Posts Tagged christianity
What in the shit is this?
A library in Columbia, SC has been showing the Harry Potter movies this month. This has drawn some protests, I’d like to say from the usual suspects, but these folks are actually…special.
Asking supporters to call and email Lexington County Council members demanding they put an end to the Witch-a-thon and decrease the library’s funding, Columbia Christians for Life indicated that any council member who disagrees should be voted out of office. The group backed up their demands and proved God’s apparent dislike for the Potter series by including several Bible verses from Deuteronomy and other Old Testament books:
“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire (which, in the Harry Potter series, could be accomplished by a simple shield charm), or that useth divination (one of Harry’s least favorite classes at Hogwarts), or an observer of times (sounds like Hermione’s time-turner), or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer (such as Gilderoy Lockhart), or a consulter with familiar spirits (hopefully fire whiskey), or a wizard, or a necromancer.”
Something tells me the general voting populace is not going to share their priorities.
What I wonder is how Columbia Christians for Life, which you can tell by the name is an anti-abortion group, got so interested in protesting Harry Potter movies. As Ashley Miller shows us, their website is covered in spittle-flecked pronouncements about how abortion is sending America to Hell in a handbasket. (I’m not even exaggerating.) Harry Potter doesn’t say anything about abortion. If anything, you’d think the forced-birth set would appreciate the fact that Harry’s favorite family are the Weasleys, who seem to be in the camp of “babies are awesome so let’s have lots of them.”
I guess it makes sense if they view fertility less as building families and more as making lots of little Warriors for Christ, which, based on their website, appears to be their angle. They want you to make more babies, but don’t show them anything as left-leaning as Harry Potter, which has a nuanced view of authority figures and shows women doing interesting things with their lives. Nothing but Left Behind books for Columbia Christians for Life kiddies.
I’ll know I’ve made it when library systems start banning my books. If Columbia Christians for Boring Lives think Harry Potter is offensive, I’ll introduce them to Charlinder. Wait until you hear his thoughts on the Immaculate Conception. We won’t even get started on Gentiola.
We have an overall summary of the case brought to our attention by 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist via Friendly Atheist. With me so far? Church/state separation issue, prayer banner displayed in public school, clearly unconstitutional, no surprise that the judge ruled against the school? Right? Right, so, THAT happened, and now that the case has been decided, a lot of people in Cranston, RI are not happy with Jessica. In fact, they are extremely upset with her, and they’re making sure she knows it.
Greta Christina gives her analysis of the backlash at Alternet. She draws from these two basic observations: 1) this was a clear, simple question of church/state separation from the beginning, and no one should be surprised that the judge ruled against the school, and 2) and yet people are totally enraged at Jessica for her role in this case.
Some edited highlights are below the jump. This shit ain’t pretty, folks.
Whenever a group has “Family” in its name, it has to be a hate group. There’s just no way around it. You may have heard about corporations such as Lowe’s pulling out of advertising on All-American Muslim because the Florida Family Association is pressuring them. Dodai Stewart went and read the FFA’s website so that we don’t have to, and here is what the assclams have to say:
Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.
They complained to Lowe’s about advertising on the show because, of all things, TLC is showing the lives of Muslims who aren’t trying to blow shit up. They think it’s a threat to American liberties to show non-violent, non-threatening TV. They think it’s a problem when a show discourages bigotry.
We wouldn’t want to celebrate the family values of people who use a different name for God, after all.
Is this the new front in the War on Christmas? Are we now taking the battle to vicious, soulless corporations who heartlessly force their employees to do their jobs?
A week ago, a Macy’s employee spotted a transgender woman going into the women’s dressing room, and decided to stop her and inform her that she wasn’t really a woman. The company promptly fired her, but now the employee has enlisted the help of a hatemongering conservative organization and is claiming that Macy’s discriminated against her religious beliefs by denying her the right to harass whichever customer she chooses.
