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Jesus Christ's Superstars
May 6, 2007 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Separation of church and state? Not among America's holiest congressmen. Some surprising candidates inside. Extra bonus. (Via)
posted by growabrain (90 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
LOLCONGRESS!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:23 AM on May 6, 2007


.
posted by tzikeh at 11:31 AM on May 6, 2007


You are who you represent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2007


referring to them as america's "holiest" congressmen seems christocentric to me. i'd be happy with "america's most mentally ill congressmen".
posted by bruce at 11:34 AM on May 6, 2007


how about America's Holier than thou congressmen
posted by magikker at 11:35 AM on May 6, 2007


How about realizing that religious Congressmen don't actually have to stand against the separation of church and state?
posted by oddman at 11:47 AM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


America's Assholiest Congressmen?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:50 AM on May 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


How about realizing that religious Congressmen don't actually have to stand against the separation of church and state?

How about realizing that 30%+ of this country's religious people are (functionally) batshit insane?

When I was down in Corona in 2004, my sister took me to her typically rural Southland conservative contemporary non-denominational evangelical church. The Sunday service was 80% taken up by a mofo from this organization.

I just netflixed "Borat" last night and he managed to get a reasonably accurate sneak peak of how these guys roll.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:52 AM on May 6, 2007


source for my "batshite insane" charge:

Support for teaching Creationism instead of evolution:

All Americans: 37%
Kerry voters: 24%
Bush voters: 45%

posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:56 AM on May 6, 2007


9. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA)

Q: What's wrong with this picture?

A: Her scary dentures are biting my soul.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:58 AM on May 6, 2007


Laugh all you want: Brownback AND Tancredo are BOTH running for president.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 12:07 PM on May 6, 2007


"Jesus Christ is the answer to every problem we face in our country today."

1) Teen pregnancy?

Jesus Christ.

2) Poverty?

Jesus Christ. + Charity

3) Israel-Palestinian Conflict?

Jesus Christ.

4) HIV at home and in Africa?

Jesus Christ.

5) Black-on-black violence?

Jesus Christ.

6) Black-on-white violence?

Jesus Christ + GUNS 4 WHITES

7) Health care crisis?

Jesus Christ. + Free Markets

8) War in Iraq?

Jesus Christ. + SHOOT MOR BULLETZ @ RAGHEDS

There's nothing extremist or unusual about this. It's basically the Republican Party platform in a nutshell.
posted by Avenger at 12:13 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Has evolution vs. creationism been at the fore of the American political zeitgeist for awhile (to the extent of guns/gays/abortion) or was it dormant in the 80s/90s only to burst on the scene post-Kansas board of ed.?
posted by Firas at 12:13 PM on May 6, 2007


i hate emmanuel goldstein, too
posted by pyramid termite at 12:19 PM on May 6, 2007


While reading over these I couldn't help but draw a conclusion from Star Wars III.

Remember when all the Jedi were dying and Yoda was feeling their deaths and was upset about it. Yeah, I feel this way. Each click of a link to a new "holy congressman" was a kick to my heart.

It's almost hard to believe this is going on. I get emails from my conservative mom and dad saying how Christianity is under attack...man, I think it's anything but.
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2007


I don't know what my fellow Minnesotans were smoking when they elected Michele Bachmann.

Wait, actually I do. It was a potent mixture of delusional self-righteousness, hatred of taxes, mindless partisanship, and homosexual panic, probably with some ditch weed stolen from their kids thrown in.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:28 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ is the answer

What was the question?
posted by ericb at 12:32 PM on May 6, 2007


emmanuel goldstein

fuck you, pyramid termite.

The peeps are in fact a major force shaping the lives of americans through the political process, at all levels of government, from school boards to the SCOTUS.

3 of the Republican candidates at the recent debate reported that they "didn't believe" in evolution.

Now, people being able to understand evolution is apparently a lost cause in this country so I don't really care -- if a person is smart enough they will be able to educate themselves eventually -- but I do care about the present political power the Evangelicals have in this country.

They were Bush's strongest deme, in parity with WalMart shoppers, in 2004, and have stuck by their man much more doggedly than the WalMart deme. [1]
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:33 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


i hate emmanuel goldstein, too

A specious, tired, predictable response.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:38 PM on May 6, 2007


Silly, knee-jerk, no-attempt-to-understand Christian-bashing is, well, boring. It must make the readers of Radar (and Heywood Mogroot) feel superior, though, because it just gets repeated, and repeated and repeated. Tired. Just tired. Get a new shtick, please. Either that or just look in the mirror and say, over and over, "I'm smarter than nearly everyone. I'm smarter than nearly everyone. I'm smarter than nearly everyone..." And don't write any FPPs about it.
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:55 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


A specious, tired, predictable response.

in a specious, tired, predictable fpp with specious, tired, predictable "me, too" comments

don't kid yourself that anything meaningful is happening here
posted by pyramid termite at 12:59 PM on May 6, 2007


While reading over these I couldn't help but draw a conclusion from Star Wars III.

