brainwashing.  Your religion is a mental disorder that impairs your ability to reason.  You are an anachronism, doomed to extinction.

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By billy flynn, March 16, 2007 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
Your quotes from Jefferson, Adams, and Paine reveal nothing more than their disdain for Christianity. And I hardly consider these relics authorities on religion of any sort. They thought themselves enlightened but knew nothing about modern science or modern day literary criticism.

Today, we know the universe had a beginning and that the Bible is by far the best attested book of ancient literature. The bibliographical evidence for the reliability of the Bible is far and away better than any book of comparable age. These 18th century would be experts knew nothing about the Big Bang, the Anthropic Principle, or DNA, let alone the voluminous information content in the human genome. Thus, they were ignorant of or possessed by an unwarranted skepticism about virtually all of the modern evidence that supports the theist position and the Christian religion.

Sadly, I must conclude that your witnesses have no special expertise at all and that your attempt to represent their opinions as “real Christianity” is misguided. I’m still anticipating enlightenment from eClaire, however. I hope he/she can do better than you did.

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By Eddie Valiant, March 16, 2007 at 11:49 am Link to this comment
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dick,
Your point is well taken. I would like to recommend a movie classic that should provider further food for thought: “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” (1978). I don’t think it won any Academy Awards, but “USA Today” named it one of the 10 best movies of all time. To briefly recap for you, an army of tomato terrorists comes mysteriously to life and revolts against humanity. I am unable to detail the extent of their depredations out of regard for the sensibilities of my readers, but, suffice it to say, they make “Jaws” look like Charley the Tuna.

Of course, we must ask ourselves which would be worse, another murderous tomato attack or the resulting take-over of our democracy by religious fundamentalist potatoes led by Dan Quayle disguised as Mr. Potatoe Head. Indeed, there is already a plan of attack as detailed in the recent novel “Attack of the Killer Potatos.” Purporting to be a spoof of the original hit, it is in fact a covert plan of action to be activated at the next tomato uprising. I’m certain “Sweet Potato”, a ring leader, is in fact James Dobson and “Irish Spud” is clearly D. James Kennedy. “White Potato” can be no other than Jerry Falwell.

If you tune in any of these fascist veggie wannabes and you hear “One potato, two potato, three potato, four” you will know, as the resistance did in occupied France, the time for action has come. Your only hope is to get out your biggest masher and make potato salad, tons of it, as fast as you can. And keep a close eye on the carrots in your frig. There are reports of their collusion with the religious fundamentalist potatos. If the movement continues to spread, Bob Dole will almost certainly offer his pineapple division to the fascist cause.

Good luck and may Chris Hedges bless you.

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By dick, March 15, 2007 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
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Read Hedges’ book “American Fascists” and then ponder. If we have another Muslim attack on our shores, which will be more damaging to us in the long run, the attack or the resultant take-over of our democracy by our religious fundamentalist fanatics?

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By velma kelly, March 14, 2007 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
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Rob,
Loved your redacted version of “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Let’s see what you can do with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Then you can move on to the “Navy Hymn.” They must be loaded with potential sophists, Dominionists, and Bush wannabes.

You say “Christian ethics boils down to one word. LOVE.” According to St. Matthew, the first and great commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The second is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” You can’t have Christian ethics without both commandments, and the love of God is primary. Jesus says repeatedly to love him is to keep his commandments. If you don’t keep his commandments, you have something other than Christian ethics. Those Dominionists understand that. That’s what all the ruckus is about. You can’t do PBA’s and love God, or your neighbor for that matter.

If you want to see a real absurdist comedy, catch Roe v. Wade starring, Blackmum, Burger, Douglas et al. Coming to your neighborhood soon.

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By Lefty, March 14, 2007 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #58500 by billy flynn on 3/14 at 12:57 am

“eClaire,
“Having just read your post,I find myself in stark terror at the prospect of being bitten in the “ass” by “the meaning of Christianity.” Perhaps I am just such a “Pharisee” as you allude to. I assume you as a member of the Unitarian Universalist church must be an authority on all things religious. So please deign to enlighten me and any other benighted readers. Pray tell, what really is the true meaning of Christianity?”
———————————————————————
Others, much wiser than us, have already answered that question:

“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short)

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.” (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782 Oxford Dictionary of Quotations)

“And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a Virgin Mary, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. . . .  But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 11 April 1823)