Johnson says she told a manager, “I’ve made my choice the other day … I refuse to comply with this policy.” Since she was incapable of complying with company rules, Macy’s fired her. Johnson went to the Liberty Counsel, a conservative organization that’s called GLBT rights “a radical agenda,” then filed a complaint with the federal employment commission. When asked for a response, Macy’s said it doesn’t “comment on personnel matters,” adding, “At Macy’s, we recognize and appreciate the diversity of our customers and associates.”
Johnson says that by mandating that all employees appreciate the diversity of Macy’s customers, the store is forcing her to violate her Christian beliefs.
Right. Here we have the overinflated sense of entitlement multiplied by the persecution complex which American Christians have raised to an art form.
That said, I also think that, Liberty Counsel notwithstanding, most American Christians, including the ones who agree with Natalie Johnson’s rather reductive view of gender, would agree that if you cannot perform your work duties as your employer requires, you can work somewhere else.
You are entitled to your beliefs. You are entitled to practice your religion, but only within bounds that do not encroach on someone else’s beliefs. You are not entitled to have your employer bend its policies around your beliefs. You are not entitled to force customers to live according to the rules of your religion.
Your customers do not have to follow your religion. Your employer does not have to follow your religion. The imperative of a major retailer such as Macy’s is to turn a profit by selling goods, and they accomplish that goal by providing good customer service. If you do not provide good customer service, they will not employ you. No one is entitled to draw a paycheck for a job they refuse to do. I could go to my supervisors today and tell them that duplication of efforts is a violation of my religious beliefs, and rather than re-arrange our department’s workflow so that I never have to deal with duplicate invoices, they’d fire me and hire someone who isn’t too devout to get the job done.
If allowing a transgirl into the woman’s dressing room is a violation of your Christian beliefs, then you can go find a job that doesn’t involve dressing rooms. Meanwhile, Macy’s will employ someone who serves all customers so that they will purchase goods. Problem solved on both sides.
Did the church itself change its mind on the issue? Not really.
Stepp said the Sandy Valley Conference of Free Will Baptists declared the vote on Thompson’s resolution null and void during a meeting on Saturday.
The former pastor of Gulnare got the church members to pass a resolution that says, “We don’t have a problem with those people, we just don’t want them marrying our girls!” and the Sandy Valley Conference effectively took the matter out of their hands. It doesn’t matter if they’ve changed their minds, it doesn’t matter whether the sudden uproar from all four corners of the Earth has persuaded them that cross-racial marriage should not be considered a bad thing, and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve considered that the resolution they’d passed was a really crappy message to send to their church secretary about his family. In this case, it’s not their decision. Their church WILL NOT bar interracial couples from church membership, as long as they’re a member of the Sandy Valley Conference.
On the one hand, I don’t think they actually have to worry about any interracial couples trying to join their church any time soon. The message has already been sent that the church environment will not be a welcoming one. On the other hand, at least their current pastor has his head screwed on tight w/r/t race relations.
The response to having All the Internet gape in horror at them has been thus:
[Pastor Stacy Stepp] said he told church members on Sunday about the decision and proposed a resolution to promote “peace, love and harmony.”
Stepp said about 30 people who attended church services voted on a new resolution that welcomes “believers into our fellowship regardless of race, creed or color.”
Where were those 30 people, I wonder, when the anti-interracial-couples resolution was passed 9-6?
I would like to note that the new resolution is not exactly a reversal of the previous one. In spirit, yes, but in letter, not really. Former Pastor Thompson would probably argue that he’s not racist, and the effect of the resolution was not racist, because it wouldn’t have stopped people of color from joining the church—just as long as they’re not married to white people.
Realistically, if you actually believe that all racial groups are human first and foremost, and that all groups are equally good and worthy, and that it’s the variation between individuals that really means something, and that no one group needs to be protected from contamination by another, then you should have no problem with people of different colors getting married and having mixed-race kids together. And if you have no problem with their families, then you should not have any problem attending church with them.
However, the new resolution is about welcoming believers. It doesn’t say anything about their spouses. It shows that the church has been reprimanded, but not that it’s thinking differently.