Maybe it's not the religious people we should be worried about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Has evolution vs. creationism been at the fore of the American political zeitgeist for awhile (to the extent of guns/gays/abortion) or was it dormant in the 80s/90s only to burst on the scene post-Kansas board of ed.?

Creationism didn't really exist as a mainstream political issue in the 1980s, nor in the early and mid 90s. 1980s evangelical groups (Moral Majority, Christian Voice, etc) were mostly interested in moral obedience and attacking abortion/homosexuality, not science. The major issue these churches had with regards to schools in those days (probably up until 1997-98 or so) was prayer rather than creation myths. I don't think I ever heard the whole creationism-should-be-taught-in-public-schools thing before about 10 years ago... and to be honest, you rarely heard "the Earth is only 6000 years old" and such in public, either. Presumably people believed it, but it was not "an issue" the same way it is today. Creationism as a big deal has pretty much come out of nowhere, along with the rise of the evangelical mega-church.

IMHO it's a pretty obvious wedge-issue against the First Amendment. These political-evangelicals couldn't get prayer in schools, so they turned to a "less-religious" issue in order to get their foot in the door, and their flocks followed.
posted by vorfeed at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2007


blah blah separation doesn't mean officials can't be religious blah blah
posted by The Deej at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2007


The Deej: No, it doesn't mean they can't be religious, but it does mean they need to keep their Jesus out of my deliberately secular democracy...
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 1:11 PM on May 6, 2007


don't kid yourself that anything meaningful is happening here

why would I think that? ?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:12 PM on May 6, 2007


Really someone should cross reference this with the DC Madam phone list records.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2007


And don't write any FPPs about it

I haven't, and I won't.

But I do consider the white-anting of my country's educational and political institutions to be a serious issue, probably the #1 issue facing this country, since this power bloc is motivated to do a lot of stupid things, like invade Iraq without proper UN sanction or sufficient allied support, ban federal funding of stem cell research, and most recently prevent late-term expectant mothers from receiving the proper medical care during difficult pregnancies.

Do you have any actual responses on this issue or are you just about character assassination here?

I'm not bashing all Christians, but I do see that 30-50% of them in this country have fallen into a rather harmful stew of delusional millenialism, nationalistic chauvinism, and self-important "Mission from God" partisanship in service of the GOP.

Do you dispute this?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2007


Yay Rapture!
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2007


It's a Christian political thread in MeFi. Anything said by anyone on either side is going to be specious, tired, and predictable. As will comments like the one I'm making right now.
posted by Bugbread at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2007


If history has taught me anything, 90% of these people are gay. And Jo Ann is bi.
posted by stavrogin at 1:42 PM on May 6, 2007


[I]f a person is smart enough they will be able to educate themselves eventually
I disagree. I have known very smart people who were raised in an environment where evolution was not taught or believed, and was sometimes directly attacked. Once they had evolution explained to them, they understood it and agreed that it was the most likely explanation for biological complexity. They had no special interest in biology though, and so had not sought out explanations on their own. This is the sort of person we have to worry about, because if no one who has been well-educated in biology explains it to them, they will probably never understand evolution, and will therefore never know why it should be taught, and won't vote for its teaching. Once you hit a critical mass of people like that, no one gets taught evolution, and so there's no one around to explain evolution or to vote for evolution to get taught. There will still be a few clever kids who go out and learn science on their own, but I don't think you can deny that teaching people biology and not teaching people biology results in the same number of people understanding biology.
posted by agentofselection at 1:52 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, Robin Hayes is MY congressman. I confess to being seated at the same table as him at our Republican Party's last Reagan Day dinner, even.
posted by konolia at 1:59 PM on May 6, 2007


Do you dispute this?

Yes, I do, but I honestly I just don't feel like having another tired debate. It really has gotten boring and purposeless. No disrespect to you, Heywood Mogroot, but I don't think anyone is going to change anyone's mind here. I know a lot of Christians. And most of them are really good people and patriots dedicated to the Constitution and loving their neighbors. Heck, I suppose I'm one of them. So you can see why I would wonder about some of the things said about Christians. Or Muslims, or Jews, or what have you.
posted by MarshallPoe at 2:03 PM on May 6, 2007


"YOU GOT RELIGIONFILTER IN MY POLITICALFILTER!"
"WELL, YOU GO POLITICALFILTER IN MY RELIGIONFILTER!"

That said, poor Oklahoma. When Tom Coburn is your sane and reasonable senator, maybe it's time to go back to square one.
posted by dw at 2:05 PM on May 6, 2007


blah blah separation doesn't mean officials can't be religious blah blah
posted by The Deej

The Deej: No, it doesn't mean they can't be religious, but it does mean they need to keep their Jesus out of my deliberately secular democracy...
posted by StrangeTikiGod


My "blah blah" was actually to just get that out of the way since it was bound to come up. I am no defender of any of these people.

But the truth is, our officials govern from all kinds of mindsets, whether it's listening to Jesus or a Strange Tiki God, or lobbyists. If we disagree, we don't vote for them, or we go to the courts.