“But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed.” (John Adams in a letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816)

“The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system.” (Thomas Paine)

“As priestcraft was always the enemy of knowledge, because priestcraft supports itself by keeping people in delusion and ignorance, it was consistent with its policy to make the acquisition of knowledge a real sin.” (Thomas Paine,  Of The Religion of Deism Compared With the Christian Religion)

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)

“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity.” (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)

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By roxy hart, March 14, 2007 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
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Dave,
I think the Protestant Reformation was about conviction, not skepticism. It was about false doctrine, corruption, and malpractice in the Roman church. One wonders what modern day “too organized, too powerful a church” you might be alluding to. To the extent that “Dominionism” exists at all, it is certainly not confined to a particular denomination, or to several denominations, for that matter. Note the “leaders” that are often cited: Falwell, Dobson, and Kennedy, all from different denominations. Dobson is not a clergyman at all. He is a PhD. in psychology from USC.

If you wished to say that the Reformation was “all about” skepticism, you would have to credit “these lemmings” with a similar motivation. They are concerned with a GOVERNMENT that is too organized and too powerful, to use your terms. They, like the reformers, are concerned with false doctrine, corruption, and malpractice, not in Rome but in Washington D.C. Among the charges that might be nailed to the door of the Supreme Court is the fact that the Constitution prohibits establishment of a national religion, NOT the free exercise of religion. In the early days of this country, worship services were conducted in the Capitol building itself and attended by none other than Thomas Jefferson. So much for the Jeffersonian “wall of separation between church and state.” Over the last 50 years, the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself the right to make law, not just interpret and apply it. Thus, since the middle of the last century, it has legalized murder of the unborn, forced removal of religious symbols from government buildings, and sanctioned homosexuality, to name a few of its depredations. The Dominionists are indeed skeptical about a court that, after 175 years of judicial restraint, suddenly decides that religion is illegal and that abortion and homosexuality are legal.

There is plenty of skepticism among Dominionists about the fast food offered by the ACLU, George Soros, and the Democrat Party. It’s the lemmings on the left that choke that junk down with nary a complaint. As Big Mac’s are to fat butts, so are Ginsburgers to fat heads.

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By billy flynn, March 14, 2007 at 1:57 am Link to this comment
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eClaire,
Having just read your post,I find myself in stark terror at the prospect of being bitten in the “ass” by “the meaning of Christianity.” Perhaps I am just such a “Pharisee” as you allude to. I assume you as a member of the Unitarian Universalist church must be an authority on all things religious. So please deign to enlighten me and any other benighted readers. Pray tell, what really is the true meaning of Christianity?

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By Dave, March 13, 2007 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
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>“Isn’t there a tradition of skepticism? Isn’t this what the Protestant religion was all about—skepticism of too organized, too powerful a church?”

There is no tradition of skepticism in the fast food that is offered to these lemmings.

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By eClaire, March 13, 2007 at 5:55 am Link to this comment
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As a member of a Unitarian Universalist church, I can attest that scientism is alive and well, and also a pain in the butt—that is, they are a pain in the butt when when they scoff at the mystical beliefs of others, as that is not in keeping with our principles.  My church is filled with people who hold beliefs to explain what cannot be known that fall along a contiuum from scientism to the mystical.  I bring this up because we also have many folk who though their worldview is primarily filtered through a science lense, do not scoff at or denigrate the mystical belief of others.

What most people can’t get is that there is room for the continuum of ideas. 

What there is not room for is the intolerance of the Christian Right and the rhetoric that is threatening the lives of fellow Americans.  What there is not room for is the Christian Rights intention to make this a so-called Christian nation, particularly when many if not most of the Christians in the Christian Right are Pharisees who wouldn’t know the meaning of Christianity if it bit them in the ass.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, March 12, 2007 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
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Velma,
Actually, why bother exhuming Larry Fine, and brothers curly and Moe, to do a NEW rendition of the “Three Wise Men”—-we all had quite enough of Mel Gibson flicks.

So your good DEAD friend can stay 6 feet under, sans appendix.

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By Rob, March 12, 2007 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
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I believe in ethicism and Christian ethics boils down to one word. LOVE!

Onward, Christian sophists, marching as to war,
With the cross of Dominionism going on before.
Bush, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

Onward, Christian sophists, marching as to war,
With the cross of Dominionism going on before.

At the sign of triumph Jesus’ host doth flee;
On then, Christian sophists, on to victory!

