Sunday, July 29, 2012

It really is just us

From Time Magazine:

British Hotel Replaces Bedside Bibles with Fifty Shades of Grey
Nestled in the picturesque Lake District of northwest England, the Damson Dene Hotel seems, at first glance, like the typical English countryside hotel. But its bedside tables contain a shocking secret. Instead of the traditional bedside Gideon Bible placed at arm’s reach, its forty rooms each contain a copy of E.L. James’ bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. 
Jonathan Denby, owner of the hotel, told NBC News he felt that in a secular society,  it was “wholly inappropriate” to put a religious book in someone’s bedroom. He confessed the novel, which started life as Twilight fan-fiction, wasn’t his first choice of replacement. In fact, he hasn’t even read it. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand — Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” he said, but “because everybody is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.” 
Fifty Shades of Grey traces the relationship between a business magnate and a young college graduate, featuring explicit depictions of bondage and submissive acts. Since the Damson Dene’s dirty little secret has emerged, the hotel has received dozens of angry emails — not from Britons, but from Americans — demanding that the bibles be restored beside the beds. Writing on his personal blog, Denby revealed that he has been called a “puppet of Satan,” and that several people emailed him “pretending that they were just about to make a booking the Damson Dene, but had changed their mind.”
Emphasis mine.  Like what a British innkeeper does is any American's business.

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christians lie

They just do. Even when it would be easy to tell a simple version of the truth they lie anyway. The funny thing about it is that they have yet to realize that:

1 - They will be caught
2 - It will be recorded on the internet
3 - Everyone will know.

So not too long ago Dan Cathay, president of Chick-Fil-A, a chain of fast food joints, was quited in the Baptist Press as saying:
Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position. 
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
Now everyone who's head hasn't been under a rock for the past few years knows that "the biblical definition of the family unit" means "not gay". Now, honestly, this is not a huge deal anymore. Dan Cathay was going on record as being a member of the Tribe*, a Paulist**, an American Christian, and it's his right to do so. It's also his right to work his beliefs into his private company.

And it is the right of every person out there to not support his business.  It's called voting with your dollars.  And it is the right of other companies to choose not to do business with his company.

Enter the Jim Henson Company, maker of toys for their kid's meals.  On July 20, 2012 The Henson Company decided to cut ties with Chick-fil-a over this issue.  From their Facebook page:
The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD. (

And that is just as much their right. Fine, great, wonderful.

Up until these signs started appearing in Chick-fil-a stores.

Their fingers are getting stuck in the puppet holes. Really. As of July 19th. Probably the very day that The Henson Company told Chick-Fil-A to stop carrying their stuff since good corporate playerhood demand that you tell everyone before you make the public announcement.

Can't just say "we're not carrying the Muppets anymore". Can't just say "we're out". No, you have to make up a lie so other, weaker-minded members of the tribe don't realize that there's another way of looking at the world out there. They can't handle anyone disagreeing with them at all.

Really, can't we just give them their own country all ready? We'll all be so much happier.


*  For more on Tribal Christianity see Jonathan Dudley's Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics:
I learned a few things growing up as an evangelical Christian: that abortion is murder; homosexuality, sin; evolution, nonsense; and environmentalism, a farce. I learned to accept these ideas — the “big four” — as part of the package deal of Christianity. In some circles, I learned that my eternal salvation hinged on it. Those who denied them were outsiders, liberals, and legitimate targets for evangelism. If they didn’t change their minds after being “witnessed to,” they became legitimate targets for hell.
** For the opposite of Paulisim see Jesuism or Red-letter Christianity.  And while you're at it have a look at some of the Paul controversies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Charles Pierce has an interesting post up today about the Morrill Act which created the land-grant college system.  This is the college system that was intended to give us better farmers and schoolteachers and has given us all so very much more.

On July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law what was known as the Morrill Act. The new law authorized the creation of what became known as "land-grant colleges," the purpose of which, as described in the Act was: "...without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life."

If you've ever attended a state college or university because the in-state tuition was actually affordable, then you have this act to thank.

But it's not only that.

From the established land-grant colleges came the cooperative extension services that aided farmers all over the country and the agricultural experimentation centers that produced, among other things, the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

So if you've ever taken a class at an extension service, or if you've ever been a farmer or if you've ever eaten food then this act has helped you in some way.