Regarding the links: I thought this was hypocritical: "Due to a socially liberal agenda that is polar opposite to most bible-thumpers, we were hard-pressed to include Kucinich on this list (hence the honorable mention status)." Bible thumping is Bible thumping.

You got your Jesus in my secular democracy!
You got your secular democracy on my Jesus!
Two tastes that don't always taste great together...

posted by The Deej at 2:11 PM on May 6, 2007


He is very definitely a different brand of idiot though.
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on May 6, 2007


Be sure to click through to the "Dumbest Congressmen" links. Fun stuff! You will get this bit about Barbara Boxer's novel:

And then there's the ghastly way Boxer envisions a lustful courtship: "Her skirt was very short, and Josh found himself mesmerized by her perfectly shaped, silken legs with kneecaps that reminded him of golden apples—he couldn't remember having been captivated by kneecaps before—and her lustrous thighs."

Hubba!
posted by The Deej at 2:24 PM on May 6, 2007


I know a lot of Christians. And most of them are really good people and patriots dedicated to the Constitution and loving their neighbors.

the facts, and actions, of the Christian Reconstructionists over the past decade+ belie this statement.

Preventing homosexual couples from forming legal domestic partnerships motivated a lot of conservative Christians to the polls in 2004.

The Christians I know are 90% conservative fundamentalists. They are still very good people, and I enjoy my visits with them.

I do not say "fuck you" to their face, but they also don't piss on attempts to discuss this phenomenon that's going on, like you, pyramid termite, and bugbread have done.

If the quality of discussion is low in here, let's raise it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:46 PM on May 6, 2007


So you can see why I would wonder about some of the things said about Christians. Or Muslims, or Jews, or what have you

This is an important point. It is their radical, revisionist, anti-modern elements of the above groups that I react against.

Of the three, only the former have any degree of political power in my country. Being 5/9ths of the SCOTUS (thank God Bush Sr screwed up with Souter), nearly the entire executive branch by now, and until this year the dominant force on Capitol Hill, you'll excuse me if I think this is an important thing to talk about and act against.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:52 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heywood Mogroot writes "I do not say 'fuck you' to their face, but they also don't piss on attempts to discuss this phenomenon that's going on, like you, pyramid termite, and bugbread have done.

"If the quality of discussion is low in here, let's raise it."


I probably misspoke: Anything said by either side will be tired and predictable. About half will be specious, but not all. The problem is everything that can be said has been said about Christianity and American politics, many many times. All the good arguments have been found and made. All the bad arguments have also been found and made. All that's left is repeating them, again and again in circles. I didn't mean to piss on the discussion, I was just pointing out that declaring someone's comment to be tired and predictable in a thread which is itself tired and predictable is silly.
posted by Bugbread at 3:13 PM on May 6, 2007


MeFi doesn't do religion well.

But KFC does chicken right.
posted by The Deej at 3:15 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


in a thread which is itself tired and predictable is silly

I find the highest form of debate to be identifying, to the finest granularity possible, where the parties agree to disagree, either on factual, philosophical, or logical grounds.

If things are too far gone in this country or community to do this, we are well & truly fucked and maybe I should bug out again. . . so how are rents doing in central Tokyo these post-fukeiki days? ? ? :)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:19 PM on May 6, 2007


Silly, knee-jerk, no-attempt-to-understand Christian-bashing is, well, boring.
Yeah, yeah. I'll stop talking about it when the silly, knee-jerk, no-attempt-to-understand Christians stop getting elected or appointed to office, or at least stop trying to enforce their mindset on the rest of us.
posted by hattifattener at 3:26 PM on May 6, 2007


Heywood Mogroot, I don't think believers in religion are psychologically motivated by different things that secularists. They value X, we value Y; the rest of the debate over what the constitution says etc. is just retrofitted, working backwards from our moral convictions.

I suppose you can make a case that there's a difference between collectivist and individualist models of ensuring the greater good when contrasting religious conservatives with more socially liberal people... that despite our values, we think that things will turn out ok without forcing them on anyone, whilst more socially conservative people are in for more controlling policy.. but I'm not sure that's a clear difference. A policy of de-jure laissez-faire is de facto an imposition of laissez-faire values.
posted by Firas at 3:30 PM on May 6, 2007


Has evolution vs. creationism been at the fore of the American political zeitgeist for awhile ...or was it dormant in the 80s/90s...?

My experience seems different from vorfeed's. Early on, the confusing term in I recall encountering was "creation science," and only more recently (Kansas Board of Education, stem-cell bickering, "intelligent design") did I encounter the term "creationism." (Wikipedia links; insert tongue firmly in cheek as you read.)

I spent enough time in suburban/rural Florida and in the Dallas area in the late '70s to mid '80s and in central South Carolina from then through the '90s to say that I was aware of "creation science" pretty much continuously from my junior year of high school. I know I first attended a lecture about it in 1981 or '82, but I was already familiar with the general idea -- it seemed to have emerged, I thought at the time, as kind of a backlash to Carl Sagan's Cosmos TV series. By the time of that lecture, I'd already pretty much discounted it as having any real intellectual or political force, although for pure hysteria the lecturer could've given Margaret Atwood a run for her money.