Coming to the end of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and the Values Wars by Sikivu Hutchinson, I am forcibly reminded of PZ Myers’s endorsement of The Greatest Show On Earth, by Richard Dawkins.
There are no more excuses. None.
Perhaps it’s a bad sign that I can’t think of a better comparison than a recent biology-focused tome by Prof. Dawkins, but bear with me a few minutes.
While Prof. Dawkins chose an ambitious but uncomplicated project of establishing in layman-friendly terms the reality of Darwinian natural selection, Dr. Hutchinson’s book takes place at a very different degree of sociological difficulty. She places herself between the black church, the larger white-supremacist and patriarchal society, and the developing atheist movement, and she schools them all. There are few people left uncriticized by her scholarship, only some largely invisible and unheard slivers of society left uninstructed to unpack some invisible baggage.
When it is finished, there are no more excuses. None. There should be no more hand-waving away the need for a wider range of voices in the freethinking movement, no more man-splaining and white-splaining about what issues should “really” be the focus of skepticism and atheism, and no more clueless hand-wringing over why there aren’t more women or more people of color involved in outspoken atheism. There are no more excuses for failure to comprehend these concerns, no more assuming that skepticism begins with the Big Bang and ends with Bigfoot. Outside of the New Atheism, there should be no more telling the godless that for the sake of harmony we should simply stop being so noisy about our non-belief. There should be no more pointing to disadvantaged groups’ reliance on religion as evidence of its veracity. There should be no more attempts to silence atheism with the presupposition that religion maintains a more ethical, just and civil society regardless of its explanatory power. These are the questions that live at the intersection of sexism, racism, economic injustice and religion in America, and if you just sit down for a while and prepare yourself to unlearn some party lines, Dr. Hutchinson will make everything clear.
There will be some ideas expressed in her book with which you disagree, and some connections explored with which you were previously unfamiliar, and that is only more reason to become acquainted with these concerns. Fear not the expanse of an overly ambitious tome, for Dr. Hutchinson’s writing covers an astonishing breadth and depth of research and insight in a remarkably modest word count. There is no more need for multi-megabyte Internet explosions of privileged obliviousness over godless demographic issues. Here are the answers to your questions.
Because Richard Dawkins declined an offer to debate the existence of God with William Lane Craig, Premier Christian Radio is putting his (Dawkins’s, that is) name on buses:
The new advert reads: “There’s probably no Dawkins. Now stop worrying and enjoy Oct 25th at the Sheldonian Theatre.”
This, of course, is a paraphrase of the 2009 atheist advertising campaign, which put “There’s probably no God” on bus sides. Where the heathens put “God,” PCR puts, “Dawkins.” Hmm. Interesting. Of course I realize the context is different, but…you do know how this looks, right, PCR? It’s kind of like you think we worship Prof. Dawkins, or something. We don’t even always agree with him.
The reason why Prof. Dawkins is uninterested in debating is basically that the event would look good on their resume, not so much on his. Meanwhile,
Prof Craig said the poster campaign “leaves a shred of hope that he may turn up”.
He thinks Prof. Dawkins will change his mind because they’re using his name to advertise the event? Yeah, I don’t think so.
As more information comes out on Anders Behring Breivik, the reactions are all over the map.
Sam Harris, for example, complains that Breivik is making his side look bad:
What cannot be doubted, however, is that Breivik’s explicit goal was to punish European liberals for their timidity in the face of Islam.
I have written a fair amount about the threat that Islam poses to open societies, but I am happy to say that Breivik appears never to have heard of me. He has, however, digested the opinions of many writers who share my general concerns—Theodore Dalrymple, Robert D. Kaplan, Lee Harris, Ibn Warraq, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, Walid Shoebat, Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye’or, Mark Steyn, Samuel Huntington, et al. He even singles out my friend and colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali for special praise, repeatedly quoting a blogger who thinks she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. With a friend like Breivik, one will never want for enemies.
He then goes on to pout over crossed arms that now no one will want to talk about the awfulness of Islam anymore. While I am unimpressed with his attitude, at least he acknowledges that Breivik’s actions cannot be laid at Islam’s door.