Also, if you've ever participated in 4-H then you've been helped by this act.  From Wikipedia:

The foundations of 4-H began around the start of the twentieth century, with the work of several people in different parts of the United States. The focal point of 4-H has been the idea of practical and hands-on learning, which came from the desire to make public school education more connected to rural life. Early programs tied both public and private resources together to benefit rural youth. 
During this time, researchers at experiment stations of the land-grant universities and USDA saw that adults in the farming community did not readily accept new agricultural discoveries, but educators found that youth would experiment with these new ideas and then share their experiences and successes with the adults. So rural youth programs became a way to introduce new agriculture technology to the adults.

These universities have helped millions of us live better lives, no?

Of course back then there was opposition:

This heavy reliance upon Article IV led to strong counterattacks.Democratic Senator Clement Clay of Alabama was by far the most eloquent to stand against it. He insisted that the land grants were a "magnificent bribe" to encourage Alabama to "surrender to the federal power her original and reserved right to manage her own domesticand internal affairs." He argued that public lands were never meant to support such arrangements. This was followed witha long, vivid picture of judicious forefathers building limitation afterlimitation into the Constitution concerning the powers of the Federal Government. With the last stroke of his brush, Clay asked if one could believe that such a careful limitation was only a sham, that through deliberate intent or stupidity these great men had provided a means to circumvent their careful limitation of federal power.

(Please remember that since then the Democrats and Republicans have completely flipped their positions on pretty much everything.)

In the end we were only able to pass it because the states that opposed the idea of a national system of universities had already seceded from the Union.

You know, these guys.

(found here)

Do I really need to go into the whole Christian Patriarchy thing again?

Sara Robinson wrote a piece recently about how we're all living in PlantationLand now.  There's almost too much to quote there, so just go read the whole thing.

David Hackett Fischer, whose Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways In Americainforms both Lind’s and Woodard’s work, described just how deeply undemocratic the Southern aristocracy was, and still is. He documents how these elites have always feared and opposed universal literacy, public schools and libraries, and a free press. (Lind adds that they have historically been profoundly anti-technology as well, far preferring solutions that involve finding more serfs and throwing them at a problem whenever possible. Why buy a bulldozer when 150 convicts on a chain gang can grade your road instead?) Unlike the Puritan elites, who wore their wealth modestly and dedicated themselves to the common good, Southern elites sank their money into ostentatious homes and clothing and the pursuit of pleasure — including lavish parties, games of fortune, predatory sexual conquests, and blood sports involving ritualized animal abuse spectacles.
.....In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. The higher your status, the more authority you had, and the more “liberty” you could exercise — which meant, in practical terms, that you had the right to take more “liberties” with the lives, rights and property of other people. Like an English lord unfettered from the Magna Carta, nobody had the authority to tell a Southern gentleman what to do with resources under his control. In this model, that’s what liberty is. If you don’t have the freedom to rape, beat, torture, kill, enslave, or exploit your underlings (including your wife and children) with impunity — or abuse the land, or enforce rules on others that you will never have to answer to yourself — then you can’t really call yourself a free man.
When a Southern conservative talks about “losing his liberty,” the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control — and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from — is what he’s really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can’t help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they’re willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.

Kind of fits together, doesn't it.  I have the divine right because God says so.  And you can't go to college because you might become more and that would take away from me somehow.
Please remember, we've been fighting this beast for 150 years.  Either keep fighting or give them the country they want, let them go.  Don't given them the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Why not ask?

Found at

Why? When believers write and talk and think about atheists, and about what they imagine atheists think and feel -- why don't they bother to ask us? What are they afraid of finding out?

Good question.  Find the answer here, it's well worth reading.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

This is how you treat an abusive priest

On Thursday:

California pastor arrested for child molestation

VACAVILLE, Calif. -- A pastor at a Fairfield church was arrested on suspicion of molesting five children, police said.

Authorities took the Rev. Robert "Silas" Ruark, 65, into custody on Thursday at his home in Suisun City after investigating the allegations, The Vacaville Reporter reported (

He was booked into Solano County Jail. The Fairfield Police Department could not immediately confirm Friday whether he had retained a lawyer.

Clergy at the Orthodox Christian diocese that oversees St. Timothy Orthodox Church contacted police and asked for an investigation, the newspaper said.

The alleged victims now range in age from 20 to 24. Police said they reported being molested when they were as young as 13 and photographed in the nude, some when left alone at the church with the pastor.

Ruark has been a pastor at St. Timothy since he was ordained in 1997. The diocese has told authorities it will cooperate fully.

Read more here:
Read more here:

Please note that the clergy contacted the police and are cooperating with them.  That matters.

And on Sunday:

Much applause for  the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of los Angeles and the West.  Thank you for protecting the children.

h/t to Mojoey at Deep Thoughts.