I've been continuously aware for going on 30 years now of a sustained back-pressure against intellectualism (I've actually been asked if I believe in Jesus Christ or if I was "one a them pointy-headed intellectuals," to which I replied, "You sure it's either-or?") and science in general by pewsitters and prominent church leaders alike in those communities, a weird mixture of smugness and defensiveness. It was more overtly an issue than homosexuality seemed to be up through the Clinton Administration's failure to deal with the issue of gays in the military, with a minor uproar over AIDS that was quickly backlashed as "they had it comin'." Not to mention, of course, the continuous uproar over abortion and, yes, school prayer, which kinda morphed over into vouchers for private schools.

To rescue this post from utter derail:

As a Christian who has no problem with Darwin, Einstein or Crick, I mostly just shrug at this kind of stuff, but it disturbs and entertains me by turns to see the LOLXTIAN-bait people holding public office in this country. Sadly, as Blazecock notes, it's a representative democracy. It's no wonder Christianity gets sneered at so much; I fear that the average run-of-the-mill Christian seems willfully more iignorant and prejudiced with each passing decade.

From the article:

What would Jesus do if elected to Congress? Would He suggest bombing Mecca in response to another terrorist attack on American soil? Would He be active in efforts to "rehabilitate" people who "suffer from 'same-sex attractions'"? Build a "prayer wall" around the United States? Propose solving the Iraq problem by exporting Christianity? Would He decry Newt Gingrich for being too liberal?

Here's a trivia question for you all: If you look at Jesus' actual words in the New Testament, what does He speak about most often? Hint: It's not those sorts of social and political control issues.
posted by pax digita at 3:30 PM on May 6, 2007


Oh, and dare I say:

Metafilter: a weird mixture of smugness and defensiveness
posted by pax digita at 3:32 PM on May 6, 2007


Heywood Mogroot writes "I find the highest form of debate to be identifying, to the finest granularity possible, where the parties agree to disagree, either on factual, philosophical, or logical grounds."

Ooh! You debate like I do (er, or at least, you enjoy the kind of debate I do)!

From that vantage, a lot of this really just boils down to religious belief. Sure, there are a lot of inaccuracies, paranoia, etc. involved, and that's what most of the debate is about when this topic comes up, but when you look for the kernel of disagreement, the point from which all of it starts, it usually comes down to fundamental religious beliefs, among those whether or not there is evil and whether or not one of the goals of evil is oppression/suppression of Christianity.

The problem, of course, is that few people if any agree to disagree on this topic, and instead decide to try to convince the other side. You get the irresistible force/immovable object problem. If you agree to disagree on this, you end up with all the rife and turmoil we have now. If you don't agree to disagree, you end up with all the rife and turmoil we have now, and Christian evangelists trying to "save" atheists, and atheists trying to convince Christians to give up their faiths by using metaphors involving flying spaghetti. Either way, you're borked.

On MeFi, then, you end up with either one of two discussions: one, people go for the nugget of disagreement upon which all the other disagreements hang, and you get a big Christians versus Atheists thread, which is always bad news. The other is where the core beliefs aren't addressed, but the actions of politicians are, in which case most people generally agree that the politicians are fuckheads, and it's not so much a discussion as a venting of anger/frustration and an opportunity to make a few jokes.
posted by Bugbread at 3:32 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that last sentence of mine sounds like nonsense.

My point is that when a socially liberal person says, "it's ok for janet jackson's wardrobe to malfunction on national TV because we don't want to be excessively controlling of what people can do", what they're essentially doing is saying "we think wardrobe malfunctions are morally neutral incidents".

I guess the point I'm trying to make is a values-relativism one. I think legal doctrine is a tactic more then a belief. For example, conservatives are big fan of states' rights in some things while not in others, and liberals are big fans of states' rights when it advances liberal causes and not when it doesn't, and so on.

I'm a bit embarassed because I'm not really writing clearly here, there are a lot of very complex ways in which the psychology and ideology of liberalism and religious conviction are both discrete and overlapping. Keep in mind that liberalism itself has a strong collectivist impulse (the freedom vs. equality tension.)
posted by Firas at 3:38 PM on May 6, 2007


Bugbread's final sentence about politicians and jokes echoed in my mind as I read about Marilyn Mugrave's lonely crusade to save America from itself.

Sadly, I'm living in a state with huge economic problems arising from a growing lack of useful blue-collar employment, but hers was the swing issue here in 2004.
posted by pax digita at 3:47 PM on May 6, 2007


liberals are big fans of states' rights when it advances liberal causes and not when it doesn't

I'm a Federalist in the sense that it's the Feds' job to guarantee/ preserve civil rights, and not limit them, outside of the powers that the Commerce Clause brings.

I respect the national Right-to-Life's position(s) as arguably civil rights issue for the unborn, even though I feel, as the decision of Roe vs Wade detailed, the privacy rights of the mother dominate this civil right to some great degree.

I of course find this position to be philosophically consistent. I find the right to be Let TF Alone to be foundational (but not absolute).
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:00 PM on May 6, 2007


pax digita: "As a Christian who has no problem with Darwin, Einstein or Crick, I mostly just shrug at this kind of stuff..."