LOL

Watching money loving, war mongering Christian’s is like watching lovable losers in an absurdist comedy.

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By velma kelly, March 11, 2007 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eleanor,
Thanks for that truly erudite treatment of the appendix. But I think Curly’s notion is entirely consistent with your idea of God. He (God) was located in the appendix, but, since his time has come and gone, so has the appendix. We could quibble, but there is no more reason to reject Curly’s hypothesis than there is to accept Gould’s idea of the “spandrel.” If you have any evidence confirming the existence of the latter, please cite it.

BTW: Curly is going ahead with his plan to do a comeback with Larry and Moe as Stephen Gould and Richard Dawkins, respectively. I told him that Stephen passed away, but he just said, “So what? So did we. Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!”

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, March 11, 2007 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
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“Curley Howard said our “universal and cross-cultural presence of God” has its origin in the appendix, that mysterious part of the gastrointestinal system that appears to have no other obvious function”

Velma Kelly,
An appendix is a vestigial organ—-that is, an organ that represents a function once necessary for survival, but over time its function became either diminished or nonexistent.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines vestigial organs as structures remaining or surviving in a degenerate, atrophied, or imperfect condition or form. This is the accepted biological definition used in the theory of evolution.

Some other examples of vestigial biological parts are:  wings on flightless birds; hind leg bones in whales; body hair; the human tailbone and wisdom teeth.

Velma, all these physical traits still exist but serve no practical purpose—-you say the presence of God is there because he is there—-well the presence of hind leg bones in whales are there because they are there, and they’re NOW useless. 

I would like to think that one of the characteristics that separate humans from other species, is our ability to think abstractly—-that is to envision a concept or idea without having to actually stare at Curley’s, removed appendix, to know that this body part actually exists.

Perhaps, thousands of years ago humans needed to understand the unpredictability of their environment, and mystical explanations offered a way to create order and stability, to an otherwise, chaotic existence; perhaps wise men, shaman, and other sorts of mystics became leaders because they were convincing and offered solace.

The bigger question is why does modern civilization need to be preoccupied with mystical belief systems, and why do those who believe incessantly try to both overtly and insidiously proselytize non-believers.
 
It seems that the biological evolutionary process has manifested itself through time, while vestigial psychologically needs remain present.

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By velma kelly, March 10, 2007 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
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Eleanor,
Curley Howard said our “universal and cross-cultural presence of God” has its origin in the appendix, that mysterious part of the gastrointestinal system that appears to have no other obvious function. I believe his view is more credible than Stephen Gould’s, because there is considerable evidence that the appendix exists. But, I’m open minded and I’ll consider Gould’s theory carefully, just as soon as someone, anyone, finds a spandrel. As far as I know, Francis Collins didn’t find one. In fact, he never even found a “meme.” Just shows to go you how far some people will stretch their imaginations to find an alternative explanation for the obvious - the presence of God is there because he is there. We are here because he made a universe exquisitely fine-tuned for life. But then there are those who have to find another explanation for that too. I think it’s called rationalization by psychiatrists, and sometimes it’s called psychosis in its more extreme forms.

I just visited Curley in the hospital last week He had an appendectomy. Oddly enough, he still thinks about God. He was a bit bemused, given his erstwhile appendage, but I don’t think he’s seriously considering theism. He was muttering something about Elliot Gould and Spaniels. I think we may have the makings for another Three Stooges classic.

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By Skruff, March 10, 2007 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Comment #57670 by Eleanore Kjellberg on 3/09 at 3:38 pm says

Genetic god…


As good as any other thought!

I always thought he was invented by a poor king to get the peasents working…..No money, but you’ll get your reward later.

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By dave-el, March 9, 2007 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My primary focus on what has come to be called the Christian right wing is an organization called The Christian Coalition. If my information is correct the leaders of this organization created and signed a document,that,among other things,stated they were going to “take over” the grass roots government at the local,and state level.
If this is true and these individuals could have possibly been so ignorant and vain to do so, than they have put themselves in a position to be condemed as traitors and charged with sedition.I feel confident to say that this movement is the handmaiden of the New York Conservative Party,which is the control center of the Republican Party. I don’t care what political label you affix to them. They are the enemies and destroyers of liberty. If they succeed, than regardless of all it’s faults and historical crimes the last light of liberty will go out.
One way they have divided the people of common interest is through the use of the words liberal and conservative. Don’t buy that crap!

