Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kentucky: God before safety

Kentucky is officially stupid ("Anti-terror law requires God be acknowledged" by John Cheves, Lexington Herald-Ledger, 2008-11-28):
Under state law, God is Kentucky's first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security's religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.
I'm sure al-queda would agree. 9/11 was, afterall, a faith-based initiative.

Jerusalem Syndrome

This is hilarious. From Jerusalem Syndrome by Judith Fein (featured on The Savvy Traveler):
The malady called Jerusalem Syndrome is no joke. Afflicted tourists have been found wandering in the Judean desert wrapped in hotel bed sheets or crouched at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, waiting to birth the infant Jesus.


[Dr. Yair Bar-El of Jurusalem's Kfar Shaul Hospital] explains that there are three categories of tourists who get Jerusalem syndrome.
Dr. Bar El: "We speak first about clearly mentally ill people in their country. They arrive to Jerusalem with psychotic ideas. The second, the biggest group, tourists, pilgrims with deep religious convictions."
Dr. Bar-El: "We have a little third group, the REAL Jerusalem syndrome. Completely sane persons without psychiatric history, without drugs, and arrive here as normal tourists. Here they develop this specific, imperative psychotic reaction that is the real Jerusalem Syndrome."
The same clinical picture always emerges. It begins with general anxiety and nervousness, and then the tourist feels an imperative need to visit the holy places. First, he undertakes a series of purification rituals, like shaving all his body hair, cutting his nails and washing himself over and over before he dons white clothes. Most often, he lifts the white sheets from his hotel room. Then he begins to cry or to sing Biblical or religious songs in a very loud voice. The next step is an actual visit to the holy places, most often from the life of Jesus. The afflicted tourist begins to deliver a sermon, demanding that humanity become calmer, purer, and less materialistic.

In Israel, Jerusalem Syndrome is taken very seriously. Everyone involved in security, tourism, or health is on the lookout for afflicted visitors. In an average year, three or four tourists develop real, palpable Jerusalem Syndrome. In l999, more than 50 visitors were diagnosed, the increase possibly attributed to millennial activities.

From a religious point of view, the Syndrome seems to favor Protestants, who account for 97 percent of all cases. Almost all of them were raised in ultra-orthodox homes where the Bible was the book of choice for family reading and problem-solving.
Maybe this explains Jesus's behavior.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Moderates: Rick Warren?

I keep running across this pudgy, kind of insincere sounding Rick Warren character. I had only vaguely heard of him before Barack Hussein Obama and John bin McCain were interviewed by his plump, smug self over the summer. Besides the fact that he strikes me as incredibly insincere, he seems to get a free ride in the mainstream media.

Now, Buzzflash has some lovely news about him honoring smirking clown President George W. Bush ("The resurrection of President George W. Bush as presided over by Pastor Rick Warren, By Bill Berkowitz for BuzzFlash," 2008-11-28):
On World AIDS Day, Monday, December 1, Rick Warren, pastor of the Lake Forest, California-based Saddleback Valley Community Church and who is well on his way to becoming one of the most recognizable and powerful pastors in America, will be hosting his Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health at the Washington, D.C.-based Newseum. As part of the event, Warren will be giving President Bush the first "International Medal of PEACE" from the Global PEACE Coalition, in recognition of Bush’s “unprecedented contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases,” a Saddleback Church press release announced.
Horrifying as it sounds, I find you almost sort of do have to give credit to George W. Bush for his anti-HIV initiatives. It certainly doesn't eclipse all the evil things George W. Bush did over the years, but he did handle HIV/AIDS sort of well.

Back to Warren: who is he? Says the Buzzflash spiel:
Warren, recently dubbed a “celebripastor” by DMN News, is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” a book that has sold over 50 million copies. He recently announced a partnership with the Reader’s Digest association that will pool their international resources to develop an entity called The Purpose Driven Connection, a multi-media “platform to help people who are seeking their purpose in life and wish to interact with others on their spiritual journeys.” The will be “The Purpose Driven Connection” quarterly magazine; study materials delivered in DVDs, workbooks and downloadable discussion guides; and a state-of-the-art Christian social networking website.

Earlier this month, Warren “released his first book since his best-selling “Purpose Driven Life” as part of a special three-tool outreach for the Christmas season,” The Christian Post reported. The new book is called “The Purpose Driven Christmas.” “People are more open to the Gospel at Christmas than any other time,” said Warren.

According to The Christian Post, “All three tools are based off a Christmas message Warren had delivered two years ago at his Southern California megachurch that drew around 4,000 people and saw more than 2,000 accept Christ.”

Warren said that “Fox News then showed it on their television show the next year. The year after that, the Armed Services Network asked to show it to their entire Armed Services network around the world, so I decided, ‘Why don’t I turn this into a little booklet – kind of a handout for evangelism?’”
He's also apparently afraid of (surprise!) gay marriage (see "Rick Warren Surprises Nobody With His Support of Prop 8," Rightwing Watch, 2008-10-24):
It was a good question, considering that back in 2004, Warren declared the question of where presidential candidates stand on the issue of "homosexual marriage" to be one of the "5 issues that are non-negotiable" to Christians.
So where should they stand? Well, they should be against it, naturally! According to creepy sounding
The well-known Christian author says people in California need to vote "yes" on Proposition 8 because for "5,000 years, every culture and every religion...not just Christianity...has defined marriage as a contract between men and women."

And Warren says "there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease two percent of our population." As Warren puts it: "This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."
Well, that makes sense. Let's oppress 2% of the population because less than 1% of the population (creepy, smug evangelical pastors) say they don't like change. While we're at it, let's slaughter some Indians and lynch some negros. Because, violence is a tradition too.

The Buzzflash article also had snippets about his homophobia:
In August Warren said: “I have never been considered a part of the religious right, because I don't believe politics is the most effective way to change the world.” However, a week before the election, Warren told his congregation: “Here’s an interesting thing: there are about 2% of Americans [who] are homosexual, gay, lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine—to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years. This is not even just a Christian issue, it is a humanitarian and human issue, that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love and procreation. I urge you to support Proposition 8 and to pass that on.”


A mid-November piece at The Daily Beast, Max Blumenthal, one of the most intrepid reporters covering the Religious Right, pointed out that “In the past, Warren’s crusading against gay rights was generally ignored. When Warren shepherded his congregants to the polls in 2000 to vote for Prop 22, a California ballot measure banning same-sex marriages … [overturned by the state Supreme Court earlier this year; a decision that led to Proposition 8 being placed on the ballot], he hardly caused a stir outside evangelical circles.”

At the time Warren received a “letter of gratitude” from the Christian right godfather James Dobson, Blumenthal noted.
Conclusion: Warren is a Christian supremacist with a smiley face.

Patton Pissing

Patton pissing in the Rhine (I found this linked from a poorly cited WWII facts page).