As a SubGenius Christian who has no problem with Darwin, Einstein, Crick, Hawking, Newton, RAW, Quantum Mechanics, Zelazny, Jefferson, Twain, Rogers, Verne, Adams, Doyle, Tighe, Robins, Robbins, Elfman, Sterno, Aesop, Yeats, Cleats, Sagan, Lennon, Marlowe, Hume, Locke, Berkeley, Asimov, Bradbury, Roddenberry, Clarke, Ellison, Gygax, Leary, The Star Wars Kid, and Emperor Norton...

Can we have a separation of church and state in MeFi threads, please?

...

Didn't think so.

I have a little trouble with Hubbard but I'm working on it.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:13 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heywood Mogroot, but that's the exact problem: I'd argue for federal intervention when I think a right is being violated (eg. desegregation laws), but it depends on what you think a civil right is.

Here's another example: Roe vs Wade is an example of 'living constitution' type analysis, but preserving Habeas for Gauntanamo prisoners is an original intent type analysis (from the common-law precedents I mean; you can also just call it a strict textualist/constructionist analysis if you base it on eg. the fourth amendment.) I suspect most Roe v. Wade supporters usually balk at 'original intent', even though they'd support Habeas Corpus. I know I'm personally exceptionally disdainful of original intent.

I'm finding it a bit absurd to have to convince you that people in different factions choose interpretational doctrines at will depending on their preferred policy outcomes. It happens all the time.

I think I'm going to check out of this thread for a bit... I take political theory very seriously and I'm not really feeling comfortable discussing it in a back-and-forth that attempts to encompass so much all at once (why the theocratic conception of statehood and the franchise is different from the secular one.)
posted by Firas at 4:16 PM on May 6, 2007


Firas: I thought you were implying inconsistency with this:

"I think legal doctrine is a tactic more than a belief"

and a moral-equivalency argument comparing the liberals and conservatives.

I lack the legal education to argue inteliigently on this, other than to agree that the "liberal" judges' opinions in eg. the Lopez gun and Raich pot decisions were tactical and arguably not consistent with what I consider the true liberal foundations of our Constitution and common-law rights.

But this liberal (left-libertarian really) takes umbrage at you throwing me in with all the other so-called liberals, for what passes as a Left in this country is rather pathetic.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:04 PM on May 6, 2007


bugbread and pyramid termite, don't you have something better to do than derail threads today? If not, please stfu and go somewhere else.
posted by bardic at 6:20 PM on May 6, 2007


fwiw, I didn't think the article was that great. But me and my fellow countrymen have become so inured to the fact that far too many of our representatives in Congress really are scarily fundamentalist in their religious beliefs. It's not so much "ZOMG MEFI CAN'T DISCUSS RELIGION" as it is "Dear Lord, we've really elected some Taliban-esque folks to Congress and now we're jaded by the bigoted and idiotic things they say." That's pretty sad. And worth being reminded about at least once in a while.
posted by bardic at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2007


May I remind the esteemed assembly that these people were indeed elected which means there were people who voted for them and want them in office.

People whose opinions are as important as the ones found on this thread.

That is all.
posted by konolia at 6:55 PM on May 6, 2007


People whose opinions are as important as the ones found on this thread

opinions are like . . . you know. Their factual, philosophical, and logical foundations are what matters.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:27 PM on May 6, 2007


Wow, what a disturbing, hate filled article. Kind of reminds me of something the Nazis would have churned out. Attacking people based on their skin color, sexual orientation, gender or in this case religion sucks.
posted by BostonJake at 7:49 PM on May 6, 2007


bugbread and pyramid termite, don't you have something better to do than derail threads today?

don't you have something better to do than troll someone who'd been quiet for 5 hours in this thread?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 PM on May 6, 2007


Jake, it's not religion itself that is being "bashed" here.

The faulty facts and philosophies incompatible with post-Enlightenment thought circulating among the reactionary, millenialist right-wing Christianist phalange is what is objectionable.

Contrary to konolia's assertion immediately above, not all opinions are equally valid.

Cue Churchill:

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:13 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


We've had plenty of great Christian politicians, presidents, and statesmen in American history.

This article is primarily about fundamentalist authoritarians who would probably be happier living in an Islamic theocracy for all intents in purposes. Just switch Jesus with Muhammed and they'd be set for life.
posted by bardic at 8:19 PM on May 6, 2007


Ack!

I've know at least four of the congresspeople on this list. Sadly, I have yet to of had the privilege of Mrs. Bachman and her submissive ways.

I must say that most of them are kind and generous people... and a little nutty. As are many of their constituents.

Oh, and McHenry from NC... just a political hack. I think he made up the "prayer wall" thing just to see if anyone would bite.
posted by willie11 at 8:40 PM on May 6, 2007


This is a pretty messed up thread. The irony is, politics and religion are kinda married to one another and always have been. It's why we have a separation of church and state in the constitution. If you don't try to make them sleep in separate beds, they'll be all up in each other like a porn film and it's disgraceful! not that there's anything wrong with that.

konolia: "May I remind the esteemed assembly that these people were indeed elected which means there were people who voted for them and want them in office. People whose opinions are as important as the ones found on this thread. That is all."