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, March 9, 2007 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
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An interesting article appeared in last Sunday’s NYT Magazine, entitled “Why Do We Believe” one of the theories expounded, is that there might be a biological explanation for the universal and cross-cultural presence of God.

Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionary biologist from Harvard who died in 2002, contends that: “Natural selection made the human brain big, but most of our mental properties and potentials may be ‘spandrels’—-that is, non-adaptive side consequences of building a device with such structural complexity.”  A spandrel describes a trait that has no adaptive value of its own.

Is it possible that God could be a
“spandrel”—-during the long evolutionary process did we develop belief systems as a cognitive tool for dealing with the uncertainties of
life—-have we become “hard wired” to accept mystical solutions to resolve intangible problems.

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By roxy hart, March 9, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
This is the definition of scientism as per the American Heritage Dictionary (2000):
1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

The derivation was not shown, but I’m sure you’re correct that this definition has been foisted upon the unsuspecting public by a cabal of Christian conspirators intent on subverting your God-given freedoms, not to mention poisoning your vital essences. I expect it’s that same bunch that invented the Big Bang, the Anthropic Principle, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics in order to discredit science and adduce specious evidence for their hideous superstitions.

Keep up the good work, Lefty. In appreciation of your efforts, I intend to nominate you for the next opening in the Ministry of Truth. Just keep repeating to yourself, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” In no time, I’m confident you’ll make Joseph Goebbels look like George Washington. Whups, he was a Christian, well, Tom Paine then. Must keep our deluded, superstitious forebears apart from those of the enlightened sort, eh, Lefty?

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By old benjamin, March 9, 2007 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
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Dave-el
Actually, it was that old reprobate Simon Peter that sliced off someone’s ear. I was merely suggesting there may be a few Simon Peter’s still lurking in the shadows. He was obviously the worst kind of hypocrite and should be condemned in strongest terms. I’m sure that was why he was crucified upside down (so the story goes). Hypocrisy, above all other crimes, warrants the death penalty. What is not generally understood is that killing the unborn is OK, so long as one is consistent in his words and deeds. On the other hand, to slap someone back is a truly horrendous crime, unless one is not a Christian. Then it’s OK. In fact, hypocrisy is OK too if you’re not a Christian. It’s just bad if you are.

Well, I do appreciate your concern, Dave-el, and I’m glad we had this dialog so we can clear the air. Good luck to you too, and watch out for those barbarians. I’ve seen one or two skulking around here with concealed tomahawks.

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By dave-el, March 8, 2007 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment
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old benjamin
I mentioned no one on this thread by name. What prompted your responce? You say you are a poor christian,you are not good,and you seem to be proud of the fact you hit back. What is it you do or where do you go that results in people hitting you first?
Yes,we should all love justice and mercy and I’m very glad you have justice “down”. I don’t like to sound critical but judging from your confession you need to work on a little more than mercy. Allow me to assure you I have never in my life considered slicing off anyones ear. What a barbaric idea. But thank you for the advise anyway.
Don’t feel that you need to respond. Good luck to you.

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By billy flynn, March 8, 2007 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
I am gratified to know that “no one with half a brain has said that…science is the only path to truth.” In that case there may be hope for you. Your ranting aside, what is your answer to the question of how and why the universe came into being? What caused the Big Bang and why did it occur? Scientists concede that the question is unanswerable for various reasons. For one thing, much of the evidence was destroyed in the initial moments of the explosion. For another, we have no scientific tools for peering beyond our universe. We are part of it and can’t get outside to examine it from an objective perspective. Thus, it falls to theology and philosophy to answer the how and why questions. Tell me, which discipline do you prefer? No dodging or equivocating is permissible. Nor is it permissible to deny the significance of the questions. Homo Sapiens being the sort of creature that it is demands an answer. If you’re not up to it, just admit it and we’ll know you’re not interested in serious discussion. One more rule: stay with the facts. No more tantrums or ex cathedra pontification. We’re all humble diggers of truth here. So, if you don’t follow the rules, you’ll just have yourself to play with. Clear enough? Good. Now let’s have those answers you’ve been just waiting to enlighten us with. Write soon, you old teddy bear, you.