Yeah? No. That's not all. That's not even on the tip of the iceberg. It's not even an ice cube made from the iceberg.

What do you personally believe in? What are the answers to you? Can you honestly find someone among those put at your disposal who supports everything you believe in? I don't mean compromise like, "well i disagree with his opinion on abortion but I like his take on foreign oil" bullshit. Either you find someone who supports what you believe in, or you don't.

Religion and politics shouldn't be all up in each other all the time, but they ARE when YOU vote. Cuz what YOU believe in is gonna affect how you vote. If you are devout, you'll probably be voting in a manner that supports your church. It's as simple as that. You're not voting for yourself at that point. Your vote stops being an individual's opinion. It becomes a sheep's opinion. Hard to swallow I know, and you'll disagree with me all up and down I don't care - if you dont' vote YOUR conscience and follow a party line or religious affiliation or what have you? You're a sheep.

I'm no longer accepting that people who vote are more important than people who don't. I used to cling to that dated concept like a child clings to his security blanket. I'd try to encourage other people to start voting, not caring who they were voting for - just vote! Cuz the system doesn't work if you don't - and the response was always lackluster and apathetic. It used to frustrate me.

DEMOCRACY only works if everyone participates. I mean EVERYONE. Not just people from certain kindsa churches, or people from certain kindsa skin colors, or people who have more money than you. EVERYONE. If not everyone is voting, it's not a democracy. It starts to become something else. Since well over half the country refuses to vote, it doesn't work. We don't have a democracy. We have an oligarchy. Corporations and organizations determine policy. The elected officials are their puppets.

The voting thing is smoke and mirrors distracting the masses from the truth: we are sheep. We will go where the wolves tell us to go.

A vocal minority thinks it is being heard, and their opinion is not "as important" as mine. Importance is not relevant. Opinion is no relevant. Unless you have amassed enough wealth to buy your way into the real game, you're not even on the playing field. You're not even in the stands rooting for the guys on the playing field. I've decided to stop supporting this stupidity. I'm not voting anymore. If you can't beat them? Join them.

Stay home on election day, or don't stay home, go out and live your life, but don't waste time going to the election booth. Regardless of who wins, they won't be supporting you and what you believe in. Or rather, if they do, that's pure coincidence and has nothing to do with your vote.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:58 PM on May 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Personally, I think one of the problems with American Democracy is that far too many people feel entitled to vote for a candidate that embodies every single one of their views on every single issue. It's an incredibly immature way of looking at things.

We need more people voting, not fewer. Not that that would solve all of our problems, but still, I think most of what you just said is complete blather ZachsMind.
posted by bardic at 9:08 PM on May 6, 2007


I used to agree with you, Bardic. The difference is a matter of degree. You feel that if we had more people voting, it would matter. I now believe that it's not enough to have a vocal minority, or a vocal majority that's like 51%.

It's like painting a watermelon to look like a horse and then trying to ride it. You look silly.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:17 PM on May 6, 2007


OK, yeah, but what the fuck was this?

(Watch to the beginning of his speech...)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:22 PM on May 6, 2007


Voting implies that a person has taken the time to look at some issues, read some articles, and learn a bit about said candidate.

I realize it doesn't always work like that, but voter turn-out is still laughably low in this country. How could more of it hurt?

Again, you seem to be laboring under the delusion that voting means we get exactly what we want. It doesn't and it never has. We live in a representative democracy, not a direct one. I don't want people to vote either, frankly, if they expect that it entitles them to get whatever they want from their government. It's a lot more convoluted than that.

Still, as bad as the system can be, it's better than all known alternatives.
posted by bardic at 9:23 PM on May 6, 2007


Zachs, while I disagree, I find your above an interesting counterpart to the subtext of this thread.

Organized religion -- churches in aggregate -- is an immense political force in this country, directly due to this degree of hierarchal, authoritarian organization, their internal message discipline & dissemination, the regularity of their meetings, their financial resources & tax advantages, and the ease they mix social policy positioning within their moral and spiritual teachings.

PBS's study on W prior to the 2004 election covered this, in reporting on Rove's recognition of the power of Texas churchgoers to propel W to the governorship.

I feel your position is falsified by the results of the 2004 elections. One fuckhead standing behind Bush as he signed the abortion ban WAS taken out by the democratic process, which actually shifted control of that house to the Dems again.

You may argue that the Dems aren't good enough, but in this system the choice is either attempting to effect change by degrees or watching collapse, with popcorn.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:30 PM on May 6, 2007


erm, 2006 elections not 2004 in my above.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:32 PM on May 6, 2007


May I remind the esteemed assembly that these people were indeed elected which means there were people who voted for them and want them in office.

Sure. Lots of people want all sorts of wrong-thinking idiots in office.

People whose opinions are as important as the ones found on this thread.

As important, yes. As right, no.

I still find it hard to believe that someone could go to church every week, and hear the gospels and the passion and the epistles, and hear "Whenever you did it for the least of my brothers, you did it for me," and hear that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek or slave or free or male or female, and pray weekly or daily for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and still go off and vote for this sort of jackass, devoted to declaring war on all and sundry, and downright cruelty to everyone sick and in prison, and towards building walls between the US, actual literal walls, between Americans and everyone else who was made in the image of God.

Ah well. Why bother with the risen Christ when there's a flag you can see and hold and pledge yourself to.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:49 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jake, it's not religion itself that is being "bashed" here.

The faulty facts and philosophies incompatible with post-Enlightenment thought circulating among the reactionary, millenialist right-wing Christianist phalange is what is objectionable.


Heywood, Can you really take issue with someone’s “faulty facts and philosophies incompatible with post-Enlightenment” in a post bemoaning disregard of the separation of church and state? In an article compiled of people specifically chosen because of their religious beliefs? Too much hypocrisy all round for me.

We all have different beliefs. Mine are very, very different than of the ones the article assigns the lawmakers, and probably very different from yours as well. That’s OK. That’s what living in a democracy is all about. Are these lawmakers trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us? Of course they are. So is everyone else who casts a vote in an election. That’s democracy in action. Do their beliefs affect how they vote? I expect they do. How could they not? I know my beliefs affect my position on a law.

If you don’t like a law that is being put before congress then come up with a persuasive argument against that law and try to convince me why it’s a bad idea. If you don’t like someone because of some law that they passed once, tell me about that. But don’t expect me to jump on the thought police band wagon or pipe down when I see hypocrisy and intolerance. That’s not how we roll in Bean Town.

Cue Churchill:

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”


And BTW we also like our democracy and our fellow voters here in Boston. I guess we never convinced Churchill to see things our way, but I could give you the names of a couple other British generals who we did convince.
posted by BostonJake at 10:29 PM on May 6, 2007


In an article compiled of people specifically chosen because of their religious beliefs

That Kucchinch was excluded from this list shoots your defense all to hell. Again, for the nth time, it's not their creeds but their authoritarian nature of their politics that is at issue.

That’s democracy in action

But this is not a democracy. This is a Democratic Constitutional Republic, by original design, something the authoritarians are trying very hard to expunge with their BS.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:12 PM on May 6, 2007


trying very hard to expunge with their BS.

ya, seems to be alot of that going around
posted by BostonJake at 11:20 PM on May 6, 2007


you're big on retorts but very small on counter-arguments, BostonJake. Not that I mind, makes it easier on me.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:25 PM on May 6, 2007


The Founding Fathers knew that people would always bitch and squabble in a representative democracy. What they also knew was that bitching and squabbling over money, laws, and taxes was a relatively peaceful thing compared to arguments over religion, where people who think God is talking to them will act irrationally and without the ability to apeal to common self- and national interest.

Again, not a great article, but any congressman who thinks he knows what Jesus would want shouldn't be allowed in the building. The separation of church and state is crucial to how our country works.

Politicians who do talk to Jesus and/or the FSM have a right to serve, of course, if duly elected. They should also be scrutinized as often as possible. The normalization of craziness is what bothers me. Talking to skygods is crazy. Sorry, it just is and always will be.
posted by bardic at 12:25 AM on May 7, 2007


OK

1.That Kucchinch was excluded from this list shoots your defense all to hell.

What? Did you read the post? All the people, first the 10 numbered "America's holiest congressmen " and Kucchinch were all chosen for the article based on their religious beliefs. In Kucchinch's case:

Despite being one of the most left-leaning members of Congress, and caricatured more as a hippy than a God-fearing American, Dennis Kucinich has quite a relationship with the son of God.

Plus the articles title "JESUS CHRIST'S SUPERSTARS" was kind of a give away to me.

1.1 not their creeds but their authoritarian nature of their politics This is a far cry from your original faulty facts and philosophies incompatible with post-Enlightenment thought circulating among the reactionary, millenialist right-wing Christianist phalange but I'm glad to see your starting to see things my way

2. But this is not a democracy. This is a Democratic Constitutional Republic, by original... blah blah blah

Its enough of a democracy for my arguement: We vote. When you vote your beliefs, morals, experiances ect... all play a part. You can get angry how a member of congress chose to vote, thats public record. You cannot get angry at why a person voted. That is none of your business.

I hope that was what you were looking for, but next time come up with some kind of position of your own, don't just quibble over dotted i's and crossed t's. I find that style of debating very boring
posted by BostonJake at 12:46 AM on May 7, 2007


bardic writes "bugbread and pyramid termite, don't you have something better to do than derail threads today? If not, please stfu and go somewhere else."

In keeping with your wishes: if I had nothing better to do, I'd stfu and go away. However, I do have something better to do, so I'll stay.

bardic writes "It's not so much 'ZOMG MEFI CAN'T DISCUSS RELIGION' as it is 'Dear Lord, we've really elected some Taliban-esque folks to Congress and now we're jaded by the bigoted and idiotic things they say.' That's pretty sad. And worth being reminded about at least once in a while."