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By TAO Walker, March 8, 2007 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To “....bother to post….” or not to bother? That is indeed the question (old benjamin, #57270).  It seems only wise, and fair, to wonder whether the arch inquisitor ever asks it of himself….in the same friendly and measured terms as he did of this Indian, in his latest. 

Because, stripped of their constant drumbeat of playground bravado, old benjamin’s own comments here (and in a number of other places on this site) seem always to boil-down to the same essentially gratuitous and empty threat, ie:  “I am a christian who hits back, so don’t mess with me or other christians or christianity!”  Then he typically starts flailing away at a target-of-opportunity that can only be his own unwelcome reflection in the (most likely altogether about something else anyway) words of anybody who dares to take him at his….or, not infrequently, in those of some merely unwary commentor who has only wandered inadvertantly into his rhetorical gunsights.

If old benjamin doesn’t like being included among those who exhibit what this old Indian has from long experience and careful observation come to recognize as the characteristically self-important bluster of the allamerican mindset (so much on-display worldwide, and readily seen for what it is everywhere but in “the homeland,” here in these latter days), then maybe he’s the one who should either get a different “schtick” or quit parading his stale routine in front of god and everybody else here….from ‘(A)mos hart’-to-’(Z)ena’.  If he just can’t refrain from venting his spleen, though, it may (from-time-to-time) result in someone shining a light on his contributions not nearly as complimentary, or shock-and-awestruck, as he feels it oughta be….a caveat to which all who venture here are subject, this particular life-long heathen savage included.

That old benjamin’s hollow “fightin’ words” might strike someone as illustrative of the very issues raised in this article, wouldn’t be at all surprising.  That so many other professed christians, less chronically belligerent maybe, hasten to disassociate themselves from the authoritarian elements trying to co-opt “the teachings of Jesus,” for purposes plainly at-odds with what most take to be their welcome message of charity and peace, is probably a good thing.

HokaHey!

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By old benjamin, March 7, 2007 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
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TAO,
It’s remarkable that you devote six paragraphs to bitching about my not living up to my standards, but you say you have no “expections whatsoever about the behavior or ‘standards’ of Christians or anybody else.” It’s obvious you speak with forked tongue. If you have no expectations, why bother to post your rant? How do you judge “moral imbecility”  and how do you find “character flaws”? How do you call me to account for failing to live up to my “guiding principles”? Seems to me that’s my business and not yours, given your disclaimer.

You feign innocence, pretending you intended no offense in your post. I don’t consider being included with “allamericans” insisting on [our] “(god-given?) right to have [our] cake and eat everybody else’s too” to be anything but a slur and an ignorant generalization. You can hand it out but you don’t like it when you get it back. Well, take it as you find it.

You are as hypocritical as anyone you criticize, even more so because you claim to recognize no standards anyway. You’re a windbag, a sophist, a fake, reminiscent of that classic character that Hank Williams popularized. Kaw-Liga, was it?

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By TAO Walker, March 7, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
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Isn’t a conscious failure to practice what one preaches the very definition of hypocrisy (old benjamin #57099)?  Bragging about it and trying to pass it off as candor only “elevates” that particular character flaw to the level of just plain moral imbecility.  Pointing guilty fingers at others probably doesn’t really do anything particularly beneficial for one’s credibility, either.  Indulging in what is clearly supposed to be a racial slur is only more proof, if any were needed, of old benjamin’s apparent penchant for juvenile self-degradation.

This old Indian was carefully neutral about old benjamin’s “christianity,” taking him at his own word on that score.  It was his quintessential allamericanism, his claim he can call himself anything he wants, but can’t be called to account for his knowing failure to live-up to what he says are his guiding principles, that really stood-out in both his comment referenced here and the one addressed to dave-el.

It looks like old benjamin’s grasp of “...the justice part” is self-servingly limited to vain attempts to deal it out to others, while threatening violent reprisals and reserving immunity from prosecution for himself.  But hell, it that’s good enough for his “unitary” president, it oughta be good enough for him, too.

Finally, none of us free wild Indians have any expectations whatsoever about the behavior or “standards” of christians or anybody else.  We take it as we find it.  Maybe old benjamin needs to tend to the timber in his own eye before railing anymore about what he thinks is the dust-mote in others’....as recommended by the one whose “teachings” he seems to feel are followed as faithfully in-the-breach as in-practice.  At least that seems a fair reading of his assertion that his behavior “....implies nothing about (his) view of (those) teachings…” Isn’t there a clinical term for that kind of disconnect?

Tilting at windmills in make-believe “defense” of what this Indian didn’t attack anyway is reminiscent of a classic character from literature.  Don Peyote, was it?

HokaHey!

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By Lefty, March 7, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #56900 by billy flynn on 3/05 at 6:18 pm

“Lefty,
OK, I’ll try again, just for you. Scientism is faith in science, the belief that science is unlimited in its potential, the view that Skruff expressed in his post. That optimism is not something that is itself subject to scientific comfirmation. It is beyond science, as is religious faith, as is any sort of faith at all.

“I believe in God based on historical evidence and scientific facts, but I cannot prove he exists. Neither can you prove that science is the only way to get truth about the how and why of the cosmos. That is faith, not science. If that sublety is lost on you, there’s no point in further discussion. That’s your queue for your usual repetitious, empty verbiage. I’m sure your won’t disappoint.”
————————————————————————

Old Benny,

OK, I’ll try again!  Just for you! 

When your premises are false, all conclusion arising out of your premises are equally false.

“Scientism” is the invention of Christian propagandist, demagogues, like you, manufactured in the attempt to elevate the respectability of baseless, Christian, blind faith to that of evidence based science.  Or, more accurately, to devalue evidence based science to the level of superstition based Christian faith.

Scientific conclusions have the status of respectability and reliability because they are based on observable, repeatable, empiric evidence, subject to peer analysis, review and criticism.  No one with half a brain has said that scientific conclusions are irrefutable or that science is the only path to truth.  It is, however, the most reliable road to truth known.

Your implication to the contrary is, yet, another false premise.

The myth of Christianity has no basis in evidence, fact or any other basis of any kind whatsoever, and therefore, no basis in reality or truth.  NONE!  To put it diplomatically, the truth of Christianity is supported only by the pathological imaginations of the primitive, superstitious minds of those unfortunate enough to be brainwashed by Christian dogma.

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By ol benjamin, March 7, 2007 at 12:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TAO Walker,
Wrongo, peyote breath. What it is is speaking with straight tongue. If I said I always practice what I preach, you would know I’m a liar. If I say I don’t, you imply I’m a hypocrite. Sorry to disillusion you, but there ain’t any saints on this earth, and that includes old Indians. Don’t bash Christians and expect them not to bash you back just because you think they should have higher standards than you do. That’s a real hypocrite and that’s the point. If the mocassin fits, wear it.

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By TAO Walker, March 6, 2007 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This ol’ Indian wouldn’t venture to say whether old benjamin (#57047) is a christian….good, poor, or merely “luke warm.”  He is sure enough an allamerican, though, in insisting on his (god-given?) right to have his cake and eat everybody else’s, too.  And what’s all that defensiveness about ears he doesn’t use anyhow?

HokaHey!

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By old benjamin, March 6, 2007 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

dave-el,
You misrepresented me. I said I am a poor Christian, not a good one, and I do hit back. If that’s a reflection, it is on me and no one else. It implies nothing about my view of the teachings of Jesus (“Christ’s weak turn the other cheek philosophy”). Rather, it indicates I am much like the rest of you.

We are to love justice and mercy. I’ve got the justice part down pretty good now, but I’m Still working on the mercy part, so be careful whose ear you slice off.

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By billy flynn, March 6, 2007 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
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Eleanore,
My answer is “yes” to all three questions. What I am reacting to is the fact that many consider your “storytelling” an inferior or wholly inadequate way of finding truth.

Anna J. Harris, a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said:
“It is my impression that some time in the past, either the scientific community oversold or the public overbought science and technology. There are things that science cannot address and things that science and technology cannot accomplish.”

Professor Robert Jastrow, founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said:
“I do not believe that science has a unique grasp of reality; I think there may be more than one avenue to truth.”
“We cannot tell by the scientific method whether the birth of the universe is the work of a creator or some force outside the domain of science.”

Sir John Eccles, neurophysiologist and 1963 winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, said:
“I think that promissory materialism is still a principal belief of the scientists. But it is promissory: that everything will be explained, even intimate forms of human experience in terms of nerve endings…This is simply a religious belief, not even a religious belief, it is a superstition based upon no evidence worth considering at all.”
“Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance.”

You say that theology “provides a method of bonding and a social network” and imply that truth is not a pertinent issue. Rather, the issue is “social control.” Perhaps the real scientists I have quoted will give you food for thought.

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