Actually, it's all of the above; they aren't mutually exclusive. MeFi can't discuss religion (more accurately, MeFi can't discuss Christianity, Islam, or general religion. We seem to be OK with Buddhism, Jainism, etc.). And us Americans have elected some Taliban-esque folks. And it's sad. And it's worth being reminded about. And there's nothing wrong with this post. None of that implies, however, that anything in the thread will be fresh or unpredictable.

Or, reflected back at you: the argument has been made that the comments in this thread are all tired and predictable. Which comments have you found in this thread which aren't tired and predictable? Not which ones you find correct or really well phrased, but which ones made you think "hey, I've never thought of that?"
posted by Bugbread at 5:03 AM on May 7, 2007


To quote Congresswoman Musgrave, "if we have gay marriage, our religious liberties are gone." My my, she's got that BACKWARDS.

Hey pyramid termite: close your eyes, take a deep breath, recite the Serenity Prayer, and let the peace of Jesus flow into your stem cells. (And bugbread, you have a point, a tired old point I made myself once or twice during my 2.5 year long career here, but so what?)
posted by davy at 10:41 AM on May 7, 2007


Very funny.
posted by davy at 10:53 AM on May 7, 2007


Jesus never existed.
posted by davy at 11:04 AM on May 7, 2007


I know a lot of Christians. And most of them are really good people and patriots dedicated to the Constitution and loving their neighbors.

the facts, and actions, of the Christian Reconstructionists over the past decade+ belie this statement.
"Christian Reconstructionists" are a tiny portion (at most a minority) of Christians in the USA. Marshall Poe refered to "most" Christians. On that count, he's right. Unless you think that the only "true" Christians are the "reconstructionists" that you claim to run into on a semi-regular basis. Certainly they think that about themselves. Most everyone else thinks that Christianity incorporates many different traditions outside of "Christian Reconstructionists" and fundamentalist evangelicalism.
posted by deanc at 11:13 AM on May 7, 2007


Maybe it should be most Christians That Piss Us Off?
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on May 7, 2007


Meanwhile, Hitchens labels Karl Rove an atheist. (grr TimesSelect grr)

And honestly, ReligionFilter never is productive because it's the same flippin' AxeGrindFilter over and over and over again. Same repeating patterns. Same comment from me reminding everyone they're just repeating themselves and adding nothing to the conversation.

ReligionFilter + PoliticalFilter != two great tastes that taste great together.
posted by dw at 1:32 PM on May 7, 2007


And honestly, ReligionFilter never is productive because it's the same flippin' AxeGrindFilter over and over and over again.

I disagree. Thus, I refute dw.

There have been plenty of great discussions of religion on mefi. I've noticed your attempts to swoop into many of them and derail them. Little advice -- it doesn't help.

That said, I wouldn't offer this one up as a much of a shining example but then again, it wasn't bad. The biggest problem with it was, yet again, the dws and pyramid termites and bugbreads going into repeated convulsions about how we, a community of adults for the most part, shouldn't talk about certain things.

Boo freakin' hoo. If certain topics bother you that much, please skip them and stop acting like babies.
posted by bardic at 2:31 PM on May 7, 2007


bardic writes "The biggest problem with it was, yet again, the dws and pyramid termites and bugbreads going into repeated convulsions about how we, a community of adults for the most part, shouldn't talk about certain things."

Huh? No, go ahead and talk. People were having a discussion about whether the comments in threads like this are tired and predictable. I thought it was ok to join that discussion. If it isn't, then why is it ok for you to discuss it? It's groovy for you to talk about how unpredictable and fresh the topic is, but it's terrible for me to disagree? Talk about convulsions about how people shouldn't talk about certain things. Someone here has told people to "stfu and go away", and "skip the topic", but it certainly wasn't me.
posted by Bugbread at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2007


If only there was some place where people like you could take up meta-discussions of given threads.
posted by bardic at 2:49 PM on May 7, 2007


If only there was some place where people like you could take up meta-discussions of given threads.

Yeah, that'll work. Mom, they're AxeGrindFiltering again!

Honestly, I don't care. I'm just here to tell you these threads are mostly useless spleen-venting, rarely edify the normally intelligent discourse of MeFi, and are just a repeating loop of the same pro/anti-religion comments over and over again.

But please, don't mind me. Talk on. I'll be outside enjoying our sudden run of nice weather.
posted by dw at 8:10 AM on May 8, 2007


"Here's a trivia question for you all: If you look at Jesus' actual words in the New Testament, what does He speak about most often? Hint: It's not those sorts of social and political control issues."

pax digita, I wish Christians like you would say this to (fundamentalist) Christians who are not like you, as often as possible.

I've tried to point this out to a few, but since I'm not a Christian they tend to dismiss any knowledge I might have of the Bible.

It's not like his words are hard to find. In my Bible they're all in bright red ink!
posted by zoogleplex at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2007


Honestly, I don't care.

I'd hate to see how you act about issues you do care about. Post 37 times? Bully.

Again, you're the fat guy at Sizzler bitching about how the food is awful.
posted by bardic at 6:39 PM on May 8, 2007


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